Column: Dispatches From the Edge: The Deadly Tales We Tell Ourselves

By Conn Hallinan
Friday August 18, 2006

History is the story we tell ourselves in the present about the past, but how we punctuate the story, where we put the periods, the commas and the ellipses, depends not on everything that happened, but on who is telling the story, where we stand in the narrative, and what outcome we want. -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Keeping Watch Over Oakland’s Schools Was Not for Brown

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday August 18, 2006

When I was coming up, I used to attend Vacation Bible School, and faithfully study my daily passages, and then ask many questions that often seemed to annoy the teacher in charge of the class. -more-

Impressionism 101: Start in San Francisco

By Marta Yamamoto, Special to the Planet
Friday August 18, 2006

Radicals of the 1860s, they broke the rules and moved out of their studios. Away from poised portraits and still lives, they painted open-air scenes meant to capture everyday subjects in a passing moment. They painted with un-mixed vibrant colors in broad and daubed brushstrokes creating shimmering canvases bathed in light. The Impressionists turned their backs on academic painting, commanded attention and revolutionized the world of art. -more-

About the House: A Few Tips on the Dangers of Excess Water Pressure

By Matt Cantor
Friday August 18, 2006

Pressurizing the entire municipal water system is not an easy matter. I’m sure glad I don’t have to do it. Everyone’s bound to be unhappy. If you’re down in the flats or close to a pumping station, you’re pressure is going to be very high. If you’re waaaaay up at the top of the hills, it’s going to be much lower. We pump up the system to a pressure that will make sure that the person furthest from the pump will still have enough pressure to get a decent shower, even when her darned husband flushes the toilet (If I’ve told that man one time, I’ve told him…). -more-

Garden Variety: Work All Day? Plant a Night Garden to Welcome You Home

By Ron Sullivan
Friday August 18, 2006

Being a night person gives you a different look at things. Strolling at night or commuting to a night shift, especially when the moon’s out, you get to see gardens that no one else sees, even their owners. Silver leaves glow at night, and reshape a garden’s contours. White-flowered groundcovers make a garden float, changing perspectives and lifting a viewer off her own feet. Noises are damped, and what you hear is framed and given significance. There’s a feeling of privilege, of witnessing what mortals routinely miss. I can see where the stories of fairies in the bottom of the garden come from. -more-

Quake Tip of the Week

By Larry Guillot
Friday August 18, 2006

Will Uncle Sam Save Us? -more-

The Public Eye: Notes on NIMBYism Part III: A NIMBY Confronts Environmental Dualism

By Sharon Hudson
Tuesday August 15, 2006

Summer is here! Vacation time! Where shall I go? Usually I head straight for the wilderness—where I have spent much of my life—far from electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, and the teeming masses. But since I have spent even more of my life in one of the highest density parts of Berkeley, the more interesting question is: What has enabled me to stay in town most of the time? -more-

Column: How Writing Changed My Life

By Susan Parker
Tuesday August 15, 2006

I was not a writer before my husband Ralph had a bicycling accident that left him paralyzed below the shoulders. I worked at an international adventure travel company (located in Berkeley), leading bicycling trips to exotic locations like Tasmania and Bali. The only things I wrote were postcards, grocery lists, and, occasionally, copy for the company’s travel brochures. But in the spring of 1994 after Ralph’s accident, all writing, with the exception of completing medical and legal forms, became obsolete. I spent my days dealing with doctors, therapists and social workers. At night, I lay in bed alone, wondering what would happen to us. -more-

Forster’s Terns, Food Webs, And Flameproof Pajamas

By Joe Eaton, Special to the Planet
Tuesday August 15, 2006

Hovering over the shallows in search of a fish, the Forster’s tern embodies grace and elegance. Its long, pointed wings and forked tail combine aerodynamic function and esthetic appeal. John Reinhold Forster did not deserve this bird. -more-