Monday, January 29, 2018

Why We Salute Our Flag

In light of recent actions by the NFL and some of its players this author felt it important to review the reasons why we pledge our allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

The United States Flag has thirteen stripes alternating red and white from top to bottom. Each stripe represents one of the thirteen original colonies. In the upper left hand corner is a blue rectangle bearing 50 white stars. These stars represent the fifty states of the United States of America. 

The thirteen colonies which are represented by the stripes were the colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. They became the first states.

"Old Glory", "The Stars and Stripes", and "The Star Spangled Banner" are nicknames for the American Flag.

The first flag, adopted in 1776, had a Union Jack in the upper left corner (not stars). The second flag used from June 14, 1777 – May 1, 1795 had thirteen stars each representing one of the original states which were: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia.

New stars were added to the flag as more states were added to the union.
Now, of course, there are 50 stars representing the 50 states.

In 1892, Frances Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance to the U. S. flag as a promotion of patriotism for Columbus Day. At this time President Benjamin Harrison and the Congress proclaimed the flag ceremony as an important part of Columbus Day festivities. The flag ceremony was adopted by the National Education Association for celebration in public schools.

The wording was changed in 1923 from "my flag" to "the flag of the United States of America" in order to make it clear to immigrants what flag they were pledging their loyalty to. In 1942 Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1954,, Congress was encouraged by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to add the words "under God". This was done as an anticommunist gesture.

The salute to the flag was originally done by a straight-armed salute with the right hand in the direction of the flag. But during the days leading up to World War II, this way of saluting the flag was believed to be too similar to Fascist salutes used by Nazi Germany. Thus the flag code was amended by Congress that the flag was be honored by placing the right hand over the heart while reciting the pledge.

There are some definite rules for displaying the American Flag. If displayed on the same pole with other flags it goes at the top. The flag goes at the marcher's right if it is carried as ina parade. If the American flag is in a group , it is positioned to the right and at the same height as other national flags. If the flag is mounted on a staff on a dais it stands to the right of the speaker. Otherwise it goes above and behind the speaker.
The star field faces east or north,according to the orientation of the street, when the flag is hung over the street. When the flag is displayed on Memorial Day it is hung half staff until noon. Then it is raised to its full height.

Hanging the flag upside down is frowned upon in most cases. The United States Flag Code states that hanging the flag upside down should be done only in times of distress as in when the owner of the flag is in extreme danger. In the military it is recognized as a call for help.

It is sometimes hung upside down, in violation of the code, as a protest against actions of government.

The flag code also covers instructions on how to dispose of a flag. This as well as other rules pertaining to display will be covered in a later article.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Razor Clam Season Set

There will be seven days of Razor clam digging beginning January 28.  The days and times will vary for each of several beaches.  There will be 4 days of digging on the Long Beach Peninsula.

The best digging begins about 1 to 2 hours below low tide.  No digging is allowed before noon.  Each digger is allowed 15 clams per day.  The first 15 clams dug must be kept.  Throwing back any unwanted clams is prohibited.  Each digger is required to keep his clams in  a separate container.   Diggers age 15 and older are required to have a license.  Three day clam licenses are available at many locations on the peninsula or from  WDFW’s website at

After several toxin tests the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has approved the following schedule. Dates and evening tides:

• Jan. 28, Sunday, 4:06 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Mocrocks
• Jan. 29, Monday, 4:59 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Copalis
• Jan. 30, Tuesday, 5:47 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
• Jan. 31, Wednesday, 6:33 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
• Feb. 1, Thursday, 7:17 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
• Feb. 2, Friday, 8:00 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
• Feb. 3, Saturday, 8:42 p.m.; -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

More possible clam digging seasons are possible later after further testing and review of harvest levels by the game department.

For updates on upcoming openings, see WDFW’s website at


Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Sea Lion vs the Salmon

Spring Chinook Salmon swim from the Pacific ocean to Bonneville Dam to spawn. Before reaching the end of this 145 mile journey many of them disappear. This is according to research by NOAA Fisheries. California and Steller sea lions appear to dining on them says the Northwest Power and Conservation Council at

Steller Sea Lion males can grow to over 2,000 pounds and 10 feet in length. The sea lion habitat ranges from the subarctic to the tropics in both hemispheres with the exception of the north Atlantic.
Since 2010 NOAA researchers have been watching the annual spring run of Chinook. They have marked and released thousands of fish and tracked their progress up the Columbia River to their spawning grounds. Their destinations are either the Snake River and its tributaries in Idaho or the northern tributaries of the Columbia in north central Washington.

It is reported that the mortality rate has been increasing since 2010. Total mortality from 2010 to 2013 was about 30 percent. Approximately half of those disappeared because of harvest or handling. 24% of the chinook disappeared between river miles 28 and 145. The estimate for 2017 is 24%. Though it is a decline it means that nearly a quarter of the fish did not reach Bonneville Dam to be counted.

The warm California waters appeared to drive more sea lions north up the coast to the Columbia where they feasted on the annual smelt run which peaked in the years 2014 and 2015. Then they hung around for dessert as the annual Chinook arrived.

Speaking of smelt runs, this 85 year old writer was born, raised and lived most of her life on the North fork of the Lewis River at Woodland, Washington. One late winter she spotted some heads bobbing up and down out of the water. Lo and behold they were sea lions. Never before had she seen sea lions in the Lewis River.

Dr. Michelle Wargo-Rub, who is leading the research by NOAA, said she believes that the sea lion is responsible for the “unexplained mortality” as commercial and sport fishing and disease could not be responsible for such a large loss.

At the 28 mile mark near Tongue :Point spring Chinook are caught and tagged, then released back into the river. Sea Lions are also tagged in Astoria in order to trace their movements. Most of the sea lions stay in the area, but a few swim all the way to Bonneville where much of their dining takes place.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Beware The Mighty Rough Skinned Newt.

On a winter's day take a walk in the woods along the north coast. You might accidentally step on a rough skinned newt (Taricha granulosa Skilton) as they are camouflaged by fallen leaves on the forest floor They are encountered most often in rainy or cloudy weather.

The newt has a rounded snout and its color ranges from light brown to brownish black or olive on top. The entire underside of the newt is orange to yellow. The skin is rough except for the males during mating season. Their size is 6 to 9 cm snout to vent. Their overall length is 11 to 18 cm. They have smaller eyes than the California newt (Taricha torosa) and their irises are yellow. The rough skinned newt has V-shaped tooth patterns and dark eyelids. During breeding season the males have large swollen vent lobes and cornified toe pads.

Their habitat range extends from Santa Cruz, California to Alaska and they are uncommon east of the Cascades. One colony can be found in ponds north of Moscow , Idaho. But it is believed they were introduced there.

If you see one of the cute little buggers DON'T pick it up! Their defence mechanism is the toxin they produce from the skin glands. This toxin acts a warning to predators. Generally a human must ingest a newt to be affected by its toxin. But it has been reported that some persons have suffered skin irritation if touched. The eyes are especially vulnerable if touched after handling a newt without washing hands. A person died after eating a newt in 1979..

The toxin that is produced by the rough skinned newt is called tetrodotoxin (TTX). It is also found in puffer fish a a few other marine animals. The toxin has the effect of inducing paralysis by blocking the electrical signals needed for conducting nerve impulses. This has the effect of inducing death by asphyxiation.

The only creature that has been able to resist the venom of the rough skinned newt is the common garter snake. The garter snake's resistance is made possible by its ability to gauge the amount of toxin in the the newt. They do this by partially swallowing the newt first. The garter snake is the only known animal that can survive eating a rough skinned newt.

The newt has only a heightened resistance to their own toxin. They inject themselves with a bit of toxin each time they release some. Thus they have evolved a protection mechanism against their own toxin.

This war between the garter snake and the rough skinned newt is interesting. The snake releases a chemical signature after it eats a newt. This is detected by a nearby newt and it triggers an avoidance response. This allows the newt to differentiate whether a snake is resistant or sensitive to the toxin.

Folklore has it that some Indian tribes used ground up newt to poison their political enemies. Members of the genus Taricha from the Pacific Northwest are believed to be by far the most potent. The toxin exhibits a foul smell and will appear in a milky foam on the surface of the skin.

The poisonous effect of the newt is only through the digestive tract, a break in the skin or via mucous membrane such as the eyes. That being said, it is safe to handle a newt if you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Long Beach Crab Feed

Hope everyone had a good time on Beach Clean Up Day!

 Another good time and great food awaits you at the Long Beach, Washington Elks Lodge Annual Crab Feed.  Location  is 110 Pacific Highway North in Long Beach.  On the menu are crab, of course, coleslaw and garlic bread.  There will be hot dogs for the kids.  The ticket prices are based on the seasonal cost of crab.  The feed usually gets started at noon.  Profits benefit the Ilwaco High School Athletics.  So come on down Saturday February 3 2018  and take a seat at the table.  Find more information on the Elks Facebook page.

While  in the area take a short trip south to Ilwaco and out to Cape Disappointment and view the huge log debris left by the recent storm.  Since the Long Beach Peninsula is one of the few places where beach driving is allowed this could be a good time to beach comb.   

Take a Sunday drive to the north end of the peninsula and you find a quaint little village sitting on Willapa Bay.  The entire city of Oysterville, Washington is on the  National Historic Register.  The locals still use the original one-room school house and the church for community events.  

 The Oysterville Post Office is oldest continuously operating Post Office in Washington.  Below is an image of the Oysterville store and post Office

Have a good time and drive safely.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Long Beach Windless Kite Festival

I must start this blog with an apology.  I didn't mention in my blog about the Beach Clean Up Day that the event is in Long Beach, Washington (not California).  

Another happening this weekend is the Windless Kite Festival which is held at the Long Beach Elementary gymnasium.  See notice below.

The longest running indoor kite festival in North America  returns to the Long Beach Elementary gymnasium for its 17th year. The event includes performances4-copy, competitions, workshops and open flying for kite enthusiasts of every age and ability. Perfect for families, the Windless Kite Festival features a $5 kite-making workshop and opportunities for children, families and friends to learn the art of indoor kiting, where kites are powered by the motion of the flyer’s body. January 20-21, 2018

So, come on down and have oceans of fun this 

weekend at the Long Beach Peninsula!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Beach Clean Up Day

For those of you who love the coast and are physically able there is a Beach Clean Up Day three times a year.  The first one for 2018 is scheduled for Saturday January 20.  I realize this is short notice for those of you who must travel to get there.  I'll try to do better after this.  I plan to keep you informed of upcoming events so that you have time to book lodging if you need it.   

For a chance to do your environment a big favor 

and have lots of fun at the same time

come join us!  There will be a Soup Feed at noon at 

the Peninsula Senior Center.  See poster Below.

There will be lots of time for other things to do for the rest of the 

weekend.  I would suggest sightseeing at one of the lighthouses or 

museums.  There is even time to check out the wild life refuge at 

the north end of the peninsula.  Then have dinner at any of the 

fine restaurants.   If you are not ready to turn in yet there are 

several after hours fun spots.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Other Long Beach

Long Beach, Washington is located on what is touted as the "Longest Beach in the World".  The beach is 28 miles of unbroken sandy beach stretching north of the city of Long Beach on a narrow peninsula separating Willapa Bay from the ocean.  

There is so much to do this blogger hardly knows where to start.  Within just a couple miles of the city of Long Beach itself are two historic lighthouses.  The top image is of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse which overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River.  The lower image is the North Head Lighthouse located just a short distance north of the mouth.

Fly into Portland, Oregon, rent a car and you can be at Long Beach, Washington in about 2 to 21/2 hours for a weekend full of lots of fun things to do.  

Clam digging is a popular sport on the peninsula during low tides.  The digging seasons vary.  There is usually a short season in the spring and another in the fall.  

The Long Beach Peninsula was voted "Best Beach" by Seattle's KING-5 TV.  Among the many things to do are several blocks of shops, comfortable lodging, great seafood, small museums, horseback riding, many miles of beach combing, cranberry bogs and oyster farms.  Long Beach hosts an annual kite festival and an annual sand castle contest.  So much to do.

I didn't mention the Wildlife refuge located at the very tip of the peninsula.  The refuge is a favorite spot for bird watchers.  

This blogger lived on the peninsula for about twenty years but had to move inland due to family issues.  I plan to do more blogs about Long Beach.  Please comment if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Eggs and Weight Loss

A commonly forgotten food in relation to weight loss is the egg. This article points out the role that eggs play in the weight loss scheme.

One of the most nutritious foods you can eat are eggs. They contain large amounts of healthy fats, protein and important vitamins. They are also low in calories, each having about 78 calories. The egg is high in nutrients, especially the yolks. A three egg meal contains about 234 calories and with a generous portion of vegetables you have a nutritious meal of about 300 calories. Of course, if you fry the eggs, you must add about 50 calories for each teaspoon of fat used.

Eggs are filling mainly because of their high protein content. High protein foods are known to be more satisfying and filling than those low in protein thus reducing the appetite and contributing to a feeling of fullness. It has been shown that an egg meal even produces fullness and reduces food intake for later meals. This is compared to meals with less protein but the same number of calories.

The Satiety Index is a scale that determines how well foods help you feel full and reduce later calorie intake. Eggs rank high in this scale. 

High protein diets reduce cravings and those tormenting thoughts of food and reduce the need for late night binging or snacking.

All the essential amino acids are contained in eggs and in the correct ratios for maintenance and metabolism. You can increase your metabolism by 80-100 calories per day by consuming a high protein diet. This is because of the thermic effect which is the amount of calories used in the process of digesting, absorbing and storing your food. Thus, it takes more energy just to digest proteins than it does to digest fats or carbohydrates. So, it goes without saying that eggs, because they are high in protein, help you burn more calories.

It has been shown in studies that eating eggs for breakfast adds to a feeling of fullness and causes one to eat fewer calories over the next 36 hours in women and over the next 24 hours in men. People who ate eggs for breakfast felt more full. It has been shown that men ate 270-470 less calories at lunch and dinner after having eggs for breakfast.
Furthermore eggs are relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare, making it easy to add them to your daily diet. They are also available almost anywhere.

Eggs contain choline which promotes normal cell activity and liver function. It aids in the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. Choline also is important in the development of baby's memory.

You are probably wondering why I haven't mentioned cholesterol. There are recent recommendations from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and American Diabetes Association that no longer limit the intake of eggs or cholesterol. In fact, eggs are promoted as a part of a heart healthy such organizations as Health Canada, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation the Australian Heart Foundation and the Irish Heart Foundation.

So, it seems, eggs can be the "go to" food for hungry dieters. They are not only cheap they are easy to prepare. Keep a few hard boiled eggs handy in the refrigerator for snacks.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Lemons Fight the Flu

The benefits of the lemon appear to be many.  They contain large amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants.  Among the illnesses and conditions that are treated with lemons are colds  and flu, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and H1N1 or swine flu.

Lemons are advised for fluid retention and are said to help remove toxins from the body and treatment of kidney stones.  They contain eriodictyol glycoside which helpful to persons who suffer from Meniere's disease which is a disorder of the inner ear.  Meniere's symptoms are spinning or vertigo (dizziness), nausea, vomiting, headache and even eventual loss of hearing in the affected ear.

A huge benefit of lemons this time of year is their use in the treatment of the flu.  Mixtures of lemon juice and other foods or fluids are used in hot drinks for this purpose.  It is believed that lemons enhance the immune system to fight off cold or flu.

To fight off chest congestion it is suggested that by boiling a cut up lemon in a pint of water, you can make a concoction which will cut through the mucus in the chest.  This makes a tea that should be drunk several times a day to relieve chest congestion and sinus inflammation.  You may add a small amount of stevia or honey to improve the taste as it is quite bitter.

For a sore throat it is recommended that you slice a lemon and boil it in one cup of water for 8 minutes to make a base for a soothing remedy.  After the mixture is cooled, remove the pulp, add 2 Tbsp glycerin and stir to mix. Take sips as need to relieve sore throat pain. 

Coughs can be relieved by lemon juice and honey mixed together.  

A hot toddy can aid in the insomnia can often accompanies the flu or cold.  Mix together a shot of rum or scotch, 2 tbsp. each honey and lemon juice and a teabag.  Add boiling water and steep.  This not only aid sleep but relieves a cough or sore throat.  Leave out the alcohol and it can be served to children.

If you have the choice always use fresh lemons rather than concentrate as the fresh lemons are higher in vitamins and minerals. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fish For the Brain?

A University of Pennsylvania research group conducted a study of the benefits if fish in the diets of children ages 9-11 years and found some astounding  benefits.

About 540 Chinese children were the subjects of the four week study conducted in the fall of 2017.  In the questionnaire they had the options ranging from "never" to "at least once a week".

Those who ate fish at least once a week scored 4.8 points higher than those who never ate fish.  It was also found that the children who seldom ate fish scored an average 3.3 points higher than the ones who never ate fish at all.

This study also showed that another benefit of frequent fish consumption is fewer sleep disturbances suggesting a possible link between fish and intelligence.

Professor Jennifer Pinto-Martinone, executive director of Penn's Center for Public health Initiatives stated that "Children should be introduced to it early on.  it really has to be a concerted effort, especially in a culture where fish is not as commonly served or smelled.  Children are sensitive to smell.  If they're not used to it, they may shy away from it.

One wonders if there are such benefits to children can the same be true for adults and especially the elderly?

This blogger is going to eat more Fish! 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Cure for the After Christmas Doldrums

Are you feeling closed in and claustrophobic?  It could be the  "after holidays" clutter that seems to linger in the house.  

Have you gotten rid of all the empty boxes that held those gifts?   

How about the older clothes that have been replaced by the latest styles?  You could be running out of space to 
store them.  Your jewelry box might be overflowing, too.

The kids' rooms are most likely crowded with older unused toys and clothes along with all the new treasures. 

We'll start with the bedroom closet.  If you haven't worn a garment for two years or if you "might" lose enough to get back into it, then, it needs to go.  The same goes for all the pieces of costume jewelry you haven't worn in two or three years.  

When I put my Christmas decorations away I noticed some that I haven't used for a couple years. They have to go also.  I'm already breathing easier.  

Well, you get the idea.  Take all those unused items to the local charity organization and they will be glad to find a place for them.  Then you can pour yourself a fresh cup of whatever from that new brew maker and sit down and enjoy the newly neat surroundings.

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Chocolate Shortage is Threatened

The cacao plant is in danger of disappearing due to warmer temperatures and drier weather.  UC Berkeley in cooperation with Mars, Inc. is experimenting  with a new technology, known as CRISPR to modify the DNA of the plants.  This will enable the seedlings to survive the warmer climates if the experiment is successful. 

This is being done because it is believed that the shortage could lead to complete disappearance of chocolate by 2050.  Mars, Inc.has made a $1 billion pledge towards reducing it carbon footprint by more than 60 percent. The plan is dubbed "Sustainability ina Generation".

In an interview with Business Insider Barry Parkin, Mars' chief sustainability officer, said "There are obviously commitments the world is leaning into but, frankly, we don't think we're getting there fast enough, collectively."

Jennifer Doudna is the geneticist who invented CRISPR and is the overseer of this effort with Mars.  She believes that this technology will influence the food we eat everyday.

"Personally, I'd love a tomato plant with fruit that stayed on the vine longer," she said.

Gee.  What will happen to Valentine's Day if they don't save chocolate?

What Happens to your Body After You Quit Smoking?

Probable the hardest New Years resolution to keep is the one that says "I'm  going to quit smoking".   But if you can keep that resolution the benefits are astounding!

The body begins to heal itself just 20 minutes after the last cigarette.  The heart rate and blood pressure begin to return to normal.

 After 8 hours this is a time of extreme craving as the nicotine is leaving the blood stream.

After one day his is an extremely difficult time but hang in there .  It does get easier.  Take it from an ex-smoker.  It will be worth it.

After two or three days food will taste better and the sense of smell has improved already. If you get this far you are through the hardest part.  
After two weeks the gums and teeth show improvement.
By one month most of the cravings should be mush less.  If  you get this far you are likely to be smoke free for good. 
The risk of heart attack has started to fall by two months and lung function is improved making physical activity much more tolerated.

After three months walking long distances is much easier.  

Six months is the point when the air sacs in the lungs have regrown and healed some of the damage that smoking caused.

After one year you are 50% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

If you hit the five year mark your risk of developing diabetes are the same as a non-smoker.

After five to ten years the risk of having a stroke is the same as a non-smoker.

Ten years is the point when the chance of death from lung cancer is half that of a non-smoker.  Mouth and pancreatic cancer is much reduced as well.

The risk of heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.

So, speaking from experience, I can tell you it is well worth it.