Hairy Patter&emdash;

If you’re an old-movie buff (and in my case, you may remove the hyphen), you probably remember how people in the future (say, 1966) were always shown wearing jumpsuits and sporting unisex hairdos. Shannon Marlin tells me the future is here.  The stylish Marlin co-owns, with husband and musician Michael Sylvestre, Lush Salon & Spa (at 20th and I streets) and the dramatically named Spanish Fly Hair Garage, just three blocks away (on J Street between 17th and 18th). As summer approaches, the 10-year hair-industry veteran says, We’re in the process of redesigning our collection&emdash;a word I thought referred to the clipped hair lying on the floor&emdash;and unisex is definitely in. Women are wearing their hair a little shorter, she says, but men are starting to wear their hair longer. This is good news for men like me. In fact, I’d like to wear my hair much longer (like, another 40 years). By the way, appearing in this column isn’t Marlin’s first brush with magazine immortality. About a year ago, she got a call from someone at Elle magazine and didn’t return it, assuming it was an advertising pitch. It took another call or two for Marlin and her husband to realize the caller was a writer, on an extremely tight deadline, who wanted to interview them about their participation in the area’s Second Saturday Art Walks, during which you can get a haircut, listen to live music and buy art at their salons. They returned the call and the article made it into last July’s issue. But just by a hair.

Ads Infinitum&emdash;
While the waitpersons at Taro’s By Mikuni don’t burst into arias as they repeat your order, as they did when the Market Square space was occupied by Max’s Opera Cafe, the restaurant’s menu still bursts with something unexpected: advertisements. Taro’s spiral-bound bill of fare is interrupted a few times with ads for a cosmetic dentist, a lender and a video/photo studio. Now, lest you think that the ubiquitous presence of promotional pieces is a fairly recent development, permit me to recall how, more than 40 years ago, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty, as well as the entire Clampett clan, appeared in cigarette commercials at the end of their respective TV shows (The Flintstones and The Beverly Hillbillies). Granny and Jed even mangled the Winston Cigarettes tag line, changing Winston tastes good like a cigarette should to the apparently Ozarkian Winston tastes good like a cigarette had oughta. None of which is to suggest that Taro’s isn’t a terrific restaurant with excellent food and an eager staff. I’ve been there for lunch at least three times&emdash;including one recent Saturday, when finding an open sushi place proved a challenge, even though it shouldn’t had oughta.  

Oy, Robot&emdash;I was sorry to miss this year’s third annual six-hour battle of
16-ounce robots designed and built by engineering students at Sac State. Which is not to suggest that I attended the first or second annual event, either. Which, in turn, is not to suggest that I’m a member of the anti-robot lobby. But I did read, around the time of the event, that robots are now being used in hostage standoffs. I hope it’s not as negotiators. You just don’t want that internal software to crash at a crucial moment. (Want to come out and talk this over? over? over? over? over? over?)

Physician, Conceal Thyself&emdash;I’m starting a new charitable group that will be dedicated to barring medical residents and interns from wearing their surgical scrubs and stethoscopes when they drop into coffeehouses and bookstores. I’m calling it Borders Without Doctors.