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Archive for May, 2007

Or to paraphrase Ronald Regean, “There he/she/it goes again.”

This time it’s another gratuitious mention of The Rubester’s name in an item about a totally unreleated story in SFist. I’m not going to rehash this case for you. As thinking adults you can probably find out all about it on the internet.

Suffice to say SFist’s item is headed “Dog Maul Case Back In The News,” complete with capital “in” and “the,” which are usually lower case words.

The connection with The Rubester? Kimberly Guilfoyle prosecuted the original case. Remember her? She was Gav-Oh’s wife when his ni-go-san (Japanese for mistress) popped up on the radar screen before their divorce was finalized.

Like a lot of writers, I believe in making the most of a scandal. But I believe it should be done in the context of relevance to the gist of the scandal. And I can see some bits of hunor behind the tragedy of the case. I’ve made fun of the participants and I intend to continue when it is appropriate.

I vaguely recall a television show called “Connections” or something like that. The show was based on the premise that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else, and each person’s connection to any other given peson is no more than six degrees away.

In other words, by diligent detective work, an astute individual can pick a name out of a hat and find his/her connection to it by the time he/she follows leads from person to person through no more than six people, each suceeding peson’s name referred by the preceeding interviwee.

By this logic, the Rubester is connected to about 290,000, 000 people in the United States alone. Add in the world, and you’ve got 6 billion connections.

Some guy in New South Wales just got a ticket for jaywalking? Hey, the Rubester made him do it.

Now, this is a connection bound to jazz up a non-story.

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One of the features I like about USA Today is its inclusion of those little graphy charty filler things thrown in almost as an afterthought. Usually you’ll find them stuck way down in a corner of a page where you might easily overlook them. To bad. Some of them are interesting and relevant.

Today’s USA Snapshot is a good example. The tiny chart on the front page is headlined “U.S. cities using the most renewable energy.” It’s subheading defines the chart’s content: percent of power produced from renewable energy.

Oakland is number one on the list with 17% of it energy production from renewable sources. The following in order are Sacramento-San Francisco 12 percent, Portland 10 percent, Boston nine percent, and San Diego eight percent.

Notably, with the exception of inland Sacramento (which is combined with San Francisco), all of the cities on USA Today’s list are coastal cities, and of these, all but Boston are West Coast cities.

Perhaps equally notable, all of the cities (again with the possible exception of Sacramento) are widely regarded as centers of liberal (whatever that means) culture. San Diego could arguably be mostly conservative in view of its large military-related population. But it is after all situated in California, probably the most liberal state in the U.S. where even our Republican governor has a high-level of tolerance for Hollywood excesses.

What does all of this have to do with the price of tea in China? I’ll leave the analysis to the economists, political scientists, energy experts, and sustainable futures pundits.

About all I can think of to ask is what exactly is this renewable stuff and where does it come from? Is it shipped in from China? Who knows? Maybe it is nothing more than the heat produced by the Gavster’s endless supply of frosted blonde bimbos.

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Did you read today’s Matier & Ross? Seems Gav and Jen spent the Memorial Day weekend in Hawaii rather than attend Memorial Day services at the Presidio. I wonder what they did in the islands? Skin dive?

Why would the mayor of a major American city that has been a focal point of military-related activities for much of its history skip the many ceremonies that honor that outstanding history?

Anyone who has been around will remember San Francisco as a point of departure for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Troopships came and went almost on a daily basis. I was in and out on three of them, from and back to Fort Mason.

And military support activities were scattered throughout the Bay Area. San Francisco proper had Letterman Hospital at the Presidio, Fort Mason, the Hunter’s Point Shipyard, and a host of lesser forts and bases all over the city. The Army had a thriving overseas hiring office for civilian employees on the 5th floor of a building on Market Street. The Golden Gate National Cemetery is still located in San Bruno.

The mayor should have remained in San Francisco and honored all of the San Francisco-born men and women who have served the country and all of the men and women who passed through the city on their way to the South Pacific and Asia.

After their military service ended, many of these “transients,” including my father, who served with the Navy in the South Pacific during World War Two, returned to and remained in San Francisco and the Bay Area where they raised families. Several of my dad’s children and grandchildren live in the BayArea to this day.

Whether or not we agree with the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can at least agree that the men and women who have fought and lost their lives for the U.S. deserve to be honored for their sacrifices.

The mayor of San Francisco ought to apologize to all of them for skipping Memorial Day in favor of a trip to Hawaii.

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Final Installment of my Professional Analysis
(Cont’d from Installment II)

Well, in the end, Jeremy and Lexie shop for a home in Lexie’s small town. It’s almost anti-climactic after learning that the sterile Jeremy has impregnated Lexie without benefit of marriage. If I were Lexie, I’d file a lawsuit against Jeremy for plain lies and his physician for medical malfeasance.

Despite the jarring suddenness of events in this story, it has one thing in common with 21st Century romance. It presumes that a little sex is the same as enduring love. Now, if only we could travel through time and look at the state of this liaison twenty years in the future. That might be a real eye-opener.

Okay, since I seem less than enthusiastic about Spark’s story, why don’t I offer some constructive advice? That’s a fair question I asked me and it deserves a ridiculous response from me.

Instead of a scrubby photographer from New York, why not a clean-shaven deputy sheriff from Arizona?

And rather than a librarian, make it a beautiful statuesque movie star, someone like Jen Siebel, who is in Arizona conducting research on clean-shaven deputies for a documentary about the deleterious effects of premature liver spots on the male libido.

Then shift the eerie locale from an isolated, fog shrouded cemetery in a forest where mysterious lights shine to an isolated ghost town in a remote corner of Arizona where mysterious figures have been spotted for years.

Next don’t offer up some miracle impregnation by a sterile man. Let the deputy be so tense with the anticipation of enduring love that he carries the movie star away, racing across the desert in a fully equipped, four-wheel drive, 18-cylinder, off-road rescue-equipped Lincoln town car with roof-mounted .57 caliber machine gun the moment their eyes meet on a lonely desert road.

As a plot twist, they jointly solve the mystery of the ghost town one spring day when they inadvertently stick their heads out of an old brothel and spot a bunch of hippie holdouts from San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury.

And, oh, two more suggestion. Assume a pen name. Louis L’Amour would be fine.

Then eliminate the scenes where the main characters waste a seeming eternity while the spaghetti sauce simmers before the inevitable happens. Have the guy bring along McDonald’s takeout, hamburgers and fries. There is nothing, nothing, more erotic than the taste of fries on a woman’s lips. Beats slate-flavored lipstick everytime. Use your imagination, Nick. Check with Emily Morse.

The Inevitable Afterthought: Would I read another Sparks novel? You betcha. If someone leaves one on a seat near me in an airport.

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Installment II
(Cont’d from Installment I)

To pick up Sparks’ tale, despite Jeremy’s brashness, he turns out to be a sensitive and caring soul. We learn that his plans once included a career as a college professor and that he has total recall. God, I hate people with total recall. You can never win an argument with one.

When it comes to appearance, we have the impression that Marsh is a 10 pure and simple, which also makes me madder than a wet hen. I’m a 2 myself, which is why I sat alone in a cold airport for four hours while a guy a few seats over had to fight off about five predatory females who prowled the airport looking for 10s. I hate men who attract beautiful women like an industrial strength vacuum cleaner attracts dust. Why can’t someone write a romance novel about a plain man who morphs into a dazzling prince when kissed by a beautiful frog?

Anyway, Jeremy’s love interest is Lexie Darnell, who just happens to be the prettiest girl in town, if not the county, state, and universe. And what does Lexie do? She’s…surprise…surprise…surprise…a librarian. That’s a really new twist: beautiful woman squirreled away in a dusty old library waiting for the man of her dreams, who in this case just happens to be a brash, forward, obnoxious New Yorker. Why couldn’t the guy be a neatly-trimmed San Franciscan like the Gavster? Sparks’ story line reminded me of a modern version of Professor Harold Hill and Marian the Librarian. Or am I confusing this with “Valley Girl.” In any event, this is a classic takeoff on the formulaic plot, Miss America falls for Mick Jagger.

Of course, both of them have “pasts.” Jeremy was once unhappily married, which is about it for him. Oh, yes, and this is a real twist that I am going to reveal right now just to spoil your reading pleasure. Jeremy is sterile, but, miracle of miracles, he impregnates Lexie. I often wondered if Jeremy just told Lexie the sterile story as a ruse to get her in bed. New York stubble-chic club hoppers and professors are not above such oily tactics.

And Lexie’s history? Wonder of wonders, she once lived in New York City, no more than a couple of blocks away from Jeremy. Holy smoke. What a coincidence. But there’s more. She’s actually had sex with men. My God! What a revolutionary development. A hamlet librarian has had liaisons with men.

And it turns out that Lexie’s partners have sort of spanned the gamut of character types. There’s an unnamed Renaissance Man and some yokels from town, etc. This is not a simple librarian in a tiny hamlet in North Carolina. She’s a worldly-wise modern woman.

Is there an obstacle to their romance? Well, there is Rodney Cooper, a large, rather dense deputy sheriff with a crush on Lexie. Whatta ya know? He doesn’t like Jeremy on sight. It’s apparent from the git-go, though, that he is merely a minor irritation. Come on, Nick, at least you could have let Rodney pop Stubble-Chic on the nose and carry Lexie away on a swamp buggy so that Jeremy could hop on a deep-throated pontoon-equipped Harley and chase them around the swamps weaving in and out among the cypress trees ala Steve McQueen roaring around the hills of San Francisco in “Bullitt.”

There is somewhat of a plot with lots and lots of details, like setting up cameras to record the mysterious light, reading historical maps and diaries, and checking histories of the area. But these are mere annoyances. People who read romance novels want the two main characters in the limelight from start to finish. Who gives a (pardon the expression) crap about lines on a chart unless they conceal a naked couple coupling? Give us some erotic male-female interaction, for goodness sakes.

(To be continued)

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Installment I

I’ve just finished reading Nicholas Sparks’ “True Believer.” I don’t know why I decided to read it. I haven’t read a romance story since Classic Comics’ treatment of “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Actually, Sparks’ story is the first romance novel I’ve ever read. My usual fictional fare used to be Western stories with a girl character in there somewhere, which the hero sometimes won and sometimes didn’t, preferring his horse instead.

Then I morphed into political science textbooks where the only mention of romance that I ever ran across was in a footnote to an obscure German pamphlet that talked about the debilitating effects on the male sex drive of a broccoli binge.

Anyway, I decided to read Nicholas Sparks’ book because it was on a seat near me in an airport, and after a couple hours, no one claimed it. I figured, what the heck, got to do something on a cold day in an airport.

Besides, I admired Sparks right off the bat. Not many men have the guts to write a romance novel. Okay, okay, I didn’t admire him. I envied him. I wanted to make a few million, too, and this guy beat me to it.

So I started reading and just couldn’t put it down. Sparks is an excellent writer. His skills are far beyond mine. I couldn’t have asked for a book so clearly written and well organized as this one.

The basic plot is about a writer who debunks supernatural phenomena. He visits a small town in North Carolina to investigate reports of mysterious lights in a cemetery, and almost as soon as he arrives, he falls in love. This is a really novel plot twist.

The story seemed interesting until you get a few pages along. Then you discover that romance in the 21st Century isn’t quite like it used to be. In the old days, romance took time to flourish. In Spark’s tale, the main characters feel an immediate attraction and dance around for a whole two days before they fall passionately into bed and thus, by modern standards, in love.

Boy, I hadn’t even had time to blink when suddenly, the end was staring me in the face. I always thought true romance was about anticipation. Then when sex finally occurs, it speaks to enduring love. But in our age of rapid (or is it rabbit?) response, I suppose a wait of a few days is reasonable, even if it is at the upper limits of anticipation.

Oh, before I move on, let me gloss over the two main characters. Jeremy Marsh is a stereotypically brash New Yorker from Queens who dresses entirely in black complete with turtle-neck sweater, leather jacket, black pants, and European chic-shoes. That sounds kind of bland to me. At least Sparks could have sparked up Marsh’s costume with a little color like, say, a pink carnation behind his ear. Besides his name is Jeremy Marsh, which sounds sissy-like to me. Couldn’t sparks at least have given him a solid masculine name such as Rock Stud?

To top it off, the male protagonist broadcasts the latest sophisticated signal of the modern generation, stubble-chic. We used to call people like that hobos or dirty old men. Why couldn’t the male protagonist be a clean-shaven unknown deputy sheriff in Arizona who, as the Masked Deputy, helps old ladies and children maneuver through horse droppings on a lonely desert road?

To be continued

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No, I am not taking about our wildly popular and highly esteemed orgasm-centric mayor. Yet, anyway. I’m speaking here of a recent Associated Press report about the population growth in California in general and in San Francisco and Los Angeles specifically.

Seems the state overall now has a population of almost 38 million people. Over four million (4,000,000) of those are in Los Angeles, not the county of Los Angeles but the City of Angels. By comparison, the City and County of San Francisco is running around 808,000.

What accounts for Los Angeles’ rise in population and the rather steady though slight or statistically insignificant rise in San Francisco’s?

It’s got to be the bimbo factor. LA is a magnet for bimbos. A bimbo by the way is an attractive but vacuous person. LA has an advantage in attracting bimbos. It’s called Hollywood, which offers stardom, riches, nude pictures on the internet, all of the things that mark success in 21st Century America. From all over the country, bimbos-in-waiting head for LA by any means available to them according to their economic status of the moment. A few really super economically disadvantaged hitchhike. The goal of all, rich and poor: a major-league career in the Dream Factory.

And San Francisco? Well, our bimbo attractions seem minor league by comparison. What do we have to offer? The Golden Gate Bridge. The Maze. A stroll down Market Street. BART. The view from Point Richmond. A tryst with the mayor-of-the-moment. What?

We are forever doomed to mediocrity in the bimbo category. Newsom’s selections prove the point.

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