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July 26, 2002

A Conversation with Caen

By B. C. Stangl

At the Cliff House, absorbed in a March sunset, suddenly the Conscience of the City emerged from a billowy cloud, stepped onto a Farralon, tip-toed upon another, then appeared at my open window, Fedora in hand.

"Mind if I sit down?"


"So how many more rings does Eddie have nowdaze?" A Stoli magically materialized.

"None. Doesn’t even have his team now, dressed down worse than Wilkes Bashford."

"Finally done in by the Louisiana Purchase?"

"Like the French two centuries earlier."

"One of a kind that guy... Giants pounding the Dodgers regularly?"

"Should’ve won two pennants."

He studied his hat. "Dusty deserves better. What about Pete Rose? Does he have any chance?"

"Same chance O. J. Simpson has of reaching Cooperstown… Rose should’ve married Bud Selig’s daughter."


"Right. Selig became baseball commissioner by pioneering something that Dick Cheney would copy three years later. Each searched the world over for the most qualified candidate, only to discover that HE was the most qualified."

"Well… how’d the Chron send me off."

"Remember Tiger Woods, the phenom Nike gave Jed Clampett money to fresh out of Stanford? I can still see that ‘swoosh’ on Tiger’s hat above the fold. Your tearful, legendary eulogy edition also featured the birth of a smiling, legend-in-the making. He’d just won Pebble Beach."

"Hah, I departed the day Bing’s old Clambake wrapped… almost poignant."

"You know, back when I was at KSJO in the late seventies, you ran my only ‘mention.’ I felt higher than Timothy Leary."

"That was you who painted the logo upside down, captioned; ‘For Our Listeners Down Under?’ Down under, hah! I remain so pleasantly surprised."

"Well… What’s heaven like?"

"Oh, I feel the same way everyone else from the City does whenever I look around… ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.’"