I'm a believer in CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis/hemp. I've read enough about CBD to decide that taking it for general health promotion makes sense, since I take quite a few supplements for the same reason.
SelectCBD.com has been my main source for CBD drops, which I take twice a day.
But around ten days ago I saw that the site wasn't accepting VISA, just MasterCard, due to "technical issues" with their payment processor.
NEXT DAY UPDATE: This is either a bit of synchronicity, or this blog post has magical powers (my favored explanation!), since today I got this message from Select CBD. Note, however, a comment from another CBD provider that I'll copy in below.
OK. But I wanted to get their CBD for pets, since our dog has a chronic liver problem that's gotten worse recently, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to see if CBD could help her.
So after a few days of seeing that the technical problem was still preventing me from using a VISA card (I don't have MasterCard), I emailed the support staff at SelectCBD, asking how long the technical issues would take to be resolved.
I didn't get an answer then. However, I did get a free bottle of chicken-flavored CBD drops for pets, which was much appreciated.
Yesterday I emailed the support staff again, noting that it sure seemed like this must be more than a technical problem. Here's part of the response I got:
Thanks for reaching out to us.
We do apologize for any inconvenience you're experiencing through this matter. We are experiencing issues due to the fact that our credit card processing merchant has decided to drop all CBD accounts with no notice. We were caught off-guard by this just as much as you and our other customers were. This is the current state of our industry, as it's very new and we're treading on new legal ground. There are a lot of grey areas and land mines for us to step on just like this one.
PayPal doesn't accept payment for CBD products either. You can find this information with a little bit of research.
We are currently in discussion with a new merchant but these things do not happen over night, hence the long wait.
So that's the reason. I suggested to the support staff person that being a bit more open about the problem on their web site would be better than simply saying "technical issues."
After all, I felt more empathy for SelectCBD after learning why they can't accept VISA. Here's what the site currently is saying about the problem. (Hard to read, due to the small type.)
SECOND UPDATE: Here's a comment another CBD seller left on this post. I wanted to share it in the post itself to give it more visibility. It's really disturbing that both CBD and THC forms of cannabis get singled out for financial and legal discrimination when other much more dangerous products, such as alcohol and tobacco, are sold without any problem.
This frustration is real for both merchants and consumers. I run an ecommerce CBD site, and we are with the same processor/bank as Select.
To make matters worse the processor/bank with the most clients, Elavon/US Bank, is shutting down all CBD processing as of today (May 15th, 2019). The processor SelectCBD and we are with is not Elavon, but a high percentage of CBD ecommerce sites are currently looking for a new home to process payments due to the Elavon/US Bank exit.
The information we are hearing is that the few banks that are currently accepting applications are only taking on large clients right now. I've heard minimum per month processing for new merchant accounts right now with some of these banks is in the 500k/month range. We have applications with multiple processors and they are saying our application could take at least 3-4 weeks due to the number of applications they have.
The shutting down of Visa payments from our processor was immediate with no warning on April 30th. Our transactions were 80% visa prior to the visa issue. To say the least, it has been a significant impact to small businesses such as mine.
I hope this adds a little color to your post.
- Mark H. from EarlybirdCBD
They, whoever they are, say that confession is good for the soul.
Even though I'm an atheist who doesn't believe I have a soul, I like the idea of confessing -- perhaps because I was Catholic for a short while as a child, and found the idea of being forgiven your sins for the small price of saying a few Our Father's and Hail Mary's to be way cool.
So here's my confession: I spend a lot of time on the Internet lusting after hot models... of cars.
Yet I'm happily married to my 2017 VW GTI, who I love a lot. That doesn't stop me from looking around, though. Fortunately, I have no indication that the GTI is bothered by me browsing automobile web sites and perusing reviews of models I find attractive.
During the first part of my driving life I viewed cars as utilitarian, a way to get from here to there.
But in the mid-1980s I bought a BMW 325ix (the "x" stood for all wheel drive). When I first turned the key, I was struck by an unfamiliar sound and sensation: powerful engine rumbling that caused the car to vibrate slightly standing still.
I was immediately infatuated.
That was my first relationship with a car that was super fun to drive. Other flings followed: a Toyota MR2, a Honda del Sol, a Volvo 850 turbo wagon, a Mini Cooper S, and two VW GTIs, one of which I drive now.
I've taken two car control classes, though in no way do I consider myself an expert driver.
One was at the Portland International Raceway with the Toyota MR2 where I was mildly embarrassed by being the only one to answer, "No, not really," when the instructor asked the class if they felt proficient with double-clutching.
So I was sent off by myself to practice, after which I got to race around the track in a quasi-competent fashion. The high point of the class came when I took a few laps with the instructor as a passenger. When he yanked on the emergency brake, spun the car around at speed, and managed to keep going in the same direction I was duly impressed.
More practical was a car control class I took with my daughter at the Willow Springs Raceway in California after she turned 16. I figured that if she was going to drive crazily at times (pretty much a given with teenagers), it would be good if she knew some basics of how a car handled.
I loved it when a skid pad was wetted down and we learned how to go around in a circle without moving the steering wheel, instead steering with the gas pedal, since the Toyotas we got to use were prone to understeer, as most cars are for safety reasons.
(Meaning, I believe, if you go into a curve too fast and feel like the car isn't going where you want, if you lift your foot off the gas pedal a bit, the car will move back into line without spinning out.)
Currently I've been pondering a couple of car questions.
Such as, is a Tesla going to come into my life, and that of my wife, at some point?
I suspect it will, since we're avid environmentalists and want to do our part to reduce carbon emissions. We've leased three Chevy Volts and like how they utilize plug-in technology with a back-up gas engine (generator, more accurately).
Our current Volt is entering the second year of a three-year lease. When the lease is up, it might make sense to get a Tesla. I've been aware that VW, along with most other car manufacturers, is emphasizing electric vehicles. However, a recent story I came across talked about how far behind VW is, electric-car-wise, compared to Tesla.
On the flip side, it concerns me some that so far Consumer Reports has loved many feature of the Tesla Model 3, while giving the car an overall mediocre rating of 65, in large part because of reliability concerns. And I don't like the idea of having to use a touchscreen to activate most of the controls of a Tesla.
I do enjoy watching videos of super-fast Model S Tesla's in Ludicrous mode bringing screams of glee, or panic, to passengers. And there's a lot to like about the regular updates/upgrades Teslas get over the air. It's always bothered me that a $3 iPhone app gets updated routinely, but a $30,000 car I buy gets zero upgrades, even though it is highly computerized.
When I think about divorcing my VW GTI and getting a younger model, I'm torn.
The eighth Golf/GTI generation is coming to Europe this year, though not to the United States until 2020 as a 2021 model, from what I've heard. It sounds great, but apparently there won't be a plug-in hybrid version, which I'd love to be able to buy.
Along that line, it's deeply irritating to learn about way-cool cars that are only available in other parts of the world. For example, the BMW X1 is about the same size as my GTI, nicely subcompact or maybe a smallish compact car. China is getting a plug-in hybrid X1 with 68 miles of electric range, more than our Chevy Volt gets.
But it's going to be made in China, and only sold in China. Which sucks.
In case I fall out of love with the VW GTI, recently I've been looking at the Hyundai Kona -- a car that had escaped my attention until I saw an article about it in the newspaper a few days ago. Like the GTI, it comes in a turbocharged model that has a dual clutch automatic transmission.
(Don't ask me to explain what dual clutch means; it just works great in the GTI.)
The AWD (all wheel drive) Kona comes in lime green, a color that I like. I believe only lime green Kona's have matching accents in the interior, which jazzes up the otherwise rather bland look.
(Note: my wife believes this color looks like baby poop, which is pretty harsh. Thus I'd face an uphill battle to have a lime green Kona in our carport, though there is a very slight chance my wife will develop color blindness. Or at least lime green blindness.)
However, I've become picky about what features I want in a potential car-mate. Two are rain-sensing wipers and adaptive cruise control, both of which my 2017 VW GTI has. Now that I'm used to these great features, it's really tough for me to consider a car that doesn't have them.
For some reason, the Kona lacks adaptive cruise control. I have no interest in going back to clicking away on up and down buttons to adjust the cruise control. Hopefully Hyundai will add this in the 2020 model year.
Lastly, my wife and I have ordered a 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid to replace our Highlander.
But as I wrote about recently in "Toyota's special order process for cars is irritating," our order really is just a desire to get a certain model in a certain exterior and interior color, with certain features -- since Toyota doesn't actually build cars to order.
I give two thumbs up to Battery X-Change on the corner of 17th and Center Street.
One thumb is for selling me two hard-to-find batteries for my mower at a good price. The other thumb is for making me feel like less of a fool after I managed to fry the first battery they sold me within a matter of hours.
My battery saga is a good illustration of why small locally-owned stores need to be patronized, because without them Salem would be much diminished.
It began when I turned off my DR Field Mower, a walk-behind mower with a 16.5 hp Briggs & Stratton engine that I use for both lawn and field mowing on our rural south Salem property. After getting a snack, I went back to the mower and turned the key so I could finish cutting a couple of small fields.
But it wouldn't start. Total silence. Not even an attempt at a start. That perplexed me, since the mower had started completely normally earlier in the day.
My first thought was that the neutral switch had gotten unplugged, since this was the reason the mower wouldn't start one time last year. However, as far as I could tell the neutral switch (which prevents the mower from being started in any gear but neutral) seemed properly connected.
The next thought that popped into my not-very-mechanical mind was that the battery could be dead. I didn't have a battery tester, but I went out and bought one at an auto parts store. It seemed to show very low amps. So I phoned Country Home Products in Vermont, which makes the DR Field Mower.
They told me that, sure, they could send me a new battery for a mere $60.
It would take about a week to get to me, though. I said that the grass was growing like crazy here in Oregon. Couldn't I pay extra for faster shipping? I could -- a seemingly crazy $68 for two-day air. Batteries are heavy, but that still seemed overly expensive.
After complaining about the delivery time and cost, I was given the phone numbers of a couple of places here in Salem that might have the battery I needed, which isn't a common size.
Neither place had the battery.
However, one of them suggested I call Battery X-Change, which once I heard the name, I realized I should have tried right away. The guy who answered the phone at Battery X-Change checked after I gave him a part number and said that he was pretty sure they had the battery.
Which turned out to be the case. I walked out with a new battery for $48, considerably less than Country Home Products would have charged me.
Then things went downhill.
I installed the battery. The mower still wouldn't start. My next (reasonable) idea was to hook the battery up to the trickle charger that I use to maintain the mower battery during the winter. But the following morning I had another idea: check the battery charge with the tester I'd bought the day before.
The tester had large clamps made for car battery terminals.
The mower battery had small "terminals" that fit slide-on engine wires. I could barely fit the large clamps on the small battery. Worse, as I was adjusting them, the clamps touched -- producing an impressive POP, a bright flash of light, and a display of sparks.
That left the terminals half burnt off, not long enough to attach the starter wires.
So another trip to Battery X-Change was in order. I explained my stupid mistake to a different employee than had sold me the battery the day before. Pleasingly, he said "Hey, let me tell you what I did one time."
His story involved something like 100 batteries the size of mine, all connected together for some industrial application. He cut some wires that contained both a live and neutral wire. The tool he was using caused a short that melted the tool and created a way more impressive electrical display than I'd experienced.
"We all do crazy stuff at times," he said. And then proceeded to just charge me $30 rather than $48 for the second battery, adding that I could keep the first battery for jump-starting a dead mower battery, or whatever.
Now, it turned out that my mower still wouldn't start after I'd fully charged the second battery. That led me to phone a neighbor friend who is way more mechanical than I am. He did some testing and found that the neutral switch was defective. After bypassing it, the mower started fine.
The original battery was at least four years old, so it likely would have needed to be replaced soon anyway.
Thus I'm pleased that I was able to get a new battery (two, actually) locally, even though I probably didn't need one at the time. I'm also pleased that my first inclination that the neutral switch was the problem, was accurate. I just didn't know that it was broken, not disconnected.
Bottom line: the guys at Battery X-Change were helpful, competent, and made me feel better about my battery-frying mistake. Head their way if you have a battery problem. You won't regret it.
Don't get me wrong -- I love Toyota cars.
But I'm not loving what's happened since February 5 of this year, when my wife and I thought we were putting in a special order for a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid in Limited Trim -- Blizzard Pearl color with black interior, plus several option packages.
Based on my experience with special ordering several other cars fairly recently, a Mini Cooper S and a Chevy Volt, I expected that after we told a salesman at Capitol Toyota here in Salem, Oregon exactly what we wanted in a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid, that information would be used by Toyota to manufacture a car to our specifications.
In retrospect, the first hint that this wasn't what was going to happen came around the first of March, when we asked the salesman if he could give us an update on our order. He said something like, "Toyota hasn't started making RAV4 Limited's yet."
That didn't send off major alarm bells, because I figured that as soon as Limited's did begin to be made, Toyota would manufacture ours -- since we had ordered a RAV4 Hybrid even before the car was officially introduced, basing our decision on reviews we'd read of the 2019 RAV4.
However, March came and went with no news about our order. This month I decided to check out what RAV4's were showing up on dealer web sites in our area, including Capitol Toyota's site. I saw that several RAV4 Hybrid Limited cars were available, though none with the color and options that we wanted.
This caused me to phone our salesman again, and to also do some Googling about "Toyota special order car." What I learned was more than a little disturbing.
So far as I can tell, Toyota doesn't actually build a car based on a special order.
Rather, that order merely tells the dealership what sort of car you want. If they ever get one that matches those specifications, the dealer will sell it to you (assuming someone else hasn't put in an order for the same sort of car before you did).
Or, the dealer might be able to get another dealership to send them a car that matches what you want. How long could this take? Last time I talked with our salesman, who knows? It could be a month. Or two months. Or longer.
It just depends on how long it takes for a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid Limited with the exterior and interior colors we want, plus the options we want, to become available in the Pacific Northwest.
This seems screwy to me, but it sure appears to be Toyota's policy.
Toyota has a FAQ site. One question is "If the dealer doesn't have the vehicle I want, can I place a special order?" Here's the answer.
Toyota dealerships work with our regional offices to determine what vehicle combinations are in demand in their geographical market, and request vehicle allocations accordingly. Because of this, some model configurations and options may not be available in your area, while other options may be available, but only as part of a combination of packages. Your local Toyota dealership can advise you whether a preference can be submitted for your desired vehicle. This preference request does not guarantee you will receive the vehicle with the exact options requested, and may create an extended wait-time.
To which my blunt response is, WTF?
My wife and I want a fully-loaded 2019 RAV4 Hybrid Limited, which retails at around $40,000. When we put down a $500 deposit on our special order, we didn't view this as a "preference." We want to buy a car that has the colors and options we asked for.
Yet Toyota thinks it is just fine to make customers endure an "extended wait-time" for the car they want, whereas Mini Cooper and Chevrolet built us cars to order within several months (our Mini came from Great Britain, even).
Another FAQ is "Why can't I configure a vehicle with the equipment I want using the Build a Toyota feature?' Here's part of the answer to that question.
Our vehicles are generally equipped with options and model grades that we have found to be popular in the geographic area in which they are marketed. We do extensive market surveys and studies to assist in forecasting product features and equipment that will be desirable to the consumer.
And in some instances, particularly with new models just launched, your region might have limited or no availability of certain trim levels or selected options while we build up inventory.
So again, Toyota isn't going to manufacture a car from our special order. Rather, our order, which turns out to be not very special, simply means that if Toyota ever sends our dealer a car that matches what we want, we have a good chance of being able to buy it.
Someday. Date undetermined.
Now, maybe I'm not completely understanding the Toyota special order process. A Capitol Toyota supervisor told me that after a VIN (vehicle identification number) is connected with our order, the car can be tracked.
But it still seems to me that this won't be because a car has been specifically made for us, but because a car that matches our order happens to have been made by Toyota.
Hopefully our special order saga will have a happy ending. I just hope that ending occurs fairly soon, since right now we have no idea when we might see the RAV4 Hybrid we've ordered.
And I want to emphasize that my wife and I are totally pleased with how Capitol Toyota has treated us. We've bought several Prius'es, several Highlanders, and a MR2 from Capitol Toyota over the years. It's just Toyota's special order process that I find irritating and in need of improvement.
After listening to Burnett and Wright speak yesterday at a Salem City Club meeting on "The Crucial Role of the Arts in Our Community," I got to ask a question. It went something like this.
Carlee, I heard you say "express yourselves." As someone who writes almost every day, I know that I feel better when what is inside me is expressed to the outside world, and I then get responses from people about what I've written. But there has to be more to why people embrace art than this. Hopefully you can give me a fuller answer than what I've just said.
Now, I've got to confess that I don't remember much of what Wright said in her response to me. It certainly was in line with my question, as was Burnett's reply to me. I recall that one or both of them said it is indeed nice for artists to get responses from others about what they've created.
Leaving the City Club meeting at the Willamette Heritage Center, I walked down the stairs with Chris Hoy, a Salem city councilor.
Chatting with him about the talks, I said that when my wife and I go to the Salem Art Fair, we're careful about what we say about booth art, since occasionally we've made a negative comment, then saw that the artist was sitting on the other side of a partition. Hoy said that he's a photographer who has had his work exhibited.
"Do you hang around and listen to what people say about your photos?" I asked him. "Sometimes," Hoy said. That spurred me to observe that often I don't read Facebook comments after I've shared a link to a blog post I've written, because the comments can be both mean and uninformed.
Hoy and I then agreed that because art springs from the mind of someone, and is a personal expression of how they see the world, it feels much more problematic to critique someone's art face-to-face with them, while social media and online communications in general facilitate more negativity and nastiness because the other person isn't there in cyberspace.
So expressing ourselves can be risky.
If we only sing in the shower, the risk is minimal. If we choose to get up on stage and sing in front of an audience, there's the possibility of getting only a smattering of applause. Or even some boos. (Of course, we need to remember that just as we're entitled to share our creative impulses, other people are entitled to respond with their own reactions.)
Yet we humans still love to express ourselves.
Burnett said that this gives us a sense of how we stand in time and place. I agree. I suck at drawing, painting, and music, but I've always enjoyed writing. Partly it is because I never know what I'm going to say until I see it on my laptop's screen. The words come of themselves, though they come from me.
A deeper part of me that I'm not really aware of until I make an effort to create a blog post, book, Christmas letter, or whatever. When what is within comes out, it's pleasurable. Not orgasm-like pleasurable (unfortunately). More like when you really need to go to the bathroom, and what is demanding to come out with such urgency does, there's a sense of relief.
Until the next urge arises.
Carlee Wright, shown above in an artistic photo that the Great God Google Images bestowed upon me, said that she had an urge to share her love of all things art'y in Salem after her days at the Statesman Journal ended. Appealingly, she went counter to the digital trend and decided to produce a -- gasp! -- paper publication, Press Play Salem.
I liked how Wright talked differently about the oft-heard geometry of Salem: the nothing-much that sits an hour from Portland, Eugene, the coast, and the mountains, where you really can do something. Not true, she said. "We are the center, not an hour away from everything."
Adding, "I often hear people say that I don't want to go to Portland, fight the traffic, find a place to park, and pay an exorbitant ticket price. It's so convenient to go out here in Salem!" Which is absolutely true. Three hours of parking is free in downtown Salem, and it isn't difficult to find a space on the street or in the parking garages.
Burnett shared her own take on the arts via a slide presentation. I learned that the Salem Art Association is 100 years old in 2019, though it began under a different name in 1919. The Salem Art Fair started in 1949, so it is now 70 years old. (Just like me! Can I get in free?)
She presented interesting information about how cultural events boost the Salem economy, noting that we have ten cultural institutions in this town. Burnett said that when corporations decide whether to come to Salem, they view the arts/culture scene here as part of the livability standard that has to be met.
Lastly, I like the new logo of the Salem Art Association. It's, well, artistic.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Robin (likely Mr.), I'm sorry to address you in such an impersonal manner, but I don't know your name.
Also, I don't know if you're able to read blog posts. If not, I sympathize, because we live in a rural area with crappy slow-speed DSL "broadband" (not!) for us humans, so I can only imagine how poor Internet access is for you birds.
Regardless, I wanted to thank you for your dedication in bringing some challenges, along with bird poop, to my generally serene retired existence.
You are not the first robin to come into the life of my wife and me. Back in 2003 I wrote "Further evidence of male idiocy."
Now, there's a title for a book, a really long book. I have an item to contribute to it. Not involving me, of course. That would be ridiculous, to think that I have ever, am now, or will in the future engage in any act that could fall under the rubric of "male idiocy" (the skeptical laughter from cyberspace is already ringing in my ears).
No, this is about the bird I like to affectionately call Bastard Robin, or even nicer names, depending upon how many tons of bird poop I find splashed on my Volvo wagon each day.
I'm no expert on bird behavior, but I believe these are the basic facts.
Bastard Robin wants to father some offspring. It isn't enough that he screw some sweet young female robin. In his delusional, and seemingly infinitesimal, robin brain, he is determined to be the only male in the whole wide world screwing a sweet young female robin, so all the baby robins everywhere will carry on the genetic heritage of Bastard Robin.
Hence, his singleminded determination to rid the neighborhood of other male robins. Now that makes some sense, I guess. But now the male idiocy kicks in, stimulated by what a character on Ally McBeal was fond of calling the man's "dumb stick."
In searching about for other male robins, so he can kick their feathered ass, Bastard Robin always comes upon himself first thing in the morning.
He (or they; I can't tell them apart) used to wake us up by fluttering against our bedroom window, trying to chase away that robin S.O.B. he could see when he peered at the glass, and who bore such a strking resemblance to himself, and who mirrored his every move, the crafty kung fu fighter.
We put shades over the window and carefully drew them down every night, believing that this had solved the Bastard Robin problem.
Actually, it just moved the problem.
Now he has found the windshield and rear view mirrors of my (previously clean) car. When I drive into the carport, I often see him flying off from a rafter, where he has been lying in wait for Bastard Robin2 to return.
And yes!, there he is, just as before, on the other side of the windshield and mirror, taunting with his antics that are so similar to Bastard Robins'. He thinks, "I am so angry! I am so frustrated! I can never reach Bastard Robin2! What should I do? Why, I will poop! And poop, and poop, to show Bastard Robin2 just who is the Biggest Baddest Robin around here."
Then, in 2011, I wrote "How we stopped a robin's pecking on window glass." The solution, which you're aware of, because I've used it on you in 2019, as shown below, was netting that I attached over several bedroom windows.
(Note: in that post I mentioned how female robins also are territorial, and can peck on windows or glass.)
I apologize for using the term Bastard Robin in my first post. Like I said, this was an affectionate term, at least insofar as a semi-profane name for a bird can be viewed as affectionate. In what follows I've tried to be more respectful to your species. In fact, even laudatory.
First, thank you for making the concrete floor of our carport so much more artistic. The splashes of white robin poop have a pleasing abstract quality to them. Random, yet purposeful. There is a special message accompanying the precise placement of your poop so close to the tire track of my VW GTI.
I believe I understand your message. Likely it is, in line with my 2003 blog post, "I'm going to drive away that damn male robin that I see in the rear view mirrors." Yes, actually it is you, so you are at war with yourself. But aren't we all, to some extent?
I'm sorry to interfere with your battle of Me vs. Me, but the Lifesource Natural Foods grocery bags I've been putting over the rear view mirrors are necessary to keep my daily poop cleaning to a minimum. And they add a certain flair to my car absent in the original VW design.
Now, I realize that you birds are complex beings, so I may have erred in assuming that your sole motivation in attacking my car's rear view mirrors was to drive away a robin that looks just like you. The oft-heard saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" could be adapted in your case to "Absence makes my robin heart pissed off."
The absence being the removal of a nest from this area under our carport's roof. When you started pecking at the windows of our house a few weeks ago, I looked around and found the nest. I admit that I was the one who got a ladder and removed it, but it was my wife who took it into the woods and put it on a stump.
So I'd like to suggest that if you're pissed (or more accurately, pooped) at me, you should direct half of your ire -- and poop -- at my wife's car -- which is the Chevy Volt to the left of my car.
And in the interest of transparency, I want to add that even though I don't think you have any emotional attachment to this nest, this afternoon I removed it from a bush to the right of our front door that has been a home for robin's nests in the past.
My wife believes a bluejay was contemplating this as a home, but decided to pass on it -- maybe because it didn't have a three car garage, or fast broadband. At any rate, it's sitting at the base of an oak tree if you'd like to use twigs from it in your nest far away from our house, and my car. Oh, did you see the mention of far away?
Lastly, I want to express my thanks for you leading me to make this addition to our house, albeit a temporary one. I certainly wouldn't call myself a handyman, but you helped me explore the fine art of using masking tape and netting to create a robin barrier over four windows that, while admittedly lacking in artistry, has a certain rustic flair to it.
And when I look out of the window from inside our house, I'm reminded of how precious freedom is -- since the netting offers up a glimpse of what prison life would be like, assuming my cell was designed to keep robins out, rather than humans in.
Monday is my habitual weekly grocery shopping day, this being my role in our marriage. Today, April 1, coincided with the first day of Salem's ban on plastic bags at large retailers.
Which didn't affect me at all, given that I carry around six Trader Joe's reusable bags in my car, typically bringing two bags into each of my trifecta grocery shopping destinations: Trader Joe's, Fred Meyer on south Commercial, and Lifesource Natural Foods.
Naturally, when the checkout person at Trader Joe's asked me how my day was going, I said "It's exciting to be here on the first day of the plastic bag ban. Of course, you guys don't use plastic bags, just paper, so I gather nothing has changed for you."
I couldn't resist adding:
"However, the ban is going to take away from my judgmental satisfaction when I'm in a checkout line at Fred Meyer behind someone buying $150 or so of groceries, and the checker puts a zillion (more or less) plastic bags into their cart, with like four items in each bag. I feel morally superior with my reusable bags in hand. I find this as irritating as the women who spend an hour (more or less) searching for exact change in the depths of their purses."
Our brief conversation ended with me blurting out a bit of quasi-philosophical wisdom.
"The way I see it, if I'm not getting annoyed at something, I'm not alive." Pleasingly, the Trader Joe's checkout person agreed -- though maybe it was because she didn't have time to disagree with me.
Plus, I got an absolutely free Trader Joe's reusable bag, which must have been in honor of the plastic bag ban.
At Fred Meyer, I also brought up the plastic bag ban when asked how my day was going.
Since I was at the store where many times I"d noticed people sucking up over a dozen plastic bags to put their groceries in, I repeated my comment about how this irritated me, adding, "I bet plastic-bag-customers are going to be thankful for the ban when they realize how many fewer bags they have to carry into their house now that they have to use either reusable bags or paper bags."
The checkout person said that she's glad plastic bags have been eliminated. "They tear easily," she told me. "And they don't stand up like reusable bags do," I noted.
I didn't hear any enraged Fred Meyer customers fuming about the goddamn City Council taking away their precious plastic bags. In fact, as I wheeled my cart away I could hear the woman in line behind me speaking positively to the checkout person about the plastic bag ban.
Councilor Tom Andersen was featured in a KGW TV story last night about the upcoming rollout of the plastic bag ban. Andersen spoke about the environmental benefits of the ban in this video.
I love Bill Maher and his Real Time show, which always ends with "New Rules."
But the March 22 show missed the mark when Maher criticized the newest version of the marvelous PAX vaporizer -- which in my highly (so to speak) informed opinion is the best way to imbibe marijuana.
(Note: I live in Oregon, where pot is legal, so don't bother notifying the police about my nefarious behavior.)
In the video below you can see that Maher claims that the new version of the PAX doesn't include a raised mouthpiece. Well, actually it does. Here's the photographic proof.
First, my gold PAX3, with the extra raised mouthpiece attached.
Second, the list of what's included with the PAZX3.
I'm glad that Bill Maher and I share a fondness for PAX vaporizers. I've used the original PAX, the PAX2, and now the PAX3. They aren't cheap, but they're easy to use -- without the complicated button presses that Maher correctly criticizes in the video below.
You press a button to turn the PAX on. You shake it to see how much of a battery charge remains. And that's all I've ever done with it. Oh, other than put ground cannabis in the receptacle that heats up to what seems to be a perfect vaporizing temperature.
And yes, I do agree with Maher that the raised mouthpiece is preferable to the non-raised mouthpiece. I just wanted to point out that PAX gives users a choice of mouthpieces.
We live in an age of opinionating.
For example, this afternoon the Mueller report was released to the Attorney General. Now there's a frenzy of speculation about what is in the report, how much of it will be released to the public, what the political impact will be, and so on.
So it was pleasant to attend a Salem City Club talk today by demographer Charles Rynerson, a Research Associate with the Population Research Center at Portland State University (my graduate school alma mater): "Oregon Demographic Trends and the 2020 Census."
Rynerson was low-key, highly competent, and almost entirely factual. His talk felt like a healing warm bath of concrete data that (temporarily) washed away the torrent of opinions from a myriad of news sources that typically flood my political junkie brain.
UPDATE: After emailing Rynerson some questions, as noted below, I got the following replies after he returned from vacation. Keep in mind what he says here as you read the rest of my blog post. The first message was sent to someone else who had questions similar to mine. I've uploaded a link to his edited PowerPoint presentation.
Sorry for the delay, I was on vacation from the moment I left the City Club event!
This is the edited version of the presentation, based on valuable feedback that I got from a few people after the meeting. Slide #21 showing in- and out-migration by age group was presented with the two data series overlapped 100%, making it appear that it was a stacked column chart, implying that in-migration was smaller than out-migration. In fact, in-migration (green columns) is larger for every age group. By lowering the overlap percentage, this should now be apparent.
Brian Hines also brought this up in his blog post https://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2019/03/city-club-talk-about-oregon-demographics-and-2020-census-pleasingly-factual.html, showing the original version of the chart. I have cc'd him here, and will follow up with him to clarify a couple of other points.
Glad you enjoyed it!
I hope you saw my previous message in which I attached the PPT presentation and improved the migration by age group slide. If you don't have PowerPoint, let me know. I'd be glad to print it to PDF and send to you.
Thanks for covering the event with the blog post. You captured most of what I said perfectly. Allow me to correct a couple of things that I didn't make clear:
"In every age group, more people moved from Oregon to another state than moved to Oregon from another state."
"Rynerson said there are 13 metropolitan areas in Oregon, with each area being a county. The other 23 counties are in non-metro areas."
"The other eight counties have a large net migration, but Rynerson said almost all of this was due to Marion County."
"70% of people will get an Internet-first 2020 Census survey, while 30% of people in broadband deprived areas will get a Paper-first survey. "
I hope these clarifications help!
Here's photos of some of Rynerson's slides that I snapped with my trusty iPhone, along with commentary on each. I'll end with some additional things he told us. Let's geek out on some interesting info on how Oregon is changing demographically.
The flowing line is total population in Oregon, which is estimated to be 4,195,300 in 2018. The bars are annual increases in population form 2001 to 2018. The marked dip around 2010-11 reflects the recession that hit in earnest in 2008.
There was a decline in the rate of population growth from 2017 to 2018, but Rynerson said not much should be made of this, since the number of people added in 2018, 54,200, was still quite high.
Population growth is a function of net migration (# of people coming to Oregon - # of people leaving Oregon) plus natural increase (# of people born - # of people dying). This image shows these components in 5-year periods from 1960-65 to 2010-15. Remember: 5 years. That's why the numbers on the vertical axis are so large.
Net migration (brown bars) has always been greater than natural increase, except in 1960-65 and especially in 1980-85 -- which I recall was another economic downturn. The highest net migration was in 1990-95. Natural increase was at its lowest point in 2010-15.
This is a similar graph, but with the components shown in a single bar for individual years from 2001 to 2018. Natural increase in Oregon has been steadily declining since 2007, mostly because of lower birth rates. Net migration has increased a lot since low points in 2010-11.
Because population growth in Oregon has been greater than the national average, Rynerson said our state likely will gain a congressional seat after the 2020 census. He said that redistricting will start in April 2021, apparently because this is when requisite census data is available.
This slide shows that currently Oregon has a considerably larger population per seat in Congress than Washington, California, or the United States as a whole. Reason: Oregon narrowly missed out on getting an additional seat after the 2010 census. If we get a 6th seat, as expected, our population per seat will drop to about 715,000.
This slide shows the average number of people moving to Oregon (green bar) and the number of people moving from Oregon (brown bar) by age group from 2013 to 2017. Not surprisingly, those aged 20 to 29 are the biggest movers. In every age group, more people moved from Oregon to another state than moved to Oregon from another state.
This seems to be at odds with the positive net migration figures shown in a previous slide, so likely I'm missing something here. (Which is why Rynerson is a professional demographer, and I'm not.) I've emailed Rynerson, asking about this.
Rynerson said there are 13 metropolitan areas in Oregon, with each area being a county. The other 23 counties are in non-metro areas. (All it takes to be a metro area is to have a population center with 50,000 or more people.)
Net migration has been greatest in the 5-county Portland Metro area, as has the natural increase. Which figures, since that area has by far the most people. The other eight counties have a large net migration, but Rynerson said almost all of this was due to Marion County.
And in the 23 non-metro counties, which basically means rural Oregon, net migration has been very low -- along with a negative natural increase, with more people dying in those rural areas than are being born.
This chart shows where people moving to Oregon come from. (The columns total to 100%.) Overall, 24% come from California. Rynerson said the SW Oregon and Deschutes column confirms his intuition that southern Oregon has a higher percentage of Californians than other parts of Oregon -- 34%.
The Willamette Valley percentages are very close to the Oregon total, Rynerson noted.
This interesting chart shows by age group in 2016 the number of white/non-Latino people (blue) and all other people (brown). It shows that the proportion of white/non-Latino steadily increases with age: 63% for those under 15, 71% ages 15 to 44, 82% 45 to 64, 91% 65 and older.
So demographically, the future belongs to people of color -- an oft-cited national fact that holds true in Oregon, though we have a smaller percentage than the United States as a whole.
Lastly, this slide shows the "baby bust" that's been reflected in previous slides. The blue 1990-2017 trend line is non-Latino total fertility rates, and the green line is Latino total fertility rates. Meaning, the total number of children a woman has. The fertility rates for both groups have been steadily declining, which is why the natural increase in Oregon has been dropping.
But the Latino birth rate has dropped especially fast since 2000. Now it is 1.96, not all that far above the non-Latino rate of 1.51. Rynerson said the replacement rate is 2.1, given that some children don't survive to adulthood. So couples need on average to have 2.1 children to keep the population steady, without accounting for net migration.
This shows that Oregon would be losing population long-term if it wasn't for people moving into our state.
Here's some other info Rynerson shared in his talk:
-- 70% of people will get an Internet-first 2020 Census survey, while 30% of people in broadband deprived areas will get a Paper-first survey. Those who don't respond to the Internet survey apparently will get a paper survey.
-- The Trump administration's attempt to add a "Are you a citizen?" question to the 2020 Census is still being adjudicated. Rynerson said that if this question ends up being included, and someone doesn't answer it, but completes the rest of the survey, likely there won't be a follow-up attempt, due to lack of resources. So I can see immigrant rights organizations advising people to leave that question blank. Heck, I'll likely do that myself, if the citizen question is asked.
-- Attempts will be made to include homeless people in the 2020 Census. During a one-night event, census staff will go with local people to try to count the homeless.