Ah, yes … an alternative to lead-ridden toys for the tots this holiday season. ‘Tis the season of giving, indeed. Lisa Smeenk of the Berkeley Geochronology Center sells personally handmade felt dolls. She even dyes the wool herself.

This art form involves felting (sort of like melting, but only in spelling) and spinning wool. Her first dolls are described as “unearthly creatures.” We’re sold! Prices range from $20 to $200. That’s pretty cheap considering that you’re not just buying a small pile of felt–rather, a tiny, woolen human non-being.

See here for more information about the dolls and for Smeenk’s contact information.

Image Source: Hasenpfeffer Incorporated under Creative Commons
Felt dolls help shopper avoid the toxic-toy pit this Christmas [Contra Costa Times]

So it might have been a little drizzly today. So it might also have been effin’ freezing. So the forecast might say the same about tomorrow. “So what?” asked attendees of the Telegraph Ave. Holiday Street Fair, “At least I’m productively not studying for finals and buying presents for people, instead of sleeping or watching last week’s episode of Gossip Girl … again. ” Ay, there’s the rub. read more »

Shout out to the rat-kissing homeless man that helped Kara Keough feel welcome after she made our T.V. limelight turn sour. Kara is a UC Berkeley student and on the Bravo reality T.V. show “The Real Housewives of Orange County”. We wonder just how many of us she thought really eats out of trash cans.

Thanks a lot, Dumpster Muffin.

Image Source: r.i.c.h. under Creative Commons
Daughter of “Real Housewife” adjusting to Berkeley [Inside BayArea]

Barack Obama has chosen Steven Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as the new energy secretary for the incoming administration.

Among Chu’s qualifications are such small-time stuff as, say, running the Energy Department’s oldest national laboratory, being a professor in physics and MCB, and winning something called the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997.

CNN points out some Democrats are worried he might not have enough political experience. Hah.

At least it’s better having no scientific knowledge in a position that kind of demands some. We’re looking at you, Texas.

Congratulations, Chu. We know with you as energy secretary, nothing will possibly go wrong. After all, doesn’t it kind of make sense to hire a physicist when you’re faced with an energy crisis?

Image Source: [BlackSide] under Creative Commons
Obama makes pick for energy chief, sources say [CNN]
Officials: Obama chooses energy, enviro posts [AP]

The Berkeley City Council passed a measure Monday night crying “Hey, U.S., check yo’ boy”. The Council will urge the United States to prosecute UC Berkeley professor, Berkeley resident, and ex-White House official (apparently, not a good combination) John Yoo for war crimes. Our professors just can’t catch a break.

So, um, the United States took Yoo’s suggestions and Berkeley residents now expect said country to turn around and prosecute him for it? We should also mention that Yoo is only a visitor of Berkeley, dropping in from Orange County. What? He’s leaving? What’s an angry Berkeley resident to do?

In the question of academic freedom, the Berkeley City Council will not pursue efforts to have the university rearrange its class schedule. Ya win some, ya lose some.

Image Source: Pig Monkey under Creative Commons
Berkeley Council urges war crimes prosecution [SF Chron]
Earlier: Say What, Berkeley City Council? Professor Yoo is Not Styrofoam

But seriously guys, bad jokes aside, this is really sad. Someone up there must have it in for Berkeley representatives of the oak family, what with the stadium/tree-sitter infestation business … and now this?! Yep, oak trees are getting the shaft again, but this time it’s not the result of a petty human squabble–though we’re pretty sure that if we traced it back far enough, the pathogen outbreak plaguing oaks in Tilden Regional Park is probably the fault of mankind, somehow. Yeesh.

The pathogen’s M. O. reads like crappy sci-fi, especially the part where the afflicted oak starts to “ooze sap that resembles human blood from large cankers,” and then the tree’s leaves suddenly turn “from green to brown, immediately preceding the tree’s death.” Excuse us while we go over here and grimace disgustedly for a while. read more »

Starting next Sunday and going for nine more days is the 2008 Berkeley Invitational, an annual chess tournament that features the best of the best, the most elite of the proven, those Mr. Universes of the intellectual realm that read the dictionary just to break a mental sweat. read more »

The Berkeley City Council will vote Monday on whether or not to demand that Professor Yoo be charged with war crimes. Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission wrote five measures attacking Yoo, a Berkeley resident. To add insult to torturous injury, the city may decide to “demand” that Boalt Hall School of Law offer law students alternative courses to Yoo’s own. To which, we say: mind your own business, Berkeley City Council.

Talk about intervention. We’re having flashbacks of parent-principle conferences when high school Sex Ed got too “liberal.” Boalt Hall spokeswoman Susan Gluss stated our sentiments exactly: read more »

It has come to our attention that learnin’ has its limits. Apparently, campus actually closes for a period of time over the holidays, and this year it’s from Dec. 25 through Jan. 4.

We’re not really sure what we thought happened during times of mass exodus from the general vicinity of campus, but we sort of always just assumed that if we were–for some undetermined hypothetical reason–stranded on campus during a vacation, we could just kind of hole up in Wheeler Hall or whatever. But, it seems we thought wrong. And that makes perfect sense, come to think of it.

What we’re trying to say, is this probably makes no difference to you whatsoever. However, we figured we’d post the dates just in case you realize midway through break you can’t stand your family–not even for a day longer–or something, and all you want to do is go sit in Doe Library and sulk. Because if this happens between Christmas and Jan. 4, you might want to re-think things. That’s all.

Image Source: brianarn under Creative Commons
Campus holiday closure set for Dec. 25 through Jan. 4 [Berkeley News Center]

Sunday Shout-Out picks out the week’s stories that simply slipped our minds.

* First there was the successful petition to initiate a recall election for ASUC Senator John Moghtader, and now there’s a $50,000 bill waiting to happen. ASUC: PWNED. [Daily Cal]

* Berkeley blogger Jane Stillwater: “Hey, U.S. Department of Defense, I want my 15 mocha lattes back!” [Daily Cal]

* Reason No. 4568 why we’re glad we’re getting the heck outta Dodge: oh, just 11,000 over-enrolled UC students. [Daily Cal]

* One of someone’s favorite student newspaper blogs worldwide? Us? Blush. [College Media Matters]

Image Source: [email protected] under Creative Commons
Earlier: This Is Bear Territory

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