I got a jarring reminder late last night as to why newspapers need to be accurate. Here’s what happened. I couldn’t remember what day of the month it was, and just looking at a calendar was no help. So I did what I often do in such circumstances. I checked the date on that morning’s San Francisco Chronicle. “SUNDAY, November 20, 2016” was printed atop the front page of each section.
Yikes! My 73rd birthday will be Wednesday, Nov. 23, and as it happens, the 66th birthday of Linda Sturdivant of Inverness Park was on Wednesday, Nov. 16. At the Point Reyes Disaster Council’s pancake breakfast three weeks ago, I had purchased a ticket in a fundraising raffle and won a $40 gift certificate to Tony’s Seafood restaurant in Marshall. Linda is a good friend of ours, so Lynn and I had agreed we could use the gift certificate to celebrate both birthdays together at Tony’s on Sunday, Nov. 20. However, if this really was Sunday, Nov. 20, and we hadn’t gone to Tony’s, we must have stood up Linda. I was mortified.
At a loss as to how we could have gotten the day mixed up, I rebooted the computer and checked Google. What a relief! The date was really Saturday, Nov. 19. No harm had been done — except to my nerves.
Today we drove up to Tony’s for lunch. The sky over Tomales Bay had mostly cleared after rain Saturday night. The sun was shining, and through the window beside our table in the restaurant, we were able to watch a flock of pelicans perched on pilings.
The food was great, as always. Lynn had shrimp, Linda had prawns, I had fish and chips, and we all had barbecued oysters. The portions were large enough that we had leftovers to bring home. Once back at home, I checked the date on that morning’s Chronicle. For the second day in a row it was: “SUNDAY, November 20.”
From my perspective, The Chronicle should run a correction and an apology. Displacing Saturday with Sunday could easily be taken as anti-Semitic. Or maybe anti-Seventh-day Adventist.
Word usage: In hopes of receiving plush appointments, a gaggle of right-wing politicians are currently trying to curry favor with President-elect Donald Trump. Judging from the bunch of Neanderthals who have been offered jobs so far, it apparently it isn’t too difficult to ingratiate yourself with the Donald. Just don’t mess with his hair.
“To curry favor,” according to the Bergen Evans Dictionary of Quotations, is derived from the name of a 14th century horse. In the French satirical poem Roman de Fauvel, “the horse symbolizing worldly vanity is soothed and lovingly tended by all classes of society, so that to curry Favel [or Fauvel] was to seek to advance yourself, to ingratiate yourself with the powerful.”
But grooming the Donald’s hair with a curry comb is risky. If you irritate the powerful beast, he may well let loose with his famous bucking, kicking, and whinnying.
#ShutdownCanada, Friday’s nationwide protest in Canada calling on the government to investigate the murders and disappearances of indigenous women, was a bit of a disappointment, failing to garner as much public participation as expected.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a branch of the Organization of American States, last year reported that First Nation women in Canada are being murdered and disappeared at four times the rate of white women.
Although more than 7,000 people had said they would take part in demonstrations planned in Calgary, Espanola, Edmonton, Fredericton, Halifax, Hamilton, Kamloops, Lethbridge, London, Moncton, Montreal, Niagara, Oshawa, Ottawa, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg, according to Ontario’s Two Row Times, fewer than 700 showed up, Warrior Publications reported.
Unist’ot’en camp (Warrior publications photo)
Also joining the demonstrations were several groups trying to stop environmental damage. One of them, Unist’ot’en Camp, describes itself as a “resistance community in Northern British Columbia, whose purpose is to protect sovereign Wet’siwet’en territory from several proposed pipelines.”
The Unist’ot’en clan says, “Wet’suwet’en territory, which extends from Burns Lake to the Coastal Mountains, is sovereign territory which has never been ceded to the colonial Canadian state; the Wet’suwet’en are not under treaty with the Canadian government.”
Since July of 2010, the Wet’suwet’en have established a camp in the pathway of the Pacific Trails Pipeline.
On Friday, protesters also blocked a main entrance to the Port of Vancouver. In Winnipeg, a number of protesters blocked a road. In Regina, a small group blocked a railway line. And in Montreal, protesters temporarily blocked a major intersection and then briefly occupied a branch of the Bank of Canada.
Despite police limiting the protesters’ movements, #ShutdownCanada did cause some disruption in Regina, noted Daniel Johnson, who took part in demonstrations there. “But it was not the success it could have been.” ________________________________________________________________
No St. Valentine’s event, of course, is likely to ever get as much public attention as the 1929 Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago.
This was during Prohibition, and in a fight over territory, Al Capone’s South Side Italian Gang captured five members of Bugs Maron’s North Side Irish Gang, as well as two of its accomplices.
The seven were lined up against a wall inside a garage and executed with Tommy guns. (See photo at left.) One member of the North Side Gang, Frank Gusenberg, lived for three hours after the shootings. Although he received 17 gunshot wounds, he refused to tell police who the gunmen were. ____________________________________________________________
Canada on Valentine Eve Friday was lucky to escape its own massacre, which had been planned for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Before the carnage could occur, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took a 23-year-old woman from Illinois, Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, and a 20-year-old man from Halifax, Randall Steven Shepherd, into custody on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
The woman subsequently told authorities about plans to attack a mall. Two other men, 17 and 20, have also been taken into custody, and a fifth person, a 19-year-old man, committed suicide when police surrounded his home.
Police said the plotters were not involved with Islamic terrorism and merely wanted to kill as many people as possible before taking their own lives. Luckily the Mounties received a tip and found that on social media, the group had revealed an obsession with mass killings. ________________________________________________________
Tony’s Seafood Restaurant.
Also on Valentine Eve, the band Rusty String Express packed Tony’s Seafood Restaurant in Marshall. “The musicians play a mix of jazz, Celtic, and other styles — some traditional and covers,” said West Marin musician Ingrid Noyes.
“But they also write a lot of their own material. They give it all their own unique spin, and they have a unique sound with that mix of instruments.”
The restaurant offered plenty of meal specials, and barbecued oysters were served for only $2 apiece, which is the best restaurant price I’ve seen in West Marin in a very long time.
A Buckeye butterfly on Saturday paused for a rest on bamboo that grows in a half wine barrel on Mitchell cabin’s lower deck. Other parts of West Marin matters were less tranquil on Saturday. In Point Reyes Station, so many tourists crowded into town that a couple of restaurants ran out of food. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)
No Name bar
The Michael Aragon Quartet on Valentine Eve played what I call “modern jazz” (think John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley) in Sausalito’s No Name bar, as it does every Friday evening. From left: Rob Roth on sax, KC Filson on keyboard, Pierre Archain on bass, and Michael Aragon on drums.
There’s no cover charge; the music is inevitably great; and at times virtually every seat in the bar is taken. When that happens, some customers inevitably retire to a covered garden in the rear to talk, smoke, meet people, or play chess.
One of the attractions of the No Name on Friday nights is its unceasingly cheerful waitress, Sarah Burke. Just placing drink orders with her is part of the fun. I’m hardly the only person to notice this, and as a way of saying thanks, her regular customers signed a Valentine’s card, which she received Friday, along with a potted red rose.
Hunters-gatherers: Two migrating robins forage outside Mitchell cabin last Wednesday.
There are more robins in West Marin than usual this winter. Wildcare, the wildlife-rescue group in San Rafael, reported last week, “It’s songbird migration time…. In the past few weeks, we have admitted 11 thrushes and six robins with head trauma from hitting windows.”
In order to feed these patients, the Birdroom at Wildcare “needs earthworms (good from your compost) and frozen berries (wild blueberries, the small ones, are best).” The group can be reached at 415 453-1000.
Tony’s Seafood in Marshall is known to most West Marin residents; less well known are its origins. Sitting on pilings over the water, the restaurant’s view of Tomales Bay is magnificent. So are its barbecued oysters, which feature a tomato-ey sauce that is particularly smooth and sweet.
Tony’s is the favorite restaurant of Inverness Park residents Linda Sturdivant (right) and her partner Terry Gray. Sunday was bright and clear along the bay, even warm. It was a perfect day for me to open the sunroof and drive the two of them and Lynn (left) four miles north for a seafood lunch.
Tony’s is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, from noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and this flock of seagulls appears to have learned the schedule. They paddle around the restaurant hoping that diners after eating will throw them pieces of any leftover bread or French fries.
From a deck over the water on the southeast side of the restaurant, we watched jellyfish pulsating their bells as they propelled themselves away from the shore.
Restaurant matriarch Anna Konatich takes in the sun on the deck beside the bay. She and her husband Felix, who died in 2008, were born on the Croatian island of Iz. She immigrated to the US in 1947, he in 1937. Their family opened Tony’s Seafood Restaurant in 1948.
Felix was already living in Marshall when they became reacquainted in Seattle. He was part of a wave of Croatian immigration to the area that had begun in 1900. At least 14 families from the islands of Iz and Hvar settled in the tiny town of Marshall and — as Anna reminded me Sunday — at White Gulch directly across the bay.
Anna told me there were seven children in the first grade when her daughter entered school, and “three of them were Croatian.”
When I greeted her Sunday, I asked, “How’s the rebel?” The question sparked immediate laughter. Back on Iz 20 to 30 years ago, many residents considered her a radical nationalist.
In the years between the death of Yugoslavia’s longtime Communist ruler Marshal Tito in 1980 and the fall of communism in 1990-91, Anna visited Iz several times. It was a time when Communism was enforcing severe restrictions on Catholics. On one visit, she startled others in church by singing out the traditional lyrics to a Croatian national song that had been rewritten by the Communists. “Hey, you guys,” she told the others. “You can’t let the church fall apart like this. That’s our heritage.”
(In 1991, Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia, and the European Economic Community in 1992 recognized Croatia as independent. The Yugoslav army and Serbian militia, however, battled the Croatian military from 1991 to 1995 in an unsuccessful attempt to partition the newly independent country.)
Outside Tony’s Seafood Restaurant after a hearty lunch are (from left) Linda Sturdivant, Terry Gray, Lynn Axelrod, Dave Mitchell.
Sometimes when I mention Marshall’s immigrant families from Croatia, I get a blank stare from other West Marin residents. “What Croatians?” they ask. In fact, they know the names. They just never realized they were Croatian.
Along with the Konatich family, who still run Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, other well-known names include the Vilicich family, who started the Marshall Boat Works in 1927, and Nick Kojich, who — with Felix Konatich’s father Tony — founded Nick’s Cove restaurant. And now you know who Tony was.