Here in San Diego, we also have a weekly Reader that features a column that is uncannily familar. It is called Straight From the Hip and answers the various niggling questions that you can’t get answered anywhere else. Matthew Alice, the putative author, who doesn’t seem to really exist, answers the questions with the authority of brilliance backed by impeccable research. Of course, that doesn’t mean he won’t throw in a little smartass humor where it fits.
In fact, the only difference between Straight From the Hip and The Straight Dope seems to be that the former is local to San Diego. So does Cecil have a little brother or what? Does he have imitators in other cities?
I hesitated at first to bring this up because I love the column and wouldn’t like to see it shut down by Cecil’s lawyers, but I figure I’m safe because 1) Cecil knows everything already anyway, 2) Cecil isn’t afraid of a little competition, and 3) Cecil probably couldn’t do anything about it anyway. It’s the style, not the content that’s being copied.