February 2006

Black History Month

Deep Winter Sunset in Old Potter Creek by Rick Auerbach [copyright]




Want to buy an original Auerbach? He has originals for sale--email him.


Has creative California Cuisine run its course with chefs now rediscovering the-ordinary at art-food prices. Fish 'n Chips at $16.00 and Burgers for $12.00? "Honey, there's only so much art you can put into fried-ground-meat on a bun."


Wednesday morning around 9:00 AM there was another front-ender at the intersection of 8th and Pardee. Both autos were seriously damaged and this time one vehicle came with a few feet of the building on the intersection's north-west corner. (Some years ago after colliding, a Ford van flipped over and skidded well into a space where now there is a building.) This is a DANGEROUS INTERSECTION--possibly the most dangerous in Potter Creek. In my 34 years here there have been many, many accidents at that corner. North-South traffic moves fast thru the intersection and is not seen by the East-West drivers even though they have a Stop sign. Put stop signs at the intersection for North-South traffic or put up with more accidents.


As I reported over a year ago, Affordable Housing Associates is building at 9th and Ashby.


Zelda I'm told, has taken Skip Nesker's advice and, not happy with the news, is making some of her own.


Now that our neighborhood is growing up maybe it's time for a real Neighborhood Association. You know--one with all different kinds of people, elected officers, regular meetings in daylight hours, dues, even a lawyer. Or we can continue as "victims." Or, . . . we could reminisce about the Good Old Days, the meth labs, gunfire in the street, drug houses.




"Guardian angels help out disabled kids" writes Martin Snapp of the West County Times. "I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS, and this one is about as happy as it gets. Remember when some thieves broke into a warehouse in Berkeley in December and cleaned out the Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program, which provides recreation activities for disabled kids? They took everything -- the tandem bicycles that blind children rode with sighted partners, the three-wheeled bikes for children with cerebral palsy or brain injuries, the handcycles for children who have lost the use of their legs. They even stole the spare tires and hand pumps."



Pete's Potter Creek rainfall totals.

1/28/06 to AM 1/29/05--.7." 1/30/06 to AM 1/31/06--.4." 2/1/06 to AM 2/2/06--.3."

January 1-31, 2004--4.6." January 1-31, 2005--7.4." January 1-31, 2006--4.5."

January 1 to December 31, 2004--24.95." January 1 to December 3, 2005--38.6."


Pete's Uke shop



A week or so ago I saw Regan's plans for Lipofsky's new building--IMPRESSIVE, though his usual elegance is cluttered up a bit with "corrugated-tin-siding."


"Forclosures rise in the state' reports James Temple in the West County Times. "Lower appreciation rates pushed up California forclosure activity in the fourth quarter, . . . Lending institutions sent 14,999 default notices to state homeowners, up 19 percent from the third quarter and 15.6 percent from the compatible period of 2004."


"Watchdog Group Will Sue Pacific Steel" writes Suzanne La Barre in the Daily Planet
"A clean-air watchdog group is threatening to sue Pacific Steel Casting, if the West Berkeley foundry fails to permanently eradicate foul odor emissions within 30 days."


Their detractors maintain Norheim and Yost control the west-Berkeley real-estate market, and so are largely responsible for its development. Well, to control it they would have to have a monopoly in it, which they don't. But they do have a dominant presence--witness all those signs. And they certainly influence its character by their "selection of buyers and tenants." And probably have a significant effect on rents and property values--upward. But control it? Naw, . . . not now.





"State bills aim to control scope of eminent domain" report Bonita Brewer and Scott Marshall of the West County Times. "In June, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled government has the right to seize homes to make way for private redevelopment, it set off fear in the hearts of homeowners and lawmakers alike."


"Youth culture in cross hairs--Orinda author examines how guns affect the young" writes Jackie Burrell of the West County Times. "Guns and violence permeate American pop culture. They're in song lyrics, on the silver screen and the small screen, too -- to such a degree that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average American kid will have watched 200,000 acts of violence on TV before he or she turns 18. But there's a gap in all the hand-wringing discussion of violent video games, rap lyrics and firearms protection, says Orinda author S. Beth Atkin."


Pepperidge Farms Orange Milano or Mint Milano cookies are at The Canned Food Store for one dollar and change.




Of Norheim and Yost Anthy Victor emails

The detractors of Norheim and Yost....should be thankful [for them] and what they have done for West Berkeley....and should [remember] what this area is about.  It's not [just] residential ... if people want [just] residential.... [there's] farmland where they can have space and enjoy cows and sheep and THEIR smells.





On 2/3/06 I posted "Zelda I'm told, has taken Skip Nesker's advice and, not happy with the news, is making some of her own."

Today, Z made the front page of the West County Times, West County Section. Check her out in Martin Snapp's "Berkeley kicked off Black History Month observations with a free event, 'Community + History: Frances Albrier and Social Change in South Berkeley,' on Saturday. Residents were invited to share their memories of civil rights pioneer Frances Albrier and others who worked for social justice in Berkeley from the 1930s to the 1960s."

Just what's Zelda B up to?


Today's Da Boss's Sixtieth-Something Birthday.



And then Zelda asks "Is Berkeley on the Verge of a Civic Identity Crisis?

"Last week I went out to the Legion of Honor to see the show 'After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.' The exhibit pairs archival pictures of a devastated San Francisco with shots of today's city taken from the same viewpoints. As I contemplated the stunning contrasts between the ruined townscape and the reconstructed one, I began to think about the different ways we perceive radical urban change. "



"South Berkeley Residents Gather In Honor of Berkeley Pioneer" writes J. Douglas Allen-Taylor. "Some stories are impossible to write as an objective reporter. On Saturday afternoon, South Berkeley historian Donna Graves spoke to an assembled crowd at the Frances Albrier Community Center on the grounds of San Pablo Park about the life history of the Berkeley pioneer African-American woman for whom the center was named."



Barbara emails this wonderfully self-serving "Every time I read your [posts] about the food prices around here, I feel better about my husband's Café Zeste with their . . . $5.00 hamburger and $5.75 pesto quesadilla. It would be hard to spend much more than $10.00 on lunch at Zeste unless you had Ruben's catfish filets with basmati rice and vegies. I don't understand how anyone can afford to eat lunch out at those dinner prices! . . . Thanks for providing all the wonderful Auerbach photos--he really does an exceptional job."

I'm going to lunch at Zeste next week.


Meyer Lemon, Cream and Vodka Linguine

Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt
1 shallot minced
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 C vodka
3 T Meyer lemon juice
2 C cream
1# fresh linguine or fettucini
1 T capers drained
salt and white pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until limp and slightly brown, add vodka and reduce to half. add lemon juice and cream. Cook over low heat until the cream begins to thicken and bubble 3 to 5 min. keep an eye on it and stir occasionally
Add capers and stir to incorporate.
Meanwhile add fresh pasta to pot of boiling, salted water and cook to al dente about 3 or 4 min for fresh pasta. You can use dried pasta, just remember to cook it longer
Drain pasta and immediately pour pasta into skillet of sauce stirring carefully to cover pasta with sauce
Add salt and pepper and serve, you can toss finely chopped parsley on top if desired
Note: if cream sauce becomes too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of the pasta water to thin it down, stir to incorporate.




Karl Triest has been an owner of Berkeley Honda-Yamaha for decades--this in a field where business-life can be VERY short. "We know our product and customers trust us is why" said Karl. As a decades old customer, I agree. There phone is (510) 525-5525. BERKELEY HONDA-YAMAHA, 735 Gilman St, Berkeley, CA 94710 has been a Berkeley business since the '70s. And, Karl works his a## off.



"Police face firefighters on the court" writes Martin Snapp in the Times. "Berkeley's Bravest will take on Berkeley's Finest on Feb. 16 when hoopsters from the Fire Department and Police Department go five-on-five at the third annual Charity Basketball Game. The game will be held at Berkeley High School's Donahue Gym, at the corner of Milvia and Kittredge. Tip-off time is 7:30 p.m. Half of the proceeds will go to city youth programs. The other half will help establish two scholarships for Berkeley High students who want to pursue careers in public safety. Tickets are $5 for the general public and $2 for Berkeley High students with student ID. The tickets can be bought on the night of the game at the Berkeley High ticket window, or in advance at the Public Safety Building, 1st floor, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.For more information, call 510-981-5506."






"Walnut Creek worth emulating" reports Theresa Harrington of the West County Times. " Like the belle of the ball, Walnut Creek is the envy of others who want to emulate the city's urban core to make their own downtowns more attractive.'It's the gold standard for the East Bay,' said Hercules Community Development Director Steve Lawton. 'It's the reference mode. When residents in Hercules describe what they want, they say Walnut Creek.' Officials from cities as small as Hercules, with a population of about 23,000, up to 112,000 in the town of Cary, N.C., and 2.6 million in Huzhou, China, are eyeing Walnut Creek as a model they can learn from."

Sources say we are soon to loose one of our oldest and most prestigious auto dealerships AND a lot of tax revenue!



Bay Area Air Quality has sent out a Public Notice that there has been a permit application by Verizon Wireless for an emergency diesel generator at 1000 Heinz. There is a 30 day period for public response. Contact reave@baaqmd.gov

"Hundreds remember activist Jean Siri, pioneering East Bay environmentalist" reports Alan Lopez of the West County Times. "The release of several dozen orange and black monarch butterflies at a Point Richmond park concluded a two-hour tribute to pioneering environmentalist and activist Jean Siri on Friday. "The memorial event held in a white tent under a blue sky drew more than 350 people, many of whom remembered Siri as an activist and community leader committed to a number of environmental and social justice causes. The event was held at the Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline Park."


And of course, in Potter Creek we continue to cement over our Mother's Face.

Sarah emails

There will be a meeting of the Design Review Committee this Thursday night, February 16th, at 7:30, at North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue. . . . This is in regards to the proposed development next door to my house at 2828 8th Street. Architect, Jim Fenske is proposing a 3 story structure, next to our single story . . . . Many of us are concerned with this type of mega-development next to our small houses. PLEASE attend this meeting. For those of you who did not attend the DR for the project next to Richard's, it looks like it will sail through with only minor changes. (A roofline change and a materials change for the building itself).



Last week at my guerrilla cafe I made peppers and eggs served with fresh bagels and coffee for one of our leading citizens. Having previously agreed that ALL social and political problems are unsolvable, we talked about music.

Those tasty pommes frites that Kimar and I had at the Santa Fe Bistro are now being served by Ruben at Café Zeste. And soon they should have some live music.



"Man testifies against friend in shooting case" writes Guy Ashley of the West County Times. "The case of two men accused in the shooting death of a Dartmouth College student in Berkeley last summer took a stunning turn Thursday when one of the men admitted he drove the getaway car and fingered the other for firing the fatal shot. Christopher Wilson, 21, entered a surprise no-contest plea to a charge of accessory to murder in the July 17 shooting of Meleia Willis-Starbuck near UC Berkeley."

"Shooter of college student ordered to stand trial" reports Guy Ashley. "A judge Friday ordered a 21-year-old Hayward man to stand trial on a murder charge stemming from the fatal shooting last July of a Dartmouth College student near UC Berkeley. Christopher Hollis, who fired the bullet that struck and killed his longtime friend, 19-year-old Meleia Willis-Starbuck, has claimed the shooting was accidental."




Morgan suggests THAT ALL COMMENTS on the proposed structure next to 2830 8th Street (Byron, Milo and Sarah's) be written down and sent to Anne Burns at Berkeley Planning and Development.


Over the weekend a portable generator was stolen from Kruse's yard.


We cleaned the HEPA Filters yesterday afternoon. After two weeks, as usual, the carbon-fiber prefilters were caked with dust but this time with a salmon-pink variety. Could the tin welding-sheds that the workers raised last week have exposed decades of rusted-metal dust?


Another food joke? A barbecue restaurant that gets a lot of things right except the meat--not even. "Like the barbecue, most sides were flawed" writes The Chronicle's Michael Bauer in "T-Rex, Still Evolving." Why is their still-evolving spareribs priced at $16.00. As I remember no one paid top-price to hear Bonnie Hampton play her cello while she was still evolving.

(These "guys" also own Sea Salt, my "review" of which began "The best thing about Sea Salt is the sea salt.")


Read about our Ameoba Records, an evolved Berkeley business. It's in the February Business Week.


"Edna Lewis, who helped launch a revival of Southern regional cooking with her four books, particularly 'The Taste of Country Cooking,' died Monday" reports Mary Rourke of the Los Angeles Times in the West County Times.





There will be a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, at 6:30 pm at Sarah's--2830 Eighth Street--to discuss a position for Thursday night's Design Review Committee meeting.


"'It's pretty clear that we as a City Council got out in front of the community. I'm sorry. I think it was a mistake,' said Mayor Tom Bates to a crowd gathered in a church meeting room Saturday morning" reports Richard Brenneman of Our Planet. Read more here.


And more from the Planet with "More Condominiums Will Raise More Tax Dollars" by Michael St John.


It's Valentine Day. Check out all those couples leaving Good Vibrations with their brown paper bags.





Arkansas Okra and Tomatoes

serves 4

1/2 cup finely chopped sweet white onion
2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
2 c chopped fresh okra (always try to get the small ones - they are not
as fibrous or tough)
3 med tomatoes, peeled and chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Saute the onion in the grease over med heat until softened. Add okra and
tomatoes with all their juice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15
minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer, covered, for 5
minutes more.

This is especially good with corn bread.




"Berkeley mayor eyes second term" reports Martin Snapp of the West County Times. "Vowing to create an after-school program for every child in Berkeley, Mayor Tom Bates announced his candidacy for re-election in November during a speech Tuesday morning to supporters on the front steps of the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Building." The sentimental old softy announced on Valentine Day.

It's my understanding that after-school care is already available through a Federal program that is free to those who qualify.

It's also my understanding that the Mayor's office is real busy keeping up with almost daily requests for stuff under the Freedom of Information Act. I'm told that this keeps one staff member busy most of the days.




At their last night's meeting the Design Review Commitee approved Jim Novesel's project next to Richard's place BUT told Fenske et al to rethink their 8th Street project next to Sarah's from the beginning, starting with talks with Ms Sarah.


Zelda Bronstein's five-minute film about Berkeley manufacturers, Made in Berkeley, will premiere Sunday, February 26th to an invitation audience. Five minutes for manufacturing in Berkeley? I knew business was leaving Berkeley, but now you can cover our remaining manufacturers in five minutes? Darn!


"Emissions analysis to be final mid-May" writes Martin Snapp of the West County Times. "The controversy over emissions from the Pacific Steel Casting foundry in West Berkeley had another airing at a public forum Wednesday night at the West Berkeley Senior Center."

Get a grip girls. Kimar and I smelled thoses emissions during lunch at Café Zeste. And they're on Addison and Bonar--way, way uptown.

Oh yeah, 300 members of the Glass Blowers Union were present. But it's a steel foundry--after years of breathing all that shit did these guys mistakenly join the wrong union?


"Landmarks edict divides residents" reports Martin Snapp in the West County Times. "To Michael Brodsky, owner of the Berkeley Tile Shop in West Berkeley, the city's 32-year-old Landmark Preservation Ordinance is 'the last refuge of a small number of people who couldn't get what they want through democracy.' Brodsky, whose family has owned the store since 1970, says his attempt to expand his warehouse was thwarted by a disgruntled neighbor who tied up his project in appeals to the Landmarks Commission, delaying construction by nine months and costing him $150,000."

Frankly, we do have quite a few structures of merit in Potter Creek. In addition to Auerbach, there's Lipofsky and Martin and of course Don "Donny Bob" Yost.


"Home sales hit five-year low" writes James Temple of the Times. "Bay Area home sales tumbled to the lowest level in five years last month, as the recently blistering market continued to cool. But the latest snapshot of the local housing market did little to quell the debate over whether this is a temporary slowdown or indicates a broader correction."


Meredith May returns to the Chron with "4 linked to sex ring admit guilt--The leaders of an underground network that transported women from Asia to the South Bay to work as massage parlor prostitutes pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal conspiracy and money laundering charges. "


"CHP officer shot and killed on Highway 99" reports the San Francisco Chronicle. "A California Highway Patrol officer was shot and killed early this morning during a traffic stop on Highway 99 near Hammett Road."






Jimi Hendrix

by Tony Almeida

Rock music is a music of youth, and the late 1960s was its coming of age. Like it or hate it, you couldn't ignore it. Jimi Hendrix, a guitarist, performer, and songwriter of the late '60s was the most influential rock artist of the era.

He began his career with jobs in rhythm and blues bands, playing behind, among others, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, and the Isley Brothers. Later he lived in New York and played the clubs of Greenwich Village where he billed his group as Jimmy James and the Blue Flames.

At age 23, he left the U. S. for England to continue his career. There his new manager Chas Chandler had contacts, and informal auditions were held for a bassist and drummer to form the group, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitch Mitchell was chosen as drummer and the bassist chosen was Noel Redding. Jimi's guitar skills more than filled out the sound of the three-piece band. What's more, at this stage of his career, he knew the importance of putting on a show. The Beatles learned this in Hamburg, where club owner, Bruno Koschmider, required it of them. "The Big Show", he called it-"Make the Big Show".

And Jimi Hendrix could make plenty Big Show.

Jimi used his guitar as a prop, dancing with it, fondling it, playing it behind his head and with his teeth. He even burned his guitar at the conclusion of the Experience's first American performance, captured in the wonderful film by director, D.A. Pennebaker, Monterey Pop. Jimi's entire performance at Monterey has finally been released on LP (Reprise 25358-1) and the excitement has survived the years. The album opens with Howling Wolf's "Killing Floor". This blues metaphor for the lowest floor of the Chicago slaughter houses had never rocked so hard. Hendrix and the Experience lighten up considerably after this, but for that first song, Jimi Hendrix is playing for keeps.

Around the time Jimi's second hit, "Purple Haze", broke the top ten, London's Sunday Mirror asked Jimi about the suggestive movements of his act. He replied: "I think 'act' is maybe the wrong word. I play and move as I feel. It's no act. Perhaps it's sexy . . . but what music with a big beat isn't?" Listen to the introductory bars of "Purple Haze". Who had heard such rhythmic dissonance in a rock recording before this? "Purple Haze" was the first cut on the Experience's U.S. debut LP, Are You Experienced? (Reprise RS 6261), released August of 1967. A similarly titled LP had already been released in England on the Track label. However, the English version was only available in monaural and featured a somewhat different song selection. One of these songs, "Red House", was a blues that Jimi wrote and had been playing for sometime. Amazingly, it is about the only song that Rolling Stone magazine's Jon Landau, thought had any merit. In the big print of the magazine's first issue he says, "Dig it if you can, but as for me, I'd rather hear Jimi play the blues," and in hindsight it is apparent that almost all of Jimi's songs are strongly blues-influenced.

The U.S. LP came out on the Reprise label. Reprise records was an unusual amalgam of recording artists begun for Frank Sinatra after his dispute with Capitol. The original label is Reprise's tricolor "riverboat" label. The cover also differs from the U.K. release, the American version being more psychedelic. It was available in stereo-or at least what passed for stereo. Rock collectors speak of "true stereo". Are You Experienced? was in true stereo. However, this does not mean that a pair of microphones captured the sound of the band and the room they were playing in. It merely indicates that the stereo effect was not produced by electronically modifying a monaural recording. The practice of electronically processing stereo was still acceptable in some companies. Capitol's "Duophonic Stereo" processing of the Beach Boy Pet Sounds is just one example.

The remarkable aspect of the engineered sound of Are You Experienced? lies not in the stereo spread, but in the effects that Hendrix and engineer, Eddie Kramer, were able to achieve with Olympic Studio's 4-track facilities, and Jimi's electric sound sensibilities and guitar orchestrations. Musicians are still trying to figure out how he got all of the sounds on that record.

Guitarist Mike Bloomfield gives a glimpse of Jimi's experimentation in an interview from 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky. He and Hendrix were fooling around with their guitars backstage at a concert in Los Angeles. Bloomfield was concentrating on his playing when he started hearing strange sounds coming from Jimi's amp. "Here I am playing, hunched over and playing all these notes and there's this guy . . . tapping the back of the (guitar) neck and he's got his vibrato in his hand and he's moving the toggle switch . . . and it sounded like sirocco winds coming up from the desert."

After the opening cut, "Purple Haze", comes "Manic Depression". This is one of the more driving forward-moving songs that the Experience cut. It gives an indication of what it was that made the Experience so unique at the time. The changes in rhythm within the song were more complex than most previous rock recordings. It was easy to follow after a few listenings, but it kept on and keeps on surprising. The rhythm is emphasized at certain points through changing it slightly, and this shift in rhythm pleases and somehow makes the recording sound fresh at each listening. The next cut is "Hey Joe", which was the Experience's first hit in the U.K. This song and Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" from the Monterey album demonstrate another aspect of Jimi's appeal to a (mostly) white rock audience. Here was an ace rhythm and blues player who played and enjoyed and understood rock, folk-rock, and even abstract sound paintings. This in spite of the fact that one of the factors which contributed to the breakup of the Experience was Jimi's need to feel more accepted by other African Americans. Hendrix was the quintessential artist, needing to create according to his own muse, also needing to feel accepted by his society.

Who was the enigma Jimi Hendrix? Between the lines of his lyrics and the spacey interviews he gave, what were his thoughts? "When Six Was Nine" was on the soundtrack to the film, Easy Rider, and gave cryptic insights.

If all the hippies cut off all their hair-I don't care!
Ain't nobody know what I'm talkin' about.
I've got my own life to live.
I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die.
So let me live my life
the way I want to.

"When Six Was Nine" ended side one of the Experience's second LP-Axis: Bold As Love (Reprise RS 6281). This LP, released in the U.S. in January of 1968, was again on Reprise's tricolor label. However, since the company switched to a different label design around March 1968 this first edition is scarce. The U.K. release was again on the Track label and had noticeably different mixes on a couple of the selections. Axis: Bold As Love was widely available in stereo, but the mono run was very small and is rare.

The feeling of Axis: Bold As Love is mellower and moodier than Are You Experienced?. It has its rockers, but what attracted most people were the ballads, especially the wistful "Little Wing", with its Curtis Mayfield inspired guitar stylings, and "Castles Made of Sand". Despite the historical significance of Are You Experienced? and how right it sounded at the time, I find Axis: Bold As Love to be the record I come back to more often. Even the token Noel Redding song "She's So Fine", has a moving feeling to it, and Jimi and Mitch lend sympathetic support. In fact, Mitch's fine drumming is given more prominence than on the first LP.

How heavy was Mitch's drumming? In those innocent days of 1968, having the stage hands loudly nail down your drum kit before the show was a significantly ominous bit of show biz indeed.

The stereo spread of Axis: Bold As Love is an improvement over Are You Experienced?, but there is evidence that Hendrix wasn't altogether happy with his inability to control the final product. This was in part due to the pressure to release it during a time of constant touring. ". . . the scene of cutting it. They go by levels and all that. Some people don't have any imagination. See, when you cut a record, right before it's being printed, you know, when you cut the master, if you want a song where you have really deep sound, where you have depth and all this, you must almost remix it again right there at the cutting place. And nine-nine percent don't even do this. They just say, oh turn it up so this mixture doesn't go over or their mixture doesn't go under. And there it is, you know. It's nothing but one-dimensional."-interview recorded by "Meatball" Fulton, 1968.

The Experience's last album, Electric Ladyland (Reprise 2 RS 6307), was released in the U.S. in October 1968. The front cover has a beautiful photo of Jimi, but it is the cover released in England that received the most attention. The two disq set featured a gatefold cover photo of about 20 naked women. There was an immediate and (I'm sure not unexpected) negative response from the retailers, but what's worse is that the photo makes them all appear less attractive than was intended.

The sound of Electric Ladyland was more influenced by Jimi's then current state of mind and his increased control of production than by the previous two LPs. There is an experimental, searching sense in how unrelated the songs sound. Also, this is the first LP that featured other players sitting in on some cuts. Among others, Steve Winwood from Traffic played organ on "Voodoo Child" and Buddy Miles from Electric Flag played drums on "Rainy Day, Dream Away". Most of Electric Ladyland was recorded at New York's Record Plant with its 8-track facility. Jimi's pride and joy, his Electric Lady Studios would not open until mid-1970.

By now Jimi was getting tired of the limitations of a trio and wanted to expand the sound. "Music has to go places. We'll squeeze as much as we really feel out of a three-piece group, but things happen naturally . . ."-Jimi interviewed by Guitar Player Magazine, December 1968. In early July of 1969 bassist Noel Redding announced his plans to end his association with Hendrix. "The crux of the split, it appears, is that he was not consulted by Jimi over his plan to expand the group from a trio into a 'creative commune' which would include writers as well as more musicians."-Melody Maker, July 5 1969.

Jimi often spoke of the epic number of verses he had originally written for "Purple Haze", and how his manager Chas Chandler, had insisted on recording a tightly edited version. It would be interesting to hear that long version, but I think that the discipline Chas placed on Jimi was for the better at that time, because from Electric Ladyland until his death, Jimi was increasingly free from that outside discipline. He was certain to hit upon a formula that would have led his music to an even higher plateau, but wasn't there yet. And he was too far past the wild-man leader-of-the-Experience role to be happy or successful with that much longer. Electric Ladyland was a new beginning and the end of a segment of Jimi Hendrix's musical career.

Linger awhile with the last two songs of Electric Ladyland.

Listen as the stylus goes down on "All Along the Watchtower". Extra special attention was paid to the sound of this song. Although again Jimi was not in on the cutting of the album, "All Along the Watchtower" has the depth of sound that he felt was missing from Axis: Bold As Love. It was closer to Jimi's ideal: "I want to have stereo where it goes up and behind and underneath, you know. All you get now is just across and across."-"Meatball" Fulton interview 1968. Next comes the monumental "Voodoo Child (slight return)".

This was the last encore the warm autumn night I saw the Experience in 1969. Jack Casady, from the Jefferson Airplane, sat in on bass. The Oakland Arena management had turned on the lights in a futile attempt to keep the show from running further over schedule.

Hendrix sang:


I stand up next to a mountain,
and chop it down with the edge of my hand.


The house came down.

James Marshall Hendrix died September 18, 1970, three years and three months after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival.





Friday night sometime before 9:00 PM, someone attempted to steal a car from Hustead's by cutting through the fence with a chain saw. They were unsuccessful. However, last weekend thieves successfully stole a generator from Kruse by cutting off the gate-lock with a bolt-cutter.


The Home Cafe and Café Cacao are bumping along toward March re-openings. Cacao seems further ahead. Lets hope they become good restaurants both.




A dead-body was found in west-Berkeley just east of Potter Creek.

Gunfire claims life of Berkeley football player reports Shirley Dang of the West County Times. "The last day Rosie Washington saw her great-nephew Keith Stephens, he sat in the front pew of the 11 o'clock service at Liberty Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Berkeley. When the pastor asked who was in need of special prayer, Washington said, Stephens stepped up. After the service, he embraced Washington, his grandmother's sister. 'He kissed me on my cheek,' she said, tears welling up. 'I didn't know it was going to be the last time I saw him alive.' The 24-year-old was shot to death Sunday, according to the Alameda County Coroner's Office. Berkeley police officers found his body on the 1200 block of Carrison Street near San Pablo and Ashby avenues around 7:10 p.m., said Berkeley Police Department Lt. Daniel Lee. He did not give any information on a motive or suspects."


Sally was attacked and beaten during a robbery at her workplace. She believes that her continual and loud screams finally frightened off her attacker.


Some playground lunch-benches at Ecolé Bilingue were smashed apart over the weekend.


And, over the weekend, a truck window was smashed in the 2800 block of 8th Street.


If traffic on my website continues at the January and February rate it will reach one and one-half million by the end of the year.





Potter Creek really came together over the proposed-project next to Milo, Byron and Sarah's. It was more like a family here than a neighborhood. Oh yuck!

Pretty soon I'll aplogize for calling Auerbach The Rickster.


Heavy rain is coming in. For real weather information--not talking-head-hype--check out www.wunderground.com Included is real-time, storm-tracking, local radar.


"Being the Top Dog" by James Temple of the West County Times. Temple writes "After attending the Munich Olympics in 1972, Dick Riemann, his wife and several friends extended their European tour by cutting a southward line through Switzerland. Ten kilometers from the Italian border, Riemann pulled over for lunch at a luxury hotel. He ordered a small pizza, figuring he was close enough to Italy to expect a quality pie. Instead, it arrived cold, with tomato sauce straight from a can, bland cheese and a doughy crust. Riemann, the founder of renowned Berkeley sausage joint Top Dog, pushed it aside and refused to pay. Even after the manager followed him into the parking lot, screaming and gesturing, Riemann simply stepped into his van and turned left toward Italy. 'It's offensive to sell a piece of junk like that,' he said, 'and then not even stand responsible for it.'"

Is this a lesson for increasingly mindless, food-trendy Berkeley?


And then James Temple reports "The frank truth about Top Dog.Was President Nixon linked to Watergate? Did big tobacco know cigarettes were addictive? Was Sen. Joseph McCarthy exploiting anti-Communist hysteria? Following in the proud journalistic footsteps of Bob Woodward, Lowell Bergman and Edward R. Murrow, who dared to ask the big questions and refused to take 'no comment' for an answer, this reporter recently took on the weighty question of our own time and place: What is Top Dog's best hot dog?"


"Liberal Christians look to conservatives. At Berkeley theology school, evangelicals advise on using media" writes Joe Garofoli of the San Francisoc Chronicle. "Stewart Heller is that rare combination of gabby, Queens-accented TV awards show producer and cross-wearing seminary instructor. Perhaps it's an ideal pedigree for the mission he's taken on at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley: teaching liberal Christians how to use the media as effectively as conservative ones do."

Maybe it ain't the medium but the message?


Well, the welders at Advanced-Heli are almost completely moved-out. They've been good neighbors for over thirty-four years of a changing Potter Creek. I remember when they accidentally oversprayed Dottie's Olds 98-- they voluntarily paid for a respray, it looked like new, just like it did before. And over a decade ago, the always-friendly Boss-man rode around Potter Creek on his lightweight-bike. In those days people said hello.





From my Log

2/26/06-- ~9:00 AM, entire warehouse filled with irritant, headache, dizziness, continues off-and-on all AM. 12:40 PM, SERIOUS irritant in warehouse-front, nausea, headache, burning mouth, throat, eyes, use mask, 2:26 PM, same, use mask, continues off-and-on PM. 6:02 PM, irritant in front room, leave.


Seems der Vaterland won the Olympics.





Potter Creek Pete reports 1.3 inches of rain on February 26th through the morning of the 27th and 1.25 inches on February 27th through the morning of the 28th.


From Mayor Bates February report.

On February 7th, I delivered my third "State of the City" address to outline my top priorities for the City. I focused in particular on providing pre-school and after school programs, making Berkeley the first "zero greenhouse gas" city in the country, dealing with the influx of young homeless, investing in the City's infrastructure, preparing our neighborhoods for a disaster, and building a sustainable and strong economy.

For the first time since before I took office, the City is now projecting a balanced budget for the foreseeable future. This is a remarkable turnaround after working through the worst budget crisis in our City's history. We did it by cutting more than $20 million from our general fund, reducing our workforce by 10%, and reducing funding to programs and agencies throughout the City. Our employee unions also helped out by deferring cost of living increases and other steps that have helped us save millions of dollars. The economy and our revenue are still unstable so we need to continue our focus on improving the City's operations while also addressing some of our long-term challenges like rebuilding our aging infrastructure and adequately funding essential safety net programs.


"Ice rink to sell rather than upgrade cooling system" writes Rick Del Vecchio of the San Francisco Chronicle. "The owner of the venerable but aging Berkeley Iceland is offering to sell the rink for $6.45 million after deciding a new owner could better address a pricey city mandate to install new refrigeration equipment."


This morning, I picked up today's twice-a-week Berkeley Daily--a "particularly probing" issue-- to find page, after page, after page, after page, after page, after page of Bummers. I didn't even make it to the Funnies. ( . . . there is a great story about Chuck and son, and their photos.) Then, I sought out one of our Conservative business-men. In his office I was treated to his bright vision of an electric, solar world with cars of solar panels, houses completely electrified and solarized, and best of all PG&E buying back their consumers (our) excess power. I felt good enough to buy and enjoy a meatball sub--and have it with a little dry Spanish red.


One of west-Berkeley's leading citizens is getting married.




Our Black Walnut

I grew up in a town whose nickname was the Forest City. It was part of what's called the central hardwood forest, and having an abundance of water and near the juncture of several climate zones, had an amazing variety of the most beautiful and inspiring trees. And just 150 ft from our house was a grove where monarchs would rest on their migration south.

This is where I played as child, under the trees among the butterflies, until I was 10 when the grove was cut to
make room for more houses. As a young man I was called deeper into the world of trees and lived for several years in and on the edge of the wilderness forest in Vermont. One of my tasks there was to provide the wood for our heating and cooking. Every day I would hike (in winter on snowshoes pulling a tobaggan) along the ridges among
the deer, bear, moose, bobcat, and rumored catamount until I found the large skeleton of the once living
tree I was seeking, which I would then cut and haul back to our cabin.

It's hard to describe the feeling of majesty and grace and life of such a forest: in the unrestrained, cacophonous burst of spring or the deepest winter silence when the snowshoe hare freezes motionless before the whoosh of the great horned owl through the frosted branches. I came to believe that when we first open our eyes as infants,
the shade of green and shape of the leaves above us, the quality of light in the sky, the moisture or dryness of the air, all these and more are imprinted upon us as our deepest understanding of "home".

Wherever in our lives we roam upon the Earth, this is where we have come from, and body and our heart knows it.

When I first saw San Francisco I was in shock. From a distance I didn't see the beauty of its hills. To my Midwestern and Green Mountain eyes what appeared before me was a naked concrete landscape,
some form of baked urban desert. Since that long ago initial shock I have come to appreciate the beauty of the Bay, but my upbringing among the trees has always turned my eyes in their direction.

So when I went out yesterday, walking west down Grayson and across 8th, I was stopped dead, mid-street. What's going on? Why all this white sky? The balance, the comfortable agreement between the squares and rectangles of human making and the graceful curves and arcing arms of life seeking light and air was shattered. Truncated, literally.

I was as shocked as if I'd come home to find my house just wasn't there anymore. I stood in the street, my senses short circuiting, not able to move as a car went around me, all the while trying to comprehend what I wasn't seeing.

I couldn't believe how suddenly everything had changed. The landscape, the feeling of a whole block was irrevocably altered, and to my sinking heart, empty and impoverished in that moment.

Probably the oldest, surely the most beautiful, and possibly the wisest among us is for all intents and purposes, Gone.

With the crows and the robins, and above all, the squirrel, I grieve for our Black Walnut, witness to more
than we will ever know, long time companion, soother of spirits, ancient.

Rick Auerbach


Cameron Woo, one of the tree keepers emails

One tree consulting company pronounced the old "girl" black walnut dead, after the city cut back its roots to rebuild the sidewalk -- the tree never recovered from the shock. Another tree cutting company thought she
still had some life left in her, and recommended that we cut away all the dead branches and give her a chance to revive -- sure enough, you can see some new growth and green sprigs. It may be a shock to see it cut back so
severely, but Mrs. Squirrel and Mr. Crow still have a place to climb and land. Give her time, and she may regain her greenery.


A Richmond Ramblers Motorcycle Club reader emails, If Men Wrote the Advice Columns.


Q. My husband has too many nights out with the boys.

A. This is perfectly natural behavior and it should be encouraged. The man
is a hunter and he needs to prove his prowess with other men. A night
out chasing young girls is great stress relief and can foster a more
relaxing home. Remember, nothing can rekindle your relationship better
than the man being away for a day or two (it's a great time to clean
the house too!) Just look at how emotional and happy he is when he
returns to his stable home. The best thing to do when he returns home
is for you to perform oral sex on him. Then cook him a nice meal.


Q. My husband is uninterested in foreplay.

A. You are a bad person for bringing it up and should seek sensitivity
training. Foreplay to men is very stressful and time consuming. Sex
should be available to your husband on demand with no pesky foreplay.
What this means is that you do not love your man as much as you should;
He should never have to work to get you in the mood. Stop being so
selfish! Perhaps you can make it up to him by performing oral sex on
him and cooking him a nice meal.


Q. My husband always has an orgasm then rolls over and goes to sleep
without giving me one.

A. I'm not sure I understand the problem. Perhaps you've forgotten to cook
him a nice meal.





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