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With h. brown

h. "Court Jester" brown
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Court Jester rubs shoulders with Senator John Kerry

By h. brown

February 3, 2008

Karen Babbitt is 40 and I don't know anyone
(that's a good thing)

I also didn't know anyone, more or less, at the Obama rally yesterday morning in the rain following Karen's 40th birthday beer bash at the Temple Bar, following Salon in the rain where I knew everyone and they all voted to move the whole thing to the 3rd district for my campaign for supervisor. 'Cookylooky' says everyone knows me there - and that's a start - but where to start on this column?

You having fun? I really am. It would seem that involuntary celibacy does not condemn one to being a miserable shrew like Arthur Evans, but as I look at the ladies from 18 to 80, sex is never off my mind. Thanks for that, ladies. Ah, the ladies.

Arm candy and door passes

Popular or threatening guys will do too. No sex, but who you walk into an event with is recorded by all and the size of their political balls is definitely relevant. I talked Aimee Iura into coming to Karen's birthday party and she turns heads.

So does Angela Alioto. As does young Bob Brigham with his Montana steel-toed boots and flannel shirt and hunting vest (I tell everyone - from a distance - that he's a bounty hunter and has been showing their picture around the crowd) … I like to be with the in-crowd. Shamelessly.

Luke Thomas, Elaine Santore and I took the Fog City contingent to Babbitt's party and Aimee came along and everyone thought she was a new flame for me and I wish it were true and I let them think it and build my myth. But it isn't, and that's OK because she's an old friend and they last longer in my life anyway. Probably the same with you.

Aimee left early, but we hard-core political junkies went on and on through countless pitchers of beer and discovered that the mural on the wall across from us was a Charlie Lennon original.

Charlie's an old friend and Luke took pictures of us standing all under and around it and I'm supposed to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow with Charlie and Patrick Cassidy ('Journey to Bohemia' author) with Luke and Bob at my SRO where I have bad TV reception.

h. brown, Elaine Santore, Karen Babbitt, Sasha, and Bob Brigham

But it doesn't matter because we all end up painting the walls and hanging posters and taking turns at the keyboard of the computer that John Donofrio gave me and Phil and Marc keep running. I do YouTube videos of old tunes and Bob knows every political site on the web and Luke makes everyone prove everything they say and I always phone Sue Vaughan to tell her that there are the '3 or more men talking politics' quorum that triggers an automatic call to a rabid feminist to invite someone with ovaries to hear from the other side, and she says not to say 'dear' or 'honey' or 'babe' and gives us her blessing to continue.

Is your life anything like that? I thought not. Too bad for you, buddy. I mean, honey. I mean, babe. I mean, dear. Why don't guys complain if I call them all 'dude' and 'stud' and 'bro' and 'cowboy,' and other equally sexist characterizations?

You following any of this? It's a column about Barack Obama.

It was a rainy day in London

I don't know my place. Never did. It wasn't London either. Everett Middle School was where we ended up, but not before youngsters, Brigham and Thomas had their coffee to combat their hangovers from the previous night's feting of Karen's 40th.

I used my own tried and true hangover remedy and polished off half of a half pint of Ancient Age as we trudged through the early morning drizzle working our way up Market from U.N. Plaza, to the incredible complex that is Everett Middle School sitting on Church Street on the border that straddles the Mission and the Castro. Man, what a building!

Daly was standing out in front collecting signatures for his petition to counter the Lennar takeover of every place every black person lives in the Bayview and Hunters Point. Their supervisor, Sophie Maxwell, could care less.

Supervisor Chris Daly collects his 1000th signature outside Everett Middle School.

I gots lots of problems with Daly. Oh, I love the guy. He's the Progressives' clean-up hitter for the last couple of years. He's our thousand-plus yards running back, or all-pro quarterback, but I'm the grouchy old coach who is never satisfied and keep 'em all humble. All of 'em.

While he gets his ass kissed all around, I come up front and kicked him in the balls over the Progressive (?) supes baseless attack on Dick Sklar.

Debra Walker approaches with a friend and she gives me a quick hug.

Ahhh, San Francisco! I walk across the street to get perspective and Everett is something to look at. They didn't spare labor or money when the City and the Nation were poorest ant built places like this and Mission High and so many other structures.

The columns that support the center edifice of the school façade is flanked by 2 wings that each contain a courtyard of 70-year-old palm trees … front façade is supported by fabulous Corinthian columns that run around 40 feet or more into the air, made of some kind of jeweled terrazzo, capped by carefully carved crowns and flanked by an assortment of perfectly balanced Spanish tile artwork that would draw a nod from Michelangelo.

A woman approaches me for an autograph. I ask her if she's crazy. Turns out she is. Oh well. I cross back across the street smoking a cigar and attack Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi who forthrightly answers all my questions about the Progressive board cabal oncoming attack on Sklar, but it's all 'off-the-record.'

Sklar rebuilt the collapsed sewer system in Hunters Point and the cable car system before Daly was even born. And, lots of other things. None of the Supes ever built a tree house. They presume to judge Dick Sklar, the guy who rebuilt the U.S. airports infrastructure, as well as the bridges, power plants and water systems of Bosnia?

I count 390 incandescent light bulbs in the 11 classic chandeliers hanging over the perfectly proportioned auditorium that seats fifteen hundred or so and is packed for the arrival of John Kerry who is here to inspire us. A woman standing next to me says the lighting is bad and she can't see.

George Santayana said that the fulfillment of the expectation of pattern is the essential ingredient in any aesthetic experience, and he's damned right. Whomever the hell designed Everett has read Santayana. Proportion is most important in the human form and the same it true for architecture. Everyone knows that. I don't even want to get into the ornate mosaic trim that separates wall and ceiling throughout the buildings. Let me just say that it's beyond the grasp of Donald Fisher.

"Martin Luther King was 24 in Montgomery!"

I finally learned something of interest from John Kerry. King was 33 when he did his 'I have a dream' speech in D.C. I hadn't realized that either and Kerry gave a good speech. I think Obama is going to win the Democrat's nomination going away and I hope he chooses Al Gore as his running mate. Al can't win his home state of Tennessee, it's true, but that just gives us another place to dump the nuclear waste that is mostly created there anyway.

Senator John Kerry

Did I get off message? Not possible. I don't do messages. Just rants. So, who was there for Obama? Barry Hermanson was passing out campaign literature for his U.S. House run for Lantos' seat. Mark Sanchez and Jane Kim were also there and Senator Kerry says that Thomas Jefferson was 33 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Is he trying to make me feel like a bigger failure than I already am?

Standing for Change: Supervisors Chris Daly, Ross Mirkarimi,
School Board President Mark Sanchez and School Board Member Jane Kim.

There's a 'truck' out front (hook and ladder 6) and I stop and talk to the guys a bit. I was a firefighter for 5 years back when Lincoln was president and have a continued interest in the craft. Their rig is an 85-footer (straight-bed), which is the same design I rode back in the day.

They don't have a booster tank (500 gallons of baffled water hooked to inch and a half chemical hose for quick rescues - the SF hills preclude that) and they are there as Standard Operating Procedure when large crowds are gathered. They don't know why there are no cops. Their union president, John Hanley is there alongside D.A. Kamala Harris to endorse Obama.

San Francisco Firefighters union chief John Hanley
does his best Howard Dean impression.

District Attorney Kamala Harris (center) listens in on an impromptu coversation
between Vietnam veteran Kerry and a member of the U.S. Army.

The rain continues to patter down. The firefighters won't talk politics with me but are free with comments on their ride and the rain. It brings back memories of the days I rode one of these things to huge fires and even one train wreck. I don't push em.

The Grateful Dead, MoveOn.org, the LA Times, La Opinion, and Ethel Kennedy endorse Obama within minutes of each other. The Grateful Dead have scheduled a reunion concert at the Warfield on Monday to support Barack. The tickets sell out in 20 minutes. Brigham somehow managed to get tickets.

Luke wants to photograph me at the head of the Deadhead's line that always forms for these things. I've evolved into a kind of FogCityJournal.com mascot, with teeth. The Dead do little for me. Too complicated. I like screaming vocalists, soaring guitars and loud drums, and bourbon.

We retraced our tracks back through the rain to the Tenderloin stopping at a little diner at Market and Pearl where I'd always wanted to eat. I skip the food while Luke and Bob chow down while I content myself with a couple of Bloody Mary's.

h. brown marvels at Kerry's speech with Bob Brigham of Calitics fame
while waiting for a bevy of breakfast Bloody Mary's.

Life is good and some customers engage us about the Obama rally. Two black lesbians with a little girl are animated in their support of the junior Illinois senator. A lady abandons her counter seat and Thomas gives her a rundown of the event as she beams and goes off uplifted to do her laundry.

Back at Casa Brown we drink beer and bourbon and surf from one internet political site to the next, including MySpace.com/MTV's presidential candidates forum.

The rain continues to fall and it is a load off my mind. Old people worry about drought more than young people do. Luke partially deflates the Cadillac air mattress that Hope Johnson gave me last week and turns it into a comfortable recliner.

I settle into it and pass out. When I awaken the guys are gone and the daylight has turned to dark. I look out the window. It's raining. I open a beer.

Obama for president

Happy birthday, Karen

Patriots 50, Giants 7

Niners 0




h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com, an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email h at h@ludd.net.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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