Tourist’s Guide to Seattle

Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Inc. and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon are competing to impose their own redevelopment visions on Seattle. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, got started first with his very own, taxpayer funded football stadium south of downtown and his in-progress makeover of south Lake Union on the northern edge of downtown. Bezos is coming on strong, with his new Amazon headquarters taking over central downtown… unless the city tries to levy a new tax; then he’s outta there.

Seattle still has a few quirky attractions that residents are proud to show off to visitors. They demonstrate how hip and creative they are, and are serious evidence that they do not take themselves too seriously.

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Celebrating Independence

(Originally published 2016.)Liberty4th-of-july

John Adams declared that July 2, the date the Second Continental Congress voted to declare the thirteen colonies independent from Great Britain, would be celebrated “…with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” The written Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4. Continue reading Celebrating Independence

Weekend in Portlandia


Good in the Hood

26th annual Good in the Neighborhood Multi-Cultural Music & Food Festival, celebrating (non-gentrified) inner north and northeast Portland.


World Naked Bike Ride

“a protest against driving and fossil fuel abuse, a rolling party, and a demonstration of the unifying power of bicycles”

And illustrating that some people should not be naked in public.


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protest

8:00 am Sunday – protesters still asleep.


Milk Carton Boat Races

A half-gallon milk carton will float four pounds.

Boat building and navigating skills vary.


And non-milk-carton boat traffic on the river…

Alexa, Can You Hear Me?

Do you have a gnawing feeling that Amazon does not have enough of your personal information? That you are sometimes in a dead zone where Amazon – or Google or Facebook – is not tracking you? Not to worry: the on-line behemoth is moving toward their goal of recording everything you say or do. The latest step: “Alexa for Hospitality.” Now they can monitor you not only in your home, but also while you’re in a hotel room with the door locked and bolted.

Of course, Amazon’s monitoring device is asleep until you awaken it with “Alexa.” The cynical among us ask how Alexa knows you want it if it’s not listening. Amazon assures us that it is not keeping any information that you don’t want it to have. And if you can’t trust Amazon…


Amazon’s Echo device recorded a Portland family’s private conversation and then sent the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.

Feeling Safe in Your State?

The web site claims to offer information and advice on financial matters such as how to choose the best credit card for your purposes, calculators for mortgages, student loans, free credit reports and other consumer financial products. They recently published a report ranking the states according to their overall safety. The grading was based on five factors: 1) Personal & Residential Safety, 2) Financial Safety, 3) Road Safety, 4) Workplace Safety, and 5) Emergency Preparedness. States are ranked not just on inherent dangers, but also how effective the states are in dealing with them.

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