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.

Friday, January 6, 2012


1.   My first quote from the Prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom
2.   Kezar Gardens Ecology Center assigning garden plots by lottery
3.   Latest from Golden Gate Park - how you can help
4.   Planting volunteers needed on San Bruno Mtn Saturday the 7th
5.   A conversation about land and people - January 19 in Berkeley
6.   Searching for endangered salmon at Muir Woods Jan 22
7.   Mushrooms: What they are and how they form relationships with other life forms
8.   January schedule for Claremont Canyon
9.   Chris Hedges interviewed by Michael Moore
10. A word for today: newspeak
11.  Feedback: War on cancer et al
12.  Damning dams - about tearing them down
13.  Sharks hybridizing - a sign of climate warming
14.  Wear a condom now, save the spotted owl
15.  Campaign for real ale
16.  Pluperfect virus bugs e-mailers
17.  Notes & Queries: Whatever happened to Tony Blair?  Is he still alive?


"Live with skillful nonchalance and ceaseless concern."

~ Prajnaparamita Sutra ~


2.  Kezar Gardens Ecology Center (the HANC Recycling Center and Native Plant Nursery)
Construction is now complete on the 50 raised beds at the Kezar Gardens Ecology Center (the HANC Recycling Center and Native Plant Nursery), and we are ready to assign plots and begin planting.  Plots will be assigned by lottery at the site on Sunday, January 15, beginning at 12:30 pm.  We will also have a group work day /Planting Party after the lottery, so bring your starts, seeds, trowels and watering cans!

If you want to enter the lottery for a plot, and have not done so yet, please fill out this short survey here:

You do not need to be present the day of the lottery to be assigned a plot, but those present whose names are drawn will have an opportunity to select from available plots; those not present whose names are drawn will be assigned the remaining plots.  If you’re interested in a group plot, please list the individuals with whom you’d like to enter the lottery.

Some of the beds still need to be filled.  There will be a work party on Sunday, January 8, beginning at 12:30 pm.

We envision transforming the space into a thriving garden, nursery, community reuse and ecology education center.  Potential future projects include a tool lending library, drive-up compost pickup, demonstration garden, greenhouse, rainwater harvesting, fog catchment, and ornamental native habitat.  We foresee working with the community, neighbors, and other urban garden organizations.

Thank you to those who have already signed-up for the lottery.  Whether or not you put in for a plot, we'd love to have your participation in the transformation of the space.  Come visit, see the progress, and help plant the community plots.  We look forward to seeing you at the garden!



·        HAPPY NEW YEAR!
·        SF Chronicle article downplays protecting Golden Gate Park – go on line and comment!  Write to the editor!
·        Go to SFGTV and watch the DEIR hearing – Planning Commission, December 1st – you will be inspired by the testimony from our supporters.
·        Contact us to volunteer now!
·        Volunteer meeting set for January 22nd, Sunday, 5:00 p.m.
·        Analysis of SF Chronicle article.
·        Eggnog party a lot of fun!

·         SF Chronicle article tries to diminish the value of your support for Golden Gate Park
·         The SF Chronicle has published a pro-artificial-turf-night-lighting-soccer-fields article.  Again.  Please go online and comment, vote for the existing comments that you agree with, and write a letter to the editor. This is your opportunity to get your concerns out to a wider audience and to let everyone know that you care about Golden Gate Park.  Just remember, as one-sided as the article is, there are San Franciscans who will read this and say, “They want to do WHAT to Golden Gate Park?”  See analysis of this article at the bottom of this page.
·         Click here to read the article and to comment on SF Gate.
·         Click here to write a letter to the editor

·         Go on-line to watch the DEIR hearing – be impressed with the eloquence of our speakers!
You can watch the hearing at  
·         SFGTV, Click on Planning Commission, December 1st, Item 15

Contact us to volunteer!
The SF Chronicle article shows that the Rec and Park Department is still unwilling to come to a compromise on the fields.  We need YOU to tell our representatives that there is a Compromise Alternative to protect Golden Gate Park and to have better playing fields.  Contact us to volunteer to leaflet, get signatures on our petitions, whatever you like to do.
·        Click here to volunteer.

Volunteer meeting set for January 22nd – come and meet fellow SF Ocean Edgers; make plans for the months ahead!
Come to our meeting on Sunday, January 22nd.  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  At 1243 42nd Avenue, between Lincoln and Irving.  Meet you fellow volunteers  and plan outreach.

Analysis of the recent SF Chronicle article:
As you read the article, you will notice some characteristics that are used in articles of this type to minimize citizens’ input:

1.      "Planned revamp of soccer facilities gets flak,"  is the title in the print edition.  The use of the term "flak" is interesting.  This term is an effort to marginalize those people who love Golden Gate Park.   After our turnout at the Planning Commission, it should have said “Serious concerns raised by many San Franciscans about planned construction of major soccer complex on parkland.”
2.      The large attendance and testimony by our supporters at the DEIR hearing is not mentioned.   Consider that at the DEIR hearing over 65 concerned residents from all over San Francisco spoke against this project; less than 25 pro-artificial turf advocates showed up.  Our group’s testimony exposing the flaws in the DEIR was well-researched and well-thought-out.  But don't take our word for it -- go to SFGTV and watch the December 1st, Planning Commission hearing.
3.      All of the arguments in favor of the project are on the first page of the print section – our concerns are tucked in the second page.  And, gosh, every one of our concerns has the standard City Fields counter-argument.
4.      Most of the space is given to the people who want the artificial turf in Golden Gate Park – and are unwilling to consider doing this project somewhere else.  Nowhere is the question asked  – Why does this have to be in Golden Gate Park?
5.      Note the large photo of the City Fields employee (in the print edition).  Here the newspaper is celebrating a well-paid employee of a private company.  This is indicative of the problem with public-private partnerships and how privatization is taking over our parks.
6.      The article refers to “neighboring environmental groups.” Note the use of the word “neighboring” --   a quaint way to minimize the 30,000 members of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club or the additional thousands of member of the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
7.      Golden Gate Audubon was interviewed for this article – but none of that interview made it into the article.  Why  is that? Was the information too damning?
8.      One of our supporters, who is also a soccer dad, past coach, and team sponsor, offered to talk to the reporter; his calls were not returned.
9.      There is nothing new in this article – except the fact that the project costs seem to have soared – they are now at “$12 to $15 million!”  Whoa!  Where did this come from?  The EIR put the price at $9.8 million.  The time of construction is 10 months.  This is NOT a renovation – not at this price and with this time frame.  This is a full-scale, major construction project.  And it could be done for under $2 million with real grass and no lights.  Nowhere is this mentioned.
10.  “Community room”?  What is in the plans, is cutting a hole in the front of the building for a roll-down window.  This looks more like plans for a concession stand – the same as at Crocker-Amazon.  While this may or may not be a good idea, it is disingenuous to call it a community room.
11.  No mention is made of our proposed Compromise Alternative, which we mentioned a few times during the interview.  Fix up the Beach Chalet fields with real grass and no lights, and use the rest of the funding for all the other playing fields in SF that need repairs.

Remember the quote from Gandhi:  “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you  -- then you win!”


4.  Come out this Saturday January 7th and help plant native grasses and forbs in the endangered grasslands of Buckeye Canyon

Hello San Bruno Mountain volunteers, we will be out doing restoration this Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12:30. 
We will meet first at the Mountain Watch Office at 44 VISITACION AVE, Suite 206, Brisbane (directions below)

WHAT TO WEAR to the Saturday workday:
Layered clothing, long sleeves
Sturdy shoes or hiking boots
Sun protection (yeah!)

WHAT TO BRING: A liter of water
Gloves will be provided.

QUESTIONS?  415-467-6631 or email:


5.  Bay Area Open Space Council

Who cares?  And Why Should They?  A conversation about land and people.
The Bay Area is home to 7 million people.  We speak many languages, celebrate different holidays, work in different jobs and professions, play and relax in so many ways, and serve an amazing array of different foods to our families.  Across all those differences are some key commonalities including that we all value clean water, clean air, and healthy food.  Land conservation provides those.

Also home in this region are thousands of farmers, local food activists, outdoor education programs, social and environmental justice organizations, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.  In their own ways they are connecting people to the land.  And without land, these passions and causes would look very different.  How do all of these pieces fit together?  How is land conservation relevant to our communities?  What does it mean to be inclusive?  What can we all do to strengthen the connection between land and people? 

Join us for a conversation on Thursday, January 19 from 10am-1pm at the Brower Center in Berkeley.  Our panel will include:
Sam Hodder, California State Director, Trust for Public Land
Jared Lawson, Executive Director, Pie Ranch
Rue Mapp, Founder, Outdoor Afro and Program Officer, Foundation for Youth Investment
Paul Ringgold, Vice President of Stewardship, Peninsula Open Space Trust
Lunch will be served and there will be plenty of time for seeing friends, making connections and building partnerships.

Click here to register

While we’re talking about events…
Every other month we hold a Gathering on relevant topics that profile the innovative work happening here in the Bay Area.  Every May we convene a conference of 300+ people to connect, inspire, and refresh.  And every June we take advantage of the long days and bring some attention to the Bay Area ecosystem of parks, trails, trains, ferries, and how they’re all connected with the Triple Threat.  Take a look at our calendar and save the dates.


6.  Event Name: Get Your Spawn On: Searching for Endangered Salmon at Muir Woods
A 2012 Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year Trip

Date of Event: Sunday, January 22, 2012
Time of Event: 10:00 am-12:00 am
Full Address of Event: Meet at the Dipsea Trail Trailhead within the auxiliary/south parking lot for Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA, 94941. See event directions at
Cost of Event: Free, except for park entrance fee.
Open to the Public, must RSVP

Sunday, January 22, 2012, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Join Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute as we take an easy stroll through Muir Woods National Monument to search for endangered salmonids in Redwood Creek. We’ll learn about the lives of Coho Salmon and Steelhead as the fish return from the Ocean, and discuss what we all can do to help them recover. Part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, a competition to see and help save the Park’s endangered species. Dress for cold, wet weather and wear boots as trails may be muddy. RSVP required: within the trip info – See link below. Meet at the Dipsea Trail Trailhead within the auxiliary/south parking lot for Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA, 94941. Park entrance fees apply, but the hike is free. For more info:

The Golden Gate National Parks contains more endangered species than any other National Park in continental North America. This is certainly cause for celebration, but also for concern. Take part in the 2012 GGNP Endangered Species Big Year and get to know these species while helping them recover. It is free. For more information go to and see the calendar for upcoming Big Year trips and activities.


7.  San Francisco Naturalist Society
Thursday, January 12
What is a Mushroom Anyway?

J. R. Blair is a past President of the Mycological Society of San Francisco. He is also a Lecturer at San Francisco State University and Director of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus. J.R. will be discussing how mushrooms fit into the scheme of things: what exactly they are and how they form relationships with other life forms.

Randall Museum, Randall Room (upstairs), 199 Museum Way, San Francisco CA 94114. 7:30-9 pm.
For more information, go to or contact Patrick Schlemmer at or (415) 225-3830. Free and open to everyone.


8.  January in Claremont Canyon

Thursday, January 12: Fire Safety. How can we make our homes resistant to ignition from wildland fire embers? The fire prevention committee of the North Hills Community Association will host a public meeting to discuss specific steps homeowners can take to keep wildfires driven by Diablo winds from damaging our homes. 7 to 9 PM on Thursday, January 12 at the Highlands Country Club, 110 Hiller Drive. Please park on the street so as not to inconvenience club members.

Saturday, January 14: Clearing dead wood from the Stonewall area. Our monthly stewardship activity will be in the Stonewall area of Claremont Canyon. The Conservancy spearheaded the thinning and removal of eucalyptus in this area in 2006. Now we will go back and remove debris that has accumulated to make the area more aesthetically pleasing and to encourage restoration of native plants. Meet at 10 AM at the trailhead at the sharp curve on Stonewall Road. We will work from 10 to Noon as usual.

Saturday, January 21: Attacking invasives and mapping in Garber Park. Winter stewardship continues. We will remove French Broom and Cape Ivy in specific spots along the loop trail, continue clean-up at the fireplace plaza area and search for and flag and cage oak, big leaf maple and buckeye seedlings to protect them from deer. We'll also map the location of signature oaks with GPS technology. Meet at 10 AM at the park entrance at the end of Evergreen Lane. For further information, call 510-540-5261, email or visit

For hikes, stewardship and restoration work, please remember to wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves and sturdy boots or shoes.
For a summary of all of the Conservancy's current activities, please see the home page of our website:


9.  I'm in 100% accord with Chris Hedges in this interview.  The self-destructiveness of the world economic system has been obvious for a veruy long time.  Such is its power that we can't stop it.  It will have to crash--which is happening--but what then?

“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments—only consequences.”  Robert G. Ingersoll


noun: Deliberately ambiguous or euphemistic language used for propaganda.

Coined by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Newspeak was the official language of Oceania. In Newspeak, English was called Oldspeak. Earliest documented use: 1949.

"An Imperial Tobacco memo predicted that the trend towards fewer smokers could 'virtually wipe us off the map' within 50 years. The writer recommended the company target 'starters' -- company newspeak for teens."
Mindelle Jacobs; Smoke And Mirrors Fool No One; The Edmonton Sun (Canada); Nov 23, 1999.

The imperialist "wears a mask", wrote George Orwell, "and his face grows to fit it.".

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. -Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction author (1907-1988)


11.  Feedback

On Jan 4, 2012, at 8:48 AM, Carol Teltschick-Fall wrote:
Dear Jake,
(#9) News blurbs about cancer almost always make me angry. Scientists have... problems with the "war on cancer" metaphor. The truth is, scientists--and people in general--have trouble with cancer. We live in a state of national denial about the realities of this disease. U.S. rates of incidence and death are the worst of any "developed" country in the world. Our chances of being diagnosed with a life threatening form of cancer stand at 1 in 2 for men and 1 in 3 for women.

These rates are not going down, and they haven't gone down in any significant way for the last 50 years. Telling people that prevention consists of mammograms and stopping smoking is a lie that protects polluters. Mammograms and other forms of detection are woefully inadequate, not to mention carcinogenic themselves. Chemo-therapy is inadequate and carcinogenic. Why don't radio shows ever talk about the carcinogens in our food, air and water, and the fact that the FDA and EPA does not regulate them? A good example of this is bovine growth hormone. bST has been outlawed in Europe for years, but not in U.S. Hormonally driven cancers are among the fastest growing in the country. Commercial meats are loaded with synthetic hormones (6 different ones to be exact). Why? To boost profits.

Go find the data for yourself, if you dare. It is depressing territory. Most people prefer to go with "positive attitude." In a way, I can hardly blame us. But until we face the truth about causes, lobbying, and the ineffectuality of cancer treatments and detection, nothing will change.
Thanks for this, Carol.

Setting aside the effective points you made, what is your response to this one statement: 
There is no disease called cancer. There’s actually thousands and thousands and thousands of diseases that we see as uncontrolled cell growth.
I guess everyone can at least agree that after > 50 years and tons of money, we still know precious little about the disease and that we still have no cure. I think the scientists are right to open their minds to the idea that there is probably not a single cause or a single cure...but I remain suspicious of media motives when I read such sweeping and potentially misleading statements in an interview that seems largely manufactured to pat us on our dear little heads and say "don't worry, we're working on it."
I understand where you are.  The world is a confusing a frustrating place, replete with ambiguities.

Yes, media have a stake in bemusing us.  But that is much less true of NPR (where this interview took place), which, although not above titillating us, is more responsible and adult.  I listen to Marketplace daily for more reliable information than I can get most places.  They ask embarrassing questions of highly-placed people. 

I would hate to be the person responsible for deciding whether or not to interview this guy, a medicinal chemist, who presumably is interested in relieving suffering and probably has no motive for misleading the public.  Putting myself in the journalist's place, I would go ahead and interview the chemist because 1) I have no reason to think he's not telling the truth, and 2) as a media host it's my responsibility to disseminate credible information without inflicting my judgments.

But your points are good ones, and we should all bear them in mind when evaluating information.
Yes, I listen to Marketplace and other NPR programs daily. They are among the best I know of. But we must realize they are not perfect, and have corporate sponsors, including Monsanto, and Big Pharma.

It's fine to interview someone, but int this case it was only one viewpoint and a science sound byte at the amount of meaningful information conveyed was, in my opinion, next to nil -- and in the overall tended toward encouraging the status quo of mis-information and lack of information about cancer and the War on Cancer.
... about your remark on Monsanto and big pharma.  Right on.  I wonder how long we'll have to wait for a comprehensive story on agribusiness on the PBS News Hour, which is sponsored by, among others, Archer Daniel Midland?
Don't hold your breath. Big Ag is intimately tied to the cancer story. That is my area of intense interest: the corruption of food and farming and its relation to disease.

Alice Polesky:
Hi Jake,
I loved the Murmuration of Starlings vid. I used to work in downtown Oakland, on the 25th floor of an office building, and sometimes would see these murmurations going on continually for hours. It was almost impossible to get any technical manuals written when such outrageous magical feats by Mother Nature flashed by. But none of these displays were as fabulous as the ones in the video.

So, tante grazie!

James Osborne:
Dear Jake: Let me echo my friend Barbara's accolades for your Nature News.
It has become indispensible to problem being I'm still reading your
December editions! I keep numerous items, especially poems, and I have
quoted them as part of my music/poetry show, "Sonic Discovery", 9 to 10pm,
Tuesdays, on community radio KSVY in Sonoma (volunteers, like you, and
streaming on the web at Your work is trusted and
treasured. JamesO


12.  Damning dams

Jake -- You may recall me as the guy who just won't give up on trying to get SF to do right by poor, neglected, abused Lake Merced; and I'm still trying.  But my real passion is free flowing rivers.  Recently ran across a poem by Jamie Workman about the breaching of a couple of dams in the Pacific NW.  It's below.  His eloquent words capture the essence of how many of us feel about the intrinsic value of a free flowing river.  Enjoy.
    Jerry Cadagan

Christine Colasurdo:
Attached is my poem.

Why I like Nature News: the editor selects news that is truly newsworthy (not rapes, killings, car accidents, political primaries). It's news that matters and reflects what's going on in the world (and the universe!).

Thanks, Jake. And, please, let it go to your head.



Fire in the hole forces a fierce brown fist
to flash its way down the fall-bright valley
then to flower its plume of dark sludge
and milky silt into the big calm river
like a wish whispered to a listener
and the listener is listening and the wish
rides home on currents to the sea.

The river demands all else be still and dumb;
we watch the chaos’d water but birds up ridge
transport that breath restored to trees, peaks,
to the spinning planet’s summits—release.
Life gets its breath from place; we find in time
our lungs are tides of air that speak not just
for fish or frog but for each breathing thing.

What was thought dead was waiting;
what was thought blocked was pausing;
what was thought lost now flows.
They also thrive who wait without regret;
each swish of tail past redd henceforward shall
conclude: a sudden carving of canyon calls out
new life long sought shall come to you. Amen.

© 2011 Christine Colasurdo

JS:  My priorities for dam removal:  Hetch Hetchy, and Glen Canyon Dam in Utah/Arizona.  The latter wouldn't need removal, merely draining the reservoir.  But nature seems to be doing that on its own, thus making the political decision easier--there simply isn't enough water in the Colorado River drainage to fill all the reservoirs.  Both Lake Powell (GC dam) and Lake Mead are low, and climate change is predicted to lessen precipitation in the Colorado drainage.

Do I care about Las Vegas and Phoenix?  Does a bear shit in the woods?


13.  Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

"Wear a condom now, save the spotted owl"

— Betsy Marston | High Country News Dec 01, 2011 05:00 AM

"Wear a condom now, save the spotted owl," reads one of the labels on a condom distributed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the feisty and litigious conservation nonprofit that has offices throughout the West. While other environmental groups dodge the sticky issue of over-population, the center -- run by Kierán Suckling -- says it is determined to spur discussion about how many people are enough, because too many humans inevitably squeeze out wildlife, while our increasing numbers also contribute to global climate change. The center has been visiting college campuses to pass out its free condoms -- "Wrap with care, save the polar bear," says another label -- and has also begun lobbying Congress and paying for video ads at New York's Times Square, reports The New York Times. Reducing unwanted pregnancies could have a huge impact on population, says John Bongaarts, a demographer with the Population Council in New York, who adds that it's disappointing to see the "global warming community" back away from anything to do with population control.


Real ale
Live liquid
Folk-drink or aspirational libation?

Earls Court, a vast, high-ceilinged exhibition centre in west London, does not make for a promising pub  There are few seats, and the bright fluorescent lights do little to make drinkers feel at ease.  But the lack of creature comforts did not dampen the high spirits of the students, beer connoisseurs and off-duty businessmen attending the Great British Beer Festival, billed as the world’s biggest…The festival was organized by the Campaign for Real Ale, a 90,000-strong lobbying group promoting traditional, unpasteurised, unfiltered beer, stored and served from casks wherein, with live yeast, it continues to ferment.

…Beer boosters argue that consumers prefer a higher-quality product.  The stewards at Earls Court draw a contemptuous distinction between real ale and the “dead and lifeless” mass-produced lagers sold by the four brewers that dominate the British market.  A wholesome image helps too, says one:  “Nobody likes a lager lout, but have you ever heard of a real-ale lout?”

Others point to the backlash against big business and globalisation that also fuels sales of organic food and locally-grown vegetables.  Many real ales are made from local ingredients by small, independent breweries, which flaunt their provincial credentials.  Patriotism plays a part as well:  one T-shirt at Earls Court flaunted a bulldog relieving himself on a European Union flag.

Excerpt from The Economist 16 Aug 08

Watch that bulldog.  I'll bet that's where Budweiser, Millers, and Coors come from.


16.  Pluperfect virus bugs e-mailers by Bob Hirschfeld, Washington Post May 1999

An insidious new computer virus is spreading throughout the Internet.  Named Strunkenwhite after the authors of a classic guide to good writing, it returns email messages that have grammatical or spelling errors.  It is deadly accurate in its detection abilities, unlike the dubious spell checkers that come with wordprocessing programs.

The virus is causing panic throughout corporate America, which has become used to the typos, misspellings, missing words and mangled syntax so acceptable in cypberspace.  The CEO of, an Internet startup, said the virus had rendered him helpless.  "Each time I tried to send one particular email this morning, I got back this error message:  'Your dependent clause preceding your independent clause must be set off by commas, but one must not precede the conjunction.'  I threw my laptop across the room."

A top executive at a telecommunications and long-distance company, 10-10-10-10-10-10-123, said:  "With the number of emails I crank out each day, who has time for proper grammar?  Whoever created this virus should have their programming fingers broken."

A broker at Begg, Barow and Steel speculated that the hacker who created Strunkenwhite was a "disgruntled English major who couldn't make it on a trading floor.  When you're buying and selling on margin, I don't think it's anybody's business if I write that 'i meetinged through the morning, then cinched the deal on the cel phone while bareling down the xway.'"

The virus has left government email systems in disarray.  Officials at the Office of Management and Budget can no longer transmit electronic versions of federal regulations because their highly technical language runs foul of Strunkenwhite's dictum that "vigorous writing is concise."  The White House speechwriting office reported that it had received the same message, along with a caution to avoid phrases such as "the truth is..." and "in fact...."

Strunkenwhite is particularly difficult to detect because it doesn't come as an email attachment but is disguised within the text of an email entitled "Congratulations on your pay raise."


17.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

They never really go away

Britain's former prime minister, Tony Blair. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Whatever happened to Tony Blair? Is he still alive?

• Following his amazing judgment at invading Iraq over weapons of mass disappearance, he was appointed by the UN as a special peace envoy to the Middle East and just look what happened – the whole area erupted into civil wars!

Alan Williams-Key, Madrid, Spain

• The stories of his life are much exaggerated.

Bernard Burgess, Tenterden, UK

• The truth, only recently discovered, lies in the anagram: A Tony Blair = Notably Air. He was never actually alive: he is in fact a self-inflating glove-puppet, frequently seen in the recent past as an accessory in the hands of failing politicians, including Muammar Gaddafi,  Silvio Berlusconi, Hashim Thaci (the spare-parts dealer from Kosovo), Hosni Mubarak and George W Bush.

We understand that Blair is being advertised on eBay as available for other aspiring dictators.

Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia

• Look under a Bush.

Peter Vaughan, St Senoch, France

• Don't ask. We are trying hard to forget that he ever lived.

Dick Hedges, Nairobi, Kenya

• This supposes he was actually alive rather than a cyborg from planet Technocratia.

Nigel Grinter, Chicago, Illinois, US

• I suspect he's just up to his old tricks and lying low!

Terence Rowell, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Any answers?

Why is the soil dug from a hole never enough to refill the hole from which it was taken?

Mervyn Cull, Okaihau, New Zealand

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