Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hello there, Dripsters, visitors, and those who’ve found the secret beta site! It’s Tuesday, October 10, 2017. You can tell it’s fall when you turn the porch light on for the kids coming home from practice. The weather is taking a bend toward the dark times as well, with rain arriving around lunch, maybe, and highs of 60. We didn’t get anywhere close to 70 yesterday, as they were promising on TV. Just 66. Soon that will seem the epitome of balm. We’ll get snow on the passes tomorrow. Sunrise 7:20 AM, sunset 6:33 PM

Some findings from KGW’s excellent “Tent City USA” investigative report, and props to The Ocho for doing the work: A near-unanimous majority of people living in tents–89%, in fact–say that if they had a choice between a tent and a shelter, a tent is where they want to be. And: most of the tent people are not new to Portland, as we imagine. And: tent-dwelling is a fairly new phenomenon: 37% of the 100 campers who filled out KGW’s questionnaire had been sheltering that way for a year or less. Seems like Mayor Charlie Hales’ tent amnesty backfired. Also, and this breaks my heart, a lot of the campers are mature adults whose grown kids have no idea that’s how they’re living.

Out of the blue we learn that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will drop into McMinnville High School on Wednesday. She’s not coming to give a speech, but is here specifically to check out the school’s Engineering and Aerospace Science Academy. McMinnville HS Principal Tony Vicknair, as a professional public educator, owns up to mixed feelings, and protests are quickly organizing, but Vicknair made this point on the school’s Facebook page: When our students walk across the stage, they must be able to have a civil discussion with those they disagree with, “honor and evaluate multiple perspectives,” and in the end, let “evidence and logic” rule the day. Keep an open mind. Let it all hang out.

The Diablo winds are blowing an apocalyptic firestorm across hundreds of thousands of acres in the California wine country. So far ten people have been killed and 100 injured, but we’re finding out that in these suddenly frequent extreme events, early numbers are unreliable. Thousands of homes and commercial buildings are gone. A large chunk of Santa Rosa is evacuated, and the fire’s hit the Hilton, the Trader Joes, the Luther Bank concert hall. The town of Redwood Valley was caught off-guard, with no time to evacuate; the number of people trapped in their homes is unknown. Hundreds of people in the wine country are in hospitals with burns and smoke inhalation. Some hospitals have been evacuated, with patients being rolled out on gurneys against a hellish background of smoke and flame. Explosions are heard few five minutes; those are gas lines blowing up. Sometimes ammunition. The fate of the animals in a small zoo is unknown. Employees at hilltop wineries were plucked from the vineyards by helicopter. Cannabis growers will see their crop go up in smoke.

San Francisco, in the meantime, is checking the same EPA air quality web site that you and I consulted during the worst of the fire in the Columbia Gorge. It’s ranged from yellow to purple; moderate to very unhealthy. And Bay Area folks, as we did a month ago, are waking up to find ash on their cars.

To the south, the Santa Ana’s are whipping wildfires in the Anaheim Hills as well, casting the southern California skies an ominous orange.

The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt from the oil-and-gas state of Oklahoma, and a nonbeliever in the science of climate change, today will nullify the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which imposed strict limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pruitt says “The war on coal is over.”

Meantime, from the Trump twitter account this morning: “Since Congress can’t get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people – FAST.”

Late yesterday the Attorney General of Washington filed suit against the administration’s rollback of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance plans cover birth control. The Trump travel ban hits the Supreme Court today. Oregon and Washington are among the states hoping to shoot it down.

Portland’s pristinish Bull Run water just had another sample test positive for Cryptosporidium. Until early this year, we’d gone years without a trace. The microorganism can cause disease, which is why the city is planning to spend half a billion for a filtration plant. The Water Bureau is confident that Bull Run water is safe to drink, but if someone in the family has a badly compromised immune system, they really should check with the doc.

Vancouver police are initiating a crackdown on the common practice of licensing cars in Oregon, because it’s cheaper. They say that as many as one in ten do it. The strategy begins with volunteers patrolling neighborhoods and planting helpful leaflets on windshields of cars with suspicious tags–and subsequent followup by the PD.

A wrong-way collision on I-5 near Salmon Creek took a life last night.

A dump truck, rumbling the streets of Cornelius with the bed sticking up in the air, took out five utility poles.

What kind of a college football program parts ways with a coach before the World Series even begins? One that’s hit bottom; it can only get better for Oregon State.

American Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk was born 100 years ago today. Highly original and hugely influential talent (idolized by John Coltrane, for one) with weird gifts–like playing different dynamics with each finger–forte with one, pianissimo with another; and he’d intentionally drop notes out of chords, like the third and the fifth from a major seventh…so what remained was a chord that sounded dissonant and yet exactly right at the same time. That, plus his strange behavior, like getting up from the piano and dancing in the middle of a song, or wandering away altogether, were chalked up to drugs; but not the illegal kind. Biographers learned they were medications crudely prescribed for a condition not yet understood–probably bipolarism.

Today is Leif Erikson Day, commemorating the Norse explorer’s landing on the northern tip of Newfoundland in about 1000 AD, perhaps the first European to arrive in the New World, though some other guys who were blown off course may have beaten him to the punch, or mead, in their case. Whatever those guys did over here didn’t stick the way Columbus did. There is a statue of Erikson in Reykjavik. There’s another Erickson who’s similarly motionless right now, but I’d better get it in gear and roll into the radio station for another morning’s merriment on the mighty 103, with half an eye on what’s happening right here on the DD!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Good morning, and happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day! We’re grinding up the Daily Drip for a Monday, October 9, 2017. Portland’s weather is sparkling, with abundant autumn sun and a high of 68. Sunrise 7:19 AM, sunset 6:35 PM. It had the feel of a deepening fall last evening when the creamy orange peak of Mt. Hood quickly turned dark silver, and my hand felt numb around my IPA.

The sun’s coming up on a quieter downtown Portland than we saw yesterday, where the day began with the running of a thankfully screwup-free Portland Marathon, and ended with a small but clamorous rematch of the Patriot Prayer and Antifa crowds, with their dueling noisemakers, bullhorns, and most of all, throats. One man was arrested for toting a gun on Federal property; he was in the news last summer for defending the alleged MAX knifer. As for the Marathon, everyone seemed pleased with the out-and-back course, nobody was accidentally channeled running into an extra half-mile like last year, and there were porta-potties aplenty.

Wearing the horns of chagrin today are a dozen or so members of the Clackamas County Sheriffs Department who grinned and preened in a midnight nude calendar shoot inside the county courthouse as a very special gift for a retiring deputy. These guys, and they’re all guys, are sprawled around posing in provocative ways, with their naughty bits concealed except for the occasional moon. The sheriff is taking this all “very seriously,” in contrast to the rest of the world, which will laugh up its sleeve as this story spreads.

Portland’s KGW-TV is pre-empting its 6 PM news hour today for an investigative documentary on homelessness with a title that’s stung City Hall. “Tent City USA” reports that a third of the city’s population would consider leaving town because of the ubiquitous proliferation of unhoused people. Seeing this coming, Mayor Ted Wheeler called a news conference Friday seeking to refute the show’s title, amid the perception that no progress is being made. It’s not just a Portland problem, he pointed out. Nevertheless, it is a Portland problem, and it’ll be interesting to see what KGW shows us.

Columbus Day is celebrated in many cities, today, although not in Portland, which recognizes today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in honor of those who were swept from the path of Columbus and those who followed. It’s not a day off for most of us, and the meters do require feeding. But you’ll get an echo if you shout into your mailbox today.

President Trump laid down his conditions for protecting the 800,000 DACA people who were brought illegally to the US by their parents. Chief among them is The Wall. Trump also tweeted congratulations to himself for the recovery work in Puerto Rico…”Nobody could have done what I’ve done for Puerto Rico with so little appreciation. So much work!” And he engaged in a twitter war with Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who uncorked right back, saying that the White House “has become an adult daycare, and somebody missed their shift.”

VP Mike Pence racked up a lot of miles over the weekend, flying to Las Vegas to honor first responders, then flying to Indianapolis to walk out of the Colts/49ers game after some San Francisco players took a knee during the National Anthem, then flying to Los Angeles. That was the lead story on the BBC last night.

The Dove soap company has apologized and yanked an ad which showed an African-American woman pulling off her brown shirt…and revealing a white-shirted red head underneath, as though that’s what soap does.

Harvey Weinstein, recently exposed as a serial sexual harasser, been fired by the Weinstein Company.

John Lennon was born October 9, 1940; his and Yoko’s son Sean arrived on his Dad’s 35th birthday. Lennon always said that 9 was his lucky number.

Dentists say they’re seeing a rise in the number of chipped teeth and other problems associated with munching on popcorn–which people are choosing as a healthy alternative to fried chips and such.

The highest of high fives to the Portland Thorns, who will play North Carolina this Saturday for the championship of the National Women’s Soccer League. The Thorns, and I love that name, are the sister franchise to the Portland Timbers. Rip City is representing!

Seahawks win…Blazers win…Yankees and Red Sox stay alive in the playoffs…Tigard stunned West Linn with a shutout in HS football…

It is my duty to report that this year’s Golden Spurtle, at the World Porridge Championship in Scotland, was won by a Swedish woman, dethroning Bob Moore, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill in Clackamas, where the porridge is nonetheless very fine indeed.

President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this date in 2009. He accepted it, saying he hoped someday to deserve it. I hope we all deserve it, through our thoughts and deeds, but for right now, let there be coffee on earth. Let it begin with me.

Friday, October 6, 2017

It’s Friday, do you feel it? Welcome to October 6, 2017. Weather’s taking a turn, but wasn’t that a spectacular evening to gaze skyward? The Harvest Moon popping up orange with the International Space Station zipping by….anyway, today’s fine, sunny, and 70, and then weekend showers show up around midnight. Sunrise 7:15 AM….sunset 6:40 PM.

Fall harvest is underway at the Willamette Valley’s hundreds of vineyards. The growing season got a late start because of spring rains. What I didn’t know until I talked to the winemaker at Duck Pond: many of the growers do their harvesting at night. And they’ve had lots of moonlight all week!

Well dang…¬°Oba! Restaurante has suddenly shut down. It had been a mainstay in the Pearl for two decades, though we haven’t been there since I got in a beef with a guy over a parking spot. The owner abruptly clammed up his Beaverton seafood spot, Hall Street Bar and Grill, earlier this year.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a Geneva-based coalition of non-government organizations around the world.

President Trump made an odd comment to the press pool covering a White House photo shoot with military commanders and their spouses. Said he, “It’s the calm before the storm.” Meaning? “You’ll find out.”

Elon Musk is offering to have Tesla rebuild the Puerto Rico power grid.

PTSD is a terrible thing…a 35-year old vet at JBLM near Tacoma threatened to commit a Las Vegas-style killing, tried to ram the MP’s who chased him, then sped south on I-5 up to 100 MPH swerving around bumping cars and trucks, and ended up wiping out up against the BNSF tracks just south of Kalama in Cowlitz County. No serious injuries in any of this, amazingly. He’s locked up in jail.

A Multnomah County Health Department employee found a sticker in a break room advocating violence against Muslims. The county government is dealing with multiple instances of racism in the ranks, and its leaders have vowed to change the culture.

The NRA has made the rare move of agreeing to a gun control measure–a clampdown on those conversion kits that make machine guns out of semiautomatic weapons.

Gun-rights people are steamed after their failure to collect enough signatures to force a repeal vote on a new Oregon gun law, which allows a court to deny a gun to anyone deemed at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. They say Governor Brown waited until the last possible minute to sign the bill, depriving them of enough time to round up signatures by the deadline.

Harvey Weinstein was one of Hollywood’s biggest moguls, producing armloads of Oscar-winners like The English Patient, Chicago, The Lord of the Rings, Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, and on and on. But now he’s been exposed as a decades-long sexual harasser and creator of a toxic work environment at Miramax and other companies that have paid out settlements for his creepy behavior eight times over the years. He’s apologized and says he’ll take a sabbatical and work with a therapist. And sue the New York Times for doing the story.

Local media in New Hampshire report that a fireball crashed into a mountainside, touching off a wildfire–and the military immediately sealed off the area.

Tomorrow is Vladimir Putin’s 65th birthday. Think he’s about to retire? No way. It’s just getting good for him.

Howard Stern moved to satellite radio on this date in 2004. He’s got the maturity of a 9-year old, but he’s one of the best interviewers on the air.

McDonalds has absolutely no comment about an incident in the UK, where fifteen people dressed as Ronald McDonald marched into a Burger King chanting, “You’re s*** and you know you are.” The BK employees took it well, mostly ignoring them, and shaking hands with them when they left.

A woman in South Carolina ordered a yoga mat…and was delivered 20,000 oxycodone tablets from Mexico.

Three cheers for Charlie Svato of Iowa, who won $25,000 a year for life from the state lottery. Thing is…he’s 92.

Tomorrow’s the day of the international porridge competition in Carrbridge, Scotland. The winner of the Golden Spurtle (that’s a porridge-stirrer) last year was Bob Moore, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill in Clackamas, Oregon. He’s there again, trying to keep the Golden Spurtle.

Big day for the Blazers’ superstar Damian Lillard: today his second rap album, “Confirmed,” is released…as well as his line of Adidas shoes.

Football! Cougars at Ducks…5 PM Saturday at Autzen on FOX. The Beavers take on the USC Trojans at 1 PM at LA Memorial Coliseum. And the Portland Thorns play the Orlando Pride in the NWSL semifinals at 12:30 PM at Providence Park. Of the people in my little group, the team that seems to draw the most interest and attendance…is the Thorns.

So we’ve been through another week together! The concept of this space is holding strong, a reality-based and friendly hangout for perhaps somewhat shy people with a Portland interest or connection. I’m toying with adding an audio option, because the nice folks at iHeart have created a channel on the iHeartRadio app for me to use, creatively dubbed the John Erickson Channel. I think that’s what we called the annually flooded crawl space at the old house. Anyway, we might do something with that. Meantime let’s have no mean time, y’know?