In fact, we got into the office Monday afternoon and picked up a voice mail message from a caller identifying himself as Terence Hallinan. "I just got around to reading your column of May 26," he said. "I get the distinct impression that you're involved in some kind of tangled threesome with this Nestor Makhno and his girlfriend. All these coy references to his girlfriend are a little disturbing."
Huh? Anyone who knows Dog Bites will confirm that we are far too egotistical to be involved in any kind of threesome -- remember, it's all about us! -- let alone a "tangled" one with someone whose political convictions preclude nice dinners out. But God, we'd like to think the DA has better things to do than speculate on Dog Bites' personal life. So we were greatly relieved when, the next day, the real Hallinan called us back to assure us he'd never heard of Nestor Makhno.
And Hallinan wasn't, actually, the ranting lunatic running for public office to whom we were referring. Sorry if we gave that impression. Actually, Hallinan is running for re-election.
What we are trying to lead up to, in our own way, is our call from one Erik Beckjord -- who phoned to splutter at us over our coverage of Kevin Keating's arrest -- "You are supporting him! Yes, you are! Because if you're not, why did you give him three whole pages? What's his picture doing in your column? You are supporting him." Our initial reaction was to tell him, as tactfully as possible, to, um ... actually, there wouldn't really be a tactful way of putting it.
Of course, we did try reasoning with him first. Let's see: If the New York Times publishes a picture of oh, say, Slobodan Milosevic, does that mean the paper supports ethnic cleansing?
Beckjord, beginning to breathe a little heavily with the effort of speaking with someone so obviously his intellectual inferior, paused only briefly in his tirade before continuing to make his points: "The yuppies have the money. Your working-class Chicano doesn't have the money to buy tickets to Notting Hill. So you're biting the hand that feeds you.
"Your angry woman caller is right: If people want to buy houses and condominiums and lofts in the Mission, it's their constitutional right to do so in this country."
Well, Dog Bites hasn't been in this business for a while for nothing. Would Beckjord maybe have political aspirations?
So glad you asked that question. "I'm running for mayor. I'm a dark-horse candidate -- a very dark horse," he answered. When Dog Bites inquired, Beckjord described himself as an "urban planning consultant," but, oddly enough, neglected to mention his other career as the curator of the UFO, Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and Crop Circles Internet Museums of San Francisco. We had to visit his Web site (www.beckjord.com) to get this important background information, along with details on the many UFO-related cover-ups perpetrated by our government, and, not incidentally, learn how we could own our very own copy of the Zapruder film.
Photos of Erik Beckjord, B.A., M.B.A., and MENSA member (but of course!) hobnobbing with Jay Leno and David Letterman were a bonus attraction. Still, it was the Web site's "Beckjord for Mayor" subsection that we'd come to see, especially the part where the candidate explains that "what Monica and Bill did was natural and the country, for what it's worth, needs to recognize (as France does) the need for mistresses for their leaders to make sure the tension of national leadership is not to [sic] excessively great so as to affect decision-making."
So what's his platform? Well, for starters, that we should quit whining and accept the fact that gentrification is inevitable. "We are becoming the Beverly Hills of Northern California," said Beckjord, who doesn't think this is a bad thing. "People are coming from all over the world to buy here."
And people who find themselves unable to afford it should move to ...? "San Leandro."
Another foundation of Beckjord's platform: "I want the city to take down the huge gay flag at the end of Market Street, because it's on city property."
What else? "I will continue the fine work of Amos Brown, who's cleaning out the city. He's protecting the right of tourists and people who live here to walk down the street safely and not get hit on by people with open sores."
So what did Beckjord actually want of Dog Bites? "I would like you to run a page and two-thirds article on someone who saved their money and bought a loft in the Mission and is a yuppie."
Well, we'll give that request some consideration -- though Beckjord could just as easily pick up a copy of the Sunday ChronEx. Meanwhile, we refer Beckjord back to his own Web site's itemized list of platform points:
No. 5: No bashing the press.
The Good, the Bad, and the Kinda Cute
Besides Erik Beckjord, many other people called and e-mailed to comment on the arrest of a wallpaper-paste-covered Kevin Keating, including Pollyanna Switchblade (is that your real name?), who writes, "We are so glad that Dog Bites is back. We've missed you, dar-ling! Kevin Keating is kinda cute, dontcha think?"
Well, darling, even if we had an opinion on this subject, and we don't, we'd be afraid to give it now that we know the non-Hallinan suspects us of ... uh, well, whatever.
Then there's Martin Lewallen, who says Keating is "a fucking poser and a naif. ... Cut your losses, baby, and plead guilty to attempted stupidity."
And Juan Tamad checked in again, after a silence of some months, to call Keating a "dorko grande. ... He's lucky he got busted before some Mission boys saw him fucking with their shit and popped a cap in his punk ass."
Oh well. At least Richard Trott was on Keating's side: "If even half of what Alleged Nestor has reported concerning his treatment at police hands is true, then I hope he files a lawsuit and wins a big settlement," he writes. "Enough to buy a shiny new SUV and a live-work loft on 18th Street."
BOSF: More Than an Issue -- A Whole Set of Issues
I am a 27 year old professional from Walnut Creek and enjoy going to clubs and dancing. In your best of San Francisco 1999 I'd have to say you couldn't of [sic] been more off. Give me a break, BEST SATUARDAY [sic] NIGHT DANCE CLUB you gave to release? I guess you like dancing with incoherent underage kids on all sorts of drugs. That's not my idea of an enjoyable dance club, the best places to go are Polly Esther's and Cafe Mars.
PS I hope your paper is professional enough to take constructive criticism.
Micheal [sic] Spinello
It's been a couple of weeks, but Dog Bites, who spent Sunday afternoon recovering -- from any number of things, actually -- on the patio of the Moss Beach Distillery, has finally been able to get at least some perspective on the controversy that continues to swirl around ... Best Of San Francisco 1999. (Sure -- you thought we were going to say Nestor Makhno, right?)
We note that Polly Esther's was annoyed enough by our snippy en passant reference to its clientele in BOSF '99 that it even took out an ad citing "... 1 Whiney [sic] editor who got thrown out for inappropriate behavior." Of course, we'd like to take credit for being the person tossed out of the nightclub, but in the interests of ... journalistic integrity (why not?) have to admit we know nothing of the incident.
Other complainants are angry because our awards prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, our long-standing bias in favor of "incoherent underage kids on all sorts of drugs" (see above), not to mention burrito-eating marginal-artist types who contribute nothing to the city except "ATMs covered with vomit." And still other correspondents are furious about the way our sympathies so obviously lie with the vile yuppies who patronize the establishments to which we gave awards.
In fact, the only person wholeheartedly behind BOSF wrote: "We were pleased as punch that SF Weekly included our observation that Terilyn Joe is the 'San Franciscan closest to hell.' [But] it's NOT just her hair that's an extension of the Dark Lord, it's her entire being. Watch closely some evening, and we believe you'll understand our stance."
As matter of fact, Dog Bites recently saw Ms. Joe in person -- at the ever-so-glamorous press preview of the new Star Wars movie -- and can tell you that an entire line of women waiting to use the washroom were transfixed by the Hair as it moved theater-ward out in the lobby. "Doesn't she know how big it is?" hissed one of Dog Bites' fellow line-standers. The consensus: We all prayed earnestly that we wouldn't get back to our seats to find Joe encamped in front of us.
SF Weekly Editorial Update
Finally, we introduce a new feature to Dog Bites in response to loyal correspondent Carl Morfeld's request that we keep our readers informed as to what goes on behind the scenes here at the Weekly. Basically, we like the way he always addresses us as "MY QUEENE" in his letters, especially as he uses a fancy Old English font for the honorific.
This Week at SF Weekly
Wednesday, May 26Hot water restored to women's bathroom.
Thursday, May 27Vending machine broken; no access to snacks on "D" or "E" rows.
Friday, May 28Hot water turned off again. Special bonus: Got parking spot in row closest to building.
Monday, May 31Holiday. Good parking.
Tuesday, June 1Vending machine still broken.
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.