The Short Life and Death of Disco

If you’ve had your fill of slavering or revisionist fifty-year-anniversary reviews of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, then advance a decade and reminisce about the seventies. “Saturday Night Fever” hit the movie theatres nearly forty years ago, in late 1977. Produced for an estimated $3 million, within a year it grossed more than $125 […]

The Legacy of Vanport

I learned to drive in a car with a three-speed, column-mounted – “three on the tree” – manual transmission. My father was my instructor. He would drive us out past Jantzen Beach, then still an amusement park, not yet a shopping destination for Vancouver residents to avoid paying Washington sales tax. When we found the […]

Amazon Effect – Part 2

Jeff Bezos and Paul Allen are competing to see who can make the heart of Seattle into his own vision. Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks owner Allen’s football stadium south of downtown and his Lake Union redevelopment Experience Music Center to the north are changing the face of the city. Meanwhile, Amazon now occupies more than […]

The Jevons Paradox and the Rebound Effect

The U.S. imposed its first automobile fuel-economy regulations in 1975, a response to the Arab oil embargo. (If you’re old enough, you remember lining up to buy gasoline and odd-even days to fill up, based on your license number.) Since then, average miles-per-gallon has gone from 13.5 to about 27 now. (33 for cars, 24 […]

Amazon Effect – Part 1

The city of San Francisco is about to put into effect a 14% increase in garbage-collection fees. The reason: the Internet. Well, not exactly the Internet itself, but on-line shopping and its attendant packaging. As so-called brick-and-mortar stores lose business to Internet merchants, the increase in the waste & recycle stream is increasing proportionately. Cardboard, […]

The Tonya Harding Chronicles

Figure skating fans and Portland weirdness aficionados are familiar with the saga of Tonya Harding who transitioned from famous to infamous at the 1994 Olympics. Ms. Harding was the U.S. Figure Skating champion in 1991 and placed second behind Kristi Yamaguchi in that year’s World Championship. She was the first woman to complete a triple […]