Thursday, December 31, 2009

San Francisco Diary--Journal Of An Exile

Pictured is the riverboat California on San Francisco Bay during last year's New Year fireworks displays. The cruises are set up every year for both locals and tourists to get a truly dramatic view of The City and the fireworks which are coordinated at multiple locations on the Wharf, Crissie Field and the Embarcadero (I can see Crissie Field and the Wharf from my nothern windows, but the Embarcadero is hidden from me by Russian Hill). Across the Bay to the north, fireworks are also set off on the Marin side of the Golden Gate.

New Year's Eve in San Francisco is not as concentrated as it is in the Big Apple. We really don't have a place as large or easily-accessible as Times Square, so we spread our festivities out over prime locations in The City. The Union Square (downtown) celebrations have been severely cut back because of some unruly behavior over the years, but everything else seems to go well, happily, and unrestricted. Our waterfront is visible from nearly all locations on the Bay, from Berkeley to Richmond, to Sausalito and to points south as well, so the waterfront displays give the most fun to the largest number of people.

NOTE: Readers of the San Francisco Chronicle have been frustrated for years by the poor service, rude bus drivers, and general filthiness of the Muni buses which carry a large portion of The City's workforce every day. At last, the head of the transport workers union explains why, with that record, Muni bus drivers (and Muni employees in general) are the third highest paid transport workers in the United States. I should have known. It's because the transit employees have to pay a portion of their health care benefits, unlike the other City employees. Somehow, I'm not convinced, and apparently either is a large portion of the population which has to ride those buses regularly. To add insult to injury, they all got a $3,000 Christmas bonus to help them pay for their "cadillac" insurance policies as well as a federal exemption for the taxes we mere citizens will have to pay if Pelosi's socialized medicine plans succeed.

NOTE: In other developments, a Chronicle writer in the Mommy Files has her panties in a bunch over the deleterious results of people watching the movie A Christmas Story. Most of you know the story (it's a Christmas classic). But for those who don't, author Jean Shepherd creates a story built around a boy named Ralphie Parker whose sole wish for Christmas is to get a Red Ryder BB gun. There is considerable hilarity about his wish, including the immediate refrain "you'll put somebody's eye out" from every adult who hears his wish.

Oh my God!, the author of the Chronicle piece informs us that 21,000 children are wounded every year by BB guns (incomprehensibly, she includes charged pellet guns with BB guns). I think that's about half as many as are injured each year by bicycle accidents, but what the hell. We must agonize. We must worry. We must lose sleep. We must protect our children from every possible risk of harm. We must ask ourselves if "any child under the age of 16 should have a BB gun." Aw, nuts. Kids under 16 shouldn't have anything that thoughtful parents haven't considered carefully, after giving due contemplation to their children's propensities, their intelligence level and the availability of adult supervision. I don't want any child to be injured, but given that this is the real world, the only way to protect a child completely is to put the kid in a plastic bubble, monitored 24 hours a day by experts of every sort. Life itself involves risk, adult or child. Some risks cannot be avoided, others can be minimized, but the risks are always there. So as my younger friends say, "lighten up, dude."

NOTE: In a rare display of firmness, Senate Republicans have forced the Democrats to reconsider the 12 to 7 vote confirming in the Judiciary Committee the Obama nomination of former ACLU attorney and current temporary federal magistrate Edward Chen. Chen is a typical Obamist, with a bigger mouth and a highly-visible paper trail. As an attorney, he unsuccesfully argued in federal court against California Prop 209 (The Civil Rights Initiative) which ended affirmative action in California in public contracts and public education. He later voiced his views about Katrina and New Orleans by publicy asking if "the government's response to Katrina would have been quicker if the victims had been white and middle-class rather than poor and black." Aha! A wise Chinese male who sees the world in the same terms as new justice Sotomayor. The Committee has now reconsidered sending the nomination to the full Senate, but my guess is that this is just a matter of time. Yet maybe some Senators will be a little less timid about questioning the potential permanent judge on the San Francisco federal bench about his racist views than they were with Red Sonia. I have my own candidate for a bench presently devoid of anyone of Chinese ancestry: John Yoo. Remember him from my previous posts? He's the UC Berkeley law school professor who isn't afraid of Eric Holder and his political show trials. But Holder is plenty afraid of him, considering that Holder withdrew all charges against Yoo for advising President Bush on what were acceptable interrogation techniques that the Obamists didn't like. Yoo essentially said "bring it on." Holder chose not to.

NOTE: San Francisco has suddenly found itself with the biggest annual drop in homicides in history. The Chronicle says it's "inexplicable." Unfortunately for its mystification, the article goes on to tell us that the drop was particularly dramatic in the largely-black Bay View, Western Addition and Hunter's Point areas where the police have dramatically increased gang control units and targeted enforcement, and the largely-Latino Mission district where anti-gang units have been doubled and tripled over the past year in reaction to the gang murders, led by the notorious MS-13 thugs. Before anybody decides this is "racist," it in fact means that the largest drop in homicides were among blacks and Latinos killing other blacks and Latinos. It has never been a black-white or Latino-white dichotomy.

It seems to me that the drop in homicides is not, then, entirely "inexplicable." However, I'll grant the Chron some of its mystification, since the same pattern seems to be appearing in New York City, Oakland, Los Angeles, and many other major cities. Maybe they have their own versions of San Francisco's logical intense concentration on gang-dominated and high crime areas, or maybe the thugs are just too depressed to go out of the house during this economic meltdown.

Well, that's it for now. Time to get ready for New Year celebrations with family and friends. I see a bright future in the new year for America through the fog of Obamism. As they say, it always seems darkest before the dawn.

But before I close, I know some of you are wondering if I'm going to do anything on Chronicle columnist Mark Morford. Well, in my own little way, I may have pushed his name a bit farther than I had intended. Late last week, Big Hollywood picked up on one of his recent bizarre columns. So if you haven't already read it, here's Morford's review of Avatar: Please mount my hot blue alien.



StanH said...

A riverboat in San Francisco Bay, hmmm… something odd about that? Maybe if they set up sex tents you can get back to Union Square?

I think your Muni drivers need more cash, having to work in such squalor.

When I was a kid in the ‘60s I got a .410 shotgun for Christmas at six years old, and was out later on that Christmas Day learning to fire that weapon. I can remember distinctly hearing, “be careful with that you might blow someone’s head …” just kidding. Being raised in the South we had guns everywhere, and were taught in no uncertain terms how to use and respect a gun. Me and my two older brothers, and cousins, still have both eyes to this day, go figure, although we all have glasses perched on our noses, HA!

I was hoping for the legal clash between “Yoo and Holder.”

Off the subject: May God watch over Rush Limbaugh, and grant this conservative warrior a speedy, and complete recovery!

Almost: Happy New Year! Let the political purges of 2010 begin!

patti said...

man, if that worked up miss mommy files, imagine the article she's write if she ever saw what texas children shoot.

have fun at your parties. you'll be ringing in the new year hours after i'm done and hopefully asleep :) here's to a brighter future for our country in '10. maybe we should all lift one in honor of that prayer tonight.

happy new year!

patti said...

stan: ha! you beat me to the real gun punch! and i second your prayer for rush. god bless him and his recovery.

AndrewPrice said...

I've always felt A Christmas Story is evil. . . couldn't put my finger on it until now, but now I know. LOL!

I swear we need to build a wall around San Fran.

BevfromNYC said...

Has SF ever considered sex barges? People could have public sex, but just not in the You are free to suggest that to your mayor if you like.

So do the same people who work for your transit system work for ours?? We seem to have identical problems...well...except our system is completely broke, so no bonus' for our transit workers. Just a 11% raise.

I too learned to shoot a gun at a very early age. My only casualties were some cans and bottles...that's Texas for ya'.

Writer X said...

I suppose it was a matter of time before someone from the Chronicle dogs A CHRISTMAS STORY. And someone who writes for MOMMY FILES, no less. Laughable.

It was hard not to read Moford's AVATAR review. I haven't seen the movie yet and didn't want to read any spoilers.

Happy New Year, all!

Unknown said...

StanH: The riverboats are generally either rebuilt and re-fitted or replicas of the old boats that traveled up and down the Sacramento River. We actually had an historical "riverboat era" in the state in the mid to late 19th century. Legendary riverboat gamblers, even.

I grew up with guns, and got my first 12 gauge when I was twelve. It just wasn't even considered the least bit unusual--and that was just 13 miles southeast of downtown L.A. Duck-hunting came right after that, but the 30 .06 came when I was older. There was great rabbit and duck hunting within a two hour drive. You had to drive more like six hours to get to the deer. Every kid in the neighborhood had at least a BB gun or a pellet gun, but handguns of our own were reserved for our late teens. My first was a .32 Colt semi-automatic, handed down from my dad.

I wish Rush the very best. When I went to bed last night, he was being monitored, but was in stable condition.

Unknown said...

Patti: I'll think of all of you in parts east when I lift that glass at midnight here.

You guys are all pikers. I had a cannon to set off for the New Year. Now I admit, it was a toy cannon, but it was heavy metal, with wadding, etc. to make a very big boom. For some reason, very unlike me, I never actually tried to see if it would actually shoot a jury-rigged cannonball. But everybody in the neighborhood definitely knew when it was midnight!

Unknown said...

Andrew: I love that movie. I didn't have to go through the Spanish Inquisition to get my BB gun, but I did get the "careful where you aim, you could put somebody's eye out" lecture, among other things. I love the kid (the perpetual sucker) who gets conned into licking the water pipe in the freezing cold. That reminded me of my very young childhood in Chicago rather than my much warmer later years in Southern California.

Unknown said...

Bev: For God's sake, don't give them any ideas!

I was pretty good about shooting only at things I was supposed to be shooting at, though the chickens and rabbits my dad raised in the "back backyard were very tempting." I was much more dangerous with my bow and arrow. I never understood why they made those targets so small (LOL).

I think your transit workers were just trying to catch up with ours. It looks like they succeeded, even if they didn't get a Christmas bonus.

Unknown said...

WriterX: Nanny city, Mommy files--we've got it all. I think Morford's back on his medical regimen. For him, Avatar would just be a normal, mainstream family movie. He sees people like that all the time, even when he's alone.

StanH said...

Andrew, once you put the wall up, have viewing towers with those pay-per-view long distance binoculars that they have on top of the Empire State Bldg. or roadside scenic view areas. Just imagine the show you’d get with the attraction for voyeurism many would dig in SF. LOL! You’d read on the side of the binoculars, “Hawk Industries, you left your heart in San Francisco, and your quarter.”

When I was a kid we’d take our shotguns to school with us, check them in with the principle, pick’em up at the end of the day, and go home with a friend for a weekend of hunting. We are in a very different place now.

Unknown said...

StanH: That's two quarters, thank you very much.

Those places I mentioned that I used to go hunting within two hours of home are now part of the gigantic "slurb" that stretches from L.A. to San Bernardino/Riverside. Perris still has some open areas, but not many, and I'm sure my old weapons would be banned. Save the jackrabbit, you know.

StanH said...

I stand corrected, “quarters.” You guys are relentless as soon as I posted that, I got a call from The Boiler Room Elves, stating, “Hawk says quarters.” I said excuse me, “your post you said quarter, Hawk says you’re leaving money on the table, most especially his.” Damn lawyers and their little people, Wow!

BevfromNYC said...

The BRE have a phone? I thought they were only allowed to knock on front doors and/or leave threatening notes.

Unknown said...

StanH: We have our tentacles everywhere, and nobody gets out alive until he pays his quarters and sings the blues. The Boiler Room Elves have been getting uppity lately, but they're very efficient. We leave no turn unstoned, and no money on the table.

Unknown said...

Bev: We only recently installed the phones, but they are programmed only to dial numbers we have pre-approved, and we monitor all calls, in case they decide to plan a party instead of tending to business.

Anonymous said...


Since, there has been an uptick on guns being bought, there could be some proof that guns being held in citizen's hands and not relying on the government to protect them... well, the word is on the street that some people have been killed in robberies by upstanding citizens and the criminals have heard about it on the streets, soooo.


I am on a borrowed computer/notebook. It is really cool, but I prefer my larger screen with a better mouse.

Unknown said...

Anon/Joel: I guess we'll have to wait for the actual statistics, but the conclusion is completely logical and borne out by the statistics in states which have very liberal gun ownership and concealed carry laws.

I suspect even the ignorant thugs living in their crackhouses have plenty of 52 inch flatscreen TVs to have noticed that law-abiding citizens have no intention of continuing to be sheep led to the slaughter in a slaughterhouse run by leftists and gangsters. My apartment door has the sign "this house protected by Smith & Wesson" and the fact that it's actually a Colt with Remington ammo is a distinction without a difference.

My .357 magnum loaded with 125 grain brass-jacketed hollow points is not intended either to wound or for target practice. It has one purpose only. My other guns are for sport.

If the Supreme Court declares that Chicago's gun laws violate the strict guidelines set down in Heller, we'll be on our way to being able to do for ourselves what the police can't do for us. Knowing what might be waiting for them behind that citizen's door has an amazing sobering affect on thugs drunk with bloodlust.

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