Friday, January 25, 2008

Cal Hoops: What You See is What You Get

by Kibby Kleiman
Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Ben Braun has been coaching the Cal men's basketball team since the end of President's Clinton's first term. But if he hopes to make it to the start of the next President Clinton's inauguration, the Golden Bears better change direction fast.

This Saturday, Braun and the Basketbears take on Stanford at Haas pavilion. Home has not been friendly to the coach or his hoopsters, who have dropped three straight in Berkeley - and the drums are starting to pound along Strawberry Creek.

The strange thing is that this year is very much like any in the past decade. Cal basketball is one of the few things that you can count on. If you look at any Cal match-up before the contest, you can say, "Cal should be able to beat those guys" and they will. And if you say, "Nope, the other guys have got too much for Cal to handle" you'll be right again. That's kind of comforting in a way. (Which is not to suggest that by saying it, you can affect the game. This is bigger than all of us)

A favorite sports cliché is "that's why they play the game" to explain upsets and unexpected phenomenon. For Cal, playing the game is superfluous.

Here - play along with me. Stanford is better than Cal. Stanford will win.

OK, that's not much fun. And maybe that's the point, Cal hoops hasn't been very vivacious. The biggest story of the season, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, was the return of the prodigal, Todd Bozeman, who returned to Berkeley after ten years in the wilderness and is now coaching and abusing restaurant employees back East. That might have been the only time this year that anything associated with Cal basketball made it above the fold.

Perhaps the anger at Braun's babies has come with the influence of the Golden State Warriors. Now that Bay Area folk see that when the home team outscores the opposition, it can win; it's spoiled us for more of the same.

The Pac-10's gotten better, so Cal does worse. We're a control group - we're a measuring stick, and that's got to be worth something. But not a new contract for coach Ben Braun.

Your Answers Are Due By Next January

Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Stop the presses. After one year in office, Mayor Ron Dellums has asked city administrators for input on how to improve their departments, Chip Johnson reports.

Pack Your Board, But Don't Forget the Tire Chains

Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 11:07 AM

It will be an epic weekend for skiing and snowboarding if only you can make it to the mountains. Forecasters say the storm that's just rolling should keep dumping until Sunday, the Chron reports.

Stimulus Package Contains a Huge Windfall For Homeowners

by Stephen Buel
Fri, Jan 25, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Bay Area howeowners with mortgages in excess of $417,000 could save thousands of dollars per year under the economic stimulus package unveiled Thursday in Washington. By enabling mortgages of up to $729,750 to be guaranteed by the two federal agencies that repurchase home loans, the stimulus package would bring down rates on new jumbo mortgages by 1 percent or more, industry watchers say. That is expected to lead to a wave of refinancing in high-cost areas of the country such as the Bay Area.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The East Bay Today: January 24, 2008

Thu, Jan 24, 2008 at 6:20 PM

Today's Top Event: Thursday at Word Beat. Open mic at Berkeley's Mediterranean Cafe.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: What's a Jew to Do ... About Immigration? Forum led by the Progressive Jewish Alliance at the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critics recommend: Tay Ho in Oakland.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Make your voice heard at "Holla Back!!," an open-mic night for poets, MCs, and singers at the EastSide Cultural Center.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out the Happy Days pilot.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Alameda County's Homeless Go "Green"

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Jan 24, 2008 at 6:00 PM

The homeless of Alameda County no longer have to sleep in global-warming-contributing shelters. Today, the county's largest shelter reopened to become the country's first ecologically "green" one, reports the Fremont Argus. Among the features of the 125-bed shelter at 7515 International Boulevard in Oakland are: solar panels, water-based heaters, natural light, and green paint that "does not emit toxins," and "has an airy, good feel to it." The $11 million shelter also has a wing for people just released from the hospital and a family wing with bathtubs.

Only in Alameda …

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, Jan 24, 2008 at 5:46 PM

… Can its citizens give verifiable shout-outs to their bewilderingly friendly service-industry folks. "Winston, the Safeway clerk (all-time fave)" reports one Alamedan. "Julie, from Julie's Tea Shop. Sweet, yet snarky," says another. And then: "The whole staff at Trader Joe's is consistantly bright and cheery, but especially this one great women with a little Dorothy Hamill style haircut." The love-fest is happening at Tribe.net's Alamedans Not-So Anonymous group — and is a nice break from the typical mud-slinging commenting that often occurs on the island's other blogs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The East Bay Today: January 23, 2008

Wed, Jan 23, 2008 at 6:13 PM

Today's Top Event: "The Bridge Is Over" at Luka's Taproom and Lounge.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: New Year Detox and Weight Loss. Lecture by Dr. Elson Haas at Elephant Pharmacy.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critics recommend: Zapp Zapp Noodle House in Oakland.

On the Town: Going out tonight? It's another Country Western Wednesday at the Bench and Bar, with dance lessons with Ron at 7 p.m.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out the world's luckiest people.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

Massive Copper Theft Bust

by Kathleen Richards
Wed, Jan 23, 2008 at 4:31 PM

Police in San Jose and Santa Clara have arrested more than 140 people yesterday in a massive copper theft bust, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The arrests come after a year-long undercover investigation titled "Operation Meltdown" in which undercover police officers set up their own recycling business in Santa Clara called Jose Clara Co-op. Since April 2007, they received 28,000 pounds of copper, with a street value of $96,000. In the process, officers also saw stolen cars, assault weapons, and even cell phone-triggered bombs.

As reported in the Express today, scrap metal recycling has become big business to thieves - mainly "methamphetamine addicts who swipe reachable, removable wires, pipes, or gutters and sell them to junkyards willing to turn a blind eye." The trend is driven by the international demand for non-ferrous metals and the number of drug addicts looking for a quick fix. As one policer officer stated, it's unlikely thieves will stop soon as long as there are recyclers willing to buy.

Meet Your Unknown Oakland A's at 2008 Fan Fest

by Kibby Kleiman
Wed, Jan 23, 2008 at 3:13 PM

Remember those parties from when you were a kid, when the guest of honor didn't really have any real friends? Maybe your Mom made you go, maybe you were collecting karma points early, or maybe you knew that you were pretty much a mortal lock to score a big piece of birthday cake?

You can relive those childhood memories this Saturday, as the Oakland A's host their ninth- annual Fan Fest at the Coliseum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If ever the local rooters had any doubt that we've been left playing with the plastic pieces, get a load of the sponsors: Ross Dress for Less, and Central Garden and Pet. It's surprising that the Auto-wash car people decided to opt out.

Fans will be able to meet a number of current Athletic players, the A's announced. For instance, Chris Denorfia, who was injured when acquired in a trade last year and was one of the more consistent Athletics, staying injured for the entire 2007 season. If you get a chance to shake his hand be gentle; the A's are counting on him to be our opening day center fielder. Maybe just wave instead.

The band of brothers wearing the home colors will be like a classroom full of kids nobody knows: Jerry Blevins, Andrew Brown, Kevin Melillo. And those are the ones they put in the tease figuring that they might boost attendance.

It looks like a rare opportunity to see the A's before they go to spring training and return with pulled hamstrings and the knowledge that the American League is no place for newbies.

Perhaps cruelest of all is the small caveat at the end of the pitch: "Please note that players are subject to change without notice." Unless Dallas Braden morphs into Johann Santana somewhere along the way, this cold winter may stretch well into Spring.

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