Northside SF  

Bellingham by the Bay
By Bruce Bellingham

Myles O’Reilly is putting the wearing of the green back into Green Street this St. Patrick’s Day. After a four-year ban, Myles has been given permission by the SFPD to close down Green Street in front of his O’Reilly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant to hold a daylong St. Pat’s party again. There’s a new boss at Central Station, Capt. Anna Brown. “She’s much more sympathetic to the concerns of businesspeople in North Beach,” says Chiching Herlihy, who works with Myles. “It’s so encouraging to see someone on our side for a change.” Chiching also says the restaurant has hired a gaggle of wee people who can play leprechauns as part of the entertainment. You know the old saying: bad audition, good performance. Something like that.

Chiching held an open call for leprechauns. Some of the little people did not like the competition. The exchange of nasty words deteriorated into a physical brawl. There was a donnybrook of dwarfs on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. The cops had to break up the melee. Lots of biting and scratching. That’s entertainment. It will be calmer for St. Pat’s, I’m sure. …

Bobby Mulhern, the general manager of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, is flooded with phone calls from around the world these days since word got out that the club will be the new home for the America’s Cup trophy. This is a really big deal for the little yacht club that could, just down the street on the Marina Green waterfront from the bigger, richer, St. Francis Yacht Club. “There’s no definite date for the arrival of the trophy,” says Bobby. “They have to build a special security case for the thing.” One element of security is to have Larry Ellison on board. “Every time he steps through the doors here,” Bobby explains, “Larry is nothing but a gentleman.” Insiders say San Francisco looks pretty good for being the host to the next America’s Cup race when the challenge arrives. That, in great part, is up to the gentleman from Oracle who walks through those doors at the Golden Gate Yacht Club – with the cooperation of the all-knowing authorities at City Hall. …

That report about DNA evidence linking Trailside Killer David Carpenter to the unsolved San Francisco killing in 1979 of Mary Bennett out at Lands End reminds me of Robert Graysmith’s excellent book, The Sleeping Lady, the old Ohlone name for Mt. Tamalpais, where many of the murders took place. Graysmith, who also wrote the famous Zodiac book, chronicles the murderous activities of Carpenter and the dedicated homicide cop who finally tracked him down. The book scared me so much, I was afraid to go jogging for about two years. All right, so I wouldn’t have gone jogging anyway. The late, great actor Robert Morley once observed, “Jogging is the most dangerous thing to happen to America since Vietnam.” But Morley was talking about the general preservation of health, I suppose, not the hazard of encountering predators like Carpenter. One more word about Robert Graysmith. He is one of the great coffeehouse writers. He wrote in longhand every day at the Owl & Monkey Cafe on 9th Avenue in the Sunset. Sadly, it’s long gone. I hope he’s made enough money to buy his own cafe by now. My friend Diane Weissmuller was so fond of Robert Morley (two of her fave films are The Grand Bouffe and The Loved One) that she named her cat Morley: “Like the great actor, Morley’s very large, very snooty, and very condescending.” Since the cat learned how to get on Twitter, he’s been quite incorrigible. …

I heard a coyote might have killed a cat on Russian Hill the other day. Coyotes on Russian Hill? Odd. I thought they were hanging at the Balboa Cafe, checking out the young bartenders. … Warren Hinckle has yet another signature basset hound to take the place of sweet, loyal, lugubrious Melman. He died recently at age 12. Melman did not succumb to the ravages of secondhand smut at the Mitchell Brothers. “No,” reports Eric Eckert, a keen observer of the tavern circuit, “Melman was killed by all the hot dogs that the locals would buy him at the Route 101 saloon on Van Ness.” He died from a surfeit of sausages. Eric also says that Mr. Hinckle’s new puppy is named Hunter, in honor of Warren’s great, late friend Hunter S. Thompson. ... Have you heard those stories about hostile toll-takers on the New Jersey Turnpike cursing at the motorists and throwing the change into their faces? Ah, the Garden State, where they only grow thorns. Not to worry. Surely this sort of incivility can’t take place here in California. We won’t be seeing any change being returned to us for a long time. ...

Bruce Bellingham’s new book has a working title of “I’m Too Old For Me.” We’re beginning to suspect that he’s just been writing titles lately, but it would be too much trouble to confront him on this matter. Maybe you’d like to. E-mail him at

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