Thursday, February 8, 2018

A cheery Good Morning to you! It’s Thursday, February 8, 2018. After a peachy spring Northwest day, we’re detouring to light rain, areas of impenetrable fog, and a high in the mid 50’s. The heavens are spooling out almost three minutes more daylight each day, with sunrise at 7:22 AM, and sunset at 5:27 PM. I always wave hello to my homeward-bound neighbors as I truck up and down our hills, and yesterday, when one waved back, her hand popped up from the top of the car. Sunroof open. Spring’s coming!

Gotta ask: have you noticed an unappealing chemically fragrance in the air, especially from Portland southward? Beaverton, Tigard, SW Portland, Tualatin…folks all over have been wincing at what they sniff in the wind. KGW traced it to the Grimms Fuel composting facility off Highway 99W outside Tualatin, on the way to Sherwood. Supposedly no hazard, unless you’re allergic to stuff.

#Timesup for State Sen. Jeff Kruse, is what some Republicans as well as Democrats are saying, after an independent report detailed how he’s taken a hands-on approach to the women in our state Capitol for years. In a move that leaves his southern Oregon constituents without a Senate voice during this legislative session, he’s going to stay away from the Capitol for the next two weeks, until they hold a hearing on his proclivities–which apparently have been no secret for quite some time. He hasn’t explicitly denied his touchy-feely nature, though he maintains it was never sexual (some grab recipients might disagree), and told the investigator, “When you have been doing something for 67 years, it’s not easy to change.”

The White House is down one senior staff member, who resigned (though he’s still there today) after the Washington Post reported that both of his ex-wives say they were treated abusively. This was known internally but not acted on until the public found out because, as Chief of Staff John Kelly explained, “he is a man a true integrity.”

Portland police watchdogs are seizing on a sergeant’s admission that he and other officers sometimes deliberately misrepresent the law in order to get protesters to stop videotaping police activity. The sergeant had told someone at a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline that they could be arrested for filming the cops–when, in fact, they can’t–and that it’s “a common practice” among officers to make that false threat. #Timesup for that one, too.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea will meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s sister in the highest level North-South meeting since 1953. North Korea, by the way, staged its annual huge military parade today, rolling missiles down the streets while thousands of soldiers strutted past the mandatorily assembled citizenry.

Former President George W. Bush says there’s “pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 U.S. election. Speaking to a think tank summit in the United Arab Emirates, Bush added, “It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”

This day in 1996, all of the Northwest was besieged by flood waters. It’s the day Portland Mayor Vera Katz put out a call for citizens to hammer up a plywood extension to the seawall at Waterfront Park. Citizens showed up with tools in hand, and the wall was built on this date in 1996. The river crested the next day, and as Dripster Mary Volm, who was the lead city spokeswoman at the time, remembers: “The Willamette River actually crested at the top of the existing sea wall. As we discovered later, Vera’s plywood wall wouldn’t have been able to withstand the force caused by the river.” Still, it symbolized a unity of civic involvement that one wonders if we could muster today.

A farmer called the police in Scotland because he thought a big cat had invaded his cow barn. Officers ended up in a 45-minute standoff with a stuffed tiger.

A lot of buzz about an interview that Quincy Jones gave to the ezine Vulture, in which one of the greatest record producers of all time said the Beatles were “the worst musicians in the world,” and that somebody who sings and plays just like Jimi Hendrix is none other than Paul Allen, the Blazers/Seahawks/Microsoft guy.

Number one song on this day 40 years ago was “Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees. Which is the recommended beat–100 per minute–for chest compressions during CPR. (Other songs that qualify: “Dancing Queen”…”Cecelia”…”I Will Survive”…and “Another One Bites the Dust.” Oops).

Confession time: I am having major connectivity issues with my home internet. The result is an abbreviated Daily Drip. Maybe not a bad thing. But we can’t leave without a few headlines that might lower the BP!

–“US Postal Service to unveil Mister Rogers stamp next month”

–“China is re-assigning 60,000 troops – to plant trees”

–“Meet Lucas Warren, the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome”

–“Parkinson’s disease symptoms improve with singing, study finds”

–“Doctors on a plane save woman’s life by constructing a makeshift medical ventilator in mid-air”

–“Woman Adopts New Kitten’s Sister After He Cries Nonstop”

Reminder: Dripstock II…April 13. That’s a Friday. 5 PM, I believe. Basically a happy hour social event. Details to come!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Good morning to you! It’s Wednesday, February 7, 2018, and here’s your informational eyeopener ambiguously called the Daily Drip. Portland will see a dripless day, in theory, with sunpops and highs of 55. It’s looking now like we’ll get rain tomorrow night, followed by a harmless freeze on Saturday night, then on with the countdown to Spring! Sunrise 7:23 AM, sunset 5:26 PM.

The heat is on state Sen. Jeff Kruse to resign following an independent investigator’s report that he’s been sexually harassing women state senators and others for years. Kruse told the investigator that he has “no recollection” of the behavior. Both the Governor and the Speaker of the House are calling for Kruse’s departure.

OHSU has “terminated” what it admits is an “archaic transplant policy” that prevented undocumented immigrants from receiving organ transplants. The change came after the ACLU of Oregon revealed that a 46-year-old mother of four was denied a desperately-needed liver transplant. OHSU says it “deeply regrets the pain this has caused the family.” This clears the way, legally, for her to be put on the waiting list, but to my knowledge she has not had the transplant.

Wishing to one-up the French troops tromping down the Champs-Elysees while F16 fighter jets roared overhead last Bastille Day, President Trump has ordered the US military to conduct a grand military parade in Washington, D.C. later this year. Date, cost, all those things…unknown. It might even rival the old Soviet May Day parades, which kept that populace in line for decades.

Didja see the majestic Falcon Heavy launch? Seemed like good old American times! The world’s biggest rocket, built by Space-X, carried a gleaming-red Tesla roadster with a mannequin behind the wheel toward an elliptical orbit between the sun and Mars. And it gracefully and spectacularly landed two rockets that will be reused. There was one failure: its third rocket splashed into the Atlantic at 300 miles per hour.

Rescue workers in Taiwan are racing to save people trapped in collapsed buildings after a mag 6.4 earthquake.

The Dow begins the day at 24,912, after the newly-volatile pendulum swung 500 points in the positive direction yesterday.

A team from the Interior Department had the unenviable assignment of coming to Salem to try to explain the Trump order to drill for oil off the West Coast. A man from Interior said, “we’re here to hear about the environment to make sure we understand areas off the coast that might be impacted.” But, unhelpfully, no public testimony was permitted. So opponents from many walks of Oregon life were left to demonstrate on the Capitol steps with signs that read, “No Drill, No Spill,” “The Oceans are Rising and So are We,” and “Offshore Drilling is Whaley Bad.”

The City of Portland has now begun installed those 20 MPH speed limit signs on neighborhood streets. They’re starting on the eastern city limit (which jags around generally between 175th and 162nd), then working westward.

Saw a bumper sticker while idling on I-5…”You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.”

We don’t know who did it or why, but a man was stabbed on the westbound MAX platform at SW 17th and Morrison outside Providence Park. He’s expected to survive.

New Seasons is doing OK in the Northwest, but the healthy food chain’s aggressive expansion in California isn’t working out as planned. One store there is closing, others on the drawing board are being scrapped, and the CEO is leaving for new pastures.

With Paul Simon tickets now on Amex pre-sale, here’s something new for our rich concert schedule: fresh off its Grammy win, Portland-based Portugal. The Man (that’s the group’s name and punctuation) has scheduled two late-August concerts at McMenamin’s Edgefield. (I’m hoping to hear the Maryhill summer lineup soon. We love that place).

If you’re vacationing in Hawaii, here’s a way you can make the trip home less regretful…Alaska Airlines has put out a call for volunteers flying to Portland or other West Coast cities on non-stop flights from Kauai (of which PDX has four per week), where the local Humane Society takes in too many animals to re-home in the Islands. So they send dogs to mainland shelters. The cost of the flight for each dog flying alone is $400, but if accompanied by a passenger, then the dog’s flight is free. If you’d like a wet-nosed hitchhiker, let Alaska know.

A daycare in the Tri-Cities is accused of waxing the eyebrows of two little kids who had unibrows, prized in many cultures.

The Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show opens today at the Portland Expo Center.

“H/4/H/H (A spoonful of journalistic sugar, to help us stomach everything else):

–“Former Marine saves mother, dog after all 3 fall into freezing pond

–“Sneaky dad leaves money at his daughter’s house every time he visits but he never tells her that he’s done it.”

–“Downtown LA meters will accept donations for the homeless”

–“Blind man who’s scared of dogs is getting a guide horse instead”

–“Game Of Thrones’ Creators Will Write And Produce A New Series Of Star Wars Films”

–“Minister blesses medical center on the spot where she was abandoned as a baby”

–“Man transforms his home into a sanctuary for 300 cats”

–“Fourteenth time the charm? Mother of 13 sons expecting another child”

We’re into a Wednesday. Thank you for reading, and letting Facebook’s algorithms know that this is not a bot. Enjoy our Spring preview. Some people report seeing bees visiting crocuses. I’ll be happy when I see pitchers and catchers–in one week!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Morning has broken! But we’ll try to fix it, on this Tuesday, February 6, 2018, beginning with one word about the weather: spring fever! The sun will part the clouds and shoo away any showers that dare arise, and Portland will see a high of 57. As of today we have ten hours of daylight, more than we’ve seen since the beginning of November, and growing at nearly three minutes a day. Time for our inner bear to un-hibernate.

Sunrise 7:25 AM, sunset 5:24 PM.

Nobody knows if it’s a sharp little blip or the start of something big and bad, but the stock market has been slaloming downward for days, now, and the last two have been special: the Dow bellyflopped over a thousand points yesterday, on top of Friday’s beastly loss of 666, utterly wiping out the year’s gains.  There are so many factors behind this, but I think a lot of people have been secretly expecting it. We have not yet heard the president taking ownership of the market’s descent, as he did its ascent. (Radio Daddio’s approach: don’t panic, play the long game, keep your powder dry and grab some bargains when your gut says the time is right).

Even as yesterday’s hideous stock numbers were scrolling at the bottom of the TV screen, President Trump gave a speech at an Ohio factory where he said it was “un-American” and “treasonous” not to applaud him during the State of the Union. (Which brings to mind a passage from the Gulag Archipelago by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, for those who’ve read that chilling history). The White House this morning said Trump was speaking with “tongue in cheek.”

Governor Kate Brown’s State of the State address focused on plugging a hole in Oregon’s preparation of young people for jobs in the modern economy. Businesses have to reach out of state to fill one of every four jobs in the tech sector, and it’s almost as bad in manufacturing. The jobs are there, but enough candidates aren’t, and to remedy that, Brown proposes a 300 million dollar program of hands-on career education titled “Future Ready Oregon.” Some lawmakers I’ve heard interviewed were concerned that she didn’t seem to get behind a carbon tax on big polluters, or make a priority of fixing the overburdened and underperforming foster care system.

Hood River County is considering a 2% sales tax to cover a budget shortfall.

Two women were swept away by strong waves while digging for clams, miles apart, on the south Washington coast.

Olympic hopeful Jackie Wiles has flown back to Portland after a leg injury in a crash ended her chances of participating in this year’s Winter Games.

Good work by an inmate work crew, which cleared two tons of trash from a homeless camp near Sunnybrook Road in Clackamas County. The before-and-after photos are quite stunning.

Teachers and students showed up at Westview High School Monday morning to find that somebody broke into several portable classrooms and stole almost 40 iPads and a couple of projectors. The joke is on the thief: the iPads had security software, and have been remotely disabled.

I see on Flickr that they’ve done the first major concrete pour for the new gym at Grant High School.

It was during NBA all-star weekend 30 years ago today that Michael Jordan leaped from the foul line, 15 feet from the basket, and seemed to float through the air as he slammed in the dunk that gave rise to the nickname “Air Jordan.”

The news broke during yesterday’s morning show that Paul Simon is doing one last tour and then hanging it up, except for an occasional appearance to benefit the environment. His “Homeward Bound-the Farewell Tour” will bring him to Portland on May 19.

It was on this day in 1996 that an atmospheric river from tropical headwaters began dumping humongous amounts of rain on the Northwest–on top of the saturated soil. Worse, the warm precipitation caused an unusually deep low-elevation mountain snowpack to melt and fill the rivers. Flood warnings were issued. There was much more to come in the days ahead.

Actor John Mahoney has passed away. He was the kindly-faced, kind of cranky retired smart-alec cop father on “Frazier.”

It’s the birthday of Babe Ruth, Bob Marley…and Ronald Reagan, who once said these words: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Lovely Beaverton is celebrating is 125th birthday this week. They’ll have cake at the city council meeting today, so let’s all come for a slice! Actual birthday is Saturday. Its native name, Chakeipi, meant Place of the Beavers in the language of the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya Indians, who settled there 10,000 years ago, and immediately noticed that 217 isn’t wide enough.

It was on this day in 1971 that Alan Shepard became the first man to hit a golf ball on the airless, low-gravity Moon. Physicists estimate that it traveled 2.5 miles, and stayed in the air for 70 seconds.

H(4A)2H!

–“In-N-Out is scouting locations in Salem”

–“A 13-year-old boy with cancer donates the money supplied to him from the Make-a-Wish foundation to children in Haiti”

–“Animals are using Colorado’s wildlife crossings, reducing collisions”

–“Puerto Rican couple gifted new car after relocating to Wichita”

–“West Virginia basketball fans step up and finish the National Anthem when the singer’s mic fails”

–“Republican And Democratic Legislators Team Up For Net Neutrality In Washington State”

–“Children patients drive in mini Teslas to operating room. This reduces stress and might improve recovery. Hospital is expanding to twelve mini cars”

–“Man in wheelchair on journey to shake hands with someone in every state”

–“The Flat Earth Society has members all around the globe.”

The day is young, but that’s what’s up so far. Thank you for reading, and for feeding the Facebook algorithms with likes (or frownies. It’s OK). ! We’ll tame this beast yet!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Greetings to you, and welcome to a Monday, February 5, 2018! We’ll have a pencil-drawn sky today, with a cloud cover in shades of gray, and highs of 57. There might be some light rain in there, though most pushes north of Portland. The week will try to dry out, and at times it will succeed. Sunrise 7:26 AM, sunset 5:23 PM.

Here’s a high five to those who are going to work today; 14 million Americans won’t, stuffed as they are with Doritos and Bud Light. Super Bowl Sunday is as close to an American holiday as a non-holiday can be–we observed it with a house full of loved ones–and maybe it’s time to move Presidents Day to the first Monday in February, so we can all party into the night and not be expected to perform surgery, or whatever our job is, the next morning!

The game was close, entertaining, the New England Patriots finally lost, and the underdog won. That adds up to a great Super Bowl. High point for the crowd in our living room was the slick trick play where the Philly QB stepped aside while the running back took the snap in the shotgun, handed it off to the tight end, who lobbed a touchdown pass to the quarterback. People will be talking about that play all week. The halftime show was slick as satin, Justin Timberlake dancing his way through 12 perfect songs in 14 minutes, no surprises, no Janet Jackson, no former NSYNC bandmates, and even the rumor of a Prince hologram turned out to be false. But the image projected on a shimmer bed sheet was cool. And maybe it was just us, but the sound didn’t pop the way a Super Bowl halftime show should. But it looked astonishing and was worth every penny we paid for it at home. The commercials? Saw hardly a one. They were outranked by family time. So I’d love to hear everyone’s take on them, or really anything about the game, so I might steal it and sound smart on the radio!

By the way, Pink says that wasn’t gum she spit out just before praiseworthily singing the National Anthem while battling the flu. It was a throat lozenge.

CNN says one of its employees found sensitive Department of Homeland Security reports about protecting the Super Bowl from terrorism in the seat-back pocket on an airline flight.

It’s Day One of this year’s short Oregon legislative session, and they’ll cram a whole lot into a five-week span. Democrats will try to pass a pollution tax on big emitters like power companies with proceeds going to carbon-reduction projects. Governor Brown is hoping they’ll pass a gun law, requiring cops to follow up when a gun buyer fails a background check. They may toss a couple of hot potatoes to the ballot for voters to decide: putting the right to health care into the Oregon Constitution, and joining the push to elect the president by popular vote. And they have to decide what to do about Sen. Jeff Kruze, who’s accused of pawing female colleagues and smoking in his office, which no longer has a door on it. Perhaps for both reasons.

Along with a bellyful of Super Bowl nachos, people have been digesting the Nunes memo, the Republican take on the Russia investigation that talk radio promised would reveal a scandal worse than Watergate. Democrats from the same House Intelligence Committee have their own version, which they say contains facts and context omitted from the other one, and there may be a vote today on releasing that too.

It took an all-night mission by a crack rescue team, but a 21-year old Beaverton man was airlifted safely to Salem Hospital after falling at Henline Falls, an hour’s drive east of Salem. That’s a beautiful and intriguing place, near the mouth of the abandoned Silver King Mine, and the hiker–even though his Facebook page shows him flexing a six-pack—was climbing up a slope that was way beyond his capabilities to get a better view when he fell.

This is the week the curtain goes up on the Clint Eastwood-directed “The 1517 to Paris” which recounts events of 2015 when three Americans launched themselves at a terrorist on a high-speed train. One of them is former Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos; he and the two others play themselves in the film.

Happy birthday to Portland novelist Chelsea Cain. A TV series based on her female-hero thriller “One Kick” is now airing in France, and it’s apparently a smash–with the premiere episode pulling a 24% audience share. Chelsea says the book “started out in my head, in a bubblebath, in Portland, Oregon.”

A hunter in Maryland was knocked out cold when a goose was shot out of the sky by a fellow hunter and came down on his head.

Minnesota Jaycees are investigating possible cheating at their annual ice fishing tournament. They think the winner and his dad, who took third, might have smuggled in a couple of big live fish in a cooler.

The weather summary for Portland on this date in 1996 called for a Pineapple Express to arrive the next day, and deliver a massive rainfall. Flooding was predicted. Which was a vast understatement, as we’ll recall as the next few days go by.

OK then!

–“108-year-old Canadian man says the trick to a long life is to pick a good wife.” (His passed seven years ago after 72 years of marriage).

–“A young woman decided to help rehome an 11 year old dog that reminded her of a puppy she had to give up when she was a kid. It turned out it was the same dog, and the microchip proved it.”

–“First class of women welders graduates from Indiana prison program” (Rosie the non-recidivist riveter!)

–“Ohio Appeals Court Says Speed Trap Town Must Pay Back $3 Million In Unconstitutional Speed Camera Tickets” (wonder if Coburg, Oregon is nervous. For years, until they cleaned up their act, their I-5 speed traps supplied half the town’s budget).

–“Teenager delivers hundreds of solar lamps to Puerto Ricans living without power”

–“Netherlands prisons are so empty they’re being turned into homes for refugees”

–“Sprawling Maya cities uncovered by lasers” (included elevated highways, palaces, and a population ten million greater than previous estimates, all covered up for centuries by the Guatamalan jungle. Find the story in National Geographic).

–“People are spending 50 million fewer hours on Facebook a day” Including, it seems, the Daily Drip; a couple of days this past week, we fell short of 500 reactions for the first time in months. That’s all about algorithms. I think it helps if you click “like,” but I’m not sure. Either way is OK. We’re happy to have lots of readers, but the point is community, not tonnage.

Cheers. Let’s have a fun Monday!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Here we come a-Dripping into a Friday, February 2, 2018! Happy St. Groundhogs’s Day. I’m sure we’ll have the writ from the holy rat by the time you read this, and I’ll post it when I have a moment. Anyway. Portland’s temperatures continue to exceed winter expectations, with highs of at least 50, and we’ll get the occasional light rinsing for the next few days, but hope is springing up for sunny and 60 degree weather by the middle of next week. Sunrise 7:30 AM–our next 7:30 AM sunrise is in October–and sunset’s at 5:19 PM.

It’s Wear Red Day, and we do so in awareness of the health of our hearts. Women, in particular, but really, anyone who has a heart needs to take care of it, so it takes care of you.

So let’s check the news ticker…

…and deal with this first: today may be the day we read the four-page report by staffers of the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee using classified information to accuse the FBI of an anti-Trump bias in the Russia investigation. Ardently-Trumpist talk show hosts are hyping it as worse than Watergate and assert it could send people to jail. The other side says it’s a flagrant attempt to obstruct the Mueller probe as it closes in. The FBI itself, bucking the prez, says the memo leaves out critical information and crucial context, and the intelligence community is outraged by politicians disseminating classified information that will put sources and methods at risk.

All 955 gold miners who were trapped underground for more than a day in South Africa because of a power outage were hoisted to the surface today unharmed.

Portland police officers, many of them assigned to the Gang Enforcement Team, have seized 17 guns in the last two weeks, as part of Operation Safe Winter. Which it hasn’t been; five lives have been lost to gun violence in Portland so far this year.

The shooting of two students by a 12-year old girl at a school in Los Angeles is now said to be accidental. Police believe she brought the weapon to school but it discharged unintentionally when she reached for her backpack. Authorities don’t know how she got the gun or why she brought it to school.

Two toddlers escaped from the Kiddie Academy daycare in Vancouver and were saved from running into a busy street by two separate parents who spotted them in the parking lot.

A bicyclist was hit and killed by a freight train in Canby.

Artist Sarah Farahat has been chosen to create a mural at the Hollywood Transit Center to memorialize the heroes of last year’s white supremacist MAX attack.

Portlanders who live in the high-rise condos on the South Waterfront are being kept awake by a white light beaming brightly from atop the Tilikum Crossing. Turns out that the FAA-required red Aircraft Avoidance Beacon is malfunctioning, and has reverted to a flashing white safety mode. It’ll be repaired as soon as parts arrive, and until they do, TriMet says it’s sorry about that.

The Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia Gorge was started five months ago today.

Katy Perry–one of the top recording artists on the planet–is at the Moda Center tonight. The crowd is in for a night of pyrotechnics, choreography, and radio hit after radio hit. I’ve seen the set list for this tour. She opens with Witness; Dark Horse is third, Teenage Dream is fifth, California Gurls is seventh, Roar doesn’t come until the end, at #18, and then for the encore, it’s Firework. And that will literally be true.

Super Bowl weekend. Kickoff at 3:30 PM Sunday. New England vs. Philadelphia, in case you’ve forgotten. Anybody care enough to pick? Justin Timberlake headlines the halftime show, his third time, more than anyone else. (Katy Perry’s done it once).

Free admission to the Oregon Zoo tomorrow! (The zoo has a pygmy hedgehog to who will be deployed at 10 AM to make his weather prediction today).

Groundhog Day. We’re standing by breathlessly for the update from Punxatawney. The movie, by the way, wasn’t filmed in Punxatawney, PA, a borough of 6,000 an hour’s drive outside Pittsburgh. The town where Bill Murray lived a single day over and over until he got it right is Woodstock, Illinois, near the Wisconsin state line, where there are plaques at all of the key locations, that visitors can see on a walking tour.

HHH etc:

–“Cancer ‘vaccine’ eliminates tumors in mice – 90 of 90 mice cured of cancers with lymphoma, similar results observed in colon, breast, and melanoma cancers.”

–“Cat-detecting K9 locates passenger’s missing “Mr. Kitty” at Sea-Tac in just five minutes-wedged under a rock in a water feature.”

–“Dispatcher and Police Help NJ Mom After She Calls 911 to Report She Has No Food for Kids.” (The first call-taker said, sorry this is not a 911 problem. But another dispatcher overheard, and took action)

–“Anonymous NFL player donates bone marrow to Kansas City man”

–“Firefighters Save 14 Dogs, Puppies From Burning Detroit Home”

We have a rich and fun weekend planned, dinners out with dear friends on two successive nights; then, we hope, some Super Bowl background entertainment in a house full of people who could not possibly care less who wins. Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Good morning to you! This is Thursday, February 1, 2018; January’s in the recycle bin, and we’re grateful that its weather was much kinder to us than the January before. Now we’re in the month that starts us warming up for Spring, and foreshadows it in so many ways, with preparatory tasks in the garden and the commencement of Spring Training, now just thirteen days away. Let’s not be blind to February’s meteorological capabilities; you might remember a deep winter snow on Lincoln’s Birthday in 1995. But today looks like rain in Portland and highs of 45, and on Accuweather’s long-range charts, there’s nothing even resembling freezing weather from here on out. Not here. But the Midwest and East are in for six more weeks of winter weather, so we won’t need that groundhog tomorrow to tell us so. By the way…Sunrise 7:31 AM, sunset 5:17 PM.

Factoid tweeted by NWSPortland: The Portland airport recorded 18 days this Jan with a max temp of 50 or more. Last year, the 18th such day didn’t occur until Mar 9.

For all the confetti being thrown around about the economy, we’re taking some punches on the local front:

–The Camas paper mill, owned by Georgia Pacific–a Koch Bros. subsidiary–will stop making paper for printer and copiers, eliminating 243 good paying jobs (industry average $77,000) in May. The paper towel operation will keep rolling. We’re not printing many documents these days, but we certainly spill stuff.

–Nordstrom is closing its store at Salem Center Mall. A shame, we think…as we place another order on Amazon.

–Just when we need more real journalism, and real journalists digging around and asking nosy questions and filing FOIA requests, The Oregonian has lopped eleven more newsroom staff members from its already frail payroll. (There was a Rialto bar tab fund created for the eleven on Pay Pal last night. It raised $2,264.)

About a hundred Republican members of Congress were aboard a specially-chartered Amtrak train on their way to a retreat in West Virginia when the engine plowed into a garbage truck, killing the driver. Nobody on the train was hurt. About a dozen of these congressmen are doctors and other medical professionals, and they rushed off the train to assist the injured. Also aboard was Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, and he took photos. Greg was a radio guy in the Gorge, back in his pre-political days; he and I traded reports for each others’ morning newscasts quite often. “Greg Walden, K103 News, Hood River.”

A deeply critical audit of Oregon’s child welfare system was released by the Secretary of State’s office. Overwhelming caseloads, broken promises, computer snafus, a persistent lack of foster homes, staff shortages…all combining to fail an endless number of children.

Somebody may be poisoning crows in Portland. Dead and dying crows have been found on the ground near MLK and Jessup, and also in downtown Portland. This time of year crows have a daunting presence; the Audubon Society of Portland says thousands congregate and roost in one spot, to keep warm and “share information about food sources.” They are extremely smart. Crows are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and killing them is a crime.

The TriMet Board today will announce the winning concept and design team for the Hollywood Transit Tribute Wall, in honor of the brave heroes who stood up to that hatemonger last year.

The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on reentry fifteen years ago today.

Today begins the Portland Winter Light Festival. Modeled after light festivals in other high-latitude cities around the world, where winter nights are long, this festival is an annual gift from the Willamette Light Brigade and Portland General Electric to “brighten up the skyline” with “displays of light, color, and imagination.” Unusual and creative installations of light will erupt over the next several days on bridges and many other public places, and you can learn more at PDXWLF dot com.

CJ McCollum was red hot and rolling last night, scoring a team-record 28 in the first quarter, on the way to 50 points in the Blazers’ win over Chicago. His 92-year old aunt was in the stands, seeing her first game in Portland.

Monopoly is releasing a special edition specifically for cheaters who steal an extra hundred when they pass GO, skip spaces, move others’ tokens, avoid rent, and sneak hotels onto properties.

The Drive-by Truckers are at the Roseland Theater tonight.

H4aHH!

–“Elephant victory: Hong Kong, considered the world’s largest ivory market, has voted to ban the ivory trade.”

–“Puppy Bowl stars dogs rescued from disaster-ravaged regions”

–“Anonymous NFL player donates bone marrow to local man”

–“‘Pen pals for life:’ Newfoundland girl’s message in a bottle discovered in England”

–“Therapy Dog Stuck In Traffic Jam Helps A Man Who Desperately Needed A Hug”

–“Amateur astronomer finds a long-lost NASA satellite–still orbiting, and still functioning.”

Ancient Wisdom for the day…

–“Do not pass by someone in need, for you may be the hand of God to them.” – Proverbs 3:27

OK! February! Hit reset, and go!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hello, earth person! It’s Wednesday, January 31, 2018, the last day of the month, and before we get to terrestrial matters, let’s cast our gaze Moonward, and see if the clouds might part enough to allow a glimpse of the lunar triumvirate that druids and space nerds alike have circled on the calendar.  (Update: big ol’ cloud bank rolled over Portland at 3 AM, and we say nothing. Cue the sound fx: sad trombone).

Otherwise…Portland’s weather today involves lingering showers tapering off, and highs of 45. Sunrise 7:32 AM, sunset 5:16 PM.

As the moon rose, fated for its eclipse, President Trump gave the third-longest State of the Union address in history. The night began on perhaps a Freudian note as Speaker Paul Ryan muffed the intro and started to say “preventing” instead of “presenting” the president. For the next hour and twenty minutes, and with less belligerence than we’ve seen, Trump confidently animated the script on the Teleprompter, making claims–some of which stand up to fact-checking and some do not–with his characteristic elevated chin, hand chops, and elastic face. He proclaimed a complete turnaround from the dark “American carnage” of his inaugural address, to the point where “Over the last year, we’ve made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success” and “This, in fact, is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.”

He proposed “putting aside our differences.” Leadership requires that a leader make the first move; future tweets will tell the story there. The point that many were waiting for came late in the speech, as he addressed the coming DACA deadline that imperils a million or more young people, mostly of Latino descent. He proposed what he called a down-the-middle deal: A 12-year path to citizenship for 1.8 million people. In exchange for the Great Wall. And substantial cuts in legal immigration.

People are taking note of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley’s point-by-point Twittering during the speech. A headline on OregonLive last night read, “Jeff Merkley is definitely running for president in 2020. Just read his State of the Union tweets.” Ron Wyden stood and applauded when Trump said, ‘So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.” But Wyden also tweeted–though I didn’t see a phone in the hand of either Oregon senator, so it was probably staff–“Wells Fargo was handed a $3.35 billion windfall from the tax bill – and then decided to close 800 bank branches.”

Rep Joseph Kennedy, the 37-year old grandson of RFK, delivered the Democratic response. Strong national debut for someone with potential. Seemed to use no teleprompter. Spoke Spanish to Dreamers (who, it occurred to me, speak English, which is the point). A sound bite I’m pulling: “bullies may land a punch” and leave a mark but have “never managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.”

OK, enough SOTU.

Local news:

Firefighters in Lebanon rescued and revived a dog trapped in a house fire.

A man with a knife jumped over a counter and robbed a bank in Scappoose. He’s wanted for robbing four other banks in the same manner since October. The FBI is calling him the “Froggy Robber,” for his counter-hopping habits.

Crews have hauled out a leaky old boiler oil tank from beneath a dilapidated cannery pier in Astoria, the apparent source of a spill that’s created a colorful sheen on the Columbia River for the past week.

It’s the second day of no school at Hilda Lahti elementary in Knappa, in NW Oregon’s Clatsop County. Half the students and staff have the flu, and custodians are giving the place a deep cleaning.

Portland commuters were plenty steamed as a freight train blocked traffic on the surface streets near OMSI yesterday morning for 40 minutes, according to one person who called the Federal Railroad Administration to complain. Not much they can do.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to hurry up the restoration of the trails near Multnomah Falls that were so badly damaged in that needless wildfire last year.

The TSA found almost 4,000 guns at security checkpoints last year. They didn’t release data on all airports so I don’t know how many were caught at PDX, but it’s not in the top ten. Sea-Tac, however, was #10, with 75 guns seized–60 of them loaded. Number one was Atlanta with 245, and all but a 20 or so were loaded.

Tonight is the kickoff party for this year’s Cycle Oregon, including the announcement of “an all-new adventure” to be scheduled in October.

Baby-boomer nostalgia was all the rage thirty years ago today as the winsome “Wonder Years” which debuted on CBS.

Future Meier and Frank necktie salesman Clark Gable was born this day in 1901.

Jackie Robinson, first African-American in major league baseball, was born 99 years ago today. And Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks was born on this day in 1931. The other day I came across a remembrance I wrote the day Ernie passed away:

–“Aw, the radio came on and said this morning that Ernie Banks had died. And now people with Chicago roots including me are walking with our shoulders a little slumped today, because Ernie was such a joy in that gritty city. When I was a little guy my Grandma would lead me by the hand onto the Clark Street bus to Waveland Avenue where she’d pay two bucks at the turnstile and we’d walk into the shocking green of Wrigley Field and experience for ourselves what we saw so often on WGN-TV, the Cubs playing hard and usually losing on that beautiful field. But Ernie Banks was exceptional, so fluent and feline at shortstop, and when he was at the plate, every pitch was a Christmas present waiting to be opened. Anything good could happen. He had a liquid grace to his swing, and he could send the ball a long, long way. I remember when I was nine sitting in the first base stands when #14 came up with the bases loaded, and seeing Ernie sweep his bat at a pitch–a sharp crack reaching my ears an instant later–and watching the ball sail like an elegant arrow, leaving the ground behind, leaving the whole ballpark behind, vanishing into the neighborhood beyond right field. I had to stand on my seat to see him circle the bases, and could barely hear myself screaming his name. Years later, there was an old-timers game at Civic Stadium in Portland, and I was outside the locker room behind first base with my media pass and there stood Ernie Banks himself, wearing a Cubs uniform and relaxing by a shiny vintage car. I told him about my Grandma and standing on the seat screaming his name when he hit that grand slam, and he was so friendly and positive; he grinned and beamed and said: “You know, I made that baseball disappear 512 times!” Anyway, Ernie Banks was 83 when he died, still a fixture and a treasure in Chicago and in my memory.”

And now.. headlines I’ve scooped up from the net, so you can fill in details from your imagination…

–“Minnesota Man Gives Super Bowl Tickets To Young Eagles Fan Who Beat Cancer”

–“A Baltimore elementary school replaced detention as punishment for misbehaving students with meditation, mindfulness and yoga, resulting in an improved school environment and reduction of office referrals.” (Talk about being om-schooled!)

–“Norway men’s national soccer team takes wage cut so players paid same as women’s side”

–“Southwest Airlines donates flight to rescue dogs and cats from Puerto Rico”

–“Fred Meyer store in Richland, WA donates all safe and usable products to food banks and shelters after arson”

–“Veteran Named ‘Smiley’ Is Gifted With $60,000 Dental Implants By Generous Dentist”

That’s what drips from the gutters and eves of the news. We’ll hit reset and start fresh with a new month tomorrow. Meantime, I’m heading into the radio shop early, to get some newswriting done so I have a chance to check out the eclipse! Hope you can see it and maybe grab a good photo…post ’em if you’ve got ’em!