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Everyone here is so easygoing.

I can remember when the favorite word in San Francisco seemed to be "yes." That is, the locals here we're likely to respond with a "Sure, why not?" whenever a new idea might be suggested. We we're a game town before the real games -- the ones with high stakes -- began. Real restate is the new mantra.

Truth is, most of us are barely hanging on by our manicured fingernails. I remember John Lennon, yes, that ancient troublemaker, described his first meeting with Yoko Ono in London in 1968. She had a show at a SoHo gallery. John sauntered in by himself one evening. One Ono piece required participation. John had to get on a step ladder and open a little door that was attached to the ceiling. When he revealed the message underneath, he saw the word "yes."

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"That was exactly the right word," John later recalled. "If it we're "No" or "Buzz Off" or "F--- You," I would've just walked out. But I stayed and fell in love."

I remember falling in love with San Francisco. And that was a long time ago, too. That's when "yes" seemed to be the order of the day. That's when we S.F. denizens -- and very happy to be so -- liked to try new things. Of course, I wasn't always aware of the risks involved. Just as well.

"Hey, Bellingham," an old timer growled at me in Perry's. "You shoulda been here in the old days, in the 60s. The Pill had just been invented and the real bad diseases hadn't shown up yet."

I was hoping to keep this discourse a bit loftier. And free from the paralyzing influences of that common disease of advancing age: nostalgia.

There is an expression often used in Alcoholics Anonymous that was coined by Herbert Spencer, "Contempt prior to investigation," Spencer said it keeps a man "in everlasting ignorance." What I loved about San Francisco was the apparent acceptance of the opposite, if there's such a thing. In others words, "Yes" was the response, before any investigation was considered at all. Yes, it was a joyful sort of recklessness.

But the City that Knew How is Now The City of No. It's a cautious, timid community, afraid to make a move, as is the behavior of any oppressed peoples. Creepy, self-serving interests have taken over -- whether they be born of the perverse notion of political correctness or the venal obsession with what might affect property values. From Goethe to Ginsberg, boldness, with it's "Power, Magic and Genius in it" was the order of the day. Casting our fate to the strong winds coming off the Pacific Ocean.

Worst of all, The City of San Francisco just isn't any fun anymore. Why not have a ski jump at the top of Fillmore Street? The only thing I'd say to the charmingly garrulous Johnny Moseley is that the ski jump should be permanent. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow all year 'round in Pacific Heights. With Muni fares going up again this month, it might be a cheaper alternative to taking the bus, a good way to get down to Cow Hollow from Pacific Heights -- very quickly. It's all going downhill anyway, folks. Have some fun. Save on gas. There's a war on, you know. Really, there is.

One young woman who had planned her wedding at the Flood Mansion thought the ski jump might mar the view for her guests. How's that? She could have combined the ceremony and the honeymoon at Aspen without even leaving Broadway. I fear she suffers from "contempt prior to investigation." Besides, that would make for some really interesting wedding photos.

The Board of Supervisors said "no" to the permanent home porting of the battleship U.S.S. Iowa on the San Francisco waterfront. The consensus at City Hall is the old battle wagon is a symbol of war. How goofy is this? San Francisco was the center of naval operations for the Pacific Theater in the Second World War. So the ship now goes to -- Stockton?

Twenty years ago, another set of supes made the same mistake with the U.S.S. Missouri. I took my late mother aboard when the Missouri stopped for a visit. We walked across the teak planks to the "Surrender Deck". This is where the "instruments of surrender," we're signed by MacArthur and the Japanese, where World War II officially ended. If you don't get a lump in your throat while standing there, well, something's missing.

These ships are no longer symbols of war, they are reminders of our history. Recalling history probably does more to oppose war than any other sort of lesson. To preempt history with a mindless sense of political correctness is a pretty good way to guarantee "everlasting ignorance." That's one of the few things that does last forever.

And now we are in another war, though you wouldn't know it by looking around. No one seems to be saving on gas -- which is what the war is all about. During World War II an expression appeared ion highways all over America, "Is This Trip Necessary?" an appeal to save fuel. Let's bring those signs back.

I might support offering old battleships a home here -- it creates jobs and encourages tourism -- but I do not, like most San Franciscans, support this ill-conceived war. The U.S. claims it's fighting terrorism but has created a Woodstock for murderous fanatics.

I like the way Mayor Newsom lighted into PG&E the other day after that transformer explosion in the Financial District. I have a more personal complaint with the arrogant utility. I called PG&E the other day and asked if there could be a discount on the bill for people who are chronically ill.

The young-sounding fellow checked my statement and exclaimed, "But you don't seem to use much energy at all!"

"Well," I explained, "I try not to -- there is a war on, right?"

"Yeah," he sniffed, "but you use practically nothing! Whatta ya live in a cave or something?"

So much for PG&E's campaign to save on energy. We still are in the Enron era with the specter of everlasting ignorance. With the way things are going, caves might get pretty popular in that real estate guide.

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Posted in Renovations Post Date 01/30/2018


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