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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Mar 31 1999
Our Last Column
After more than a year of writing this column, we're truly sorry to announce that we will be leaving to pursue other interests. In this case, we have finally -- finally! -- nailed down a lucrative book contract with local remainder-table supplier Chronicle Books. The volume, tentatively titled Sex in a Pan: Suburban Cooking 1945-1970, will explore the relationship between cuisine and culture, showing the societal ferment bubbling just below the placid surface of the postwar suburb.

There will, of course, be lots of kitschy graphics taken from our extensive vintage cookbook collection, as well as all kinds of recipes -- from weird bastardized "ethnic" dishes (sweet and sour beef meatballs, anyone?) to the dessert of the title, which comprises layers of chocolate and vanilla Jell-O pudding, Dream Whip, cream cheese, and crushed graham crackers, and whose name, tellingly enough, may be read as a reference to the sexual revolution itself.

The Chronicle Books marketing department is already "very excited," and envisions a tie-in line of merchandise including a deck of recipe cards, a recipe journal, cocktail napkins, a plastic tablecloth, an engagement calendar, and an address book.

Oh, um, April Fools.

Wait ... What Malaysian Pig Crisis?
It is with some trepidation that we confess: Dog Bites wasn't actually on vacation last week.

As a matter of fact, we were sick, and the only little typeset box available to excuse our absence read, "Dog Bites is on vacation." So we went with that, particularly as no one ever seems especially entertained by the details of anyone else's illness. But the lie we told came back to haunt us, as lies will, and we were made thoroughly ashamed of ourselves and of our malingering by the following gracious letter:

Dear Dogbites,
I've never emailed a newspaper columnist before. However, I just stepped off the plane fresh from 10 days in China on work and eagerly grabbed the latest SF Weekly to see your column, only to discover you are on vacation. I am crushed ...

Newspapers in mainland China and most of Asia South are boring. Drop-dead, achingly boring. They are chock full of the latest production numbers for the #4 size nut and bolt factories in the country exceeding expectations through the inspirational leadership of their enlightened managers. The only bad news you see printed involves stories about terrible things in other countries such as the Malaysian pig crisis, which I am sure you are fully briefed on. God knows I am, after 10 days of reading about it. But, I digress ...

I moved to San Francisco a year ago last January from Chapel Hill, NC. Being an avid paper reader, I sampled all the local print I could. I usually read the Chronicle in the morning and the Mercury News or the Examiner in the afternoon as well as the SF Weekly and the Guardian. I figure somewhere between those four papers is reality. The SF Weekly quickly became my favorite read because I felt it had fairly well-balanced reporting. The Guardian has a lot of posture and indignation, but I find the stories in it seem to be geared more towards making sensational claims and making people angry than presenting a well-balanced story that covers all sides of an issue fairly.

I also became addicted very quickly to your column. I'm not certain how it happened. By spring of last year, if I remember correctly, I began a ritual of grabbing the latest SF Weekly and sitting down at Caffe Greco's on Columbus Ave with a mocha and turning to your column first. I love your wit and humor and enjoy the topics you cover. Your writing reminds me of the razor-sharp repartee of the Algonquin Round Table updated for the '90s, or the new millennium, or whatever we will call this period.

So I hope you are having a relaxing soothing vacation in some exotic locale sipping tropical drinks and exchanging glances with some well-cultured young man who has a mind and wit to match your own and an eye for danger in the form of a beautiful woman. I think that is a run on sentence. I lied earlier. No one steps fresh off of a plane after a minimum of 10.5 hours of flying. We all pretend it's no big deal until we get inside our places and collapse.

Hurry back. Some of us out here miss you.

Well, Michael, this may mark the first time anyone has ever described us as dangerous, and we kind of like it. And we like the rest of the scenario you describe as well, particularly the tropical drinks and the glances.

Wit and humor! Razor-sharp repartee! Algonquin Round Table! You silver-tongued thing, you!

Anarchy in the U.S.A.
Rather alarmingly -- and quite by default -- it seems this column has become a clearinghouse for information on anarchist activity in San Francisco. One Peter Waldman, of so august a periodical as the Wall Street Journal, called to ask for Nestor Makhno's e-mail address and phone number -- like we have them -- for an article he was writing.

We passed along the interview request the next time Makhno called to check for messages; according to Makhno, all went well.

In fact, the attention from that quarter may have been partially responsible for spurring the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project to new frontiers of activism: Last Saturday night someone vandalized the condo construction project at 21st and Harrison streets -- oh, you know, more of those $300,000-and-up "live-work" lofts -- spray-painting "Yuppies Out," "Yuppies Out of the Mission," and the more all-purpose "Fuck Off" on the side of the building in large black letters. The graffiti was signed "MYEP."

Contacted Monday, Nestor said he "couldn't say one way or another" if he'd had anything to do with the spray-paint attack.

Had the excitement of speaking at the weekend's fourth annual Anarchist Book Fair, the fair itself, and the associated festivities Saturday night perhaps contributed to the, er, spirits in which the attack was undertaken?

"It's possible. I can't say one way or another."
Also vandalized was icky clone watering hole Beauty Bar, where someone punched a hole in the front window and graffiti reading "Leave the Mission," "Fuck Yuppies," and "Poser Hangout" mysteriously appeared. "Beauty Bar is becoming a lightning rod for hatred of yuppies," explained Nestor. (And here we thought it was just a lightning rod for overdressed girls driving up from Atherton with fake IDs. Huh.)

As to similarities in the sentiments and syntax of the graffiti -- and the vandalized properties' proximity to each other -- Makhno said, "I've got to issue a 'no comment' on that one, too."

More Anarchy! Or, Our First (and Probably Last) Fanzine
Anyway, as long as we're not actually going to quit writing this column, we want to acknowledge the efforts of yet another apparently Mission-based group: The Nestor Makhno Freedom Brigade. Their 24-page booklet -- 24 pages! -- titled Anarchy in the S.F.: A Love Story is, well, an unauthorized collection of Dog Bites items about the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project, with photographs, graphics, and occasional commentary by the authors.

"This project began with our appreciation of the column Dog Bites," say the authors, before going on to admit, "We flat out stole [the contents] off [SF Weekly's] Web site. To all commodity fetishists attempting to enforce property rights, catch us if you can!"

Except for the lipstick, which is sort of too red to wear in the day (although this opinion is not shared by several girlfriends, who say we're just "not used to it"), this is the best present Dog Bites has ever gotten. So a big kiss to you, NMFB, and say! -- that's a really nice font you're using.

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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