Who Are These Goons?


A handbill posted on a lightpole at 16th and South Van Ness. The list of suspicious circumstances got me.

Have you recently experienced any of the following:

  • “Lost” mail? “Wrong numbers”?
  • Dust bunnies? Flies on the windowsill ? Dead moths?
  • Tooth aches? Interrupted sleep? Invalid passwords?
  • Rearranged possessions? (Your belongings not where you left them?)
  • Mismatched socks? Zippers not working properly?
  • Odd damage or small stains around your house?
  • Theft and sabotage of your food or kitchenware? Appliances behaving strangely?
  • Cabinet and drawer handles held on by screws repeatedly loosened ARTIFICIALLY?
  • Opened caps on items such as deodorant & food containers being retightened excessively?
  • Do you hear sirens? Customers in a store filing into line just as you’re about to check out?
  • Itching?

A reader notes (thanks, reader!) that it’s worth visiting the site of The Jejune Institute, noted on the poster as the suspected perpetrator of this harassment. (And if you’re thirsting for further Jejune knowledge, see the Yelp reviews.)

Cars, Birds


16th Street at Bryant, San Francisco. This sign (or signs) has been here for years, just behind The Double Play bar. I’ll dig up the story behind them — there’s at least one similar art piece on 6th Street, south of Market — at some later date.

[That later date is now: KQED friend and colleague Molly Samuel advises they’re by a San Francisco artist who goes by the handle Rigo 23 (if Wikipedia is to be believed, his full name is Ricardo Gouveia.) Thanks, Molly!]


1951 Buick

It’s a Buick Roadmaster Deluxe. For sale for $4,000 if you’re looking for a project. It’s been parked at various spots around Mariposa and Alabama streets, a couple blocks from where I ply the radio news editor trade, for at least a month. (Those stacks in the background of the top photo–I’ve been looking at them for the last year and I haven’t yet investigated what defunct local manufacturing operation they might have been part of.)



My Walk to Work

Most days, I ride BART from Berkeley to the station at 16th and Mission streets in San Francisco. 16th and Mission is a tough corner in a tough neighborhood. When I was an editorial writer for the San Francisco Examiner in the early ’90s, I wrote a piece about an Irish immigrant who was beaten to death with a baseball bat at an ATM near the corner. That kind of mayhem is rare, I think, but a lower-level kind of chaos, characterized by drug dealing, purse snatching, prostitution, a large population of beggars hanging out, transient hotels, and hairy-looking bars and greasy spoons, is more typical. I’ve been accosted a couple of times in the past six months by women working the street. I spotted one trying to intercept my path one Friday night. She was in high heels, and I sped up to get past her. “Don’t walk so fast!” she shouted. “I’m not going to hurt you!”

For all that, the walk from BART to KQED is still pretty interesting and rarely induces uneasiness for the purposeful walker. In the daylight hours, the biggest hazard is red-light runners and stop-sign jumpes on the major thoroughfares I need to cross–16th, South Van Ness, Folsom, Harrison and Bryant. The walk is about two-thirds of a mile, and I use a route that avoids a vicious block of transient hotels and some very hard-looking dealer types. I wind up on 17th Street. To the west, it rises picturesquely to the Castro and Mount Sutro. Eastward–my direction going to work–it winds up in a knot of streets on the edge of the Mission before crossing a ridge and disappearing into the neighborhood at the northern foot of Potrero Hill. This part of town used to be warehouses and light industry, and today it’s a mix of real and pretend artist lofts, galleries, small theaters, and a few vestiges of the old workshops. Harrison Street, one of the main routes west and south out of downtown, seems to have become what passes for a prominent cycling thoroughfare. I see a few hipster-homesteaders (isn’t it tragic to go by appearances?) riding by every time I’m on the street.

Here are the pictures, to be added to later:

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Since 1969


At 17th Street and South Van Ness, San Francisco. I’ve walked by this sign a couple of dozen times in the past month without seeing it; I pass it at a sort of diagonal, and there’s always something happening on the sidewalk that I’m keeping my eye on. Then today, there it was. Faded. Peeling. Shabby. The joint it advertises is several blocks away. If it still exists, I imagine it resembles the sign.

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