Good morning, my friends! We’re waking up to a bright and windy Northwest Monday, November 12, 2018, with a wind advisory that tells of gusts to 45 MPH in the West Hills and the Gorge, and sunny but not so windy for areas farther away from the Columbia’s howling wind tunnel. Highs will be in the mid 50’s, and it looks like rain Tuesday night and Wednesday before our return to these dazzling late-fall days. Sunrise 7:05 AM, sunset 4:43 PM., on this 316th day of 2018, with exactly seven weeks to go.
The winds that are whipping the leaves off our golden trees are pressure-gradient sisters to the Santa Anas that are pushing monstrous fires through California communities, taking about 30 lives that we know of with hundreds unaccounted for, and creating heartbreak and terror in both the southern and northern regions of that great state. Dozens of Oregon fire rigs are carrying hundreds of firefighters from Oregon towns to work shoulder-to-shoulder with California’s firefighters; it’s a favor that’s returned back and forth every year.
Three men have been arrested for booby-trapping the bike/pedestrian trail along I-205 around Division St. by stretching string across the path at face level. A Montavilla woman pedaling home from work late at night slammed straight into the trap, which put stripes of scars on her nose and chin.
A Portland police officer is hospitalized with serious injuries after he was hit in the head with a metal pipe, wielded by a man who’d been throwing rocks at cars.
Today is a federal holiday, observing Veterans Day. No mail delivery; city, state, and federal offices are closed; mass transit is on a regular schedule, and Portland parking meters must be fed today (they were free yesterday).
The gruesome waste of humanity called World War One ended a century ago yesterday, and the celebration of that morphed into one of the most meaningful of our holidays. The Veterans Day celebration continues today, notably with the Portland Veterans Day Parade stepping off at 9:30 with 70 entries marching and clopping between NE 40th and 48th along NE Sandy Boulevard. We feel and express sincere gratitude to the men and women who spent time in the military, but I would add this: we must elect more of them to public office. They’ll bring to our government an integrity and ability to work together that’s currently AWOL. People who’ve served in uniform are trained to get beyond their egos and work cooperatively no matter what tribe they belong to. They know how to act as a team for the common good. They know what the word “enemy” means. They are pragmatic and they are thick-skinned. They ask tough questions about new military involvements because they know that war is literally hell. It’s telling that the number of people in Congress who’ve served in the military has plummeted from around 75% in the late 1970s to under 20% today. Oregon has one congressperson who’s served–Peter DeFazio–and Washington, with Dave Reichert’s retirement, will have none. But perhaps that’s turning around. Sixteen veterans, members of both parties, and both male and female, were victorious in last week’s congressional election. But 150 ran.
The Portland Trail Blazers finished an impressive 5-1 home stand with a 100-94 win over the Boston Celtics, but the collective heart of Rip City palpitated for a moment as team leader Damian Lillard took a sprawling fall early in the game. He played through knee pain the whole game and still racked up his first double-double, with 19 points, 12 assists, and 5 rebounds.
There may be a wolf pack in the making on Mt. Hood, the first in many decades. Trail cameras have captured images of a pair of the rare animals in the White River area. Hunters and trappers wiped out the Mt. Hood wolf population in the 1940s.
This was the day in 1970 of the famous exploding whale incident on the Oregon coast. The story was immortalized in words that brought fame to my iHeart friend Paul Linnman, then a reporter for KATU, who described the catastrophic outcome of the state’s decision to dynamite the carcass of a beached whale with alliterative authority. Said Paul, “the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.” A new car belonging to the explosives expert was crushed by a cetacean chunk. The legend lives on, in a YouTube video that has been watched hundreds of millions of times, and let’s add to that: it’s linked in the TMSG section below.
Today is Tonya Harding’s birthday. She was born this day in 1970. Same day as the Exploding Whale story.
Do you see who’s at Revolution Hall tonight? It’s Peter Souza, who was President Obama’s official photographer for the whole eight years, with incredible inside access, and since then has been making great sport of posting photographs that contrast his old boss and his successor. He’s had such a field day that he’s out with a book titled “Shade: a Tale of Two Presidents,” and his appearance in Portland tonight is sold out. (This book might be right for Santa to bring somebody in our list).
Santa! Did you know the tree is up in Pioneer Courthouse Square? I walked under it on Saturday. No lights, yet, but one of the subtle joys of Christmas is the arrival of hints that it’s coming, little foreshadowings of good times just around the corner. Anyone in a church choir knows this: you’re rehearsing your very favorite music of the year right now. And it doesn’t feel like you’re rushing anything. You’re just getting ready. But it’s there when you need it, and sometimes you do!
Tell me something good, or at least intriguing, to take the edge off a Monday?
–“One hundred years after the guns of World War One fell silent, the leaders of France and Germany held hands and rested their heads against one another…”
–“American trucker treats busload of Canadian veterans to dinner”
–“Garbageman saves 93-year-old woman from California fire”
–“Bus driver praised for kicking all his passengers off because no one would make room for wheelchair user”
–“How Not to Dispose of a Dead Whale”
Well, guess what? I’m working a full 5 days this week…for the first time in a month! And this week, I’m doing KEX’s 4 news updates an hour simultaneously with my role on K103, which is like juggling puppies. Challenging and fun. Maybe a little messy. So forgive me if I’m slow to fix typos this week, and thanks for self-policing the trolls that sometimes sneak in here!