Big If

The election aftermath and oyster-inhaling in one user-friendly column

"If Bush wins I'm considering moving to another country."

"If Bush wins I'm staying inside my fallout shelter for 4 years."

"If Bush wins I'm hoping (and do feel it is plausible) for a 60/40 split."

"if Bush wins I'm sure Christian institutions will continue to receive a hell of a lot more money than they previously had."

"if Bush wins, I'm staying until 2005."

"If Bush wins, I'm afraid I'll have to become a tad more militant."

"if Bush wins I'm moving out of the country."

"if bush wins I'm moving to canada."

"if Bush wins, I'm going to need to be able to tell myself that I did everything humanly possible to prevent it."

"If Bush wins, I'm happy."

"if bush wins, I'm starting a revolution."

"if Bush wins I'm guessing Dick Cheney will run for Prez and maybe Hilary will run."

"If Bush wins I'm moving to Germany."

"if Bush wins, I'm going to grab two or three of my stinky freinds, find the busiest intersection I can find and picket with slogans such as 'Bush = War Hero' and 'George Bush was Elected.'"

"if Bush wins I'm not going to be able to stand it online enduring another 4 years of liberal *****ing about every single little pissant issue or news story."

"If Bush wins, I'm hopeful we'll take the gloves off and finally start kicking some Islamic ass."

"if Bush wins I'm the front-runner in '08."

"If Bush wins I'm moving to Cuba."

"If Bush wins I'm blaming it on your state!"

"if Bush wins I'm afraid that America is a lost cause."

"if Bush wins, I'm not going anyplace colder than here!"

"If Bush wins, I'm shooting the redeemer in my sig at the White House as soon as he's reinagurated."

"if Bush wins, I'm moving to Canada."

"If Bush wins, I'm hoping for chaos in the states."

"if bush wins, i'm killing EVERYBODY."

"If Bush Wins, I'm Going Underground."

"If Bush wins ... I'm leaving with the Baldwins."

"If Bush wins I'm going to riot."

"If Bush wins, I'm very scared for the US and the world..."

"If Bush wins, I'm going to kill myself."

"if Bush wins, I'm moving to Canada."

"if Bush wins, i'm nuking the USA myself. i only thought i'd give you fair warning."

"If Bush wins I'm going to Disneyland." (Tommy Craggs)

Aw, Shucks

For ages now, Thee Parkside has medicated our weekend hangovers with its Sunday oyster cookouts. We wake late in the afternoon, relieve the bladder of something that resembles concentrated orange Gatorade, and spend the afternoon slurping down invertebrates and hair-of-the-dog High Life on the bar's shady patio. This is the kingdom of Sean O'Connor, who pries open the crusty little bastards with a deftness that baffles our beer-addled sensibility week in and week out. So when it came down the pipe that O'Connor would lead a team in the 11th annual Shuck & Swallow Oyster Challenge -- an event that couples furious oyster-gobbling with a high-society wine soiree -- it demanded Dog Bites' attention.

We made our way to Ghirardelli Square for the event, a benefit for the San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798 Surviving Family Fund (or SFFFL7SFF, for short). Thirteen two-person teams (one shucker, one swallower) were pitted against one another for 10 minutes to test the mettle (and gag reflexes) of the city's oyster impresarios. In the case that watching people inhale seafood were to get dull, attendees could direct their attention to Ape, a San Francisco-based tiki-themed surf band that accompanied each performance with a live, onstage carving of a tiki idol. (Buckets of greasy innards, leather-faced Marina wine snobs, andlive tiki carving? Oh, my!)

But moments later, when Ape started the contest with an explosion of hula music, we couldn't take our eyes off O'Connor and his partner, Parkside patron Kevin Horgan, as they shucked and sucked their way through bivalve after bivalve.

When the band stopped, Horgan wiped the grisly guts from his clam cave, and O'Connor breathlessly decried that it was the fastest 10 minutes of his life. Ours, too. Around us, the square was trashed with hunks of palm wood and broken shells; the air was alive with thunderous belching and high-fives. After the firefighters administered the official count, recount, and re-recount (lots more tiki carving, more surf rock), the Thee Parkside team had splayed and swallowed 84 oysters -- 15 more than last year. The score was respectable for certain, far ahead of the goofs from Google, who finished last in the field with 60. But Thee Parkside was nowhere near the record-setting team of Victor and Manny, from the Franciscan, who tallied up 156 oysters consumed, or one every 3.84 seconds.

The second part of the SFFFL7SFF fund drive was only slightly more civilized. The party moved into the banquet room of McCormick & Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant, and eager winos lined up to shell out $25 for the all-you-can-eat gourmet wine and oyster pairing. Dog Bites' favorites were the Judd Cove oysters (described in the event's official program as "plum, salty, sweet ... with a watermelon rind finish") paired with the Stag's Leap chardonnay, 2003. But after the first few dozen refills and all the natty chatter, we decided to leave: We felt a little seasick. (Nate Cavalieri)

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