My mom, Joan Straumanis, arrived home in DC just in time to feel the surprising 5.9 quake. It was the first earthquake she ever felt and she had this to say about it:
Where was I during the earthquake? In the bathroom at National Airport, just after returning from Boston. Many people around me were alarmed. But to be honest, I thought it was more exciting than frightening. It was actually sort of gentle, and different from what I had imagined: more rocking than shaking, and inspiring—to think of [...]
That was fun! My first tour of Hayes Valley turned out well, and there were even folks who loved the game we played—more than two dozen, in fact. Last weekend’s tour was different from a usual Thinkwalk.
Josh Bingham and Matt Garcia from WalkSF, our local pedestrian advocacy group, drew me into a madcap scheme to do something out of the ordinary. They suggested a [...]
Have you ever thought out why it is that San Francisco has such a large population of homosexuals? Sure, it’s historically been a tolerant town (probably due to the gold-seekers and other adventurers and wayfarers). But why gay people in particular, rather than other oppressed populations in need of safe homes? Why not runaway children or middle America refugees? (Wait a second…hmmmm)
Turns out, though, that the sudden increase from a moderate to a high number of homos in this town happened in 1942. That was when the U.S. military services [...]
For more than a decade, I’ve led occasional tours as a sort of hobby. In late 2009, I realized that in among all the cultural artifacts that are so important here, there is a natural dynamic most locals crave in their lives
Liberty Hill is so steep, that at 22nd street, I feel as if I am going to bump my nose as I cross the intersection to walk up. Okay, so I have a big nose.
In the 1990s there was a “HILL” warning sign at the top of the block, before being replaced by a pictorial sign. If they bother to put a “HILL” sign on a San Francisco street, you know it’s steep!
But this block was even steeper than any normal sign could convey. Cars approaching from the level intersection [...]
Most famous people were made so by stories, more than by deeds—that’s what fame is. In addition to the popular stories, there’s the law. Guglielmo Marconi, son of an Italian nobleman in Bologna, knew this as well as anyone when he decided to claim invention of wireless communications (1895). His triumph was that he made the claim—and the English patent—stick.
A group called the Marconi Memorial Foundation incorporated in the 1930s for the purpose of enshrining this magical story in stone, on the slopes of San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill and in [...]