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Chronicle Shopnotes

June 2016

Send gossip, titillating trivia and scandal to: srubenstein@sfchronicle.com

It only took 9 years for Hamed Aleaziz to get around to proposing to his high school sweetheart Erica Valdovinos, who wasn’t really his high school sweetheart because it took Hamed all three years of high school before he asked her out.  Hamed said he had planned to propose in the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park until, at the key moment, a group of strangers took over the spot and Hamed was forced to audibilize.  He proposed in the AIDS Grove instead.  Erica, who is an emergency room doc at Highland Hospital in Oakland and adept at making tough decisions, thought it over (for less than 9 years) and said yes.  The wedding, in Erica’s parents’ back yard in Santa Rosa, featured a genuine Iranian wedding knife dance in which Hamed ceremonially battled family members to acquire a knife to cut the wedding cake…

We think we’ve finally got it straight.  The Twitter Lounge, which had nothing to do with Twitter, has been renamed the Marina Conference Room, which has nothing to do with the Marina. John Sillers’ old office is now the misspelled “Bay View” Conference Room and the aptly-named Fish Bowl off the third-floor elevator lobby must now be called the Civic Center Conference Room instead.  Another conference room was renamed in honor of tourist trap Pier 39, for reasons no one has been able to explain.  (How soon folks forget:  It was the Chronicle’s great architecture critic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Allan Temko, who began his oft-quoted 1978 review of Pier 39 with the immortal words, “Corn.  Kitsch.  Schlock.  Honky-tonk. Dreck.  Schmaltz. Merde.”) Meanwhile, Allen Matthews’ old office is the new Yerba Buena Conference Room and it’s usually empty, its four walls feeling Mr. Matthews’ absence like the rest of us…

The news was so exciting at the All Hands Meeting (revenue up, ads up, new Oakland bureau opening, free snacks) that Cookie the dog was moved to make a surprise guest appearance.  The editor in chief herself escorted her from the premises back to Al Saracevic’s office.  Kitty Morgan, wondering aloud at the podium whether there would be another Warriors magazine if the Warriors lose in the playoffs, was reassured by Jeff Johnson.  “They won’t lose,” he said.  That settled that.  Kitty revealed that the fancy “Habitat” Sunday real estate magazine went out in April only to the wealthiest (by zip code) 70,000 Sunday subscribers, which could be why many employees (including Curiouser & Curiouser) didn’t get one.  (“I’m looking for Kitty to find out how I was missed,” sighed Terry Robertson.)  Also, Brandon Mercer showed off a swell new camera, new vice-president for finance Christina Howell said the Chronicle has pocketed a cool $200,000 so far this year and Renee Peterson said construction of the new newsroom could begin by the end of summer (maybe) and be completed by next year (possibly).   After word about the media collaboration on homeless coverage came out, Audrey Cooper said she got a special phone call.  “Hi Audrey, this is Mayor Lee, what are you doing?” to which Audrey said she replied, “What are you doing?”…

The Great Ice War seems to have thawed.  After someone posted a note on the office refrigerator that “making ice is not someone else’s job — your mom taught you better than that”  there followed a sharp exchange of refrigerator notes (“Who made you the ice police?” and “Relax” and “Stop excusing selfishness”) — until finally a Guild officer took matters in hand and replaced all the notes with “Please refill ice tray.”

A special former luncheon for former members of Section 8 featured the likes of former metro editor Ken Conner, former assistant metro editor Erik Ingram, former reporter Tanya Schevitz, all sharing former egg rolls with the current geezers they replaced.  Tanya’s older son, Cash, is having his bar mitzvah but already has all the fountain pens he needs.  That’s a lot of “formers” for one item…

The great Jack Breibart, former Chronicle news editor, happened to drop by 901 Mission for the first time since his 1994 retirement just after news came that Muhammad Ali died. Jack would have helped remake the front page if someone could have found him a pencil. Photo by staff 2016.

The great Jack Breibart, former Chronicle news editor, happened to drop by 901 Mission for the first time since his 1994 retirement just after news came that Muhammad Ali died. Jack would have helped remake the front page if someone could have found him a pencil. Photo by staff 2016.

Even though Chronicle subscribers were not rewarded with a free drink for making it through another Irish Newsboys concert this month (there are limits to the largesse), legendary former Chronicle news editor Jack Breibart showed up at Lefty O’Doul’s anyway.  Afterwards, he paid a surprise visit to the newsroom, where he had not set foot since the day he retired in 1994.  He said hi to Steve Hornbostel, whom he had hired in the early 1990s, and nearly got dragooned into helping remake the front page when the news came in that Muhammad Ali died.  Jack, who joined the Chronicle in 1969, was looking around for a pencil, a rare enough commodity at 901 Mission these days.  (FYI, there are still no pens in the pen drawer)…

The great Chronicle music critic Bob “Maestro” Commanday was honored with a tribute at the Community Music Center in SF.  Bob, who died last year, wrote allegro, espressivo and grandioso…Which copy editor’s daughter was kicked out of a Cheyenne, Wyo., motel breakfast bar for showing up in bare feet?   FYI, mom says it’s OK to copy edit in bare feet….Shopnotes Quiz:  In what prominent spot in the newsroom will you find these words: “Much has been made by the mayor’s office over San Francisco coming in second only to Singapore in Fortune mag’s annual list of world’s best cities to do business in”?  Answer below…Muriel Tabarez requested one morning that anyone who lost money in the newsroom please contact her and C&C suggests that the line form to the left.

Welcome to Shopnotes’ newest readers:  assistant business editor Kate Galbraith, a backpacker, NY Times contributor and world expert on Oregon youth hostels;  photo intern Michael Noble, a car enthusiast and veteran of the Chicago Tribune; on-call copy editor Matt Berger, a science reporter and devoted owner of Maddie the sheepdog; and on-call copy editor Rita Beamish, formerly of the AP, who plans to hike the entire John Muir Trail this summer.  If you’re going to call this on-call editor, better do it loud.

Welcome also to graphic designers Paul De Leon and Christina Rascon, to account manager Ryan Ziegler and to theater critic (and cycling and gumbo fanatic)Lily Janiak…Shopnotes Time Machine:  If you look closely, you can still find this tiny graffiti scrawled on the men’s room tile grout:  “Dale Champion is retired” and “Kevin Leary is a Catholic.”  Those two great reporters departed decades ago.  Dale died in 2008 and Kevin remains a Catholic…Answer to Shopnotes Quiz:  On the manuscript rolled into Herb Caen’s typewriter in the display case
Somehow we made it through yet another mandatory online course, this one on computer security.  If the staff promises not to send any money to Nigerian hustlers, perhaps the company could use the information from its own course to figure out how to get rid of all those junk emails from overseas purveyors of LED lights.  Just a thought.

Curiouser and Curiouser

Pacific Media Workers Guild

Pacific Media Workers Guild

We are the Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 39521 of The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America. We represent more than 1,200 journalists and other media workers, interpreters, translators, union staffs and freelancers.

1 Comment

  1. June 25, 2016 at 9:33 pm — Reply

    Curiouser and Curiouser gets greater and greater!

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