June 2003


6/30/03 Katharine Hepburn died yesterday at the age of 96.

Yesterday's four-hour bicycke ride around west-Berkeley left many impressions -- the first required Preparation-H. Disappointing was the heavy air at Bayer's north gate, and an accompanying but unidentifiable odor. (Experience in my immediate neighborhood is that if an odor is not familiar don't try to relate it to some form of known emission, but rather look for a new, unique source upwind.) Standing in the middle of the over-the-freeway-bike-bridge looking at oncoming traffic was exhilarating -- clearly a rush. And most satisfying was the clear, fresh bay air brought to the Marina by a brisk west wind.



6/28/03 NBC News reports "Two U.S. soldiers missing for days from a checkpost north of the capital have been found dead, a senior U.S. army officer said. . . . [Also] attackers opened fire on a U.S. convoy as it made its way down a street in the northeast of the capital, killing one American soldier and wounding four others, the U.S. military said Saturday. . . . [And] between Wednesday and Thursday, assailants blew up a U.S. military vehicle with a roadside bomb, dropped grenades from an overpass, destroyed a civilian SUV traveling with U.S. troops, demolished an oil pipeline, and fired an rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. Army truck, wounding two soldiers. . . .  Hostile fire also killed a U.S. Special Operations soldier and wounded eight others Thursday, the military said, without providing details." The full story is at MSNBC.com  

"U. S. military commanders have ordered a halt to local elections and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq, choosing instead to install their own handpicked mayors and administrators, many of whom are former Iraqi military leaders." The full story is also at MSNBC.com  


Why can't it just be "late-Spring house cleaning" instead of "making room in your life for change."




6/27/03 Yesterday, siting in an only-just-warm-Border's to get away from the heat, I was reminded of a Chicago Symphony winter concert with people coughing, sniffling, and sneezing. Then I remembered, it was probably wasn't a real good air day. (Or maybe just a lot of people in the store had allergies --that's it, a convergence of allergics.)


Quos Deus Vult Perdere, Prius Dementat.

Those the Gods wish to destroy, they first drive mad.


Old German glass-workers believed drinking lots of milk was helpful when working with gold coatings. "Something about the calcium" said one of our neighborhood's old glass-workers.

Here are the recent crimes-committed, and arrests for Beat 15.


6/26/03 Yesterday morning I was taken to Rick and Ann's for breakfast. It was pretty much "round up the usual suspects" -- another variation on the California Breakfast theme. A theme to which I can speak with "authority" as I worked at the Buttercup Bakery in the '70s when Richards and Mike Haley invented the California Breakfast. (They invented it at much the same time Alice Waters invented California Cuisine -- in its lowest form, undercooked vegetables and a piece of fish.) But I was struck by how much Rick and Ann's offering was much the same as the Buttercup breakfast of thirty years ago.

Now, for a fresh approach to breakfast out, I again recommend Bacheeso's -- an American breakfast with a Mediterranean and European flair. This is a breakfast skillfully prepared from the freshest ingredients by the Assli family. The fruit-side is always fresh and juicy, the deep-fried potatoes are golden-brown outside and creamy inside, the flat bread fresh, the home-made jams sweet and tasty, the eggs cooked just right, the portions fair, and the prices very reasonable. I have come away several times wondering how breakfast can be such a treat with such subtlety and variety. And I'm amazed at how the ingredients of a simple breakfast can combine into these wonderful tastes.

Bacheeso's is at 2501 San Pablo Avenue and their phone number is 510-644-2035. (Make sure you have their flat-bread with the homemade preserves.)


(Really Rick and/or Ann, $10.00 for scrambled eggs and lox with burnt potatoes and muddy coffee? Tsk, Tsk!)





6/25/03 Today is Croatia Independence Day, Mozambique Independence Day, and  Slovenia National Day.

Don't ever believe your publicity! Yesterday, I was asked by a friend to find CDs of Menuhin playing the Beethoven Violin/Piano Sonatas. I searched the net with Google, typing in "Menuhin Beethoven Sonatas". Up came the "authority" -- RECOLLECTIONS Journal of Recorded Music Three at http://ronpenndorf.com/journalofrecordedmusic3.html In a Menuhin article on that page, Tom Simone recommends the DGG set with Kempff. Still, . . . don't believe your publicity.

Trickle Down Economics at work in Potter Creek

Jerry, one of our neighborhood's more enterprising recyclers -- his shopping-cart is always packed to overflowing -- observed that since businesses have been slow they've reduced the size of their dumpsters thus giving him less material to go through.


Dave Kruse, not content with introducing Street Theater to Potter Creek, has, with his cast of plumbers, introduced Roof Theater. Photo to follow.

Here are the recent crimes-committed and arrests for Beat 15.





Harvey Jeeeust Before the Finish Line: the shadow over the orange cone is the line sign.




6/23/03 Today is Luxembourg National Day.

In 2003, RECOLLECTIONS SITE has already received visits from seventy-three countries. (The "Scrambled Eggs and Lox" pages are among the most visited.) Of course, most visits come from the United States but we also received visits from Japan, China, United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, France, Australia, Taiwan, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Hong Kong, Portugal, New Zealand, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Argentina, Russian Federation, Greece, Poland, Norway, Thailand, Israel, South Korea, Hungary, Malaysia, Chile, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Czech Republic, Ireland, Croatia, India, Slovak Republic, Iran, Seychelles, Estonia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Malta, Bermuda, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Philippines, Luxembourg, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Niue, Bolivia, Peru, Georgia, Latvia, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala, Botswana, Belarus, El Salvador. The countries are listed by number of visitors -- the most first, the least last.

Harvey the Mailman came in third in the Napa mountain-bike race last week --in the over forty-five class. His son came in second in his class and eleventh overall. (I will upload a picture of Harvey at the finish line tomorrow.)

The Berkeley Postmaster was removed several weeks ago.

After writing about my neighborhood for over six months, I'm coming to the conclusion that all the different kinds of people in Potter Creek fall into two groups. Those who use and contribute to the neighborhood, and those who complain about it. Membership is not exclusive. And just living or working here doesn't by itself qualify for first-group membership. Some of Potter Creek's oldest residents simply use this as a place to crash. Then there's the '90s and '00s excuse de jeur "Really, I'm just too busy." This has replaced the one I remember from the '60s. "Really man, I'd like to make it, but I just scored some Columbian. And there's this chick . . ."

Yesterday about 3:00 PM I encountered what I can only inadequately describe as a "medium chlorine" odor around National Starch and Chemical and Bayer's South Gate on Grayson west of Seventh. At other times I've noticed this smell as far east as Eighth.

And, I've started working on my Critter Road-Litter Index. (The more dead critters on the road, the less Humankind is in harmony with the environment. The less dead critters on the road, the more Humankind is in harmony with the environment.) At the moment, I'm developing a scale, but I don' t know if it should go from 0 to 10 or from 0 to 100. Of course, using 0-100 would allow Humankind its fully pessimistic potential.


6/22/03 From the Eugene O'Neill Foundation Web Site "Rare photos of Oona O'Neill have been donated to the Foundation by Mary Morris Lawrence, a former photographer for the New York newspaper, PM (now defunct), who now lives in Oakland. . . . Mary produced a picture story about William Saroyan and the colorful street people he was cultivating around New York City in the summer of 1942. Saroyan was a great admirer of Eugene O'Neill and when he heard Mary knew Oona, he asked her to arrange a meeting. Mary said, 'In no time he had persuaded her to be in Across The Board on Tomorrow Morning, one of three one-act plays he was about to present on Broadway.' Mary attended rehearsals, taking many shots like the one she has donated. It shows Saroyan playing hat-toss for relaxation in the basement of the Belasco Theatre, with Oona as the target, and poet Samuel Bodenheim, a Greenwich Village character looking on. Oona and her friend Carol Marcus left for Hollywood soon after the play, and in the following year Oona married Charlie Chaplin. Mary saw the Chaplins often at parties when she moved to Hollywood in 1945. . . . Mrs. Lawrence is the only one with these photos as the negatives were lost when the paper collapsed."

I hope I had something to do with this donation. I think I made Mary aware of the importance of these photos. The one of Oona O'Neill and William Saroyan can be seen on Mostly Mary Morris Three.

Relaxing in the early evening sun, last night I was serenaded by a not-too-distant schakuhachi player -- probably in the new work-units on 7th -- the sort-of-sad flute sounds mixing with the close-by bird chirps. A V8 pickup burbled past boom-boxing and I returned to Chapter Two "The German Blitzkrieg Stuns the World."





On this day in 1948 Columbia Record's Dr. Peter Goldmark introduced the LP.


Today is the first day of Summer.

Thursday afternoon, Dave Kruse and a colleague, with what appeared to be a veery loong tape-measure, were apparently measuring the length of 8th Street between Grayson and Pardee. Or, Dave is introducing Telegraph Avenue street theater to Potter Creek.



6/20/03 This morning while driving east on Dwight in moderate traffic, I was approached by two bicyclists. They were a block away, side-by-side in the middle of the approaching lane. When I got within half a block they split, one moving head-on into the middle of my lane. As I got closer, he moved to my right while looking over his shoulder to see his partner, who was still in the middle of the approaching lane, in front of traffic. Neither cyclist had helmets.

Last night on the corner of Acton and Delaware there appeared to be a cyclist down, being tended by another giving a police report while a BFD truck approached.

Also last night, my friend David stopped by on his really trick balloon-tire special. I hope to do a photo-essay of his beautiful bicycle.




B.B. King in the '30s with his amplified Gibson­photo-clipping courtesy Raoul Ashbury




6/18/03 Here are the recent crimes-committed and arrests for Beat 15.





Some thoughts on odors, irritants, possible toxins.

Just because it doesn't hit you like cheap wine­Thunderbird or Ripple­don't assume it isn't there.

Savor the air like you would a good wine­it is, after all, more precious.

Don't take one deep breath but inhale slowly filling your lungs. With some practice you will be able to detect a complex mix; strong, less so, slight.

Or, forget about it and be happy with denial.






Today is Flag Day



" Imperialism has to be ruthless, said the pretender. 'You [Americans] cannot have people hanging from lampposts, which is what an imperial power needs to do.' His point is that the democratic people of the United States don't have a taste for that kind of thing, and shouldn't." So writes Chris Dickey in a provocative story in Newsweek.

Some flower pots were stolen on 7th Street on June 9th. For more recent crimes-committed and arrests see Beat 15.






More photos of Jerry Victor's DodgeViper




6/12/03 Today is Philippines Independence Day and Russia National Day 

A "walk" around my block through the sometimes-emissions.

Leaving my door I'm sometimes confronted by the smell of natural gas. Also at my door I'm treated to something relatively new, a heavy odor of printers-ink. As I walk around the block the smell of painting regularly fills my nostrils, an odor best described as "burning brake-linings" can be encountered, as well as the old, familiar smell of "hot insulating plastic." Any of this, of course, can be accented by diesel fumes from passing or unloading trucks. And all or some of this is present every day and every night. (This is only one block in our thirty-square-block neighborhood.)

Happily, the stink is relieved by the occasional and wonderful smell of roasting coffee or cacao beans and of fresh baking bread.  



6/10/03 Today is Portugal National Day  

In these changing times in Potter Creek and west-Berkeley, I'm reminded of a phrase from the old KSAN Noon News. "If you don't like the news, go out and make some yourself."

I had the best breakfast in recent memory at Bacheeso's. It was gourmet! Bacheeso's is at 2501 San Pablo Avenue and their phone number is 510-644-2035. (Make sure you have their flat-bread with the homemade cherry preserves.)



6/9/03 Yesterday was quite social in Potter Creek. In addition to Scharffen Berger's regular chocolate factory tour there was a show at the Nexus Gallery, an open house at the new work-units on 7th Street, and a wedding at David's. There was also a brief blues concert on the corner of 7th and Pardee. Two guys pulled up in their van, unloaded instruments and cooked for an hour or so.

Also, on Saturday Morgan Smith held a birthday party. I wonder if his yard full of children were exposed to the emissions?

Marvin Lipofsky' s retrospective exhibit of art-glass will be at the Oakland Art Museum from July 19th through October 12th, 2003.


6/8/03 Lipofsky and I met yesterday afternoon, sat down in the sunshine and began solving all our current local, national and international problems. We hadn't met for awhile and the problems seemed familiar. Ed Saylan showed up for a few minutes and assured us that we had already solved these.

Earlier in the day, about 11:00 AM, my block was filled with what can best be described as the smell of printers-ink. (The wind was from the south-west.) I wonder what the effects of prolonged exposure to a mix of this printers-ink emission and the neighborhood's asbestos-like emission will be? More generally, what is the effect of prolonged exposure to our daily emissions' cocktails?

If you didn't read Meredith May's "New Principal Steps Down at Berkeley High: Job Too Much for Her, She Says, Before Really Getting Started" in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle, read it now at Meredith's sfgate.com. This story shows well why Ms. May is an award-winning education reporter.



6/7/03 The Washington Post.com offers "EPA: Few Finded for Polluting Water."



6/6/03 My neighbor Scharffen Berger's chocolate is expensive. And a story by Sally Sampson in the November & December 2002 Cook's Illustrated asks "Sharffen Berger [chocolate] costs three times more than Baker's. Is it that much better?" The short answer is yes, and some excerpts from the piece "Are Expensive Unsweetened Chocolates Worth the Money?" tell why.

"We wanted to see if all the fuss over premium chocolates is based on quality . . . . We selected unsweetened chocolate because it is the building-block ingredient in countless desserts . . . Not for nibbling, it is pure, unadulterated chocolate . . . . We constructed a blind tasting . . . sampling a classic American brownie and a chocolate sauce.

Our assumption going into this tasting was that, in general, the more expensive brands would prevail . . . . However, we found a surprising range of taste differences. If unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate, how could one brand be so different from another?

The first thing we learned is that chocolate companies don't like to talk about their product in detail. With the exception of Scharffen Berger. . . . So we turned to outside experts to uncover the trade secrets of chocolate manufactures [and we found that] there is more chocolate in unsweetened than in any other type, so quality of the bean matters more. Every expert told us that the flavor of unsweetened chocolate is largely determined before it gets to the chocolate processor. Country of origin and specific bean blend are the most critical factors. Scharffen Berger cofounder Robert Steinberg [added ] , 'A processor can ruin a good bean but cannot make a good chocolate from an inferior one.' . . . When it comes to chocolate, you have to star t with good ingredients."

Scharffen Berger's Steinberg allows that taste is his company's priority when it comes to buying beans, and they are willing to pay more to secure the taste.

If the quality of a bean is one important determinant of flavor, the blend of beans is another. Of most interest . . . is whether a company roasts bean types individually or together [and] roasting varieties of beans separately allows the roaster to be more selective. . . . Of the companies whose chocolate we tasted, Scharffen Berger is the only one that would confirm that it roasts beans separately by type.

One final production issue is conching, which aerates and homogenizes the chocolate, thereby mellowing the flavor and making its texture smooth and creamy [and] only Scharffen Berger and Valrhona conch their unsweetened chocolate, and these chocolates finished first and third in our chocolate sauce tasting.

What do we recommend? The more expensive chocolates. . . . . [But] it's important to remember though, that chocolate, much like coffee, is a matter of personal preference, so consider each brand in order to find a chocolate that suits your palate. The gamut of flavors runs from 'nutty' and 'cherry' to 'smoky,' 'earthy,' and 'spicy.'"

The Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker biography offers: "John Scharffenberger's . . . palate, entrepreneurial spirit, and background in food technology and agriculture were key elements in the founding and running of Scharffenberger Cellars, one of the premier sparking wine manufactures in the U.S. At Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, he turns his expertise to fine chocolate.

[Partner] Robert Steinberg wrote to Bernachon, a small family owned chocolate maker in Lyon,France to ask whether it would be possible to work with them for a short time and [then spent] two weeks working there. . . . At Bernachon, he was able to see how chocolate was made on a small scale, and to taste chocolate that was distinctly different from any mainstream American or European brand."

It's this kind of premier chocolate that they make. This fine chocolate can be purchased at their chocolate factory store or at many retail outlets, sometimes there at a savings.

I believe that I hadn't really tasted chocolate until I had some of their semi-sweet last week. I never thought I'd say this about chocolate, but - aarrgh- it has a wonderful cherry "aftertaste."


The Book of Green Tea is a beautiful and informed presentation of the green tea culture. Green tea is good for you and so is this book.


Meredith May begin her today's story in the San Francisco Chronicle "Richmond High student Gustava Bennett-Burrus doesn't do the latest teen dance, the 'shakey,' and she doesn't carry a backpack with speakers blaring Eminem like the cool kids, but give her a break -- she's 97. " For more read Meredith's "97-Year-Old Finally Getting Her Diploma" at sfgate.com.




6/5/03 For those who thought the art of conversation had died, I suggest you strike up one with Charles at Border's Café. If you do, you are in for a treat. Yesterday, he skillfully elaborated on the theme -- musicians who play in BART Stations often are very, very good -- all the while serving a coffee and pastry. A wonderful Ewardian moment. Though it may seem that his job is to entertain and charm, it is good to remember he is actually successfully selling food and drink. And for my similar view of street musicians read "Demicello' s Story."

"Top N.Y. Times Editors Resign" is at MSNBC.com.


Constitutional Amendments 6-10:

The Bill of Rights

Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.




6/4/03 I spent yesterday afternoon with my mentor and former employer, Albert E. Braver. We mostly talked about the current state of the world -- about which 85-year-old Albert regularly observed "Those who the gods would destroy, they first make mad" and offered when I recalled a particularly absurd event "Look, the Human Race is a mistake." Never overly optimistic about Humankind, Albert never-the-less takes great pleasure from his more-than-I-can-count grandchildren, and tea and black Russian cigarettes. "Better to smoke here than Hereafter!" But, I did miss some of the vintage Albert, like "Would you rather be ignored?" after a greeting-shot in the finest old-New-York-deli-waiter fashion. For stories about Albert read "Back in the Day."


And, one of the better efforts of Humankind can be found in our

Constitutional Amendments 1-5:

The Bill of Rights

Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

to be continued of course

For more information than you possibly would want to know plus some insight see NASCAR.com

That Martha Stewart is likely to be indicted is at MSNBC.com

My neighbor who attended the Ecole Bilingue La Place du Marché last Sunday observed "It was packed, wonderful, and reeeeally French!"

Here are the recent crimes-committed and arrests for Beat 15.



6/3/03 see 6/6/03



6/2/03 Today is National Day in Italy.

In May "Scrambled Eggs and Lox" pages received just over 2,000 visits.



6/1/03 In keeping with my sentiment that for a Free Society descent is valuable in and of itself, I suggest following cartoonist Mark Fiore at his sfgate.com. He's irreverent, smart-a##ed, and is animated with sound.


And, it seems that our Declaration of Independence goes even further. Its first two paragraphs offer:

"WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great- Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World."

These guys clearly were p#@@ed at King George.






May 2003


5/31/03 see 6/3/03

Brothers John Harvey and William Kellogg applied for a patent on Corn Flakes on this date in 1884.




5/31/03 see 5/31/03

Meredith May writes "Malcolm X Arts and Academics Elementary School at 1731 Prince St. in Berkeley will celebrate its namesake activist's birthday anniversary with a spring fair 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday." For more read "School Notes" on her sfgate.com.

The San Francisco Chamber Singers are giving their Bang on Anything! concert on Sunday June 1, 2003 8:00 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Road. Bang on Anything! is an evening that combines mankind's first musical utterance (the voice) with the first musical instrument (percussion). For more see the The San Francisco Chamber Singers web site at sfchambersingers.org

I believe it was my bicycling neighbor George Chitteden who, this morning, while turning onto 8th ran the Stop sign on 8th and Pardee, turned into the oncoming traffic and caused the approaching Honda to swerve into my lane. Yes, it was George.




5/29/03 See 5/30/03




5/28/03 Ecole Bilingue will hold its annual La Place du Marché on Sunday June 1st between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. It will be held at the Heinz Street Campus. La Place du Marché is an "authentic" French open-air marketplace selling food specialties from France, wine, produce, gourmet cheeses, gifts and other items. Accordionists, Gary Breitbard and Confiture will entertain from 11:00 to 2:00 and juggler Dana Smith will perform after 2:00. The will be children's activities for the entire day. The event is open to the public and all are encouraged attend. This is their annual fund-raiser. Admission is $5.00 for adults with children under 12 years admitted free of charge.

Here are the recent crimes-committed and arrests for Beat 15.





5/26/03   Today is Memorial Day . 



5/25/03   Today is Argentina National Day and Jordan Independence Day. 



5/24/03  Today is Eritrea Independence Day.

Read about a Berkeley veggie fund-raiser in Meredith May's "School Notes" from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The New York Times suspended Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Rick Bragg. The story can be read at MSNBC.com.




5/23/03 Find out something about our new neighbor at Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker.

Then, perhaps go over to their shop on Heinz and buy some. It's the European kind that Grandma Penndorf only put out on special Sunday afternoons.





5/22/03 The Zentralfriedhof: Visiting Graves in Austria by Elizabeth Jenkins, an almost Potter Creek worker.

If any one out there knows how to get to Eisenstadt from Vienna, let me know. We couldn't do it. We spent a very frustrating hour in and around the East Bahnhoff, with no luck, no tourist information, no bus information, no schedule.

But the day was sunny.

So, we got back on the subway and headed for the Hofburg to see the Musical Instrument Museum. In 1975 it had been next door to, and upstairs from, the Spanish Riding School. It is now housed in a very handsomely renovated wing of the Hofburg but with strange hours. We could have waited around till 7:00 PM for the evening opening but I wanted to use the daylight and so we left for the necropolis.

We had spent much of our time in the first and second districts and getting out into regular, working class Vienna was something of a shock. Non-historical Vienna is very plain, remember that much of the city was pretty flat by the end of WW II. Almost all of the beautiful stuff is restored -- the non-historic neighborhoods are rebuilt in concrete with narrow sidewalks and flat store fronts.

When we got out of the subway and looked for a late lunch, a Pfaff beer sign beckoned. Sustained by lentil soup and a pleasant "sit down" with the locals, we caught the #18 tram and got off at the middle gate of the Zentralfriedhof. Imagine a cemetery that has three gates.

It's huge.

Everyone has at least a healthy hedge to shade them and lots of handsome trees. There are elaborate monuments to very important unknowns; great neo-gothic spires and weeping statues laying perpetual wreaths at the closed doors of tombs.

But the grove of the immortals is much more intimate and approachable. Mozart is in the middle of a half circle of nice green grass and shade. The stone itself is a bust but one must wonder how much of him is actually there. After all, he was interred three times. Along with Franzel, Beethoven and Brahms keep the Beloved of God company .

Then we found Schubert. I have loved Schubert all my life, ever since singing one of his masses in high school. At the cemetery store at the front gate, I was able to pick up a votive candle and matches and was not surprised to see that others had the same impulse.

We wandered in the twilight, visiting Hugo Wolf, laughing at Strauss the Elder's overstatement and finding Schönberg's very modern, handsome stone. (But what he is doing back in Vienna? )

Reading stones as we came to the end of one aisle, there she was. A large, simple, black granite stone, etched in gold, with fresh pansies: "Lotte Lehmann, kammersängerin." Seeing her name and the care given to her made me weep. I didn't know that she was there, for I imagined her on a sunny, hot hillside in Santa Barbara. But Vienna had to have her and the Opera Guild arranged to bring her home. And, after all the loss and fear Vienna caused her, Lehmann's art survives and breaks the heart all over again.

Visit the dead, my friends, love never dies.


The New York Times offers a Bayer unit sold a blood-clotting medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS to Asia and Latin America while selling a safer product in the West. For more read "Tainted Exports: Two Paths of Bayer Drug in 80's: Riskier Type Went Overseas" by Walt Bogdanich and Eric Kolie.



5/21/03 New to the neighborhood, but not new to quality, is Sharffen Berger Chocolates, the "Brough Superior" of chocolates. Sir Lawrence of Arabia rode a Brough, "The Rolls Royce" of motocycles.



Today is Cameroon National Day and Cuba Independence Day. 

Erin Barrett and Jack Mingo's "Random Kinds of Factness" in the West County Times offers "Seventeen different animals are represented in boxes of animal crackers. They are bear, bison, camel, cougar, elephant, giraffe, gorilla, hippo, hyena, kangaroo, lion, monkey, rhino, seal, sheep, tiger and zebra.

Renamed Travelin' Joe's, the Home Cafe is under new ownership and it still serves breakfast and lunch. It is at 900 Grayson. Check it out!




Today is Victoria Day throughout the Commonwealth.

In my 5/9/03 post I wrote "There will be a community meeting at 6:30 PM on May 14th at the Ecole Bilingue Ninth Street Campus -- enter on 9th. Rick Auerbach will make his 2003 debut and there will be further Berkeley Bowl Project discussion."







Peter and Geralyn's TRIUMPH

In her Fruitvale Students Sing the Blues in the San Francisco Chronicle, Meredith May offers "Pigeons sit on electricity cables" . . . sang a second, "Not much nature in the Fruitvale."

MSNBC.com offers Politicians Lie, New Study Shows; report asserts that lying is key part of democracy.



5/15/03 We had a community meeting Tuesday night at the Ecole Bilingue. Claudia talked, then Antoine talked, Rick talked, then Jan talked, Suzanne talked, Rick talked, then Kava talked, Barbara talked, Rick talked again, then Marvin talked, Rick talked, I talked, and Kava talked. We pretty much agreed that a cafe at Scharffen Berger would be good and affirmed by show-of-hands that we wanted the Berkeley Bowl. Kava was relieved, Rick still concerned about traffic congestion. (Rick is smart, verbal, and reeeeally concerned.)

To learn new words, subscribe to the free edition of A Word A Day. You will receive a word a day in your email inbox.

If the bicycling "hotdogs" rode motorcycles the way they ride bicycles they'd be dead.



5/14/03 Today is Paraguay Independence Day

Meredith May begins her Fears Cloud School Bailout article with "Inside the Compton High theater, the local band 'Phunkestra' is belting out a Jimi Hendrix tune." If you haven't already read this story in the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle you can read it now at Ms. May's sfgate.com.



5/13/03 Yesterday, I spent an hour or so talking to John Philips at his old shop. (I really look forward to him moving next-door. I joked that then I could visit more often -- he was not amused.) Though John and I more efficiently solved most of Potter Creek's problems than Marvin and I have, the minute or so of the Well Tempered Prelude in C that John played on one of his German instruments was most memorable.

With musical examples, he also patiently and carefully illustrated the beautiful, delicate action of his instrument. In this short time, I learned much about the beauty and simplicity of harpsichords. I also enjoyed his "factory" SOUTHERN PACIFIC LINES sign




5/12/03 Organized racing on open public roads, whether by autos, motorcycles, OR bicycles should be prohibited. Race marshals and the signs CAUTION BICYCLE RACE, posted during a race on an open Bear Creek Road are inadequate safety measures. The road should be CLOSED and the race then run as is done on other roads in the area. The Bear Creek Race as now run on the open road is an invitation to accident and injury.

I feel about traffic-barriers as I do about zoos. Both go against nature. Or, . . . they serve the few in the short run.

If you search "scrambled eggs and lox" on Google, we come up second after The Bombay Cafe Menu. On which, by the way, I cannot find scrambled eggs and lox.

Since the beginning of the Year, Scrambled Eggs and Lox has received well over 5,000 visits.




5/11/03 "Berkeley Eases SARS Restrictions: Some Asian students will be allowed to attend summer school" at MSNBS.com.



5/10/03 Urged by a friend to write something political, I paraphrase a favorite quote. "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve."



5/9/03 There will be a community meeting at 6:30 PM on May 14th at the Ecole Bilingue Ninth Street Campus -- enter on 9th. Rick Auerbach will make his 2003 debut and there will be further Berkeley Bowl Project discussion.

"Hundreds of Bay Area teachers, feeling under appreciated during Teacher Appreciation Week, packed their layoff notices for a class field trip to the state Capitol today to protest education cuts. " This story and more education reporting by Meredith May of the San Francisco Chronicle can be read at her sfgate.com.




5/8/03 "Virtually every encyclopedia or textbook etymology of the word 'robot' mentions the play R.U.R [Rossum's Universal Robots. Prague, 1920.]   Although the immediate worldwide success of the play immediately popularized the word (supplanting the earlier 'automaton'), it was actually not Karel Capek but his brother Josef, also a respected Czech writer, who coined the word. The Czech word robota means 'drudgery' or 'servitude'; a robotnik is a peasant or serf.  Although the term today conjures up images of clanking metal contraptions, Capek's Robots (always capitalized) are more accurately the product of what we would now call genetic engineering.  The play describes of 'kneading troughs' and 'vats' for processing a chemical substitute for protoplasm, and a 'stamping mill' for forming Robot bodies." More can be read at http://www.uwec.edu/Academic/Curric/jerzdg/RUR/






My neighbor Ruth Okimoto writes in her monograph, Sharing a Desert Home: Life on the Colorado Indian Reservation-

"My interest in Poston goes back a long way. My early memories of childhood (age six to nine) are of the Poston camp and the surrounding beige desert. Our family was sent first to the Santa Anita Assembly Center on May 1, 1942, where our youngest brother was born. Two weeks after his birth, we went by train to Poston.

Our family of six arrived in Poston Camp III on August 28,1942. . . . Though the Japanese American detainees and the CRIT people 'shared a desert home' for three years, we lived as strangers during those years . . . While human contact between the two groups was limited, the creation and establishment of Poston brought permanent changes to the CRIR and its people.

The Poston Camp and the [Office of Indian Affairs] projects not only changed the physical environment of the reservation but the human dimensions as well. . . . It was sobering to learn that young CRIT veterans fought in WWII while being denied the right to vote, and returned to their reservation to live in barracks that we vacated. . . .

The Japanese American detainees and CRIT were pawns on the Poston game board with the hands of government officials moving groups of people about with no regard to the human dimensions of their actions. Uprooting and evicting a group of people because of their race and culture had enormous human consequences. For a brief moment in history (1942-1945), the Japanese American detainees experienced what the American Indians have endured for centuries. The 'relocation policy' (or assimilation policy) implemented in Poston was later applied to Indian tribes by the [Bureau of Indian Affairs] . . . with mixed results. For the American Indians, the relocation policy meant assimilation into European American society at the cost of losing their tribal values, beliefs, and traditions. . . . Associated with the relocation policy was the . . . agenda of non-American Indian companies and individuals interested in potential riches of the reservations. [In my research ] I gained respect for Commissioner John Collier, who tried to move the government's relationship with the American Indians onto a different level. . . . His philosophy [was one] of respect for American Indian culture and self-determination . . .

We know today that one's cultural values, traditions, and belief systems need not be erased or "melted" (an impossibility at best) in order to function in the dominant society.

The opportunity to go deeper into the history of Poston changed my perception of those years. The revisit reduced the psychological and emotional pain I have carried for decades, and heightened my awareness of how government officials and their particular philosophies can impact groups of people. " For a detailed account of the Poston experience read Ruth Okimoto's Sharing a Desert Home: Life on the Colorado Indian Reservation.

Drawing and text copyright 2003 Ruth Okimoto








Just how industrial did Potter Creek get?

This beautiful and chilling photo was taken some twenty years ago by Margret Elliott. It is of a factory off Grayson just west of 7th, upwind of most of Potter Creek's homes. For more see Margret Elliott's photos.





5/5/03 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.

Richard Schwartz' collection of facsimile-material, Berkeley 1900: Daily Life at the Turn of the Century, is so well-chosen that it takes you there. This is a winning, effective, and almost too easy a way to experience our history. Berkeley 1900: Daily Life at the Turn of the Century can be found at most Berkeley book stores and online at Borders. (You can also go down to Berkeley Hardware and buy it. They have the dust-jacket and some of the book pages displayed in the east window. It costs $19.50 there.)

The curious coincidence -- our dying trees and plants. A short while ago, the tree that was in front of my neighbors for as long as I can remember died -- they cut it into firewood a few months ago. And last year my potted blossoming fruit tree - the Mother of all our blossoming fruit trees - began withering; that is, until I moved it away from my driveway's edge. The tree revived, and was so happy to be in its new location it blossomed in November. And two of my wine-barrel plants have died. Oh, . . . the sparrows haven't nested under my neighbors's eaves the last few years.

Read a little about our award winning Berkeley teacher in Meridith May's "School Notes" in the San Francisco Chronicle.

CEO Express is a page of really useful links.


Last week Lipofsky was telling me "I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art. It's perfect."
"Really," I answered. "What kind is it?"
"Twelve thirty." Marvin replied.




5/1/03 Today is A National Day of Prayer.

Today is May Day. For more information see May Day, the International Working Class Holiday.

In developing Potter Creek, great care should be taken to make sure that previous heavy-industrial and manufacturing sites are toxic free. We are turning, what for years had been a manufacturing district, into a live, work-live, business, and light-manufacturiing area.

Yesterday, I separately talked with Lipofsky and Dave Kruse. Though, happily, Marvin and I solved our share of world problems, Dave Kruse -- easily the best dressed "plumber" in west-Berkeley-- and I addressed many German-American issues -- we are a better people today. Kruse's favorite "Scrambled Eggs . . ." is the one about Gary Williams -- see 11/13/02, 11/14/02, and 11/16/02.



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