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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens
August 1997

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independance.

-- C.A. Beard


Steve Langer
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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,

 Is the US food supply safe? If not, how would you fix it?"


In the past year alone, there have been over 20 deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations caused by various forms of food poisoning. Recent ground beef recalls from Burger King and last year's Odwalla Apple juice come to mind from E.Coli problems. Several years ago Milwaukee's water supply was laced with Crytosperidium. And there is the omnipresent danger of pork, poultry and shellfish poisoning from trichinosis, salmonella and hepatitis, among other nasties. What is needed is a simple cheap method of sterilization that does not require the consumer to do anything (since if consumers were smart, much of these outbreaks would not have occurred). The simple, cost effective solution for all of this - radiating the hermetically sealed food.

Opponents of gamma sterilization of food point out that Xrays would disassociate the molecules composing the vitamins, thus reducing the nutritive value. That's even more true for cooking or heat pasturization, but I seriously doubt anyone wants to go back to unpasturized milk or raw chicken. The second chief argument, that ionizing radiation would contaminate the food with cancer causing free radicals, is ludicrous on its face as the 1/2 life of such radicals is on the order of 10exp(-8) seconds.

When the biologists finally figure out how to cure cancer biologically, we can put all those medical LINACs to work doing something really useful, radiating food.

Guest Editorial:

By Matt Keyes from The Daily of The University of Washington
(thanks to Sheryl for typing this in for me)

Bainbridge Island is well known for being two things. To some it's an idyllic peaceful respite from sprawling suburban uniformity, distinguished by its small town idiosyncrasies and natural beauty. To others it's haven to the most self-righteous insular yuppies ever to segregate themselves from the non-Volvo driving proletariat. A small economic anomaly where the skyrocketing value of their property means residents can afford to pay as much for a cup of coffee as a bottle of wine.

To the dapper young daytripper, these reputations are respectively quite attractive and reupulsive. Only the calm voice of the Daily can cut through the hype to show you how to enjoy the pleasant and inexpensive change of pace Bainbridge has to offer.

The ferry from downtown Seattle, $3.50 round trip, encompasses a few stunning views of the city and mountains then drops you off a block away from Winslow Way. Winslow, "Downtown" Bainbridge, is about two blocks of small shops and cafes, very few of which have even a second story. The boutiques and book shops dissipate into residential area very quickly on either side, and the closest thing to a franchise is a U.S. Post Office.

The wise daytripper's first stop will always be the Chamber of Commerce & visitor's center behind the ice cream shop in the first building you'll hit on Winslow way. At the visitor's center one can procure a few essential bits of advice on local restaurants along with a map of the downtown. The center even indulged one tourists unexpected request to see a local ostrich farm.

One is then free to wander about and enjoy the myriad pleasures of possibly the most consciously preserved "small town ambiance" and "feeling of community" in the nation. Allow yourself the pleasure of saying "Hi" to people on the street, many Islanders will actually respond.

If one engages in conversation with locals avoid hinting that you might move there. The rapid influx of people has residents up in arms trying to preserve the Island's identity. The most vehement "locals" are the recent arrivals who fear you might dilute the strong sense of community to which they've been developing ties the entire nine months since they moved up from Baja, California.

If you do inadvertently offend, all will be mended by quickly changing the topic to one of local interest such as the injustice of the state's property tax or the benefits of organic produce.

The most popular acitivity among tourists is browsing through the quaint local shops. Bainbridge Arts and Crafts has a nice gallery next to the two book stores. The absence of the towering signs and giant parking lots which pollute commercial America is a pleasant relief. However the prices are not.

It would be poor form for any sophisticated daytripper to show shock at the local inflation of prices. Try to smother any gasps with a comment like -- "How expensi--experimental! A scented candle coming out of a ceramic sea shell is truly ahead of its time! Oh, look, so are the prices! I think I'll just step out and make sure I didn't leave the lights on in my Volvo."

For those actually keen on making an interesting purchase I recommend the Children's Thrift Store behind the visitor's center.

Another attraction is the ubiquitous public art which the commmunity is very proud of supporting. This pride is not unwarranted. There's a piece of concrete in which the brief poem; "It would be well to stop--look up, to where the sky's been cut in branches" is inscribed. That's just on the sidewalk leading to Safeway.

An admirable collection of public art is at the library. From the ethereal glass sculture on the ceiling to the anthro- pomorphic tree etched in the window of the children's reading room, local artist left hardly an inch untouched. I was surprised to find that the toilet bowls weren't fashioned by Chihuly.

Far and away the single finest piece of public art is Frog Rock, a humble masterpiece on the intersection of Phelps and Hidden Cove roads. The rock was originally a victim of senior paint night (a Bainbridge High School tradition) in 1971. Robert Green and Ellen Barnes had agreed to paint it with friends. However, the dark and rainy night discouraged their friends and left the young duo alone. Undaunted, the dashing young couple came out at three a.m. to grapple with four gallons of green paint in the glare of their headlights.

What they illegally created is now the most revered amphibian in this county. Robert and Ellen later married and are now living on the Island.

Frog Rock, five miles north of the ferry, is one of many attractions accessible only with transportation. The Island draws cyclists with the same magnetism that a convention on stretch pants with a juice bar would. The Island is full of lush green lanes which tend to weave, merge and divide at random like a school of dolphins at play. If you like difficult scavenger hunts or Where's Waldo you'll love hunting down the signs which mark bike paths through these picturesque back roads.

The solution is to stop by the visitor's center where they will set you up with a map, some directions and a good chance at a very pleasant ride. I strongly recommend heading north from the ferry on Ferncliff Avenue to Frog Rock and Fay Bainbridge State Park for a picnic. The route is gorgeaus and has few of the muscle melting hills for which Bainbridge is notorious.

The nicest and most competent bicycle repairs and rentals are at B.I.cycles under Washington Mutual near the ferry.

A car or bicycle is doubly nice because convenient public transportation is not among Bainbridge Island's many virtues. The Island has made a valiant attempt at providing several yellow bikes for public use but they are difficult to find. Buses run from the ferry terminal for a dollar but only hourly in the morning and evening.

What Bainbridge bus drivers actually do best is burritos. Bainbridge is full of excellent restaurants but the only one of note to all discriminating daytrippers is Chili Cosmo's at the end of Winslow Way.

Manned by two of the island's school bus drivers, one ex-bus driver and one ex-photographer, the entirety of Chili Cosmo's is packed into a pillar/kiosk slightly larger than a telephone booth. No establishment can provide a bigger, healthier, cheaper, tastier meal. They serve burritos, mean burritos, burritos whose praises can never adequately be sung.

Afterwards you can rub elbows with the locals at their favorite hangout; the patio outside Bainbridge Bakers, just opposite Chili Cosmos. It's probably the best bakery and locals often go there for a latte' and gossip. Feel free to eavesdrop while you enjoy a pull-apart. The bakery is also an excellent place to spot the Island's celebrities: Ben Sheppard from Soundgarden, Chris Kattan from Saturday Night Live, David Guterson author and don of People's best looking and most beloved of all, the professor from Gilligan's Island.

But if you'd care for something a little less low-brow, head down from Chili Cosmo's to the Pegasus Cafe' on the waterfront. The cafe, which has a lot more character, not to mention indoor seating which both Cosmo's and the bakery lack.

Pegasus gives one the impression that the staff's been cramped up too long with only an espresso machine to occupy their time. Everthing from the fireplace mantle to hanging of play bills is done in a needlessly pleasant and slightly impressive manner. The bathroom is done in a Peter Pan motif; deep blue walls on which stars are painted with Wendy floating near the ceiling and silver tinsel boa wrapped aroun the pipes. Again, I checked to make sure the toilet bowl wasn't made of hand blown glass.

An impressive piece of trivia to drop is that the Chandlery behind Pegasus is where basketball star Ed Lovrich, the first man to shoot a basketball one handed, invented the maneuver in the '30s.

Pegasus has live music free every Saturday night, but even at its wildest Bainbridge night life is about on par with a slow night in the Vatican. The Bainbridge Performing Arts center near the ferry does have something most weekends, with luck it'll be a play or shore. But the nights activities are more likely to rate somewhere between Native American story telling and adult social dancing on the thrill-o-meter.


1. Tom writes.

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 11:56:40 -0500
From: Tom Hall 
> "How dow we make the US food supply safer (ie in  light
> of the ongoing E Coli and similar issues)?"
 Boil everything?  

Ed: Would not work, requires thought/work on the part of the consumer and if that was realistic, we would not have the problem in the first place.

2. Doug Wilken writes;

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 12:49:36 -0500 (CDT)
From: Doug Wilken 
> "How dow we make the US food supply safer (ie in  light
> of the ongoing E Coli and similar issues)?"
Cook the food thoroughly?  Establish a totalitarian regime
monitoring every last ounce of the millions of tons of food
we go through each year?  ????
First, I suppose one should find out what problems there
actually are and to what level.  Of course that is logic,    
which has very little to do with maintaining one's political
power base.
Secondly, once a problem has been well-characterized, is it
possible to improve upon existing procedures in a cost-effective
sense?  Example:  Suppose we obtain a 2% improvement in procedure at
the cost of causing a 25% increase in foodcosts to the consumer.
At first glance this seems cost-ineffective.  But if such a change
expanded the power-base of enough groups or individuals, it
could certainly happen.  Shoot, look at the track record of
congressionally-mandated automobile regulations:  high-gas mileage,
low-level of  undesirable exhaust emittants, and high safety
factors.  Since these are fairly incompatible engineering requirements,
todays automobile is a very expensive beast.
So, even though you did not ask for it, my prediction is
that solutions will be forthcoming whether there is a real     
problem or not and the solution will cost the average consumer
a great deal and yield no real benefit to the consumer.
-Doug Wilken

3. Fred Potts

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 1997 19:49:47 -0700
From: Fred Potts 
Subject: Re: lastcall
Irradiate the food supply.  The only way..

4. David Gay

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 13:23:22 +0100 (BST)
From: Dr David Gay 
Subject: Re: lastcall
Hi Steve,
> "How dow we make the US food supply safer (ie in light of the
>  ongoing E Coli and similar issues)?"
Grow your own food and eat British beef!
Well, the real solution is for the food industry itself to do a better
job of quality control.  Greed of a few has driven the industry to
take shortcuts which has put a large portion of the world population
at risk to food poisoning.  The only action a government can really
take is close down the plants that do not meet health standards.
Maybe even prosectute the management and owners for criminal charges
(like manslaughter, etc).  But that is probably too little too late.

5. And Barb gives an update on her condition.

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 10:46:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Barb Chapman 
Subject: Update
    [The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set]
    [Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set]
    [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly]
So I have 48 hours, huh?  Sounds like a good name for a movie...
Surgery went fine and thanks to a willing doctor and spinal anesthetic, I
was able to watch the procedure.  (Yeah, I'm wierd.)  Had lots of cartilage
damage, especially to the inner kneecap, which has no cartilage.  The rest
of me is 46 years old, my kneecap is 61.  The kneecap can be replaced but
not fixed, but they don't like to do joint parts replacements until the
patient is about 60, so I get to live with the pain for several more years
and eventually go through another surgery.  My lawsuit settlement just went
up several thousand dollars.  We've filed the claim and plan on attending
the guy's pre-trial hearing in Oct. if he doesn't admit liability before
that.  Will keep you posted.
On a lighter note, Mark Dewhirst of Duke University sent me this last week.
I loved reading the Darwin Award nominations in a previous newsletter and
thought this most worthy of sharing:
The Darwin Award is an annual honor given to persons who did the gene pool
the biggest service by killing/maiming themselves in the most
extraordinarily stupid way.  The 1995 winner was the fellow who was killed
by the Coke machine, which toppled on him as he was attempting to tip a free
soda.  The 1996 runner-up:
An insurance company asked for more information regarding a work-related
accident claim.  This was the response:
"I put 'poor planning' as the cause of my accident.  I am an amateur radio
operator and was working on the top section of my new 80-foot tower.  When I
had completed my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several
trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware.
Rather than carry the materials down by hand, I decided to lower the items
using a pulley.  Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the
tower and loaded the tools into a small barrel.  Then I went back to the
ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of
the 300 pounds of tools.
"You will note in block number 11 of the accident report that I weigh 155
pounds.  Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I
lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.  I proceeded at a
rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower.  In the vicinity of the
40-foot level, I met the barrel coming down.  This explains my fractured
skull and broken collarbone.  Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid
ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles
deep into the pulley.  I regained my presence of mind and was able to hold
onto the rope in spite of my pain.  At the same time, however, the barrel of
tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel.  Devoid of the
weight of the tools, the barrel now weighted approximately 20 pounds.  I
refer you again to my weight in block number 11.
"As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower.
In the vicinity of the 40-foot level, I met the barrel coming up.  This
accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations of my legs and
lower body.  The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my
injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools so only three vertebrae were
"I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay on the tools, in pain, unable
to stand and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my
presence of mind and let go of the rope"

Quotes(s) of the month:

This one takes some set up to understand. A female reporter from one of the local TV stations was interviewing the Director from a boys summer camp. Asking what the boys would be doing over the Labor day weekend, the director said, "Well, we'll just have a quiet winding down with some sailing, archery and time at the rifle range."

"You will be teaching them how to shoot?" asked the reporterette. "Isn't that dangerous."

"Well, I don't see how. We've already given them 2 hours of safety training by the time they get to the range, and there is a camp counselor by each shooter."

"Well, don't you think you're equipping them to become dangerous, possibly criminal?"

"Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not - are you?"

Fix of the month:

"Papparazzi - good, bad or just catering to public tastes?"



1. Olympia, Aug. 30; John Barr, a 17 year veteran of the city sewage department, has been suspended without pay and may be fired for bringing a "girly" magazine to his office. The magazine was found by a female coworker who filed the complaint. The journal in question was not Playboy or Penthouse, but Esquire (which for those of you who don't know is a men's fashion rag similar to GQ.)

Ed: I sure hope that woman never brings a Cosmo to work.


1. Southfield, Aug. 27; Jack "the Dripper" Kavorkian has "attended" the death of another client - this time a Utah man. I forget what his exact body count is now, but it's between 40-50.

Washington D.C.

1. Aug 29; Some news has come to light about the fine print contained in the recent budget that was championed by Clinton and approved (regrettably) by the Rep. controlled Congress. Among other things, the US budget for 1998 will pay medical residency programs _not_ to train residents. [This is analogous to farmers being paid not to grow food.]

Even more troubling, if a Dr. accepts business from Sr. citizens who pay for their own medical care, he/she will be _forbidden_ from accepting Medicare paying customers for two years. Violators can face fines, suspension of their licenses and jail.

Finally, it has been common knowledge (among those of us with retired loved ones) that if a retired person makes too much money from their pension, they would have their Medicare benefits reduced or withdrawn. The upshot was that retirees would have to spend down their assets to become poor enough to qualify for Medicare. That "spending down" used to be illegal. The new budget makes the practice legal, but fines lawyers who inform clients of that.

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