Sometime I’m a little slow on the uptake. But I think I finally figured out this Palin thing.

The Democrats want her around because she is such an idiot and makes the Republicans look bad. The Republicans want her around because she looks so bad that any future national candidate that comes after will look good no matter what.

Thanks to which ever deity floats your boat that Mark Begich has been declared the winner in the Alaskan Senate race. If there had to be another election because out-going Senator Stevens won the election, surely Ms. Palin would have thrown her hat into that race and we would have to have her face in the national news for several more weeks. Now she can settle back into running the State out of her home and shooting mammals from helicopters.

I consider myself a Democrat even though I am currently registered as an independent. Even with this bias, I don’t think we need the likes of Ms. Palin on the nation scene. I think sensible Republicans must be thinking this way to. Under all circumstances we need qualified persons, bright and intelligent persons to be considered as our elected representatives at all levels, from city governments up to the highest levels of our national government. Ms. Palin does not and never will fit that mold.

In a side note, I am glad that my Father didn’t have to witness what happened to Senator Stevens. My Father worked in the Stevens campaign in Alaska, and I think that the Senator was a guest in my parents home at one time. Even in his last years, he thought the Senator was the cat’s meow. It’s a pity that greed overtook the Senator.

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As I have said in previous posts, I love old photos.

princess-kathleen

My father took this picture in 1952. The ship, the Princess Kathleen, a Canadian passenger vessel, ran around at low tide. As the tide came in the ship filled with water and sank. It’s now a great place for scuba divers.

This photo is posted on Flickr Here.

I lived in Ketchikan for 2 years in the early 1960s where I graduated from high school, and also spent a couple summers there during college. At that time the airport for Ketchikan was on Annette Island, a few minutes plane ride from the city. The big planes would land on Annette Island; then passengers would transfer to a small plane that would fly them to the waterfront at Ketchikan where they would land in the water. There was no practical place on Revillagigedo Island, where Ketchikan is, to build an airport. Sometime after I left the airport was build on Gravina Island across the channel from Ketchikan. Transit between the airport and the city is via a boat.

In comes the Alaska Congressional delegation. “Let’s build a $389 million bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island so the great visitors to and citizens of Ketchikan don’t have to take a boat ride.”

The distance for the bridge would be around 1,200 feet shore to shore or more depending on its placement. One big catch is that there are only about 50 people that live on Gravina Island. But, the airport is there. That’s a lot of money for any bridge. You can compare it to the dollars estimated to replace the I-5 (Interstate Highway 5) bridges between Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Here the estimate is around $4 billion for eight lanes of traffic and two light rail commuter train tracks. That’s only around ten times more for a bridge (or two parallel bridges) nearly twice as long as the Ketchikan Bridge and five times as wide. The Interstate Bridge will carry thousands of vehicles a day.

Whether you agree or not, I don’t think it was unreasonable for the Alaska delegation to seek moneys to build this bridge. If the bridge were built I don’t think it would take long for the development to begin on Gravina Island. Maybe even some large manufacturer would seize the chance to pick up some cheap land and build a factory there.

So let’s dump the references to the Bridge to Nowhere. It would go somewhere and certainly would not be any worse “pork” than a lot of other government spending.

All the thousands of readers of my blog know that I spent the weekend at the Portland Expo Antique and Collectable show. I went on a buying spree and increased my books by about 2 feet of shelf space. Here is a list of most of what I acquired:

The Foundations of Japan, Notes made during journeys of 6,000 miles in the rural districts as a basis for a sounder knowledge of the Japanese people, by J.W. Robertson Scott, and published by D. Appleton and Company, 1922. This looks like a great narrative that also has lots and lots of photo illustrations, many of which are of the type not found in more popular publications.

Birds of Oregon by Gabrielson and Jewett, published by Oregon State Collete, 1940. It included a foldout map kept in a pocket on the inside back cover. Often these maps are missing in older books. It is interest to note that this book is on-line in its complete form, and is searchable. So why did I purchase it? You can guess.

The Russo-Japanese War [of 1904-1905], A photographic and descriptive review of the great conflict in the Far East, Gathered from the reports, records, cable dispatches, photographs, etc. of Collier’s War Correspondents, and published by P.F. Collier and Son,, MCMV (1905). This is the war in Manchuria and Korea where the Japanese beat the sox off of the Russians.

Birds of Canada by P.A. Taverner and published in the USA by David McKay Company in 1940. The book is loaded with great color illustrations and pen and ink renditions of birds and bird parts.

Alaska Bird Trails, Adventures of an expedition by dog sled to the delta of the Yukon River at Hooper Bay by Herbert Brandt, published by The Bird Research foundation, 1943. The book is loaded with wonderful paintings of birds as well as photo illustrations.

Wild Flowers of the Pacific coast by Haskin and published by Binfords & Mort, Portland, 1967. This is a bread and butter book on the subject with lots of treat black and white photo illustrations.

Manual of the Grasses of the United States, by A.S. Hitchcock and published by the US Government Printing office, 19950 edition. Great line drawings of hundreds of grasses found in the USA. Flora of the Pacific Northwest by Hitchcock & Conquist, published by the University of Washington Press, Seattle, copyright 1973 and this book is the 1987 printing. If it is a plant in the Northwest USA it is described in this book with a short description and extensive taxonomy. It is the Bible of the subject.

I also got 3 volumes, Handbooks, published by three Northwest Agricultural Colleges on the subjects of Weed Control, Insect Control, and Plant Disease Control.

I got some miscellaneous journals such as:

A Chemical Study of the Fumaroles of the Katmai Region (a volcano in Alaska), a national Geographic Society publication, 1923.

An issue of The West Coast from Grafton Publishing, July 1910, with a short article on the Japanese.

A half dozed publications from The American Antiquarian and oriental Journal from the late 1800s.

A Catalog of American Indian Crafts from 1953.

A Decal for my brother that shows a submarine and says U.S. Submarine Veterans, World War II. He was not in WW2 but was in the US Navy for 20 years in the submarine service.

Finally, I got a large photo album of black and white photos from the 1930s. Buildings, people cars, boats, a college graduation, Alaskan totems, etc.

I had a great time which included a dinner with a friend who lives in Alaska. We talked about everything but politics. He is not voting for Mr. Obama (as I am) but I don’t think he is voting for Mr. McCain either.

I spent the day at the Portland Expo center. See my previous posting. I sold some stuff and, of course, bought some stuff. What I got were seven books. (I love books.) The picture below is of the cover art of the real treasure I found. The full title is: Alaska Bird Trails, Adventures of an Expedition by Dog Sled to the Delta of the Yukon River at Hooper Bay. The author is Herbert Brandt and the book was published by The Bird Research Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, 1943. There are about 57 illustrations, both hand drawn color pictures and photo illustrations.

Right now at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro, Oregon, there are lots of Canada Geese. One type is what the author, Brandt, calls the “Smallest of the Honkers,” the Cackling Geese. Here is a quote from the description with the great color illustration of the Cacklers:

Wild geese back home are like feathered shadows, being the most timid and unapproachable of birds, yet when the diminutive Cackling Geese reach their Yukon Delta home, they become absurdly inquisitive and unafraid. Groups are continually flying about, cackling as they go, as if a person waves his cap about and honks sonorously, the curious birds will circle closely overhead. Almost invariably these geese prefer insular isolation for their home site, even though the pond is small. As the observer approaches the island home, the brave pair will fly closely around him, crying, “Look! Look!” as if inviting him to inspect their nest full of precious, white eggs.

The Cackling Geese at Jackson Bottom are migrating south now, having come from the area described above. And you think you have a long commute.