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Faux retirement, faux eclipse? Real shop notes…

Old friends Dave Perlman and Senator Dianne Feinstein discuss Theory of Relativity at Dr. Dave’s “retirement” party prior to his return to the newsroom (any day now) as Science Editor Emeritus. Photo by Steve Rubenstein 2017.

So many Chronicle alumni raised a glass at Dave Perlman’s spectacular retirement party that Curiouser and Curiouser is apologizing in advance for all the ones he’s about to miss.  On hand were former reporters Charlie Petit, Mike Taylor, Jesse Hamlin, Duffy Jennings, Carl Hall, John Eckhouse, Dawn Garcia, Paul McHugh, Don Lattin, Erica Goode and Jane Kay, along with former editors Jerry Roberts, Linda Strean, Dan Rosenheim, Jay Johnson, Ken Conner, Will Hearst and Dave Kleinberg.   (OK, OK, we know there must have been more.)  Famed twinkletoes Nanette Asimov and Jilly Tucker danced a few wild steps with Dr. Dave.

Perlman dances with education reporter, Nanette Asimov, as Senator Dianne Feinstein and Mayor Ed Lee look on. Photo courtesy SFC unit members 2017.

Jeff Johnson offered to provide Dave with his aunt-in-law’s phone number, seeing as she had declared Dr. Dave to be a good-looking fellow (Dave’s girlfriend, Gladys, hearing that, wasted no time in coming over and sitting down right next to him.)    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who gave Dave a fond embrace and seemed to pinch him on the cheeks, and Mayor Ed Lee, who didn’t, gamely sat through a joint performance of “It’s Dr. Dave” by the Irish Newsboys and the Section Eight Dancers (featuring Otis Taylor) and even weathered a kazoo solo.   Audrey Cooper declared the turnout to be even bigger and more enthusiastic than for the Chronicle wine sale. The cake had real strawberries. Nobody dared to stick a fork into the piece of cake with Dave’s smiling mug shot rendered in frosting, however, so the Perlman family wound up taking that one home.  Meanwhile, the latest office pool was how soon it would be until emeritus editor Dave would tire of the retirement thing and be back at his desk to do the emeritus thing.  Dave says he’ll be back any day now…

Dept. of Science, Continued:  Maybe 75 staffers ventured to the Noon Edition rooftop retreat to take in 75% of a solar eclipse, which was obscured by overcast nearly as much as the fabled Chronicle fireworks displays of the 1970s…The announced goal for this year’s employee satisfaction survey was a modest 55% completion rate, which apparently means it’s OK for half the staff not to satisfy the satisfaction survey (unlike yet another of those excruciating computer security courses, which was mandatory).  Let’s see how many folks cared to “anonymously” answer the question: “In the past year, I have seen instances where the Company has not acted with integrity” followed by “give examples.”  Yes, and in the past year have you seen instances of employees doing something dumb when it came to answering survey questions?  Do you agree or only somewhat agree?  Isn’t being somewhat in agreement like being somewhat pregnant?  This just in:  Final survey completion rate less than 50%.  Oh well…Just after Shopnotes reported that one of the two lobby elevators was fixed after being broken for many months, it broke again.  Climbing the stairs is good for you, and that principle can never be broken…Carolyne Zinko took a day off to recuperate, with the world’s greatest excuse.  “Too many galas,” she said… Trapper Byrne, after adding some stalks of his trademark raw broccoli to yet another box of office doughnuts, posted a photo with the caption, “You Must Choose”…

Welcome back to the great Bernie Beck, the legendary copy editor who has probably already spotted half a dozen errors in this edition of Shopnotes.  (After his two-year absence, Bernie was immediately greeted by the amazing Joe and Fi downstairs, who remembered  his regular sandwich order — the Bernie Special BLT, with avocado and ketchup “on whole wheat.”  And a belated farewell to David Steinberg, equally legendary, who has doubtless spotted another half dozen.   David is the new “principal administrative analyst for SFDPW” and if he were still on the copy desk he would make the reporter translate that into English.    We are in more than somewhat agreement that great copy editors make a great paper…Berkeley hot dog stand Top Dog has been in the news for firing an employee for attending the Nazi rally in Charlottesville but did you also know it was the restaurant where, in 1973,  a Chronicle reporter set a record by eating seven kielbasas with buns in one sitting?… Daisy’s back!  It turns out the reason that Daisy the dog hadn’t been around lately is because she’d been needed for security at  Russell Yip under-renovation building (Daisy’s barking was the only thing keeping their home secure.)   But the project is winding down and Daisy has been sprung from guard duty…The Guild-sponsored newsroom M&M dispenser (the only one in U.S. journalism) is back in action after an inadvertent purchase of “mega”-size peanut M&Ms jammed up the machine…

Yes, there is such a thing as a free lunch and it happened at another great all-hands meeting.  Some of the cookies were raisin and some were chocolate chip and, as they say in kindergarten, you get what you get.  From the podium came talk of Q3 vs Q2  and lay-down times and blue-conic and demand-gen and invading Santa Cruz.   Looking forward to Q4 and a steady upswing in the chocolate chip-to-raisin ratio… There’s no longer a Ford in our future.  The four brand new (at last) metro desk cars are Toyotas.  Maybe these will actually move forward when you step on the gas instead of hesitating on hills and thinking it over…

Coming up could be one of your last chances to hear Spud Hilton’s amazing traditional jazz band, Joyful Noise, which may have to disband at the end of the year due to the health of some players.  Spud, who took over as leader of the band from his late father, Examiner columinst/copy editor (and tuba player) Bruce, is as good with a cornet in his hand as with a pen or camera.  He and the gang make Hard-Hearted Hannah a gal worth knowing.  Next performance is Sept. 24 at the Elks Lodge in El Sobrante…None other than Lizzie Johnson got knocked flat on the ground by a Berkeley cop during the “alt-right” rally.  She’s OK.  Not sure about the cop.

The second floor of John’s Grill, just down from the glass case with the Maltese Falcon, was the site for a terrific copy desk and Section 8  reunion lunch featuring such veterans as Jack Breibart, Lewis Dolinsky, Tony Malandra, Laura Merlo, Allen Matthews, Vlae Kershner, Jim Brewer, Jim Rose, Bill Pates and (as before) others whose omission we apologize for, so don’t write in, OK?   The talk around the table drifted off to the old days, when a cigarette was a cigaret.  And there was considerable effort trying to recall whether the proper spelling for the company’s rent-a-cops during the 1994 strike was Huffmaster or Hoffmaster (it’s Huffmaster).  Those fun-loving copy editors plan to hold another lunch in February…

Speaking of Fun-Loving Copy Editors:  Push the button on Will Hearst’s battery operated statuette of Frank Sinatra and the great man sings the bridge of “That’s Life.”   An office grammarian, hearing the 4-inch-tall  Blue Eyes croon, “Each time I find myself laying flat on my face…” immediately said, “Should be ‘lying,’ Frank.”

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.

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