Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh, Google, You're So Funny

Witness Google's April Fool's joke on everyone: Gmail Custom Time. With this new feature, I can finally get some real work done. :)

Contrarian Mondays with Todd X.--A Solution for Homelessness

Homeless: Covent Garden

I have a modest proposal for a major problem that I want to present to you as my subject for this Contrarian Monday. Homelessness, as you may have read in The Economist and Us Weekly, is the shame of the nation. Meanwhile, home prices in the cities where the homeless tend to congregate continue to skyrocket (or at least remain overly-inflated in the blue state real estate market of the coastal cities). The dream of owning a home in a city like San Francisco is far beyond the ken of any Tom, Dick or dirty hairy homeless person. Panhandling may be a good gig for the newly arrived vagabond; but, despite it's tax-free earning potential, one probably will never afford a decent place with parking and a view in Pac Heights on a beggar's salary.

Pacific Heights

Therefore, I say we take a look at a long-term solution. I call it the Nebraska Compromise. You see, no one likes Nebraska. And, well, no one really likes the homeless either. They're truly made for one another: Nebraska, that great potential holding pen in the midwest; the homeless and their shopping carts brimming with recycled bottles, aluminum cans, and last week's burrito special. I sense a melody in their fusion.

Now, what I suggest won't be easy. It will require many, many trucks.


Or trains. Even better. As the child of a railroad family, trains make more sense. And, frankly, trains are a little more romantic.

So, this relocation project will take a 4-pronged approach. L.A., San Francisco, and Seattle will coordinate from the west, while New York will act as the superdelegate of the east. The convoys will converge on Omaha and unleash their unwashed masses yearning to breathe free in the Great Plains. It'll be like Ellis Island with 24/7 coverage on CNN. I can't wait.


Lower taxes, cheaper homes, friendly, helpful Christian people, and four distinct and enjoyable seasons will combine to create a recipe for success. And think of all the unused space in Nebraska. Compared to the density of NYC or SF, Nebraska could easily absorb both coasts' homeless with room to spare. (After all, the illegals will have to go somewhere, too. . . )

I invite you to join me in this creative solution to a troubling problem. Call your representatives, email your senators, and visit

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Friday, March 28, 2008

San Francisco's Top 20

Top 20 salaries, that is. It pays to be a City employee. And how do I become a "Special Nurse"?

Thursday Night's Quickie

I went with Renee and several other Chronicle Books colleagues to IDEO's "Quickie #3" on Pier 28. Wine, beer, food, and creative play set the stage for a fun night. If you have a chance to attend one of these events, I recommend giving it a shot. We saw art, brief presentations about online gaming communities by the head of EA games, skipping demonstrations, cheerleading by my favorite burlesque group, The Cock-Ts, and an inexplicable but thoroughly enjoyable performance by Scotty the Blue Bunny. Welcome to San Francisco, Scotty!

And, of course, I can't leave without taking a minute to show off those lovely Cock-Ts (minus one, I fear--Mel wasn't up to the challenge that night). Chester's intro may have gone on a little long, too, but please keep in mind that he's usually drunk and high during these things:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I feel like dancing

This reminds me of a particular woman who used to dance at a bar/club called the Downbeat. She moved effortlessly on the dance floor, slipping in between people, waving like an underwater plant to the beat, almost always with a cigarette in her hand. She never burned anyone. She was our metronome.

I wonder where she is today.

An Ode on Slowness

Take your time. Relish the spaces between the seconds. I'm blown away by the simple beauty of this commercial. This is how advertising should be.

Now I'm Afraid of Skittles

This commercial scares the bejeezus out of me.

This Summer's Blockbuster Hit

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

10 Car Pile Up on the Golden Gate Bridge


News at 11!!

(03-26) 16:28 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge remains sluggish in the aftermath of a 10-car crash that injured at least seven people this afternoon and closed the span for a time in both directions, the California Highway Patrol said.

The final lane closure was lifted at 4:18 p.m., more than an hour and a half after a Volvo station wagon heading north crossed into the southbound lanes at midspan and hit another car, the CHP said.

The head-on collision at 2:43 p.m. caused a series of chain-reaction crashes, CHP Officer Mary Ziegenbein said.

Let's be careful out there, folks.



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My parents' stream in Missouri

Yes, my parents live in the wilds of Missouri, and they've had a lot of rain lately. So, the branch is running strong. It was a rough winter there, but spring is just around the corner. I will go visit when it's warm. Oh, and their dog Sebastian makes a brief appearance, too.


Amy's Organic Food--Now With Extra Bugs!

My friend Renee likes Amy's Organic meals. In fact, she eats something from Amy's nearly 4 times a week. After all, it's healthy and easy to prepare at work. One of her favorites is the Brown Rice and Vegetable Bowl. Imagine: simple, tasty organic food in a ready-to-microwave bowl. They must have been designed by the Office Gods.

Amy's Brown Rice and Vegetables

Her most recent bowl contained a surprise, though. Although it was nowhere to be found on the official ingredients list, Renee found this in her bowl:

Bug #1

Bug #2 Bug #3 in situ

She thought it was a piece of plastic or something--until she realized that it had wings. Now, in Amy's defense, bugs are, by definition, organic. And the five minutes in the microwave oven undoubtedly sterilized it. The additional protein would have been good for her too.

So, when you're in the mood for a truly organic, just-packed-fresh-in-the-rainforest kind of experience, go pick up an Amy's Bowl.

Amy's Bowl: Redux

For the Dog Person in Your Life

Admit it. Dog people hate cats. It's okay. I hate cats, too. That's why I'm recommending this to you. Sure it looks a tad medieval. Yes, it may traumatize Kitty beyond help. But, it looks cool and will keep the little monster from scratching your eyes out.


cat carrier

Monday, March 24, 2008

Review: DeLessio Market

The sign that asks me to clean up after myself to help keep the place looking nice sticks in my craw a bit after paying $13 for a sandwich and a soda.

And the Cuban sandwich I had at Arlequin's was better, I have to say.

First the bad catering job at my office party, now this. Quo vadis, DeLessio?

Contrarian Mondays with Todd X.

DeLessio Market

I thought I'd christen a new series on this beautiful but windy Monday by talking about DeLessio's on Market St. I had lunch here today. Now, the sandwich (a Cuban) was yummy. I give them that. (It was not, however, as good as the one I had at Arlequin a few weeks ago). However, my sandwich, Diet Coke, and bag of chips was about $13.00.

And, to top it off, the place has a sign that asks its patrons to clean their tables off when their finished to help keep the place looking nice.

For the price I'm paying for this lunch, the owners could hire a Guatemalan woman to feed my sandwich to me and clean up when I'm finished. Throw in a nice back rub, and I'll give the place 4 stars on Yelp.

Get it together, DeLessio.

This sums up my weekend


Converse and Iced Tea

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Shout Out to a Blog Discovery

San Francisco Crime is a blog I just found. Check it out and don't get shot. :)

sf crime scene

On the Immorality of Your Local Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart traffics in penis straws!?! How dare they inflict the "male private area" on unsuspecting mothers and three-year-olds! For shame.

In our next story, psychiatrists claim that some times a cigar is just a cigar.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

No Gays Allowed

How do I get the message out in a diplomatic way that I find this flyer and the fact that it is sent out to everyone in my company offensive? I simply cannot support in any way the Red Cross' nor the Blood Centers' willingness to abide by the ban on gay men from donating blood.

Chronicle Book 03-20-08 (flyer) JA

Alas Poor Borders

Let's be honest. The writing has been on the wall for years now. Borders, Inc. has not been a healthy company. Sales have been off, stock price has been down, down, down, and the vision of the company has been, to put it mildly, schizophrenic. Change is a constant in business, but the frantic pace at which Borders has embraced it (frantic? maybe desperate is a better term) has served merely to highlight the fact that Borders was having an identity crisis. Both customers and the market noticed this.

Today, Borders announced that it is looking to sell itself. Tom and Louis Borders must be spinning in their proverbial graves.

From Publishers Weekly: The possibility that Borders may one day be for sale has been discussed in publishing circles for several years, but that chance became more likely with the early morning announcement from the bookstore chain that it had hired J.P. Morgan Securities and Merrill Lynch to help it explore strategic alternatives. Those options, Borders said, include the possible sale of the company and/or some of its divisions.

I worked for the Borders Group for ten years, and I'm sad to see this day. I wish all the employees the best and hope this brand, this institution, this bookstore I used to drive hours to visit finds a way to survive.

Click here for stock information on Borders Group

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anti-War Parade in San Francisco

I was just caught in the middle of this rally as I walked out of the Van Ness Muni terminal. I heard the chanting, saw the police, and pulled out my trusty camera. You're getting the results about 30 minutes after it happened. Go Blogger!

SF Antiwar parade 1 sf antiwar parade 2

sf antiwar parade 4 sf antiwar parade 3

Sí se puede!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Coming to a Protest Near You

Imagine the local police (or the military industrial complex sponsored government of the future) sending out a platoon of these things to quell the restless natives in the Bay Area. And what's up with that buzzing noise?!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Bowling Going Away Party at Chronicle Books

We had three people leave Chronicle last Friday, but we bowled them out with style. John, Nick, and Scott, I wish you all well. Here's to no 7-10 splits in your future endeavors.





Now, who wants a job at this place? Go here then: Chronicle Books

I love that new car smell

Who's that sitting in this Mercedes? Loving the new wheels, JC.


Move Over, Mariah

My new hobby

I've been practicing for three weekends straight. Here's my video. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Voting Alternatives

Listen up, America. Are you torn between voting for Hillary and Barack? Between voting your gender or your race? Hell, do you just feel like a racist for not pulling that lever for Obama?

Well, I have a solution. Vote for Chekezie. The "Change Candidate" of American Idol, Chekezie needs your vote.

Drink Up!

The Hetch Hetchy rules!!

From the SF Gate:

Chemists who tested drinking water from 20 utilities nationwide said they did not detect any contaminants at all at San Francisco's tap, despite news reports to the contrary.

"We didn't detect anything whatsoever," said Shane Snyder, research manager at the Southern Nevada Water Authority who helped coordinate a study by the research arm of the nation's water utilities.

The American Waterworks Association Research Foundation tested 20 of the nation's water systems, including San Francisco's for 60 compounds found in medicines, household cleaners and cosmetics.

"You guys have the best water that we tested. Period," Snyder said of San Francisco's drinking water. "I don't think we've ever tested drinking water that didn't have any of our target compounds in it."

In a story about test results of the nation's drinking water quality, the Associated Press reported Sunday that much of the supply contains traces of pharmaceuticals, solvents and other contaminants.

Among its findings, the news agency said San Francisco's water contained a sex hormone. The sex hormone was supposedly estradiol, a hormone found in vertebrate animals - mammals, reptiles, birds and fish.

In fact, no such compounds turned up in San Francisco's water samples, Snyder said.

Hmm, I guess it's time to sell those shares in Brita that I've been holding. Now, I'm off to make myself a nice glass of uncontaminated, you guessed it, iced tea.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Can I get a napkin, please?!

Do you need some spontaneous art in your life? An ad hoc musical was performed in Baldwin Hills Mall in L.A.--much to the amusement of the, shall we say, stunned audience. Next week, Madama Chick-Fil-A.

For more, check out Improve Everywhere.

It Oughta Be A Sin!!

If you know a well-placed Monsignor in the Vatican, your favorite pet peeve could become the Catholic Church's newest sin! Don't hesitate. Submit your "sin" today. From mere peccadilloes to torturing armadillos, your personal annoyances could help shape the moral future of the world. For more details, go here.

My list:

1. Walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk, hallway, catwalk, etc. Stay to the right or burn in hell forever!

2. Turning right when the signal light is showing a red arrow. That means NO RIGHT TURNS, assface! Now, say hello to Beelzebub.

3. Sending me junk mail. Paper, email, banners flown from airplanes. I hate it all. Now you can address it all from Hades' zip code, MF.

4. Hogging the tennis court. If you're there to play, then play. Don't waste my time discussing how you're going to get a new job making even more money, you PacHeights piece of trash.

5. Procreation. I mean, come on! It's just gross and we have way too many people as it is.

Whew, what a rant. Okay, loving, kissing. Peace is every step. In with the good; out with the bad.

Have a great week (yes, it's just Monday. . . . )

This Happens When You Make Powerful Enemies

Via SFGate:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the crusading politician who built his career on rooting out corruption, apologized Monday after allegations surfaced that he paid thousands of dollars for a high-end call girl. He did not elaborate on the scandal, which drew calls for his resignation.

At a hastily called news conference, Spitzer stood next to his stone-faced wife and bit his lips, telling reporters: "I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family."

"I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself," he said. "I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family."

As he walked out, reporters shouted: "Will you resign?" He did not answer.

The New York Democrat's involvement in the ring was caught on a federal wiretap as part of an investigation opened in recent months, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry.

Four people allegedly connected to the ring, identified in court papers as the Emperors Club VIP, were arrested last week. The ring arranged connections between wealthy men and more than 50 prostitutes in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Miami, London and Paris, prosecutors said.

According to the law enforcement official, Spitzer is the person identified in legal papers as "Client 9," who paid to bring the prostitute named "Kristen" from New York to Washington for a four-hour tryst at a hotel on Feb. 13.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I'm no Roger Federer

I just got back from playing tennis, and the pain in my back is telling me that Wimbledon may not be in the cards for me this year.

tennis pain

Gay for Pay?

The fluid continuum of sexuality doesn't surprise, concern, or perplex me. It's an a priori fact in my life and education. I also accept that some men are "gay for pay" in the porn industry. Why not? It pays more and, as Gertrude Stein might say, "A mouth is a mouth is a mouth."

However, I'm suspicious of this MTV "True Life" star. Again, I get the whole "I pop a pill to get an erection because I'm not sexually attracted to men" stance. But, when I watch him getting all huggy and touchy with his co-stars at a porn convention, it makes me question his hetero convictions.

Watch and let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tainted American Idol

danny noriega american idol

Nooooo!! Not Danny Noriega?! Why America? Why?!!! We need more flamboyant gay boys on teevee to make things interesting.

Oh well. At least Christian won Project Runway. Whew.

christian siriana

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Girls Rock! movie premiere this weekend

Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is excited to support Girls Rock!, a heartwarming and hilarious new documentary premiering in select cities nationwide on Friday, March 7th.


Girls Rock!

The ground-breaking Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls invites girls from all over the country to learn how to rock DIY-style: forming bands, writing songs, and playing a gig all in one week. These girls are empowered with self-discovery, achieving things they never thought possible, and Girls Rock! is the movie about their inspiring journey.

"Simultaneously revolutionary, heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny. Absolutely not to be missed."
– Seattle Magazine




Girls Rock!

Girls Rock!



"The first time I saw the students at the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls kicking out the jams on their guitars and drums," says Girls Rock! co-director Arne Johnson, "I giggled happily... and then was inexplicably moved to tears." It was this emotional reaction that launched him and co-director Shane King to follow four students through the Camp experience and discover what many books and studies have already described—girls are struggling with a bewildering and heartbreaking array of challenges to their self-image. Through video diaries and camp week footage, girls from all walks of life share their dreams, thoughts about being a girl in this society, and excitement about rock 'n' roll. Witnessing their growth and change in their perception of themselves and each other, film-goers will transform right along with the girls. Bring your daughters!

Learn more about Girls Rock! The Movie
See the trailer, join the message boards, request a screening near you, win a guitar, and spread the girl rock love!

Join the opening weekend festivities in:


  • Attend the Friday evening premiere at the Embarcadero Center Theater with Directors' Q&A afterward.

  • Stay for the opening night party from 8:30 – 10 p.m., hosted by Chronicle Books. Audience members with a ticket stub from the 7 p.m. showing are invited to meet the filmmakers, learn more about the girls rock programs, and support the Bay Area camp opening this summer. Location: The Holding Company (2 Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level)


  • Shattuck Cinemas premieres the movie Friday night.

  • Doors open Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. with pre-show entertainment: live music from local girl bands like The As Ifs, and interactive instrument stations provided by the new Bay Area Girls Rock Camp for kids to rock out. The 12:30 and 2:30 matinees will be followed by Director Q&A.

VIP party with a red carpet walk for rockin' girls and free popcorn, guest appearances by mayoral candidate Sam Adams and the Rose City Rollers, and a performance by girl band Bluebird in honor of International Women's Day on March 8th.

Panel discussion hosted by NOW NYC on issues affecting girls today, Director Q&A, limited edition Girls Rock! Fender Stratocaster giveaway, a mini rock camp hosted by the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, and a performance by girl band Care Bears on Fire in honor of International Women's Day on March 8th.

Panel discussion hosted by Write Girl, a great org that helps empower girls through writing, including founder and executive director, singer-songwriter Keren Taylor; Grammy-award winning songwriter and WriteGirl mentor, Michelle Lewis; and Grammy Foundation Coordinator, Education Initiatives, Valerie Vanderwest.

The film also opens this weekend in SEATTLE and CHICAGO with Directors' Q&A and Fender guitar giveaways. More cities coming soon!


Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls



Inspired by the film? Share the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls experience with a girl in your life by pre-ordering Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, available in June from Chronicle Books. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Camp.

This book brings the camp's inspiring, hands-on approach and advice from its all-star crew of female musicians to girls everywhere. Fun and informative features offer instruction and tips on how to play instruments, write songs, publicize a show, sing your heart out, and much more. Featuring a short history of women in rock, 50 awesome illustrations and photos of young bands, and contributions by members of Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip, Mirah, and others, Rock 'N' Roll Camp for Girls will have readers turning up their amps in no time!


Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls  


Girls, get ready to rock! The Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, a nonprofit organization devoted to building girls' self-esteem through music creation and performance, is located in Portland, Oregon. The Camp provides workshops and technical training, creates leadership opportunities, cultivates a supportive community of peers and mentors, and encourages social change and the development of life skills. Since opening in 2001, it has grown into a year-round program with girls rock camps across the country and world. Find one near you!

Learn more about the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls at


Chronicle Books
680 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
[p] 415.537.4200


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I Miss The Fifties