Monday, July 9, 2018

Good morning, and welcome to Monday! It’s July 9, 2018, and Portland’s weather is heading into a summertime straightway, with highs of 78 today, 80 tomorrow, and then into 90 degree country beginning Wednesday. Sunrise inches later at 5:31 AM, and sunset is at 9:00 straight up–for the last time this year.

Lead story: this generation’s Baby Jessica moment. Now, as then in 1987 when a todder was stuck in a well for 58 hours, we are unanimous in our concern for these young people, trapped in claustrophobic hell, with their fate in the hands of extremely capable and brave people. Thailand is fourteen hours ahead of us, something to keep in mind as we watch the all-caps heroic effort to save the remaining members of that youth soccer team from a cave that’s nearly full of water, and with rain on the way. So as I write this at 4 AM Pacific, it’s 6 in the evening for the rescuers, and the numbers now: four confirmed rescued–there are unconfirmed reports that a fifth is out and a sixth is on the way–and if all goes well the rest of the 13 will be pulled out today or tomorrow.

By the way, something to know about their coach, 25-year old Ekkapol Chantawong, is that he was raised in a monastery and trained as a Buddhist monk…and during their long confinement, he taught the boys meditation techniques, to keep their minds clear and calm, and to preserve their energy. He also let them have his share of the food during the early days of their confinement. Some are calling for discipline because he apparently ignored warning signs about entering the tunnel so close to monsoon season, but some of the kids’ parents say they regard him as an angel.

Here at home, it’s our first morning without one of the busiest freeway ramps in Oregon, the one that feeds the Banfield from I-5 southbound near the Moda Center. The expected traffic delays are described by ODOT in such apocalyptic terms that they’ve created a Spotify playlist for the occasion called Grilock Grooves (“Tired of Waiting,” “Running on Empty” etc). It’s only the first of three major closures during which cars will be snake onto surface streets, or pour onto crowded alternatives like I-205.

That’s not the only closure sending commuters onto time-devouring detours this morning. The Springwater Corridor Trail near Oaks Park is closed starting today, and continuing all the way through Halloween. That’s going to put a lot of bicycles onto the Sellwood bridge, so they can come downtown on the westside Greenway Trail.

But the good news is that the Portland Aerial Tram is back in action this morning, three weeks ahead of schedule, following a maintenance shutdown that was supposed to take all month long.

President Trump does a big reveal of his second Supreme Court pick in prime time tonight.

A British woman has died after being poisoned by Soviet-era nerve agent.

At least 100 are dead in flooding in Japan. People are camping on the roof.

Confusion and disappointment for a McMenamin’s Edgefield crowd Saturday night, as a concert by the sweet-singing country roots trio The Avett Brothers was unexpectedly called off because a metal detector at the gate alerted security that a man with a gun was trying to get in despite a no-weapons policy. The man identified himself as an out-of-state law enforcement officer and showed a badge, but while the security guard waited for her supervisor to come and make a ruling, the guy slipped away into the crowd, and the band opted to postpone the show. They offered to stay and play the next night, Sunday, but that didn’t work–because it was Steve Martin and Martin Short’s turn to entertain the crowd on the lawn.

Ann Wilson of Heart is at the Elsinore Theater in Salem tonight. She and sister Nancy had a falling out last year (after Ann’s husband smacked Nancy’s teenage kids for leaving the door open on the tour bus), so the band is on hiatus. So Ann’s been on tour this spring, and has a new album, too–called “Immortal,” made up of covers of songs written by artists who are now longer among the living. David Bowie. Tom Petty. Leonard Cohen (she does “A Thousand Kisses Deep”).

Starbucks is getting rid of plastic straws.

Something good, please?

–“JetBlue flight attendants come to dog’s rescue on flight to Massachusetts” (the French bulldog pup was having trouble breathing, so the cabin crew brought over an oxygen mask).

–“HIV vaccine shows promise in human trial”

–“Teacher In India Buys A Bus And Picks Up Students Every Morning So No One Drops Out Of School”

–“After A Passenger’s Tweet, 26 Minor Girls Rescued From Train In India”

–“Couple remodeling bathroom finds funny hidden message from former owners”

–“Amazon will publish toy catalog this holiday to fill Toys ‘R Us void”

The K103 morning show this week features our afternoon drive star Stacey Lynn, who takes over the Murdock chair for the next five days. And I’ll be keeping the news beast fed at 1190 KEX this week, from my perch at K103. There’s a lot happening and I’ll do my best to keep the Daily Drip up to date, though my live on-air responsibilities have to come first. Interesting times.

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