From Writer’s Almanac and Wiki:
It’s the birthday of San Francisco columnist Herb Caen. Born in Sacramento, California (1916). He wrote his column six days a week from 1938 to 1991, and he had an established routine: he wrote in the morning, hung out in a bar or café in the afternoon, and attended A-list events in the evening. He wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle for his entire career – with the exception of four years during World War II and an eight-year stint with the San Francisco Examiner in the 1950s. In his inaugural column for the Examiner, he wrote of what he called “the Queen City”: “For years, it has been fun to Chronicle her . it will be even more fun, I know, to Examiner again, and again.”
During the week, he shared concise news items, usually separated by ellipses, which he called “three-dot journalism. “On Sundays, he dedicated his column inches to meditations on the city. From 1971: “The hookers are brazen, the abalone is frozen, and every night is Mugger’s Day. Yet, in spite of it all, San Francisco remains one of the great tourist cities. Most triumphantly, there is life in the streets – raw, raucous, roistering and real.”
Caen published two compilations of his columns in book form: Baghdad by the Bay (1949) and Don’t Call it Frisco (1953).
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Part of a column from 1970:
Well, nobody said life would be easy, but for members of my generation, it’s becoming ridiculous. One is reminded of the joke about the psychiatrist’s secretary who says, “In my office, I can’t win. If I come to work early, I’m anxious, if I’m on time, I’m compulsive, and if I’m late, I’m hostile.”
Our group, the over 50s, is in the same boat, and it has sprung a leak. Most of us were born poor and are in danger of dying affluent, drowning in a sea of plastic, non-disposable luxuries none of us really wants or enjoys. Our pockets filled with inflated dollars to spend on junk, we look back on the Depression as a Golden Age: then, a dollar was round, shiny and heavy, and there was that vibrant, confident voice in the White House to give us hope.