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, October 11, 2012


“[Biology] is the least self-centered, the least narcissistic of the sciences—the one that, by taking us out of ourselves, leads us to re-establish the link with nature and to shake ourselves free from our spiritual isolation.”
    Jean Rostand, French biologist 1894-1977

Who knows what Columbus would have discovered if America hadn't got in the way. -Stanislaw J. Lec

1.   Native plant sale in Marin Oct 13
2.   Wild & Scenic Film Festival Octo 18 in Emeryville
3.   SciAm: Romney, Obama debate climate change?/population peak late 20th century?
4.   Sacto Bee endorses Hetchy restoration
5.   Supervisorial Forums on walkable, green streets
6.   Feedback
7.   The UNnatural History of San Francisco Bay Oct 18
8.   Central Subway not done deal - lawsuit filed
9.   Galaxy Formation in a Dark Universe - Oct 17
10. Grand Birds of the Philippines Oct 12 - Nov 10
11.  Bees & Flowers, a Continuing Love Affair Oct 18
12.  Nation's first coast-to-coast roadside litter pick-up - Oct 19
13.  LEAP's 29th annual sandcastle contest Oct 20
14.  Illustrated talk on history of 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake - Oct 27
15.  Joy throws little stones at my window - Mario Benedetti
16.  Rita Sklar bird paintings in Palo Alto through Oct 25
17.  Ordinary people. Who are they? How do you recognize them?

1.  CNPS Marin Chapter Fall Plant Sale
Saturday October 13, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Fall is for planting! View the beautiful new California native demonstration gardens and participate in free workshops and hands-on demos. Expert gardeners will be on hand to help with your selections from our extensive inventory of native plants for your garden. Many of these plants have been grown on site.
We’ve been growing a beautiful variety of Salvias and Ceanothus, Mimulus, Monardella, and Penstemon. We’ll have many wonderful garden plants from the coastal community such as buckwheats, wallflowers, and seaside daisies. We’re also offering a variety of larval host plants for the butterfly gardener such as the rare cobweb thistle, California pipevine, and several species of native milkweeds, as well as a nice selection of perennial bunchgrasses.
Watch for a complete inventory list on the chapter website (, and more details in our Marin CNPS Oct-Dec Newsletter. For more information, contact Charlotte Torgovitsky at , (415) 892-9148, or Kristin Jakob at, (415) 388-1844.
Location: Green Point Nursery, 275 Olive Ave at Atherton Ave. in Novato.


2.  Join the California Wilderness Coalition for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour at the Clif Bar's Headquarters in Emeryville, on October 18, 2012 from 6PM to 9PM.

Regular admission ($20) includes unlimited beer and food, plus 5 great films, so buy your tickets today--this event sells out quickly! Looking to do more? For just $35, you get regular admission to the event and amembership to CWC, helping to ensure the protection of our state's natural heritage so that the wonders of wild California may be forever enjoyed. Doors open at 6PM, films begin at 7PM.

For more information (including film info) and to buy tickets, visit

OBSERVATIONS: Obama and Romney Should Talk about Climate Change at Next Debate
Somebody please ask Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama to talk about climate change at the next debate! Or what to do about growing fresh water shortages or protecting the Internet or addressing any of the other fundamental challenges the U.S. faces in the coming years that are based on serious technological and scientific problems.

(You mean - talk about real issues?  That's not usually done in debates, is it?)

OBSERVATIONS: Super-Toxic Snake Venom Could Yield New Painkillers
A bite from the black mamba snake can kill an adult human within minutes. But in that toxic venom is a new class of compound that could be used to help develop new painkillers

EARTHTALK: Will Human Population Growth Peak in the Late 21st Century?
What, if anything, is being done to try to arrest unchecked population growth?


Endorsements: San Francisco should say 'yes' to Hetch Hetchy alternatives, Prop. F 
Published Tuesday, Oct. 09, 2012

California voters won't get a chance on Nov. 6 to help decide the fate of Hetch Hetchy, a magnificent canyon in Yosemite National Park that has been submerged by part of San Francisco's water supply for nearly 80 years.

But voters statewide - especially those who care about our national parks - should watch carefully to see what San Francisco decides on Proposition F, a city ballot measure.

That farsighted proposition would require the city to study alternatives for the water and power provided by Hetch Hetchy. Since San Franciscans tend to be more environmentally sensitive than their leaders - and much more eager to explore the possibilities - there's a good chance they will vote in support of Proposition F.

Contrary to the rhetoric of reservoir defenders, Hetch Hetchy is not San Francisco's primary source of water, and draining it would not be disastrous. There are nine reservoirs that supply water to San Francisco, and Hetch Hetchy stores less than 25 percent of the total.

As UC Davis engineering professor Jay Lund wrote last month in the San Francisco Chronicle, "The Bay Area does not need the Hetch Hetchy reservoir to continue Tuolumne River water deliveries.

Like what you read?  Tell the Sacramento Bee!
CLICK HERE  to send a letter to the editor explaining why you support restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley.

The mission of Restore Hetch Hetchy is to return the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to its natural splendor while continuing to meet the water and power needs of all communities that depend on the Tuolumne River.


5.  SUPERVISORIAL FORUMS for walkable, green streets

For the first time, Walk SF is hosting Supervisorial forums and town halls -- don't miss this chance to show current and potential city leaders that you care about safe, walkable, green streets!

Also, this week, take an SFMTA survey on Second Street; and next week, speak up for pedestrian and bike improvements on Oak and Fell at the SFMTA Board meeting.
    •    RSVP for Your District's Supervisor Forum
    •    Take the 2nd Street Survey, Deadline This Friday
    •    Attend SFMTA Meeting on Oak and Fell Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Project, 10/16

RSVP for Your District's Supervisor Forum

Election season is just around the corner, so don't miss your chance to join Walk San Francisco, along with the San Francisco Parks Alliance and Friends of the Urban Forest at one of the six upcoming Supervisorial Candidate Forums dedicated to the topic of the city's public space.

The first forum is tomorrow, so RSVP now.

District 1 (Richmond) Forum
Thursday, October 11, 6 - 8 p.m.
Richmond Recreation Center, 18th Ave. between Clement and California

Want to know your Supervisors' and Supervisorial candidates' knowledge of and positions on streets, parks, and public space? You can pose questions for the candidates (or your Supervisor) when you register online.  

RSVP now and submit your questions:

District 9 (Mission) Town Hall w/ Supervisor Campos*
Moderated by Elizabeth Stampe, Walk SF
Wednesday, October 17, 7 - 8 p.m.
Mission Recreation Center, 2450 Harrison St. at 20th

District 11 (Excelsior) Town Hall w/ Supervisor Avalos*
Moderated by Elizabeth Stampe, Walk SF
Thursday, October 18, 7 - 8 p.m.
Minnie Lovie Ward Recreation Center, Montana between Plymouth & Capitol

District 3 (Chinatown/North Beach) Forum
Thursday, October 25, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center, 1199 Mason St. at Washington St.

District 7 (Sunnyside) Forum
Thursday, October 30, 6 - 8 p.m.
San Francisco Zoo's Great Hall, Sloat Blvd. and 47th Ave.

District 5 (Hayes Valley/Haight) Forum
Thursday, November 1, 6 - 8 p.m.
Hamilton Recreation Center, Geary Blvd. at Steiner 

*Walk SF will be the moderator for the District 9 and 11 Town Halls.
RSVP for your District Forum or Town Hall today. Let's ensure that strong voices for a greener, more walkable city are elected across the city's districts.

Take the 2nd Street Survey by Friday
Too many people have been hit by cars on Second Street, and sidewalks are far too narrow along much of its length. You can help change that. At a September 20 meeting, four alternative design concepts were presented for the Second Street Improvement Project from Market to King.

Now's your chance to review the four designs and make comments. You can speak up for wider sidewalks, safe crossings with bulb-outs, and protections from left-turning cars, especially toward the freeway.

Take the survey and send your feedback on the designs and your priorities to Cristina Olea, Project Manager at 

IMPORTANT: Survey closes this Friday, October 12.

To learn more about the Second Street Project, visit

Attend SFMTA Meeting on the Oak and Fell Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Project

On October 16, the final proposal for Oak and Fell improvements goes to the SFMTA Board. While much attention has gone to adding a bike lane, the project is much more than that.

With your support, Walk SF has made sure the Oak and Fell project will also significantly improve walking conditions on these dangerous corridors with corner bulbouts, more visible crosswalks, and corner “daylighting” to remove cars from blocking intersections and improve pedestrian visibility, as well as new changes to traffic signal timing to reduce speeding. 

Come speak up for these improvements to finally start taming traffic on these high-speed streets, and help people of all ages walk safely to and from our city's beloved Golden Gate Park.
SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 1 p.m.
(Refer to Agenda)
City Hall Room 400
Van Ness Avenue between McAllister and Grove

For details and to review the full proposal, visit


6.  Feedback

On Oct 9, 2012, at 7:48 PM, Allison Levin wrote:
HI Jake, sorry to be dense; what's the point of that photo of two Jews with chicken and piece of paper and the subtitle, something about a job application?

thanks for the elucidation!

Allison:  Instead of dense, you're very alert.  You sensed the disjunction between the article and the picture, which I had excised from another article many weeks ago.  The picture of two Orthodox Jews in the modern world delighted me, but it had nothing to do with the item I paired it with.  I saved it in hopes that I could find an item to partner it.  When I ran across the iPhone item with its old time religion I remembered the picture and dug it out of the files.  I hope people caught the humor, but that's a gamble nowadays, with rife ethnic and religious sensibilities.

I like the juxtaposition, but I was remiss in not indicating that as such, and I should have made a separating bar between the two.

Have I unconfused you?

On Oct 9, 2012, at 5:21 PM, Doug Allshouse wrote:
It was too light for me to see Orion, only Sirius. Thanks for the diagnosis. With the moon creeping east, is it possible that it will intersect Venus?
Doug:  The Moon probably will just pass by Venus.  These gatherings of planets are common, as they are all on the ecliptic, the path of the Sun and planets as seen from Earth.  Since our paths around the Sun are not smack on the ecliptic, but can vary many degrees above or below it, eclipses don't happen that often.  Sometimes the Moon will eclipse a planet, but more often it will just come near it.  Sometimes several planets and/or Moon will cluster and can make for very nice scene before dawn or after sunset.

Jeanne Koelling:
Hi Jake:
The remark regarding Pinter's short poem "Another time" was attributed to his friend, Simon Gray.
(I originally read about Gray's remark in Lady Antonio Fraser's memoir of her marriage to Harold Pinter, "Must You Go?")

(Excerpted from The Week: How Simon Gray and Pinter patched it up)

Gray and Pinter, close friends since the 1970s, nevertheless had a bad falling-out 20 years later. In Unnatural Pursuits, a 1993 TV adaptation of Gray's biting diary account of the staging of his play The Common Pursuit, Gray invented a character, Hector Duff, who was described as "the world's greatest playwright". He was pompous, domineering and espoused causes he didn't necessarily believe in.
The left-wing, anti-war Pinter saw it as a caricature of himself, took umbrage and, reportedly, the pair did not talk for two years.

In the end, they did patch things up both personally and professionally – Pinter directed nine of Gray's plays in all - but they always had a lively relationship. One famous theatre story has it that Pinter, the master of minimalism, wrote a poem about cricket. It read, in its entirety: "I saw Len Hutton in his prime; another time, another time."
This gem was circulated to friends and after a few weeks Pinter, hurt that he had not heard from Gray, telephoned him. "Have you got my poem? What do you think of it?" he inquired. "Er, yes, Harold. I haven't finished reading it," Gray replied. ·
Read more:

San Francisco Natural History Series
The UNnatural History of San Francisco Bay
Guest Speaker: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto & Kathleen M. Wong
7:30pm, Thursday, October 18th, 2012
FREE at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA

Journalist and author Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and science writer Kathleen M. Wong will answer a few burning questions from their new book Natural History of San Francisco Bay: How do you “make” a wetland if you’re not Mother Nature? If you throw a dead body of the GG Bridge where will it end up? Why splashing in the surf off Crown Beach might you give something like poison oak?

The book itself "delves into an array of topics including fish and wildlife, ocean and climate cycles, endangered and invasive species, and the path from industrialization to environmental restoration."

Get the book: Natural History of San Francisco Bay:
more about Ariel:
more about Kathleen:

Notes from our September 20 talk -- Bay Area Life Cycles with Becky Jaffe

Becky Jaffe is a biophiliac. E.O. Wilson made the term up to describe "the connection human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life." Except that for Becky, that connection is sought consciously with great care and effort. She is a photographer, an artist, and amateur naturalist with a keen eye for what the rest of life has to offer. A favorite subject of hers is insects, watching them peer back up at her, but this past lecture, Becky gave us a tour, not so much of place, but of time -- and the creatures that can be found. One of the most delightful things about nature is about how regular she can be in her habits:

September finds tarantula's migrating. A good spot to find these is on Mt Diablo, as the males come out to look for the decorated burrows of females.

In October, preying mantis like it hot and can be found mating in places like Walnut Creek. You might see a female eat the head or entirety of her consort. or not, as it doesn't ALWAYS happen.

Sandhill cranes come to Lodi in November - flocks half a million strong. There's a dictionary by which you can decode their elaborate dances - performed in courtship, or for their mate of 25-30 years.

In Monterey in December you might find Bald Eagles starting to build their massive nests.

January, newts come out from underneath the leaf detritus into the creeks. The male and female clasp together for hours, while other males mights form tussling balls to and combat and lay eggs. There was some discussion on their toxicity and the evolutionary "war" waged between them and garter snakes (make sure to wash your hands if you ever pick one up).

February, in claremont canyon, you a pair of nesting great horned owl who caused a stir this past year swooping down on dogs. The owl will come back to the same tree, the same branch. Everyone was talking about this pair, and a five year old was overhead saying, "better than TV!"

In March, male elephant seals battle at Ano Nuevo state park. Or you might find a tranny wild turkey -- 20% of females have the same beard out of the chest as the males. Or lady bugs in Redwook Park clustered together in the thousands.

April has Egrets nesting together in Alameda, possibly to protect themselves from marauding corvids - even though they squabble amongst themselves constantly. Becky has some amazing photos of one male proudly displaying twigs he tore from trees. His mate if he had one would go on to actually build the nest -- but he was apparently still looking.

She also told the story of one particular Egret parasite who has a life cycle that includes a snail, a tadpole, and frogs who end up growing extra legs - making them easy targets for Egrets where the cycle begins anew. There are apparently 4 parasites for every non-parasite!

In May, dragon flies and damsel flies mate as strange contortionists. The different cycles of insects we often ignore beyond caterpillars, but many other species have their own interesting cycles of growth.

Go to Lake Merritt in June, and you might find "Hank" the white pelican joined by other migrating pelicans. Hank was injured and can not fly, but over the years he seems to have accumulated friends who come to visit him while on their way to other destinations. You'll also might find the nests of cormorants.

July has swallowtails emerging from cocoons, beavers building dams in Martinez, and hummingbirds building their gorgeous little expandable nests (Becky passed around a sample).

Hawk Hill in August to see the migration of these fabulous creatures.

All this and much much more for those who have a mind to pay attention.

    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.
        - Mary Oliver



SUMMARY:  Despite Muni’s anticipated celebration of the receipt of the federal grant agreement for the Central Subway, cautions that the project is still not a done deal because, as set forth in the lawsuit, the current plan violates Section 4.113 of the San Francisco City Charter.

In approving its grant agreement (FFGA) for the subway, the federal government has opted to ignore the City Charter, which it is free to do.  However, since Muni cannot ignore the City Charter, urges the agency to refrain from spending any federal funds on the project until it has a legally approved plan, because any and all federal funds spent on an unapproved project are at risk to being returned to the federal government.

BACKGROUND:  On Wednesday October 10, 2012, a lawsuit was filed in Superior Court on behalf of  The lawsuit seeks to prevent the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) from extending a subway station intoUnion Square, a public park, without the approval of the San Francisco electorate as required under SF City Charter Section 4.113.  If our lawsuit is successful, the SFMTA will have the choice of either finding a station location that does not intrude upon Union Square or putting the question to a public vote.

Other actions now under active consideration include a plan to qualify an initiative measure for next year’s San Francisco ballot that would bring a halt to the Central Subway project unless and until the SFMTA demonstrates that it has met the Muni operational performance standards set forth in the City Charter.

As representatives have stated many times in public testimony, and as set forth and laid out in detail on’s website, the violation referred to above is just one of many major flaws embedded in the SFMTA’s Central Subway program.

Until recently, we had expected that the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) would react to these flaws by rejecting the Central Subway as a candidate for a federal New Starts grant.  Our confidence that the FTA would act appropriately in this matter was based on the explicit New Starts enabling legislation (49 USC §5303 Sections c, d and g) and on the FTA’s exemplary past record of guarding the federal treasury.  In the past, the FTA acted under a comprehensive set of rigorous cost-effectiveness guidelines designed to prevent federal funds from being squandered on local boondoggles.  Unless a candidate New Starts project met the standards it simply didn’t make it through the approval process.  However, we have found that in recent years politics has watered down the FTA’s traditional record of professionalism.

For the past 5 years, the government of San Francisco has steadfastly refused to listen to a long and growing list of Central Subway opponents, including over 50 neighborhood groups, the Sierra Club, the San Francisco City Attorney, the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury, former elected officials who now regret having approved the project and other officials who privately ridicule it, the residents and businesses of North Beach, at least two former Mayors and 235 members of the US House of Representatives.

With the FTA having abdicated its watchdog responsibilities, it appears that, the Coalition of San Francisco Neighbors and the other San Francisco neighborhood, environmental and civic groups opposed to the project are the only remaining fiscal watchdogs still trying to turn the SFMTA’s attention back to its long neglected 70 existing bus and rail lines.

If despite our efforts, the government of San Francisco remains on its current path, it appears that San Francisco will suffer six years of severe construction disruption followed by the advent of a marginally useful and money-losing Central Subway operation.  Among the adverse effects of the Central Subway are the $15.2 million a year it would add to the cost of operating and maintaining Muni and the diversion of Muni’s existing light rail T-Line from AT&T Park, the San Francisco waterfront, theFerry Building, the Financial District and the Market Street subway lines.  And finally, there is the fact that the Central Subway somehow manages to miss 25 of the 30 east-west transit lines it crosses, including all the lines on and under Market Street and all the lines on Mission Street.

In addition to the local effects, the project would drain away an unnecessary $61.3 million in State 1A HSR connectivity bond money from the essentially bankrupt State of California to allegedly connect the Central Subway to California’s future HSR system, when in fact it would actually disconnect the existing T-Line from that system.

Even more damaging is the plan to deny other, more deserving Muni projects a total of $306 million in State 1B rail bond money that is currently earmarked for the Central Subway project.

And finally, the Central Subway program, if it proceeds, will eat up no less than $942 million in federal funds at a time when theU.S. federal government can ill afford to waste resources on politically-inspired local pet projects.

Tomorrow’s execution of the federal grant agreement for the Central Subway will formalize the refusal of San Francisco’s politicians to seriously consider the obvious major flaws in the project.  For this reason is seeking redress before the SF Superior Court to force these politicians to let the people of San Francisco decide whether or not they want to proceed with the Central Subway project as currently configured.


Galaxy Formation in a Dark Universe
a presentation by
Risa Wechsler
Stanford University

Join Risa Wechsler (Stanford University) for a presentation on Galaxy Formation in a Dark Universe. Wechsler will discuss our current understanding of how galaxies form, and how these observations can be used to shed light on the physics of the Universe. Recent cosmological measurements indicate that a mere four percent of the contents of the Universe is made up of stars, gas, and the normal stuff we interact with every day.  An unobserved substance called dark matter dominates the mass in the Universe. In this talk, Wechsler explains how this dark matter and dark energy determine the fate of galaxies.

Risa Wechsler is a cosmologist, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Stanford and at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. Her work primarily focuses on the formation of cosmological structure, from the scales of the smallest galaxies to the largest scales in the Universe. She is a former Hubble Fellow, Fermi Fellow, and Kavli Fellow, and has received a Terman Fellowship and Hellman Fellowship for her research at Stanford.  

What:         San Francisco Amateur Astronomers’ Lecture
                   Galaxy Formation in a Dark Universe – a presentation by Risa Wechsler, Stanford University
When:        7:30pm, Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Where:       Randall Museum
                   199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA
Ages:         Geared for adults; All ages welcome
Cost:          FREE; donations encouraged
Info:          415-554-9600 or

“Grand Birds of the Philippines”
October 12 - November 10
Opening reception Friday, October 12, 6-8 PM

Electric Works is pleased to present Grand Birds of the Philippines mixed media works on paper by David Tomb in conjunction with Jeepney Projects Worldwide, October 12-November 10 with a reception Friday, October 12, 6-8 PM at 1360 Mission Street in San Francisco.

The exhibition will feature the iconic and critically endangered Great Philippine Eagle and other endemic birds of the Philippines, including the Rufous Hornbill. Tomb’s latest artworks are luminous and colorful paper assemblages with subtle low relief elements that help convey spatial depth as well as the ambiguous and mysterious jungle terrain of Mindanao. In the gallery there will be living plants that will add to the ambience of the Mindanao jungle—one of the richest and most diverse habitats in the Philippines. There will be a 12-foot high 15-foot wide wall piece of a life size Philippine Eagle nest site. With this project Tomb brings attention to the challenges and tensions these grand birds face in order to survive and share a sustainable future with an ever-growing Filipino population.

Tomb is co-founder of Jeepney Projects Worldwide: Art for Conservation, an organization that is partnering with regional conservation groups to inspire, support, and restore lost habitat of critically endangered birds. In January of this year, Tomb and the Jeepney team visited Mt. Kitanglad on Mindanao to see wild nesting Great Philippine Eagles and other endemic birds. Jeepney has since partnered with the Philippine Eagle Foundation to create limited fine art prints to raise money for research and public outreach/education about the Eagle.

Tomb has exhibited in galleries, universities, and museums extensively across the United States and has been published widely including the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Harpers. Tomb's work is in many public collections including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Huntington Library, and the Consulate General of the United States embassies in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.

Electric Works Gallery and the Grand Birds of the Philippines exhibition are available tours for schools and for groups. To schedule a docent tour, contact Judith Lang (415) 626-5496.

Gallery hours are:
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Golden Gate Audubon Society Speaker Series: 
Bees & Flowers, A Continuing Love Affair

Native bees and native flowering plants have evolved together in a variety of intriguing relationships.  Research by Gordon Frankie and other UC professors has shown that these relationships can be used to plan pollinator habitats that will conserve native bees. At our October Speaker Series, Prof. Frankie will talk about how to apply these discoveries to your garden.

Gordon Frankie is an entomologist at UC Berkeley who specializes in bee ecology, and also teaches conservation and environmental problem-solving.

Date:    Thursday October 18
Time:    7 pm for refreshments, 7:30 for program
Place:   Northbrae Community Church,
             941 The Alameda in Berkeley (between Solano and Marin.
Cost: Free for GGAS members, $5 for non-members.

For more info, see the GGAS web site.

Blue and green honey?



Volunteers Needed To Restore Oakland Shoreline Through Removal Of Trash & Invasive Plants

Oakland, CA – October 4, 2012 – The Student Conservation Association (SCA), a nationwide conservation workforce of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities, announced today it will partner with East Bay Regional Parks to lead a “Youth Day of Service” clean-up and restoration event for the native habitat of the Oakland shoreline on October 19, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline Park.

For the clean-up and restoration event, SCA is also joining forces with Pick Up America, the nation's first coast-to-coast roadside litter pick-up started by SCA alumna Jeff Chen. The workday will remove trash and clean-up more than one mile of shoreline and remove more than a quarter mile of ice plant, non-native grasses and acacias (approximately 100 plants), as well as preparing the land for mulching and planting along the bank.

Volunteers are needed for SCA’s East Bay Regional Parks Youth Service Day, to be held 2:00p.m to 5:00p.m on October 19. To participate, register at

SCA’s “Youth Day of Service” kicks off a two-day Youth Summit at San Francisco’s Crissy Field, in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, October 20 and 21. The summit is hosted by SCA partner Outdoor Nation, a group dedicated to reconnecting so-called “millennials” (“Generation Y”) with the outdoors. Outdoor Nation hosts summits around the country, awards grants for outstanding project ideas, leads outdoor outings, works with youth and connects with youth– all in an effort to mobilize a movement to get younger generations outside.

In each location, delegates brainstorm project ideas that address regional issues and ultimately engage more young people in the outdoors by removing barriers to participation. Participants vote on the top ideas in each region, and receive funding and training from the Outdoor Foundation to carry out these projects.

About Pick Up America
Pick Up America is the vision of SCA alum Jeff Chen. It is the nation's first coast-to-coast roadside litter pick-up. This youth-inspired initiative encourages environmental stewardship and zero-waste through art, education, and community outreach.

About the Student Conservation Association
SCA is a nationwide conservation workforce of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities. For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA is a non-profit headquartered in Charlestown, New Hampshire with regional offices in Washington D.C., Oakland, Pittsburgh and Seattle.



For more information, go to or contact Leap directly at or 415.512.1899.


Leap’s 29th Annual Sandcastle Contest
Saturday, October 20, 2012, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Ocean Beach, just south of Cliff House (Great Highway and Balboa Ave.) Please note: parking is limited and we encourage you to use public transportation.

A fun, family - friendly event showcasing the biggest sandcastles in Northern California and benefiting arts education programs for local kids!


14.  On the 27th of October, Berkeley historian Richard Schwartz will give an illustrated talk  at Spenger's Grotto on the history of the 1868 Hayward Fault Earthquake. The anniversary of this massive event is October 21st.  This was the last major eruption of the Hayward Fault and, according to the USGS, it is now overdue for its next major destructive earthquake.

    I am urging you and your staff to make reservations for this talk as it is part of the preparations we must quickly do to prepare for this coming event, which is sure to be more than a major disaster. If we don't know what happened on the last eruption of the Hayward Fault, how would we know what to expect for our families and our community now? I am also urging you to make your constituents aware of this community event so as to instigate more citizen and government preparations and involvement for this coming earthquake. It could arrive at any moment and we must get ready in more active way. Please see the attachment (sent on request, JS).  Susan Schwartz

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Time: 5:30-7:30pm
5:30-6:15 Socializing with no-host bar and appetizers
6:15- 6:45 Dinner served (chicken, fish, or vegetarian)
6:45-7:30 Illustrated talk by Richard Schwartz
Where: Spengers Grotto
1919 Fourth St.
Berkeley, CA 94710
Price: $30 (Entire price goes to Spengers. Richard Schwartz and Builders Booksource
are donating their time for this community-sharing event.)
Deadline: All reservations must be PREPAID no later than Sunday, October 21, 2012
by calling Builders Booksource at 510-845-6874. No reservations can be accepted
without prepayment.


15.  Little Stones at My Window

Once in a while
joy throws little stones at my window
it wants to let me know that it's waiting for me
but today I'm calm
I'd almost say even-tempered
I'm going to keep anxiety locked up
and then lie flat on my back
which is an elegant and comfortable position
for receiving and believing news

who knows where I'll be next
or when my story will be taken into account
who knows what advice I still might come up with
and what easy way out I'll take not to follow it

don't worry, I won't gamble with an eviction
I won't tattoo remembering with forgetting
there are many things left to say and suppress
and many grapes left to fill our mouths

don't worry, I'm convinced
joy doesn't need to throw any more little stones
I'm coming
I'm coming.

~ Mario Benedetti ~

(Little Stones at My Window: Selected Poems, trans. by Charles Hatfield)


Tricolored Blackbird, watercolor, 24"x30".

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center
Goldman Sports & Wellness Complex
3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303 
Now through October 25, 2012 
Mondays-Thursdays: 5:00 AM-10:30 PM
Fridays: 5:00 AM-9:00 PM.  Saturdays & Sundays: 7:00 AM-8:00 PM 
Click here to see my bird paintings and my vanishing species.

Please forward to art lovers.
Closing Reception:  Sunday, October 21, from  4:00-6:00 pm

Meet the artist and hear from Jennifer Rycenga, President of the Sequoia Audubon Society.
"Award-winning artist Rita Sklar uses her art to express appreciation for the uniqueness and beauty of each species of birds. She draws attention to the decline in bird populations and urges her audiences to take better care of our planet."
See my paintings at "".  For more info:   Website of the Palo Alto JCC


17.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

Journalists talk about ordinary people. Who are they? How do you recognise them?

The unidentifiable silent majority.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

• In the BBC TV political spoof The Thick of It, the leader of the opposition in Parliament refers to average and peaceful folk as "Quiet Bat People". The episode is frightening, as it is all too horribly like reality today.

Journalists cannot be trusted to talk about ordinary people and, in any case, they'd be sacked if they did because normal isn't news.
Paul Lloyd, Swansea, UK

• If you are in London, go and see who is riding on the Clapham omnibus. If you're in Sydney try the 380 bus, which replaced the Bondi tram.
John Sang, Solothurn, Switzerland

• By looking in the mirror.
Jennifer Horat, Lengwil, Switzerland

• The new president of France said he was "normal". This must mean having mistresses and children out of wedlock. Pretty ordinary.
E Slack, L'Isle Jourdain, France

• Since they look just like everybody else, they may be quite hard to recognise.
Joan Dawson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

• People who don't read Notes & Queries.
Barrie Sargeant, Otaki Beach, New Zealand

• They are the people who turn to the right after they have entered a commercial airliner.
Andrew Muguku, Nairobi, Kenya

Roll over and resume

Have I missed something?

Most of us have missed many things: a train, a button, an appointment and, most regrettably, the chance of a lifetime.
Peter Vaughan, St Senoch, France

• Nope. Go back to sleep. We will let you know.
James Carroll, Geneva, Switzerland

But why is that, Daddy?

Is "What are we doing here?" the ultimate question?

Close, but no cigar. As every child knows, the ultimate question is "Why?".
Adrian Pollock, Yardley, Pennsylvania, US

• No. An even deeper question is "Where are we?". What are our GPS co-ordinates in a boundless universe?
Paul Broady, Christchurch, New Zealand

• We are here to reproduce our genes. Perhaps the better question is "What can we do while we are here?"
Ned Edmonds, New York City, US

The heavy and the light

Each week I turn to Notes & Queries first. Doesn't everyone? Why not?

I receive the Guardian Weekly and take the elevator to my apartment. Opening a newspaper in an elevator is more trouble than it's worth, especially if one is sharing the elevator.

I am therefore left with only two choices. The front page, like 85% of each Guardian Weekly, consistently induces rage, or despondency, or both. I am therefore usually left with the light sports story on the rear page, by process of elimination.
Adam Williamson, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

• No, only those who are anticipating publication.
Dick Hedges, Nairobi, Kenya

No comments:

Post a Comment