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Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Something I’ve always wanted to do

Today’s Chronicle had a good article by a man on a quest to walk every foot of San Francisco’s streets. I really enjoy walking around the city, and I often thought about trying to walk it all. After reading the particulars laid out by this guy (2,350 streets, 850 miles), I’ll probably think about it a lot less.

When I move back, though, I’ll probably resume work toward my goal of visiting all 200-odd city parks.

Saturday, April 17, 2004


Marilyn’s a mess

It’s not every Sunday that I read Parade magazine, but sometimes I just want to put my finger on the pulse of Americans who love seasonal flags and collectible porcelain figurines.

This last Sunday, I saw another example of the reverse sexism that’s so popular these days. “Ask Marilyn,” the Q&A with the record holder for high IQ, took two stabs at men in the way TV commercials do: “Oh, those men are as clean as pigs and as smart as dogs, but you can train ’em, girls!” I won’t violate the copyright here, but you can find a copy of Parade in your local laundromat or bus shelter, or go to the Parade archives after Sunday and you can check it out.

Or you can just get the idea from the email I wrote her:

Dear Marilyn,
Thank you for showing your readers that intelligence does not equal good judgment, and that smart people can be biased, too.
In this week’s column, you printed a reader’s comment that the phrase “Primary Colors” answers the question, “What are the only three colors men can correctly identify by name?”
Let’s imagine that the phrase given was “makeup mirror” instead. Had I suggested that was the answer to “What’s the only part of a car that women fully understand?”, would you have thought that a funny response and printed it, or thought it a rash, sexist generalization that only perpetuates faulty stereotypes?
I realize that the joke was not your own, but your decision to include it in your widely read column signifies your support of it.
Anyone doubting the sexist bias of your column needs only to read to the end, where you answer a gender-neutral question about human hearing with, “I could believe that [people] lose a large chunk of their brainpower [when naked] — especially men.”
Now let’s imagine that I’m the one writing the column. You write in with, “Is it true that people get hungrier in shopping malls?” and I respond like this: “I don’t know about that, but people sure seem to get violent around sale tables — especially women.” Offensive, no?
Marilyn, I’m sure you wouldn’t demean your own gender with such thoughtless comments. Please give men the same courtesy in the future.
Daniel Esch

Tuesday, April 6, 2004


This bear just fell out of a book

Ursus label

I picked this label off the beer I got at a Romanian restaurant in Queens last December. Romanian wasn't my first choice, mind you, but it was too painfully cold outside to go strolling Queens Blvd. looking for something less weird. We were the only non-Romanians there, I think, but it was a fine meal, and we got to hear some local stars of Romanian music. The beer from the homeland did not suck.

Next time inclement weather forces you into a Romanian restaurant, reach for an Ursus.