san Francisco Baghdad by the Bay

Baghdad by the Bay

The Nickname comes from a 1951 book published by a San Francisco columnist Herb Caen.

It references the diversity and multicultural neighborhoods that make up the lifeblood of the city. San Francisco has always been a city for everyone. Even though some neighborhoods may be primarily one group or another, together they form one strong, tough, endearing, frustrating, sometimes annoying, but always glorious city known as San Francisco.

Their sister city may be Paris, but it is also as diverse as NYC, but with a small town atmosphere because it is only 7 miles in diameter and roughly 49 square miles.

It is the city of Dirty Harry being upset at political correctness and taking down crime. It also is the city of peace loving hippies setting up a commune in Height Ashbury, along with one of the oldest and most important LGBTQ communities in the Castro, the Hispanics have been in and around the Mission District since the cities founding, and the Italians were the first fisherman to make their home in North Beach, The San Francisco Chinatown is as old as the Gold Rush itself, and the Sunset and surrounding areas have every ethnicity of Asian culture you can find.

The city today is much different than what it was in its past. The area Inspector Callahan did some of his most iconic work taking down criminals is now home to the San Francisco Giants, Golden state Warriors, and is one of the fastest growing and newest parts of the city. It is entirely unrecognizable today.

All of this is what makes it the Baghdad by the Bay.

History Happens Everyday

April 3

The ACLU announces it will defend Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s bookstore on Broadway in San Francisco known as City Lights for its publication of 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem _Howl._The Us Customs department seized the copies of the book claiming its contents were obscene. The poem is considered foundational to the counterculture movement of the 1960’s and the free speech and sexual liberation movement that followed. Lawrence Ferlinghetti studied at UNC, Columbia, and the Sorbonne and moved to San Francisco in 1951 and opened a bookstore. He is considered the greatest poet in San Francisco’s history. (Sidenote: In the late 1970’s my uncle who was living in San Francisco at the time was watching the World Series in a bar. Lawrence Ferlinghetti walks in with 3 people who clearly admired and worshiped the ground he walked on. Those 3 people were not at all interested in watching a baseball game and having a beer. My uncle recognizing who he was and seeing that he sort of just wanted to have a beer and enjoy the ballgame but couldn’t decides to walk up to him and start a normal conversation about baseball pretending he didn’t know who he was. For about an hour they chat and watch the game over a few rounds. At the end of the conversation my uncle says “The Yankees played well today didn’t they Lawrence Ferlinghetti?” Before He could respond my uncle goes “I’ve known who you are the entire time hope you enjoyed the beer.” And Mr. Ferlinghetti walks out of the bar. The point here is that famous people sometimes get tired of being famous and recognized and they want to be normal people. So if you see a famous person out in real life play it cool, pretend you don’t know who they are, be normal and you will get a better story out of it.). Any way on this day the ACLU successfully defended the free speech rights of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg in a landmark case in; 1955


Why I picked the Golden Gate Bridge to be the logo of Arts by Dylan

The short answer is because I liked the photo and the Golden Gate Bridge is a public domain piece of architecture so it can be used by everybody. You don't need permission from someone to use it, just as you don't need permission to take photos of street signs that say Google on it because it is a public domain thing.

But I also picked it because San Francisco is home of some of the best technology experts on the planet as well as some of the most creative people in the United States of America. As someone who is creating a website why wouldn't I want to try to take some of that San Francisco magic for myself.

But it also goes beyond simply a logo on a header of a website. During the pandemic I came across an article about a guy who was living in San Francisco and had a bunch of spare time on his hands. He is an amateur typesetter or font creator, and he also is a history nerd. I saw an article about the font he created, Fog City Gothic.

I will not go into the details of the font and its history because the man who created it owns the rights to that knowledge on his website. But it is based on early street signs of San Francisco from the 1920's and 1930's.

As someone who was already enjoying taking photos of street signs and as a history nerd myself and government major, the font fits 100% perfectly with my artistic expression on a website.

A Font Above

This is not San Francisco specific but it is California history. If you go to my Philadelphia page you will learn about the Lincoln Highway being a catalyst to the Interstate Highway System in the 1950's.

However, something as simple and as basic as being able to read the words on street signs clearly and easily took a fair amount of good government work.

It used to be up to each individual county, city, township, or sometimes car club to pay for the creation of street signs in the early days of the automobile. This would create some difficulty for drivers because the signage would be different from town to town. Imagine how annoying it would be driving around and having different colors and fonts on street signs and the signs being located sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, and sometimes in the center of the road. That would be extremely frustrating and it frustrated many drivers before the 1950's.

When the Interstate Highway was being implemented in the 1950's the Department of Transportation decided to standardize the color scheme and font used on all street signs. Some states enjoyed blue and white other states preferred green and white and there was about 21 different fonts each city, county, and state, could use that was approved by the Federal Department of Transportation.

This was too many fonts for the Federal Government, imagine having to place different road signs in different fonts on an interstate depending on which county or state it was going through? that would be both a waste of time and money. For the Federal Government they wanted just one font to use on all the signs.

Luckily, California was experiencing a similar problem and the California Department of Transportation had recently developed and tested a font specifically designed for street signs. Highway Gothic is the standard font used on every street sign in the United States and it has its beginnings in a font developed by the state of California. Some things got reworked and changed before it became a national standard. But it began out here in the West.

Oddly enough, these highly specific details also apply to companies like Google, , Adobe and many more. What makes one different from the other is a small change, a small difference, and most eventually become a national standard for their industry in some way.

San Francisco as a city has a tendency to be just a little bit above other places on some things. But what makes San Francisco great is that it is a city of contradictions. For example this Google Sign is not in San Francisco, it's about an hour away or two hours depending on traffic.

Mission Dolores is the oldest building in San Francisco

Everybody likes/dislikes San Francisco

I remember being a kid visiting my aunt and uncle who spent many years in San Francisco in the 1980's and 1990's. They had a house in Noe Valley of San Francisco on Army street in between Church and Sanchez. They began a remodel not long after the 1989 earthquake and when they looked up the city records of the home it dated back to its first remodel which was in the 1870's. Somehow it was a home that was one of the oldest in the city. I enjoyed visiting San Francisco many times as a kid. But also it is a city that is very easy to dislike.

On one occasion I remember my uncle complaining about a film being shot in the neighborhood. Which is a common occurrence in NYC or LA. The movie was the classic Whoopie Goldberg movie Sister Act where she played a Reno showgirl who had to enter witness protection because of the mob and was sent to San Francisco to live in a convent. A hilarious comedy similar to White Men Can't Jump (the original) plays out on the screen and it is a good family movie.

I mention this only because that movie is oddly historical, it's almost comedic on how that movie is supposed to get people into the history of San Francisco.

  1. The main character is named Deloris, probably because of Mission Dolores in San Francisco.
  2. Catholic nuns are oftentimes missionaries in far away lands continuing the practice of the Spanish missionaries who helped found the city. And Deloris is sent to a place she does not want to go to which is kind of like what a Native American who went to a CA mission must have felt like.
  3. Eventually she warms up to the nuns and they get along and they help her out of a jam, she helps them out some problems, and the children she teaches all grow up to be better people. Which if I remember my extremely minimal Catholic bible school back in the early 1990's as a kid is basically the point of what the priests and nuns were trying to make.
  4. They filmed a decent amount that movie in the neighborhoods around Mission Dolores but did not actually showcase the mission itself.

People tend to enjoy the movie Sister Act and remember it fondly. But then they grow up and go to college and might also grow to dislike the stories from missions like Dolores.

It's okay to like and dislike something at the same time. This is also what makes Philadelphia easy to hate, but also pretty cool. I almost want to call this a Market Street phenomenon but I haven't been to enough cities with main streets named Market to test that theory out. But it is true for Philadelphia and San Francisco and both of their Main Streets are Market Streets.

I took this photo right after going on a mini pilgrimage to mission Dolores. I honestly don't even remember if there was a bagel shop underneath it. But I thought it was a somewhat comical piece of street art. Only San Francisco can get away with this kind of blasphemy, who puts angel wings on a bagel a few blocks away from a historic Catholic Church? San Francisco. I like to think the st. from Assisi would get a little chuckle out of this if he was alive today.

why are people mean to each other?

By Msg.r John J. O’Hare, Pastor,

St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Boyes Hot Springs

During a recent brief vacation with the family, my little 7-year old grand-nephew and I witnessed a loud argument between a couple while at the beach. Matt turned to me and asked, “Why can’t people be nice?” He’s a precocious expert on dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, and so I was somewhat startled by his venture into philosophy. “I don’t know,” I answered, and he gave me a look of disdain and then went chasing after his 3-year-old sister who had swiped his beach ball.

I’ve been thinking about Matt’s question and am no nearer an answer. Why are people mean to each other? Why are confrontation and litigation so prevalent in our society? Why do movies that feature violence and mayhem do so well and attract so many viewers? Why, throughout the world, do so many folds dedicate their time and effort into maiming and murder and destruction, so often, ironically, for the glory of their God? Even in this newspaper one so often reads about local mean behavior: in the extensive police and sheriff’s reports, in front page stories, in various letters to the editor.

Well, as a clergyman trained in the scholastic tradition, I could blame it all on original sin. Or to quote the well-known comedian: “the devil made me do it.” It does seem to be true that there exists in our perennial society a primitive and animal instinct to strike out at others, especially when our turf and our interests are threatened. “It’ em before they hit us!”

Maybe there is an inherent weakness in our human nature, a basic aptitude of violence toward those whom we disagree. One thing I do notice: we, and indeed our society seem to have diminished sense of humor. We take everything so literally and we are so easily offended and self-focused that our response is defensive in nature and leads us to strike back in anger at even a chance remark. If a fire of contention is lit, we pour out our own brand of gasoline to stoke it up. And what is petty and trivial becomes gigantic because we can’t laugh at our selves. We take ourselves so seriously.

True dialogue requires a sense of humor, patience and an ability to see, whether we agree or not, the other side of an issue. Only the Pope claims to be infallible, and I wonder about that. We are mean to each other when we put on our blinkers and see others as threats to our comfort and our pet beliefs. We overcome mean-spirited-ness when we can relax, laugh at ourselves, and work to reach a peaceful accommodation with our antagonist, whether this be between nations, between neighbors, or between members of the same family. This is a large part of the road that leads to peace, a journey well worth the effort to try.

how people learned things before google

Almost Forgotten

I have a bunch of old books lying around my house, probably in the neighborhood of 2,500 books. Sometimes I find something old and cool laying around my grandfather's desk or something and I usually just toss it aside and forget about it. But luckily I am building these mini websites and came across this old book of history meant for schoolchildren about Santa Clara California. This guy Ralph Rambo hand-wrote ever letter and hand drew every cartoon which is quite impressive. This book was published in 1964 which makes it 60 years old.

I find its definition of History to be the cave man level that I need sometimes. Names of People plus Places plus Events equals History.

Also I love these old timey books, every book I have come across about early California History has an attitude about it that is both funny and cave man like. It's as if these history nerds of the early to mid 20th century all felt as if they were the very last person who could retrace the history of their town before it got gold rushed and overtaken by out of towers. There are many of these old books laying around just waiting to be discovered and claimed, they all have some pretty cool nuggets of information for us to learn from in the 21st century.

For example I didn't know that Santa Clara had a quicksilver mine that predated the Gold Rush of 1848 by two years. The mine was the most profitable mine in all of California producing close to 70 million dollars in revenue. It also broke up an international monopoly at the time held by the Rothschild family who owned a quicksilver mine in Spain. This California mine in Santa Clara allowed the gold and silver mined in Nevada and California to be processed locally and kept the profits local as well. Instead of going to the Rothschild family who at the time had a world monopoly on the processing of gold and silver.

It was a lucky find at the right time just before Gold and Silver was discovered a couple years later.

Also I had no idea that Sunnyvale California used to be named Murphy's Station. That's pretty cool too.

secret sf giants recipe

The 2021 regular season was historically awesome for the SF Giants. I remember coming up with the idea of tossing in cajun seasoning into some Garlic Fries sometime around the Dodger series in July. The Giants and Dodgers were both on a roll that year. Then Jansen blew a save and I gave credit for the win to my Cajun Garlic Fries. I kept making them all season long. Unfortunately it didn't work and the Giants lost in the playoffs that year. However, the recipe has also improved. I like to crisp up the fries from the air fryer in a nonstick skillet with melted butter, garlic, and cajun seasoning. They get brown and crispy and that buttery garlic spiciness dipped in sweet ketchup is a first class trip to flavor town.

I made this video in late June 2021. About 14 months later in August of 2022 I got into DALLE before it became public and began putzing around with artificially created art. And now I have a book on Amazon co-authored by Chat GPT an artificial intelligence artist of sorts. So I guess Art is in the eye of the beholder, or the brain of Silicon Valley.

I still think this is correct, Art is either 2d or 3d. Artificial Intelligence can't cook you a meal so if you are a mom reading this consider yourself a superior and more efficient and better artist then the program that will probably replace a lot of artists in the next decade. A fridge is not going to do its own shopping and a stove isn't going to be able to take food out and get dinner done on the table without some human hand doing something to make it happen. This is why recipes are public domain and restaurants guard them like they are secrets in some CIA vault, you can't copyright a recipe or sue someone for stealing yours. It takes skill, and that is art.

Pro tip: you don't need to know anything about art to sound as if you know something about art. That is one of the things that makes art so much fun. The words on the right (I did that on purpose) are just words to use when describing a work of art in a museum. You can just say "Well I think the structure of the piece is quite moving, it generates emotion and feeling in me in such a way that is difficult to put into words" or "The composition is a clearly influenced by others and is a social commentary on our times" and so on and so on and so on.

I made it as a cheat sheet on purpose. Just in case you find yourself in as Owen Wilson in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris being talked down to by some pretentious art person. Just use those words, get through the conversation without sounding like a complete doofus and get over the the champagne bar. Also stay away from pretentious art people if you can.

Sister City

San Francisco is like Sacramento she has a lot of sisters. One of them is Paris France.

In 1989 my family lived in Watsonville California almost every house on my block was red tagged and destroyed.

earthquake city

How I remember it

In October of 1989 I was just over 3 years old and I could remember the events from 5:00 to 5:06 pm on Tuesday October 17th as if it was yesterday. Even over 30 years later.

My sister was playing outside with some neighborhood kids, I believe she was playing skip it which was a 1980's kids toy. It was basically a ball on the end of a plastic stick with whole on the end to put your foot in. You would twirl it around one leg and skip over it with the other. It had a counter on it and you would compete with your friends as to who would skip the most. In 1989 before the Internet this was pretty close to as good as entertainment could get for 8 year olds.

Any way I wanted to play but I couldn't tie my shoes so I asked my Mom to tie my shoes for me. The World Series was on television and my Dad was roasting a chicken in the oven. The house my parents were renting at the time was built against a hill and was on stilts. My Dad commented that the World Series was about to start so don't be out too long. One shoe got tied no problem. I was on the couch looking at the Television.

The exact moment of the final knot hitting my foot was when an extremely loud rumble began. A noise that nobody would ever forget followed by a massive movement. My Mom jumped on top of me, but the Television began flying across the room and the cable ripped off the television. My Dad rushed out from the kitchen which was just to the right of the living room. Grabbed both my Mom and Me and took us outside, believing the entire house was about to collapse because it was built on stilts.

I looked back at the roof at the house as the earthquake was going on and it looked as if it was an accordion going closer and further apart. Or a magic carpet flying in the air.

There was a small open area down the street that was a cul de sac and families began gathering toward the open area out of fear that a gas line would break and explode. After a little while we got the all clear of no gas leaks and returned back to our houses. Miraculously the home we were renting was still standing and the chicken continued to cook. The neighborhood camped outside of their homes and we shared what food we had with each other by everyone grilling in the front yards.

Many families lost a lot of belongings and their homes got red tagged as not livable for a while. By only the grace of God our home on stilts avoided being red tagged. We camped outside for a few days anyway because my Dad didn't believe the government people who said it was safe, because it just didn't make sense that our house didn't collapse entirely during the earthquake. My Mom really enjoyed camping anyway so it was not that big of a deal.

In the immediate aftermath the real fear was the aftershocks. The news and experts continued to warn that there was a chance that the earthquake was not the biggest one that would happen and that there was a potential for even a more massive earthquake. Every time an earthquake happened which sometimes was two or three times per day for several weeks there was a shock to the system that this could be a bigger one.

Every other earthquake I've felt has been not that big of a deal. Even when I lived in Suisun in 2013/14 when the Napa Earthquake happened, I barely felt it and was actually quite shocked at the extent of the damage.

My uncle who lived in Noe Valley at the time was actually at the Giants game and escaped onto the field along with everybody else. My aunt at the time was working in an office building that thankfully did not collapse but the office building two buildings down the block completely collapsed.

Downtown Santa Cruz had extensive damage there were some brick buildings that collapsed and crushed to death people in their cars just trying to get home from after work. In time both Santa Cruz and San Francisco got rebuilt better and stronger than it was before.

A couple years later my family moved to the town of Sonoma California.

1906 Earthquake

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake almost destroyed the city. It did destroy California's original Bear Flag and other artifacts of early CA history.

A collection of some old street photographs from the late 1970's early 1980's that my Dad took.

San Franciscans sometimes need a break from city life. So let's take a short drive over to a place with a fascinating and interesting history. Solano County California.

Or they enjoy spending a week in Wine Country of Sonoma County and take in the charm and history of the Plaza.

Las Vegas

May be home to the ringing, singing, dinging sounds of slot machines on a 24/7 basis in smokey casino floors. But the Slot Machine was not invented in Las Vegas or Nevada even though the tailor who worked with Levi Strauss put the first rivets on denim in Reno.

The Liberty Bell Slot Machine was invented on Market Street San Francisco in 1894. I learned this fact by walking around downtown SF one day, and seeing on the corner of an intersection a tree, and plaque underneath it. With a curious eye I went and read this little fact that is pretty awesome.

Read more about Las Vegas History by clicking the button below.