Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Hiya, friends! It’s Tuesday, January 8, 2019, and here’s the Daily Drip, checking out the weather charts—ooh: rainy and windy, with gusts of 30 to 45 MPH in town and 50 to 65 in the west end of the Gorge, and highs of 40 to 45 degrees. This looks like a wet one: up to half an inch of rain. Plus, there’s a Winter Weather Advisory for snow, sleet, and freezing rain today through tomorrow morning across south-central Washington and north-central Oregon. Sunrise 7:50 AM, sunset 4:45 PM. Swiftly flow the days!

It’s warm enough this morning that we shouldn’t have a repeat of yesterday’s disastrous predawn in Yamhill County, where black ice coated the roads and led to a head-on crash between two trucks on the Newberg-Dundee bypass that took the lives of both drivers. Schools were delayed because of dangerous roads in McMinnville and Sheridan and Dayton, and there were accidents in other areas as well. The bypass, which has only been open a year–and this was its first serious accident– was closed until late yesterday afternoon.

Police don’t know who or why, but someone fired two shots at a car in the Winco Foods parking lot in Happy Valley, barely missing a shopper who was unloading groceries. Security video shows a red late-model sedan, but it hasn’t been found.

Day 18, now, of the government shutdown, and the impacts extend far and wide. Airline pilots fear that flight safety and security are compromised. Funding for food stamps runs out at the end of the month. The IRS is calling back furloughed workers to process tax refunds. Secret Service agents are working without paychecks. Tonight at 6, President Trump will explain himself in a televised address, to be followed by a response by Democrats and considerable fact-checking. Oregon’s only Republican in Congress–Greg Walden–is among those of his party who are none too thrilled with this. Walden voted with Democrats last week to reopen all government agencies with the exception of Homeland Security, so that could be hashed out separately without continuing to damage all the other government services that are currently hobbled.

Miles and miles of Portland’s side streets are so pockmarked, rutted, and cratered they’d jar the gold fillings from the teeth the pioneers. But now something is being done for the likes of SE Harney between 60th and 62nd. No, they’re not paving. But the city is making a show of bringing in heavy equipment to smooth out the moonscape and cover it over with nice, even gravel. Fifty miles in all will get this treatment, and neighbors say they’re glad of it.

The future of trucking is happening right here in Portland, where Daimler–which makes Freightliner trucks on Swan Island–is hiring hundreds of people with very specific skills: robotics, and engineering. They plan to have self-driving trucks on the road within the decade.

The Blazers knocked over the Knicks 111 to 101 last night. The Clemson Fighting Tigers humbled the Crimson Tide of Alabama 44-16 to win college football’s national championship.

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OK, this will remind “West Wing” fans of perhaps its most poignant episode. Here goes. Spotted in The Oregonian obit section:
Scott Allen Moss
March 16, 1963 – Dec. 12, 2018
Scott A. Moss passed away in Portland, with no one to claim him.
Scott served in the United States Army and was honorably discharged at the rank of Corporal.
A graveside service with full military honors will be at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Willamette National Cemetery. The public is invited to attend.
A reception will follow in Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home.
Arrangements are in the care of the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veteran Burial Program through Lincoln Memorial Park & Funeral Home.

Word of this is circulating. This gentleman won’t be forgotten.

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Governor Tom McCall died on this day in 1983.

Elvis Presley was born this day in 1935.

Opening tonight at the Keller: “The King and I.” Some familiar songs derive from this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic..”Hello, Young Lovers”…”Getting to Know You.” The national touring company includes Sunset High School graduate DeAnna Choi, as the King’s Chief Wife.

I’m hearing that Portland seafood counters will have fresh Dungeness crab today!

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Tell me something good!

–“‘Everyone Deserves Love And Respect’: Police Officer Has Lunch With Homeless Man”

–“When WWII Veteran is Saddened By Upcoming Birthday, 50,000 Strangers Give Him Reason to Smile”

–“Dog returned to family after being stolen nearly 4 years before”

–“Brothers on opposing sides of NFL playoff thriller share emotional postgame moment”

–“Local businesses are keeping Yellowstone clean during the govt shutdown”

Details in the Coffee Cup…I promise I’ll actually post it! (Yesterday, folks were messaging me saying, What Coffee Cup, dude? I accidentally put it under a weekend thread.)

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Heading in! How’s everyone doing this morning?

Monday, January 7, 2019

Good morning, and welcome to the first working Monday, of the New Year! It’s January 7, 2019, with morning showers from the tail end of our weekend windstorm, and highs of 45. The snow level is a low 1500 feet this morning, so that means a snow shower or two could sparkle up the morning commute. And there’s a chance of black ice developing, particularly on roads leading out of the Coast Range into the Willamette Valley. Tune in 103.3 FM for morning traffic updates. Sunrise 7:50 AM, sunset 4:44 PM. We’ll gain almost six minutes of daylight this week!

Both Portland and Seattle were pruned by Saturday night’s windstorm, which raced from the south to the north, blinking out the lights for tens of thousands of people in both metropolitan areas, and drafting a lot of us into cleanup duty on Sunday. A quick check of the local utilities this morning reveals 56 PGE customers in West Portland, a handful of Pacific Power folks outside Albany, and zero clients of Clark Public Utilities waiting for crews to light up their lives. As always, we holler up a sincere “thanks” to the men and women in the bucket trucks–hope you got triple time! And this year we add our appreciation to the meteorologists of the National Weather Service, whose predictions were right on, and who diligently cranked out forecasts and social media updates despite the government shutdown, which has them operating with short staffs and, for some, no paychecks until this is settled.

Other scenes from the windstorm: PDX shifted to the north/south runway, creating a fairly infrequent near-jet experience for certain Vancouver neighborhoods…at least a few incoming flights attempted to land in Portland and found the experience too hairy…they aborted their landings and skedaddled to Seattle… and yes, some of those airsickness bags did get used….a guy was driving on the Banfield when suddenly a beach ball flew over the hood of his car…a discarded Christmas Tree blew by like tumbleweed in SE Portland… a friend who went hiking in Forest Park early yesterday morning reported snow coming down…people are complaining about wind chimes, but they’re a lot less annoying than chainsaws…after the storm blew through, skies cleared, and where neighborhood street lights were blacked out, the star show was spectacular…Any storm stories to tell, beyond those recounted on our Sunday thread?

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Today is what, day 17 of the partial government shutdown, and while talks are going nowhere between House Democrats and the White House, President Trump says he may “declare a national emergency” and divert funds from somewhere else to build his wall.

Oregon’s new Labor Commissioner, Val Hoyle, will be sworn in today by Governor Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Those three are making history today: it’s the first time a majority of Oregon’s statewide elected offices are held by women.

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I know the story is about “A Star is Born”‘s snub, and the big wins for “Bohemian Rhapsody” and a very surprised Glenn Close, but did you see all those pretty people last night on the Golden Globes? Everybody was so famous! Bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial…on every table..When one empties, another appears! ($40 at Tarjay). I tuned in long enough to see Christian Bales thank Satan for giving him the inspiration to play Dick Cheney, but overall there wasn’t much political commentary or boozy mischief. What made this show worth tuning in to, for me anyway, was the Jeff Bridges salute, the montage of the wonderful movies he’s played some version of the Dude in, all narrated by Oregonian Sam Elliot. Loved Bridges’ existential reminder: “We’re alive, right here, right now! Hear what I’m saying!”

The new president of CBS News is longtime “48 Hours” producer Susan Zirinsky. She was the inspiration for Holly Hunter’s character in “Broadcast News.”

Happy birthday to Everett native Kenny Loggins!

Tonight the Portland Trail Blazers, fresh off their robust win over Houston on Saturday night, host the New York Knicks at the Moda Center.

College football’s Bowl Championship final is tonight, Alabama and Clemson, again. 5 PM on ESPN.

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Let’s finish (or start) with some good news!

–“Missing Dog Rescued by Coast Guard”

–“Muslim youth group cleans up national parks across the country amid government shutdown”

–“Wounded tiger ‘finds humans to ask for help’ after being injured”

–“Why Foley Artists Use Cabbage and Celery to Create Hollywood’s Distinctive Sounds

–“Family Adopts The Pig They Planned To Eat For Christmas”

Details are linked at the Coffee Cup, first up in the Comments Section.

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Nice start to this Monday: I slept dreamily through my first alarm, incorporating its wind chime sound into my reverie, together with the nice foot massaging my back, which grew more insistent as my wife booted me out of bed. I appreciated that, along with the extra minute of sleep, and now I’m rested up to begin the first full week of the New Year!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Howdy all, and welcome to the first Friday of the new year! Today is January 4, 2019, and your sure-fire, can’t-miss Daily Drip Forecast for Portland is rain, and highs of 50. Same for the weekend. There’s a Winter Weather Advisory posted for the Cascades, where up to a foot may fluff the terrain above 3500 feet by this morning. And gale warnings are just now expiring for the Coast, but waves have been peaking at 20 feet or more, just as the crab boats head out to haul up their pots fully of buttery Dungeness goodness. Sunrise 7:50 AM, sunset 4:40 PM. Daylight gain today: 1:04.

The Oregon State Capitol is branded a “hostile workplace” in a scorching state investigation into sexual harassment of female staff members, interns, lobbyists, and lawmakers themselves. The report by the Bureau of Labor and Industries says leaders haven’t done anywhere near enough to curb such behavior, and although the most prominent alleged offender, Sen. Jeff Kruse, is long gone, hard feelings endure over the dismissive treatment accorded by leadership to his main accuser, Sen. Sara Gelser.

Portland was pretty much stunned by the resignation of Fire Chief Mike Myers, just a day after he posed for photos with his new boss, City Council member Jo An Hardesty, wearing a fire hat because she’s Fire Commissioner. Nobody here knew his plans, but he’s moving to the coast, to join his wife who’s already there, and has already lined up a job as Emergency Manager for Cannon Beach, where you can bet their tsunami plan is in for an overhaul. He’s well thought of for running a first-rate fire department, and for the compassionate touch he brought to making sure that firefighters are trained to handle people experiencing mental health emergencies and drug overdoses, as well as battling fires.

It’s Day 14 of the federal shutdown over the border wall that President Trump insists on in order to satisfy his increasingly restless supporters. They elected him on the wall promise, and they know he hasn’t delivered. Last night the newly-blue House passed a bill to re-open the government that pointedly omits any border wall, but that bill’s going nowhere in the Senate. Observers say the solution lies in something where the president saves face, and whoever can figure out how to do that will be the one who ends the shutdown. Maybe create a Wall Force like the Space Force that he can point to. Meantime, it seems like we’ve been nonchalant about the shutdown’s impacts, but they’ll grow more obvious as tax season approaches–with many new wrinkles in the tax law that the IRS won’t be staffed to answer. And as hundreds of thousands of Americans go without paychecks.

We get the December job numbers this morning, as unemployment remains at a five-decade low. But the stock market is struggling, Apple stock is in a deep swoon, and there’s fear of a coming worldwide slowdown.

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No idea what this guy’s problem was, but a strong 38-year old in a black T-shirt walked into traffic I-5 in Woodburn and started pounding on car windows demanding to be let in. He was soon arrested by Oregon State Police (with help from ‘the public,” and we need to thank whoever pitched in and helped the egregiously undermanned OSP), and identified as Vyacheslav Burlachenko of Salem.

Governor Kate Brown has signed on to the push to lower Oregon’s blood alcohol DUI standard to .05%, from the current .08. Which itself was lowered from .08 in 1983. There’ll be a fight over this, with the restaurant industry saying that it’s overkill, criminalizing light drinkers while ignoring the much heavier consumers who cause the most crashes. But the CDC says a 160-pound man needs three beers in an hour to reach .05. Let’s hear out the facts, and err on the side of caution.

Oregon pot growers harvested a bumper crop of over a million pounds in 2018. That’s way more than demand. It’s pushing prices down, and encouraging black market sales out of state–exactly what legalizing marijuana was supposed to prevent.

The networks are picking up the story of the Portland man–ABC calls him “a fast food connoisseur”– who’s suing Burger King for not giving him the free-burgers-for-life he claims to have been promised, as compensation for being locked in the Wood Village BK bathroom for an hour.

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NFL playoffs begin with the wildcards this weekend, and plenty of watch parties in our corner of the country tomorrow night. Here’s the sked:

Saturday: Indianapolis at Houston, 1:30 PM ABC
Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys, 5:15 Saturday. FOX

Sunday: LA Chargers at Baltimore, 10 AM CBS
Philadelphia at Chicago, 1:30, NBC

The Blazers host Oklahoma City tonight, and the Houston Rockets tomorrow night, at the Moda Center.

Big loss for the Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team as freshman phenom Bol Bol…son of NBA giant Manute Bol…has had surgery for a broken foot, and has declared his Ducks basketball career over after just 9 games. He’ll spend the year rehabbing and go out for the NBA.

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And good morning to the folks who skip right to the good stuff! Here are some headlines, attached to the full stories linked in the Coffee Cup logo dealie at the top of the comments, below.

–“Little library concept transformed into mini food pantries for local families”

–“Minnesota woman donates kidney to ex-husband twenty years after divorce”

–“Cat missing for five years reunited with ‘elated’ family”

–“Cruise Ship Reroutes Due To Weather And Rescues Two Sailors Stranded At Sea For 20 Days”

–“As Light Pollution Spreads, U.S. National Parks Become Stargazing Sanctuaries”

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Time to splash out into this Friday! Big weekend plans? Tree takedown party? Football watching? Enjoy and be safe!

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!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

(Squeal! Is this thing on?) Well, hi there! Welcome back to the future! It’s Wednesday, January 2, 2019, which seems like an impossibly distant date, one you’d punch into the time machine on a Delorean, and yet here we are, writing/reading the Daily Drip, and getting up and going about our lives after a long winter’s nap. One foot in front of the other. Check the weather. Cold outside. Just 31.6 on my deck, and subfreezing across the Metro area. With freezing fog. Feels like there might be ice on some roads. Partly sunny later on, with highs around 40. Then a storm rolls in tonight, with enough rain to make the rivers jump. But not to flood stage. And there’s an air stagnation advisory, as fireplace smoke is trapped near the ground, and so we’re starting out the year checking Portland’s Air Quality Index, which–at 3:30 in the morning–ranges from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Portland’s sunrise today is stuck at 7:50 AM, the latest point of the winter, and there it will hang for another week before beginning its summerward trek. And today’s sunset is at 4:38 PM, which is a full eleven minutes later than its earliest disappearance in December. We’re making progress! I noticed yesterday that it’s still light at 5 pm. Daylight gain today: 0:55.

It’s Day Twelve of the partial government shutdown, and with a new blue sheriff in charge of the House, solving the stalemate will require more deal-making ability than we’ve seen so far. One longshot possibility: President Trump gets money for the border, Democrats get DACA and immigrant work visas. Too much posturing right now for any of that to happen, and people will be marking their territory for awhile anyway.

Mitt Romney becomes a United States Senator tomorrow, but he’s authored an op-ed in today’s Washington Post that has people wondering if he’s eyeing a primary challenge against Trump. Romney writes that he agrees with some policy decisions, but deplores his character, and vows as follows: “I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”

Portland’s uneven grasp on racial equality was on national display over the holiday weekend, as an African-American guest at the DoubleTree Hotel was forcibly evicted for talking on the phone in the lobby, where a security guard and a shift manager mistook him for a loitering trespasser. The fact that he was a paid-up guest holding a room key didn’t stop the hotel from calling the Portland police, who made him get his belongings from his room and escorted him off the property. The parent company–Hilton–fired the employees involved and apologized to the guest.

A ceremonial swearing-in today will plunge Jo Ann Hardesty into the many-chefs’ soup of the Portland City Council. She’s a former legislator and a Navy veteran and KBOO talk show host, and the first African-American woman to be elected to that position.

Bud Clark, the Goose Hollow barkeep with the twinkle in his eye and a keen businessman’s instinct behind his playful image, was sworn in as Mayor of Portland on this day in 1985. He seemed like a right jolly old elf at the time, but he had just turned 53 years old. That’s younger than Ted Wheeler.

A bicycle thief was dim enough to use a pair of shears to lop the lock off a bike that was parked at the Gladstone Police Department. It took a cop 5 seconds to walk out and handcuff him.

There’s a social media hunt underway for a couple named Tony and Alex who disrespectfully carved their first names–and added the phrase “4Life”–into the trunk of a lovely tree in Portland’s Japanese Garden.

A family that was visiting Mt. Hood Meadows is trying to find their dog, Rooney, who ran away apparently after being spooked by a snow cannon, which is fired off to control avalanches.

That was quite the backup heading home from the ski areas on Mt. Hood last night. US 26 looked like a Subaru parade.

Amid bouncy seas ahead of a storm tonight, commercial crabbing season is underway off most of the Oregon coast. The hundreds of boats in towns like Newport, where a “Deadliest Catch” spinoff was set a couple of years ago, were loaded with colorful gear waiting for the green light, and word finally came on New Year’s Eve that sample crabs had put on enough meat to allow the brave crews to heave their traps overboard and into the hopefully teeming waters. These folks, pursuing a notoriously dangerous payday, can begin hauling in their catch on Friday. (I always enjoy reading Dripster Michele Longo Eder‘s posts on this. She’s from a family of fishermen, and wrote a great book on the subject. Hope its a safe and bountiful season, Michele!).

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The Blazers flipped open the 2019 calendar with a 113-108 OT win at Sacramento. Hey, the Huskies made a game of it against heavy-favorite Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, running off 20 straight points before failing to convert a last- minute onside kick. And somebody at the Sugar Bowl thought it was a nifty idea to have an actual Texas Longhorn do a pregame meet-and-greet with the literal Georgia Bulldog–until the huge steer charged the pudgy pup before cowboys took control. No blood was shed.

Today in history: it was on this day in 1974 that a 55 MPH speed limit was imposed by President Nixon to save gasoline in the face of the OPEC oil embargo. I remember getting pulled over by a Colorado State trooper for doing 60 in my VW Beetle on a rural stretch in Eastern Colorado, and we both felt embarrassed about it.

And on or about January 2, 1920, Isaac Asimov, foundational science fiction writer, arrived on this planet. Which is why today is National Science Fiction Day.

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Good news? Sure! These are stories are linked in the Coffee Cup with the Daily Drip logo (hmm…we should have some actual DD coffee cups made!)

–“On New Year’s Day, NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft went farther than any spacecraft has ever gone before – 4 Billion Miles from Earth.”

–“Good deed, getting lost leads to $200,000 lottery jackpot”

–“This Adorable Newborn Tree Kangaroo Brings Hope to the Species”

–“By age 11, she’d figured out the NBA job of her dreams. The odds against it? ‘Insane.’”

–“On Japan’s Tashirojima Island, cats are king.”

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And that would be the first Daily Drip of 2019. I think we’re in our 7th year! But we’re in our 34th on K103, and we hop back in the saddle at 5 AM, as ever, on 103.3. Janine’s on vacation, so it’s Bruce, me, and our pal Lynn Masterson. It’s a short work week! Nice! Except for folks who normally have M-T-W-T-F to get stuff done, and this week all you have is W-T-F. Good luck!

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!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Morning, all! It’s Thursday, December 20, 2018, and time to pen the penultimate Daily Drip for the year! Today turns breezy, with gusts to 35 MPH in Portland, and there’s a high wind warning for gusts to 65 at the coast. Plus we’ll get a respectable amount of rain, maybe half an inch of it, and highs of 55. Warm for December! The snow level in yonder mountains is a lofty 6500 feet today, but it plummets to 3500 feet tonight and 2000 tomorrow.

News!

Southeast Portland is resting easier now that three suspected armed robbers have been rounded up. But a fourth is believed to have fled somewhere else. A neighborhood east of 205 and north of Foster was in lockdown during the manhunt.

Things were fine in Beaverton schools yesterday, but many students were kept home, as the entire district went into lockout mode on the remote chance that phoned and posted threats from out of town were real.

Here’s a pleasant followup to the big storm the other day: the sewers did not overflow into the Willamette River. The $1.4 billion Big Pipe did its job.

Portland’s expanding streetcar network is getting $1.1 million of encouragement from the Federal Transit Administration. Plans are taking shape to run streetcars to Montgomery Park and the Hollywood District.

There’s a familiar snag in the new bid to build a better I-5 bridge over the Columbia, as Washington Republicans say they are “dismayed” by their governor’s endorsement of light rail as part of the project. But that’s a deal-killer for Oregon, which doesn’t want Clark County’s cars pouring onto Portland streets without a light rail alternative.

Hikers are allowed back on the Angel’s Rest trail for the first time since the 2017 fire in the Columbia Gorge. It’s beautiful but disturbing, with charred remnants everywhere, though the view from the top is still spectacular.

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President Trump seems to have surprised the Pentagon as well as the White House staff by proclaiming that Isis had been “defeated,” and that all US troops were withdrawing from Syria, ceding control of that country to Russia and Iran. But this morning, Trump tweeted, “Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing there work. Time to come home & rebuild. #MAGA.”

The Dow took a 351 point swoon yesterday, after the Fed announced they would raise indeed interest rates by a quarter of a point, despite President Trump’s demand that they not do so. The market is now at a 15-month low.

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“It’s a Wonderful Life” premiered on this day in 1946. It was a real dudley at the box office but now it’s one of the most beloved films of all time. Little known facts:

–It’s based on a story that publishers rejected, so the author sent it to his friends as a Christmas Card.
–When the pharmacist gets angry at young George for not delivering a prescription because it was poison, the actor slapped him–for real. Drew blood.
–The swimming pool that everyone falls into is still in use today, including the sliding gymnasium floor. It’s at Beverly Hills High School. They call it the Swim Gym.
–Donna Reed herself threw the rock that broke out the window on the old house, and she did it on the first try.
–The scene where George rescues his little brother who fell through the ice was a re-write: the original script had them playing ice hockey on a river owned by Mister Potter, who’s glaring at them through the window. George shoots the pick and it breaks Potter’s “No Trespassing” sign, and the bitter old man releases the hounds. The boys flee, and that’s when George’s brother falls through the ice.
–It almost got caught up in the McCarthy-era “Commie” obsession, as the FBI issued a memo declaring that the film “represented obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.”

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Here’s the sweet stuff you can find in the Daily Drip Coffee Cup:

— The story of a truly frequent flyer who had an inspiration for what he can do with all his airline miles since he’s already flown enough, thank you;
— Then a heartwarming, mascara-running followup story on a Dad who danced for his little boy as he fought cancer–this Dad has an entirely new reason to dance.
–There’s the story of a man in a Santa suit who drew gasps and turned heads when he showed up in the children’s’ ward of a DC hospital, trailed by elves who were talking into little radios in their sleeves.
–We have a story of how an Ohio neighborhood proved that Charlie Brown was right when he said that “a little love” is all a pathetic weed needs to become a beautiful Christmas tree.
–And finally, I link to an article that reveals the secrets behind the most incredibly beautiful gingerbread cookies in the world. There are some tricks you can try. Tell you what: save all the regular news for later, pour yourself something freshly ground and warm, and click on the Daily Drip Coffee Cup icon below!

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We’re almost to the shortest day of the year. Tomorrow will be just seven seconds shorter, and then it turns around. Sunrise 7:47 AM, sunset 4:29 PM.

K103’s morning show is doing something special this year: each of us is presenting our own personal Christmas card to the listeners. Bruce’s was yesterday, Janine will go today, and tomorrow is my turn, all at 7:20 AM. You already know what we’re going to do–though I’ll precede it with some words. Maybe a poem. Perhaps a limerick. I better get to work on that!