Dog Bites

Tired: Wired Death Watch
Media gloating over Wired's troubles continues, and we're starting to experience a strange sense of deja vu. How many times can anyone turn the same set of facts into anything even slightly resembling a fresh story? It's a question that many -- among them CNET, Upside, Inc., the New York Observer, the Netly News, USA Today, Time, and ZDNet -- have sought to answer. (Er, well, us too -- only that was before everyone else did.)

As a service to overworked journalists and the harried reading public alike, we've developed a clip-and-save, do-it-yourself "Death of Wired" article, a handy substitute to more long-winded coverage:

1. Open the story with:
a) a paragraph including the words
"digital revolution"
b) a skeptical use of the phrase "way-
new journalism"
c) a telling description of the South
Park scene
d) a broad hint that all is not well

2. Be sure to comment on:
a) the magazine's hard-to-read text
b) Louis Rossetto's libertarian views
c) the Day-Glo pink entrance hallway of Wired's offices
d) the irreverent Suck Web site

3. Suggest some of the following reasons for the failed stock offering deal:
a) the 17-to-1 price-to-earnings ratio of
the stock
b) hostility from "old media"
c) a soft market for Web-start-up IPOs
d) arrogance and/or naivete of Wired executives

4. Cite these examples of current financial woes:
a) the now-defunct book-publishing division, HardWired
b) the canceled television program
c) the money-losing Web sites
d) staff layoffs

5. Draw one of the following insightful conclusions:
a) pride goeth before a fall
b) all that glitters is not gold
c) what comes around goes around
d) you can't rob Peter to pay Paul

Congratulations! You're done!

Muni, Muni, Muni
The revelation that Willie Brown has been riding Muni incognito for the past few months seems to have scored him some political points. But is the mayor taking too many chances? It's not so much that he could get mugged -- after all, most Bank of America executives drive to work. When Willie told a press conference that his favorite bus is the 30 Stockton, though, we got worried.

One of Dog Bites' many informants was riding that line recently when a man wearing a tuberculosis face-mask boarded. Seeing one of his friends already seated, the TB patient joined him and the two began a lively conversation. After a minute or so, he pulled off his mask. "That's better," he remarked. "It's hard to talk with that thing on."

Long-Range Forecast
After several nights sleeplessly worrying about Willie, we called L.A. psychic-to-the-stars Lynne Boutross, who specializes in medical readings and who will be speaking at the upcoming Whole Life Expo. "He's not going to get tuberculosis," she said. "And I don't see anything involving a bus." She does, however, recommend that the mayor take his vitamins.

The bad news is that the El Nino winter of our discontent isn't ending any time soon. Boutross told us that the rains will continue off and on for another couple of months. "The date I'm seeing is April 7," she said.

OK, does anyone read this column? "Ha ha ha ha! Yes. They do. They like it."
Well, that's it. We're convinced. She's for real.

Family Feud
In all their coverage of his death, neither of the San Francisco dailies dwelt much on Joe Alioto's recent five-year suspension from practicing law. In fact, the Examiner reported that Alioto "was first stricken with cancer in 1991, but practiced law until last September, when he was hospitalized."

Alioto had been disciplined for moral turpitude in 1996, when a state bar court judge found that he had misappropriated client funds. At the time, the judge also found Alioto guilty of bad faith and moral turpitude for having violated a Marin County Superior Court order to hand his law firm's profits over to a receiver. Alioto had used the money to pay income tax instead.

The original debt had arrived in the form of a judgment won by Alioto's cousin Mario Alioto (also an attorney) against Joe. Mario was representing the Alioto Fish Co., run by a bunch of Aliotos still mad at Joe over the 1978 failure of yet another family business, the Pacific Far East Lines shipping company. And that's as far as we're prepared to take this multigenerational saga of internecine feuding, at least without some expression of interest from a major studio.

Underdog's Life
It's tough enough finding love in this world without the hindrance of a bad haircut. So the discussion was a serious one. "I'd do a schnauzer head," said one groomer.

"Is it supposed to be a poodle?" asked the other. They studied the dog, which had been shaved so closely in some places that its pink skin showed through its white coat. It was shaking with fear.

"I think we should go ahead and do a schnauzer," the first groomer decided. "The eyebrows would be cute."

Relieved of matted fur, overgrown toenails, and icky stuff around its eyes, the schnauzer/ poodle will emerge as the ideal family pet it truly is. At least, that's the plan. A new project co-sponsored by the Daly City PetsMart and the Peninsula Humane Society is giving abandoned dogs make-overs, so they'll have better chances of finding homes.

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