Wild Neighbors: Egrets, Deer and Prince Kropotkin

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday March 25, 2008
A great egret, perched on a fence at Lake Merritt.

Partnerships across species lines aren’t all that uncommon in nature. Where Darwin saw evolution as a process of deadly competition, the Russian aristocrat-anarchist Pyotor Kropotkin observed “mutual aid” everywhere-cooperative behavior not just within species, as in the beehive or wolfpack, but even between unrelated creatures. -more-

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-