Thursday, December 7, 2017

Good morning! It’s Daily Drip time on a dripless Thursday, December 7, 2017. Our weirdly dry and windy weather is hanging on, with highs of 45 and no rain/snow at least through next week, but the fog draping low over the frozen ground can slicken up the roads before the sun makes its feeble appearance. The Winter Solstice is a fortnight away, and we still have eight minutes of daylight to lose. Sunrise 7:37 AM, sunset 4:27 PM.

LA, where 200 homes are already in ashes, looks like some kind of a mythical hell. The footage of commuters on the 405 crawling past flaming mountainsides, and the TV chopper shots of ridgetop mansions consumed in fire, will become even worse today, as the Santa Ana winds reach their screaming peak. A distraught man pulled over in a flaming neighborhood..and rescued a rabbit. It seemed to come to him.

The Northwest’s version of those winds–the howling Gorge easterlies, a result of the same high/low pressure gradient that causes the Santa Anas–will reach their peak today as well. The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning until 6 PM for the western Columbia River Gorge, including Corbett, Rooster Rock, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, North Bonneville, and Stevenson. Trees weakened by the fire may fall, and I-84 will be quite the ride, with steady winds of 30 to 40 and gusts up to 75 mph. Crown Point could get gusts up to 90 mph, and after the fire closure, it’s now open for the brave.

Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” is chosen for impact, and it’s notable that this year, Donald Trump came in second–to the women whose impact is immediate and undeniable, the women who’ve broken their silence and shared what they’ve been subjected to at the hands, literally, of men in power. One of them is Oregon State Senator Sarah Gelser, who shined the light on the notoriously grabby Sen. Jeff Kruse. Their fellow Senator, my friend Lew Frederickm texted me last night: “It may, in fact, be the proverbial paradigm shift.” That rings profoundly true. The rules have changed effective immediately. Latest exhibit:

Al Franken, who went from being a faintly humorous Saturday Night Live cast member, to hosting a show on Air America, to riding the Obama wave into the US Senate in 2008, will most likely give up his seat today, as Rep. John Conyers did on Tuesday. His fellow Democrats including those from Oregon say it’s the right thing to do. Plus: the strategy for this party is to claim the zero-tolerance ground for gropers and grabbers–and to counterposition the other party as the one that elevates them to high office.

Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon is on a leave of absence from the Seattle Seahawks radio team because of sexual harassment allegations.

The 4th-to-5th block of SW Alder’s closed today to make repairs following yesterday’s break in a fire sprinkler line that sent waves of water washing over that street–which locals know as the easiest shortcut out of downtown.

There’s another meeting at ODOT today on charging tolls to drive the interstates here, always a popular topic. The City of Portland is planning to do the same on downtown bridges and major streets someday–the stated reasoning from the PBOT head being that if they’re “free,” they’re going to be crowded. True enough, but. Hey. They’re not free. We pay with our state and local taxes…for which we’re about to lose our federal deduction.

Passengers on the TriMet Line #20 bus are giving Internet props to their driver, who took control of a dangerous situation when two apparent meth-heads pulled out knives and started fighting and spitting at each other. Says a poster on the Portland subReddit…”The bus driver kept the bus under control, called police who met us a couple stops up, and calmly announced the bus was going out of service and to deboard via the front door (fight was in the back). Was calm and professional and got everyone to safety as quickly as was feasible. You guys seriously are the best. Special shout out to this driver with a majestic long gray beard!”

Somebody stuffed 100 $100 bills into the Salvtion Army kettle at the Freddies on NE Weidler. That’s ten thousand bucks.

The Australian Parliament has given the final OK to marriage equality. Same-sex weddings can start in that country in February.

The Middle East is braced for violence after President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but not of the Palestinians, who claim it as well. Most experts say there’s either a two-state solution, or no solution at all.

Today..December 7…is an infamous day in American and Japanese and world history, but the warm alliance between our two nations now is proof that with time and intention, people of good will can make a change.

Today is Junki Yoshida’s birthday. It’s my pleasure to call him and his wife Linda my pals. Junki was born in Japan and came in the 1960’s to the US, where he cooked up and bottled his Mom’s teriyaki sauce for his friends, and they loved it so much that he started selling it, and now he’s a philanthropist millionaire living at the mouth of the Sandy River. His life story is a hit musical in Japan, titled “Sauce.”

I lost my Mom five years ago today. She and Dad were my greatest teachers, and still are. I’m sad, but I have nothing but warm feelings and gratitude to her for playfully throwing a shoe at him during a mixer picnic when they were freshmen at Grinnell College. That’s how they met.

And now the DD feature that’s prompted a readership surge. Real headlines that tell enough of the story for you to fill in the blanks. Headlines for a Happy Heart.

–“Man Volunteers To Drive Dog Found In Maryland Back Home To Kansas.”

–“Anglers Use Ashes of Friend as Bait–and Reel In Monster 180lbs Carp in His Honour”

–“Hero Indian Driver Risks Life to Save Children in Runaway Van”

–“Woman Anonymously Donates $5,000 Brooch to Salvation Army”

–“Medic Born in the Back of an Ambulance 42 Years Ago Spent His Birthday Delivering a Baby Girl . . . in the Back of an Ambulance”

–“Woman With Terminal Illness Survives Jump From Ferry. Doctors Discover the Diagnosis was Wrong, and She is in Perfect Health.”

It’s day four out of six for my simultaneous KEX/K103 adventure, which I have likened to juggling frogs. I’m knocking on something wooden, because there have been no catastrophic blunders, although twice now, when the weather forecast has called for “fog,” I’ve said “frog.”

Here’s hopping for a good day!

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