Ongoing protests have again brought to public consciousness that it’s way past time to do something about statues, monuments, buildings and military installations that honor traitors who took up arms against the United States. Demonstrators have defaced and toppled statues of Confederate luminaries and in some places have done the same to Founding-Father icons such as Washington and Jefferson, who were slave holders.
Stenton House was built for James Logan, who arrived from Ireland in 1699. He was secretary to William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, and friend of Benjamin Franklin. He named the house for his father’s birthplace in Scotland. Logan served as mayor of Philadelphia and on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He assembled in his home one of the finest libraries in the colonies.
“How do you get people to protect themselves from something they don’t believe in?”
– Steve Andrews
A meteor hit earth near a small town in Pennsylvania. The impact released a diminutive mass of formless, gelatinous goo. The sludge attached itself to a hapless human victim, devouring it before oozing its way to the next unsuspecting prey. The muck grew larger with each person it consumed. As it increased in size and appetite, panic ensued in town.
The 1958 motion picture “The Blob” tells the story. Steve McQueen, in his first starring role, portrays the protagonist Steve Andrews, who encounters the monster’s first victim. (The movie features a theme song composed by up-and-coming songwriters Burt Bacharach and Mack David.) As the beast grows, neither bullets nor fire nor electric shock can stop its relentless rampage. Eventually, the ogre retreats when Steve aims the chilling spray of a CO2 fire extinguisher at it.
While the townspeople race off to round up all the fire extinguishers they can find, Lieutenant Dave is on the radio to Washington: “I think you should send us the biggest transport plane you have, and take this thing to the Arctic or somewhere and drop it where it will never thaw.”
Lieutenant Dave: “At least we’ve got it stopped.” Steve Andrews: “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.”
Not only is the average temperature rising in the Arctic, it’s increasing at a pace much faster than anywhere else on earth.
Be ready with your CO2 extinguisher.
The Colonial Theatre, prominently featured in the “The Blob,” is putting on a stay-at-home version for its Blobfest 2020.
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
– P.T. Barnum
Devin Nunes is a nine-term Congressperson from the California Central Valley. He is also a Putin-Trump toady. To keep his name in the news, Nunes lately has been a zealous foe of fake news. He has filed seven lawsuits alleging defamation of his character and reputation. Defendants are CNN, the Washington Post, McClatchy Company (owner of the Fresno Bee, Nunes’s hometown newspaper), Twitter, @mom_nunes (Devin Nunes’ Mom) and @DevinCow (Devin Nunes’ Cow).
The Burger Barn on Northeast Union Avenue was a late-night gathering place for Portland’s black citizenry. To some of Portland’s Police Department it was a hangout for the disreputable.
In the spring of 1981, two of PDX’s finest deposited four dead opossums at the front entry to the black-owned business. Witnesses said four police cars and seven other cops were present. News of this prompted protest marches through downtown. Charles Jordan, the city commissioner in charge of the Police Bureau, fired the two officers. An arbitrator later reinstated the two officers with thirty-day unpaid suspensions. Hundreds of angry cops marched on City Hall. The Burger Barn filed a $3.4 million suit against the city but eventually settled for $64,000.
“I am urging the parents of white youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing LL Bean.”
Seaside is a small town on the northern Oregon Coast, an hour-and-a-half drive from Portland. It has long been a popular destination for vacationing families and spring-break revelers. It’s home to skee-ball, bumper cars and Lewis and Clark’s salt works.
A fight broke out among several young males in Seaside during the Labor Day weekend in 1962. When police moved in to break it up, hundreds of young white people went on a rampage, bombarding police with rocks and beer bottles, full and empty. (Yes, alcohol was involved.)
Firefighters trained hoses on the rioters; the rioters took knives to the hoses. The hoses they didn’t slash, they turned on the firefighters. Storefront windows on Broadway were smashed, cars were vandalized. The thirty-foot-high lifeguard tower was pulled from the beach. Police reinforcements came from Astoria and Portland. Sixty people were arrested.
“It will give shape to the wind. It will go over the hills and into the sea, like a ribbon of light.”
– from environmental-impact report for Running Fence
Lost amid the whirlwinds of news—COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd and resultant demonstrations, opportunistic rioting and looting—is the obituary of the artist Christo, who has died at age eighty-four.
With Jeanne-Claude, his wife and collaborator, Christo gave the world wondrous, larger-than-life art installations in public spaces. All were open to everyone at no cost; Christo and Jeanne-Claude financed the projects themselves. They were all temporary, gone without a trace after a couple weeks, with no environmental damage and no public expense.