Category Archives: I Do Not Understand Reality

The Literary Shower Curtain (Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected)

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Good Evening:

Admit it–until you saw the phrase “literary shower curtain,” it never occurred to you that it never occurred to you that you never realized that you never thought that it never occurred to you that you never thought that you would ever read the phrase “literary shower curtain.”

The Literary Shower Curtain, San Francisco, CA 23 November 2013

The Literary Shower Curtain, San Francisco, CA 23 November 2013

Welcome to San Francisco.

Vonn Scott Bair

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I Do Not Understand Reality: Or, The Latest in Tools for Business Meetings

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Good Evening:

A simple question, given in the caption:

Can You Identify the Most Important Business Tool in This Picture?

Can You Identify the Most Important Business Tool in This Picture?

No, no, no, not the pen, not the paper–good heavens, who still uses those things in this iPad era? The most important business tool in this picture is the “hairy” rubble ball.

We had a three-hour meeting today (most such gatherings in my department only last about 30-45 minutes). At the start of the meeting, the leader presented us with her collection of toys and directed us–yes, directed us–to pick one and play with it during the discussion. I do give her credit for ingenuity. You see, if you play with a yo-yo, tennis balls, or this red and gold critter (San Francisco 49er colors, how could I resist?), you can still pay attention to the conversation, participate and learn. If you play with your iPhone, you can’t pay attention to anything else; it presents too great a distraction.

So there I sat, playing with my iPhone’s camera, photographing my hairy rubber critter.

I’m not certain her plan worked on me.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Surreal Is That Which Lies At Your Feet, 9 December 2013

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Good Evening:

A sidewalk stencil observed on International Boulevard near 23rd in Oakland, CA this evening on my way to rehearsal:

DSCN3947

It might translate as “Decolonization in my heart and my machete,” but I’ve never studied the Spanish language.

Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco: The City That Nudes How!

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Good Evening:

I do not understand reality, but I love San Francisco. My hometown, “The City That Knows How,” has become “The City That Nudes How.”

I have in my hand the January 2 – 8, 2013 edition of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, a free weekly newspaper with an unabashedly unashamedly liberal perspective and very interesting advertisements. Such as this one:

STAND UP FOR BODY FREEDOM!

Yup–the one issue that practically screams San Francisco has returned. Public nudity is back. I beg your pardon, gentle reader: did I write “public nudity?” Political correctness politely and poutingly prompts me to write “body freedom.” The issue of publi–body freedom keeps coming back and coming back to my beloved hometown.

“Now that the nudity ban has been passed, come join us for a clothing optional protest…Nudity is still legal until February 1st.”

I did not know that nudity had enjoyed explicit legal status with the boundaries of the City & County of San Francisco.

“Tuesday, January 8th @ 12 Noon: Protest against Nudity Ban at SF City Hall steps (in case of rain go to Center for Sex and Culture).”

This is the clothing optional protest. The “in case of rain” contingency plan is not the only contingency plan: if you can’t arrange travel to San Francisco for the 8th, you can always come to the “Federal Court hearing” on 17 January @ 1:30 p.m. at the Federal Court House, 450 Golden Gate Avenue (yes, next block from where I work). Clothing might not be a mere option for that one.

But if you cannot attend either event, you can always purchase the book. Pardon me, this is San Francisco: you can always purchase the e-book. “All proceeds go to nudist legal defense and body freedom events/actions.” I have no idea what sort of content you will find in this e-book, but you might see what they have in mind at http://www.mynakedtruth.tv.

I still don’t want to photograph the festivities. I haven’t done it before and I don’t want to do it now. This must count as a rare occasion outside of X-rated movies and photo shoots where all of the nudis–body freedom advocates want to be filmed/photographed/recorded doing what they believe that they do best. But I don’t want to do what they want me to do.

It still feels so, well–look, I also want to protest. I don’t want to look at the naked people, I want to deprive them of at least one spectator. San Franciscans are a contrary people, so I have a reputation to uphold.

Vonn Scott Bair

The Surreal Is That Which Lies at Your Feet, 12 December 2012: Levon Helm

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Good Afternoon:

First, the picture, then the annotations:

The Surreal Is That Which Lies at Your Feet, 12/12/12: Levon Helm

The Surreal Is That Which Lies at Your Feet, 12/12/12: Levon Helm

Well, let us see:

  1. Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm (1940-2012) = vocalist, drummer, percussionist, and multiple other instruments for The Band.
  2. Berry Oklee = probably Berry Oakley (1948-1972), bass, guitar, backing vocals for The Allman Brothers Band.
  3. !!!French Connect. = probably The French Connection (1971), the first R-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  4. S. A. G. = possibly the Screen Actors Guild.

Now, let us try to put this all together.

I give up. I can’t. Speculation, calculation, clever deduction and wild guesses all welcome.

Vonn Scott Bair

I Do Not Understand Reality: Sundry Snippets of Speaking San Franciscans, 10 December 2012

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Good Evening:

Overheard recently on various San Francisco Muni buses:

  • “Dude, I am an amazing slumlord! You shut up!”
  • “Like, her neck was approved, but the rest of her wasn’t.”
  • “Wait, were you paroled in that town, or were you paroled in this town?!…Wow…That’s new age.”

I feel rather fortunate that I do not know the context of any of these sentences. Doesn’t it seem better that way?

Vonn Scott Bair

I Do Not Understand Reality, Even More Nudity in San Francisco Edition, 20 November 2012

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Good Evening:

I don’t understand this: public nudity in our culture is strange; San Francisco in our culture is strange; surely strange should be able to do strange right. But my town has flagrantly flubbed flaunted flesh (ah, poesy!).

My hometown’s nudity movement (I can’t believe I just wrote that) became a civic issue months before I saw the nudity demonstration in the Civic Center only five days ago. A group of men had taken to sitting au naturel in one of SF’s smallest parks, a roughly fifty foot diameter circle of bushes and a few metal tables at the terminus of the vintage streetcar line that travels up Market Street and ends at yet another one of San Francisco’s five-way intersections (Temple, Divisadero, Market, Castro and 17th Streets). Incidentally, when I wrote of this curious affair to my other online buddies, one of my fave correspondents, a sweet-tempered grandmother and Red Sox fanatic from Boston, Massachusetts wrote back asking if the men were young, handsome, suntanned, hetero and single. Sadly, I had to inform her that they were old, flabby, pot-bellied, pale and gay.

The Supervisor (similar to an Alderman in other cities/towns) whose district includes the Castro neighborhood, Scott Wiener (yes, his last name is unfortunate, and no, he is not that Weiner, and whatever one-liners you’re imagining we San Franciscans have already told each other) grew concerned about the possible health risks concerning the spread of butt bacteria (I can’t believe I just wrote that) and wanted to introduce a law requiring the nude sitters to “…place a towel or other barrier on a public seat before sitting in it. And that they be prohibited from dining in restaurants naked.” (from the SF Chronicle article written by Heather Knight which you can read here) This stirred up more controversy than people expected.

First of all, the City & County of San Francisco has a surprisingly strong Libertarian streak (just ask the surprised Libertarian activists who discover how popular Ron Paul is around here): a lot of defenders of public nudity didn’t approve of the imposition of forcing the nudists to carry a towel with them. Second, San Francisco has a new “sit/lie law” that bans people from sitting or lying on sidewalks, no matter how many/few/no clothes they wear. Why should nudists be allowed to sit in public when panhandlers on Haight Street can’t sit at all? Third, the gay population in the Castro wanted public nudity in their neighborhood banned, period, arguing that among other things, the nudes were bad for the local small businesses. San Francisco, contrary to conservative stereotypes, is one of America’s hottest hotbeds of entrepreneurship, business, and free enterprise.

When the story spread that the sitters were not even San Franciscans, they were out-of-towners, the aghast locals asked Mr. Wiener to do something about this. Think about that; people not from San Francisco conducting themselves in San Francisco in a manner too risque for San Franciscans. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

So Mr. Wiener did what politicians are expected to do, obeyed his constituents’ wishes, and introduced a law limiting but not eliminating public nudity, because after all, this is San Francisco, and we have annual events such as the Folsom Street Fair and the Pride Parade where nudity is expected, so we can’t ban expected nudity, now can we? However, because after all, this is San Francisco, the public hearing drew protestors who stated that the nude sitters were not out-of-towners, they were San Franciscans, and since they were nude activists, they therefore engaged in some pubic baring at the public hearing (and I can believe I wrote that). Many of the other Supervisors opposed the law, saying that “Sometimes there’s a little weirdness about how we express ourselves, but that’s a great thing about San Francisco.” The proposed law did pass and barring surprises will go into effect on 1 February 2013.

The final vote? 6-5. Naturally, everyone says that the new law just barely passed.

Vonn Scott Bair
Read more at Neil J. Riley’s article (and yes, there are pictures!): http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-barely-passes-public-nudity-ban-4055606.php#ixzz2Cq1HaMVB