Once a year, I try to read a book of heavy-duty fiction – and not just a mystery but real literature. I’ve failed the last two years, and as the year is running out, I’m committed to success. I’m reading my first work by Solzhenitsyn (The First Circle) in my free moments. Consequently, I have fewer Cascadian policy pickings this week. Still, here are two by great Northwest journalists: Lynda Mapes on the admirable life of conservation pioneer Joan Thomas and Timothy Egan on Barack Obama not measuring up to Teddy Roosevelt.

For inspiration, this four-minute montage of time-lapse images is a video love letter to the Pacific Northwest. Don’t miss it!

Eric dP:

Like practically everyone else on earth, I was riveted by Buzzfeed’s most powerful photos of 2011.

Like many other parents, I was fascinated by NPR’s coverage of new research on the science of temper tantrums:

…when looked at scientifically, tantrums are no different than thunderstorms or other natural phenomena. Studying them as scientific subjects rather than experiencing them like parents can cause the tantrums to stop feeling traumatic and even become interesting.

Fascinating work that, but I do not envy the researchers.

I very much enjoyed Eric Scigliano’s look at the transformative changes in south King County suburbs like Kent, which are becoming an astonishing melting pot of cultures. In many ways, I suspect these older inner-ring suburbs may be the most interesting thing going on in metropolitan areas.

But the most important reading I’m doing this weekend? Razor clam recipes. I’m looking forward to a winter full moon during this weekend’s one-evening dig on the Washington coast.


I’m on a consumer awareness bender this week. Maybe because of all the hype around holiday shopping.

First, a Zagat-style restaurant guide that tells you how well eateries across the land treat their employees, including wages, paid sick days, and opportunities for advancement.

Then there’s this holiday buyer’s guide to all the tricks that retailers play on us to get us to shop, shop, shop.

Finally, a guide for buying toxic-free toys.