Sita Sings the Blues

an animted film by Nina Paley

from Wikipedia

Sita Sings the Blues

"Sita Sings the Blues is a 2008 animated feature film written, directed, produced and animated entirely by American artist Nina Paley (with the exception of some fight animation by Jake Friedman in the 'Battle of Lanka' scene)[2] primarily using 2D computer graphics.

It intersperses events from an episode of the Ramayana, illustrated conversation between Indian shadow puppets, musical interludes voiced with tracks by Annette Hanshaw and scenes from the artist's own life. The ancient mythological and modern biographical plot are parallel tales, sharing numerous themes."





The negotiations for a new Berkeley Patient's' Group location that I have reported on since the Group closed its San Pablo and Grayson outlet, have finally reached fruition. A lease has been signed for the old Ali Baba's Drive-In location on the west side of San Pablo Ave just south of California Typewriter, across from Chaucer Street.



"Justice Department moves to shut down Harborside Health Center, the biggest marijuana dispensary operator in California. Authorities filepapers to seize properties" Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times.

The federal government is moving to shut down the nation's largest and highest-profile medical marijuana dispensary operation, filing papers to seize properties in Oakland and San Jose where Harborside Health Center does business.

Copies of the federal Complaint for Forfeiture were taped to the front doors of the two dispensaries Tuesday, alleging that they were 'operating in violation of federal law.' "


"Oakland pot club vows to fight feds to stay open"  Kevin Fagan,

Harborside Health Center's co-founder said Thursday that he will fight the federal government's effort to shut down his sprawling medical cannabis complex in East Oakland.

And if he loses, he'll keep the operation going in any way possible, Stephen DeAngelo said.
'We have no intention of closing our doors,' DeAngelo said at a press conference at Oakland City Hall, where he was joined by 50 community leaders, Harborside patients and other backers. 'We will never abandon our patients.'

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag's office filed a federal court complaint Sunday alleging that the $22 million-a-year medical pot dispensary is in violation of U.S. law prohibiting the distribution of marijuana. A court notice was posted on Harborside's door Wednesday announcing asset forfeiture proceedings."



sentiment , but . . .



Peacock in flight

from Clara Chun











"Occupy Education California holds outdoor classroom-style events" by Pooja Mhatre at

"The group known as Occupy Education California, which orchestrated the 99 Mile March for Education and Social Justice held in early March, is planning to hold outdoor classroom-style events in public parks around the Bay Area in July.

According to Elizabeth de Martelly, a UC Berkeley graduate student and one of the events' organizers, these events are designed to raise public awareness about issues concerning the current state of public education in California."



"Caltrans has awarded Berkeley more than $408,000 in Safe Routes to School--funds to pay for a host of improvements near Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School" writes Rebecca Rosen Lum at



"UC Berkeley Extension Opens Fall 2012 Term . . . " is a story release at



















Today is Bastille Day




"'Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge' Red or dead" is a book review by review by John Gray at

Communist leaders--Trotsky, front row second from the left; Stalin front row far right


"Memoirs of a Revolutionary by Victor Serge, New York Review Books, 416pp

'We revolutionaries, who aimed to create a new society, 'the broadest democracy of the workers', had unwittingly, with our own hands, constructed the most terrifying state machine conceivable: and when, with revulsion, we realised this truth, this machine, driven by our friends and comrades, turned on us and crushed us.' The Russian revolutionary Victor Serge's assessment of the role that he and his comrades played in building the machine that would destroy them is striking in its candour. Virtually all of his friends who managed to survive the dictatorship that was installed in the revolution of October 1917 blamed the totalitarian repression that ensued on factors ­ the Russian civil war, foreign intervention, Russian backwardness ­ for which the Bolshevik regime was not responsible.

Refusing to acknowledge his part in constructing and using the machinery of repression, Leon Trotsky pinned most of the blame on Joseph Stalin ­ a single human being. Here, Serge was more clear-sighted. Trotsky, he wrote, 'refused to admit that in the terrible Kronstadt episode of 1921 the responsibilities of the Bolshevik central committee had been simply enormous, that the subsequent repression had been needlessly barbarous, and that the establishment of the Cheka (later the GPU) with its techniques of secret inquisition had been a grievous error on the part of the revolutionary leadership, and one incompatible with any socialist philosophy'.

From a family of anti-tsarist émigrés, Serge (a pen name: his real name was Victor Lvovich Kibalchich) had been active as an anarchist and taken part in an insurrection in Spain, incarcerated in a French concentration camp and released as part of a deal in which several leading Russian revolutionaries in detention in the west were allowed to travel to Soviet Russia in exchange for the release of western diplomats who had been arrested there.
Working in the Comintern after he arrived in Russia in 1919, Serge soon began to question the Bolshevik regime."



"Subversives,' a history" is a book review at by Carlo Wolff of The Christian Science Monitor.

"In case you've forgotten or are too young to know, the 1960s were the template for today's political divisiveness. In Subversives, Seth Rosenfeld chronicles how the abyss formed. His book is crucial history. It's also a warning.

In this work about unrest at the University of California Berkeley, Rosenfeld tells the stories of the frail, impassioned student leader Mario Savio; the measured but liberal Berkeley president Clark Kerr; and Ronald Reagan, the B-actor who, with the secret help of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, polished the conspiratorially based law-and-order message he formulated in the '40s as the rabidly anti-Communist head of the Screen Actors Guild to become governor of California in 1966."



police action

Special Enforcement stop at 8th and Pardee in Potter Creek, Friday night



"Berkeley cops, firefighters see spike in injuries" Doug Oakley, Oakland Tribune.

The number of police and firefighters getting injured on the job in Berkeley has shot up in the last three years, a trend officials can't exactly explain or attach a price tag.

Not only have the number of injuries gone up, but they are much higher than state and national averages, according to a City Council report from the city's human resources department'

'Let's face it, our (training and safety) program has failed,' said Mayor Tom Bates as the council discussed the findings on Tuesday evening. "This is unacceptable.'

David Hodgkins, director of the human resources department, presented the council data showing that in just the first five months of 2012, 28 percent of Berkeley police employees, including cops, parking enforcement and jail employees, were hurt on the job."



BPD Sgt Mary Kusmiss emails

July 13, 2012 at about 3:38 p.m., community members called the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) reporting a collision involving a bicyclist and a dump truck. The bicyclist, a man in his 60s, was lying in the roadway on Bancroft Way west of Fulton Street.  The dump truck was not aware of a collision, but returned to the scene after being alerted by a passing motorcyclist.
City of Berkeley Fire Department (BFD) paramedics tended to the bicyclist and transported him to a local trauma center where he was pronounced dead by physicians. Members of the BPD Fatal Accident Investigation Team (FAIT) responded to the scene to head the ongoing investigation.  Thus far, the dynamics of what occurred has not been firmly established. The driver of the truck has been cooperative throughout the initial investigation and is not under arrest.
BPD is asking for the community's help with this investigation. If anyone witnessed the collision, please call the BPD Non Emergency Dispatch line at (510)981-5900.


"Bicyclist killed in Berkeley crash was renowned Israeli psychology professor" by Chris De Benedetti, Oakland Tribune.

"Authorities have identified the bicyclist who died Friday after a crash in downtown Berkeley.

Shlomo Bentin, a renowned Israeli psychology professor, was killed in a crash with a dump truck in the 2100 block of Bancroft Way west of Fulton Street, an Alameda County Coroner's Bureau official said.

Bentin was wearing a bicycle helmet, which was shattered, police said." 








"Cal's Memorial Stadium preparing for September reopening" is a photo report at

"In 1923, Cal's Memorial Stadium opened to the public and was the home to the Golden Bears and uncounted future NFL stars for the next 87 years. Now, after 21 months of renovations, the stadium will open play host to Pac-12 football again, starting in September. Here's a look at how the work's coming along and what still needs to be done."



"Mineta Transportation Institute Publishes Report on Public Bikesharing in North America" at

"The Mineta Transportation Institute has released a peer-reviewed research report, Public Bikesharing in North America: Early Operator and User Understanding. It documents the state of public bikesharing in the U.S. and Canada, including key factors such as essential attributes and business models; economics and insurance issues; evolution of IT-based bikesharing; impact of bikesharing on walking, bicycling, public transit, and exercise; and other key factors. It also offers public policy recommendations. Principal investigator was Susan Shaheen, PhD, with Elliot Martin, PhD, Adam Cohen, and Rachel Finson.

'Public bikesharing ­ the shared use of a bicycle fleet ­ is a transportation strategy that has recently emerged in North America,' said Dr. Shaheen. "
















now has a exhibit of her photos at Books Inc.

more to follow







"Onetime social media darling Digg reportedly sold for a paltry $500,000" Patrick May and Peter Delevett,

"In a remarkable Silicon Valley rags-to-riches-to-rags saga, the onetime social media darling Digg was sold Thursday for a reported $500,000, an embarrassingly paltry sum given that Internet rock star Kevin Rose's company had raised a total of $45 million in venture funding and was once valued at more than four times that amount.

Digg's fall was spectacular in both its steep pitch and cultural resonance, serving up a sobering reminder that a valley superstar can turn into a shadow of itself in a relative heartbeat. "


"Federal regulators had evidence that major banks could be manipulating one of the world's most important interest rates a year before the practice came to an end, according to documents released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Friday" writes Zachary A. Goldfarb at

"As early as 2007, the officials at the New York Fed suspected that this key rate, which serves as the basis for the interest rates that consumers pay on many loans, did not accurately reflect market forces, the documents show. Then, in April 2008, the New York Fed was explicitly warned by an employee of the British bank Barclays that it was participating in a ruse to 'fit in with the rest of the crowd,' referring to other major banks."





















"Micro-apartments next for S.F.?" writes Carolyn Said about Patrick Kennedy's proposed project at

"Are itty-bitty apartments the next wave for urban dwellers in San Francisco?

The city is considering shrinking the minimum size of rental units, prompted by a demographic shift toward one-person households along with rising rents and an acute housing shortage.

'This seems like a logical, necessary response to housing in an extremely high-cost market like San Francisco,' said Tim Colen, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, a largely developer-backed nonprofit that is 'solidly behind' cutting the size of the smallest allowable apartment by about a third."

hmm . . .

150 square feet




"Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue aiming to make a comeback" by Katherine Seligman at

"Times are tough on Telegraph Avenue, the notoriously countercultural and once-thriving street leading to the heart of the University of California campus here.

'We have an enormous store here, and we'd like it to be full' said Doris Moscowitz, owner of Moe's Books, a Telegraph Avenue institution founded by her parents in 1959. 'It's kind of heart-breaking, to tell the truth.' "





Lipofsky emails

"In Israel, when drivers pass by these pot-holes, they almost stop completely to avoid car damage.

This strategy is currently used as a high-speed control.

It is more economical than using cameras, radar, police officers, etc."


interesting if true


"Soundtrack sommeliers" by Jessica Yadegaran, Contra Costa Times.

"Before opening, the team behind Asian Box, a build-your-own-bowl cafe in Palo Alto, hoped that executive chef Grace Nguyen's authentic cuisine would transport guests to the bustling streets of Vietnam, where rickshaws kick up dust and pho carts pump basil steam high into the sky.

Restaurant entrepreneur Frank Klein knew that even the best lemon grass pork or tamarind-topped rice noodles weren't enough to take them there. So, he called friend and musicologist Joel Selvin with a request.

'I want my restaurant to sound like a Saigon hooker's boombox,' he told Selvin, founder of San Francisco's The Selvin Collection, which helps restaurants source appropriate music. Selvin and Elliott Peltzman, director of the Selvin Collection, mined 250,000 songs to find the perfect mix of Asian sonic-experimentation, from Japanese garage rock and Cambodian pop to Burmese folk music, that mirrored Asian Box's culinary flavor."


"A grass-roots mission of mercy with a soundtrack" Patrick May at

"You can practically hear Bud Nemier's beautiful vinyl spinning all over Silicon Valley. The snap, crackle and pop of a vintage Sinatra LP. The heavenly hiss of Broadway show tunes. Emmylou Harris' sultry voice wedged deeply and literally into every groove.

For the past 10 years, the old records this South San Jose retiree has collected and cleaned up for resale have provided a glorious soundtrack to a grass-roots mission of mercy. The albums and 45s he and others have donated to the nonprofit Thrift Box secondhand shop in Willow Glen have raised tens of thousands of dollars to help pay for sometimes lifesaving health care for young patients at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto who otherwise could never afford it."



"Fat Angel, San Francisco: haven for beer lovers" Sarah Fritsche,

"With its easy-to-share American comfort fare and international list of small-production beers and wines, this nearly 2 1/2-year-old Fillmore district cafe is a primo spot for grabbing a pre- or post-show drink and nosh (Yoshi's, the Fillmore andSundance Kabuki cinema are all nearby).

Though the cafe bills itself as a wine bar, Fat Angel's true sweet spot is its brews. From crisp pilsners to smoked porters, the bar features a wide range, making it a haven for beer lovers."









More about Officer 444 a 1920s movie serial with our first Berkeley police chief, August Vollmer, playing himself.

This is a ten part cliff hanger with episodes lasting about twenty minutes. The first episode, The Flying Squadron can be viewed here,free. (Check out the nifty Flying Squadron shoulder patches.) The full ten episodes are available on DVD from Amazon for $19.95 plus shipping. Used copies are available on eBay Buy Now for $7.95 or best offer.

(Filmed in Berkeley, see if you can recognize the locations. I think some of the first episode scenes are in here west-Berkeley.)

Of the movie, critic Hans J. Wollstein writes at

"The popular silent screen action team of Ben Wilson and Neva Gerber star in this rare surviving serial, released in 10 chapters by Goodwill Pictures in 1926. Officer '444' (Wilson) and his comrade-in-arms, Officer Casey (Jack Mower), go up against The Frog, an apparently disfigured master criminal out to steal the formula for Haverlyite, a secret and deadly gas invented by James J. Haverly (Arthur Bickel). The latter is killed along the way and his young heir (Phil Ford) disappears with the formula. Aided by The Vulture (Ruth Royce), The Frog will leave no stone unturned to get his hands on the secret ingredients but he is at all times opposed by Officer '444' and his legendary boss, Berkeley Police Chief August Vollmer, who use the latest in police detection to track him down. There are sundry other interested parties lurking about, including the obviously disguised figure of "Professor Kalium," who heads The Amalgamated Society of Scientists; the mysterious and sinister Dr. Blakley (Al Ferguson; Dago Frank (Frank Baker), another associate of The Frog; and Snoopy (Harry McDonald), a newspaperman who, a title proclaims, "didn't know what the word 'news' meant as he left school before they came to the 'Ns'." Officer 444 was the last of nine serials to star Ben Wilson and Neva Gerber, the latter a Chicago socialite. A tenth chapterplay, the talkie The Voice From the Sky (1930), has been rumored to exist but may actually never have been made.

Directed by Francis Ford, the older brother of John Ford, and produced by its star, Ben Wilson, Officer 444 is a great deal better than its tattered reputation. Although seemingly made up as the filmmakers went along, this action serial has everything a silent melodrama should have: a dashing hero, a beautiful and intrepid heroine, a bumbling sidekick, a femme fatale and a mystery master villain. The latter, complete with hideous glass eye and hunchback, is in the fine tradition of Lon Chaney and the actor behind the disguise -- whose identity shall remain a secret -- actually manages to give this legendary star a run for his money. And if all that weren't enough -- and it certainly ought to be! -- Officer 444 also features a Keystone Kop-like police force and a guest appearance by a true legend of American crime detecting, August Vollmer, the real-life Berkeley, California, Chief of Police from 1909-1932. Granted, Mr. Vollmer's scenes appear to have been filmed in one brief session but his presence added to the serial's topicality in 1926. The action is plentiful -- and as absurd as one has come to expect from such fare -- and if the fisticuffs aren't quite up to par with more polished later donnybrooks, well, they certainly are plentiful." (underlining mine)


Understand that as a kid I looked forward to the Saturday afternoon movie matinee at the Fern, a local theater that charged 10 to 25 cents for an afternoon of westerns, cartoons and cliffhangers.


















"Tiny apartments in S.F. worth a try" opines the Chronicle at

"San Francisco's lopsided housing market - sky-high rents and an invasion of young workers - has experts thinking: Why not drop the minimum size of new apartments to the equivalent of a one-car garage?

It's an idea worth exploring and encouraging, but the results will hinge on the appeal and convenience of the finished product. Financing, the job market and even housing politics could all play a role in a helping or hurting a promising idea.

Initial designs feature a foldaway bed, galley kitchen and bench seats along a window for a grand total of 220 square feet, below the city minimum of 290 square feet. In theory, there's a ready market since 41 percent of the city's residents live alone.

Putting more apartments into the same building space could lower costs and possibly rents or sales prices. As new construction, the mini-me apartments would be exempt from rent control. The snug quarters might take pressure off existing multi-bedroom housing that families and couples now compete for.

The city is already nipping at conventional housing rules via building loft apartments in industrial areas and dropping parking requirements. The next frontier could be super-small apartments for singles or very well-adjusted couples looking to live inside an Ikea catalog."


"Micro-apartments next for S.F.?" writes Carolyn Said about Patrick Kennedy's proposed project at

"Are itty-bitty apartments the next wave for urban dwellers in San Francisco?

The city is considering shrinking the minimum size of rental units, prompted by a demographic shift toward one-person households along with rising rents and an acute housing shortage.

'This seems like a logical, necessary response to housing in an extremely high-cost market like San Francisco,' said Tim Colen, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, a largely developer-backed nonprofit that is 'solidly behind' cutting the size of the smallest allowable apartment by about a third."


I had breakfast with Patrick this morning at 900 GRAYSON. The man' s timing continues to amaze! I cannot fault his project, though I am skeptical of an economy that makes it timely. Still, his plan and what I believe to be his quality, will assure a project that will successfully, and with style, fill a need.


"Berkeley makes tourism push" Carolyn Jones at

"The mission bells of Sonoma, the sea otters ofMonterey ... the snacks of Berkeley?

Berkeley is moving to promote itself as one of the Bay Area's top tourist draws, a lively, eclecticcollege town with endless choices for food and culture just a short BART ride from San Francisco.

'People finally realize Berkeley is changing,' saidBarbara Hillman, head of the city's visitors bureau. 'It's becoming a culinary and cultural destination, with a very European feel, and we want to make sure people know that.' "

Would Patrick's mini-apartments work in downtown Berkeley? Probably.





"Archstone Starts Construction on New Community in Bay Area"

"Berkeley, Calif., apartment community to feature 94 apartment homes, easy access to thousands of job.s
 The 94-unit apartment community, Archstone Berkeley on Addison, will be located at the corner of Third and Addison, just blocks from the Berkeley Marina and the San Francisco Bay. The apartment community's location offers easy access to a vast array of professional jobs, shopping destinations, dining options and public transportation."                                   














"Pentagon warns that US faces IED threat at home" at

"The roadside bombs (improvised explosive devices) so deadly to US troops in Afghanistan are also being deployed against Americans at home, as the Pentagon adapts wartime strategies to help counter the threat."



"U.S. economic fears shift from Europe toward 'fiscal cliff'" Michael A. Fletcher and Zachary A. Goldfarb at

"The main threat to the economy is shifting from what others may do to us to what we are doing to ourselves.
For much of the year, economists worried about the impact of the slowdown in Europe on the U.S. economy. Now, analysts say anxiety about the impact of the fast-approaching fiscal cliff - the series of federal spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect at the beginning of 2013 if Congress and the Obama administration do not act - is displacing Europe as the primary threat to the nation's sputtering economy.

Morgan Stanley said this week that concerns about the fiscal cliff are reaching new heights across a wide range of industries. It is already seeing reductions in business orders and hiring, among other areas."




"Investors brace for weak tech earnings"

"Tech investors are bracing for a wave of weak earnings reports this month, thanks to a shaky global economy and a continued slowdown in demand for personal computers, corporate data center gear and even software.

Several chipmakers and component suppliers have already signaled that their spring quarter financials were worse than expected. Analysts say that's a worrisome sign as a host of other tech companies -- including Silicon Valley's Intel, Google, Apple and Facebook, as well as IBM and Microsoft -- prepare to announce quarterly results this month.

'Weakness is broad and is spreading in tech land,' Ambrish Srivastava, a financial analyst at BMO Capital Markets, warned in a report on recent negative indicators from chipmakers who supply components for PCs, servers and other computing hardware."


"Surveys Give Big Investors an Early View From Analysts" at

"They are supposed to be among Wall Street's most closely guarded secrets: changes in research analysts' views, up or down, of a company's prospects. But some of the nation's biggest brokerage firms appear to be giving a handful of top hedge funds an early peek at these sentiments - allowing them to trade on the information before other investors get the word."




"White House report provides roadmap for revitalizing U.S. manufacturing" by Sarah Yang, is a press release from UC Media Relations.

"The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a new report today (Tuesday, July 17) that provides a roadmap for revitalizing the U.S. manufacturing industry, and thereby spur the creation of much-needed jobs.

he PCAST report is a product of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee, whose membership includes leading manufacturing experts from industry and six universities, including the University of California, Berkeley."



"State to reimburse UC $30 million for Berkeley Lab research facility construction" Klaire Tan at

"Berkeley Lab's supercomputing facility moves forward, despite environmental concerns Berkeley lab to receive almost $14 million in Department of Energy grants UC Berkeley to compete for energy research grant

The state of California will refund $30 million to the UC for the construction of a new UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory solar energy research facility."













a reader emails

Saturday, July 28 11:00 am 

Walking Tour with Berkeley Historian, Richard Schwartz

"A Berkeley Magical History Tour" Ocean View Part 2

After the wonderful turnout to our initial West Berkeley Walking Tour and continued demand for more, we are scheduling a continuation tour, "West Berkeley's University Avenue and San Pablo Walking Tour."

Learn about Berkeley's first fire house, first jail, the amazing general store and Bay Area horse racing attractions in West Berkeley, Berkeley's first City Hall in the West end area, the area's first school in the 1850s, the history of San Pablo Ave. from early Spanish times and before and much more. You will never see the area in the same way again after this tour rehydrates the old worlds, people, buildings, and events. You will be transported to an earlier time and we believe part of you will stay there! Join the excited repeat tour-takers to Richard Schwartz's "Magical History Tour".

$10 Tour Charge, RSVP 510-845-6874

On Tuesday in Sacramento, there was a public tour of a model of Patrck Kenndey's proposed mini-unit.


And on my bike ride around Potter Creek yesterday morning I found delivery trucks of all shapes and sizes aplenty, business parking lots filled to the brim, more than a few commercial remodels, some new building, and at the finish a 900 GRAYSON packed to overflowing.




Wendy Tokuda, a Bay Area news-caster-journalist, is a bonafide Bay Area personality and yet her lasting importance may come from her Students Rising Above, success through education.

"Students Rising Above invests in low-income, first generation college students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and strength of character in overcoming tremendous odds of poverty, homelessness, and neglect. We help each student to realize his or her potential by guiding and supporting them through college graduation, and into the workforce. Our graduates are breaking the cycle of poverty within their own families, serving their communities, providing a new generation of employees and leaders from diverse backgrounds, and accelerating positive change. The SRA Community is dedicated to impacting the future through the cultivation of extraordinary youth."

In this time of quicky reads, her site is worth savoring.





"SFPD horse rides off into the sunset" Kevin Fagan, at

"Riddler happily drooled his carrot munchings Wednesday all over the sidewalk near Union Square, which usually is not becoming behavior for a working member of the San Francisco Police Department.

But he was entitled, agreed those watching the drooling.

Riddler, a mounted-police horse, was enjoying his last day on the job. Immediately after the drooling and some heartfelt odes from his human workmates, he was whisked off to retirement at a 40-acre pasture in Sonoma County. That's where he will live out the rest of his days, gamboling saddle-less in the grass."

Yet once again, a favorite paragraph of mine.

Uncle Don -- An Appreciation

In a time when tall men were 5'10" my Uncle don was over six-feet. My Mom's oldest brother, Uncle John was a Milwaukee policeman. But not just any policeman, he was a member of the Mounted Patrol--horse mounted police used downtown for traffic control. (Uncle Don had learned how to handle horses working for my Grandpa delivering ice and coal in horse-drawn wagons.) But that evening during the Christmas rush, when my Mom took me shopping with her at Gimbel's, I didn't know that he was in the Mounted Patrol. Gimbel's was on the busiest corner Downtown, and that night, a corner so filled with people that as a small boy all I could see were shoes, legs, pants, and skirts. My Mom pulled me through the crowd as we crossed the street, and as we reached the opposite curb, a dark figure appeared towering above not only those shoes, legs, pants, and skirts, but above all the people they belonged to. In a huge Great Coat, there was a man who seemed to be a policeman sitting atop a big brown horse. I stood there in awe. We stopped at the side of the horse and its rider, and my Mom asked "Do you know who this is"? Looking up not at all sure, I struggled for an answer. Uncle John was big and was a policeman. Yet at first, no matter how hard I looked, all I saw was the big coat and the dark horse. But slowly the face above the coat became familiar. "It's Uncle Don" I said with some relief. I don't remember if he said hello, but I know he said that it was all right to touch his horse. After he and my Mom talked a little, we left --a lot of other kids, moms and dads wanted to pet his horse, too. Uncle Don moved to California some years later and I didn't see him for a long time. Then, one Summer afternoon as my cousin MaryAnn and I were sitting on our front steps, a tall man in a raincoat came up to the front of our house and asked. "Do you know who I am?" "You're my Uncle Don" I said.




"Yelp reviews: Can you trust them? Some firms game the system" at

"Judging from recent reviews on Yelp, the Center for Counseling, Recovery & Growth was the place to go to turn your life around.

The Torrance center racked up 14 coveted five-star ratings on the popular review site for its 'warm and friendly therapists' and 'beautiful offices.' Many of the testimonials made similar points, sometimes in nearly identical language.

That was no coincidence. Acting on a tip, Yelp uncovered what it dubbed a 'review-swapping ring' composed of members of a South Bay business networking group. Yelp said it was a coordinated effort by members to boost their ratings by posting glowing reviews about one another's businesses."









builder, Patrick Kennedy and staff

lunch, 900 GRAYSON Wednesday






7/14/12 8:40 AM--irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse. 10:10 AM--irritant in front room, mucus membrane irritation, nausea, over rides HEPA filter.

7/15/12---irritant in front room, dry dirty air, mucus membrane irritation, light head. 9:09 AM---irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse., dry dirty air, light head. 9:27 AM--irritant in front room, dry dirty air, mucus membrane irritation, light head, overrides two HEPA filters. 11:20 AM--irritant in warehouse front, STRONG "hot metal" odor.

7/16/12--12:28 PM--irritant in warehouse front, STRONG "hot metal" odor.

7/17/12--7:36 AM--STRONG rritant in front room, burning dry dirty air, mucus membrane irritation, burning watery eyes, overrides three HEPA filters. 7:57 AM--similar. 7:19 PM--irritant in warehouse front,"hot asbestos" odor.

7/18/12--11:32 AM-- rritant in front room, dry dirty air, mucus membrane irritation.

7/19/12--7:37 AM--STRONG rritant in front room, burning dry dirty air, mucus membrane irritation, watery eyes, light head.







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.