May 2004


Happy May 1st!


Today is May Day, read about Edmonton's Labor Arts Festival.

Then, remember 2004 is the Fortieth Anniversary of west-Berkeley's Albatross Pub. Go to the pub for a drink and you'll find out just why it is a Berkeley institution--or not.




On Tuesday, May 11th at 3:00 PM, there will be a community meeting at the new CEID School at 1035 Grayson. The meeting will address the problem of prostitution and related crime in Potter Creek. Present will be a representative from our Mayor's office, our Councilwoman, Margaret Breland or her representative, and Officer Warren of the BPD. Please attend. Perhaps this problem can now be solved, or more realistically just moved elsewhere.




It's Spring aw-right!



While hanging out at the Canned Food Store Saturday, I read the weekend edition of the Berkeley Daily P. The front page story is about the projected ten-million dollar Berkeley City budget deficit and on page thirteen there is a story about the City Planning Commision's Arts and Cultural proposal. Man, what are these folks are smokin'?

My favorite story about planning is the Soviet Union. They had a rigorously planned economy that went seriously out of business in 1991.

And, Helen Yoon, a young friend of mine, once said "The natural state of the Universe is entropy." She also said about music writing "It must be hard to put into words something you can appreciate only in complete silence."


Then, I wonder about this name the Berkeley Daily Planet. Though it does seem to be largley about Berkeley, it isn't daily and often is not of this planet. Probably something they teach you at business school "First of all, get a catchy name."




"The house, by Bay Area architect Regan Bice, is done in what Moreno calls 'contemporary Mexican' style, rectangular and modern, with high ceilings and rooms that open on to each other" reports Carolyne Zinko in her wonderful "A Day in the Life of . . . Rita Moreno." Regan has also designed and built in Potter Creek. See his elegant design for Susanne Hering and John Phillips building in People and Their Places. And check out the side elevation of his current project on 8th and Pardee. The elegant Bauhaus building across the street is also his. Contact Regan Bice at





There is a new cafe at Uncommon Grounds. Pablo of Cafe Valpariso at La Pena has opened a second location here. He is open in the morning for coffee, espresso drinks and Central American treats and lunch is served till 3:00 PM with home-cooked food of Central and South American. Check it out!





Today is Cinco De Mayo. Cinco De Mayo commemorates the defeat of the French army by the Mexicans
at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. For more information see
Cinco de Mayo History.


" [Meena Palaniappan's] group concluded last year that indoor air at some homes in West Oakland have five times higher levels of diesel particulates than homes elsewhere" writes Sandy Kleffman of the West County Times in "More Asthma Attacks in Bay Area Regions" This is thought to be the product of heavy truck traffic. What about delivery-truck-intensive Potter Creek?


I had lunch today at Cafe Valparaiso. It's the new cafe behind V & W Door and next to Uncommon Grounds. Lunch is served from 11:00 AM till 2:30 PM and features entrees from Peru, Chile, Brazil and Cuba. I had the Chilean Carne Mehada--casserole trip-tip, onion, red wine, tomatoes, and garlic with black beans and rice. It was hearty and tasteful, the beef tender, the sauce (gravy) flavorful and the black beans with just a hint of bay laurel--an artful touch. It was $6.50. At breakfast you can have fresh roasted and brewed Uncommon Grounds coffee-drinks and an empanada, or coffee and donuts. Cafe Valparaiso is located at 2813 7th Street at the back of the V &W lot and their phone is (510)-644-1569. Cafe Valparaiso is open from 7:00 AM until 3:00 PM Monday through Friday. And owner, Pablo and his staff are gentlemen. Check it out!


Also, check out Sportman's Guide's French military pleated chino pants, khaki. I've tried to wear out two pair--unsuccesssfully. They're new, tough, washable, loose cut, 100% cotton, and $7.97!





Here are a couple recorded-music recommendations from some of Potter Creek's songbirds. During the day I always play music in the warehouse and the birds outside often sing along. Here are their current favorites. They love the Brahms German Requiem as performed by Herbert Blomstedt and the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus (London 443 771-2 [c1995] ) and are particularly enthusiastic about the loud, large, choral movements. Generally, Mozart is a favorite and they now love his "Coronation Mass" in C, K. 317, again singing ecstatically along with the choruses. Their favorite performance seems to be that of Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony and Chorus-Philips 438 800-2 (c1993). And though I haven't recently played Stravinsky, they always sing along with his ballet scores-they specially love the Firebird.



The 932 Grayson Lemonade Stand was open again during our hot-days. Colleen and her friend, Maddy successfully sold lemonade and cookies. The Tippet guys and girls were big customers.


This is a review of the Loosen Bros German Reisling from the San Francisco Chronicle. "Very good. Hint of petrol and rubber over shy citrus nose; ripe lime, tangerine, peach, red apple and pear with light petrol on the palate, mouth watering and succulent; rich finish." And what have THESE folks been smokin'? Petrol and rubber over shy citrus nose?




Fast Eddie got his driver's license back--they shouldn't have taken it away in the first place, it seems. There is a water-main break on 8th between Grayson and Pardee. And the fire-hydrant is leaking at the corner of 8th and Grayson. (All this even after Jupiter went direct. Well, . . . some ephemeri show it direct tomorrow.)


Kimar's Tips

At Smart and Final you can find the Land 'O Frost one pound package of sliced deli meats including ham, turkey breast or chicken for $3.49. At Safeway and Andronico's they cost $5.49. Smart and Final also has Torani Italian Syrups for $3.99. They cost $6.49 at Andronico's. (The Land 'O Frost ham is slightly smoked, really thin cut and really delicious. And Mercury is now direct in all ephemeri.Ron)


Potter Creek's songbirds are enjoying Hilary Hahn's performance of the Bach E Major Partita today.





This morning's songbirds' favorite is "I've Got a Heart Filled with Love" by the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band--goodness, what varied taste.

Harvey-the-mailman has fully recovered from his mountain-bike racing accident. When his bike hit a pothole, he went over the handlebars and was medivaced to a Sacto area hospital. A guy riding behind him was an MD and gave first aid and called the medics.

The Canned Food Store has some new, first-line VHS tapes for $2.99. I bought Willie Nelson's "Honeysuckle Rose" and Dudley Moore's "Arthur."





"Imagine wearing point-blank body armor, an M-16 and all the power in the world, and the authority of God. That power is very addictive" quotes John Simerman is his on the ground story in the West County Times "East Bay Soldiers Back Up Rationale." And, my understanding is that the military chain-of-command is very simple and direct, the President is the Commander-in-Chief.



On Sunday, May 23 the École Bilingue is holding their annual La Place du Marché. Of last year's event, my neighbor observed "It was packed, wonderful, and reeeeally French!"


In keeping with our food theme, I've decided to make Diana Krall's "Peel Me a Grape" the official song of these pages. Then again, I do love Billie's "God Bless the Child." Of course, there's Nina's "My Baby Just Cares for Me?"or Louie's "What a Wondeful World." Hmmmm . . .





"Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks on War Strategy: U.S. May Be Winning Battles in Iraq but Losing the War, Some Officers Say" reports Thomas E. Rick of the Washington Post.




There was a community meeting yesterday afternoon at CEID dealing with the prostitution problem in Potter Creek. The meeting lasted two hours with between thirty and forty people in attendance-discussion was lively and frank. It was agreed that the problem has gotten worse especially on 10th Street, with increased activity and verbal confrontations. Members of both Ecole Bilingue and the Center for the Education of the Infant Deaf participated. Calvin Fong, our Mayor's representative and councilwoman Margaret Breland and Staff were also present, as was Officer S. Warren of Berkeley PD. Officer Warren stressed the importance of reporting ALL suspicious activity. Calvin Fong stressed community involvement. And, at Ms Breland's suggestion, a meeting was set for June 2, 6:30 PM at CEID to discuss Neighborhood Watch.


CEID is our new neighbor on Grayson Street.




CD (DVD) Rot is the deterioration of one the disc's laminated layers making playback difficult or impossible. Over a decade ago, after a phone interview with me, The Wall Street Journal became one of the first of the mainstream press to break the story--though their emphasis was more on CDROM. Archivists were leery from the beginning, as were some music-lovers. You can again read about the problem in the West County Times' story, "CDs,
DVDs Not So Immortal After All"
by Peter Svensson of the Associated Press.




Almost immediately after our last community meeting, I noticed an increased police presence in our neighborhood. My thanks to Berkeley PD, Ms. Breland, Mr. Fong, Ms. Warren, and, last but not least, Bob and Steve!

I believe Councilwoman Breland's Birthday is coming up soon.




Today is Cameroon National Day and Cuba Independence Day.




one of Peter's beautiful intruments






If you believe Berkeley Bowl's retail store should be here but smaller, sign the petition that Sarah's circulating. The petition can be found at her house. Sarah will present the petition to the City of Berkeley Planning Commission.



Potter Creek's songbirds are enjoying their favorite this morning, Stravinky's The Firebird. They prefer the Bernstein, New York Philharmonic performance to the Boulez.


My Gold Wing buddy, Clifford emailed "If raising children was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor" and "Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference."










Hybrid hype? Check out "Hybrids' Fuel Efficiency Falls Short of Claims"in the West County Times. It is a report of CBS Market Watch's Chris Pummer.

One view of the Internet's future can be seen in "Micropayments Making a Comeback" by the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Nasaw. It appears in this morning's West County Times.



Rick Auerbach's back and is playing in Potter Creek this Friday evening. Lest we forget that this is Berkeley still, I suggest you consider a recital by Shimshai and the Natural Mystiquensemble. They are performing Friday, May 28 from 9:00 PM till 12:30 AM at Studio Rasa, 933 Parker. Their music "fuses an eclectic blend of reggae, soul, and jazz, [and it] delivers solid grooves layered with angelic harmonies [and] spirited lyrics." It costs $8.00-$10.00.




1:00 PM today: There is a large police action on the west side of Aquatic Park.

Last Sunday night/Monday morning Byron's brownish-grey, 4-door, 1989 Honda Accord was stolen from in front of his house on 8th Street.




Remember, at our Councilwoman, Ms Breland's suggestion, a community meeting is set for June 2, 6:30 PM at CEID School to discuss Neighborhood Watch. The CEID School is at 1035 Grayson.




The neighborhood meeting will still be held at 6:30 PM this coming Wednesday, June 2nd. BUT, it will be at TIPPETT STUDIOS - 2741 10th St, NOT at CEID. Perhaps we should have an open agenda. Perhaps we should have an organization.












"It's a hawk" Mike said, and got up and walked to the edge of the my drive to get a better view of it in Kruse's fruit tree. As a sparrow flew up from the Ecole Bilingue drive, the hawk shot down, hit the bird in mid-flight and without slowing, carried the still fluttering little sparrow to lunch.





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