Calexico rocks

It was very cool to see a mention of The Cactus Eaters on Calexico’s Twitter feed recently. Calexico is one of my favorite bands; I first became aware of them in 2001 when I heard them at — of all places — a pre-San Francisco Marathon spaghetti feast. Their richly textured music evokes a genuine sense of place — especially the wide open spaces and desert landscapes of the Southwest. Don’t miss their appearances on Saturday at the Independent and on Sunday at Outside Lands right here in SF.

Poisoning pigeons in the park

From time to time, I like to post interviews with various folks that I admire. Here is an oldie but a goodie — my discussion with the legendary musical satirist Tom Lehrer. This will (eventually) be part of an online clip file that I am compiling for Cactuseaters, mostly for my own organizational purposes. If you aren’t familiar with the work of Tom Lehrer, go out and buy one of his live ones, “An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer.” It is still incredibly funny, roughly a half-century after he recorded it.

Zooming across the Pacific Crest Trail: Scott Williamson and Adam Bradley

Thank you, Mike Palmer, for sending me news that superhikers Scott Williamson and Adam Bradley have apparently shattered a PCT speed hiking record set by David Horton. Scott, if you’re reading this, send me the details. According to a forwarded message I received a few minutes ago, “they hiked the trail in typical thru/hiker style in an incredible 65d9h58m. This incudes dealing with all their own resupply, etc. Mind boggling.”

Heartbreak in the liquor aisle: hook-up attempts thwarted at Trader Joe’s

Yesterday, I witnessed two hook-up attempts at a local Trader Joe’s. Both of them were shot down in flames. It happened while I was hanging out near the legendary liquor aisle, trying to choose between Full Sail Ale or the horrible-tasting, recession-priced Simpler Times. I saw a nice woman — maybe 50 — flirting with a good-natured, portly guy, a bit younger than her. They got into a conversation about beer options: Red Oval Classic versus Simpler Times. Then the woman asked if she could take him home with her, and that way they could taste-test the beers together and have some dinner, too. Instead of taking her up on this friendly offer, he rebuffed her: “Get in line, baby!’‘ he said with a smile. So the woman backed off, and the guy walked over to that place in the back where they serve you free samples. There, he started…

Can you boycott a store if you’ve never shopped there in the first place?

I am extremely annoyed with a Haight-Ashbury boutique that (apparently) bans babies and children from entering the premises. The boutique has a note near the door that says NO BRATS with a picture of a weeping child. (huh? weren’t the store’s owners and employees children at some point in their lives? and did they never cry?) The problem is this; the store sells ugly knicknacks and clothes, and so I’ve never shopped there in the first place. Is it possible to boycott a store when you don’t shop there anyhow? I’m thinking of going in there, buying a couple of items and never shopping there again. That’ll show them!

Aerosmith drummer cancels Haight Ashbury visit.

This just in from Booksmith “Unfortunately, Joey Kramer of Aerosmith has had to cancel his visit to The Booksmith, following Steven Tyler’s fall last week. We wish the best to the band and will still be stocking Joey’s memoir, Hit Hard, for those who are curious about life on the road as a rock ‘n roll drummer.” Still to come this month, Peter Coyote will read from his memoir and we’ll host a community forum on homelessness in the Haight with guests authors Violet Blue and Mark Bittner. Also, the Found in Translation reading group meets, Sean Chiki displays his art and comics, and Kemble Scott reads from his new novel, The Sower.

The street poet of Haight/Ashbury (he gets paid in cash!!)

I have an inspiring story for all you writers dealing with the recession. The other day, I met a young poet named Lynn Gentry, who types out instant poems at the famous corner of Haight and Ashbury. He composes his poems behind a hand-lettered sign that reads: PICK A SUBJECT AND PRICE, THEN A POEM.” Follow the instructions: set your price, pick a subject and talk it over with the poet. Then he types it out, taking between three to 10 minutes on his Smith-Corona typewriter, propped on a table near Ben & Jerry’s. He’s so popular, with such a long line in front of him, that it was hard to extract much biographical info from him; he’s too busy to talk much. People come from all around to watch him type. In this age of Twitter and (ahem), blogging, Lynn creates work for individual customers and makes no copies…