Watching City Hall #375 (6-2-05)
"The ability to think inside the box."
(Rachel: What makes a good lover.)
She rolls the best joints too. Great in bed. (All over the rest of the house too.) Thinks reality is negotiable. Only wears underwear: "When I'm feeling vulnerable." I think I'm in love. It's like I died and went to San Francisco.
Bulldog 'Best of' Picks
I was going over the Bay Guardian's ballot for their 'Best of the Bay' yesterday and I realized how lame it is. I mean, they don't even poll for the only things I give a shit about. Best newspaper. Best editor. Best TV station. Best columnist. Best cartoonist. What's up with this shit?
Oh, I know!! They used to poll for things like that and they didn't win anything, so they sure as shit ain't gonna embarass themselves again. They ain't alone. SF Weekly (Guardian ripoff pub) didn't go into those waters with their own shameless copy of the Guardian poll.
The Bulldog fears nothing (except lady dawgs). Therefore, we'll jump right in and list the winners in our own 'Best of SF' poll. In order to better serve the public, we've decided to compress the process by cutting the public out of the actual voting itself. This saves us having to rig the election and throw ballots in the Bay and shit like that. Hey, we're nothing if not honest. Think about that while we lift a hind leg and annoint our first winner.
The San Francisco Bay Guardian wins in a walk. Would that they were a daily. While the billionaire owned dailies have some of the best writers, all of them are seated next to the door. Bruce's lefties win for their consistent championing of open government, free speech, Public power, and cheap beer. I give Brugmann lots of shit, but he and Tim Redmond have interned and mentored a thousand fine writers over the last 30 odd years. The Guardian's only local competition other than Chance Martin's monthly 'Street Sheet' (an absolutely imperative monthly read covering homelessness) ... only real competition is online.
Best Online Sites
You start by going to Alex Clemens' www.SFUsualSuspects.com. It will save you a couple of hours a day and keep you from getting your hands all ink-stained (C'mon Examiner, you got a rich owner now; buy some friggin decent ink!). Suspects runs a fine net across every relevant local publication and presents links to a variety of outlets and a synopsis of individual stories before daylight daily.
Next, you go to the www.SanFranciscoSentinel.com to see the national template for immediate news breaks and Pulitzer level photography. ... No, Luke Thomas is better than that. If you're a real political junkie (you wouldn't be reading this if you weren't) ... you've probably always wondered who these strange and serious looking people in grey and blue suits who sit behind Gerardo Sandoval and are referred to as: 'Staff' ... probably wondered who they were. Pat Murphy describes them and their functions and photo/genius Thomas could coax an heirloom portrait out of Frankenstein (check out yesterday's - 6-1-02 - photo of Alex Tourk - 2nd or 3rd shot is classic).
Then, tune into www.BeyondChron.com for Randy Shaw's self-serving rants. The guy is an egomaniac and an empire builder but he has the institutional memory of an elephant and all the facts that he includes are broad, accurate and (as the site name notes) not covered by the dailies. In short order, he has assembled a staff including Casey Mills (who kicks serious ass) and a half dozen other newcomers who tackle the daily fare with eyes wide open. Murphy's Sentinel columnists have bigger names. Shaw's BeyondChron people are both more talented and less biased.
Best TV channel
You're kidding, right? Channel 26. It should most definitely be free. More clowns than Comedy Central. All masters of deadpan. You'd almost think they were serious.
Second is IFC and I'd have it if I were rich along with the History Channel where you can watch Hitler invade Russia every day and twice on Sunday. For those of you without cable, try ABC's 'Elimidate' round about midnight.
Best Radio Station
KFOG, but only when they keep their mouths shut. KPFA or KPOO if you're a true radical but, generally speaking, you're better off humming your favorite oldies to yourself than turning on a radio in this town for music.
Best Political Reporter
Rachel Gordan. Fair. Clear. Comprehensive. She's kind of the 'Harvey Rose' of the local journalistic community. She's respected on all sides. She's the nice kid in class whose notes you borrowed after you played hooky and almost drowned in the lake.
There are some studs out there. I still think Matt Smith of the SF Weekly is the best when he takes his meds. Joan Ryan, David Lazarus and John King of the Chronicle can write for any publication in the world. All 4 of these writers regularly produce Pulitzer level work.
Sometimes it's about fun and I like Tommy Craggs and Nate Cavalieri of SF Weekly in that department. I like my own shit, of course, but I'm more likely to get restraining orders than awards.
Betsey Culp of www.SFCall.com. Everyone knows that. While most editors shape copy to fit the political agenda of their masters, Culp shapes copy to improve style & comprehension & delivery. She's been doing it since before Adriel Hampton was born and he's the second best editor in town (though 'retired').
The Chron's Tom Meyers tops all easily. If a picture is 'worth a thousand words', a good cartoon is worth a million. Artists like Meyers topple governments.
Up and coming are the likes of Don Asmussen & Paul Madonna of the Chron although I can't for the life of me figure out why I like Madonna. Honest, I go to cartoons for catharsis and half of the time, Madonna brings angst. But, I like him anyway. Go figure. Appears David Wiegand got Bronstein to push the envelope and I approve.
There is none other than the Sentinel's Luke Thomas. He reminds me of something I heard an old St. Louis jazz musician say about the first time he saw Charlie Parker. "He made bad saxophone players out of good saxophone players." Yeah, Thomas's amazing work has done that for political photography in San Francisco. We're lucky.
Best Food Critics
Let's expand that. If you wanna know the best places to eat drink and make Mary, read Jackson West's SFist. The staff likes to boogie and they bring back stories. I like attitude and they got it. The days of wearing your roomie's laundry basket as a hat, then claiming you have 'good taste' are gone.
I watch lots of people speak. Have for most of my life. Love it. There are all kinds of facets to the craft, so I've broken down the category into a number of individual 'achievements'.
Year's worst speech
(henceforth to be called: 'The Joe')
Initial award goes to the award's namesake, Joe O'Donoghue who is no longer eligible for the honor, lest no one else ever have a chance. Joe wins for not only making the year's most tasteless presentations (even the Board gave him a notice) ... for not only saying bad things, but for plagiarizing Howard Stern for the cornerstone of his most virulent prose. Here's hoping Joe has bottomed out. Otherwise, he could end up writing for the Bulldog.
Gotta be Monique Moyers of the Port Authority. Talk about carrying 'independent enterprise agency' to an extreme. Woman treats every encounter with the Board as Armageddon. I haven't seen anyone drip with that much hate and disdain since Amos Brown was a supervisor.
Second place went to POA Reich Furher, Gary Delagnes who insults people while carrying a gun. Don't you just love it when someone with a gun and a badge gets up in your face?
Year's best speech
That would be MAD's Richard Marquez with his recipe for sidewalk ice cream. I've long steered other reporters to Marquez for comments. He is unmatched in knowledge, clarity and insight. Then, you hang up laughing, look at your notes and realize you can't use any of it. Definitely worthy of a raised leg, a bow-wow and a free dry-dock.
Most incomprehensible speaker
No, Bush isn't eligible, but don't fret. We have some pretty confusing locals. A whole bunch of em, actually. Heard John Martin explain the Airport Budget? How about Michael Burns' explanation as to why he only buys buses using Cummings diesel engines from his hometown in Ohio? Have you watched OCC's Kevin Allen explain why cases against cops are just hard as heck to complete?
But, the winner is Planning's Larry Badiner. He misleads. He distorts. He stonewalls. He sneers. He confuses, abuses and misuses the public and their trust. He can turn your garage into 4 market-rate condos with the stroke of a pen. He's the most dangerous because he's in the middle of the pipeline of the new housing stock. That's like hiring a grizzly bear to guard your salmon farm.
Odds & ends and odd ends
I taped the Arthur Bruzzone show the other day. It's called 'San Francisco/Unscripted' and the format is kind of like 'Charlie Rose' only with local political players. Jackson West of SFist did first 15 minutes of the half-hour show. Last week Bruzzone (30 year vet of SF cable shows and winner of numerous awards) ... last week he had Matt Gonzalez and Wade Randlett. Here's Arthur's schedule:
There's a party for SFPO tomorrow (6-3-05) from 6-9pm at 111 Minna. Look for Matt Gonzalez, Chris Daly and Ross Mirkarimi (interior line of the Left) and buy 2 drinks at once cause it's hard to get their attention.
Top flight D5 supervisoral contender, Julian Davis scored a job as Field Representative for Assemblyman Mark Leno. Kudos to both and good luck on the same sex marriage legislation tomorrow, Mark.
Either Muni boss, Michael Burns has been bringing a date to his appearances before the Board's Budget & Finance Committee, or that's one hell of a beautiful blonde bus driver.
Rachel: "'Whiter shade of pale' should be the national anthem."
Rachel: "I don't care for house animals."
h.: "Why not?"
Jens: "Well, (gestures) look at us!"
Jens: "Between you and me, I've never worn Birkenstocks."
Jens: "How do they know the Dumbarton bridge is dumb?"
Rachel: "We need buildings? Let's sue God. The church
Jens: "He's omnegligent too?"
I'm gonna get ready to go babysit my glorious granddaughter.
Remember: "Everyday is a holiday for a crazy man."