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"What do you want me to do, learn to stutter?"

For lovers of the hard-boiled crime story, life began with the black bird. It's a tale of greed and a wisecracking gumshoe. The femme fatale is a liar. The object of the hero's search is a statuette of a falcon. Published exactly 75 years ago on Valentine's Day, Dashiell Hammett's private-eye novel "The Maltese Falcon"' immediately won critical acclaim. And when it was made into a 1941 movie starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre (and directed by a rookie), Hammett's story found a worldwide audience and his hero, Sam Spade, became a household name. Now, three-quarters of a century later, that's still the case. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 14, 2005 - 33 comments

Love's Labors Lost

Poor Oscar can't get any. Maybe he needs some tips on how to deal with the dirt-flinging girl in his life? Maybe he needs some other kind of help?
posted by mudpuppie on Feb 7, 2005 - 2 comments

HYPNOBASSET ENGAGING OCULAR DEFENSE SYSTEM

Dogblog - Jon Sung takes us on a magical journey through San Francisco, and its many fluffy dogs.
posted by Simon! on Jan 23, 2005 - 14 comments

Historic Spirits

The real Spirit of 1776. Spurred by a Christmas gift of 18th century-style rye whiskey, I found this fascinating exposition on the history of beer and the history of San Francisco. I've signed up for a tour!
posted by Daddio on Dec 27, 2004 - 15 comments

Here we are now

Free TiVo. If you are an American consumer and live in the Bay Area, the TiVo company on Friday will give away 40GB Series 2 recorders to Comcast customers who bring their cable bill and a gift for The Family Giving Tree charity to TiVo headquarters in Alviso, Calif. The giveaway will last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until they run out of units, and will be limited to one recorder per household.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket on Dec 16, 2004 - 22 comments

Charities refuse strip club donations.

Strip clubs are associated with spreading legs, not spreading the wealth. And apparently that's the way a lot of charities in the San Francisco area want it to stay. The reason? They don't want to be associated with "those people" i.e., the skin trade. This in a city where buttless chaps are considered casual wear. [SF Gate article, about a year old, but I doubt anything has changed.]
posted by zorro astor on Dec 12, 2004 - 19 comments

Kites over Frisco, 1906

"THE YEAR was 1906, and the citizens of San Francisco must have found it a wildly incongruous sight--grown men at child's play in the midst of tragedy. Less than three weeks before, the earth had shaken and the city had burned. The disaster began with an earthquake in the early morning of Wednesday, April 18, and when the fires were extinguished three days later, at least two hundred thousand San Francisco residents were homeless. Yet on the afternoon of May 5, a small group of men was flying kites near Folsom and Sixth streets."
posted by Cryptical Envelopment on Dec 9, 2004 - 27 comments

Post election demonstrations

Post election demonstrations and protests in Portland, San Francisco (pics). And a few more.
posted by loquacious on Nov 3, 2004 - 42 comments

Licenses Revoked

California Supreme Court voids all San Francisco same-sex marriages. Said the mayor overstepped his authority and that the city violated the state law.
posted by kokogiak on Aug 12, 2004 - 65 comments

You call that a Mousetrap?

Ahh, Mousetrap.
Just turn the crank and snap the plank and boot the marble right down the chute, now watch it roll in into the pole, and knock the ball in the rub-a-dub tub, which flips the man into the pan...the trap is set... here comes the net...
Replace marble with "bowling ball", trap with "twenty three ton crane", and net with either "bank safe" or "piano", and you've got a pretty good idea of the Life Size Mouse Trap event that just hit San Francisco. (Summary pic / All pics).

And yes, of course there were protesters.
posted by effugas on Aug 10, 2004 - 11 comments

Hacking wild Sourdough

Due to temporary budget shortfalls, I find myself spending my Saturdays elbow deep in breadmaking. Sourdough bread is perhaps one of the most primal forms of bread relying an an artificial ecosystem of hundreds of different bacteria and yeasts to digest grain flours and produce gas. The souring of the dough has complex effects on the flavor of the resulting bread and is necessary for low-protein flours such as rye. Free starter cultures can be obtained from the friends of Carl who continue his tradition of mailing his culture to anyone who sent a self-addressed stamped envelope. You can buy cultures from around the world, but if you want to live dangerously, you can cultivate your own by just using a mixture of flour and water relying on microbial flora growing on the flour. Sourdough in some ways puts the art of hacking back into breadmaking because it requires a deeper understanding of what is going on beyond just throwing a set of dry and wet ingredients into a bread machine.

Which could explain why I'm still lucky to get something other than a brick. But like beermaking, the DIY satisfaction makes up for many flaws in the final product. (And on final edit, I can't get away with making this post without the obligatory link to the sourdough faqs.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Jul 3, 2004 - 32 comments

2004 Power Tool Drag Races

Pictures are up from the 2004 Power Tool Drag Races (brought to SF by Charlie and Jim), an event in which people retrofit store bought power tools for racing down a track. The Ridden Class re-rigs tools to locomote vehicles. Several action-packed movies (and one boring one) can be found here. Our own CTP (in hat-->) took 2nd!
[Note: the Qbox site lists multiple photo galleries off-site. Some of them have NSFW pictures.]
posted by scarabic on Jun 16, 2004 - 7 comments

Interesting Thing of the Day

San Francisco’s Terra Infirma and other Interesting Things of the Day. Putting the muse back in museum was another that struck me with its focus on unconventionally-themed museums, reminiscent of the roadside attractions in Gaiman's American Gods. Audio feeds of recent articles are available, and well read, but it seems that most of the clips are intended to become available by subscription-only. Regardless, many of the past year's articles make for fascinating reads. (via bsag)
posted by quasistoic on Jun 4, 2004 - 6 comments

For sale: 1 arts community.

Chicken John is quitting! (SanFranciscoFilter) It looks like the Odeon is looking for new management. Does this mean the end of good/bad/scary performance art in SF, or is it just a new beginning?
posted by badstone on May 12, 2004 - 4 comments

Blistering attack on PBS

"Other channels do what PBS [does], with the added bonus of doing it better." On the 50th anniversary of San Francisco's KQED, the SF Chronicle's TV critic Tim Goodman levels a blistering attack on the station and on PBS, calling it "one of the worst-run, thoroughly backward media entities in the country."
posted by twsf on Apr 29, 2004 - 26 comments

protesting silliness

Were protests always like this? Living in the bay area for a few years now, I've avoided taking to the streets to protest wars and such. Not because I'm pro-war or anything, I'm just a little wary of what these events are really all about.
posted by garethspor on Apr 12, 2004 - 62 comments

Flowers...

Flowers for all!!! "Today a coworker of mine had a thought to send flowers to a random couple waiting in line at SF city hall. He called a florist and they agreed to do it. He told them to deliver to any couple -- it didn't matter who -- standing in line to get married, with his blessing. The card will read simply "With love, from Minneapolis, Minnesota." Once they understood, they were very touched and thought it was a great idea. He told another co-worker who did the same thing. And now we want to start a movement. Wouldn't that be cool if people from all over the country, gay, straight and otherwise, started sending flowers to the people waiting in line to get married. Call it The Big Gay Bouquet call it Flowers from the Heartland. Call it whatever you want, but help us get this off the ground. Call Flowers on the Bay at 888-217-9119 and order a bouquet to be delivered tomorrow at noon. And Tell all of your friends to do it. Because straight or gay, we believe and we know many people who believe, support and celebrate the right to marriage. And we'd like to show it. We'd like to see all of the people standing in line with flowers of support from all over the country."

Apparently, flower shops in San Fran are starting to get overwhelmed...
posted by matty on Feb 19, 2004 - 42 comments

Working toward tomorrow.

Minimum wage is San Fransisco is now $8.50. Minimum wage in New York City is $5.15 per hour. Minimum wages from around the United States.
posted by the fire you left me on Feb 2, 2004 - 125 comments

What are vibrissae anyway?

Welcome to this, the 23rd Annual Xmas Quiz, a holiday tradition in the Bay Area for 23 years. No. 12 is probably too obscure, and No. 14 will inspire rampant pedantry. 16 questions on a wide range of subjects, and answers are here
posted by amberglow on Dec 26, 2003 - 10 comments

Quake in CA

6.5 Quake Hits Central California. Felt for over a minute in San Jose, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Interesting time to discover the oft-defunded USGS's instant earthquake news page. Talk about dynamically generating your pages your pages from the ground up...
posted by effugas on Dec 22, 2003 - 68 comments

Graffiti Archeaology

Graffiti Archaeology Pretty cool flash app that lets you view photos of the same walls in San Francisco over time, as the many layers of graffiti accumulate. To anyone that has ever ridden the Caltrain, a lot of these walls should look familiar.
posted by mathowie on Dec 20, 2003 - 6 comments

Good and gooder...

Lesser of two goods? (SanFranciscoFilter) SFWeekly's John Mecklin sums up the wild ride in San Francisco's mayoral race, from Matt Gonzalez's late entry, to the baffling Guardian endorsement, to the obvious Chronicle Gavin Newsom endorsement, to the downright surreal Alioto endorsement debacle. Oh, and then there's the Chron's not so coincidental "Shame " series on homelessness, Newsom's defining issue, in the final days of the election. In all, Mecklin concludes we're pretty damn lucky to have the fortune in this day and age to choose between two candidates that both have the capacity to do a decent job. Is this relevant to non-San Franciscans? Well, if Matt wins (and the odds are even), that puts a Green at the helm of a fairly important US city and may help counter the effect of Arnie.
posted by badstone on Dec 4, 2003 - 33 comments

shoplifters of the world

Jeb Bush, comedian. "It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species, which may not be a bad thing. That's probably good news for the country."
posted by the fire you left me on Nov 13, 2003 - 50 comments

Whither useful information for an overdesigned site?

R.I.P. Bay Area Transit Information Page, 1994-2003. The site, started by two Berkeley students, provided quick access to transit information in the San Francisco Bay Area, who later received funding for their efforts in 1996. Instead, it gets replaced by this abomination of web design. On the other hand, it is very unusual for a web site to keep the same user interface over the span of almost a decade. Already, there have been user interface rants, complaints about not finding information, sarcastic commentary, and a brief eulogy delivered from one of the original creators, and it hasn't even been the first day. Is content over style dead or are information sites like this (flash) the wave of the future?
posted by calwatch on Nov 4, 2003 - 12 comments

The World's favourite spot to die?

Might as well jump. JUMP! An interesting article (nicked from linkfilter) about suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge. Only 26 people are known to have survived the 220 ft drop into water 350ft deep. I have been across the bridge once and was "amused" by the fact that there is a free counselling phone as you get halfway across. Reading this article and realising the numbers involved, it suddenly seems less funny... BTW, the jumper (who before he went a second time was one of the 26) protesting the Iraq War was discussed here.
posted by jontyjago on Oct 7, 2003 - 38 comments

BYOBW

This new film [25MB, QuickTime] documents the 3rd annual Bring Your Own Big Wheel race, in which a bunch of crazed fools raced headlong down San Francisco's Lombard Street (aka: the crookedest street in the world) on Big Wheels. Good drunk fun! Here are some pics for the bandwidth-challenged.
posted by scarabic on Sep 30, 2003 - 22 comments

Let me tell you about my mother.

San Francisco mayorial candidates take the Voight-Kampff test. You know, from Blade Runner. For the children.
posted by xmutex on Sep 5, 2003 - 36 comments

statistics porn

people are leaving san francisco in droves? craigslist published a graph that shows a huge increase in ads for new apartments for rent since jan. 1, 2001. (The recurring sharp dips correspond to the thanksgiving and christmas holidays.) (yes, via boingboing.)
posted by crunchland on Jul 30, 2003 - 71 comments

Let your feet do the walking!

"We're walking from Chicago to San Francisco. Many have responded with, "You guys are stupid!" Some, on the other hand, have said, "Wow, that's cool!" Either way, we hope you'll keep coming back to see what will happen next in our walking adventures."
Current mileage, photo galleries, and journal entries abound -- and really, when was the last time you walked 627 miles (inside of 60 days)?
posted by wells on Jul 24, 2003 - 20 comments

"Every city is an urban palimpsest"

The wonderful online history journal Common-Place is presenting a special issue entitled "Early Cities of the Americas." Nineteen essays, each concerning a particular incident, person, place or encounter in the early life of a city, together provide a "worm's eye view" of what urban life was like in early postcolonial North and South America. Learn about vigilante justice and press sensationalism in 1856 San Francisco, or about a day in the life of a peasant family in Lima of the 1760s. Other essays concern the 17th-century "treasure city" of Havana, searching for salvation as a slave in 1647 New Amsterdam (New York), and capital punishment in colonial Paramaribo, Suriname. "Reading these essays cannot but help readers gain some historical perspective on the modern condition," especially as you see how many of the issues we associate with modern urban life (poverty, crime, bowling?) are not exactly recent developments.
posted by arco on Jul 15, 2003 - 5 comments

Ommm you rough beast, Ommm.....

Buddhism tames the amygdala Covered recently on Metafilter (here), new research at the University of California San Francisco Medical Centre ( into the "Happy Buddhist" phenomenon ) shows that Buddhist meditation techniques "can tame the amygdala, an area of the brain which is the hub of fear memory." [BBC] -Is this the Rx for a nation of Americans gripped by fear? Do Christianity, Islam or Judaism have effective techniques to tame the amygdala too?
posted by troutfishing on May 22, 2003 - 48 comments

Gasp!

Hooters is coming to San Francisco Oh My, Hooters, The ultimate in crass disgusting guy-ness and un-PC-ness is finally coming to San Francisco-the utlimate in PC-ness and "new-age-king-of-guy-ness." Will San Francisco be able to handle it? Granted the self-professed "slightly tacky yet unrefined" Hooters IS going into Fisherman's Wharf, which is tacky tourist-central. But, "it's about so much more than...that..." you know.
posted by aacheson on May 20, 2003 - 52 comments

urban standing

For fans or inhabitants of San Francisco, USA. The great San Francisco bubble, life in America's last great progressive cocoon. What about New Orleans? Or Vancouver (CA)? My Miami?
posted by the fire you left me on May 10, 2003 - 54 comments

GumBall Rally 3000

The Gumball Rally 3000 is almost upon us. San Francisco to Miami in five days all in the spirit of the classic movie. With an entrance fee of $20k and A List celebs like Johnny Knoxville and Jason Priestly participating... Not to mention the Bikini Bandits it's sure to be a wonder to behold. Starts at the Fairmont today at 9. Be sure to say hi to the Hustler Honeys in their twin turbocharged Lamborghini....
posted by zeoslap on Apr 17, 2003 - 22 comments

SF Police Indictments, Civic Duty and Justice

"I'm the commander in chief of this goddam place, and there is no way the command staff of my Police Department is going to step down at this time. It's a matter of public safety."

So responded San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to the indictments of ten SFPD members, which included Police Chief Earl Sanders. The convictions were passed after police officers assaulted two men who wouldn't hand over a bag of steak fajitas. Top brass deliberately delayed handing over records to the DA. Has Brown committed political suicide standing by an old friend? Are his words a realistic portrayal of municipal operations? And what does an indicted command staff still on the job say about justice being served?
posted by ed on Mar 1, 2003 - 21 comments

Who Is Frank Chu?

Who Is Frank Chu? A Craigslister put up an interview with various SF residents, and Frank Chu himself. For people not from the Bay Area, Frank Chu has been a downtown fixture for some time -- notable for his silent protest of bizarre space-crimes committed by ex-presidents.
posted by hammurderer on Jan 27, 2003 - 13 comments

Serratia Marcesens and Project 112

Project 112 was a secret, cold-war era project to determine vulnerabilities of US warships to various chemical and biological attacks. While lots is known about what happened, there's still a lot of information that hasn't been released yet. In the early 1950s, the US Army sprayed the bacteria Serratia Marcesens over San Francisco. While the government thought that it was safe, many people ended up checking into the hospital. One elderly man even died as a result of the US testing chemical and biological agents against it's own citizens.
posted by manero on Jan 22, 2003 - 4 comments

Confessions of a SF Pimp

Everything you ever wanted to know about pimping but were afraid to ask "Money is a motivator. Pimping is perfect for a down-and-out freelance writer. Moreover, I do love danger. Not too much danger though, just enough to keep the nerves popping." A ripping yarn - a San Fransisco treat o< ! (via brutal.com).
posted by KettleBlack on Dec 9, 2002 - 17 comments

Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg is a contemporary sculptor known for making common objects larger than life. Among other pieces, he has placed a spoon and cherry in Minneapolis, a giant clothespin in Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love), and last Thursday he anointed San Francisco as the City of Love.
posted by entrustNoOne on Nov 23, 2002 - 17 comments

Seamless City

Seamless City is a project made possible by proliferation of gigabytes of affordable disk space, digital cameras, photo composition applications, and a lot of time. Take a 30 mile pedestrian tour of San Francisco.
posted by mnology on Nov 20, 2002 - 8 comments

Banning hip-hop.

Banning hip-hop. Police in San Francisco control the kinds of music clubs may play and promote. In key parts of the city, rap music has basically been outlawed.
posted by xowie on Oct 27, 2002 - 58 comments

Gore Assails Bush's Iraq Policy

Gore Assails Bush's Iraq Policy The text of former vice president Al Gore's speech before the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco.
posted by semmi on Sep 23, 2002 - 42 comments

Edison schools 'privatization with public money' scheme a failure?

Edison schools 'privatization with public money' scheme a failure? School districts such as San Francisco's, which saw Edison as a panacea, may end up worse off for having played the privatization game. If Edison goes under, the district (could) be faced with huge logistical challenges: re-enrolling kids, renegotiating contracts with teachers who were working at Edison schools, maybe even dealing with the company's creditors.
posted by skallas on Jun 27, 2002 - 28 comments

"One nation, under God, indivisible..."
posted by Reggie452 on Jun 26, 2002 - 142 comments

"Soccer scolds" attack!

"Soccer scolds" attack! The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last has had it with gushing soccer writers like Slate's David Thomson ("[Soccer is] something made out of muscle, speed, grace and the soul") who see American lack of enthusiasm for the sport as a deep-seated national character flaw worthy of dire-sounding pronouncements. Is he right, or, as The San Francisco Chronicle would have it, can soccer really bring world peace?
posted by transona5 on Jun 20, 2002 - 29 comments

2nd Degree Murder Verdict Thrown Out in SF Dog Mauling Case.

2nd Degree Murder Verdict Thrown Out in SF Dog Mauling Case. Though Superior Court Judge James Warren said Knoller and Noel are "the most despised couple in this city," he said the evidence did not support a murder conviction because Knoller had no way of knowing her dogs would kill someone when she left her apartment that day.
posted by Danf on Jun 17, 2002 - 12 comments

Punks vs. Yuppies in San Francisco

Punks vs. Yuppies in San Francisco I don't know how I feel about trying to get yuppies and punks to reconcile but I do like the idea of a yuppies vs. punks Olympics. It'd be funny if they had one here in NYC (I'd nominate Willimasburg as the location).
posted by zinegurl on Jun 16, 2002 - 27 comments

Drug War Roundup III A 70% increase in the price of cigarettes seems to have dropped the teenage smoking rate by 7%. On May 15 you heard the Drug War Czar say anti-drug ads were a flop. He announced a new campaign the next day. San Franciscan test subjects in a medical marijuana study say they're given "low-potency ditch weed." Subjects in a similiar study in Canada say the weed they're given is way too good. Lastly, Canada is debating whether to decriminalize smoking pot on the heels of a committee conclusion that it doesn't lead to hard drug use, committing more crimes or driving fast.
posted by raaka on May 19, 2002 - 16 comments

Californians, did you feel the quake?

Californians, did you feel the quake? This 5.2 quake was near the surface which, according to the San Francisco local news, allowed it to travel farther than usual. Did you feel it? If so, where? Did it create any problems? Was anyone at the Sharks game?
posted by emptyage on May 13, 2002 - 40 comments

16thandmission: Urban Data Stories

16thandmission: Urban Data Stories is "an investigation into the interplay of data, interactivity and narrative in an urban environment. It takes as its focus the corner of 16th and Mission Streets in San Francisco.... Depending on the state of the bus system at any given moment, the narratives interrelate to a variety of degrees with the map framework." [For you non-san-franciscans, 16th and Mission is a well-known intersection - lively, multicultural, gritty]
posted by vacapinta on May 8, 2002 - 9 comments

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