Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Good morning, Dripster Treaters, and let me be the first to say, “Boo!” And Happy Halloween, the first of the great American consumptive holidays at the end of the year. It’s Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Portland’s weather is rainy, but drier later–more coming up– with highs in the 50’s. Sunrise 7:49 AM, but it’s always later if you live behind a hill, and sunset 5:58 PM. Today is 2018’s 304th day, and there are 61 until the 2019 ball drops.

Question of the day: will it be dry during Trick or Treat time? Fearless prediction–unanimously aided by my meteorological muses Dave Salesky, Mark Nelsen, and Matt Zaffino–is that yes! It will indeed be dry, from after school until it’s time to come home with sacks full of candy.

Consecutive days without a tornado in Oregon? 1.

We need to dip into the vat of news; skip down a couple of asterisks, if you like.

Portland’s mayor may have been among the targets of the man accused of sending fifteen pipe bombs to Democrats and media outlets critical of President Trump. Ted Wheeler tweeted late yesterday: “Our office was recently informed by the FBI that the pipe bomb suspect, did in fact research me and locations possibly associated with me. Our security team is aware and we are taking extra precautions regarding our safety.” Authorities warn they don’t know what might still be making its way through the mail.

We’ve been tracking the early voting here, and what’s emerging is an exceptionally high turnout for a mid-term election: at this point almost 600,000 ballots have been returned, which is a 21% turnout, and the votes have almost a week more to pile up. Oregon normally finishes with a little over 50% for a midterm, but this year is different. Republicans and Democrats are tied, in the get-out-the-base effort, with 27% of their ballots in. But there are a lot more D’s here: 269,000 Democrats have voted, compared with 191,000 Republicans. Washington’s election count had not been updated as of deadline time.

A surprise dropout in the gubernatorial race: Independent Party candidate Patrick Starnes has pulled out–halfway through the voting period–and given his endorsement to Democrat Kate Brown. There are 125,000 people registered as voters in that party, and 27,000 have already voted. In a close race, who knows? Meantime a new poll (from Emerson College) gives Brown a 47-42 edge over Knute Buehler, with 4% undecided and a 3.7% margin of error.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley is now openly gearing up for a run for president in 2020. He’s made the obligatory visits to the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, and promises an announcement after the mid-terms. He was a national unknown until this year, but his profile jumped when he went to the border and called attention to the Trump family-separation policy. The primaries are only a little over a year away. (Closed-circuit to new anchor people: Merkley has two syllables, not three).

***

Other news:

The woman who was found murdered at Camp Namanu in Sandy was a victim of domestic violence, according to deputies, who say her husband was arrested and confessed the crime.

A chilling story in the Willamette Valley town of Albany, where a 14-year-old boy is accused of plotting to kill his parents with an overdose of sleeping pills, then burn down the family home. A 13-year-old friend is accused of supplying the pills. Kids were talking about it at school, and one mentioned it to his parents, who called the 14-year-old’s father, and he called the police.

Columbia County is writing a $251,000 check, plus lawyers’ fees, to an inmate who had a dog sicced on him in jail, an act that was caught on video. The sheriff there says the guards acted appropriately, and that the settlement was ordered by the insurance company.

*****
The red-hot Portland Trail Blazers rolled through an undefeated road trip by drubbing the Houston Rockets 104-85 last night. The Portland Timbers are in Texas too, tonight, where they play a knockout round game against FC Dallas.

The Oregon Zoo reports that their Amur tiger Mikhail has been euthanized. Today would have been his 20th birthday, advanced years for the critically endangered species.

Portland is getting a new hostel for travelers to bed down in, and its name is KEX. And it’s completely unrelated to the 50,000-watt radio station at 1190 on the AM dial. KEX is the Icelandic word for “biscuit,” and it’s also the name of a hostel in Reykjavík. The Portland version, and why Portland I dunno, will be at the east end of the Burnside Bridge (like everything else lately).

****

Halloween! So let’s talk seriously now. Have you ever met a ghost? Did you, for example, ever have a drink in the bar at the Benson Hotel and have the glass just tip over? There are those who believe that old Simon Benson himself, a notorious teetotaller whose water fountains are bubbling to this day, is lurking the hallways of that old brick hotel on Broadway. They say he wears a dark suit, and spends his time knocking over drinks. USA Today says the Benson is one of the most haunted hotels in America; there’s also a 3-year old boy, and a woman in a turquoise dress, wafting in the halls from moaning till night.

Or maybe you, like me, you’re convinced you’ve met the departed in other, non-frightening ways: I recognized at once the elegant scent as my grandmother’s perfume swept through my bedroom, shortly after she passed. And when both of my parents died within a year or two of each other, all four of us children began noticing dimes–yep, shiny dimes—turning up in odd places. I mean, again and again. Dimes on counters, in the laundry, on the sidewalk. Same when Mom’s sister, Aunt Tilda, died. I did some Googling–and learned that the phenomenon of the dead greeting the living with mysteriously-placed dimes–is very, very common. And it still happens sometimes. A comfort, a hi there, be good, be careful. It’s good news. So I’ll include a related link in our TMSG segment.

******

Tell me something good, or maybe mildly scary but in a reassuring way?

–“Pittsburgh Penguins To Wear ‘Stronger Than Hate’ Patches, Hold Fundraisers For Victims Of Synagogue Shooting”

–“‘Oh mommy, you have my eyes’: Mother recounts being reunited with son 31 years after abduction”

–“Community bookshop enlists help of human chain to move to new store”

–“Two puppies saved after being trapped on a cliff for days”

–“The Mystery of Dimes Appearing From Nowhere and Other Strange Phenomena”

*****

Thanks for dropping by and chipping in with comments below. I applaud everyone for how you’ve handled conflicting opinions. It’s gotten kind of self-policing, which I love. Haven’t pitched anyone in weeks. Sometimes elbows get sharp, but they’re quickly softened with a kind word, and we carry on. The ethic here is that we’re decent people, it’s that simple.

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