Monday, May 29, 2017

Loony-Toony Seattle

If you’ve followed this blog, you’ve seen hints I live in the Seattle area. Every big city has its quirks, but Seattle is known to be way out there.

For instance, residents are required to have garbage cans, recyclable cans, and compostable cans. So far, so good. But for a while, the city required garbage collectors to snoop through the garbage cans to see if too much recyclable or compostable stuff was in there. Residents could be fined for that. Fortunately, a court threw out the search part, but the ordinance is still in place.

So if you have a bunch of old pizza or newspapers, throw them in the garbage can of a neighbor you don’t like.

photo by Todd Huffman 

What’s still current is that the Seattle police can no longer refer to a person they arrest a “suspect.” They must use the term “community member.” I’m not making this up.

I can imagine a reporter asking a woman, “Is it true you shot the man accused of trying to rape you?”

“Yeah I shot right for the community member.”

(no picture)

And this one sounds really silly, but it turns out to be sinister. Thousands of pet owners received letters from King County (which contains Seattle) demanding they license their pet, or they would get a $250 fine. How did the county know they were pet owners? Well, you know those little cards the grocery stores give you to scan at each purchase so you could possibly get a discount? King County has access to those databases. If you buy some cat food or kitty litter, guess what the government knows about you?

photo by irrational cat 

Suppose you buy a large amount of medical supplies. Are you eluding your duty to buy medical insurance from exchanges whose sites do not keep your medical information secure? Or do you buy a huge amount of non-perishable foods, matches, and camouflage gear? You might be a survivalist type, and if some criminal survivalist goes on the lam, maybe the police should see whether you’re harboring that fugitive.

I think there could be a story idea there. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Do Svidaniya, Powers Boothe

The news has come in that Powers Boothe died on Sunday. This follows on the heels of the death of John Hurt. I’m sure he’s remembered mostly for his more recent work, but I remember him as the fighter pilot who was shot down in the 1984 movie Red Dawn.

photo by Jane Boursaw

Red Dawn was somewhat simplistic in how it showed a group of American teenagers doing guerilla attacks behind the lines of a Soviet/Cuban invasion force. But it did show a healthy kind of gun culture. And it gained some credibility by having Boothe’s character of a colonel giving them tactical advice.

Those of you who saw the movie will know why I chose the phrase do svidaniya

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Play’s the Thing

A few weeks ago, I attended students recitals and a play at a middle school run by a friend of mine.

(Apologies to those not pictured. The ones who appear are random.)

Overall, the class could recite massive amounts of quotations from scripture and classical literature.

I was not educated that way. It would have done me a lot of good to be required to stand and deliver.

Individual eighth-graders stood and delivered their own presentations, playing characters from history. Below is Sir Francis Drake.

Each presentation was by memory and highly impressive. Sir Walter Raleigh is in the foreground below.

Instead of just reciting facts, each student gave a first person biography, including the ambiguous nature of these real-life figures.

The play was A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Below is Oberon, King of Shadows.

As you can see, a lot of work went into the costumes. Also, the players didn’t just stand around and recite lines. They were almost constantly in motion.

Below is Nick Bottom

Wondering why a Shakespearean character has a donkey’s head? Read a book.

Overall, it was a wonderful evening. Many thanks to Sara Loudon and her Covenant Christian Middle School. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Prince Philip, Royal Troller, Retires

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Consort of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth, announced yesterday he is retiring from performing royal duties. He is only 95.

He showed he has a sense of humor by dubbing himself “the world's most experienced plaque-unveiler.”

He’s made infamous off-the-cuff comments over the years, and it’s not clear when he was joking and when he was not.

 What's he about to say next?
photo by Kiefer

To a child visiting a space shuttle: “Well, you'll never fly in it, you're too fat to be an astronaut.”

To a disabled man on a scooter: “How many people have you knocked over this morning on that thing?”

To the president of Nigeria in traditional robes: “You look like you’re ready for bed.”

To Australian Aborigines: “Do you still throw spears at each other?”

I won’t print what he said about Chinese, because I actually found it offensive. And I can’t print what he said about the Russians. But he could always have some secretary issue a royal apology.

So he had a good run. He did a lot of ceremonial things and met a lot of people. And he couldn’t get fired for what he said.


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