Random thoughts, dubious rants, curiosities and worthy citations on the media, politics, marketing, music, inanity, and animals, among other things. Words and pictures and stuff, mostly from south central Wisconsin USA
[San Francisco] Modern hotels don't have windows that open. That's too bad, because when visiting a different city, sometimes it's interesting to hear the sounds of the street. This morning at the corner of Third and Howard, the sealed windows didn't matter much. The sounds of a partying crowd 20 floors below was only somewhat muffled.
Looking down from the hotel window was quite the sight. A seemingly endless parade of costumed (or not so costumed) people were marching along the street in a scene that seemed like a mash-up of Mardi Gras, the gay pride parade, and a moving block party. Behold, the 98th Bay To Breakers "run."
The event has it's roots in San Franciscan's efforts to recover from the 1906 earthquake.
From the organizer's website...
At 5:13am on April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake - that would
become one of history's most notorious natural disasters - rocked San
Francisco. The subsequent fire and destruction were unimaginable, and
many feared the City would be gone forever. But San Franciscans,
displaying their typical fortitude and innovation, immediately began
rebuilding the city and producing events to lift their morale. One of
those events, the Cross City Race - known better today as ING Bay to
Breakers - was first run in 1912 as a precursor to the world-class
athletic events planned for the 1915 Panama Pacific International
Exposition. There were less than 200 participants that first year and
Robert Jackson Vlught was the first person to ever cross the finish
line, with a finishing time of 44:10.
Apparently, it was a real race back in the day. Somehow, over the decades, it has morphed into something more than a footrace. Many of the participants were displaying official race registration numbers, though they were hardly racing. Nearly everyone was in some kind of costume, many in groups that had put significant effort in both creation and construction. Some of the best efforts had props... huge props... like the folks with the rolling bar...
This is clearly an event that is made better, judging from watching the participants, with the addition of alcohol and/or weed. People were pushing kegs along in shopping carts, and there were spliffs-a-plenty based on my finely developed sense of smell for those things.
If one was really lucky, or really drunk, walking was optional, as this guy clearly demonstrated. Keep in mind, this is a "run."
The storied Engine Company One of the San Francisco Fire Department happens to be on Howard Street, and the firefighters and EMTs were more than happy to participate. The weather is unusually warm for San Francisco today, and the firemen felt that the crowd would appreciate any efforts to cool them off. And they do have hoses and those tanks of water and all. The naked guy with the Super-Soaker was very much outmatched, not that he cared.
By 9 AM, there were a whole lot of drunk people stumbling along. This gentleman proved it is a possible -- sort of -- to walk, hold a beer, and do a jello shot all at the same time...
Not every sight was easy on the eyes. There were a surprising number of naked people. To be fair, some had hats and all had some kind of footwear. It seemed the people one might have wanted to see naked were not, and those who were, well, yikes. Being a blog that strives to hold onto a PG-17 rating, I'll spare you the really horrific shots and just give you this badly represented Ninja Turtle:
... and this, well, I have no idea:
It's always nice to come away from any experience having learned something new and helpful. In my case, I learned that wine-in-a-box can be a lot easier to handle while walking if you lose the box...
I'd like to suggest the folks who run the Madison (Wisconsin... my current base of operations) Crazy Legs Classic consider some of the more fun elements of San Francisco's Bay To Breakers event. We in Wisconsin are already no strangers to enjoying beer for breakfast, as evidenced by Badger tailgating and the Miflin Street Party. The nudity thing may be a push, but Madison likes to think of itself as progressive, so what the hell?
It's may be worth noting, incidentally, that this event passed right by the Moscone Center, where the American Psychiatric Association is currently holding it's 162nd annual convention. In their 162 years (really, 162 freakin' years!) this probably was one their more interesting diversions. But, as my partner and live-in psychiatrist noted as we watched the show, "These folks are probably all psychiatrically quite healthy." Indeed.