Let me tell you, I’m a big fan of fruit stands. Maybe it’s because it’s been more than a decade since I’ve found a single piece of flavorful fruit at a Safeway or an Albertsons. Maybe it’s the bond I believe I forge whenever I purchase a half-dozen apricots from the family that grew them. Maybe it’s how I believe my purchase helps local farmers. Maybe I’m just a moron. Whatever the case, I love fruit stands.
Many times throughout each year, Tiersa and I visit fruit and vegetable stands in and around the San Joaquin Valley. We know where to buy the freshest asparagus. We know which farm grows the most flavorful tomatoes. We can pinpoint our favorite cherry orchard on a map. We’ve got the fever, man. The five-a-day fruit-and-vegetable fever. Most summers, if you can’t find us during the weekend, it’s because you haven’t checked the fruit stands.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve made several trips to the San Joaquin Valley in our seemingly endless quest to buy a house. We’ve reached the point where I could probably navigate the path from my current hometown of Fremont to my projected future hometown of Tracy in my sleep. Take Mission Boulevard either to Niles Canyon (if I’m in a scenic mood) or to Interstate 680 (if I'm not), take Highway 84 — little more than a windy road through hills covered with dry brush — to Livermore, and then take whichever route from Livermore to Tracy that would seem to have the least amount of traffic that day. It’s become a regular part of my life.
As I’ve made these trips, I’ve noticed a number of tinier fruit stands popping up along Highway 84 on the way to Livermore. They’re certainly not fancy. The components of most of them are:
- A pickup truck
- An umbrella
- A chair
- A portable table
- A Mexican woman wearing a hat
I’m usually in far too big of a hurry to look at some house I’m not going to like or to sign some real-estate document that will soon become irrelevant to stop and ponder a purchase at any of these roadside stands. Nonetheless, I always try to steal a glance at what locally grown produce they might be peddling. If they’ve got an angle on some particularly yummy local fruit, I figure I can always pull over and buy something the next time I have to drive to Tracy, which generally is sometime within the next 24 hours.
Last week, I was making the routine trek when I noticed a Mexican woman wearing a hat setting up her umbrella. I was able to see the entire event unfold in real-time, since traffic on Highway 84 was stopped. I watched as she fetched her chair, set it in front of the table under the umbrella, and strolled back to the pickup truck. She unloaded one box of fruit and set it on the table in front of her. She then sat down and waited for customers. A typical scene as one sits in traffic on the ass side of Livermore — except for one obvious oddity.
The box contained but one kind of fruit. And that one kind of fruit was pineapples.
Now, some of you reading this might not completely understand the climate here near the San Francisco Bay Area. Livermore is on the way to the Central Valley, and the Central Valley has a climate that is wonderful for growing fruits and vegetables. Why, it has one of the finest climates in the world for growing earthly edibles. But it would never be mistaken for the tropics. And pineapples, I am told, tend to grow in tropical climates.
I have my doubts that this woman drove her pickup truck all the way from the tropics — Hawaii, for instance — just so she could sell her pineapples on the side of the road that leads from Fremont to Livermore. And while she may have grown these pineapples herself locally, I find it hard to believe that she has some huge temperature-controlled greenhouse where she grows and harvests her fine California pineapples. That sounds pretty expensive, and that pickup truck had a lot of dents in it.
With those scenarios pretty much ruled out, I ask you, dear readers: where did this woman get these pineapples? Did she buy a crate of pineapples wholesale from the local supermarket because she knew Highway 84 is in truth some sort of profitable pineapple alley where commuters can’t get enough tropical tastes? Or did she slyly lift a box of pineapples off the back of some delivery truck when others weren’t looking? I don't think that's what happened, because she didn’t look like she could run all that fast. Maybe she bought the pineapples from someone who had already stolen them from the back of that truck. Maybe the mafia is involved in fruit trafficking now. Maybe she’s connected. Maybe this was mob fruit. Maybe I stumbled upon some big fruit syndicate run by Vinnie The Fish without even knowing it.
Whatever the case, I do know that pineapples don’t come from Livermore. And I know that somewhere in Oahu, some woman in a hat is trying to sell blueberries at a roadside stand from the back of a pickup truck, and people are looking at her like she’s some kind of psycho. If she’s looking for a business partner on the mainland, she can find her on Highway 84.
AT THIS POINT, THE MOST REASONABLE explanation for Dick Cheney’s behavior is that he’s aching to be removed from the ticket so he can finally crawl off into some corner, suffer another heart attack or two, and simply die in peace.
Chest Pain Cheney, who I mentioned went nuts last week, went even more nuts today. While on the Senate floor having the “class photo” of this group of senators preserved on film, Cheney turned to Sen. Pat Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont. According to CNN, Cheney then told Sen. Leahy — and I’m quoting here — to either “fuck off” or “go fuck yourself.”
Apparently, Cheney’s all bent out of shape because Leahy recently criticized the vice president over war profiteering by Hallburton. Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton, and it is a known fact that Halliburton wound up securing some mighty lucrative contracts while Cheney was chirping in President Dubya’s ear. Halliburton even wound up with a no-bid contract to rebuild Iraq — which seems a little suspicious given Cheney’s feverish crusade for bombing the bejeezus out of that country since long before Sept. 11, which had nothing to do with Iraq in the first place.
In any event, CNN is reporting that the whole event, which was recounted to them by several sources, went down like this:
Cheney, who as president of the Senate was present for the picture day, turned to Leahy and scolded the senator over his recent criticism of the vice president for Halliburton's alleged war profiteering.
In response to Cheney, Leahy reminded Cheney that the vice president had once accused him of being a bad Catholic, to which Cheney replied either "fuck off" or "go fuck yourself."
Leahy was referring to charges leveled by some conservatives during the confirmation battle of Bush judicial nominee William Pryor last August. Some supporters of Pryor, who is Catholic, claimed Senate Democrats were "anti-Catholic" for opposing the Alabama attorney general's nomination to the federal bench.
Leahy would not comment on the specifics of the story Thursday, but did confirm that Cheney used profanity.
"I think he was just having a bad day," said Leahy, "and I was kind of shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor."
Words of wisdom for the senator: Don't say “shocked” when referring to Dick Cheney. Someone's bound to go looking for a defibrillator.
YOU’RE NOT A REAGAN, JACKASS. Ron Reagan, the younger son of the recently deceased former president, isn’t letting up in his crusade to make perfectly clear that George W. Bush is (a) not a Reagan, (b) a bad president, and (c) a big, dumb liar.
Reagan swiped at President Idiot Boy again, this time on “Larry King Live” last night, saying that Bush misled Americans to gain support for the Iraq war and that he’s essentially a clueless dunce when it comes to stem-cell research.
"We lied our way into the war," Reagan told Larry King, who has had about the same number of heart attacks as — but several more wives than — Dick Cheney. "It's a terrible mistake, a terrible foreign policy error."
Referring to the Bush League’s stance on stem-cell research, Reagan called the administration’s position “shameful” and suggested that Bush’s band of religious zealots didn’t fully comprehend the issue.
“We're not talking about fetuses (or about) human beings being killed,” said Reagan. “We're talking about collections of cells in a petri dish that are never, ever going to be a human being.”
This comes on the heels of Reagan’s anti-Bush comments, given during his eulogy for his father. In that speech, Reagan indirectly accused Bush of using religion in an effort to gain political advantage.
Bush, who was watching "Davey and Goliath" on PAX-TV instead of Larry King at the time of Reagan's CNN appearance, likely wouldn’t have believed anything that Reagan was saying about him anyway because he was almost 100 percent positive that Reagan died recently because Uncle Dick told him so.
PLEASE ALLOW ME TO TAKE THIS MOMENT to issue a shameless self-promotion. I now have another blog. I don’t love the other blog as much as I love this blog, but the other blog is part of the reason BEA Systems gives me money twice a month. And I do love money, because money helps me buy houses, roadside pineapples, and way too much fast food.
The new blog can be accessed at https://dev2dev.blogs.com, and is nowhere near as funny as this one. But it is funny sometimes, like when I share stories about women who have developed an irrational fear of toilets or people dressed up as ice cream cones who get attacked by strangers. The rest of the time, it’s talking about Java and technology and BEA and stuff like that. Read it. It’s not like it’s going to kill you.
FINALLY TONIGHT, it turns out that neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton was the reason why Sept. 11 happened. As fate would have it, the whole thing was Al Gore’s fault.
I know this for a fact, because Republican National Committee chairman Jim “Pinkie Penis” Dyke said so. And Pinkie Penis wouldn’t tell a lie, would he?
In a speech Thursday at Georgetown University's Law Center, Gore accused Idiot Boy of lying about a link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein, even though the bipartisan 9/11 commission has repeatedly declared that no proof of any link between Osama and Saddam exists. "They dare not admit the truth lest they look like complete fools for launching our country into a reckless, discretionary war against a nation that posed no immediate threat to us whatsoever," said Gore.
Struggling for a coherent response, Pinkie Penis pulled a zany one out of deep left field.
“Al Gore's history of denial of the threat of terrorism is no less dangerous today in his role as John Kerry's surrogate than it was in the 1990s in his role as vice president, a time when Osama bin Laden was declaring war on the United States five different times,” said Pinkie Penis, who then pointed way off in the distance and said, “Hey, look, over there! Bill Clinton is having another affair, I think,” before fleeing from the podium in sheer terror.
Gore also said Bush and Cheney won't acknowledge their lies because of the “harsh political consequences” of admitting there's no evidence of a link between al Qaeda and Iraq. “If they believe these flimsy scraps (of so-called intelligence), then who would want them in charge? Are they too dishonest or too gullible? Take your pick,” Gore said.
You left out evil, Al. Dishonest, gullible, and evil. And greedy. Dishonest, gullible, evil, and greedy. Oh, and ignorant. Dishonest, gullible, evil, greedy, and ignorant. Ooh, don't forget about corrupt. Dishonest, gullible, evil, greedy, ignorant, and corrupt.
If I were Al Gore's speechwriter, the poor guy would still be talking.