News

Editor’s Note

Friday December 30, 2005

Welcome to this year’s second Reader Contribution Issue. In this issue you will find more submissions from our readers, as well as a few columns from our regular contributors. -more-


A West Oakland Visit By Mertis L. Shekeloff

Friday December 30, 2005

“I talked to Elizabeth yesterday. Can you believe she’s 90-years-old? Anyway, she wants to see you,” Mother said on the phone. Miss Elizabeth had been our landlady when I was in junior high school. This was right up my alley—I’m always thrilled to take a walk down Memory Lane. -more-


About a Gorilla By Sherry Bridgman

Friday December 30, 2005

With a three-foot acacia branch, Bwana, the then massive male gorilla at the S.F. Zoo sits down, shucks the leaves off and stuffs them in his mouth and begins to chew. -more-


The Secret Ingredient By RUBY LONG

Friday December 30, 2005

Soon after Ruff joined our household, my husband and I hosted a family event to introduce him to everyone. -more-


Supermarket Love By JUDY WELLS

Friday December 30, 2005

Last week at Whole Foods -more-


Elderly Woman Arrested in West Berkeley Shooting By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Friday December 30, 2005

A 78-year-old Berkeley woman was arrested early last Friday morning after she allegedly shot another woman in the abdomen near the corner of Sacramento and Russell streets. -more-



Column: The View From Here: Tookie and Tina: A Christmas Carol By P.M. Price

Friday December 30, 2005

“That’s the way the Tookie crumbles,” jokes KGO’s Pete Wilson on his San Francisco-based radio show the day before Stanley Tookie Williams is scheduled to die. Upon hearing Wilson’s snide, callous attempt at humor, I am incensed. Even if considered guilty, as Wilson believes him to be, does that make Williams undeserving of even the most basic courtesy and respect as he faces the last few hours of his life? -more-


A Guide to Bay Area New Year’s Eve Celebrations By KEN BULLOCK Special to the Planet

Friday December 30, 2005

A plethora of local and internationally known favorites will ring in 2006 around Berkeley and the bay, with an array of festivities to choose from: nostalgia to glitz, humor to hillbilly music, jazz to DJs, cruise to battle ships, circus to Japanese bell-ringing. Prices also vary from high ticket extravagance, to high or low culture on the cheap, or for free. -more-


Forty Years of Donovan By Patrick T. Keilch

Friday December 30, 2005

Just in time for the December holidays and the New Year, musical troubadour Donovan is releasing The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man. -more-


Arts Calendar

Friday December 30, 2005

FRIDAY, DEC. 30 -more-



About the House: If the Shower Scalds With Each Flush By MATT CANTOR

Friday December 30, 2005

A man showers happily. He is singing to himself. Not bellowing, but really singing. It’s a torch song … no, it’s Donovan. “Mellow Yellow” I think. He’s smiling. He’s soapy. Suddenly a shadow falls across the shower curtain, a figure looms, then a sound, Ahh … Ahh … Ahh … He screams, backing away ... He screams, scalded by the remaining 125-degree water. -more-


Ask Matt

Friday December 30, 2005

Dear Matt, -more-


Garden Variety: Winter Is a Good Time to Choose Seeds for Planting By RON SULLIVAN

Friday December 30, 2005

Winter’s a good time to ponder seeds as well as books. The local world’s way of bestirring itself and greening up has a way of urging us hairless, featherless bipeds indoors to be warm and dry; most of us like being cold and soaked to—or through—the skin rather less than seeds and bulbs and roots do. And the gray skies of today make us gloomy if we can’t stir up our own knowledge that they contain possibilities for tomorrow. -more-


Sweetie By LENORE WATERS

Friday December 30, 2005

This morning I went to the Lab on Telegraph for a fasting blood test. This means 12 hours of no food, starting, say, at 8 p.m. I get to the lab at 8 a.m. Then, phew, that’s over. I got there at 8:14 a.m. (not bad, eh?). The waiting room was crowded, and only one Blood Tech was on duty. My stomach was grumbling, and I felt like growling along with it. -more-


Hexclusive! GOP, Fortune 500 Battle Over 2006 Hurricane Branding By ARMIN A. LEGDON

Friday December 30, 2005

In a not-so-simple twissssst of fate, the Republican Party and major corporations have joined a mythicky battle over the naming of hurricanes in 2006. Ironically, it would mean the elimination of individual (rugged?) names to identify the late summer and fall big blows. -more-


Beds. Beds. Beds. By MAYA ELMER

Friday December 30, 2005

There’s a whole dictionary of used beds I have tried out for size in my life time. The iron cot in the room I shared with my small sister when I was 5 years old. I dream of a pretty, long, cold snake lying next to me. It wasn’t scary, but that’s what happens to a bed wetter when the sheets are wet in a cold winter morning. Mommy, I really tried to wake up. -more-


A Candle for Cindy By Melanie Wendell

Friday December 30, 2005

A candle defies the darkness, -more-


Heirloom By JANIS MITCHELL

Friday December 30, 2005

When I turned 50 my mother gave me an heirloom, her mother’s only piece of real jewelry. I was surprised that it had not already been given by seniority to my older sister, Cheryl. The gift was a rose gold ring set with pieces of opal arranged as a blue flower. -more-


Lost Love By Roopa Ramamoorthi

Friday December 30, 2005

I look again at that black and white photo from more than 30 years ago. I am 2 years old, sprawled on the sand at Foreshore Beach clad in tiny pants and full-sleeved top, busy with my bucket and spade. My mother is pointing her finger telling me to look at the camera. My aunt and mother are wearing similar nylon 644 saris in that photo. I recollect my mother’s sari, large purple flowers on a white background. My uncle was on the other side taking the photo. -more-


High Ropes By J. Steven Svoboda

Friday December 30, 2005

The cable traces the treacherous line -more-


Christmas After Mastectomy By Ellen Scheiner

Friday December 30, 2005

Light sounds drench the world. -more-


Soup, Glorious Soup By Claudia Pessin

Friday December 30, 2005

For the first 11 years of my life I lived in a small town outside Newport, Delaware, which was on the map, but barely bigger that the bedroom community where I lived. Winters were severely cold, rarely more than six or seven inches of snow, but often freezing rain. When the ground froze, no mother would dream of keeping a child home, and certainly not for a little ice or snow. Schools didn’t close for weather in those days, and since there were few automobiles, we were in no danger from traffic. The trackless trolleys continued their routes, and most used them to get to work. -more-


To Excess By ALLISON FLOYD

Friday December 30, 2005

Eunice tucked her thin strands of pale red hair behind her ears, as was her nervous habit, and peered about the dining room. She was seated at her regular table in the Palace of Secretarial Eats. There was no sign of Amanda amidst the trill of anxious voices and the unsteady clatter of coffee cups refilled far too many times. The carcasses of single-serve packets of non-caloric sugar substitutes lay dismembered in unceremonious heaps on the other tables. The sight of this made Eunice swell with a perverse pride. Of the secretaries assembled, she and Amanda were the ones who ate. -more-


Holiday Spirit By GERALD COTE

Friday December 30, 2005

it’s the bottom end -more-


Lake Merritt by Michael Howerton

Friday December 30, 2005

A Holiday By Linda J. Rawls

Friday December 30, 2005

It was hot and humid as it always is in East Texas during the months of June, July and August. The year was 1956 and I was 6 years old. It wouldn’t be long now according to my daddy before I would be joining my two brothers, going to school and learning how to read and write. My daddy gave me the only head start that I got before starting first grade because my little hometown did not have a Head Start or kindergarten program. -more-


I Dream of Circus Characters By Judy wells

Friday December 30, 2005

For months I’ve dreamed -more-


Strolling Through Tilden By Yvette Hoffer

Friday December 30, 2005

T he beauty and tranquility of Tilden Park, a few minutes above the city soundscape, await our Tuesday Tilden Walkers. Although we have enjoyed our “secret” treasure for over 10 years, the park constantly changes and we never tire of its birds, flowers, and waterways. -more-


Monterey Market By lENORE WATERS

Friday December 30, 2005

MONTEREY MARKET I -more-


Welcome to the Readers’ Issue

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Welome to the Daily Planet’s annual Reader Contibution Issue. We received many wonderful stories, too many to fit in this issue, so we will publish a second installment of contributions on Friday. -more-


The Life and Times of a Berkeley Kid By MINA EDELSTON

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Even after 50 years of practice he still enjoys cutting away excess material to reveal the finished part inside a rough chunk of metal. “Each part is inside the piece of metal,” he tells me, “Just cut away everything that is not the part.” -more-


Baked Goods Make For Good Neighbors in Westbrae District By HEJI KIM

Tuesday December 27, 2005

The first Christmas in my Westbrae neighborhood, I was completely taken aback when a neighbor shyly handed me a package of her home baked anise biscotti. -more-


A Thank-You Note For December By ANN SIECK

Tuesday December 27, 2005

December in Berkeley. Rusty notes from flocks of geese heading south at last. A trickle of warblers and flycatchers continue to visit streets where fall colors are still on display only a few days before the solstice. -more-


I Have Become A Local By Patrick Fenix

Tuesday December 27, 2005

I have become a local ... a West Berkeley resident of long standing ... all of a sudden that is given to me ... it has been happening delicately, almost imperceptibly, to be sure, but the realization is sudden, breathtaking ... -more-


Once Upon A Christmas By Maya Elmer

Tuesday December 27, 2005

It is the first of November. The second floor up-elevator at Macy’s literally deposits me into the midst of CHRISTMAS! Six feet away stands a fir tree, encrusted and fililgreed with golden ornaments edge-to-edge. I gasp at the suddenness of its being and feel assaulted. To the left, out of the corner of my eye, rows of tiny, red santas—or reindeer—or toy soldiers. They demand that I linger; to finger them. Or do they coax me to pick out what should be on my tree this year. I turn my shoulder to their messages, and leave. I am affronted. The first days of November are too soon for me to reach out to the celebrating days of holiday-December. It’s not time yet. -more-


Cat Notes By ELLEN SCHEINER

Tuesday December 27, 2005

In front of the fire. -more-


Berkeley Recycles By C.C. Saw

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Since I haven’t seen yours firsthand -more-


The Worm Of Thought By Nancy Schimmel

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Though I can’t remember their names, I liked my English teachers at Long Beach Poly High. They both had us read plays aloud in class, and I can still hear some 11th grade boy crying “What, you egg! Young fry of treachery!” We were reading 1984, too (this was in 1951, when 1984 seemed like the distant future), and one of the boys “translated” Lady Macbeth’s dagger speech into Newspeak. In twelfth grade English we read Idylls of the King, among other things, and some of us started writing a parody of it, in which due to shoddy construction by a corrupt contractor, a castle wall fell into the sea, killing some royal who had been doing a yoga headstand by it. -more-


Cat Nap By GREGORY PEDEMEINTE

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Pip takes a nap by the fire in his Berkeley home.. -more-


December Morning By Sandra J. Whittaker

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Snowflakes ... Soft ... silence -more-


Holiday Cheer, Grandpa Style By Rachel Trachten

Tuesday December 27, 2005

“Why spend the holidays at a resort?” Even over the phone, I could see my urban father’s quizzically raised eyebrows. “There’s so much more to do right here in New York.” But in spite of his muttered objections, my sisters and I organized a Christmas/Hanukkah reunion in Florida. Holidays with the cousins would be splendid, we agreed. “Staying at a hotel all week sounds dreary,” my father countered. “Are there any museums nearby? Any sights to see?” -more-


Berkeley: Then and Now By CAROLYN SELL (Berkeley High School class of ‘67 and proud of it)

Tuesday December 27, 2005

THEN: Ozzie knew us all by name and welcomed “loitering.” Wells Fargo accepted nickels and dimes from my whole class and gave us our first lesson in financial planning. -more-


a dance of Berkeley seasons By C.C. SAW

Tuesday December 27, 2005

the slowpoke’s tempo’s -more-


Alright By Donna Cummings

Tuesday December 27, 2005

I’m curled in the fetal position on the cool bathroom tiles. I suck my thumb while Mommy strokes my head. Except, I’ve never sucked my thumb and the only stroking Mommy ever did killed her a year ago. I’m really on a ladder painting the bathroom. My mind wanders when I paint. Sweat slithers down my back and sides. I’ve picked the hottest day in a string of hot days to work near the ceiling in the smallest room in the house. Luckily, the latex fumes don’t seem to bother me. Still, I must be nuts. -more-


My Grandmother’s Holiday Cookies By Charron-Tae Barnes

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Ooooh! I remember making and baking holiday cookies with my grandmother. -more-


The Fugleman By Phyllis Henry-Jordan

Tuesday December 27, 2005

The fugleman’s song begins at dawn, -more-


Merry Christmas (I Think) By madeline smith moore

Tuesday December 27, 2005

I’ve tried to love Christmas. I really have. To look forward to it; to wallow in its expectations. From my earliest childhood memories, Christmas has been the biggest deal of the year, even bigger than my birthday which nobody but me took seriously. And as long as I can remember, Christmas has proven to be a disappointment. Being the middle of three children didn’t help. Children, selfish little monsters, count their losses at Christmas, or at least their perceived slights. The others always had more and better than I. The oldest got the bicycle which had to be handed down—no money for more than one bicycle in the family. -more-


CLAUS-trophobic By Sonja Fitz

Tuesday December 27, 2005

To Claus or not to Claus, that is the question. Santa Claus, that is. -more-


Coffee Coffers By Estelle Jelinek

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Mocha with whipped cream -more-


Sending In The Troops By Margot Pepper

Tuesday December 27, 2005

“How long would authority and private property exist, if not for the willingness of the mass to become soldiers, policemen, jailers and hangmen?” -more-


Elevator Paranoia By PAUL DALMAS

Tuesday December 27, 2005

I’ve lived in Berkeley for 40 years, and I’ve seen Telegraph Avenue in all its incarnations—war protests in the ‘60s, drug sales in the ‘70s, street punks in the ‘80s, and rampant seediness in the ‘90s. So a week before Christmas, I barely notice the holiday crowd, a mix of shoppers, students, panhandlers, hawkers of cheap jewelry, and purveyors of anarchist bumper stickers. Carrying a sack of Christmas purchases from Cody’s Books and Amoeba Records, I make my way toward the concrete parking structure off Durant and enter the dark corridor that will return me to my car. -more-


Street Corner Society By TED VINCENT

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Drunks and drug addicts are as much a part of city life as are the earnest citizens who seek to clear their neighborhood of undesirables. Recently, discussion in the Daily Planet of these issues has confused serious problems with discarded beer cans and used condoms. Some writers seem to think anyone walking past their residence is up to no good. If I lived on these writers’ blocks and I didn’t have a car I would sure feel tense passing their houses on my way to the bus stop. -more-


Ambling Toward Christmas By Dorothy V. Benson

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Not something outlandishly lacy from Macy’s -more-


LISTEN TO ME, Jack By RHODA LEVINSON

Tuesday December 27, 2005

The neighbors used to criticize me. Said I was too hard on Jack. Always picking on him. Like the time I made him take the cow to market. I could have done it but I had to teach him. A farm boy can’t make a pet out of an animal we raise for food. -more-


Merry Christmas From UC By James K. Sayre

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Merry Christmas from UC (or should I say “Happy Holidays from UC?”). Have fun decorating that “holiday” tree, no, not the Memorial Day holiday tree or the Groundhog Day holiday tree, silly, the holiday-Holiday tree... you know, the one that comes around at (whisper) Christmastime...). Please note that even the word “holiday” has traditional Christian religious overtones, for it was derived from the Old English “haligdoeg,” meaning “holy + day.” So, who knows, maybe even the term “holiday” is next on the PC hit list and may soon be replaced with the phase, “Celebration Day,” “Festival Day” or even, “Pleasant Euphemism Period,” but I digress. -more-


At The Table By CRAIG FAIRBURN

Tuesday December 27, 2005

How sweet -more-


The Legend By CRAIG FAIRBURN

Tuesday December 27, 2005

Meeting Allen Ginsberg -more-


Visiting Jane Austen Chawton, Hants By Phyllis Henry-Jordan

Tuesday December 27, 2005

I must visit Jane Austen in her family -more-