Lewis and Clark

`Cargo' near home a real bonus

The use of disparate combinations of people and concepts is an elemental part of advertising. Sometimes they are oddly effective (think Mother Nature selling margarine) and sometimes they are off-putting.

Such is the case with a new radio ad featuring a chipper-and-smug Lewis and Clark touting an airline.

It's too bad that the airline has co-opted the identity of the leaders of the Corps of Discovery leaders in this way. It makes no sense; to the explorers, "bonus miles" meant any stretch of river without headwinds or mosquitoes.

In this case, the writers take it a step farther by having America's greatest pathfinders fret about airport security delays. The ad definitely breaches the Northwest Crass-age.

Yet this is hardly the first example of advertising that cheapens the Lewis and Clark names. In similar fashion, television ads from a certain Oregon coastal town show "Lewis and Clark" as bumpkins cavorting on the boardwalk and lugging shopping bags.

But it's time to take the explorers seriously. No more stupid jokes about smelly buckskins and miniature golf.

That's where the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center comes in. The museum (located just down the freeway this side of The Dalles) has received a $40,000 grant from the Collins Foundation for the center's upcoming exhibit "Cargo: the Supplies and Equipment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition."

Oregon Tourism Commission officials say the exhibit will be one of the three most important Lewis and Clark events during the forthcoming Lewis and Clark Bicentennial in 2003-05, along with programs at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, and events in Astoria near where the Corps of Discovery completed its westward journey. The grant, used in conjunction with Oregon Heritage Commission and USDA Forest Service funds, will allow the center to phase in the project in 2003, a year earlier than planned, officials have said. The Collins grant will help provide a "children's explorer room," and the first installment in a seven-part exhibit on Lewis and Clark.

Meriweather Lewis began researching and organizing the expedition's supply needs as soon as he went to Philadelphia to learn botany, astral navigation, and other skills he would need in the unknown wilds. So anything that informs us today about the Corp of Discovery's prairie-crossing logistics is a welcome sign.

And, like licorice root was to Lewis and Clark, "Cargo" at a museum in our backyard is a real bonus.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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