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.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


“The softest of stuff in the world penetrates quickly the hardest; insubstantial, it enters where no room is.”  Lao Tzu

1.   Global Free Pussy Riot Day Friday the 17th
2.   Newsom votes against 8 Washington referendum - voters will have the say
3.   FTE staff naturalist position in Mendocino
4.   Microbes maketh main - you're not who you think you are
5.   Feedback: Outside Lands/trapped birds
6.   Green Hairstreak Saturday 18/Tale of Two City Butterflies
7.   Comic film on birdwatching/Big Year
8.   Beginning Birding class starts in October in Berkeley
9.   Cat impacts on birds
10. Science of Life - comic strip science
11.  Bioswale Project in Richmond/intern take on Coastal Cleanup/slinky skink/99-cent sale
12.  Knowland Park update
13.  Art in the Park in Martinez (19th) and Pinole (26th)
14.  Math nerds will love U.S. population number - 314,159,265
15.  Logarithm, algorithm - what's the difference?
16.  UltraWorldX-TET - exciting ensemble
17.  Notes & Queries

      FRIDAY AUGUST 17th

The ‘Free Pussy Riot’ protest is a worldwide response to Russian authorities detaining three young women for performing an anti-Putin song in a cathedral in Moscow in February. Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Ekaterina Samucevich are the three women and members of Pussy Riot, a feminist collective punk band known for impromptu performances with a political agenda to promote basic rights, gender equality and the lack of justice involving the powers that be. 

The global pussy riot campaign is going to be held in major cities around the world this Friday to urge Putin and Russian authorities for a fair hearing for the girls’ sentencing. With support from celebrities such as Madonna and Pete Townshend, and of Amnesty International the pussy riot has become a movement to show support for these three women and more importantly to show Russian authorities their decision will not go unnoticed. 

In San Francisco their are two events being held:

At 3pm supporters will be meeting at The Russian Consulate 2790 Green Street.

At 6:30pm they will be meeting at Justin Herman Plaza.

"As a musician who has spoken out against political figures, I am deeply troubled that the Russian government is punishing its citizens for voicing their opinions through music. Music is an essential tool for voicing opinions about everything from gender to oppression. To outlaw the free expression of these ideas is to embrace tyranny. Letting artists speak is the hallmark of a free society."
-Peaches (Canadian electro-pop/punk rocker)
link to her new song/video “FREE PUSSY RIOT”


8 Washington: The voters will have the last say - Newsom votes for approval

Notwithstanding the fact that the 8 Washington referendum has qualified for next year’s ballot and despite former City Attorney Louise Renne’s valiant efforts and forceful testimony, the State Lands Commission voted today to approve an exchange of lands under the public trust to benefit the 8 Washington development.  It was unfortunate but predictable with our former Mayor Gavin Newsom voting in favor and convincing one of his two colleagues to join him (the Governor’s representative was not comfortable voting while the referendum was pending). 

But the voters will have the last say when the referendum on 8 Washington comes to the ballot next year.   And with your help we will prevail.

A recent poll indicates that an overwhelming majority of San Francisco voters oppose the Waterfront Height Limit Increase for the 8 Washington Project.  The poll of 400 voters conducted from July 27-29 by David Binder Research asked S.F. voters the likely referendum question, “Shall the City and County of San Francisco amend the Zoning Map to increase the allowable building height limits at 8 Washington Street from 84 feet to 136 feet?”  Only 25% of voters said they would vote “Yes” to increase height limits and allow the project while 56% of voters said they would “No.” According to the poll, the 8 Washington Project waterfront height limit increase would be rejected by more than a 2-1 margin and by voters in every Supervisor District across the city.

We have a lot of work to do over the coming months. We are getting more and more endorsements.  Drop by the campaign headquarters which is still open at 15 Columbus Avenue.  Make a donation and visit our website at:

Click on these links which have links to other informative articles and information.


3.  Staff position open for CA Naturalist Program -- Mendocino County

A full-time program representative position is now open (applications due Aug. 31), located at Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County, to assist the UC California Naturalist program <>  director in implementing the UC California Naturalist program statewide. This is an exciting new University science education and service program for adults that promotes environmental literacy and stewardship through discovery and action. The overall objective is to work with sponsoring organizations in charge of teaching the program locally to improve their access to teaching materials, collaborative tools, trainings, and other resources. Position will provide support to instructors, coordinators, and partners of the CA Naturalist programs to ultimately increase the reliability and quality of our communication, evaluation, volunteer tracking, and other services.

The program representative will work to advance new sponsoring organizations, develop outreach strategies, communicate with trainers and naturalists online, develop web site content, organize and format educational materials, create online registration forms for trainings and other surveys, write and layout event brochures, organize events, database management, track program evaluation surveys, and assess and distribute citizen science project information for sponsors of the UC California Naturalist program. Provide some office support such as ensuring certificates are sent and tracking cost-recovery paper work.

Qualifications include:
- Educational background in a field related to ecology, wildlife biology, botany, environmental science, natural history, and natural resource management or equivalent experience.
- Experience extending information to adults in formal and informal educational settings.
- Experience coordinating and implementing programs, classes/trainings, conferences, meetings, and other activities and events.
- Experience with standard MS office applications, online collaborative tools, web site build and revise applications (e.g. sitebuilder), online survey development, and has aptitude for learning
new computer applications.
- Experience creating and developing marketing strategies, and advertisement materials for program target audience.
- Skills to analyze and collect data and perform data analysis to support development of program plans or projects.
- Experience with organization and time management to independently manage an extensive and varied workload, meet multiple deadlines, coordinate simultaneous projects, respond to unexpected job demands, keep pace with changing priorities, and maintain a high level of productivity.

Salary: Monthly salary range for Prog. Rep I is $2,637 to $4,219 depending on experience. The annual mid-point is $41,137 & assumes full competency and extensive experience.

Applications must be received by August 31, 2012 (starting date ASAP)
For a complete list of position functions and link to apply please visit scroll to “Staff jobs” and click on “Program Representative I (Location: Mendocino County) Job Requisition Number:  03008113

Questions: Adina Merenlender <>


This week we take a summer break from the news agenda to delve into an area of scientific discovery that is transforming the idea of the human body. People, it turns out, are not just people, but ecosystems made up of bacteria as well: there are 10 trillion human cells in a person, and 100 trillion bacteria from several hundred species. This revolution in our understanding of how we work may have a profound effect on the treatment of a wide range of diseases, from diabetes through multiple sclerosis to autism.


5.  Feedback

Adam Winer:
Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now.  In fact, do not bother to look for it at all.  In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero.

Somewhat greater than zero:

On Aug 13, 2012, at 7:10 PM, Anna-Marie Bratton wrote:
Hi Jake,
Thanks for posting my rant about Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park.  I think your comparison of large music venues such as Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass as industrial entertainment is apt!

RE: Lawns.  At least 20, or more like 25,  years ago Smithsonian Magazine published an article about lawns and how antiquated and water wastefull they were - why is it taking so long for folks to learn?  One of the arguments detractors of the Parkmerced Development :Plan used was the potential loss of the large areas of lawn - an Olmstead vision of great landscaping they didn't want to lose - twaddle in this day and age!

Not Olmsted; he was into designing in harmony with the landscape, and he would not try to impose a lush English-style landscape on California, especially when that would have occasioned massive water transfers from distant places.

As to people's tardiness (or denial, more like) in facing realities:  Remember, people don't like change.  I don't.  If we have grown accustomed to certain comforts and pleasures, we don't want to be deprived of them, and see their discontinuance as a negative thing.  In the particular case of lawns, the resistance is energetically aided and abetted by an industry that profits from from lawns and everything that goes along with it, and that industry is embedded in an entire culture that thinks first and foremost about money.  In this, as in so many things, follow the money.  The last thing they want us to do is to come to terms with reality.

We change only under duress.  In this case the duress will come, brought on by our disinterest in controlling our population and by the weather gods.
Jake, Oops, it was Thomas Church, another senior moment on the ledger.  The only thing certain about life - other than death and taxes - is change!!

RE: Raven:  I know folks like to believe that Ravens are only here because people leave food all over the place and Ravens being omnivorous opportunistic feeders will eat anything anywhere.  Food has been left about for far more years than Ravens have been in the City in any numbers - why did they wait so long.  The first Ravens I remember arrived in SF only about 20 years ago.

I noticed ravens in the city for the first time in the mid-1970s, and they gradually increased until about 20 years ago when they burgeoned.  It was also the time when I started to see rats in large numbers, uneaten food discarded on the streets in quantity, and dogshit.  I bought screens for my windows to keep out flies, which, among other things, thrive on all the dogshit on our streets.  It is an affluent society.  Also an effluent one.

Clare Bell-Fuller:
Hi Jake -
A lovely piece from John Updike:........CB Fuller, Berkeley

A Rescue
Today I wrote some words that will see print.
Maybe they will last "forever," in that
someone will read them, their ink making
a light scratch on his mind, or hers.
I think back with greater satisfaction
upon a yellow bird--a goldfinch?--
that had flown into the garden shed
and could not get out,
battering its wings on the deceptive light
of the dusty, warped-shut window.
Without much reflection, for once, I stepped
to where its panicked heart
was making commotion, the flared wings drumming,
and with clumsy soft hands
pinned it against a pane,
held loosely cupped
this agitated essence of the air,
and through the open door released it,
like a self-flung ball,
to all that lovely perishing outdoors.

(Worth posting again.  I often wonder when animals find themselves in strange or desperate situations what the world looks like, what goes on in their brains, other than fright or terror.

I had two cats for many years, and I let them go out at will.  However, sometimes they brought in birds, which was one reason why I didn't replace them when they died.  One morning I arose and found a bird perched on a dish rail that goes around my living room, with a couple of frustrated cats trying to figure out how they could reach it.  I opened the back door, went back to the living room and merely grasped the bird, which made no attempt to escape.  I went to the open door and released it.  I thought a small cannon had gone off, the rush of air from those beating wings was so loud.  That is a memory evoked by the Updike poem.)

Deep within the soul of the lonely caged bird
Beats the rhythm of a distant forest
Etched upon its broken heart
The faded memory of flight.
     -Ginni Bly

Green Hairstreak Stewardship this Saturday, August 18th! Join us at at the bottom of the 15th and Quintara staircase from 10am to 12pm  for an informational meeting on current Green Hairstreak stewardship projects, how to become a site steward, and our usual restoration work party. 

You can take the MUNI 6-Parnassus to the Corridor.
Ride it all the way to the end, and then walk down the Quintara Steps- easy!
The 66-Quintara will work also.

A Tale of Two City Butterflies
Thursday, September 20th @ 6pm
City Forest Lodge - $15
San Franciscan lepidopterist Liam O'Brien will be the guest speaker at next month's Sierra Club dinner! Known for his creation of The Green Hairstreak Project and conservation efforts with the endangered Mission Blues on Twin Peaks, Liam will focus his talk on two of the counties largest residents: the Western Tiger Swallowtail ( Papilio rutulus) and our only true migrant - the Monarch (Danaus plexippus). In addition to the amazing stories of adaptation waiting to be told, Liam will also propose radical new ideas this night that our species might consider to make the city better for these species.

For more information on how to purchase your tickets for this event, please contact:

Backyard Native Nursery Network/BYNN:
Growing SF native plants for the
Green Hairstreak Corridor

The Green Hairstreak Corridor has its personal supply of native San Francisco plants thanks to volunteers who dedicate their time and space to propagate and nurture plants in their backyard.  If you are interested in helping our restoration project by becoming a member of the Backyard Native Nursery Network, please contact
Deidre Martin at

Be a part of the transformations taking place within your community VOLUNTEER!

1st Saturdays: Mt. Sutro
2nd Saturdays: Hidden Garden Steps
3rd Saturdays: Green Hairstreak


7.  Thursday, August 16, 6:30 p.m.: Wild Equity, SF Environment Screen The Big Year

Join Wild Equity and SF Environment to watch The Big Year starring Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. The film, inspired by Mark Obmascik’s non-fiction book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession, comically captures the passion of bird enthusiasts and documents birders who enter a year-long bird-spotting competition.

Then learn how you can help your local endangered species recover by participating in Wild Equity's Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year! 

Meet us at SF Environment, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. The film night is free, and snacks will be provided!



8.  Hi Jake.  We have a new session of our Beginning Birding class starting in October. Might you be able to publicize it in your blog?

Instructor Anne Hoff is terrific — funny, down to earth, non-intimidating. She starts with the real basics — how to use binoculars, how to describe the location of a bird so your companions can actually find it (rather than just pointing and yelling "over there! over there!"), as well as how to identify birds by shape, markings, location, behavior etc.

I can attest through personal experience that you learn more in a four-week class like this, than in a year stumbling around by yourself with a bird book. :-)  

Learning some basics of birding is a great way for people to enhance and deepen their experiences in nature, whether they're hiking, camping, kayaking or whatever.

The class includes four Wednesday night classroom sessions plus four weekend field trips to local birding spots such as marshes and meadows. It starts on Oct. 17 and takes place in our Berkeley office. Cost is $105 for general public, $85 for GGAS members. For information or registration, people can call (510) 843-2222 or see We encourage people to register early since it may fill up.


From American Bird Association Blog

Via 10,000 Birds

Understanding that I'm wading into the fraught topic that so many bird listservs have banned, I offer a recent study from the University of Georgia, assisted by the National Geographic Society, adding more evidence to the claim advanced by the American Bird Conservancy and others (including Anne Nightingale here at the ABA Blog) that outdoor cats have a significant negative impact on populations of birds.

And the way they acquired that evidence is pretty ingenious, from an article on the study in the LA Times:

Using cameras attached to the collars of your friendly neighborhood cats, researchers at the University of Georgia found that the feline fighters kill much larger numbers of wildlife than previously thought. That may be because such earlier studies didn't consider animals that the cats ate or simply left behind, said biologist Kerrie Anne Lloyd, who presented her findings at a Portland, Ore., meeting of the Ecological Society of America.

In cooperation with the National Geographic Society's CritterCam team, which attaches cameras to animals to record the activities of a variety of species, Lloyd and her colleagues recruited 60 cat owners in Athens, Ga. The owners attached the tiny cameras to the cats' collars every morning when the animals were let out, then dowloaded the day's images every night. Each animal was followed for seven to 10 days.

Nearly a third of the cats killed prey, an average of two a week.  Remarkably, or perhaps not, the cats left 49% of their kills to rot, consuming only 30% and bringing the remainder home to what were certainly non-plussed owners.  This suggests that pet owners see only a very small proportion of what the cats actually get up to.

It's worth noting that the cats in the study were all pets, with homes and regular feeding schedules, and not the feral colonies that have sparked political firestorms with regard to their management.  The latter are almost certainly worse.

Once again, the evidence is abundantly clear, please heed the American Bird Conservancy's pleas to be responsible pet-owners and keep those pets indoors not only for the birds' safety, but their own as well.

View article...

(A fun way to spend a little time.  JS)

The Science Life
Comic strip science

Rosemary Mosco’s comic strips feature her favorite inspirations from nature and science.

“I am so awesome.” [Smug grin.]
So goes the final frame in a humorous comic called “Birds are Gross,” in which artist and field naturalist Rosemary Mosco highlights the virtues of the turkey vulture. The bird, speaking throughout (“I am a turkey vulture. Yes indeed.”), reaches this conclusion after announcing its proclivities for things like projectile vomiting and poop-mediated temperature control.
“I like showing people animals that aren’t especially appealing, and then highlighting what’s really neat about them,” says Mosco, 31, of her “Bird and Moon” comic strip series.

We've Cut the Ribbon
Bioswale Project Keeps Richmond Greenway Clean and Green
Have you ever seen a real, live bioswale? If not, head over to the the Richmond Greenway to take a look and what we've built with the help of county and city officials, local schools, and the community.

Read More

Long, Lost Love for Our (Plastic) Ocean
An Intern's Take on Coastal Cleanup Day
Recently I have been thinking about the path I have taken to become a Healthy Watersheds Intern at The Watershed Project, and also about how my work now is not far from my lofty childhood plans to save the ocean.
Read More

What's in Your Watershed?
The Slinky Skink
Part snake, part lizard-- skinks are slithering in a watershed near you. Find out the amazing live-saving trick they can pull when in a pinch.
Read more
End of Summer - 99¢ Sale

Friday, August 24th - Sunday August 26th, 2012, 10 am - 4 pm

Stock up for fall planting during The Watershed Nursery's End of Summer Sale!
Now is your chance to save BIG on our large selection of beautiful Native California plants. Hundreds of California Native Plants marked will be specially marked down to 99¢ each and the rest - you can enjoy a 10% discount.
The sale is on for three days only - Friday August 24th - Sunday August 26th, from 10 am to 4 pm. We will have our friendly and knowledgeable staff available to help you with selections for your particular needs.

(Sales are subject to current availability and no other discounts, including Groupon and Yelp coupons will apply to sale prices.)

601-A Canal Blvd.
Richmond, CA 94804
phone: (510) 234-2222
fax: (510) 234-2242


12.  Dear Knowland Park Supporters,

It’s been an incredibly busy week! Coalition partners have been meeting with numerous organizations and key individuals as we develop our campaign against the zoo parcel tax measure that is going on the ballot for November. We’ve had some amazing victories that we can’t share yet, because we’re not quite convinced that all the zoo executive board members who signed up on our supporters list are really supporters (!)(see --but we can tell you that when people are given full information about what the Knowland Park expansion would really do to native wildlife and plant habitat, and about how the zoo got this on the ballot at the last possible moment, allowing no time for the usual process groups use to examine the language and determine their positions on ballot measures, they are quick to decide they can’t support it.

We’ve also learned that the zoo’s CEO, Dr. Joel Parrott, is now sending letters to selected environmental groups saying “none of the funds” from the parcel tax measure will be used for the expansion—so clearly the zoo is hearing that the expansion is a problem in terms of public opinion about the measure. But the problem with that tactic is that no matter what the zoo CEO says now, such outside letters and reassurances are not legally binding in any way whatsoever—as we have learned from past experience with the zoo. (Even if they were written into the measure, the tax funds would simply free up other money for the expansion anyway.)  Let us count the ways through which we have learned not to trust such reassurances:

We remember too well the infamous Memorandum of Understanding that Dr. Parrott executed with community members worried about the expansion more than a decade ago (see ). The community really trusted then that they had an agreement. But zoo executives decided to change their minds and do something else. That MOU turned out not to be worth the paper it was written on—just like many of the other promises we have heard over the years (for a more recent example, see ). And it’s not just environmental groups that have had this experience with the zoo’s executives saying one thing and then doing another. Remember a few years back when the Oakland city council became upset upon learning that, after the zoo had promised a certain number of “free” days just for Oakland’s  residents, the zoo had held just one free day and then (without consulting the Council) decided not to host any more?

The zoo has some very honest, dedicated and skilled people working there (some of whom have told us they privately agree with us), and some great programs. Unfortunately, zoo management seems to have lost all connection with the zoo’s core conservation mission in its determination to build this bloated, budget-busting theme park expansion.

The contradictions are just becoming too glaring to sustain.

No matter how much lipstick they apply, the fact is that the “California Trails” theme park development, as planned, would pave over dwindling wildlife habitat and rare plants. No matter how much the zoo CEO tries to say it’s all about conservation education, the first lesson 21st century kids ought to learn about biodiversity is that the greatest threat to it is loss of habitat—and it’s darned hard to demonstrate that lesson by building a 34,000 square foot 3 story restaurant, gift shop, offices and visitor center on top of occupied native mountain lion habitat. (see

Thanks to all who once again came through with donations to help us get going on fighting this ballot measure—and apologies if our thank you note is delayed; it’s challenging to keep up! If you missed donating but want to do so, use the Pay Pal button on our website or send a check made out to CNPS with Knowland Park in the subject line to our Treasurer, Lee Ann Smith, 111 Shadow Mountain, Oakland, CA 94605.

Even if, like many folks in our county, you generally support taxes for good programs, this is a really bad measure. We will be posting a detailed analysis of why this is bad policy in the next few weeks, after the measure’s letter (e.g. Measure A or Measure B, etc.) has been assigned by the registrar of voters and we have the final text—but meanwhile, if you have an opportunity to spread the word, you can use the one page flyer ( )  to hand out to neighbors, friends, leave at coffee shops, post on bulletin boards, etc. While the zoo may believe that its giant PR machine will assure a win, several political analysts who have independently contacted us told us that the zoo will have an uphill fight on the crowded ballot. So every vote counts, and each one of us can do something to help defeat this measure!

If you can volunteer a little time, please email us at ! We are getting our volunteer rosters together now and the more, the merrier!

Thanks for your support over all the years we have worked to get the word out about Knowland Park and the native plants and wild creatures who thrive there right now, living and hunting and raising their young in Knowland Park, never suspecting their homes could be facing bulldozers paid for by an organization that claims the conservation mantle!


13.  Dear Art Friends,

We have two Art In The Park shows coming up, one this Sunday, August 19 in Martinez and one in Pinole the following Sunday, August 26. Hope you can make it to one of them!

The Martinez Art In The Park this Sunday (August 19) is at Susana Park 2 blocks east of City Hall off Alhambra Ave. Hours are from 10 to 5. Look for our booth along the sidewalk on Estudillo St.

Directions: From the Berkeley/Oakland area, take 80 to Highway 4 and head east. Take the Alhambra exit for Martinez. Turn left onto Alhambra. After about a mile or so, turn right onto Jones and left onto Estudillo. The park is one block down.

If coming from the East, go west on Highway 4 and take the Alhambra exit for Martinez. Turn right onto Alhambra Avenue and follow the instructions above.

The Pinole Art and Wine In The Park is the following Sunday, August 26 in Fernandez Park in the Old Town section of Pinole. Hours are 10 to 5. We will have two separate booths so we’ll be showing twice as much art!

Directions: From the Berkeley/Oakland area, take 80 to the Pinole Valley Rd. exit in Pinole. Turn left onto Pinole Valley Rd. In about a mile or so it will become Tennent Ave. (Pinole Valley Rd. will actually veer off to the right). Stay on Tennent Ave. for less than a mile and turn right onto San Pablo Ave. At the first stoplight, turn left into the little shopping center. The park is at the end of the parking lot.

If coming from the East, take Highway 4 to 80 and head south. Take the Pinole Valley Road exit and turn right onto Pinole Valley Road and follow the instructions above.

We hope you can make it to at least one of these events. They should both be a lot of fun and a very enjoyable way to spend your Sunday.

If neither of these dates are convenient for you, however, we are selling at the Pinole Farmers’ Market almost every Saturday now from 9 to 1. In addition, our cards are still at White Rabbit in Martinez, Poppy Florist on Solano Ave. in Albany, and we now have some local cards at Anna’s Florist on Railroad Ave. in Hercules. I also have several photographs plus notecards and jewelry in the current show at the Pinole Art Gallery at 2221 Pear Street in the Old Town section of Pinole, near City Hall. The hours are 11 to 4, Wed. through Sat. The show continues through Sept. 10.


14.  From Marketplace 14 Aug 2012

Math nerds will love today's U.S. population number

pauladamsmith / Creative Commons

This final note today, which comes to us courtesy of the Census Bureau.
Shortly after 2:29 this afternoon Eastern Daylight Time, the press release says the U.S. population clock hit 314,159,265.
Kinda cool, huh?


15.  LTEs, The Economist
Logarithmic error

SIR – I was amused to read of wild gyrations in share prices at the New York Stock Exchange, allegedly caused by an “errant logarithm”.  Alas, I doubt this humble mathematical function was to blame; the culprit was most likely an “algorithm”.

The Economist can take comfort from the words of an English compatriot, Winnie-the-Pooh: “My spelling is wobbly. It’s good spelling but it wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

David Schober
Forest Hills, New York  

SIR – One really hopes that investigators at the New York exchange will know the difference between a logarithm and an algorithm.

Understandably, that confidence is hard to come by in a world where far too many people apparently believe that all deviation is standard, calculus is only what the dentist scrapes off one’s teeth, and logarithms are really just birth-control methods for lumberjacks.

Steven Bleiler
Professor of mathematics
Portland State University
Portland, Oregon


16.  Innovative ensemble led by park steward (Orizaba/Shields open space) Gary Schwantes

ULTRA WORLD X-TET has a new website. Check it out!

and come back often..the site is under development and new content is being added all the time.

News Update:
Find out about the world premiere performance of
"Magical Adventures of the Monkey King" Nov. 2, 2012 in San Francisco


17.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

Why didn't I think of it?
What is the perfect analogy?
When Oscar Wilde extends a simile.  
Dick Hedges, Nairobi, Kenya

• The perfect analogy is like the perfect circle.
Paul Lloyd, Swansea, UK

• The one you think of after you leave the party.
James Carroll, Geneva, Switzerland

Great rather than United
Why is the home nation's Olympic contingent called Team GB and not Team UK?

Don't get me started on the loose use of GB! Great Britain is a geographical term, meaning the biggest island of the British Isles, though the term usually includes most adjacent small islands. The full name of the Olympic team is Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which is the basic definition of the United Kingdom (look on your passport). So they should have called it simply Team UK.
Meilir Page, Renton, Washington, US

• Because Brits prefer to be Great rather than United.
Michael Winnem, Fredrikstad, Norway

• Why is it called Team anything? Plain old Great Britain was perfectly adequate for over a century.
Matthew Coomber, Kyoto, Japan

• To avoid unnecessary arguments and allow competitors from the Six Counties to be nominated to Team Ireland.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

• Wishful thinking.
Elizabeth Keating, Orcemont, France

Wear socks with sandals
How British am I? Is there any way of knowing?

Don't worry: living in Germany makes you at least as British as the royal family.
Susan Irwin, Oldenburg, Germany

• The official practice citizenship test should answer that. I was born in England nearly 80 years ago but left 40 years ago. When I did a sample test I scored 15 correct out of 24 and was failed!
Apparently, in order to be accounted British you need to know how many people in the UK are under 19 years old.
Ted Webber, Buderim, Queensland, Australia

• It all depends on your date of expiry.
Jennifer Horat, Lengwil, Switzerland

• Socks and sandals?
John Turner, Toronto, Canada

Stubble trouble
Why do men shave?

Summat to do with the Y chromosome.
Donna Samoyloff, Toronto, Canada

• To stay out of stubble.
Jim Dewar, Gosford, NSW, Australia

Any answers?

Why is religion so aligned with patriarchy? What would happen if they were uncoupled?
Annie March, West Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Who gets paid by results these days?
E Slack, L'Isle Jourdain, France

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