Sunday, December 16, 2007


Recently, we had a very distinguished visitor spend a few days with us. Biased as I am, still, it is nice to know others impressions of our town. I have not been everywhere but I've been most places and still feel that San Francisco is the greatest in the world. I often joke that I should be an ambassador but the City doesn't need one. Anyway, I wanted DeLONE to give us his views. (DeLONE often says about his name: think of it like this, DeLONE Ranger). I like it.
What is the one thing you'd say about San Fran? Well, I think it is the beauty of it, really. For those of us who don't live here, we have our own images of the town; most of them are political with an idea that every nut in the world has shown up here: gay mecca, liberal to the max--every stereotype that you can imagine. And, then you are at the Golden Gate Bridge, you have just run across it and are catching your wind from the three and a half mile trek and you look out across the bay and the ocean and you are simply overwhelmed with its beauty. And so the beauty overcomes the other things. Absolutely. How about the people? I had some interesting encounters. I think riding the buses is an experience. Here we are on the bus, having been down to Pier 39 which is a little like the North Carolina State Fair, ending our visit with a great banana split at Gheradelli Square. I mean, we are leaving heaven. We are talking about our stop and this really nice individual thinks we are tourists and tells us that our stop is several away and then he says, "Guess you guys are going to Tommy's" (I already knew it to be a world famous gay bar). My Uncle bust out laughing, the guy assumed we were gay. In San Fran., when you see two guys together, you automatically assume, probably not a good idea, but what the hay, I'm human--you can assume they are gay and more than likely you're right. Oh well. Other experiences. So many but this one sticks out. We are on the bus again. I'm seated beside this fairly nice looking girl and she is engaged in a conversation with this homeless guy-I think he's homeless, he has the look. In San Fran, hard to know based on how everybody dresses, weird sort of milieu. This is not a "hit" just hard to know. Anyway, she tells him she just graduated San Diego State with a degree in tourism and is here to see her boyfriend. He says something like, "I'm in the tourist industry too, an independent contractor but I'm thinking of going all Internet." It was a funny scene and definitely one of those, "you'd have to be there" times. Here is a guy that a bath has not known in many a day and fingernails that are at least a half inch, most so long they are curling, and yet he's right there with her. Yes, he is in the tourist industry. I will have to say that for a 22 year old, I think, that I enjoyed flirting with as we exchanged a few comments, she was pretty poised. My Uncle hassled me that I didn't get her phone number. Oh well, life is a series of lost opportunities. Other impressions. I loved the wine country. I'm not a wine drinker but got some for my friends. Fascinating, how it's all done and the culture of it, noted. I think the thing that amazed me most is that here we were in Sonoma and Napa, California and it is like another world from Frisco (the natives hate for you to call it Frisco). California is like a country, the 6th largest economy in the world--truly things we don't think about, i. e., they raise more beef cattle than Texas. Anything else? Well, hundreds, I did see a Sharks game. My cousin's husband is a big sports nut: I almost rival him but not quite. What I found to be the same as in NC, you almost need to take out a loan to get tickets and buy a beer. The game was good. Wow, you got around. Well, you did asked. Visit any non tourist stuff? Of course, a comedy club for the locals and I loved a couple of bars; one called the Pig and Whistle and then this great Irish bar in the Haight Ashbury area called Martin Mack's. I've just seen the documentary on the Summer of Love in San Francisco and to be in the Haight where it took place was a little like going back in history. I expected to see lots of left over hippies but mostly young iPod types. Very interesting. Are you going to come back? You bet ya, but I'm going to do it differently next time. Like what? I'm not telling.

Friday, October 19, 2007


**Dear Mayor, my need to write this note is greater than your need to read it. I can't begin to tell you how I affirm you for stepping up to the plate concerning recent events. Life happens and you did what you had to do: fessed up.

I don't know why anyone would want to be in politics but that being said, you're doing a good job. I voted for you last time and like most San Franciscans will the next time around. The only American Mayor that I think is anywhere close as good is the fictional mayor in The Wire, Cargehetti of Baltimore. Both of you are not afraid of risks, trying to do the right thing for your City, eyes on what you've promised. For most of us voters, we understand the difficulties of governing our town, close to impossible. Most of our ills can be laid at the Board of Supervisors, from my perspective and the constant challenge of working with their various personalities and agendas is like herding cats. If I were you, I'd not speak of the event again and not read the newspapers about it.

Having been somewhat where you are, my suggestion is that if down the road, you get a chance to reconcile with your friends, do it. Time is an enormous healer but if not, you've done your best.

There is no need to respond to this note. God bless you. I'm sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

**This letter was written after the Mayor's confession about an affair with the wife of one of his staff members. Since I wrote the letter, I'm not quite in the same place. The Mayor looks like a shoo in for his second term with no real opposition. There are about eleven running against him but there's no name recognition, no money for campaigning: combined these facts with the apathy and brain dead electorate and he's in for sure.

I think I'll probably vote for him. He deserves a second term as he's attempted some creative things in governing an almost impossible town. What I object too in our mayor is the same thing I object too in every politician. They become politics. Their lives reflect basically the question of how is my view going to look. Never what is the right or best thing to do. Who is this going to help/hurt. And, a willingness to take unpopular stands and positions. Mostly, I'm dreaming because it ain't going to happen in our mayor or politicians in general.

To me, the political arena is somewhat of a mystery. A person runs for a political office and in the process, he/she prostitutes themselves in various ways and then they are elected and once securely in office don't give the public the time of day. We make them into celebrities as if what they have to say is so much more important than anyone. Go figure!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The City That Knows How

San Francisco, of course. But, a new moniker has recently been added: the city that knows how to make enemies. The basic story is like so many when only partial facts get out. The first one had to do with the City refusing the Marines permission to use one of the main thoroughfares downtown to film a commercial for recruiting. The real truth was a scheduling problem. The second one was a big flap at the Oakland Airport with a plane of Marines coming back from Iraq. More or less, it was miscommunication between the pilot and the airport. Regardless, with all the misinformation, the City that knows how became the City that knows how to screw up a two car funeral possession. And, of course, what they did was give those like right wing zealots, Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, fuel for their bigoted ways. Such snafus foster the idea of the "left coast" and living in La La land.

To me, it's kind of humorous and reinforces the constant view that would do well for all Americans to grasped, the government is not the people. They should be but they are not. I can't tell you the numbers of times people have said to me--many who have just come back from overseas--the people loved America and Americans but they hate the government. I don't know how this happens but feel that we the people have to take a big part of the heat as we put the politicians into office and they become our face.


Not for me but many simply ignore the fact that San Francisco was founded by the Spanish military and for years had a good abundance of military in its back yard at the Presidio. And, the Presidio was always such a good deal for San Francisco. It was like they had their own Park and didn't have to pay for it. And, just like in 1906, the last big earthquake, 7.2, utilized the military to deal with much of the emergency. The politicos are fond of forgetting those sorts of contributions.

During WW ll, San Fran was the "ship out" place for those heading to the Pacific. Many a young soldier and sailor had a last "good" time before heading "over." One of my best stories on the way to Vietnam took place in The City. Unfortunately, on the way back, it was not so pleasant. The rule was that as soon as you hit the ground, you got out of your uniform so you didn't have to deal with the nut cases that were blaming vets for the Vietnam war. Thankfully, even in San Francisco, those who care realize that the soldier is just doing his job. One recruiter in San Francisco said that in his 17 years of service he has never had so many thank him for his service.

But, let's face it, the politics have brought us to this point and I don't see it changing. The City has been stupid about some things--the worst was the banning of ROTC in High Schools. They took the most successful program of many schools and one that parents and students wanted and did away with it. How smart is that?

All this being said, however, voters have to take some responsibilities, we put the people in office and the military is just one example. Most of the politicians have never served and hearing them talk makes me realize why--draft dodging material.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


THE BRIDGE is a documentary about the Golden Gate Bridge as a magnet for suicides and holds the not so dubious distinction as the most popular place for those who choose to leave this life by jumping from The Bridge. I don't know why and the documentary didn't try to answer why rather simply recording what happened.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the unadulterated beauty of The Bridge. I cross it sometimes two and three times a day. When I first came to San Francisco, I promised myself that if ever I was not awed by the beauty of that fabulous structure and all that surrounds it, I was leaving the area. I am still here 20 years plus later and have never ceased to be amazed at the Golden Gate.

After seeing, The Bridge, I wondered as I have about many documentarians, "What in the world motivated this guy?" A mystery! In fact, I remember distinctly when a tempest rose about the film which was done in 2004. As I remember, the bureaucrats that run the bridge complained that they were tricked and didn't know that director Eric Steel's cameras were zeroed in on these tormented souls attempting to commit suicide.

I've always had somewhat of an open view about suicide by influenced by a mentor, Albert Ellis, who recently died. In one of our classes Al said something like, "Objectively, a person owns his/her life and can do what they want with it--even suicide if they so choose. "

Through poignant interviews with family, friends and eyewitnesses, the film reveals a common thread which most of us know: depression, despair, and mental illness. When you're watching those who die, your adrenaline picks up and you think, "Wow, I'm watching the process of life and death." I was often in a state of WOW. See this documentary. 2 Parachutes.

Friday, June 08, 2007


I've always liked Supervisor Daly. He's a little over the top for my liking on a few things but after all, this is San Francisco. But, I think he's definitely out to lunch on the potential nixing of the Blue Angels. I'm an anti war type, hardcore Democrat but this is a nutty idea. Fleet Week is the last vestige of military in this area. I don't particular like the Blue Angels wasting tax payer dollars but still, they represent the military. After the the Presidio and Letterman Hospital closed, the community lost any vestige of the uniform.

Our community has no visual reminders of the price of freedom. We never see any soldiers. I often think that those like Supervisor Daly might have benefited from a tour in the Marines. Maybe he could just have a talk with Supervisor Ammiano and Police Commissioner Sparks, two Vietnam vets. Oh well...

Friday, May 11, 2007


Theresa Sparks, CEO of sex-positive toy retailer Good Vibrations, has been sworn in to serve a second four-year term as a member of the Police Commission after a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors.The San Francisco Police Commission is made up of seven community members, responsible for creating and developing policies for the police department, as well as conducting hearings in cases of alleged police misconduct.

The above is a Google search. What it didn't say is that the new head of the Police Commission is a transsexual. Talk about fodder for the rest of the world and the late night guys, can't wait to hear. By the way, what is a transsexual? Simply, one gender (say male) in the head while physically being the opposite, i. e., a man who wants to be a woman. In San Fran, there is actually an organization with much political clout, the LBGT group (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender)--not sure I have the right order here.

In much of my native state of NC, we think gay still means happy. Unfortunately, we make too much of a joke about a very serious subject, however. Although still much is unknown, being one gender but feeling that you're another must have enormous conflicts. It surely speaks well for San Francisco's openness/zaniness,etc. that it is all a part of life. My mother would surely be "shaking" her head.

Now here is something unbelievably fascinating to me. The new Police Commission head who is a woman, formerly a man, while a "man" was a Vietnam vet who was divorced twice and has three grown children. By her own view, "Sparks enjoyed dressing up in women's clothes from a very early age." San Francisco has the largest population of transgender people in the country. Overall, in the U. S., it is estimated there are 19,000. Is this more than we need to know?

A subtle lesson to me. We often never know what goes on inside a family or what makes an entity a family, if you get my drift. For instance with the new Police Commission Chief in her words: she's estranged from two of her three children. One has even done 3 tours in Iraq. In her own words, "it's not an unusual story for transgendered people. The children feel betrayed, embarrassed."

Monday, March 19, 2007

St. Pat's Only in San Fran celebration

Unlike most places where gays can't even be involved, i. e., New York, here they are the big guns. Get this, CHEER San Francisco, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and tranasgender cheerleading team was warmly welcomed by the audience.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ed Jew

Ed is a San Francisco supervisor, like on the Town Council. He was elected in something of a fluke, rising from the pack with a new system in San Francisco called, ranked choice. I don't know exactly how it works, like voting for the three top choices and then each choice has some weight. Regardless, Ed became the winner. Part of his platform was the fact that San Francisco should concern itself with the business of running San Fran and not world events, i. e., impeaching the President and getting out of Iraq.

But, Ed doesn't want to take valuable time away from fixing pot holes, horrendous traffic, ripoff of its citizen with millions collected on parking tickets, on and on. Ed Jew says let's cut it out and get away from this idiocy of all these ridiculous pronouncements. And, does it escape anybody that this supervisor's name is Ed Jew. Is there anything more American than such a name and of all things, this all American named guy thinks San Francisco is silly.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


This is the title of a book or close. I often wonder: do those who die like in the same town, on the same day, etc. meet each other when they show up in Heaven. For instance, inSan Fran, two apparent real characters recently departed this AO (area of operations). Both appear to be quite unique; one a fireman and the other a burlesque performer. Will they meet in heaven? I think so.

The Burlesque Performer, Heather MacAllister's Obit caused me to smile--She created San Francisco's Big Burlesque and Fat Bottom Review to feature larger women. Sounds pretty courageous too. She was 38 and had ovarian cancer and chose to end her life through assisted suicide, surrounded by friends. Wow!

I have to believe that God wants people like Heather in heaven. Think about it and contrast Heather's decision to end her life her way with maybe someone you know: a person say, 90 years old, going to doctors, paying out all sorts of money to stay alive. Heather, age 38, chooses to go courageously into the "night."

Friday, February 02, 2007


I've always been a fan of our Mayor. He's young, handsome, articulate and not afraid to mix it up. A politician, of course, but way above most in my view. The only Mayor I like better is Carcetti(sp), on the HBO TV program, The Wire. The drama or maybe histrionics of the last day or so of the Mayor's indiscretion have given the newspapers and talk show hosts fuel for months to come. It is simply the way it is in our crazy culture, more so maybe here on the Left Coast. Unless you have been on another planet, (my niece who lives in Raleigh, N. C. called me about it before I had even started my day), you've read or heard about the GAV.

The Gav had a liaison with the wife of his former AID and good friend--now his former reelection campaign manager. It was brief--the wife actually worked in the Mayor's office too at the time. Had the Mayor figured out how to set this up to look bad, he could not have done a better job: a committee could not have. It happened maybe 18 months ago. The fling, affair, encounter, mess up, whatever, happened--let's call it life. But, the partner in the affair, as part of the 12 step program, in addressing her substance abuse problem, goes literal and tells her husband about the indiscretion. The husband goes into orbit, confronts Gav and resigns his position. The Mayor's good friends/staff (with friends like this, who needs enemies) leaks it. The news, talk show ranters, the press in general goes bananas and everybody has an opinion, including this blogger.

GAV STEPS UP TO THE PLATE. Had he been one of my favorite politicians, "the Bill" as in Clinton, he would have spun it: what is is?--exactly what do you mean: I did not have sex with that woman. (We believe you, Bill, oral sex is just 'play like')". My man, however, the Gav, stepped before the mike and said something like, "everything you've read is true. I am deeply sorry especially for the people that I've hurt and care about." I'm not sure that he said, "please forgive" me but it was implied. Then he disappeared into his office to go on with his life.

Way to go Mayor! People mess up. It is what we call being human. I feel so badly for all concerned. And, without judgement, I doubt seriously that confessing will bring the sort of relief that the 12 step programs promise. My experience is that it will not. The idea that confession is good for the soul is more a myth than reality. What usually happens is that innocent people are hurt. And, once the tale is told, there is no taking it back. Look at this case. The act had already been done, regardless of how it might be looked at: wrong, sad, lapse in judgement, adinfinitum: it was done. Sex is a powerful, unacknowledged aspect of our lives but it happens and in this case all admit passions got out of control. The next move was the aggrieved husband, once told, does the obvious thing: the result, he resigns his job. So, the question: who has benefitted? The Gav is our Mayor, popular, energetic and the poor husband is out of work. A big price.

And, we never know, in the great scheme of things, what it will bring? The mayor will survive it. And, we hope the other parties will too. God bless them all and us. Ain't life messy?