Short Cuts

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Efforts to rename Jackson Playground are being resisted by longtime Potrero Hill residents who insist that it’s never been widely known that the appellation was taken from a U.S. President famous for killing Native Americans. Perhaps a way forward is simply to repurpose the designation. Musician Michael Jackson may not be a good pick, though his love of children is well known. Director Peter Jackson gave the world the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, which, though a tad violent, many a kid has seen. A playground modeled after these films could be awesome, or scary. Stonewall Jackson, a notable Civil War character, has a great first name which might describe a solid park feature, but was on the wrong side of history. Everyone likes Samuel L. Jackson, and it’s easy to imagine an annual Samuel L. Jackson impersonation contest. Perhaps the best pick is Mahalia Jackson; given the park’s proximity to Thee Parkside, not so far from Bottom of the Hill, it could be part of a musical tribute to the community.  We do, after all, have the whole world in our hand.


Anomaly. Photo: View Staff

If you’re looking for a date night or in the mood to celebrate, consider drinks and dinner at the fine establishments located at the corner of Third and 22nd streets. Start, or end, the evening with beverages at Magnolia Brewing, Dogpatch Saloon, or Yield, all of which are joyously shaking off the difficult times posed by the worst of the pandemic.  Then treat yourself to a fixed priced gourmet meal at Anomaly, located in a space formally occupied by Serpentine. Chef Mike Lanham, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, is a wunderkind, destined for greatness in San Fran-foodie. He previously worked at Auberge Du Soleil, Solbar, Spruce, amongst other places. Highlights of his present offerings, with a base price of $99, are “An Egg; Sort of Potato & Yolk,” a whipped concoction with excellent mouthfeel, “Pao de Queijo Smoke,” an unexpectedly delightful cheese bread, and “Banana and Black Sesame” the perfect dessert with which to end a delicately sumptuous evening. The wine pairings do exactly what they’re supposed to do, creating an intimate relationship between food and drink that makes each better than they would be otherwise. Like that marriage or anniversary you’re celebrating. “My style is heavily influenced by modernism,” Lanham said. “However, it’s very important to note that we use techniques tastefully.  As for presentation, we try to oscillate between presenting things sculptural or cleanly.  We try to avoid burying things in flowers while your food gets cold.  We do however, love to use locally foraged greens as they make sense with a dish.” Anomaly is presently serving Thursdays through Saturdays, with two seatings.


Try Harder, a film that follows Lowell High School seniors as they obsess over, and eventually mostly fail, to get into a handful of the country’s most sought after colleges, opens this month at the Regal Stonestown Galleria. The documentary, by Debbie Lum, aptly captures the odd tunnel vision that grips America’s teenage high achievers, who believe that the good life is predicated on getting into Stanford University or its ilk, a shoot-for-the moon mentality in which what’s at stake is one’s soul.  Fortunately for viewers, kids are kids, and the movie finds a few who are funny, vulnerable, and accidentally charming.  You just want to give them a hug.  Along with a caring physics teacher and parents compelled to toss their own hardcover baggage at their cherished child, the film offers a glimpse into a time and place shimmering with anxiety that hopefully will soon morph into something more joyous. 


Is it Pennsylvania Avenue, or Street? Local historian Peter Linenthal has an 1869 map which identifies the roadway as Pennsylvania Avenue. According to Google, a street is a basic paved traffic link within an urban area; an avenue was originally grander, wider and often lined with trees or other flora. The distinction has eroded over time. For example, real estate developers indiscriminately call new roads “avenues” to make a more grandiose impression. Pennsylvania is indeed wider than other Potrero Hill streets, with some of the Hill’s oldest homes. It’s the only state name in the Hill that’s most often termed an avenue rather than a street. 

Maybe Baby

A Los Angeles couple who received invitro fertilization from the California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) discovered that the child to which they’d given birth wasn’t genetically related to them. The baby appeared to be a different race; subsequent DNA tests confirmed that the embryo belonged to complete strangers who in turn had received the embryo of the Los Angeles couple and delivered their baby. Both couples unknowingly raised the other’s infant for months before the mistakes were uncovered. The LA couple has filed a lawsuit against CCRH, CCRH’s medical director, Beverly Sunset Surgical Associates and In VitroTech Labs, Inc. alleging emotional distress and other impacts.

News of the World

In rapidly aging Japan, more diapers are used by older, incontinent people than by babies…After a heavy rain last month villagers near Aswan, Egypt were besieged by death-stalkers, yellowish four-inch scorpions with as many as six pairs of eyes and a tail full of toxic venom. Several people were stung, though no deaths were reported…On a recent episode of “Ask the Mortician” on YouTube, Caitlin Doughty explained that during cremation titanium hip joints don’t melt. “The metal has to be removed by hand or by a large magnet, and it’s not handled as biological waste because it was never really part of the body to begin with.” She said hip and knee replacements can be recycled into road signs and car parts.  Pacemakers must be removed before cremation, as intensely heated batteries can cause an explosion.  Breast implants melt leaving a “gelatinous goo” on the bottom of the cremation chambers.