Dog Bites

Apocalyptic Good Cheer, Lonely Hearts, The Big One, and A Very Special Dot-Com Christmas

Apocalyptic Good Cheer
Last week, Dog Bites heaved a sigh of relief: The city's Y2K Program Management Office told us police have cleared Ferry Plaza and the surrounding area of anything the expected 200,000 New Year's revelers might use to, um, break stuff. (Oh. Did we say "revelers?" We meant "rioters.") But then, driving along the Embarcadero Tuesday at about 12:30 in the a.m., bleary-eyed after packing into Roccapulco for the Tom Ammiano defeat party -- "My voice may be high. My orientation may be gay. My politics may be left. But we are right!" the candidate told several thousand screaming fans -- Dog Bites realized this work couldn't possibly have been finished, because the Ferry Plaza itself isn't finished. Many of the palm trees' tops are still bundled into those absurd paintbrush coifs, the concrete aggregate paving squares are still stacked next to the backhoes and the graders, and untold dozens of pallets full of bricks still await mortar.

So a few days later, Dog Bites hopped on the J Church and sped over to the waterfront to conduct our own thorough investigation and public safety audit, and also to visit Eastern News to get the January issue of British Homes and Gardens, which, incidentally, is such a tour de force of luxe modernism clichés that we almost never want to see a wenge wood table lamp again. Without even looking very hard, we found some sizeable chunks of loose concrete around the bases of the trees next to Embarcadero 4, any of which would have made effective projectiles; a drunken 22-year-old man would doubtless be able to pry up even larger pieces should the occasion warrant.

Heartened by our success, we quickly located two stray bricks under a planter on the plaza, and then some more throwable material in the form of a cracked concrete footing under the Homes & Land distribution box at Market and Spear. Now, we know many restaurants in the area plan to close New Year's Eve, and we congratulate the owners on their prudence. But might the police, perhaps, be planning a few more sweeps of the area, just to be on the safe side? The SFPD's Sgt. Dan Linehan tells us something even more disturbing: Despite early television reports to the contrary, work on the new Ferry Plaza won't be completed by New Year's at all. "We're dealing with the contractor out there to secure his items," says Linehan. "Anything that can be nailed down will be."

Then again, there may not really be anything to worry about. If the endless Mariah Carey histrionics pouring from the holiday ice rink's PA haven't yet induced lunching office workers to rip up a few chairs and hurl them through a plate glass window or two, there must be something to be said for our citizenry's innate placidity. Perhaps the WTO needs to think seriously about San Francisco as the venue for its next conference.

Dog Bites probably just needs to kick back and maybe read a few more of those post-election analysis pieces explaining how, even though voters have collectively decided San Francisco should stay with its abusive husband, it's really OK, because now Ammiano is a force who will save us from the worst of Willie's excesses, kind of like a restraining order. We'd relax by doing some holiday baking, but our stove's been broken for 2 1/2 weeks now, and the landlord's flunkies have told us they won't be able to repair it until Jan. 3. All this service for only half our take-home pay! Who says San Francisco has a housing problem?

Lonely Hearts
We'd like to thank all those who've written to give us romantic advice about our ongoing attempts to get the New Mission News' Silicon Satan to ask us out, including Toby Stefan, who counsels, "You'ze should not have to beg for approval over having lunch with someone else. If they are too insecure to deal, then that's their problem." (Note to Toby: By all means, use this reasoning with your significant other. Be sure also to say, "I didn't tell you because I knew you'd be upset. And see -- you are upset!" Then have a merry Christmas!)

Perhaps the best counsel we've gotten comes from Dog Bites' poet emeritus, Steven Appleton, who -- naturally enough -- condenses his wisdom into a couplet:

Pursue Silicon Satan with an open heart

Leave Kevin alone, if you're smart.

Yikes! What does Steven know that we don't? Of course, rumors have persisted that Kevin Keating himself is, in fact, the masked crusader for dot-com rights -- but Keating denies it. "Silicon Satan's a little too ham-handed for me," he says. "I like to think if I were doing a column like that, it would be more witty."

Well, everyone's a critic, and wittiness, God knows, is harder than it looks. Luckily, Steven has some helpful suggestions: "I guess I long for the good old days, when Dog Bites regularly bashed the smarmy public figures that troll our City of Angels," he writes. (Note to Steven: The City of Angels is actually, um, Los Angeles, regardless of what those determined diners huddled under the heat stanchions on the MoMo's patio might think.)

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