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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

GAWA Day #63A: San Francisco, Part 1

There are various lists of best songs about San Francisco, but most of the compilers seem embarrassed about anything to do with Tony Bennet or Jeannette MacDonald.  Even Starship's (leftWe Built This City has been named the worst song about the city, with Rolling Stones reporting that this slick version by the former Jefferson Airplane was, by far, the worst song of the '80's.  It was, actually, in good company with The Lady in Red, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and Don't Worry Be Happy also in the worst ten.  Actually, it turns out that, written by Bernie Taupin, usual collaborator of Elton John, Grace Slick corrected that the song had nothing to do with San Francisco, but instead, Los Angeles in the 70's.

So here are my top 5 songs about San Francisco (that's his heart on Union Square):

Judy Garland                  San Francisco (late 50's in tribute to Jeannette MacDonald)

Otis Redding                  Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay (1967)

Scott McKenzie             San Francisco (1967)

Jeannette MacDonald     San Francisco (1936)

Tony Bennett                  I Left My Heart in San Francisco (1953)

For such a romantic place, the highest ranked U.S. city in the Mercer Quality of Living Ranking, was only at #27, and also, the list of truly popular songs linked to San Francisco is disappointingly minimal.  Europe dominates, but the company is American.  What about films?

My surprise is that I've seen most of those flicks several times, and did not realize many of them were filmed in San Francisco.  Another that should be on this list is Pal Joey (1957RT:  75% / 61%) with Frank Sinatra, a production that won four Oscars and two Golden Globes, for the movie and Sinatra.

Leaving Las Vegas:


Those big, black buildings at the top of the bottom photo make up the MGM Grand, where Dan and I had dinner at Emeril's. 

Anyway, I'm now in San Francisco at the Airport Westin.  Flying in, I decided to spend a night here, then one in night in the city, leaving my big bag in storage, then returning for the final night.  Well, I'm paying an exorbitant $300/night as it is, but, it turned out that if I made the adjustment, then my first evening would have jumped to $400, then the third to $900, plus I would have still had to pay some large sum for the second night in SFO.  So I'll be at the Westin for three nights.  They have no amenities for Platinum members here, except the internet and breakfast are free, which might well be the case for almost everyone.  The big plus, it turns out is that you can walk from this hotel to the Millbrae Cal-Trans station, something I will need to do tomorrow to get to Stanford University.  You need to walk over the freeway, and with a big wind, that could get very cold.

Wondering why the cost was so high, I did some checking and learned that the St. Regis in town is not available for the second night, and the W costs about $1000!  In the same parking lot with the SFO Airport Westin is Aloft, a low-class Starwood, which, with taxes, gets close to $400/night.  What is happening in San Francisco?  Oh, Marriott has purchased Starwood for $12.2 billion.  But that should not affect hotel room rates today.

At 4PM I decided to take a walk south along the Bay and ended up, 25 minutes later, facing Benihana, which was open, and 20% full:


So I went in and had a decent Hibachi Steak with vegetables and rice, hot sake and Kirin light beer.  During Happy Hour, only this beer was available for $3, and so was the sake.


That is San Francisco in the background.  (To the left is a photo I took at landing, and Benihana is only a bit right of this shot)  When I left at 5:25PM, the place was full, with a line winding outside the door.  WHAT IS HAPPENING TO SAN FRANCISCO?  Let's see, now, this is just a typical mid-week day with no holidays close by.  Nothing much as I can tell.    Anyway, it was dark already, and my walk back was a challenge, for there were no street lights and I could only barely see the sidewalk.  The thought of muggers came to mind.  But I returned safely.  Tomorrow:  San Francisco, the City.

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That possible hurricane from yesterday is now Typhoon In-fa at 75 MPH, and, while it will attain Category 3 strength, all signs show the path heading south of Guam:


But the next question is, then where to?  Okinawa seems in the current direct line, but any shift north will take In-fa to Japan.  South, Taiwan.

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