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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Sign of the Times

Letters from my landlord don’t come often, and in the past they have usually indicated one thing: higher rent. So when I saw the envelope in yesterday’s mail, my first thought was, “Damnit! How can they raise my rent when rents are falling in the area?” It turns out I had jumped to conclusions: I […]

The Ongoing Legacy of the New Deal

As someone with a casual interest in local history, I was interested to learn from another Oakland blog about the Living New Deal Project at UC Berkeley. In addition to producing a book and collecting testimonials from people who worked on (or witnessed) New Deal projects, the Berkeley scholars are compiling a searchable database of […]


Back in January, I wrote about this boat rusting away on a tidal flat in the Oakland estuary, but I didn’t have a camera capable of doing it justice at the time. I finally got a chance to take some better pictures yesterday (those are the lights of the Coliseum in the background):

“Be Nice Don’t Dump”

I think I may have tried that exact line with an ex-girlfriend once. If I had known at the time that dumping was illegal, maybe I could have been more persuasive. More seriously, I think that Broken Windows Theory 101 would dictate that if you are trying to discourage people from treating your semi-vacant lot […]

An Unlikely Route to an Immigrant Visa

If I’m reading this New York Times article correctly, the young pirate whose three cobrigands were all killed by Navy SEAL snipers may eventually live freely here in the United States. Talk about winning the immigration lottery! Just how swiftly a trial would be held is uncertain, and much would depend on the defense strategy, […]


Is San Jose’s mayor out of touch, or just a panderer?

Every so often, newspapers print articles about the struggles of some of the wealthiest people in our country, who are barely scraping by on several hundred thousand dollars a year. The New York Times’s 2007 story on “working class millionaires” in the Bay Area was a classic of the genre. And last year, when the […]


Andy Rosenthal, the New York Times Editorial Editor, had this to say in response to an online question about why the Times has no “serious” female columnists: I would be the last person alive to suggest that Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins are not serious columnists. They are indeed, very serious. The last time I […]

Cherub’s Best Friend

Still Life with Bunnies and Eggs

A front yard on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. Is it Easter or something?

A Bike with a View

A low center of gravity might help one’s stability on a bicycle, but sometimes you have to get up high to see over all the damn SUV’s—and to make sure the SUV drivers can see you too. This was sent to me by a reader in Boston:

Hearing Punctuation

A blogger at Crooked Timber, Eszter Hargittai, has a complaint: Too often I encounter the following kind of sentence: “I’m wondering if people could improve their grammar?” One of my pet peeves is when people put question marks at the end of sentences beginning with “I wonder if”. I’m always left wondering if the person […]