Modernization, Aesthetics and Respect for History

Disclosure:  This post appeared originally in different form on a private social media page. This post addresses exterior changes in a historic car dealership building located at the southwest corner of Van Ness Ave. and Bush Street in San Francisco.  The dealership was founded by Ellis Brooks during the 1930s, and originally sold REOs, and then Hudsons to families whose daughters were reading early Nancy Drew mysteries.  The business went through many changes before moving to a smaller storefront around the corner.  If you’ve been curious about the fate of the historic Ellis Brooks Chevrolet neon sign at Bush & … Continue reading Modernization, Aesthetics and Respect for History

Dangerous Sidewalks in San Francisco

I don’t have statistics for accidents on sidewalks, and if the statistics were right in front of me now I don’t know if I’d believe them.  Personally, the only time I filed a hit-and-run bicyclist report was in 1992, when I was injured just badly enough to get a taxicab to the emergency room.  I’ve been in that particular type of accident on other occasions, but got up and walked away after the bicyclists bolted to avoid being held accountable.  So, I’m led to believe that incidents of this nature are underreported. Many people are unaware that it’s illegal to … Continue reading Dangerous Sidewalks in San Francisco

Today in San Francisco History

(Disclosure:  This post appears in slightly different form on a private social media page.) WARNING: HISTORY LESSON! HISTORY LESSON! Today, May 21, is the fortieth anniversary of the Dan White verdict and “White Night” riots which occurred in the S.F. Civic Center and Castro District. People still debate whether the riots had a positive long-term effect on LGBT rights. I say they didn’t, and shouldn’t have happened in the first place. The far-out nature of the verdict made a violent public reaction likely, though, so no one should have been surprised. Dan White’s crime was viewed as homophobic, and San … Continue reading Today in San Francisco History

One More Piece of San Francisco Has Been Lost

Please see the end of this post for a link to a Hoodline article by Carrie Sisto about the demolition of the Hemlock Tavern on Polk Street.  The Hemlock was a longtime bar and entertainment venue.  Many years earlier, a gay bar called Giraffe was in that space (Polk Street was a less conspicuous gay-themed alternative to the Castro for decades). I’ve lived in San Francisco since 1982, and can recall how my mother used to note the sad changes in the Financial District skyline whenever my parents drove me home on the Bay Bridge from their house in Oakland.  I made … Continue reading One More Piece of San Francisco Has Been Lost

Maintaining a Smartphone on a Budget — and Frightening Guesswork

More than two years ago, I invested in my first smartphone.  It was an unused, clearance-priced iPhone 5s, listed on the site of the service provider who was overseeing the account for a cheap flip phone I’d been using. Even the best smartphones don’t last forever, regardless of whether you treat them gently.  I treated that phone gently often, too.  I let go of it to shower, sleep, read books and go into public places, and that was about it.  The rest of the time, I was the constantly needy infant, and that phone was my caregiver. Recently, I noticed … Continue reading Maintaining a Smartphone on a Budget — and Frightening Guesswork