This drain is not a toilet

The same morning that I shot this harrowing deed, I came across some dude letting his pug drop at least 1/3 of its body weight on the sidewalk. The pug looked super relieved. The dude looked indifferent as he walked off, blathering on his cellphone, and not cleaning up the Herculean pile of crap his dog had just left for any of the ladies at Divas to muss up their high heels in.

So, naturally, I can feel the pain that this sign poster on Cosmo Alley must feel in people thinking that any ole hole in the ground can potentially be a receptacle for their dog’s logs.

Don’t get out of the boat, Urban Safaris

A couple of years ago, back when Hispterism was really at its thumping, fixie-driving heights and people were raving about utter shit bars like Butter, I told a childhood friend who still lives in our hometown, “Dude, the Hipster loves the blue collar. We should get a van, charge a wad of money, and take them on a tour of the hometown.” Thankfully, said friend was too immersed in his “music” and 420 to start up the project, otherwise I’d be driving all the Stuarts and Vendelas up to experience Central Valley Walmart shopping, bingo, and real dive bars every weekend while feeling like a pathetic sell out, although whether to San Francisco or the hometown would be hard to determine.

Apparently, that conversation was recorded and someone came up with doing this in the reverse, in San Francisco. This “Urban Safari” group tools loads of tools around San Francisco showing them the “real city” for a mere $100 a pop plus fuel surcharge, tax, and tip (really, tip?) We saw this group driving up Larkin the other day with a very full vehicle, doing this “Tender Tour” segment of the trip. Naturally, you gotta show George and Margaret from Des Moines how the other half lives while traveling “…in open-air, zebra-striped, game-viewing safari vehicles”. Seriously, we overheard the guide (I thought those were suppose to not be amplified anymore) giving the rundown on how dirty, poor and downtrodden the Tenderloin was and that it’s the center of San Francisco’s crime.

Basically, yes, this is the “human safari” and it’s gross. It’s like whiteys going on tours of slums in Africa wherein they feel like by having seen the problem, that they understand the problem, and in some way that helps. In the case of Africa, it just creates a broken, charity-guilt aid system. In the case of the Tenderloin, it, uh… does pretty much the exact same thing, all the while some dude in a pith helmet makes a buck off it.

Let’s really remember Mid-Market

As we will undoubtedly hear little tidbits picked and chosen from the archives of yesteryear in regards to how marvelous Mid-Market used to be, our friend Bluoz is showing what entire articles from the 1980s were actually saying such as this one from 1985 by the ever so to-the-point Herb Caen. For anyone who has moved to California in the last decade, you probably have no idea who this was or why people reference him. I grew up on his columns and loved his quips including the response as to what he thought of Oakland, “Well, the Bay Bridge had to end somewhere”.

Go over to Bluoz and read the whole article by Herb Caen about Mid-Market titled “Eau de Vie” to get an idea. Here’s how it starts, talking about the obvious shortage of toilets in downtown:

Pardon my French, but downtown San Francisco, especially in the seamy streets of the Tenderloin and around Hallidie Plaza, has turned into le grand pissoir, an infortunate fact the recent hot weather made all too evident. Part of the problem, of course, is the paucity of pulblic restrooms, which the authorities are against as “cesspools of human behavior,” to quote a police official. Ergo, as your nose informs you with noisome precision, the downtown streets, doorways, phone booths and even the rear sections of Muni buses have become cesspools, too. It’s a fact of life that nobody seems to want to address, but something has to be done if we don’t want to acquire the title of Latrine-by-the-Bay.

Bluoz also points out that everything in Mid-Market really started to make it to print only when Randy Shaw came in to the scene (in the 1980′s). It’s also the case (and as Bluoz points out, there are photos to prove it) that Mid-Market has steadily become a gigantic craphole since Mr. Shaw popped up and started working on creating an industry out of housing the homeless. I can only hope that Bluoz will continue his library archive digging and release more gems like this one as time goes on.

Is Meacham Alley locked? Yes.

It was an amazing thing to see Meacham Alley unlocked during the whole Little Bird seating scuffle last month. You see, as far as I’m aware, from the regulations that were handed down, when that gate was installed, given that, no matter how crappy a piece of public property Meacham is, it’s still public property, and as such, the street needed to remain accessible at all times. It was initially, when they neighbors first put in the gate, but as time went on, the gate was left locked more and more with no end of garbage behind the gate that is never cleaned up.

Given that one of these neighbors was the one holding up the Little Bird seating permit and caused that whole problem in the first place (yeah, I know, it’s all supposedly kisses and hugs now…) it’s was suddenly opened, albeit illegally used for the neighbors parking (the entire alley is a No Parking zone). Of course since then, it has been closed all the time, every day, without exception. I guess we should all put “co-opting public space for my own private parking lot” at the top of our Christmas lists this year, as it appears to be a very realistic thing to get.

How many firefighters to change a lightbulb?

The correct answer is one, as long as he has his rather badass ladder truck to deploy, which I witnessed firsthand when walking down Post the other morning.

Farmers Market wildlife

Despite this weather that borderlines on “turdy”, I felt incredibly exotic at the HOC Farmers’ Market this morning buying a bag of kumqats for just $1 while being observed from above by this guy:

We’ve seen more interesting pets there, but short of an iguana this was pretty cool.

Death to pigeons

Above and beyond their off-the-charts “filth index”, this is why I hate pigeons:

Naturally, after yesterday’s bombing incident above, I was very happy to see that some street artist shares my opinion on city birds, as shown by this great stencil spotted on Jones at Post:

Those soft, nighttime explosions

Photo by Matt Nuzzaco

Since we started this blog, on a somewhat regular basis people will write in and ask us, “What are those random explosions that you hear at night around the Tenderloin?” We’ve come across different theories, but without really ever getting to the bottom of it. Now, at last, we found out what they are. The simple answer: fucking fireworks.

How did I find this out? Simple, I penciled in five minutes between eating a burrito and slipping in to a coma to call up the SFPD non-emergency number (415-553-0123). I asked the dispatcher what the cause of the explosions were that I heard on the 20th at around 11:25AM and then 12:25AM that were probably near O’Farrell & Leavenworth. He scanned through his records and saw that they were the result of fireworks being ignited illegally. The cops know this because they sent out a car to investigate it.

Now, some people say that it could be gunfire, which goes to show that they’ve probably never heard gunfire as it doesn’t sound like a bomb. It could also be the case that it’s a blown electrical transformer, which given the shit that PG&E chooses not to give in maintaining their sytems could be plausible as well, but at the same time not. A utility explosion would be a helluva lot scarier than these types of explosions we hear from time to time.

Also, I have personal experience with this as well given that I was walking up Van Ness a couple of years ago to see a newspaper box explode maybe a block ahead of me and it scared the shit out of me. Some idiot had tossed an M80 in to it. Back in high school some of my “friends” did the same thing to my parents’ home mailbox only to then be met with near death as my dad ran outside in his underwear, firing a shotgun in their general direction (think of my dad as a Slavic Dirty Harry multiplied by six powers of awesome).

Suffice to say, I know the sound of an M80 blowing up and this is it. When you’re a teenage guy not getting laid, it seems “fucking awesome” until you lose a finger, or even a whole hand. But, the dispatcher said to report it when it happens because despite the fact that they’ll most likely not catch the guys doing it, it discourages them to some extent and who knows, some day it could actually be something worse.

New fancy crosswalks on Leavenworth

Back in July 2009, the last three intersections of Taylor before Market street got new fancy crosswalks. Now, more than a year and a half later, it looks like other intersections are getting them too. One such lucky recipient is at Leavenworth and Eddy, where we saw half-finished pretty crosswalks yesterday. This made us wonder, is the the whole neighborhood going to get them soon? And if so, how long before someone sues the city about them for whatever reason it is that he/she makes up?

This hood is falling apart

For those who managed to get a full night of sleep last night in spite of the storm, you missed out a good deal of wind and mother nature reminding us who’s the bitch (hint: it’s us). Strolling around today, we came across a couple large branches that had cracked off on Geary between Leavenworth & Hyde. It didn’t seem to cause any damage other than eliciting “damn” from causal observers who saw it after the fact.

It turns out that a sign fell down at Mason & O’Farrell as well which, if it was the “Self Parking” sign on that mega lot down there, I say about time. Park your own damn cars!

> Update

It appears that the sign that fell was the very large Hotel Virginia sign on the side of that building. Tender reader Sean (whose children will grow up with the eyes of an eagle and the heart of a leopard) sent in some phone pics he took: