More present than coffee shops; more powerful than the incense fumes billowing from peace symbol encrusted shops; able to leap high G-notes in a single bound....the American Idol aspirants have arrived in San Francisco. And I am so glad. I was getting bored in the Haight-Ashbury today, explaining the meaning of Cannabis to my 12 year old, and watching a man with a sign that read "Hit me for a $1" to see how many people would take him up on his offer. None. This renewed my hope in human kindness. It deflated again when I heard a woman yell "shut up" at her puppy, perhaps the cutest prancing puppy I'd ever seen. All in a day's work in this, one of the most colorful corners of San Francisco. But then came the Idols. Wristband clad hopefuls dreaming of a spot on the couch next to Ryan Seacrest, and ready to sing their hearts out. Believe it or not, many people would not sing for me. My, "If you can't sing in the Haight-Ashbury, for one stranger, how are you going to sing for millions of strangers?" argument did not persuade anyone. Until we met Maxine. Here she is. She comes from San Diego and she, like thousands of others, plans on being the next American Idol. Here's hoping the Golden Gate city hands her golden ticket to Hollywood. I think she's a great sport for singing on the street corner, and I even believe she's pretty good, but then I am using my singing voice as the point of reference, which is crap. Go Maxine! Thanks for coming out to play in the Haight-Ashbury today.