[Metroactive Features]

[ Features Index | Silicon Valley | Metroactive Home | Archives ]

[whitespace] All That

Write About Now

This page, the journalistic equivalent of improv, marks its first performance this week. We invite you to pick up a mic and join us onstage for a shamelessly off-key celebration of all that is imperfect, beautiful and DNA-matchable to the bizarre time and place in which we find ourselves. Yes, we are on a road trip down the freeways of the valley's mind, and the tread wear indicator is dangerously low. The bad metaphor police have turned the spotlight on us and are telling us to go home.

So, here it is, Metro's newest feature. Inspired by a Fatboy Slim song and the remnants of a bottle of chilled raspberry brandy stolen from a nearby restaurant, "All This" (or whatever we decide to call it next week) will be here for your enjoyment or derision.

This week marks Metro's 17th anniversary, so it's fitting that we commemorate our adolescence by launching a new section that celebrates our inner childishness. The valley has changed a lot since we began this journey, and some of it has even been for the better. And while we're getting sentimental, thanks for reading us. We love you, man. Who else would let us make a living this way?



A French Letter

A survivor's tale of near death in the world's most dangerous rogue nation

By Richard von Busack

Oh, God, don't tell me-I've been pickpocketed again!" "No," my wife screamed. "That's three times in the last five minutes!" The boiling crowd at the Gare du Nord in Paris seethed with anti-American hatred. To my left, a whey-faced mime mocked my every move. Such was his impudence that he didn't even keep mute--he pranced, holding an imaginary paunch with his hands.

"Look at me, look at me!" he jeered in a high-pitched voice. "I am a rich, fat Yank! Which way is the Eiffel Tower!"

Several toughs in striped sweaters, nubbins of burning Gaulois cigarettes perched on their protruding lower lips, cleaned their fingernails with their knives. Leaning arrogantly on a pillar, an obese chef in a white toque glowered, winking at us with one eye through a circlet of his thumb and forefinger. He pursed his mouth into a baleful kiss. On a bench nearby, a cruel old lady knitted viciously, waiting for the arrival of a tumbrel to take us to the nearest guillotine.

"Why did we ever come to France?" I bleated. "We've got to get to the American Embassy, fast!"

"What is your hurry, Ameriloque? " snarled an unshaven cop nearby. "You'd better walk! The Metro, she is on strike!"

"Don't inflame them," my spouse hissed, dodging the flic's groping hands. "Let's roll our suitcases out of here quietly."

The crowd surged. Then, at a café next to the entrance of the vast and frightening terminal, I saw a familiar face. It was a young girl, sitting demurely; she wistfully contemplated a cup of coffee.

"Oh," I whimpered. "It's her! The angel of Montmarte, Paris' sweetheart, this century's Audrey Hepburn! She'll explain to these savages that we're just innocent voyagers on a five-day package!"

"Amélie," I begged in my best high school French. "Amélie, je vous en prie, sauvez-nous de ces Parigots maniaques mauvaises ..."

She looked up, spoon in hand, and gave a curt nod. "I like skipping stones on the Canal St. Martin and watching cats clean their paws and cracking the crust on a crème brûlée. But what I really hate is American tourists. Sic 'em boys."

As the mob closed in, and as we steeled ourselves to give our lives for France, I thought of the travel books I'd read and ignored--Paris--Stay Alive by Staying Out, And Then the Bill Arrives: The City of Light's Hidden Costs and Do You Want Zee Blindfold?: 5,000 Hazards Awaiting the Foreign Visitor--and all the anecdotes of how hurtful Parisians are to the unworthy who dare to cross their Peripherique ... and as the odor of insufficiently washed flesh broke over us like a wave, merciful unconsciousness took over.

Political Makeover

Sally Lieber

Sally Lieber

This week's candidate for makeover is Sally Lieber, Mountain View mayor and candidate for the 22nd Assembly District, running against Rod Diridon, Jr. and Rosemary Stacek. As of press time, election results were not available for her higher ambitions, but at the very least, this week's celebrity makeover will remain Mayor of Mountain View as long as she survives the viscious recall campaign there.

Sally Lieber

Sally Forth

Who could possible want to recall Mountain View Mayor Sally Lieber when she shows off her new kinder, gentle do and ruffles at the next council meeting? And some fresh-baked cookies couldn't hurt either.

Sally Lieber

Mrs. Spock

With her endorsers receding faster than the galactic red shift, Assembly candidate Sally Lieber should take a tip from our favorite Vulcan and grow some extra-large lobes in order to hear the faint sounds emitted by her remaining supporters.

Sally Lieber

Party Animal

Sally's decision not to party on election night isn't going to win her many fans. Whatup, girl? Here, our stylist envisions a lighter, more self-deprecating Sally who can get down and boogie, even when she's being chased by the boogeyman.

I Saw You

Harumphing in line at the See's candy counter, your swirled hair like a Foster's Freeze non-dairy ice cream atop a khaki tent dress, your feet fighting for life inside of cruel and tiny shoes. You were huffing and puffing, your rude lips opening and shutting like a koi, and acting like people were idiots because you were having an attack of your addiction and life would not be right and good for you until you had that giant box of butterball chocolates in your own hand, the fantasy of them melting in your mouth as you drove away in in your big-ass car. Meet me at the Brach's bin, Safeway, for brunch?

SEND us your anonymous rants, poetry or diatribes about your coworkers, bosses, enemies, ex-lovers or any ill-mannered, badly behaving citizen who you think is a valid representation of What's Wrong With This World. Send to: Informant, Metro, 550 South First, San Jose CA 95113.

[ Silicon Valley | Metroactive Home | Archives ]

From the March 7-13, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

Foreclosures - Real Estate Investing
San Jose.com Real Estate