November 2013

after 11/13/13 here


Brent and Aurora recently moved to Potter Creek. Brent is a licesnsed civil engineer specializing in rainwater harvesting--he just did such an installation for our Commerical Kitchens. Check it out!

Aurora is a nurse.



Potter Creek's

Commercial Kitchens





"Slow down to enjoy life at Bartavelle in West Berkeley" by Annie Chang at

"Bartavelle Coffee and Wine Bar is known for its gourmet combination of local ingredients, such as butter from Marin's Straus Creamery, and its typically high-end ingredients, such as prosciutto. Walking into this eatery reminded me of my home and childhood. My parents would often bring me to unique, local brunch places in Salt Lake City where families and close friends gather in a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere.

When I initially stopped by Bartavelle, I was in a rush to eat my food and go about my day, but seeing people relaxing and chatting, basking in the sun and sipping on coffee or wine made me want to do the same. I sat outside on a wooden bench and looked over at a mother telling her toddler to try the prosciutto. The little girl was hesitant, but everyone else in the family was happily sharing various dishes on the table. The environment and the restaurant's slower pace made me miss home. As college students living close to a large city, we sometimes forget to slow down and enjoy the little things in life that come our way. Inadvertently, we create a void in ourselves, but it's a void Bartavelle can fill.

The menu has porridge, farm egg, sandwiches and savory boards served with bread. These items may sound plain, but the ingredients and preparation spice them up. One porridge option contains sea salt and ghee, a type of clarified butter, or sesame and gomasio. The farm egg comes with olive oil and sea salt or with aioli and anchovies. A sandwich combination consists of sheep milk ricotta, kale, arugula, shallot vinaigrette and prosciutto. Many people were eating savory boards with bread, such as the prosciutto one with salami, house pickles and quadrello cheese. Per a staff member's suggestion, I ordered the avocado, olive oil, sea salt and marash pepper toast on Acme bread. My inner coffee addict also had to try the Sightglass Coffee, which comes from a San Francisco-based company that sources and roasts green coffee.

The Sightglass' Ethiopian variety, a made-to-order drip coffee from the Guji zone in Ethiopia, tasted subtly sweet with hidden notes of jasmine, ginger and bergamot. The coffee retained its slight bitterness and gradually gained a sweet creaminess.
1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 9470--at Cedar.
Phone:(510) 524-2473 "








"Go ahead and stress a little, experts say"

"While chronic stress is a recognized problem, University of California-Berkeley researchers find that short bursts of stress create new neurons and can actually be good for you.

This past year, interior designer Heidi Tomkiewicz of Victor, N.Y., juggled teaching at two colleges and running her design firm, working as many as 100 hours a week - and she loved practically every minute of it.

'Without stress, I don't function well, which is awful but true,' says Tomkiewicz, 46. 'I focus on it as a challenge - an accomplishment I can be proud of when I finish the battle. In the end, it improves my self-image and makes the luxury of 'me time' that much more satisfying.'

Stress is an automatic reaction when facing a potential threat, and too much of it can lead to a host of health problems.

But earlier this year, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley found that acute stress - defined as short bursts of pressure - may actually be healthy."






"How Slavery Feeds Today's Racism" Peniel E. Joseph at

link courtesy Bob Kubik

"The movie 12 Years a Slave exposes why the stubborn roots of institutional oppression refuse to die.

12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen's critically acclaimed movie opening nationwide on Nov. 8, is the most powerful cinematic depiction of slavery ever seen on-screen. The critical buzz surrounding the film has rightfully focused on the combination of its astonishing performances, nuanced script and unflinching examination of antebellum slavery's impact on a nation founded on declarations of liberty and freedom for all.

But the film's biggest accomplishment is the way in which its artistry is at once an immersive experience that manages the nearly impossible, creating historical characters whose actions speak clearly and fluidly in conversation with the present."






















About Julie Siinai


"Julie Sinai appointed to Berkeley school board vacant seat" Seif Abdelghaffar,

"Julie Sinai, director of local government and community relations at UC Berkeley, was appointed to a vacant seat on the Berkeley Unified School District School Board at a vote held on Wednesday.

Sinai was voted in unanimously by the four sitting board members from a pool of 10 candidates. Sinai will fill the seat vacated by former board president Leah Wilson, who stepped down in March after being appointed court executive officer for the Alameda County Superior Court. Wilson resigned citing concerns about a conflict of interest.

Current board president Karen Hemphill said that despite a strong applicant pool, Sinai had qualities that showed the board she was the most suitable person for the job.

'I felt that the Board needed someone who was already familiar with the District and was involved in public education and Julie met all of these attributes,' Hemphill said in an email.  'She has been a long-time public school activist, used to work for the District and in her current work at the university, it's all about partnerships and collaboration.'

Before working at UC Berkeley, Sinai was also chief of staff to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. Sinai said she hopes to apply her previous community and university experience to the school district and help the board with its current challenges, which include a new superintendent, increased efforts to improve academic achievement and heated negotiations with teachers' unions."







"Berkeley Restaurants"

"40 suggestions from readers."



"Food Fighter" by Peggy Orenstein at

"It started with a peach. Not just any peach but a Frog Hollow Farm peach, coaxed into its fullness by the rich loam of the Sacramento River Delta. A golden peach suffused with a lover's blush, a hint of erotic give at the cleft, its juice sliding down the chin at the gentlest pressure -- it was a peach that tastes the way peaches once did, the way they should. It was the peach with which Alice Waters, the founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, the chef who revolutionized American fine dining, imagined she would transform children's lives. It was Frog Hollow peaches, which can sell for about $5 a pound, that Waters took seven years ago to the first day of summer session at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley. She was carving an organic garden out of a parking lot next to the playground, planting the seeds for a schoolwide program to promote ecological and gastronomic literacy. One bite of these peaches, she thought, and the scales placed on students' eyes by the false prophets of the junk-food industry would fall away. They would see the folly of their Devil Dog ways and convert to the gospel of lush produce. Like Genesis inverted, the fruit of knowledge would lead them back to the garden of innocence. It didn't quite work out that way. ''They wouldn't touch the peaches,' Waters recalled. 'They said they were furry.' ''





"36 Hours in Berkeley, Calif." Peter DaSilva at

"Anyone who thinks that Berkeley is just a hotbed of political radicalism is in for a surprise. College Avenue, the town's main drag, is packed with more hipsters with BlackBerrys than hippies with beards. The city's revamped shops can compete label-to-label with SoHo's sophisticated boutiques, and its restaurants match its bigger neighbor across San Francisco Bay. But the spirit of 1969 hasn't completely gone away. Walk down Telegraph Avenue and along one block you'll find activists for Free Tibet, patchouli-scented advocates of homeopathic medicine, and crusty purple-haired free-love followers, still eager to convert you to their cause." 





"City of Berkeley settles lawsuit with owner of vacant Telegraph lot"
Jeff Landa at

"The city of Berkeley settled a lawsuit Wednesday with the owner of a Telegraph Avenue property that has sat vacant for more than 20 years in hopes of construction soon beginning at the site.

In a closed session, Berkeley City Council approved a settlement, dropping the city's lawsuit against property owner Ken Sarachan. The lawsuit had sought to foreclose on a longstanding lien against the property at the corner of Haste Street and Telegraph.

Settlement terms stipulate that if steps toward construction are taken in the next several weeks, the city will waive the nearly $641,000 owed to it in lien and nuisance abatement charges and forgo selling the space in an auction. In return, Sarachan must adhere to specified deadlines for the development of the 2501 Haste St. property.

The city initially recorded liens against the property after incurring costs to demolish remains from the 1986 Berkeley Inn fire. Upon acquiring the property in 1994, Sarachan assumed responsibility for the liens.

Sarachan could not be reached for comment.

Sarachan has 45 days to move his construction proposal forward through the city's Zoning Adjustments Board, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko. If he fails to comply, the city can still collect the amount owed and force Sarachan to forfeit the deed of trust on the property.

'Getting a check would be nice, but getting something built would be better,' said Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who represents the district that includes the empty lot. Worthington referred to the area as the 'single worst-blighted spot' in his district.

'Not a week would go by without a complaint - some about rats, trash or noise,' Worthington said, adding that addressing each nuisance has cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars for more than 20 years."






"UC Berkeley: Rash of robberies continue as woman's cellphone, purse taken" By Rick Hurd, Contra Costa Times.

"A recent rash of robberies on or near the UC Berkeley campus continued Thursday when two men pulled a gun on a female student and robbed her of a cellphone and purse, police said.

The 18-year-old woman fought back during the attack and was uninjured, eventually chasing the two men away, UC Berkeley police said. Officers searched the area for the men but were unsuccessful."








"Flying Drone Captures Underwater Images of 300-Year-Old Coral" Tia Ghose,

"A flying drone the size of a shoebox has captured astonishingly detailed images of 300-year-old coral living beneath the waters off American Samoa in the South Pacific."

The new technology could allow scientists to map the world's coral reefs, enabling scientists to predict their health and the health of the ecosystems that the reefs anchor.

'These corals are time machines that were living before European culture discovered the Samoan Islands,' Stephen Palumbi, a researcher at the Stanford Woods Institute, who helped conduct the drone study said in a statement. 'What do they have to tell us about that long-ago time? What do they tell us about the likely future?'

A tiny flying drone has captured gorgeous images of 300-year-old coral off the coastline of Ofu Island

Coral reefs sustain about a quarter of all marine life and are shelter for more than 4,000 species. The fish that live within coral reefs are an important food staple for about 500 million people around the world.

Yet despite their crucial role in the marine ecosystem, coral reefs are mostly unmapped. Hand-mapping or photographing reefs is incredibly tedious, time-consuming and potentially inaccurate, while satellite imagery gets muddled by waves. Radar can't penetrate the water's surface and sonar fails in shallow areas.

To get around these limitations, Palumbi and Stanford aeronautics graduate student Ved Chirayath developed a tiny, remote-controlled drone that can film coral reefs from up to 200 feet (61 meters) above the ocean.

But ripples on the water create distortion and blur that make the drone images difficult to interpret. So after the images were gathered, Chirayath used a technique called fluid lensing to digitally remove those distortions and sharpen the images.

'The lensing takes a huge problem in looking through the surface of the water and turns it into an advantage,' Palumbi said. 'It not only removes the ripples, but uses their magnification to enhance the image,' he added, referring to the fact that objects underwater tend to appear closer than they are because of how light bends when it moves from air to water.

The researchers then used a 360-degree camera to photograph the reefs from underwater.

Combining the images from both the drone and the underwater camera, the team produced gorgeous panoramic images of the reefs surrounding a marine protected area in American Samoa around Ofu Island.

The corals, some of which are 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 m) wide, live in a reef called the 'Village of Elders' that seems perfectly suited to these ancient corals.

As a follow-up, the team plans to combine data on water temperature and water flow with the images to see how climate change alters the reef ecosystem."











"N.J. gunman didn't think he was going to come out alive, prosecutor says" CBS News with John Miller commentary.


"Mall officials have come to the realization that this is a phenomenon that's not going away -- and they're focusing on the issue 'more and more,' CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former assistant FBI director, explained on 'CBS This Morning.'


A late-night shooting lead to an all-night search inside New Jersey's largest shopping mall. The gunman is dead, and no one else is hurt, police say.

Exactly six hours after 20-year-old Richard Shoop entered the Garden State Plaza Mall with a loaded rifle, he was found dead of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

Shortly before the mall was set to close Monday night at 9:30, Shoop entered the building carrying the gun he had stolen from his brother. He fired multiple shots.

Hundreds of panicked shoppers were trapped for hours inside the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, N.J.

Witness Anthea Brown said, 'He was all dressed in black from head-to-toe with a helmet.' Shoop was carrying a modified rifle, built to look like an AK-47. Though he fired his weapon at least six times, he did not take aim at anyone inside the building, CBS News' Elaine Quijano reported.

Ahmad Nammous said, 'He looked left, right he said, 'I am not gonna hurt anybody.'

Store clerk Elyn Rodriguez heard the shots, and immediately sprung into action. 'My first instinct was telling my manager get the keys and close the gate,' she said. Rodriguez, and 400 others trapped inside the mall barricaded themselves inside shops and closets.

Nearly 500 law enforcement officials, aided by SWAT teams, made their way to the scene and immediately began scanning the area.

Two hours after the first shot was fired and still no sign of a gunman, law enforcement officials began to evacuate the mall. 'We go store by store, room by room, and that takes awhile,' Jim Tedesco of the Paramus Office of Emergency Management said.
With more than two million square feet of retail space, New Jersey's largest mall was kept on lockdown as evacuations continued slowly throughout the night.
Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera, said overnight, 'If you have a loved one here, everybody is not only fine, but they're in great hands.'

Just after 3 a.m. Shoop's body was discovered in a remote construction area on the mall grounds. Earlier, police had uncovered a note written by Shoop at the family home.

John Molinelli, Bergen County prosecutor, said: 'I don't know, as I stand here, whether his motive was to injure anyone, I can't say that right now. But I do not believe that Mr. Shoop thought that he would come out of here this evening alive.'

At some point, a family member of Shoop's called police and provided information that ultimately helped police locate Shoop's body. The mall remains closed.


Mall officials have come to the realization that this is a phenomenon that's not going away -- and they're focusing on the issue 'more and more,' CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, a former assistant FBI director, explained on 'CBS This Morning.'

Some malls, such as Westfield Mall, Miller said, have developed an active shooter program for their security. The Israeli-owned company is 'very focused on this,' Miller said. 'Part of their plan is a lockdown of the security command posts so that they can follow the events using video cameras and feed intelligence out,' Miller said. 'The other part is that security people respond out to the rally point where police will respond with something interesting. A couple of mall security radios so they can begin to communicate with people inside who may be guards who are hiding or trapped with other customers or who may have a vantage point. And the third thing is that they respond with a full floor plan of the location. And this has been drilled into every security person's head. Not to think about it, just do it.'

The question going forward is command and control of these incidents, Miller added. 'If you're a town like Paramus PD, they're well practiced this. Or a small place or large place, how do you execute the police function there? ... This is something that law enforcement is focused on because it keeps h' appening again and again. Part of it is the tactics. And the other part of the discussion is why is this happening? Why is it happening more?"





"Urban Shield 2013: So much more than a 'SWAT thing' .Urban Shield is designed to strengthen preparedness- whether for a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or a lone gunman in an elementary school" at

"Ask a person who has never participated in Urban Shield what they thought it is, you'd likely hear a reply like, 'It's that SWAT thing in California.'

While that statement is correct - it is, indeed, a 'SWAT thing in California' - it's not entirely complete. 

In the five years I've attended and covered this event, every last participant with whom I've spoken has said nothing but great things about the SWAT training they receive. But Urban Shield is much, much more than 'a SWAT thing.'

During Urban Shield 2013, teams contended with challenges 'ripped from the headlines,' fashioned after real-world events like the United States Embassy attack in Benghazi, the terrorist takeover of the In Amenas facility in Algeria, the 2012 Camp Liberty murders, the Navy Shipyard attack in September, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the tragic attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

First, let's address the SWAT component of this event. This year, 35 SWAT teams competed against each other to achieve the highest scores in three dozen training scenarios such as active shooter response, hostage rescue, and radiological device detection and disposal. 

In this year's competition, Berkeley (Calif.) Police Department's SWAT team won it all, with Alameda County Sheriff's Office in second and San Francisco PD in third. I would venture to say that while those three teams walked away with some hardware for the trophy case, every single team returned home with two things even more valuable: knowledge and experience."





















Margot and friends

before the French School Halloween Parade


" 'Tis the season? 5 holiday-season struggles for UC Berkeley students" Karen Kwaning at

"Turkey dinners, gift shopping, baking, festive parties and daylight saving time are just some of the things that make the holiday season the best time of the year. But for the average college student, the holiday season doesn't always go so smoothly. Here are five holiday-season struggles Cal students share . . ."






"University of California Named Green Building Super Hero" at

"The University of California has a hidden super power: It makes buildings turn green.

Just how green? Well, UC has more LEED certified buildings than any other university in the country. So green, in fact, that the U.S. Green Building Council's Northern California chapter just named UC a green building super hero."





"Construction Begins on UC Berkeley BAM/PFA" at

"Construction begins on the new Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). Structural shoring and excavation is nearly complete and the primary structural work begins. This $100 million project was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and EHDD Architecture is a combination of new structures and an adaptive reuse seismic upgrade of an art deco style former printing plant. The Forell/Elsesser team includes Mason Walters, Geoff Bomba, and Masume Dana."







"Univision News partners with UC Berkeley to reach young Latinos" By Kathleen Maclay,

"Spanish-language media giant Univision and its just-launched cable news venture, Fusion, are partnering with UC Berkeley to bring campus experts, research news and events of interest to the channel's targeted audience of young, English-speaking Hispanics."





"QB3 and JPMorgan Chase Announce Breakthrough Collaboration : $200,000 Grant Will Fund Incubator Program Management and Student Internships"

"QB3, a state institute that connects private industry with more than 220 scientists at UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, today announced a new partnership with JPMorgan Chase to promote biotech innovation in San Francisco." 







"UC Berkeley report raises alarm about falling wages, outsourcing at U.S. airports"

"Airport baggage handlers are among the many workers at American airports who have seen declining wages and jobs impacted by outsourcing. A new report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center says the problems are of concern to workers as well as the general pub

The outsourcing of airport jobs that once sustained middle-class careers has left many airport workers in jobs characterized by insecurity and low wages, according to a new University of California, Berkeley, study released Monday, Nov. 4. According to the study, this trend poses problems for workers, the communities surrounding airports and the flying public. "                     








"Chem car contest for engineering students like Super Bowl" Julian Guthrie at






"Berkeley to raise downtown parking garage rates" Steven E.F. Brown, San Francisco Business Times.

"The City of Berkeley will raise parking fees Dec. 2 at two downtown garages that are usually full, while making it cheaper to park at a garage on Durant Avenue near Telegraph Avenue that is almost never full.

Berkeley has already raised (and lowered) parking meter fees in different bits of the city."










from "Micro-apartment developments on rise in S.F." 'A little sanctuary'

"Developer Patrick Kennedy of Berkeley's Panoramic Investments helped kick off the trend with a design called SmartSpace for ultra-efficient units where built-in furniture plays multiple roles. For instance, an updated Murphy bed converts to a dining room table.

He too sees the city as complementing the tighter quarters.

In urban core areas, 'proximity and convenience is more important than size,' he said. 'The best amenity we have to offer is the city of San Francisco,' he said. 'If you move to a city, you want to partake of it so your actual domicile is not as critical in terms of space.'. . . 

Kennedy's 'SmartSpace' concept for smaller units is a reality at one location: 38 Harriet in SoMa, where California College of the Arts has leased all 23 units as student housing.

The undergraduates who live there two to each 295-square-foot unit 'are ecstatic to have a place that's brand-new, state of the art,' said David Meckel, director of campus planning. 'Compared to a typical dorm room, they're like the Ritz-Carlton.'

Next up: SoMa Central at Mission and Ninth will have 120 micro-units and 40 'micro-suites' - two- or three-bedroom apartments of 650 square feet.

While Kennedy originally said the micros would rent for $1,300 to $1,500, rising construction costs and surging San Francisco rents "makes that sound like pre-war pricing," he said. "Now $1,300 gets you a room in the Tenderloin." The building will open in mid-2014; pricing is not set but will be "well below the $2,700 average rent for new studios in San Francisco," he said.

'I think of micro-apartments as the architectural equivalent of the Smart Car: not for everyone, but serving a valuable need for certain households in many cities," Kennedy said. "It's the same rationale as switching to smaller cars with better mileage when gas hits $4 a gallon. We're in an era where we can't afford to guzzle space like we used to, especially in a high-demand area like San Francisco."






"Dutch Gamble on U.S. Housing Debt After Patience Wins" by Jody Shenn and Maud van Gaal at

"The Dutch government's decision to hold onto U.S. mortgage debt acquired during the 2009 bailout of ING Groep NV has paid off so far as prices of the securities soared, more than doubling in some cases from lows that year.

The nation now is planning to sell all $12 billion of the bonds, many of which are tied to borrowers who were deemed more risky after failing to document their incomes or taking on mortgages with growing balances. ING, the Netherlands' biggest financial-services company, said last week the current market value of the bonds is about 71 percent of the face amount. The government may see a gain of almost 800 million euros ($1.1 billion), Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Parliament. "






"Solving poverty: Research shows government benefits work" Sara Kimberlin and Jill Duerr Berrick,

"Cuts to the food stamp program took effect this week. A typical low-income, three-person family will have about $30 less to spend on food every month from now on. Milk, eggs, and bread. That's what $30 will buy in a typical month. And that's what children and families may do without as they stretch meager public benefits just a bit farther.

These cuts are one more indicator of a country that's rewritten the narrative on the positive attributes of government benefits for the poor. In fact, congressional debates that assault programs for low-income and working-class families might lead the average American to believe that government assistance is a boondoggle - a waste of taxpayer money that does more harm than good.

But research coming out of UC Berkeley paints another picture that congressional representatives and all Americans should heed: Government programs substantially reduce chronic poverty in the United States.

The poverty rate in California remains stubbornly fixed at about 16 percent. More troubling, children are especially likely to live in poverty. In our fine state, almost one in four children lives at or below the poverty line."  









"Wives matter more when it comes to calming down marital conflicts" Yasmin Anwar, Media Relations, UC Berkeley.

"Marriage can be a battlefield. But a new study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that, when it comes to keeping the peace, it's more important for wives ­ than for husbands ­ to calm down after a heated argument.

While both spouses were equally able to cool down during conflicts, the husbands' emotional regulation had little or no bearing on long-term marital satisfaction, according to the study's findings published online Nov. 4 in the journal, Emotion.

'When it comes to managing negative emotion during conflict, wives really matter,' said psychologist Lian Bloch, lead author of the study which she conducted during doctoral and postdoctoral studies at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. "









"Count of Earth-like planets in galaxy could reach billions"

"The number of habitable Earth-size planets in our galaxy may be as high as 40 billion, scientists analyzing data from NASA's Kepler space telescope say.

A calculation based on a three-year study data from the Kepler spacecraft by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests around 20 percent of sun-like stars in the galaxy host an Earth-sized planet orbiting in the Goldilocks zone, where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold and should be compatible with liquid water."





















Our Councilman Darryl MooreThursday evening's Office-Hours-After-Hours was exhilerating--not just interesting or informative, . . . exhilerating! Not another boring meeting with a city representative, it was an active interchange/exhange in which ideas and opinions freely flowed. About a dozen very different people attended and almost right away broke up into smaller groups and got to know each other. Pretty much town hall stuff. (Understand Darryl was always fully present listening and talking, . . . I'm developing a new appreciation of our Councilman.) I look to more of these get togthers. It was fun!



The large living spaces/commercial project on the southeast corner of San Pablo and Ashby is moving ahead with the area cleared, prepared for excavation.


On Sacrmento, the planned made-from-packing-cases development appears on track. I've long been a supporter of these stuctures and early-on advocated them.

On 10/9/06 I posted

This morning Deutsche Welle featured a story about unitary-structures put together with old cargo containers. Eric Reynolds, an English architect and developer is building living-units by arranging and stacking together old shipping containers--a project on the Thames was featured. The developments are inexpensive, quick to build, environmental and even attractive in a busy Post-Modern sort of way. The ones shown were brightly colored with large port-holes and beautifully appointed interiors. My understanding is that cargo container units can be found in west-Berkeley though I myself have not seen them.

And on 9/26/08 posted

"Shipping container prefab at West Coast Green" is a story in the Chronicle by Paul Kilduff.
"West Coast Green, the home show dedicated to sustainable home construction and design, kicks off its three-day run Thursday at the San Jose Convention Center with a logical centerpiece: a house made with the smallest possible environmental footprint.

What makes this year's showcase home different from the prefab modular model seen last year in San Francisco is not all the green bells and whistles, such as doors made from reclaimed wood and bathroom floors fashioned from recycled glass pebbles; it's the actual framework of the house that is truly innovative. This year's showstopper is made from five 40-foot-long shipping containers that once roamed the high seas, packed with washing machines and the like."








"Using gas stoves with no hood may expose many to air pollution" at

" About two-thirds of Southern California households that cook with natural gas without a hood may be exposed to high levels of air pollution, researchers say.
Brett Singer and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory tested gas ranges to determine their pollution output.

The researchers used data on more than 6,000 Southern California households and their cooking habits to estimate people's exposure to air pollutants in the kitchen during a typical week in the winter.

They discovered 62 percent of households using gas burners without venting range hoods were routinely exposed to excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide, 9 percent to carbon monoxide and 52 percent to formaldehyde -- gases that can cause respiratory problems and worsen asthma and cardiovascular disease, the Los Angeles Times reported." 





"Port of Oakland goes electric to reduce diesel pollution" by Matthew Artz, Oakland Tribune.

"The Port of Oakland celebrated a clean air milestone Friday with the completion of a power system that will allow vessels docked at berths to power up on electricity instead of diesel fuel.
The $70 million project is expected to eliminate 11 tons of diesel particulate and further improve air quality in West Oakland where prior studies have shown higher-than-average levels of asthma and cancer."






"Chinese Manufacturers Must Reformulate Thousands of Products Sold In California Under New Court Settlement Negotiated by Chanler Group"

"California consumers will receive new protections against toxic materials routinely used by Chinese manufacturers in everyday goods thanks to a settlement reached yesterday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, according to an attorney who negotiated the agreement.

The agreement, approved by Judge James Stoelker, requires DAP Inc., a large Chinese manufacturer, to reformulate consumer products to comply with California's Proposition 65 right-to-know toxics law."








"Binge drinking at UC Berkeley strains EMS system"

"Berkeley has a drinking problem. An increasing number of Cal students are getting so drunk, paramedics have to take them to the hospital, and it's putting a serious strain on emergency services for the entire city. "   



"Fraternity At UC Berkeley Forced To Shut Down"

"A fraternity on the UC Berkeley campus was shut down this week amid allegations of hazing and underage drinking. Andria Borba reports."





"Savers thrift store to open in Berkeley" by Heather Somerville at

"Savers is opening its first thrift store here Nov. 14, marking the company's eighth location in Northern California.

Savers thrift stores sell used housewares, clothes, collectibles, furniture and kitchen appliances. The company also supports charitable organizations, and has partnered with the Epilepsy Foundation of America, a nonprofit group with offices in San Francisco that is working to help find a cure for epilepsy."











"Drones in America: FAA issues 'road map' for use"

"Unmanned drone aircraft are best known for targeting terrorists in other countries, but the Federal Aviation Administration is offering what it calls a "road map" for drone use in the U.S.

Ben Gielow, general counsel for the International Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems (what the industry calls drones) said, 'This industry has a lot of potential promise.'

In three years, the International Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems says it will be a $14 billion business. Drones could be used by farmers to monitor crops, real estate agents to advertise homes and police to track down fugitives.

'An unmanned aircraft system can do tasks right now that are either too dangerous, difficult or dull for a human,' Gielow said.

Drones are currently banned in the U.S., unless granted specific permission by the FAA. But Congress directed the agency to open the skies to drones by September 2015. That deadline is not likely to be met because of safety and privacy concerns. This week, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced a bill calling for drone regulations."







"Tesla Model S fires lead to investor lawsuit"

"In a fitting finale to a week Tesla Motors executives would rather forget, a law firm announced Friday that it had filed a class-action suit against the electric car maker for allegedly misleading investors over the fire risk posed by the company's Model S sedan.

The firm of Pomerantz Grossman Hufford Dahlstrom & Gross accused Tesla of making misleading statements about the car's safety, in spite of "undisclosed puncture and fire risks" that the law firm attributes to 'material defects' in the Model S battery pack.

On Wednesday, a Model S caught fire on a Tennessee freeway after striking a metal towing hitch lying in the road. The hitch punctured the electric car's battery pack, which lies beneath the floorboards and is protected from the road by a steel shield. It was the third Model S fire in six weeks, and it helped drive down the company's stock."




















 "How Dollarocracy is Destroying America" at

"The money and power behind this week's election results confirm what everyone knows: democracy is under siege. Corporations buy elections with virtually unlimited cash and big media conglomerates reap billions from political advertising.

This week on Moyers & Company, Bill talks to John Nichols and Robert McChesney about America's transformation into a dollarocracy and what we can do to get our political system back on track. Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation and McChesney is a leading professor and scholar of communications and society at the University of Illinois. Their latest book is Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America."





"Knowledge" by Angela Hill,

"Easy access to anything and everything by anyone almost anywhere is surely liberating, democratizing, educating, timesaving. But with such a glut of information, how do we know what we know is true?"





" 'Dogugaeshi' weaves a spell" Robert Hurwitt,

The mischievous fox pops up here and there in Basil Twist's 'Dogugaeshi,' named for an obscure style of puppet theater

" The vistas seem endless in Basil Twist's 'Dogugaeshi.' A Japanese screen opens to reveal an unexpected theater with a distant stage containing screens that open to uncover yet another theater - and another, receding into the distance like the images in a hall of mirrors. But peopled with strange and curious forms of puppetry.

Dogugaeshi: Puppet theater by Basil Twist. Through Nov. 10. $48-$76. Cal Performances, Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley. 65 minutes. "






















Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday which honors people who have served in armed service also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.)

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the "Father of Veterans Day."

U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954.

Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

The National Veterans Award, created in 1954, also started in Birmingham. Congressman Rees of Kansas was honored in Alabama as the first recipient of the award for his support offering legislation to make Veterans Day a federal holiday, which marked nine years of effort by Raymond Weeks. Weeks conceived the idea in 1945, petitioned Gen. Eisenhower in 1946, and led the first Veterans Day celebration in 1947 (keeping the official name Armistice Day until Veterans Day was legal in 1954).

Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11. While the legal holiday remains on November 11, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




from 3/5/05

I've known of Jerry Landis for decades, known him for 10 or 12 years, and we've been good friends for the last few years. A Berkeley citizen since the '60s, he's been actively involved in our community for almost as long. Jerry's older sister Jean was one of the first women to fly for the Army Air Force. She was a WASP ferry pilot during WWII and flew P-51s almost exclusively. Understand the P-51 was our hottest fighter, a challenge for a man let alone a "girl."


WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilot), Jean Landis c 1944

"In July 1943 the growing numbers of women pilots being trained for AAF service were consolidated in the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, the WASPs. By the end of the program 1074 women had flown for the AAF, piloting every type of military aircraft from the B-29 to America's first jet, the P-59. Fighter aircraft, particularly the P-47 and the P-51, were ferried in great numbers by the WASPs. These women loved single seaters and considered flying fighters the essence of what it meant to fly. One woman fortunate enough to be assigned fighters for most of her wartime carrier was Jean Landis. Landis was sent to Brownsville, Texas, for fighter transition training, and when time came for her first flight in a fighter, she drew a P-51. . . .

Jean also flew a number of other types, including the P-47: 'The P-47 was a bucket of bolts compared to the Mustang; it was too heavy and sluggish. But when you got in a Mustang, it felt like you had just strapped the wings on. You didn't feel you had any fuselage around your body, you were a part of the airplane.'

Jean had the good fortune to be stationed at the Ferrying Division at Long Beach, California, flying nothing but P-51s. The new fighters were picked u p at I nglewood and flown all over the country, particularly to Newark, New Jersey, where they were prepared for shipping overseas. Reactions to a woman climbing out of a P-51 were: 'Varied, mostly startled. Once I few into a field that was off-limits but the weather was bad and I had a slight mechanical problem so l called in and asked for permission to land. I kept radioing "P-51 ready to land; awaiting final landing instructions." It was sort of garbled and they kept asking me to call in again and again. Finally they said: "Waggle your wings if you receive!" So there I was waggling away and pretty soon they came back: "Lady, the only thing we see up there is a P-51! Where are you?" I replied: "That's me! I am the P-51!" They couldn't believe it-they were looking for a Piper Cub or something. Finally, when I landed, what a welcome I got. Word got around that a gal was flying that thing. They were darlings. By the time I had taxied up to the line, following the little Follow Me truck, there were lots of guys around to see what kind of woman was flying this P-51. They'd never heard of us, the WASPs.'

'We had to pay for all our clothing, had no medical or insurance benefits or many other military benefits,' Jean recalls. 'The WASPs were subject to military discipline and lived in the Officers' Quarters, but they were not allowed most military privileges and received less money than men doing the same job. But we were there to fly and loved every minute of it.'"


In keeping with '60s stuff like, "You don't always get what you want but always get what you need" and "Time is what we invented to keep everything from happening at once," I discovered this story by accident while researching the P-51"Mustang" fighter. A little bored at paging through a book about the P-51, I stopped at a photo of a good looking woman standing on the wing of this fighter. Three days later, Landis showed up at my door, Xerox in hand with "I got something you should read about my sister."

Jean Landis, now retired, divides her time between Idaho and Southern California.


And the Chronicle's Meredith May uniquely informs and entertains with her "Flying with the Falcon Boys" at Then, check this out.


















In the first three quarters of this year - January to September, our site received just under 1.5 millions hits.




"Joel Selvin Explores the Music Industry" Halley Cornell,

"Joel Selvin never intended to become a reporter. But after he dropped out of Berkeley High School, in 1967, a family friend helped him get a job at the San Francisco Chronicle as a copy boy. Two years later, at 22, his first cub coverage of a local concert was published by the newspaper.

Thirty years in, after filing some 5,000 articles that covered the local evolution of rock music from the Grateful Dead to the rave scene to Third Eye Blind, Selvin didn't exactly intend to emerge as a book writer, either. Yet with more than a dozen books on music and music culture published and more in the works, the Potrero Hill resident will eventually have to come to grips that he's a professional author."


In the '80s when I was publishing RECOLLECTION'S JOURNAL OF RECORDED MUSIC, Joel contributed an early Rolling Stones LPs article--today still a definitve survey.





















Jerry Landis writes about his sister "Women's Airforce Service Pilot, Jean Landis . . ."

Thanks, Ron. for remembering my sister. I spoke to her by phone on Saturday (my birthday) - at 95 she remains well and active, and recently addressed a women's group in our hometown, El Cajon, with a slide show about her flying. Some months ago, a much younger pilot who owns a restored P-51 took her up for a local flight - she loved it! - JL




A reader from Germany emails about women Spitfire pilots in WWII with "Fascinating BBC4 documentary I first saw a couple of years ago."

Spitfire Women ... the women who flew the spitfire delivering them to airfileds from the factorys -- absolutely entertaining and, filled with insight, also informative.





An email about a pioneering WW II Soviet combat pilot.

"Nadezhda Popova, WWII 'Night Witch,' Dies at 91" Douglas Martin at

"The Nazis called them 'Night Witches' because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch's broomstick.

('We bombed, we killed; it was all a part of war,' she said in 2010.)

The Russian women who piloted those planes, onetime crop dusters, took it as a compliment. In 30,000 missions over four years, they dumped 23,000 tons of bombs on the German invaders, ultimately helping to chase them back to Berlin. Any German pilot who downed a 'witch' was awarded an Iron Cross."








"Berkeley truck stolen from urban creek nonprofit" by David DeBolt,

"A nonprofit is asking the public for help in finding a truck that vanished from its parking spot in North Berkeley over the weekend.

Kristen Van Dam, a senior ecologist for Urban Creeks Council, said she parked the 2005 Ford F-250 at the intersection of Rose and Arch streets at 6 p.m. Saturday. By the morning, it was gone, she said.

The Oakland-based nonprofit filed a police report Sunday at 8:30 a.m. but said the distinctive truck is still missing.

The blue Ford truck is lifted, and has 'Urban Creeks Council' painted in white lettering on both sides of the truck, she said. The license plate is 7U05789. "






"'Green' paving helps the bay, human health" Mike Kiparsky and Max Gomberg at

"Every time it rains, San Francisco Bay gets a little sicker. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Asphalt streets collect pollutants from motor oil to metals from brake pads to nutrients from garden fertilizers. Rains quickly wash it all into storm drains, local streams and the bay. When combined with decades of industrial pollution, storm-water runoff damages marine life and kills fish, leaving those that survive too toxic to eat. We cannot completely repair the bay's ecology, but we can improve its health and ours by changing the way we build city streets.

With $30 million available for street and watershed improvements, the city of Berkeley has a golden opportunity to be a standard bearer for urban design that benefits public health and the environment. However, if the city pursues business as usual, it will squander the opportunity."






"Impact Theatre does wonders with Shakespeare's problematic 'Troilus and Cressida' " by Pat Craig

"So why am I writing about the show, now playing at La Val's Subterranean Pizza in Berkeley? Well, . . . .

Most will agree William Shakespeare is the undisputed heavyweight champ when it came to playwriting, but even the champ takes it on the chin every now and then.

Take 'Troilus and Cressida,' the Bard's take on the Trojan War, then in its seventh year -- a drawn out affair, sort of like our current war in Afghanistan. And, just like many Americans, the Greeks and Trojans were darned tired of the war.

Shakespeare seized on the theme of war-weariness with this work, but just to be on the safe side, he crammed everything including the kitchen sink into the script, turning it into what many experts consider one of the Bard's 'problem plays.' It's a show that veers wildly between comedy and tragedy and still barks like the dog it is after several centuries.

So why am I writing about the show, now playing at La Val's Subterranean Pizza in Berkeley? Well, I only got to watch baseball legend Ted Williams play in person once, and he never reached first base, but I don't regret a moment of that game." 





"Berkeley director wins New York film festival's top prize for Oakland-based feature 'Licks' " Angela Woodall, Oakland Tribune Correspondent.

"Jonathan Singer-Vine is a first-time director who dropped out of film school and could boast only a few amateur music videos when he started writing the script for an Oakland-based story that would be his first feature-length film, 'Licks.' That was 2010.

Fast forward to October, when 'Licks' won top prize for best picture and its stars picked up awards for best actor and best supporting actor at the Chelsea Film Festival in New York.




The big win came after screenings at South by Southwest and the Milan Film Festival."














11/1/13--11:18 AM---irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, Dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor IMMEDIATELY surrounding warehouse, mucus membrane irritation.

11/2/13--12:36 PM---irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane. Marsha watery eyes, cough attack.

11/3/13--Off-and on all evening--irritant in warehouse front, burning dry air, mucus membrane irritation.

11/5/13--11:05 AM---irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 12:50 PM--similar. 6:49 PM--similar, VERY SERIOUS.

11/6/13--7:57 AM--irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 7:49 PM--similar.

11/7/13--12:18 PM--similar, Off-and -on all AM--similar.

11/8/13--1:00 PM--similar.

11/9/13--8:36 AM---irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 9:00 AM--similar, VERY SERIOUS, overrides 4 HEPA filter, wear respirator, only apparent activity, worker at close by manufactiuring facility. Off-and-on all AM---similar. 6:17 PM--similar. 7:35 PM--similar. 9:17 PM--SERIOUS, similar. 10:44 PM--similar.

11/10/13 4:23 AM--similar. 5:30 AM VERY STRONG burning wood odor. 12:01 PM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation, overrides 4 HEPA filters, wear respirator. 4:05 PM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation, overrides 3 HEPA filters, wear respirator. Similar off=and on Friday PM, AM/PM Saturday and Sunday.

11/11/13--7:55 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation, overrides 3 HEPA filters, wear respirator. 10:23 AM--similar. 6:19 PM--SERIOUS irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation.

11/12/13--5:05 PM--irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 5:26 PM--similar. 6:15 PM--similar, SERIOUS.

11/13/13--6:01 AM--irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 7:09 AM--similar. 10:16 AM--similar, overides HEPA filter, wear respirator. 11:15 AM--similar. 11:59 AM--similar, leave. 2:00 PM--similar. 2: 32 PM--similar, SERIOUS. 8:47 PM--similar. 9:57 PM--similar, VERY SERIOUS, overrides 4 HEPA filters, wear respirator.

11/15/13--12:31--irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 4:55 PM==irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 9::30 PM--irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation.

11/16/13--irritant in warehouse front, dry, dirty air, unique "high end"odor, mucus membrane irritation. 9:58 AM--similar, IMMEDIATELY in warehouse front, Marsha light headed, nauseous. 4:45 PM--similar, SERIOUS. 6:30- PM--similar. 6:50 PM--similar.












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.