Not that we get much out of their exchanges -- Kosovo? Where's that? But ... those flashing dark eyes! Those manicured nails! That suit!
We also like the way Phil's white goatee contrasts with his black hair, which takes us back to a Psych 100 lecture (oddly enough, our professor later became recognized as the world authority on dog intelligence) in which graying patterns of alpha male primates were diagrammed.
But even Phil can't make us keep watching if it's going to be all about ... George Zimmer.
Inexplicably, the Men's Wearhouse owner was the subject of not one but two softball interviews on Channel 2. First he was profiled on The 10 o'Clock News, where we heard that Zimmer favors legalizing marijuana (he wants to see cannabis cafes in downtown Oakland, which admittedly is a better plan for economic revitalization than anything we've heard so far from Jerry Brown) and regulating prostitution, "much as they do in Nevada."
The very next day Zimmer was on the same channel's morning show, where we heard that, though he's now worth $70 million, in the '60s he was (gasp!) an "anti-capitalist," and still lives in a relatively modest house. He's all for an inheritance tax! He opposes capital punishment! He supports welfare reform!
Why the prospective Oakland A's owner's political views are suddenly deemed relevant is a mystery to us. Channel 2's anchor may have dropped a hint when he said that Zimmer now "wants to give something back."
The Great Unread
It's been a poor week for payola at the Dog Bites offices (though in fact we aren't really sure how any week would not look poor in comparison to one in which we received a lipstick).
So, even though the kind people at Stormy Leather did fax over a personal invitation to attend their workshop on fetish latex body-painting (is there a workshop for everything in this town?), we were feeling somewhat neglected.
Then we got our Chronicle Books catalog.
Once, we might have resisted our natural urge to mock the highly successful local publisher of non-books, but, well, why?
After all, our first "Spot the Chronicle Book Titles" contest was an unprecedented success. (It was won by reader Leah Reich, who correctly selected the seven real books from our list of 13 titles, guessing that, for example, Get Your Kicks: Vintage Motel Signs of the Southwest and Paper Umbrellas: Classic Tropical Drinks were not ac-tual volumes.)
And we have received a form of official absolution.
Usually safe in the relative anonymity of this column, in the course of a recent evening in which certain turning points probably leading to sensible behavior had long since been passed, we found ourselves at Elysium, where, in a state of numb horror, we realized that we had just been introduced as the author of the Chronicle Books titles contest to an editor at Chronicle Books.
Dog Bites, by this point on the third bar of the night -- and the second had been Cafe Mars, which can mean only one thing -- didn't feel equal to a confrontation, or, indeed, to much conversation at all. Luckily, the editor only laughed merrily and confided that our list was in fact rather reminiscent of a secret memo circulated in-house by disgruntled staffers.
Thus encouraged, and desperate to fill space, we are pleased to present our second-ever -- and even harder! -- Spot the Chronicle Book Titles contest. As before, the first person to correctly identify the real and imaginary Chronicle books on this list of 10 titles will win a copy of, um, the very next Chronicle book to arrive in these offices, though we must warn readers that it probably won't be anything you want. Good luck, and e-mail answers to email@example.com.
From Mother Goose to Dr. Seuss: Children's Book Covers 1880-1960
All Aboard! Images From the Golden Age of Rail Travel
The Art of the Sandwich
May I Take Your Order? American Menu Design 1920-1960
In the Groove: Vintage Record Graphics 1940-1960
Car Hops and Curb Service: A History of American Drive-In Restaurants 1920-1960
Fat Tire: A Celebration of the Mountain Bike
The Great Unread, Part 2
Despite the fact that it was addressed "To The Dog Bites Guys," we enjoyed M.J. Faber's letter immensely. "So fellas, really, what have you got against Jon Carroll? So he writes like a fat man! So what!" he (or she) comments.
We will overlook being called a "fella," just this once, because we seem to be coming down with the flu and don't feel like arguing.
"You guys read Jon Carroll so I don't have to?" the letter continues. "Do me a favor and read the whole fucking Chronicle so I don't have to."
Well, M.J., we're usually up to a challenge like that. So here it is -- the entire useful content of the Chron, just for you:
Monday, February 22
There are fewer homeless people in U.N. Plaza than there used to be.
Fluorescent road signs are easy to see.
Some Italians are racist.
Florida's Everglades are threatened.
Austrians don't like McDonald's coffee.
Scott Ostler: The mayoral campaign could get ugly.
The San Francisco Bay is polluted.
Housing projects are troubled by drugs and crime.
Swing dancing is back!
Matier & Ross: When it comes to rebuilding the Bay Bridge, Willie Brown has his own agenda.
Editorial: When it comes to rebuilding the Bay Bridge, both Jerry and Willie Brown have their own agendas.
Art Hoppe: When it comes to rebuilding the Bay Bridge, the comic possibilities are practically endless.
AOL is successful.
Most high-tech companies are run by men.
Some of what you read on the Web isn't true.
Al Davis keeps threatening to take the Raiders back to L.A.
The San Jose Sharks would like to be in the playoffs.
If you want to play pro basketball, it's an advantage to be 7 feet 1 inch.
Clive Barker has made a lot of money.
John Carman: Sonny and Cher were entertaining, in an embarras-sing way.
Pat Steger: Wilkes Bashford, Cissy Swig, and Susie Tompkins Buell went to parties.
Jon Carroll: On vacation.
Leah Garchik: Paula Jones and Linda Tripp have both had makeovers.
Janet Konttinen: Kids do the darndest things.
As told to Laurel Wellman
Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.