Favorite Scrambled Eggs and Lox first-year posts



More than a year ago I had a conversation with an Alameda County Sheriff Deputy--a Sargent and an ex-Marine who was retiring. We were talking about the Berkeley Insurrection and he offered "The demonstrators today are soft--not what they used to be. [Last week] I was working a demonstration Downtown and explained to a young woman that I was going to have to arrest her. She started crying! I didn't even touch her. I was just explaining." He seemed to think it was another reason to retire.



If Jerry is a hunk, then Anthy is a babe, and John, a man of few words and good-looking, is most like their dad, Nick. After Nick died some years ago, he appeared to me in a dream. "Don't worry" he said "Everything's all right." That was easy for him to say, for judging from his peaceful calm he had gone to a place of no worry.



Gary [my UPS Man's] Dad came to California from Arkansas in the 1940s -- "to get one of them good jobs in the shipyards." He married, raised a family, bought a house, paid his taxes, and never spent more than he had. And he, like most Black Folk in west-Berkeley, is as American-apple-pie as a South Dakota farmer.

Gary Williams



Our blossoming Japanese fruit trees now are. See them along 8th Street in front of Kruse and École Bilingue, and on both sides of Heinz between 7th and 9th.



I have a friend who has been in the USA for just ten months. "I'm free here" she says and takes great pleasure in what I take for granted.



I spent yesterday morning with [Ed] who served in the U.S. Infantry in WW II in Northern Europe. When the conversation turned to the war in Iraq, he repeated more than several times "All those young men dying, they're just boys -- 18 and 19." And you could see that for those few moments he was not fully here but was in long-ago-France, maybe in a foxhole.



Goatsrus.com came to Potter Creek to trim the field at 8th and Heinz. For more goats, see The Potter Creek Billy Goat Page.



Today is Earth Day [and the] "white-eyes" development of America is seen by some akin to cementing over our Mother's face.



Lipofsky was telling me "I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art. It's perfect." "Really," I answered. "What kind is it?" "Twelve thirty." Marvin replied.



My neighbor, Ruth Okimoto writes in her monograph, Sharing a Desert Home: Life on the Colorado Indian Reservation" "Our family of six arrived in Poston Camp III on August 28,1942. . . . "



Urged by a friend to write something political, I paraphrase a favorite quote. "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."



Yesterday, I spent an hour or so talking to John Philips at his old shop. (I really look forward to him moving next-door. I joked that then I could visit more often -- he was not amused.) Though John and I more efficiently solved most of Potter Creek's problems than Marvin and I have, the minute or so of the Well Tempered Prelude in C that John played on one of his German instruments was most memorable. With musical examples, he also patiently and carefully illustrated the beautiful, delicate action of his instrument. In this short time, I learned much about the beauty and simplicity of harpsichords. I also enjoyed his "factory" SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES sign



I spent yesterday afternoon with my mentor and former employer, Albert E. Braver. We mostly talked about the current state of the world -- about which 85-year-old Albert regularly observed "Those who the gods would destroy, they first make mad" and offered when I recalled a particularly absurd event "Look, the Human Race is a mistake." Never overly optimistic about Humankind, Albert never-the-less takes great pleasure from his more-than-I-can-count grandchildren, and tea and black Russian cigarettes. "Better to smoke here than Hereafter!" But, I did miss some of the vintage Albert, like "Would you rather be ignored?" after a greeting-shot in the finest old-New-York-deli-waiter fashion. For stories about Albert read "Back in the Day."



The Book of Green Tea is a beautiful and informed presentation of the green tea culture. Green tea is good for you and so is this book.




In these changing times in Potter Creek and west-Berkeley, I'm reminded of a phrase from the old KSAN Noon News. "If you don't like the news, go out and make some yourself."



Photos of Jerry Victor's DodgeViper.

[All together, these pages are the most viewed of 2003. So much for everything in Berkeley is political.]




Relaxing in the early evening sun, last night I was serenaded by a not-too-distant schakuhachi player -- probably in the new work-units on 7th -- the sort-of-sad flute sounds mixing with the close-by bird chirps. A V8 pickup burbled past, boom-boxing, and I returned to Chapter Two, "The German Blitzkrieg Stuns the World."



After writing about my neighborhood for over six months, I'm coming to the conclusion that all the different kinds of people in Potter Creek fall into two groups. Those who use and contribute to the neighborhood and those who complain about it. Membership is not mutually exclusive. And just living or working here doesn't by itself qualify for first-group membership. Some of Potter Creek's oldest residents simply use this as a place to crash. Then there's the '90s and '00s excuse de jeur "Really, I'm just too busy." This has replaced the one I remember from the '60s. "Really man, I'd like to make it, but I just scored some Columbian. And there's this chick . . ."



Why can't it just be "late-Spring house cleaning" instead of "making room in your life for change."




The Bill of Rights & Declaration of Independence




As a teenager I missed the Doo-Wop movement for reasons I don't now remember. But the era was firmly brought back as I listened to"Street Corner Essentials," Hip-O 314 556 264-2. This is a great 2 CD collection of the best-known and less-known Doo-Wop singles.




From the office of Anthy Victor. Anthy is one of the owners of V & W Door.




Persian Cuisine has taught me about the perfume of food--not the smell or taste--but the fragrance.



Emeryville sounds better in French than in English.



I went to Lipofsky's opening last night. There are all kinds of ways to make a buck and Marvin's figured one out where people pay him to make beautiful glass and travel around the world. Congratulations! (Oh, where were the Nathan's? They were serving little shells with crab and stuff.)



The Buttercup and The California Breakfast



A couple of my neighbors mentioned that they recently started riding bicycles. More than twenty years ago, the boss-man at Advance Heli Welders regularly rode a lightweight around the neighborhood.

Biker-wisdom from my Harley and Goldwing buddies. "Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving."



Peter and Geralyn are relatively new to our neighborhood, yet they make maximum use of Potter Creek. They not only live here but both work here within easy biking distance, enjoy west-Berkeley's restaurants, study at one of our schools, and generally are out-and-about. These new residents seem to fully use and enjoy Potter Creek.



Yesterday, there was a great lemonade-stand in the 900 block of Grayson. Lemonade was 25 cents a cup and you could also buy cookies. The lemonade was VERY GOOD!







A favorite composer of mine, Charles Ives, wrote in notes to his small composition Gup, the Blood or Hearst! Which is Worst? "Gup-a prominent criminal gets the gallows; Hearst-another prominent criminal gets the money." Barbara Bush, another favorite person of mine, is supposed to have offered "Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is."



[Insightful and] original, is "Bred for Power" by the new, New York Times reporter, David Brooks.



The Washington Post reports China's Hippies Find Their Berkeley. Oh, . . . well.



So now just where is our namesake, Potter Creek? According to a City of Berkeley, Department of Engineering, 1990 Map it runs underground in a 2ft culvert entering Potter Creek, the neighborhood, at the southeast corner of San Pablo and Heinz, runs along Heinz and directly under the Scharffen Berger factory, turns southwest at just before the corner of Heinz and 7th, and leaves Potter Creek at Potter Street and the railroad right of way.

Thank you David, Peter, and Melody.





Who are these people? They are some of Potter Creek's leading citizens and their guests.

Potter Creek and The Bark's Claudia and Cameron and their new book were featured on NPR last week, but my understanding is that their interview was not carried in the Bay Area because of "election" coverage. Their new book's title is the motto of their magazine: Dog Is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World's Oldest Friendship. NPR's Morning Edition spoke with three of their contributors, Ann Patchett, Maxine Kumin and Stephen Kuusisto. Ann and Stephen read from the book, while the Pulitzer-prize winning poet Maxine Kumin read an unpublished poem. After the piece aired the book soared to #7 on Amazon-the highest ever for a dog book. You can find the book at Borders-Amazon Site.



Francis often rides his Honda CBR600 to work in Potter Creek. Francis can also be seen at our local bank behind his desk with shirt and tie .



Harvey-the-mailman dropped by yesterday afternoon with his son for introductions and tour of my motorcycle collection--Brett, his son is one strapping, good-looking, smart young man.



Bruce Herman immediately after his extreme makeover.

Bruce was quite traumatized last week when a six-pack of 6ft hydrogen cylinders was dropped a mere 8 feet from him. "Boom, boom," he muttered all during his make over. The hydrogen cylinders dropped-over next to him at Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass were the old fashion Atlas Welding containers, not to be confused with promising but still impractical hydrogen cells.




People in École Bilingue's Halloween Parade

Many more Parade people here

Remember, "It's the Great Pumpkin Charle Brown" is on Channel 7 at 8:00 PM, tonite. (It really is more than a tale of thinking outside the box gone terribly wrong.)




Do our troops in Iraq have the proper equipment? Well, there's a vehicle available specifically for internal security operations and we don't have it. It offers much greater protection than our soft skinned HUMVEEs. It is the Reumech OMC Casspir. A writer for Jane's offers "A unique feature of the Casspir is that it has been designed to give its crew a high degree of protection against anti-tank mines and for this reason the vehicle has a very high ground clearance with the hull having a V-shape to help deflect the blast from any mines." More information and a photo are at Jane's Land Forces.




"More than fifty years ago, the brilliant and outrageous Saul Alinsky wrote the definitive work on community organizing, Reveille for Radicals, and it became a best-seller in an America determined to translate its highest ideals into concrete deeds."

Border's Book Description
"First published in 1946 and updated in 1969 with a new Introduction and Afterword, this volume represents the fullest statement of the political philosophy and practical methodology of one of the most important figures in the history of American radicalism. Like Thomas Paine before him, Saul Alinsky, through the concept and practice of community organizing, was able to embody for his era both the urgency of radical political action and the imperative of rational political discourse. His work and writing bequeathed a new method and style of social change to American communities that will remain a permanent part of the American political landscape."

My favorite Alinsky story goes something like he brought to a head an Eastman strike by having a Bean-In. Before a Eastman-Rochester concert, he stuffed-full a good number of concert-goers with a meal of pork and beans.


My mentor, Albert E. Braver, died Saturday, suddenly and peacefully in his wife's arms. He was 85. Albert was a music soul and the last time we met, he sang a good portion of the Sarabande from Bach's Suite for Cello in c to me. Stories about Albert can be read in "Back in the Day: Selling Records on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue."



When Chris Strachwitz was recording Fred McDowell in the mid-Sixties, he used to stop by Campus Records on Telegraph Avenue. He would drop off records, schmooze with Albert, and check out sales and the Scene. I remember Chris talking excitedly about a blues singer he had just recorded. I didn't understand the significance of that discovery until recently when listening to some of these LPs from Richard Adelman's collection. A CD collection from these records is available on "The Best of Mississippi Fred McDowell" Arhoolie 501 (c2001).

Jim Marshall cover photo of the LP, Arhoolie F 1027, Fred McDowell Vol. 2




I'm reminded of something from Tocqueville's Democracy in America by [the] continuous invasions of our privacy. "It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life. . . . Subjugation in minor affairs breaks out every day, . . . till they are led to surrender the exercise of their will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated . . ."




Once a Cat and a Fox were traveling together. As they went along, picking up provisions on the way--a stray mouse here, a fat chicken there--they began an argument to while away the time between bites. And, as usually happens when comrades argue, the talk began to get personal.

"You think you are extremely clever, don't you?" said the Fox. "Do you pretend to know more than I? Why, I know a whole lot of tricks!" "Well," retorted the Cat. "I admit I know one trick only, but that one, let me tell you, is worth a thousand of yours!"

Just then, close by, they heard a hunter's horn and the yelping of a pack of hounds. In an instant the Cat was up a tree, hiding among the leaves.

"This is my trick," he called to the Fox. "Now let me see what yours are worth."

But the Fox had so many plans for escape he could not decide which one to try first. He dodged here and there with the hounds at his heels. He doubled on his tracks, he ran at top speed, he entered a dozen burrows, --but all in vain. The hounds caught him, and soon put an end to the boaster and all his tricks.

Common sense is always worth more than cunning.



"Reports that say something hasn't happened are interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns; there things we know we know," Rumsfeld told the briefing. "We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know" begins Reuter's "Rumsfeld Wins 'Foot in Mouth' Prize."



And, an old record-collecting friend I've known since Campus Records sent "Going to a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car."



Recently, I had the classic America chocolate cake made with Scharffen Berger's coca. Just shortly before, I tasted the same recipe made with Nestle's.The difference is that of real chocolate and candy.



Not Beethoven, but "longhair" and also gaaaronteed to make you feel good is Big Easy Strut by Professor Longhair. It lists at $11.98. And, for years a favorite LP of mine has been his New Orleans Piano. It is now on CD also listing at $11.98.




Half-dozen people from Potter Creek went to the City of Berkeley Planning Commission meeting Wednesday evening to express their concerns over the effect of Berkeley Bowl Project on the Potter Creek neighborhood. Specifically, they spoke and expressed the need for some type of traffic control if the Berkeley Bowl builds. The Commission and the City Planning Staff listened and it was felt that they took the concerns seriously. The project architect was present and indicated there would be a traffic study by a consultant prior to presenting the proposal, and that the neighborhood would be kept better informed of the traffic study results as well as future Commission public hearings. Also discussed, was the need for a variance or rezoning to allow the Bowl to build: The project as it is now is out of code. The variance seemed the simplest solution. Discussion will be continued at the future meeting. The people who attended the meeting contributed to this summary.

Don Juan de la Cierva Codorniu, who with Pablo Picasso and Pablo Casals is properly revered in Spain as one of the true Spanish geniuses, was the inventor of the first practical rotating-wing aircraft, the Cierva autogiro.




Well over two-dozen people crowded-to-overflowing in the room at Kava Massih's to hear the Affordable Housing Associates' professional presentation of their Ashby project. I was present for the first hour and fifteen minutes, which was largely taken up be Kava's presentation with plans and a model. The people present, many prospective tenants, offered intelligent suggestions and questions, all of which were duly noted by the staff. But Kava, always the charmer, met his match. After one of his quips bombed, and in answer to his "Where's your sense of humor?" a large outspoken red-head shot-out "Dancing naked on your tongue!" (Much more will follow with photos.) Cheese, fruit, crackers, salsa and chips were offered and eaten. Sadly, there was no Persian food.



An on-the-road view from the side-window of Rick Auerbach's Gypsy Van




"Candidate's recollections differ from historians' views of a turbulent decade" observes the Washington Post's Paul Farhi in "Dean Tries to Summon Spirit of the 1960s." When reading this, remember that history is written by the victors, and it is my memory that Berkeley lost The Insurrection.

Saturday afternoon, I took my bike to the "Canned Food Store"--they have a great price on double-boxes of Corn Flakes. As I was locking up my bicycle another old man was unlocking his. While locking and unlocking, we exchanged glances and then broke into smiles. "How are you" he asked. "Fine" I said "And how are you doin'?" "Pretty good for an old man"he said. And then as old men will do, we talked about how everything has gon ta hell in a hanbasket. Then, as he was ready to leave, he stopped and offered "I worked in the shipyards, but now I'm retired and do volunteer drug counseling. It can be real depressing, but sometime you reach someone--just sometime. Maybe one in hundreds. But, it's worth it." "Happy New Year" he said as he left. "Happy New Year to you, too" I said.