Rescued Film

What to do with that old roll of undeveloped film you found in the back of a drawer. Take it to Costco or your neighborhood drug store? A few years too late for that.

Send it to Levi Bettwieser in Boise, Idaho. He will process the film and post digital copies of all discernible photos for you to download. You will not receive negatives. (Maybe you’re not old enough to know what negatives are.) There is no charge, but you do agree to relinquish all rights. (He does accept donations.)

Bettwieser started his Rescued Film Project in 2013 after developing 140 rolls of film he had accumulated over years of rummaging at garage sales. He was taken by the images that came to life. Photographs of family and friends, dogs and cats, holiday celebrations and vacations, birthday parties, including lots of pictures of cakes.

Rescued Film Project has about 16,000 images in its archive. A one-person operation, Bettwieser has a backlog of 2,000 rolls to process. It’s a labor of love; he holds down a regular job, so Rescued Film is a night and weekend project. If you send film to him, it could be months before you receive a response.

In the meantime, browse through the archives. If you recognize anyone in the photographs, Bettwieser would like to hear from you. Occasionally he is able to reunite a person with long-lost snapshots.

It’s the Water

After a couple years in the ocean, coho salmon head for home, to the fresh water where they were spawned. The trip can be thousands of miles and is fraught with danger from fishermen and orca whales.

Meanwhile… as we go about our lives on land, motoring from place to place, our tires wear down and leave tiny particles of rubber on the roads. The tires’ rubber is laced with a preservative containing the chemical antioxidant 6PPD-quinone. When we drive, our tires shed the chemical-laced rubber dust onto the roadway. Rain eventually washes it into streams and lakes along with other debris. 6PPD-quinone is one of 2,000 identified chemicals in road runoff.

Scientists estimate the forty percent of the waterways in the Puget Sound area are tainted with 6PPD-quinone. When coho salmon encounter the chemical, it’s usually fatal within a few hours, long before the fish are able to spawn. Depending on proximity to heavily-traveled roads, somewhere between fifty to ninety percent of returning salmon succumb to the chemical.

Meanwhile… to the east, the outlook for salmon is brighter. Salmon have laid eggs in the upper Columbia River for the first time since the Grand Coulee Dam blocked their return to spawning areas eighty years ago. Native American tribes and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife began working together in 2014 on a project to provide access and improved habitat.

In a test, salmon released above Grand Coulee in 2019, found their way back a year later to their spawning area, an eight-mile stretch of the Sanpoil River, a tributary of the Columbia. The next phase of the testing is to record how many of the newly-hatched fish find their way back.

Dams constructed down river on the Columbia, built after the Grand Coulee, provided fish ladders that gave salmon a route to swim past, although with great difficulty. Salmon further down the Columbia also faced the hazard of hungry sea lions who immigrated all the way from California to gorge themselves on the tasty fish.

Meanwhile… in other water news, Wall Street has begun trading in California water futures. After eight years of drought and annual wildfires ravaging the state with increasing ferocity, municipalities, farmers and, yes, hedge funds can hedge against future shortages with contracts for future delivery of water. The contracts can be bought and sold, like bonds and stocks, as the price of water fluctuates.

“Climate change, droughts, population growth, and pollution are likely to make water scarcity issues and pricing a hot topic for years to come,” said one analyst.

Trading water futures is surely safer than trading sub-prime mortgages.

Take the Money When You Can

Bob Dylan has sold his songwriting portfolio for somewhere in the neighborhood of $300, maybe $400, million. That means that whenever “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Blowin’ in the Wind” or any of six hundred other Dylan songs is sold, streamed, played on the radio or used in a commercial, the songwriting royalty payment will go to the Universal Music Publishing Group, not Bob Dylan. This includes songs covered by other artists, such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds or Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower.”

Could it be that Mr. Dylan, now seventy-nine years old, decided it was time to take the money? With nobody buying CDs or records any more, and no live performances in this era of COVID 19, and Spotify and other streaming services paying infinitesimal royalties, an upfront lump-sum payment is the reverse-mortgage of the music business.

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Whither Portlandia?

Attorneys have filed a class-action suit on behalf of what they say are hundreds of people exposed to tear gas last summer while being held in the Multnomah County Detention Center. Federal and local law enforcement regularly unleashed the chemicals to combat the nightly demonstrations in the streets near the county jail. The suit claims that the building’s ventilation system sucked tear gas into the cells and staff did nothing to ameliorate the bad air.

Portland’s downtown changed, head-snapping quickly.

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Richard Nixon’s Other Legacy

Richard Nixon departed the White House in ignominy after resigning the presidency on August 9, 1974. The Watergate scandal had finally done him in. (Even today, a political scandal is labeled “-gate.)

Since Nixon’s leaving, the Electoral College has given the U.S. several Republican presidents. With an exception or maybe two, each was lazier and oversaw an administration more corrupt than his predecessor.

But I digress.

President Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on New Year’s Day, 1970.

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