The Island of Dr. Chihuahua
Lesser people would simply conclude from last week's Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show at the Cow Palace that it was a crude Island of Dr. Moreau genetic experiment gone awry -- hopelessly co-dependent canine specimens inbred to within an inch of total madness, moments away from instigating the revolt and installing a puppet government of DNA mutants. Much like, say, driving through the neighborhood of Hillsborough.
Of course this isn't true, as evidenced by the following list of 14 absolutely cool things about the dog show:
1) The perfect doggie bodies, attainable only through years of selective breeding -- the low-slung German shepherds, the kielbasa-shaped dachshunds with their whipping pencil tails, the freshly trimmed Rhodesian Ridgebacks, the trembling ping-pong-ball-eyed Chihuahuas, with name tags mounted on their cages in the shape of a minisombrero.
2) The instructions on how to remove staining and yellowing from the coat of a whelping bitch: "To minimize staining, mix 1st Satin Conditioner at a 10 to 1 ratio and apply liberally throughout entire hindquarters including legs and tail. DO NOT RINSE. Repeat daily for 3 to 5 days before babies are due."
3) The bizarre pedigreed names -- "Hill Haven Ladies Man," "Rambler Kissed by a Cracker," "Sir Winston of Kingmont."
4) The surreal portraits of dogs, rendered in oils and acrylics. Artist Ruth Maystead's examples include a proud Rottweiler standing in the surf at the beach, a dachshund posing in a meadow in front of a tree, and a bulldog sitting in the middle of a football field, Santa hat on its head, a football resting under one paw.
5) Somebody's denim jacket bearing the slogan "Genentech -- Work the Genes."
6) The schnauzer grooming station, with dogs sitting under blow-dryers.
7) The miniature dog sofas and chairs from Critter Couch in Los Altos -- in floral, plaid, and Southwestern patterns, and including the fold-out futon, presumably for the dog just spending the night at a friend's house.
8) The seemingly endless supply of fun Chihuahua facts: "They have one to three in a litter," says a member of the Chihuahua Club of Northern California. "You're talking Caesarian most of the time, because of their apple-dome skull." Why do they shake all the time? "It's their body's way of warming them up."
9) The myriad of dog-related books: Love on a Leash, No Barking at the Table Cookbook, War Dogs: Canines in Combat, All the President's Dogs, When Your Pet Dies, and one video titled Prevent Your Dog From Leash Pulling and Door Dashing.
10) The Avo brand of avocado dog food from Irwindale, Calif. "This is our 50th year," exclaims a representative. Do dogs like it? "Oh, very much!"
11) The two huskies maneuvering through the crowd, both wearing designer underpants.
12) The Samoyed without its vocal chords, barking furiously in little hoarse yelps, like a chain smoker trying to get the bartender's attention.
13) The tacit acceptance that dogs shit. One vendor booth consists of a 19-inch color monitor playing a video of a dog straining through an enormous dump onto a portable toilet station called the "Primo Puppy Trainer." And in the corner of one of the Cow Palace buildings is a fenced-off pen of sawdust, dotted with telltale black lumps. Above this shit stop is posted the euphemistic sign "Exercise Area."
14) The sign posted outside the Cow Palace parking lot, declaring, "Found Dog."
Helping Those Who Can't Help Themselves
You've instinctively believed it your entire life. You've followed that innate gut instinct without question or hesitation. You've never articulated it or discussed it; somehow it wasn't needed. But it's a big city. Not everybody shares your opinion. Sometimes it's necessary to post your beliefs, to inform and educate those around you, to gulp in the fresh air of logic and reason, to steer those confused souls away from evil and toward the light. And so, the handsomely printed sign on the wall of the Royal Ground coffee shop on Polk Street proclaims: "Friends don't let friends go to Starbucks."
Grabbed by the Lapel
The last ever issue of the satirical hippie zine The Realist, published by Paul Krassner, features a hilarious cover photo of Sausalito psychiatrist Eugene Schoenfeld, posing arm in arm with a smiling Johnnie Cochran at a convention of criminal defense attorneys in Santa Monica. Just before the photographer snapped the shot, Schoenfeld pulled out the name tag on his ID lapel pin, revealing the previously rendered message "O.J. DID IT."
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