Summer Chronicle shopnotes – Perlman to retire

The Chronicle never had a science editor emeritus before but it does now with the promotion of our beloved “Doctor” Dave Perlman. Yes, his sleeves are too rolled up and his two typing fingers too frantic and his copy too clean for anything about Dr. Dave to qualify as emeritus — witness his late-breaking coverage of the coming solar eclipse. But things, said Dave, are just a bit more challenging now, at 98, than they were as a young man of 97. The newsroom and a host of former colleagues are set to celebrate in coming days with music, cake, accolades, a supervisors’ proclamation that says “whereas” a whole bunch, a special performance by Nanette Asimov, Jill Tucker, Lizzie Johnson and the Section 8 Dancers, and a handmade tune by Kevin Fagan. The great thing about being editor emeritus is that Dr. Dave retains his corner cubicle and can come into the office as often as he wants which, said Dave, will continue to be often. Shopnotes Fun Fact Emeritus: Dave has a long history of covering the celestial. Be sure to ask him to explain how, as a cub reporter in Schenectady (N.Y.) in the 1930s, he crafted an imaginative story about the “Zodiac Girls” after digging up 12 random photographs of models in the newspaper morgue…

There being nothing new under the sun, the great Dave Perlman, newly promoted to Science Editor Emeritus of the San Francisco Chronicle, is seen here in 1965 taking a NASA plane ride across the Pacific to cover (yet another) solar eclipse. Yes, his hair looks different. But, like his copy, it remains well-trimmed and perfectly arranged. “Into the zone of total eclipse, men from a dozen nations…seek to extract as much information as possible in the few brief moments of totality that nature affords,” Dave wrote at the time. All moments on planet earth seem equally brief but nature, which sometimes gets things right, has afforded us 98 years of Dave’s company. Thank you, nature.

The moving tale (and moving tail) of Rocco the dog and his thrilling chess victory over Dominic Fracassa took top prize in the 2017 Lishy (Videolicious) Awards, the fabulous staff video contest. Emcees Carolyne Zinko and Tony Bravo, dressed to the 9.5’s, presided in the gussied-up North Beach room over a lineup that included Spud Hilton’s breakneck tour of Seoul kimchee stands, Joe Garofoli’s sensitive study of a Sicilian bar’s phallus collection, Steven Boyle’s how-to guide on growing carrots, Santiago Mejia’s lilting violin shop profile, Brittany Schell’s dark tale of being scared by her fiancé, Alex Washburn’s lovely paean to drip coffee, Trisha Thadani’s poetic tribute to milk, Reid Sams’ insightful homage to summers of love, Anna Sarpieri’s heart-tugging tale of making gingerbread houses with her father, Suzanne Espinosa’s woeful exposé of the heartbreak of sloppy 1970s copy editing, Lily Janiak’s guide to spousal theater reviewing, Kim Chau’s charming dog birthday party, Demian (“Dames”) Bulwa’s gripping story about finding a lost dog, Manjula Varghese’s amazing tour de force of editing, Peter Hartlaub’s stylish tour of NYC restaurants, and Evan Sernoffsky’s actual news footage from a horrific wildfire. There was beer, popcorn, a genuine red carpet and a staggering amount of honest-to-goodness formal wear. The winner’s trophy looks something like a fire hydrant and Rocco can’t wait to get his paws on it…

Shopnotes Quiz! Which reporter wrote this note to his father, way back when? “Dad, If I climb East Point for the sunrise service, will I have to sleep before Mass? Will there be any chocolate bunnies? These questions are important.” We surely agree. Answer below…It’s Not Your Father’s Chronicle Dept.: For one brief shining moment, we had a gender-neutral restroom, near the back elevator, indicated by a picture of a unicorn covering the “Women” sign. The gender-neutral restroom sign lasted one evening. (It was installed by a tenant doing an improv workshop.) Oh well…We’ll always need a copy desk! An eagle-eye editor spotted a headline on an online food story that told of a “Panty-Ready Frittata.” The frittata was supposed to be pantry-ready. No, we do not know what a pantry-ready frittata is, either…Answer to Shopnotes Quiz: JK Dineen…Shopnotes Fun Fact: An assistant metro editor is the new owner of a reporter’s father’s wrist watch…

The second lobby elevator is back in operation after many, many months. You can tell it’s the other elevator because it’s the one with that splotch of peeled-off paint on the inside of the elevator door that looks like a map of Poland…How to Make Friends With the Readers Dept.: The morning after the Warriors championship victory, Chronicle vendors were standing outside the front door of the building and selling copies of the Chronicle with the “Champs Again” headline for $2 — or 50 cents more than the price printed on the front page…Coincidence? On the same day Curiouser and Curiouser joined the Chronicle reporting staff in 1976, the Gong Show debuted on television…Shopnote Quiz! Rearrange the letters in the following to get the name of a staff member: 1. Verboten Hostels 2. Fauna Oil in Poi 3. Cub Nine, Jerks!. Answers below……Who keeps flying off to Chicago to visit her boyfriend?…Editorial assistant Joe Jacques is back from military leave. Thank you, Joe.

Sign on office refrigerator: “Did you take my breakfast — eggs florentine with crab cake?” followed by three possible boxes to check: “Yes – I’m not sure why” and “Yes – I got confused” and “Yes – I was hungry.” And the real answer is: No, the breakfast was not returned…. Answers to Shopnotes Quiz: 1. Steve Hornbostel 2. Filipa Ioannou 3. Bruce Jenkins… A dozen Daily Cal staffers visited the newsroom and received sage advice from former Daily Cal stalwart Trapper Byrne. As a reward for making it through an entire news meeting, each was presented with a genuine reporter’s notebook “borrowed” from the supply cabinet …Dept. of Good News: Hearst fellow Michael Bodley will be sticking around and not moving on to wherever Hearst fellows move on to. Dept. of Bad News (for us): Hearst fellow Sarah Ravani is departing to continue her fellowship in San Antonio. Remember the Alamo’s new neighbor…

Dept. of Non-Starving Artists: The line to be Charles Desmarais’ new best friend forms to the right after he won the $50,000 Rabkin prize for visual arts journalism. Well done, Charles…Great pizza for all at the conference room lunch meeting with Hearst lawyer Diego Ibarguen, who said the best defense against a defamation suit is being right, and hold the anchovies…And yet another first-rate Thirsty Thursday, this one held in the rooftop lounge and featuring terrific barbecue and beer…Welcome to new copy editor Jen Thomas who, when she isn’t splicing split infinitives, plays on the United Arab Emirates national Ultimate Frisbee team. (No, we do not make this stuff up.) Jen, who lived in the UAE for 7 years, competed with her team this summer in the world championships in France, where the UAE — behind Jen’s adept “cutting,” or Frisbee catching — knocked off the Belgians, the Turks and the Venezuelans. Most harrowing of all in world-class Frisbee, said Jen, is the constant possibility of random steroid testing. At any time, she said, a Frisbee player can be required to produce a sample into the little cup, not in private but right in front of a tester. The ultimate test of an Ultimate Frisbee player. Meanwhile, Ultimate Frisbee might become an Olympic sport next time around, which means, if the discs fall according to plan, Jen could become the Chronicle’s first Olympian and maybe even get on a Wheaties box.

— Curiouser and Curiouser

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