The Emperor's New Merch
"Spineless, out-of-town politicians named my bridge after San Francisco's most notorious influence peddler and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." Sounds like a business opportunity. Indeed, the one thing missing thus far from the sordid saga of the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bay Bridge was a mercantile element. And now that's been solved. Bob Cooper, a man who once made puppets for George Lucas until being replaced by a computer, and once tried to run one for San Rafael City Council until being told only sentient puppets may attain elected office, has launched emperornortonbaybridge.com, a site hawking various and sundry items emblazoned with the moniker of San Francisco's most beloved drunken lunatic. "Emperor Norton was a businessman," notes Cooper. "What was missing from this equation has been merchandise." Well, that is the American Way. In fact, Joshua Abraham Norton was not just a businessman but a speculator who lost a vast fortune in the rice futures market. This reversal affected him rather profoundly. In 1859, he declared himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico and spent the rest of his life shambling through San Francisco and issuing grandiose proclamations (among them the then-fantastic notion of erecting a bridge spanning the bay). Cooper says he doesn't believe he's sold any goods yet, but he hasn't checked today. "People told me they were gonna buy some stuff." People might buy more if his T-shirts actually displayed a picture of the bridge in question. Cooper acknowledges this point, and says he's working on it. "I wanted to get some really nice pictures of it." But, he emphasizes, it's about Emperor Norton. "The name is what I want to emphasize at this point. That's what I'm trying to sell."
The Trees Were Silent
Back in 2009, rumors rippled through Fisherman's Wharf that Gregory Jacobs — one of two men who earned a living by toting foliage, springing out from behind it with a shout, scaring the bejeesus out of tourists, and asking for a tip — was dead. It wasn't so, however. Paramedics resuscitated him from what was, by his count, his ninth heart attack. He returned to his act on the wharf, where he wasn't exactly welcomed back with open arms: "Gregory was a jerk," wharfinger Hedley Prince told SF Weekly in '09. "Nobody's going to miss Gregory, that's for sure." Now we can put that to the test. Jacobs' heart gave out once and for all last week. That reduces the Bush Man count at the wharf to one; David Johnson says he has been terrorizing tourists for 36 years. Jacobs, as one can imagine, was a man as well-versed in the health system as he was with secreting himself behind foliage. His relatives told KTVU it wasn't uncommon for him to check out of the hospital and take up Bush Man duties anew, his ER bracelet still clasped to his arm. In 2009, he showed up at work despite, he says, being outfitted with a pacemaker and told to avoid magnets. Jacobs' family is hoping his remains will be interred in his native Arkansas. No one's going to jump out from behind a bush before eliciting a donation, but they hope you'll see your way to giving nonetheless. Your money can be sent to Duggan's Funeral Service, 3434 17th St., San Francisco, CA, 94110.
Finding that one person you actually like enough to share your bed can be quite a task. Never mind trying to find a third special somebody to round out your sexual requirements. But tech has come to the rescue. A new app created in London called 3nder (pronounced 'Threen-der'), is building off the strategies of predecessors Tinder and Grindr to deliver a location-based hookup site that matches couples with their unicorn. 3nder aims to "evolve our social acceptance" of polyamory by allowing people to find sexual partners who have the same interests and desires. To avoid uncomfortable encounters with co-workers, Facebook friends, or family members, users can remain hidden to browse anonymously. Not only is the app arousing sexually conservative netizens, but it is also raising concerns that it could increase the risk of STDs. However, the app creators explained via Twitter that this high-tech hookup actually connects partners who should already approach their exploits responsibly. "You should do checks regularly if you are sexually active. You don't need an app for that," they write. 3nder is looking for investors on the funding platform, Angel, to help launch the app. They've got a couple, but are looking for an open-minded third.