(Interior, a certain North Beach/Chinatown nightclub)
Dog Bites: Can I have my arm back, please?
Huge, incoherent, khaki-clad dot-commer: Whassa? Hey ...
Dog Bites: Let go of my arm.
Huge, incoherent, khaki-clad dot-commer's friend: Hey man, let go of her arm. Her arm. Let go of her arm.
Dog Bites: OK, now how about my purse strap?
So anyway, basking, reptilelike, on the warm concrete of one of the old gun emplacements, we were just achieving a state of relaxation that had eluded us all week when behind us a man barked, "Fuck! I'm shorting Krispy Kreme. I'm totally fucking shorting it! I mean, there's no way a doughnut shop should be doing $40, $45."
Startled out of our near-trance, our daydream -- which had something to do with a spa vacation, if you must know -- in ruins, Dog Bites listened, trying to fight a flood of not-being-in-the-market-dying-broke-and-alone-panic-terror adrenalin. "It's hype," the man continued. "It's total fucking hype. I'm shorting it."
"They just opened one in, like, Fremont," said one of his companions, adding, "You know, my fucking ex-husband bought Cisco before it split."
"Fremont!" spat the man, as though this confirmed his entire hypothesis. "Fuck!" [NB: The new Bay Area Krispy Kreme is actually in Union City.]
Someone's cell phone began ringing, but Dog Bites was already fleeing back to the car.
Luckily, Nordstrom had these really great earrings, so an hour or so later we were feeling much better -- although come to think of it, maybe we shouldn't continue in this vein, as reader Josh Norem writes, "I regularly read your column, and usually enjoy it. Sometimes though, you go off on 'girly' things like how cute Don Johnson is, thereby turning off a large percentage of your male audience."
Say, thanks for the tip. But just to set the record straight, Dog Bites has never, not ever, called Don Johnson "cute." In fact, we believe the only adjectival phrase we have regularly applied to the actor is "crepey-skinned." We mean, eeeeew. Don Johnson? John Cusack, definitely, but Don Johnson? Eeeeew!
We trust that was girly enough for Mr. Norem.
A Tale of Two Cities (and One Swedish Furniture Emporium)
Like the People's Republic of Berkeley, Moscow does not believe in chain stores. Readers of the New York Times (including Mr. Charles Ware -- thanks for the fax) may have noticed a story about how no one -- not even Vladimir Putin! -- has been able to help get Moscow's government to loosen up and allow the city's brand-new IKEA to complete a much-needed overpass to its parking lot. "On opening day, traffic was backed up for three miles by noon as cars tried to turn off the main highway," writes Times business reporter Jonathan Fuerbringer. Apparently, civic leaders are retaliating because the new store is several miles outside city limits, meaning the city can't collect tax on IKEA's sales.
Now, a couple of months ago Dog Bites received an urgent communiqué, which we've since lost, so you're just going to have to take our word on this, from a disgruntled Berkeley merchants' group complaining that neighboring Emeryville is siphoning off all their business by allowing stores to be built there -- chain stores, like Home Depot and Good Guys! and God, Jamba Juice and Barnes & Noble. Actually, wait -- those two are on Shattuck. But still! Something must be done!
We suggest street barricades, and little checkpoints manned by guards empowered to search people's spare-tire wells for contraband Toys "R" Us merchandise. It's for their own good; after all, citizens must be made to realize that consumerism is counterrevolutionary, except when it takes place in a Berkeley-based store within the Berkeley city boundaries, at which time it is laudable, especially if it involves the purchase of bulk echinacea.
Luckily for the rest of us, though -- especially the rest of us with serious furniture deficiency problems -- big-box happy Emeryville is always ready to do business. "Emeryville has been a joy to deal with," says IKEA East Bay Manager Mike O'Rourke. "In all of my life I've never seen a civic body move so fast to get things done for us. They were out there widening the road, putting in turning lanes, putting in traffic lights -- whatever we needed."
Spin the Bottle?
We try to print actual news in this space, but, well -- sometimes things just don't work out. For instance, when a friend who frequents the Mission boîtes favored by the politically connected called us to report he'd heard political consultant Jack Davis had thrown a birthday party for the Guardian's Tim Redmond, we were all over the story like, uh, whiskey on the rocks.
Because that's reporting! That's our lifeblood! Well, sort of. We called Davis, but though he left us a message, actually speaking with him proved elusive, so we called Redmond. Sounding very excited, the managing editor denied the rumor. "I haven't had a birthday party since my 40th, and that was two years ago, when my wonderful domestic partner threw me one," he exclaimed. "Tell Jack I wish he would throw me a party!"
Then we interviewed our own very charming Free Will Astrology columnist (and San Rafael native) Rob Brezsny, whose new book The Televisionary Oracle is in stores now. "I was on the Channel 2 morning show," Brezsny told us. "It was great, but they told me ahead of time I couldn't mention menstruation [one of the comic novel's recurring themes] because it was too gross."
Next we picked up a voice mail from a man claiming to have worked as a sculptor for more than 25 years, who said the sculpture of Willie Mays in the plaza in front of the new Giants stadium is actually made of a core of styrofoam covered in a proprietary epoxy putty called Sculpt-Epox. "The putty breaks down when exposed to UV radiation," he said. "The statue is 30 feet high. As the material breaks down, the whole thing will weaken, which could create a public health hazard, because pieces of the statue could fall off and hit pedestrians or children. At most it's only going to last up to 10 years."
Dog Bites was sort of excited, because if the statue is 30 feet high that would make us somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 feet tall ourselves, which would mean that we'd unnecessarily ruled out a career in professional basketball. Just to be sure, though, we called Giants PR person Staci Slaughter to check on the statue's composition and size. "It's solid clay and it's fully bronzed," she said. "It's 7 feet high and sits on a 5-foot-tall granite base. It weighs 40,000 pounds."
It's amazing to us how PR people keep all these facts in their heads; Dog Bites can't even be trusted to walk three blocks to the grocery store without a list. No wonder PR gals are so popular with men!
Unfortunately, by the time we'd sorted all this out, it was too late for us to follow up on a further rumor that Tim Redmond is made of a styrofoam core covered in epoxy, and will slowly decay as he's exposed to ultraviolet radiation, posing a threat to pedestrians and children. But be sure to pick up Dog Bites next week!
Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.