Picturesque San Francisco

Aquatic Park, near San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a favorite of hardy swimmers. They can be seen most any time of day, in any weather. The cove, formed by two curved piers, is usually placid. Strolling along the Aquatic Park Pier, you’ll have panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and The City. (Locals insist it’s capital “T” and capital “C”) Warning signs tell you, though that the pier may not hold up under your weight. You could be a sea lion’s tasty snack.

WTFJHT

A fair – and slightly unbalanced – news aggregator, WTFJHT will put a summary of the day’s (mostly political) news in your electronic mailbox every afternoon. Or you can check in for an update at any time. The JHT part of the name represents “Just Happened Today.” It’s free, but you can help support it with any amount you choose. (I did.)

Peanuts and Crackerjack and Seagulls

8th inning – AT&T Park

The seagull habitués of the China Basin corner of San Francisco Bay, where the Giants play, know how to read the scoreboard. When the game gets into the late innings, a few appear, circling McCovey Cove and the right-field bleachers. If a game goes long, they begin to show their annoyance by trespassing into the airspace over the playing field. Fans have been trained to clap and make noise, scaring them away. But only for a few minutes. Extra-inning games are especially infuriating and the birds show their displeasure at being delayed from scavenging leftover ballpark food by flying closer to the field and in greater numbers. When the game finally ends and the crowd finally disperses, the seagulls invade the stands and devour what they consider to be their entitlement.

10th inning – AT&T Park

What the World Needed

Are you embarrassed by the quality of the food photos you’ve posted to Facebook? The folks at the App Store want you to know they have solutions: new apps for your smart phone, specifically designed to help you improve pictures of what you are eating or drinking. Your couscous and beet salad not lit just right to impress your friends? There’s an app for that. The artistic design in the foam of your coffee beverage not highlighted just so? There are apps with filters to help you create your own style.

From the same folks who brought us Y2K.

Longview’s Bridges: Long and Short

Bridges spanning the Columbia River to connect the states of Washington and Oregon often had tolls to pay the construction costs. The tollbooths were usually removed after the construction bonds were retired. The tolls were generally collected at the Oregon side, leading one to believe that Washington was not to be trusted with the revenue.

The Longview Bridge, connecting Longview WA and Rainier OR was privately built and owned. Lumber magnate Robert Long – namesake of the town – was the driving force behind the $5.8-million bridge that opened in 1930 with $1.00 toll for cars and 10¢ for pedestrians. (No record of which end of the bridge collected the toll.) The state of Washington purchased the bridge in 1947 and discontinued the toll in 1965 when the bridge was paid for. The name was changed to Lewis and Clark in 1980. The bridge, 340 feet above the river at its peak, is 8,288 feet long.

Longview also boasts another privately-built bridge. At 60 feet, considerably shorter than the Lewis and Clark, the Nutty Narrows Bridge opened to squirrel traffic in 1963. Local resident Amos Peters was disturbed by the carnage of squirrels trying to cross Olympia Way, a busy thoroughfare in Longview. With assistance from a local architect and an engineer, Amos and a friend built the bridge. It soon received publicity and fans around the world. With construction cost of $1,000, it never had a toll, but squirrels generally do not carry cash.

The Nutty Narrows Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.