Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Good (gak gak) morning! We’re coming up for air on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Middle of the week, middle of the month, payday for many, but sometimes, all we need is the air that we breathe, so. Let’s get right to it:

Portland’s Air Quality Index, at 0300, was an unhealthy 163. Dramatic improvement is a day away, but it could sweeten up late today or tonight as a barely noticeable breeze off the ocean filters through the gaps in the coast range, pushing back some of the low-elevation smoke that darkens our air, smoke from northern and eastern fires that poured in through the Columbia Gorge on Monday night. All that smoked is still trapped by stagnant air between Salem and Chehalis. The upper level winds will maintain a southerly flow, pumping in smoke from southern Oregon and California wildfires, and that should affect our sunrises and sunsets–but, starting tomorrow, not our lungs.

Both of Southwest Oregon’s major fires are one month old today, having been started by a July 15 lightning outbreak. The 55K acre Klondike fire is just 15% contained, while the Taylor Creek fire, to the south and west, is at 48K acres and 45% contained, all pending the 7AM update, which I’ll get to when crunch time is over on the radio show. Neither fire will be fully contained for weeks; in fact the expected containment date for the Klondike blaze is Halloween. Folks in Medford and Grants Pass are looking at Portland’s nasty air quality yesterday and saying, Welcome to our world.

I’m hearing about some all-woman crews on fire lines. Brava!

The bedside vigil goes on for Aretha Franklin.

Deputies ID’d the person who pushed a 16-year old off the bridge over the Lewis River last week as an 18-year old woman. The Clark County prosecutor will decide on criminal charges.

***

The air was nasty, but the girls played on in the Little League Softball World Series at Alpenrose Stadium. Lake Oswego’s team made it to the semifinals, and last night in the haze they opened strong against a Pennsylvania team but ultimately lost 6-4. But dang, they looked good, slashing the ball around the field, picking runners off third….while the ESPN crew sampled Alpenrose ice cream and coughed in the smoky air….LO plays a Louisiana team for third place at 3 this afternoon, while PA plays an Ohio team for the title at 7 on ESPN.

Today would be the third day of practice for high school fall sports in Oregon, but quite a few called it off yesterday because of the air. PPS says they’re monitoring early this morning to make a decision about whether to cancel today.

*****

Big crowd at the Evergreen school board meeting last night. Teachers, wanting to teach, needing a contract.

The CDC reports that at least 20 people have been hospitalized and hundreds more sickened in 15 states from a parasite linked to McDonald’s salads. No known cases in Oregon so far.

California Congresswoman Maxine Waters turns 80 years old today.

“The Wizard of Oz” premiered this day in 1939, 79 years ago today. What can we say about that classic of our childhoods?–with the sad, sweet “Over the Rainbow” and the goofy little troupe making its way down the road to freedom, thwarted by menacing obstacles but finally attaining their dreams simply through the act of believing them to be true; that’s The Secret, after all. It’s unnerving to think of the pre-SAG realities, like Toto the dog getting paid more than double what the little Munchkins earned, and the lungfuls of aluminum powder that forced Buddy Ebsen to quit the role as the Tin Man, or the third degree burns suffered by Margaret Hamilton when the Wicked Witch disappeared in a ball of flame. Or the fact that the director smacked Judy Garland in the face to get her to stop giggling at the Cowardly Lion. Or the Wizard’s statement to Dorothy that “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others,” which drew awwws, but is complete BS; the opposite is true. Or the Scarecrow’s brainy declaration that “The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side,” a misstatement of the Pythagorean Theorem that’s given sophomores in math class convulsions for generations. But still. A wonderful movie. We shouldn’t think too much about it, like I just did!

******
Let’s clear the smoke with some headlines from the bright web!

–“Power has been restored to all of Puerto Rico for the first time since Hurricane Maria struck nearly 11 months ago, officials said Tuesday”

–“Girl saved after mom hears symptoms of malaria on radio”

–“Authorities close dam gates to save elephant from swirling flood waters”

–“The first Ford Mustang owner kept the car. It’s now worth $350,000”

******
Let’s see…what did I miss, besides my daily target of 10,000 steps…which I shorted by 8,000…oh! Sunrise 6:11 AM, sunset 8:17 PM. Let’s wish for a west wind, hold a good thought for Aretha, and make this is wonderful Wednesday!

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