That's it!

Steve and Niko

I'm done trying to get my children to eat their damn vegetables!





I've always loved Twinkies and in the '80s when Kimar, Moe and a bunch of us few to London on Pan Am, as we got right over the Pole the hostess served me theTwinkies and milk that Kimar had slipped her on boarding. But "maybe Twinkies don't last forever after all. The manufacturer of the iconic American treat, Kansas City, Mo.-based Interstate Bakeries Corp., declared bankruptcy last year and announced plans last week to shutter two San Francisco factories. As it teeters on the brink of solvency, many local consumers bemoan the possible loss of the ladyfinger-shaped sponge cake" reports James Temple of the West County Times.The sad story is here.



"Writer strips the Twinkie of all its secrets:Man overcomes nature, 'vice president of cake' to learn snack's origins"
reports Suzanne Bohan in our Times.

"When Steve Ettlinger donned a hard hat, a head lamp and emergency breathing equipment before his alarming descent 1,600 feet into Wyoming mine shaft, he wondered whether his quest to find the natural sources of all 39 ingredients in Hostess Twinkies'had gone too far.

'As a food writer, I'd really gone astray," he told a crowd of about 100 Google employees earlier this month at the company's Mountain View headquarters.

To complement the author's talk, chefs at Google prepared organic versions of Twinkies for the event, using locally-raised or procured products to make the almond-flavored, cream-filled pastries.

Ettlinger traversed the country and hopped the globe, touring plants, mines and refineries to find the actual origins of the almost unpronounceable ingredients used to make Twinkies. His young daughter's puzzlement over a strange-sounding one called polysorbate 60 listed on her ice cream bar label inspired his quest, which led to
the publication of his book, 'Twinkie, Deconstructed.' The hardcover version was released last year, and the softcover book is due out on Feb. 26.

'This is a terrific book that really opened my eyes, and I don't know of another book quite like it,' said Michael Pollan, the Berkeley-based best-selling food and nature author, most recently of 'In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.'

Although Ettlinger chose Twinkies for his in-depth exploration on food additives, he's quick to point out that the book is a treatise on processed foods in general."


Hostess Twinkie's ingredient list:

Enriched bleached wheat flour [flour, ferrous sulfate, "b" vitamins
(niacin, thiamine, mononitrate (b1), riboflavin (b2) folic acid)],
sugar, corn syrup, water, high fructose corn syrup, partially
hydrogenated vegetable shortening (contains one or more of: soybean,
canola or palm oil), dextrose, whole eggs, contains 2 percent or less
of: modified cornstarch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid
pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch,
corn flour, corn dextrins, mono and digylcerides, polysorbate 60, soy
lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, soy protein isolate, sodium
stearoyl lactylate, sodium and calcium caseinate, calcium sulfate,
sorbic acid (to retain freshness), color added (yellow 5, red 40).
May contain peanuts or traces of peanuts.


Google alternative recipe:

Organic cake flour, sugar, organic cream, organic butter, organic
eggs, organic milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, almond
extract, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt.

Healthy alternative recipe?

Maybe Richard of Eight Street's thought in some way applies to original Twinkies. "You gonna die of somethin'."









"A eulogy for the humble Hostess Twinkie" Adam Bernstein,

"Twinkies, the unpretentious, freakishly versatile and seemingly indestructible snack pastry dubbed 'the cream puff of the proletariat,' died Friday of complications from economic reality.

Texas-based Hostess Brands announced it would shutter operations amid a debilitating labor dispute. Twinkies were 82."





"Dollars to Donuts" Twinkies will rise from the dead!








Look for both "medical marijuana" dispensaries, 40 Acres and 3 PG to be closed sooner-than-later. 40 acres landlord's eviction proceedings have been upheld in court and 3PG has been officially labeled a nuisance by the city. 40 Acres is on San Pablo north of University and 3PG on Sacramento north of Ashby. Both are African-American owned.




"Guards sought for news crews in Oakland" Demian Bulwa at

"The violent robbery of a television news crew outside an Oakland school last week was the latest in a series of similar incidents in a city where the rate of strong-arm robberies and holdups is surging.

But the brazenness of the attack - which occurred during a live broadcast in the middle of the day - has brought fresh urgency to the problem.
Union officials who represent reporters at most of the Bay Area's major television and radio stations said Tuesday they had asked the broadcasters to immediately hire security guards to accompany news crews when they are in Oakland. At least one station has already enlisted guards, and others are considering it."



"Berkeley sued for negligence in man's killing" is an AP report.

"The family of a man beaten to death by an intruder 15 minutes after calling police for help is suing Berkeley for negligence.

Sixty-seven-year-old Peter Cukor called police on a nonemergency line in February to report a stranger in his garage.

The Alameda County lawsuit filed Thursday says police didn't show up and suspect Daniel Jordan DeWitt eventually knock down and dragged Cukor to his front yard where he was beaten to death with a large flower pot."  





There is some agreement across the political spectrum that Our Town's recent election was the dirtiest in years. But, I believe the election's real signifiance is the Mayor's re-election as-well-as the re-election of councilmembers who largley support him. Look for four years of a full court press toward Da Boz' vision and his legacy.

Through closely following the election, I have gained new respect for Da Boz' political acumen* and his staff's insight and commitment. Oh yah, . . . then there's Ms Boz, State Senator Hancock.

*astuteness, shrewdness, acuity, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, cleverness, smartness, brains; judgment, understanding, awareness, sense, common sense, canniness, discernment, wisdom, wit, sagacity, perspicacity, insight, perception, penetration; savvy, know-how, horse sense, smarts, street smarts.

Aw jeez!





"University Of California Deals With Wall Street Banks Could Wipe Out Prop 30 Gains, Report Says" at

"Earlier this month, California voters passed Proposition 30, a ballot measure containing a number of tax increases that will help avoid drastic cuts to the state's higher education system.

But according to a recent UC Berkeley report, all of those gains could be wiped out by a series of deals made by University of California administrators. Many of those officials, the report notes, have close ties to Wall Street firms making millions in profits from the state's cash-strapped institutions.

The report, titled 'Swapping Our Future: How Students And Taxpayers Are Funding Risky UC Borrowing And Wall Street Profits,' charges that the University of California system has lost almost $57 million dollars on deals so far -- and the losses are continuing at a rate of some $750,000 each month. Potential loses, it claims, may reach up to another $200 million.

During the last decade, UC schools issued a number of bonds to finance medical centers in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It's common practice for institutions issuing long-term bonds to enter into deals called interest rate swaps as a way to manage risk. Typically, bonds have interest rates that can rise and fall over time; however, the variability of these rates introduces a measure of uncertainty.

Institutions like the University of California would much rather know exactly how much it's going to cost to service their debt rather than face the possibility of a spike in interest rates, so they enter into agreements with banks that swap variable rates for fixed ones.

At first, interest rate swaps seemed a prudent way to mitigate risk. But these deals were struck immediately before the onset of the financial crisis, which caused interest rates to drop to historic lows. UC administrators took out a quarter of a billion dollars worth of interest rate swaps in 2007 alone, just about the worst possible time to make a bet that rates would rise."



















"Seattle police roll out new rules on pot" New York Times at

"Stoner humor just got a lot more complicated.

Back in the days when Cheech and Chong were more risque than wrinkled, it wafted along as one of those cultural subgenres, with its own nudge-and-wink punch lines. If you got it and laughed, you implicated yourself - and laughed again. The police mostly kept their faces straight.

But now the prospect of legalized marijuana in small amounts for personal use - approved by voters in Washington state and Colorado on election day - is creating a buzz of improvisation, from local law enforcement agencies up through state government."





And a curious, dark and paranoid view of The Guardians is explored in"Berkeley Officer Murray opening the door to living space without a warrant, and finding flash in eyes" at

"The Berkeley police used a domestic dispute one apartment over as an excuse to enter, even though the dispute was contained in only one apartment and had nothing to do with the living space the officer was illegally opening and attempting to enter.

Flash in the eyes. It's a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation. The door was unlocked; that is not an invitation for a police officer to knock on the door until the door "somehow opened on it's own" (stupid stupid stupid explanation)... well certainly wasn't expecting flash in eyes.

A warrant? No. A investigation? No. A suspicion? No. Flash in the eyes? Yes.

Just want to see what was behind the door? Flash in the eyes. That's what is behind the door. Flash in the eyes. Open the door and you get your picture taken. That's just the way it's going to be. And at night, there's a flash... in the eyes. If you don't want your picture taken with flash in the eyes, probably just best not to open the door at night. Reasonable?

Why is this discussion even happening? Why is it necessary for these words to be typed? What is it about this situation the Berkeley police have a hard time comprehending? Just being curious about what is behind the door is not enough. That's just simply not enough, and it shouldn't have to be explained. Stay away from residential doors without warrants or calls for assistance - that should be simple enough to remember.

This is an example of what happens when there is no accountability for the police. The Berkeley city manager won't touch the police, the city council won't, mayor won't, Berkeley police review commission won't, peace and justice commission won't. They have the Occupy Berkeley raid scandal, the Cukor (murder victim) scandal, the Oakley (reporter) scandal, harassing sidewalk sitters fiasco, and now the open the door without a warrant and get flash in your eyes debacle. It just doesn't stop with the Berkeley police, because nobody wants to be in charge and take responsibility for their actions. The UC chief is being reassigned to Calistoga, a result of crossing the line, crossing the community standards. The Berkeley chief Meehan crosses those same standards, but repeatedly gets lauded by a weak city government that frankly appears to be afraid of its own police department. "












" What Makes the City of Berkeley Police Department Unique? asks

"Sgt. Mary Kusmiss details the many historical accomplishments of the Berkeley Police Department in this week's Q&A. 

Is there anything that makes BPD Unique or different from other police departments?
Answer by Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss S-6 BPD Public Information Officer.

'The City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) has a rich history that contributed to the foundations of many departments across California, the United States and the field of law enforcement as a whole.
The first chief of police, August Vollmer, is considered by many to be the 'father of modern law enforcement.' "




















"In reaction to Hostess layoffs, Gov. Chris Christie refuses to discuss Twinkies: 'It's bad that I even said the word TWINKIE'
The self-aware New Jersey governor - the butt of many fat jokes - refused to answer a question about Twinkies at a press conference Friday," a video excerpt at





"Chevron pipe dispute could deter restart" Jaxon Van Derbeken at

sfgate photo

"Chevron's reconstruction of its Richmond oil refinery has become embroiled in a dispute over what kind of pipe will prevent a repeat of last summer's disastrous fire - with federal experts warning that the metal the company has chosen failed at another refinery this year.

The dispute could jeopardize Chevron's plans to have the refinery back in full operation by January, a company official said Monday."


Cheez, that Air Board director looks just like, . . . Da Boz!






Pete Hurney sends a link to about Bill Connor.

"Bill Connor, an impossibly fit and healthy 82 year old British engineer, has a rather unusual hobby and some friends and I got a close up look at the results of a lifetime's passion last weekend.

Bill makes engines. Perfect half size replicas of the 'real thing' (he even makes his own tiny spark plugs!) they all run, and sound just like the real thing."


Pete's Potter Creek rain total for this week's storm is 1.4 inches



"French Flair on Four Wheels the La Vision de Voisin," Mullin Automotive Museum is at

"Financial services entrepreneur Peter Mullin, long a fan of all objects from the art deco period, opened the Mullin Automotive Museum nearly three years ago to display his collection of more than 100 pre-World War II Bugattis, Delahayes and Talbot-Lagos. The museum's permanent collection of these French luxury cars was reason enough to make the trek to its unlikely setting-a business park heavy on utility and low on design in this unremarkable coastal community [Oxnard] an hour northwest of downtown Los Angeles. But now there is even more reason to come."





"Wall Street Kept Winning on Mortgages Upending Homeowners" at

"Rebecca Black abandoned her dream house on Hazelwood Road in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2010, a year after the recession ended.

As the U.S. economy grew, Black's world shrank. Today she rents an apartment about the size of her old living room and works for the same $12 an hour she's earned for years.
If Thomas F. Marano takes a late lunch, he makes more money in a single morning than Black does all year. Marano once led the team at Bear Stearns Cos. that bought Black's mortgage in 2005 and thousands of other subprime loans to sell to investors.

During the 2000s housing boom, they both won -- Black got a home and Marano made millions.

In the aftermath of the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression, only one of them kept winning."


900 GRAYSON had the busiest Saturday ever last week.






"An Animated Open Letter to President Obama on the State of Science Education"

a video at

"Reigniting the spark of physics in an education ethos stuck 150 years in the past.

Many of us living in the United States have recently taken a massive exhale at the triumphant news of four more years of sanity and progress. But it isn't all unicorns and rainbows for President Obama, who will have to address some serious challenges. The fine folks of MinutePhysics - who have previously explained why the color pink doesn't exist, why the past is different from the future, and why it's dark at night - have zoomed in one of them in this animated open letter to the President, addressing an astonishing gap in physics education: Namely, the fact that most high school curricula cover none of the physics breakthroughs that have taken place in the past 150 years, including 'the topic of every single Nobel Prize in physics sincealways.' MinutePhysics advises the President to take a cue from Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and Neil deGrasse Tyson - men 'committed 100% to the dissemination of the awesomeness of the universe' - and reignite the educational spark of physics.

The United States: A country with 5,000 nuclear weapons, birthplace of the world's computing and telecommunications industry, home of the first atomic clock, and creator of the Global Positioning System. Chances are, if you just took regular American high school physics, you don't know one iota behind the science behind those things. That's because high school physics students across most of America are not required to learn about pretty much any physical phenomena discovered or explained more recently than 1865. Yes, 1865. That's the year the Civil War ended and well over a decade before Albert Einstein was even born.

Sadly, even if modern physics were required in high school, the question of how much that would actually promote an understanding of physics is a different matter - you needn't look further than the latest data on state science standards to sigh in desperation . . ."

















And, . . . I'm taking the liberty of posting neighbor, Merryll's Thanksgiving e-card.



















Susan Brooks @ the Studio
for Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios
11-6 p.m. weekends 
Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23
(Also Dec. 20-21 12-5 p.m. & Dec. 24 11-2 p.m. and every Thursday 12-5)

Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios

2547 Eighth Street #24a @ Parker, Berkeley
(25 artists in the Sawtooth building will be open)



Tak Nakamoto emails


Is it just coincidence that you often mention Twinkies on the same pages as Medical Marijuana?

Just curious.




















Leo Tolstoy once said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself" and Paul Valery said, "Everything changes but the avant-garde."


"Are You a Character-Based Leader?" is a question answered at



"Making Tiny Things Glorious With Photomicrography" Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo at

Male mosquito, or Culex pipiens, 10x. David Maitland

"Two inventions that revolutionized the world, the microscope and camera, offer us glimpses of worlds that were previously inaccessible to humans. Brought together as photomicrography, they offer visual insight into tiny objects that mostly pass people by. A fly's eye, a cardinal's feather, a shark's skin."




Alan Alda on "Future Cars" is a Scientific America production on Iowa Public television. Since this hour video was produced (5-10 years ago) the majors have decided on electric and hybrid vehicles as the cars of the future, hydrogen being placed on the back burner. Notice the Ford technicians at the experimental hydrogen fillup station wear "friction free" suits to prevent sparks.

"Hydrogen go boom."













"High-Speed Video Shows How Hummingbirds Stay Dry" video at

"It's a question with the deceptive simplicity of a zen koan: How does a hummingbird keep dry?

"It's not by staying out of the rain. Instead, as shown in a series of high-speed videos that reveal what's hidden to the naked eye by time, hummingbirds shake themselves like dogs."



















"Police probe death of Berkeley man, 27" is a report at

"Police are investigating the death of a 27-year-old Berkeley man and UC Berkeley alumnus who was found in the Oakland hills over Thanksgiving weekend.

Brendan McManus, who had been reported missing early Wednesday, was found around 9 a.m. Saturday in the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve in the Oakland hills, said Lt. Ed Spiller of the Berkeley Police Department. McManus was wearing a blue jacket and had a backpack, Spiller said.

McManus's death is under investigation, but the apparent lack of signs of foul play has led police to suspect he committed suicide, Spiller said. He appears to have been dead for more than a day before he was found."





"Albany repeals University Village development agreement" by Damin Esper,

"The City Council on Monday voted 5-0 to repeal its development agreement with the University of California for the proposed University Village development on San Pablo Avenue. However, the repeal -- if finalized -- will not stop the university from proceeding with its development."

The real story here is that UC will get what it wants, regardless. This project has been carefully planned and slowly implemented over many years.



Of Bay Area development as a whole, Edward Del Beccaro opines in the Mercury News' "Bay Area economy among''healthiest' metro areas in U.S."

"The East Bay is characterized by anemic growth, but growth nonetheless. The Port of Oakland and the refineries will help the East Bay economy grow, even if it is very slow growth. The East Bay will have anemic growth, but most of the country is going to be jealous of that growth."


"Can't find a job? Move overseas" Emily Matchar at

"After applying for 279 jobs over two years, my husband finally got the offer he'd been hoping for: a well-paid position teaching philosophy at a respected university. We should have been thrilled. There was just one little thing.

The job was in Hong Kong." 










"California unemployment hits 12.5%" reports Tom Abate, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"California employers added 25,700 jobs in October, the first such gain since April of 2008. But the state unemployment rate still rose to 12.5 percent, its highest level in nearly 70 years, as a report issued Friday depicted a downtrodden labor market struggling to rebound."



Quote of the day

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Groucho Marx




















Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge shows half inch mid-day, today.

Karen and Andrew just had

their home reshingled and the trim repainted. This in the wooded Berkeley hills? No, right here in Potter Creek next to Rick.



Look for local TV to pick up's "Bates/Worthington Feud" story.


In Oakland, auto and residence burglaries are up 43% this year over last.


The week of Black Friday, "The Greatest shopping day of the year," Charlie Rose CBS Morning Show reported about a survey of adults which concluded that 80% of the respondents weren't going to shop on Black Friday, only 20% said they were.

The Rose show also reported this week that Cyber Monday shoppers were part of the 10% minority who shopped on the Internet, leaving 90% who didn't.





"Guerrilla cartographers put global food stats on the map"Adam Cole at

"For the past five months, University of California, Berkeley cartography professor Darin Jensen has been collecting maps about food. They fill the walls of his office, each one telling a different story - about meat production in Maryland, about the international almond trade, about taco trucks in Oakland. Some are local, some are regional, some are global, but in a few days they'll all be bound together between the covers of Food: An Atlas."



"The installed price of solar photovoltaic systems in the US continues to decline at a rapid pace" at

"The installed price of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the United States fell substantially in 2011 and through the first half of 2012, according to the latest edition of Tracking the Sun, an annual PV cost-tracking report produced by the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory."









newly painted Potter Creek Workman's

I'm told Pete Hurney was color consultant for what is as much an art piece as a repaint.



Joe is on the other side of Rick.






"CyberCity allows government hackers to train for attacks" by Robert O'Harrow Jr,

"CyberCity has all the makings of a regular town. There's a bank, a hospital and a power plant. A train station operates near a water tower. The coffee shop offers free WiFi.

But only certain people can get in: government hackers preparing for battles in cyberspace.

The Pentagon is building a virtual city that will enable government hackers to practice attacking and defending the computers and networks that increasingly run the world's water, power and other critical systems. To reinforce the effect of those attacks, the cyber-range, known as 'CyberCity,' will include a scale model of buildings and other facilities that will light up when attacks have been successful.

Government and business leaders in the United States and around the world are rushing to build better defenses - and prepare for the coming battles in the digital universe. To succeed, they must understand one of the most complex, man-made environments on Earth: cyberspace.

The town is a virtual place that exists only on computer networks run by a New Jersey-based security firm working under contract with the U.S. Air Force. Computers simulate communications and operations, including e-mail, heating systems, a railroad and an online social networking site, dubbed FaceSpace.

Think of it as something like the mock desert towns that were constructed at military facilities to help American soldiers train for the war in Iraq. But here, the soldier-hackers from the Air Force and other branches of the military will practice attacking and defending the computers and networks that run the theoretical town."


















Our city Public Information Officer, Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, is leaving for a new position in Seattle.


The average real estate agent salary in Berkeley, CA in USD as of Nov 28, 2012 is $56,000. Given the mercurial nature of the business, this is probably not a really meaningful figure.








"Canada Shows How U.S. States Can Fix Immigration" a report at

"Republicans seem ready to play ball on immigration, if only to patch up their image with Hispanics. It would be a pity if this political moment -- which comes only once every few decades -- was squandered on minor and temporary fixes. U.S. immigration policy needs a fundamental rethinking.

This isn't as daunting as it appears. For inspiration, Americans need look no farther than Canada." 




"Navy SEALs to Hunt Cartel Kingpin Like Bin Laden" by Robert Beckhusen at

"Mexican drug lord Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán is arguably the world's most wanted criminal, supplanting Osama bin Laden after the terrorist mastermind's death during a Navy SEAL raid in May 2011. Now the Pentagon reportedly has a plan to send the SEALs after El Chapo too. . . .

According to anonymous Mexican and U.S. military sources cited by Proceso magazine (translated from Spanish), the plan involves sending Navy SEALs by helicopter after the Sinaloa Cartel kingpin, who is rumored to be hiding in the mountains of the western Mexican states of Sinaloa and Durango. The SEALs would be divided into two teams - one would land and attack, and the other would stay airborne - assisted by three unmanned drones packing missiles.


"Lieutenant to Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman Arrested in Mexico" at



"U.S. has established extensive covert surveillance operation in sub-Saharan Africa"

"Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, is home to a small force of Americans conducting extensive surveillance on al-Qaeda operations in Africa."


















"Cal Berkeley Earns No. 3 Dangerous College Ranking--UCLA earns No. 1 spot" Jenn Elias at

"The University of California Berkeley earned a No. 3 spot on the list of most dangerous colleges ranking by The Business Insider with a recent burglary amounting to $23,000."



"Berkeley: Police investigate shooting at Ed Roberts Campus" Kristin J. Bender, Oakland Tribune.

"Police [searched] for a victim following a shooting in a bathroom of the Ed Roberts Campus Thursday afternoon.

Police found at least one shell casing in the first-floor bathroom at the center, which is located at the Ashby BART Station.

Police are not certain that a person was actually struck by a bullet but [checked ]area hospitals for a possible victim, police said. The shooting occurred about 1 p.m.

The campus, which opened two years ago, is a one-stop center for disability services, and serves about 30,000 people annually."


Also, Berkeley PD arrested a suspected prowler in north-West Berkeley after a brief chase yesterday morning.




"101 Best Food Trucks in America 2012" at

A shrimp po'boy from Los Angeles' LudoTruck, manned by French chef Ludo Lefebvre.

Trucks across the US worth waiting in line at for a meal worthy of eating standing up.



Our Suaze Falls from Grace in "Suze Orman Thinks You Should Consider An Acura" a story about-and-with Orman's TV commercial at

"Say it ain't so, Suze Orman. Say you ain't backing up from your long-standing advice that purchasing a new car is almost always a bad idea.'



As predicted in my 11/28/12 post--Look for local TV to pick up the bourgouisside "Bates/Worthington Feud" --last evening's CBS local Channel 5 ran the story at about 6:05 right after the storm coverage. Boz looked a little uptight and Worthington twitched somewhat.

See Boz, . . . during the Full Moon I often throw down a few shots of Tequila--you know lick off the salt from between the thumb and first finger, throw back the Tequila, squeeze a quarter Meyer Lemon between the front teeth. And let it all warm the throat going down.

Do this over and over until you just don't give a shit.












And just what is it that Albert's smoking in that pipe?


Back in The Day Selling Records on Telegraph Avenue--Holiday Sales and Bittersweet Tales

What I remember about working during the holidays at Campus Records in the '60s was that Albert didn't have central heat in the shop. Recently, when I mentioned to him that I was thinking of moving to Vermont, he reminded me that it gets really cold there and observed, perceptively; "Hell, in the shop you use to stand in front of that electric heater in Fall." I remember "the cold" more than the holiday madness.

Though I do vividly recall a late-Christmas Eve when Albert and I were selling records almost faster than we could ring them up-having begun celebrating with brandy in early afternoon we were, of course, happily drunk.

But generally the holiday rush worked against staff happiness and Albert's policy of careful attention to the customer's needs-accompanied by informed and slightly snobbish opinion. "Come back after the rush . . . and you don't want that Bernstein performance anyway," Albert would exhort.

You really couldn't take care of the customer's needs during those hectic weeks just before Christmas and I particularly remember ignoring my regulars just so I could sell pop Christmas albums to last minute shoppers.

Of course, the entire staff were non-believers-and cultural elitists-but that didn't stop us from aggressively selling those popular holiday albums. Mitch Miller Sing Along albums sold very well and, to ourselves, we justified selling these records by working in, "He's a classical oboist you know."

Few cared.

But much more importantly, the rush interfered with "hitting on the chicks." In these tense times of retail combat, often after a sale when you were just about to strut your music knowledge in front of some impressionable coed, Albert would bark in his best ex-infantry manner "Disengage!"

Of course he was much more understanding in ordinary times and only when he was fighting with Connie, his wife, would he so explode. It was during one of those times that the famous "Play Boy" incident occurred.

Campus Records was located behind Campus Smoke Shop-also owned by Albert-and the two shops were connected by a short, wide passage way. And at this passage way, on the Smoke Shop side, were the magazines. (Magazine profit was very small, for the there is little markup and magazine profit depends on large sales-and the return of worn, dog-eared copies could be difficult and cut dramatically into an already small profit.)

For months a fellow would come in on magazine-delivery-Thursday looking for the new "Play Boy"-not to buy, but to dog ear. Ordinarily, this just annoyed Albert. But one Thursday, after continuous phone confrontations with Connie, he'd had enough.

I can clearly see the fellow eagerly take up the new magazine and become absorbed in its pages-one can easily imagine his bliss.

But not Albert.

Albert could only imagine a difficult return and a difficult Connie. He quietly walked up next to the fellow, pulled his Zippo lighter from his pocket, and set the lower left-hand corner of the magazine on fire. The guy didn't immediately grasp what was happening-probably sensing only that his passions were hotter than he'd imagined. Eventually, forced back to reality by the flames licking his hand, he fitfully dropped the object of his reverie.

Albert stomped out the flames and I think Albert and Connie separated shortly after.

There are more tales here.
















from our log

11/17/112--2:57 AM--strong "burning gas" odor in front room. 9:47 AM--dry dirty burning air in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, "STRONG" hot metal odor, SERIOUS nausea. 10:00 AM--same. 11:48 AM--irritant in front room. 12:17 PM--STRONG "hot metal" odor in warehouse front. 12:48 PM--burning dry dirty air in front room. 4:08 PM

11/19/12--7:14 AM--burning dry dirty air in front room, wear respirator. 9:59 AM--similar. 4:08 PM-similar. 4:50 PM--"glass manufacturing" odor in front room. 5:50 PM--similar, wear repirator.

11/20/12--12:11 AM--strong "burning gas" odor in front room. ~7:00 AM and following, VERY SERIOUS nausea and chills, wear respirator. Marsha has chills. 9:20 LEAVE. 12:20 PM--similar.

11/21/12--3:27 PM--SERIOUS irritant in warehoouse front, burning eyes mouth. wear respirator.

11/22/11--7:50 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, nausea, chills, light head, wear respirator. Similar, off-and-on all Thanksgiving Day.

11/23/12--6:50 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, SERIOUS nausea and chills, overrides 4 HEPA filters, wear respirator. 9:05 AM--nausea and chills, Marsha similar. 12:23 PM==irriant in front of warehouse, nausea, chills. 1:30 PM--simialr, Marsha has SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation, leave.

11/24/12--10:57 AM-- irritant in front room, nausea and chills.

11/25/12--2:21 PM--dry burning air in front room, dry cough, Marsha similar.

11/26/12--6:06 AM--dry dirty air in front room. 7:56 AM--similar, nausea, light head, dry lips, mucus membrane irritation. 6:05 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, SERIOUS nausea and chills, similar to past weekend symptoms and to symptoms when neighbor, Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass first moved in and did not have filters, overrides 4 HEPA filters, wear respirator.






eternally useful links


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

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out 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.



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.



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

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.



Bay Area home prices from

Bay Area foreclosures from


Our City Council update is here.

Our Planning Commision update is here




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



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 Area Coordinator, Berkeley PD - 981-5774.

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120

Darryl Moore, City Councilman

AND check out BPD feature "Who are these Suspects."


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