Dispatches From the Edge: The Afghan Rubik’s Cube

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 06:59:00 PM

Afghanistan is a gatherer of metaphors: “crossroads of Asia,” “graveyard of empires,” and the “Great Game,” to name a few, although it might be more accurate to think of it as a Rubik’s Cube, that frustrating puzzle of intersecting blocks that only works when everything fits perfectly. The trick for the Obama administration is to figure out how to solve the puzzle in a time frame rapidly squeezed by events both internal and external to that war-torn central Asian nation. -more-

UnderCurrents: Yard Dog Journalism and Mayor Dellums

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 07:02:00 PM

We’ve talked before about the phenomenon of what we call “yard-dog journalism,” that practice of all the dogs (or journalists, or columnists, or newspapers) on the block taking up the howling after someone walks by on the street, even though that person has done nothing peculiar, and may have passed that exact same way with no response many times before. But this time, after one of the dogs starts howling, all the others join in the clamor. Ask the last one exactly what triggered his barking this time and, if he could talk, he’d tell you “Damned if I know. All the other dogs was barking, that’s why, so I figured there must be a reason.” -more-

Green Neighbors: Streamlined Half to Death: Me and the Mulberries

By Ron Sullivan
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 06:12:00 PM
All-male pollinating flowers on the mulberry in front of our place, as see from the front porch.

If I were one of Those Kids These Days and had a working laptop with WiFi, or an iPhone and faster fingers, I could’ve filed this closer to last week’s deadline. It would’ve been live from Alta Bates’ lovely and relaxing Emergency Department. As it is, I’m seizing the moment to declare myself a late casualty of Dutch elm disease. -more-

About the House: A Secondary Drain Can Save You a Great Deal of Pain

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday April 08, 2009 - 06:12:00 PM

I met a very nice fellow the other day. A composer. Funny how homeowners end up being something other than just…homeowners. Neat guy, writes music for films, TV, corporate films and the like. He also had the composure of a musician, smooth and philosophical. Good thing for all those involved in selling him this house, because let me tell you, it would be very easy to be acrimonious considering the experience he’s had. -more-