Column: Undercurrents: African-Americans Do Not Have the Luxury of Ignoring the Race Issue

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday March 21, 2008

My mother’s older relatives lived through the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, an event that has no parallel in our times. One of the favorite family stories was passed down from one of her uncles, Theodore (always called Uncle Thee with a soft-sound on the “th”), who walked about in downtown San Francisco an hour or so after the quake through streets littered with overturned carriages and dead dray horses and fallen bricks, the surrounding wooden buildings just beginning to be licked by the flames that would later engulf and destroy much of the city. It must have been a scene reminiscent of hell, and indicative of God’s vengeance on a sinful humanity. So reminiscent and indicative, in fact, that Uncle Thee said that when he met up with a white fellow walking numbly through the same chaotic streets, the white fellow rushed up to him, dropped to his knees, hugged his arms around Uncle Thee’s legs, and shouted, “Save me, brother! O, save me!” -more-

East Bay Then and Now: Allenoke Manor Was a Scene of Hospitality for 5 Decades

By Daniella Thompson
Friday March 21, 2008
The south elevation of Allenoke Manor faces the gardens and Ridge Road.

When Berkeley boosters publicized the city circa 1905, they invariably pointed to the 1700 block of Le Roy Avenue as their shining example. Situated one block to the north of the UC campus, the short stretch between Le Conte Avenue and Ridge Road boasted two of Berkeley’s most opulent and ballyhooed residences: the Volney D. Moody house, known as “Weltevreden,” and the Allen G. Freeman house, “Allenoke.” Each was designed by a fashionable architect (A.C. Schweinfurth and Ernest Coxhead, respectively) and was clad in clinker brick-a material popular with Arts and Crafts builders. -more-

Garden Variety: The Accidental Gardener Confesses, or Brags

By Ron Sullivan
Friday March 21, 2008
Salsify—“oyster plant”—is a common local weed with an edible root.

I do have a modest talent for growing things. The catch is that what grows isn’t always what I had in mind. -more-

About the House: Who’s Buried in the Yard?

By Matt Cantor
Friday March 21, 2008

I crawled out from underneath someone’s house the other day and placed in the hands of a brow-knit homeowner, a pithy black rock. Before she could form the words for what she could not quite specify, I said “Coal … Anthracite, I think” (as though I know anything about coal). Since she continued to bear that befuddled look, I explained that I’d been under the house and that there, near the furnace, I’d found a few of these black shiny artifacts of geophysics. -more-

The Public Eye: Campaign 2008: Act III

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday March 18, 2008

The March 11 Mississippi primaries signaled the end of the second of four acts in the competition for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Act I began on Jan. 5 with the Iowa caucuses and ended on Jan. 26 with the South Carolina primary, where the race was winnowed down to Sens. Clinton and Obama. Act II began on Feb. 5, Super Tuesday, and plodded on for five weeks. Act III begins with the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 and ends on June 3 or possibly later if Florida and Michigan have to revote. Act IV will be the convention beginning Aug. 25, where the nominee will be selected. -more-

Green Neighbors: The Brave Little Quince

By Ron Sullivan
Tuesday March 18, 2008
Fruit, flowers, and lots of thorns on the Brave Little Quince under the BART tracks on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

On the median strip under the BART tracks along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, just a few blocks past the city line and into Oakland, there lives a flowering quince I’ve always thought of as The Brave Little Toaster. Aside from the fact that it’s nothing like a toaster at all, I find the name apt. -more-