Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming soon: More accuracy in this blog

Former Examiner editor Phil Bronstein doesn't know this, but 12 years ago he insulted me.

After two years of covering the Giants for the Examiner I decided to jump ship to the Chronicle. I always worked for smaller "underdog" papers and I wanted a shot at "the big paper" while I was still young enough to get hired for something other than WalMart greeter. There was a real "us versus them" vibe at the Examiner. Whenever a reporter left the Ex to go to the Chron, Phil would hunt down the person, start screaming and demand that he or she empty the desk and leave immediately.

Me? He just said so long. Did I suck that much, Phil? No rant? No snide remark? Not even a sarcastic "good luck?"

I gave the Examiner a month's notice because it was right before spring training and didn't want my editor to force someone on short notice to go to Arizona for six weeks. It sounds like a plum assignment, but a lot of our reporters had kids and couldn't have done that. So in 1998, I spent three weeks covering spring training for the Examiner. I packed my stuff, moved from the Examiner's condo to the Chronicle's condo down the street, then started covering for the Chron the next day. Meanwhile, the Ex hired Shea and he moved into my old condo.

Once I got back to San Francisco I had a head shot taken for the Chronicle's files and my company ID card. If memory serves, the photo that accompanies this blog, the Splash blog on and my Twitter account is that head shot. If so, I'm a big fat liar. It is not intellectually honest to present a 12-year-old photo for public consumption. I got a haircut today, and as soon as I can get an updated head shot I will post it.

This is not a vanity issue. I have no great longing for 1998. I think that was the year I got a cease-and-desist letter from Jimmy Buffett when I wrote a song called, "Wasting Away Again in Mullet-ville (see 1998 photo). I don't long for my younger days so I can party like it's 1998. Even when I was in my 20s and single I partied like it was 1898. If I got to see a woman's ankles, I considered it "action."

No, just simple laziness at work here. We all take thousands of photos now with digital cameras and phones, but rarely do we take a nice head shot. I just haven't done it yet and I thank God I'm not a columnist at the Chronicle, which now runs full-color, high-def mugs that really do no columnist a favor except for Ratto. In his case, even an awful reproduction is less scary than the real thing.

Many of you have seen me on TV or at the ballpark. You know my current head shot is a lie. With all the frontal hair loss my head looks like a bowling ball adorned with half a toupee. Oh, and I rarely smile anymore. If nothing else I strive for accuracy. This will be fixed.

And by the way, Phil Bronstein works for Hearst now. Anytime he wants to pop by and yell at me for leaving the Examiner 12 years ago, I'll listen.