Author Archives: Robin

Thank You for Not Breeding

I never had children. Now that I am being dragged, kicking and screaming, into my twilight years, I have decidedly mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it would be nice to now have fully formed adult children. My … Continue reading

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California Dreaming

I had a dentist appointment last week in North Berkeley. Afterwards, I decided to have lunch in an Indian restaurant nearby that I hadn’t been to in many a year. (That’s the nice thing about not working: I can stretch … Continue reading

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We’re Having a Heat Wave

It is l00 degrees in Berkeley — and the day is still young. Yesterday, the highs were also in the triple digits. We are melting, sweltering. . .and, in general, miserable. Not only is the air steamy, but it’s very … Continue reading

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On the Grid

Berkeley is one of the most stressful places to live. First off, you take your life in your hands driving along side the road-rageful. Then, if you actually make it intact to your destination, good luck finding a parking space. … Continue reading

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Live Where You Riot!

Yesterday was a tough day to be in Berkeley. There were just so many things to do. For one, there was a big rally/riot underway in downtown Berkeley. That sounded enticing! For another, signs were plastered around town for a … Continue reading

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Resistance is Futile

As I was driving the other day, I saw this older dude slowly crossing the street. The man had a limp that slowed him down, and he was seriously overweight. I saw the man head over to his car, which … Continue reading

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No News Is Good News

Recently, I was reading a book by a Christian pastor. He stated that he never watches the news or pays attention to popular culture. This is a philosophy that I embrace as well. It has been a month or two … Continue reading

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“Christ Comes to Berkeley!”

It finally happened, I thought! The Daily Cal newspaper banner headline blared out the words that I’ve been craving: “Christ Comes to Berkeley!” (And we all know that newspapers don’t lie!) I raced over to the newspaper box to take … Continue reading

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Summer of Lies

I have a friend who is an expert on mind control. She’s taught me a lot about how people can be controlled like puppets on a string. For instance, my friend believes that many of the pop stars who go … Continue reading

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The Dirt on Berkeley

It can be so embarrassing when people visit this area. There is always an element of horror in what they see. So when a friend came here for the first time, she grimaced, her face eminating pure disgust. She said, … Continue reading

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Hidden in Plain Sight

When I was in college, I took a lot of sociology classes. One course that really stayed with me was an analysis of advertising. In it, we scrutinized ads for their hidden, subliminal messages. Some of the messages were obvious, … Continue reading

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My Imaginary Happy World

I went to a specialist office the other day. It was a typical experience around here. The people who worked there were annoyed, edgy. When I tried to make small talk, the receptionist responded in monosyllables. I tried to be … Continue reading

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The Pain of Racism

I was recently on the receiving end of some racially tinged hostility. I ran over to help a person who had put herself in danger. Rather than thanking me, she said something horribly mean and racist. I’d like to think … Continue reading

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Alexander and Me

I had lunch with a friend the other day. Our conversation sounded like an old Seinfeld episode, although it actually happened. Friend: I’m really psyched. My husband got us tickets to Hamilton for my birthday. Me: To what? Friend: Hamilton … Continue reading

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The Last Straw

The problems around Berkeley intensify every day. We have an egregious amount of crime; the roads are filthy; and new tent cities emerge. With horrendous traffic, road rage is at an all-time high as enraged drivers take their frustrations out … Continue reading

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In Berkeley, Do Black Lives Matter?

When I shop around town, I like to talk to average people. I may chat with someone in line at a bank or with a worker in a store. The other day, I had a long conversation with two young, … Continue reading

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You’ve Got to be Cruel to be Kind

There’s been a definite ramping up of aggressive behavior and thinking of late. Drivers in huge SUVS and trucks drive an inch away from small Honda Civics. People have this paranoid, what-you-looking-at glare if you dare to smile and be … Continue reading

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The New Great Depression

Walking around Berkeley, I see the saddest sights — as well as the most disturbing. One of them was just this week. I was walking down a main street, College Avenue, and there was a blonde, lanky, good looking young … Continue reading

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Berkeley is a Riot

Berkeley has frequently been in the news lately. Just since the election of Donald Trump, there have been at least four big, nasty, and violent riots in our streets. The latest one was just last Saturday in downtown Berkeley, with … Continue reading

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Disappointed in Berkeley

Apparently, President Trump ordered bombing of Syria because the leader there had gassed his own people. Now where have we heard that one before? The next thing we know, there will be accusations of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Syria. … Continue reading

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The No-Free-Speech Movement

“Censorship is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, 1966 “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” — Benjamin Franklin “Restriction of free thought and free speech … Continue reading

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Our Animal House

(Reader Advisory: explicit content) I had one of those sad Berkeley days. I did errands around town, and beheld the tragedy that is Berkeley, Oakland, and the like. I needed to do some business near Gilman and Eastshore Freeway. If … Continue reading

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Berkeley’s Deathtrap

You’ve probably heard about the tragic fire in Oakland that took the lives of 36 young adults. It is a terrible loss of life; I can’t even imagine the horrendous suffering of the loved ones. To lose a child or … Continue reading

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Notes from the Underground

To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” (Voltaire) Twenty two years ago today, I was brutally attacked and left for dead in the middle of a street in Oakland. I … Continue reading

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Those Aggressive Progressives

The American public has spoken. A legitimate, democratic election has been held, and Donald Trump has been elected. How have the “peace loving, tolerant” progressives responded to losing the White House? Have they been disappointed, but understanding. . . able … Continue reading

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We are the Ones

I was just taking a walk around Berkeley. Many of the residents are adorned with Hillary buttons and t-shirts. There’s a nervous vibe in the street, as Berkeley-ites shudder in fear at the media-constructed boogey-man, Donald Trump. I feel a … Continue reading

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Lies Matter

I often shake my head in wonder that much of the populace is so gullible and malleable. I mean, I kind of get it. I was one of them, years ago. But I’d like to think that if there were … Continue reading

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Berkeley-cized

I’ve coined a word for what happens to most people who are in Berkeley, Oakland, etc. for any length of time. I call it, “Berkeley-cized.” Berkeley-cized refers to once normal people from normal parts of the world. They come to … Continue reading

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The Great American Bathroom Wars

Since Obama appeared on the national scene a few years ago, this country has been embroiled in one brouhaha or another. We’ve debated Issues that were never discussed before: topics that no one thought about or, if they did, the … Continue reading

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Trump Towers

Oh, man. This upcoming election is forcing me to break my self-imposed Rip Van Winkle, stuporous state with regard to the news. In other words, I feel forced against my will to actually know what’s going on around the presidential … Continue reading

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My Trump Card

As time goes on, I find myself liking the Donald more and more. There are several reasons why. For one, he is absolutely despised by the folks out here. They ridicule and lambast him every chance they get. I even … Continue reading

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Happy Easter!

Christ is Risen! Surely He Has Risen! Have a blessed Easter!

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The Fear of the Lord

I came back to my car last night to discover that the side of my car had been dented. This is the second time something like this has happened in a year. And just like last time: no note. Hit … Continue reading

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And the Presidential Election Goes to ____________??

I pay very little attention anymore to current events. It just gets me agitated about things of which I can do nothing. However, given the upcoming election, it’s hard to escape the frenzy around Presidential politics. As for me, I’m … Continue reading

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Garbage In, Garbage Out

In Berkeley and the surrounding areas, residents put out a lot of garbage. But not like in your town. Where you live, there is one designated trash day. But around here, every day is garbage day. What do I mean? … Continue reading

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Justice Antonin Scalia, Rest in Peace

Being in Berkeley is challenging under the best of circumstances. But Justice Scalia’s death kicks the intolerability up several notches. The Left takes off its gloves and its illusion of being magnanimous and tolerant after a death of someone like … Continue reading

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No Offense

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about a fairly new term, “microaggressions.” Apparently, microaggressions are sexist, racist, homophobic, agist, etc.etc. actions that aren’t exactly actions but subtle, though insidious, insults and offenses that are meant to create domination of others. … Continue reading

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished


I’ve been celebrating Lent this year. As some of you might know, the Lenten season is the 40 days leading up to Easter, where some Christians (e.g. Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans) fast and prayer and do good works. Lent … Continue reading

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Stealing Christmas

A friend called me this week with a sad tale. She had purchased a wreath for her elderly mother, who lives nearby and is recovering from surgery. Her mom loves Christmas, especially wreaths. The day after my friend put the … Continue reading

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Life in Hell

I just came back from a trip to downtown Berkeley, an area where I rarely go. I wanted to buy something in a store on University Avenue. In retrospect, I wish I had procured it online. What can I say: … Continue reading

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The Forgetting

Life is a long series of forgetting. . an abandonment of the knowledge we entered this world with, so natural and obvious to anyone, including a child. What is truth, what is deeply known and felt, what is bestowed on … Continue reading

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If It Feels Good (Don’t Do It)

I almost got run down the other day. But it wasn’t by a car. The newest trend out here is families racing their bikes or their skateboards down the sidewalk. I can’t tell you how many times I innocently walked … Continue reading

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Berkeley’s Very Thin Blue Line

When I walk around Berkeley and the surrounding areas, I do something that hasn’t been done for 50 years. It’s when I see police officers. I make a beeline over to them and say something like this, “Excuse me for … Continue reading

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Gone Fishing?

I haven’t written for a little bit. I might take a long break — or not. I’m not trying to be coy or provocative here. I really don’t know. I’ve had a ton of ideas swirling through my brain. But … Continue reading

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The High Price of Fame

I received an email a while back from a concerned friend, one of the only ones who reads my blog (Okay, the only one who reads my blog.) She told me that when she went to view it, she instead … Continue reading

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Follow the Leader

There are riots breaking out in Baltimore. These follow on the heels of other riots around the nation — Missouri, New York, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, etc. There is free floating rage wrecking havoc all over the place, with innocents killed, … Continue reading

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The Death of Dignity

When I moved to Berkeley in the 80s, the city — and the world — were very different places. You can tell this by my experience procuring a telephone. Back then, there weren’t cell phones or even wireless ones. The … Continue reading

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“Forget It, Jake. It’s Berkeley. . . and the United States”

I have a friend out here who totally gets it, what a crazy, deluded place is Berkeley. We have a saying that we use whenever describing the insanity around here. We say, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Berkeley.” The line is … Continue reading

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In Defense of the Poor

My father grew up dirt poor, with not enough food on the table. You could tell by the way he ate. He didn’t chew, but instead inhaled his food, as would a starving man. He consumed it all so rapidly … Continue reading

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“Oh, Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz?”

The other day, I saw a brand new Maserati racing down College Avenue. I was totally shocked. Once upon a time, you couldn’t find a luxury vehicle around here, much less a gazillion dollar car, like a Maserati. It was … Continue reading

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“We are Helpless”

The National Rifle Association sells a popular sticker to be affixed to members’ front doors. It reads, “We are not helpless.” The sticker communicates to any possible hoodlums that the occupants own firearms. There could be an apt sticker for … Continue reading

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“Everywhere-You-Look Rage”

You can tell what’s important to a culture by the number of words it has for certain things. For instance, among the Eskimos, there are a multitude of words for “snow.” Obviously, snow is quite vital to Eskimos. What’s important … Continue reading

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Prayers of the Faithful

If you know my back story, you understand that I’m one of the last people on the planet to become a Christian. Actually, maybe I am the last person on the planet to become a Christian. So I often wonder … Continue reading

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The Wild Turkeys of Berkeley

There are a whole lot of turkeys in Berkeley. No, I’m not being snarky. We have real, live feral turkeys all over the place, in people’s yards, the streets, and public parks. Before you think, “Oh, how cute,” let me … Continue reading

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Berkeley Traumatic Stress Disorder

You’ve no doubt heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People may suffer from PTSD after an assault or from living in a war zone. In Berkeley, we have our own version of PTSD: I call it Berkeley Traumatic Stress Disorder. … Continue reading

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Lawlessness and Disorder

I just received a link from a friend about a 62 year old man who died because rioters in Berkeley blocked traffic a few weeks ago. What would have been a few minute ride for paramedics to come and save … Continue reading

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“Don’t Dry Those Hands”

My best friend has been stricken with a catastrophic disease. She has lost so much: her soulmate, her career, her memory. She is slowly losing her life. It’s a tragedy beyond anything I could ever imagine for her and her … Continue reading

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Everyone’s Life Matters

A friend sent me a couple of news links. One was that the Home Depot in Emeryville was shut down yesterday by an enraged mob. They were angry that a black woman was killed by the police there a couple … Continue reading

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I’m Just Sitting Here Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you might be shaking your head wondering why I keep writing about Berkeley. “Berkeley, Schmerkeley,” you might wonder in frustration. “Enough, already!” Perhaps you go on: “We get it: it’s a crazy … Continue reading

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The New Weird Order

When I was growing up, I was the black sheep of the family. My parents never failed to remind me of this. “How could I have a child like you?” my mother would wonder out loud. Even my parents’ friends … Continue reading

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Another Day in Paradise

I did something last week that I rarely do: I went out after dark. I don’t like to do this. This area is too creepy crawly during the day, much less at night. But supplies were low, and I wasn’t … Continue reading

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California’s Culture of Death

The California legislature has introduced a bill to legalize assisted suicide in California. I find the prospect of this horrifying. Of course, legal euthanasia is the natural consequence of a culture that devalues life; that ridicules Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome … Continue reading

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About Abortion

Today, January 22, is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the country. There have been at least 56 million abortions since Roe. (1) In Catholic churches, a special Mass is held for the unborn, called, “Day … Continue reading

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Women and Children Last

Some parents are hazardous to their kids’ health, for instance, drug addicts, alcoholics, and molesters. We may know parents like this and worry about the well-being of the children. But there’s a subtle category of parents who can cause harm … Continue reading

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Berkeley’s Tipping Point

Every culture has its social mores. In yours, it may be saying hello to a neighbor during your morning walk. Perhaps it’s discussing the weather with the checker at the grocery store. Maybe in your neck of the woods, people … Continue reading

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Happy 2015

With 2015 just around the corner, I find myself reflecting on the year 2014. It was a roller coaster ride for me, filled with highs that I never knew in my life. These highs were also accompanied by deep lows … Continue reading

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Merry Christmas!

I love Christmas. It’s one of my very favorite holidays (the other being Easter). But it wasn’t always this way. Truth be told, I detested Christmas for most of my life. I was a veritable Grinch. I started complaining bitterly … Continue reading

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Berkeley’s Vast Anarchist Conspiracy?

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you’d think that Berkeley is the national hub for anarchism. You can see photos of ski-masked anarchists all over the place. Masked bandits are breaking windows, starting bonfires, and robbing and looting banks, … Continue reading

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Stop Police Brutality!

You may be surprised that I’m saying this: but stop police brutality!! I can’t take it any more. Day after day, from Berkeley to NYC, the police are being brutalized. The police — who by the way put their lives … Continue reading

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The Most Radical Act of All

Last Monday evening, I did something truly radical. No, it didn’t involve smashing windows, setting fires, or yelling obscenities at the police. I went to church, a Catholic one, for the Holy Day of Obligation. It was for the Solemnity … Continue reading

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When Crime Pays

When I was in my 20s, I was heavily involved in feminism. My main issue was violence against women. I recall going to a Take Back the Night March in Manhattan in the l970s, when the city was a snake … Continue reading

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A Crime You Won’t Hear about

http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Man-shot-dead-in-Huckleberry-park-in-Oakland-hills-5918503.php A high school teacher was shot and murdered the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at 3:30 p.m., while hiking in a popular park in the Oakland Hills, in a wealthy part of town. Articles describe him as an “upstanding citizen.” But … Continue reading

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Freedom and Slavery

In these post-modern times, people regard themselves as truly liberated. Because they can engage in wild and extreme behavior, they think they are free men and women. But the truth is that they are enslaved. I’m talking about slavery to … Continue reading

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It’s Been Lovely But I Have to Scream Now

If you spend any time around Berkeley, you can’t help noticing how noisy the place is. There’s a constant cacophony of sound. Earlier in the week, I saw a white guy yelling at the top of his lungs, scattering a … Continue reading

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If You Don’t Have a Sense of Humor, It’s Not Funny

There are so many things that get under my skin around Berkeley: the crime, filth, and trash; the road rage; and the naked people. But one of the most irksome is that so few people have a sense of humor. … Continue reading

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The Cost of Doing Business in Berkeley

Today is a sad and painful anniversary for me. Twenty years ago, I was mugged in broad daylight after leaving a restaurant on a bright, sunny autumn day. I was injured and left for dead in the middle of street. … Continue reading

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Wild Nights are Calling

And all the girls walk by Dressed up for each other And the boys do the boogie-woogie On the corner of the street And the people, passing by Stare in wild wonder And the inside juke-box Roars out just like … Continue reading

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Who Are You?

Every day I get a bunch more people registering for my blog. Even though I’ve gone through long periods without writing, even though my blog is as bare bones as you can get, still I keep getting new registrants. It … Continue reading

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Real Men Don’t Yelp

Everyone is Yelping these days, that is, using the website, Yelp, to play critic. But in my opinion, the name “Yelp,” is a misnomer. Instead, it should be called “Whine.” Because that’s what most people do on Yelp, complaining about … Continue reading

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Check Out Time at Berkeley’s Hotel California

There she stood in the doorway I heard the mission bell I was thinking to myself This could be Heaven or this could be Hell Then she lit up a candle And she showed me the way There were voices … Continue reading

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How Berkeley Has Made Me a Worse Person

It was a classic case of road rage that I engaged in not that long ago. It happened when I was running late and en route to a doctor’s appointment at a nearby suburb. I was in a rush; I … Continue reading

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Parents, Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Berkeleyites

There once was a popular Indian teacher named Papa G, who drew students from far and wide. People flocked to see him and hear his words of wisdom. One lucky man who was able to attend one of his retreats … Continue reading

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Sounds of Silence

Unless you’re a rich cat living high up in the Bay Area hills, most people around these parts hear the BART trains day and night. The sound may be background noise if you’re far from the tracks. If you’re close … Continue reading

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Old Friends

My best friend has been stricken with a catastrophic illness. If the doctors are right (and I keep praying they are not), she will be gone within a few, short years. In the meantime, she will lose all her faculties, … Continue reading

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“Watch for the Man in the Boat”

I was asked recently what advice I would give to someone who was curious about religious faith. I responded that the person should go to a church, any church; that the experience would be different than he thinks. I related … Continue reading

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The Real Revolution

I was driving through a rough and tough part of Oakland this morning. I don’t generally travel there but was en route to a doctor’s appointment. It was a part of Oakland under siege: with no businesses to speak of; … Continue reading

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The One We’ve Been Looking for All Along

I just became a statistic: one of the thousands (millions?) of people whose email address get hijacked by spammers. I discovered this by getting some rejected mail from some of those spammers. What a creepy world we live in; we … Continue reading

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Are We Living in a Post-Christian World?

A friend’s daughter startled me the other day. It was when I asked her if she’s chosen a name for her baby yet. The woman, whom I’ll call Traci, is due to deliver her first baby any day now. She … Continue reading

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America’s Baby

March 25, 2011 I don’t like horror flicks and avoid seeing them. However, I recently made an exception and rented the 1960’s classic, Rosemary’s Baby. (Reader Alert: Movie Spoiler) I saw the movie sometime after it came out, though I … Continue reading

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Faith Versus the Evil Eye

In many cultures, there is the concept of the Evil Eye. Unfortunately for me, Judaism is one of them. Not every Jew grows up believing in the Evil Eye. However, many of us do, especially those with immigrant parents or … Continue reading

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Faith Like Potatoes

As a new believer, I’m starting to pick up on the language and the concepts; and I’m even, to my surprise, beginning to quote Scripture. But what is the hardest for me is cultivating faith. This comes, I imagine, from … Continue reading

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My First Christmas

As a Jewish child, I never celebrated Christmas. I found out what I was missing on Christmas Eve, 1973. My high school boyfriend, Brian, invited me to join his family for their celebration. The event floored me. It wasn’t just … Continue reading

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The Sociopathic Epidemic

I’m amazed by the soothsayers: Ayn Rand, for instance, who warned us fifty years ago of the risk of dictatorship or civil war if collectivism persisted. Or economist Friedrich Hayek, who wrote in the 1940s that we’ll become serfs if … Continue reading

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My Search for Intelligent Life in Berkeley

When I was growing up, my parents forbade me from ever opening up the curtains. It had something to do with their fear that the sun would bleach the furnishings. If I even sneaked a peek outside, I’d find myself … Continue reading

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