Tule Fog

Tule fog is a thick ground fog that settles in the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento Valley areas of California’s Great Central Valley. Tule fog forms during the winter and early spring (California’s rainy season) after the first significant rainfall. The official time frame for tule fog to form is from November 1 to March 31. This phenomenon is named after the tule grass wetlands (tulares) of the Central Valley.

Tule fog near Bakersfield, from wiki, which reports:

Motor vehicle accidents caused by the tule fog are the leading cause of weather-related casualties in California.

The word, by the way, is pronounced “tooly,” not “tool” as I long believed.

First observed by this author while he searched for the site of the Mussel Slough gunfight.

photo source: Wikipedia? Gone now. 

Hanagami Danjo fights a giant salamander


Musashi having his fortune told

All Helytimes readers are familiar with Miyamoto Musashi’s work on strategy in Book Of Five Rings, but some may need to brush up on the Dokkodo, “The Path of Aloneness.”

  1. Accept everything just the way it is.

  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.

  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.

  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

  5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.

  6. Do not regret what you have done.

  7. Never be jealous.

  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.

  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.

  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.

  11. In all things have no preferences.

  12. Be indifferent to where you live.

  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.

  14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.

  15. Do not act following customary beliefs.

  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.

  17. Do not fear death.

  18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.

  19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.

  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.

  21. Never stray from the way.


Cats Suggested as the fifty-three stations of the Tokaido, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1862)



James Fallows calls my attention to this article, from Chicago Magazine in 2007, about then-Senatorial candidate Obama’s Democratic convention speech.

The best bits, for the busy executive:

Obama composed the first draft in longhand on a yellow legal pad, mostly in Springfield, where the state senate was in overtime over a budget impasse. Wary of missing important votes, Obama stayed close to the Capitol, which wasn’t exactly conducive to writing. “There were times that he would go into the men’s room at the Capitol because he wanted some quiet,” says Axelrod. Once, state senator Jeff Schoenberg walked into the men’s lounge and found Obama sitting on a stool along the marble countertop near the sinks, reworking the speech. “It was a classic Lifemagazine moment,” says Schoenberg, who snapped a picture of Obama with his cell-phone camera.

(Photo not included, regrettably.)  Kerry’s folks made Obama take out a line:

After the rehearsal ended, Obama was furious. “That fucker is trying to steal a line from my speech,” he griped to Axelrod in the car on the way back to their hotel, according to another campaign aide who was there but asked to remain anonymous. Axelrod says he does not recollect exactly what Obama said to him. “He was unhappy about it, yeah,” he says, but adds that Obama soon cooled down. “Ultimately, his feeling was: They had given him this great opportunity; who was he to quibble over one line?”


On Tuesday, the day of his speech, Obama was up before 6 a.m. He gobbled down a vegetable omelet en route to the FleetCenter for back-to-back-to-back live interviews with the network morning shows. Next, he rushed off to speak at the Illinois delegation breakfast and then to a rally sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters. Afterwards, he returned to the arena for another hour of TV interviews. There was barely time for lunch, a turkey sandwich that he ate in the SUV while being interviewed by a group of reporters.

Always, always tell me what everyone ate.

(both photos from Chicago Magazine, uncredited.  Michelle’s skeptical face in that first photo!)

Dick Cheney Road Trip

[David Petraeus’] real mistake, I think, was going directly from four-star command to the directorship of the CIA. Rather, he should have taken some time out and reoriented himself. So the real lesson, I think, is that the time of retirement from high position is a vulnerable moment.

I didn’t think much of Dick Cheney as a vice president, but I think he was a good defense secretary. I remember being told that when he left that job, he got in a car and drove across the country alone.

 That’s Thomas Ricks, who is a badass and whose blog is great reading.  Ricks spent part of his high school years in Afghanistan.  He was also once very generous to The Helytimes when we were looking for help on a military-related project.  
(Dick Cheney photo, uncredited, from here)

“A picture of Musashi engaged in fantastic combat”

That’s wikipedia’s caption for this picture by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)






Dinner with James and Nora Joyce:


A troubled fourth marriage:


Pannonica de Koenigswarter

was a British-born jazz patroness and writer. She was a leading patron of bebop music. She was a scion of the prominent Rothschild international financial dynasty.

Her friend Thelonious Monk reported that she was named after a species of butterfly her father had discovered, although her great-niece has found that the source of the name is a rare kind of moth.

The name “Pannonica” (nicknamed “Nica”) derives from Eastern Europe’s Pannonian plain.

The Tomb of Askia

In Gao, Mali, there’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.

[Askia Muhammed] brought back with him [from his pilgrimage] the materials to make his tomb; all of the mud and wood came from Mecca. The caravan is said to have consisted of “thousands of camels.” It was structured as a house, with several rooms and passageways and was sealed when Askia Mohammed died.

For now watching the video of bewildered tourists at the Tomb of Askia here will be instead of visiting it.

Orange Butter

from Edward Robb Ellis’ The Epic Of New York City

A delicacy of the day was orange butter, made according to this recipe:  “Take new cream two gallons, beat it up to a thicknesse, then add half a pint of orange-flower-water, and as much red wine, and so being become the thicknesse of butter it has both the colour and smell of butter.”  Drunkenness was common.