Midnight Rain

Up late tonight–not unusual–reading up on what’s supposed to happen with the first stage of the Tour of California in the morning. The race is starting at Lake Tahoe to give it some true alpine flavor. You know, like that big race they have in France every summer (and also, the big races in Italy, Spain, and elsewhere, not to leave anyone out). No one could have guessed when the route was chosen last year that a winter-ish storm would roll into the state this weekend. But it did. I’m listening to rain down here at sea level and looking at weather reports of snow up along Interstate 80 clear over Donner Summit to Lake Tahoe. So now, the race organizers say they’ll wait until 9 a.m. to decide whether the race will proceed on a mountainous circuit around the lake or be abbreviated to avoid sending 168 racers sliding around a potentially snowy, icy course. We’ll see.

Friday Night Ferry


A first for me on the San Francisco-Oakland ferry: We passed between an outbound container ship (the MSC craft at left) and one still being loaded/unloaded (the Hapag-Lloyd ship on the right). For a minute, it was like sailing through a canyon.

Weekend Signs of Berkeley


Delaware at Acton. I don’t know anything about the art stump. But it looks like plenty of people in the neighborhood (kitty-corner from the North Berkeley BART station) do. And the stump is associated with someone named Stewie.


Chestnut Street near Hearst. There’s enough space on the curb in front of a residence to allow two cars to park there. But that’s not to be left to chance or common sense. Hence the politely worded request (or strangely worded prescription) to barbarian drivers. We have a similar situation in front of our house. Since I’m annoyed with the daily traffic from BART patrons who use our street as a parking lot (sometimes with a pretty aggressive show of entitlement), I make it a point to park in such a way that just one car fits into the two-car space.


Solano, between Ramona and Pomona (Albany, not Berkeley). Literary exhortation from local nursery: “In the spring, at the end of the day you should smell like dirt.” –Margaret Atwood.

Buried at Sea?

OK–it’s easy to figure the reasons someone decided it was a good idea to ditch Osama bin Laden’s corpse at sea. First, there’s the putative sensitity to Muslim tradition: the body of the departed must be put to rest with in a day. Second, you want to avoid a lurid body-viewing spectacle that could inflame opinion, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Third, you want to avoid creating a mecca for would-be jihadis to visit.

But if the reaction of my mild-mannered and not rabidly political spouse is any indication, getting rid of the body without first providing some very public and very convincing show of proof that the official account of bin Laden’s demise is accurate is a serious mistake. “They just said he was buried at sea,” my not-rabid partner said. “Why would they do that? I want to see some evidence that he’s really dead.”

We don’t live in a world where anyone’s going to be willing to just take the government’s word for something this big and let it go at that. Without a body, someone in the White House better be ready to offer a complete narrative of how this all happened complete with the gory show and tell they want to avoid.

South Fork


South Fork of the American River, along U.S. 50 on our drive back today from Lake Tahoe. We spent an abbreviated yet somehow leisurely weekend with a friend at her family’s cabin on the south shore (and when I say “on the shore,” I mean it–they are right on the lake). Anyway: Lots of snow in the mountains, still–the state estimates the snowpack is still about 150 percent of its April 1 average. That means lots more water will come coursing down the rivers in the weeks to come and that California will enjoy one year nearly free from drought anxiety; “nearly free” because there’s always next year, and who knows whether it will be dry or wet? “Nearly free” because the constant lesson of California history is there will be more people who want the water tomorrow than there are today.

Yes, all that from looking the South Fork flowing by. In other news: gorgeous river; gorgeous day.