I’m Already Against The Next War

Berkeley Bumper Stickers. Which reminds me – now that we’re keeping the car for the time being, I can finally invest in some bumper stickers of my own. Suggestions welcome.

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The Attractions of Vine St

As if the original Peet’s Tea and Coffee and the cutest gaggle (?) of front yard chickens weren’t enough:

Vine Street now also has a Wish Tree!

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There is such a thing as free lunch


Who Needs Christmas Lights?


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Prickly Pears on Cedar St


Litotes spotted in the wild!

‘It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience.’

— Chancellor Birgenau, e-mail to the UC Campus community

Wait, what? Are you trying to tell us that holding hands is violent protest? Or rather, are you not trying to not say that? Someone here is – as he himself would probably put it – replete with excrementum tauri…

Shared space

Our charming wood-shingle house seems to be especially attractive not only to humans, but also to the surrounding wildlife. In addition to hummingbirds, cheeky squirrels, sparrows that constantly try to invade my kitchen, and (harmless) roof rats in our attic, a hive of honeybees has now moved into the ceiling below our apartment. According to the exterminator, they are endangered because of a virus (see Colony Collapse Disorder), so poisoning them is not an option. Instead, a (fearless) person from Alameda County Vector control will have to come round and remove the colony, complete with queen bee, hive, and honeycombs! We’ll see how that works out…

Not getting older – getting better!

Like Dustin Hoffman’s Graduate (shot in Berkeley in 1967), and Harold from Harold and Maude (shot in Berkeley in 1971), the Bay Area definitely has something of a love affair with older women. Is it the climate? The yoga? The positive effects of feminism and ensuing gender equality? The excellent food? Medical marijuana? Free speech? I have no idea, but rarely have I seen so many women over 50, 60 and 70 who have the posture of ballerinas, the smile of buddhas, the hair of schoolgirls and the rosy cheeks of newborns.* On the weekends – if they’re not off to Oregon for white water rafting trips, like our retired downstairs neighbor – you will often spot them on their bikes on Marin County roads, clad in skin-tight speedo suits that show off their enviable, lightly muscled curves – at an age where in the rest of the world,  “exercise” would mean sitting in a rocking chair and knitting! All, I’m sure, without the help of modern medicine or high-tech cosmetics.

So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that when a 62-year-old windsurfing Bay Area lady is rescued from the freezing waters of the bay after 13 hours, she is described as “alert” and “pretty well”, because she has “a lot of stamina”. You go, girl!

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Clang clang clang went the trolley

…back when there still was one! (Spotted at Berkeleyside)

This is from a 1906 mutoscope reel (in-depth information at the Library of Congress). Here’s something to make up for the missing sound:

Wikipedia tells us that

“The Mutoscope worked on the same principle as the “flip book.” The individual image frames were conventional black-and-white, silver-based photographic prints on tough, flexible opaque cards. Rather than being bound into a booklet, the cards were attached to a circular core, rather like a huge Rolodex.

…and, more interestingly, that these reels were commonly used for “pornographic” imagery presented to paying patrons (a progenitor of YouPorn, if you will) – to the detriment of public morals:

“In 1899, The Times printed a letter inveighing against “vicious demoralising picture shows in the penny-in-the-slot machines. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the corruption of the young that comes from exhibiting under a strong light, nude female figures represented as living and moving, going into and out of baths, sitting as artists’ models etc. (…).”

A collector’s site describes the contents of one such reel, “Birth of the Pearl” which “pictures a nude woman rising from a seashell and standing.”” (Wikipedia: Mutoscope)

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The Bible Guarantees It

As has been pointed out by Pastor Harold Camping on his radio show and on several informative and entertaining road signs next to Bay Area freeways , the world will end this Saturday, 6 p.m. We’re all going to die! Need some convincing of this fact? Here you go:

Lots of numbers in there, so I guess he must be right (also, Camping has an engineering degree from UC Berkeley – spotless academic credentials!). There’s hope for some of us, though:

“O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.” (Mormon 9:6)

According to this heathenish FAQ, I’ll probably not be counted among the “spotless, pure, fair and white”, but at least I’ll die a happy woman having tasted this year’s first white “Spring Snow” peaches…as the eternal hippie favorite Ecclesiastes puts it:

“To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to reap,
a time to laugh and a time to weep.”

(Watch out for the cute little girl at 1:15! I wonder what became of her when she grew up.)