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Weekly Obsessions 

Things we were obsessing about on Dec. 22, 2004

Certain cities with year-round chilly or balmy weather enjoy pretending as if they actually have four seasons: Florida stores are jammed with heavy sweaters each winter, and San Francisco retail outlets stock shmattes and shorts that are wildly inappropriate for our frigid summers. Even so, we can't understand why so many restaurants leave their goddamned front doors propped open this time of year. If we felt like eating in dank, drifting fog, we'd picnic in the park; otherwise, we prefer to be able to remove our peacoats indoors. We can see how restaurant owners like the welcoming touch of an open door, and hot, sweaty staffers like a bit of a cooling breeze. But since we, the paying customers, are the ones shelling out to keep them in business, shouldn't they be making us comfy instead? Yeah, we thought so. J.S.

We've seen the R.I.P. fashion trend on a steady rise since the end of the summer, when San Francisco's Yo! Youth Outlook magazine dedicated a two-page spread to the burgeoning trend of memorial T-shirts that depict loved ones killed by urban violence. Two months later the Yo! story was poached (sources and all) by Meredith May of the Chronicle ("R.I.P. shirts become an urban tradition") and again last week by NPR's All Things Considered ("Memorial T-Shirts Gain Popularity in Some Urban Areas"). We have to give credit where it's due to Yo! staff writer Krystle Sipp for the first incarnation of this never-ending story. It'd be nice if someone else did. N.C.

A lot of TV ads are pretty slick these days: Tarantino-influenced, with arty editing and hipsters hawking the tons of crap we're supposed to want to buy. But we've noticed one company determined to go back in time, to the era of ridiculously disingenuous promotional schemes: Eggland's Best. The spots show idiotic scenarios such as an incredibly plastic-looking grandmother type talking to the camera, asking if it wants to know how she "gets" her family to "eat healthy." Before it can answer, an overgroomed child in a polo shirt blurts out something like, "And they taste great! Thanks, Grandma!" The throwback campaign comes complete with a non sequitur tag line: "Our family comes first. That's why we switched to Eggland's Best eggs." The clumsy productions almost seem ironic, but we're pretty sure they're not. H.S.

This is a trying time for A's fans in general, but perhaps most of all for those of us in the padded cell who light a candle to General Manager Billy Beane. In separate deals in the span of three days, Beane traded away two-thirds of the Big Three -- Tim Hudson to Atlanta, Mark Mulder to St. Louis -- for six cheap young players, at least two of whom will most likely be riding buses in Modesto for the next few years. Some are (wrongly) calling this a fire sale. A few are (wrongly) calling this the absurd extreme of Moneyball. Many are (wrongly) predicting the A's first losing season since 1998. (Was that the Chronicle's Ray Ratto on ESPN News, mumbling something about 100 losses?) We see a difficult year ahead, yes, but we believe in the dark arts of Billy Beane and look forward to that American League pennant. In 2008. T.C.


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