Dog Bites

More Holiday Fun in Cyberspace
The mass layoffs at Wired Ventures may have been a blow to the 33 employees who lost their jobs, but they represented an entrepreneurial opportunity for at least one person, who is now busy printing T-shirts emblazoned with the distinctive Wired magazine logo. Only the shirt actually reads "Fired."

Demand for the garment is strong, particularly over on Chestnut Street, where employees of CNet have been desperate to find something to laugh about. After all, incipient seasonal cheer fled the premises when CNet minions learned their spouses and significant others had been abruptly disinvited to the company Christmas party.

Mutinous cries from the galley prompted new Executive Vice President Robin Wolaner to issue a memo apologizing for the "lapse in communication" and assuring workers their loved ones were welcome to join the festivities -- for a nominal charge of $45 a head. Mysteriously, the memo and other company dirty laundry appeared on the Web the next day, with annotations by the self-styled Disgruntled New Media Workers of San Francisco:

[Memo] "CNET's Holiday Party is an important annual tradition that lets us say 'thank you' to a large, hard-working staff for jobs well done."

[Commentary] "Translation: Do you realize how much more it would cost if we gave you simps bonuses like real companies do around the holidays?"

[Memo] "This year, to bring the party in line with our current atmosphere of cost control, we made the decision to limit it to employees."

[Commentary] "Translation: After all, why should we invite your spouses or significant others? It's not like you need a happy personal life to keep you from going insane and killing your overseers -- er, we mean supervisors."

-- Laurel Wellman

Special as Special Can Be
The district attorney's Special Prosecutions Unit has moved into a new space in the 400 block of Brannan Street, and if they want to find scandalous conditions, their environmental investigators won't have to travel far. Poor air circulation means oxygen is rare in the back offices of this space, while fatigue and dullness are common. But attempts to introduce fresh air are doomed: A print shop on the first floor of the building kicks out a fine dust that floats in through any open window, coating everything with a layer of who-knows-what. The heat in summer is horrible and the cold in winter is awful too.

No, Dog Bites doesn't have a mole in the DA's Office. It's just that from 1990 to 1997, SF Weekly called the same space home -- or hell, depending. But we have to wonder: Didn't Terence Hallinan promise more and better investigations into polluters, sleazy campaign contributors, and other white-collar criminals? Why the move to such brain-draining office space, then? Has the supposed reformer DA been bought off by nefarious forces?

We wanted to ask these questions of Debra Hayes, head of Special Prosecutions. But she didn't return calls. Rumor has it she fainted under her desk and wasn't found for days.

-- George Cothran

Paul is Dead!
Even if you weren't fond of its densely self-referential prose style, for a while there you had to at least pretend you read Suck, or risk being written off as a loser by total strangers at parties. But speculation is now rampant that the Wired-owned Web zine is about to be shut down by its money-losing parent company. Editor Ana Marie Cox was laid off last week with what was rumored to be a generous severance package of the keep-quiet variety -- and a new gig lined up as consulting editor at Mother Jones.

Of course, editors leave and publications continue, but Cox's farewell letter made everyone wonder. "What success we had reinforced my childish belief that sometimes simply being really, really good is enough," she wrote. "Of course, sometimes it isn't."

Then again, when you're a self-declared media prankster, it's hard for anyone to know when to believe rumors of your demise, and when you're just tweaking the meme, as they like to say up on Third Street.

-- Laurel Wellman

Hairing Impaired
All the hoo-ha about the new, somewhat-more-anatomically-probable Barbie has us wondering: When is Mattel going to address its most truly pressing problem? We speak, of course, of the need for an update to Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy's hairstyle. Judging by the December cover of the Red Herring, if something isn't done soon a whole generation of little boys may be doomed to grow up with a damagingly unrealistic body image.

-- Laurel Wellman

 
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