Crybaby’s Birthday Party

One Saturday in 1950, our boss, the shadowy figure known only as ‘Crybaby’, called a meeting of the 47th and Balboa Gang. He disguised it as a simple birthday party.

That’s Crybaby sitting at the head of the table.  You’d think he was throwing a tantrum but he’s just gnashing his teeth.  He always did that after he ate some of Ma Crybaby’s special angel food cake.  His true fiendishness would come out.  Pretty soon it would be, “Bring me the head of Jerry Garcia!”  And then we’d have to do it.   It would take all day,  we’d have to take the streetcar all the way out to the Crocker-Amazon and try to find Jerry and then I’d have to think up some way to get him to give us his head.   And we still had to be home by six o’clock or we’d catch heck! That’s back when Ma Crybaby was experimenting with special recipes.

This is Jimmy Walker, cigarillo dangling from his lips.  ‘Jimmy Coolguy’ we called him.  He’s stoned out of his mind as usual, digging those happening Happy Birthday sounds.  When we were little kids, we were sex fiends together.  Now we were tough gangsters.  Funny how things work out.  If only we hadn’t played doctor with that little girl up the corner that afternoon everything might be different today.  You wouldn’t know it to look at Jimmy, but he’s a dead hand with a BB gun.  A good man to have by your side when the Anza Street Gang shows up.

This sad-looking kid is Gus, Kenny the Pest’s bodyguard.  His one role in life is to stop us from killing Kenny.  It wasn’t much fun cause he didn’t like his little brother either.  Gus wishes he was anywhere else but he doesn’t have anywhere to go because no one wants to be friends with anybody related to Kenny The Pest.


This kid with the dopey expression is Kenny.  Kenny was four and so annoying!  We never could ditch him no matter how hard we tried.  We tried to sell him to our allies, the 44th and Balboa Gang, but even they wouldn’t take him.

There we’d be, out fighting our war against civilized society and everything decent, about to crack the ice cream cooler at the Pacific View Market when Larry the owner wasn’t looking when suddenly Kenny would walk in.

“Hi everybody, whatcha doing?  Can I watch?”

“Getoutta here Kenny before we beat you up!”

“Is that ice cream? I want some!”

“Go away! Can’t you see we’re about to pull a job?”


He’d just look at you with that dopey expression like in the picture.  Wherever we went – there he was, sneaking and sniveling behind us.  How could you commit cool crimes with a four year old always pestering you?  It was so hard being a big kid!  Finally his mother got worried we’d bump him off and told Gus he had to go to the party with Kenny. So all Crybaby’s plans to lure Kenny were for naught.  No wonder he was gnashing his teeth.

Next to Kenny – here’s Chris, the Pestiferous Pig, the demented brains of the gang.  He’s the only one who knows what ‘pestiferous’ means, which proves how smart he is.  He’s clearly gone out of his angel cake laced mind in glee at his foolproof but mad scheme to conquer the universe!  Wait’ll he tells Crybaby!  Wait, maybe this is too big for Crybaby!  Maybe I should rule the universe myself!  Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh

Looking like he’s about to be tommy-gunned by the Anza Street Gang, here’s Peter Walters. We called him Peter Pain because of the suffering he could wreak on our enemies simply by painting rude remarks on their neighborhood’s walls when nobody was looking.  Like “The Anza Street Gang Are A Bunch of Fraidy Cats!” Pestiferous had to help with the spelling usually.  Otherwise he might write ‘Friday Cats’, which wouldn’t really bother them that much.

Peter was our warlike and crafty art designer.  However, at the moment, he is stoned out of his gourd and incapable of moving.  That’s how it was at Crybaby’s meetings.  You’d have a great time, but there was always this nagging feeling that next you’d have to hand over your head.  And how would you explain that to your mother?

But I knew a way to stop Crybaby. He’d never guess it was me.  Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh Heh.  Kenny, come over here a minute.  You wanna make an easy nickel?  Go tell Crybaby’s mother Crybaby just said she was stoopid!


Pondering Pig’s Tour of San Francisco

Planning your big trip to San Francisco? Don’t forget your coat! I know you want to see Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum real bad, and, oh those cable cars climbing halfway to the stars, they’ve got to be great. How about a trip to the Haight-Ashbury to see where the Grateful Dead lived? Maybe a topless bar (wink wink nod nod), and a nightcap in the bar of the Holiday Inn.

But hold on for a minute. There’s another city hidden beneath the glitter and gloss of “My Enchanted City”. A city with hidden treasures and landmarks that only the talking pigs know about. Let me take you down, cause I’m going to…San Francisco’s Richmond District, Home of the Talking Pigs!

Oh, there’s not many of us left now in the City. We’ve dispersed across the world. I’m an exile myself, sleeping in an abandoned mobile home far down the coast with only an owl and a feral cat for company. (Besides the beautiful Patrushka and her indomitable Mom, of course, both of whom insist they like it)
Oh, perhaps it’s quiet, perhaps it’s a little lonely today. But there was a time when the Richmond resounded to the throng of happy snorts and grunts, when little curly tails disappeared into the bakeries and came out with pies and cakes and sugar cookies to take home for tea. Young pigs such as myself studied in the libraries and parks of the Richmond and learned to ponder deeply into the mystery of things.

Wandering through the muffled streets, we learned to love the fog and moist grey gloom. For us it was a warm cozy blanket. The wind barreling off the Pacific, it filled the lungs with glee. Ah, for the life of a talking pig in the Richmond District in those golden times of yore.

Certain among you are beginning to wonder when the show starts and I wish you’d have a little more patience. I’m just getting warmed up. But ever it shall be. Okay, next picture, please…

The Temple of Learning. Ah, the lines of merry young pigs that stood outside the Balboa waiting for the box office to open and the Saturday matinée to begin. Some Saturdays we heard a lecture on Aristotle. Other Saturdays it was six color cartoons, a Superman serial, and Mickey Rooney in “Penrod Fights The Gangsters”. Even today, the remnants of the Golden Age remain. Where else could you have your choice of Nacho Libre or Army of Shadows, a phenomenal, magnificent 1969 French film about the Resistance during WWII, and don’t miss it if you trust a talking pig’s judgment). But it’s not coming soon to a theater near you. Sorry. Maybe on DVD.

The Secret Treasure Statue. I boldly proclaim its location because I know how to get to the treasure and you don’t. No, it’s not symbolic of the treasure of the imagination – it’s money. Gold beyond your wildest dreams! And it’s mine, mine mine! Hahahahahahahahah.

Adolf Sutro. How we honor Adolf. Not only did he build San Francisco’s Sutro Park, most beautiful park in the known universe, he was the first talking pig to successfully pass as a human for most of his life. We don’t like to do it, but it’s so much more convenient. People are always asking embarrassing questions like “How come you’re not wearing trousers?” But they never guessed the truth about Adolf. What a pig! Too bad about the name though. It was a perfectly nice name in 1890.

The Old Manse. Pigs lived here once but now they’re gone.

Our tour of San Francisco’s Richmond District is about halfway through. We’ll be stopping for lunch today at The Blathering Pig. Please try not to encourage the proprietor or we’ll never get served!