Nov. 27--Bob Wieder was shocked to read the recent revelations in The Chronicle about the crummy academic records of many Cal athletes. But "the really vexing thing," he e-mails, "is that you could field a team of National Merit Scholars and wind up with a 1-11 record. It's a dismally low return rate for the credibility the school is spending."
Degrees of separation department: Nancy Wong went to City Lights last week to hear Michael McClure read from his new book, "Ghost Tantras." After the reading, she asked if he had seen any in the new crop of movies about the Beat Generation. He told her that he hasn't seen "Big Sur" yet but that he wants to, because he knew Balthazar Getty, who plays him in the movie, when Getty was a toddler and his mother was involved with the Zen Center.
-- Gary Meyer went to see "Peter and the Starcatcher," wherein, he says, there are many jokes about a character slamming his right hand -- which is tossed around on stage -- in a car trunk. But Meyer says the hand tossed around is a left one.
-- Joe Boe's been thinking about what he wants on his tombstone, and he's finally come to a conclusion about his conclusion. The wording: "Do not revive."
-- A visit to the dentist resulted in a waiting-room study of People magazine, and the shocking finding that first lady Michelle Obama wears over-the-knee boots. I hurried back to work to consult the Web, which offered reassuring statistics: Although 26 percent of respondents thought that only women under 40 should wear over-the-knee boots, 53 percent said you go for it, baby, no matter how old you are. The first lady will be 50 in January.
-- Tom Walton forwarded notice he'd received of the YaffBar, "the world's first 'people food' bar designed to be shared with your best friend." This, then, is a candy bar for people and their dogs. You take a bite, I'll take a bite. It comes in three flavors: Banana Peanut Butter, Honey Almond Cranberry and Blueberry Crunch.
-- The Port of San Francisco is selling $150 bricks, imprinted with up to three lines of text, to support its turning the Embarcadero area around Piers 27/29 into a public park. This area is adjacent to the cruise ship terminal. The road to heavenly vacations may thus be paved with good intentions.
-- Joyce Linker spotted Tony Bennett and his wife at Sotto Mare in North Beach last week.
-- At City College, the show goes on: Lee Meriwether, who will be in a production of "You Can't Take It With You" in Los Angeles later this winter, went to see the City College production (directed by Susan Jackson) of the play on Nov. 9. A week later, on Nov. 16, Danny Glover went to see "The Women," directed by Gloria Weinstock.
-- Members of the Battery, the private social club that opened Oct. 25, have been informed that a new general manager has been appointed, as well as an interim food and beverage director, and a new executive chef is sought. This is said to represent "a new direction for our team."
Actor Geoff Callan was producer-director of "Hey Mickey," a five-minute film made for competition in a contest at the Napa Valley Film Festival, sponsored by Sony to promote some new camera equipment. The title character is Mickey, a baboon who Callan says co-starred with Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages," and the star of the film is Elizabeth Montana, daughter of Joe, making her movie debut. Callan (brother-in-law of Gavin Newsom) is hoping to expand the film from five to 10 minutes and then submit it to film festivals.
The winner of the competition was Ryan Daniel Dobson of Los Angeles, who filmed his "Weapons" at an old hotel in Calistoga. His entry was described as a zombie/wine movie (an unbeatable combo in Napa).
P.S.: Colin Farrell, who was there with "Saving Mr. Banks," enjoyed dinner at Celadon in Napa so much that he asked if he could compliment the chef. When the chef proved to be so shy that he didn't want to come out of the kitchen, Farrell went back there to ladle out some praise.
Vacation: See ya next Wednesday.
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