Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Moment Can Be Over Before You Know It

While walking around downtown with the camera during lunch my peripheral registered someone hustling out into the middle of the intersection. He stopped and picked something up. Then he ran towards me. Now he had my attention. When I turned to look at him he stopped and picked up a wet and grungy $20 bill off the road about five feet away from me. We both looked at the roadway around us. No other stray cash was to be seen. He pocketed his new found riches and went on his way. And I made yet another mental note to have the camera cocked and ready at all times.

Strange leavings on a bench.

Very effective this time of year.

This sign intentionally left blank.

 Not sure how to caption this.

 Looking at the bright side.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Climbing The Walls

Some spider monkey action on the part of the boys today.







Bowlin', Bowlin', Bowlin'

Keep those balls a rollin', rawhide! The best part of having the kids at home is doing fun stuff together. We went bowling yesterday. To make it more fun we mixed it up. One game right handed, one game left handed, one game alternating left and right each frame, and one game alternating right and left each frame. Amazingly, we are so bad that we actually did pretty good.

 Josh loads up,,,

...and releases.

 Are you taking a picture?

 Don't take a picture of me.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Snow Shoe Trip

The family went up to Mount Spokane to do some hiking today. We had a light dusting of snow during the trek.

Check out my buffness! 

Fam shot. 

 Wabbit twacks!

Happy children. 

Mom and daughter. 

Father and sons.

Free popsicle.

I don't think that's what snow shoes are for.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

More Guns As The Answer

The Spokesman review editorial board has called for more talks about arming resource officers in the Spokane public schools.

But as we have learned with sickening repetitiveness, schools are easy targets for the demented, or for those with sinister agendas. We seldom know who those individuals might be before they strike.

Yes, that is true. Public schools are an easy target. But so are Planned Parenthood clinics. And movie theaters. And churches. And colleges. And neighborhoods. And military bases. And work places. And Planned Parenthood clinics. And movie theaters. And churches. And colleges. And neighborhoods. And military bases. And work places.

But I repeat myself.

And so does America.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Downtown

Kathy and I walked around downtown before going out to dinner. I had my camera with me and managed to get a couple of halfway decent shots.

 Winter Glow Spectacular in Riverfront Park.

The Steam Plant.

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

One of the ladies at work stopped by my office to wish me a happy birthday and she informed me that December 18 is also National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

This was the sweater she was wearing.



These treats were in the stocking on the back. I had to retrieve them myself. "You realize," I said as I was digging them out, "This is a sweater that could get me into trouble."


Pissing Off Cyclists

The Spokesman Review published a column today by contributor Sue Lani Madsen in which she solves the problem of hard-to-see bike riders and what she refers to as a relatively high casualty rate for cyclists with what she thinks is a simple solution.

Spokane has a strong history of bicycle commuting and can lead the way in doing it safely. There doesn’t need to be a law. There needs to be more common sense. Be a trendsetter. Wear bicycle green. 

That got my dander up.

Set aside the complaints she and her neighbor regularly exchange and her informal survey of Spokane drivers as indicators of possible bias and note that she is assuming that dark clothing is a primary contributor to cyclist deaths.

Although she repeats stats from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center she neglects that the center also states:

"...there is no reliable source of exposure data as we don't know how many miles bicyclists travel each year, and we don't know how long it takes them to cover those miles (and thus how long they are exposed to motor vehicle traffic). Risk based on exposure varies by time of day (with night time being more risky), experience level of rider, location of riding, alcohol use, and many other factors. Until we have better exposure measures, we just don't know how bicyclist risk compares to other modes, but the health benefits of riding may offset some of this risk." 

Reading past the first sentence takes so much effort.

In my comments I suggested that Sue should see for herself what it's like.

I ride with the expectation that drivers don't see me because almost every time that is the case. And they don't see me not because of the clothing I'm wearing or my bright frickin' lights, but because they aren't looking for bikes. I recommend you try commuting for three or four months and gain some experience from a cyclist's perspective. Wear bright clothing and use good lights and then come back and tell us all about how invisible you felt. 

I'm not hopeful. It would make things awkward with the neighbor with whom she regularly exchanges complaints.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

First Snow

The deal I have with my wife is that I can ride in the winter if the roads are clear. When I looked out the window this morning, I saw a snow-covered lawn and a wet roadway with no snow accumulation.

Yay, the roads are clear!

Riding into town on Hwy 2 was pretty much like that but everything changed once I got off the highway and onto the Colton-Standard-Addison streets bike route. Since it wasn't frozen or slick and the studded tires were handling the road surface quite easily, I kept on riding instead of throwing the bike on the bus. I glided through two to three inches of snow all the way to downtown and it was awesome.

Someone else this way rode.

I cleaned off as much as I could. A chain cleaning will be necessary tonight.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Poisoned Minds

Much of the story about Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who killed 14 people and injured 22 at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California revolved around how and when they became radicalized. As the investigation progressed and information was released we learned the couple had planned on doing something like this for almost three years now.

And if there's anything America should be concerned with it's people becoming radicalized. Because once those people think they are truly in the right, fighting for a just cause, and ready to die for that cause, they present an ever growing danger.

We've seen so much of this behavior implicitly encouraged, especially this year. Demonizing people by calling them rapists. The release of a heavily edited video purporting to show that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts. Lying about what can objectively be seen in a video recording even if it has been heavily edited. Lying about Syrian refugees seeking safety from who we now refer to as our greatest threat. Calling to block all Muslims from entering the country.

Whether intended or desired, the encouragement has had its effect. Donald Trump, doubling down on racist rhetoric, is the leading candidate for the Republican party, which believe it or not, is an issue it is now very concerned about. (The Christian Republicans might want to check Hosea 8:7 for a little enlightenment as to how this happened.) Cowardly acts such as mailing white powder to a Muslim center are taking place. But that's really nothing new. And a self-proclaimed warrior for babies attacks a Planned Parenthood office and kills three people.

Yet the danger from radicalization is not just a physical one. The lack of reason and the demonization of an entire people, a race, and even just an individual person has been changing our country's entire landscape. One would think it was a long-settled fact that Barack Obama was born in America and is not a Muslim. And yet even now there is a significant number of people who think Obama is a Kenyan and/or a Muslim. A friend of mine is not fond of President Obama. He's unable to articulate why without using talking points repeated over and over on Fox News. Recently, and for the first time in my presence, he referred to Obama as "That nigger."

I cannot fathom anyone resorting to such language unless their mind has been poisoned. The volume of their voices gives the appearance that poisoned minds are prevailing. We can't shut them up but we can and should repudiate them.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Driving While Under The Influence

In today's Spokesman Review we have a report of Police Officer Seth Killian running a red light while driving his patrol car. He was not using his emergency lights at the time. And he runs into a vehicle driven by a 16-year-old.

And the 16-year-old is suspected of being under the influence of marijuana and processed accordingly.

According to the news article:

The outcome of that [crash] investigation will determine what, if any, disciplinary action is taken against Killian, Fuller said.

I'm reminded of Officer Gordon Ennis who struck and killed an intoxicated pedestrian at a crosswalk on Monroe Street 4-1/2 years ago. He was distracted while typing a message on his onboard computer while he was driving. The intoxicated--and deceased--pedestrian was found to be more at fault than the police officer. I have similar expectations for this case.

Not that it's related to this incident, but Police Sergeant Gordon Ennis--apparently, killing an intoxicated pedestrian did not harm his promotion potential--is the officer recently charged with 2nd degree rape of a female officer. I suppose the Spokane Police Department has to draw the line somewhere.