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Brothel of mine: As an award-winning muckraker, Bites is frequently called upon to investigate the sordid undercurrents that lurk just beneath the surface right here in River City. Yet, even Bites was surprised to discover the depths of depravity and corruption located in what would appear to be the most upstanding corners of Sacramento society.
But, hey, don’t take Bites’ word for it. Go to http://maps.google.com and see for yourself. Yes, it was during a routine search for local brothels that Bites was confronted with the disturbing truth. Venturing over to the “local search” page, Bites typed “Sacramento” into the “where” box and “brothels” into the “what” box (the search page itself suggested “pizza” as an example, but everybody knows you can’t get good pizza in Sacramento), hit search and watched the little rainbow wheel spin. And then, before you could say, “Oh brothel, where art thou?” our community’s 10 “brothels” came into view, complete with cute little lettered pointers locating them on a handy map. And an unlikely lot they were. To wit:
A. National Organization for Women California
B. B Street Theatre
C. Sacramento Film Commission
D. Animal Protection Institute
E. California State University, Sacramento
F. Lavender Library Archives & Cultural Exchange
G. Tunel 21
H. Enotria Cafe and Wine Bar
I. My Brother Vinny’s Inc.
J. The Sacramento Bee
Granted, some of these make more sense than others. The inclusion of The Sacramento Bee, for instance, may need no explanation, but its position at the very bottom of the list is baffling, to say the least. And although this is the first Bites has heard of any untoward activities taking place at the Divacs’ Tunel 21, it does bring new meaning to the Old Sacramento nightspot’s name. (Hey, at least everyone involved is 21 or over.) Come to think of it, with a university, a film commission and a theater company all making the list, Bites may have to reconsider that old neocon adage about the corrupting influence of the cultural elite.
But the National Organization for Women? Why it seems like just yesterday that Bites attended a massive Take Back the Night protest rally in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, where NOW members and Christian fundamentalists marched side by side down Broadway in a vain attempt to educate local strip-club denizens about the error of their ways. Surely NOW had not crossed over to the dark side, as well?
Searches for “prostitution” turned up equally interesting results (including Arnold Schwarzenegger), as did a search for local “hookers” (the Sac Bee again—not once, but twice).
Sadly, it turns out the Google Maps search function appears to have a bit of a flaw, according to TechWeb writer Gregg Keizer, who theorizes that any mention of “brothels,” “hookers” or what have you on a given organization’s Web site can end up triggering its appearance in the search results. Thus, while the search functions well for local restaurants, newspapers, etc., the going gets a bit dodgy when it comes to more esoteric fare.
All of which makes sense to Bites. After all, if there were that much vice running rampant here, Sacramentans surely would be in a much better mood.
Emergency shopping: Yes, dear Bitelets, Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared May Emergency Preparedness Month, but you don’t have to be invited to the airborne-toxic-event drill at Cal Expo to get in the mood. Why, just take a trip to your friendly neighborhood Safeway checkout counter, and you’ll find “Maria Shriver’s 10 Ways You Can Be Disaster Prepared” brochure, complete with a handy shopping checklist of essential supplies that, as government/corporate synergy would have it, “can be purchased at your local Safeway, Vons or Pavilions store.” Appearing alongside California’s first lady is the Office of Emergency Services’ mascot, Sarge, an ugly little bear who carries a flower in one hand and a dumbbell in the other (perhaps symbolizing the two sides of Arnold’s personality) and reminding Californians that we “bear responsibility” for our state.