Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hi there! Today is Wednesday, July 11, 2018, a warm and balmy day in the Northwest with highs of 87 in Portland and 68 at Cannon Beach today. A fresh north wind blows along the coast today, and there’s a small craft advisory for sharply breaking waves offshore, the kind that can capsize a boat even on a sunny day. Temperatures step up tomorrow to 95 in Portland. Sunrise 5:33 AM, sunset 8:58 PM.

Somebody tossed a firecracker at the Plaid Pantry on N. Greeley Avenue. It took firefighters ten minutes to stop the flames, but the store will be closed for months.

Folks who live around SE 118th and Division are keeping their pets indoors after a cougar was spotted in a backyard late Monday night. That’s not too far off Powell Butte. Go home, kitty!

Ranchers and former inmates Dwight and Steven Hammond are back home already, following the pardon from their arson conviction by President Trump. It was their case that inspired the Bundy takeover of the Malheur wildlife refuge. Kieran Suckling, head of the Center for Biological Diversity, said “Trump’s pardon abandons human decency and will encourage more violence and extremism among his base.” And Dwight Holton, former Oregon U.S. attorney, said “President Trump is playing to his political base. I do think it’s disappointing that folks want to play politics with the criminal justice system.” But Rep. Greg Walden said, “Today is a win for justice and an acknowledgment of our unique way of life in the high desert, rural West.”

The sigh of relief is like a wind sweeping the world, after twelve boys and their soccer coach were threaded through tight and pitch-black underwater tunnels to safety in Thailand, escorted with extreme care by heroic and media-shy expert divers from several nations. This morning the boys and the coach are all in good condition but still in quarantine. Part of the story emerging is that some of the boys are refugees from Myanmar, and one 14-year old–proficient in English and other languages–played a critical role in the rescue, acting as an interpreter between the trapped group and the British divers involved in saving them.

There’s another bunch of reunions that needs to happen, but the administration failed to meet yesterday’s deadline to reunite all separated migrant children under five with their parents, as ordered by a court.

It’s a thankfully happy ending to the story about a Portland man, a meth user, who abandoned a baby in the woods after a car crash in Montana. Officers followed a trail of baby items down a slope from the scene, heard a whimper, and discovered the 5-month old boy on the ground, dehydrated but alive. He’s OK, and the man is jailed on criminal endangerment charges. No word if the baby is his, or why he had the child in his care.

Today is Day Three of Carmageddon, Act One. Southbound 5 to Eastbound 84 is a no-go until the morning of July 23; Act Two begins on the 25th, which closes inbound 84 to NB 5. So that’ll put the whammy on the Banfield. Act Three happens in mid-August, closing inbound 84 to Southbound 5. We can guarantee that there will be no closure of the ramp from Southbound 5 to Westbound 84, because there is no such thing, even though I’ve heard it on two radio stations.

Kermit Washington is going to federal prison for six years for charity fraud. The former Portland Trail Blazer and NBA All-Star admitted in court to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to his Sixth Man Foundation–supposedly to support medical aid for children in Africa–on vacations, shopping, plastic surgery for his girlfriend.

For the sixth year running, our beloved PDX has been named the best domestic airport in the United States by Travel + Leisure. The Port of Portland deserves props for what they’re doing. The publication praises PDX’s user-friendliness, gouge-free retail shops, even the friendliness of TSA. I’ve always loved our airport–because it’s so easy to get away, and so easy to come home. My family cohort has had a tiny amount of drama at PDX in the past year or so, but it was all entirely self-induced. Two missed flights. One forgotten wallet, one forgotten iPhone, one lost brand-new Goorin Bros’ hat. Perhaps the anticipation of the relatively mellow level of the airport experience caused us all to drop our guard, and lose the heightened state of anxiety on travel day that we usually need to help us deal with crap. That we don’t have a lot of at PDX.

It’s England vs. Croatia in the World Cup semifinals today at 11 on the FOX network. That’s, what, 9 PM in London? We were there during the World Cup in 2010, and no matter who was playing, every pub near our hotel was packed, alive, and bright, bright fun. Love to be there tonight. France, in the meantime, celebrated with firecrackers exploding all night long, as their national team defeated border rival Belgium 1-0 to secure a spot in the final.

Having a baby? What a wonderful….thing in life. Redbook says the top names in the US so far in 2018 are: Eleanor, Lincoln, Olivia, Wyatt, Charlotte, and Milo.

Cowboy songwriter James McMurtry is at Revolution Hall tonight. This guy could have been a character in a novel by his Dad Larry McMurtry, whose son is a Lonesome Dove poet with a Johnny Cash range and a sneer toward the elite, and who growls these grim grassroots tunes accompanied by nimbly fingered twelve-string guitar. Think Neil Young or John Prine. I sometimes post links to his stuff and they get 10 likes. Maybe a little dark, but they resonate.

A little something-something for our collective morale?

–“Hero firefighters save man having a heart attack then finish his garden work”

–“Fed up villagers in Wales install their own ultrafast broadband”

–“Instead of spending money on an expensive honeymoon, a newlywed couple in Londonderry adorned their entire neighborhood with beautiful flowers and hanging baskets.”

–“Australian experiment involving sterilizing males wipes out over 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes.” (Can you imagine the skill required for all those microvasectomies?)

–“How Buddhist meditation kept the Thai boys calm in the cave” (Mindfulness meditation. Sounds like something to get to know).

Hump day under way. See if we can make like that park in Vancouver, Lacamas Regional Park, that is creating a one-way downhill trail strictly for mountain bikers. Let’s see if we can grab that momentum and zoom heck into a summer weekend!

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