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You Hate Me! You Really Hate Me!
It is a well-known fact that one's exes have a psychic ability to sense when one has become involved with someone else, and choose that time to call to "talk." What is less well known is that a columnist's disgruntled readers have a psychic ability to sense when the columnist is having a truly hor- rible week, and choose that time to send hate mail.
"What was it Laurel Wellman won in your recent Best of SF balloting? Most Whiny Local Columnist?" writes Jeff Riggenbach. "If she simply has to drive everywhere and needs a space heater when the temperature dips below 68 degrees, why doesn't she just get it over with, do us all a favor, and move to Los Angeles?"
Oooh. Of course, that's always the very worst thing the hyper-sensitive soi-disant True San Franciscan can think to say to anyone who criticizes the city even a little: Why don't you move to Los Angeles? Have you noticed how no one ever says, "Hey, if you hate it here so much, why don't you move to Portland?"
Also on the topic of True San Franciscans, the disgruntled John Singiser writes: "I must take exception to your recent [July 5] remarks regarding proposed climate controls for San Francisco. In fact, recalling the various means put forth in some fairly recent columns of proving one's 'true San Franciscan-ness,' it occurred to me that anyone who grumbles chronically about normal Bay Area weather, i.e. foggy and chilly weather, especially in the summer months, would be deemed not a true San Franciscan, and should be relocated (forcibly?) to sunnier and warmer climes."
This being an example of precisely the attitude Dog Bites argues against, we will merely sigh heavily and seek consolation in our new fleece vest.
Harry Potter and the Imaginary Suitcase of Cash
In the interests of being somewhat topical, Dog Bites had meant to include our own review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in this column, but although we purchased a copy early-ish Saturday, we are still only a little more than halfway through the epic: It turns out the new volume is 734 pages long! And Harry is getting interested in girls! Good Lord, this isn't why we read children's books.
Well, actually we read children's books because we're a little dim and backward, so our point is that, if we'd known we were going to have to deal with all this tiresome psychological complexity, we would have stuck with the relatively straightforward fairy tale that was the Guardian's cover story alleging Willie Brown's involvement in an attempt to extort $60,000 from a would-be cruise ship terminal developer. Of course, minus any actual proof that the bribery scheme took place, or that if it did Brown knew anything about it -- well, let's just say things got a little slow around Chapter 10, when Harry and the Weasleys were coming back from the Quidditch World Cup and anyone with half a brain would already be suspicious that Ludo Bagman was a Dark Wizard secretly in league with Lord Voldemort.
For a whole lot of complicated reasons, we purchased our copy of the newest Harryat Palo Alto's Printer's Ink, which is nowhere near where we live, forcing us to wonder at what point our virtue points for patronizing an independent bookseller are can- celed out by our consumption of fossil fuels to get to it. We're confident, however, that someone will have worked out a formula he'll share with us via e-mail, perhaps adding: If she simply has to drive everywhere and needs a space heater when the temperature dips below 68 degrees, why doesn't she just get it over with, do us all a favor, and move to Menlo Park?
We had, earlier, considered ordering the book from Amazon, but recently realized that we just can't buy stuff there any more; now that it carries hardware and health and beauty aids, the e-tailer has changed, in our mental view, from something that kind of resembled Borders, only with far fewer people coughing all over the merchandise, into a sort of fluorescent-lit Costco, in which $19.99 iced-tea makers and white plastic patio furniture jostle with a discount book section and vast racks of Britney Spears CDs. Oh, God, now we've become, like, an online shopping snob.
It's all so -- hey! Orbital 2 for $12.99!
Uh, never mind.
As dismal as things are, we do, at last, have something to which to look forward: the launch of SF Magazine, apparently a competitor to San Francisco magazine, our very favorite somnolent city magazine in the whole wide world. Will there be a knock-down, drag-out battle between the two publications, both vying for the same lucrative plastic surgery clinic advertisements and exclusive reports on weekend getaways in Napa? Imagine the competition to run the most loving close-ups of organic tomatoes at the farmers' market! God, we wouldn't want to be caught in the middle of that kind of slugfest.
The new magazine's publisher, Aaron Poirier, adroitly managed to return our phone calls at times at which we were not at our desk -- "I'd love to talk to you!" he exclaimed in one voice mail -- so we turned to San Francisco magazine's managing editor, Kevin Berger, for an assessment of the situation. "I see the dust on the horizon, but I don't see the horses approaching," he told us.
"The yellow-striped frog sings loudest on the warm rock," replied Dog Bites cryptically, before suddenly recollecting the subject of the conversation. So, um, was Berger at all worried by this upstart in his market niche?
He snorted. "I can't imagine they'll be any kind of a threat."