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LEFT OF THE DIAL Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner on the band's new sound, and the doubts she overcame to create her favorite record yet. Plus: BARF #2, and Viracocha is back!

This Week's Paper

weekcoverThe City's Garbage Game: recology fudges recycling numbers as the city cracks down on can collectors . Plus: Muay Thai action, Wye Oak, the Wizard of ODD tornadoes into the Castro, more. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Live Shots: Stag Dining "Speakeasy" Clandestine Dinner, 01/29/2011

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These days, it's hip to be in the know of well-kept secrets. OK, maybe that's confusing, but what I'm trying to say is there's an ever-growing list of underground events going on in San Francisco, but if you don't know about them, well, than you better start getting on it. Now. I'll give you a hint. Secret restaurants are popping up everywhere and it's the kind of eating experience you don't want to miss out on.

Case in point: this past weekend, Stag Dining Group hosted a clandestine dinner at a mysterious locale, which included a myriad interesting dishes, from Japanese lobster custard to skewered duck hearts in mole sauce.

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Happy Lamb's Milk Day

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According to my trusty old Farmer’s Almanac, the Celts knew Feb. 1 as “Imbolc,” or Lamb’s Milk Day,  because it signaled the beginning of the lambing season. And though I didn’t see any lambs today, I did encounter a rambunctious herd of City Grazing’s goats nibbling on mallow plants in the pasture between the SF Bay Railroad and the cement recycling plan. Read more »

How to avoid saying dumb shit about Egypt

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I came across this guide to avoid saying stupid things about Egypt, while communicating via Facebook with a former reporter whose husband is Egyptian.

My reporter friend told me that her husband’s parents, who live in Cairo, have been able to go out and buy food and visit their relatives, and that while they live in Cairo, they are not in the downtown area, which is where most of the protests have been going on. Read more »

California is a rich state

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My favorite part of the State of the State speech (full text here) was a bit of perspective that almost everyone has ignored. It went like this:Read more »

Why it has to be Green Bay

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I mean, not if the 49ers were playing. And I have this ancient loyalty to my old hometown Jets, who won Super Bowl III against Baltimore when I was 11 years old. (I still remember Joe Namath sitting by the pool the day before, sipping a drink and proclaiming that his 21-point underdog team was so certain of victory he could "guarantee it." And Joe was cool. A jerk, but cool. And Emerson Boozer was a great name for a running back.)Read more »

Possibility: "Gush" presents Joe Goode the curator

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Audiences can thank Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Artistic Director of Brava Theater, for cutting Joe Goode loose in curating “Gush,” Brava’s first dance theater specific series. Rather than defining dance theater, Goode, during his three-weekend series, showed us its possibilities. He served as a tastemaker and also opened minds in choosing a theme to frame and present Ledoh and Salt Farm Productions (a performance collective with roots in Butoh), Axis Dance Company (a contemporary mixed-ability dance company), as well as his own company, Joe Goode Performance GroupRead more »

Editorial: No tax breaks for Twitter

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Twitter, the company that gave the world 140-character communications, is threatening to leave San Francisco and take 350 employees to a new headquarters in Brisbane. City officials are nervous — losing a world famous high-tech outfit that has plans to double its workforce in the next few years would be a blow to the city's reputation as a technology incubator.

So the Mayor's Office of Economic Development is scrambling to cut a deal, and the latest plans call for a payroll tax exemption that would cap the company's future tax bills at $250,000. Twitter's looking at office space on Ninth and Market streets, an area that needs an economic boost, and the supervisors — particularly Jane Kim, who represents that district — will be under immense pressure to sign off on the deal. In fact, Kim told us that Twitter has delivered a very clear message: either give us the tax break or we'll leave. Read more »

Wiener proposes economic study on nightlife

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While the basic ideological makeup of the new Board of Supervisors didn't change much, there are a few notable differences between the newbies and their predecessors. Much has been made of Sup. Jane Kim's greater willingness than Chris Daly to vote against her progressive colleagues (we have a story in tomorrow's paper about that), but another significant one is Sup. Scott Wiener's support for nightlife and concerns about what we've called the Death of Fun.Read more »

"I guess I just want other people to solve the Rubik's cube"

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This much was clear. A conference room full of middle and high schoolers had been assembled and were now working out math problems. On a Sunday. To someone who wept through stats homework, it seemed like a game of Clue, who done this? At the lectern, a man shared formulas one might find useful in attempting a rapid solution of the Rubik's cube. A series of x's and y's to the nth power flashed before the hushed underage audience.

Were these kids really into what was going on, or was this some well-orchestrated parent plot to shut down a perfectly good weekend? It was Mom in the living room with the bribes and threats about not getting into college! But board game detective I was not. This became apparent when the young man in a hoody sitting on my left picked up a cube offhandedly. Without fanfare, his hands began to blur. He lined up the colors in well under a minute and set the cube back down. Welcome to last weekend's Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, where math, it appeared, was not just a problem to be solved.

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5 things you didn't know about cable cars

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Get it out of the way now: roll those eyes. The cable cars are something no native San Franciscan would ever bring up in polite (that is, local) company, let alone write about in a blog post. But fact is, there's a reason why these things are iconic. Those cars have as speckled and quirky a history as the City by the Bay. 

San Franciscans steeped in facts and figures about the tourist-movers probably know that ours is the last operating cable car system in the world and that its design hasn’t changed much since Andrew Hallidie devised it upon seeing an overloaded horse-car slip down a hill in the rain. Perhaps you’ve heard that the four remaining lines each rely on a continuous loop of cable running under your feet at a constant 9.5 miles per hour, powered by electrical motors and a system of pulleys and huge wheels. If you’ve ever visited the Cable Car Museum (c’mon folks, it’s free) you’ve seen the sheaves pulling the cable along, and you’ve learned that the cars operate by grabbing the cable with giant pliers that reach through the floor and into a slot in the street where the cable runs. 

Bored yet? Stifle that yawn, we're just getting started. Read on for five things you haven’t heard about those postcard pretties. Read more »

Brown goes nonpartisan while Obama stays the course

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Gov. Jerry Brown gave a brilliant State of the State speech this evening, validating those who hoped that he would have the wisdom, courage, and candor to properly frame this difficult political moment. And it was great because he abandoned tired calls for bipartisanship and opted to go straight to the people, even citing Egypt and Tunisia as cautionary examples of the peril and potential of real democracy. Read more »

Medi-Cal and cell phones: The ugly truth

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There's a chilling comment from political consultant Dan Schnur in the Los Angeles Times. In a fascinating story by Tony York, Schnur talks about the difference between image and reality in California's budget wars:

"Cut $1 billion out of Medi-Cal and most voters won't notice. Take away some cellphones and make legislators sit on a picnic bench, and they pay attention," he said.Read more »

SFBG Radio: From Cairo to here

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In today's episode, Johnny points out that the protests in Egypt have been driven by young people -- and that youth unemployment in the United States is at alarmingly high levels. So why aren't young people out in the streets here? Check out the discussion after the jump. Read more »

Free Muni for kids

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Sup. David Campos is talking about offering free Muni rides for some of San Francisco's youth, and he'd like free passes for all school kids next year. That's a great way for the city to work with SFUSD; the school district spends a huge amount of money on buses. In fact, transportation is the second biggest item in the district's budget (after salaries). There ought to be a way for kids (above a certain age; maybe fifth grade) who now take SFUSD buses to get on Muni instead.Read more »

Aerial revolution

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Consider the rise of the extreme athlete: generations of youngsters (and increasingly, brave older folks) competing to see who could pull the sweetest stunts and survive. Ever wonder how is it that a person can make the transition from earthbound and bipedal to gravity-be-damned dare-devilry? When exactly is the moment that a skater, skier, or snowboarder just lets go and trusts their body to take them up, over, around, and (hopefully) gracefully down to the ground?

Last Tuesday, I attended a press event at House of Air – the newest member of Crissy Field’s collection of renovated airplane hangars in San Francisco’s historic Presidio – where I was treated to a glimpse of how such a transformation might become reality. Not to mention a new way that a public sports facility can play with its community. Read more »