Dispatches From the Edge: Afghanistan: What Are These People Thinking?

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM

One of the oddest—indeed, surreal—encounters around the war in Afghanistan has to be a telephone call this past July 27. On one end of the line was historian Stanley Karnow, author of Vietnam: A History. On the other, State Department special envoy Richard Holbrooke and the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. The question: How does Washington avoid defeat like it suffered in Southeast Asia 40 years ago? -more-

Undercurrents: Making Changes in ‘God-Forsaken Richmond’

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:44:00 AM

My uncle, Charlie Reid, moved to Richmond in the early 1930s, and my mother often told the story of how my grandmother, Jennie Reid, first went to visit Uncle Charlie out there on the bus. When Grandma Reid got back home, she was sobbing, asking “Why did Charlie move to that God-forsaken place?” -more-

Green Neighbors: Something Old, Something New at Flowerland

By Ron Sullivan
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:40:00 AM
Glory be to Odd for dappled things, like these on display at Flowerland.

I’ll take the weekend’s set of rainstorms as the starting gun for fall planting season this year. As some might have noticed, I’ve been personally less than productive lately, and quite slow. (Blame the damned fruitless mulberries that shut my lungs down way back in spring. Plus, I Blame the Patriarchy, but then I always do.) As a result, I’m seriously impatient with limitations like energy and stamina and time itself. I want to plant! -more-

East Bay Then and Now: The Circuitous Career of Berkeley’s Favorite Undertaker

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:43:00 AM
The Hull & Durgin mortuary building at 3051 Adeline St. was designed in 1923 by Hutchison & Mills.

On the morning of Feb. 1, 1895, a Berkeley carpenter by the name of A.E. Spaulding entered Stricker’s cigar store at 2132 Shattuck Ave. Laying a bundle of medications on the counter, he announced that he wished to leave it there. Then he walked to the rear of Durgin & Bleakley, a furniture and undertaking establishment at 2129 Center St. Leaning against a barn, Spaulding shot himself through the heart with a 38-caliber revolver. -more-

About the House: Mother Nature and Our Best Laid Plans

By Matt Cantor
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:40:00 AM

It always amazes me how nature manages to foil our best laid plans. Nothing is predictable, even the ground we build our houses on. And I’m not just talking about faults or landslides. -more-