Sunday, July 27, 2008

Adios, Manny

UPDATE: July 31st, at the trading deadline
Manny is off to Dodger Stadium. Hasta la vista, baby!

So Manny Being Manny would approve a trade if the Sox found a deal. Don't let the door smack you in the rear on the way out of Fenway.

Enough is enough, as Manny said himself. Whenever one person thinks he's bigger than the team, it weakens the team. The Pats, the Sox and the Celtics have found recent success by acting like a team. Fenway's a small pahk. There's no room for your ego, Manny. Maybe you can go to NY and play with that other traitor, Johnny Damon. And Steinbrenner will make you shave and cut your dreds.
Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye.

And that's all I'm gonna say on that subject.
In the big scheme of things, you're a small deal, Manny.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Peace, Cindy

It was a beautiful day in the Gorge. Life went on as usual for most people. We got up, read our papers and drank our coffee, went to work, walked our dogs, went to meetings. But at a certain house up on Strawberry Mountain, life will never be the same. Especially for her husband Bill, and her devoted Australian Shepherd, Gus. This is a picture Cindy with Lexi, who was waiting for her on the 'other side'.

Cindy died last night. She was diagnosed with liver cancer June 1st. And now she's gone. She went in for surgery, and they closed her back up. She made her peace with the world, loved her life, and knew it would be hardest on those she left behind.

I met Cindy through Klickitat Dems. She was a force to be reckoned with. She wanted to do things that would make our world better. Even though she'd struggled with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) for years, she had the energy to work on our Dem platform, became our rep to the State Platform Committee, and was an ardent supporter of Obama from the get go.

I, of course, was not a big Obama supporter from the get go. We worked on organizing our county caucus, and she was always respectful of both candidates and their supporters. But she was an Obama Girl all the way. With Cindy, you could always 'discuss'. I admired that in her. And look for that quality in others. It's usually lacking. She was always willing to carpool to things. And when I drove to a meeting in Dallesport, picking up a full load in the Subaru, she insisted on giving me gas money. This was before $4.39 a gallon gas.

She love the gorge, she loved animals. She was a fellow Aussie owner. She was a veternarian, and we all consulted her about our four legged family members. In fact, she called me the night of the day she got the bad news (I had no idea until the next week). She wanted me to know that a person she'd been cultivating to run for County Commission was not going to do it and wouldn't be at our meeting the next night. I asked her a doggie med question, which she happily answered, between coughs. I told her to take care of herself, and get herself well so we could get through this election! Little did I know.

Cindy was brave. She emailed all of us when she got her act together, days after her diagnosis. She asked for space, and snail mail. She had no energy for visits, calls, email. I felt helpless. I sent a card. It all happened so fast. She wanted to establish residency in Oregon, where they have death with dignity law. But it was too late. She suffered terrible pain. Finally, she stopped eating, and a greater power finally saw fit to take her from her misery.

Washington is going to have a death with dignity vote on our ballot this fall. Those of us who knew Cindy, most a lot longer than I, will support that initative, because she can't. And we hope she will watch over us all, and see her dream of an Obama presidency come true.

We'll miss you, Cindy. Peace.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ghana Calling

No, this isn't about yet another scam email, though they are still coming at a less frenetic pace than a few weeks ago. But it is about an email from Africa.

The title was LONG TIME. It was from our housekeeper/nanny/prep cook Gladys from our Nigeria Days, shown right with Alina when she was 2. Gladys was with us the entire 5.5 yr stint, a rarity in the community to stay with one family that long. We had a pretty good track record, with the same driver, Kayode (below right with Alina), and gardener, Albert. Gladys and Albert were from Ghana, and Kayode was Nigerian. It was a happy household. When we left, Kayode (one of very few Chevron employed drivers, the rest were contract) went back into the driver pool, hoping for a driver supervisor job or a truck driving job. Albert stayed with the house, on the Lekki compound. And Gladys went back to Accra.

Gladys was a smart young woman. She was a great help in the kitchen, and I taught her to cook our favorite meals for those times when I needed dinner made. She'd make tortillas from scratch when I needed them for Mexican dinners, pasta from scratch when we'd have spaghetti bar parties. She'd worked for an Indian family before, and had a few terrific specialties of her own. Gladys was a gem. When she was done with her work, I showed her how to get on the computer to practice typing with Mavis Beacon. She got pretty fast by the time we left. I like to think that helped her get a job at a bank in Accra.

We didn't hear from Gladys very often. Usually it involved requests. For money. For a cell phone. For money for a car. With no way to safely get money to her, it was easy to say no. We'd been very generous when we sent her on her way, with gifts of money, cookware for her restaurant venture, a sewing machine, and whatever else we had that she could use. When we moved, I sent an email to the yahoo address we had for her. And she answered. Her job with the bank had evaporated long ago. She'd done another housekeeper stint in Lagos. Now she was working with a non government organization (NGO) that helped women with HIV support themselves, back in Ghana. The women dye fabrics and sell them all over Africa. Gladys said she'd been able to travel a bit to other countries (besides Nigeria) to promote the program, and said someday she might come to the USA. I wasn't holding my breath that she'd make it here, but I was very proud that she'd found a good situation for herself, with a chance to make life better for women and children in her city.

So imagine my surprise when the LONG TIME email came, telling me that she was planning to attend an international conference on AIDS/HIV in Mexico City Aug 3-8. I checked. There is one. The problem (in Africa there is ALWAYS a problem) is that there is no Mexican Consulate in Ghana. So attendees must go someplace where there is a Mexican Consulate enroute to Mexico City. She found it was cheaper to go to the US, then buy a round trip ticket to Mexico City from here. "I'm coming to Washington" she declared, and asked if she could stay for 2 days while getting her visa.

My first reaction was, does she realize Washington state is not Washington DC? So I sent a quick geography lesson. Next came a reply that there was a consulate in Seattle, and she would be flying into Seattle. I went online, found that there is also one in Portland, which is a LOT closer to us. Another email back, explaining that while I live in Washington, Seattle is 4 hours away. Portland Oregon is only an hour, can you take care of business there? The last email I got said to expect her in Portland the 29/30 of July. We'll see. Stay tuned. Sagas linked to Africa always get interesting....

Gladys' sponsors are going to Mexico City via Cairo, so she will be traveling with them. I'm relieved. I was really worried she'd get stuck somewhere, or stuck she'll be enroute to Mexico City with the people with the credit cards. She says she'll be coming to the US for three weeks at some point on a USAID program. So we might see her yet!

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

Well, it's taken me a few days to recover from all the good deeds this weekend. It all started Thursday night, when I got a call from my dear, who was helping Ray take stuff to the dump before Ray had to fly off to Denver. Seems Ray's cherry trees were overloaded and needed relief. Soon. So I went over and picked about 20 pounds of cherries that I could reach with a stepstool. When they got back from the dump, my dear joined me (I had been about to leave) and we ended up with about 50 pounds. Fifty pounds of bing cherries the night before a fully booked weekend. Talk about stress! Ray lent us the cherry pitter, and I kept two coolers with ice to try and preserve some semblance of freshness until I could deal with them.

Friday morning I was at the volunteer station in BZ Corner at the assigned 6:45 am. The river boarding coordinator and volunteers also arrived then. But I was supposed to be with kayaking. That coordinator didn't arrive until around 8. I would have been more annoyed, but there was a guy who drove from PORTLAND to be there at 6:45 am, so he had my sympathy. I only live 15 minutes away. So the nice river board gal sent me off to direct traffic at the entrance to the launching area parking lot. I was prepared, having brought my hat, sunglasses, folding chair and ice water jug with me. All those years of volunteering at swim meets paid off. I have no idea what my assigned rafting job would have been, because I ended up in the parking lot until 2 pm. I made the best of having to tell people they had to go back to the Shell station to park and walk back, and there was no parking or stopping in the center area reserved for the commercial rafting companies. The kayakers could drop their gear, but had to park at the Shell station. The Forest Service supervisors, who were onsite watching, wanted all Gorge Games folk parking elsewhere so that 'the public' could use the area. Of course most people ignored my directions, and a second parking volunteer was needed to roam the lot and confront offenders. I preferred being the first line, so I was happy where I was.

I am disappointed that volunteers have no clue what it really means to be a volunteer. Everyone wanted to be the person in the tent handing out t-shirts and goodies to athletes, then to be the ones on the river, doing a job that allowed them to see the event. Which is why I was never relieved of my duty. At 1:50 pm, after directing carloads of volunteers to their parking sites and having not one return to take my spot, I went to the volunteer tent. My friend the river boarding coordinator tried in vain to get someone to take my job. She finally called two names at random and said go to the parking lot, and we'll rotate people through so you all get a chance to see the event. Nice. I do a double shift and no one wants to even do a part single shift. I finally got a guy to follow me back out so I could show him the overflow area for public kayakers, and who could go where. I found out later from the river board coordinator that the parking lot people abandoned their posts as soon as the event started.

I was pooped when I got home, took a nap, and worked on cherries. Froze some, bagged a bunch that Lloyd had pitted to do something with them 'tomorrow'. Did I tell you I rescued a river boarder from Seattle area? She was a 30 something competitor, and hadn't slept a wink at the athlete village (big parking lot in Hood River) because all the 20 somethings stayed up all night partying. So I gave her my number and said call if you want a bed. About 9 pm, the phone rang. "I can't take it any more. I'm on my way." So Rochelle became our weekend guest, and thought she'd died and gone to heaven with a real mattress and hot tub to soak her battered body. River boarders, in case you don't know, go head first down river, through rapids and over water falls with boogie boards? Insane.

Saturday was great. I made a batch of cherry jam. Then I worked at Wind River Cellars all afternoon. With the Gorge Games, the Trout Lake Arts Festival (which I didn't manage to fit in), and a beautiful sunny day in the Gorge, we had lots of customers. At six, I washed up all the glasses, cleaned up the tasting room, and headed down to Nights in White Salmon. There were about 500 people roaming the main street of town, listening to music, watching demos and tasting wine. We helped clean up at 9, then crashed.

Sunday morning, I was off to Husum at 8 for another parking lot job near Rattlesnake Rapids, where the day's River Board event was being held. Lucky me, same nice river board coordinator. She remembered my double shift in parking on Friday, and sent relief after a whopping 15 minutes, reassigning me to the river area for the duration. Bless you. Then it was home to make more jam. And Lloyd took two screens off our bedroom windows to fashion a drying screen. We have sun dried two batches. It takes a lot of cherries to make just one baggie full of dried cherries. We were cherried out, and took the last 10 pounds down to Pam to use for fruit smoothies in her shop.

The blackberries are ripening...another week or so and the new year's crop will start coming in. In anticipation, I took the last gallon bag of the 2007 crop from the freezer (to make room for cherries) and made more blackberry jam on Monday. Now I'm jammed out for a while.

So THAT is why I haven't blogged for week. Now that I'm rested, I can return to my literary ways.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gearing Up for a BIG Weekend

Waiting for the satellite tech to come today might be the last quiet time until Monday. And NO, I didn't get to see the All Star Game, but I did watch the online play by play until the end of the 11th. The newspaper obviously had to go to bed before it was over, covering through the 13th. Looks like Yankee Stadium got its well deserved send off. And to have JD Drew get MVP honors, SWEET! Even though some classless Yankee fans booed his selection. You can dress 'em up, but you can't take them to the pahk...

It's been busy around the Casa this week. We've been printing and folding 500 'passports' for the annual Nights In White Salmon (apologies to the Moody Blues) in the streets downtown on Saturday evening. We have 19 shops that will open their doors until 9 pm, housing artists, music (including a marimba band), demos and 9 wineries. Tasters buy a commemorative glass and tickets to sample the liquid artistry. I missed it last year, when I was busy with freshman orientation and moving kids into dorms. Not this year! After I finish my shift at Wind River Cellars (local readers, come see me 1-6 in the tasting room) I'll head into town to see what I missed in '07.

Also, this weekend, we have The Gorge Games happening on both sides of the river. There will be competitions for windsurfers, kiteboarders, kayakers, sailors, bicyclists, skateboarders, runners and walkers, just about any sport that happens around here. I have a shift Friday 7 am until 2 at the kayaking venue in BZ Corner, and Sunday 8-1 at the Riverboarding even, also in BZ Corner (don't you just love that name?). I like making myself useful.

As if that wasn't enough, the Northeastern Alumni are having a gathering for the Red Sox-Mariners game on Monday in Seattle. But with gas approaching $4.50 a gallon, and tickets @$50 a pop, plus a hotel room it gets to be an expensive venture...heck, it would cost us almost as much to travel up there as it does for two seats at a Fenway game! Maybe our satellite will be back and we can watch it on TV. And rest up after our busy weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

HBO Does It Again

TV has become the 'vast wasteland', as my dad calls it. But every once in a while, there's something worth watching. I wasn't in favor of subscribing to HBO. I'm too cheap. But Lloyd wanted to give it a try. The series on John Adams was fantastic. It felt pretty good to have something you'd PLAN to watch again. This Sunday, I accidentally surfed to the new HBO miniseries, Generation Kill, the first of seven episodes. This Iraq war saga is based on Evan Wright's book about his experiences during the 2003 invasion, while embedded with the Marine's First Reconnaisance Battalion as a journalist for the Rolling Stone. This is Must See TV! If you don't get HBO, rent this video when it eventually comes out.

Generation Kill was followed by a replay of last fall's Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq. Executive Producer James Gandolfini interviews ten returning veterans, each of whom suffered physical and mental injuries when their vehicles were blown up by IED's. It's powerful stuff. I went to bed with a heavy heart, thinking about how few Americans are watching and learning from these kinds of programs. It's hard to watch. But then, so is the fluff that passes for entertainment today...I usually take a pass.

So thank you, HBO. This was a very PBS kind of step. I'll keep the subscription.

Mt. Adams is Smokin'

And that's not meant in a good way. From the Hood River side of the Columbia yesterday, it looked like an eruption. No lie. We were up on the Fruit Loop, scouting cherries, and on the way back down from Panorama Point, we could see the huge plumes of smoke coming up and being blown east by the frisky winds. What a day to forget the camera! From down at the riverside, where we watched the colorful dancing kites pulling all the kiteboarders, you wouldn't know there was a fire at all because the view of Adams is blocked by the White Salmon bluff.

Today's paper informed. They think the fire started with a lightning strike that smoldered until conditions were right for fanning the flames. That would have been yesterday. Hot and windy. It's grown to over 500 acres.

And the neighborhood network was on the ball. We got a great picture from Kris via Hooba. Hooba notes the irony of a fire hydrant in the foreground. From the picture, it looks like it's up in the area we usually cross country ski, near the Pinecrest and Snow King Sno Parks. Winds are down for now. Let's hope that it stays that way so they can get it under control.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Humor for Red Sox Fans

Thanks to Jeff Danziger, and to Susan for passing this one along. Now the fans in Fenway will have even more fun at A-Rod's expense, as they did back in June 2007. And special thanks to the Yankees, who swept Tampa Bay while the Sox swept Minnesota, helping them make up some ground on those pesky Rays.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Paramount Studios: Go Fly A Kite

I've actually had time to sit and read occasionally, guilt free. It's been years. I have finished 4 books so far this summer, and began a new one yesterday written by an old high school classmate. Two Baldacci novels-Simple Genius and Camel Club- (on a transcontinental round trip), the complicated Middlesex, and The Kite Runner are now on the recycle pile. The one I really want to talk about is The Kite Runner, which has been on the NY Times Bestseller list for more than two years, published in hardcover, paperback and audio in 42 languages. A friend gave it to me a year and a half ago as a 'must read', and I've FINALLY finished it.

We rented the movie a few weeks ago. It was very true to the book, and a very powerful film (as was the novel). It really put you in the middle of recent Afghanistan history, from the fall of the monarchy through the Soviet invasion, the refugee exodus to Pakistan and the US, and the impact of the Taliban. The director wanted authenticity, so he went to Kabul and cast unknowns for his film. Which has caused all sorts of problems for the boys in the film.

The story shows the class friction between the Pashtuns and the Hazara, and includes the rape of Hassan, friend of Amir, well off Pashtun whose father employs Hassan's father as a servant. Amir battles with his guilt over not helping Hassan. The film's treatment of the rape scene was not graphic, and doubles were used. But that was not enough to quell the anger of some Afghans. The release of the film was delayed until Paramount could get four of the boys who were in the film out of the country. Now they wish they had never been in the film. A report on All Things Considered last week has been stuck in my mind ever since.

The boys who played Amir, Hassan, Sohrab, and Omar were sent with guardians to Dubai, enrolled in the International School there, and given stipends. The guardians were assisted with employment, and had to sign contracts that the arrangements would be subject to change if they talked to the media (to protect the boys' anonimity, says the consulting firm handling this). Paramount would continue this agreement until the boys reach adulthood, at an estimated $500,000 cost.

All is not well in Dubai, however. One boy and his guardian, an aunt who has raised him since infancy, missed their extended family in Kabul. They could not live on the low wage job found for the aunt. So they went back to Kabul after 4 months in exile. Life has not been kind back home. Though the film was banned in Afghanistan, pirated copies of the DVD abound. Friction between the Pashtuns and Hazara has escalated. The boy has had threats on his life. Their home has been broken into by gangs. Copies of the film have been sent to all the neighbors with the boy's address included. So he is imprisoned in his own home. A teenage boy who cannot go outside his four walls after appearing in a successful movie.

The spokesman for the consulting firm representing Paramount thinks the studio has gone 'above and beyond'. I disagree. The film has been very successful, according to box office data. The US gross stands at $15.8 million, with $55.2 million internationally for nearly $71 million total. Throw in another $5.2 million in DVD sales since March, I'd say Paramount is doing OK with this one. They paid the boys in the neighborhood of $17,500 each for their roles in the film.The boy and his aunt want the family to be moved to the US. I don't think that is too much to ask. It's the least they can do.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's CHERRY Season!

FINALLY, they are here. The beautiful sweet red cherries and the colorful Rainier cherries abound in the stores, and most importantly, at the farm stands and farmers markets. I ventured down to the opening day of the Husum Farmers Market yesterday. I didn't know what to expect. I've been to farmer's markets before, but this is very small town rural WA. It was an intimate gathering. There were 4 tables, two with baked goods, one with flowers, and one with CHERRIES.

I believe in supporting our local merchants, so after 'borrowing' my husband's last $20 bill, I spent half of it buying a loaf of oatmeal honey bread from one baker, a small apple tart from the second, and a big bag of cherries from the Cherry Man, at half the 'sale' price of the grocery stores.

What to do with all these cherries? You can only snack on so many. Thank Gore for the Internet. I found this excellent NW Cherry site, with a fantastic recipe section, including an intriguing pie recipe. I had all ingredients on hand, so that was dessert last night. I skipped the wine sauce (too much sugar for me!) and had a glass of WA syrah with it instead of coffee. An extra indulgence: whipped cream with a touch of Amaretto to enhance the almond flavor in the pie. I will share it with you, dear readers, in case you have an abundance of cherries to enjoy. It may even spur you to go out and buy some. And yes, mine looked JUST like the picture when it came out of the oven.

Handmade Cherry Almond Pie

Yield: 8 servings

1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided
Pastry for 9-inch double crust pie
1 egg, beaten
4 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red wine
Red Wine Glaze, optional

Finely chop 1/4 cup almonds. Roll dough* into circle approximately 16 inches in diameter and sprinkle chopped almonds over top; roll gently to imbed nuts in dough. Gently transfer to lightly greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, if desired. Brush with beaten egg. Mix cherries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and wine. Spoon cherry mixture onto dough leaving a 4-inch border. Lift edges of dough up and over fruit, leaving a 5-inch circle of cherries showing in the center. Fold in edges of pastry to form a circle. Brush pastry with remaining egg mixture; sprinkle with remaining almonds. Bake at 375°F 30 minutes or until pastry browns and filling bubbles. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. If desired, serve with Red Wine Glaze to drizzle over each serving.

Red Wine Glaze: Combine 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/3 cup red wine, mix well. Makes 3/4 cup.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 475 Cal., 5.6 g pro. 19.2 g fat. (36% Cal from fat), 70.1 g carb. 23 mg chol., 4.1 g fiber, 315 mg. sodium.

*When using packaged, pre-rolled pastry, stack one crust on top of the other and roll to 16 inches.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cinco de Julio

Today is the first anniversary of our arrival in paradise. Once I recover from the bargain wine sampling of last night, I'll make a plan for today's festivities. This day deserves its own celebration.

Life is good. The Sox have beat the Yankees two days in a row. Let's go for three today. Michael Phelps is clearing the pool. So is Katie Hoff. And 41 year old Dara Torres is going to the Olympics for the FIFTH time after winning the 100 free. Venus beat Serena in the Wimbeldon final. We're one day closer to January 20, 2009. Now if only the stock market would be as optimistic.

My mailbox has been barraged lately by some serious optimists. It started on July 2nd and continues today. What do Mrs. Amanda Clerk, Miss Celina J. Kone Ada, Mrs. Mercy Ipupu (god, is THAT really a name?), Julet Willson, Voke Doe, and Brother Alh. Morardeop have in common? They all are in desperate straits, and in dire need of my help with their financial dilemmas. All are from West Africa: Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast. All are either widows or daughters of deceased cocoa/diamond merchants who left sums ranging from $10 million to $16.7 million or in the case of Mrs. Amanda Clerk, who is now in the UK, 25 million pounds sterling. Brother Alh. Morardeop I don't know...his letter is in French. The only thing I understand, never having taken French, is that he is from Burkina Faso, his situation is 'urgente' and there's 39% total des fondes in it for me if I RSVP. Where are they getting my email address from????? This is getting ridiculous.
Time to beef up the spam filter.

Oh, yeah, if you want a little diversion, hop on over to Susan's playground to see the little video I sent her this morning.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth!

After a night of thunderstorms, it turned into a nice cool day today. We headed out a little after 9 to register for the .1K Fun Run in downtown Husum. Downtown Husum is similar to a former home of mine, Downtown Saunderstown RI, basically a Post Office. Only Husum also boasts a FIRE STATION! It may be small town, but it's big on spirit.

First, we organized into a parade. Here's Hooba at the right, getting everyone lined up. We had everything a parade needs. A kazoo band playing patriotic songs, a float, a motorcyle (dirt bike), boy scouts with a banner, horses, a fledgling politician, and dogs, lots of dogs.

Here we have Mr. President with Regina, puppy Riley, and our Brindle (the Lunch Bunch might recognize the corsage she's sporting)

We marched from the PO through the block of town to the far side of the bridge over the raging White Salmon River. We played the Star Spangled Banner. Then we turned around and ran (well, sort of ran) to the finish line .1K away. Fortunately, there was a water station just on the other side of the bridge, 10 seconds away. Within a minute, even the most leisurely strollers had made it to the finish line, and we all gathered at Hooba's for hot dogs and brews. It was the first pre-noon brew I've consumed in many many years. We held ourselves to just one, though, because we had more fun in store.

The Gorge Winds Community Orchestra played at Rheingarten Park, downtown White Salmon (or, The Big City as it's known by the Husum folk). Lots of good old tunes and patriotic music. Got some ideas for next year's kazoo band. We don't have a fireworks display, but the National Guard showed up with howitzers to smoke us out during the 1812 Overture finale. What fun! Good thing the smoke dispersed quickly, we've had enough smoke around here.

What really cracked me up was that as soon as the first notes of the overture began to play, people put their fingers in their ears. How many July 4 concerts have they been to, you have to wonder, that they don't know the cannons don't fire til well into the piece, and then it's only a short burst. The big finale is where you need the fingers in your ears. I just have to guess that people just don't really listen to this awesome piece of music. They're only there for the booms and the fireworks. Sure glad I took Music Appreciation 101 in college as an elective. And that I had a dad who played all kinds of music for us when we were growing up. No fingers in my ears. Except maybe when I hear rap.

Anyway, I digress. For those with money to burn tonight, there will be a special area set aside in Marina Park, on the Columbia River in Bingen, so local pyros can set off their personal fireworks in a safe environment. Mostly because both White Salmon and Bingen are having water woes, and there's no guarantees any brush fires caused by errant fireworks would be contained. We're on our way to a cookout in the neighborhood. I met up with Laurance at the concert, and she told me she scored big on some good cheap French vino at the food outlet in The Dalles. She's French. She should know. So we might not make it down the hill....

I'll ready for the Boston Pops and Esplanade fireworks when they hit my big screen TV at 10.
Maybe I'll see the girls.

Happy Birthday, America.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I Have A Dream

GOPAlert: my R rated friends can skip this entry if they wish. It's not mean or nasty though, so keep reading if you want. It's mostly about the pictures.

My longest term friend (since, oh, 1966) came to visit with her fam recently, and brought me this fine prize. Seeing as she lives in DeeCee and is involved in the media biz, it had to be election related.

I got a new coffee mug.

Big Whoop, you say.

Big Whoop, indeed.

Watch what happens when you pour in hot liquid:


For this and other very cool stuff (not necessarily political), check out The Unemployed Philosophers Guild

Where There's Smoke...

...There's a fire in California.

All that lightning did start some small fires the other night, but the big culprits are in California. It's a sunny day today, but it looks like harmattan out there. In West Africa, there's the rainy season and harmattan season, when the dust in from the Sahara and makes you think you're in downtown LA under a smog alert. The photo at the right, borrowed from Wikipedia, shows minarets in Abuja, Nigeria.
You get the idea.

The fire generated haze has spread all the way to the Olympic peninsula. Last night's sunset had obvious particulates in the air. We were later treated to a bit of lightning over Underwood Mt, but the storm went around us.

This morning I could hardly see Mt. Hood through the haze. It looked like it should have been a cloudless day. Fortunately we have a little breeze coming up, maybe it will move some of it out of here (and make the windsurfers and kiteboarders happy).

If my throat feels this bad from smoke two states away, I hate to think what the Californians are breathing right now.

So the Word is, no place is perfect. But this one is close enough.