Listen, My Children...

Every Little Helps

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

On Gentle Flower-haired People


San Francisco and Berkeley were fun. Not that I'd want to live there, though -- the Angry Clam is a braver man than I. I like UT, with a good balance and a bare minimum of the silly fringes. The Berkeley campus is gorgeous, however -- likely a death trap for people in self-propelled wheelchairs, but gorgeous nonetheless. Hills, decent architecture, green spaces, and bells. Give it maple trees and nothing would be lacking.

We all went in to San Francisco for two days, seeing the telegraph hill (a marvel of Art Deco architecture and New Deal artwork -- Lileks would faint from ecstasy, I'm sure) and Union Square (with a glorious grand hotel). The Beekeeper got herself quite a bit of attention from a woman who "loved her titties" and loved showing them to the world; turn away and find yourself confronted with a store catering in supplies for SF's traditional population. And then the Blue Angels, flying down a street -- close enough for the rooftop spectators to see the pilots, even touch the wings maybe.

But the best part of San Francisco, besides of course seeing the Roommates and Hangers-On, was the Musee Mechanique, a thrilling collection of hundred-year-old arcade games. Load up on your nickels, dimes, and quarters, and you can:

-have your fortune told (mine said, quite rightly, that I need more fresh-air exercise)

-see hundred-year-old porn in colorized stereoscope (some of them quite demure and technically decent; others quite in their altogether)

-turn cranks and see flip-book scenes from silent films

-see slides of the 1906 fire-earthquake

-find out your sex appeal

-see stereoscopes of the 1915 World's Fair, for which the city of San Francisco was largely built (over the previous nine years since its near-destruction)

and much more! Several online articles report that, as of spring 2002, it will gone by the end of the year, and there is a petition to stop the destruction, but I cannot find a thing to explain why it is still around. One rumor is that its current location is a temporary one, and it will move back to its original location after remodeling. Whatever the truth, I'm pleased.

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