Column: Fighting Aliens at Alta Bates

By Susan Parker
Tuesday September 26, 2006

Several years ago, my husband Ralph returned home from a stay in Oakland’s Kaiser hospital and insisted he’d been kidnapped by aliens. He e-mailed an acquaintance in Wisconsin and told her she was the only witness to his abduction. He asked her to write down everything she had seen for a lawsuit he planned to pursue. I called a Kaiser doctor to discuss Ralph’s mental state. -more-

Things with Feathers: Looking Back at Dinosaur Days

By Joe Eaton, Special to the Planet
Tuesday September 26, 2006

I’d like to be able to make some kind of Berkeley connection with the California Academy of Sciences’ new exhibit, “Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries.” But geology is against me. There was no there here during the dinosaur era: the coast of North America ended about where the Sierra Nevada is now. Westward, there were volcanic island arcs, ancient equivalents of Japan or the Philippines, then open ocean. -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Jerry Brown, Departing, Leaves a Mess Behind Him

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylo
Friday September 22, 2006

A little over 10 years ago, just after the explosive launch of the Internet information age, I wrote a feature-essay for Metro newspaper in San Jose called “W.W.W.—World Without Wisdom.” (The essay was all mine; the idea for turning the “world-wide-web” initials into “world without wisdom,” however, was the Metro editors’—I’d always wished I’d thought of that.) -more-

News Analysis: Campaign 2006: The Issues, the Stakes, the Prospects

By Arthur I. Blaustein, Mother Jones
Friday September 22, 2006

Scare the hell out of the American people. That, in a nutshell, is the Republicans’ fall congressional campaign strategy. If you doubt it, consider the following: George W. Bush launched a propaganda offensive in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary with a speech in which he called Islamic terrorists “successors to fascists, to Nazis, to communists and other totalitarians of the 20th century”; Donald Rumsfeld in turn likened administration critics (read Democrats) to those who appeased Nazi Germany in the 1930s; Dick Cheney, appearing on Meet the Press, accused opponents of the war of inviting more violence; Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in August released a hyped report on the supposedly grave threat to US national security posed by Iran—one strikingly similar to the hyped intelligence documents the administration used to build its case for war in Iraq. -more-

The Best Guys in Town

By Phila Rogers, Special to the Planet
Friday September 22, 2006

At 10 a.m. every Friday, Mary Ann Broder opens the Friends of the Library Bookstore for business. She’s been doing that since 1998 when the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library first moved into their present location in the Sather Gate Mall housed in the public parking structure a half block below Telegraph Avenue, between Channing Way and Durant. -more-

East Bay Then and Now: Spring Mansion Modeled After Empress’ Island Palace

By Daniella Thompson
Friday September 22, 2006

One of the largest residential parcels in the Berkeley, the John Hopkins Spring Estate, commonly known as the Spring Mansion, occupies 3.25 acres in the Southampton area of the north Berkeley Hills. The property is so large as to require three addresses: 1960 San Antonio Ave., 1984 San Antonio Ave., and 639 The Arlington. -more-

About the House: Home Inspection Confidential

By Matt Cantor
Friday September 22, 2006

Everyone has something particularly annoying about their job. I’m sure yours has at least one (I can see the heads nodding). O.K. It’s more than one. Me too. I’ve got a few and one of these serenity-busters that bugs me the most is being asked which building code justifies an item that I’ve called-out during an inspection. -more-

Garden Variety: Here Come the Fall Plant Sales — Native and Other

By Ron Sullivan
Friday September 22, 2006

When we start thinking good thoughts about rain, it must be the peak of fire season. That means fall planting season is coming soon, and it’s time to start looking for plants to fill in (or overcrowd) our gardens. Especially California natives, because this is a good time to plant them, to take advantage of the winter rains. Even drought-loving plants need a bit of watering help in their first year. -more-

Quake Tip of the Week

By Larry Guillot
Friday September 22, 2006

How Much Food and Water? -more-