Sunday, July 31, 2011

Torchlight Parade!

Well, the parade is back. And not a moment too soon. I mean, the weather has been so crappy that it barely seems like summer. If not for the parade, nobody would be able to tell. For once in many years, I was there before the festivities started. I usually just wait for parade-noise and wander over. Just like at the Edmonds Fourth of July Parade, this one began with cops on motorcycles. But in Edmonds, there were only three. Here in Seattle, there were more:

Soon there were guys with flags:

And an Alaska Airlines float with accompanying flight attendant drill team:

I have to say, their routine was pretty hilarious.

The grand marshal was Drew Carey. I don't know how he landed the job, as he's famously from Cleveland and whatnot. All I can tell you is that he's no Bob Barker. Pardon the bad photo:

There were also strangely dressed horse-folk:

My sister used to ride and show Arabian horses back in the day, and there was a part of just about every show known as "native costume." Looking back, it seems an exercise in silliness; American teenagers dressing up like belly dancers and riding horses. These people bear no resemblance to that practice, so I'm stumped. But gee, they sure looked strange. The horses didn't seem to mind.

Here's a nice shot of Dow Constantine:

I think he's from here and not Cleveland.

Behold! The bus of the future:

I'd pay $2.25 to ride that!

You know, I didn't take pictures of the various princess floats (they have princesses for every kind of produce under the sun) from communities all over the state and beyond. It didn't seem that important. Sure riding on a float and waving seems like a lot of fun, but it really doesn't resonate with me. I also don't get drill teams. I fail to see their point. Most of them last night were out of step with each other. It just seems to be an activity that makes no difference to anyone except those who participate in it. Of course, if the North Queens save us from a killer robot attack, I'll revise my opinion.

OK, so there was also the fire department bagpipe band:

I turned the sound on for this one, because there's nothing sweeter than the shriek of bagpipes recorded by a cell phone.

There weren't many balloons present last night, but I always like to film them ducking under the traffic lights. Here's Holland America Lines' orca:

And this is from American Family Insurance:

There was also a Blue Angels balloon, but surprisingly, it didn't float. What a gyp! A non-floaty balloon. Your tax dollars at work!

There were more horse-people. These are from the Sheriff's Dept:

Then a plane flew very low over head. I don't think it was part of the parade. The pilot was probably just trying to get a gander of things:

Then came proud Mexicans:

They had a horse contingent and although I didn't get any shots of it (though I really tried), they had this fascinating way of stepping. The horses, I mean. I have no idea what they call it, but it's very slow and ponderous. It was a real crowd favorite.

There was also Chief Diaz:

Apologies once again for the bad photo. I tell you, that guy moves faster than a squirrel, so my camera had troubles. I wrote a song about him. More on that in the next few days.

And it's not a Seafair parade without Seafair clowns. Here they are:

They weren't scary. But they also weren't particularly funny.

Every year, I always hang out until the dragon shows up. By that time, I'm usually all paraded out. It starts with the girls' drill team. OK, so I featured a drill team:

And then the dragon shows up:

They ran around and passed by and that was the parade for me. The end.

Sure, I'm missed the pirates (I heard them just fine) and the hydros, but I saw the dragon. I say again, the end.

Oh, and this year there were still no actual, genuine torches. There used to be.

Your Sunday Squirrel

The Denny Park squirrels are still on the elusive side. And I seem to forget my camera on the same days when they're in abundance. So here's another fellow from the archives. Enjoy!

The Big Hole Gets Bigger!

They've been doing quite a bit of digging at the former site of the greatest movie theater in history. It going to be a very large building. Let's hope that it's not too terribly ugly. The excavation process is a little curious; one metal monster (God only knows how it got down there) piles up dirt which is in turn scooped up by another metal monster perched precariously at the top. When I walk by, I expect the upper monster to tumble to the bottom at any given moment. So far that hasn't happen.

When I wrote about this place the last time, someone left a comment about how they missed the blackberry bushes that grew on the site following the unfortunate demolition of the wonderful UA Cinema. That got me to wondering whether there are any blackberries left in Belltown. I know that the squirrels that used to reside around 3rd & Vine are probably gone. I haven't seen one around those parts in over a year. Let's just imagine that they were voluntarily relocated to a nice forest upstate with them packing up all their squirrel belongings into their squirrel suitcases. So has Belltown finally been deprived of all Northwest flora and fauna?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

Here is yet another shot from the recent past. Squirrels were scarce this week. I think the weather was getting them down. I know that's how it was with me - and that never happens. Seriously, I know that people go into full-on hermit mode during the fall and winter, but the summer usually draws them out. This particular summer has been ultra-crappy, so I'm at the point where I actually want to be outside enjoying the sun and there's no sun to enjoy. OK, so yesterday and today were very nice. I did a lot of walking around. But tomorrow, it's supposed to be awful once again. Sheesh! The weather gods have to make up for this by giving us warm and wonderful weather up until Thanksgiving. That's what I say. Anyhow, I'll be seeking squirrels again this week at Denny Park.

In Case You're Still Wondering...

Yeah, that scaffold is still out in front of the Castle at 2nd & Blanchard - still serving no purpose. It's been there doing nothing for over three months now. I dunno, are they thinking about bringing back public hangings for Founders' Days? Because this would be totally ideal for that.

A New Place! Right Across the Street!

Well, the V Bar is dead and gone. Rest in peace, folks. But a prime spot at 2nd & Blanchard can't remain shuttered for long. Say hello to the Splash Lounge. They've been working on it for just a short time, but evidently it's ready to roll. They were open last night. And golly, it took me back to the days before V Bar lost its liquor license. What that means is that there were a bunch of people out in front of the place smoking and talking very loudly about silly shit. So that's not a super-good thing.

I don't know whether they're going to be a real restaurant or just a spot to get people drunk. The V Bar started out the former, transformed into the latter and then became neither. Let's wish these new folks the best and hope that they manage their patrons better than the previous tenants.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

You know, it's been a rotten week, weather-wise. We should be sweltering, but it's doing just the opposite. Instead of July, it looks more like March. True, I'm no big fan of hot weather, but I like to experience it just to feel like I've endured summer. The worst summer I can remember was in 1993. The whole season was like this. OK, maybe there were a few nice days in August, but that was it. What does any of this have to do with squirrels? Well, it's certainly discouraging me from visiting Denny Park. The shot above is from a week ago. That was the last decent weather I can remember. This fellow was quite OK about me approaching fairly close and snapping some photos. I hope it's reasonably in focus.

Friday, July 15, 2011

After Hours

Bobby Darin. Mack the Knife

While we're on the topic of Bobby Darin, here's everybody's favorite song about several murders and a certain psychopath who committed them. There is also talk of prostitutes. You know, Ella Fitzgerald's version is a close second, but this rendition - arranged by Manny Albam - truly takes the cake.

After Hours

Bobby Darin. Beyond the Sea

Just for the hell of it. Mad respect to Charles Trenet for the original.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

The squirrels were once again scarce this week until I dropped by yesterday. There were two (different from last week's two) who were standing in the way of a cyclist, trying to convince him to give them a peanut. He had none, so I took over. I snapped many pictures. Some of them are good. You know, my camera actually does well in sun-dappled situations. This was one of those:

Artsy, no? Enjoy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Edmonds Fourth

As some may know, I'm from Edmonds. It's a nice little town as long as you don't have to live there. Even as a child, I was bored out of my skull. But it does have its appeal. One of its better events is the Fourth of July Parade. It is hokey in the extreme. Almost every year, several old friends and I climb on top of Old Milltown and mock the festivities the best we can. Here's how it went down:

It all began with the Edmonds Police Department's "precision" motorcycle drill team. There were three of them. The third guy is hiding behind a tree. Then came the patriotism. It was the Fourth, after all:

With that out of the way, it was time for the grand marshal. This year it was beloved TV clown, J.P. Patches.

And when I say "beloved," I really mean it. J.P. was really great to watch. He wasn't scary and he didn't try to teach you anything. Then came the bagpipes:

They were infinitely better than the two marching bands that came later, which, by some weird coincidence, both played different arrangements of "Hang on Sloopy."

Oh, and here's the mayor of Edmonds:

His name is Mike Cooper.

Usually, the parade has a healthy dose of people dressed like animals. This year was different. There were only two. One was a frog:

And the other was a raccoon:

I want more people dressed as animals!

For the last 25 years, the chamber of commerce has had its float in the midst of the festivities. This year was no exception:

Some may call it monotonous; others may call it reliable. Me, I have no opinion. That float is just a fact of life.

In case some evil super-villain vanquishes the U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard, the only thing standing in the way of conquest is the Coast Guard Auxiliary and this boat:

It truly is our last line of defense.

OK, so since a clown was the grand marshal of the parade, you'd think that there would be a strong showing from other contingents of clowns, right? Wrong. There were two and both were bad. The first troupe was local:

They weren't even trying. Even worse were the Shriner Clowns. Actually, there was just one. And all he did was glare at the crowd from the clown car. They even had a self-propelled calliope. Observe:

But the guy refused to play, so the nationally revered Shrine Clowns were a complete bust. Hey guys, if you're gonna clown, clown!

Although the bagpipe band was nice, the best of them all was a non-marching band from Lynnwood. They rode in the back of a truck:

These guys did a nice version of "Stars and Stripes Forever."

For the second year in a row, the Star Wars people have made the parade:

I have no idea why Edmonds is their objective, but it's really nice to see geeks having fun.

And then there was the Viking longboat courtesy of Sons of Norway:

And then came the tow trucks:

And then it was over.

There's a Big Hole on 6th Ave

It looks like this:

I guess they tore the UA Theater down for a reason. Let's hope it's a good one. I loved that theater. I guess that at long last actual human beings will live on Belltown's portion of 6th Ave.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

They've filled in all the trenches for the sprinkler lines, but the squirrels are still not venturing out in any numbers. However, I was fortunate enough to run into two little guys who were just hanging out. They seemed to be having fun. Once I introduced peanuts into the mix, they were a lot less friendly with each other. It was a shame, but that's the way most animals are and rodents are probably more extreme than most. Once one of them had a peanut, it became the other's job to steal it away. It made almost no difference that I was trying to give him a peanut, too. Well, I'm sorry I disturbed their morning of fun, but I got some good shots.

Here they are at the base of their tree. The one fellow on the right was quite keen on stealing peanuts even though he'd just go and bury them. This is the guy who was more honest:

I call him Kung Fu Squirrel Jr.

I have more shots, but I need to save them in case the lean times continue.