Monday, March 19, 2018

Good morning! You’re adorable when you yawn, did you know that? Here we are together on the last day of winter, Monday, March 19, 2018. The weather for Portland-town calls for a little fog here, a small shower there, and gaps enough in the clouds to let the sun shine through and let us know that spring is about to get the keys and move in. Highs around 57. Sunrise 7:15 AM, sunset 7:22 PM.

It’s Tom McCall week! Come and visit the ending paragraph.

Thank you to the crisp and merry throng that filled the downtown park that’s named for our favorite ex-governor, for the Adidas Shamrock Run! That was an extremely well-run event, with a variety of races from a half marathon to a nice ramble, a hold-and-release system designed to prevent too many traffic jams, some lilting Irish music performed by the Grant High School Choir, a live-mixed dance track and a superb starting line announcer, Jeff Randall. I played a supporting role by providing color commentary (“So green! Look at all those people in green!”)–and all for the benefit of the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The Pacific University football team is under a disturbing spotlight today as Forest Grove police try to sort out a Saturday night incident in which two players are accused of going to a house to buy pot, then attacking the 18-year old seller, but he was able to defend himself–against two football players. So they, allegedly, returned for round two–with about a dozen other guys who may have also been on the football team. The 18-year old is OK, the two original players are jailed on over a quarter million dollars bail, and Pacific is pledging its full cooperation with police. That’s a good way to get expelled, kids.

Best wishes to the families of an Oregon State University student and her boyfriend who were reported missing Friday evening, and are feared to be intent on harming themselves.

For the second year in a row, both Oregon and Oregon State’s women’s basketball teams have advanced to the Sweet 16.

The Portland Trail Blazers took a 12-game winning streak to Los Angeles for a game against the Clippers last night, and this morning the streak stands at 13, the team’s longest in over a decade. Houston comes to the Moda Center tomorrow night.

Not sure why they decided to do this, but six empty rail cars skipped the tracks and fell over near the Steel Bridge, right below the Right to Dream Too homeless camp. No hazmat spills and no one hurt.

The government of British Columbia is hopping aboard with Oregon and Washington to nurture the notion of an ultra-high-speed rail link between Vancouver BC and Portland.

Saying that “It is a core mission of the Republican Party to protect the Second Amendment,” the Multnomah County GOP is demanding that Portland’s public schools to refund any money that was spent by allowing students to protest gun violence last Wednesday.

Seeking to quell nervous reactions to a weekend of presidential tweeting, here’s a statement from White House lawyer Ty Cobb (a distant relative of the ballplayer): “In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.” But Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reports that “A dozen people close to Mr. Trump or the White House, including current and former aides and longtime friends, described him as newly emboldened to say what he really feels and to ignore the cautions of those around him.” Trump unbound. Nobody knows what’s next.

We learn now that last Thursday a helicopter carrying Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner from DC to Washington had to return to the airport after one of its engines failed.

For the fourth time in the last few weeks, a bomb has gone off in Austin, Texas. Two people were hurt.

It was fifteen years ago tonight that President Bush, supported by both parties in Congress and convinced in that raw post-9/11 time that weapons of mass destruction were being stockpiled against us, announced the start of the war on Iraq. The Iraqi military quickly fell to the “shock and awe” bombing onslaught and follow-on ground action that went all the way to Baghdad. Bush declared “an end to major combat operations” May 1 on the aircraft carrier with that unfortunate “Mission Accomplished” banner. But WMD’s were never found, nearly 5,000 American and coalition lives were lost along with a much higher but unknown number of Iraqis, civil war and armed conflict have continued for years, and some estimates say the whole thing may end up costing the US six trillion dollars.

Congress blessed us all with Daylight Saving Time 100 years ago today.

Headlines for a Happy Heart! Little reality bites to remind us that all is not lost:

-“It’s wear your PJ’s to school day at Woodstock Elementary in Portland.”

–“Stan Lee’s Missing Dog Found, Returned by NFL Legend Jim Brown” (They live a block apart in the Hollywood Hills, Jim found the mini-Pomeranian in his yard, spotted Stan’s “Lost Dog” poster, and returned the little guy to the 95-year old comics legend.

–“Ontario man runs first 10K post-heart transplant while his donor’s family cheers him on”

–“In France, clothes are being hung up in the street for the homeless to take”

–“Grandmother keeps frozen snowball made by 5 year old granddaughter for 11 years, and delighted her with it at age 16”

–“Spring officially arrived in Tokyo on Saturday as Japan’s weather agency declared the start of the cherry blossom season.”

What means spring finally has arrived for you? Some of my cues (aside from the annual lawnmower breakdown) are early Rose Festival-related, including this Wednesday’s Rosarians Newsmaker of the Year banquet. For fans of the Tell-Me-Something-Good remedy to the maladies of news, this event is perfect, and maybe you should come! Bruce Murdock and I have MC’d it for over a decade, and we keep returning because we love the people, and we love the stories as they’re told by the reporters themselves. And usually we meet the star of the story! I believe they still have tickets available, and if you google up the Royal Rosarians web site, I’m sure it’ll show you how to join us. If you do, find me and say hello and I’ll get you into Dripstock.

Quick soapbox time. Our third annual Tom McCall Day is Thursday of this week. Not enough is made of this occasion to honor the ’67 to ’75 governor, a Republican, who practically founded Oregon’s modern sense of itself by articulating the state’s values so incredibly well. So we’ll buck the media indifference by reading a quote from the great Tom McCall each day of the week, beginning today. He put so much color and meaning into each phrase, that you need to read them slowly.

“Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state’s beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens.”

OK! Time to charge into a springy Monday and get it done–especially with Oregon Spring Break next week!

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