Thursday, January 3, 2019

Morning, Driplandians! It’s Thursday, January 3, 2019, and you’re waking up on a warmer and breezy day, with morning light rain and highs around 50 degrees in the Portland area. Then a bigger storm rolls in tonight. There are gale warnings at the coast, for gusts up to 45 knots today, and seas building to 22 feet tonight, which is steep indeed. Best wishes to the crabbing crews out of Newport, Depoe Bay, Garibaldi, and all the other fishing towns up and down the coast. But I like what one crabber told KGW: “There’s nobody out there who doesn’t want to be out there.” Sunrise 7:50 AM, sunset 4:39 PM, and our daylight gain today will be exactly one minute.

By the way, for anyone who’s wondering, KPTV meteorologist Mark Nelsen has analyzed the computer models and found no sign of lowland ice or snow at least through mid-January.

There’s a different reality in Washington, DC today, as the Democratic takeover of the House is in effect. It’s the first crack after two years of every branch being controlled by one party. And it’s amid a situation where the government is 25% shut down over the president’s insistence on a border wall–which Democrats view as a 5th-century solution to a 21st-century problem. That situation shows no sign of resolving, with both sides digging in, while hundreds of thousands of federal employees are either furloughed or working without pay–including border patrol agents.

Social Security is unaffected, mail delivery goes on, and so does the Mueller Investigation. The Smithsonian’s many museums are closed, the National Zoo panda webcam is offline, and national parks are hit and miss; Joshua Tree closed at noon yesterday because the place is overfvlowing with uncollected trash. And worse.

Jo Ann Hardesty has taken her place as a member of the Portland City Council, creating the first female majority in the city’s history, and right away she was given a taste of what the task is going to be like. Mayor Ted Wheeler had just begun a short speech of congratulations when the council meeting was interrupted by two perennial hecklers–one of whom ranted about Hardesty’s lack of accomplishments, ten seconds into the job.

Oregon may become the first state in the nation with a statewide rent control law. With Democrats in full control in Salem, lawmakers will consider a bill imposing a cap on how much landlords can raise rents in a year. Willamette Week says negotiations over numbers are underway, with the ceiling likely to be around 10%.

Larry Weinberg, one of the original owners of the Portland Trail Blazers, has passed at age 92. He was the majority owner at the time of the teams hallowed 1977 championship, sold the franchise to Paul Allen for $70 million dollars about ten years later. It’s now worth $1.3 billion.

A guy is suing Burger King for breaking an oral promise to let him eat free whenever he wants–after he was locked in the bathroom of the Wood Village outlet on December 15th. He was freed by a locksmith and says the manager told him that to make it up to him, he could always eat there for free. But when he came back the next week, he says he found out the promise was a whopper.

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Weird pictures are coming in from a NASA probe a billion miles past Pluto. It’s two icy spheres that are fused together, and it looks like a 20-mile-tall brick-colored snowman. China, in the meantime, has landed an unmanned spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the first time that’s ever been done.

Olivia Newton-John says rumors of her imminent demise are greatly exaggerated, and that her latest battle with metastatic breast cancer is “going well,” aided by medical cannabis.

Girl Scout Cookie time is here–and the newest offering is something called Caramel Chocolate. This may cause you to stray briefly from a New Year’s resolution–but nobody bats a thousand on those anyway, plus, as the Girl Scouts website reminds us, “When you make a Girl Scout Cookie purchase, you’re helping the next generation of girl entrepreneurs get an important taste of what it takes to be successful—teamwork, planning, and a positive outlook (for starters).”

Happy birthday to Apple, which was incorporated by the brilliant but socially-challenged Oregon hippie Steve Jobs on this date in 1977. And happy statehood anniversary to Alaska, which became our country’s 49th state 60 years ago today.

It’s the birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien, Author of “Lord of the Rings,” who arrived on Middle Earth on this date in 1892.

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And now from our Good News Desk…these headlines, with links meticulously posted by me at our friendly Coffee Cup logo:

–“‘It’s a Miracle’: Dog Saves Boy Buried in Avalanche”

–“Couple Returns Diaper Bag Filled With Family’s Life Savings”

–“Cafe opens in Tokyo staffed by robots controlled by paralyzed people”

–“Chicago murder rate drops for second year in a row”

–“How a Starbucks Barista Helped a Customer Find a New Kidney”

Click on the Cup, in the comments below, for the links.

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Saddling up, now, for day two of a three-day week. Love to hear what you’re up to!

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