"Once-lowly lowriders now riding high" Meredith May at sfgate.com.

"Before there was Critical Mass, there were the lowriders - crawling in all their airbrushed glory, routinely blocking Friday and Saturday night traffic in the Mission.

The police eventually shut down the impromptu car parades, and the Chevy Impalas and Oldsmobile Cutlasses scattered.

Thirty years later, some of those same lowrider drivers are now courted by city officials, asked to participate in the Chinese New Year, World Series and Pride parades, and invited to bridge celebrations and civic anniversary events. Movie producers routinely ask to use the cars in movies shot in San Francisco, such as 'La Mission.' "




This trailer video for the film, Landfill Harmonic, about poor children in Paraguay making classical instruments from junk and playing Bach

is goose-bump stuff--specially the kid playing a Bach Cello Suite on a extremely hopped-up oil can. It's sound is every bit a cello.








Some Moments with Janos Starker

by Harold Lawrence

After the last notes of the Bach Allegro had faded, Janos Starker rose from his chair in the ballroom of the Great Northern Hotel Studio A of Fine Recording, where many of Mercury's Living Presence chamber music recordings were made in the 1960s.

Starker gently laid aside his Lord Aylesford Stradivarius 'cello, inserted a fresh cigarette into a long holder, and walked swiftly toward the control room.

He entered just as the engineer was rewinding the tape. Above the garbled sounds emanating from the three Altec Voice of the Theater monitor loudspeakers, he asked, "What was the timing of this movement ?" "Three minutes and fifty seconds", I replied. Lifting his dark, expressive eyebrows, Starker said he played it slightly faster these days. "It sounds lighter this way... and it dances."

Having cued the tape, the engineer pressed the start button. The magnificent sounds of the Lord Aylesford filled the room. Starker mentally ticked off the details that required adjustment: a stronger accent for the top note of a phrase, a wolf tone that needed replacement, a 32nd note figure that could be clearer, an A-string that was a bit sharp. . .

In rapid fire Hungarian, Starker discussed balance problems with his colleague, pianist Gyorgy Sebök, then turned to us for a final consultation before returning to the hall for the next take.

The atmosphere at a Starker recording session is one of efficiency -sotto voce.

full story here



















Aw jeez, Santa is coming to Councilman Capitelli's District 5.



"Pandit Ravi Shankar passes" Ben Brumfield, CNN.

"His music transcended trends and cultural barriers. Pandit Ravi Shankar's life, which traversed nearly a century, ended Tuesday."


Along with Ravi Sankar, Ali Akbar Kahn introduced Indian Classical music to the U.S.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

by Ron Penndorf and Andrew Willford

The sarod of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, evokes many moods. Khansahib's rich and passionate playing can transport the listener to another time, place, or state of mind. The sounds might evoke the Indian landscape, with its many temples, mosques, and open vistas. Or, perhaps, the melodies and complicated rhythmic structures will set a meditative mood, a genuinely transcendent one. And like all truly great music, Ali Akbar Khan's is passionate, at times fiery, and always spiritually inspired. Fortunately, many of his great performances are available on record. It is to these treasures that this critical appreciation is devoted.

Ali Akbar Khan, along with Ravi Shankar, was generally responsible for popularizing classical north Indian music in the United States and western Europe during the late 1950s and '60s. Through a series of concert tours and the release of high-quality LP recordings Ali Akbar Khan, helped introduce this music, creating for the first time, a large audience in the West for this art form. This audience, in turn, generated a demand for Indian music among Western record companies.

The demand in the West was by no means limited to music.

full story here


The Unforgettable Encounter with Khansahib

by W. D.

The first, unforgettable encounter with Khansahib, thirty years ago, deep in Beatletime, came as something of a shock. A little knowledge, gained from the kind of callow record listening one indulged in then, very definitely did not go a long way. I remember the hair-raising way the tuning of the instruments metamorphosed into music as the alap began, and the amusement of the three musicians as the noisy crowd, seemingly all at once, felt the random sounds coalesce into raga, fell silent, settling in for the ride, all attention and wonderment. We had come ready to catch a few of those slinky shrutis, to hear the cool, clangy sounds we knew from records, to feel the beat, to let our heads wander off for a while to yogiland. Instead we were carried off on a trip to the other side. Just like Beethoven.

An hour or so later, after the first evening raga, we stood outside in the Seattle mist, unable to light our cigarettes for trembling hands.

Now, after many years and many more encounters just as powerful and moving as that first one, we return to consider the records, which in due course have acquired a deepened significance of their own.

full story here


Ali Akbar Kahn often lived in the Bay Area and established a music school here.

The Concert Experience--Understanding Indian Classical Music.


Ali Akbar Kahn video performance "A lovers melody"























Switchman throwing a switch at Chicago and Northwest Railway Company's Proviso yard

Chicago, Illinois, April 1943

This image by a photographer of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, is one of the color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America's rural and small town populations.




Ford Model A 4X4

photo courtesy Pete Hurney

with truck differential, large wheels and fenders, was used to deliver mail in Montana






"X-37B: US launches super-secret, orbiting, robotic plane

The X-37B is designed to stay in space as long as nine months and to collect electronic signals of all kinds in a way that other countries can't stop. The Air Force is not commenting on its mission."







"Motorcyclist killed in Berkeley traffic collision" Doug Oakley, Oakland Tribune.


Grainger has closed its 7th and Ashby, Potter Creek outlet.



Joe and Milo

at Milo's Birthday










this time of year is

for kids


Kate and Sarah have a book for kids

find out about it here













12/11/12--2:06 PM--acrid air in warehouse front, "hot metal" odor, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation. 9:38 PM--similar, and off and on all PM.

12/12/12--7:56 AM--acrid air in warehouse front, "hot metal" odor, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation. All AM, similar. 9:18 PM--similar.

12/13/12--11:01 AM--acrid air in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, "hot metal" odor, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation.








eternally useful links


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

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



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 gasbuddy.com

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.



Bay Area home prices from sfgate.com

Bay Area foreclosures from sfgate.com


Our City Council update is here.

Our Planning Commision update is here




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 rlau@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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

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.