Luckily for them, our daily newspapers have all the pre-release hype about Titanic to provide filler in the slow news days before Christmas. Why, the Mercury News even ran a special column chockablock with Titanic facts — bet you didn't know the ship was carrying 7,000 heads of lettuce! No word on whether it was of the iceberg variety.
The Chron, meanwhile, is doing its usual yokelish goggling at the Sharper Image and Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalogs. (His 'n' hers ermine-trimmed shotguns? Golly gee, those wacky rich folk!) But no local scribe has yet seized upon what would seem to be the perfect senseless journalistic synthesis — Titanic hype and a gift guide.
So Dog Bites fills the void: The J.Peterman Christmas gift catalog offers authentic Titanic movie props, including six replica Titanic lifeboats at $11,000 apiece. Better hurry, quantities are limited.
As they always have been.
— Laurel Wellman
Al la Francaise
Al “Who?” Checchi, the Beverly Hills multimillionaire who would be governor, is still trying to explain why Northwest shook down the state of Minnesota for $365 million in 1992 (see “Checchi's Checkered Record,” Nov. 5). Our Al says the money wasn't a bailout, although Minnesota lawmakers say it was, noting that Northwest was careening toward bankruptcy at the time.
Only recently, Checchi took the time to explain to Dog Bites that the money was merely a “development package” that Northwest needed to create new jobs in northern Minnesota. Sure, five years after the deal he still hadn't built the jet engine repair plant he'd promised. But Checchi swore Northwest planned to build the plant and create hundreds of jobs.
What he forgot to mention is that those jobs will be in France.
Last week, Northwest announced that it has signed a contract for engine repairs with a French company. The jet engines that were to have been overhauled in northern Minnesota will instead be shipped to Paris, where Checchi's name recognition among voters is only slightly lower than it is in California.
No Wired Item This Week
Due to lack of news, our regular Wired feature will not appear this week.
Only kidding. Actually, Dog Bites received the following anonymous clarification from a Wired staffer: “All meals are both meat/veggie, a fact that has been reported in Chris Nolan's column in the San Jose Mercury News. In fact, we even had real bacon at breakfast the other day, and the whole office smelled like a meat locker. We meat lovers were in hog-heaven, if you'll pardon the pun.”
The tipster also suggested that we “just have a column on Wired, as I am sure the Dog Bites column could focus on other similar companies — that is, if any exist.”
Sounds tempting, but for now we'd like to mention the questionable Net rumor that oil giant Chevron has put in a bid to buy CNET. “You can bet it has something to do with Snap,” the disgruntled source asserts, referencing CNET's ill-conceived and reportedly money-losing Web site, for which CNET has been trying to attract sponsors.
Meanwhile, another CNET source tells us Executive Vice President Robin Wolaner, in what seems to be a misguided attempt to shock her ever-so-blase Gen-X staffers, takes every possible opportunity to bring up the fact that she founded Penthouse for Women. (When Dog Bites, unfamiliar with the title, checked with Penthouse headquarters, a spokesperson explained it was a start-up that never quite got off the ground.) Note to Robin: This is not the kind of professional background that either shocks or impresses Multimedia Gulchers.
— Laurel Wellman
Ex Xmas Erratum
Last week, Dog Bites incorrectly reported the venue for the San Francisco Examiner Christmas party. It was held on Yerba Buena Island, not on Treasure Island. We droop our tails in embarrassment.
Dog Bites welcomes tips, especially those pertaining to disgruntlement. Write to Dog Bites, c/o SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Lobby 4, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107, or e-mail email@example.com.