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The case of the headless man at Paul’s Hats

This is almost as disturbing as the case of Thomas the Hippopotamus

Paul’s Hats was taken over last year by four young women who are on a mission to “bring the hat back”. Part of their mission includes great window displays and a unique, 7-foot wooden statue of a man in a top hat and tails that welcomes visitors outside the 100+ year old shop.

Unfortunately, the tall man has some dastardly admirers. Last month, someone tried to steal him so the ladies put him back into place, securing him with chains and bolts. Not content to leave the man in peace, someone then came and broke off his hand and snatched it away.

Recently, there was another skirmish between scoundrels and the wooden man. Paul’s describes the fiery incident on their blog:

…he was knocked down, knocking his head off and breaking the whole man off the base. As the culprits ran off, our good neighbor shot off his gun in the air twice, and they dropped the man but took the head.

That reads like a scene from the Wild West! I can only imagine the Richmond police responding to that call…

Sadly, the tall man’s head (and top hat!!) has not been returned and as you can see from the picture, it’s a disturbing and sad sight.

The Pauls, as they call themselves, are offering a reward for the return of the head and hat. If you have any clues, call them at 221-5332 or email them at howdy@hatworksbypaul.com.

Special thanks to The Pauls for the pics.

Sarah B.

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 5:24 pm | Posted under Crime | Comments Off

Richmond part of SFpark pilot program

You may have noticed new white bumps next to some metered parking spaces on Clement and Geary. They are part of a system the city is testing in their SFpark pilot program, designed to make parking in the city easier and convenient.

The white bumps are wireless “smart sensors” that transmit real-time information on parking space availability. According to the program’s website, “drivers will have access to real-time garage availability information by text message, on the web, and on a new network of variable message signs in key locations which will be complemented by supplementary wayfinding signs.”

Aside from the potential added convenience to drivers, the sensors will also help the city gather and analyze parking data to determine peak parking times. They can then use this data to offer “just right” prices for parking that can better balance the load between metered street parking, parking garages and lots, and block parking; or encourage drivers to park at off-peak times.

The ultimate goal is to have at least 10% of parking spaces in the city free at all times – that’s about one space per block by SFpark estimates.

According to the SFpark website, “Adjustments will prevent prices that are “too low,” which encourage drivers to double park or circle and wait for an inexpensive spot on a crowded block to open up. These adjustments will also prevent prices that are “too high” causing drivers to look elsewhere. Rather than too high or too low, SFMTA will use “Just Right” pricing.”

The city anticipates adjusting parking prices every 4 to 6 weeks. “SFpark will use “Just Right” pricing to adjust prices at SFMTA-managed parking garages every four to six weeks to encourage drivers to park in garages yet ensuring that SFMTA garages always have space available. Similarly, for metered on-street parking, prices will be adjusted every four to six weeks to help redistribute the demand for parking.”

The program also calls for upgrading meters to be able to accept payment with coins, credit cards, and the SFMTA Smart Card.

At a forum about the program last month, SFpark manager Jay Primus told attendees that the program will also help MUNI run more reliably and efficiently. MissonLocal writes, “At Thursday’s downtown forum, he blamed circling and congestion from parking issues for “why Muni isn’t as fast or reliable as it could be.”

According to MissionLocal, the outer Richmond is being used as a control group during the pilot program. Data is being collected but no adjustments are being made to meter pricing in our area.

It’s unclear how safe this kind of parking notification system will be. Driver distractions are at an all-time high (video); even Oprah is promoting a no phone zone pledge for drivers. Has the SFMTA ever looked closely at the current vulture-like behavior of SF drivers when it comes to parking? Split secod u-turns, driving across double yellow lines, three point U-turns on a side street to get a spot on the other side… we know all the tricks.

When I read about a system like this, I envision drivers racing around corners to get to the block where a spot is free. Or double parking to consult their smart phones to find an open parking space.

Even if they’re not using cell phones, do we really want more signage along our streets, displaying wholly uninteresting things like “There’s 1 parking space on Clement and 3rd Avenue”? Oh wait, I am sure each sign will have space for an ad or will rotate in ads between messages. More $$ for the city!

MissionLocal also raises an interesting point about languages. In a multicultural neighborhood like the Richmond, will signs also be in Chinese, Russian and even Spanish? I get a dolor de cabeza just thinking about it.

In the SFMTA’s most recent budget proposals, paek and off-peak meter parking pricing was noticeably absent. Mayor Newsom has said that he would not support metered parking in the evenings, but he is in favor of meters running on Sundays, primarily to help turnover for merchants.

What do you think? Will a program like this help alleviate parking problems here in the Richmond and across the city?

Sarah B.

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 3:06 pm | Posted under Traffic | 4 comments

Ocean Beach: Sea of glass

“Sea of glass” by mikedthorn | Ocean Beach Flickr group

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 3:26 pm | Posted under Photos | Comments Off

Beach It for Valentine’s Day at the Balboa

Looking for something fun and light for Valentine’s Day? Head out to the Balboa Theater for a screening of Beach Blanket Bingo, hosted by cult movie group Thrillville.

Released originally in 1965, Beach Blanket Bingo, starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, is considered the best of the 60’s beach flicks. This one has it all: surf music, teenage romance, beautiful scenery, bikers, bikinis, go-go dancing, and even a mermaid!

Along with the fun film you’ll get to see vintage drive-in movie trailers (making out during these is optional), prizes and even a live performance from San Francisco’s leading lady of burlesque, Kitten on the Keys. From her website photo, she looks like a walking candy heart…

Tickets are just $10 and the beach party starts at 7:30pm. Cowabunga!

Sarah B.

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 1:36 pm | Posted under Movies | Comments Off

Bubble magic in Golden Gate Park

How Does It Sound? blog posted some great pics and video of a bubble artist in Golden Gate Park last week. I’m not sure “bubble artist” is a real hobby or profession, but he’s definitely creating art.


Sarah B.

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 6:58 pm | Posted under Art, Golden Gate Park | Comments Off

Police Blotter – February 5, 2010

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of February 5, 2010. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org or visit their website.]

Crime Advisory: During the month of January we experienced a significant increase in auto thefts in the district. We had eleven auto thefts in December and twenty-eight in January. The January count includes eight Hondas and ten Toyotas. Nineteen of the cars stolen were manufactured between 1991 and 2001, and imports accounted for twenty-four of the vehicles.

Owners of older model imported vehicles should garage their cars if possible. If you have garage space you should use it. If you have to park on the street you should select overnight parking carefully. In this connection it is better to park where there are street lights, foot traffic and residences. If you have choices don’t park in front of a vacant building, far away from a street light or in front of a park or playground.

If you become suspicious about a person and believe they may be intent on committing a crime, please call the police right away by dialing 911.

During the past week, there were 15 traffic accidents,7 involving injuries. There were 5 citations issued for driving without a license or driving on a suspended license. There were 4 arrests for driving under the influence.

On 01/30/10 at 3:05pm a 23 year old woman left her home and got into her vehicle. She intentionally hit two other occupied vehicles, one on the 800 block of 43rd Ave, and the other on Chain of Lakes Drive, inside Golden Gate Park. After the second accident, the suspect asked a witness for a ride downtown and attempted to get into the witness’s vehicle. Officers arrived on scene and located the suspect. Several of the occupants in the other vehicles who were injured slightly were transported to local hospitals. The suspect was charged with hit and run and child

On 02/02/10 at 5:50pm officers were riding on a 38 Geary MUNI line, traveling eastbound. Officers were checking passengers for proof of payment when they came across a 22 year old male. This individual was unable to provide valid proof of payment, and then got angry at the officers when they explained the process to him. The suspect became more agitated on the bus and began swearing, and the officers took him off the bus at 12th and Geary. When they told the suspect he was going to be issued a citation, he told them “you’re not giving me a f—–g ticket.” He began to flex his muscles and clench his fists and the officers were able to detain him after a brief struggle. The male was charged with the fare evasion and resisting arrest.

On 02/03/10 at 7:20pm a victim was opening the lobby door to enter her apartment building near Balboa and Arguello. A male who had passed her on the street just moments prior, walked up to the lobby door and used his shoulder to keep the door open. The victim tried to shut the door but the suspect refused to move. The suspect then asked the victim for her phone number and when she said no, he grabbed her in a personal area and fled. Officers located the suspect at 2nd and Balboa and detained him. The 23 year old male was charged with a narcotics violation and sexual battery. The male was also wanted for a parole violation.

On 01/29/10, between 6:30am and 10:30am, on the 1700 block of Clement, a suspect went into an open business and pried open a change machine. The loss was currency and coins from the machine.

On 02/01/10 at 1:00am officers were called to the 3000 block of Jackson on a report of a possible burglary in progress. The caller stated that he heard glass break in the area. Officers saw that a garage door of an apartment building was wide open. The suspect apparently broke a window to gain access to the garage and took a bicycle.

On 02/02/10 between 5:45pm and 7:30pm on the 1300 block of Clement, a suspect entered into an apartment building via unknown means. Once inside the suspect pried open the door to an apartment and took jewelry and a

On 02/03/10 at 10:10pm a victim left a drinking establishment near 19th Avenue and Clement and was assaulted by two males. While he was on the ground one of the males took his wallet from his back pocket and fled south on 19th Avenue. The suspects were described as males in their 20’s, one wearing a red shirt and blue jeans; the other was in dark clothing.

On 02/03/10, at 11:33pm, a suspect walked into a business on the 2900 block of Pacific armed with a gun and wearing a mask. The victim gave the suspect cash from the drawer and the suspect fled the scene.

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 2:01 pm | Posted under Crime | Comments Off

Blues for babes at the Richmond Library, Feb. 9

Next Tuesday afternoon, take your little one by the Richmond Library for some musical education in the art of the Blues.

Noted Bay Area musician Henry Oden of The Golden Gate Blues Society will be on hand to teach kids the rudiments of the blues via history, songwriting, and music appreciation. The program will include group participation and live music.

The event is for kids age 3 to 12 years, and takes place from 3-4pm at the Richmond Library, 351 9th Avenue. Check out Henry Oden grooving in the video below.

Sarah B.

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 12:31 pm | Posted under Events, Kids, Live Music | Comments Off

Learn magic tricks at the Bazaar Cafe, Feb. 10

Next Wednesday night, put on your cape, grab the magic wand and head over to the Bazaar Cafe for some magical apprenticeship.

The cafe has a new event this year called “How-To Night” where once a month, they’ll feature mini workshops on a variety of topics. Even magic!

The magic workshop is free and will be taught by professional magician Robert Strong. Twice voted the Bay Guardian’s “Best Comedian in SF,” this how-to seminar should also be pretty humorous.

Any magician worth his or her salt should have some supplies on hand for the class. They suggest you bring some coins, a deck of cards, a dollar bill, a business card, a pencil, 6 feet of rope, scissors, and $1 donation to cover other supplies. If you don’t have all of these items, don’t worry, the cafe will supply extras.

The magic starts Wednesday night at 7pm at the Bazaar Cafe on California near 21st Avenue. Check out Robert’s abracadabra below.

Sarah B.

[Via FunCheapSF]

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 12:12 pm | Posted under Events | 1 comment