Monday, February 24, 2014


A great week of entertainment ended Sunday with the end of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Several events stood out, but it seemed that the projected winners lost and unknowns won which of course is why they play the games.

I thought the most outstanding example of bravery was Justyna Kowalcyzk. Skiing the ten kilometer cross country, she competed with a fractured foot and won. there were others. Bodie Miller, trying one more time for the gold at age 39 and winning a bronze. The Russian solo figure skater that was a national hero in Russia, taking a huge lead in scoring, only to be injured  in practice and forced to withdraw.

A group of young skaters from the United States that showed great promise for the future and many others. But it still wasn't the "Thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, that marked the years that ABC televised the games.

The woman that interviewed Bodie Miller and pressed him when he became emotional, probably interviews Mothers having lost their children in an accident with questions like, "how did it feel."

The worst of all was Bob Costas. A sports reporter that constantly lectures and editorializes as if he were  Walter Cronkite reincarnated. His well known for scathingly attacking Bodie Miller in the past, who was by example a free spirit. Still in character, he felt it necessary to jump on the band wagon of critics. I remember back when He was branded a rebel when he, as an adult, balked at sleeping in a dormitory during the circuit.

Perhaps his worse gaff though was in an Olympics that sprouted sportsmanship from every angle, suddenly in interviewing the Russian Olympic President  burst out with, "Yes but what about the horrible human rights record Russia has." It wasn't a proper question in the context of the interview and I t was asked of the wrong person. He wasn't interviewing Putin after all. Once again showed his frustration in not being a news commentator. Perhaps he gets his inspiration from watching MSNBC.
The final Sunday was to me a disappointment. The two events left were, the 50 K cross country and the finals in four man bob-sled racing. First the announcer when becoming excited, started to scream to the point it was difficult to understand. Secondly, the favorite American  skier, Hoffman, was never identified by number. Throughout the race I tried to figure out which skier he was to no avail. Then the constant reminders that coming up next was the bobsled finals. This coming up next lasted over an hour while NBC tried to stretch two hours of events into five hours, constantly misleading listeners.

In all I would give this Olympics a great grade for competitiveness and NBC a poor grade with Costas.  

Friday, February 21, 2014


With Washington And Colorado legalizing Marijuana, several things pop out of my mind.

 Historically, Two things were strictly outlawed. Three if you include prohibition. First gambling was considered sinful and quick way to break up families. Then they figured out how to tax it. Suddenly it wasn't so bad after all. So the states jumped in, no longer piously  against it and even promoting it.

Now we come to Marijuana. This is still classified as a hard drug by the Federal codes. It isn't even addictive, yet holier than thou types still lie to themselves and to us. My take on this government blumder is that the Viet Nam War and the protests that accompanied it were part of the drug culture, therefor anything connected to protest had to be horrible.

Zoom to the 21st century and suddenly the states that have legalized it are dry washing their hands in anticipation of a tax bonanza. Washington states that there are three levels of taxaion. The grower, the processor and the retail sale. At each level a 25% tax is imposed. This is not just 75%, because it compounds and ends up at about 94%. Whoopti doo. Now the state is competing against the Mexican private enterprise to the extent  that legal pot may end jp being more expensive that state controlled product.

This could end ju[ being a bidding or price war between the legal growth and sales and the existing underground sales. I think that the greed of the respective governments outweighs any moral objections.

Stay tuned. This could get interesting. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


It would appear that President Obama has painted hmself into an energy corner. Sitting on an authorization for the Canada to Texas pipeline and trains carrying crude from the oil sands in Alberta.

First scenario, His political base of rabid ecologists keep opposing the pipeline not based on clean pipeline routes, but the ecology in China. While it is commendable to help in the fight for clean air, this opposition doesn't stop China from using coal or oil in their industries. This outrageous interference with China's right to self  determination. Opposing the pipeline is parallel to using the spotted owl to interfere with logging. It was about not cutting any more trees anywhere. Still, it was an issue wholly within our territorial limits. In the case of activists lobbying against the pipeline this is not going to stop China, it will just hurt our neighbor, Canada. Oh and our selves as well.

Second scenario, we ship all oil from the region by train. Well, it seems like the crude from tar sands has more volatility than our domestic product and is a danger to the  citizenry from derailments. In three lurid examples of derailed oil trains, One blew the center of a town up, causing 41 deaths. Railroads were originally designed to connect cities with each other, so products and services could connect them. Rerouting trains through rural areas in high population areas, is impractical and beyond  any sensible investment.

The choice between the two solutions is not the only one, however.. If we force Canada to build their own pipeline from scratch rather than just connecting with our domestic system, and trough terrain that makes construction problematic. If our government chooses either there are dire consequences. For one, we get a large percentage of our  oil and natural gas from Canada. There is nothing to stop Canada from refusing to ship any petroleum products to this country.  A boycott would prove that our natural gas industry to come to a screeching halt.

By your intransigence, we are between a rock and a hard spot. Get off the dime and choose which method to use, but remember, our good neighbor Canada has no barrier unusable. Shooting urselves in the foot is not the answer.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


The recent unauthorized disclosure of some of the inner workings of the Diamond Cup principals has caused confusion and dismay for some supporters and in some quarters a desire to face the music.

The motives are unclear at this time, but I am guessing that it was well meaning fund raising that went awry. To the person that ultimately sent the material to the Coeur d'Alene Press, I find it more difficult to be magnanimous. I find it difficult to suggest an act that smells of disjointed thinking or worse, sabotage, motives are suspect.

In talking  with Doug Miller, the president of Diamond Cup Racing, LLC, He explained that the disclosure told only part pf the story.   First, the letter, which I do not have, quotes Sam Cole, President of H1 Racing, the organizer of these events across the country as saying that the committee must respond to several conditions and that time is running out for these to be met if a race in 2014 is to be held.

One condition, a deposit of $5000 to the H1 account, has been met, which happened Friday of last week. Another, that a performance bond be issued guaranteeing the race funds to the sponsoring authority.

The sound of the NSF check in the amount of $71,000 be made good.  Deliberately writing a bad check with criminal intend is doubtful.   It is my understanding that the principals in this matter wrote the check against a line of credit that the bank pulled back citing the first year shaky financial conditions  that prevailed at that time.

Those issues yet to be resolved, are being addressed currently.

The largest culprit in this melodrama is the public taking advantage of the open Centennial Trail, where thousands of freeloaders skated past the necessity for the funds to be raised in order to pay for the expenses necessary to hold the race. I believe that only 3200 tickets for shore viewing were sold, yet an estimated 52,000 actually attended. Perhaps lacking the experience of communities with a more recent racing history, caused the committee to over estimate the honesty of the viewing public.

Had all viewers, including the log boom paid the admittance fee, no financial problem would exist. Those items are being addressed, with closing the trail for the race days and looking with askance at local homeowners that coincidentally held parties that week-end with up to 60 passes for entrance to their homes.

Secondly, there is plenty of money in this community through sponsorships and shares of ownership to conduct this race annually. Apparently the leading businesses in the area are willing to harvest the ton of money the public spent on bars, restaurants and hotel/motels. Perhaps it is the lack of understanding the positive influence annual hydro races bring to the community. The Iron Man competition, in which streets are blocked off routinely, the Fourth of July downtown festivities and now the races, are blockbuster events that across the nation reflect well on Coeur d'Alene and all of the Spokane, north Idaho up to the Canadian border.

Whether reorganization or more community support, or both is needed. you will not have this race to enjoy in future years if freeloaders rule. In 1968, it was lack of funding, not the behavior directly that caused the cancellation of future years. The public would go around the ticket booth with coolers full of alcoholic beverages, hike up Tubbs Hill and camp out for the races.

This generated drunks then poured into town for more, and less controlled, crowds which then became noticed by law enforcement. In 2013, not one incident springing from this race was noted. Alcohol was limited to licensed businesses bordering the course, those being Tony's on the south and the Silver Beach restaurant and marina at the north end. As Seattle and Tri-Cities had solved crowd control issues many years ago, so went the Diamond Cup, era the 21st century.

Some reacted to the article with bitterness, using name calling as a path to vent their displeasure with the source of this story, yet for the most part the information, proprietary that it was, was accurate. This blog, private thoughts aside, does not support name calling. It was however, an incomplete recitation of ongoing negotiations with H1, and has been overtaken by events.

For the record, no blame for this disclosure should be put on the Coeur d'Alene Press, who did their due diligence and printed it as news for which newspapers are supposed to do.

We invite those interested in furthering the cause, to step forward, whether buying tickets in blocks, sponsorship or get involved on the inside by purchasing participation in ownership. The people who run this are doing so without compensation. The public should be sued for non-support.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Yesterday I decided that braving a heavy snow storm just to get the ever so small S/R, I left it in the box. This morning, I went out to fetch my paper. Yesterday's was still in the box, but today's was lying in the melting snow, wet and soggy. I guess my motor route carrier only throws the paper at the box one try and gone.

After blow drying the paper, I finally got to see what was going on out there. The prediction of more snow today and tomorrow is probably a bad guess from the weather guessers (again) I constantly regret not having obtained a degree in forecasting weather. What other career path can you be wrong half the time and still get raises, retirement benefits, long vacations and promotions.

Only here can we get snow forecast at the same time as thawing snow causing flooding. Oh well, perhaps if the thaw continues I can once more access my car.

Incidentally, you can access weather information from the navy here in Bayview. The link is:

Sunday, February 02, 2014


In no other sport, nor other city has a team plucked "spectators'" out of the rubble of fandom to become a part of the success of that sport. A part of the team and you might say are in the huddle with the players. The Twelfth Man.

These guys called Seattle Seahawks are without a doubt currently the best in the league. But in every way, fans, loyal to the core, bearer of the lean years, are now considered "participants."

Sure there are band wagon jumpers. Fair weather fans. That is natural. But there buried in the Kingdome years, bad ownership and iffy players are fans like me. Having lived in the Seattle area most of my life, I was one of the originials. Fans that attended the first game back in 1976, where they played a preseason game against St. Louis. A game that showed what was eventually to evolve. St. Louis won, if my dimming memory serves witha  score of about 32-28.

The pickup team made up of cast offs and players at the end of their careers surpised everyone with what was then called a fly pattern, Zorn to Largent. Which scored a touchdown. Mississippi gamblers all, and coached by a guy with nothing to loose threw away the standard play books. His name is Jack Patera. Where too weak physically, and lacking talent. Substituted trickery and treachery for the talent they didn't have.

Who can forget Effren Herrera, place kicker, running behind a wedge, recovering his own on side kick. Those were great moments. A time,  when we didn't expect a championship, just entertainment. I still have the ticket stub from that first game and treasure it as one of the original fan group.

I also had a ticket which unfortunately I lost, for the second Seattle Pilots baseball team. A  season that didn't happen when ownership packed up and moved to Milwaukee.Most do not know that Lou Pinella was a member of that team though traded before a game was played.

Today we can celebrate as the uncontested best team in football. It was a long time coming and I along with all of those original fans, those that are still alive anyway, are cheering, not as fans but as members of the team. To Jack Patera, who lives in Ellensburg, Washington, in retirement, never coached again, we offer thanks for a great beginning.

Go Seahawks! 43-8, defeated the number one offensive team, stole their lunch money and beat them up on the way home from school. Denver was run over by a bus. A bus called Seahawks.