Here in Oregon it's super important to know for me to know if rain is coming in the next hour.
Even though I'm retired, I have many crucial things to do -- such as taking our oldest dog for a semi-slow motion walk every afternoon. Our walk takes about an hour though it's less than two miles. Serena is twelve and a half. She doesn't move nearly as fast as she used to, unless a CAT! grabs her attention.
So this morning, when I learned about Dark Sky through my iPhone's AppAdvice app, almost instantly I decided to fork out $3.99 for it via iTunes.
Kind of spendy for a weather app.
But it's also kind of irritating to either (1) wear my waterproof rain hat, coat, pants, and shoes for an hour dog walk, when it never rains a drop, or (2) wear regular clothes and get soaked halfway through the walk.
I love Dark Sky, even after a mere nine hours of using it. All it does it tell you if it's going to rain or snow where you are in the next hour. And that's a lot.
Because Dark Sky offers up forecasts to the minute, using publicly available government radar data along with some sophisticated algorithms for eliminating extraneous info, plus calculating storm intensity, direction, speed, and such.
This morning it showered off and on. Dark Sky nailed the forecast. That gave me confidence when dog and me set off on our walk around 4:00 pm. Before we left I checked out what Dark Sky had to say: "No precipitation" for next hour.
Great. I put on a fleece jacket and Teva sandals (with wool socks; it was 55 degrees and windy on the day before May Day). No rain hat.
I trusted Dark Sky, even though clouds were rolling in, some of them looking pretty darn dark. Halfway through the walk I checked my iPhone again. Still "No precipitation." Which turned out to be true.
A Dark Sky update that I just downloaded adds support for Hawaii and Alaska, which makes the app even more useful. The radar animations are well done. You can scroll back quite a few hours, watching the weather pattern repeat itself. Also, go forward an hour in a short term radar forecast.
Dark Sky is a terrific idea. I've often looked at radar images on other weather apps, but it's difficult to make practical sense of them. How fast is the rain approaching? From what direction? How much rain is in the clouds?
Dark Sky calculates all that info, using the iPhone's own processor rather than a remote server. Also a terrific idea. Dark Sky just takes a few seconds to crunch the data into what sure seems to be a highly accurate forecast of rain and snow to come.
There's a lot wrong with the world. No doubt about that. But I've accumulated some photographic evidence on my iPhone which shows how alright things are also.
Along with some fellow Trader Joe's-loving friends, we've been worried about how well the recently-opened Salem, Oregon store is doing. Seems like it isn't very crowded whenever I shop there.
But when I glanced into the blue/green glass bin at the D&O Garbage recycling center a few days ago, I thought Alright!
Tossing my own Charles Shaw (Trader Joe's famous $2.49 wine) bottles into the bin, I was struck by how many similarly labeled bottles -- with the square dark logo on a white label -- already were in it.
And the photo above was taken just after another recycler who had different wine tastes had dumped a large bag of other brand bottles into the front of the bin.
Here's a close-up of the back of the bin that gives a more accurate portrayal of how "Two Buck Chuck" is dominating south Salem's wine bottle recycling bin. If our local Trader Joe's store is selling as much other stuff as it's selling Charles Shaw wine, the store is doing just fine.
Next, not long ago I was short on time and in desperate need of a heavily discounted 16 ounce cup of coffee in my own mug (sitting on the curb in the photo above) from the downtown Beanery.
Love your massive 35 cent discount, Beanery! Starbucks sucks with its measly 10 cents off.
I scanned the parking spots as I drove down Court Street, worrying that I was going to be late for a dog training class that my wife wanted me to attend with her if I had to walk a ways to feed my caffeine addiction.
Then I saw it: Alright!
A "Small Car Only" sign. No problem with my Mini Cooper. Not only no problem, I had lots of room to spare (note the distance between the rear bumper and the white line marking the end of the spot).
Mini Coopers rule. If we all drove them, imagine how less crowded our roads would be. Plus, they'd seem oh-so-European.
Lastly, I assume that you, along with most of the rest of the millions (or billions?) of people who were astonished at the news that our dog had cloned herself, have been waiting to learn whether the clone and the original have continued to get along.
As you can see from the photo above, absolutely. All together now...
These respected centrists (Ornstein is with the American Enterprise Institute; Mann with the Brookings Institution) have written a terrific piece in the Washington Post that's based on their forthcoming book.
It's clear, truthful, undeniable. One major political party in the United States has gone wacko, and it isn't the Democratic Party.
Below are some of my favorite parts of the essay.
The mention of habitual Republican use of the filibuster, something new in Senate politics, is right-on. Why does the media say "The Democratic proposal failed to pass by a vote of 53-47 in the Senate"? The bill got a freaking majority! It succeeded in passing, except for the idiotic 60-vote filibuster rule.
As Ornstein and Mann note, reporters should say just that. A majority of Senators voted for the bill, but it didn't become law because of Republican obstructionism. Here's more on that subject.
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
...The post-McGovern Democratic Party, by contrast, while losing the bulk of its conservative Dixiecrat contingent in the decades after the civil rights revolution, has retained a more diverse base. Since the Clinton presidency, it has hewed to the center-left on issues from welfare reform to fiscal policy. While the Democrats may have moved from their 40-yard line to their 25, the Republicans have gone from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post.
...Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies.The filibuster, once relegated to a handful of major national issues in a given Congress, became a routine weapon of obstruction, applied even to widely supported bills or presidential nominations.
...The GOP’s evolution has become too much for some longtime Republicans. Former senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska called his party “irresponsible” in an interview with the Financial Times in August, at the height of the debt-ceiling battle. “I think the Republican Party is captive to political movements that are very ideological, that are very narrow,” he said. “I’ve never seen so much intolerance as I see today in American politics.”
And Mike Lofgren, a veteran Republican congressional staffer, wrote an anguished diatribe last year about why he was ending his career on the Hill after nearly three decades. “The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe,” he wrote on the Truthout Web site.
...We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change anytime soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public.
Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?
Also, stop lending legitimacy to Senate filibusters by treating a 60-vote hurdle as routine. The framers certainly didn’t intend it to be. Report individual senators’ abusive use of holds and identify every time the minority party uses a filibuster to kill a bill or nomination with majority support.
Cigarettes cause lung cancer. Coal-fired power plants cause acid rain. Fossil fuel emissions cause global warming.
There's scientific consensus on the causes of lung cancer, acid rain, and global warming. Unfortunately, there also has been, and still is, a systematic effort to spread lies about these serious problems.
In her book "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming," historian Naomi Oreskes documented how this happened. A review says:
Merchants of Doubt might be one of the most important books of the year. Exhaustively researched and documented, it explains how over the past several decades mercenary scientists have partnered with tobacco companies and chemical corporations to help them convince the public that their products are safe – even when solid science proves otherwise.
These businesses had a goal: to sell cigarettes and chemicals such as DDT. These businesses had a problem: scientists said their products were bad for people. These businesses found a solution: hire scientists to step outside the objective, peer-reviewed scientific academies and spread junk science and misinformation, manufacturing and selling doubt.
...Today, a number of scientists have figured out how to sell doubt in the public consciousness and make money and a reputation in doing so. “Merchants of Doubt” shows how many of these same scientists are still working today on the Grand Poobah of science issues: global warming.
Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway tell the story of a number of scientists and organizations that they say have established themselves in this practice, but three in particular steal the show – er, charade: Bill Nierenberg, Fred Seitz, and Fred Singer. Oreskes and Conway contend that each of these scientists developed extensive political networks they then used to begin some of the greatest misinformation campaigns in American scientific history.
Today I listened to a podcast interview of Oreskes on Point of Inquiry. It was simultaneously fascinating and disturbing.
I learned that fear drives many global warming deniers. It's the same fear that impelled Cold War warriors to see Communism as a much bigger threat than it really was, and to trample civil liberties in their efforts to root out nasty Reds who supposedly were undermining the United States from within.
Amazingly, Oreskes said that rabid anti-science "merchants of doubt" still believe in the Watermelon Theory of modern environmentalists: green without, red within.
Corporate greed of fossil fuel companies is one driver of global warming lies. An irrational fear of government intrusion into people's lives is another driver. If human-caused global warming is a serious problem -- and science tells us that it IS -- then something needs to be done about it.
Oreskes said that even though pollution trading mechanisms based on the free market worked with acid rain, and carbon trading would work equally well with global warming, fear of big government leads global warming deniers to spread lies, apparently figuring that their supposedly virtuous libertarian ends justify sleazy untruthful means.
The good news is that the American public is seeing through the lies: 75 percent of Americans favor regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant; 60 percent support a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
A new national survey confirms strong public support for funding renewable energy research, regulating carbon pollution, and signing a global treaty to slash emissions. The study, conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, found a remarkable 75% of Americans support “regulating carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas) as a pollutant.”
The survey’s results are counter to widely held assumptions among the media and politicians, but consistent with recent polling. The poll found:
63 percent of Americans support “signing an international treaty that requires the United States to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide 90 percent by the year 2050“!
By a margin of 3 to 1 — 61 percent to 20 percent — Americans say they would be more likely to vote for a political candidate who supports a “revenue neutral” tax shift, increasing taxes on fossil fuels, and reducing the federal income tax by an equal amount.
61 percent said they support holding the fossil fuel industry responsible for “hidden costs we pay for citizens who get sick from polluted air and water, military costs to maintain access to foreign oil, and the environmental costs of spills and accidents.”
By 3 to 1 — 58 percent to 17 percent — Americans say “protecting the environment … improves economic growth and provides new jobs” vs those who say it “reduces economic growth and costs jobs.”
Asked “When there is a conflict between environmental protection and economic growth, which do you think is more important?” an amazing 62 percent supported “protecting the environment, even if it reduces economic growth” vs. 38 percent who backed “Economic growth, even if it leads to environmental problems.”
More good news: Obama reportedly is going to make climate change a presidential campaign issue. Given that a clear majority of Americans want this country to take strong action to combat human-caused global warming, that's a smart political move.
Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people’s number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices. In that environment, it’s been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science.
I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.
That there’s a way to do it that is entirely compatible with strong economic growth and job creation – that taking steps, for example, to retrofit buildings all across America with existing technologies will reduce our power usage by 15 or 20 percent. That’s an achievable goal, and we should be getting started now.
The more I learn about Dwight Holton, candidate for Oregon Attorney General in the May 15 primary, the less I like him. Ellen Rosenblum seems like a much better choice.
Holton, during his stint as United States Attorney for Oregon, tried to undermine our state's medical marijuana law.
It irks me how the Obama administration is raiding medical marijuana providers around the country, desperate to take away a drug that relieves chronic pain and helps cancer sufferers feel better.
So why would Oregon want to elect somebody who supports a crazy federal law which equates marijuana with heroin and erroneously claims marijuana has zero medical benefit? The Oregon Attorney General should be focused on serious lawbreaking.
I liked this comment from Anthony Johnson on the Blue Oregon post about Holton's distaste for our medical marijuana law.
If you believe that enforcing minor marijuana laws is a waste of police time, resources and jail space, vote Ellen Rosenblum. If you think that the state of Oregon should focus police resources on more important priorities, like violent crime, vote Ellen Rosenblum.
If you believe that we should be wasting tax dollars and law enforcement resources raiding medical marijuana providers, then vote for Dwight Holton. If you believe that it is okay for sick and disabled medical cannabis patients to lose their medicine in raids and be forced into the underground market, vote Dwight Holton.
If you are a true Democrat, who believes in compassion and efficient prioritizing of our state's resources, there is only one choice for Oregon Attorney General: Ellen Rosenblum.
You nailed it, Anthony.
For more reasons to cast a vote for Ellen Rosenblum, check out the Not Dwight Holton site. Also, The Weed Blog, which reports on "Cops Break the Law to Help Oregon Politician."
I hope Dwight Holton realizes that the Oregon medical marijuana community will not stop what we are doing.
We will not stop pointing out the fact that Dwight Holton has received most of his campaign dollars from outside of Oregon. We will not stop pointing out the fact that Dwight Holton wasn’t a member of the Oregon Bar until 2009. We will not stop pointing out that the fact that he has never tried a case in Oregon courts.
With media services like NBC and NPR watching, we will continue to shout at the rooftops. Dwight Holton and his friends at The Oregonian can try to run a smear campaign against us all they want to. We will continue to run our ‘truth campaign.’
In the meantime, expect charges against Oregon law enforcement for their obvious campaign violations. Hopefully people are more upset about it this time around, so they won’t just keep doing it over and over again.
Also on the subject of marijuana...
It bugs me how Oregon football coach Chip Kelly is buying into the "demon weed" propaganda in the course of responding to allegations that 40 to 60 percent of the players on his highly successful team use marijuana.
Kelly said he doubts the Ducks would be as successful as they have been over the past few years if that many players were smoking marijuana.
“If we had that many kids doing it, we wouldn’t be 34-6 (for the last three seasons),” Kelly said. This past season, the Ducks defeated Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl.
“We win because of how hard we practice, and I see our kids every day in practice,” Kelly said. “If we saw signs of it — I haven’t seen signs of it.”
Hey, Chip, I'm an expert in the daily use of marijuana and how this affects mental and physical performance.
[Note to Dwight Holton and other law enforcement officials: I'm referring to my early college years, 1966-68 at San Jose State College.]
I graduated With Great Distinction from college. I got an "A" every semester in a two-year 12 unit Tutorials in Letters and Sciences program that required a lot of high-level independent thinking/writing/discussing through small seminars with demanding professors.
My friends and I regularly would go out and play pool, or frisbee, after smoking marijuana. Our hand-eye coordination wasn't affected at all, so far as I could tell. We'd ride motorcycles around -- no problem.
I'd much rather be driving around with someone who just smoked a lot of marijuana, than someone who just drank a lot of alcohol.
So Chip, don't worry if your players use marijuana.
I realize you have to sound all parental and critical of marijuana use. But geez, you're coaching at the freakin' University of Oregon in Eugene. You should worry if your players aren't using marijuana, because that'd show they're cut off from reality.
Maybe I would have looked more Brando'ish if Jim, a friend, hadn't taken my photo in the parking lot adjacent to the West Salem Starbucks, the wild mild scene of our Sunday morning caffeine-fueled get-together.
But adding a helmet, dark glasses, and a jaunty wave adds to my macho cool'ness, in my decidedly nonobjective opinion. Also, obscuring my facial features makes me look a lot more like Marlon Brando, wouldn't you say?
(For real cool, the Corvette in the background beats me out, big-time.)
Last Friday my wife and I went to see the Oregon Symphony in Salem even though we don't like classical music. Or, usually, symphonies.
But Storm Large, Portland's rock goddess, was singing along with the symphony in "The Perfect Storm" show that moved to the Schnitzer Concert Hall this weekend. Which also featured rock violinist Aaron Meyer in the first part of the program -- another amazing performer.
Large was on her best behavior during her sultry lounge-singer sort of performance. She noted this near the end of her show, saying something like "Salem, I bet you were wondering what you were going to get tonight. But look! I didn't curse once. And I wore underwear!"
She was dressed elegantly in a slinky black dress, nicely made up in glittery eye shadow, her blonde hair neatly coiffed. But anyone who saw her sing on Rock Star SuperNova back in 2006 knows that Large has a whole other way of being "Ladylike" (her original song).
Storm Large's versatility is hugely impressive. Like Lady Gaga, she can play sophisticated nightclub singer or down-and-dirty rocker. I forked out for center seats, six rows back, in Willamette University's Smith Auditorium.
I loved being able to clearly see Large's expressive face. Not to mention her attractive body. In 2011 she took the place of Pink Martini's lead singer, China Forbes, who had vocal cord surgery. Here's a video of her singing with Pink Martini in her sophisticated style.
And then there's "8 Miles Wide" from her show Crazy Enough. Hint: she's not talking about the Grand Canyon, but rather, um, a intimate bit of womanly geography.
Friday night Large said she had a "kink" for love songs.
Especially for love songs about relationships that end badly. Even better... love songs about relationships that start badly. I loved her honest, pleasingly cynical, yet still hopeful attitude toward love. Yeah, it hurts. But oh so good.
A big audience pleaser was her unique rendition of "Hopelessly Devoted." Large said the original singer (Olivia Newton-John in Grease, I assume) got it all wrong. Large told us that if she was jilted by a jerk, she wouldn't be sitting on a swing, softly singing about the break-up.
The guy would be duct-taped in an empty warehouse, his head over a toilet, getting what he deserved.
Her emotionally honest approach to love is even more bluntly revealed in Large's wonderful "I Want You to Die." Great lyrics. Note to self: If you're ever reborn and somehow are on the edge of fulfilling your karmic desire to have a romantic relationship with a reincarnated Storm Large, don't!
For obvious reasons.
Storm Large is a fascinating personality. Seeing her perform close-up Friday night, I could tell that a complex, intelligent, highly engaging woman was singing beautifully with the Oregon Symphony.
In an interview with Rosie O'Donnell, Large talks about her childhood, her mentally ill mother, and forgiveness. Honest. Real. Super talented. That's Storm Large. Portland, and Oregon, is fortunate to have her.
Oh, no! To some people I'm about to sound like a heartless right-winger, even though I'm a proud progressive. Tough.
This isn't a left vs. right issue. It's an annoying homeless people vs. courteous paying Starbucks customers issue.
Understand: I'm almost always a happy Starbucks coffee consumer.
Two years ago I blogged about how I'm strangely proud of my Starbucks Gold Card. Today I pay for my coffee via the Starbucks iPhone app, which makes me even prouder (because fewer people use it).
But recently I walked into a Salem (Oregon) Starbucks store and was immediately aware of a large, noisy, rather slobbily dressed guy slouching on a cushioned chair near the entrance. He was talking loudly into a cell phone...
Obama, I can't stand him! He's a Muslim! What a jerk. [blah, blah, blah along that absurd line]
That was annoying in itself, even if the guy had been a customer. But I saw no sign of a Starbucks purchase anywhere near him, though he could have sipped his way through a 12 ounce coffee before I arrived.
What increased my annoyance were his two friends, even more shabbily clothed, standing with their duffel bags outside the men's restroom, waiting to do whatever once they got inside.
These three guys acted like they owned the place, whereas they should have been grateful the Starbucks staff didn't throw them out -- something I increasingly wished would happen as some friends and I tried to have a normal conversation while the homeless crew talked in a decidedly loud fashion just a few feet from our table.
So where are you going to go the rest of the day, dude? was one subject of zero interest to me, yet it unavoidably penetrated into my brain through three sets of obnoxiously loud male vocal cords.
I'm sympathetic to the plight of the homeless, poor, and chronically unemployed. However, these guys struck me as being perfectly capable of working. Could be wrong, but I felt like I came to know them fairly well after being forced to listen to them blather for over half an hour.
I started to get so irritated, I thought about asking them to take their conversation outside.
That didn't seem like a good idea, though, given their aggressive macho style. Getting up and asking the Starbucks manager to do something about them was another option. However, I figured they'd realize who was the complainant, and I didn't want to stimulate another round of shouting. Or worse, shoving.
I'm sure if you work in a Starbucks in a city you get lots of fun homeless people. Some of my favorite regulars in our store:
-the guy who sprawls out on the squishy chair, takes off his shoes, props his feet up on the end table, and proceeds to fall asleep, snoring loudly, until one of us have to go upstairs and ask him to leave, after which he checks his watch and says, "Oh! Look at the time! I was just leaving anyway."
-the guy who, without having bought anything, spends 20 minutes in the bathroom doing god knows what and leaving it smelling like absolute death for the next unwitting customer.
-the guy who paces in front of the store before we open every morning and comes in right before we close and asks for a cup of hot water and tells us about how he has to walk all night long. He's actually really cool, he turns on the lights for us upstairs in the morning and waits in line instead of coming straight to the bar.
-there's this blind guy who comes in all the time who positively reeks of henna and has this ridiculous patched pants and crazy long dreadlocks.. he buys a drink and sits upstairs staring into space for awhile. Then this other girl sees that he's inside and she comes up to us and asks for a refill on iced coffee, claiming that she lost her cup. She drinks half of the coffee, then asks us to fill the cup up with ice and whipped cream. She then sits down next to the blind guy and steals half of his coffee. We thought at first they were friends, but he assured us that they were definitely not.
-this guy who used to come in wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase with his long gray hair slicked back like the suave beast he was. He would sit down and start talking to high school and college girls while they were trying to do work and, even after they tried to get away or make him stop, would keep taking to them. After several complaints from other customers who watched him creep on minors, he got banned from the store but claimed he was going to write a letter of complaint to our manager because he was "wrongly accused."
There are more, but these are the most colorful of the ones I've seen. I live in a pretty tame little city though so I'm sure these aren't very bad comparatively. Do you guys have crazy homeless people stories?
Well, my story isn't about a crazy homeless person. The guy who irritated me was annoying rather than obviously crazy. I'm more sympathetic toward the clearly mentally ill.
I realize that Starbucks wants to convey an open-minded, compassionate, community-oriented corporate spirit. That's great. But if Starbucks becomes a haven for the homeless, other customers are going to be turned off.
It's one thing for a homeless person to get out of the cold and quietly nurse a hot cup of coffee at a table in the corner for several hours. It's a whole other thing to dominate several chairs in the center of a Starbucks and talk loudly about Obama's Muslimosity and other ridiculous crap while paying customers are trying to enjoy a Sunday get-together at a coffeehouse.
A positive side of my experience was that I've now discovered I Hate Starbucks. The site is run by someone clever who has a pleasingly cynical sense of humor. Since I moderate comments on my own blogs to keep out spammers and assholes, I enjoyed reading this on the site's home page:
An Answer to the Question... "Hey why did you take down my post?"
About three people, you know who you are, have been putting up heaps of posts on the site that talk about how wonderful Starbucks is, I delete 'em. Why? Because I like to think of people self-righteously typing their little hearts out thinking that they are going to take a stand against some bunch of anti-Starbucks hooligans and with one click of my mouse their work disappears. Boo hoo.
I have been besieged by these people lately so here they are, for your reading pleasure... hate mail and stupid postings from the Starbucks Posse. My comments are in white.
Name: heather Date: Tuesday May 09th, 2000 01:18 PM hey, i work at starbucks and i enjoy it and i posted many postthat seem to get taken off. Before,judging on 1 experience why won't you let people stick up for the company too! Take both sides.
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a clue? Post your squishy ideas somewhere else, for example, try to find an ilovestarbucks.com website, or get off your mocha decaf booty and make one.
Name: Starbucks employee Date: Sunday March 05th, 2000 03:22 AM I happened to stumble upon this site. It saddens me greatly that people are so full of hate. Sure not everbody likes Starbucks coffee, but not everybody likes tomatoes. Are you going to start Bitching about people who sell tomatoes and like tomatoes? Think about it? Aren't you being a little imature? This is the best job that I have ever had. You can't expect everybody to like everything. The way I see it is that you're jelous that one man made it and your still sitting in front of your computer wishing it was you. Sorry but, Get a Life!
Just in case you were curious, this is the most common type of negative correspondence to the site. Who are they? How much time do they waste traveling to sites that they don't agree with trying to lobby for a corporate monster and influence people by saying brilliant things like "get a life" ? These lovely people are true hypocrites. Don't go to a site with different opinions from yours and insult people. Jeez. And once again, the site is ihatestarbucks.com not ihateeverything.com or even ihatetomatoes.com.
There's lots of reasons to vote for President Obama rather than Mitt Romney this November. Lots.
Here's one area where Obama triumphs over Romney, big-time: energy policy. The world is running out of fossil fuels (fossils take a long time to form, so we're using up oil and coal hugely faster than more is being created, but the Republican Party doesn't seem to know this basic fact).
Other countries, like Germany and China, are avidly pursuing profitable alternative energy sources like wind and solar.
Obama recognizes that even though oil and coal will be part of our energy future for many years, the time is now to begin transitioning to sustainable, non-polluting sources of energy which will simultaneously lessen our dependence on foreign oil and stimulate the United States economy.
Romney is stuck in the dark ages, energy policy-wise.
His habitual tilt toward corporate interests ("Corporations are people, my friend!") and the 1% causes him to lean away from American energy independence and home-grown sources of fueling our economy.
Here's a summary of how Obama and Romney differ on energy policy, courtesy of Climate Progress (click to enlarge). For more details, check out "How Obama and Romney Compare on Energy Issues."
A blindfolded woman, bright red lipstick, with the title of the Newsweek cover story above her right breast: "The Fantasy Life of Working Women: Why Surrender is a Feminist Dream."
Looking at the issue I thought, "This is why print magazines are going to survive. Glad I've stuck with our Newsweek subscription after The Daily Beast took it over."
The old Newsweek wouldn't have had such a provocative article. Kudos to the new Newsweek.
Many of the online comments on the story appear to be from feminists who aren't surrendering to the notion that what successful, powerful, confident, independent women want is..
To be spanked into submission. Which, I gather, is a central theme of "Fifty Shades of Grey," the hugely successful novel by E L James (a woman).
Wow. Amazon shows 1,557 customer reviews at the moment, most decidedly positive -- though there are a considerable number of disappointed readers. For various reasons, such as described in this excerpt from the first 1-star review I came across.
~ The writing was too sterile. There was no depth and I found it hard connecting to any of it. There was a whole heap of - I touched him, he touched me, I did this, he did that. And it wasn't engaging at all. When I read I want to be able to feel the emotion, not be told how a scene is playing out as if the heroine is actually an observer.
~ The sex - it wasn't hot at all. I wouldn't even classify it as erotic. For some strange reason I have the opinion that you need to be able to refer to your vagina as something more erotic than 'down there' before you can pull off a significant hotness rating.
~ Christian - ok, he was relatively hot but not enough to get my blood pumping. He wasn't alpha enough for me. One moment he is trying to be hard core the next he is gasping because she is wearing his underwear. Now if that was my dominant alpha, he would have given me a cocky smile, licked his lips and gave that 'how you doin' look, But no, he gasped like a little girl.
~ The price....I don't get it. How can a publisher charge this much for a book written so badly??
The Newsweek story drew me in (so to speak...) in part because I find the whole romance novel thing intriguing.
Whenever I head to the magazine section of the south Salem Fred Meyer store to thumb through car magazines, I walk past several rows of paperback books featuring the romance genre. There's lots of them.
As Stephen Colbert likes to say, "the market has spoken."
Women buy tons of books featuring a heroine who is swept off her feet by a macho, albeit sensitive, alpha male. Fifty Shades of Grey is #1 on various NY Times bestseller lists, so this also points to what many modern women are looking for in their romantic/sexual fantasies.
The Daily Beast conveniently extracted fourteen of the "naughtiest parts" for those of us, a.k.a. men, who aren't interested in reading all 528 pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. Here's some samples.
“At the touch of leather, I quiver and gasp. He walks around me again, trailing the crop around the middle of my body. On his second circuit, he suddenly flicks the crop, and it hits me underneath my behind … against my sex … The shock runs through me, and it’s the sweetest, strangest, hedonistic feeling … My body convulses at the sweet, stinging bite. My nipples harden and elongate from the assault, and I moan loudly, pulling on my leather cuffs.”
“His arms are wrapped around me, and he’s pulling me to him, hard, fast, gripping my ponytail to tilt my head up, kissing me like his life depends on it … He drags the hair tie painfully out of my hair, but I don’t care. He needs me, for whatever reason, at this point in time, and I have never felt so desired and coveted.”
I've got to agree with the Amazon reader quoted above; these don't seem very erotic to me. But, hey, I'm not a woman. Whatever turns you on.
That's one of the messages in Katie Roiphe's Newsweek cover story. Human desire/sexuality is amazingly mysterious. There aren't any hard and fast rules (though "hard and fast rules" sounds like something Fifty Shades of Grey has in a sex scene).
Feminism and independence can go hand-in-hand (or hand in something else) with surrender and submission.
It is intriguing that huge numbers of women are eagerly consuming myriad and disparate fantasies of submission at a moment when women are ascendant in the workplace, when they make up almost 60 percent of college students, when they are close to surpassing men as breadwinners, with four in 10 working women now outearning their husbands, when the majority of women under 30 are having and supporting children on their own, a moment when—in hard economic terms—women are less dependent or subjugated than before.
...In the realm of private fantasy, the allure of sexual submission, even in its extremes, is remarkably widespread. An analysis of 20 studies published in Psychology Today estimates that between 31 percent and 57 percent of women entertain fantasies where they are forced to have sex. “Rape fantasies are a place where politics and Eros meet, uneasily,” says Daniel Bergner, who is working on a book on female desire to be published next year. “It is where what we say and what is stand next to each other, mismatched.”
The researchers and psychologists he talked to for his 2009 New York Timesarticle, “What Do Women Want?” often seemed reluctant to use the phrase “rape fantasy,” and in scholarly pieces, the idea makes even the chroniclers of these fantasies extremely nervous and apologetic. Even though fantasies are something that, by definition, one can’t control, they seem to be saying something about modern women that nearly everyone wishes wasn’t said. One of the researchers he interviewed preferred to call them “fantasies of submission”; another said, “It’s the wish to be beyond will, beyond thought.”
But why, for women especially, would free will be a burden? Why is it appealing to think of what happens in the passive tense? Why is it so interesting to surrender, or to play at surrendering? It may be that power is not always that comfortable, even for those of us who grew up in it; it may be that equality is something we want only sometimes and in some places and in some arenas; it may be that power and all of its imperatives can be boring.
Hmmmm. Maybe that's too much analysis.
A woman put up a You Tube review of the book that ends with "I really enjoyed it." Nice and simple.
She helped me understand why Fifty Shades of Grey appeals to so many females. Apparently the young innocent Anastasia Steele helps rich entrepreneur Christian Grey explore his secret, damaged side, bringing out untouched aspects of himself through his passionate relationship with her.
Sounds like Romance Writing 101. Here's the video review:
Almost always, truth runs deeper than a single shallow newspaper story. Especially when the subject is global warming, a subject that has been studied in depth by climate scientists.
This morning Google News led me to a Christian Science Monitor story, "Global warming mystery: some Himalayan glaciers getting bigger." Yes, but only some. And not a lot bigger.
Then I came across another more inclusive story in the Guardian by Jonathan Bamber, director of the Bristol Glaciology Centre, "The glaciers are still shrinking -- and rapidly."
With glaciers and ice sheets covering such a diverse range of latitudes (from the tropics to the poles) and altitudes (from sea level to over 6,000 metres), it is not surprising that there are regional variations in their behaviour. Such variability should not, however, distract from the broader and more important story unfolding, which is one of profound and likely irreversible changes to global land and sea ice cover. Taken as a whole, the evidence for sustained changes to the cryosphere is clear.
The impacts these changes are having on water resources, sea-level rise and climate feedbacks are already observable and significant. Some recent predictions of the increase in sea levels by 2100 exceed one metre. Loss of Arctic sea ice results in enhanced warming of the Arctic Ocean due to a strong positive feedback.
Most glaciologists believe we are witnessing unprecedented changes to land and sea ice. The burning question is not if, but how fast, land and sea ice will disappear, and what we can do to mitigate and adapt to these changes.
That's the deeper truth. Global warming is real. It's happening. And we've got to mitigate and adapt to it.
At first, Annie had the several dozen people who'd come to the one hour class briefly introduce themselves: their name, name of their dog, breed and age of dog, whether it had come from the Willamette Humane Society.
Then she walked over to a whiteboard with a marker in hand and said, "Aside from food, water, and shelter, what other needs do dogs have?"
People started throwing out ideas. "Exercise." "Affection." "Chewing."
Cleverly -- because this is what I'll always remember from the class, after forgetting everything else -- Annie had tucked a plastic container filled with dog treats under her arm.
After someone yelled out a suggestion Annie would say, "OK, good idea," then toss a dog treat at them. (She had good aim; almost always she hit her target, even when in the back row.) My wife made one of the first suggestions. I reached out for the treat but dropped it.
Damn! I thought.
Another guy at a table to the right of, and behind, me already had caught two dog treats. I wanted (1) more treats to give to our dogs who were waiting in the car, and (2) to cleanly catch a treat so my male competitiveness could be assuaged.
I found myself desperately thinking of ideas to yell out. Annie had moved on to another question: "What resources can be controlled by a dog owner to reward their pet?"
I really wanted to get more dog treats.
I'd noticed that Annie was rewarding anybody who made even a half-good suggestion. So I started to yell out whatever popped into my mind, even if the reasonable side of me (as contrasted with the dog-treat-desiring side of me) was whispering "That's a stupid idea" inside my head.
"Fun!" I was almost embarassed to yell that out as loudly as I did, because a more reticent woman at the table in front of me had started to say "Fu..." and I wanted to beat her to the treat.
So I out-shouted her and got a treat thrown in my direction which -- Praise Dog! -- I caught cleanly on the fly. I carefully placed it on the floor next to my growing collection of dog treats, which were pieces of jerky and biscuits.
"Didn't someone else also say 'fun'?" Annie perceptively asked. Whew. Guilt went away. The woman I out-yelled ended up getting a treat also.
Disturbingly, though, Annie didn't write anything on the board with her marker. "Actually 'fun' should be part of all the other resources you can control, like going for a walk and petting," she said. "It isn't really a separate resource."
By this time in the class I wasn't satisfied with just getting a dog treat from Annie when I did something she wanted me to do. I expected to see my suggestion written down on the board, which was, um...
A resource she was controlling. Along with the dog treats.
Bingo! Main lesson learned.
Annie had me doing what she wanted by giving me stuff I wanted. On the handout she gave us near the end of the class, Dog Training 101 was described in some pithy words:
What's In It For Me NOW? Establish Calm, Clear, GENTLE Leadership Life rewards: Nothing in Life is Free (NILF)
l learned a lot from the class. Most notably, that if a human who doesn't even eat dog treats can be motivated to do things by having the treats thrown in his direction, they will work much better with an actual dog.
We live on the West Coast. We like swing dancing. But my wife and I have had a tough time getting into the West Coast Swing style.
Over the years we've had several lessons. Even a four-week series. The dance just never "set in" with us.
Until recently we'd forgotten almost everything we'd learned about West Coast Swing. So when we'd go to a open social dance night at the RJ Dance Studio here in Salem, and the DJ would call out "west coast swing" as a new tune started, we'd sit down and watch other people dance what looked to be a cool, fun style.
Finally the sitting got excessively tiresome. Last week we had a private one-hour lesson with Kathy Carter, who teaches West Coast Swing along with Jason Carter. She got us doing some basic moves that had slipped from memory: sugar push, left side pass, right side pass/overhead turn.
After the lesson, when I asked her what instructional DVDs she'd recommend, Kathy mentioned Myles Munroe, a Canadian swing champion. Good tip.
As soon as I got home I fired up You Tube and found this highly engaging short video of Munroe dancing with Tessa Cunningham. Wow. Give me 50% of Myles' style, and I'll sell my soul to the devil. 100%, and I'll throw in my wife's and dog's souls.
Learning about Myles' and Tessa's "West Coast Swing: Starter Kit" video via their web site, I ordered it. Haven't mastered all the basic moves yet, but Laurel and I have made a decent start. With Kathy's help, of course.
Tonight we had another private lesson. Then Jason took over, guiding us through 40 minutes of beginner instruction prior to the RJ Dance Studio's monthly West Coast Swing night.
It's a challenging dance. Being basically a slot dance, where the woman travels back and forth while the man moves side to side, the partners usually are doing different steps -- not mirroring each other, as in other ballroom dances.
So we've just taken some baby steps toward becoming West Coast Swing dancers. Already though, I'm getting hooked on both the music and the moves. I found a web site that lists contemporary West Coast Swing music.
My iPhone now is loaded with Lady GaGa's "Just Dance," "Bad Romance," and "Poker Face." Plus Madonna's "Hollywood." I sugar push away on our kitchen floor, trying to get the walk, walk, triple step, triple step rhythm embedded into the swing dance part of my brain.
Here's another Myles Munroe video, dancing with a different partner. Way cool.
The three story building, previously mostly filled with county offices, is completely unusable because of dangerous construction defects. So is the adjoining bus transit mall/underground parking.
Twenty million dollars still is owed on the $34,000,000 project. There's little chance that any more than the $1.8 million received in a settlement with the architects and contractors will be gotten in recompense for the construction screw-ups.
Yet the Marion County commissioners seem to be headed toward throwing lots more taxpayer money down the Courthouse Square rathole. So says the Statesman Journal in a story yesterday.
Officials will review repair proposals for the Courthouse Square office building and bus mall, county officials said Tuesday. A video summary of the “remediation” proposal recommended by an evaluation committee will also be presented.
No decisions have been made about Courthouse Square’s fate, but attempting to fix its structural problems will be the first option considered by its public owners.
... Preliminary estimates for repairing the entire complex have varied wildly. One consultant group put the cost at $53.4 million. Members of a citizen task force suggested a $16 million fix was possible.
I say, echoing Ronald Reagan (sort of), Tear it down, Marion County Board of Commissioners and Salem Area Mass Transit Board of Directors!
We posed that question to readers on StatesmanJournal.com because the Marion County Board of Commissioners and Salem Area Mass Transit District Board are preparing to discuss proposals for remediating all or part of the building, parking garage and bus mall.
Readers were unanimous: Tear it down and start over.
A gathering place, or "park," should replace Courthouse Square. There's already a model for this not far away: Portland's highly successful Pioneer Courthouse Square. Geez, we just need to change one word and we've got Salem Courthouse Square.
Tear down the unusable building. Don't fix it.
Make that block into the vibrant center of downtown Salem. Events, rallies, entertainment. Food, coffee, snacks. Benches, water feature, people-watching places. Have some covered areas for when it rains, but leave most of the block open.
The county can continue to rent private office space for the agencies that used to be in the Courthouse Square building. This should cost way less than fixing the unusable current building, which, as noted above, still will take $20 million to pay off even without doing any repairs.
Stop the madness. Stop the massive waste of taxpayer money. Tear down Courthouse Square. Build a Pioneer Square'ish gathering place. This is what the citizens of Salem want.
Question is: Are the county commissioners and mass transit board of directors listening?
Tell them. Public comments about what should be done with Courthouse Square are being solicited by both sets of decision-makers. Don't be shy. Send them an email.
Written comments about proposed repairs for Courthouse Square are also being accepted. The public comment period will remain open until the next scheduled joint meeting of the county and transit district. The date of that meeting has not yet been determined.
Marion County Board of Commissioners, P.O. Box 14500, Salem, OR 97309-5036 Email:[email protected]
Salem Area Mass Transit Board of Directors, 925 Commercial Street SE, Salem, OR 97302 Email:[email protected]
It's a tough decision: how to handle anti-science global warming deniers who repeatedly leave lengthy comments on my blog posts, filled with untruths, deceptions, and flat out lies at odds with facts about how the Earth's climate is changing because of human carbon pollution.
I've tolerated this crap for a long time, but have decided to take a stand for truth (as contrasted with "truthiness," which is what global warming trolls specialize in.
In this context a troll isn't a mythical being, but someone set on disrupting courteous, respectful cyberspace discourse. They're a problem almost everywhere on the Internet. I've had to moderate comments on my two blogs to keep them under control.
Up until recently I've been accepting of global warming-related comments which aren't based in scientific reality. I'd correct the factual errors through a comment of my own. However, when someone keeps repeating lies, it gets tiresome to keep on spending time refuting them.
George Monbiot has a great article this week citing DeSmog Blog, regarding the vexing issue of “trolls”. Not the kind that live under bridges, but those faceless cyberspace monikers that pop up frequently in comment sections of blogs likes this one, to repetitively froth away against climate science.
Are these real people? Or are they operatives in the employ of Big Oil? “Paul S”? “Phlogiston”? I’m talking to you.
It seems that Monbiot has same problem that we do. On the Guardian website, a small minority of anonymous“skeptics” often dominate the discussion by regurgitating talking points from well-known climate deniers. Sound familiar?
When Monbiot challenged his trolls to reveal their identity, or even confirm or deny whether they are posting from a PR office, he has never got a straight answer.
Monbiot's post is titled "Climate denial 'astroturfers' should stop hiding behind pseudonyms online." Absolutely. I heartily agree.
Opinion is opinion. Facts are facts.
If someone wants to spew anti-scientific crap that sounds like it's coming from a Big Oil-funded public relations firm, he or she needs to provide proof of a real identity. I don't mind someone leaving a comment on my blog saying "I like hip-hop more than rap." That's opinion. But if someone says "It's perfectly safe to play Russian roulette with a loaded revolver," that's a dangerous lie.
Anyone who says it's OK to ignore human-caused global warming isn't in touch with scientific reality.
Just as I wouldn't let my blog become a forum for promoting shooting oneself in the head with a revolver, neither do I want anonymous trolls to have free rein to leave their lying comments about global warming.
So I've decided to take the approach Monbiot persuasively argues for.
Two months ago I read some comments by a person using the moniker scunnered52, whose tone and content reminded me of material published by professional deniers. I called him out, asking "Is my suspicion correct? How about providing a verifiable identity to lay this concern to rest?" I repeated my challenge in another thread. He used distraction and avoidance in his replies, but would not answer or even address my question, which gave me the strong impression that my suspicion was correct.
So what should we do to prevent these threads from becoming the plaything of undisclosed corporate interests? My view is that everyone should be free to say whatever they want. I have never asked for a comment to be removed, nor will I do so. I believe that the threads should be unmoderated, except to protect the Guardian from Britain's ridiculous libel laws.
But I also believe that everyone who comments here should be accountable: in other words that the rest of us should be able to see who they are. By hiding behind pseudonyms, commenters here are exposed to no danger of damaging their reputations by spouting nonsense.
Our local newspaper, the Salem Statesman Journal, requires a Facebook account log-in to leave an online comment on a story. Increasingly, newspapers, blogs, and other web sites are moving away from unfettered commenting anonymity. Comments may be fewer, but they are of much higher quality when the real identity of commenters are known.
Unfortunately, my blog service (TypePad) doesn't have a way to require a Facebook log-in before leaving a comment.
So I've asked this blog's most avid anti-science global warming denier to send me a link to his Facebook page. I told him/her that I'd publish future comments if I confirmed a real identity which would be included with every comment.
As I suspected, no response. Just more blather about censorship and such. Hey, trolls: good luck with publishing your no reason to worry about global warming B.S. in a scientific journal under a pseudonym like asswipeXS.
Like I said, facts are facts. Opinions are opinions. If someone wants to leave lies on a comment to one of my posts about global warming, he or she needs to stand behind that comment by providing a real identity.
Then I, or anyone else, will at least know the source of the B.S. I have no problem with my name being associated with what I write about global warming. Neither does any reputable scientist. Only trolls hide in the dark of climate science anonymity.
I like the title of another Guardian article on the subject of trolls: An internet troll's opinion should carry no more weight than graffiti. Nicely put.
Our dogs seemed to really like their visit to the Keizer Rapids Dog Park this afternoon. It was the first time my wife and I had been there. Impressive.
Just as Salem (Oregon) is the dowdy little sister to much more glamorous Portland, so is Keizer usually viewed by Salemites as even more lackluster than our aptly nicknamed So-lame.
Well, not when it comes to dog parks.
My wife and I are pretty sure that Salem doesn't have any fenced dog parks. Keizer Rapids is fenced-- a big plus, especially for dog-owners like us. Recently we got a young dog who hasn't been trained to "come!" reliably.
Today we could practice with Zu-Zu in a safe environment, not worrying about her running wildly after a squirrel, or whatever, and dashing across a street. The entrance even has an "airlock" design, two gates separated by a small enclosed area, to further reduce the chance of a dog escape.
And there's a separate fenced area for small dogs, another good idea.
At first Zu-zu (in the foreground) was a bit overwhelmed by all the dogs playing near the entrance. This might have been her first visit to a dog park. So we took her and our calm older dog, Serena, out to the impressively poop- and mud-free grassy area.
Zu-zu soon calmed down. Laurel and I took turns calling her by name, then giving her a dog treat after she ran up to us. Even though Serena is well-trained, naturally we had to treat her also, to avoid playing favorites.
(In my light brown and black attire, Laurel thought I blended harmoniously with the dogs, though my head fur is grayer than theirs.)
An attractive Husky mix wandered over to sniff our "pack," who were deeply enthralled with their own smell feast.
The Husky'ish dog obviously was trained in ballet. Nice delicate footwork.
We've always thought that our twelve year old Shepherd/Lab mix, Serena, has some Husky in her. Seeing Serena next to the definite Husky mix (confirmed by the dog's owner), we thought in Shakira fashion, "tails don't lie."
It's been freakin' cold this spring of 2012 in the Great Pacific Northwest. Also, rainy. March saw the most rainfall ever in Portland. I think here in Salem we had the third rainiest March on record.
Today I went for an afternoon dog walk in 45 degree weather. Driving home from my Tai Chi class tonight, my car thermometer "dinged" with a 37 degrees nearing-freezing alert.
Global warming deniers seize upon any unusual cold spell as evidence that Al Gore is wrong; global warming is a fraud perpetrated by the United Nations One World Order and complicit climatologists; weird record-breaking weather is just doing what the weather does -- be changeable.
Here's the scientific truth: "Arctic Warming Favors Extreme Prolonged Weather Events 'Such as Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells, and Heat Waves."
By showing that Arctic climate change is no longer just a problem for the polar bear, a new study may finally dispel the view that what happens in the Arctic, stays in the Arctic.
The study, by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University and Stephen Vavrus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, ties rapid Arctic climate change to high-impact, extreme weather events in the U.S. and Europe.
The study shows that by changing the temperature balance between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, rapid Arctic warming is altering the course of the jet stream, which steers weather systems from west to east around the hemisphere. The Arctic has been warming about twice as fast as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, due to a combination of human emissions of greenhouse gases and unique feedbacks built into the Arctic climate system.
The jet stream, the study says, is becoming “wavier,” with steeper troughs and higher ridges. Weather systems are progressing more slowly, raising the chances for long-duration extreme events, like droughts, floods, and heat waves.
...In addition, the study also mentions jet stream configurations that led to heavy snows in the Northeast and Europe during recent winters. Such events are also “consistent” with the study’s findings, according to the paper.
A map included with the blog post shows why our relatives in the mid-West have been gloating about marvelous warm weather this spring (close to 80 degrees, or even above, I believe), while we've been telling them "it's still cold and rainy Oregon."
Surface temperature departures from average during the March heat wave. Credit: NOAA/ESRL.
Blue colors are colder than average in March 2012. Darker the blue, the more from the long-term average. Red, orange, yellow, and green show March temperatures warmer than average, with red, orange, and yellow being the warmest.
So most of the United States has been basking while the West Coast states have been "enjoying" (if that's the right word, which to me, it isn't) cooler than normal temperatures. Note that western Oregon and Washington had the largest deviation in the cool direction of anywhere in the U.S.
Lucky us. But the weather will change. That's what weather does.
However, with global warming becoming steadily stronger, this study says that as the Arctic warms faster than the world as a whole, changes in the jet stream are going to cause even weirder weather in the future.
The study contains a stark warning about future weather patterns, given projections showing that Arctic climate change is likely to accelerate in coming years. “As the Arctic sea ice cover continues to disappear and the snow cover melts ever earlier over vast regions of Eurasia and North America, it is expected that large-scale circulation patterns throughout the northern hemisphere will become increasingly influenced by Arctic amplification,” the study reports.
In other words, rapid Arctic warming is expected to exert a growing influence on the weather far beyond the Arctic Circle, for many years to come.
I wish I had a better story involving wild sex, drugs, or fighting off a home invasion about how my beloved iPhone 4 ended up in a toilet this morning.
Actually...I'd put the phone on some magazines that were headed to the recycling bin. Forgetting where the phone was after, um, I'd done my (stand-up) business, I grabbed the magazines from a counter and heard a highly disturbing splash as the phone hit the water.
Moving as fast as my semi-awake 63 year-old self does that early in the day, I had the phone out of the toilet in just a few seconds.
Luckily, it was snugly enclosed in both an Incipio semi-rigid "bumper" case, and an utrasuede/leather Waterfield slip-in case (highly recommended for slip-in afficionados; great case). So after toweling off the mildly wet iPhone, I decided to turn the phone on and see if it was going to explode in a shower of sparks.
I was pleased to see that the phone worked fine. Seemingly. Except when I fired up my Solitaire app and started to play a game. It worked, but absent the clicking sounds that accompany a card turn. Shit! I thought.
Which turned to double and triple Shit! when I found that You Tube videos played, but with no sound. And I could make a phone call to my wife where she could hear me, but I couldn't hear her through the usual phone speaker -- only when I changed to speakerphone. With earbuds, sound could be heard fine through the headphone jack.
That led me to a panic-stricken Google search.
Where I found "How to fix the iPhone speaker problem (water damage)." The simple advice was to strip some cotton off of the end of q-tips, insert them into the headphone jack, rotate, and remove. I did this several times, with no success (other than getting the headphone jack really clean).
I also read the comments on that post, plus the accompanying You Tube video.
These led me to a couple of other attempted fixes: inserting a credit card in the charging slot at the other end of the phone from the headphone jack, and blow-drying the headphone jack. I also blow-dried the charging slot for good measure.
I don't know what worked, one, some, or all of these fixes. Regardless, after the last blow-drying my iPhone had recovered it's soundability. Bliss! I kept playing my "Brazilian Girls" album to confirm that everything was back to normal.
So give these tips a try if your own iPhone gets wet and refuses to speak to you. The q-tip approach makes sense.
Some commenters on the post surmised that water (a short?) makes the iPhone think headphones are being used, so the external speaker is turned off. I seemed to see a brief message to this effect ("headphones") appear when I started to play "Brazilian Girls" before the phone was back to normal.
If you use a blow dryer, be judicious and don't run it too long.
I left my iPhone on a counter with the dryer on high pointing at it from about six inches way. When I checked back after a few minutes the metal phone casing was really hot. When I tried to turn on the phone, I got a "too hot to use; allow to cool" sort of message. After I waited a while, the iPhone worked normally, so maybe it was the final blow-drying that did it.
Just don't overdo it, or you might have a bigger problem than a speakerless phone -- a cooked phone.
Up to now I've taken my credit cards pretty much for granted. They've been pieces of plastic which have simply done their job: paying for stuff I want to buy, and giving me frequent flier miles on Hawaiian or United Airlines.
But after Hawaiian dropped it's direct flight from Portland, Oregon to Maui (where we vacation frequently), the luster of our Hawaiian card dimmed dramatically. Even before that happened, I looked around for an awards card that could be used on any airline, for any sort of trip.
A few months ago, Chase sucked me into upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The $95 annual fee was waived for the first year. I liked the benefits that come with the card, which include a 7% annual point dividend, and 20% off travel booked through Chase Ultimate Awards.
When the Preferred card arrived, I discovered another benefit (though some find it a drawback). The card is unusually heavy, because it is made of metal, not plastic. And the numbers are on the back, not the front.
It gets a lot of attention from credit card-familiar store clerks. More often than not, when I use it I hear "Wow, that's a heavy card," or simply "Cool."
But today I learned that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is more than a pretty face. It can do some heavy travel-lifting also. My wife has been figuring out airline arrangements for a family reunion in Indiana this summer. This involves some complexities, as she is going to stop off in Wisconsin on the way back to see some old friends.
I told her that since we've accumulated quite a few points on our Chase credit card, we should try out the Ultimate Awards airline booking service. The result, after an initial glitch (apparently caused by the online reservation system being out of service for a while), was excellent.
Making reservations for both of us, including selecting seats on each flight, was at least as easy as any other online system I've used, whether through Orbitz or an airline. There's no extra booking cost. And we did indeed get a 20% discount when we paid for our tickets.
Meaning, Chase's Ultimate Rewards system adds on 20% to the points we redeemed for the airline tickets, thereby making my ticket 20% cheaper (because we had enough points to pay for all of my ticket, though only part of my wife's -- the difference being paid for through, of course, a charge to our Chase Sapphire Preferred card).
So I can heartily recommend this card to those who use a credit card a lot and want a highly flexible rewards plan. For us, the $95 annual fee is less than the monetary benefits we'll get every year from the card.
How did our dog do it? My wife and I knew that Serena, our 12-year old Shepherd/Lab mix, is super intelligent.
But cloning herself... and somehow hiding the experiment from us until a full-grown almost perfect copy was ready to be revealed... astonishing!
This explains all those UPS deliveries from medical supply companies that I thought my wife had ordered for some reason, which mysteriously came to be transported to our "dog room" with teeth marks evident in the cardboard boxes, and the lab equipment I just found hidden behind Serena's dog crate.
Well, we're happy Serena was able to do the seemingly impossible. Her clone is as easy-going and personable as she is. And we assume, just as intelligent.
Our only problem is figuring out where one dog starts and ends when the original and copy lie down together.
Of all the news reports that appeared in cyberspace today, April 1, the most interestingly informative I came across was Toke of the Town's "It's a Wild Day in Weed News. Here's the Roundup."
Wow. Who knew? Some samples...
Jazz Musician' Son Brings Brownie To Fourth Grade Class!
Panic broke out this morning at Redwood Elementary School when a local jazz guitarist's son smuggled in through the opened doors of the grammar school a "red" sequestered Tupperware-covered container of evenly-cut Betty Crocker's "More Fudge Than Fun Brownies," for Pebbles Shapiro-Naguchi's birthday party. There'll be no birthday celebration in Room 102 this afternoon because of the quick judgment of a teacher who thinks profiling is more than tracing a child's silhouette.
...When Mrs. Jonell Christensen, the teacher who first suspected the brownies might be infused with cannabis was asked, "What was the first clue you had that something might not be right with the plastic-covered glass pan that young Dylan was carrying to school?"
"From the window in the second-floor library, you can ascertain most of the going-ons that take place in this school. Fifteen minutes before the homeroom bell, I spy a long-haired student being dropped off by his long-haired father in a Prius in front of the school with public radio playing and Greenpeace sticker on the bumper. It was just a matter of putting one plus one together and coming up with three, simple," said the political science teacher.
Dick Cheney Vapes!
Former Vice President Richard Bruce (but rightly prefers to be called Dick!) Cheney is now being forced to vaporize cannabis for a post-respiratory condition caused by the recent replacement of the Ex-Number Two's mechanical heart named the 'Vader 214.'
Previously, the Dark Night's scientific pumper has been kept alive and fueled by a secretion attained from the pituitary glands of baby pandas until a new ticker could be found. When it was announced that a heart had become obtainable, the Mr. Potter look-alike was fitted with a fresh, lawfully procured, totally legal, working organ of a 24-year-old that became available last Saturday night around 2 a.m. when the Georgetown clubs let out.
Apparently there is some kind of residue in place from the previous owner and the only known treatment is to blow it out with a natural expectorant. Studies have shown that vaporizing cannabis actually breaks up stubborn blockages and allows the patient maybe for the first moment in their sour lives to feel a moment of tranquility that they may have never experienced before.