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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Apr 7 1999
The Girl's Own Annual
Over a month ago, our Spot the Chronicle Book contest was won by Ann Marie Davis. We promised her the very next Chronicle title to hit our mailbox. And, after some anxious moments in which we wondered whether the publisher's promotions department had cut us off entirely, it's here: My Dysfunctional Life, the knee-slappingly hilarious journal that asks teenage girls to recount "The most drunk I've ever been," "Impromptu places I've had sex," "The biggest schoolyard brawl I was involved in," "The time I successfully cheated on a test," "The most unwise place I peed in public," and "Things I've successfully shoplifted."

Say, classy!
In our high school years, had Dog Bites been given such a journal -- perhaps as a gift from some embarrassingly hip relative trying to relate -- we must confess that it would have remained rather, well, blank, especially as there are no sections labeled "Why Can't I Live in Paris, Where I'm Sure I Would Be Appreciated?" or "Tortured Poetry." But perhaps we are out of step with today's youth, and therefore happily pass this volume on to Ann Marie, in the sincere hope that she will be able to make good use of it.

Jean Therapy
Could Levi Strauss possibly make any more moronic marketing mistakes? The jeans company, which recently laid off another 6,000 people across North America -- the second round of major layoffs in two years -- just can't seem to figure out why no one wants to wear its products anymore. Top management even indulged in some hand-wringing in the New York Times over its teensy problem of being completely out of touch with reality.

Well, for anyone actually working over at Levi's Plaza, here's a tip: Head out to the Union Square Macy's juniors department and have a look at the Levi's display there. (Hint: It's that really quiet area at the back of the store.) Apparently, every last one of your potential consumers wants nothing more than to look just exactly like Claire Danes in the very-nearly direct-to-video Mod Squad! Imagine!

Now, we completely understand that, rather than overtax your staff, it must have been easier to let some Hollywood wardrobe person make the tough decisions on what your multibillion-dollar company should manufacture. And boy, is your strategy ever working: At Macy's, placards of the heavily lipsticked and resentful-looking Ms. Danes (in various already-way-over-it '70s-revival-type outfits) suspended above large piles of dark-rinse boot-cut jeans were enough to drive both the other shoppers we saw there last week into consumerist frenzies.

OK, they were concealing their feelings pretty convincingly. But we could tell.

The Don Johnson Reader Poll
As we eagerly devour anything -- anything -- that has to do with crepey-skinned egomaniac Don Johnson, Dog Bites was thrilled to see a lengthy profile of the actor in last Sunday's L.A. Times, in which our own Nash Bridges observed that if you asked someone in the street about him there was a "50-50 chance" of one person saying " 'Who?' and the other person saying, 'He's a god.' "

Dog Bites feels it is only fair to offer readers the opportunity to prove or disprove Johnson's, uh, theory. E-mail us at dogbites@SFWEEKLY.COM, RESPONDING EITHER "WHO?" OR "HE'S A GOD." WE PROMISE TO PRINT THE RESULTS IN AN UPCOMING COLUMN.

F.E.E.L.I.N.George CothranA.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E.
WOKEN THIS MORNING BY THE TORRENTIAL RAIN -- ACTUALLY, WOKEN EVER SO SLIGHTLY BEFORE THAT, AT, OH, ABOUT 4o30, by the thunderous footfalls and drawer-slamming of our bitter upstairs neighbor, who, despite reportedly having a good job and paying rent laughably far below market rate, seems to feel that her no doubt well-deserved personal misery is so great that she can't possibly avoid inflicting it on others, meaning that Dog Bites' visitors often interrupt themselves in midsentence to gaze, awe-struck, at the ceiling and gasp, "What was that?" -- where were we?

Well, anyway, we were awake this morning. And we were listening to the rain, as well as savoring our recollection of the climactic scene of No Mercy, in which Richard Gere shoots through the floorboards at one of the mobsters who's after him, and the mobster goes, "Aauuaaugh!" and dies, which is something we think about more than we generally admit. (In our own defense we must say we were trying really, really hard to focus on something more positive.)

Finally, at about quarter to 6, we hit upon that something more positive. It's ... Mitch Marks.

For once, the Chronicle has given us something to which we may look forward. It's "Mitch's Garden," a new monthly feature focusing on the vegetable garden of Mitch, "a single, 43-year-old organizational psychologist and author."

Now, of course, Dog Bites gardens. But generally, we could care less about vegetable gardens, having long deemed them too pedestrian to get excited over. In Mitch's last garden, apparently, "the peppers did poorly, both the bells and the chilies." Yawn. Grow some Galtonia viridiflora and maybe we'll care. (And we also have to wonder what planet freelancer Georgeanne Brennan -- author of Chronicle Books' Backyard Bouquets -- is on when she refers to "the recent warm weather." Oh, it's warm, all right -- for ice fishing.)

But, brushing past these minor annoyances, let us say this: Mitch is kind of a babe. Of course, it's hard to tell from the Chron's perpetually off-register color pictures, but he seems to have most of his hair, and -- can he sling a rototiller around! "Within just a few weeks from now, he'll be reaping his first harvest of arugula, spicy salad greens and lettuces, with spinach, carrots, and beets not too far behind," gushes Brennan.

We don't know about anyone else, but come April 28, we definitely won't be tossing the paper away unread.

Well, probably not, anyway.

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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