Category: California (page 1 of 1)

Movie Night: Strait Jacket

["'Tina! Bring me the axe!" Joan Crawford hacks up the Six Million Dollar Man in 1964's Strait-Jacket. "Lucy Harbin took an axe, gave her husband forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave his girlfriend forty one."]
Four and 1/2 stars!

From 1964 (and presented by the fabulous Svengoolie): It’s Mommie Dearest with an axe, but with a twist! Here is Joan Crawford in Strait-Jacket!

The «synopsis»:

“After a 20 year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behaviour.”

TMDb

IMDb has «a slightly different way of putting it»:

“After a twenty-year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behavior. “

IMDb

Oh, okay, that’s not so different. Hmmm. Is there collusion between those two sites? But how else would you describe this thing? Let’s check «Rotten Tomatoes» then:

“In this chilling blood-tale in ‘Psycho’ style, Robert Bloch modernizes the Lizzy Borden story. A wife (Joan Crawford) literally axes her cheating husband and his lover, witnessed by her three-year-old daughter. Mom is packed off to the insane asylum for 20 years before reuniting with the daughter (Diane Baker). From this point, the axe murders continue along a contrived plot intended to lead the audience astray until the mystery is solved. Crawford’s strong performance and the excellently constructed suspense are the best elements of the film—and the chopping saves the show when the plot tends to slow.”

Rotten Tomatoes

But more importantly, what did critics say about Mommie Dearest, er, I mean Strait Jacket? Shaun Mulvihill over at Fan Boy Nation pretty much covers it very well:

“… Strait-Jacket is now hailed as a camp classic, which it is no doubt, but it’s also a throwback melodrama that is punctuated by its moments of violent ax murders. Shout!

“Having not seen Strait-Jacket in at least 10 years, one thing stood out in revisiting the film on the new Blu-ray – this film isn’t too dissimilar to the sordid drama of «Mildred Pierce» that won Joan Crawford her lone Oscar. Even though in the wake of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, as Crawford was being repurposed as a scream queen, she always gave her all to the performance. Strait-Jacket may have been seen as a B-movie to the studio and the critics reviewing the film in 1964, Crawford gives an A performance as the mentally ravaged Lucy Harbin. Of course, Crawford made sure to employ her role as the spokeswoman of Pepsi in the film, inserting six-packs of Pepsi throughout the film.
“The violence of Strait-Jacket looks quaint by today’s standards, with some rather unrealistic looking limbs being violently severed by a swinging ax. Even though Strait-Jacket is released after Herschell Gordon Lewis created the modern gore film with Blood Feast, Strait-Jacket is remarkably graphic for a studio film of its era. The posters used the violence as a selling point, proclaiming, ‘Strait-Jacket vividly depicts ax murders!’ I won’t lie, the violence of Strait-Jacket is funny by today’s standards, but it’s important to remember its context of film violence of its era.

“There’s no defending Crawford the person and her deplorable actions. On the screen, though, she shined bright and continues to shine as her classic are restored and revived on home video. Strait-Jacket may not have been her proudest moment, but you’d never know it from her dedicated performance. It’s a true testament to Crawford’s presence as a performer that Strait-Jacket is much more a Joan Crawford picture than a William Castle picture. Castle was a great showman and huckster, and he stepped aside to give the spotlight to bigger showman. William Castle knew he didn’t need a gimmick when he had Joan Crawford.”

Fan Boy Nation

It’s all tremendous fun, especially if you remember the context. Yes, it foreshadows Mommie Dearest, which makes you wonder where that particular flick came from (did Christina Crawford confuse a viewing of Strait-Jacket with her life? Oh, sorry. I’m sure her trauma was very real.) But for gosh sake, cinema Joan wielding the axe on Lee Majors in 1964 and then supposedly-real-life Joan wielding the axe on a tree 17 years later is rather … interesting.

Nonetheless, it’s always a fun time. The bonuses here are George Kennedy as a farmhand foreshadowing by 22 years Billy Bob Thornton in 1996’s Swing Blade (“I like them French fried potaters.”), all the Pepsi placement, and Lee Majors in pre-Six Million Dollar Man mode, along with his very hairy chest, fluffily rising and falling just before the axe falls. Also fun is Edith Atwater as a society matron, her tut-tut husband Howard St. John, and their son, John Anthony Hayes as their son in the very-good-looking-man role, who discovers something very unsettling about his would-be fiancee.

The ending, featuring Edith Atwater’s horrifying discovery and a mask and Joan suddenly replaying her role as Nurse Lucretia Terry in The Caretakers (1963), is pretty fabulous, but shhhhh, don’t reveal it to anyone so as not to spoil their spine-tingly, horrifyingly good time! Watch it!


Strait-Jacket Lobby Card
Strait-Jacket Lobby Card

Best quotes:

Daughter Dearest, they should have called this thing. Love these quotes, especially, “Lucy Harbin took an axe …”

Carol Harbin: “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! No I didn’t mean that, I love you. I hate you!”

Strait-Jacket

First little girl: “Lucy Harbin took an axe, gave her husband forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave his girlfriend forty one.”
Carol Harbin: [Lucy storms out to find two girls playing jump rope] “What is it, Mother?”
Lucy Harbin: “I heard them …”
First little girl: “London bridge is falling down, falling down, London bridge is falling down, my fair lady.”
Carol Harbin: “It’s just a nursery rhyme, mother.”
Second little girl: “Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up, take the key and lock her up, my fair lady.”

Ibid

Four and a half stars – for the camp value alone!

Strait-Jacket. 1964. MeTV. English. William Castle (d). Robert Bloch (w). Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson, Howard St. John, John Anthony Hayes, Rachelle Hudson, George Kennedy, Edith Atwater, Mitchell Cox and Lee Majors' hairy chest as one of the axe victims. (p). Van Alexander (m). Arthur E. Arling (c).


Movie Night: Thieves’ Highway

["Let me smoke your butt, Nick!" Valentina Cortese and Richard Conte in Thieves' Highway. Take that Bogie and Bacall!]
4 3/4 Stars!

From 1949: «Thieves’ Highway». We weren’t really planning to watch, but were drawn in immediately. I think we had seen it before, but it’s been a long while. Glad we watched. Ironically, Valentina Cortese just passed away on 10-Jul of this year. Watching her performance here was fitting, and showed just how big of a loss was her passing.

Thieves’ Highway is a classic Noir tale of truckers and apples and greed and sex and San Francisco and California and highways and death. Besides the fabulous Valentina Cortese and Richard Conte, it features Lee J. Cobb in a dress rehearsal for his role in On the Waterfront, Jack Oakie and Millard Mitchell, who would be seen six years later in the classic Singin’ in the Rain, as the movie producer R.F. Simpson.

The synopsis:

“Nick Garcos comes back from his tour of duty in World War II planning to settle down with his girlfriend, Polly Faber. He learns, however, that his father was recently beaten and burglarized by mob-connected trucker Mike Figlia, and Nick resolves to get even. He partners with prostitute Rica, and together they go after Mike, all the while getting pulled further into the local crime underworld.”

TMDb

Michael Sragow, writing in an essay for the Criterion Collection «Thieves’ Highway: Dangerous Fruit» has some nice observations:

“Like the movie’s rattletrap trucks lurching down the highway as they carry way-too-heavy loads, the characters in Jules Dassin’s brilliantly volatile Thieves’ Highway struggle under psychological and moral baggage until they can lay their burdens down. Working from a novel and script by A.I. Bezzerides, Dassin made this swift, fluid melodrama in 1949, after Brute Force and The Naked City. … it has a rich sensuality all its own.


“All the symbols in this movie are rock-hard and understated. The white military star on Nick’s truck makes a mute, omnipresent comment on postwar disillusion. And each time you hear “Golden Delicious,” the image it conjures of Olympian delight contrasts sardonically with the perils of the road and the savage competition of the San Francisco marketplace.”

Michael Sragow, The Criterion Collection

(I love how Sragow introduces Nico: “Garcos … has sailed around the world without ever getting worldly.” HA!)

He then notes the inner workings of the film and places it in context:

“Dassin … is just as deft as Kazan in Boomerang! (1947) or Panic in the Streets (1950) at using real locations for knifelike verisimilitude, then catching their most far-out and surprising emotional repercussions.”

“Dassin begins scenes with compositions that border on cliché–whether of a cheerful Fresno suburb or the bustling streets and crowded pier-side haunts of San Francisco’s marketplace. But each time, he punctures the cliché with cascades of complex details emerging spontaneously from the conflicted drives of the characters and the life-or-death stakes of their situations.”

IBID

Sragow, writing 1-Feb-05, then notes something that is culturally a hot button right now: toxic masculinity:

“Under Dassin’s direction, Conte here minted a fresh leading-man archetype-a rough-edged, virile naïf, containing equal amounts of violent distrust and gallantry. And Mitchell brings deep-grained orneriness to Ed, a summa cum laude from the school of hard knocks, willing to rook others to satisfy his sense of justice. What gives this movie its charge isn’t just the physical danger of the road and the injustice perpetrated when fixers like Figlia use dirty tricks on truckers and buyers—it’s the psychological drama of men tossed off balance by want and need as they strive to achieve equilibrium.”

“Ed pulls Nick out from under his truck after Nick botches a tire change and gets his face buried in sand. When the older man bandages his neck, and these two finally forge a bond, Nick mutters that passersby might get the wrong idea.”

IBID

Pretty advanced for 1949, but like the ending, it gets set right: Nothin’ but manly man hetero stuff … 1949’s equivalent of “No Homo.”

And just so we’re clear that Conte/Mitchell and Oakie/Pevney are just no homo bros, in comes Rico to keep the men manly. Curiously, she’s rather butch, both in her toughness and her physical, trenchcoat-wearing appearance. In fact she’s sporting a short Italian haircut (which would be the focus of an I Love Lucy episode in a few years), which accentuates her Italian “earthiness,” (also the focus of an I Love Lucy episode in a few years). AND her character was originally named “Tex.” (See the paragraph about Hope Emerson below for more on this stuff.) Sragow sums it up:

“Played by Valentina Cortese with dazzling emotional clarity and erotic warmth, she’s at once this film’s beating heart and the center of its existential concerns–she dares Nick to trust his instincts and trust her, despite her shady deal-making and background.”

IBID

The review is also interesting because it delves into the writing:

“Bezzerides’ writing at its peak boasts a dynamic blend of iconoclasm and bitterness–an ideal combination for the intersection of kinetics and moodiness that is film noir.

“Bezzerides objected to several alterations to his book and deplored the casting of Dassin’s then-girlfriend Cortese in a role originally called “Tex.” But in movie terms, he was incorrect on every count–to use his phrase, the only truly “chickenshit change” was a studio-inserted scene in which cops berate Nick for taking the law into his own hands. Cortese’s sometimes comical, sometimes poignant, always live-wire oomph makes this proletariat adventure unique and gives it the ravaged soul and earthy glamour of a demimonde romance. No gal in movies has ever looked sexier or more good-humored drying her hair after a shower. When Nick says Rica has “soft hands,” she says she has “sharp claws.” She uses them only to play tic-tac-toe on his chest–a fitting game for a film in which one false move can turn ethical and commercial triumph into disaster.”

IBID

In a shorter review, «John Chard» agrees with Sragow, and adds that the chicken shit ending, tacked on to appease the Production Code’s moralists, is ridiculous:

“Revenge, hope and desperation drives Dassin’s intelligently constructed noir forward. It’s a film very much interested in its characterisations as it doles out a deconstruction of the American dream. … Dassin and Bezzerides push a revenge theme to the forefront whilst deftly inserting from the sides the devils of greed and corruption of the California produce business.
“The trucks’ journey is brilliantly captured by the makers, both exciting and exuding the menace of the hard slog for truckers. … [once in San Francisco] underhand tactics come seeping out and the appearance of prostitute Rica (Cortese) into Nico’s life adds a morally grey area that pings with sharp dialogue exchanges. Real location photography adds to the authentic feel of the story, and cast performances are quite simply excellent across the board.
“The code appeasing ending hurts the film a touch, inserted against Dassin’s wishes, and there’s a feeling that it should have been more damning with the economic tropes; while the fact that Nico’s father is more concerned about being robbed of money than losing the use of his legs – is a bit strange to say the least. However, from a graveyard of tumbling apples to the fact that more than money is stolen here, Thieves’ Highway is sharp, smart and engrossing stuff.”

John Chard, TMDb

Sharp, smart, engrossing … and for us LGBTQ+ viewers, chock full of forbidden fruit.

We loved this one. Having spent many years in the Bay Area, we could relate to much of the scenery and sensibilities and subtext.

And speaking of subtext again, worth noting is the appearance of the wonderful Hope Emerson, a career character actor with a long list of credits, including Adam’s Rib in the same year as Thieves’ Highway. In Adam’s Rib, she played a very talented gymnast in a courtroom, in a role that noted both how big and butch she was, in an era when that kind of thing was invisible. She is somewhat the same in Thieves’ Highway, minus the gymnastics, as a very tough female fruit buyer. Dassin pretty much broke the Code in multiple ways throughout the movie; although the Code had the last say with its smarmy cop platitudinal lecturing about not taking the law in your own hands, the weight of his film said, “Nuts to you!” to the Code.

A good pairing for this would be The Grapes of Wrath, which starts with starving Okies hitting Route 66 in search of fruit picking work. Follow that with Thieves’ Highway and you get a clear picture of what it takes to get an apple off a tree into the teeth of someone wanting to cheat a doctor a day.

Sadly, much is unchanged in this process, except the grower, the picker, the trucker and the distributor-to-grocery-stores are all corporate behemoths and conditions may, if anything, be worse than 1940’s Grapes of Wrath and 1949’s Thieves’ Highway. We’ve let much slide since Reagan, who married anti-New Deal propaganda with our generation’s laziness and produced massive rollbacks of workers’ rights (and the current occupant of the White House), and our grandchildren will have to fight three times as hard as their ancestors between 1870 and 1950 did for decency, living wages, respect, clean air, clean water, and safe working conditions. Whether they will do it remains to be seen.


Best quotes:

Nico ‘Nick’ Garcos: [to Rica] “You look like chipped glass.”

Thieves’ Highway

Nick: “Hey, do you like apples?”
Rica: “Everybody likes apples, except doctors.”
Nick: “Do you know what it takes to get an apple so you can sink your beautiful teeth in it? You gotta stuff rags up tailpipes, farmers gotta get gypped, you jack up trucks with the back of your neck, universals conk out.”
Rica: “I don’t know what are you talking about, but I have a new respect for apples.”

Thieves’ Highway

My rating: Four 3/4 stars; Not a full five because of the Code-appeasing ending, tacked on against the director’s protests.

Thieves Highway. 1949. TCM. English. Jules Dassin (d); A.I. Bezzerides (w); Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb, Barbara Lawrence, Jack Oakie, Millard Mitchell, Joseph Pevney, Morris Carnovsky, Tamara Shayne, Kasia Orzazewski, Norbert Schiller, Hope Emerson (p). Alfred Newman (m). Norbert Brodine (c).


Movie Night: Hot Millions


[How veddy British! Peter Ustinov and Maggie Smith in Hot Millions. Also, how veddy Sixties!]

4 1/2 Stars!

From 1968: «Hot Millions». Some fun British fun from Peter Ustinov and Maggie Smith.

True story. The very first time I ever went to a theater and saw a movie was in February 1968 at the Plains Theater in Roswell, NM. Which is sadly now the “International UFO Museum and Research Center” 1947 alien landing tourist trap and that’s upsetting and rather terrifying. But upsetting and terrifying is what my first movie experience was; my four-year-old self bawled all the way through it and I think my sister had to take me to the lobby.

The list of things that scared me was long in those days; well into my teens, I was pretty much scared of everything. No reason; I had a good childhood, wasn’t abused or anything. But movie theaters, especially high ceilings and balconies, terrified me. So did fire engines, police cars, motorcycles, Walt Disney, sirens, fireworks, Carlsbad Caverns, roller coasters, teachers and teenagers.

But what was the most terrifying of all was the first movie in a theater: Blackbeard’s Ghost, starring Peter Ustinov. It was a funny kid’s Disney movie, typical of the time, with Dean Jones, Suzanne Pleshette, Elsa Lanchester, Elliot Reid, Richard Deacon and Michael Conrad, in his pre-Hill Street Blues days.

And the worst scene was Ustinov as Blackbeard, riding a police motorcycle with siren blaring, invisible to everyone except Dean Jones. I really bawled at that. Even if it was about the funniest one in the movie. Sirens, invisible pirates, a huge theater, yeesh.

At any rate, Hot Millions is what we’re actually talking about here.

The synopsis:

“A con-artist (Peter Ustinov) gains employment at an insurance company in order to embezzle money by re-programming their “new” wonder computer.”

TMDb

It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, although «Roger Ebert’s impression» is probably spot on as usual:

“Today I would like to bow to another critic for my opening thought. Writing about Hot Millions in the New Republic, Stanley Kauffmann observed that it didn’t make him laugh out loud, but at the end of the film he realized he’d been smiling for nearly two hours. That says it very well: Hot Millions, which is not a hilarious comedy, is a pleasant, warm one.

“The warmth comes because the characters are developed rather more than is usually the case in movies about (a) embezzlers or (b) eccentrics. The British comedy tradition accounts for these two genres quite completely; eccentrics are usually Terry-Thomas whistling through the gap in his teeth, and embezzlers usually try for a sort of efficient anonymity.

“This is not, I suppose, a great comedy. But Ustinov and Miss Smith act with a sort of natural appeal, and there are moments you will enjoy very much. Especially recommended for computer programmers, their accomplices and their molls.”

Roger Ebert

I personally don’t need my sides to split when I watch a “comedy,” but that’s just me. There’s a lot more than just smiles to recommend this one–ts droll English humor, its glimpse at fashions and designs and trends of 1968, the fantastic acting of everyone, including the performance of Bob Newhart, whose movie outings are often forgotten, the sarcastic wit and the satire–it’s a long list and will need a second viewing to get it all.


Best quotes:

Carlton J. Klemper [talking about his corporation taking over the whole world]: “Yes sir! When the time comes, I may even put in a bid for all of England.”

Marcus Pendleton: }Hadn’t you better wait till it’s solvent?”

Hot Millions

Prison Governor: “You should be in politics, not in prison.”

Marcus Pendleton: “Well, in a way, I was, wasn’t I? When they caught me embezzling at the Conservative Central Office.”

Prison Governor: “Yes, I could never understand why you chose that of all places.”

Marcus Pendleton: [after a pause, says sternly] “I’m a Liberal.”

Prison Governor: “Oh.”

Elderly Gentleman card player: [Irritated by all the talk] “If this keeps up, I shall violate a lifetime principle and play bridge with women.”

Patty: “What does he want?”

Marcus: “Assets.”

Patty: “What are they?”

Marcus: “Young female donkeys.”


4 1/2 Stars!

Hot Millions. 1968. TCM. English. Eric Till (d). Peter Ustinov, Ira Wallach (w). Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Karl Malden, Bob Newhart, Robert Morley, Cesar Romero, Peter Jones, Ann Lancaster, Patsy Crowther. (p). Laurie Johnson (m). Kenneth Higgins (c).


Where Are the Bodies? We Have an App for That.

Find the human (not migrants, not immigrants, not aliens, certainly not illegals. Just human. Human.) bodies. There are plenty to look for all over the Arizona Open GIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants map:

“Since January of 2001, over 3,000 undocumented migrants have died within the Pima County OME jurisdiction. The information presented is stark and perhaps unsettling. However, both Humane Borders and the Pima County OME believe that the availability of this information will contribute to fulfilling our common vision.”

AOGISIDM

Party Like It's 1999

Add One More to the Pile

This evening’s mail brought, finally, an official copy of our California marriage certificate, which is one of only 18,000 gender-neutral, Constitutionally equally protected, legally recognized marriages. (The copy pictured here has some personal details blanked out, such as birth dates, addresses, witnesses, and parents.) I post it here as a big ol’ kiss off to Prop H8 and its supporters and sympathizers.

We’re happy and proud of this (it represents a significant victory in an ongoing struggle to educate our countrymen and realize the promise of Constitutional equal protection) … and also sorrowful for other California and American couples like us who can’t get this piece of paper … and the thousands of civil rights that go along with it.

So it’s a bittersweet moment.

Now we go buy another frame and make space on the wall. Because of the religious intolerance, ignorance, homophobia, and stupidity currently prevalent in this country at the moment, in order to have some semblance of civil rights as a couple, we have necessary certificates on our wall from the City and Country of San Francisco (two of those); the city of Ann Arbor, MI; the state of California (one domestic partnership cert and one marriage cert); and one marriage certificate from our wonderful neighbors to the north in Canada (one side in English and one in French).

East Bound and Down

One week from tonight, we will have begun our journey out of California … for the third, and hopefully last, time.

We’ll be on our way to Nashville, Tennessee, to take up a new, and hopefully less stressful way of life. Frank starts a new job with Vanderbilt University on 15 Dec. I will start the Tennessee teacher certification process and then look for a new job of my own, hopefully with grades K-2, nothing higher than that.

The last two years and four months here in California have been a real struggle. Very tough on all fronts, especially medically/physically (see posts below). It’s been good for our careers, but very hard on our bodies and minds and emotions.

We’re in the midst of packing and cleaning and getting ready. One week from right now, we’ll be in Bakersfield, then heading on west down I-40/US 70 to our new home. I was born and raised a block from US 70, lived most of my life fairly near it (in New Mexico and Oklahoma), and now will be living, again, a block from US 70, this time in Tennessee. I seem to be bound to this road somehow.

We’ve sort of let this blog go black, mainly due to the exhaustion of living in California, as well as being thoroughly disgusted with the state and not wanting to even write about it or think about it more than necessary. But I think we can be a little more enthusiastic about Tennessee. It is, if nothing else, a blank slate for us, and our discoveries can be charted here.

At any rate, we’re off on yet another adventure cross country. Should be interesting!

Wednesday

112 Degrees Thumbnail

This pic pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the weather this week.

It actually got hotter after I took this picture; it was 114 degrees later in the afternoon.

God, living in the valley is hell.

Rarin' to Go

Gavin Newsom, the man who presided over our first civil union ceremony when he was still a San Francisco supervisor, wants to get a jump on gay marriages «the evening of 16 June», instead of waiting for the next morning:

‘San Francisco officials have asked the state for permission to begin marrying same-sex couples a little earlier than scheduled, on the evening of June 16 instead of the morning of June 17. Mayor Gavin Newsom and other city officials are wondering when the state Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex nuptials actually takes effect. The state has told county clerks the ruling kicks in the morning of June 17. But city officials want to know whether they can legally begin to issue the marriage licenses at 5:01 p.m. June 16 – right after the end of the state’s workday.
“Unquestionably, we hope to extend beyond 5 o’clock. Why wouldn’t we?” Newsom said Wednesday. “People have longed for this for 30 and 40 years. I don’t think we should deny that just on the basis of a bureaucratic timeline.” Such a change would require permission from the state Office of Vital Records, which oversees the issuance of marriage licenses for all of California’s 58 counties.’
SFGate.com

Exactly. We’ve been waiting 30-40 years for this. Time to get on with it.

And about the ballot measure in November? Time to mobilize a big ol’ no vote.

Happy New Year

Last Sunset of 2007 Thumbnail As the sun sets on what was a truly nasty year for us, we wish you a much more wonderful 2008!
 
 
 
 
 

Rock and Roll

Just felt my … fourth (? yeah, fourth) … California earthquake. «A 5.6 which was reportedly on the Calaveras Fault five miles from Alum Rock, near San Jose» (Link no longer active. —Ed.).

Frank and I were sitting on the couch with Fergus, who was … well, cleaning himself in a delicate spot, shall we say … and we felt the couch move back and forth for awhile. We thought it was the dog, but David came down the stairs and asked if we felt it. It shook things upstairs. That’s when we realized the couch is pretty steady and can’t be shaken by the little beagle that is Fergus.

As for wondering what the beagle boys’ reaction to an earthquake would be, well, we no longer have to wonder. Nothing. Nada. No reaction of any kind. So, for the record, not even an earthquake can make Fergus stop licking his balls. Fredrik just sat looking dignified, and Feargal was too busy sniffing the floor for signs that the cat had visited his domain.

Yeesh.

Fresh Start

The principal called this morning as I was getting ready for yet another doctor’s appointment and asked if I were still available. We arranged an interview for 13:00. The interview last about 30 minutes or so and then he went and called a couple of my references, which were very positive (he said). He offered the job to me on the spot. We then went over and he let me pick out a classroom. I then found myself driving to the district office and going over all the necessary paperwork with a very nice HR lady.

The district is much friendlier and less closed off than my last one. I am cautiously optimistic about it. The assignment itself won’t be easy; but for various reasons I won’t go into, I think it will be much easier than my sixth grade long-term sub stint this spring, which was a real blow to my self-image and self-confidence.

So, the horse is back in the gate, and I’m about to get back in the saddle. Wish me luck.

About My Disgust …

Since we moved to Brentwood just last 24-Jul (was it just 10 short months ago?!), the following has happened, in no particular chronological order:

•My dog has been poisoned and died;
•My partner has been viciously attacked by a police dog while standing lawfully in the middle of our living room (eight stitches, by the way; more on this later … much more);
•My career has been derailed by an illness which has been made much more frustrating by the lack of doctors and hospitals and sane healthcare practices in the area;
•My career ambitions have been further frustrated by an employer which is described (and these are not my words) as having “incestuous hiring practices”; which is filled with homophobics, their enablers, and some reasonably decent people, who, while sympathetic to my plight, are too concerned about lawsuits and appearances to fight the good fight against the former;
•I have been called (numerous times) a “faggot” and had 12-year-olds write “f—- you, Mr. P.” notes to me in textbooks;
•I have had three rounds of bronchitis, two emergency room visits, and four urgent care visits … should I just stop there before I get more depressed?

And people wonder why I’ve been disgusted?

Granted, not all of this is Brentwood’s fault. Call it the cosmic misalignment of the stars, horrible coincidences, what-have-you. It’s not all Brentwood’s fault. Not all California’s fault.

Oh, hell, yes it is. It’s Brentwood’s fault that they can’t control their police dogs or keep out wanted felons from living in otherwise good neighborhoods.

It’s Brentwood’s fault that their police officers can’t arrest said felons who are weak 49-year-old grandfathers, yet still manage to elude 12 officers, a helicopter, and a K-9 unit for 30 minutes while said K-9 unit is in our living room attacking my family and threatening our puppies.

It’s Brentwood’s fault that the aforementioned employer will only hire blonde white women who are related to or have known district employees for 30 years.

It’s Brentwood’s fault that it’s full of homophobic, yakkity women who have nothing better to do than pass around vicious and nasty lies all day.

It’s Brentwood’s fault that they built houses for 40,000 people and didn’t plan any healthcare infrastructure of any kind to take care of them, preferring to rely instead on crappy ER services 10 and 25 miles away. Hell, even Duncan, Oklahoma, a town of 23,000 has a better hospital and healthcare system than this pathetic garbage dump.

It’s Brentwood’s fault. But mostly … it’s mine. It’s my fault for answering the damn job ad that brought us here in the first place. I thought it might be a reasonably decent place to spend a couple of years while waiting to move to a more sane place elsewhere in the country (meaning away from California). Little did I know just how devastating and expensive this decision would be.

And that is why I am disgusted. I can’t wait to see Brentwood in my rearview mirror (and I’m pretty sure Brentwood can’t wait to see my backside disappearing eastbound).

I can’t help it, it’s just the way I feel.

Disgust

There comes, in pretty much every town I’ve lived in, an extended moment, usually early on, where I truly detest the people in the town.

I’m currently in the midst of one of those moments with Brentwood.

I’ll get over it. Maybe.

Life in Brentwood. Yes, Indeedy.

I started a new teaching assignment last week: 60 sixth graders in two classes. They’re an energetic, fun, and talented group and I like them all very much. I’m happy to have the job and finally feel up to being an actual teacher in charge.

It’s had its rough moments, of course, behavior-wise; this is a talky group and they are also pretty snarky with each other. It’s stuff we’re working on. But all-in-all, I’m enjoying it and making the transition pretty well (from an emotional perspective).

There was one moment, however, this morning that took the wind out of my sails. While signing the weekly attendance verification forms in the office, one of the assistant principals asked to speak with me. The upshot was that a parent had called to complain that I had told the kids about having a partner. The offending phrase was uttered during the day last week when I took time out to introduce myself and have them introduce themselves to me. The phrase was, “My partner F——- and I have been together seven years and we have a 12-year-old beagle.” No other information related to this was given; I didn’t use any other words than “partner;” certainly not “gay” or anything like that. There was no advertorial/recruitment for the impressionable little 12-year-olds to come over to the dark side.

Nonetheless, this single phrase generated a hot call to the assistant principal, who was then put in the difficult position of having to promise to talk to me and then having to talk to me. She is very good at what she does and we had a good conversation, agreed on several things, and left it at that. Beyond that, I won’t say anything else about the conversation, except that it was pleasant and not a problem.

But.

It still takes the wind out of my sails. Our relationship is recognized by the state (mostly) and we’ll file a joint state tax return in 2008. Yet here comes the harassment. I’m glad there was no demand for my head or resignation or firing or “get my daughter out of his class” or any of that. But parents talk to each other. As do the kids. I know that at least two of my students now know what a “partner” is, and I know there is the potential that the parents do as well. By this one phone call about a single, honest, two-second statement, there is now a sword of Damocles over my head. While the administrators would back me up, well, when parents get angry and then say the magic word, “lawsuit,” well, let’s just say school districts don’t go to bat for their homos. I’m not paranoid, but I don’t like this.

Still, I told the truth to my students when asked an honest question. It’s a principle that I teach and expect my students to uphold; I can’t be bullied or scared into abandoning when things get unpleasant. We’ll see how this shakes out. Most probably, nothing will happen. But my wind is up, as the Brits say.

(Cross-posted in the Teach and Love blogs.)

Contrails in the Moonlight

While soaking my weary joints in the hot tub tonight, there was a beautiful, round full moon directly overhead. As I lay steeping in the 103-degree heat, clouds of steam swirled up into the sky and the last leaves on the tree in the front yard fingered out the light from the streetlamp; it was very movie-esque.

Looking back up at the moon, a passing jet, high up on a jetway (perhaps a Delta flight from KHNL to KSLC?) passed by just below the moon. The moonlight was trapped in the contrail left by the jet. It was a gorgeous scene. I managed a picture of the moon, but had to Photoshop-in the contrail and jet … but at least you get an idea of what a beautiful night it was:

Jet Contrail Photo Thumbnail

Jet contrail in the moonlight | Brentwood, CA | 22:33 1-Jan-07

Pleasant dreams.

Orion, Warrior of the Night

The clear, cold night sky above, a hot tub sending clouds of steam up into it, warrior Orion guarding all below. A late fall night in California.

The hot tub is one of about only three places where I get relief these days (the other two being the jacuzzi tub in the bathroom and the bed while I sleep). I try to get into it 3-4 nights a week.

I will always associate Orion with California winters. Every time I’m out at night, giving Bayley his nighty-night walkies or, like tonight, hot-tubbing it, Orion is always there.

Tonight, his side is pierced by a long shaft of light from a searchlight a couple of miles to the southeast of us on Brentwood Boulevard. I don’t know why anyone down there is advertising anything at this time of night; the town seems to shut down at 9 p.m. and about the only thing along that stretch of road is the new police station. But it’s been there the last few nights, always piercing Orion’s side. It’s hacking me off.

But thank god for hot tubs. And winter skies. And guardian Orion.

About the Banner

That photo in the previous banner was of the temperature reading on the Jeep as we entered Brentwood. It was 114 degrees Fahrenheit when we got here …

BrentwoodTempPhoto

It's Hell Being Offline

Posting and pictures have been temporarily disrupted because internet service hasn’t started at the new house. I’ll have things to post, especially pictures, hopefully later today as our service provider gets its act together.

Things are good, but we’re very tired and sore. We are in Brentwood, the dog has his backyard, the stuff arrived safely from Ann Arbor (except for some minor damage on the big screen) and I’m posting this from my spiffy new classroom, which is truly fabulous.

More later!

Traffic Nightmare

I get homesick for the Bay Area every now and then, but not on days like this:

Officials are continuing their negotiations with a man who has been standing on a railing on the westbound side of the Bay Bridge near Treasure Island since about 11 a.m. today, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Virgil Aguilar.

Westbound traffic is backed up to Highway 880 and Highway 92 and is getting worse by the minute as people aim to avoid the Bay Bridge snarl, Aguilar said.

“It’s Friday, people want to go home, and they’ve been working all week. This is causing major delays, especially because there is a Giants game tonight at SBC Park,’’ Aguilar said.

Drivers on the Golden Gate and San Mateo bridges are facing backups too.

Your Travel Guide to Baghdad-By-The-Bay (2002)


‘I sat in the Delhi airport and watched the big electric clock in the departure hall that tells passengers when to board. I thought I imagined that time was moving in fits and starts: 1:12 a.m. for fifteen minutes, then 1:27 for another twenty, 1:47 … Closer inspection revealed that the clock was not plugged in, and its digits were being flipped manually by a little man in gray overalls whenever the mood took him.’

— Jonah Blank, Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God: Retracing the Ramayana Through India

‘SF is what the freedom-inducing utopian metropolis was mapped out to be: which is to say, more open, tolerant, funked-out, colorful, strange, unorthodox, thoughtful, nature aware, baffled, contradictory, and kaleidoscopic than any other city in the nation. It is equal parts beautiful and annoying, frustrating and wonderful. Perhaps this is why we seem to be so hated by sundry hunks of ‘Merka. We get it right, even in how frequently we get it wrong.’

— Mark Morford, SFGate.com

Hmmmmm. Slumming in SF for a vacation. Interesting choice. If you’re lucky this summer of 2002, you might arrive just in time for both « Barry Bond’s 600th career home run » or « Oakland’s 70th murder of the year ». Or maybe both.

My first advice is that, SF being just like downtown Washington, DC, where buses tend to wipe out the old and the slow, be very careful crossing the streets. Our smack-the-pedestrian rate is down this year, but still appears to be trying to keep pace with Oak-town’s homicide rate. And, as always, one should certainly watch out for those DWA’s (I’ll let others explain that acronym to non-Californians), to wit:

True story: This afternoon, I was sitting in my chair, doing what I do every afternoon at 3, namely, scattering resumes from « Seattle » to « Vermont » like so much bird seed while being endlessly amazed at just how much trouble « a little boy named Beaver » can get himself into, as well as endlessly pondering what would possess a woman to vacuum while wearing high heels and a string of pearls (not to mention allow her youngest child to be named after a swimming rodent – and just why is Ward always so friggin’ uptight?), when I heard a short screech, followed by an almighty and hellacious bang.

Well, I thought, it’s someone else’s turn to visit « the fine UCSF trauma center », rated the eighth best hospital in the empire! Sure enough, David came panting up the hill shortly thereafter; he had been in « a Muni bus » down the hill coming home, when a little old DWA man decided to make a left-hand turn from northbound Seventh onto westbound Lawton.

From the far right lane. Across four lanes of traffic. On a red light. In front of the northbound oncoming #44 Muni bus.

While the bus driver had quick reflexes and managed to stop the beast in time (thus sparing us all a scene of neighborhood carnage), the oncoming southbound cars on Seventh did not. Result: Squished Daihatsu and simply higgledy-piggledy afternoon traffic – the loony bin – er, I mean ’« Laguna Honda Adult Rehabilitation Center »’ – having just let out the shift change of Nurse Ratcheds – er, I mean, ‘mental health care professionals’ – a few blocks south.

Yet, undaunted by the scene confronting him, the Muni driver waited for the green light and then simply maneuvered his bus gallantly around the accordioned Daihatsu, let out David at the appropriate stop around the corner and went on his merry way. Which is possibly the first time in recorded history that a Muni driver was concerned about keeping to schedule. But I digress.

Not knowing where (or indeed if) you, dear reader, visited in SF before, I have a few suggestions:

First, take a look at « SFGate ». They always have something there interesting for turistas.

Even better, be sure and investigate « The SF Bay Area Guardian’s ‘Best of the Bay 2002 ».’ There’s a plethora of recommendations, including, if one is so inclined, the best nude beaches.

Hint: One of the best of the nude beaches is just to the west of the GGB and goes by the name of « Baker Beach ». Just be sure and remember the BB rules:

First, the beach runs below a high cliff, on top of which are tourists with cameras and binoculars who are supposedly there to ‘catch the spectacular view of the GGB’ [wink, wink]. If you don’t mind possibly ending up on the internet, well, then go ahead and « doff the CKs ».

Second, the beach is segmented by groups. Running from west to east, with the furthest eastern section being the closest to the GGB, you will find: First, clothed families and SF’s very few, very lonely Republicans; Second, clothed adults (moderate twenty-somethings who recently moved here from the Midwest and are still too inhibited to visit the areas to the east); Third, unclothed straight people (evenly divided between true believing nudists and folks who are obviously uncomfortable but determined to push on regardless – oh, and don’t be scared, but this group enjoys playing volleyball); Fourth, unclothed lesbians and their retrievers; and Fifth, unclothed gay men. Those fully clothed people walking east along the beach visiting each section are just engaging in prurient and surreptitious plain old ogling.

Then there’s that secret sixth section, over the rocks and snuggled up against the bridge, but what happens there would, if described in this missive, probably highly annoy the Imperial censors. Not to mention scare you. Let’s just say that there are more reasons than the sunsets why the view off the western side of the GGB can be quite spectacular. Unfortunately, the western sidewalk is usable only by bicyclists – no pedestrians, no gawkers with Nikons and telephoto lenses – despite what I alluded to above.

Just remember that San Francisco beaches are notoriously deadly affairs; a few months back, an « entire Japanese youth tour group », standing with their backs to the Gate at Baker Beach (the western, Republican, end) for picture-taking purposes, were swept out to sea by a large rogue wave, which only the camera man saw approaching. One of them did not return to shore and has never been found. Kinda like those Alcatraz escapees back in the ‘50s.

The western side of SF is « Ocean Beach », but the gray (yes, I said “gray”) sand is often unappetizing, and the notorious cold, riptides, rogue waves and the occasional shark or angry sea lion combine to … well, rival Oakland’s homocide rate. In short, beaches are for sunning, dog walking, frisbee-flying or kite flying, not for swimming (see above photo).

What else? Well, I always recommend the drive up 101 to Santa Rosa, where you can have great « Tex-Mex at La Cantina » (on the courthouse square downtown) and « visit Snoopy’s home ice, the Redwood Ice Arena, opened by Charles Schulz in 1969 and which now houses a Peanuts museum and gift shop ». This is where Sparky hung out when he wasn’t drawing. « This past weekend saw the grand opening of his great new museum ». It’s a dilly and will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

While in SR, there’s also « a nice indie bookstore, Copperfield’s, » in downtown SR that gives much-needed relief from the big, bad corporate chains like Bore-doors and No-Brains & IgNoble. One can also drop by McDonald Avenue, the fairly unchanged neighborhood seen in Hitchcock’s 1943’s « Shadow of a Doubt », as well as « Scream » and « Pollyanna ». (What an interesting trio that is. A friend just bought Pollyanna on DVD; beyond the shadow of a doubt, it made me want to scream. Hyuck. Hyuck. Hyuck.)

Anyway. The stairs down which Joseph Cotton pushed Theresa Wright in SoaD are said to still be there, relatively unscathed. Santa Rosa was more recently the locale for the excellent Coen Brothers’ noir-ish « The Man Who Wasn’t There », starring Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand. It didn’t have a body being pushed through a wood-chipper in mid-winter like « Fargo », but it did have an execution, drunken hog-riding, and a roll-over car wreck caused by a blowjob. So hey.

If one’s visit stretches out toward the end of August, one shouldn’t miss the Tall Ships sailing through the Gate, part of the « Tall Ships Challenge », which will feature sailing vessels from around the world. It started Aug. 8 in Richmond, BC, and concludes Sept. 14 in San Diego, with simultaneous celebrations in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

I always highly recommend « Fort Point », the 1850’s fortress underneath the GGB. It’s a well-preserved fort with spectacular views. Just don’t stand too close to the edge of the Bay. The rogue waves which hit the tourists at Baker Beach hit Fort Point sometimes too. And no, you can’t get to Baker Beach from there. A chain link fence prohibits what happens on the west side from being viewed by the tourists from Dubuque on the east side.

Fort Point is most famous as the spot where Kim Novak jumps into the Bay and Jimmy Stewart has to rescue her in Hitchcock’s « Vertigo ». Those steps are still there. And by the way, ain’t no way Jimmy coulda rescued that crazy wench; either she would have been immediately swept out into the Gate, or he would never have been able to hoist her back up the steps – I mean, lord, he was a thin thing and she was a rather … buxom woman.

Love ice cream? Well, one can hit four legendary ice cream stores, which were recently « part of a unique, only-in-San-Francisco, bike-around-the-city-and-eat-ice-cream, tour ». Yum, yum, yum.

Like to skateboard or rollerblade? Well, one might just have the brand-new, half-a-million-dollar skate park near the Cow Palace all to one’s self. Built recently for ‘boarders who were tearing up city sidewalks, it’s now being shunned by them: ‘It sits in a wind-rush so ‘hella cold’ that it’s been dubbed ‘The Chilly Bowl.’ Most boarders still prefer the broad sidewalk near Pier 7 on the Embarcadero, next to the ritzy Waterfront restaurant. Which, of course, is hella illegal.’

By the way, « ‘hella’ is a California colloquialism » which I first heard from high school girls on the aforementioned #44 Muni bus (‘That was a hella rave last night, Britney!’ ‘I know, LaQuisha! That Ecstasy gave me a hella buzz!’). ‘Hella’ can be used in other situations, as well: ‘That flight was hella bumpy!’ ‘That flight attendant was hella rude when she threw that Salisbury steak at me!’ And so on.

If one is into movies, check out the venerable, ever-fascinating « Castro Theater » with a terrific and eclectic, ever-changing series of great films, the movie fan’s Mecca. It’s located on Castro between 17th and 18th, which is, by the way, the geographical center of the queer universe. If you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to a performance of the Mighty Wurlitzer, the restored organ which rises out of the pit before some showings. The Castro was completely restored to its original glory not too long ago; it’s worth going just for the architecture. It also had a role in a scene of « EdTV »; Matthew McConaughey chased Jenna Elfman into one of the Castro’s restrooms. (We natives laughed at that scene; those crazy LA movie people had the chase begin in North Beach and end in the Castro – it would have been an uphill foot race of over five miles lasting, on-screen, about 30 seconds. I mean Matthew’s in pretty good shape, but I doubt he’s in THAT good shape.)

More standard, touristy suggestions:

« 1. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge » (do it now; they’re considering charging walkers $1 a piece in the future, and the toll for drivers will soon be raised to $5 bucks a car – charged to southbound drivers only). Walking the GGB is always fun; you can feel it bounce and sway as cars and trucks fly past you at 75 miles an hour close on one side and, on the other, there’s that sheer drop down to one of the world’s most treacherous ocean currents.

I admit that the bridge is beautiful and makes for perfect postcards; however, the charm and wonder of walking it escapes me. I find it about as thrilling as walking along, say, the Metro bridge over the Potomac in DC – while Orange line trains come at you from both directions. But hey! If you’re lucky, you might witness one of the many deadly head-on collisions that happen on the GGB all too often, or maybe even one of the estimated 200+-a-year suicide plunges into the Gate. Those in the know report that impact forces do the deed, not drowning, and that most victims end up, how do we say this? Several inches shorter than they were in life. Now THERE’S a vacation story to tell the folks back home!

« 2. Take the $23 Alcatraz After Dark tour ». It’s a totally different place in the sunset, less tourists, more mystery, more shadows. Colder than Laura Bush after she’s dragged Jenna home from yet another bout of underage DC bar hopping, but still well worth the trip. Be sure and go to D block, where the isolation cells are; a ranger puts you in a cell and closes the door. Fun, fun, fun. I wasn’t aware that dark could be so … well, dark. Not recommended for those afraid of blackness, tightly closed and confined spaces, 60-year-old toilets, or large, indigenous rodents. Or the ghosts of Al Capone, ‘Creepy’ Karpis or the Birdman of Alcatraz.

Bonus attraction in D block: Shrapnel and bullet scars from the 1941 prison takeover are still visible, created by an all-out Marine assault from the Bay on the rioting prisoners. Also be sure and see the papier-mache’ heads used in the Clint Eastwood movie, « Escape From Alcatraz » and the spot where ol’ ‘Scarface’ Capone gave haircuts.

Also, if you’re lucky, one of Alcatraz’s aging inmates might be on hand with a few interesting tales. The night my NorthPoint Field Operations field engineer trainee group and I went, we heard, from a nice man who was 90 if he was a day, an interesting (and surely physically improbable) tale of how one becomes a prison ‘bitch.’ Needless to say, some of the more … less-travelled … engineers were a bit … startled at the tale.

« 3. Visit Golden Gate Park » (in my neighborhood). Stay on the paths and try not to look too closely at what goes on in the bushes. GGP is safer than DC’s Rock Creek Park (at least during the day) – you’re unlikely to run into the bones of dead Congressional interns (although I do hear that Mr. Condit is back home in nearby Modesto during the Congressional break, so you just never know).

It’s also home to the « California Academy of Sciences », where you, too, can stand on a platform and experience what it felt like during the « 1906 earthquake ». In other words, it jiggles you up and down really fast and makes your lunch come out of your nose. No word on whether they also drop bricks on your head and then set you on fire so you can experience the aftermath of the 1906 ‘quake as well, but that might be included in upcoming museum renovations.

Afterwards, you can sit in the Japanese Tea Garden to collect your wits, or even use the pedal boats or canoes on Stow Lake. Caution! A dead elderly man was discovered floating on the lake face down a few months back, so, if one has a heart condition and is 88, one probably shouldn’t be pedaling or rowing boats around Stow Lake.

« 4. Shop the newly rejuvenated Union Square ». After a multi-year, multi-million-dollar face lift, the center of all things shopping recently reopened to tourists and its usual contingent of mimes and bums. It’s all there: Disney and Prada and Macys and Saks and Levis and Niketown and North Face and Virgin Megastore … as well as the piquancy of fresh bum urine and tourists buying every piece of made-in-Taiwan schlock they can get their hands on as they wait in patient herds for the « Powell Cable Car line ». (Hint: Catch the « California Street line » in front of the « Hyatt Regency Embarcadero » near the « Ferry Building » on « Market Street »; no lines, no crowds, few tourists, much more spectacular views. From the Ferry Building, a relaxing ride on the « Golden Gate Ferries line » to « Sausalito » or « Tiburon » is also a very wonderful thing.)

Union Square is where, by the way, a year ago this week I was dodging some x%x*^&# tourists from Dubuque and severely sprained my ankle. While it was potentially embarassing, none of them apparently noticed that I was sprawled on the ground; they either thought I was a bum or they were too busy craning red necks upwards, sayin’, “MA! Look at all them tall buildin’s!”

« 5. Take a walk down Second Street from Market to PacHell Park, home of the Giants ». This was my commute every morning when I was still actually part of the American work force. I love this quote in the article linked above about the area on the south side of the building where NorthPoint was located: ‘Look up the word “bleak” in the dictionary and this is what you should see.

Still, at the end of the road is PacHell Park with it’s « SF Giants » store and museum and tribute to the Say-Hey Kid, « Willie Mays » (if you’re into baseball). It’s a beautiful facility, and unlike the corporate welfare given out to sports teams in the rest of Amurrica, it was built entirely with private funds – particularly from that evil phone company, hence its name.

Proud recent moment: « SF supervisors just voted earlier this month » not to sell out to corporate interests the right to rename « Candlestick Park ». The Park, ugly and nasty as it is, was built and is maintained by the taxpayers of the city. A rare, proud moment: Principle triumphing over the almighty corporate dollar.

« 6. Sixth Street ». Here is where you will find a richly layered, multicultural experience with sights, sounds, tastes and smells unparalleled anywhere.

It’s a veritable bazaar: Need a serial-less firearm? We got that. Counterfeit Nikes? We got that too. Cheap whores made up to look like Princess Leia in “Star Wars: Episode 4” and of indeterminate gender? Got ‘em in spades. More pharmaceuticals than Bayer, Wal-Green’s and « SF General Hospital » combined? Oh, yeah. Human drama? « Colorfully decorated pimp mobiles »? Movies which you can enjoy in the privacy of your own personal booth? Expert tutellage in « Ebonics »? We’re down with ‘em all, baby. Come see us.

Lastly, please allow me to offer my services as tour guide/chaffeur, if so needed. Lord knows I have the time. Just remember I drive as if the very demons of hell are chasing me and they’re rather hacked off about something or other. And you’re welcome to visit a rather more sedate tourist spot: My apartment. It’s not as exciting as Sixth Street or Baker Beach, not as famous as the « Crooked Street » or « Coit Tower », but it’s a heckuva lot calmer than all of the above. The most dangerous thing here is the « Beagle’s breath ». And the occasional DWA.

So, take your shoes off, set a spell. Ya’ll come back, now, y’hear?

A Few San Francisco Links:

Arts and Culture
• Asian Art Museum
• Exploratorium
• Music Conservatory
• SF Bike Coalition
• SF MOMA
• SF Museums
• SF Opera
• SF Pride
• SF Symphony
• Zen Center

Government | Industry
• C of C
• Police Dept.
• Port of SF
• SF City Gov.
• SF Fed. Res. Bank
• SF Library

History
• 1906 Quake
• SF Stories

Media
• Bay Area Guardian
• KQED
• SF Examiner
• SFGate
• SF Magazine
• SF Weekly

Sports
• SF 49ers
• SF Giants

Tourism
• Alcatraz
• Bay City Guide
• City Guide
• Conv.&Vis. Bureau
• Golden Gate Bridge
• Golden Gate NRA
• SF.com

Transportation
• Bay Area Transit Info
• SF International Airport
• SF Muni

Universities
• City College
• SFSU
• Stanford
• UCSF
• USF

Weather/Cams
• Live Cams
• SF Weather