Heart of the City Archives
And the dot goes on
by Hank Donat

Startup.com, the documentary feature on hubris, greed, and betrayal at the defunct Internet company govWorks.com, definitively explains the phenomenon of the paper millionaires who hit it big prospecting the Internet then went bust in the past few years. The City has a cameo in the film, which is playing at the Lumiere. The intimate portrait by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim does not elicit empathy but it fills in a lot of the blanks and confirms the worst generalizations about the people who came from nowhere with little real world experience and a lot of pie in the sky, only to find out it was all just pixels. In the City's appearance, New York-based entrepreneurs are feeling the Big Time running through their veins on their first trip to Northern California on company business. Later, on a drive down south for a meeting, one of our heroes declares, "Why do they call it San Francisco? It's not San Francisco! It's Silicon Valley," confirming the City's short-lived stint as a suburb of San Jose. 

Dateline: Richard Gamble Memorial Park. A small grove of pine trees at the eastern spur of the park collects condensed fog at the tip of every needle. On this morning each drop is heavy and tinsel-like, reflecting the sunlight rising rapidly over the east. A sharp wind causes a spring shower that lasts for an instant...

A public notice here informs that the ground was freshly sprayed with Roundup, a chemical classified as "not as harmful as others," or something like that. Here we stand straddled between two worlds, one where everything green is covered with poison and another where there is no green at all. For now let's enjoy it.

Name Game. A founding partner of Jacoby and Myers wants you to sue the makers of cold medicines such as Contac, Tavist-D, Comtrex, and Robittussin for the stroke they may have caused you. Each concoction recently contained the dangerous pharmaceutical ingredient PPA, she tells you in her television commercials. The attorney's name: Gail Koff. If she ever joins a firm called Turn and Yerhed we'll really have an item. 

This correspondent was "smoothy bombed" by a disgruntled pan handler near Fifth and Market. The man about town is hard pressed to look dashing while covered with strawberry goop from Jamba Juice. Beware of flying pizza, pelted pie, fumbled cocktails, even falling slagroom - the Dutch whipped cream. All have been reported. 

A Trekker emails that San Francisco is the headquarters of The Federation in four hundred years or so. It's nice to know we won't have fallen into the ocean by then in the next Big One or the One after that. Maria Falzone has a theory that earthquakes are God's way of trying to shake Burt Reynolds off the planet. It looks like another aging television hero, Don Johnson, isn't sticking around to find out. Those of us who enjoyed watching the "Nash Bridges" yellow 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible being followed around town by a camera crew will miss the canceled CBS cop series and its stars Don Johnson and Cheech Moran. Those who were molested by Johnson at Marina restaurants will not. 

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Copyright 2001 Hank Donat
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