Dispatches From The Edge: Hunting Hugo

By Conn Hallinan
Friday October 27, 2006

There are times when the tensions between Venezuela and the Bush Administration seem closer to commedia dell arte than politics: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez compares President George W. Bush to the devil, right down to the smell of sulfur; Homeland Security responds by strip searching Venezuela’s Foreign Minister at a New York airport; Venezuela seizes 176 pounds of frozen chicken on its way to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. -more-

Undercurrents: Questions Persist Over OUSD Downtown Properties Sale

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday October 27, 2006

Sometimes, in politics, you come to a point where it is not possible to provide definitive answers, only questions. We seem to have come to such a point in the proposed sale of the Oakland Unified School District downtown properties. The question is: Why is that proposed sale still on the table? -more-

East Bay Then and Now: East Bay Buildings Inspired by Precedent, Part II

By Daniella Thompson
Friday October 27, 2006

If you’re looking for architecture inspired by precedent, there’s no better place to look than the University of California campus. Nowhere else in town is so much architectural variety concentrated within such a confined area. And the precedents are apparent in all manner of buildings, from the most prominent to the humblest. -more-

About the House: Smoke Decectors Can Save Your Family and Neighbors

By Matt Cantor
Friday October 27, 2006

One of the toughest parts of my job has always been finding the justification to support large expenditures on my client’s part. While it may be fun to spend someone else’s money, you won’t make much of a reputation telling everyone that they need a new foundation. You have to parse the good-enough from the doesn’t-cut-it and that’s often disconcerting (for me and for my client). -more-

Garden Variety: Waste Not, Fret Not: Even Composting Wrong Works

By Ron Sullivan
Friday October 27, 2006

The older and bumblinger I get—and believe me, I’m starting from an advanced baseline of bumblitude—the more I appreciate how forgiving a process gardening is. Composting is one of the more forgiving parts of it, and cheapest. It can stink if you do it wrong—but, if you do it wrong, it generally still works. -more-

Quake Tip of the Week

By Larry Guillot
Friday October 27, 2006

How’s Your Earthquake Knowledge? (Part 3) -more-

Column: The Public Eye: Lights Out on Berkeley Transportation Planning?

By Michael Katz
Tuesday October 24, 2006

It’s worrisome enough that Berkeley has failed to maintain a relatively simple blinking crosswalk at the risky Ashby/Piedmont intersection, as the Daily Planet reported on Oct. 6. -more-

Column: Advice From Beyond

By Susan Parker
Tuesday October 24, 2006

The Alta Bates Emergency Room doctor gave Ralph 24 hours to live. An attendant wheeled Ralph, in a hospital bed, into the East Wing of ICU. The admitting doctor said Ralph probably wouldn’t make it through the night. -more-

Berkeley’s Barn Owls: The View From 1926

By Joe Eaton, Special to the Planet
Tuesday October 24, 2006

Berkeley was a much different place 80 years ago. But then as now, it was prime barn owl territory. During the summer of 1926, E. Raymond Hall of UC’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology kept track of a family of owls nesting in the tower of the First Presbyterian Church that then stood at Dana and Channing. Hall, who habitually worked late, heard them calling while walking home from the museum between 10 p.m. and midnight. -more-