Column: Dispatches From the Edge: The Aftermath of Lebanon: Myths and Dark Plans

By Conn Hallinan
Friday September 01, 2006

The Middle East has always been a place where illusion paves the road to disaster. -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Solving Oakland’s Crime: Staying for the Whole Play

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday September 01, 2006

Some years ago, when I lived in South Carolina, two black men reportedly got into a fight on someone’s front porch over who had eaten the largest portion of a watermelon they were supposed to be sharing, the result being that one of the men went into the house and got his pistol and shot the other one to death. This being South Carolina, there were a lot of sniggering comments in some circles about “Well, you know, you can’t mess with a black man’s watermelon,” the incident passing on into story and legend as “the time the man got shot over a watermelon.” -more-

Berkeley’s Best Unkept Secrets

By Marta Yamamoto, Special to the Planet
Friday September 01, 2006

Feeling at home in a new location requires time, effort and a little luck. Where to go for quality foods, reasonable eats and outdoor pursuits? To minimize time and effort and maximize pleasure, take the advice of every travel guide writer and look for the locals. Patrons eagerly waiting for doors to open, long lines and a mixed bag of clientele are sure signs that Berkeley’s favorites are poorly kept secrets. -more-

About the House; Checking Out Your Furnace for the Winter

By Matt Cantor
Friday September 01, 2006

This is a good time of year to take a look at our furnaces. One reason is that that’s true is that servicing can lead to repairs (or, Oh No, replacement) and this can take your furnace off line for some days and it’s better to face such an eventuality when it’s sunny and warm than when you really need the heat. Also, the best service folks (HVAC or Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning technicians) are busy when the winter hits and everyone’s turned on their furnace for the first time only to discover something that’s gone awry. In fact, you’ll have your pick of the best HVAC folks if you get them at this time of year. -more-

Scents in the Garden Come From More Than Flowers

By Ron Sullivan
Friday September 01, 2006

Flowers are the most obvious way to scent a garden, but they have lots of company. Fragrance in other plant parts is generally a side effect of strategies for things other than reproduction: water conservation, pest protection, even fire resistance. -more-

Column: Fleas, Flies, Frank And the Almost Failed

By Susan Parker
Tuesday August 29, 2006

Over the summer we halted a flea invasion by taking the dog to the vet and hiring an exterminator. We removed the rodent population by cutting down a vine and carefully placing poison in humanly inaccessible places. We foiled a fly infestation by discovering the source, removing it, and scouring the house. We survived a trip to the emergency room and the follow-up recovery by administering antibiotics through a PIC line at home. We thwarted the return from jail of an unwanted visitor by calling the cops and taking out a restraining order. -more-

The Rise and Fall Of the City of Paper

By Joe Eaton, Special to the Planet
Tuesday August 29, 2006

It was an impressive object: somewhere between soccer ball- and basketball-sized, hanging just above eye level in a tanoak tree. A couple of its inhabitants, big black wasps with white markings, were at work on its outer surface. They were white-faced or bald-faced hornets, and the corrugated gray spheroid was their nest. -more-