Thursday, January 11, 2018

Well, here we go a-wandering into a Thursday, January 11, 2018. One year ago today we were covered in snow. Today it’s raining as we roll out, and it’ll still be raining when we get home, with an inch and a half in the bucket here in the Portland area, and really warm with highs of 55. Wind gusts could hit 40 MPH in Portland and 60 at the beach. High wind warning flags are flapping along the coast, but the real concern is that several inches of rain could cause landslides on the fire-scraped hillsides in the Gorge. ODOT engineers are watching I-84 24/7 with worry in their eyes.

The flooding and landslides in Santa Barbara County have now taken at minimum seventeen lives, destroyed 100 single-family homes, and damaged hundreds of others. The muddy 101 will be closed through the weekend, and the detours suggested by navigation apps lead only to barricades and dead-ends–although entitled motorists are jumping out of their cars waving their phones at cops, thinking the app gives the permission to proceed.

They’ve tallied up the costs of fighting Oregon’s legion of wildfires last year, and they come to almost half a billion dollars, by far the most in state history. It was a perfect-storm year, with a wet winter allowing luxuriant growth of flammable-when-dry greenery, followed by a blistering hot summer, multiple lightning storms, and a dumb kid throwing a smoke bomb into a pristine canyon in the Gorge.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown was in the national eye last night, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper that it’s appalling and unacceptable that Florida would be spared the Trump administration’s drive toward offshore oil drilling in all US waters, while Oregon remains on the list. “Is this about protecting Mar-a-lago?” she asked. “In what universe is this okay?”

A 2-year old girl was riding on the MAX Green Line when she suddenly wailed, “Ow, Mommy!” Mom looked and saw a hypodermic needle sticking out of her pinkie. Disease tests on the girl are negative so far.

Portland pot stores have flunked a critically important test: the OLCC sent undercover decoys into shops statewide, to make sure that ID’s are being checked and minors aren’t allowed to buy weed. That should be easy–underage ODLs have a big red stripe on them–but the statewide compliance rate was a disappointing 76%. And worse, Portland came in with a stunningly low 43%. This is unacceptable, says the head of the OLCC. No kidding. It gives ammunition to critics of legalization, and to the likes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who’s itching for a federal crackdown.

ICE agents dropped in on 98 7-Eleven stores across the nation including four in Portland, looking for undocumented workers. Twenty-one arrests were made nationally, but none in Portland.

The parents of a Lakeridge High students are suing for $1.7 million because their daughter slipped on an unshoveled, snow-covered walkway and fractured a vertebra two years ago. The suit claims her injuries were exacerbated by the principal telling her to stand up, when she should have been immobilized, and that she will have consequences for life.

Our perceived appetite for all things Tonya comes to ABC-TV tonight, for the two-hour “Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story.” Bandwagoning on the Oscar-buzzed movie, local and national media can’t get enough of this person who really should be allowed to move on (and us too). She’s in the New York Times saying she wants an apology for the public’s perceptions of her, and that “I moved from Oregon to Washington because Oregon was buttheads.” She’s in Portland Monthly saying she doesn’t come to the city much because of the traffic, “though she appreciates that gridlock gives her a chance to listen to Lars Larson.” She still skates like a superstar, has a family that loves her, a new last name that I’d rather we not share here, and I wish her the best; we really clicked, the one time we worked together. I hope she’s getting paid through all this, and gets to enjoy some obscurity. After her night at the Oscars.

This could be another #timesup moment…media reports say Mark Wahlberg was paid to $1.5 million to do nine days of reshoots–while potential Oscar nominee Michelle Williams was given a paltry $80 per diem– on “All The Money In The World,” where Kevin Spacey had to be blotted out. Seems like, basically, Wahlberg knew the producers were in a pinch, and held out for a payday.

Ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, running for Senate from Arizona and promising to be President Trump’s biggest supporter there, has trotted out his old claim that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. Meantime another key Republican is bowing out after this term; the exit of California’s Darrel Issa shifts another seat into the likely-Democrat column.

Baseball news! Preseason rankings show Oregon State University’s team, and what a gangbuster dynasty Pat Casey has going, is second in the nation.

Ginger Lime, Twisted Mango, Zesty Blood Orange, Feisty Cherry…what are these? New assortments of lip balm, Crayola Crayons, rock bands, designer IPA’s? Noo….they’re Diet Coke’s latest incarnations, aimed at luring Millenials, and reversing a sales cannonball that began when people discovered that a nice fizzy La Croix is just as good, minus the buzz and the headache.

On this day 40 years ago, Fleetwood Mac’s blockbuster “Rumours” reached the end of its long run atop the Billboard charts, to be replaced by an equally massive smash–the BeeGee’s “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack.

Optional headlines for hearts that could use some happying up!

–“Man rescues baby from Montecito mudslide debris”

–“2017 was a record year for organ donations”

–“Eleven-year-old Dom Peters, inaugurated as Oregon’s first “kid governor,” wants To use his newfound soapbox to spread a message that kids should not bully each other

–“Girl Scout being honored for saving her dad’s life”

–“Duck gets 3-D printed prosthetic leg thanks to 8th grade students”

–“Stray Dog Crashes A Wedding And Finds His Own Happily Ever After When Couple Adopts Him”

That’s what is, on this rainy ol’ NW day. Oh…texted with Bruce…he’s better but not yet there. We’re circling Monday for his return. As a veteran of several inventive and seemingly medieval surgeries, I counsel patience; rush it, and you regret it. So it’ll be Jim filling in, till then. We’re having fun. Tune in 103.3 and K103 on the iHeart app during morning drive, 5-9 AM, West Coast time.

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