Dead Berkeley Bones ID’d

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture on October 18th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Oct. 18, 2014

The Poynter sisters drummer visiting Berkeley’s oldest espresso-pull, identified the Med skeleton as “Eric,” from Morgus (sci-fi-horror films) Ch2, New Orleans. “He scared me when I was a baby.”

“Alas poor Eric, I knew him, Horatio,” a Med-head alluded.

That Halloween skeleton ($14.29 Costco) playing the piano at Berkeley’s notorious Caffe Mediterraneum has now been identified as “Eric.”

Alas poor 'Eric,' I knew him Horatio--Shakespeare. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Berkeley’s Radical Skeptics

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on October 8th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Oct. 8, 2014

Berkeley’s radical skeptics, call them immaterialists if you must–live in a world where reality is suspended.

“If you say so,” these skeptics say, or, “according to you.” Or, “that’s what you think.”

After several years of this, I could take it no longer. “Look!” I spluttered, “who else but me could be speaking my words?”

“Moreover, I investigate my factoids,” I continued. “I’m a reporter,” perhaps exaggerating the investigation-angle.

“I’ve been a reporter myself,” the skeptic claimed.
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50 Years After Student Revolt, Cal Students Shift to Consent

Posted in The Berkeley Scene, The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on September 29th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 29, 2014


Consent at Cal/Berkeley. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The standards for consensual college sex have tightened, according to media accounts of Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing a stricter date-rape law, recently. Under the new regulations, both sex-partners will have to continue to verbalize consent throughout the sex act.

Dorms across the state will ring out with, “I consent. I still consent. (groaning) I’m consenting.”

It remains to be seen whether such scenes of fevered consent can be articulated in an orderly way. A dialogue director might be required to pace the consents so that consenters don’t step on each others’ consents.

“Honey, I consent. I’m Still consenting. Still consenting here.” The two competing blurts could meet in the night, bouncing off each other.

It may only be a matter of time before civil libertarians complain that big government has invaded their bed-rooms.
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Berkeley Crime Watchers

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on September 24th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 23, 2014

Don’t confuse Berkeley Cop Watchers with Berkeley Crime Watchers. The similarity in these names is confusing.

Unlike Cop Watch, which is a loose international confederation of self-appointed police monitors–Berkeley Crime Watchers are you and me. When we’re out and about Berkeley and happen on police activity, we become crime watchers/police reporters.

Take the other night near Berkeley’s hot-spot, the Caffe Mediterraneum. A familiar face among those hanging nearby gets detained, searched, and busted. A crowd gathers.

The Bust. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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I Got Free Berkeley Pot

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on September 21st, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 21, 2014

Titled, halfway between People's Park and pot club. Photo by Ted Friedman.


I Got Free Berkeley Pot. I may give it back–for someone more needy–but for now I just want to stare at those precious crumbs and what they represent.

The crumbs represent the continuing efforts, for a quarter of a century, to legalize marijuana in Berkeley.
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Berkeley Free Speech Now

Posted in People's Park, Telegraph Avenue on September 15th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 14, 2014

“A bottle of beer half-spills out of a brown paper bag onto a tree’s roots and the tree gets cited for drunkenness”–Berkeley Poet Laureate, and veteran of the People’s Park riots, Julia Vinograd.


Grizzled activists who were “Berkeley in the Sixties.” were interviewed for a film named after them twenty years after they defied Reagan and the National Guard. They offer surprisingly self-critical assessments of their movement, perhaps the first mass student uprising in U.S. higher education.

Lynne Hollander Savio, Mario Savio's widow (they met in the movement), right, next to filmmaker far right. Photo by Ted Friedman

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Saving Berkeley’s People’s Park

Posted in People's Park, The Berkeley Scene on September 9th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 8, 2014

Saving People’s Park in 1969 was easy if you were prepared to die.

Close to half a century after its salvation by townies and students, the park has become a living memorial to its bloody birth.

People's Park Owner's Shack. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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The Monster Stalking Telegraph Ave

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on August 30th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 29, 2014


Helen Bachinsky is a 93 year-old coffee house habitué, who is now confined to her apartment. “Our Berkeley professors warned us off Telegraph in the Fifties,” she told me years ago. “they saw the avenue as a bad influence.”

By design or not, Cal Berkeley seems to have tried various schemes to keep students safely on university property, offering a wide array of services competing with Telegraph stores and cafes.

One need only glimpse the scope of Cal’s lower Sproul development, as it now rises from demolition and assumes the outlines of completion, to see that a refurbished student union building catering to students’ 24 hour needs will impact Telegraph.

24-hr. student center; appetite for Telegraph. Photo byTed Friedman.

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Who Won The Latest Berkeley F the Police Demo

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on August 27th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 27, 2014


From Ferguson to Berkeley: Hands Up; Don't Shoot. Photo by Ted Friedman.

From Ferguson, Mo: “When protesters would try to follow police commands to leave an area, they’d be faced with another group of police pushing them back in the direction they’d come from.”–a Berkeley pastor’s report from Ferguson.

A UC Berkeley research study of 211 Occupy protests concluded demos: “tend to turn violent when officers use aggressive tactics, such as approaching demonstrators in riot gear or lining up in military-like formations.”
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Writing For The Berkeley Reporter Audience

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on August 25th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 25, 2014

'I'm no dummy,' a reader writes. Photo by Ted Friedman.


My first audience is a Google robot. I don’t know the bot’s name but I’ve psychoanalyzed her personality–an algorithm.

The bot doesn’t know me from Hemingway. To the bot, Hemingway and I are just two equal writers. Rank is decided by search results, not by quality. Whew!

I write headlines for the bot and the bot has been good to me, bringing me as many as 1,500 “unique visitors,” daily. Our CEO, an SEO (search engine optimizer) is a magic carpet delivering our content to your screen.

My readers are both palpable and not. I’ve met my Berkeley readers at demos/events, and at my office, the Caffe Med, on Telegraph.

One day, while I was on a hot BBQ story, a woman overheard the name I wrote under at the Berkeley Daily Planet, where I was something of a cut-up.

She plopped herself at a table where I was gnawing on a rib. “So you’re Ted Friedman,” she repeated, after pauses. I had to re-assure her. That was all she said. “So you’re Ted Friedman.”

After that, I met more and more of my readers around town. They all liked what I was doing, whatever that was.
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