Wild Neighbors: Globetrotting Rodents: The Odyssey of the Black Rat

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday February 26, 2008

It’s the Year of the Rat again‚—but which rat? For most of us “rat” signifies Rattus norwegicus, the Norway, brown, sewer, or wharf rat, progenitor of all those rats in all those labs, whose original homeland was northern China. But a case could be made for a less-well-known relative with roots in Asia: Rattus rattus, the black, roof, house, or ship rat. -more-

Column: The Public Eye: Next Time, Check Your Sources and Read the Planet

By Zelda Bronstein
Friday February 22, 2008

One of the many perturbing effects of the Berkeley City Council’s colossally stupid attack on the Marines is the re-emergence of UC professor and San Francisco resident David Kirp as an apologist for Berkeley City Hall. On Feb. 18 Kirk’s provoking tribute to the city’s officialdom, “Semper Fi, Berkeley,” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. -more-

Column: Undercurrents: Underlying Currents Run Through Oakland’s Debates

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday February 22, 2008

One of the reasons that three of the most pressing issues currently on Oakland’s city agenda—crime and violence, industrial zoning preservation vs. residential or commercial development, and affordable housing—are so naggingly difficult to settle is that, while there is an underlying current that runs through all of them and ties them all together, there is reluctance to talk about them, to engage that debate in the open. -more-

East Bay Then and Now: William Wharff: Architect, Civil War Vet and Mason

By Daniella Thompson
Friday February 22, 2008
The Masonic Temple at 2105 Bancroft Way was built in 1906.

Of all the architects who resided in Berkeley during the first four decades of the 20th century, the one who received the most coverage in the local press was not John Galen Howard or Bernard Maybeck but William Hatch Wharff. And only occasionally was the press coverage related to his profession. -more-

Garden Variety: Grow Local Heirlooms and Have a Good Time Too

By Ron Sullivan
Friday February 22, 2008

“Music will be an Old Time Music Jam, bring yer fiddle,” is what Terri Compost, the exquisitely named point person of the Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (acronym’ed, equally exquisitely, “BASIL”) replied to my query. I wanted to know who would be playing the music promised for BASIL’s Ninth Annual Seed Swap tomorrow, Saturday February 23, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Ecology Center. Dang, I don’t have a fiddle. Guess I’ll just send the cat. -more-

About the House: Some Notes on Building a Fire

By Matt Cantor
Friday February 22, 2008

I was inspecting a house out beyond the Naugahyde Curtain the other day (Walnut Creek, if memory serves; landing strip for white flight). The house was unillustrious but amongst the artifacts that brought me sufficient intrigue to set the day aglow was a brand new fireplace. -more-