Dog Bites

Funny-Page Funny Business
Notice anything different about the funnies in your Sunday Examiner & Chronicle? All the regulars still appear — Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Doonesbury, Peanuts and Prince Valiant — but they're smaller, reduced to fit on six pages rather than the usual eight. According to Steven Falk, senior vice president of advertising and circulation at the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, the weight loss represents another response by publishers at both dailies to a 40 percent increase in newsprint cost. “Sure,” Falk acknowledges, “we've had some subscribers who've called to complain” — complaints about the incredible shrinking Spider-Man, as well as the downsizing of the Kids Page to Kids Corner. “But we still look at it as the lesser of many evils.” Like what? Comics on microfiche?

Hotel California
Grand Hyatt certainly knows how to milk P.R. mileage from its volunteer efforts. The Union Square hotel recently trumpeted its plans to spruce up Galileo High School, in which more than 65 managers and employees will turn out April 22 in FORCE (Family of Responsible, Caring Employees) to pick up litter, garden, sweep sidewalks and paint parts of the building. The goal, a Hyatt spokeswoman stated, “is to leave the school safe, clean and refurbished” — no small feat, considering Galileo's rough-and-tumble rep. Guess those gun-toting kids will feel safer once Grand Hyatt plants a few flowers and paints over the graffiti. And, of course, nothing motivates students more than sidewalks swept clean of cigarette butts, condoms and other detritus of the high school lifestyle.

Fashion Statement
Three Latina gang members marked their retirement from gang life recently by selling their “colors” to Polk Street's Buffalo Exchange, getting $50 for their 10 pairs of Dickies pants. Since you must be 18 to sell clothes to the exchange, friend and mentor Deanne Berger-Mogdul accompanied the girls. “These pants have survived shootings, arrests, numerous beer parties and housed concealed weapons,” says Berger-Mogdul. Changing to more conformist attire will get the girls greater acceptance, whether they're applying to college and jobs, or going “simple places like the gym.” Lisa, who has been in a gang since she was 14, has other plans. “Now all I need is to get my tattoo removed,” the 20-year-old says. Nongang hipsters who don these Dickies and venture into the wrong territory need not worry about provoking anyone. Unless they add the right eyeliner, attitude and accessories, they'll be viewed as just another trendoid skatekid or post-raver.

By John Sullivan, Marta Sanchez-Beswick

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