San Francisco

Earthquake risk is underappreciated danger

On July 4 and 5, two major earthquakes, followed by several thousand smaller ones, struck Southern California. Their size and the damage they caused captured attention around the country. What tends to get much less notice from the public is what can be done to prevent catastrophic damage from big quakes. Had the epicenter of these latest large California earthquakes been closer to downtown Los…


Introduction to Herb Caen’s three-dot lounge

Anything following an ellipsis is a friend of mine for the night. It’s code for ‘you didn’t hear it from me, but. … ‘” —  Mark Pargas, “A Visit to the Three-Dot Lounge” It’s been over 20 years since famed San Francisco journalist Herb Caen (1916-1997) died. For journalists and San Franciscans, Caen was a superstar. Known as “Mr. San Francisco,” his columns were a…


Dust up at The Emporium

My days at the department store weren’t the most memorable, but a friend I knew briefly stands out, and the job had its moments. Who knows who makes these personnel decisions. Some genius at store management had the brilliant idea of assigning me, at first, to women’s shoes. It didn’t take long to realize that women, at least the ones who shopped at our store,…


Golden State’s crazy, cheezy dreams

It’s World Cheese Day, don’t you know… Gold rush opportunists, hippie goat ladies, Latino newcomers: California entrepreneurs dream of cheese: The idea for Humboldt Fog goat’s milk cheese first came to Mary Keehn in a dream. She fell asleep on an airplane and awoke with a vivid picture in her mind of how the cheese looked. And then she set out to realize her vision –…


Leaving Gadsden, Alabama, and Roy Moore

Bless his cotton-picking, pedophile, hypocritical 10 Commandments blackheart, good ole child-molesting Republican boy Roy Moore of Gadsden, Alabama is in the news and on the run. I, too, spent time at Gadsden, and have escaped to tell thee. It was another time and another place. Between jobs as a correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta reporter/columnist for the Sacramento Bee, I…


Can Duncan Hunter come out & debate?

It happens every congressional election year, like death and taxes. Like father, like son, Duncan Hunter don’t need no stinking debates. Hunter Sr. was infamous for ducking debates against contenders. Now, his son, and heir to the 60-percent Republican registered 50th Congressional District fiefdom of a seat, is following the same path in daddy’s footsteps. There’s a delicious irony to this refusal to tell voters…