APRIL 2003



4/30/03 Tomorrow is A National Day of Prayer. As my friend Helen Schneider would say "Well, . . . it couldn't hurt."

For a story about Helen and her late husband Sandy, read "I Don't Know What Medved Learned" in "Back in the Day: Selling Records on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue."



Today is Netherlands Queen's Day

4/29/03 "Investigators Diverted to Protect EPA Chief" makes "interesting" and informative reading at MSNBC.COM.



4/28/03 This morning's West County Times offers "Toxic Fuel Traces Found in Some Grocery Lettuce" by Miguel Bustillo of the Los Angeles Times.

Peter Hurney just returned from New England where, in Maine, he had LOBSTER ROLLS.



4/27/03 Today is Sierra Leone Independence Day, South Africa Freedom Day, and Togo Independence Day



4/26/03 Today is Tanzania Union Day

Mike Taugher offers "The air quality district is told to find ways within two months to stamp out 26 tons of pollution a day." For more read "Bay Area Air Rules Judged Lax" in the West County Times.

Photos by Sarah Klise are now on The Potter Creek Billy Goat Page.

On Wednesday "Scrambled Eggs and Lox" received over 200 vistors -- a record.

Over a month a go a conversation with Jerry Victor moved from talk of his Dodge "Viper" to his explanation of Biodiesel. It sounds like good stuff.

Rick Auerbach is back in town.



4/25/03 Today is Australia and New Zealand ANZAC Day

David Snipper, a long time Potter Creek resident, observes of "Scrambled Eggs and Lox." "We frequently take our own surrounding for granted. We often go to work outside the neighborhood and only see it at night or on weekends. This morning for the first time, I took the time to go through and review your site. What an amazing collection of neighborhood history and information. Your long local residency plus your curiosity about what's going on in the Potter Creek area are very unique. What you've collected so far is not only valuable to those of us living here but is also a permanent record for future residents and a model for others living in their own distinct and unique neighborhoods. "

My friend Nick Despotopoulos stopped by yesterday afternoon. He brought some sandwiches from Fanny's and a bottle of French wine from Kermit Lynch. We ate, drank, and talked politics and business. I've known Nikos for over fifteen years and regularly buy stereo equipment from him -- he's provided me the best at reasonable prices. Just how good a salesman is Nick? I thank him for taking my money.

Read about a Berkeley "Open Mike Poetry Reading" in Meredith May's "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle.

For a perceptive, if fictional, account of Iraq at the end of the First Iraq War rent or buy the video/DVD of Three Kings.




4/24/03 "We're at a loss as to why there are people in the district who seem to think it's their job to protect the industry" is a quote from Mike Taugher's "Refinery Pollution Estimates Revised" in today's West County Times.

Tuesday afternoon I spent some time talking with one of my neighbors who makes his living recycling -- though on Tuesday he didn't have his shopping cart. I hadn't seen him since before Christmas and have missed our visits. It's always a pleasure to listen to him, for he's very bright, very verbal, and often very funny. "You know there's all kind of Christmas music" he offered -- I jumped in with "Back Door Santa?" He laughed and then he wove his variations on that theme and we laughed some more. We talked about "the girls" working San Pablo Ave and how during the day they pretty openly service in cars, on the streets among the businesses. As conversation turned to Iraq, we talked about the soldiers finding $650,000,000 sealed in a wall and wondered just what that trooper's reaction was when he figured out what he'd found. He talked about how he was tired from a hard Monday and indeed I remember seeing him struggle with an unbelievably enormous load in the wind in front of Fantasy. He mentioned that when collecting recyclable bottles in Oakland, he was warned by the police in no uncertain terms "If you drop and break one of those bottles, you clean it up! If some kid gets cut on it, you're responsible!" Then he pointed to the broken glass in the street in front of the warehouse -- the warehouse which is right across the street from the Ecole Bilingue playground.



4/23/03  Today is England  St. George's Day 

Today is William Shakespeare's Birthday. He was born in 1564.

There have been quite a few auto thefts in my neighborhood so far this April. For the details see crime report for Beat 15



4/22/03 Today is Earth Day

A 13 year old writes to Dear Abby "Please remind your adult readers to be more respectful of our planet. . . . All my life I've heard adults say stuff like, 'We will never let anything harm you.' But if grown-ups don't clean up their act, something will harm us. And it will be because of them."

The "white-eyes" development of America is seen by some akin to cementing over our Mother's face.

Nina Simone died in Paris yesterday. She was seventy years old.

Peter and Geralyn Hurney are new neighbors. Peter is an very interesting man and one of his interests are ukuleles -- he makes them in a shop right next to John Philips'. (Geralyn is also interesting.)





Some of the care Peter learned as a Rolls Royce mechanic can be seen in the clean beauty of his shop




4/21/03 After being diagnosed with work-related emphysema, an employee of one of Potter Creek's manufactures reacted "What's so frustrating is that I feel great and yet I know I have a life threatening disease."

Recently a friend and I were talking about the Day. A graduate of California School of Arts and Crafts, he joked "The art-glass students didn't need pot, they were stoned most of the the time on all that s#%t they breath."

Check out the New York Times report, "Iraqi Discloses WMD Details" at MSNBC.



4/19/03 Read about the Berkeley High Jazz Band in Meredith May's "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle.




Today is Zimbabwe National Day

The West County Times offers a small story "Glassmaker to Pay $200, 000 in Air Fines." "A glassmaker has agreed to pay $200,000 for numerous air quality violations discovered at its facility in the 1990s. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited Owens Brockway Container of Oakland . . . . Glass manufacturing processes produce particulate emissions from raw materials that vaporize during the melting process and then condense in the exhaust stack. . . . excess emissions of particulates . . .. can penetrate deep into lungs and cause respiratory problems, ranging from short term coughs and wheezing to serious diseases such as emphysema."

For a story on Potter Creek's Activspace read Rona Marech's "A Little Space: A New Berkeley Development is 21st Century Artists Colony" in this morning's San Francisco Chronicle.

goatsrus.com came to Potter Creek to trim the field at 8th and Heinz. For more goats, see The Potter Creek Billy Goat Page.




  4/17/03 Today is Syria Independence Day 

Oh, . . .he and his fellow monitors moved their bikes -- see 4/16/03.



4/16/03 4/16/03 Recently -- on a Friday night, after a long and hard, hard week at work -- one of my always-beautiful-usually-proper neighbors found herself held up by a Critical Mass bicycle demonstration in downtown San Francisco. Several monitors, also on bicycles, were stopping her side-street traffic while the Mass meandered by. She was patient for twenty-some-minutes and then, after her request to be let-by was finessed-off, she launched a vigorous attack of four letter words. Taken a back by her ferocity, the monitor barely got out "Lady, . . . you're crazy!" She shot back."Not only am I 'crazy,' but I have PMS and if you don't move your f*%#ing bike . . . "



4/15/03 While in front of his house Richard Finch was bitten by a dog being walked by a handler from the Berkeley Humane Society. Richard had a tetanus shot and was told by the Humane Society that the dog was killed. The dog had had rabies shots.



4/14/03 Events & History

While viewing the reports of the Second Iraq War, I was reminded of the Wehrmacht invasion of France in 1940. There, the Panzer Armies worked together with the Luftwaffe to make lightning advances into France, often bypassing French concentrations in order to secure more important objectives -- blitzkrieg.. For a detailed account of this read The Rommel Papers.

It seems that a leader doesn't necessarily have to be good with words to be effective. I remember watching President Eisenhower's press conferences with discomfort. He didn't explain things well -- his American was ungrammatical. Yet he was a five star general, was responsible for the successful invasion and liberation of Europe, and as President, predicted the growth of a powerful military-industrial complex.

My memory is that some 45,000 Frenchmen killed each other in the aftermath of their liberation in WW II by Allied Forces.



4/13/03 Almost-gourmet food at 20% to 40% off can be found at "the Canned Food Store" -- The Grocery Outlet just off of University Ave, about 6th Street. At the moment you can find Ocean Prince Kipper Snacks: Fillets of Kippered Herring and Mrs. Smith's Strawberry Cobbler with Toasted Crumb Topping.



4/11/03 Yesterday the "Scrambled Eggs . . ." pages received well over one-hundred visitors -- a record.

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, Meredith May's "School Notes" begins with a report on Berkeley's "new" holiday, Cesar Chavez Day.

I will irregularly update "My Neighborhood's Hazardous Material Users" page with relevant material, including a block-by-block map of Potter Creek's registered hazardous material users.

And shortly, I will post a walk through Potter Creek's rich cocktail of emissions.



4/10/03 One of my favorite types of American cooking is Southern -- more exactly, Soul Food. If you want a soul-filled breakfast, I suggest two-eggs-over, a Louisiana hot-link, and grits at the Broom Bush Cafe, 2725 San Pablo Avenue. Their phone number is 510-665-8315. (Make sure the grits are swimming in butter.)



4/9/03 I spent yesterday morning with an old friend who served in the U.S. Infantry in WW II in Northern Europe. When the conversation turned to the war in Iraq he repeated more than several times "All those young men dying, they're just boys -- 18 and 19." And you could see that for those few moments he was not fully here, but was in long-ago-France maybe in a foxhole.



4/5/03 I've just rediscovered the blues singer, Howling' Wolf -- he not so much sings as he howls and growls.. One of my favorite blues LPs has always been his Chess release, "Evil." Now, songs from that album and many others can be found on the 50th Anniversary Chess CD release Howlin' Wolf, "His Best." I recommend it highly. Something quite different is Hilery Hahn's J.S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas. Her performance of the Ciaccona from the D Minor Partita gave me goose bumps. This is some of the most informed, exciting fiddling I've recently heard. (The CD contains the E Major Partita, the D Minor Partita and the C Major Sonata.)



  4/4/03 Today is Senegal Independence Day



4/3/03 Californians can now pre-register for the NATIONAL DO NOT CALL PROGRAM.

4/2/03 Potter Creek's long-time resident David Snipper offers "[Scrambled Eggs ] is great. It's a little like having our own neighborhood pub without the hangovers. I was just reading your one of your recent posts about happenings in the Potter Creek 'hood. I live across the street from the ex-factory, now live work units, at Ninth and Grayson. I believe the substance they are testing for along Grayson is a solvent rather than the pesticide that you mention. This facility was owned by an out-of-town fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing company, but they only made law sprinklers there. They had a concrete dipping tank for the metal parts that were to be painted and it was leaking solvent into the surrounding earth the whole time it was there. Not that solvent pollution is less toxic than pesticide pollution."



4/1/03 Happy April Fools Day!

Today is also Berkeley's 125th Birthday -- I will not go there.

Did anyone else see the race-costumed bicyclist pedaling down one of our beautiful Bicycle Boulevards no hands and talking on his cell-phone?







MARCH 2003


3/31/03 Recently I went over to a neighbor's around 10th Street for a visit. After some photos and conversation we went up to the third floor sun-deck. There, we had a panoramic view of Potter Creek and west-Berkeley. But on this warm Spring day what was more notable than the weather was the awkward proximity of businesses and residences. This was made all the more apparent by their neighbor's paint-booth exhaust system, a mere fifteen feet, up-wind from the deck. "Does that bother you?' I asked. "No, we only smell paint when it's on" he offered in denial.

"Wild Ones on Display: A Short History of the Racing Motorcycle" by Robert Taylor in the West County Times is a story about a motorcycle-as-art-exhibit at the Bedford Gallery, Dean Lesher Regionial Center of the Arts.


3/28/03 Webster's definition of hubris is "a scornful, overweening pride//(Greek tragedy) transgression of the divine or moral law through ambition or ones passions, ultimately causing the transgressor's doom."

A chilling view of urban combat in a hostile population can be viewed in Blackhawk Down. Insufficient force contributed to the mission failure.



3/27/03 In the next months I will be putting together a separate page built around a map of Potter Creek's hazardous material users. It will be a block-by-block map marking the location of our hazardous material using neighbors. Responsible use, storage, and maintenance of hazardous materials in Potter Creek becomes more and more important as our density increases with more live and work-live units. Not only are we experiencing greater density but often this increase is in living spaces occupied by families. There was a time when children were never seen or heard here -- something of which my Grandpa would have approved. But now, in addition to the playing school children, there are many residents out walking and playing with their families even during the week-workdays. Hazardous materials cannot be viewed today as they were even several years ago.

One of my oldest neighbors is Advance Heli Welders Manufacturing Company at 938 Pardee. (More accurately, I am one of their oldest neighbors as they've been here much longer than I.The foreman just retired after forty-five years on the job.) Known to me always as the welders, I've taken them for granted. That is until a few weeks ago when driving by in the morning I noticed their yard as if for the first time. It's really tight -- a spit and polish facility. The welders are fully responsible neighbors and a good example of one of Potter Creek's oldest firms keeping up with changing times. (In the Day, they were one of the few people who would weld aluminum. I have to this day a 1956 AJS motorcycle with their perfectly repaired side-case.) Their phone number is 510-849-2811.


3/26/03 Today is Bangladesh Independence and National Day

I remember a piece on TV about increased church attendance after 9/11. In it a young man observed "In these times, yoga and Starbuck's just don't cut it."


3/25/03 Today is Greece Independence Day 


3/23/03 Today is Pakistan Day


3/19/03 A good friend just had his new SUV stolen while it was idling in front of his house as he was loading up for work at 7:00 AM.

And last week there was an armed robbery early in the morning at the Broom Bush Cafe on San Pablo Avenue.

And, there were too many more crimes commited in Potter Creek to list. So check out Beat 15.


3/18/03 I've again had occasion to use the services of Chris at Christopher's Auto Repair. My 24 year old Toyota 4 X 4 needed an oil pump which he replaced promptly and at a reasonable price with flawless work. Christopher's Auto Repair is at 1010 Carleton Street, his phone is (510)704-0182, and his email is chris@christopersauto.com. Find out about Christopher at his site.


3/13/03 Sarah Klise is one of my neighbors. Sarah and her Sister publish children's books and can be reached at their Website

Sarah's illustration from an upcoming story




3/12/03 Today is Mauritius Independence Day 

I have a friend who has been in the USA for just ten months. "I'm free here" she says and takes great pleasure in what I take for granted.


3/8/03 Berkeley P.D is now posting detailed narcotics arrests. Please see 3/3/03 post on crime report for Beat 15


3/7/03 My neighbors' Bob and Paul's Toyota van was stolen Wednesday afternoon sometime between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. On Thursday morning, as Bob was going to the bank to apply for an auto loan for a new vehicle, he found their van parked on 8th Street, just north of Dwight Way.

Kruse had the City plant a new blossoming-fruit tree to replace the one lost last year.

Claude Debussy once observed "In opera, there is always too much singing."



Today is Ghana Independence Day

Sally Williams, Gary's wife, just gave birth to a baby girl.

Tuesday, Marvin and I sat out in front of the warehouse and talked for some time. But we solved no problems, what-so-ever. Frankly, we were over-whelmed.

Last week the value of Bayer stock on the German DAX dropped 20%.

Also last week, there was a break-in at the construction site at 935 Grayson. The thieves stole a heater. They entered through a driveway-opening on 9th street, tore down the neighbor, Peter's, fence and got in. Apparently they left the same way.

And the church on 10th Street was torn down to make room for living units.





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