Seattle’s Weird Cold War Relic

58 years ago, the City of Seattle completed a project that is unique to this city, as so many things tend to be. It was a nuclear fallout shelter beneath Interstate 5 in the Ravenna neighborhood. It was pretty much obsolete from the minute it was finished, as people had by then realized that surviving a large scale nuclear attack was highly unlikely. Rather than let it sit empty and admit what a massive waste of money the shelter was, it became a Department of Licensing office from 1963-1977.

The room was 3000 square feet, and designed to hold 200 people. The bathrooms and decontamination showers had such narrow doors that only the most svelte of citizens could enter, and for such a large crowd there were only 3 toilets. The showers for that same crowd were serviced by one 40 gallon hot water tank. No kitchen was provided, and the instructions for the shelter suggested that people should warm canned food (which they were expected to provide themselves), in their armpits.

There were books, games and recreational equipment provided by the Red Cross. The space was also equipped with folding metal chairs, collapsible bunks and insulated paper blankets. In addition, there were escape hatches, an escape tunnel, a generator, and an air filtration system.

In case of emergency, the first 200 people to arrive would be allowed in. Everyone else would be locked out. (What could possibly go wrong?) There were additional plans, which would have been impossible to execute, to evacuate the rest of the residents of Seattle east of the Cascade Mountains.

After 1977, this place became a storage facility for WSDOT records and used furniture. Eventually it was all but abandoned except for the occasional homeless person. But even the homeless didn’t favor it, because the room is freezing cold most of the time. (Every Department of Licensing employee had to huddle around a space heater, which meant the electricity bills when it was an office were obscene.)

Check out this interesting article to see some oddly fascinating photos of this cold, lifeless, uncomfortable looking space, and reflect upon the fact that at one time in our history we were so completely terrified of utter annihilation that this silly plan seemed like a viable option.

Like this quirky little blog? Then you’ll love this book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Do Animals Have a Sense of Humor?

The other day I was lying in bed, giggling helplessly at the memory of something funny my husband had said hours earlier. It still makes me laugh. Giggling is the best feeling in the world. I looked at my dachshund, who was eyeing me curiously, and I thought about the fact that he doesn’t get to laugh. He’s really missing out.

Do dogs have a sense of humor? I’ve had a few that definitely showed subtle signs of it. One liked to run his cold wet nose down my spine at moments when I’d least expect it, causing me to screech. Another hopped up on the bed while I was taking a nap and sat on my face. And refused to move. That’s a heck of a way to wake up. I could picture both of those dogs laughing inwardly.

Primates can laugh in their own way. And now that we all have video capabilities on our phones, we are capturing more and more evidence that animals like to play. Even the grown ups. There’s a crow here on my drawbridge that enjoys riding the bridge up and down, and spinning on the weather vane. If animals can play, they have a sense of fun. If they have a sense of fun, a sense of humor must not be that far away.

I cannot imagine going through life without being able to laugh. I’d feel like something really significant was missing. It’s a quality of life thing.

We all have that one friend…

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Please Don’t Shoot the Humans

Today I read an article entitled, “Florida Man, 83, Shot Neighbor in Heated Dispute About Ducks and Geese, Daughter Says”. Talk about your click bait. Naturally I had to read this article.

I pretty much have to read every article that starts off with the phrase “Florida Man”. I lived in Florida for 40 years. I know how some of the more lunatic fringe Florida men can be. So I sigh, but read on, sort of like I sigh but slow down to gawk at a traffic accident. I can’t seem to help myself.

I can understand disagreeing with a neighbor who is feeding animals that a) produce a half pound of disease-bearing feces per day, b) cause property damage, and c) are perfectly capable (or should be) of feeding themselves. It can even be argued that whatever you’re feeding these birds is probably causing them a lot of health issues, and is therefore cruel.

But shooting someone over it? Seriously? That’s a scary, scary man.

I’m not someone who has a gun. I really don’t like them. I don’t like to be anywhere near them. And I don’t see any positive result from owning one. If you’re not using them, they’re just stuff that used to be money that is taking up space, and if you are using them, very little good comes from it. I can’t imagine shooting another human being unless they’re shooting at me first.

Here’s a promise. I will never, ever, ever shoot you based on your stance about ducks. If we disagree, let’s chat about it. If that doesn’t work, let’s go to court. But as sure as I’m typing here, I can guarantee that I’m not shooting you over a duck. Even if someone puts the loaded gun in my hands, cocked and ready to go. It will never happen. I set the attempted murder bar a bit higher than that.

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Meet Jonathan

Jonathan was born in 1832, give or take a year. He can be forgiven if, after 189 years of walking this earth, he’s a little vague on his exact “hatchday”. He’s the oldest known living terrestrial animal in the world. (Heaven knows what’s floating down there in the depths of the ocean, though.) Jonathan is a Seychelles giant tortoise.

Imagine all the history he’s been around for. He was born before the American Civil War, before planes and telephones and moving pictures. He has probably borne witness to a lot of tortuous women’s fashions. And the fact that he still could care less about any of that stuff is part of his charm.

When he was about 50 years old, he took an epic journey. One can assume that no one asked his permission to uproot him. (What nerve.) He went from the Seychelles Islands, which are in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, to Saint Helena Island, where he lives now, which is in the South Atlantic, off the west coast of Africa. As the bird flies, these two islands are 4,223 miles apart, but since planes were still the stuff of fantasy, his trip would have been a long, slow one, most likely by boat around the tip of Africa.

I wonder what he made of that. We’ll never know. Jonathan tends to keep his own counsel.

Poor Jonathan didn’t get a name until the 1930’s. The governor of Saint Helena named him. That kind of makes sense, since he’s been living on the grounds of the official governor’s residence ever since. I’m glad he got a dignified name. A guy this old shouldn’t be called Pookey or Torty McTortface. Before that, I guess he just responded to “hey you”.

Hard to say how much longer Jonathan will live. One tortoise was rumored to have lived for 255 years, but there’s no actual proof. Hard to say how far he has advanced into his geezer-hood. He is blind from cataracts and no longer has a sense of smell to find food, but he has excellent hearing and seems to be well taken care of. He still likes to breed. More power to him.

He has also been honored with his picture on the back of the Saint Helena five-pence coin. That’s the least we could do for our terrestrial animal patriarch. May he live many more happy years.

And say what you will about this old guy, he still has a stronger chin than Mitch McConnell.

Like this quirky little blog? Then you’ll love this book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

What NOT to Put in a Little Free Library

I’ve operated my little free library for nearly two years now, and during that time I’ve also been a member of two little free library Facebook groups, so I’m in constant communication with little free library stewards from across the globe. While I haven’t personally seen it all, I can say that I’ve seen enough vicariously to know that people can be strange. Yes, they can also be generous and kind, as most of my patrons are, but the strange ones are more humorous to write about.

For some reason, a small, special percentage of the population view these libraries as dumping grounds for the things they don’t want. Here are some things that have been put in these libraries:

  • Garbage.
  • Various articles of clothing. (If the library doubles as a clothing drop place, then okay, but make sure the stuff is clean. But I can’t emphasize this enough: Nobody wants your used underwear.)
  • Food items. (If the library doubles as a food pantry, then make sure the food isn’t opened, half-eaten or expired. But it’s very obvious when a little library does NOT double as a food pantry, so please respect that.)
  • Books with water damage, smoke damage, or mildew.
  • Controversial books such as Mein Kampf or The Anarchist’s Cookbook. (I don’t believe in censorship, but these books require context that is hard to provide in this forum.)
  • All manner of creatures, alive or dead. (If you don’t want them in your house, why should anyone else?)
  • Items of furniture. (This isn’t Sanford and Sons.)
  • Textbooks or encyclopedias from 1984. (Just because you feel guilty getting rid of obsolete books does not mean you should force us to do so for you.)
  • Drugs.
  • Books that are falling apart or that have missing pages.
  • Books that your child covered in doodles.
  • Books that have been chewed on by anyone or anything.
  • Mixed media books that are missing the other media.
  • Old ratty magazines.
  • Pornography.
  • Ammunition. (C’mon. Seriously?)
  • Hate speech.
  • Pamphlets, flyers or coupons.
  • Junk mail.
  • Chewing gum.
  • Things that any sane person would normally flush down a toilet.
  • Books with such a limited audience that no one will probably take them, such as “Embalming: Best Practices”.

Also, remember that these libraries aren’t just for you. They’re for the entire community.

  • Please don’t completely empty them of books in one visit.
  • Please don’t vandalize them.
  • Please don’t take books out for the purposes of resale. (We’re trying to get books into the community for those who can’t afford them or don’t have access to them otherwise. We’re not here for you to sell these things on Amazon. A small portion of library stewards don’t mind this, but for the life of me, I don’t understand why. It constitutes a community theft as far as I’m concerned.)
  • Please don’t steal the log book! We like hearing from people! Why would you want our log books? (You’d be amazed how often this happens.)

There are a few odd things that I personally really enjoy getting in the library, and don’t mind leaving for others, but if you’re planning to put these things in another little free library, check with the steward and make sure it’s okay with them first.

  • Rubber Duckies.
  • TINY, unbroken toys.
  • Painted rocks.
  • Pretty bookmarks.

I know this post seems a little complain-y, but you’d be amazed at what we stewards encounter. I will say, though, that the vast majority of my library patrons are generous, kind, and thoughtful. They love the library as much as I do, and take good care of it. For the most part, this library has restored my faith in humanity, and it is one of the best projects I have ever undertaken.

Keep reading, y’all.

The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Bigfoot Hunting Licenses? Seriously?

Yep. Seriously. According to an article entitled, “Oklahoma May Soon Have an Official Bigfoot Hunting Season – and a $25K Prize for Catching It”, there is actually an Oklahoma Representative named Justin Humphrey who has authored a bill in the state legislature to make this happen.

He’s a Republican. ‘Nuff said.

His motives appear to be pure, albeit misguided. He claims he simply wants to attract more tourism to Oklahoma. It would also create revenue for the state. He claims that people are already calling him for these licenses so they can frame them on their wall.

The bill specifies that these licenses would only allow hunters to trap Bigfoot, not kill him, but it would come with a $25,000 bounty for anyone who succeeds. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, where to begin.

Picture this. You get a bunch of overexcited hunters wandering about in the Oklahoma woods, setting up traps to catch large man-shaped creatures. They’re foolish enough to believe Bigfoot actually exists, so it’s not a big stretch of the imagination that they might get trigger happy and accidentally shoot a large man-shaped creature. This bill could backfire on Rep. Humphrey, because any large man would be well advised to avoid the Oklahoma woods if the bill passes.

And, just playing devil’s advocate here, let’s say Bigfoot exists. (Bigfoot DOES NOT exist, you muppet!!!!) If he does, clearly he’s an endangered species, or we’d be seeing him everywhere. Do you really think it is cool to trap the hairy guy and take him away from his mate, only to have him wind up in a circus sideshow or a zoo or lying on an autopsy table somewhere?

Poor Bigfoot. He just wants to be left alone.

Like this quirky little blog? Then you’ll love this book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Seeing the World From a Different Perspective

Recently I met a guy named Jamie Jordan through a mutual friend, and discovered that he, too, has written a book. When I told him I had a little free library, he was kind enough to send me several copies to share with people, and I was happy to do so. It’s a great message to send out to the world.

His book, entitled From A Seated Perspective, is available on Amazon, and it’s about what it’s like to live life from a wheelchair. It’s heartfelt, humorous, serious and informative all at once. There are colorful, delightful graphics throughout that really give you a sense of Jamie’s experiences over the years.

This book will give you insights you may not have realized you needed to have. If you know someone in a wheelchair that you think would relate to it, buy this book. If you know someone who needs to be woken up about how the seated half lives, buy this book. If you just want a quick, fun, enlightening read, buy this book. And if you have any questions for Jamie, or just want to say hello to an awesome person, visit him at jamiejordan.org!

It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you bought my book, too, while you’re at it! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Debunking Chemtrails

Let’s round out the year with some facts, shall we? Chemtrails are a myth. There is no credible evidence to support their existence.

I suspect that if you’ve read past that first paragraph, I’m probably already preaching to the choir. That’s a pity. It’s nearly impossible to disabuse a conspiracy theorist of their erroneous conclusions. The only reason I’m even giving it a try is that I still see this subject come up time and time again on social media, from sources that I think are way too smart for this foolishness, and I’m hoping that if you know someone who seems to be on the fence about the issue, you may be able to use this post to draw that person away from the lunatic fringe.

According to this article in the Smithsonian, based on public policy polling, “…about five percent of Americans believe in chemtrails. That’s more than the four percent who believe lizard people are taking over our politics but much less than the number who believe in bigfoot or that global warming is a hoax.”

Give me strength.

Okay, let’s start with the basics.

You’re not being conned. We call them contrails because that’s short for condensation trails. You’re familiar with condensation. You’ve seen it gathering on the outside of a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day. It’s why you use coasters. You’ve seen it dripping out of your old air conditioning window unit when you were trying to beat the heat. Condensation requires three things to exist: warmth, cold, and moisture.

Jet engines provide the warm water vapor by way of their exhaust or by way of a sudden change in pressure when air flows over the wings. (However, wingtips require an assist in the form of high humidity in the air.) This moisture hits the cold air that the high atmosphere provides and that causes this water vapor to cool and condense. Ta da! Condensation! (This article explains it in more detail, but it’s really just that simple. I promise.)

And here are some FAQs for you:

Why do we seem to be seeing more trails in the sky? Because contrails are produced by planes, and we have increased the number of flights for travel and shipping over time.

Why do they seem so bright? Because sunlight reflects off the ice crystals, just as it does on sparkly snow. You’ve seen sparkly snow.

Why do these trails seem to last longer than they used to? Because a) you’re paying more attention to them, b) there have been changes in jet engine technology and c) (please don’t kill the messenger) global warming may cause the trails to linger longer.

Why do they often make big exes in the sky? Because planes fly in different directions and are at different altitudes. It may look like the cross is located right over your house from your angle, but I guarantee you that one leg of the x is at a much higher altitude than the other, so someone on the other side of the county, seeing it from another angle, is probably thinking that the x is over his or her house, too. (You get an x, you get an x, EVERYBODY GETS AN X!!!!!!!!!!)

Okay, then, why have theorists found traces of barium, aluminum, copper and strontium in ponds, snow, and air? Because we have polluted the freakin’ planet. All of us. Perhaps you’d be better off focusing on our need for green energy.

Why do some of these trails have multiple bands? Because some planes have multiple engines. And all have multiple wing tips. (Yes, condensation can come off of wing tips, too. With help. See above.)

Why can’t I believe that these trails are a government conspiracy to control the weather, the population, or to test biological weapons? Well, you can, if you insist. But…

  • If the government is trying to control the weather, they’re doing a horrible job of it. I’d like to send some of the Pacific Northwest rain down to California where it’s so desperately needed, please.
  • If they’re trying to control the population, again, they’re doing a horrible job of it.
  • Due to ever-changing wind currents, they couldn’t specify the exact population they would be controlling from that altitude. People in the government have families, too, and they don’t want them to be messed with. They may not want you to have grandchildren, but they want some of their own.
  • If there is some type of aerosol birth control out there, especially one that would provide the exact proper dose to everyone with whom it comes in contact, I wish to hell someone had told me about it before I got my tubes tied.
  • Perhaps most glaringly obvious is the fact that it would be idiotic to test biological weapons on your own populous, because the whole point of producing something to use to wipe out your enemies is to wind up with more of your friends when all is said and done. So by that way of thinking, it would have to be a foreign government doing these tests.
  • Every country heavily monitors their own air space, so it would be awfully hard for another country to drop chemical weapons on us, all over the country, on a daily basis, without our being extremely aware of it. We knew the exact location of sputnik, for crying out loud. And in the case of a daily invasion of that magnitude, our government would be pissed. There would be tweets, believe you me.
  • How could our own government produce daily chemtrails all over the country when it can’t even work out an efficient way to provide us with sufficient vaccines to get this pandemic under control? To believe that the government is using chemtrails, you have to have a heck of a lot more confidence in their organizational, logistical, and secret-keeping abilities than I do.

Okay. That’s it. I’m done. I tried. Now it’s up to you to think critically.

Like this quirky little blog? Then you’ll love this book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Mukbang

I’m on the ragged edge. Between this accursed pandemic, the thick blanket of smoke that’s blotting out the sun, the loss of our beloved RBG, unnecessary drama at work, and discovering that someone I love more than life went to a large, multi-day party and posted pictures of himself marinating in the maskless, close-knit crowd, when he knows I know firsthand how precious and fragile life is, and how it should never be squandered, I’m at the end of my rope. I mean, just look at me funny right now. I dare you.

Fortunately, there is a way to turn off my brain without the use of electric shock. It’s called mukbang. It’s a Korean word that loosely translates as “eating show”. And that’s about the size of it. You can find it all over Youtube. You just sit there and watch people eating way too much exotic food, often while talking to the camera.

Yeah, I know. Maybe this is evidence that I’ve lost it already. I have to admit that I find mukbang oddly comforting. Maybe it’s the crunch, crunch, crunch sound. Maybe it’s because when I’m really angry, I tend to eat, and these people do the eating for me. Maybe it’s just that I get to watch people just doing their weird thing at a time when the world seems so utterly out of control. I don’t know.

My favorite mukbang channel is Stephanie Soo. She sits there and eats and talks about true crime, which is another interest of mine. Check it out and tell me what you think.

My second favorite channel is Food Monster. This one shows footage of a girl working really, really (supposedly) hard in the Korean countryside, and then coming home and (supposedly) eating about 6000 times more than a normal person can eat. It’s kind of funny.

Yes, there is a reason to criticize mukbang. It promotes extremely unhealthy eating habits, food waste, and in some extreme cases, animal abuse. I don’t condone or encourage any of this. And yet I can’t seem to look away. (I’d never watch the animal abuse ones, though. Never. Give me a little credit.)

I know, this is nutty. But it takes my mind off the fall of civilization. And hey, I once wrote about my obsession with pimple popping videos. Surely this is a step up. Right?

Tell me I’m right. Please.

Stephanie Soo

Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Not Real Life

Have you ever noticed that no one ever says ouch in action movies? They get attacked and immediately respond in kind. I’m not so quick on the uptake. If someone hit me, I’d be shocked. I’d say ow. Only then would I beat the living crap out of them.

Another thing is that combative females often have long hair, but no one ever grabs that hair to yank them to the ground. I mean, seriously, in real life, no one plays that fair. If you really want a more level playing field, ladies, then get a freakin’ haircut.

A major pet peeve of mine is movies where cars successfully jump opening drawbridges. As a bridgetender, I can assure you that when people attempt this, it never, ever, ever ends well. If you value your car, your life, and your reputation as an intelligent human being, you won’t try this, at home or anywhere else.

And how is it possible, Hollywood, to throw so many punches without revealing how badly this damages the puncher’s hand? Hands are poorly constructed for impact. Giving people the impression that not only can you knock out someone with one punch, but that you’ll be able to walk away and play the piano afterward is irresponsible at best.

Another unrealistic trope is that you can plunge through a plate glass window and emerge without a single cut. Come on, now. We all know better than that.

The characters in movies seem to be superhuman. They can get shot and carry on. That doesn’t happen. Getting shot freakin’ hurts. After you’re shot, you just aren’t going to be in the mood to do much of anything, I promise. You’re going to say, “Yeah, I’m done.”

And, for what it’s worth, most women can’t run very far in 5 inch heels. I can’t even walk in them. Most conversations in bars are done at a shout. Most dumpsters are full of sharp objects. Doors are not easy to kick in. Most apartments in big metropolitan areas are extremely small. Dorm rooms are even smaller. It’s not easy to make a car explode. It’s pretty much impossible to hold someone’s hand while they dangle off the side of a skyscraper and then actually pull them back up onto a roof.

Come on, script writers. You can do better than this. I just had to get that off my chest.

Thanks. I feel cleansed.

woman-running-high-heels-01

Enjoy my random musings? Then you’ll love my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5