Friday, December 21, 2018

Change-of-season’s greetings, and hello to all! With a full heart and a really full plate, let’s plunge into this Friday, December 21, 2018. Last day of school for most, the first day of winter above the equatorial beltline, and a maddeningly busy day. For you too, right? Portland has a 20% chance of showers on a partly, but briefly, sunny day. If you’re a skier and you’ve been praying for snow, say Hallelujah, because it snowed a ton last night in the Cascades. But you have to drive up the hill before you can ski down it, and the snow level is just 2000 feet.

Portland stats for this shortest day of the year: Sunrise 7:47 AM, sunset 4:30 PM. It’s Day 355 of 2018, with 10 to go. Winter begins at 2:22 PM.

President Trump is on the hunt for a new Secretary of Defense after Jim Mattis quit on principle. Trump’s abrupt announcement of a troop pullout from Syria was only the last straw. In his resignation letter, Gen Mattis said he believes in “treating allies with respect” and added, “Because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down.”

Looks like we’re on track for a partial government shutdown at midnight tonight, as the House passed a spending bill that included $5 billion for Trump’s border wall, and that bill looks DOA in the Senate. Unless they work out a fix, the Treasury plus the departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce and Justice will all close down. Essential employees like TSA, air traffic control, the FBI, the Coast Guard, and others would all be required to keep working, over the holidays without pay.

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A fake package with an embedded GPS transmitter has nabbed another porch pirate, this time a 44-year-old woman in Aloha.

Portland’s getting a 35-story hotel at 900 SW Washington. That’ll take out the Alder Street Food Cart Pod…

One of the most loveable, photogenic, and occasionally naughty critters at the Oregon Zoo has passed away. Eddie the Sea Otter was 20. He was one of the most famous animals on the internet for his ability to slam-dunk a basketball, which trainers taught him to combat his arthritis, and for other skills which we’ll skip here.

Spotted at Pioneer Courthouse Square: a couple of young ladies pushing a cart, and handing out food to homeless people.

Happy birthday to former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, a great lady, born this day in 1936!

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The Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice occurs at 2:22 PM PST today. That’s the moment when the North Pole does its maximum lean away from the sun. For us today, it’s no more than a moment on the calendar when the descent into winter ends and the ascent to summer begins, but ancient civilizations have seen the Solstice as a spiritual and deeply portentous time. That’s why Stonehenge is sight-lined toward the winter solstice sunset. Starvation and famine were common during the months that followed: it all depended on the success of that year’s harvest. People in the Bronze Age even slaughtered most of their livestock so they wouldn’t have to feed animals from their precious stores of grain. So meat was plentiful at this point of the year, and it was a time of great feasts. Still is!

Apollo 8 was launched 50 years ago today. Its crew members were the first humans to gaze upon our fragile blue planet from space. They orbited the Moon ten times and took the first Earthrise picture. They made a Christmas Eve broadcast from space, during which they read the first ten verses of the Book Genesis, and it was heard by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

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Let’s see if we can light the darkness with some stories of hope and human kindness. The links, as usual, will be in the Coffee Cup, found in the first comment below the opening Drip.

Today’s stories offer hope about dementia…a story about the joy of seven siblings who were all adopted into a forever loving family…a report from Ireland about how people there are cooling on Kindles and reading actual books again….the story of a cop who’s caught on video rescuing a clucking chicken from a fire, and the fun people are having with that…and the true background of one of my favorite Christmas songs, Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne.” Hint: he got two things wrong. The color of her eyes. And the line about, “She said she’d married her an architect?” Poetic license. She married a phys ed teacher.

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This morning at 7:20, I’ll present my personal Christmas card on the radio. You already know that it’s Craig and me singing Mele Kalikimaka for the 41st time. As the years have gone by, it’s become more important to me to keep this tradition alive. Newcomers sometimes understandably don’t get it, but folks who’ve listened to the evolving iterations of this morning show certainly do. We live in a world where things don’t last. So let’s treasure the things that do.

And that’s the last Daily Drip for 2018! I’m down for the count all next week, but will certainly pop up with season’s greetings, and to start threads for Dripster communication, and if news requires it, and please God may we have a break from that! So thank you for participating in this ongoing experiment in social media conviviality. And the merriest of Christmases, or celebration of your choice, from me to you!

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