Mobile healthcare for your pet

One recent morning, as I was waking up by thumbing mindlessly through my phone, I noticed an unread email. A new veterinary service called VetPronto had found my adorable cat Arya’s blog and wanted to offer her a complimentary house call appointment. “The robots know everything,” I mumbled, dragging myself out of bed.

Later, while sorting through a mountainous pile of receipts (in case you didn’t know, freelance tax prep is one of the seven circles of hell), I came across the file I keep of my cat’s health records. Here were the facts: my cat was due for her next round of vaccines, the Affordable Care Act doesn’t cover feline children, and I couldn’t afford not to take VetPronto up on their offer. Not to mention that being stuffed into a crate and being literally cat-called on the 14L are among Arya’s least favorite activities.

I made an appointment with VetPronto through their website. The day of the appointment, a friendly vet named Dr. Hoppe arrived promptly. Arya was instantly at ease and barely noticed that needles were entering her body moments later. Dr. Hoppe was very patient and addressed all of my questions and concerns, leaving me feeling like a great cat mom. The whole thing was over in under 30 minutes.

Thank you, VetPronto, for making pet healthcare so painless and convenient. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

OAK smokes SFO in outrageous TSA finds

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s awesome Instagram account, which primarily shares photos of crazy items the TSA has found while screening airline passengers, is not new, but it did see significant new attention on the Internet this week. Whoever is running it has made an effort to include wild finds from many different airports across the U.S., including several from San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport. At SFO the TSA confiscated a brush dagger and a bullet-knife, child’s play compared to the novelty bomb belt, throwing star, seven pounds of weed, and 81 more pounds of weed (pictured) taken at OAK. Wow, you’d think that last one would’ve just slid right through, huh?

The TSA’s photos offer a fascinating look at human naiveté, stupidity and stubbornness. They expose some very weird parts of the black market. The TSA’s Instagram is great, but I can’t help but notice an alternate purpose that it serves: scaring us into liking and trusting the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security by giving us the impression that “threats” are much more frequent than they actually are. The Instagram gives the illusion that the TSA is constantly confiscating tons of weapons, many deviously disguised, in every airport. A few hundred or thousand weapons is certainly many weapons, but it’s not so many when one considers that the TSA screens 600-700 million passengers every year. That means the TSA finds ~3 firearms for every million people it screens. The TSA’s posts are entertaining, but whether they intend it or not, and whether we realize it or not, they serve another purpose too. Thoughts?

Watch this pretty video of Rocky Yazzie performing a song in a backyard garden

(Thanks, Adam!)

Plainclothes SFPD officers shoot and kill knife-wielding robbery suspect on 24th Street

CBS Local reports:

San Francisco police are investigating a Thursday night officer-involved shooting in the Mission District that left a robbery suspect dead.

Officers responded to the area of 24th and Folsom streets at about 9:45 p.m. in reference to call about a Hispanic man with a knife.

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr told KCBS that two plainclothes officers came upon the scene and saw the suspect with a large knife chasing another man on Folsom Street.

“The officers drew their weapons, demanded for man to drop his knife–he refused. We have several witnesses that heard this,” he said.
The situation escalated, and the officers, who had their department issued stars visible on their clothes, fired six shots at the suspect, Suhr said.

The suspect, described as being his 20s, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

Read on.

[Photo by @gpechenik]

Former Supervisors Matt Gonzalez and Tony Hall on what’s up with SF these days

This is from the latest installment of Valerie Luu‘s #100drinksdivis project, in which she has a drink with 100 of her neighbors along the Divisadero Corridor:

Matt: “There’s still a lot of artists here, and galleries that are opening in places you don’t expect.” [Matt has an art opening at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery on March 5.]
Tony: “It’s a city that’s trying to find its soul again. It might take another 5, 10, 15 years.”

Good news and bad news, I guess. Sounds about right.

Keep up the good work, Val-Pal!

Check out this promotional item for Friday night comedy at Pissed Off Pete’s

[via Pissed Off Pete's on Facebook]

Can’t we just give up on trickle-down economics and replace it with BUILD-UP economics?

Supervisor David Campos recently penned a thoughtful article questioning why we all still believe in the magic of trickle-down economics to miraculously solve San Francisco’s housing crisis:

Free marketeers are claiming that if we build enough luxury housing it will eventually trickle down and turn into housing for the poor and middle class. This is the failed policy of Reaganomics at its worst. Housing isn’t like most commodities. Consumers can abstain from many goods, but shelter, like food and water, is a basic human necessity. If you’re currently seeking housing in our city and can’t afford market rates you have three choices: be homeless, leave, or get on a long wait list for low-income housing. While some free marketeers go so far as to say that if you can’t afford a $3,000 one bedroom you should leave the city, others are pushing the policy of ‘let them eat cake development’ that ultimately has the same outcome – displacement. Think about it this way: if there were a bread shortage in San Francisco and the cost of bread skyrocketed, no amount of fancy cake would fix the bread market.

Taking it a bit further, I’m wondering why anyone who understands the economic disaster our nation is facing can sanely espouse that trickle-down economics will fix our economy.  Why can’t, instead of providing tax breaks to corporations and the rich in hopes the extra money will trickle down to the masses, we instead institute a new policy of BUILD-UP economics, where the influx of cash starts at the bottom, and it’s these people who inject the money into local businesses and community.

This was the thinking behind the fight to increase the minimum wage to $15, and while some cried bloody murder on that proposal, the wage increase is already showing to have positive effects in Seattle:

In Seattle last week, I stopped in at the jammed Palace Kitchen, flagship of Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, who runs upward of 15 establishments. He warned in April that the $15 wage could “be the most serious threat to our ability to compete,” and he predicted that “we would lose maybe a quarter of the restaurants in town.” Yet Douglas has opened, or announced, five new restaurants this year.

Likewise, the International Franchise Association has sued to block implementation of the law, arguing that nobody “in their right mind” would become a franchisee in Seattle. Yet Togo’s sandwiches, a franchise chain, is expanding into Seattle, saying the $15 wage isn’t a deterrent.

And a spokesman for Weyerhaeuser, the venerable wood and paper company, says the $15 wage didn’t factor into its decision, announced last month, to move its headquarters and 800 employees to Seattle from outside Tacoma.

Sounds legit to me.  After all, you can only eat so much cake before you get a tummy ache.

[Photo via our pal Devon]

Drama Talk & Drinks: How did those boys jump so high?

Weaned on The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Aladdin and countless other Disney musicals, you have to have at least a small soft spot for the magic only The Mouse can provide. True devotees of Disney musicals know however, you have to go beyond the animated features to get the full range of Disney’s prowess. That’s where Newsies comes in; the fantastical musical telling of the true story of paperboys who go on strike in 1899 to protest the unfair treatment they receive at the hands of their big-wig newspaper tycoon bosses. The tour of the Broadway show is playing at the Orpheum now, so of course we had to check it out.

Brittany: Damn can they dance!

Katie: How did those boys jump so high!

B: And flip three times in a row in the air without falling on their head! Seriously by the end I was worried that one of them might hurt themselves. I would collapse after one of those dance numbers, and in the finale they just keep going.

K: Yeah the dancing was ridiculous and amazing. I really loved the second act.

B: Yeah the second act was legit. The first act was a little too Disney corny, but the second act got into the protests and the drama and the really epic songs and set changes. You couldn’t help but feel that swell in your chest when you see four stories of boys dancing and singing in unison about seizing the day.

K: Yeah, you can’t get away from the fact this is a Disney musical. It’s kid friendly and maybe not as cutting edge and some shows I like. But everyone in this show was so talented, the set was dope, and the dancing was just incredible. I wasn’t one of those kids who was super into Newsies, but I was pleasantly surprise by this show.

B: Yeah, me too. And ten year old me would have had the biggest crush on the actor who played Jack Kelly (Dan DeLuca)

K: He can sing, dance and act. Yes please!

The Verdict: Newsies has all the Disney magic you could ask for, and a cast of super talented singers, dancers and actors. It’s a Disney musical, make no mistakes about it, but if you can unironically get into some cheering for a singing and dancing underdog in a jaunty paperboy cap you’ll love it.

The Drama Talk: This show is known for its amazing dance numbers and it more than delivers. Seriously impressive choreography, and an ensemble who can pull it all off. Like every touring show, the design and tech are top-notch, as is the the cast. At times the show is a little too predictable and borders on corny. But it’s heartwarming, good for kids, and with just enough Disney magic that you can believe villains may be able to be reformed after all.

The Drinks: Given this is a show about the newspaper industry, we couldn’t miss the opportunity for a newspaper themed cocktail, so we headed over to Local Edition. Katie got the Fidel and Che and Brittany got the Yellow Kid, and we toasted to dancing, workers rights, and a successful night of drama talk and drinks.

Newsies runs through March 15th at SHN’s Orpheum Theater. Tickets are currently available on Goldstar for $55 dollars for multiple dates. $40 rush tickets are also available for every performance, beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the SHN Orpheum Theatre Box Office. Cash only, 2 per person. As always you can get tickets directly from SHN’s website.

Arson thwarted

Last night around 8:30 I was coming down San Carlos toward 18th Street when I saw a young man dragging a burning pile into the middle of the street. He then stomped on it and poured a water bottle out over it to extinguish the flames. It wasn’t a large fire, but it had been placed under the construction site on that block. After the fire was out the man told me that he had seen a man, who he thought to be homeless, put a pile of clothes down, light the fire, then run away with another bundle under his arm. He figured the man was out to set more fires, so he drove off to see if he could catch up with him. I went to nearby Mission Station to tell the police what had happened. As soon as they learned that the fire was out they could not have seemed less interested. I was happy to wake up this morning to see that there weren’t any other fires lit last night.

Three buildings in the Castro burned over the weekend. Many homes were burned in an Alamo Square fire on February 1stA man was arrested on February 2nd while trying to start a fire in a building on Valencia near 16th. A man lost his life, and multiple families lost their homes in a large fire on 22nd and Mission on January 28th.

Check your smoke detectors, look out for each other, take whatever preventative measures you can. This city has an uncomfortable history of fires and with all these recent incidents, and an arson on the loose, here’s hoping this doesn’t become a bigger thing.

Sidewalk horror haunts Pacman’s nightmares

Geez, where’s a power pellet when you need it?