December 2003



"That math, however, has sent American software engineers into unemployment lines.'We have definitely felt it,' says Fadi Bishara of TechVenture, an out placement firm in Menlo Park, Calif." writes the Christian Science Monitor's Mark Sappenfield in "Around the Globe, New 'Silicon Valleys' Emerge: As software jobs move to India and beyond, California could lose its footing as tech startup capital of the world.."



"Candidate's recollections differ from historians' views of a turbulent decade" writes 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.

Someone set fire to a pine tree in the middle of the École Bilingue playground on Christmas night. Since this is Berkeley, I'm not sure if it was a prank by the neighborhood kids or part of a rite by Nature worshipers.

And a belated, Happy Winter Solstice to all!

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.




"Transportation unit headed for Iraq sought extra protection for non-combat vehicles" writes David A. Lieb of the Associated Press in the Washington Post. Also read "Pentagon criticized for shortage of protective vests" by Vernon Loeb and Theola Labbé of the Washington Post in "Body Armor Saves U. S. Lives in Iraq." and read Scott Marshall's "Lawmakers: Troops are Ill-Equipped" in the West County Times,

And see my, before anybody else, 10/30/03 post.





If you didn't yesterday, today check out Drop Me Off in Harlem.


Check out the Kwanzaa web site.






For exercise of the mind, the Soul, and the imagination after Xmas dinner check out Drop Me Off in Harlem






Potter Creek gardens on Christmas Eve


And, some of Berkeley's best traditional Christmas decorations are found on Wallace Street between Ward and Russell--this year the festive lighting has spread to many of the surrounding streets. (Wallace is just east of, and parallel to, San Pablo Avenue.) These displays are so spectacular that I've stopped going up in the Hills to look at lights. Though the decorations are not in Potter Creek they're close, just a few blocks walk.


Another reason to buy Scharffen Berger chocolate is given by Nicholas Boer of the West County times in "Let Chocolate Wrap up Your Holiday."

Gosh doggone! Lenny Bruce is pardoned reports Michael Gormley of the Associated Press in the West County Times.



Rick "workin' out" before performing at a Winter solstice concert celebrating the healing power of music



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








"The Berkeley Public Education Foundation is celebrating its 20th year by giving teachers in the city's 17 schools $137,235 in classroom grants" writes Meredith May in her "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Who IS this guy's schneider?





Today is Niger Proclamation of the Republic Day.

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.


One of the Buttercup favorites in the '70s were Granny Fenster cookies. Thought to be from a relative of mine, in fact, their recipe was found by manager, Mary Guenther in a 1940s Wisconsin Gas and Electric Cook Book--the Gas Company's. Further confusing their origin, during one of the first bakes, Haley, unknown to me, taped a large handwritten sign to my back reading GRANNY FENSTER

Granny Fenster Cookies

pre heat oven to 375

1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Raspberry Jam, Dickinson's seedless (sometimes strawberry is used)
2 cups fairly finely chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks and vanilla. Gradually add flour and salt until blended. refrigerate 1 hr.
Shape into 1" balls, roll in beaten egg whites (left over from the yolks used in cookies), then roll in chopped pecans. Place on lightly oiled cookie sheet, (I use parchment paper, you can use nonstick spray also) about 2" apart, gently make indentation.
Bake 5 minutes, remove from oven, you may need to press the indentation again, fill with jam and bake another 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen


Our Alice Waters is the subject of tonight's American Masters at 8:00 PM on KQED.





Today is Bahrain National Day and Kazakhstan National Day  

And, It's Ludwig van B's Birthday!




"Bayer Healthcare AG . . . announced a 11 percent work-force reduction Thursday, a move that will leave 190 Berkeley employees without a job" writes Jakob Schiller of the Berkeley Daily P.


If the Berkeley Bowl Project is built on their proposed site, they will cement over the last significant green-space in Potter Creek.

On 1/30/03 I posted "A community meeting was held last night at Kava Massih Architects in a much too small, stuffy room. Among those present were representatives of our Mayor and our Councilwoman. Kava presented his very elementary plan for the Berkeley Bowl site on Heinz. Judging from his presentation, for a dramatic increase in traffic, Potter Creek will get a wonderful market and restaurant, and Berkeley Bowl will get a warehouse. But more importantly, I believe this project signals an area sea change, the effects of which can only be imagined -- certainly increased density is one of them. For myself, I will make the leap of faith and assume that most of them will be good." (There were upwards of seventy people at this meeting and Kava's project was overwhelmingly approved by a show of hands.) And for a more "optimistic" view, I quote "Tenth Street" Jack Miller. At another meeting, characterized by a resistance to change, he asked "What the hell is wrong with you people?" Seventy or eighty-something Jack is our oldest resident and he was born in Potter Creek.



A reminder that the Affordable Housing people are giving a presentation of their proposed development of low-income housing on the site of the Asphalt Products Oil Corporation at 1001 Ashby. The meeting will be held at Kava Massih Architects, 2830 9th Street, Wednesday, December 17th between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM.

(The Asphalt Products Oil Corporation--for decades a facility manufacturing asphalt-products, a former user of asbestos, the sight of at least one explosion and fire, a product-transfer facility, and over the years the subject of many neighbor complaints.)

I would encourage all people in Potter Creek to attend this presentation--residents, workers, business-owners, property-owners, realtors, developers, representatives, all. Too often these meetings are dominated by the "usual suspects"-- the residents of a few-blocks' area. But, these people are by no means representative of the entire neighborhood, though they have been the most vocal. In fact, so isolated are they, that when a business that predates almost-all began to more actively use a facility in their midst--a mixed-use area--some were annoyed and complained. So, please all, attend! This is a thirty square-block area.

And, . . . if the housing-developers are serious about full community participation, I question holding their meeting during the Holidays, one week before Christmas Eve.




There are many artists and crafts people in Potter Creek. They are now having open studios. Check them out!



A Richmond Ramblers M. C. reader sent this recipe.


"This is a wonderful recipe, and it's just in time for the Holidays. Enjoy!

With the holidays coming, here's a fruit cake recipe that will help
take the stress out of this normally stressful time.

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 ounces lemon juice
1 cup of nuts

First, sample the vodka to check for freshness. Take a large bowl.
Check the vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality.


Turn on the electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy
Add water, eggs and 1 tsp. sugar and beat again.

Make surr the vodca is still OK. Cry another tup. Turn off mixers.
Chuck in the cup of dried fruitt or something.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets struck on the beaterers, pry it loose with a

Sample the vodka to check for tonsistancity. Next, sniff 2 cups of
salt. Or . . . Who cares? Check the vodka. Now sniff the lemon juice
and strain nuts.
Add one Table.

Of sugar. Whatever.
Grease the oven.
Turn the cake ttin 350 degrees.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Whip the bowl out the window.
Check the vidka again.

Ah, . . . forget it. Nobody likes fruitcake anyway."


Our firehouse -- B.F.D. Fire Station 1 -- collects gifts for children during these Holidays. The firehouse is at 2442 8th Street and you can drop off gifts there anytime. You might also drop off something for our firemen and firewomen.





Today is Saint Lucia Independence Day.





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.

" 'Off da' heezy': The fabulous Berkeley High Slang Dictionary is getting a revision and a publisher" writes Meredith May in her today's "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Iraqi women are fighting prejudice to regain the rights lost under Saddam-and to win themselves a say in rebuilding their country" writes Newsweek's Maria Cristina Caballero in "Raising Their Voices."




A thirty-one year old woman was sexually assaulted yesterday morning while running on the Bay Trail south of Gilman Street. Anyone with information should call the Berkeley P.D at 510-981-5900.

A story about the baroque conductor, our Nicholas McGehan, can be read in Georgia Rowe's West County Times story "Baroque Orchestra Honored."

 "I'm becoming more and more convinced, as time goes by and we look at the research, that global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people and the world" said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in a report on Whoaa, . . . what's this good ole boy smokin'? Baaaaad #%*&!




Today is Constitution Day in Thailand. 



A man who lived a long time ago believed that he could read the future in the stars. He called himself an astrologer, and spent his time at night gazing at the stars.

One evening he was walking along the open road outside the village. His eyes were fixed on the stars. He thought he saw there that the end of the world was at hand, when all at once, down he went into a hole full of mud and water.

There he stood up to his ears, in the muddy water, and madly clawing at the slippery sides of the hole in his effort to climb out.

His cries for help soon brought the villages running. As they pulled him out of the mud, one of them said: "You pretend to read the future in the stars, and yet you fail to see what is at your feet! This may teach you to pay more attention to what is right in front of you, and let the future take care of itself." "What use is it," said another, "to read the stars, when you can't see what's right here on earth?"

Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.






The Affordable Housing Associates Ashy Loft Project will make a presentation in a meeting at Kava Massih Architects, 2830 9th Street, Wednesday, December 17th between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM. The project is to be built on property near or adjacent to the proposed Berkeley Bowl sight. (I believe the property is 1001 Ashby, now and for decades, the Asphalt Products Oil Corporation--a facility manufacturing asphalt products, a former user of asbestos, the sight of at least one explosion and fire, and a product-transfer facility. "One way to get rid of the lower-class" quipped Potter Creek's most cynical smart-ass.) Kava has not returned my call for more specific information.

I have posted more hazardous material users to the Potter Creek Hazardous Material Users Map.





An old friend and record collector emailed from Arizona "Thank you for the Scrambled Eggs update. I read the entries and ask myself, what the hell am I doing in this dull, terminally boring burg . . . Thanks for helping me to maintain a drug-free level of sanity."

Rick Auerbach is circulating a petition expressing his concern about the increase of traffic in Potter Creek as a result of the Berkeley Bowl Project. Rick can be reached at

"Dirty Bomb Rockets Vanish: Arms Made in Caucasus Feared Sold to Terrorists" reports Joby Warrick of The Washington Post.





In its first year, Scrambled Eggs pages received just over 20,000 visits. I don't have the number of hits on these pages for last year but the site as a whole averages seven hits per visit.

The Potter Creek, Berkeley Bowl Project will be on the City of Berkeley Planning Commission agenda at this Wednesday's meeting. (Though listed as an informational item, a commissioner can move it to action.) The Planning Commission will meet Wednesday at 7:00 PM, December 10th in the North Berkeley Senior Center. Citizens are encourage to attend and speak. (I will post more details before the meeting.)

The talented Meredith May entertains and informs with her short-story-like report on the secret restaurant in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

Two years ago, my friend Takane Eshima gave me a copy of the book Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor. The author is ex-Oakland Tribune reporter/photographer, Robert B. Stinnett. The book's thesis is that it wasn't the Japanese who were sneaky about Pearl Harbor, it was us. Although his case that FDR knowingly let Pearl Harbor happen in order to get America into war is not fully made, it seems clear Roosevelt finessed us into World War II.

I have posted more hazardous material users to the Potter Creek Hazardous Material Users Map. There are now thirty on the map with many, many more existing users to be posted and my sources say more hazardous material users are coming to Potter Creek. Photos of some of our users' facilities will be posted in the New Year on both the Almost Daily Posts page and on the Potter Creek and Hazardous Material page. I will also report on meetings with OSHA.

Damn, lost another plant along the driveway edge. "Stress" offered the nurseryman.






Today is Finland Independence Day. 


Ah, . . . Barnes & Noble, Emeryville. Recently, I've had occasion to shop this store for some of their own titles: these can be difficult to find new elsewhere. For instance, they published a particularly beautiful photo-essay of Cadillac motorcars, Classic Cadillac by James A. Dietzler. This is an $18.50 list price book which they are remaindering for $6.98. The photo and print quality of this volume are the equal of books twice the price. I could not find a copy in the store and so asked a staff member. She was extremely helpful. She checked the computer, said they had many copies, carefully looked on the shelves, and when she was enable to find any copies, left and talked to the manager. She returned with the news that the manger said that indeed they had copies, but could not get them now as the shipment-boxes were not marked. Ah, . . . Barnes & Noble, Emeryville. Oh, . . . they "lost" a copy of a book I'd put on hold; another bargain, Fighter: A Pictorial History of International Fighter Aircraft by Bill Gunston. Then after all this, today I thought I'd comfort myself with an espresso from their Starbuck's--a dollar-seventy-five, luke-warm, and served in a paper cup. Ah, . . . Barnes & Noble, Emeryville.

(Both these books can be purchased used thru Border's web site.)


"An original manuscript of a movement from one of Ludwig van Beethoven's last compositions sold Friday for more than $2 million" writes Robert Barr in "Opus 127 Sells for Opulent Price" in today's West County Times. My favorite CD performance of this Opus 127 String Quartet is by the Kodály Quartet on Naxos 8550563. Its list price is $6.98.


Not Beethoven, but also "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.





Today is Thailand , National Day.

Understanding Saul Alinsky's techniques as just tools for organizing labor or the community is an example of really boring thinking!

Are the best burgers in northern California at Mike's in Cotati? Well, . . . check them out!

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.




More hazardous material users are now posted to the Potter Creek Hazardous Material Users Map.

There are now twenty-seven posted with many, many more to come.

"Pentagon criticized for shortage of protective vests" write Vernon Loeb and Theola Labbé of the Washington Post in "Body Armor Saves U. S. Lives in Iraq."

Also read Scott Marshall of the West County Times, "Lawmakers: Troops are Ill-Equipped" and see my 10/30/03 post.


Cameron misplaced The Bark's Callie last night. Happily, some people feeding the cats in park found and returned her.




My thirty-one years experience in Potter Creek says buckle down your stuff, it's the Holidays.

A BMW sedan was broken into overnight while parked at the southwest corner of 9th and Dwight Way. (John Philips believes that this car has been there for some time.)

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."




Today is Laos Proclamation of the Republic Day and United Arab Emirates National Day.

Scharffen Berger's retail store is doing very well and Scharffen Berger expects to have their cafe open early next year. Sadly, someone attempted to break into an employee's auto Friday morning. Happily, they were unsuccessful.

Thanksgiving evening there was a police action in Potter Creek that closed several streets.

And being somewhat of an airplane nut I recommend MSNBC's "Ten Planes that Changed History" by Jon Bonné.

Right now, the new street grade at the intersection of 7th and Ashby creats a large puddle at the northeast corner of the intersection. Oops?!

Last night there was a police action in Potter Creek around 9th and Pardee.




"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."

Concord police said last Wednesday that they believe they have the person who stole the Wells Fargo consultant's computers. (See my 11/21/03 and 11/22/03 posts.) They also believe that all the computers' confidential information is intact.




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