Kiva: Micro-financing isn’t micro-investing.

I’ve been wanting to write this article for awhile, but I couldn’t find a tie in to San Francisco. Well, I finally did and here goes. Kiva is a San Francisco company that has shown ads around the country that have former President Bill Clinton telling you how you can invest only $25 and get back at least a 95% return on your investment. This sounds all good and well until you start to think about it. What they’re saying is that if you give them $25 you’ll get back at least 95% of that, not 100% of that, but 95% of that. This is like saying give me $25 and I can guarantee a return on your money of at least $23.75. That’s not $23.75 over the $25, but basically give us $25 and we can guarantee you a pay back of $23.75.

Something wrong with the math here? You bet. It gets even better. Your $25 goes in with about 40 other people’s $25 that go to a foreign bank that will lend a needy individual the $1000 that helps them get out of poverty. Sounds great! Wait, there’s something they aren’t telling you…

The banks that give the money to the individuals [in my case Rosa in Peru] charge them between 17% and 25% interest on that loan. These banks give them money that they have guaranteed from people like you and me and then charge the people in third world countries anywhere from $170-$250 on top of the $1000 they received to get that money. After three months I got back my entire $25 from Rosa in Peru who needed help with her garment start up. The problem I see is that these foreign banks are getting a guarantee of the money they put up out front without any risk of losing any money, only the risk of losing interest on the money they’ve given.

To me this is predatory racketeering of needy people in third world countries. I would much rather give the $25 directly and get no return than to further the coffers of a foreign bank who is preying upon the people it is trying to serve. They can’t come up with a single argument that could justify what they are doing, but they’ve got a great green looking website with images of poor foreigners who are looking for money, but it is really the banks in these countries that are looking for the money even more.

People who come from poor nations need help, hell, even people in the US who don’t have money need help, but to charge them such a high interest rate that people who had more money and didn’t need to borrow in the first place would be charged a lesser rate doesn’t seem right. Kiva.org is pitching micro-financing as if it were micro-investing. You’ll never get back more than you put in, but you have a good chance of getting back everything you put in at least.

I can understand that banks can’t take a high risk on giving a loan to people who don’t have much chance of paying it back, but to make it sound all sweet and lovely by taking money from Americans and giving it to poor people who need it at not lose of ROI for the bank is just a swindle scheme by these foreign banks. In looking through the listing of people who are asking for money, I didn’t see a single bank that was on US soil, they were all banks in the foreign countries who were doing the lending. Were there any US people asking for money through Kiva.org? Nope, not one, yet we have people here who could use money, but I believe we understand that banks offering a sweet deal here must have some catch to it.

If you want to support needy people in other countries, please do not do business with Kiva.org which is a non-profit that is for profit for foreign banks.

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Only in San Francisco: Kink.com

I suppose I have to start this off by quoting Milton Berle, “Sex is only dirty when it’s done right.” Yes, San Francisco has been a city of sin long before there was a place called Las Vegas and let’s face it we do it right. My mother used to tell me about private gay clubs where the patrons would dress up as men and women irregardless of their sex to look like normal “straight” couples walking into a nightclub, but when the doors closed the rules where gone.

Seeing that my mother wasn’t gay, nor has she ever been to a gay nightclub I suppose this was all from, a friend of a friend of a friend information. So now we have an internet company located in the old San Francisco Armory that produces fetish porn for the internet that has become almost mainstream. So much so that when people are pointing their fingers at what’s causing all the problems in San Francisco I never hear kink.com come up. Peter Actworth, a Brit who moved to San Francisco in 1998 is behind it all. That’s him in the picture to the left.

He apparently found out that someone had made £250,000 from an internet porn website so he thought he’d have a go at it in San Francisco. He used craigslist to recruit models who didn’t mind make a decent living by being flogged, spanked or some other form of “punishment” for the entertainment of others. The Armory was purchased by kink.com in 2006 and while it go some opposition, well, sex sells and they won out.

[mappress mapid=”37″]I admit, I have done a little bit of “research” at kink.com to get a better understanding of what they’re about, but seeing as how there hasn’t been one complaint against them by any of the hired models that are in the police reports I figure everything that’s going on is done by consenting adults. Now I will tell you that this site is not for the faint of heart. There are men and women having things done to them that will astound, horrify and to others titillate their senses. [Oh, I’m a naughty boy, I said titillate!]

The funniest thing to me is that there isn’t more controversy over the site. They are expected to make an appearance at every Folsom Street Fair where the leather and stud crowd comes out to show off. With their myriad of websites under the kink.com umbrella they’re sort of like corporate fetish porn. They aren’t tolerated, but accepted. Now you have to admit, that a company called kink.com being accepted in San Francisco is well, so San Francisco!




RUN! RUN! IT’S SNOWING! WHAT DO WE DO?!?!?

So according to the weather service San Francisco could possibly be hit by snow Friday or Saturday. Lot’s of people are up in arms because for a lot of people who have been here for awhile don’t know what to do. Let me give you a little hint. Do nothing. Look at the picture to the left, that’s what snow in San Francisco will be perceived at by many. They’ll poke it with a stick and go about their workday.

I fondly remember the four inches of snow that came down in 1976. It was a really cold winter that year, much colder than we’ve had this year. I even remember getting up in the mornings and water that had condensed on your car was frozen solid frequently. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen that here, but I ain’t seen it once this year or last.


Just to refresh your memories if you were here in 1976, I was woken up by my Grandmother who pulled me outside in my underwear to show me the snow. Well, she was of German decent, so maybe it was more like she pushed me out in the snow. This warranted a return fire of a snowball that caused much yelling headed my way for mucking up the house with…snow. When the time came to go to school I was walking down to A. P. Giannini Junior High and there was no snow on the streets, maybe a touch on the sidewalks, but you would mostly find it on people’s bushes and grass.

When I got to the school everyone was out in front having snowball fights because that’s the only place we had any grass at the school. Note to everyone, this was a time period when people didn’t have to clean up after their dogs so some of the snowballs were more like “poopsicles.” Just keep this in mind if you get any ideas of throwing a snowball if it snows in the next few days.

School starts and we’re all excited because, well, it’s SNOW, in SAN FRANCISCO! Most of us weren’t paying attention that day to the teachers as we were too busy looking out the windows at the snow falling…IN SAN FRANCISCO! Good things have to come to an end though and when it was time for lunch a few of us snuck outside the gates to play in the snow only to realize, it was gone. Our few minutes of west coast urban dwelling in the snow was gone.

San Francisco is a beast when it comes to weather. Sure, we can have torrential downpours, but those are rare and rarely last more than a few hours before the powers that be push the rotten weather back north and just let us lounge around in our bad weather that we get.

Moving forward in time to 1986 I was working down in North Beach and from the third story of the building I was working in we noticed snowfall…AGAIN! We all ran down the stairs to stand out in the snow only to find that at ground level all we saw was a bit of fog. We ran back up to the third floor…snow…back down…fog. Snow will never beat us because of the heat generated by the smugness of the people of San Francisco. If you live in fear of snow in San Francisco take a day off work and sit in your window with the best view and sip a nice warm hot buttered rum, or you can be uber-San Francisco and run out in the snow naked with flowers in your hair [150lbs weight limit, please.]

San Francisco Foodies: Gourmands

Well, finally! I get to talk about food again. I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about people labeling San Franciscans who like food with the term which I assume is derogatory, “foodies” or more specific, “San Francisco Foodies”. I say derogatory because the word “smug” usually comes up in most cases.

Yes, we’re smug, we know it all and we could fix the world if you’d just let us, but let’s put that aside for a moment. Let’s look at the word foodie and how it applies to San Francisco. Originally coined in 1981 by Paul Levy and Ann Barr and used as the title of their 1984 book, The Official Foodie Handbook. It described a person who was not a gourmet who had a very sensitive palate that could discern the difference between a 1978 Chateu la fit Rothchild and and 1979 Chateau la fit Rothchild.  Anyone who comments on my possible misspelling is not a gourmet, nor smug, but a snob who can’t find anything else to pick apart to discredit me.

Foodies are people who have a love of food that tastes good and are interested in why it tastes good so that they could possibly make it themselves. There was a term prior to this that actually fits San Francisco foodies much better. That term is Gourmand. They don’t necessarily have the refined palate of a gourmet, but they can at least tell the difference between a Cabernet and a Merlot and they love food whether it is a succulent slice of prime rib from the House of Prime Rib to a bronco burrito from El Burrito Express. I would say Gourmand is a much more fitting word than foodie. First off, while being a modern word, foodie is almost 30 years old and well, sounds so 80’s even though I don’t remember anyone using the word here in the 80’s. Gourmand in and of itself is a word that has some class behind it, probably because it’s a smug French word and we being the smug people we are should be able to identify with it more.

In a recent story I read in a place I can’t remember, but probably sfgate.com, they mentioned that New York has the most diverse cuisine options to eat followed by San Francisco then followed by, well who cares, I’m trying to focus on San Francisco here. We are the second food Mecca of the US with the flavors of many countries around the world at our finger tips. Yes, we have lots of high brow restaurants in this city, but the people who eat there are perfectly happy walking up to a taco truck or one of the new versions that don’t serve tacos, but some form of portable cuisine that’s fast and easy to get and tastes good when you’re sitting on the curb consuming it.

There is a guy in the Mission who cooks up crepes from a side walk stand that moves around daily and he announces where he will be on Twitter. We have trucks that drive around the city cooking up BBQ, Korean food, even curry dishes. Highbrow? Nope. Good food? You bet.

Anthony Bourdain, a former chef who worked in gourmet restaurants travels around the world eating what he calls good food, well….I beg to disagree. He did a show in San Francisco and ended up eating a burger at Red’s Java House. There are some people that love the place, but I had a burger there once and I’ve done better with frozen burgers from Costco. A good burger shouldn’t be served with processed american cheese in this city. Anthony didn’t focus on any of the great mobile food purveyors in the city, but he did at least start with the House of Prime Rib. Anthony I would call more of a foodie than a gourmand. He’s trying to identify with the normal person who likes food, but he tends to choose places that don’t serve very good food when he steps down to the level of the average person and he basically eats shit.

San Francisco foodies [gourmands] can usually cook for themselves and enjoy cooking. There is nothing better for me than a day in the 60’s which causes me to pull out the BBQ. I try all sorts of different marinades and side dishes and in the event of a major disaster I know that my family will be well fed. I know how to turn a cheap piece of meat into a 5 star dish because that’s what you need to know in this economy. We know that you don’t have to pay $300 for a meal for two in San Francisco and sometimes the better meals you can get for under $15 for two people.

We also like to try new foods that are outside our comfort zone such as the fruit cherimoya. It really does have a taste like bubble-gum and pineapple but with all those seeds you have to be careful not to break a tooth. I have indeed stooped to the level of what some people would call third world countries and through some of my hispanic friends have been able to try chapulines over several shots of tequila. It takes about five shots of tequila for the average caucasian to even think of popping a deep fried grasshopper in their mouth, but I admit, they’re tasty. I’ve eaten dim sum that I have no idea what was in it, but it sure did taste good. I should probably learn more Cantonese or Mandarin to better converse with the vendors to know what I’m putting in my mouth, but if it looks good I’ll try it.

So for now, I’d say we should move away from the term foodie in favor of gourmand because after all we are San Francisco and we’re smug. Get over it.

Anton LaVey: San Francisco’s Mouthpiece for the Devil

Today is a day to delve deep into the darkness of San Francisco. While at times I’d like to feel that I’m the qualified source for this topic, I’m not. I wanted to write a piece about Anton Szandor LaVey, a man who in the mid 60’s stepped out into the media spotlight with a look not unlike Vladimir Lenin which, was not the best looks to have during the cold war, yet he was a beloved member of San Francisco’s infamous crowd that helped put San Francisco a little more present in the societies of the strange that helped make us what we are today. Anton is no longer with us and the Church of Satan has now moved from a creepy black house in the Richmond district to a small aluminum post office box in Grand Central Station, NY.

Who best then would it be to ask to comment on Anton LaVey than his right hand man in the Church of Satan until he left in 1975 than Dr. Michael Aquino who left the Church to found the Temple of Set. So with that being said, I’ll turn the page over to Dr. Aquino:

ANTON SZANDOR LaVEY

– by Michael A. Aquino

America is not a young land: It is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting. – William Burroughs, Naked Lunch

I am convinced that the 1906 earthquake not only flattened most of San Francisco and set the rest of it on fire, it knocked the city permanently off the Ley Line that kept it responsible and respectable. Ever since then, everything it’s tried to do has come out … well, as Mayor Willie Brown remarked on one of his official appearances in 1997, “This sure is a fucked-up city!”

So when New York decided to do evil, it got Boss Tweed. When Chicago decided to do evil, it got Al Capone. When New Orleans decided to do evil, it got the pirate Lafitte. When Los Angeles decided to do evil, it got the Black Dahlia killer and the Night Stalker. But when San Francisco tried to do evil, what it came up with was Anton LaVey. In short, it blew it again.

Because Anton, while he certainly started a Church of Satan and wrote a Satanic Bible to go along with it, and generally held himself out as the double-scoop-ice-cream-cone of Evil personified, turned out to be a very nice guy. Whenever he glowered, he just couldn’t get rid of the twinkle, and everyone in San Francisco agreed that he fit right in with our Mayor’s perceptive pronouncement as yet another of our beloved, if bizarre cultural icons. [The only time the city ever officially spanked him was when his pet lion kept the neighbors awake at night with its roaring.]

Anton was born in 1930 and at age 8 joined the Cub Scouts; it didn’t quite take. He checked out shortly after Mayor Willie’s 1997 declaration, presumably concluding that he’d done his bit for it. Since then San Francisco just hasn’t been able to do evil with class, artistry, and flair anymore. And after, you know, lions and nude altars and scary organ music and such, you can’t just dumb down to the rest of the country and be happy.

6114 California Street, where his tour-bus-gawk Black House once crouched like a crazed Universal Studios horror-film prop, now consists of a cookie-cutter condo. But at night, when the fog rolls in, if you listen carefully, you can still hear the chanting, the howling, and the diabolical laughter fading into the crash of the waves against Land’s End. Burroughs was right.

FinGate 2.0: Leland Yee

First off, I’d like to start by saying I haven’t seen FinGate anywhere before, so if any other news group uses the term I request that they use my name and a link back to this sight.

Now, onto the story. Last week Leland Yee proclaimed that the elimination of shark fin soup as an attack on ancient Chinese culture. The next day he held a conference serving shark fin soup to the media to show how wonderful and delicious it is.

Then apparently, Leland remembered how environmentally friendly the people of San Francisco Bay Area are. He sent out a rather waffly sounding email that says that while he condemns the finning of sharks, he opposes the ban on shark fins.

Well, I’ve done a little research and here’s a few things I’ve found:

  1. The industry that is involved with shark fishing that uses the entire shark does not supply enough fins to feed the shark fin soup lovers. Shark meat is rarely sold outside the Asian marketplace.
  2. While checking the DNA of shark fins available in San Francisco and Los Angeles more than half of the fins belonged to endangered sharks.
  3. While many other countries fish for sharks or use the finning method that California is trying to outlaw, the majority of all shark meat and all of the fins are sold to China and other Chinese markets
  4. According to research done by SharkWater, 100 million sharks  are finned yearly to supply the Chinese demand for shark fin soup and it’s use in Chinese cures.
  5. The finning of sharks is an unsustainable form of fishing with shark populations dropping severely around the world leaving the seas in an unbalanced state. According to a 2009 study shark populations have dropped 50%-75% due to shark finning. Some species have dropped by 90% in population over the past 20 years.
  6. 87 Countries exported their shark fin catch to Hong Kong and the USA in 2008. Not one kept a shark fin for their own consumption.
  7. Shark meat contains the highest level of mercury found in fish, well above the recommendations of the FDA.
  8. The health claims by Chinese that shark products can increase male vigor and prevent cancer have been proven to be the exact opposite. The high levels of mercury found in shark meat can cause impotence, sterility and cancer.
  9. Costco does not sell shark meat contrary to Leland Yee’s statement. Shark meat is loaded with uric acid and is quite smelly and unappealing and must be soaked for at least a day to leach the urine smell from its flesh.

Is eight reasons enough or need I say more? Apparently while my site is focused on San Francisco and has the most readers here I received a letter from a Shelly Cole in North Carolina:

Hi Eric,

My name is Shelly Cole and I live in Greensboro, NC….Tonight while perusing the net I ran across your blog from 2/16, “Waiter!  There’s a Shark Fin in My Soup!” .  Great blog!  Very well written.  I decided to check out Mr. Yee a bit to see who his is.  I despise hypocrisy!  My number one pet peeve is to be lied to!  I just can’t stand it.  If you lie to me…we’re done….or you at least better be hoping that we have a relationship that goes back for MANY MANY years.  You certainly won’t be trusted again any time soon, but you might not get booted out the door.  ‘Course…if you lied to me….you just might not care if you get booted out or not…

Anyway, after going to Mr. Yee’s sight, I couldn’t believe my eyes!  The hypocrisy!  AAAAGGHHH!!  So I decided to send him a note.  I thought you might be interested in reading it.  Not that I claim to write as well as you, but I hope he actually sees it and that I conveyed the point home to him in such a way that he not only gets it, but that he NEVER FORGETS IT!!  I copied your blog into the email so he’d know what he was getting creamed for, in the event that he hadn’t read your blog.  I intentionally left out the part of who wrote the blog, the name of the blog, or the blogs url.  If he hadn’t read it and then didn’t like it, I was sure how you would feel about unwanted/unsolicited attention that it might garner you from him or from his camp.  I hope you don’t mind my small attempt at “protecting” you.  I doubt I’ll hear back from him, but if I do and he wants to know who the blogger was and you want me to tell him, I’ll be happy to do so.  If you don’t want me to tell him….he’ll never hear it from me…..  😉

I was really very angry with him after having read both  his statement and your blog.  So….I let him know about it….

Sincerely,
Shelly Cole
Greensboro, NC

Thank you Shelly, I think Leland knows about me by now. 🙂 Apparently this is bothering more people than those in the SF Bay Area and they’re speaking up about it [keep in mind my site is read by people in over 100 countries around the world.] I also learned that in the heavily Asian populated state of Hawaii that they have banned the preparation, selling and serving of shark fin soup. Apparently Hawaii doesn’t have as much problem with an ancient Chinese cultural tradition as other people do.

I’ve noticed that no one has really been talking about the taste until my friend Danielle sent me a comment:

I’ve had shark fin soup. It’s pretty gross. And the thought of where it comes from and how it’s obtained makes it even less appealing. From what I recall… the broth was fishy, but not overwhelmingly so. The fin parts have no taste on their own, and we had the shredded kind (they come in shredded and whole form), so the texture kinda reminded me of very short, very very thin (like rice vermicelli, maybe), yet overcooked, noodles.

Just so you all know, Danielle is not Chinese, but Filipino, a culture that has a very strong connection to eating fish [I won’t hold durian against her though. Hell, I wouldn’t hold a durian against anyone, but fruit doesn’t feel pain when you cut into it at least.]

The UK based group Shark Trust had an interesting article with lots of information on the shark fin trade as well a letter from Chef Gordon Ramsay who, like him or not was appalled to find out about shark finning. This site also provides lots of information to use if you want to be so bold and approach a Chinese restaurant that serves shark fin soup.

None of this is an attack on the Chinese population, it is an attack on a practice not a people, that is reprehensible and is destroying our ocean’s food chain. China has had many cultural traditions that they have tossed aside as being barbaric. If I remember correctly, the British stopped beheading and draw and quartering criminals a few centuries ago, yet that was a cultural tradition. The Romans [Italians] as a cultural tradition fed slaves to lions to amuse the poor, but that as well is gone. So why not add shark fin soup to the list. The only reason that Chinese feel they are targeted is because they are the only one’s that eat it and total of the finning trade supplies China and Chinese markets around the world [if the country allows them to serve it of course.]

Leland Yee, please follow the links here and read the information. Perhaps you could find some way to progress and show your wealth and abundance, not by eating the fins of barbarically captured fish that is toxic to consume and instead show your wealth by giving back to the people. I believe that is a finer tradition to embrace.

Taking a break…

Hello my friends and readers. I just wanted to let you know that while writing every day doesn’t always take up too much of my time, the researching does and I feel I need to step back a bit so that I’m giving quality and not quantity. I want to make sure I get to fact check anything I put out there unlike some of the modern day journalists. So I’m going to try something…

I’ll write Monday through Friday and keep the weekends to myself. That’ll give me time to travel around San Francisco more and get more pictures of my nefarious deeds and actually have some time to work in audio interviews for the podcast I’m trying to get started. Besides, I need to get out of the house more and moreover, I need to get out of the Sunset District more. Not because I don’t like the fog. It’s one of the things I actually like about the Sunset because I appreciate the sun so much more.

So for now I’m going home early, wait, I’m already home. I guess I’ll go out and take some photos around San Francisco. For today I’ll leave you all with some of my pretty pictures taken at Ocean Beach when we had good weather. Let’s all hope for a nice spring this year! Cheers to my friends at the Ocean Beach Bulletin!

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Sutro Baths: The Glory Days

I missed out on the Sutro Baths. A major fire in 1966 pretty much gutted the place and I was too young to have visited there let alone remember this place that through pictures was a glorious place to visit.

Opening in 1896, the Sutro Baths named after former Major Adolph Sutro who financed the build as well as the Cliff House next door created a natatorium similar to the old Roman baths, only well, bigger. We’re San Francisco and we have to one up everyone including the Holy Roman Empire. It was the largest indoor swimming pool establishment in the world at the time with one freshwater pool and six saltwater pools. You had hot pools, cool pools, tepid pools BIG pools and small pools, but it was more than just the water.

Sutro Baths was also home to the Musee Mechanique that I’ve written about before as well as a museum, concert hall that could hold up to 8000 people and an ice skating rink not to mention the obvious food vendors all around the place.

This was the type of place you would have expected to see young gentlemen in suits and hats with long mustaches and canes walking around with young ladies at their arms walking through the imported tropical palm trees gazing in amusement at the novelties that Adolph had brought back from his travels around the world. They even had their own Cliff House railroad to bring people from, “the city” to the outside lands more easily.

During high tide the pools would be refilled with roughly two million gallons of water within an hour and at low tide they would use a large centrifuge pump to do the same. It was like an 8th wonder of the world to many and it was know around the world. Sadly the operating costs got out of control and by the start of the 60’s only the skating rink remained.

[mappress mapid=”35″]Now it is a shell of what it used to be, but there is still some interesting things to find in that shell. The high tides bring up deep dwelling fish and invertebrates that get deposited in the remaining ponds. There is one specific area that you have to break the law by climbing a metal fence and walking down some rickety stairs to a small observation deck that was built on a rock that is home to thousands of sea anemones. There is a little bridge area that goes into a now sealed off cave where people where found dead inside with no apparent cause of death. In the pool on either side of the bridge at night you can see the phosphorescent flashlight fish as they are commonly know glowing in the pools. It has a very H.P. Lovecraft feel to it.

There is also the remains of the rock bridge that took you out to fisherman’s rock. It was destroyed because too many fisherman would be out there oblivious to the tides and get swept away. There is also Seal Rock which was famous for its seals and seal lions prior to their vacating for more upscale digs at Fisherman’s Wharf. It has been said that groups of Satanists and Black Magicians have even gathered in this place to hold rituals. Who knows? It would be fitting for this place.

Now if I only had the chance to go back in time to experience it in it’s heyday. Any Black Magicians out there want to lend me a hand?

Waiter, there’s a shark fin in my soup!

Today I read an article on sfgate.com about AB376 a bill that if passed would make the sale of shark fins for shark fin soup illegal. The reason behind this is that the fins for this soup come from a process known as “finning” where a captured shark has its tail and fins cut off and then is thrown back in the water. You might think that the shark would die instantly from this, but that’s not how it works.

The sharks can live on for quite some time suffering and unable to swim the shark dies in one of two ways, starvation or suffocation. Sharks need to keep water moving over their gills in order to breathe. If they can’t then they suffocate from a lack of oxygen.

Senator Leland Yee made a big mistake in the article. He claimed it as an “attack on asian culture“. Riiiiight. Leland, in a city that is 60% asian it’s best not to play the race card when you’re trying to sit in the Mayor’s seat. San Francisco needs a mayor who can bring the people together not separated because of their different cultures. San Francisco is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, not a side order of shark fin soup.

[mappress mapid=”34”]I’ve never had shark fin soup, so I can’t vouch for the flavor of it and at $178-$500/pound I doubt I will ever get a chance to. The reason it is so expensive is because of what it represents to the Chinese who serve it. It’s a way to show off your wealth and success. It’s not served for it’s yummy taste. I’ve yet to hear someone other than a waiter who is trying to sell me some of how yummy this soup is.

I frequently see Leland Yee at the Tennessee Grill. He likes to hold his informal meetings there. Now that he’s gone on record about this it will be interesting to see how well he’s received there. It will also be interesting to see how well he is received in the next run for Mayor. I always liked Leland, but apparently I didn’t know as much about him as I should have. I’m sorry Mr. Yee, but you’ve just lost my vote for Mayor of San Francisco. I urge all of you who read this article to share it with facebook, tweet it or share it with any of the other share links on this site. If you want a working unified San Francisco we need to speak up about it and make it so the politicians who are working to serve their own political agendas do not move into power.

UPDATE: Leland Yee at a press conference today served up shark fin soup so everyone could taste it. Perhaps he should have shown how the fins were acquired from the fish or perhaps he just wants to show all in attendance how prosperous he is.


San Francisco Rain

“Here comes the rain again, falling on my head and it’s drizzly, falling on my head, but it’s not an ocean.” —with apologies to Annie Lennox.

Yes, we have some rain for the first time since the end of January. This contrary to what many people are thinking is not a bad thing. It used to be that San Francisco was a city with two kinds of weather, raining and gonna rain. I never remember it quite like that as there was a fair amount of heavy fog mixed in that my friends from Los Angeles who didn’t know better thought was rain. No that’s not rain, for you guys it’s rain when water from the sky stings your eyes and rusts out your cars.

San Francisco rain is different. It’s usually pretty mild and we have less stormy days with heavy rains than we do sunny days. Thank you global warming. I can’t even remember the last time I needed an umbrella when I went out in the rain, but I usually only had a short distance to walk to get to my car so that isn’t so bad. Here’s a few things that I like about San Francisco rain:

  1. I don’t have to water my garden: My father always disagreed with me on this. He was always out there every day rain or shine watering the lawn and the garden in the back. I have found this caused him to grow more weeds that he had to get out there on nice days to pull. Now while our lawn is a little patchy at the moment, but that’s from the gophers we had, we don’t have to run the sprinkler system from December to April cutting our water bill by tons.
  2. I don’t have to wash the car: Everyone’s car looks wet in the rain. When it’s dry out you have to think about how to make your car gleam and shine if you’re into trying to bag ultra sexy women who will drain your bank account, but I’m happily married and have no need to drain my already drained bank accounts for a piece of eye candy on my arm.
  3. It helps clean the dirt off the streets: Well, maybe not as much as a power sprayer, but you’d be surprised at how much dirt there is out there on your house and trees and cars. Previous to the rain of Monday morning my car was beginning to look like something from King Tut’s tomb when it was first opened now it looks brand new. San Francisco tends to have rather loose soil that is easily moved around by our rather breezy wind conditions so the rain helps this out somewhat, but it leads to another condition as well…

Pollen run off. This should have been number four, but it’s so big right now that it deserves its own section. When you’re walking down the streets you might see puddles with yellowy streaks running through them, kind of like the picture to the left, but not so much. I was reading sfgate.com about the upcoming storms and someone commented that they were happy because it would wash away the pollen and her allergies would go away for awhile.

I hadn’t really thought of that until we made our trip out to the local Trader Joe’s to try and find some produce that wasn’t already past it sale date. In the puddles as we were walking towards the doors to the shop you could see these yellow streaked puddles everywhere. I was wondering if it was really pollen or not and dropped pollen run off into google and found the picture to the left.

Yep, it is definitely pollen run off you’re seeing in the streets. The storms are supposed to be strongest Tuesday night through Wednesday so hopefully we will get all of this washed away and be left with a much cleaner city in the end. Somewhere along in my life I realized I had developed allergies to pollen and I have no idea why. I suppose I was having too much of a good time and the gods said, “This should fix that.” I’ve notice that I haven’t had as much need to blow my nose as much so I like the rain. It makes the plants grow for free and keeps our city clean. Now maybe if we could have it be a warm rain for a couple of days we could make it OK for the homeless to go naked and get a free shower and wash their clothes.