Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm sorry, blog . . .

... I know I've been rather neglectful.  It's not that I don't love you, it's just that I've been really busy this month.  (and partially uninspired)  Maybe if I could multi-task like the lady in the bathroom stall next to me today, I could get more things done.  

I promise to be better in May.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day !


How the First Earth Day Came About
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day

What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked.

Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:

"Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."

It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C. headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities.

Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chunk !

Steven Spielberg's movie The Goonies is and will always be one of my all time favorites.  I've forever wondered what happened to the kid that played Chunk.  He seemed to disappear into Hollywood oblivion after this movie.  This clip was on my yahoo mail page this afternoon and answered that question ...

Friday, April 15, 2011

tomorrow -- tomorrow -- I love ya -- tomorrow

Tomorrow is Record Store Day ! Those who know me well know of my love for vinyl.  Not pants or other garb --- albums !  Seattle's own Easy Street Records was listed by Time Magazine as one of the Ten Great American Record Shops.   Way to go, ES !!  You're one of my favorites and I plan to see you tomorrow......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

M's Opening Night 2011

In our long-standing tradition of attending the first Mariner's home game of the season, we attended Friday night's game against the Cleveland Indians.  Most home openers are day games, so it felt a little strange referring to the game as "Opening Night".  It also felt odd that Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariner's for the past 34 seasons, was not present.  But it was a beautiful night, the sun was shining for the first time in days and the roof was open.  

I must admit that it wasn't my favorite opening game.  The aforementioned observations, coupled with the fact that we were getting KILLED by the 3nd inning and Dan getting hassled for wearing his Red Sox jacket, all made me want to leave early.  One (drunk) guy got right in Dan's face and yelled "why don't you just go the f#*k home !" while pointing at the Red Sox logo.  Really ???  I felt mad at first, but the anger turned into an overall disappointment.  I hope this isn't a sign of the season ahead.  I remain ever hopeful ...


Friday, April 8, 2011

trees and columns . . .

I'm back to work at the University of Washington again - with the Computer Science and Engineering Department.  The view from my office window is of the Sylvan Theater and the infamous columns.  Where did these columns come from ?  Why are they just standing by themselves in the middle of this tree-lined garden ?   Here's what I found online via the UW website:

A low, stone stairway vanishing into the trees leads to the Sylvan Theater, the site of early-day graduation ceremonies. Since then, weddings, plays, banquets, and other happy occurrences such as squirrel watching, sunbathing, and studying have taken place here.

This tree-enclosed hideaway features a grassy stage set with the four white columns that once graced the front stoop of the original university building. In 1908, when the original structure was about to be razed, Edmond S. Meany--head of the History Department and one of the university's first graduates--sought to save the old building by having it moved to the new campus. Eventually, the hand-fluted cedar columns were preserved and erected at the new site by the Class of 1911. Sentimental Edmond Meany and his colleague Dean Herbert T. Condon dubbed the Ionic pillars "Loyalty," "Industry," "Faith," and "Efficiency," the first letters spelling "LIFE."

As life would have it, "Loyalty" sustained three fractures when it blew down in February 1930. Later that year "Efficiency" toppled in high winds but was not damaged. The columns are now supported by steel angle arms set in concrete. History buffs may be disillusioned to know that the scrolls atop the 24-foot columns are fiberglass, molded in 1958 from the original hand-carved pine scrolls, by then cracked and weathered beyond repair.  

c. 1930

Thursday, April 7, 2011

excitement abounds !

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to roller skate.  I  loved the whole experience - the shag carpeted walls, the Donna Summer tunes, the video games and the rotten concession stand food.  Everyone had their birthday parties there - our class would go at the end of the year to celebrate - weekends spent there with friends.  All good memories.  So when I heard our local, previously defunct roller rink was coming back to life, I was ECSTATIC.  They open tonight, with adult skates on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Guess what I'll be doing weekly ??

A video from their soft opening last night: