Internet distractions, the dotcom boom, locks and fish ladders

Posted By on February 23, 2017

Likely I am not the only one who gets distracted when researching something on the Internet. This past weekend it was the Ballard Locks in Washington State that caught my eye and stole about an hour of my attention and time.

Once upon a time, we contemplated a move to Seattle during the late 1990s dotcom boom and while Brenda was busy Brenda_CVS_SomaBCmeeting with the start-up venture capitalists discussing where the ideal location would be for the pharmacy production facility, I was familiarizing myself with the city and where we might live. I ventured to Lake Union to look at sailboats (shocker I know) and ended up checking out the lock system connecting Lake Washington to Lake Union and Puget Sound. The new opportunity for Brenda (and big decision of what to do for me and my business) was an exciting time. FYI, “the move” never happened – but the “First Internet Pharmacy” fulfillment facility was built in southwest Ohio and eventually sold to CVS and shuttered — note 1999 InternetWayback PDF.

Back to the distraction Winking smile 

From a pamphlet about the Lake Washington Ship Canal Fish Ladder at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, Seattle, Washington. Diagram of the fish ladder in profile. The actual fish ladder makes several right angle turns, which are not reflected in this diagram. Caption from the pamphlet: This shows the the height of each weir. Most weirs are one foot higher than the previous one. The last three weirs are adjustable to the level of Salmon Bay. Salt water is mixed with fresh water by the diffuser well in weirs indicated by dark blue [dark gray in scan].



Paying to exercise a constitutionally protected right

Posted By on February 22, 2017

gunknotsShould municipalities and states charge citizens if they exercise a constitutionally protected right? 

On the surface, most of us would say "no way" should a city or state charge US citizens to "vote," "worship" or to "speak freely" … but that’s what some politically left leaning cities and states do to those who own firearms. Hm, what part of "… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" isn’t clear?


dollarsigngreenImagine the outcry if cities required their citizens pay a fee in order to vote … let alone be required to pass a background check or "heaven forbid" prove who you voteridmap2017are with a government photo ID (voter ID laws – see map below).

The battle escalated again in the state of Connecticut this past week as they continue to deter gun ownership with slow registration and higher fees for gun owners … not to mention then making names and addresses public (previous outrage). One wonders if they honor the US Constitution or would have a problem if other states opted to charge a fee for the right to vote? Personally I’m surprised this issue does not receive a more vigorous challenge in federal courts … perhaps it will require "infringement" on a Progressive‘s constitutionally protected right?


Tired of the financial markets making new record highs?

Posted By on February 21, 2017


Once again the US Financial market rose to new record highs on Tuesday as the Trump rally continues to encourage investment and hope for earning, regulation reductions and tax relief. Likely those three biggies will either get done and satisfy investors or disappoint with a delay and trigger a sell-off. Who knows if congress can get a satisfactory bill or two to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing in the near future or if bickering and dissentions within the Republican party will ruin the party?

Financial Visualizations

“Companies didn’t all of a sudden become much more profitable,” said Ron Weiner, managing director of RDM Financial Group at wealth management firm HighTower Advisors. “The markets are filled with optimism for a number of proposals.”


What does one do with an old cigarette box or cigarettes?

Posted By on February 21, 2017


I was fortunate to have one of the greatest childhoods. My immediate family was very close with my mom’s parents (my grandparents) and her sister and family. We spent many times together and every holiday. My cousin Diane and husband Bert remain “relatively” close to this day and occasionally text message back and forth. Hm, maybe that’s where the word “relative” was derived from. BTW, I’ve included something interesting for her “in the above photo” just in case she reads this – click image or link.
Diane sent me a photo of a silver box the other day and wondered if I remembered it. I did remember the silver cigarette box, but not the one she has … there must have been two … and we decided they must have been in our grandparents house before being split between their two daughters after their passing?


The one I have has my dad’s last pack of unopened Half and Half cigarettes from when he quit smoking in the early 1960s. It was in his dresser drawer for as long as I can remember … likely as a trophy in kicking an addictive bad habit that millions of men picked up in the military. According to my mom, dad decided to quit about the time they had children and when the first wave of “smoking is bad for your health” was starting to sink in. She told us dad, “quit without a problem” … and he thankfully he never went back. I think the Half and Half brand was used as a way to ease off the full dose of nicotine craving fed by normal cigarettes (Interesting fact: normal cigarettes have 8 – 20 mg of nicotine of which approximately 1 -2 mg is absorbed).



Presidents Day: Leaving behind debt (as a share of GDP)

Posted By on February 20, 2017

Happy Presidents Dayif you can still smile after the lack of discipline and leadership.


MusicMonday: Shocker not to have mentioned American Pie yet?

Posted By on February 20, 2017

Don_McLean_-_American_Pie_(album)_CoverartThere’s probably not a more iconic early 1970’s American song than Don McLean‘s American Pie … I’m shocked no to have posted about it before?


If you were a kid growing up with music coming from a AM transistor radio when the popular song came on, you knew that the next 8 minutes would be commercial free (because the song was so long). The message was contemplated by 70s’ teens about as thoroughly as 60s’ teens did for many of The Beatles’ songs. McLean kept the mystery alive as well since he didn’t offer any explanation back in the day besides “expecting that an artist’s work should stand by itself.”

  American Pie (8:32) | Don McLean1971

As Bob McParland said, “the optimism and hopefulness of the 1960s was giving way to the nihilism and hedonism of the 1970s,” although a more recent summary by Allen MacCannell will probably help fill in the unknown:

  • February bad news = February 3, 1959 Buddy Holly plane crash
  • Chevy to the Levy = Famous Chevrolet TV commercial or the 1950s (Dinah Shore)
  • Book of Love = Famous fifties song – Miss Pie turns out to be an illusion
  • 10 years = 1960s
  • King = Elvis
  • Jester = Dylan
  • Quartet = Beatles (of course)
  • Helter Skelter & Football Game = Vietnam war protests in the summer of 1967
  • Marching Band = Most of the public that wanted the war to continue
  • 8 Miles High and falling fast = Byrds song “8 Miles High” was banned because of its implications of drug use on a transatlantic flight, group split up
  • All in One Place = Altamount Concert with drug deaths and stabbings
  • Lost in Space = Hippie movement died that day (also reference to TV series)
  • No Angel Born in Hell = Hell’s Angels guarded the stage as Mick Jagger sang. They begged him to stop the concert, but the Rolling Stones continued like they were possessed, all the violence and overdosing damaging the reputation of the Hippie movement especially amongst its own members.
  • Song describes the disillusioning end of both the 1950s and then the 1960s. Oh yes, Janis Joplin “smiled and turned away” by committing suicide instead of bringing happiness to Americans in the 1970s. has a more lengthy analysis with some of it below …


Debating political spin, fake news, lies and misleading the public

Posted By on February 19, 2017

Having been around journalists and the media most of my working life, I disagree with the broad brush of many who paint them as "knowingly biased and of misleading the public." MostNEObama reporters, professional journalists, aspire to gather and report the relevant facts with the purpose of getting a story correct and providing the facts to allow the reader, listener or viewer to form their own opinion. Unfortunately in the social networked world we now live, in creeps "getting it first or faster" and "getting it read." The "first and fast" is a recipe for missing something and making mistakes and the "getting it read" encourages hype and sensationalizing … something we use to call "yellow journalism."

A few in the business still answer to editors with fact checkers. Most national news organization require multiple sources from reliable outlets. The sources supplying information are becoming questionable and corroboration is often secondhand.

The most noticeable change for those of us who have paid attention to newspapers, radio and television for decades is the dominance of "opinion journalism." It has exploded in recent years and is either a symptom or outcome of a country polarized on the left and right (maybe both?)  Internet news exacerbates the problem and real-time reporting by "citizen journalists" can make news organizations and their reporters scramble for relevance and their economic existence. It is easy to see how "owners" needing to sell advertising, pay salaries and bills reaching for a way to keep an "audience." Working in a little color and slant may be that last ditch effort to keep presses rolling and cameras clicking. All to often reporters enjoy editorializing and giving permission probably enjoy sharing their thoughts and put their spin on a story. After all, being a commentator, having a column or a show seems to be the aspirational goal for many with careers in journalism 


Bias has crept into everyday news to the point every news outlet and reporter is now questioned and viewed with skepticism. Those in denial often cite, "the facts are the facts." Those of us "attempting" to be open-minded and fair find ourselves trapped in a debate as to who reports stories "down the middle" … although that "middle" is difficult to define anymore.

For most, it is easy to acknowledge newspapers, networks and "particular programming" who purposely slant their coverage of the news … especially politics. But there are those outlets who attempt or pretend to be mainstream that increasingly are reporting stories and viewer opinions with a bias. It comes from both the right and the left and without public funding … it is their business.


Speaking of "public funding" (taxpayers still contribute), NPR continues to be heavily weighted with political left journalists, content and listeners/readers. I still think they work diligentlynprlogo to report and check their facts, but they continue to report with a bias. I regularly read the NPR Ombudsman column (but listen less than I use to) and have notice a couple posts struggling with misinformation and fake news. I have found even a column where the focus is on getting the story right, a reader often ends up with a left slanted take on a topic AND more concerning the trend of using words dangerous terms that up until recently would not have been accepted. The NPR comment above uses "lie" when talking about Vice President Pence — Point of fact, Pence worked with Carrier for months to no avail as governor of Indiana, but it was not until President Trump made a phone call did management decide not to move their production plant to Mexico. (source) It was wrong for the Ombudsman to give that point of view so much leeway.

As for the concerning trend of "dangerous words," the referencing of Nazi, Fascists, Brownshirts, Authoritarian, Hitler, etc by those in the media is not wise. They are fanning the flames of division within our country and playing fast and free with the profession of journalism. A healthy skepticism of government is good. Hold them accountable and respectfully report the facts as they are … not as a reporter’s personal view. If possible, recognize that most elected to serve our country want what is best, but they come with varied political philosophies and economic views in how we get there. Let’s all step back a notch … especially those who we "NEED" to report to us without a bias and remember that the country voted and elected them to lead for a short time. Give them fair reporting if you believe in journalism.

Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.