In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


1.   Niles Canyon Road widening project halted, at least temporarily
2.   Ecology offerings at CCSF imperiled
3.   North Carolina now observes a Save The Frogs Day; onward to California
4.   Feedback
5.   A Google Deal at Watershed Nursery
6.   Certified organic farm has lamb for $12/lb
7.   Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, born 14 December 1546/Shakespeare saw Tycho's supernova?
8.   Sun setting later from now on
9.   Walking offers discount coupons good at the doctor's, service stations, and, er...the gym
10. Bumblebee last sighted in 1956 found
11.  The other Socrates now dead
12.  It's the law in Seattle....

Lawsuit Settlement Invalidates CalTrans Project Approval and Permit

The California Department of Transportation signed a settlement agreement today with the Alameda Creek Alliance that forces the agency to terminate the approval and permits for the first phase of a controversial $80 million highway widening project in Niles Canyon along Alameda Creek.CalTrans will rescind its 2006 approval and flawed environmental review for the Route 84 Safety Improvement Project, notify regulatory agencies it is withdrawing the project, terminate the project construction contract, and comply with mitigation requirements for work already done, such as tree cutting along Alameda Creek.

“This is a victory both for protecting Alameda Creek and forcing transparency in public agency decisions,” said Jeff Miller, director of the Alameda Creek Alliance. “CalTrans must mitigate for damaged trees along Alameda Creek and cannot pursue a highway project in lower Niles Canyon without adequate environmental review and full public participation. If CalTrans comes back with a revised project, we strongly suggest it not involve significant highway widening or unnecessary damage to trout habitat.”...Alameda Superior Court judge Frank Roesch issued a preliminary injunction in June barring CalTrans from continuing construction and excoriated the agency’s clandestine project approval and obstruction of the public process.

“Unfortunately, CalTrans is still pursuing another larger and even more ecologically damaging highway widening project in the middle of Niles Canyon, so streamside trees and wildlife habitat along Alameda Creek in the canyon are not safe yet,” said Miller. “We are monitoring any project approval for phase two, since the environmental review for that project was also severely flawed.”



2.  From Crime Pogge, City College instructor:
Dear Jake,
One unfortunate effect of the budget crisis and the misguided priorities for public spending is that our ecology offerings at CCSF are in danger of being even more severely reduced .  Yet, I probably don't need to explain why they are so important - many students enroll without even knowing what ecology is, just because they need that science unit. It does not take much, though, to excite them about nature, especially if there is a field component.

Could you post these three weekend ecology classes below  in your newsletter - the best way to save the classes is to show strong enrollment, or better yet, a wait list.
And thank you again for the wonderful newsletter, all the best and happy holidays, Crima

I will be teaching:

BIO 81A Ecology of San Francisco (1)
An examination of abiotic and biotic factors shaping nature in San Francisco. An analysis of plant, animal, and human interactions within the diverse habitat types over time.
The Ecology of SF is a weekend field course visiting sites
          within the City of SF on Sat. 4/14/12 and Sat 4/21/12. An on
          campus orientation meeting is mandatory from 6-9pm in SCIE
          309 on Thursday, 4/5/12.
BIO 23 Ecology of Mendocino (1)
An examination of the geology, biology and human history of Mendocino County. A study of the interrelationships of plants, animals and humans within the forests and coastal regions of Northern California. We are camping at McKerricher State Park - visit tide pools, dune systems, pygmy and redwood forests.
Bio 23 is a one weekend class, beginning 4/28/12 and
          ending 4/29/12. A mandatory on campus orientation meeting
          meets on Wednesday, April 18th from 6:30-9:30 pm in Sci 309.
Joe Cannon and I will be co-teaching this new class:

BIO 80C Topics in Biology-Agroecology (1)
An examination of ecological issues surrounding agriculture. Analysis of ecosystem services provided by sustainable agriculture. Evaluation of different farming methods practiced on local urban farm and of personal food choices.
BIO 80C is one weekend class, beginning 5/5/12 and ending
          5/6/12. A mandatory on campus orientation meeting     
          meets on Wednesday, 4/25/12 from 6:30-9:30pm in S309.


3.  From SaveTheFrogs
Governor of North Carolina Officially Recognizes Save The Frogs Day!

On Friday, Governor Bev Purdue of North Carolina officially recognized the 4th Annual Save The Frogs Day (April 28, 2012) in the state of NC, and she "commends its observance to all citizens." Thanks and congratulations to 13 year old Rachel Hopkins of Raleigh, NC who along with mother Pam made this happen. Rachel raised over $1,200 for SAVE THE FROGS! last Save The Frogs Day and is now helping to ensure our politicians know about the dangers frogs face and the importance of protecting them!

A few days ago I sent the North Carolina proclamation to California's Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird as he likes frogs; he responded "Kerry - Thanks.  I will forward your email to the Governor's (Jerry Brown's) office and let them know North Carolina is leading the way." In 2009, Governor Tim Kaine officially recognized Save The Frogs Day in the state of Virginia, and we hope that Governor Jerry Brown will do the same in California this year.


4.  Feedback

Alice Polesky (re Emily Dickinson):
Thanks for your tip of the hat to Emily, Jake. I visited her grave in Massachusetts, which is very small and humble. I'll never forget the inscription. Below her name and birth and death dates, all it said was "Called back." When I went to Wikipedia (where else?) to see if they had a picture of it, I was happy to see they had, inscription and all, including the little pebbles on top (though probably not the one I'd placed there, twenty years ago). I then read that "Called back" was a quote from her last letter.

Joel Pomerantz:
On Dec 10, 2011, at 5:50 PM, Jake Sigg wrote:
The first major departures from this was naming Main Drive John F Kennedy Drive, followed by Martin Luther King Drive for South Drive.  The trend has begun accelerating, and it won't stop at Warren Hellman.

Actually, it began in the 1800s, when Stow Lake (with Huntington Falls and Sweeney Observatory in the middle) was named after a seriously problematic power broker on the Park Board. Sweeney was a land speculator in the Sunset district! Huntington was one of the Big Four railroad barons. Prior to that, the the features of the park were named mostly as descriptions: Deer Glen, Children's Quarter, etc. -Joel
Thanks, Joel.  Actually I was pretty sure that the naming after people began much earlier, but a concrete example didn't pop into my mind.  I figured I'd get mail.

Wm Hammond Hall and John McLaren had to continually battle self-important and self-aggrandizing people, of which there's always been a plenitude in this city.  So why did I make a statement like that?  Laziness, mostly, which can overtake me at moments.  I can count on readers to keep me honest--and accurate, mostly.

Sharon Kato:
If what I have read is correct, Speedway Meadow was formerly Speed Road - a racetrack built by the city's elite for their racing pleasure.  While that's interesting, is it that worthy of being commemorated?
I don't know the answer to your question, but others certainly do, and we may hear from some.  I do know that the wealthy wanted straightaways so they could race their carriages, and these straightaways would become wind tunnels.  That, of course, was directly counter to Hall's and Olmsted's vision for the park, which was to create the illusion of being in the country.  The well-to-do had country homes and could travel, but Hall was insistent that the park must above all serve working people, who not only did not have country homes, but mostly couldn't even afford to take a trip out of town--so the park was their "country".

Warren Hellman, for all his civic-mindedness, was responsible for foisting that garage on the park, after engineering getting the museum and Academy to stay.  Commemorating him is rubbing salt into the wounds.  What a heartbreaker--these institutions were ready to leave, and the Civic Center is the ideal location for both.  They are both intruders and got in through a roundabout process.  Neither McLaren nor Hall would countenance them, but botanist (!!) Alice Eastwood sweet-talked McLaren into letting the Academy stay in its "temporary" quarters after it was burned out downtown in the1906 quake.  The museum was a relic from the 1894 Midwinter Fair.  Politics.  Bad as the two institutions' presence is, it is the spill-over effects that so severely damage the park--traffic and parking.

I know that some people will be offended by these statements, as many unthinkingly like them in the park--never thinking of the park itself, of course.  You know you're on the wrong side of an issue when you agree with Ken Garcia. 

On Dec 10, 2011, at 9:05 PM, Bert Johnson wrote:
Jake,  The newsletter is becoming more and more interesting and positively provocative with each new week.  I love the comments shared by your diverse and informed readers.  I dare say that Nature News has become a most necessary replacement and form of reader entertainment comparable perhaps to the journalistic genius of Herb Caen.  Keep up the excellent work and inspiration for us all.  Bert Johnson
Oh, Bert, all this praise goes to my head.  I love it, I feast on it.

Truth to tell, it is a lot of work, and dominates my life.  I don't have nearly enough time for myself and the bazillion things I want to do.  Whenever I start thinking how I can cut down on the time I put in I get an epistle like yours and it keeps me going.

Whenever I think of cutting down, I find the fun part is the "extra" stuff that doesn't necessarily fit under nature news.  But nature is at the heart of it, and disseminating information and helping others working to preserve the important and worthwhile things must come first, so I can't cut down that part.  The gratuitous additions are often what I enjoy doing the most, so I just keep on keeping on.

On Dec 10, 2011, at 7:27 PM, Anna-Marie Bratton wrote:
Hi Jake, On differentiating ravens and crows: 
In flight: Ravens have wedge shaped tails and  crows are straight across.  Ravens soar more than crows and crows don't do those great somersaults ravens have so much fun doing. On the ground: Crows are smaller and sleek looking while ravens are bigger, bulkier, and have a ruff of feathers at the neck giving them a shaggy look, the raven bill is stouter - in general, I say that ravens look like crows on steroids.  Crows do have a higher pitched voice, one ornithologist I knew would say that ravens sing base and crows high "c", they both have a large variety of calls, but crows never do the deep "gronk gronk" call of the raven and ravens don't do the high pitched "caw" of the crow.  Crows tend to hang about in large groups where as ravens tend to be a bit more solitary, especially as adults.  If you see a gang of ravens it's usually juveniles.  With practice it gets pretty easy to tell the apart. In any case they are both bunches of fun to watch.
I pretty much agree with these opinions, except that "bass and high-C" might be a bit over the mark.  Crows are gregarious, but I see ravens occasionally in small groups, especially if there's food around.  The ravens are my favorites, in large part because of their playfulness and conspicuous intelligence.

About the lunar eclipse, I've seen many of them, but for once the moon was in a place and as a time where I didn't even have to get out of bed - just pull the curtains and watch!
You could have gone all day w/o telling me that all you had to do was open the bedroom curtains to see the lunar eclipse.  I hate you.  :)

Doug Allshouse:
Jake: The recent lunar eclipse was rare in that it occurred so close to dawn. Most of them I have experienced have occured closer to midnight. The moon got lost sooner than expected but not due to fog. I clearly blame the horrible levels of winter valley smog that has been plaguing our coastline for its early demise.  Doug

Arnold Levine:
Hi Jake,
I noticed that you didn't include the birthday of Octavia Hill on Dec. the 3rd (1838). She started the modern open space movement, National Trust, amongst many other important works. I recently became a big fan of hers!

Octavia Hill (1838-1912) was a woman ahead of her time. An artist and a radical, she was a pioneer of affordable housing and can be seen as the founder of modern social work. Her formidable achievements as an environmental and open space campaigner led to her co-founding the National Trust, which today protects over 300 historic properties and keeps 250,000 hectares of land open to all.

Her life and work is documented in Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, a handsome Georgian house facing the river Nene. The house and its displays demonstrate this remarkable woman’s influence on our life today: her fight against poverty and disease and her quest to bring peace and beauty into the lives of ordinary working people.

Steve Neff:
    Hi Jake,
      Here is an article that I thought you might find interesting, on urban farming on vacant lots in Detroit.
              happy trails,   steve neff

Steve Lawrence:
Jake, the "basic bargain" Reich wrote about restoring was made voluntarily by a capitalist who ventured that it was in his interest to make it--to pay three times the going wage to his workers. More recently dot-com companies have also paid their workers many times more than the going wage, often in stock or options. Again, it was in their interest, or so the founders wagered. It is one thing to encourage capitalists to think Ford, Page and Brin, it is quite another to force business to restore.
Steve:  You shouldn't be throwing that back at me, but at Reich, who is over at UC Berkeley.  Easy to contact.

Steve Lawrence:
Jake, re turkeys and withholding feed, another non-native omnivorous invasive specie is you and me. Shall feed be withheld to drive us out of California?
Steve, this is a yawner.  We all recognize that we're the world's #1 invasive species, but we're selfish and not about to leave the continent(s) of our own accord.  Given that conundrum, we still need to manage for what's left of our natural support system.  Restorationists take it as a given that we're selfish creatures, trying to arrange the world for our comfort and welfare.  (And doing a bad job, I might add.)  Since we are not going to commit suicide (intentionally), the next best thing is to try to slow down the deterioration, keeping natural systems from unravelling faster than they are.  Turkeys are threatening our welfare, but it is difficult to get a bureaucrat or politician--or the biologically illiterate public--to understand that.


5.  The Watershed Nursery
We are informing our loyal customers of a coupon offer. Google Deals is featuring The Watershed Nursery by offering a $20.00 coupon for only $10.00.  Go to Google Deals to sign up for the deal.  

The Watershed Nursery, 601-A Canal Blvd., Richmond, CA 94804, USA


6.  I have a certified (CCOF) organic farm in the Capay Valley. I have 55 acres of hillside and the 40 acres of rowcrop land (I grow heirloom wheat and sometimes when I have enough money, my cotton on that) - I graze over 100 merino (small wool, non meat breed) sheep rotationally on these lands. I got the sheep in 2000 - they were already an organic flock- because they were all going to go to slaughter and they had lovely colored fine wool that would blend well with the my cotton (Foxfibre® naturally colored) , plus I always wanted to have a biodynamic farm. So I plunged in and it has been such a long hard learning experience as I am an animal lover and many of the things one is supposed to do for the sheep is stuff I cannot do. I cannot cut tails off or castrate the lambs. I cannot cull older ewes. I keep them and feed them extra grain (my heirloom wheat) and let them live their lives here and when they die I have a place where I put them for the wildlife. (The vulture people say that the vultures need healthy food that is not contaminated from the metal in bullets or shot, and I have a large family of foxes who live on my hillside as well).

So, they primarily graze, but I do buy organic hay for the months when the pastures are low or it is raining too much. I am feeding hay now and this year's hay is really low in nutrition; they are eating twice as much as I expected them to and so, I have decided to bring about 20 of them to the humane slaughter facility in Dixon. They will buy my sheep for a specialized market- the Halal markets wants unmolested animals- since mine have tails and testicles and horns they qualify- but no one cares that they are beyond I also keep some for myself and sell some by the whole and half to friends and I have a friend who is in your group and she suggested that I post here.

I can sell meat from the small lambs for $12/lb ( I expect about 12 lbs in a half and 24 lbs in a whole lamb) and the mutton for $8/lb (there might be 40 lbs of meat in one of those full grown ones). I can sell organs for $6/lb. It will be available Wednesday or Thursday of next week and if there were enough people in one area I could do some sort of a drop off. I will need some money for driving into and out of San Francisco as well. Maybe add $25 to the entire order for delivery?

So if anyone on this group wants to buy some lamb or mutton meat, bones and or organs from me, please let me know.

You can call me as well at 530 796 3388

Thanks, Sally


7.  Born 14 December 1546 - Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe is a big name in the history of astronomy.  Although he didn't devise any revolutionary theories, such as Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo, his observations and data were a rich mine for some who did, in particular Kepler:

We know Kepler mostly for his three planetary laws, which he derived after a Herculean battle with the data of the great Danish naked-eye observer, Tycho Brahe.  Kepler linked physics and astronomy by establishing the idea that the planets had to move due to unseen forces.  He thus founded celestial mechanics and opened the door for Newton’s work on gravitation.

…Brahe had accumulated 20 years of precise observations and needed someone with Kepler’s mathematical prowess to make sense of it.  Kepler promised he could solve the orbit of Mars within 8 days.  Mars was particularly difficult because the observations varied from Tycho’s calculations more than any of the planets.  Instead, the task took nearly 8 years and more than 900 pages of calculations before he wrapped it up.

To harmonize observations with calculations, Kepler first determined Earth’s motion as a planet.  Think of understanding the motion of an airplane circling an airport as seen from another airplane, and you have some sense of the enormity of his task.  “I have spent so much pains on it”, he wrote a friend, “that I could have died 10 times.”

By insisting that his theoretical orbits agreed to within the errors of Brahe’s data, Kepler created one of the linchpins of the scientific method.  In the process, he swept the astronomical house free of its clutter of circles and epicycles and gave the world two of his three laws of planetary motion:  Planets orbit the Sun in ellipses, and a line drawn from the Sun to the planet sweeps out equal areas in equal times.  The wheels of the Scientific Revolution were turning, and the ancient notion of uniform circular motion, which even Copernicus held onto, was abandoned for good.

(I lost the attribution on the above article.)

In 1572, Tycho Brahe studied a "new star" so bright that for a time it was visible in daylight. Not new at all, Tycho's star is now known to have been an old star that exploded (a supernova) and disappeared forever. (James Kaler, University of Illinois)

Last year [1572], in the month of November, on the eleventh day of the month, in the evening, after sunset, when, according to my habit, I was contemplating the stars in a clear sky, I noticed that a new and unusual star, surpassing the other stars in brilliancy, was shining almost directly above my head; and since I had, almost from boyhood, known all the stars of the heavens perfectly (there is no great difficulty in attaining that knowledge), it was quite evident to me that there had never before been any star in that place in the sky…

I conclude, therefore, that this star is not some kind of comet or a fiery meteor, whether these be generated beneath the Moon or above the Moon, but that it is a star shining in the firmament itself—one that has never previously been seen before our time, in any age since the beginning of the world.
    Tycho Brahe, Danish Astronomer (1546-1601)

The Bard and astronomy
William Shakespeare composed many plays that reference rare astronomical events

More than four centuries ago, in 1572, an 8-year-old English lad named William Shakespeare probably saw something peculiar in the sky.  We don’t know this for sure, but how could he have possibly missed it?  All of a sudden a great star, more brilliant than Venus, burst into the night sky.  Far away from Stratford, England, in Denmark, Tycho Brahe saw the new star and was so impressed that he allegedly asked a neighbor if he was dreaming.

We have no way of knowing if our language’s greatest writer ever saw the 1572 supernova or the one that followed in 1604, but we do know that the night sky played a big role in his later writing.  If astronomical historian Peter Usher is right, Shakespeare might have written about the supernova in the earliest lines of Hamlet:

Last night of all,
When yond same star that’s westward from the pole
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns…

We also know that Shakespeare was familiar with an English forerunner to the telescope.  He wrote about this device, called a “perspective glass,” at the opening of Richard II:

For sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears,
Divides one thing entire to many objects.
Like perspectives which, rightly gazed upon,
Show nothing but confusion—eyed awry,
Distinguish form.

David Levy in Astronomy July 2009


8.  The sun for the past two weeks has been setting at its very earliest: 4:51 pm in San Francisco, and will set later every day from now until June.  However, it will also continue to rise later until the second week of January, almost a month away.  The shortest day of the year occurs approximately midway, on December 22 this year.  This peculiarity is due to the elliptical shape of our orbit around the sun and the fact that we are 3 million miles closer to the sun now than in the summer.  Thus we are traveling faster, and our rotation on the axis can't quite keep up with our speed around the sun.


9.  JS:  In last newsletter's Feedback I posted an item about the now regrettably defunct California Wild, journal of the California Academy of Sciences until 2005.  Its editor, Keith Howell, cut through the difficulties with the website for me, which led me to one of the many articles I treasured in this journal (Summer 2004), an article called Walkaholics, by Jerold Lowenstein, a professor of medicine at UCSF.  It contained this picture, which says so much about our times:

Walking offers discount coupons good at the doctor's, service stations, and, of course, the gym.

(For a cornucopia of information and good reading, you will want to visit the California Academy of Sciences index site, a treasury: )



Bumblebee Found
This undated photo provided by the University of California, Riverside, shows a rare bumblebee in Riverside, Calif., that a team of scientists from the University of California recently rediscovered. The bee was last seen in 1956 living in the White Mountains of south-central New Mexico. It is known as the “Cockerell’s Bumblebee." (AP Photo/Greg Ballmer,University of California,Riverside)


Abandoned short-tailed fruit bat baby rescued


11.  Sócrates

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, Brazilian footballer and political agitator, died on December 4th, aged 57

Dec 10th 2011 | from The Economist

ONE was short, fat and famously ugly; the other was handsome, slim and very tall indeed, with tumbling dark curls caught back in a headband. One skulked about in a grubby robe and sandals; the other shone in blue micro-shorts and the sun-yellow shirt of Brazil. One wandered round the market place, teasing out the Good with onslaughts of severely logical questions. The other played football; and that was pretty good, too.

The fact that both men were called Socrates was not the only link between them. For the one born in Belém do Pará, at the humid mouth of the Amazon, was also an intellectual. In a sport in which most players’ brains soon take residence in their boots, he talked of Van Gogh and Cuban history, practised medicine and worried about democracy. Over a career that included almost 300 games for his main club, Corinthians of São Paulo, and 60 games for Brazil, he trod the pitch as a man of thought, reading the game like a mathematician before, almost nonchalantly, applying some genius touch.

Whether this love of wisdom had soaked in with the baptismal water, or whether he had picked it up in the library proudly assembled by his self-taught father (who also named two of his brothers Sófocles and Sóstenes), no one knew. He himself said his childhood heroes were Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and John Lennon. Yet his book, “Football Philosophy”, ended with a maxim that would have pleased his namesake: “Beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy.”

He meant what he said. He was never in a team that won the World Cup (though Brazil has done so five times); but then the relentless focus and discipline required to lift that trophy never pleased him. Like his namesake, he sought Beauty. And spectators found it whenever he played, with his elegant gazelle runs, his leaps and accelerations, his classy back-heels and his long, loping passes from midfield. There were few keener reminders of the Beautiful than the game against Italy in the 1982 World Cup, when he was captain: a game of surpassing skill and spontaneity capped by a wonderfully deceptive goal of his own, almost disguising the fact that Brazil then lost and left at the second-group stage.

A gadfly in boots

Yet Dr Sócrates, as Brazilian fans called him, never put football first in his life. Early on he would miss training sessions if they clashed with his medical studies. In a country that eats, breathes and lives football, where commerce stops for it and elections are planned by it, he insisted that the most vital thing was to get rid of poverty, build roads and schools and, not least, teach manners. His namesake would have called this pursuing the virtuous life. He called it “prioritising the human being”. The best thing about football, he said once, was the ordinary people he met—including those of Garforth, near Leeds in northern England, whose non-league team he coached for a chilly month in 2004.

He also spoke up for the common man. Like the first Socrates, he saw himself as a gadfly of the tyrannical, lazy or self-satisfied. He disliked the way Corinthians was run, with management treating players like children, and organised a system where everyone in the club, from kit-boy to president, would vote about the length of training and the time of lunch—hoping, no doubt, for greater laxity about parties and smoking and beer, all of which he found essential to his own free-ranging game. (“I am an anti-athlete,” he explained. “You have to take me as I am.”)

He disliked the way Brazil was run too, under a cohort of generals after a coup in 1964; he pestered for free elections by leading a Corinthians team with “Democracia” printed on their shirts, and by marching off in 1984-85, when Congress failed to pass the necessary laws, to play for Fiorentina in Italy. If this was subversion and “corrupting the youth”, he revelled in his dangerous influence. And he didn’t let up: Lula was good, he said, but earned a mere seven or so out of ten for how he had governed Brazil. For Sócrates only outright revolution, Fidel-style, rated a ten.

Retired from football, he continued to campaign against the corruption rampant in the game. He demanded open elections—by players, fans, everyone—for the top job in the Brazilian Football Confederation, and toyed with fielding his team-mate Zico against the scandal-tangled president. He began to write a novel, set during Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup in 2014, in which public money was yet again disappearing into private pockets, and white-elephant stadiums were rising across the land. He saw no change in prospect. His own Corinthians, once struggling, were rolling in money, but he preferred his political slogans to the dozens of sponsors now blazoned on their shirts. And he would rather have seen a creative defeat than the ill-tempered game that made them national champions a few hours after his death.

He died too young, after a dinner with friends which his weakened liver couldn’t take. But he always needed to set Brazil to rights over copious cachaças at some café table: his own “Symposium”, where ideals would be pursued through smoke, alcohol and argument. As a doctor and ex-midfielder, he knew he should not have done it. As a philosopher, he sealed his death warrant with his usual wit and serenity.


12.  It's the law in Seattle:

It is illegal to break a beer bottle over another beer bottle.

Before breaking the law you must call the sheriff to announce your intentions.

Heard on Says You

(Cuts down on the cost of law enforcement, doesn't it?")

Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
The last thing I want to do is hurt you.  But it's still on my list.
A paraprosdokian ( /pærəprɒsˈdoʊkiən/) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing ananticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.[1]
Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but they also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a form of syllepsis. (Wikipedia)

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