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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Jul 15 1998
Just Say No to Lawyers
The recently gutted California Bar Association has had to cut all kinds of services, including its lawyer referral program and its legal rights publications. Apparently, there's not much the Bar can afford to do these days, apart from administering the exam that makes more baby lawyers.

So Dog Bites wonders if we might suggest ways the Bar Association could save some money -- like maybe contracting out the bar exam itself to, say, Pennsylvania's Law Services. After all, the Pennsylvania group administers the Law School Admissions Test for a cost-efficient $86 a head, a considerable savings over the $840 the Bar Association charges to sit its exam.

Now, we're not businesspeople, but if the Bar Association could get Law Services to actually do the marking, it could quite possibly pocket enough of the difference to, say, investigate the 140,000 complaints it receives yearly about its 128,000 member attorneys -- which, for the math-impaired, works out to 1.09 complaints per member, per year.

Or, failing that, Dog Bites wonders about some kind of lawyer control -- perhaps a program similar to those that relocate bears foraging in garbage dumps to wilderness areas. We await notification from somewhere that believes itself to be short of attorneys.

Muni Poll Results, Sort Of
Dog Bites has been underwhelmed by reader response to the suggestion that we run a regular Muni complaints column: So far, only four people have called to register their support.

We did, however, receive this letter from the highly disgruntled Peter O'Malley:

I read the SF Weekly cover stories so you don't have to.
I thoroughly agree on the irrelevancy of Jon Carroll (see Dog Bites, July 8). However, your cover stories rival his columns for sheer banality. Some recent cover stories paraphrased:

There are parties where gay men have sex and take drugs.
Someone posed as Randy Meisner and fooled a lot of people.
Anton LaVey is dead.
There is a wacky circus that travels around.
Glass houses, pots and kettles painting, blah, blah, blah.

Mr. O'Malley's letter gave us a whole new idea, and, since this is a great rarity, we feel we should capitalize on it immediately. Hence, our new reader-interactive feature: Summarize things and send them to us. The most useful summary of the week will be printed in Dog Bites.

In the meantime, however, we will continue to run our regular Jon Carroll feature ...

We Couldn't Read Jon Carroll, So You'll Have To
Usually, Dog Bites goes all out to save our readers from the pain of actually reading Jon Carroll's Chron column. But this past week, we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Basically, the problem was Carroll's groundbreaking, three-part series on what it's like to be a boomer, which he titled, "Boomer Sonata, First Movement," "Boomer Sonata, Second Movement," and "Boomer Sonata, Third Movement."

The first column began, "Marjorie typing online." All three columns (movements? Let's leave that one alone) were full of odd punctuation, a technique occasionally used by writers to create the impression that their emotions are too strong to remain within the con-fines of English grammar. The sentence fragment "Marjorie typing online" became a sort of refrain throughout the first column, which also used the classic Carroll-esque phrase "Talking about my generation."

The second column apparently explored the differences between boomer and post-boomer literature, as typified by Don DeLillo's Underworld and David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. At least, we think that was what it was about.

But we can't be sure. After all, the highlight of Carroll's output for the week was: "And random chromosomes in the water supply, from cloned cows that somehow failed to breathe and were reduced to genetic detritus and dumped off a cliff near the Silk Road."

In fact, by the last column, Carroll's incoherent predictions of the apocalypse actually had us worried about the man's mental state. So we want to say: Please, Jon, go back to writing about Tracy. We promise we'll lay off. Just put the thesaurus down and back away slowly.

Chron Owner Takes It All Off!
The hard-working Dog Bites team has been pining for a vacation. And we're not letting small obstacles (no money, no vacation time, no one to go with anyway) get us down, either.

So while reading the Chronicle, our eyes were understandably caught by an advertisement for the Eden Loreto Resort, which posed the question: "WHERE ELSE CAN YOU PARTY NON-STOP! FOR ONLY $5.00 AN HOUR." And then there was the featured endorsement of one Cameron Thieriot, part owner of the Chron and scion of the de Young-Thieriot clan, founders of the paper back in 1865: "Fantastic, all inclusive resort in the most unpretentious town in all of Baja," raves Mr. Thieriot, in print.

Still, it seemed the vacation package, described as MEXICO'S ONLY ADULT ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT might be a little more, well, inclusive than we'd find comfortable -- one clue being the ad's use of the phrase "the hottest hot tub in Baja."

Dog Bites had been thinking of something on the lines of a little sunbathing, a little reading, and a little shopping, preferably in stores featuring chichi home accessories.

Still, we thought it worthwhile to investigate further, and after a little poking around found Castaways Travel's Web site (, from which we share a rather self-explanatory photo.

What's next? An attempt by the Chron to muscle in on the business from the Guardian's incredibly lucrative nekkid beach issue?

As told to Laurel Wellman

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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