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Dog Bites 

Planetary alignment, book proposals, and parking speculation

Wednesday, Mar 15 2000
Spring Is Here! Spring Is Here!
Wandering through Hayes Valley, enjoying the warmth, sunshine, and window-shopping possibilities -- OK, we may have tried a few things on -- Dog Bites was extremely gruntled to hear a woman greet an acquaintance with, "Well, it's certainly been one hell of a Mercury retrograde!"

"I know," gasped her friend.

Dog Bites was left standing, stunned. Finally, finally a cogent explanation for all recent weirdness -- the missing issue of Elle Decor, the landlord claiming our check was late and demanding a $25 penalty fee, the old boyfriend calling to complain about lack of "closure," the inexplicable urge to e-mail our former crush in law school, who, it turns out, is now married with two kids, the hair-tearing boredom caused by Channel 2's beyond-morbid, night-in-night-out fixation with that slumping hillside in Millbrae -- God, we just don't know how much more we can take.

Luckily, these trying times are almost over: According to (of course we have it bookmarked!), the planetary spheres are about to make music once more. "On Tuesday, Mercury ends it's [sic] retrograde and stations direct. Business and communication projects all start moving forward with less distractions, and the friendly on-going sextile from Mercury to Jupiter, added to this week's Venus-Jupiter sextile, keeps life interesting, positive, and probably prosperous."

More important, conditions in the solar system look good for starting work in earnest on our latest get-rich-quick scheme: selling one of our many, many book concepts to Chronicle Books. First, we cannily called Chronicle publicist Sarah McFall Bailey to try to score an invitation to the launch party for Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht -- and incidentally, did anyone else see that story about a refurbished Airstream in the January issue of British Elle Deco? Dog Bites has actually been wondering whether such a housing option might be the solution to our rental woes.

McFall Bailey had also sent us a copy of Tiara, which we thought demonstrated a great sense of humor, but on the phone she was somewhat defensive. "I sent you those because those were the titles you said less than nice things about in your column," she said. "It looks like in the catalog that they're crappy books, but they're really smart and pretty and fun."

Tiara is indeed an exhaustively researched volume on the subject of -- well, the tiara -- and having read it we have concluded that, quite frankly, if ever there was anyone more suited to wearing such an article of jewelry than Dog Bites, we would be surprised. We are particularly taken with the solid gold laurel leaf circlet made for Vira Boarman Whitehouse in 1917 to celebrate her victory for women's suffrage, though some of the more heavily diamond-encrusted, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes-style examples in the book are also quite appealing.

Besides, Chronicle is far from being the only purveyor of useless volumes. The spring catalog from Stewart Tabori & Chang, for instance, lists Stairs, the Good Dog Journal: A Record for Your Pet, and Living With Lace amongst its selections, which we mention so nobody, particularly McFall Bailey, gets the idea we're unfairly singling out our local publisher.

The book launch party for Airstream is to be held at Vitra, we hear, which is, of course, cool in and of itself, and will feature several Airstreams parked outside along with the customary open bar. The latter is a crucial factor in our plan to hit up Chronicle editors with some of our pitches, which may include:


An affectionate look at America's favorite condiment, tracing its origins from the popular Indonesian sauce ketjap to its arrival in Britain in the late 17th century to its first bottling in 1876 by Heinz. Includes classic American recipes, plus several for gourmet ketchup, and a photo gallery of historic ketchup bottles.

Drinking: A Man's Man's Journal

Keep records of your busy nightlife -- bars visited, guest lists, memorable occasions, and more -- with this beautifully designed journal. Illustrated throughout with reproductions of vintage liquor advertisements, it features keepsake pockets for precious mementos, corner mounts and glassine inserts for photographs, and a lay-flat spine.


The unsung hero of the garden, the trug transports everything from hand tools to cut flowers. Celebrate its understated functionality in wonderful close-up photographs, many taken at England's great estates, such as Sissinghurst, and explore the varied design history of this marvelously simple carryall.

Play Ball
Dog Bites, dodging past the DPW's hole-digging projects and the double-parked Podesta Baldocchi delivery vans on our way to work, was also gruntled to spot the new signs going up around SOMA, directing drivers to the new ballpark and, closer to our offices, parking lots A and B. We're going to be very interested to find out where these are; what could quicken the pulse of a San Franciscan more than a new parking lot?

Actually, the idea we like best comes from Jim Cecil, who phoned to say he wrote to Giants President and Managing General Partner Peter Magowan to suggest Pac Bell Park cut a deal with the Navy. Half the Pacific fleet is mothballed up in the Carquinez Straits; Cecil thinks the Giants should arrange to have a pair of aircraft carriers brought down and docked off China Basin Way, where they could provide game-day parking for thousands of fans who will otherwise doubtless choke traffic, circling endlessly looking for places to leave their cars, and all the while wasting $2-a-gallon gasoline.

Oddly enough, Magowan didn't even bother to answer Cecil's letter. "I even ended it 'Go Giants!'" says a slightly miffed Cecil. "Probably it made too much sense, and they sent it on to the lawyers to make sure I wasn't planning on scamming a couple of aircraft carriers."

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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