arts & life

Courtesy of Vintage Real Estate

The first month’s electric bill at my new house was a shocker: $348. Granted, the house has electric heat, and the bill was for February when it got pretty darn cold in Portland. But still – yikes!

So, when I heard that Portland homeowner Brooks Shephard cut his monthly electric bills from $280 to $100, I had a vested interest in learning more.

It's become the new buzz phrase in education: "Got grit?"

Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students' success — and just as important to teach as reading and math.

Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it's that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.

It has been seven years and two months since I woke from my coma. My eyelids were taped shut and my arms were cuffed to some unknown object. The first sense that came back was sound. I could hear the voices of doctors and nurses chatting about the weather.

I distinctly remember a doctor poking my bare feet with a scalpel. "Vegetable," I heard him say. Everything was blackness. "God, help me, what have I done?" I thought. I'm in hell, and I put myself here.

Flickr Photo/craterdweller (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with former Seattle Neighborhoods Department Director Jim Diers about his hopes for the upcoming Seattle Neighborhood Summit in April.

Nancy Pearl: Mystery And Science Fiction

Mar 14, 2014
Flickr Photo/ Wonderlane (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher and librarian Nancy Pearl get reacquainted with old authors and also discover new names on the mystery and science fiction shelves at Seattle Public Library's Northeast Branch.

Local Seniors Share How They Use The World Wide Web

Mar 14, 2014
Flickr Photo/Ken Russell (CC BY-NC-ND)

As part of our week-long series on the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, The Record takes a trip to the Ballard Senior Center to learn how senior citizens are using the web today.

We hear from Stan Steenrod, Katherine Quackenbush, Robert Brumfield, Ruth Higgins, Stephen Sill, Betty Aman and Claire Anderson.

In the summer of 2009, three young Americans went for a hike. Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were living together in Syria, teaching and writing. Their friend Josh Fattal was visiting from the U.S. The three took a tour to a waterfall in the Kurdish highlands of Iraq, and as they hiked along a road that turned out to be the border with Iran, an armed man in uniform waved them over.

The next thing they knew, they had embarked on a two-year ordeal in the infamous Evin prison in Tehran. They join NPR's Renee Montagne to talk about their new memoir, A Sliver of Light.

When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.

You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.

Salmon: 'Nature's Earliest Convenience Food'

Mar 13, 2014
Flickr Photo/cobalt123 (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with author Nicholaas Mink about the early days of salmon and how the fish changed the culture in the Pacific Northwest. His latest book is, "Salmon: A Global History."

Designing The Happy City

Mar 13, 2014
Charles Montgomery's book, "Happy City."

Steve Scher talks with author Charles Montgomery about his book, "Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design."

The Wah Mee Club Building: More Than The Tragedy

Mar 13, 2014
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Steve Scher meets up with community activist Ron Chew in the Chinatown-International District to talk about the impending demolition of the building that housed the Wah Mee Club and what it means for the community as a whole.

Jake Rosenfeld's book "What Unions No Longer Do."

Ross Reynolds talks with University of Washington sociology professor Jake Rosenfeld about his book, “What Unions No Longer Do."

After World War II, one in three workers belonged to a union. Today, only one in 20 people employed in the private sector are in unions. Rosenfeld argues the decline of unions has helped lead to a rise in inequality.

We told you about the star-stuffed Oscar selfie taken by Ellen DeGeneres that broke Twitter.

It was cool and all, until we learned that it was a publicity stunt by Samsung.

Successió Miró/Artists Rights Society

Seattle Art Museum contemporary and modern art curator Catharina Manchanda calls Joan Miró one of the great avant-garde artists of the 20th century. But audiences on the West Coast of the United States have never had a chance to see a comprehensive exhibition of Miró's art, until now.

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's book "Double Down."

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin are the authors of "Game Change," the best-selling story of the 2008 presidential election that was turned into an HBO movie.

In their new book, “Double Down: Game Change 2012," they apply their political knowledge to the 2012 presidential race. They go beyond the headlines to offer an account of a hard-fought campaign on both sides.

They spoke at the First Presbyterian Church on November 12, 2013, in an event sponsored by Town Hall.

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