Thursday, July 26, 2018

Good morning to you! Today is Thursday, July 26, 2018, our fifth consecutive ninety-plus day, and I finally figured out what this weather makes me feel like. Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the Gestapo agent lifts the lid on the Ark of the Covenant, and his face melts off?? That guy! The charts show 90-some highs all the way until Tuesday, when we trim back to the low 80s–on the last day of July–but that may coincide with a wind shift that could bring smoke from southern Oregon fires into the Willamette Valley, the one ingredient that’s kept the current hot spell from being flat-out miserable. Sunrise 5:47 AM, sunset 8:45 PM.

We’ll be singing the Banfield Blues, today, as Carmaggedon Phase Two has begun. The double-laned connecting ramp from I-84 westbound to I-5 northbound, pretty much the fulcrum of the Portland freeway system, is completely shut down for the next week and a half. K103 does 5 traffic reports an hour in morning drive, and more if needed, and they’ll be needed.

Something new to look out for on the crazy streets of Portland. The city has issued permits to companies named Skip and Bird to rent out little electric scooters for one-way trips–and there could be a swarm of them: a maximum of 2500 between the two companies. They have a 15 MPH speed limit, and they’re not allowed to be driven on sidewalks, although they’ll park there. Not allowed in parks, or on transit. To ride, you download an app, and they send you a code to unlock the unit. It’s a pilot project that’ll run through November.

As parting gifts, the OccupyIcePDX crowd left behind quite a bazaar for the cops and a contract crew to sweep out. There was a piano in there…tents, blankets, clothes, the occasional biohazard…anybody want a mattress? By the way, the tracks you see on TV running through the middle of camp belong to the Willamette Shore Trolley, a pleasant sightseeing train that operates weekends between Lake Oswego and Portland. It’s been stopping at Johns Landing during the protest.

The White House press corps is circling the wagons around a CNN reporter who was barred because she shouted questions deemed inappropriate, when reporters all around were doing the same. Statements of support for her, and condemnation for her prohibition, came from an array of outlets…including Fox News, which tweeted, “As a member of the white house press pool, FOX stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access”

Say, that soccer ball Vladimir Put gave to President Trump at the Helsinki summit? Addidas says that model contains a microchip–which displays content on a smartphone app. There is no suggestion whatsoever that the KGB may have swapped it out for a bug.

Esteemed Portland legal figure Jacob Tanzer has died at 83. Early in his career he worked in the Justice Department under Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and helped prosecute KKK members in the case that became the film, “Mississippi Burning.” He wound up on the Oregon Supreme Court.

The Washington County Fair in Hillsboro opens today, with all the fun fair stuff we know and love–and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top on Saturday night. The same band that’s been grinding out the Texas blues since 1969, with the same beards. And a drummer named Beard. Lisa DuPre’, have your ears on? Tell us about the Fair!

Thirsty? The Oregon Brewer’s Festival begins under the noonday sun today at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Don’t mind if I do!

Backyard astronomers are getting an eyeful of the tangerine planet Mars this summer, and tonight it reaches perihelic opposition to the sun, and we all know what that means. Then Mars makes its closest pass by Earth on Tuesday. All of this makes for the best viewing in 15 years. If you’re reading this before sunrise Thursday, Mars is in the western sky; our future colony rises again at 9:16 tonight and sets at 5:36 tomorrow morning.

Sir Michael Phillip Jagger turns 75 years old today. Mick still has the moves, and he works hard to maintain that 28-inch waist. His regimen includes ballet for balance, aerial yoga while suspended in a hammock, a daily 8-mile run (well, as of 7 years ago, when he was a kid of 68), kickboxing, cycling, and a diet rich in avocados and whole grains. I do think he abstains from abstemiousness. Somebody figured that Sir Mick covers 12 miles in each Stones’ show.

*****

Something good? (I put the row of stars there so it’s easier to find)

–“American in China who accidentally paid 100 times his US$9.60 cab fare gets his money back after cabby tracks him down (We had exactly the opposite experience last year in Budapest).

–“Thai cave boys ordained as Buddhist novices to honor dead rescuer”

–“Make perfume, not war: Afghan farmers switching from poppies to roses enjoy sweet smell of success” (We should invite them to the Rose Festival!)

–“Lost wedding ring found 52 years later” (Sweet story on the BBC. Happened in the UK. Newlywed bloke lost the ring during a cricket match).

****

Say, we missed Tom Robbins birthday last Sunday! The Northwest author whose way with words puts the poets to shame said a lot of very creative things, and here are a few.

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

“Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet”.

“The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being.”

“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.”

“We pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style.”

Tom Robbins. He’s 86, still lives up in La Conner, WA.

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