The San Francisco Chronicle Thursday, August 24, 1995 · Page A14
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HERB CAEN -- Breakfast Epiphanies

Herb Caen

THE TITLE of today's fishwrap comes via e-mail from Joe Rogers of Healdsburg, who says ``Catchy, eh? It helps if you say it out loud and think of Truman Capote. It has a nice a.m. reference, a campy middlebrow culture reference, and best of all, contains a word that a large percentage of your readers will have to look up.'' Uh -- where's the damn dictionary . . .

I'VE BEEN off the e-mail for several days because, as a young fella told me on the phone (and wasn't the phone a wonderful invention?), ``the system crashed.'' The system uncrashed, finally, and one of the first messages is from ``ReyesJCmail.State.WI.US.'': ``Since August 4 I haven't been able to pull up your column, and this is of great concern to my husband and me. We are transplants from San Francisco (been in Wisconsin 11 years) and we truly enjoy checking in with our Grand Dame of a city. Help! Is the problem at your end or mine?'' My end, but I will go into no further details, except that my e-mail address is

YES, I'M enjoying the e-mail experience but, because I'm still chained to the Loyal Royal, I have no way of replying in kind. Sorry. Former San Franciscans are logging in from all over the world, now that they can pull up the column, and all of them are nostalgic for Baghdad-by- the-Bay. In the youthful sentimentality of my 1941 persona, I wrote ``You can leave San Francisco but it will never leave you,'' and I guess it's still true. Just wondering: Do Seattle expatriates feel the same way about (gag) ``The Emerald City''? Ain'tcha sicka Seattle? OK OK, Mike Bloomsbury just moved there -- definitely a blow -- and it has sweet-smelling sewers, clean buses that are free in the downtown area, one beggar (clean), a world-renowned Wagner ``Ring'' cycle, nifty ferries and coffee up to your knees but I still say it's boring and I don't want to hear any more about it. You call it total denial, I call it jealousy.

ALSO VIA e-mail, I hear from Scott Gross of Calistoga, who was at Mel's Drive-in the other night and waited 20 minutes to be waited on and another 15 minutes to get his order. Meanwhile, in walked the Giants' ``Neon Deion'' Sanders and his girl friend, disguised in matching Alcatraz T-shirts. After waiting 15 minutes without attention, they got up and left. ``If he'd held out another 5 minutes,'' says Scott, ``he'd have been home free. The burgers were good that night. However, my real pleasure came when I realized that in San Francisco eateries, I get the same treatment as stars like Deion Sanders. GOD I LOVE THIS CITY!''

SO DOES Don Rosenthal of Belmont, whose Aug. 14 e-mail arrived in the same batch: ``Thought you'd want to know about an anonymous San Franciscan with the `City That Knows How' attitude.

``I arrived early (8 AMish) Sun. morning for the Jerry Garcia memorial gathering at the Polo Field with my wife Kris, friend Kathy and our two little kids (2 1/2 and 5 mos.). The music from the Polo Field was already very loud, even at this hour. I found a parking space on 34th, a couple of blocks from the Park, but it was tight, with driveways on either side. As I got out to eyeball it, I realized it really was too small for the size of our car, and was worried about another long search for parking.

``Then an elderly lady, still in housecoat, appeared at the bay window of her house, next to our parking space. I steeled myself for a `You rotten hippies, disturbing our Sunday morning with your so-called music' or `We've already called the towing company,' but what she said was `You can move your car back if you like, we won't be going out today and it's no problem if you block our driveway. And have a good time there!'' (pointing to the Park). A wonderful start to an emotional day.'' (God I love this city!)

LAST E-MAIL in the batch is from ex-San Franciscan Shari Hagemeister, now mouldering away in Chatsworth, CA, who signs off her wistful remarks with ``Still too much sun here to consider it a really good day,'' and doesn't that touch your foggy old heart?

ONWARD via shank's mare, snail mail and the Don Ameche: Today's big news -- the official launching of Windows 95 to the tune of the Rolling Stones' ``Start Me Up'' -- reminds Tony Wasserman that Bill Gates paid the Stones $2 million for the rights to that theme song ``and does Bill know that the lyrics include `It makes a grown man cryyy-yyy-yy'?'' I'll tell him when he comes in . . . Yeah, I love it when other wretched inkstainers goof. USA Today came up with a major league gaffe Mon. with its photo of -- ready? -- ``New York Giants slugger Matt Williams belting a towering home run.'' As Kevin McDonough is the first to point out, the New York Giants died in 1957 and the San Francisco Giants aren't looking too healthy, either . . . I'm such an old-time fan that ``San Francisco Giants'' still sounds a little odd.

ADD INFINITEMS: On the subject of memorials in the Park, here's Barry Ewing: ``Having experienced Deadheads for many years, how about the Jerry Garcia Panhandle?'' . . . Deborah Underwood caught the sightem yesterday: young woman hurrying toward Moscone Center, coffee in one hand, cigarette in the other, and under her arm, a big ``Nutrition Management'' sign. Tilt. Caffeine and nicotine are only two of the four basic food groups . . . After Ben Treuhaft finally got the OK to send used pianos to Cuba -- and hooray for him -- Jerry Matters asked hopefully: ``Next, accordions???''

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Thursday, August 24, 1995 · Page A14 © 1995 San Francisco Chronicle