Warren Hinckle III, 1938-2016


Another piece of San Francisco's soul is gone.

In high school I bought copies of Scanlan's Monthly at the Waldenbooks in Pensacola, in the shopping center that was built on the former site of the Pensacola Interstate Fair, ‘beside’ and ‘behind’ the Town and Country Shopping Center. The annual Interstate Fair moved on and on its old fairgrounds was birthed the shopping center with the bookstore, then the bookstore died and became the original incarnation of McQuire's Irish Pub....

In Pensacola I was a Rolling Stone subscriber starting with issue #4 in 1968. Before that, in junior high school, I was reading Ramparts (a left wing magazine with a Catholic publishing lineage, edited for many years by Hinckle). In Pensacola I bought every issue (maybe 6?) of Warren Hinckle's great but short-lived Scanlan's Monthly, a radical muckraking magazine that was the first to publish Hunter Thompson’s brilliant “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” (the glorious birth of gonzo journalism) and pulled no punches, reaching the point where it had to be printed in Canada and Germany because no printer in the United States would do it, hastening its inevitable demise. I was living here in the San Francisco Bay Area years before I ever moved here.

But that San Francisco is gone now, too, lost to me before I ever got here.

So when I complete this post and push the Publish button I’ll be drinking a toast to Warren Hinckle III and Bentley, his beloved Bassett hound, who preceded Hinckle in death 20 years ago (but only after the dog enjoyed one last Jeremiah Tower hamburger at Stars before a sad final trip to the vet), a toast to lives well lived and a past long gone.


Warren Hinckle and Bentley, October 29 1987
Photo: Eric Luse | San Francisco Chronicle

Photo at top: Warren Hinckle, December 14 1970
Photographer: Unknown | San Francisco Chronicle

Nightswimming In The Past


Gun port window in Fort Point, looking out on the Pacific Ocean at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.

MIKE HUMPHREYS: Not unlike gun ports at Fort Pickens and Fort Jefferson.

ME: Fort PIckens proper is about 25 years older than Fort Point but both are brick masonry fortresses of similar basic design and armaments. Another like fort is Pulaski (a little older than Pickens) in Savannah GA (and it has a moat!).

One big difference between Forts Pickens and Point: I'd never go swimming day or night in the frigid waters under the Golden Gate Bridge but as a teenager I often went skinnydipping after midnight in the soup-warm Gulf waters on the beach across from Battery Langdon at Fort Pickens. Forty years ago, that beach was covered with nothing but sea oats and rolling sugary sand dunes (some were as tall as we were); today, after the hurricanes and after some park 'improvements', 90 percent of the dunes are gone and there's a parking lot (see photo below). So sad. I visit that beach every time I go home, it’s like stopping by a cemetery.

BTW, there *is* surfing at Fort Point but wetsuits required (and the 'beach' sucks).

MIKE HUMPHREYS: Michael, you forgot one thing, when you said "...Forty years ago, that beach was covered with nothing but sea oats and rolling sugary sand dunes..."
Sandspurs, if you will.
I hated those things.
But I have heard that with all the storm activity over the years, they are now gone.
Good riddance.

ME: My memory is often benevolent in the way it 'erases' such unpleasant and thorny bits from the past. Instead of sandspurs, all that comes back to me is the warm water at 1AM, the warm midnight breezes, the squeaky sugar white sand that seemed to shine under a full moon, and the tiny bioluminescent organisms in the Gulf that stuck to us (especially in our pubic hair) coming out of the water, making us seem to glow in the dark, too.

We were burning in our own youth. We
did glow, especially in the dark on a beach.


The Surfer's Journal

Friends of mine in high school surfed, making the most of the gentle waves in the emerald green, soup warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico along the Florida panhandle’s sugary beaches. I’ve never once climbed onto a surfboard but as far back as high school I’ve believed that the great unwritten American novel is a novel about a guy who surfs. The longer we go without anyone writing that story, the more I think about trying to write it myself. In my mind over the past 40-plus years my take on such a story has never really congealed much beyond it being set in Southern California in the late 1950s—and with the only character in it being the surfer guy.

I’ve been an on-again off-again reader and occasional subscriber of The Surfer’s Journal since I first saw a copy at DeLauer’s Newsstand in Oakland, California in either 1992 (its first year of publication) or 1993. Never mattered that I didn’t surf or that I didn’t otherwise follow surfing at all (especially competitive surfing, which repulses me, excluding the career of Kelly Slater who I mostly view with absolute awe). I just immediately dug the magazine’s no-ads philosophy and its bohemian vagabond vibe and the real-world photographs and the real-world stories, that it wasn’t fanboy giddy like, say, Surfer and Surfing. It’s sort of a thinking man’s surfing magazine, if you go into it the right way.

And it always kept stoking my thinking about the great unwritten American novel about that guy who surfs.

Trump 3.0


The deep simmering theory on the left (and maybe even in some pockets of the right) today is that Trump originally entered the campaign last year with absolutely no intention of winning the Presidency or even the nomination, that his original play was simply, in the guise of a Perot-esque protest candidate, to bathe in the national spotlight, wallow in front page headlines, and take it all as far as he could as he stoked his ego and enhanced the Trump brand. The end game of this loser strategy, these theorists say, is the eventual creation and launch of a Trump media combine of online (think breitbart.com, think Stephen Bannon), print (son-in-law’s New York Observer), and broadcast (think Trump News, think alt Fox News, think Roger Ailes). He loses, yeah, but he wins HUGE, and that that was the plan all along.

With Trump I think it is a dangerous waste of time to read between the lines or look for any ulterior motives. We would all be best advised to take him and his campaign at face value, to take them as seriously as cancer and battle them accordingly. Simple as that.

My take: Trump and his ego entered the race because he saw an opportunity to win the ultimate prize/crown in this country. He was right and through the primaries he kept succeeding, all the way to the Republican nomination. Now that he finds himself one-on-one with Clinton and within striking distance of beating her (or, maybe better said, within striking distance of being within striking distance of beating her) he’s finally pivoting because he was losing and because he wants to win. He wants to win.

I think Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to this country and to our democracy, and I know that he and his campaign must be buried in a landslide of epic proportion. I don’t buy that he wants to lose. I don’t buy that his campaign is doomed. To believe otherwise, to at all entertain this hidden agenda twaddle is to, quite literally, court an unimaginable national catastrophe.

Your Friend and Mine


Some food for thought from Edward Snowden this morning regarding the DNC hacks and the subsequent hack of an NSA server. From his Twitter feed a couple of hours ago:

+++++++ +++++++ +++++++ +++++++ +++++++ +++++++ +++++++

The hack of an NSA malware staging server is not unprecedented, but the publication of the take is. Here's what you need to know:

NSA traces and targets malware C2 servers in a practice called Counter Computer Network Exploitation, or CCNE. So do our rivals.

NSA is often lurking undetected for years on the C2 and ORBs (proxy hops) of state hackers. This is how we follow their operations.

This is how we steal their rivals' hacking tools and reverse-engineer them to create "fingerprints" to help us detect them in the future.

Here's where it gets interesting: the NSA is not made of magic. Our rivals do the same thing to us -- and occasionally succeed.

Knowing this, NSA's hackers (TAO) are told not to leave their hack tools ("binaries") on the server after an op. But people get lazy.

What's new? NSA malware staging servers getting hacked by a rival is not new. A rival publicly demonstrating they have done so is.

Why did they do it? No one knows, but I suspect this is more diplomacy than intelligence, related to the escalation around the DNC hack.

Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility. Here's why that is significant:

This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server.

That could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly if any of those operations targeted US allies. Particularly if any of those operations targeted elections.

Accordingly, this may be an effort to influence the calculus of decision-makers wondering how sharply to respond to the DNC hacks.

TL;DR: This leak looks like a somebody sending a message that an escalation in the attribution game could get messy fast.

Bonus: When I came forward, NSA would have migrated offensive operations to new servers as a precaution - it's cheap and easy. So? So...

The undetected hacker squatting on this NSA server lost access in June 2013. Rare public data point on the positive results of the leak.

You're welcome, @NSAGov. Lots of love.

Boycotting The Rio Summer Games

All praise to the athletes and the greater spirit of the Olympic Games.

No praise to the IOC for its abusive and exploitive relationship with the athletes and for the horror that is the Rio 2016 venue.

katobradley will not be supporting and will not be watching.