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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Dec 9 1998
The Real Y2K Problem
Nobody -- or at least nobody of whom we're aware -- has explored one of the most profound ramifications of the turn of the millennium. Which is: What do you do if the name of your business contains the words "20th Century" or "2000"? Do you stick with it, ignoring the possibility that you may be perceived as behind the times? Or do you change it, running the risk of appearing to jump on every annual bandwagon that happens by -- and not incidentally, running up all kinds of costs associated with printing new letterhead, business cards, and signage?

It turns out 20th Century Fox has considered the question and decided to retain its name -- but then, it's not every business whose brand, as they're forever saying in digital media, has that kind of clout.

Dog Bites called the Financial District's 20th Century Investments, and was disappointed to learn that, though the phone book listing remains, the company's forward-thinking owners had apparently anticipated our question. "They changed the name to American Century about three years ago," explained the receptionist.

Meanwhile, at 2000 Hair Studio, the person answering the phone was considerably more adamant. "It's 2000," she said. "Just 2000." But mightn't the owner decide to change the name to, say, 2001? "We don't have 2001. Just 2000," she insisted.

Of course, the truly prescient have, like bunker-building survivalists, been prepared for years. At SOMA's gracefully named 21st Century Home Improvement Painting Waterproofing & Roofing, for instance, the receptionist seemed to think her company's timing could be exactly right in the next millennium. "Well, we're coming up to it, aren't we?" she asked. How much advance planning was involved in the name 21st Century, we wondered. "I don't know," she answered. "The boss isn't here, and that's his pet name."

Aaa-WOOOO! It's Ken Garcia!
Though it was in general a slow week at the Dog Bites offices (see next item for details), our own John Would did in fact pop by for a spiral-bound reporter's notebook. And he has apparently been making good use of it, carefully recording the effect of the lunar cycle on Chronicle columnist and possible werewolf Ken Garcia:

"As for our buddy, the checked-shirt wearing, moon-grinning, apple-cheeked Ken Garcia: just as we predicted, after a two column hiatus over the Thanksgiving weekend and Tuesday, Ken came out swinging on Thursday, launching a rare pre-emptive punitive strike at the Planning Commission a full week before the fate of the old library building was even decided. (And, as you foretold during lunch, this wrath arrived with the full moon.)"

(Wait, did we mention there was an expense-account lunch involved? Well.)
"Then, on Saturday, as he launched yet another pre-emptive strike, the Garcia cycle began to wane once again. So I'm expecting a kinder, gentler Ken in the week to come.

"Thursday, Dec. 3: Dear Planning Commission: You bastards are going to disappoint me again, aren't you? OK, that's it: I'm telling God.

"Saturday, Dec. 5: The 49ers are going to start sucking again, just like they used to suck when I was a kid. Unless they win the Super Bowl, which wouldn't suck at all. That would actually be neat."

The Season of Giving
Normally, payola sent to the Dog Bites office passes unremarked. But that was before the people at Stormy Leather began what can only be described as a campaign of terror through random mailings of sex toys.

First to arrive was a padded envelope, which, in our usual enthusiasm for mail, we tore open before reading the return address. We were bemused to discover within a ... cat toy?

Oh, wait.
Then there was the Stormy Leather-logo canvas tote bag accompanied by a press release touting a number of "SEDUCTIVE HOLIDAY GIFTS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR SLEIGH BELLS RING."

And today it was a pint of Deviant Brand Fantasy Liquid Latex, which, apart from being a hideous Pepto-Bismol pink color ("permanent on fabric," warns the label), reeks. This may have a lot to do with the fact that the product is a blend of rubber and ammonia, two substances whose scents haven't historically been regarded as especially conducive to romance. But anyway, liquid latex is designed to be painted onto someone (someone, we hope, who isn't prone to rashes) and then maybe decorated with glitter before it dries, and then, well, who knows what then.

In fact, it was with a significant degree of anxiety that we realized that many people put more effort into planning their sex lives than we have expended on planning our entire career. Which, on further reflection, would explain a whole lot of things about our standard of living. But anyway.

And then you have to wonder: Why couldn't the hyperactive publicist work for, oh, say, Fillamento? That cedar-scented French incense is really great, and at $7.75 a package, a full 20 cents cheaper than Stormy Leather's adjustable leather cock ring.

Hint, hint.

And Further to the Above, Kind Of ...
Dog Bites remembers our first months of living in San Francisco, without furniture, television, or friends -- but hey, we've got a TV now! -- when our big morning ritual consisted of reading Herb Caen over a cup of coffee. Thanks to Caen, we gradually came to feel part of the city -- although come to think of it, we still haven't met Charlotte Mailliard Swig Shultz.

Caen's column frequently mentioned one Strange de Jim, so it was very odd for us to receive the following e-mail from Mr. de Jim himself:

Overcoming ageism, racism, sexism and homophobia is the short path to wondrous shimmering orgasms. ... Billions of Virgins in Ecstasy will prove it. See for yourself, and send your friends to [note no "www"]. Love, Just Plain Strange de Jim.

As told to Laurel Wellman

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


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