The Bold Italic published a piece this week debunking (or confirming) several well-known San Francisco stories. For example, there’s no documentary evidence that Mark Twain actually said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” That doesn’t mean he didn’t say it, only that it can’t be proved. There really are more dogs than children in the city, 120,000 to 108,000, as of 2010. I’ve known this for a while, but Coit Tower, built with funds from Fire Department enthusiast Lillie Hitchcock Coit, was not meant to look like a fire hose nozzle. In weirder Coit Tower mythology, my dad told me that he had thought for a long time that the tower was built to dry fire hoses (I guess you hang them out the upper windows?). I’m not sure where he picked that one up. Finally, my favorite so far, was that a woman was barred from boarding a bus because she had a live chicken, and animals are not allowed on Muni. So she snapped the chicken’s neck and climbed on. The author could not find any evidence to corroborate this urban legend, which may have spawned the “Dirty 30” moniker for the Muni line of that name (though, honestly, the 30 doesn’t need chicken killers to be termed dirty) and that the author called “rife with racist undertones” (the woman was Chinese). Two commenters insisted that they were firsthand witnesses to the chicken killing. Since we all know that Internet commenters are the most reliable of sources, this must be the truth. I’ve seen some pretty messed up stuff on Muni, including a girl fight that resulted in hair extensions all over the floor. My sister saw someone light a Muni seat on fire. So in my own opinion, I would be in no way surprised if someone had killed a chicken to board the bus. It’s actually pretty radass.
A college friend, Merrell, has been traveling the West Coast for the last couple of weeks and documenting her experiences here. She has lovely photos of SF and around and discovered some cool things–like the fly fishing ponds at Golden Gate Park (who knew?) and the “casual house in Pacific Heights” that is almost directly across from my apartment (no, I do not live in a mansion).
We take our locavore foodstuffs pretty seriously around here. In the (in)famous Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan details wandering through “acrid and trash-strewn wetlands” under the San Mateo Bridge to gather local, Bay Area salt for his hunted and gathered meal at the end of the book. He came home with plastic soda bottles full of gray water from the salt ponds and attempted to harvest the salt on his own through boiling, which resulted in brown crystals “a bit greasy to the touch [that] tasted so metallic and so much like chemicals that it actually made me gag.” What he acknowledges and what I learned this week is that salt harvesting is much more involved process, and it happens right here in the Bay. The Kitchn took a trip out to see the Diamond Crystal Salt’s harvesting ponds, the only solar salt producer in the US. It takes about five years for salt to go from sea water to the table, including removing all of the tag-along chemicals that Pollan found (rightly) nauseating. Via Scoutmob.
Did you know that there’s a cabin in downtown San Francisco? It’s hanging on the side of a building at 447 Bush Street and was built by Californian artists Jenny Chapman and Mark A. Reigelman II (commissioned by Southern Exposure, which is also the name of a delicious drink at the Alembic). SoEx calls it “both homage to the romantic spirit of the Western Myth and a commentary on the arrogance of Westward expansion.” I wonder how long til some realtor is charging $2,000/month for a “charming, rustic studio in a prime downtown location.” That’d be true SF-style Manifest Destiny.
This has been making the rounds for a while, but it makes me so proud to live in a city where the police department created an “It Gets Better” video. There is so much hate in this country right now. Thank you to the SFPD for their leadership in supporting universal equal rights and tolerance.
The header photo is of my friend Grace walking the labyrinth at Land’s End. She blogs here sometimes.