Good Sunday for Jan. 24, 2010 

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction
By Rebecca Goldstein ($27.95)
In her story about a soul-searching professor teaching the psychology of religion who writes a bestseller and gets the chance to teach at Harvard, the novelist entertainingly explores how tensions between religion and doubt can’t be understood simply with rational thinking.

Waterbar: Chef Parke Ulrich’s brunch menu features breakfast and lunch items and fresh sustainable seafood. Recent selections include roasted butternut-squash cakes with rosemary pecans, vanilla yogurt and huckleberries; fish house hash with poached eggs, caramelized onion, sweet peppers and chorizo; and Dungeness-crab eggs Benedict with English muffin, oven-roasted tomatoes and hollandaise. [11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 399 Embarcadero, S.F.; (415) 284-9922]

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department: Volunteers are needed to do weeding and mulching work at Stow Lake. [10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; meet at boathouse, Stow Lake Drive, Golden Gate Park, S.F.; RSVP:]

Little city: The Conservatory of Flowers presents “Golden Gate Express Garden Railway,” an exhibit featuring a model train and mini San Francisco landmarks made from recycled materials. [9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Golden Gate Park, S.F.]

‘Patriotism and Prejudice’: Tour looks at Japanese-American soldiers trained here for intelligence work and sent to war as their families were interned. [1 p.m.; Crissy Field Center, 603 Mason St., in the Presidio; RSVP: (415) 561-4323]

Local history
Women’s walk: Foot Tours presents “Go West, Young Woman,” a tour covering “10 wild women” who left their legacy on San Francisco, from Isadora Duncan to Lillie Coit. [2 p.m.; details/RSVP:]

Wiggle room: Thinkwalks hosts a “Wiggle Walking Tour,” featuring a route bicyclists use to avoid hills, plus a bit of Lower Haight social history. [1 p.m.; meet at bike mural; Duboce Avenue and Church Street, S.F.; RSVP:]

Nob Hill: The tour, hosted by San Francisco City Guides, features architectural tidbits and anecdotes about prestigious hotels, an exclusive men’s club and more. [2 p.m.; meet at entrance to Stanford Court Hotel, 905 California St., S.F.]

Stately mansions: The Victorian Home Walk offers the chance to see 200 meticulously restored Victorian homes and learn about different types of architecture. [11 a.m.; meet at Union Square, Powell and Post streets]

Maritime history
Life at sea: “Adventures at Sea,” a guided tour of the ship Balclutha, looks at the lives of 19th-century sailors, with a focus on the treacherous Cape Horn passage. [2:15 p.m., Hyde Street Pier, north end of Hyde Street, S.F.]

Visual arts
Mission murals: Precita Eyes hosts “Mission Trail Mural Walks.” Tours feature dozens of murals in the Mission district’s Precita Park area. [11 and 1:30 p.m.; meet at Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center, 2981 24th St., S.F.]

Classical recital: Violist David Aaron Carpenter, winner of the prestigious Naumburg Competition in 2006, gives a recital, joined by pianist Julien Quentin. [2 p.m., San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St., S.F.]

Indie bands: Parachute, a band whose sound mixes full-throttle rock, blue-eyed soul, R&B and melodic pop, performs at Slim’s. SafetySuit shares the bill. [8 p.m., 333 11th St., S.F.]

New works: Labayen Dance/SF, a contemporary-ballet company, performs an evening of world premieres, presented by Dance Mission’s Down and Dirty Dance Series. [7 p.m., Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., S.F.]

Festival tryouts: San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival auditions are open to the public. Dance lovers can watch dozens of troupes trying out, and learn which ones make it. [10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., S.F.]

Marilyn Monroe: The Noir City film series presents “Marilyn Noir.” Feature attractions: “Niagara” (1, 5:10, and 9:30 p.m.) and “The Asphalt Jungle” (2:50 and 7:15 p.m.). [Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.]

Writer-performer: Ann Randolph appears in “Loveland,” her comic solo play about a woman facing up to the greatest loss of her life while flying from L.A. to Ohio surrounded by strangers. [7 p.m., Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F.]

Literary events
Book talk: The World Affairs Council’s Young Professionals Book Discussion Group meets to discuss “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” written by Tracy Kidder. [11 a.m., Books Inc., 601 Van Ness Ave., S.F.]

Performing women: The Women on the Way Festival continues. Innovative female theater, dance, music and comedy artists take the stage. [8 p.m., three S.F. locations;]

Comedy festival: S.F. Sketchfest continues. Today’s slate includes “Sunday Comics: Stand-Up and Characters” with Nick Kroll, Thomas Lennon, Carlos Alazraqui and others. [2 p.m. to late evening, multiple sites;]
Cartoon jazz: Jeff Sanford’s Cartoon Jazz Orchestra performs. The group plays music that evokes images of familiar cartoons. [2:30 p.m., Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto]

NFL: NFC championship
Vikings at Saints
3:40 p.m., Fox (KTVU, Ch. 2)
In a battle of two of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, Brett Favre leads the Vikings into New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the Saints with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line

NFL: The N.Y. Jets visit the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship. [Noon, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, CBS (KPIX, Ch. 5)]
Tennis: Action continues at the Australian Open. [4 p.m., midnight, Melbourne, Australia, ESPN2]

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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