Archive for May, 2007

Chronicle: Benitez dealt to Marlins

benitez2.jpgThe Giants have traded Armando Benitez to the Marlins, the Chronicle’s website reported this evening. The reviled closer, whose meltdown Tuesday gave fans strokes, played for the Marlins in 2004, before he came to San Francisco.

The story was posted before the team even announced what they got for Benitez. But most Giants fans would have paid to get him gone.

Update: According to ESPN, the player going to the Giants is reliever Randy Messenger. The 26-year-old, whose build resembles that of Benitez, is 1-1 with an excellent 2.66 ERA and 12 strikeouts over 23.2 innings.

Rosenthal finally re-convicted by Feds… but will do no “High” time

In a prosecutorial effort that bordered on unconstitutional, vindictive & inane, San Francisco federal US Attorney George Bevan finally got his conviction on three of the five marijuana-growing charges against author / activist / medical marijuana grower Ed Rosenthal here in court yesterday. The victory is considered almost pointless, since it was predetermined that Rosenthal would not be eligible to serve anymore time for growing pot in an East Bay warehouse after his 2003 conviction was overturned by a federal appellate court in 2006. Said Rosenthal after the third verdict in this matter was handed down was handed down

“I feel like the whole thing is a parody. … It’s not going to really change my life much one way or the other.”

Rosenthal’s lawyers had successfully argued in 2006 that his conviction be overturned because one of the jurors had been intimidated from exercising her right to vote “not guilty” when she realized the case involved medical use advocated as part of a City of Oakland program, which was legal according to California law.

In a case of possibly not knowing when to just keep his mouth shut, the newly vindicated Rosenthal in 2006 encouraged Bevan to keep on pursuing him, so people could see his “hate of marijuana and medical marijuana patients.”

The Feds, offended by Rosenthal & the various local regulations that have decriminalized marijuana cultivation under certain circumstances, went out of their way to see that the jury could not have or consider the information that Ed had received permission from local officials to grow at 1419 Mandela Parkway in Oakland before his arrest in 2002. Hence Ed Rosenthal is convicted, yet remains free… and yet still plans to appeal, and jokingly referred of fleeing to Canada. (Thus creating another one of those only in San Francisco situations ?)

New Meters in North Beach

New Meter This afternoon the city installed spanky new solar parking meters on the block between Stockton & Powell / Union & Green, on Columbus. Mark wrote about them here, for Redwood City. The meters will be 3-month tests, to determine if they rake in more cash than the old style coin ones. This project began 2 years ago and there were pilot programs on Embarcadero & Fisherman’s Wharf. I loved the those, mostly for the selfish reason that I hated hauling $3.00 in coins for 2 hours (when I drove, which was rare). These are equally as steep. The interface of the machine isn’t that easy to understand, but I don’t really care. Hopefully the phenomenon that people aren’t paying meters will change with the new machines, and we can recognize that 50M or so expected city revenue. Curious documentation online about how these new machines are networked (uses Microsoft technology- gasp) and users can upgrade their time remotely. I doubt that’s going to roll out- as isn’t it against the law to stuff the meter? And oh-so-hackable. (Ugly link that leads to a spec sheet on these machines.)
Interface Great test location- right in front of Caffe Roma, across from L’Osteria del Forno, near the cigar cafe, Naia the gelato place, Cafe DeLucci, etc.

A Giant Sucking Sound: Benitez and other fakes

benitez.jpgAfter a month in which the Giants played .500 baseball, then lost 8 of their last 13 — cancelling out the 8-game win streak that gave me a reason to suspend this feature–it’s time once more to play A Giant Sucking Sound, featuring your San Francisco Giants.

Let’s start where we left off, with closer Armando Benitez. How enormous was last night’s monumental choke job, in which he walked the Mets’ best runner to lead off the 12th, balked him to 2nd, balked him home to tie the game, then gave up a game-winning home run?

Google Takes It to The Streets ( sorta )

Internet Shut Ins & Blog Trollers Unite, now you can cruise the streets of San Francisco virtually…

Earlier today Google unveiled a new free mapping feature that allows users to zoom in at street level and see the terrain of the city, and zoom in and read signs, stare at passerbys, people walking dogs, talking on cellphones, double parking etc. No puny 3 inch pix either, users can even opt to have the photos take up the whole screen…

It’s like being there, without being there… perfect for the person who has no intention of ever leaving their cubicle or home…

The photos appear to be taken recently during this spring, and the covered streets include most of San Francisco, including Golden Gate Park, Great Highway, The Mission as far as Caesar Chavez. Other city’s getting the street view treatment so far include New York, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami and some portions of Oakland, and for some reason, a lone block along El Camino Real in Millbrae.

In a surefire snub of Ed Jew, SF’s most tormented supervisor, almost his entire district is left off the map. So no looking at his family’s unpermitted pot club on Ocean Ave, or his most favored bubble tea shop. Also left out of the local Google mapping is pretty much all of the Bayview area, although anyone desiring a closer look can wait a couple hours for one of those “speedy” T-Lines to get them out there… or just buy a DVD of this fave local flick.

The Whales

Sea Lion Sailing in the East Bay yesterday, me & my friend wondered if today would be the day that the whales emerged from the Delta. A few hours later we heard over the maritime radio channel, the US Coast Guard announcing that two whales were headed to the Benicia Bridge! We yelled to another boat passing by, and a guy raised his beer and yelled back:

“Let’s hope some Japanese businessmen buy the rights and put a flag on them.”

Good luck whales. Story in the Chron here. Great coverage here – KCBS– and they’re reporting more on the Coast Guard updates, and how it’s impacting the ferry schedule too.

Update: Kind of lame for me to do this, but I took video of the Golden Gate, and I think that I saw some whales cresting, but not sure. In the video, you can’t see anything. Just lots of boring water, and some seagulls. I’d post the video directly here but I don’t believe Moveable Type supports Vidavee, the video server I’m using. Boring Video here.

What’s up with transit

A bullet train between L.A. and San Francisco that would eliminate the maddening routine at airports and save pollution and tons of fuel? Don’t hold your breath — this L.A. Times story says there are tons of problems with the way the plan is going forward, chief among them leaving Sacramento and San Diego off the “first phase” (read: before the year 2020) of construction.

Transbay AC Transit buses got wi-fi service beginning last Wednesday. And speaking of wifi, remember that CalTrain did a “successful proof of concept” last year? That doesn’t mean it’s up and running. They don’t expect wifi on CalTrain until the end of 2007.

But ACE, the Stockton-to-San Jose commuter line? They got wifi, if you ride the first car.

140-year-old church joins with Coltrane congregation

Nice story in the Chronicle this morning about 140-year-old St. Paulus Lutheran Church leaving its property on Gough St. between Eddy and Turk and moving several blocks away to the sanctuary of St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Each institution has an interesting and colorful history.

“Severance” at the Embarcadero


Last year I had the opportunity to fly on Virgin Airlines, where each seat gets its own entertainment center — including a couple hundred movies and TV shows and documentaries to watch (yes, they even had Snakes on a Plane). My companion fell asleep so I decided to watch a horror movie, and saw what I thought was the best horror film last year, and now one of my all-time faves (up there with Evil Dead 2 and Dead and Breakfast). It’s splatstick, and super-gory. The Chron described it as “Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Office Space,” and that pretty much sums it up. Severance opened at the Embarcadero this weekend; don’t miss it if you love black humor, serial killers, badass babes and lots of gore.

Severance official site (Flash; sound warning). Here’s the trailer @ Apple. Link to film times; link to Chron review (spoiler alert — just go see it!)

Foodie authors

Sara MilesLocal author and editor Sara Miles, whose book Take This Bread is about her efforts to feed hundreds of families every week through a church food pantry, is profiled this week in a report on the PBS show Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly. The report shows Miles at work in the St. Gregory Food Pantry she started several years ago. (Disclosure: she’s also a good friend of mine.*)

Barbara Kingsolver, whose book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is about her family’s attempt to eat for a year only foods that were raised and produced locally, is the subject of a nice interview in today’s Chronicle. One of the foremost Bay Area proponents of eating locally — they’re called locavores! — is Jessica Prentice, who has her own book, Full Moon Feast.

Sara Miles              


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