after 1/9, here after 1/15,here

2009 marks my thirty-seventh year in Potter Creek




"Novel of Green Utopia Moves Closer to Reality" reports the Taiwan United Daily News.

"Sometimes a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely influential at the same time. That's the case with 'Ecotopia,' a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest Callenbach".


"Berkeley farm sells organic produce in low-income neighborhood" is a report by Kristin Bender of the Oakland Tribune.

"Spiral Gardens is a windfall for many low-income, older and minority residents in South Berkeley, volunteers and staff members say.

A nursery, community farm and community harvest project at Sacramento and Oregon streets, the garden center sets up an organic produce stand on Tuesday afternoons, selling everything from apples and oranges to eggs, summer squash, walnuts and giant bulbs of garlic - at cost.

'We are trying to encourage people to eat healthy because in this neighborhood a health assessment study has shown that folks are dying up to 10 years earlier than (in other neighborhoods),' said Daniel Miller, executive director of the nonprofit garden center, which has been around for 15 years. 'Strokes, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are also prevalent.'

The city's 2007 health status report found African-Americans have twice the death rate as white people in Berkeley." 

Kubik emails of gardening

"Gardening is not a hobby, and only non-gardeners would describe it as such. There is nothing wrong with having hobbies, but most hobbies are intellectually limited and make no reference to the larger world. By contrast, being wholeheartedly involved with gardens is involvement with life itself in the deepest sense. Indeed, for could it ever be said about, say bridge, that the way you play a hand has implications for the environment, American cuisine, biological diversity, drug policy, and national identity, not to mention the nature of time and the meaning of place? A garden, whether we know it or not connects us to the world in many strange and wonderful ways."

Kubik also emails a link to our Berkeley Bowl cam




"Firewood sales drop dramatically as Spare the Air law takes hold" is a story by Ken McLaughlin, Mercury News.

"A new law that bans burning wood in fireplaces, stoves and outdoor pits during Spare the Air alerts is dramatically chopping into firewood sales.

As critics continue to attack the law as unjust and even un-American, local businesses that sell firewood say sales have plummeted about 75 percent since the law took effect in November. And businesses that sell wood stoves say the law has accelerated a consumer trend toward burning natural gas rather than wood."


"Passive houses guard against waste of heat energy" is a report by Elisabeth Rosenthal in the International Herald Tribune.

"Nabih Tahan, an architect who worked in Austria for 11 years, is completing one of the first passive house for his family in Berkeley, California, and heads a group of 70 Bay Area architects and engineers to encourage adoption of the standard.

'This is a recipe for energy that makes sense to people - why not reuse this heat you get for free?' he said.
But ironically, when California inspectors came to assess whether the house met green building codes (it did) he could not get credit for the heat exchanger, a device unknown in the United States."


"Oakland's Fox Theater returning to life" is a story by John King, Chronicle Urban Design Writer.

"It's difficult to say what is more remarkable about the hallucinogenic interior of the Fox Oakland Theater: the Moorish details that flood the ceilings and walls, or the fact it survived decades of neglect.

'It's a wonderful glimpse of the past,' said Kurt Schindler, a principal of the Berkeley architecture firm ELS. 'These picture palaces were about glitz. They were designed to take you into another era, offering fantasy and escape.'"


"India, US cos join hands to electrify Bijlee research" is a report in the India Times.

"Fancy owning cars painted with particles that will cool your vehicle drawing solar power and still not leave a trace of carbon in theair?

Or buildings that remain cool while consuming far less energy than they do now?

These and several other sustainable energy solutions for a wide variety of everyday needs could become a reality with India and the US deciding to bring together scientists in both the countries with support from corporate groups.

The ministry of science and technology is all set to launch 'BIJLEE' or the Berkeley-India Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment, under which the US government will spare its top scientists and engineers to develop sustainable energy solutions for India, said an Indian government official, who declined to be identified." 



"Learning the family business in Berkeley" writes Jeff Faraudo in the Mercury News.
"John Montgomery was 3 years old - not even big enough yet to become a ballboy - when his father, Mike, was hired as men's basketball coach at Stanford.

By 1998, when the Cardinal beat Rhode Island to earn a spot in the Final Four, John was 14 and fully invested in his dad's program.
'Me and my sister and my mom all cried,' John recalled of the moments after that NCAA regional final. 'I was at the perfect age. I wasn't in high school yet, where you're a little too cool.'

Certainly Mike Montgomery was above all that.

'I was cool until I saw them,' the coach said. 'Then I lost it.'

This was the hoops Camelot that John Montgomery knew growing up. While the Cardinal marched to 10 consecutive NCAA tournaments, John was able to poke his head into the huddle, listen in on halftime talks in the locker room and pick the brains of his father and his players.

Now 25 and the director of basketball operations for his father's staff at Cal, John Montgomery has wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps for as long as he can remember."


"Cal beats Miami in Emerald Bowl" is a story by Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"Two of Cal's seniors saved their best for their last collegiate quarters, and in so doing, saved a 24-17 Emerald Bowl victory over Miami on Saturday night at AT&T Park.

Three plays after Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 34-yard field goal that would have given the Bears a 20-17 lead in the game's final five minutes, senior outside linebacker Zack Follett got the ball back.

He sprinted off the edge, chased down quarterback Jacory Harris from behind and jarred the ball loose at the 9-yard line. Defensive end Cameron Jordan scooped it up and rumbled seven yards. Then, senior quarterback Nate Longshore tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller for the go-ahead score with 2:41 remaining."

"Pinched colleges squeezing their alumni" writes Gale Holland at latimes.com.

"As the economic downturn shrinks endowments, big institutions may be affected more than smaller schools that rely more on fees. Officials try to strike a balance in the messages sent to graduates.

The first e-mail to alumni was encouraging: Syracuse University would be cutting costs but remained 'solidly positioned' to weather the financial downturn, college president Nancy Cantor said in mid-November. In fact, a $1-billion college campaign was on track, with $600 million raised and $200 million earmarked for scholarships, she said.

Three weeks later, the mood had darkened: 400 students would have to drop out of school unless alumni contributed $2 million in emergency aid, Syracuse fundraising co-chairman Howard Phansteil warned.
'Without additional scholarship support -- they won't be back at SU in January,' Phansteil said in the e-mail. 'So please give now.' The last two words linked to a page listing payment options.

A Syracuse spokesman said the campaign money was intended for long-term obligations, including future financial aid, while the scholarship appeal was for emergency shortfalls. Still, the mixed messages reflect the difficulty many colleges are having in responding to an economic dive that remains very much a moving target.

Walking a narrow ledge between reassurance and realism, college presidents and chancellors have struggled to assess the effect of a slow-motion slump that has no clear beginning or end."



"Americans Resolve to Save Money in 2009" is a press release by our "Canned Food Store" at newsprnewswire.

"Extreme-Value Grocery Outlet Helps Families Slash Grocery Spending in Half.

On January 1, millions of Americans will make the same resolution: to save money. In 2009, trimming budgets will take priority over trimming waists, and Grocery Outlet, the largest "extreme-value" grocer in the U.S., is supporting the cause. The typical American family spends 15-20% of their household budget on food -- making grocery shopping the biggest opportunity for people to save money."


"Being homeless in high school is tough" writes Doug Oakley of our Times.

"But a new bicycle will help lessen the sting for 90 Alameda County youngsters this holiday season, said education officials who handed them out at 16 homeless shelters Monday.

The Alameda County Office of Education spent $4,000 on new bikes and delivered 11 of them to kids at the Ursula Sherman Village, a homeless shelter for individuals and families, on Harrison Street in Berkeley."


(Note--In Africa, children of the poor are commodities, often traded like cows or donkeys by adults who value their labor. This story on child maids is the third in an occasional series on the exploitation of African children. Each story stands on its own.)

"Late at night, the neighbors saw a little girl at the kitchen sink of the house next door" is the beginning of a story in the International Herald Tribune.

"They watched through their window as the child rinsed plates under the open faucet. She wasn't much taller than the counter and the soapy water swallowed her slender arms. To put the dishes away, she climbed on a chair.

But she was not the daughter of the couple next door doing chores. She was their maid.

Shyima was 10 when a wealthy Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors and dust the family's crystal. She earned $45 a month working up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no days off."


"Publicity-shy philanthropist 'a great lady'" is a story by Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"Alba Witkin may be 89, but she takes youthful delight, and deep joy, in quietly giving away the small fortune that continues to flow from the life work of her late husband, renowned legal author Bernard Witkin.

She avoids publicity, but those who know her and the many Bay Area programs and institutions benefiting from her support say she deserves a huge measure of appreciation.

'She's a great lady!' exclaimed Mary Ellen Himell, executive director of development and community relations at UC Berkeley, whose child-care programs rank among Witkin's priorities.

'She's to me a real role model - her compassion, her good common sense, her empathy for those who have less than she,' Himell said. 'She really wants to change society for the better.'

'She's just amazing,' said Joan Graff, director of the Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center in San Francisco, one of the beneficiaries. 'She doesn't seek publicity or recognition. She operates steadfastly and generously, and quite under the radar for most people.'
Children's programs, agencies for the disadvantaged, social justice efforts and legal education were major categories for the 105 grants and contributions made by the Berkeley-based Bernard E. and Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation in 2006, when giving reached its highest yearly total of $733,400, according to foundation secretary Kenneth Kuchman, who is Witkin's son."


"A drought of student loans is good for education" writes Jeremy Bearer-Friend at sfgate.com.

"In the last 25 years, few prices have gone up as much as housing and college tuition. We know what happened to housing. So when will we hear the pop of the college-tuition bubble?

There are many competing explanations for why tuition has more than quadrupled since 1982, but one simple economic principle underlies them all: Universities can only charge as much as students and their families will pay.

Sure, the University of California may have doubled its fees a few times over, but students kept paying, right?

Much like housing, where ever-rising prices were sustained by an overabundant and predatory mortgage market, universities have been able to ramp up prices year after year because they could count on student debt. As long as administrators knew that students had access to credit and private loans, universities didn't have to think twice about raising tuition and fees. And while private industry focuses on improving efficiency in order to grow, many universities finance their growth by escalating student debt.

Now, thanks to the recent drop-off of student credit, these same university administrators will have to face the consequences of their own business model." 


"The Global Credit Crisis as History" is an opinion at wsj.com.

"Barry Eichengreen, an economic historian at the University of California at Berkeley whose scholarly work showed how the international affection for the gold standard deepened the Great Depression, wondered: Why, given this is a global crisis and recession, have policy makers in other countries failed to move as aggressively as the U.S. to fight it?"


"Mechanics Bank not burdened with subprime loans" reports Tom Abate, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"Steven Buster presides over Mechanics Bank, a 103-year-old institution that has been  relatively unscathed    by the collapse of the credit bubble that has plunged the financial industry and the nation into its worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Even so, the recession has hit different parts of its service area with varying degrees of severity, with Sacramento suffering the worst.    'The further you get from the ocean the worse things get, Buster said.

A veteran of more than 30 years in banking, Buster believes the U.S. and Bay Area economies will rebound - but    not until government and business leaders calm the fears that have caused consumers to cut spending and    businesses to delay investments.

'All of this has to do with confidence,' said Buster, who has been bank president since 2004. 'Everybody is waiting on the sidelines.' "



"US singer Eartha Kitt dies at 81" is a BBC NEWS report.

"American singer, dancer and actress Eartha Kitt has died at the age 81, her friend and publicist has said.
Kitt died of colon cancer on Thursday, Andrew Freedman said.

She was one of the few artists to be nominated in the Tony, Grammy and Emmy award categories and was a stalwart of the Manhattan cabaret scene."












Anthony Sulnier's father-in-law is a Marine colonel stationed in Hawaii. While working out at the base facility this week he heard "Good morning sir" from the man on the next machine. Turning, he found Barack Obama and replied "Good morning to you, sir." Anthony is one of the owners of 900 GRAYSON.



Potter Creek's Maurice Levitch made the Chron with "Featured Property: 2 green condos in Berkeley" by Tracey Taylor.
"Every house has a story to tell, but when the home is newly built you don't expect it to be a very long one. Architect and builder Maurice Levitch is determined, however, that whoever buys one, or both, of his recently completed condos on Seventh Street in West Berkeley will know as much as there is to know about the history of the land and whatever it is that came before them.

'I like to acknowledge the past in a new home,' he says. 'It gives the structure a story and places it in the context of its location.' This focus on heritage also sits well with Levitch's desire to build homes that salvage and reuse materials as much as possible and have a minimal impact on the environment.

A visit to the two four-bedroom, three-bath townhouses at 1411 and 1413 Seventh St. therefore includes the opportunity to see a small display of the artifacts unearthed during their construction, as well as information on the 240-square-foot home that was built on the site in 1895. It is believed to have belonged to Jennie Morris, dressmaker, which may well explain the rust-encrusted hand iron that can be examined in the mini-exhibition.



"Berkeley Schools Top Bad Air Quality List" reports Kristin McFarland in our Planet.

"Last week's USA Today report that placed three Berkeley schools in the first percentile of schools with bad air quality has activists, community members and school directors in an uproar.

The report studied industrial pollution outside 127,800 nationwide schools for eight months. Thirty-nine Berkeley schools made the list, all within the worst 55 percent. The Black Pine Circle School, the Via Center and the Nia House Learning Center, all located in West Berkeley, were in the first percentile, meaning that the air outside
the schools is worse at only 377 other schools around the country. Berkeley High fell in the eighth percentile, with worse air at only 9,722 schools.

Since the article's publication, the issue has received wide media coverage with all involved parties pointing fingers at probable causes. For many, it's one more example of the health hazards caused by Pacific Steel Casting Company; for some, it's a sign that the Berkeley government should take a more active role in improving its own environment. . . .

. . . the USA Today study was more comprehensive than any study to date because it included levels of manganese and other metals. The study, he said, was not conducted by 'people running around with test kits,' as Pacific Steel representatives have suggested to other publications, but with science approved by the air-
monitoring district.

However, Larson also said that the study's results are limited because it monitored the air quality for only eight months of the year; with a longer study, more schools might have made the list because of changes in the prevailing winds. . . .

California Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has called for government action in monitoring the air quality at schools."


Potter Creek's French School was not mentioned in any west-Berkeley school air quality reports that I have read.


Here is the full report. Check it out!

"Toxic air and Americas schools" is a Special Report on USA Today.

Our French School was apparently monitored at the 9th and Heinz campus.

Here are the results.

E Bay French/Amer/Ecole Biling.

National Rank 25th percentile

(So, 75 % of the schools monitored had better air?)

31,506 of 127,800 schools have worse air.

Exposure to cancer-causing toxics
Ranked 5 of 10

Exposure to other toxic chemicals
Ranked 3 of 10


More and a School Finder here.





"UP kids call California for an English lesson. Malihabad Project promoted by UC Berkeley gives children in UP village phones uploaded with English software" is a report at expressindia.com.

"Every afternoon, a group of children in Kannar village, about 30 km from Lucknow, gather in a school to learn English -- through cellphones. In a village where even teachers cannot speak the language fluently, each of these 25 children can be heard repeating English words -- with an American accent -- after hearing the voice coming from MotoRazr V3m mobile handsets, which they get to operate for an hour or two every day, with facilitators monitoring their progress.

The handsets are loaded with e-learning games -- designed by students of the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DAIICT), Gandhinagar -- with many levels. A student can reach the next level only after learning the educational content taught in the previous level.

A brainchild of Matthew Kam, a PhD candidate from the Berkeley Institute of Design at the University of California, the novel project is called MILLEE (Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies). Far from the limelight, MILLEE, which aims to complement formal schooling in rural areas by English language training through mobile games, has been on for about a year, run by a group of students from Lucknow college."






"Jeff Tedford is staying as head football coach at California through the 2015 season after signing a two-year contract extension, as announced by athletics director Sandy Barbour on Thursday" is a report at sportsnetwork.com.

"In seven years at Cal, Tedford's Bears have posted a 59-30 record with the last six seasons ending in bowl appearances.

Cal's 24-17 victory over Miami in the Emerald Bowl last Saturday completed a 9-4 campaign and moved Tedford's postseason record to 5-1.
'Jeff Tedford's leadership of our football program'has placed us among the nation's finest in combining on-field success with academic and community excellence," Barbour said. 'He truly represents 'Athletics Done Right.' The Cal football program has become an integral part of the comprehensive excellence of the Berkeley campus. I'm pleased that we've agreed to this mutual long-term commitment.' "

Da Boz, Tom Bates' photo is on the sports front-page of last week's Chron. Check out 1959 ROSE BOWL



On 12/22 I posted

"WBC #11 ranked super bantamweight Ana 'The Hurricane' Julaton is currently in training, but not for a professional boxing match" reports 15rounds.com.

"Julaton (4-1-1, 1 KO) of Daly City, California is currently preparing for her final exam to earn a Bok-Fu Black Belt. Bok-Fu is a style of Kenpo Karate which combines aspects of Chinese Kung Fu and Japanese Fu.

Julaton, who has an extensive Taekwondo background, gravitated to the Bok-Fu style because of its focus on aggressive self defense. 'The whole idea is that you never want to start a fight, but if a fight finds you, you want to put your whole self forward,' says Julaton. While working late shifts and going to school, Julaton began learning Bok-Fu at the WestWind School in Berkeley, California. On December 31st Julaton will aim to become a member of the select fraternity to earn Bok-Fu Black Belts. 'In the over forty-year history of Bok-Fu, there have been less than one hundred Black Belts,' says Julaton. According to calculations, a student testing for the Bok-Fu Black Belt must perform no less than 14,000 carefully orchestrated steps in a two-hour time period." 

our Barbara S emails

HI Ron ­ I was surprised to see a paragraph about Ana "Hurricane" Julaton, the boxer and martial artist.  Our son is the Head Instructor at the Berkeley West Wind Karate Dojo and he has taught with Ms. Julaton for many years.  She is an amazing martial arts teacher and an accomplished professional boxer, besides being drop-dead gorgeous.



"Messrs. Sherwood and Guzyk are at the forefront of a small but growing automotive insurgency" is a story, in part about west-Berkeley at onlinewsj.

"While Toyota promises to deliver a factory-built, plug-in electric car by late 2009, and General Motors Corp. says it will bring its Chevy Volt plug-in car to market in 2010, impatient mechanics already are making them with off-the-shelf parts.

'I don't know if Toyota meant to do it, but they gave us a car that's easy to hack into and easy to improve,' says Mr. Sherwood, an electrical engineer and co-owner with Mr. Guzyk of 3Prong Power Inc., which has set up shop in a defunct Cadillac dealership building in Berkeley, Calif. It charges about $7,000 for the conversions, one of several such shops in California doing such work."



"Three Decembers, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, California" is a review at ft.com by Allan Ulrich.

"Instead of assigning stars to this two-hour wallow in New Age bathos, one should really award the project sugar bowls and give it the maximum. Hovering in that peculiarly American no man's land between chamber opera and

Broadway tunefest, Jake Heggie's saga of a dysfunctional family, glimpsed at 10-year intervals, lacks the inflammatory urgency of his wildly popular Dead Man Walking, and in this West Coast premiere, emerges a bland confection enlivened by passing lyrical pleasantries."




"California Lab's Effort May Be Example for U.S. Obama's Energy Pick Seeks Clean Energy" by Kenneth Chang and Andrew C. Revkin of the International Herald Tribune.

"The Joint BioEnergy Institute, which encompasses the fourth floor of a high-technology office building here in a neighborhood of biotechnology companies, radiates a sleek ecological modernity: floorboards manufactured of recycled materials and laminated to look like bamboo, trendy office furniture and laboratories stocked with new equipment.

It even has a hip nickname: Jay-Bay. That is how everyone pronounces JBEI. The institute has the look and feel -- and organizational chart -- of a start-up venture, not a federal research laboratory.

But JBEI is financed by the Energy Department -- $135 million over five years. And JBEI is under the purview of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in nearby Berkeley, whose director, Steven Chu, has been selected by Barack Obama as the next energy secretary." 






"Economy takes a toll on mental health" reports Edward Guthmann, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"In a typical week, Berkeley psychotherapist Don McKillop sees a variety of clients with a range of emotional issues. But these days, all of his patients have one thing in common: financial stress.

'In the last week,' McKillop said, 'every one of my clients mentioned anxiety over the economy.' "



"The next bubble to burst?" is a story by Jeff Milchen at sfgate.com.
"When economic growth stalls, some businesses fail to survive, so our recession inevitably is accompanied by such failures. When it comes to retail, however, the trickle of store closings last year may soon become a torrent now that the temporary stimulus of the holidays is past. As with the collapse of housing prices, the economic downturn is not the root problem, but simply exposed a long-building bubble.

During the past two decades, retail square footage has increased at triple the rate of population growth and consumer spending combined. As Stacy Mitchell documents in her book, "Big Box Swindle," retail capacity more than doubled between 1990 and 2005, driven overwhelmingly by chain store proliferation.

Yet, even as Internet sales increased, the retail building frenzy has continued - about 140 million square feet of new development will be completed this year. As a result, we're awash in shopping space, with nearly double the area per capita of any other large nation (and almost 10 times that of many European nations)." 




"Rare 1937 Bugatti supercar found in English garage" is a report by Gregory Katz of the AP.

"It was the equivalent of finding an old Picasso or an unknown Beatles tape hidden away in your uncle's attic.

Relatives of Dr. Harold Carr found an extremely rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante - a Holy Grail for car collectors - as they were going through his belongings after his death."











"City of Berkeley working to improve problem properties" reports by Doug Oakley of our Times.

Wilbur Brown says his seven vintage cars are financial assets, just like stocks or bonds. The city of Berkeley calls them liabilities.

Brown's home is one of 12 "problem properties" the city is trying to clean up and one of 86 open cases citywide.

Berkeley stepped up enforcement of blighted homes in the south and west neighborhoods after a double murder and subsequent near-fatal shooting on Derby Street in September.

The idea, known as the broken-window theory, is that looking bad sends a message that residents don't care if criminals do their dirty deeds nearby.

In addition to adding police to the neighborhood, hauling away trash on the streets and fixing street lights, cleaning up problem properties was highlighted as a way to fight crime."


"Confronting Islamophobia" is a report at socialistworker.org.

"Over 70 students at the University of California at Berkeley participated in a teach-in on Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism in early December following hate crimes committed by members of the Zionist Freedom Alliance (ZFA) against Palestinian students.

During a ZFA music concert, three Palestinian students responded to some of the hateful lyrics by hanging a Palestinian flag from a building in protest. At this point, three members of ZFA attacked the
students, making racist anti-Palestinian remarks. The next evening, unknown attackers assaulted another Palestinian student.

While this hate crime is repugnant in and of itself, the school administration's lack of action following the attack spoke volumes about anti-Arab racism on campus. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau has so far remained completely silent."


"Left adjusts to a new patriotism under Obama" is a story by Sasha Issenberg, the Boston Globe at International Hearld Tribune.

"The hundreds who massed at the University of California campus here on election night responded to Barack Obama's victory by heading off on a route that has been for a generation the sacred way for the activist left: out the campus gates, through Sproul Plaza, and down Telegraph Avenue toward People's Park.

By the time they arrived at the intersection of Telegraph and Durant avenues, where a tie-dye vendor occupies one corner, it became clear they did not come to challenge the system now preparing to consecrate
a new regime in Washington. At one point, a man scaled a lamppost and unfurled the Stars and Stripes. The crowd broke out in the national anthem.

'People finally felt like our generation had reclaimed patriotism,' said Haley Fagan, 24, a Berkeley paralegal who got stuck in a car trying to cross the street as the crowd surged. 'It was a moment that we felt comfortable with it.' "


"Balboa High football coach leaves to take over at St. Mary's-Berkeley" reports Will McCulloch, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"St. Mary's-Berkeley High has a new football coach for the second time in the past year. Former Balboa coach Keith Minor has accepted the coaching duties and a physical-education teaching position at the school, replacing Dan Ferrigno, who has departed to be an assistant coach at San Diego State."


"Quirky Bay Area movie houses offer pizza, samosas and charm" report Jackie Burrell, Jim Harrington and Pat Craig, Contra Costa Times.

There's more to the moviegoing experience than merely hitting the cineplex. Whether you favor the grand theater experience of the Paramount or the Grand Lake, with their sweeping staircases and matinees that feature the Wurlitzer organ and movie singalongs; or the Bollywood charm - and samosas - of Fremont's Naz; or the cushy
couches and piping-hot pizzas of the Parkway, there's a quirky movie-house treasure to suit every taste. Here's a rundown:

The Parkway and Cerrito Speakeasy theaters

Why they're cool: Pay no mind to the frayed carpet or slightly down-
at-the-heels ambience. These great Oakland and El Cerrito hangouts
boast cheap seats, great eats and

movies we meant to get to - 'Quantum of Solace' and 'Secret Life of
Bees' - but somehow missed during their too-short runs at the
cineplex. Get there early to score cozy, love-seat-size couches with
coffee tables sized just right to hold those mammoth Na' Cho'
Ordinary Nachos platters or a hand-spun pizza and pitcher of beer.
And as you order these wonders at the nondescript concession stand,
ignore the rapidly cooling pizza by the slice - you want the whole
pie, piping hot and delivered to your seat, along with a big bowl of
buttery popcorn."

Pete and Geralyn saw the Bond flick at the Cerrito and had a great time.





"WSJ(1/5) Experts' Rx On How To Get Out Of Economic Mess' is a report at alibaba.com.

"Nothing focuses the mind like a crisis, and the global financial crisis and the recession that it produced have focused the minds of economists like no other event in their careers.

At the American Economic Association's meeting in San Francisco over the weekend, an annual event that draws economists from around the world, there were dozens of panels devoted to examining aspects of
the global downturn -- to say nothing of the hundreds of informal discussions that popped up along hotel hallways and over cocktails and coffee.

The overarching question: How are we going to get out of this mess?

Here are 11 prescriptions:

Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley: There needs
to be a two-pronged approach. First, an additional $300 billion for
banks and a mechanism for removing toxic waste from their balance
sheets. Second, a minimum of $800 billion for fiscal stimulus. 'I
would like to see mainly payroll-tax cuts and block grants for
states,' he says. 'Infrastructure means bridges to nowhere.' "













chefs, Eric and James

a Bob Kubik photo




Here is a link to Lot 6224 at liveauctioneers.com.

Watercolor, L.P. Latimer, Berkeley
Framed watercolor, ''House-Studio on Channing Way, Berkeley,
California,'' 1937, by Lorenzo P. Latimer (Californian, 1857-1941),
signed lower left, inscribed and dated verso, sight: 10.5''h x
13.5''w, overall: 12''h x 15''w


"Stacey's Bookstore closing down in S.F." is a report at sfgate.com.

"Stacey's Bookstore, the iconic San Francisco shop that called Market Street home for all of its 85 years and had carved out a niche for technical publications, announced Tuesday evening that it would close
in March.

Like other independent book sellers, Stacey's had been hurt over the past decade by the rise of national chains, like Barnes & Noble, and Web-based booksellers, such as Amazon.com. The store's general manager, Tom Allen, said sales had dropped 50 percent since March 2001."





sfgate.com reports "German billionaire Adolf Merckle threw himself in front of a train after his business empire, which included interests ranging from VW cars to pharmaceuticals to cement, ran into trouble in the global financial crisis, his family said Tuesday"



"Economists Warm to Government Spending but Debate Its Form" writes Paul Sakuma, Associated Press.

"Frightened by the recession and the credit crisis that produced it, the nation's mainstream economists are embracing public spending to repair the damage - even those who have long resisted a significant government role in a market system.

Infrastructure projects should be part of any stimulus, many experts agreed.

Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said economic thought was undergoing a major shift.

But there is not much agreement yet on what type of spending would produce the best results, or what mix of spending and tax cuts.

'We have spent so many years thinking that discretionary fiscal policy was a bad idea, that we have not figured out the right things to do to cure a recession that is scaring all of us,' said Alan J. Auerbach, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, referring to the mix of public spending and tax cuts known as fiscal policy.

Hundreds of economists who gathered here for the annual meeting of the American Economic Association seemed to acknowledge that a profound shift had occurred.

At their last annual meeting, ideas about using public spending as a way to get out of a recession or about government taking a role to enhance a market system were relegated to progressives. The mainstream was skeptical or downright hostile to such suggestions. This time, virtually everyone voiced their support, returning to a
way of thinking that had gone out of fashion in the 1970s."




Postcard from Christmas Past

A Soviet New Year card from the 1960s celebrating advances in space

From Russia's St Peterburg Times. "There is no Christmas on Dec. 25 in Russia, and foreigners celebrating on that day have long felt the absence of the typical trimmings and trappings. However, as a motley medley of foreigners have found over the centuries, all you really need is Christmas cheer.

Besides which, there is only a week to wait before the biggest Russian holiday of them all ? New Year?s."



"Flash in Heavens Has No Earthly Explanation" is a story by Clara Moskowitz at blog.wired.com.

"Astronomy, SpaceFile this one under: Things that go flash in the night.

While conducting a routine search for distant supernovae, astronomers observed a bright burst of light that they can?t account for. On Feb. 21, 2006, the Hubble Space Telescope first imaged the source of light, which continued to brighten over the next 100 days, peaked, and then finally faded to oblivion over another 100 days."













"Learning More About Levitation" is a story by Jeffrey Kluger at time.com.

"Physics always seems to want to come out to play. Just when this most technical of sciences starts to seem impossibly arcane, it goes goofy on you, as it did last year with the announcement that physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, had developed a tiny working model of an invisibility cloak. This week, the physics magic shop announced yet another wonder: levitation.



this week, EBMUD repaired a leak

on 10th, across from the secret movie studio, down from Pardee

a Bob Kubik photo

Kubik reports that last week, AT&T repaired an underground-short on 10th and Pardee "caused by" a water leak.


I reported last month that Bayer was rebuilding their "tin warehouse" at the north east corner of their compound. In fact, the building was razed for parking--check out the corner of 7th and Dwight.




"Berkeley Needs to Protect its Air and its Children" opines Maggie Riftik at berkeleyplanet.com.

"In 'Berkeley Schools Top Bad Air Quality List' . . . , Kristin McFarland writes that the air quality in Berkeley schools is among the worst in the nation, as reported recently by USA Today. As a Berkeley parent, I am deeply upset about this, especially given Berkeley's reputation as one of the greenest cities in our country. I am particularly shocked at how long our local government has let Pacific Steel Casting (PSC) pollute our air. I would like to comment about a few items from Ms. McFarland's article."

My 37 years experience in west-Berkeley leads me to conclude that Pacific Steel is just the tip of the iceberg--all be it, large.



Patrick Kennedy, my favorite Irish builder, forwards this opinion. It is also published in our Planet.

"Berkeley Is About to Blow it Again" by Russ Mitchell.

Take a walk through Berkeley's West Side manufacturing and light industrial district, north of the fancy Fourth Street retail strip where the swells go to shop. You'll see a few industrial plants puffing their last breaths, and plenty of weedy lots surrounded by chain link fences with plastic bags blowing around inside. 

Berkeley's Planning Commission is now debating how the city should control development in these zones. The city's efforts thus far have led to a sorry lack of development and a dimunition of the revenue that comes with thriving business and job growth. Property taxpayers are expected to fill the gap. 

Even as the world economy crumbles, fortune is smiling on Berkeley, offering a chance to develop the city into a world class center of alternative energy research, development and production. The University of California-Berkeley already does top-notch work in this area, as does the federal government's Lawrence Berkeley Labs. The labs' director, Steven Chu, is about to be named Energy Secretary in the Obama administration, and if it plays its cards right, the City of Berkeley could reap an economic bonanza, seeing the creation of new private-sectors jobs and filling the dwindling coffers of the city, the school district, and other governmental entities. 

All signs indicate that Berkeley is about to blow it. The Planning Commission's recent deliberations over the so-called 'West Berkeley Project' is the latest manifestation of the reality distortion field that subverts high-technology economic development in Berkeley and sends companies to fleeing to Emeryville and elsewhere. 
In most cities, setting policies to move high-tech research from a nearby university into the local economy would be a no-brainer. Our planning commmission is frittering its time debating whether child care centers should be allowed in industrial zones near the freeway (zones that are the same distance from the Interstate 80 as Rosa ParksElementary School) and whether mini-storage businesses should be kicked out. 

Activists who are now pushing to preserve these zones for artisan crafts and "green collar" jobs like those provided at Urban Ore are stuck longing for a utopia that will never exist. Urban Ore is a cool place and if the city wants to preserve it, fine; that by itself won't stall economic development. But those who think that a belt of junk shops and jewelry makers will in any meaningful way improve Berkeley's economy and employment rolls are smoking 40-year-old weed. 

Other Berkeley residents, those who complain about the city's activist fringe and its control of local politics, share the blame for the city's failure to grasp economic opportunity: if you want the city to become world class center of high tech green technology development, and lower your property taxes, too, you'd better get involved, now. 

There is always talk of economic justice when industrial zoning issues are debated here. The best cure for poverty is jobs. Social justice activists should be cheering on modern economic development in West Berkeley, while pressuring government, industry and the university to provide money, time and talent to Berkeley's struggling schools. Then kids might grow up with the chance to become a high-paid scientist at one of West Berkeley's alternative energy laboratories, instead of being stuck taking over Dad's job sweeping sawdust at Urban Ore. 
Berkeley resident Russ Mitchell is a longtime journalist covering business, economics, technology and science."

What ever, . . . but ya gotta love the "40-year-old weed" allusion.



"Biotech classes target minorites" is a report by David Morrill, CCT Staff writer.

" Juan Munoz has seen his share of resumes cross his desk.

After 25 years in the biotechnology and microbiology industry, many of them seem alike. 'When applicants are out of college, they have a lot of theory on their resume but not the actual hands-on experience,' Munoz said.

Now the founder of Microbiology and Quality Associates in Berkeley hopes to change that. At the end of this month, he will launch a program that will train between five and 10 minority students with a science background.

But this won't be your typical classroom setting.

The students will be able to get their hands on some equipment that cost more than a car, and techniques that will match expertise needed if they work in a microbiology testing lab.

Each course is 6 weeks, and costs about $3,800. They will be held evenings starting Jan. 26."



"No Native American artifacts or human remains found on UC Berkeley's new sports training center" is a story by Kristin Bender at insiderbayarea.com.

"UC Berkeley has finished a geoarchaeological survey of the ground beneath the former oak grove and has found no evidence of prehistoric American Indian artifacts or human remains where a $125 million sports training center will be built, university officials said Thursday.

Workers from Orinda-based William Self Associates, which was hired by the university, spent three weeks digging 31 holes - ranging from 15 to 50 feet deep - at the 1.5-acre site to check for American Indian remains and artifacts, university officials said.

During the 21-month tree-sit, many protesters argued that artifacts and remains are buried on the site adjacent to the western wall of California Memorial Stadium." 


"University of California to Accept Fewer Students" is a report at usnews.com.

"Admission officers at the University of California have not finished reviewing applications for 2009. But the record number of applications that have arrived almost certainly means that more applicants than ever will be turned away."




"Commerzbank is part nationalised" reports BBC NEWS.

"Germany's second biggest bank will now be part state-owned. Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank, has said it is to be partly nationalised, with the government taking a 25% stake, plus one share.

The bank is to receive 10bn euros (£9bn; $13.7bn) in a second injection pf capital from the German banking sector stabilisation fund, Soffin." 


Buttercup alumni, Suze Orman's new book, 2009 Action Plan, can be downloaded for free at http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20081119_tows_bookdownload



Rick Ballard of our Groove Yard emails

Win tickets!!!
  Commemorating 70 years of great jazz, Blue Note Records' all-star septet performs at Cal Performances Thursday, January 15 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall.  Under the musical leadership of pianist Bill Charlap, and including trumpeter Nicholas Payton, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, saxophonist/flutist Steve Wilson, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash, they will be stopping in 51 cities throughout the United States.  In conjunction with the birthday tour, the label has released Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records, a collection of its classic repertoire arranged and performed by members of Blue Note 7 band.  The Berkeley concert will include works from the CD plus other material; program to be announced from the stage. Through good times and lean times, Blue Note Records has earned the reputation as "a recording company that retains its integrity and dedication to jazz" (All About Jazz).
I have five pairs of tickets to this show. The first five people to email me with the correct answer to the question below win a pair of tickets. The question is: in what year did Blue Note Records issue their first records?
email Rick at groove2@earthlink.net


"Outsider Art Fair" is a notice at villagevoice.com.

Who's to say what's good art? Or even who's an artist and who's not? Organizers of the Outsider Art Fair don't require an MFA from artists of this exhibition-and it's been that way for the past 17 years. 




Eternally useful links


Bay Area home prices from sfgate.com


Bay Area foreclosures from sfgate.com

Our City Council update is here.


Our Planning Commision update is here



You can find more information about our current weather conditions than is good for you at www.wunderground.com

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out http://sv.berkeley.edu/view/ This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor, Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.


Best gas prices in 94710, as well as all of US and Canada, are here at gasbuddy.com

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.


Richmond Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails a very

useful link

If you ever need to get a human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc., this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get you to a human being within a few seconds.



Markets is not just a reference for Berkeley-Hills radicals with 1.5 mil homes and considerable portfolios.


Our City of Berkeley Boards and Commissions page is here--redone and friendly.



Berkeley Police reports at insidebay area.com are here.


Our Berkeley PD Site with crime statistics and more is here.

Crime Log for 94710 is here

This site is NOT affiliated with Berkeley PD.
Take time to report crime!


All reports of crime-in-progress should first go to Berkeley PD dispatch--911 or non-emergency, 981-5900. THEN make sure you notify EACH of these City people.

The contacts are below:

Our new Area Coordinator is Officer Karen Buckheit, Berkeley PD - 981-5774 kbuckheit@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Angela Gallegos-Castillo, City Mgr Off - 981-2491 agallegos-castillo@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120 rlau@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Darryl Moore, City Councilman dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us


More Scrambled Eggs & Lox, here


Stories about Berkeley and stories about recorded-music

are at

Journal of Recorded Music 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11



The original owner of all posted material retains copyright. The material is used only to illustrate