Friday, May 27, 2016
Visit Onsug and listen to this
1:21:18 – A cosmic event switches Chad and Jimbo resulting in a crossed up audio journal
that serves as a diary of a day, and a historical record of the mixed up cosmic
circumstances leading to this Freaky Fried Friday. It’s electric.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

  1. double roller rink, counter rotating skate directions, mystery tunnels on each far side, DJ light show booth rises out of space between intersection of two large ovals, where the counter rotating skate traffic intertwined.
  2. Virtual reality roller skating. Use the rink as the physical boundary, each skater skates in their own world, or themed world. blasting other skaters, skating in space, skating in the sky, changing altitude, coming in for landings, all manner of fun.
  3. Pillow designed for laying on the couch sideways, something to prop up my watermelon of a head and not put my arm to sleep
  4.  woo woo company - hand made woo woos in cool fabric - made in usa 
  5. small snack cake item, similar to japanese kitkat that you heat in oven. Needs no refridgeration, many small wrapped pieces come in bag to lower guilt of eating. Ritutal of heating up in toaster oven on plate. warm, gooey, satisfying desert of small size. sell to specialty grocery.
  6. instant voice recorder. auto stores with date stamp, converts to searchable text. idea log, not important that there are other recording diaries, this one offers better calender driven interface and text search, all about keeping ideas and making them accesible.
  7. Youtube interface that learns your likes and behavior, allows youtube to work like changing surfing channels on TV used to be. When you want to click, it takes you to next video, makes loop of about 100 videos, and you can keep lapping the loop, or go backwards to where you were previously, and start where you left off on that channel, if you continue to go forward, time will have advanced on each channel as if it had been running in real time. If it reaches in, another related video will play in its place.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

TITFOS broadcasts on the ONSUG

Miltary Industrial Hot Dog consiracy

Drug films  school  1981

make it hap'n cap'n

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Joe Cain Habanero Hot Sauce - Mobile Alabama Mardi Gras

Joe Cain: First folly to chase the devil round the stump

Joe Cain hot sauce honors the man who brought America's oldest Mardi Gras back to life following the Civil War, and it does so with delightful habanero heat mellowed with carrots, vinegar, and spices.

Joe Cain hot sauce is a delicious tribute to Mobile Alabama, Joe Cain, and Mardi Gras. It is hot, fiery, and full of passion, but it is an everyday sauce, that anyone with a love of natural Habanero Hot Sauces will enjoy. True, it is hot, but its not absurdly hot. Hotter than the standard sauce out of Louisiana, but it's not one of those gimmicky chemical sauces, this is pure, natural heat, with a flavorful expression of habanero and a delightful melange of spices. A great everyday sauce.

Ideal for southern favorites and all delicacies popular south of the salt line and all along our languidly lovely Gulf Coast. Put some Joe Cain into your day by adding this great sauce to most any dish.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Joe Cain Hot Sauce

I'm in the final testing phases of my getting my recipe just right for my Joe Cain Hot Sauce. I was tempted to just blast for the moon with heat, as I am a bit of a chili head, but instead I have chosen to go with the flavorful but hot route. I want something that complements the food I love, something that has respectable heat for people like myself who enjoy the delicious fire from habanero peppers, but something purely natural that can be enjoyed and appreciated as a daily, this should be on everything, type of sauce.

So in appreciation of my home town of Mobile Alabama, and in appreciation in the master of mirth Joe Cain, the man who brought Mardi Gras back to the streets of Mobile following the Civil War, I truly look forward to hearing from you after you have tried my Joe Cain Hot Sauce.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

FACTS Man, it is stranger than fiction

*Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon.

*85 per cent of all life on earth is plankton.

*The oldest known vegetable is the pea.

*To see a rainbow you must have your back to the sun.

*Men of the Walibri tribe of cenral Australia greet each other by shaking each other's penis,instead of shaking each other's hand.

*Carniverous animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by a lightning strike.

*Iguanas can and do commit suicide.

*An eyelash lives for about 5 months.

*There is cyanide in apple pips.

*The water we drink is 3 billion years old.

*Everything weighs one per cent less at the equator.

*Only two female mammals possess hymens;humans and horses.

*Ants dont sleep.

*Human birth control pills work on gorillas.

*Sheep buried in snowdrifts can survive for up to 2 weeks.

*Strawberries are members of the rose family.

*More redheads are born in Scotland than in any other part of the world.

*Nobody knows where Mozart is buried.

*Eskimos use refrigerators to keep their food from freezing.

*Birmingham(UK) has 22 more miles of canals than Venice.

*If an Amish man has a beard,hes married.

*Mexico once had three presidents in one day.

*The Coca-Cola company is the largest consumer of vanilla in the world.

*Millions of trees are accidentaly planted by squirrels that bury their nuts and then forget where they left them.

*9 out of every 10 living thing lives in the ocean.

*Lipstick contains fish scales.

*Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

*Cows give more milk when they listen to music.

*'Puffs' tissues didnt sell well in Germany because 'Puff' in German means brothel.

*Parsley is the most widely used herb in the world.

*There is 200 times more gold in the world's oceans than has ever been mined.

*The Wright brother's first flight was shorter than the wingspan of a 747.

*The Sanskrit word for 'War' means 'Desire for more cows'.

*Monaco's national orchestra is bigger than it's army.

*About 70 per cent of all living organisms in the world are bacteria.

*The Zambian authorities dont allow tourists to take pictures of Pygmies.

*Every year the sun loses 360 million tons.

*In China, the bride wears red.

*The largest toy distributor in the world is Mcdonalds.

*The cashew nut is a member of the poison ivy family.

*Beleif in ther existence of vacuums used to be punishable by death under church law.

*M&Ms were developed so that soldiers could eat chocolate without getting sticky fingers.

*The only wild camels in the world are in Australia.

*Half the world's population has seen a James Bond movie.

*Numbering houses in London streets only began in 1764.

*Only 4 percent of babies are born on their due date.

*Anthropologists know of no known human society whose children dont play hide and seek.

*A snail's reproductive organs are in it's head.

*90% of women who walk into a department store turn to the right.Noone knows why.

*The average 4 year old child asks over 400 questions a day.

*More people are killed annually by donkeys than in aeroplane crashes.

*Schizophrenics hardly ever yawn.

*Every year there are more births in India than there are people in Australia.

*Sex between snakes lasts from 6 to 12 hours.

*During US conscription for World war two,there were nine documented cases of men with three testicles.

*A Dalmation is the only dog that can get gout.

*A rat can last longer without water than a camel can.

*Himalaya means 'home of snow'.

*In Belgium there is a strawberry museum.

*In Chinese the words for 'crisis' and 'opportunity' are the same.

*Horses,rabbits and rats can't vomit.

*The first time women and men used separate toilets was in 1739 at a Paris ball.

*Ocean waves can travel as fast as a jet plane.

*The creature with the largest brain in relation to it's body is the ant.

*Camel milk does not curdle.

*John Wilkes Booth's brother once saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son.

*The religion of the Todas people of southern India forbids them to cross any type of bridge.

*Every year in the US,more people are killed by deer than by any other animal.

*Cows can hear lower and higher freqencies than we can.

*15 million blood cells are produced and destroyed in th human body every second.

*China uses 45 billion chopsticks per year.

*Mitsubishi launched it's 'Pajero' four wheel drive without realizing that 'Pajero' is spanish for 'W*nker'.

*Geese often mate for life,and can pine to death at the loss of their mate.

*The sound made by Victoria falls in Zimbabwe can be heard 40 miles away.

*The word 'Sunday' is not in the bible.

*More Monopoly money is printed in a year than real money throughout the world.

*In ancient Egypt ,when a cat died,it was mandatory for it's owner to shave off his eyebrows to show his grief.

*Mosquitoes are attracted to people who have recently eaten bananas.

*The US has more bagpipe bands than Scotland.

*Before 1800 there was no such thing as separate shoes for left and right feet.

*10 tons of space dust falls on the earth every day.

*Unlike humans,canaries can regenerate their brain cells.

*Vincent Van Gogh's brain was destroyed by the mercury he took to counteract syphilis.

*Most of the villans in the bible have red hair.

*A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror but a monkey cannot.

*Ben and Jerrys send their waste to local pig farmers to use as feed.Pigs love all flavours except 'Mint oreo'.

*The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.

*Men with a certain rare medical condition can breastfeed babies.

*On average 12 newborn babies will be given to wrong parents every day.

*Squirrels cannot contract rabies.

*In ancient Rome,when a man testified in court he would swear on his testicles.

*50% of female polar bears also have a penis.

*Duelling in Paraguay is legal as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

*An adult giraffe´s kick is so powerfull it can decapitate a lion.

*There are more pigs than humans in Denmark.

*A female donkey´s milk is closest to human milk.

*Chocolate can kill dogs-it directly effects their brain and nervous system.

*Porcupines float in water.

*Turtles can breathe through their anus.

*Camels have three eyelids.

*A bee can smell with it´s knees.

*There have been 2,036 known nuclear bomb explosions since World War two.

*All human beings have four nostrils.

*The steam engine was invented in ancient Greece.

*Coffee is not made from beans.

*Strawberries are not berries.

*Over a billion people have been killed by marmots.

*The largest thing a blue whale can swallow is a grapefruit.

*George Washington's teeth previously belonged to a hippopotamus.

*Panama hats come from Equador.

*Reigndeer were the first animals ever to be domesticated.

*Balsa is the world's strongest wood.

*Loofahs come from trees (not the sea).

*Carrots were purple in the middle ages.

*Shrimps are the loudest thing in the ocean.

*Hitler was not a vegetarian.

*The fruit fly was the first animal in space.

*Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand.

*The largest man made structure on earth is Fresh kills ,the rubbish dump on Staten Island New York.

*European earwigs have two penises.

*The moon smells like gunpowder.

*The guillotine was invented in Yorkshire,England.

*Kilts,bagpipes,haggis,porridge,whiskey and tartan are not of Scottish origin.

*Chameleons do not change colour to match their backgrounds.

*The mosquito is the most dangerous animal that has ever lived.

*Goldfish have 3 month memories(not 3 second).

*Your body creates and kills 15 million blood cells every second.

*The north pole of Uranus is dark for 42 years at a time.

*No part of Japan is more than 100 miles from the sea.

*On average ten people a year are kiled by vending machines.

*Humans are responsible for the deaths of around 70 million sharks each year.

*A lightning bolt strikes so fast it could circle the globe eight times in a second.

*If you walk outside George Orwell's old house in London you are now captured on surveillance cameras 33 times.

* "To be or not to be :that is the question,whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of ourageous fortune"

Is an anagram of

"In one of the bard's best thought-of-tragedies,our insistent hero,Hamlet,queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten"

*Stephen Speilberg directed the first ever episode of Columbo.

*Harry Houdini as the first man to fly a plane in Australia-in 1910.

*The world's first traffic island was installed at his own expense by Colonel Pierrepoint outside his London club.He was killed crossing over to it.

*Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.

*Sir JM Barrie,Sir Isaac Newton and Hans Christian Anderson all died virgins.

*John Wayne once won the dog Lassie from it's owner in a poker game.

*Eric Clapton and Jack Nicholson each grew up beleiving their mothers to be their sisters.

*Chuck Berry invented the duck walk initally to hide the creases in his suit.

*Pope John XII and Attilla the hun both died whilst having sex.

*Mongolians put salt in their tea instead of sugar.

*Disneyworld is bigger than than the world's five smallest countries.

*Jennifer Anniston's godfather was Telly Savalas.

*The shortest war in history was between Zanzibar and Britain in 1896.Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.

*Mountain goats are in fact small antelopes.

*Gerard Depardieu and Bill Gates both have photographic memories.

*The first Englishman to be killed in an aviation accident was Mr Royce of Rolls Royce fame.

*The whip was the first invention to break the sound barrier.

*Until the late 1990s,the RAF's nuclear bombs could be activated by using a bicycle lock key.

*There is an average of 90 suicides a day in Japan.

*All the numbers on a roulette wheel add up to 666.

*Crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are to reptiles.

*Non dairy creamer is flammable.

*At any one time there are 100 million phone conversations going on in the US.

*Coca-Cola was originally green.

*The city with the most Rolls Royces per capita is Hong Kong.

*The main library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.

*Each king in a pack of playing cards represents a great king from history: Spades-King David ,Clubs-Alexander the Great ,Hearts-Charlamagne and Diamonds-Julius Caeser.

*It has been recommeded by dentists that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.

*Some lions mate over 50 times a day.

*Butterflies taste with their feet.

*The strongest muscle in the body is the tounge.

*Starfish have no brains.

*Pearls melt in vinegar.

*Snails can sleep for 3 years without eating.

*Charlie Chaplin once won third place in Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest.

*Every day is about 55 billionths of a second longer than the day before it.

*Venus is the only planet in the solar system that rotates clockwise.

*Footprints of the astronauts who landed on the moon should last at least 10 million years since the moon has no atmosphere.

*Earthworms have five hearts.

*Fingerprints of Koala bears and humans are virtually indistinguishable.

*Up to 25% of hospital keyboards carry the MSRA infection.

*In ancient Greece,children of wealthy families were dipped in olive oil at birth to keep them hairless throughout their lives.

*Ghandi didn´t allow his wife to take pennicilin to save her life from pneumonia but took quinnine to save himself from malaria.

*Prostitutes in Roman times charged the equivalent price of 8 glasses of red wine.

*More than 90% of plane crashes have survivors.

*The Mona Lisa used to hang on the wall of Napoleon´s bedroom.

*Eating a packet of crisps a day is the equivalent to drinking five litres of cooking oil a year.

*The Himalayas cover one tenth of the Earth´s surface.

*Every drop of seawater contains approximately one billion gold atoms.

*During World War 2, IBM the built counting machines the Nazis used to manage their concentrtion camps.

*The total combined weight of the world´s ant population is heavier than the weight of the human population.

*Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharoahs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible.

*The population of the world can live within the state boundaries of Texas.

*Alfred Hitchcock had no belly button as it was eliminated during surgery.

*The Roman emperor Caligula made his horse a senator.

*´Jaws´ is the most common name for a goldfish.

*Napoleon was terrified of cats.

*Russia has the most movie theatres in the world.

Did NASA Accidentally “Nuke” Jupiter?


On September 21, 2003 NASA deliberately directed its amazing, still-functioning Galileo spacecraft to make one final, 108,000 mph suicidal plunge into Jupiter’s vast atmosphere.  Thus ended the incredibly successful eight-year unmanned NASA Galileo mission … which had returned against all odds an array of phenomenal new information on Jupiter and its “mini-solar system of moons” … in a literal, most fitting “blaze of glory.”


The intent of this unfortunate decision was to protect Europa, one of those Jovian moons.    Galileo’s repeated Europa observations (below) over the course of its highly successful eight years have all-but-confirmed an extraordinary model, first proposed and published by this author in 1980, and reproduced here: that, beneath its several-miles-thick ice cover, Europa still harbors a liquid water ocean … an ocean potentially teeming with 4.5 billion year-old alien life


Van der Worp had argued that in Jupiter’s dense, high-pressure atmosphere, the creation of an implosion in Galileo’s plutonium capsules was almost naturally assured … without any complex high-tech explosive triggers or ancillary mechanisms.  He had written:

The plutonium pellets aboard are protected against unexpected pressures (not Jupiter’s atmospheric pressures though). Since the craft will be traveling so fast (107,000+ mph), the pressure will increase suddenly. The upper crust of Jupiter’s atmosphere is gaseous hydrogen and helium about 600 to 700 miles thick (2% of the radius of the planet), followed by a more liquid substance of the two, and much further in, a more metal version (so it is guessed). At only 125 miles down the pressure is already 23 bars (Galileo would go from 1/2 bar to 23 bars in 4 seconds). If the craft is traveling at 107,000+ miles/hr, and the pellets (not the craft) last 20 seconds in Jupiter’s hostile atmosphere before imploding, they would have traveled approximately 500-600 miles inward if one accounts for the craft slowing down after entry. This is about the thickness of the more gaseous part of the atmosphere (this is assuming a perpendicular entry). At this point, the pressure would be in the thousands of bars because the increase is exponential, not to mention the temperatures generated at this speed would be tremendous ….


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best thing I've read in a while

Final edition:

Twilight of the American newspaper

By Richard Rodriguez

Richard Rodriguez is an editor at New America Media in San Francisco. His most recent essay for Harper’s Magazine, “The God of the Desert,” appeared in the January 2008 issue.

A scholar I know, a woman who is ninety-six years old, grew up in a tin shack on the American prairie, near the Canadian border. She learned to read from the pages of the Chicago Tribune in a one-room schoolhouse. Her teacher, who had no more than an eighth-grade education, had once been to Chicago—had been to the opera! Women in Chicago went to the opera with bare shoulders and long gloves, the teacher imparted to her pupils. Because the teacher had once been to Chicago, she subscribed to the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune, which came on the train by Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest.

Several generations of children learned to read from that text. The schoolroom had a wind-up phonograph, its bell shaped like a morning glory, and one record, from which a distant female voice sang “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life.”

Is it better to have or to want? My friend says her teacher knew one great thing: There was something out there. She told her class she did not expect to see even a fraction of what the world had to offer. But she hoped they might.

I became a reader of the San Francisco Chronicle when I was in high school and lived ninety miles inland, in Sacramento. On my way home from school, twenty-five cents bought me a connection with a gray maritime city at odds with the postwar California suburbs. Herb Caen, whose column I read immediately—second section, corner left—invited me into the provincial cosmopolitanism that characterized the city’s outward regard: “Isn’t it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there?”

Newspapers have become deadweight commodities linked to other media commodities in chains that are coupled or uncoupled by accountants and lawyers and executive vice presidents and boards of directors in offices thousands of miles from where the man bit the dog and drew ink. The San Francisco Chronicle is owned by the Hearst Corporation, once the Chronicle’s archrival. The Hearst Corporation has its headquarters in New York City. According to Hearst, the Chronicle has been losing a million dollars a week. In San Francisco there have been buyouts and firings of truck drivers, printers, reporters, artists, editors, critics. With a certain élan, the San Francisco Chronicle has taken to publishing letters from readers who remark the diminishing pleasure or usefulness of the San Francisco Chronicle.

When a newspaper dies in America, it is not simply that a commercial enterprise has failed; a sense of place has failed. If the San Francisco Chronicle is near death—and why else would the editors celebrate its 144th anniversary? and why else would the editors devote a week to feature articles on fog?—it is because San Francisco’s sense of itself as a city is perishing.

Most newspapers that are dying today were born in the nineteenth century. The Seattle Post–Intelligencer died 2009, born 1863. The Rocky Mountain News died 2009, born 1859. The Ann Arbor News died 2009, born 1835. It was the pride and the function of the American newspaper in the nineteenth century to declare the forming congregation of buildings and services a city—a place busy enough or populated enough to have news. Frontier American journalism preserved a vestige of the low-church impulse toward universal literacy whereby the new country imagined it could read and write itself into existence. We were the Gutenberg Nation.

Nineteenth-century newspapers draped bunting about their mastheads and brandished an inflated diction and a Gothic type to name themselves the Herald, the Eagle, the Tribune, the Mercury, the Globe, the Sun. With the passage of time, the name of the city was commonly attached to the name of the newspaper, not only to distinguish the Alexandria Gazette from the New York Gazette but because the paper described the city and the city described the paper.

The Daily Dramatic Chronicle, precursor to the San Francisco Chronicle, was founded in 1865 by two teenage brothers on a borrowed twenty-dollar gold piece. Charles and Michael de Young (a third brother, Gustavus, was initially a partner in the publishing venture) had come west with their widowed mother from St. Louis. In California, the brothers invented themselves as descendants of French aristocracy. They were adolescents of extraordinary gumption at a time when San Francisco was a city of gumption and of stranded young men.

Karl Marx wrote that Gold Rush California was “thickly populated by men of all races, from the Yankee to the Chinese, from the Negro to the Indian and Malay, from the Creole and Mestizo to the European.” Oscar Wilde seconded Karl Marx: “It is an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be in San Francisco.” What must Gold Rush San Francisco have been like? Melville’s Nantucket? Burning Man? An arms bazaar in Yemen? There were Russians, Chileans, Frenchmen, Welshmen, and Mexicans. There were Australian toughs, the worst of the lot by most accounts—“Sydney Ducks”—prowling the waterfront. There were Chinese opium dens beneath the streets and Chinese opera houses above them. Historians relish the old young city’s foggy wharves and alleyways, its frigates, fleas, mud, and hazard. Two words attached to the lawless city the de Young brothers moved about in. One was “vigilante,” from the Spanish. The other was “hoodlum”—a word coined in San Francisco to name the young men loitering about corners, threatening especially to the Chinese.

The de Young brothers named their newspaper the Daily Dramatic Chronicle because stranded young men seek entertainment. The city very early developed a taste for limelight that was as urgent as its taste for red light. In 1865, there were competing opera houses in the city; there were six or seven or twelve theaters. The Daily Dramatic Chronicle was a theatrical sheet delivered free of charge to the city’s saloons and cafés and reading rooms. San Francisco desperately appreciated minstrel shows and circuses and melodeons and Shakespeare. Stages were set up in gambling halls and saloons where Shakespearean actors, their velvets much the worse for wear, pointed to a ghost rising at the back of the house: Peace, break thee off. Look where it comes again.

An Italian who came to San Francisco to study medicine in 2003 swears he saw the ghost of a forty-niner, in early light, when he slept and then woke in an old house out by the ocean. The forty-niner was very young, my friend said, with a power of sadness about him. He did not speak. He had red hair and wore a dark shirt.

We can imagine marooned opera singers, not of the second, perhaps not even of the third rank, enunciating elaborate prayers and curses from the Italian repertoire as they stumbled among the pebbles and stones of cold running creeks on their way to perform in Gold Rush towns along the American River. It was as though the grandiose nineteenth-century musical form sought its natural echo in the canyons of the Sierra Nevada. The miners loved opera. (Puccini reversed the circuit and took David Belasco’s melodrama of the Gold Rush back to Europe as La Fanciulla del West.)

In 1860, San Francisco had a population of 57,000. By 1870, the population had almost tripled, to 149,000. Within three years of its founding, by 1868, the Daily Dramatic Chronicle would evolve with its hormonal city to become the Daily Morning Chronicle. The de Young brothers were in their early twenties. Along with theatrical and operatic listings, the Chronicle then published news of ships sailing into and out of the bay and the dollar equivalents of treasure in their holds, and bank robberies, and saloon shootings, and gold strikes and drownings, an extraordinary number of suicides, likewise fires, for San Francisco was a wooden city, as it still is in many of its districts.

It is still possible, very occasionally, to visit the Gold Rush city when one attends a crowded theater. Audiences here, more than in any city I know, possess a wit in common and can react as one—in pleasure, but also in derision. I often think our impulse toward hoot and holler might be related to our founding sense of isolation, to our being “an oasis of civilization in the California desert,” in the phrase of Addison DeWitt (in All About Eve), who, though a Hollywood figment, is about as good a rendition as I can summon of the sensibility (“New York critics”) we have courted here for one hundred and fifty years. And deplored.

The nineteenth-century city felt itself surrounded by vacancy—to the west, the gray court of the Pacific; to the east, the Livermore Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, the Sierra Nevada range. Shipping and mining were crucial to the wealth of the city, but they were never the consolations the city sought. The city looked, rather, to Addison DeWitt—to the eastern United States, to Europe, for approbation. If there was a pathetic sense of insecurity in living at the edge of the continent—San Francisco proclaiming itself “the Paris of the Pacific”!—the city also raised men of visionary self-interest who squinted into the distance and conceived of opening trade to Asia or cutting down redwood forests or laying track across a sea of yellow grass.

Readers in other parts of the country were fascinated by any scrap of detail about the Gold Rush city. Here is a fragment (July 9, 1866) from Bret Harte’s dispatch to readers of the Springfield Republican (from a collection of such dispatches edited by Gary Scharnhorst). The description remains accurate:

Midsummer! . . . To dwellers in Atlantic cities, what visions of heated pavements, of staring bricks, of grateful shade trees, of straw hats and white muslin, are conjured up in this word. . . . In San Francisco it means equal proportions of fog and wind. On the evening of the Fourth of July it was a pleasant and instructive sight to observe the population, in great-coats and thick shawls, warming themselves by bonfires, watching the sky-rockets lose themselves in the thick fog, and returning soberly home to their firesides and warm blankets.

From its inception, the San Francisco Chronicle borrowed a tone of merriment and swagger from the city it daily invented—on one occasion with fatal consequences: in 1879, the Chronicle ran an exposé of the Reverend Isaac Smith Kalloch, a recent arrival to the city (“driven forth from Boston like an Unclean Leper”) who had put himself up as a candidate for mayor. The Chronicle recounted Kalloch’s trial for adultery in Massachusetts (“his escapade with one of the Tremont Temple choristers”). Kalloch responded by denouncing the “bawdy house breeding” of the de Young boys, implying that Charles and Michael’s mother kept a whorehouse in St. Louis. Charles rose immediately to his mother’s defense; he shot Kalloch, who recovered and won City Hall. De Young never served jail time. A year later, in 1880, Kalloch’s son shot and killed Charles de Young in the offices of the Chronicle.

“Hatred of de Young is the first and best test of a gentleman,” Ambrose Bierce later remarked of Michael, the surviving brother. However just or unjust Bierce’s estimation, the de Young brothers lived and died according to their notion of a newspaper’s purpose—that it should entertain and incite the population.

In 1884, Michael was shot by Adolph Spreckels, the brother of a rival newspaper publisher and the son of the sugar magnate Claus Spreckels, after the Chronicle accused the Spreckels Sugar Company of labor practices in Hawaii amounting to slavery. De Young was not mortally wounded and Spreckels was acquitted on a claim of reasonable cause.

When he died in 1925, Michael de Young bequeathed the ownership of the Chronicle to his four daughters with the stipulation that it could not be sold out of the family until the death of the last surviving daughter.

San Francisco gentility has roots as shallow and as belligerent as those of the Australian blue gum trees that were planted heedlessly throughout the city and now configure and scent our Sunday walks. In 1961, Holiday magazine came to town to devote an entire issue to San Francisco. The three living daughters of Michael de Young were photographed seated on an antique high-backed causeuse in the gallery of the old M. H. de Young Memorial Museum their father had donated to the city to house his collection of paintings and curiosities (including a scabrous old mummy beloved of generations of schoolchildren—now considered too gauche to be displayed). For the same issue, Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, widow of Adolph, was photographed taking tea in her Pacific Heights mansion in what looks to be a fur-trimmed, floor-length velvet gown. The Spreckels family donated to the city a replica of the Palais de la Legion d’Honneur in Paris to house a collection of European paintings and rooms and furniture. One Spreckels and three de Youngs make four Margaret Dumonts—a San Francisco royal flush.

In 1972, the museum donated by Michael de Young merged with the museum created by the family of the man who tried to murder Michael de Young to become the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Men, usually men, who assumed the sole proprietorships of newspapers in the nineteenth century were the sort of men to be attracted by the way a newspaper could magnify an already fatted ego. Newspaper publishers were accustomed to lord over cities.

William Randolph Hearst was given the San Francisco Examiner by his father, a mining millionaire and U.S. senator, who may or may not have won it in a poker game in 1880. As it happened, young Hearst was born to run a newspaper. He turned the Examiner into the largest-circulation paper in San Francisco before he moved on to New York, where, in 1895, he acquired the New York Journal. Hearst quickly engaged in a yellow-journalism rivalry with Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. Both Hearst and Pulitzer assumed political careers. Hearst served in the Congress of the United States—served is not quite the word—as did Pulitzer, briefly.

We remember Joseph Pulitzer not as a sensationalist journalist but as the philanthropist who endowed an award for excellence in journalism and the arts. We remember William Randolph Hearst because his castle overlooking the Pacific—fifty miles of ocean frontage—is as forthright a temple to grandiosity as this nation can boast. And we remember Hearst as the original for Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane. Welles portrayed Charles Foster Kane with the mix of populism and egomania audiences of the time easily recognized as Hearst. Kane the champion of the common man becomes Kane the autocrat. Kane builds an opera house for his paramour. Kane invents a war.

The San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner were both losing money when, in 1965, Charles Thieriot, grandson of Michael de Young, met with William Randolph Hearst Jr. to collaborate on what they called the San Francisco Newspaper Agency. The Agency was a third entity designed to share production and administrative costs. The papers were to maintain editorial discretion and separate staffs. In addition, an incoherent Sunday edition shuffled together sections from both the Chronicle and the Examiner. The terms of the publishers’ agreement eventually favored the afternoon Hearst newspaper, for it was soon to fall behind, to become the lesser newspaper in a two-paper town. The Examiner nevertheless continued to collect half the profits of both.

In January 1988, Phyllis Tucker, the last surviving daughter of Michael de Young, died in San Francisco. Tucker’s daughter, Nan Tucker McEvoy, managed to forestall the sale of the paper for several years. But in 1999, the founding publisher’s posthumous grip was pried loose by a majority vote of family members to sell. At that time, the Hearst Corporation was desirous of reclaiming the San Francisco market. Hearst paid $660 million to the de Young heirs for the San Francisco Chronicle.

To satisfy antitrust concerns of the Justice Department, the Hearst Corporation sold the still-extant San Francisco Examiner to the politically connected Fang family, owners of Asianweek, the oldest and largest English-language Asian-American newspaper. The Hearst Corporation paid the Fangs a subsidy of $66 million to run the Examiner. Florence Fang placed her son, Ted Fang, in the editor’s chair. Within a year, Florence Fang fired her son; Ted Fang threatened to sue his mother. In 2004, the Fang family sold the Examiner to Philip Anschutz, a scattershot entrepreneur from Colorado who deflated William Randolph Hearst’s “Monarch of the Dailies” to a freebie tabloid that gets delivered to houses up and down the street twice a week, willy-nilly, and litters the floors of San Francisco municipal buses.

The day after I was born in San Francisco, my tiny existential fact was noted in several of the papers that were barked through the downtown streets. In truth, the noun “newspaper” is something of a misnomer. More than purveyors only of news, American newspapers were entrusted to be keepers of public record—papers were daily or weekly cumulative almanacs of tabular information. A newspaper’s morgue was scrutable evidence of the existence of a city. Newspapers published obituaries and they published birth announcements. They published wedding announcements and bankruptcy notices. They published weather forecasts (even in San Francisco, where on most days the weather is optimistic and unremarkable—fog clearing by noon). They published the fire department’s log and high school basketball scores. In a port city like San Francisco, there were listings of the arrivals and departures of ships. None of this constituted news exactly; it was a record of a city’s mundane progress. News was old as soon as it was dry—“fishwrap,” as Herb Caen often called it.

Unwilling to forfeit any fraction of my quarter, I even studied the classifieds—-unrelieved columns laid out like city blocks: Room for rent. Marina. No pets. File clerk position. Heavy phones. Ticket agent for busy downtown box office. Must be bonded. Norman, we’re still here. Only once did I find the titillation I was looking for, a listing worthy of a barbershop magazine, an Argosy, or a Mickey Spillane: “Ex-Green Beret will do anything legal for cash.” Newspapers were sustained by classifieds, as well as by department-store ads and automobile ads. I admired the urbanity of the drawings of newspaper ads in those years, and I took from them a conception of the posture of downtown San Francisco. Despite glimpses into the classified life of the city, despite the hauteur of ad-art mannerism, the Chronicle offered some assurance (to an adolescent such as I was) it would have been difficult for me to describe. I will call it now an implied continuity. There was continuity in the comics and on the sports page, but nowhere more than in the columns.

During Scott Newhall’s tenure as executive editor, from 1952 to 1971, the Chronicle achieved something of a golden age. Newhall was flamboyant in ways that were congenial to the city. At a time when the Los Angeles Times was attracting admiration from the East Coast for its fleet of foreign bureaus, Newhall reverted to an eighteenth-century model of a newspaper as first-person observer.

For nearly two decades the city that prized its singularity was entertained by idiosyncratic voices. At the shallow end of the Chronicle’s roster (under the cipher of a coronet) appeared Count Marco, a Liberace of the typewriter who concerned himself with fashion and beauty and l’amour. At the deep end—a snug corner at Gino and Carlo’s bar in North Beach—sat “Charles McCabe, Esq.,” an erudite connoisseur of books, spirits, and failed marriages. Terrence O’Flaherty watched television. Stanton Delaplane, to my mind the best writer among them, wrote “Postcard”—a travel series with charm and humor. Art Hoppe concocted political satire. Harold Gilliam expounded on wind and tide and fog. Alfred Frankenstein was an art critic of international reputation. There was a book column by William Hogan and a society column by Frances Moffat. Allan Temko wrote architectural criticism against the grain of the city’s sensibility, a sensibility he sometimes characterized as a liberal spirit at odds with a timorous aesthetic. All the Chronicle columnists and critics had constituents, but the name above the banner was Herb Caen.

Herb Caen began writing a column for the Chronicle before the Second World War. At that time, Caen was in his twenties and probably resembled the fresh, fast-talking smarty-pants he pitched his voice to portray in print. Item. . .item. . .who’s gotta item? In 1950, he was lured over to the Examiner at a considerable hike in salary, and circulation followed at his heels. He knew all the places; he knew the maître d’s, the bartenders, the bouncers, the flower-sellers, the cops, the madams, the shopkeepers—knew them in the sense that they all knew him and knew he could be dangerous. In 1958, Caen returned to the Chronicle, and, again, circulation tilted.

Each day except Saturday, for forty years, Caen set the conversation for San Francisco. Who was in town. Who was in the hospital and would appreciate a card. Who was seen drinking champagne out of a rent boy’s tennis shoe. His last column began: “And how was your Christmas?” He persuaded hundreds of thousands of readers (crowded on buses, on the way to work) that his was the city we lived in. Monday through Friday, Caen was an omniscient table-hopping bitch. On Sunday, he dropped all that; he reverted to an ingenue—a sailor on leave, a sentimental flaneur infatuated with his dream “Baghdad-by-the-Bay.” The point of the Sunday perambulation was simple relish—fog clearing by noon; evidence that the mystical, witty, sourdough city had survived one more week.

After a time, Caen stopped writing Sunday panegyrics; he said it was not the same city anymore, and it wasn’t. He wasn’t. Los Angeles, even San Jose—two cities created by suburbanization—had become more influential in the world than the “cool grey city of love,” a George Sterling line Caen favored. The Chinese city did not figure in Caen’s novel, except atmospherically—lanterns and dragons, chorus girls at the Forbidden City, Danny Kaye taking over the kitchen at Kan’s, that sort of thing. The growing Filipino, Latin-American city did not figure at all.

In Caen’s heyday, the San Francisco Chronicle reflected the self-infatuated city. But it was not the city entire that drew the world’s attention. In the 1950s, the version of San Francisco that interested the world was Jack Kerouac’s parish—a few North Beach coffeehouses habituated by beatniks (a word Caen coined) and City Lights Bookstore. By the time I was a teenager, the path to City Lights was electrified by the marquees of topless clubs and bad wolves with flashlights beckoning passersby toward red velvet curtains. Anyway, the scene had moved by that time to the fog-shrouded Grateful Dead concerts in Golden Gate Park and to the Haight Ashbury. A decade later, the most famous neighborhood in the city was the homosexual Castro District. San Francisco never seemed to grow old the way other cities grow old.

In 1967, the Chronicle’s rock and jazz critic, Ralph J. Gleason, teamed up with a renegade cherub named Jann Wenner to publish Rolling Stone magazine. What this disparate twosome intuited was that by chronicling the rising influence of rock music, they were effectively covering a revolution. In New York, writers were cultivating, in the manner of Thackeray, a self-referential point of view and calling it the “New Journalism.” In San Francisco, Rolling Stone was publishing a gospel “I” that found itself in a world without precedent: Greil Marcus, Cameron Crowe, Patti Smith, Timothy Ferris, Hunter S. Thompson. I remember sitting in an Indian tea shop in South London in 1970 (in the manner of the New Journalism) and being gripped by envy potent enough to be called homesickness as I read John Burks’s account of the Stones concert at Altamont. It was like reading a dispatch from the Gold Rush city.

One morning in the 1970s, the Chronicle began to publish Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City—adding sex and drugs and local branding to the nineteenth-century gimmick of serial fiction. At a time when American families were trending to the suburbs, Maupin’s novel insisted that San Francisco was still magnetic for single lives. In those same years, Cyra McFadden was writing satirically about the sexual eccentricities of suburban Marin County in a series (“The Serial”) for an alternative newspaper called the Pacific Sun.

In those same years, Joan Didion wrote, in The White Album, that for many people in Los Angeles “the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the (Manson family) murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community.” To borrow for a moment the oracular deadpan: In San Francisco, the Sixties came to an end for many people in 1977, when Jann Wenner packed up and moved Rolling Stone to New York. As he departed, the moss-covered wunderkind griped to a young reporter standing by that San Francisco was a “provincial backwater.”

What no one could have imagined in 1977, not even Jann Wenner, was that a suburban industrial region thirty miles to the south of the city contained an epic lode. Silicon Valley would, within twenty years, become the capital of Nowhere. What no one could have imagined in 1977 was that San Francisco would become a bedroom community for a suburban industrial region that lay thirty miles to the south.

Don’t kid a kidder. Herb Caen died in 1997. With the loss of that daily hectoring voice, the Chronicle seemed to lose its narrative thread, as did the city. The Chronicle began to reprint Caen columns, to the bewilderment of anyone younger than thirty.

If you die in San Francisco, unless you are judged notable by our know-nothing newspaper (it is unlikely you will be judged notable unless your obituary has already appeared in the Washington Post or the New York Times), your death will be noted in a paid obituary submitted to the Chronicle by your mourners. More likely, there will be no public notice taken at all. As much as any vacancy in the Chronicle I can point to, the dearth of obituaries measures its decline.

In the nineteenth-century newspaper, the relationship between observer and observed was reciprocal: the newspaper described the city; the newspaper, in turn, was sustained by readers who were curious about the strangers that circumstance had placed proximate to them. So, I suppose, it is incomplete to notice that the San Francisco Chronicle has become remiss in its obituary department. Of four friends of mine who died recently in San Francisco, not one wanted a published obituary or any other public notice taken of his absence. This seems to me a serious abrogation of the responsibility of living in a city and as good an explanation as any of why newspapers are dying. All four of my friends requested cremation; three wanted their ashes consigned to the obscurity of Nature. Perhaps the cemetery is as doomed in America as the newspaper, and for the same reason: we do not imagine death as a city.

We no longer imagine the newspaper as a city or the city as a newspaper. Whatever I may say in the rant that follows, I do not believe the decline of newspapers has been the result solely of computer technology or of the Internet. The forces working against newspapers are probably as varied and foregone as the Model-T Ford and the birth-control pill. We like to say that the invention of the internal-combustion engine changed us, changed the way we live. In truth, we built the Model-T Ford because we had changed; we wanted to remake the world to accommodate our restlessness. We might now say: Newspapers will be lost because technology will force us to acquire information in new ways. In that case, who will tell us what it means to live as citizens of Seattle or Denver or Ann Arbor? The truth is we no longer want to live in Seattle or Denver or Ann Arbor. Our inclination has led us to invent a digital cosmopolitanism that begins and ends with “I.” Careening down Geary Boulevard on the 38 bus, I can talk to my my dear Auntie in Delhi or I can view snapshots of my cousin’s wedding in Recife or I can listen to girl punk from Glasgow. The cost of my cyber-urban experience is disconnection from body, from presence, from city.

A few months ago there was an item in the paper about a young woman so plugged into her personal sounds and her texting apparatus that she stepped off the curb and was mowed down by a honking bus.

In this morning’s paper there is a quote from an interview San Francisco’s mayor, Gavin Newsom, gave to The Economist concerning the likelihood that San Francisco will soon be a city without a newspaper: “People under thirty won’t even notice.”

The other day I came upon a coffeehouse that resembled, as I judged from its nineteenth-century exterior, the sort of café where the de Young brothers might have distributed their paper. The café was only a couple of blocks from the lively gay ambience of upper Market Street yet far removed from the clamorous San Francisco of the nineteenth century. Several men and women sat alone at separate tables. No one spoke. The café advertised free wi-fi; all but one of the customers had laptops open before them. (The exception was playing solitaire with a real deck of cards.) The only sounds were the hissing of an espresso machine and the clattering of a few saucers. A man in his forties, sitting by the door, stared at a screen upon which a cartoon animal, perhaps a dog, loped silently.

I should mention that the café, like every coffeehouse in the city, had stacks of the Bay Guardian, S.F. Weekly, the Bay Area Reporter—free and roughly equivalent to the Daily Dramatic Chronicle of yore. I should mention that San Francisco has always been a city of stranded youth, and the city apparently continues to provide entertainments for youth:

Gosta Berling, Kid Mud, Skeletal System El Rio. 8pm, $5. Davis Jones, Eric Andersen and Tyler Stafford, Melissa McClelland Hotel Utah. 8pm, $7. Ben Kweller, Jones Street Station, Princeton Slim’s. 8:30pm, $19. Harvey Mandel and the Snake Crew Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $16. Queers, Mansfields, Hot Toddies, Atom Age Bottom of the Hill. 8:30pm, $12.

The colleague I am meeting for coffee tells me (occasioned by my puzzlement at the wi-fi séance) that more and more often he is finding sex on Craigslist. As you know better than I do, one goes to Craigslist to sell or to buy an old couch or a concert ticket or to look for a job. But also to arrange for sexual Lego with a body as free of narrative as possible. (Im bored 26-Oakland-east.)

Another friend, a journalist born in India, who has heard me connect newspapers with place once too often, does not dispute my argument, but neither is he troubled by it: “If I think of what many of my friends and I read these days, it is still a newspaper, but it is clipped and forwarded in bits and pieces on email—a story from the New York Times, a piece from Salon, a blog from the Huffington Post, something from the Times of India, from YouTube. It is like a giant newspaper being assembled at all hours, from every corner of the world, still with news but no roots in a place. Perhaps we do not need a sense of place anymore.”

So what is lost? Only bricks and mortar. (The contemptuous reply.) Cities are bricks and mortar. Cities are bricks and mortar and bodies. In Chicago, women go to the opera with bare shoulders.

Something funny I have noticed, perhaps you have noticed it, too. You know what futurists and online-ists and cut-out-the-middle-man-ists and Davos-ists and deconstructionists of every stripe want for themselves? They want exactly what they tell you you no longer need, you pathetic, overweight, disembodied Kindle reader. They want white linen tablecloths on trestle tables in the middle of vineyards on soft blowy afternoons. (You can click your bottle of wine online. Cheaper.) They want to go shopping on Saturday afternoons on the Avenue Victor Hugo; they want the pages of their New York Times all kind of greasy from croissant crumbs and butter at a café table in Aspen; they want to see their names in hard copy in the “New Establishment” issue of Vanity Fair; they want a nineteenth-century bookshop; they want to see the plays in London, they want to float down the Nile in a felucca; they want five-star bricks and mortar and do not disturb signs and views of the park. And in order to reserve these things for themselves they will plug up your eyes and your ears and your mouth, and if they can figure out a way to pump episodes of The Simpsons through the darkening corridors of your brain as you expire (add to shopping cart), they will do it.

We will end up with one and a half cities in AmericaWashington, D.C., and American Idol. We will all live in Washington, D.C., where the conversation is a droning, never advancing, debate between “conservatives” and “liberals.” We will not read about newlyweds. We will not read about the death of salesmen. We will not read about prize Holsteins or new novels. We are a nation dismantling the structures of intellectual property and all critical apparatus. We are without professional book reviewers and art critics and essays about what it might mean that our local newspaper has died. We are a nation of Amazon reader responses (Moby Dick is “not a really good piece of fiction”—Feb. 14, 2009, by Donald J. Bingle, Saint Charles, Ill.—two stars out of five). We are without obituaries, but the famous will achieve immortality by a Wikipedia entry.

National newspapers may try to impersonate regional newspapers that are dying or dead. (There have been reports that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal will soon publish San Francisco Bay Area editions.) We already live in the America of USA Today, which appears, unsolicited, in a plastic chrysalis suspended from your doorknob at a Nebraska Holiday Inn or a Maine Marriott. We check the airport weather. We fly from one CNN Headline News monitor to another. We end up where we started.

An obituary does not propose a solution.