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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Nov 11 1998
Bad News
There are lots of movies so bad they've attained cult status. But Dog Bites hadn't been aware of a newscast that comes close to earning that distinction.

Until now.
Every night we rush home from the gym in time to catch the WB20 news at 10 ("The Bay Area's Newest Source for News and Information"), our hearts in our throats, frantic -- frantic -- to learn what fresh humiliation is to be visited upon anchorwoman Cheryl Hurd this evening.

What this woman endures! For a report on the difficulty of finding parking in the city, Hurd's sadistic producers made her stand behind a cutout of a VW Bug, complete with flower decals. Then, against a background featuring the twisty block of Lombard, the 17-year broadcasting veteran had to bob her head from side to side while delivering her lines, as though she and the Bug were traversing the Lombard slope.

The other half of this story was anchored by some guy in a parka inexplicably doing a remote from the Embarcadero, a location that served no other purpose than that of letting viewers know it was dark out.

And the on-air screw-ups! Forget the reporters who lose their microphones. ("It just kind of pulled off me," explained perky Rebecca Tolin.) Forget, even, the news footage of some anonymous emergency response team that ran twice, once for a story about bomb disposal, and again for a story on a Daly City apartment fire. Focus instead on WB20's attempts to be a "hip" newscast, which always seem to involve tarting up the story with marginally relevant music or a movie clip. For instance, during a report on a women's self-defense class, we kept hearing the same eight bars of "Kung Fu Fighting."

Our favorite example of this misguided tactic occurred last week, when WB20 reported on a moronic prank by radio station KMEL, whose morning-show DJs told listeners their old-style $20 bills would only be good until Friday. The prank, WB20 discovered, apparently fooled a few of the less intelligent KMEL listeners. Then -- what? Did we sit on the remote control? Because suddenly there was a cheesy-looking spaceship on the screen, firing a laser. Then, with equal suddenness, we were back to Hurd.

This happened a couple of times, with no explanation whatsoever, before we realized that the clips were from War of the Worlds, and that the producers were trying to draw an analogy between that famous radio prank and this, um, well, less-illustrious one.

"Everyone who watches the WB20 News will have an opinion about it," says News Director Eric Hulnick.

Let's hope Hurd and her agent share his views.

Lofty Aspirations
The weekend's Christmas in April Loft Tour gave even those of us convinced we'll always be renters the opportunity to visit the lifestyles of the in-suite washer-and-dryer crowd, and in some cases to feel a little better about our nearly indigent selves: Even people with rooms full of exercise equipment may, it turns out, own hideous Holiday Inn-reject lamps and crap-ass futon sofas.

But as the tour -- and sharing elevator rides with acquisitive-faced thirtysomething men in nubuck shoes and Dockers -- began to pale, there was the promise of seeing Willie Brown's new loft at 606 1000 Van Ness, above the new AMC movie complex.

"The loft-elect," as it was described in promotional materials (a phrase endlessly repeated by the stream of visitors, who seemed to find it a stroke of great wit), has a view southeast to the dome of City Hall and was kitted out in royal blue velvet drapes, royal blue velvet furniture, and a zebra skin rug, the decorator apparently having decided to aim for a sort of Pottery Barn-level midcentury swank. This old-globe-and-silver-plated-cocktail-shaker look is, as at PB itself, best accented by Sinatra on the stereo, and "My Kind of Town" drifting endlessly from the bookshelf speakers was at least an improvement over the previous tour-stops' Gipsy Kings and Andean pan flutes.

Brown's bedroom featured a vintage leather Le Corbusier lounger, a bed with a woven leather headboard, and plastic Phillippe Stark bedside lamps. In the ensuite bathroom, a woman was examining the glass-doored shower stall critically. "The floor in front is going to be constantly wet," she said to her companion. They moved over to the tub.

"Small," he commented.
"Well, he's short," she answered. They snorted in unison.

Would: The Column Within the Column
Perpetually disgruntled correspondent and official Dog Bites contractor John Would supplies his Ken Garcia column summaries again this week, and apparently he's already acquired a fan: Philip Rossetti of the Mission writes, "What are we to do with poor dear Ken Garcia? Perhaps we could strap him to the front of a Sport Utility Vehicle and drive him around downtown for a few hours until he stops whining and promises to attend some history courses in city planning."

Well! Only two weeks and a fan already! Mr. Would -- who's offered to write his own column titled, simply, "Would"

-- notes that this was not a good week for our Ken, who, we like to think, may be unnerved at finding himself the target of summarization.

"For a while there, it seems Ken was writing for an audience of one: Willie Brown. Then there's today's column, which he must have written after reading yesterday's Weekly.

Thursday, Oct. 29: Dear Mayor Brown: You see, I was right about everything, and you were wrong. Now prostrate yourself before my magnificence, while my wrath rains down like fire.

Tuesday, Nov. 3: Dear Mayor Brown: In case you missed last week's column, I was RIGHT and you were WRONG. And for those of you who think I'm just a stiff-necked asswipe, here, I'll use some urban slang: gutter punks.

Thursday, Nov. 5: I can't think of any-
thing clever to say about Tuesday's election, so here, I'll just get mad at everybody. Even myself."

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Rematch
SF Weekly readers will recall our boxing cover story last spring on preparations for the WBF welterweight world championship bout between three-time world champ Greg Haugen and Marin County underdog Paul Nave. Haugen knocked Nave to his knees in the first round, but also injured his shoulder early on. This allowed Nave to take the advantage and win a unanimous 12-round decision.

And prove everybody wrong, including us. (The Weekly said Nave was going to get his ass kicked, and afterward, for the first time in history, had to apologize.)

A disgruntled Haugen seeks his revenge on Nave on Nov. 20 at the Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, when the two will meet up and beat up in a rematch for the world title. Haugen has had surgery for his injury and now has a shoulder full of metal pins, but both boxers claim they're trained and ready. Peter Howes, the fight's promoter, expects a sellout crowd and is already envisioning a main event next year at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Meanwhile, Dog Bites staffers plan to turn out to see the Marin County Assassin kick Haugen's ass.

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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