My Pacific Northwest

Powell’s Books – ‘A Downturn Wraps a City in Hesitance’


NYT – March 26, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. – Over the last four decades, Powell’s Books has swelled into the largest bookstore in North America – a capacious monument to reading that occupies a full square block of this often-drizzly city. But this year, growth has given way to anxiety.

Michael Powell, the store’s owner, recently dropped plans for a $5 million expansion. An architect had already prepared the drawings. His bankers had signaled that financing was available. But the project no longer looked prudent, Mr. Powell concluded — not with sales down nearly 5 percent, stock markets extinguishing savings, home prices plunging and jobs disappearing.

“It’s going to take a period of time to recover,” Mr. Powell said. “Whether it’s 2 years or 10 years I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s going to be quick. People are nervous.”


I had the ‘good luck’ to live in the ‘Rose City’ from ’95 to ’02; and I spent many a wonderful Saturday or/AND Sunday morning at Powell’s.

It’s not only the largest bookstore in North America, but I believe it’s the BEST bookstore in North America!

There’s no question, Amazon is a terrific site to buy books, but so is Powell’s.

If you buy from Powell’s you’ll not only help this ‘small’ family business, stay in business; but you’ll help Portland keep one of its treasures.

The website for Powell’s Books:


a Portland story:

For awhile, I felt great thinking my oldest kid was coming to visit me in Portland; until I realized he wasn’t coming to visit ME, he was coming to shop at POWELL’s!

I mean he’d come ‘home’, literally, with grocery bag(s) FULL of BOOKS!

My Sons:

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Mt. Saint Helens / Spirit Lake


Many believe, as I do, St. Helens was the most beautiful, of all the beautiful, Cascade Mountains (Rainier, Hood, Baker, Adams, Shasta,>>>}.

Not only did it’s symmetrical cone earned it’s nickname ‘Fuji-san of North America’, but Spirit Lake at the base of the mountain, was nothing short of spectacular.

My Uncle Chuck, and my oldest Brother Chuck, were avid fisherman; and EVERY CHANCE they had, they’d go fishin’.

And it didn’t matter where: out on the Sound; salmon fishing out of Westport or Ilwaco; or on one of the lakes near Tacoma (American, Spanaway, Tapps, Kapowsin), or on one of the multitude of NW rivers.

I mean, it jus’ didn’t matter.

I was never much of a fisherman because I hardly ever even had a bite, let alone a fish. And if they were skunked, I was often kidded about being bad luck.

Good natured kidding? – Sometimes yes; sometimes, hmmm, not so sure.

On occasion, we would take the long drive down to Spirit Lake because they supposedly heard reports the fishing was good; but I always had serious doubts about that being the real reason:

>>> Because to see the sunrise from the lake, and ‘light up the mountain’, WOW!! <<<

Fifty-seven people were killed in the eruption, and the most famous was the 83-year-old Harry Randall Truman who REFUSED to leave his Mt St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake.

Note: We would often stop at the lodge to load up on essentials: fishing krap, Hostess Snowballs, Rainier Beer, etc.



May 18, 1980, 8:32am

The mountain became VERY ‘active’ on March 18 with a 4.2 earthquake. Steam venting began on March 27. By the end of April the north side started to bulge.

On the morning of the 18th, a 5.1 earthquake triggered a massive collapse of the north face of the mountain, which triggered the eruption.

Note: The daily seismic activity and venting were often the lead story in the PNW, but I don’t recall ANYONE predicting such a catastrophic event.


We were living, +/-30miles west of Olympia.

The sun rises very early in the PNW in May, and I kept waking up that Sunday morning to be surprised it was still dark.

I checked the bedside clock, but I didn’t believe the time because I assumed one of my chuckle-headed boys had been playing with it, AGAIN.

I tried without success to go back to sleep; and finally couldn’t take it anymore, got up, and looked out the window.

The ash was coming down like fine snow, and my first thought was of Harry Truman.


May 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments


If you’re a diehard Hawks fan like I am, you might enjoy Number 17’s blog; then again, maybe not.

GO Hawks!

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dave ‘My, Oh, My!’ Niehaus


19-Feb-08 – The ‘Voice of the Seattle Mariners’, Dave Niehaus, was awarded the ‘Ford C. Frick award for baseball broadcast excellence’.

27-Apr-08 – The MLB has finally got something right; because they inducted him into the broadcaster’s wing of the HOF in Cooperstown.

Steve Kelley, the brilliant sportswriter for the Seattle Times ‘called it’ right when he wrote:

“Rarely does an entire region get to share something this profound. But this is an award all of us who have lived in the Northwest and listened to Dave can share with Niehaus.

For Mariners fans, for baseball fans, Niehaus had been our brother, our dad, our favorite uncle, our grandfather. He has been family.

His voice has wafted through summer breezes at picnics and playgrounds. It has bounced down sterile hospital halls and echoed from transistor radios since the Mariners’ first game against the Angels in 1977.”


Stats – not including 2009:

 – His FIRST Mariner game call – April 6, 1977, which just happen to be, the M’s very first pre-season game.

– Games: 4,816 out of 4,899 ~ .983 B.A.

– L.O.B.: 0


“Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma! It’s grand salami time!”

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The ‘Aroma of Tacoma’


First of all, I LOVE Tacoma, Washington – the ‘City of Destiny’.

I was born in Tacoma; my two brothers were born in Tacoma, my Mom was born in Tacoma and graduated from Lincoln High School (class of ’33).

I recognize many of the names on the graves at the old ‘Tacoma Cemetery’, as ‘family’.

Downtown Tacoma has gone through a virtual renaissance in the last few years; where not only historic buildings are being renovated, but downtown is now being reoccupied with, PEOPLE.

I mean, you just can’t get better than that!!

I know the closing of the pulp mills down in the tide-flats put a lot of people out of work, and that’s never a good thing.

But the last line in ‘Aroma of Tacoma’ is no longer true, because the infamous aromas are gone, and GONE FOREVER MORE!

(sung to the tune of “Wabash Cannonball”)

“The Aroma of Tacoma takes your breath away.
You can tell it, you can smell it, when you’re fourteen miles away!
From the great Olympic Mountains to the tide flats by the shore,
that aroma will be with us for now and ever more!”

May 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

‘Breaking Down the Barriers’


Because I love to travel, I enjoy a site called Virtual Tourist (+1,100,000 members).

There’s a “Today’s Birthday” feature, I almost never check; unless of course, it happens to be MY birthday.

A couple of years ago, I saw this very old Japanese geezer from Kobe that just happened to be born on the same day I was.

He had written very interesting pages about his family, travels, Kobe, etc, etc; so I decided to send him a Happy Birthday Message.

I titled it: “I think there’s a chance…”And the text:

 “we are TWINS, who were SEPARATED at BIRTH.

I am (198cm) 6′-6″ tall. How tall are you?


Possibly, your brother, jon-san”

I didn’t expect a reply to my very dumb e-mail, but the following day I received one from Isihara-san which read:

“I am 170cm (5′-7”), YES maybe we brother.


You from Seattle, I have daughter and grandson in Seattle, I wish I know English, we write about Ishiro.

GO M’s!!”

Note: His English was really ‘screwed’, but certainly a couple of gazillion times better than my Japanese.

Since, I’m a die-hard M’s and Ichiro Suzuki fan, I sent him the translator, along with a message written in Japanese.

Fro the last two-years, we have become the BEST of BUDS, with messages going back and forth, on all kinds of subjects; although I must say, messages pick up significantly from March to September.

GO M’s!!

One particular message, I’ll never forget:

Isihara-san told me that he did not speak English very well, and his grandson did not speak Japanese very well; but with the translator, they could now communicate, and he was very happy.

And, I gotta tell ya, reading that, made ME, very happy!!


May 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘A Beacon in Memory of a Lost Newspaper’


NYT – Mar-17-09


SEATTLE – A visitor passing through Seattle last week made an impertinent request. He called someone at The Post-Intelligencer to ask whether he could, if at all possible, visit the 30-foot neon globe that sits atop the newspaper’s waterfront building. He couldn’t really explain the need.

The request might have seemed especially rude, given that those employed by The Post-Intelligencer were living hour to hour, waiting for a call from the Hearst Corporation, its owner in New York, about what day would be its last as a printed entity.

That call came Monday: A daily Seattle tradition that began in 1863 will end Tuesday, March 17, 2009.


I hope you’ll keep some people working, by givin’ the PI website some hits:

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

1950 – Pacific Avenue – Tacoma, WA


Perhaps my memory has up and left; but I thought the old Rust Building was on Pacific.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Descent into SEATAC


It seems like whenever I go to Seattle, it’s at the tail end of a series of flights, often involving a redeye. I’m of course happy to get off the lousy plane, but I’m even ‘more happy’ to be home, to ‘my hometown’, Seattle.

I don’t even remember anymore which flight I was on, but I remember the pilot coming on, and saying, “Folks, we are beginning our descent into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, blah, blah-blah-blah, and blah”.

Of course at +30,000 feet, the sky is an incredible, almost ‘take your breath away’ blue; and I know this is incredibly lame, but I couldn’t get this tune out of my head:

“The bluest sky you’ve ever seen, in Seattle.
And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle.
Like a beautiful child
Growing up, free and wild.
Full of hopes and full of fears,
Full of laughter, full of tears,
Full of dreams to last a year
In Seattle.”

BUT THEN, we began the descent into the clouds, and the ground finally became visible at about five-hundred feet, and the rain of course was streaking off the window like a ‘whacked-out 150-mile per hour car wash’!!

There were a few grumblings (grumble, grumble, grumble) from some of the passengers; but hey I didn’t care because this wasn’t an ordinary rain, this was ‘Seattle Rain’, and I was home, and if felt good, very very good.

May 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment