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By Fred Bassett
Inside this issue...
* Gavin Newsom Admits to Difficulties in Math, Will Seek Tutoring
* See Jane Run Bought Out by See Hilary Run
* Candidate Bragh O'Bama Embraces Irish Roots at Rally at Dubliner Pub
* Maltese Falcon Found on Incanto's Menu
* Heather Mills McCartney Buys Half of Rabat Shoe & Sock Store
* Pro-Oxidants Demand Equal Time
* Anna Nicole Smith Memorial on Twin Peaks
Noe Says Bye to 'Valley' in Name
By Pluto Chavez
Noe Valley, the hottest location in San Francisco's neighborhood pantheon, was stripped of its geological status at the Feb. 31 meeting of the National Organization of Scientists from Earth (NOSE).
The prestigious group voted 423 to 2 to remove the word "valley" from the neighborhood's name.
"Valley? Not hardly," said Burgess Shale, head of the NOSE Definitions Committee. "If you look at San Francisco's topographical maps, the terrain is much more like a gorge, dale, dell, or maybe a basin if you stand off and squint. But a valley? No way!"
Shale's organization elected to classify Noe as a "hollow," defined as a small shallow depression between two hilly bumps. But the redesignation didn't come easy. In a series of earlier votes, the astronomers narrowly rejected the names "vale," "ravine," "gully," and "yuppie enclave." The term "hole" was shot down, too.
Changing "valley" to "hollow" has already caused repercussions in the merchants community. Geico Caveman Ugh Rothchild, who has an office at the top of 24th Street, strenuously objected to the new label, arguing that "people in places like Polk Gulch might mispronounce it and call Noe a 'holler.' It's bad enough that we have stores here that sell quilts and handcrafts and frogs and things."
Other stores, such as Noe Valley Cream Puffs, complained that converting to "hollow" would have an adverse impact on their business.
A spokesperson from Noe Valley Weenies said the group would ignore the scientists' vote. "We're the Noe Valley Weenies, not the Noe Hollow Weenies."
Group Makes Sidewalks One-Way to Calm Traffic
By Kate Crasher
There are changes afoot in Downtown Noe Valley, thanks to the neighborhood's newest planning organization, the Urban Village People (UVP). Starting Sunday, April 1, the sidewalks of 24th Street, from Dolores to Diamond, will be divided into lanes specifically designated to improve the flow of pedestrians, stroller pushers, bicyclists, dog walkers, and people standing still.
Urban Village People Vice President Mia Culpa came up with the plan during the Christmas holidays. "I often experience a major delay on my walk to Starbuck's when a double-wide stroller or an oldster with a cane blocks my path," says Culpa. "I brought this to the attention of our membership, and we considered our options. At first, we thought about banishing certain groups from the sidewalk--saunterers, window-shoppers, or the wheelchair-bound--but shop owners put the kibosh on that. They want people to notice their displays."
The solution, according to the UVP plan, is lanes painted on the sidewalk, and a signage system on every block to show lane-use allotments. "This will make it so simple," smiles Culpa, a former ruler. "Everybody will know where they belong."
The sidewalk on the north side of 24th Street will be designated one-way westbound from 6 to 9 a.m., and 3 to 6 p.m. During these hours, the lane closest to shops will be earmarked for slow foot traffic and merging pedestrians emerging from stores. Next will be a fast-track diamond lane for power walkers (open to anyone who can keep up a 3 mph clip) and middle-school students. A wider third lane will be the designated sidewalk bicycle lane, which will include skateboards, shopping carts, and Segway People Movers. Additionally, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the third lane will be shared with stroller/toddlers (up to triple-wide prams permitted) and groups of more than four people who want to walk arm-in-arm. The last lane, closest to the street, will accommodate dog walkers and merchants' impromptu sidewalk sales. For the one-way eastbound south side of 24th Street, the order of lanes will be reversed, with the exception of a lane added between the second and third for exit and entry from the Farmers' Market.
The 24th Street thoroughfare will also get a makeover, Culpa says. "We're planting new 'bulb-outs' on the bus stop corners, and also growing kale and magic bean seedlings in box planters in the center of 24th Street, as a traffic-calming measure. Our ultimate plan is to reroute all vehicle traffic to Elizabeth and Jersey streets, although drivers can still leave their cars at both the Presbyterian and the Jesse Memorial parking lots."
If residents and merchants have concerns about safety, Culpa says, they should give the new sidewalk a trial run before bringing their children, pets, or large purses. "We're encouraging pedestrians to look both ways and maybe even give a little whistle before they enter the sidewalk. Also, local high school students have
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49ers to Build Stadium in Upper Noe
By Beau Linball
Faced with mounting resistance to his plan to move the 49ers to Santa Clara, team owner John Pork has made a deal with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to locate a new $800 billion football stadium in the one-block Upper Noe Park & Rec Center at 30th and Day streets.
"It's an ideal location," said Jennifer Siebel, newly hired assistant to the mayor. "It's located at the intersection of three major Muni lines--the 24, 26, and the J-Church--plus, it's near enough to Glen Park BART that drunk fans can stagger home."
Siebel said District 8 Supervisor Dufty Baker had assured her there is an abundance of on-street parking in the area.
Meanwhile, excitement is high at 49ers headquarters in Santa Anita.
"The timing for this deal is perfect," said Niners spokesperson Ann Coulter, who also is the offensive coordinator. "Since the rec center is already in the middle of a renovation, it'll be easy for us to throw in a few skyboxes and a Jumbo-Tron. And given how we've played the last three seasons, the seating for the little-league baseball diamond is ideally suited for our current attendance levels."
Coulter admits, however, that "no project is perfect, of course. We've had to make some compromises. For instance, the team's end zones have to be shared with the dog run that is currently circling the park. This is not a big deal, though, since the 49ers don't go there much anyway during regular season games."
Niners tackle Itzhak Perlman agrees that having to share with the dog run will be no sweat for the Red and Gold.
"It won't bother our wide receivers," said Perlman. "They'll just put on their four-inch Teflon cleats when they get near the goalposts."
But NFL referee Al "Blind Zebra" Johnson is grumbling. "Along with all the other yellow flags, quarters, lipstick, and scorecard stuff we have to carry in our pockets on game day, now we have to carry plastic bags too? Give me a break."
As for the name of the new stadium, Coulter says it's still up in the air. But the team is toying with an idea that should please fans young and old: Peezar Stadium.
Zoe and Sebastian:
A Democratic Couple Split Down the Middle
By Al Gore
Zoë and Sebastian may share a mortgage, a Toyota Scion, and a bulldog. But that doesn't mean they share a presidential candidate. And in Noe Valley, they're not alone--more than three-quarters of the largely Democratic households of what has been called "Looney Liberal Valley" are now living in houses divided against themselves.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama's announcement of his candidacy for president--on the heels of New York Senator Hillary Clinton's declaration of the same--has plunged this normally quiet (except for squealing train wheels) neighborhood into fear, suspicion, and mistrust. Residents of Noe Valley are choosing up sides with a vehemence not seen in America since the 2004 presidential election split the country into red states and blue states (or, for that matter, since the Civil War's blue Union soldiers fought against those gray French-consorting, slave-owning traitors).
Even that most sacred of bonds--the Tenancy-in-Common--is not immune to this wrenching force. When Zoë and Sebastian bought their duplex together at 542 Clipper Street for $1.8 million in 2005, they thought that if anything would cause difficulty in their partnership, it would be Zoë's soul-crushing depression or Sebastian's unresolved Tetris addiction.
But in the end, it was politics that would erode the foundation of trust that underlies their 3,100-square-foot duplex.
"We can't even be in the same room anymore," laments Zoë. "At the last homeowners' association meeting, Sebastian invoked Article 32(b) of our TIC agreement to make me remove the 'Hillary or Else '08' sign from our window. I was so mad I erased the Obama speech he'd taped from the Democratic Convention."
In fact, Clipper Street is the front line in this battle for neighborhood supremacy. Zoë and other Clinton partisans know that the northern half of Noe Valley does not welcome their presence. "The all-night Obama rallies at 23rd and Dolores didn't bother me," says Zoë, "but now with the armed voter-registration blockade I can't even go to 24th Street during the day."
Similarly, Obama fans cannot safely venture into the Deep South regions of the neighborhood. Sebastian, carrying his "Barack Steady" tote bag, was violently pelted with sustainably farmed arugula while walking the bulldog near Café Edwards last week. "The worst part," Sebastian recounts with moist eyes, "was that Mr. Muffins had to see that."
Zoë and Sebastian's last names are being withheld to protect their privacy.
Underground Mall Just for Grownups
By a Fifth Grader
Not every Noe Valleyan has 2.3 kids. In fact, some childless local residents would like to avoid having any youngsters around them at all--and the Noe Shoppers Association is listening.
Thanks to a generous grant from Friends with Money, construction is about to begin on California's first kid-free underground shopping mall, located underneath 24th Street, from Sanchez to Noe Street.
"We're tired of living in a nanny state," said Shirley Barron, association board president and chief organizer of the campaign.
Dubbed "Valley Downs," the mall will feature adult-friendly businesses, including Acquired Taste, an offal-vegetarian restaurant; the military supplier Subs Inc.; and 16 bars, including the Drop Inn, Hops Well, Rose Quarts, Blitz Bar, and Beer Belly. Noe's X-rated establishments, such as Male Boxes Etc. and Under the Covers Books, will also move their operations underground.
The development will have its share of high-end shops, too. "I'll be so relieved not to have to worry about breakage anymore," said Victor Mature, owner of Just for Fragile.
Minors will not be permitted in the underground mall, and monitors will be checking IDs at all entry points, to enforce the over-21 policy.
Unfortunately, Cole Burnen, a longtime resident of subterranean Noe Valley, is being forced to move. "They're just doing this because I'm a miner. I keep saying they're spelling it wrong, but nobody listens."
According to a notice posted on 24th Street, mall construction will require demolition of most buildings on the block, and businesses should expect an increase in noise, dust, and parking tickets. The only store that has promised to remain open is Real Food Company.
Due to a case of confusion, Chocolate Coveralls and Oceanfront Maltballs, two above-ground shops that traded places last fall, have decided to switch storefronts again.
In a related story, the Shoppers Association has petitioned the city to allow three more panhandlers at the entrance to the mall, near Bull Market. (Currently, 24th Street is zoned for 10.)
The association also announced plans to dig up and restore an old clipper ship that it discovered in the course of surveying the caverns under 24th Street.
Says Barron, "In the event that global warming predictions are correct, Noe Valley will be a water world soon enough. Then we'll be very thankful for this ship. It will be our own version of Noah's ark, but we'll only need to round up one of a kind."
Noe Resident Is Google's Sole Employee
By Annette Flicks
You've shared a table with him at Miss Millie's, or waited behind him in line at Rite Aid. Or maybe you've watched him down his fourth martini at Panos' Labyrinth. But you might not have known that the man on the bar stool is the same person you communicate with dozens of times a day.
Yes, Guy Google, the researcher who quickly and efficiently finds the answers to everybody's questions at Google.com, has been living in Noe Valley for almost nine years, in a room above Tubbey's Hardware.
We caught up with Guy last month while he was having a massage at Elisa's Health Spa on 24th Street. Our interview covered too many topics to include them all here. (The questions we asked resulted in 1,036 answers in just under 2.01 seconds.) But we thought you'd enjoy seeing the highlights, sorted by relevance. For the complete interview, go to www.dontaskyahoo.com.
Voice: The Voice has learned that you're the one who looks up all the words, finds the movie reviews, helps us get facts on....well, just about everything. It's such a big job--how do you do it?
Guy: Actually, I'm pretty well-read, and I'm a natural at languages. I also type about 80 words a minute.
Voice: Do you get a lot of requests for information from Noe Valley residents? What about?
Guy: Yeah, I get a lot of questions looking for safety comparisons between Volvos and Subarus. Sometimes I refer them to a site about Chevy Suburbans, just for fun.
Voice: What are your hours?
Guy: Only when the Internet is open.
Voice: Do you prefer questions or queries?
Guy: You know, I would like someone to write in with an answer every now and then.
Voice: What's the dumbest question you ever received?
Guy: Sometimes people ask me what's for dinner. How should I know?
Voice: Have you ever been stumped? What couldn't you find?
Guy: Yeah. The Real Food Company.
Voice: You always seem to question our spelling? Isn't that kind of rude?
Guy: Listen, if you're getting about a thousand hits a day for "babby strollers"...
Voice: If I ask you something about beer, do I have to be over 21?
Guy: If the typing seems slow enough for someone over 35, I usually don't ask for ID.
Voice: What do you do when you don't have to look anything up? Do you do sudokus?
Guy: I'm sorry, I can only answer one question at a time.
Voice: Why doesn't your logo have little eyes in the O's of gOOgle?
Guy: We don't want people to know we can see them through their computer screen--it might scare them.
Voice: Did you ever consider calling the site Goggle or Gaggle?
Guy: Excellent! I now have a new answer when people ask me for the dumbest question I've ever received.
Voice: Our publisher has a question: Are you really a guy?
Guy: Yes! Can't you see my attachment?
J-Church Hostage Crisis Over
By Kay Ingleside
During the early rush-hour commute on April 1, a horde of frustrated J-Church riders took Transit Director Lewis "Golf-cart" Libby hostage near the 30th Street car turnaround. They demanded he apologize for a "ridiculously" long delay the previous night, asked him to add an extra hour to each of their transfers, and then tied him to a tree.
After fuming silently for several minutes, Libby cleared his throat and gave a heartfelt apology. "If the wait was a problem for you, then I guess I'm sorry. But since I have a car, I can't possibly imagine the frustration you've been feeling, can I?"
However, he refused to budge on the transfer issue. "Two hours should be plenty."
Mollified, the protesters released him and headed back to the bus stop.
But before Libby could drive away, Muni patron Winona Rider ran after him and shouted an ultimatum: "Next time this happens, I won't wait 10 hours for the train to move. I'll walk out those doors a lot sooner!"
Beagle Hounds Quarterback Smith
By Fred Bassett
At noon on April 1, Peezar Stadium was closed off with a police cordon, and the future of football in Noe Valley was looking grim. Following yesterday's clash between the 49ers, who are now based at their new Sanchez and Day Street stadium (see story, previous page), and the neighborhood dog owners who have used the dog run surrounding the football field, all games are suspended pending an investigation of the melee.
It all started in the third quarter of the 8 a.m. 49ers vs. Detroit Devil Dogs game, when a pug named Henry broke away from his dog walker and jumped on Pitsy, a bulldog-shih-tzu mix. The hybrid, owned by Emilio Pucci of 23rd Street, retaliated with a yip and rolled downhill onto the Peezar field. On the way, Pitsy's leash tangled in the legs of a weimariner, an Irish setter, and Quarterback Alex Smith, who was then dragged toward the Devil Dogs' end zone, nearly causing a safety and two points for the other side.
Meanwhile, Hambone, a Beagle with a penchant for pigskin, took off to join the fracas, followed by his owner, Greg Lablover, who was instantly tackled by 49er cheerleader and special teams player Debra Neeman. When cops finally separated the pile, Smith had a separated shoulder, Lablover was unconscious, Neeman's jeans were torn, and Hambone had swallowed the football.
April 1: Celebrate the YEAR OF THE BORE at an interminable panel discussion facilitated by Gabby Hayes. 8 pm on. Wordigo, 451 Blather St.
April 1: Deadline for submitting DNA samples to determine paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. Midnight. Bahamas. 1-800-IDOL.
April 1: The Noe Valley OCD SUPPORT GROUP hosts a lecture, "Making a List, Checking It Twice," followed by a demonstration of proper handwashing techniques; tissues and Purell provided. 8 pm; check your watches with the giant clock at 26th and Sanchez, southeast corner, in the window to the right of the entrance door, if you're facing the shop. Call for exact location, 1-800-OB-SESS.
April 31: In a rare Bay Area appearance, Osama Bin Laden gives a SLIDE LECTURE, "I Am Not the 2008 Democratic Candidate from Illinois," followed by a potluck jihad; bring your own fatwa. 8 pm. Mullah Times Bookstore, 8888 Valencia St. www.osama2008.com.
April 1: The SF International Polish-Uruguayan Film Festival joins forces with the SF International Burmese-Chad Film Festival to showcase their new season of ALL-LATVIAN films. 1-11 pm. Castro's Theatre. www.poliurugburchalatviainthecan.com.
April 2: Hens of Noe Valley hosts a discussion by home economist Sue Traceutical, "They Call It Free Range Chicken, But It Actually Costs Money." 7 pm. That Empty Place, across from Bell Market. 555-EGGS.
April 31: The PROCRASTINATORS of Noe Valley holds its monthly meeting, rescheduled from Jan. 5, Feb. 14, and March 20; begins at 7 pm. Call to confirm. 555-WAIT.
April 3-31: Designs once considered for LGBT banners, including the cloud, the sun, the lightning bolt, and the corkscrew, are on display in "Rainbow FLAGS of Our Fathers." Main Library, Rock Hudson Community Meeting Room, 99 Larkin St. 555-SOGAY.
April 15: CARA BLACKHAWK reads from her French investigative series "The Three Faces of Aimée LeDuck." 6 pm. Mystere Libres, 4199A 24th St.; www.quack.com.
Hackneyed? Inane? Banal? Clichéd? Stale? Pedestrian? Done to Death? In just one day, the Instant Writing Workshop can make you Innovative, Unique, Sparkling, Inventive, and Inspired! No perspiration required. Results not typical. www.iamspecial.com.
Running Partner Wanted for Happy Donuts to Half-Dome Footrace in Yosemite. You don't need to be faster than a grizzly, just slower than me. E-mail Tim Treadwell at Chew.com.
Manny Available! A strong role model for infants and toddlers--I will make sure your tykes don't grow up to be wusses. Sandbox surge reenactments, jungle-gym combat maneuvers, TV remote command and control. See www.apocalypto.com.
For Rent: Stunning vintage cardboard box located just steps from 24th Street--close to everything. Eat-in/sleep-in/live-in kitchen--easy to clean! Cozy, dark, and quiet all day. View of the curb at 24th and Noe. $2,400 per month, garage negotiable.
Smoking Degrees: Learn to smoke or how to teach others! With so few smokers left to teach the next generation, California is now paying top dollar to certified instructors. We offer a home- or car-study program. Don't let this lost art die out! 555-PUFF.
Design Intrusions: Full-service home renovation and remodeling. You won't recognize your dwelling when we get done with it! Got ideas? Keep them to yourself--we're the professionals. Kitchens transformed into decks, rumpus-room removal, hedge pruning/prune hedging. References, dictionaries. 555-FIXT.
Paris Lovers! Are you nuts? Are you made of money? For an easier getaway, come to our rental cabins in downtown Apascagoula, close to Caterpillar Tractor Inc. and the world-famous Hole in the Wall. We're white, right, and polite! Reservations: www.helpgetmeoutahere.com.
For Sale: Colorful Noe Valley Nursery School Quilt, created in 2006. Originally found in shopping bag on sidewalk in front of Noe Valley Ministry; barely used. Handmade! Best offer. 555-SWIPE.
It's Just Launch is a specialized dating service for busy NASA astronauts who don't have time to fraternize. Get set up on a casual mission over lunch, brunch, or a freeze-dried meal in a discreet, no-atmosphere setting. Don't get cast off when you could blast off! 1-888-SHUTTLE.
Gourmet Grout: Totally organic, nontoxic. Dries fast, lasts forever. Thick. Used once. 555-STUCK.
Letter to the EditorCrime Alert: Zodiac Killer Targets Stores. On April 1, 2007, the Voice received this rather ominous missive in the mail. Although the editorial "we" were relieved that there was no specific threat to our newspaper, it did seem like the information should be passed on.
Help Us Pick a Winner!
Last month, we asked our readers to come up with the perfect caption for this photo of two celebrities spotted on 24th Street in February. Your responses were so clever, our judges were unable to settle on just one. However, we narrowed the field to three. Which is your favorite? (Write email@example.com.) The top votegetter in our photo caption contest will receive a year's supply of cat food.
1. Newsom: "When's Dufty gonna get here? I'm tired of talking to this delusional homeless guy."
2. While Supervisor Bevan Dufty shows Mayor Gavin Newsom his undercover approach to Project Homeless Connect, Newsom is momentarily distracted by the Xenu spaceship landing on Twin Peaks.
3. While Supervisor Bevan Dufty recounts the Real Foods saga, Mayor Gavin Newsom suddenly remembers that he needs to hire a new appointments secretary.