Dog Bites

Board of Supervisors; Population Growth; Dot-com Layoffs

Ah, political expediency. Anyway, concerned about Paul's safety -- God knows we can't afford to lose a reader -- we asked if he'd tried going through official channels. He hadn't, so Dog Bites called Caltrans spokesperson Jeff Weiss, who checked into the question and told us the Highways Department ordinarily updates those "Welcome to (Name of City Here)" signs every five years, at the request of the city. "We don't replace the entire sign," he explained. "We just put a cover plate over the census numbers."

But San Francisco hasn't asked Caltrans to change the numbers because official 2000 San Francisco population figures aren't yet available. Dang Pham, director of the city's census office, said the city probably won't get the new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau until April, so Paul, disgruntled as he is, will be looking at the 1990 figures for a while, because the request to Caltrans won't be made immediately either. "The Board of Supervisors has to authorize it first," explained Pham.

Still, things could be worse. "Roland, our sign guy, was saying some towns never ask us to change the numbers," Caltrans' Weiss told us. When we expressed surprise, Weiss confided that some towns are more concerned with image maintenance than with accuracy. "Certain cities, for whatever reason, might not want to show population growth," he said.

Fit to Print

Not surprisingly, everyone keeps e-mailing us with the latest errors from the Fangxaminer; we especially enjoyed the one Jeff Carlock spotted in the Sunday Magazine section story on butterflies: "But it has vanished from the rest of its former range which once included (what other parts of the region?)."

Mm-hm. And we're a little disconcerted by the necrophiliac quality of the new F-Ex column by one-time Herb Caen contributor P.J. Corkery; imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but -- the logo too?

Meanwhile, wasn't it Wilfrid Sheed who said that urination was the sincerest form of criticism? Actually, maybe that wasn't quite it. At any rate, Keri Siry writes, "The other day, my husband and I were walking our cute little dog Samson and we noticed that he was peeing on a newspaper stand! We rushed to scold him when we noticed it was only that stupid Chronicle PM "paper,' which quickly led to a "Goo-ood boy!'"

Help Wanted

Our acquaintances keep swearing they know ex-dot-commers who are even now loading their Pottery Barn entertainment armoires into U-Hauls and shaking San Francisco's dust from their Kenneth Cole boots, so perhaps the city's as-yet-unreleased census numbers are already more out of date than anyone suspects.

We were interested in this note from the field. "Just wanted to report a very Dog Bites-like moment I experienced at the corner of 16th and Valencia last night," writes Ingrid Nelson. "A gaggle of ten or 12 young dot-commer types was traipsing past me in their Banana Republic finest, when a guy approached them selling Street Sheets. One woman in that ubiquitous career-gal uniform (French blue blouse with three-quarter sleeves, straight knee-length black skirt) told him, "Sorry, we all just got laid off yesterday -- none of us has any money!' They all laughed and headed on, presumably to drown their sorrows at a bar."

Well, as it happens, Wired editor-at-large and Long Boom -- you know, as in the stock market will soar indefinitely -- prophet Kevin Kelly is looking for a personal assistant, if that's any help to anyone. "Right now I am about to embark on writing a book, but I have no idea what the book is about," wrote Kelly in a job description posted on Craig's List. "My chief need is a fantastic researcher, a super sleuth, an I-won't-rest-until-I-find-it person, yet a person comfortable with uncertainty, whose mission in life is to bring order where there is little, and organization where there is chaos. ... If you respond to this ad, please be sure to impress me with some tidbit you found out about me that would require some digging yet is in the public, like my mother's maiden name (always good for breaking into bank accounts!). We're talking going way beyond the top list in Google."

Out-of-work dot-commers: E-mail us if you think the tax assessor's current valuation of Kelly's house will get you the job.

Meanwhile, at other organs of the digital revolution, things are looking a little bleak. "Ah, the pamphlet of the Internet economy," observed fellow SF Weekly writer Mark Athitakis, picking up this week's 96-page edition of the Industry Standard; the magazine laid off 36 staffers Monday.

No, Dog Bites is not gloating; the record will show we've already made the profound observation that bad economic times, well, suck. However, if the troubles faced by these publications result in anyone learning any lesson at all, please, please, please let it be that the reading public doesn't want to see pudgy middle-aged guys in suits trying to look studly on magazine covers. Now might also be a good time to point out that the whole businessman-as-celebrity trend is remarkably pathetic; further, we don't know about other people, but we think we could do without a headline like "George Boutros Likes It Rough" over a story about some guy in mergers and acquisitions at Credit Suisse First Boston. And anyway, mergers and acquisitions? What is this, the '80s again?

Oh.

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