Monday, June 30, 2008

Today's Top 5

1. A Voyage Long and Strange, by Tony Horwitz

Horwitz is a great writer. This book began with Horwitz idly wondering what happened in America between Columbus in 1492 and Plymouth in 1620. As it turns out, a lot happened. The Spanish made it as far inland as Arkansas and Tennessee in the South and established the first permanent city in the New World, St. Augustine. Rather than just recounting the history, Horwitz personally follows the explorers' routes, talking up the people who live there now. It's a fascinating book.

2. Giants beat As 1-0 on Saturday.

Sure, the 11-1 asskicking on Sunday was fun, but wow, that game on Saturday was a classic. Timmy Lincecum just pitched his heart out and Brian Wilson - who leads the league in saves - of course made it exciting and put a man on before getting the save. Great game.

3. Long weekend

How great is it that July 4 is a Friday this year? Pretty fucking great, that's how great. I'll be out at the ballyard on Friday watching the G's lose to the Dodgers, in case you're wondering. Then I'll watch some red and blue smudges through the inevitable fog.

4. The Southern Exposure at Alembic.


5. Spain over Germany 1-0 in the Euro final.

Great match. I picked a winner.

Honorable mention: My band's playing Tuesday night. Email me if you want deets.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Drunk Guy on Muni of the Day

The scene: 24th and Mission. Today, around 1:30 p.m. Don't even say anything; we had a power failure at work, so I had a hall pass.

So there's a 67 bus stopped there at the stop. Just as I get there, a cop car pulls up and the 2 cops get out and get on the bus. Then a Muni supervisor-type arrives and gets on too. Obvs. everyone standing around is staring at the bus trying to figure out what's going on.

The cops come out with a little guy who's wasted. I mean, he was fucked up. I love this - he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. WOO-HOO! LET'S PARTY!!

Anyway, the cops talk to him for a second and I guess they decide that taking him to 850 Bryant would be more trouble than it's worth, and, hey, what the hell, he can stand up under his own power, so fuck it. So they turn around and start talking to Muni Supervisor Guy and it looks like Hawaiian shirt is free to go.

Here's my favorite part. Instead of hightailing it out of there and thanking St. Jude that he's not on the way to jail, HOMEBOY TRIES TO GET BACK ON THE BUS. I'm sure he's like, "Hey, I'm not at my stop yet. Better get back on the fuckin' bus!" So he's standing there and knocking on the closed bus door. Awesome.

The two cops wheel around and grab him again. Now, at this point, the 48 is here and I gotta go. Last thing I saw, the cops were done talking to him and he was tottering off down 24th.

If you're out tonight and see a very drunk short Hispanic guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt, give him a high-five for me. Dude isn't gonna let cops keep him from getting where he's going.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Ironic" isn't the right word

(06-26) 11:59 PDT SAN LEANDRO -- Two lanes are now open on southbound Interstate 880 in San Leandro in the wake of a crash involving several vehicles that killed two people, the California Highway Patrol said.

All northbound lanes are still closed. Motorists are urged to use different routes, such as Highway 238 and Interstate 580, as crews work to clear the debris.

The crash happened about 9:15 a.m. when the driver of a small pickup truck stopped in a southbound lane of I-880 near Marina Boulevard. A big rig traveling south swerved to avoid the pickup truck and crossed over the median into the northbound lanes, the CHP said.

The big rig then collided with a garbage truck, and both vehicles caught on fire.

The driver of the pickup truck, which had been carrying coffins, was killed, the CHP said. It was not immediately known who the second victim was.

I don't know what the word is - creepy, maybe?

In other news, Fail had himself a completely respectable outing last night in Cleveland. I think we've found the secret - he has to pitch only in American League parks.

Apropos of nothing, here's a picture of Hilary Duff and Barry Zito in the back of a car. Is that Robert Loggia in the front seat looking at them?

In still other news, who left the fire burning? It's smoky as hell around here.

Finally, Spain is my Euro 2008 team. The match against Italy left a little to be desired, but man, they really stuck it to Russia today. Should be a great match with Germany in the finals.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Harry Aleo, 1919-2008

If you've ever been strolling down 24th Street in Noe Valley, you've probably noticed the storefront of Twin Peaks Properties. It's hard to miss.

The window display seems designed specifically to tweak the sensibilities of modern-day residents of Noe Valley and San Francisco in general. The signage refers to the area as "Looney Valley" and contains various items praising Republicans and/or chiding Democrats. It also has a sign saying "It will always be Army Street to me," which will make sense to you if you lived here in SF before the mid-90's and remember when Cesar Chavez St. was Army St.

What you might not know is that Twin Peaks Properties was owned by Harry Aleo, a true San Francisco original who passed away last Saturday at 88 years old.

Aleo was born and raised in Noe Valley. After a short stint with the Brooklyn Dodgers was cut short by injury, he joined the Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. After that, he returned to SF and founded Twin Peaks Properties.

Ever hear of a racehorse called Lost in the Fog? Aleo owned the horse, which won 10 straight races and had career winnings of $978,099. Sadly, Lost in the Fog had to be euthanized after developing cancer.

Early in the thoroughbred's career, Aleo started getting multimillion-dollar offers. "If I sold the horse and took all of this tons of money, I don't have a race horse," Aleo said at the time. "I'm 85 years old and I've been trying to get a good horse for 20 years. If I got all that money, I'd pay half in taxes and then I'd be out looking for another horse."

They don't make many like Harry Aleo any more. Although I never met the man, I love the fact that he seemed to enjoy getting under the skin of the "latte-sipping liberals" who slowly took over his neighborhood. Even though he and I would never see eye-to-eye on politics, I admire his spirit and I'm sad to see him go.

This one's for you, Harry.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

They said "drink plenty of fluids" so we did

Man, it's hot out. It was 80 goddam degrees in SF last night at 11:30 pm. 97 was the high yesterday. For those of you who don't live in SF or its environs, you might be wondering "So what? Here in Normal America it's 97 on a cool refreshing day in June." Well, we're used to 56 and foggy in June, so it's quite the event here.

As a public service, let me present TK's Tips on Staying Safe in Extraordinarily Hot Weather:

1. Sit in the backyard and drink Red Stripes and vanilla vodka & Diet Cokes.

Worked for me and Super Hot Irish Girlfriend, anyway.

Inspired by this post over at, I got all ambitious and decided to make frozen Key Lime Martinis. They were pretty good, but were better straight up. For those of you scoring at home, they're vanilla vodka, lime juice, and a little half-and-half.

After a while, that operation grew too complex and SHIG decided she'd rather just go for the vodka & Diet Coke. I had some Red Stripes in the fridge, which, as you know, are great for hot weather.

So we sat out back in the gorgeous night and drank and hung out and listened to music. There aren't many nights in SF when you can sit out until 11:30 in a t-shirt and shorts. It was just about perfect.

Oh, one other thing - yesterday I saw the WORST PANHANDLER EVER by Civic Center BART. Vaguely Italian-ish looking guy, mid-40s. Slicked-back hair, mirrored aviator shades, Tommy Bahama shirt, loafers. Big chunky silver watch. He was holding some Street Sheets. I passed him and he said "Spare change?" and I shit you not, I said "Are you kidding?" and went down the stairs.

Seriously, dude, if you expect to make some money panhandling you'd better make an effort to at least look homeless. WTF?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Viva la revolucion!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Here's my favorite Craigslist post today:

Reward $1000 - 33 (Kearny and Colombus)

Reply to:
Date: 2008-06-20, 8:17AM PDT

A thin. athletic black man about 5'7" to 5'9" punched a girl in the face in front of Tommaso's restaurant, and assaulted her male friend in front of a large crowd of witnesses.

His white friend, 5'6 to 5'8" thinner still, with light brown to redish hair with some manicured facial hair, wearing a beret, participated in the assault and helped the other man flee the crime scene, before fleeing himself.

These men are wanted by the police.

$1000 and limitless Karma for information leading to his arrest.

Hmmmm...manicured facial hair and wearing a beret?

I gotta say, though, Tommaso's does make an awesome pizza.

What's everyone doing this weekend? I plan on decamping to my overgrown backyard after work and enjoying some kind of tourist-in-Cabo blended fruity drink. It's 85 fucking degrees!

In a completely unrelated story, I'd like to give a shout-out to Morty's Deli, on Golden Gate and Hyde in the Tenderloin. Great sandwiches and salads. During the school year, it's usually mobbed by kids from the nearby Hastings law school, but right now it's ideal. It's little businesses like this that make me think there's hope for the TL. I just stopped by today and had the Little Italy, with salami, coppicola, pepperoni, provolone, and some kind of sweet/hot peppers that were delicious and crunchy.

Just to remind you where you are, though, just after I left, I was approached by a tweaker with about 8 teeth who offered to sell me some "kick-ass CDs" that he had in a small fabric case. I have a feeling they weren't from his personal collection.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I was wrong; it can get worse

Warning: This is going to be a primarily baseball-related post, so if that's not your bag, see you tomorrow.

OK. Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I went out to the park today for the 12:45 pm day game. Beautiful day, by the way. Sunny, around 70 degrees. Nice.

Now, before the game, I facetiously emailed SHIG my projection for Fail's numbers in today's game. I was just joking around and having a laugh at his expense, so I sent:

5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 K

Not very good, right? HA HA FUNNY JOKE. Unfortunately, the reality was just so, so much worse:

2 IP, 5 ER, 2 K

It was worse than you can imagine. He looks like crap. Unfortunately, it's our $126 million worth of crap.

Seriously, at this point it's just cruel to keep sending him out there to get shelled over and over again. What's the point? HE CAN'T PITCH EFFECTIVELY AT THE MAJOR LEAGUE LEVEL. Fuck, I'm not even a baseball executive and I can see that.

I know you can't just cut him at this point - which is what would happen in a heartbeat if he was signed for, say, $3 million for a 1-year deal, and I guess you can't send him to the minors, but for the love of all things holy, please please please stop letting him make every fifth start like nothing's wrong. It's not fair to us, or him. At this point, I doubt if he could get through 6 innings on Xbox.

Remember how he supposedly got sent to the bullpen to get his mind straight? And then didn't make a single relief appearance? What the fuck was up with that? Hows about we give that another shot or something?


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Today's Super WTF

Something called "eOntario" reports that the Sony PSP will include Google searching. OK. That's fine. Here's the story, in fact:

New York - The Sony PSP firmware 4.0 will add a new Google Search feature to the handheld.

Google Search for the PSP will allow for the 20 last searches to be stored in the memory of the console. Video will also be able to be played directly off of a memory stick.

The Google Search feature will be available under the Network category in the XMB.
A new Internet Search icon is being added. These are the same search results you would get if you were on

Google and SCEA may collaborate further in the future on the PSP and PS3.

Boring, right? Check out the accompanying picture:

Wait, what? Did I miss something in the article? I've re-read it five times now and I still can't discern why the addition of Google will make women want to lick the PSP like they were in a porno. Seriously, WTFF?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Damn you, recycling poachers!

- Did the Giants really get swept by the A's? That sucks.

- How am I supposed to feel about recycling poachers? On the one hand, it's illegal and it jacks the city out of the money it needs to keep the recycling program going. On the other hand, the poachers look pretty damn poor to me. Except for this guy today who had his own truck and parked and then went down the street systematically picking out all the aluminum cans from everyone's bin. So is this supposed to piss me off?

I felt vaguely pissed off, if that helps.

- Went with Super Hot Irish Girlfriend, my sister, and sister's bf to Indigo for dinner last night. It was OK. I wouldn't go back.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

He also bears the number of the beast

Recently listening to right-wing radio, as is my wont, I was informed by a typically frothing-at-the-mouth host that "Barack Obama has cosponsored a bill to REQUIRE THAT ALL U.S. CITIZENS BE FINGERPRINTED!!!" This tidbit was used to illustrate Obama's yearn for governmental control of our daily lives and/or the fact that he is the Antichrist.

Naturally, my curiosity was piqued, so I conducted some investigative journalism to bring you guys - my tens of readers - the truth.

Turns out that Obama did indeed cosponsor a fingerprinting bill, the Secure and Fair Enforcement in Mortgage Licensing (SAFE) act. Noted big-government enthusiast Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, a Republican, introduced the legislation, which would "establish national professional licensing standards for mortgage brokers and lenders."

As explained on Mel's website:

Following is a summary of the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act:

• Would require that all residential mortgage loan brokers and lenders obtain a state license, and provide fingerprints, a summary of work experience, and consent for a background check to authorities.

• To obtain licensing an individual must, at minimum:
o Have no felony convictions;
o Have no similar license revoked;
o Demonstrate a record of financial responsibility;
o Fulfill education requirements (20 hours of approved courses, to include at least 3 hours related to federal laws, 4 hours on ethics and consumer protection in mortgage lending, and 2 hours on the sub-prime mortgage marketplace); and
o Pass a written exam (the exam must be at least 100 questions; minimum
score of 75% required to pass).

Wait, what? It doesn't require the fingerprinting of all Americans? Just the kind of routine fingerprinting that's normally required for a background check, and then only for mortgage loan brokers and lenders? Well, that's not a very interesting story at all.

Expect to see a lot more of this bullshit. Especially since, as we know, Obama is a Muslim who was sworn in on the Koran, won't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, and occasionally kills and eats adorable puppies.

OK, OK, that's not all true. He does put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance.

For a very informative guide to the endless series of smears circulating against Obama, check Snopes, as usual.

One final thought - why aren't there a bunch of outrageous rumors circulating about Crazy Eyes McCain? Perhaps Dems don't go out of their way to smear the opposition? Nah, couldn't be that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Urban etiquette: an occasional series

Today's topic: ATM crimes

Misdemeanor: Taking forever to complete your transaction

Hey, Carl Icahn, what are you doing there, executing a leveraged buyout of General Motors through the ATM? Look, you numbskull, it’s PIN – withdrawal –amount - receipt yes or no. Why you’re standing there contemplating each screen like it’s the menu at Le Cirque is beyond me. You’ve used one of these before, right?

Felony: Endorsing your check(s) after stepping up to the ATM

Look, there’s a line here. We’re all waiting to use the ATM. And instead of endorsing his check or whatever ahead of time, this asshole blocks the ATM, starts the transaction, and then endorses the check while everyone behind him is held up. It wasn’t a surprise that you were going to get to the ATM, jackass. Endorse your shit ahead of time.

Death penalty: Talking on cell phone while using ATM

This crime against nature combines two of the biggest land mines on the urban etiquette battlefield – the cell phone and obliviousness. So I’m waiting to use the ATM and this woman is ahead of me and talking on her cell phone. I can already tell this is going to be trouble. So she gets up to the ATM and it goes like this:

Puts in her card

“Blah blah blah excruciating details about my boring life”

Enters PIN slowly, still talking

“So then blah blah blah I can’t believe you’re listening to this fucking minutiae”

Makes selection from menu at ATM. Unbelievably, TURNS AWAY FROM ATM WHILE TALKING

“And so on and so forth here’s what happened second by second today in my life”

And it goes on pretty much like this. Press button. Talk for 30 seconds. Press button.

Now, at this point, I’m surprised that the psychic energy of my loathing and frustration hasn’t caused her head to burst into flames, but I guess I’m not at that Jedi level yet. ANYWAY, cell phones and ATMs. No. Don’t do it.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Scenes from this weekend

Friday, 6:15 p.m.

Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I are at Bourbon and Branch having cocktails. In case you're not familiar, B&B is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in the Tenderloin. You buzz outside and they ask you for the password and everything. We had a reservation at 6:00. We were both prepared, I think, to roll our eyes at the pretentiousness of the whole thing but the problem is the cocktails were really fucking good and the service was great and we ended up having a great time.

I was impressed with my Elderflower No. 10, which contains Plymouth Gin, elderflower syrup, lemon juice, and orange bitters. Meanwhile, SHIG liked the Balckberry Bramble, with Plymouth vodka, lemon, creme de mure (whateverTF that is), poured over crushed ice.

The place is very dark, with tiny individual booths along one wall and a bar along the other. Recommended.

Friday, 8:05 p.m.

Dinner at Marketbar (WARNING: annoying, Flash-laden website) in the Ferry Building. Mine was awful. I got the Kobe beef tri-tip, which came to the table cold and was accompanied by what were billed as pommes frites but were actually small limp pieces of something that could have been potatoes or might have been mushrooms or fuck if I know. On the other hand, SHIG's green vegetable risotto was OK, I guess.

Saturday, 10:32 a.m.

I'm looking for new work shirts at Nordstrom Rack. What the fuck am I doing here at 10:32 a.m. on a Saturday?

Saturday, 2:48 p.m.

We're now at my sister's boyfriend's place. They're big into wine and go to Napa and Sonoma all the time, so they had about 8 of us over to try some wines. I don't really know shit about wine, but I'm trying to learn. Anyway, I liked the Rochioli chardonnay the best, although the Miner pinot noir was really good too.

Saturday, 7:17 p.m.

Uh-oh! SHIG may have been overserved. Time to find a cab home. This is extremely difficult at 7:17 on a Saturday. Eventually I get one and we get everyone home safely.

Sunday, 1:47 p.m.

We're at a table at Zachary's in Santa Cruz. Somehow, against incredible odds, we got up today around 11:00 a.m. and decided, at SHIG's suggestion, to take a day trip to Santa Cruz. So we went to Zachary's when we first got to town. It's a great brunch spot on Pacific Ave. I lived in Santa Cruz for a couple of years a while back, and being back here feels strange. While we're here, we also hit the pier and Seabright Beach, near where I used to live, and end up taking a hot tub at Well Within. I leave there feeling totally scrubbed and clean, like I have new skin.

Damn! What a weekend. I'm exhausted.

Friday, June 6, 2008

We Will Miss U Dennis Richmond!

Dennis Richmond was the anchorman on the KTVU Channel 2 news for some 32 years. He retired recently. I'll miss his gravelly baritone and the way he said "SAHN Francisco." If you've lived in the Bay Area for any amount of time, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

This touching tribute to the D-Man recently appeared on 24th Street near Mission, across from the BART station:

How awesome is that? I want to know who painted the pictures. Here's a better view:

Godspeed, Dennis. I like Frank Somerville a lot, but it'll be weird not having you around.

UPDATE: I didn't realize that this had already been covered, as our friends at Mission Mission point out. I guess in the blogger-heavy Mission, I should have assumed.

And I also forgot that this same house featured a band playing on the same roof pictured above, again covered by the tireless Mission Mission.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Fail that keeps on giving

So I got some last-minute tickets for the Giants game last night and went and holy Mother of God was it fucking cold, like seriously uncomfortably cold. And windy. And of course, Fail trotted out there and looked like shit and lost again. How long is this wretched experiment going to be allowed to continue? At this point, I feel bad for Fail, because clearly he has no idea how to pitch any more and running him out there every fifth game to get torched has got to be fucking with his head in a major way.

Besides Fail, the other things that annoyed me were:

- the Asian Valley Girl chick behind me screeching on and on to her hapless date about how her friend went to Slide and was apparently hitting on anything with a pulse with the goal of making some guy jealous

- the semi-drunk guy standing in the aisle in front of me talking on his cell phone while I leaned around behind him trying to see the game

- the guy wearing a short-sleeved shirt, shorts, sandals, and a visor. HEY CHAMP, IT'S 40 FUCKING DEGREES OUT HERE AND WE DON'T WANT TO SEE YOUR UGLY FUCKING TOES ANYWAY

In an unrelated story, I don't get these Hillary supporters who say they'll vote for McCain instead of Obama. Are you fucking insane? Just because you're pissed off that your candidate didn't get the nomination, you're going to support a guy who's going to extend the Iraq War, do everything he can to restrict the right to choose, will appoint reactionary right-wing judges, possibly introduce madatory burqa wear for American women, and is crazier than a shithouse rat? Out of spite? Christ, don't you have some knitting to do? I keed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


1. I just bought tickets to Day 2 of the Treasure Island Music Festival on September 21. With service charges, they're like $80 apiece! Jesus Christ! Anyway, here's the lineup for that day:


Sorry for all the weird caps and the stars; I cut & pasted. Anyway, I'm a big yes on Vampire Weekend, Spritualized, definitely Okkervil River, and Vanderslice. I sort of like what I've heard of The Dodos, The Kills, and Tokyo Police Club. I'm eh on the Raconteurs and Tegan & Sara. And I don't know anything about Dr. Dog or the Fleet Foxes. Anyone?

Okkervil River put on one of the best rock shows I've ever seen, last year at the Independent. It'll be interesting to see them in the big festival setting. I'm having a hard time picturing Spiritualized outside. They just seem like a dark-room band. I saw them at Bimbo's a few years back and their entire stage show consisted of FLASHING STROBE LIGHTS DIRECTLY AT THE AUDIENCE. If you weren't an epileptic when the show started, you sure were when it was over. My vision still hasn't recovered.

Now, two of my associates attended last year and gave the festival about a C+, but that may have had to do with the lineup (which wasn't nearly as good last year), so I'm not going to get scared off by that. Cool image of last year's festival from Under the Radar mag. Fuck, it's going to be hella crowded, isn't it? Maybe I should have thought this through.

2. I'm still working my way through the mixes I got at the mix exchange and I'll post some of the finds from that later.

3. Everyone in Ireland was gaga over Hot Chip, but honestly, it doesn't do much for me. What am I missing?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

One hit, one miss

Remember Nickie's, the dance club/bar in the Lower Haight? I hadn't been there in like 10 years and I remember it always being crowded and dark and not all that great. Well, they remodeled it and it's sort of loungey now and much nicer. I was in there yesterday for a pint and they have a whole new bar food menu that looked good. I tried the sliders and they were delicious. It would be a good place for late afternoon/early evening drinks and food. Good vibe, friendly bartenders.

Oh, and how about this for a coincidence. They had a framed Munster rugby jersey on the wall and, as you know, I was just in Limerick for the Munster European Cup win. WEIRD.

Today, Super Hot Irish Girlfriend and I decided to go to the Park Chalet for brunch. I also hadn't been there in a while (as a matter of fact, we went there for brunch on our second date) and now, it's buffet-style, which is fine, but I have two problems: (1) it's 30 freaking dollars a head (but 35 with bottomless champagne, which would be where you'd make your money back but I wasn't drinking), and (2) they automatically add an 18% gratuity to the check, which I can understand since the service blew and they wouldn't be making anywhere near 18% if they didn't do that. But still, 18% for basically just bringing you drinks is ridiculous.

The food was pretty good, though. Omelet station, prime rib, sushi, lots of sides, creme brulee french toast, etc. I would do it again if I were with a group and wanted a leisurely brunch and wasn't driving. You get the table for 2 hours, and you can probably knock back enough cheap champagne in 2 hours to make it like $10 or $15 instead of $30.

One other tip: don't go to Trader Joe's on Sunday. It was a scene of human misery and despair.