Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Welcome to the first day of Spring! If you feel like high-fiving your neighbor, or planting a rose or planting a smooch, the moment of the Vernal Equinox is precisely 9:15 AM Portland time. That’s when the plane of Earth’s equator passes right through the center of the Sun, and we officially leave winter behind. Not a bad winter at all, for us in the Northwest; a little snow at Christmas and a late-season encore. Nor is it exactly done with us; we flirt with hilltop snow levels on Saturday. But today, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, will be a cool beauty, with full-on sun once the clouds drift away, and highs of 60 degrees. Sunrise 7:13 AM, sunset 7:23 PM.

Breaking news from Texas…a package has blown up at a FedEx facility in San Antonio, injuring a worker. The package was bound for Austin, where four bombs have killed two and injured four. The motive is a mystery.

Given what’s going on in our country and world, authorities had to react when they spotted two suspicious packages hanging by a rope from the Lewis and Clark Bridge between Longview and Rainier. The bridge was shut down to cars, the Columbia River was closed to ships, and bomb squad experts with robots came in to neutralize the contents–which turned out to be somebody’s clothing. Also found, tellingly, was a “user quantity” of meth. A 61-year old Rainier man was arrested, and both the bridge and the river were reopened after several tense hours.

Portland’s downtown waterfront is in full bloom and filled with people, but it’s not immune from the violence that sometimes happens. Police say they haven’t found the man who shot and wounded another man at the west end of the Broadway Bridge around 10 yesterday morning.

Rockets at Blazers 7:30 PM, as our guys go for fourteen in a row.

The world’s last surviving male northern white rhino has died in Kenya. There are two living females, and hopes for avoiding extinction now turn to in vitro fertilization.

Authorities have euthanized the cougar that was spotted in the Oregon Garden last week, resulting in its closure. It’s the same cougar that killed deer in a Silverton backyard last month. Another cougar seen in town has not been found.

Here’s a quick Tell-me-something-good headline! –“Head to the gorge: Multnomah Falls viewing platform is now open.” Excellent timing! We’ve been barred since the fire from taking in the fresh spray at the base of the falls, and we still can’t hike the Benson Bridge or the trail to the top. But still, this might be a wonderful day to head east on I-84 to exit 31–and enjoy the mist coming off that spectacular landmark. However….the majority of the trails in that area are still closed. My hiking pals are all discovering the Washington side.

Over the weekend I drove on Macadam past our former K103 studios and saw the burned wreckage of the Macadam Center commercial building across the street, where we got haircuts and bought greeting cards and met for bagels, and wondered if they ever determined the cause of that fire back in January. And sure enough, up pops a news release from Portland Fire and Rescue, stating that “electrical failure” is the reason all those good businesses are now soggy cold ash.

Uber has taken all of its self-driving cars off the roads after their self-driving SUV struck and killed a 49-year-old woman as she walked her bicycle across a street, apparently outside a crosswalk, in Tempe, Arizona. It is the first known pedestrian death involving a fully autonomous car on a public road. Defenders say they’re still a hell of a lot safer than actual humans behind the wheel.

It’s not a musical genre or a word that we feature a lot here on the Daily Drip, but the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot is in town for shows at the Doug Fir Lounge tonight and tomorrow night. These subversive performance artists were onto Vladimir Putin before most of us in the US were wise to his lies, and they were imprisoned as a result. Now with a rotating cast of musicians and artists, their targets have expanded to others they perceive as deserving, particularly one Donald Trump. Their shows here are sold out.

Happy birthday to my soul-singing friend Julianne Johnson!

TMSG = HH(4a)HH:

–“Identification of brain region responsible for alleviating pain could lead to development of opioid alternatives”

–“Man spends retirement years rescuing cats stuck in trees.”

–“Iowa high school class beats 1-in-177 million odds: All alive six decades after graduation.”

–“Inverness woman keeps ‘house trained’ pet bee and even ‘cuddles’ it. “People have a bond with their dog or cat and even their hamster. I think I’ve proved here that you can have a relationship with an insect.”

–“Missing boy brings dinner to officers who helped find him”

–“When a Texas teacher realized her students couldn’t read cursive, she found a creative solution: senior pen pals”

It’s the second day of Tom McCall Week, proclaimed here unilaterally, and as promised, another quote from the Republican articulator of Oregon’s modern ideals: “Quality of life is the sum total of the fairness of our tax structure; the caliber of our homes; the cleanliness of our air and water; and the provision of affirmative assistance to those who cannot assist themselves. True quality is absent if we allow social suffering to abide in an otherwise pristine environment.”

That’s our report and now it’s your turn. Take a moment and breathe in the reality that Spring is here!

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