Dog Bites

No, Not That Pseudonymous, Postering Anarchist ...
Everyone's favorite half-cracked freelance enforcer of city tidiness codes, Rick Thurber -- oh, you know, the guy who goes around tearing down people's lost cat posters to make San Francisco safe for such officially sanctioned signage as, say, billboards announcing new live-work condo projects -- has a new enemy.

That would be George Martenski, though we can't be certain this is the correct spelling of his nom de guerre as he has, thus far, communicated only in voice mail and only with columnist George Cothran. George (Martenski, not Cothran) claims he's taken the name of a famous anarchist in order to publicize his postering campaign.

Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it? Still, Bolerium Books owner John Durham hadn't heard of Martenski. "I'm actually better on Trotskyites than on anarchists, though," he demurred.

Martenski's posters, coming soon to a lamppost near you, read, "Rick Thurber is a ___________," the idea being that, in true anarchist spirit, passers-by may contribute their own epithets for the busy retiree (see below) at will. Don't leave home without a waterproof marker!

As for the Original Pseudonymous, Postering Anarchist ...
Rumor -- reaching Dog Bites via e-mail, as these things always seem to do -- has it that Nestor Makhno will be speaking at the Anarchist Book Fair, March 27 at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park.

Umm, think about it: Wouldn't that kind of defeat the purpose of his having adopted a pseudonym in the first place?

But then, rumors involving Makhno have spread rapidly through the city -- lately, just about every landlord with a persecution complex claims to have heard that Makhno has ordered his or her execution, while a Mission District police representative told a neighborhood meeting Makhno was behind a building arson. Though the rising young urban legend himself is amused by the attention, Dog Bites has to wonder: At what point does the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project pass into the received canon of San Francisco history and, like the Diggers and the SLA, become part of the strangely affectless account of our alleged bohemianism we force on the rest of the country?

Bitch Bites
OK, maybe that slap at civic narcissism was a little uncalled for. But nobody is ever likely to accuse Dog Bites of being overly reasonable. In fact, the word "moody" has been applied to us on more than one occasion, and deservedly so.

So let us now mention a band of San Franciscans whose stated purpose is not to torch Lexuses and sport utility vehicles, nor to stir up hatred for retired California Department of Weights and Measures inspectors (see above), but instead to "foster goodwill among the citizens of San Francisco vis-a-vis the spontaneous visitation of social gatherings and celebrations."

They're the Partygoers, and they're out to crash your party.
Though the group has solicited support from the mayor, the Board of Supervisors, and various media outlets, none has been forthcoming, and, in fact, the Weekly's managing editor responded to repeated Partygoers' solicitations with a decidedly curt note:

Since this is about the eighth time I have received this same message from your group, and since every time I get e-mail the server kicks me from my text-processing software into my e-mail program, and since I have deadlines and an actual job, I am writing to request that you stop spamming me. Or at least learn how to work a computer, you morons.

Undaunted, the Partygoers have invited Dog Bites along on an upcoming outing as a "probationary member," though in a recent letter to Mayor Brown they threatened to take their tactics southward:

We're still here, but maybe not for long. Somehow our proposal was leaked to the citizens of Los Angeles, who have expressed great interest in retaining our services. Certain people in the entertainment industry close to Mayor Riordan feel that the Partygoers would ... solidify L.A. as the social capital of California .... We would be remiss if we did not seriously consider the many benefits of relocating our base of operations to a city that fully embraces our mission.

The End (of Inane Party Chatter) Is Nigh
On the other hand, maybe other cities have more interesting topics of party conversation. It wouldn't be hard: Around here, the predominance of tech industry nerds at social events means that sooner or later, everyone ends up talking about how he or she is going to spend Dec. 31.

The best plan we've heard so far was that of an employee of e-commerce security monolith VeriSign, who confessed he was going to spend New Year's Eve at work, behind the 17 or so guarded perimeters of that company's ultrasecure compound.

However, signs that millennial doom may -- just may -- not be upon us are everywhere. We were heartened to note that the U.S. Navy's Y2K simulation, somewhere off the coast of the Californias, revealed that our armed forces are far better prepared for the rollover to 2000 than previously thought. And Chief Y2K Doomsayer Gary North -- the guy whose Web site remains one of the most widely cited clearinghouses for Y2K information, and who has been assiduously advising citizens to trade in paper money for gold bullion, canning jars, and ammunition before heading for some remote cabin -- is, it turns out, a Christian crackpot who's hoping the millennium bug will provide him with an opportunity to stone homosexuals to death, as per the word of God.

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