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WORDS

LENNY: What Dating a Younger Man Taught Me About My Own Shortcomings

Imagine bathing in a source of unwavering loyalty. That’s what it was like to date a younger guy who was desperately in need of love and stability. A guy who was sleeping on his friend’s couch and working the cash register at a corner market and the reception at some three-star hotel above San Francisco’s Chinatown. He was also a self-described “deadbeat dad.” At 23.

I was an overeducated black woman with good credit, no kids, who was 20 years his senior — I should have known better.

Give yourself plenty of time to see the uneasiest street in America.

You can take pictures next to cars with trash bags for windows or near pit bulls guarding women twisting braids in their front yards. You can catch black vendors outside the Apollo Theatre hissing "devil" at tourists or spend an afternoon with a man named Dawg clutching a fistful of crack.

In Portland and Harlem and points between, go find a street named Martin Luther King.

 

I know you've been told to avoid it. Chris Rock even has a joke that essentially goes:

"If a friend calls you and says 'I'm lost. I'm on Martin Luther King Boulevard' and they want to know what to do, the best response is, 'Run!' "

Well, I've toured them, and I've had to run only a couple of times.

KQED: African-American Comedy in a Time of Black Exodus

With the massive outflow of black residents from San Francisco over the past couple of decades, and with comedy having become one of the most powerful ways we consume news and encounter fresh ideas across the nation thanks in particular to the popularity of The Daily Show, it could be said that black comedians have taken on an important role as watchdogs and gadflies in this fast-changing city. But getting socio-political messages across to a predominantly white audience poses challenges.

Women’s media is girly and pink and about abortion.

Don’t spit-take that beverage with wild health claims I imagine you drinking! The pink pregnancy-terminating stuff? It’s what I heard while producing an online comedy-news show for young women.

Here’s the inside on who said it, plus what I learned about making girly media.

"They think they're so amazing," Katerina bristles as the two strutting skinheads disappear down the metro tunnel. She tugs at the red scarf tied underneath her chin, clutches her newspapers closer to her chest and leans against the yellow tiled wall that looks like it was brought up from the depths of a murky swimming pool.

Then the old woman makes an announcement.

"Belarus is full of [expletive], and they're so proud!"

Not so long ago, San Diego was a margarita-mix ravaged city. Now we've got a budding group of cocktail acolytes who are using locally grown produce. They’re making block ice. They’re taking six hours to steam Carlsbad strawberries for daiquiris. And their delicious drinks show the kind of thoughtfulness (fussiness?) that even the most high-maintenance woman won’t put into grooming.

“Introduce yourselves!” Schroeder goaded his kitchen staff like it was a workplace retreat and this was the communication skills exercise.

At the grill station, against the wall, was Ryan Lopez, 28, a lead line cook. Under his dark, wavy hair was a very perturbed expression that he kept throughout the night’s nearly 200 covers.

Next to him, was Nick Martinez, 26, a lanky line cook who kept dutifully quiet as he worked on vegetables and fish. He’d been in a fight, and his jaw was wired shut.

Tipsy after tasting innovative wine blends at Las Nubes (52-646-176-8120) — one of about 50 wineries in the valley — I found a meal I’ve looked for my whole life. At Corazón de Tierra (Heart of the Land), chef Diego Hernández turns Mexican gastronomy into pure-tasting anthropology. Owned by Hernández and Phil and Eileen Gregory, the restaurant is eco-modern: The dining room is textured with reclaimed wood. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out on an artichoke-dense organic garden. And when I sat down to a $55 lunchtime tasting menu, all five courses cheered for the Mexican scene. 

I pounded through a carb-and-protein regimen for more than a month, searching for the perfect balance of bread, filling and flavor in San Diego. It’s a quest dubbed Project Sandwich 2013.

Quickly, I realized there are too many things to stuff between slices of bread — from Muffalettas and patty melts to tortas and BLTs, sandwiches are as diverse as the bird kingdom.

We’re never given an access pass to her inner monologue, nor clues into where she works, nor hints about the tragedies she’s absorbed. (A foreclosed home? Recent discovery by the feds after living on the lam 30 years?) All we hear is the TV home-shopping network Miss Rasch briefly watches, and a classical radio show -- the request programme in the title -- that she takes passing interest in (reacting to a startling musical passage or the peculiar shoutout from the DJ, played by noted retired San Diego radio announcer J.D. Steyers, “Dedicated to the lady who can’t bear too much solemnity.”).

Can the average theatergoer bear this much solemnity?

If you’re finding it hard to make peace with the 109th Congress, you’re not alone. Every day I hear that the American public is trying to end its toxic relationship with the Worst Congress Ever (“a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable,” as Rolling Stone puts it).

And when you visit your polling place at a public school, notice how it’s garroted and turning blue under an unfunded Leave No Child Behind mandate. As you shuffle in that stunned cattle line, try dreaming up bipartisan offenses that would make congressional dingleberries reach for paper balloting and wipe fickle-electronic voting from the Help America Vote Act1. And while you eye the incumbent studs that have already lathered up an $8.6-trillion debt, and plan to spray billions more without ever going soft on social policy, keep in mind: You’re to blame.

CALAVERAS ENTERPRISE: Found: A story of Calaveras Search and Rescue, a lost skier and friendship

It was a quarter to 7 p.m. and Todd Beaty and his two friends, his landlords on a 16-acre property in Arnold, decided they should sit down and dive into the big rib dinner that had been steaming up the bungalow, sitting for nearly two hours, untouched. Who knew why the other dinner guests hadn’t phoned. Maybe they never made it up from Santa Cruz or maybe they were up in the Wetmore family cabin in Blue Lake Springs. The trio knew that the slopes at Bear Valley had already closed for the night, and a storm was moving in. Sven Wetmore and his 13-year-old son, Justin, couldn’t still be up on the mountain.

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