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Friday, March 30, 2007
It Came From My Cell Phone Part 9
The bathroom at the Fat City Cafe in Multnomah Village. My first job? As a dishwasher in their kitchen. My average work week? Five hours on Saturdays. The pay? $5.00 an hour and all the soda I could drink.
Oh, how far I've come since then...
Random Links: It's Still Spring Break Edition
And, as usual, all week the weather was cold and damp here in the City of Roses. Yesterday was nice though.
Anyway, it's Friday so that means it's time for another round of random links...
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Did I call it?
God of War II
I was a pre-teen video game junkie. A good portion of my waking hours were spent parked in front of an NES between the ages of 8 and 12. I lost somewhere in the neighborhood of six months worth of waking hours in front of games like Baseball Stars and the first installment of the Final Fantasy Hey, it was the late '80s. Everybody was doing it.
Things like employment and alcohol now keep me from spending five hours a day with a gamepad in my hand but I still enjoy the occasional romp in the hay o' pixels. The latest game that has me on the verge of quitting my job and becoming a shut-in? God of War II.
I've only played the first level but it contains more over-the-top violence in it than some entire games. You play as Kratos, a god o' war lording over a version of ancient Greece that makes the one in 300 look like a drawing in the world's dullest text book. In the space of five minutes, Kratos goes from lounging around his palace on Mount Olympus to fully engaged in a fight to the death with a Colossus statue brought to life. Of course, this is set against the backdrop of a massive Spartan raid on Rhodes. I could tell you more about God of War 2 but this Penny Arcade strip sums it all up nicely.
"Every other game is the joke. God of War  is the punchline." Indeed. Athena? Zeus?! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?! WTF, guys, WTF?
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Sandler vs. TMNT
I saw two movies over the weekend. One was terrible and it made me queasy. The other was mostly terrible but childhood nostalgia off-set any stomach ailments. Here a few reviews....
Reign Over Me: Why did I see this? Because I figured the outcome would go in one of two ways: I'd either be pleasantly surprised ala Punch Drunk Love or find the whole thing unintentionally hilarious, providing me with no less than five minutes of stuff to joke about the next time I head to a bar. Unfortunately, Adam Sandler's latest dramatic turn was terrible. Not "funny terrible" just "terrible terrible." We're talking about two hours of a miscast Sandler wandering around in a near catatonic trance while dressed up as Bob Dylan circa 1964. The only scene I deem worthy of bringing up over my next round of rum and cokes: Sandler's temper tantrum when his psychiatrist is caught lying about being a Bob Seger fan. A quote, not verbatim: "You're not a Seger fan. You'll never understand Seger. Seger was a true American original. You're nuthin'! NUTHIN'!"
TMNT: During my tenth birthday party, a group of friends and I tied socks to our elbows and knees and spent three hours chasing one another around the house with improvised weapons. Why? Too many hours spent in front of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which may as well have been cocaine circa 1977 for grade schoolers in the late '80s. I, playing the part of Donatello, used a yard stick as a bow staff. If memory serves, no one was seriously injured or killed but the family cat, Toughie, spent the following week hiding under a couch. Now the turtles are staging a 21st century comeback. This new incarnation is moodier and more mature than the late, great tv show but not quite as dark and creepy as their 1990 trip to the big screen (contributing factor: no voice-over work from Corey Feldman). With Shredder vanquished, the turtles team-up with Casey Jones and April O'Neil, who has dropped journalism to take up a career in antiquities and martial arts as a side project. Their foe: an immortal warlord bent on taking over the world with monster statues (or something like that). The ethos and angst are a nice touch but Michelangelo and Donatello get the shaft in a movie that's too short at 87 minutes. It's no Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie but it's no Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III either.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
"You'll burn me in effigy and I'll burn you in effigy"
A follow up to this post from last week:
The good folks at the Oregon Commentator linked to it, sparking a debate covering the war in Iraq, political theory, the fundamentals of anarchism (and more!). Click here if you're in the mood to shift through rebuttals filled with terms like "anarchotopia" and "aggregating morality." Here's an excerpt from "Jake," a self-described anarchist who doesn't care for my flippant tone when it comes to lighter-fuel fueled street protests:
"...burning figures in effigy is as American as apple pie. The American Revolutionaries were quite fond of burning tax collectors, British officials, and British soldiers in effigy. They probably would have burned YOU in effigy for the lame snark of referring to an effective form of protest as 'stale.'"
I wonder what an inflamed effigy of me would look like. Hmmmm....probably not nearly as cool/disturbing/capable-of-making-Jesus-cry as the soldier featured in this video of last week's protest.
Portland anarchists: they put the "pee [and vinegar]" in "free speech."
Eh, that doesn't really work. How about..."Portland anarchists: keeping local protests entertaining since at least the Reagan administration"?
Here's what the sakura trees down in Waterfront Park looked like a little over a week ago...
I'm sure they've since moved past their fleeting super-cute-and-pink stage and have packed away their "enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life" until next year. Still, those blossoms sure were purty while they lasted.
I passed through the park on St. Patrick's Day and the trees were in full bloom, operating at maximum cherry blossom power. If they had been sitting somewhere in Japan instead of Portland, there's a good chance there wouldn't have been an open spot to sit under them. From what the internet and globe-trotting colleagues tell me, the Japanese go nuts over these trees' annual, one-week-only display. The ensuing celebrations reportedly fall somewhere between a picnic, mass pandemonium and Cinco de Mayo.
While I was in Waterfront Park I didn't spot anyone chugging saki between bites of sakura mochi. This guy seemed into the whole thing though...
Friday, March 23, 2007
It Came From My Cell Phone Part 8
Random Links: Spring Break Edition
Did Spring Break come a week late this year or is it just me? I thought it always fell on the third week in March. Anyway, here's another round of random links:
Thursday, March 22, 2007
PDX to anarchists: *yawn*. Middle America to anarchists: WTF?!!
From what a colleague back east tells me, photos from last Sunday's post-protest have been popping up all over the right-wing blogosphere. A brief post (link leads to the photos, if you're sensitive about this sort of thing, consider yourself been warned) on Little Green Footballs drew over 400 responses from mostly outraged right-wingers. Even Matt Drudge linked to one of the photos yesterday afternoon.
There's no telling if these shots of local anarchists burning soldiers in effigy and carrying a "Fuck the Troops!" sign will make it into the mainstream media. I doubt it, since the protest was several days ago. The most we can expect is, maybe, a two minute rant from Bill O'Reilly sometime in the near future.
Meanwhile, the response from blogs and media outlets here in Portland? Beyond coverage on the 11 o'clock news on Sunday, complete indifference and not so much as a peep. Blogtown touched on their activities in a post on Sunday but nothing since. Even Indy Media hasn't touched on the national attention the images are receiving. Is it that they don't know or is it that simply don't care? Or is it a conscientious attempt to not give the anarchist any more attention?
My pet theory: for Portland, anarchists setting things on fire is passe. Oh, sure, it was all really, really exciting back in '99 during the WTO fallout but in '07? It draws a collective roll of the eyes. Their actions on Sunday smack of Marilyn Manson or a random shock celeb trying to top themselves well after their fanbase has moved on.
Sorry, guys. It's over. I know, I know. Given all the local attention the Schumacher Furs protesters received, it isn't fair. But, hey, you made the Drudge Report. That's got to count for something. Middle America is still outraged by your antics. Have you considered taking this act out on the road? Just start in Pendleton and work your way east until you hit Savannah.
You kids could be big. Big, I tells 'ya, big! Bigger than those inspirational Christian wrestlers that tear phone books in half and this guy combined!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Presidential factoid of the day
Warren G. Harding (1921-23)
In the mood for more sordid details of past presidents that make Clinton's shenanigans look as boring as C-SPAN? Click here (kinda NSFW).
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
SPD in PDX
For years, Kell's Irish Restaurant and Pub has dominated St. Patrick's Day in Portland. Back in 2005 I decided I should head down there at least once. An attempt to round up a proper drinking crew was quickly thwarted by a stiff cover charge. St. Patrick's also fell on a weeknight that year, which didn't help the cause.
The last time I checked, Kell's cover charge runs upwards of $20 on St. Patrick's Day. Is that worth an opportunity to drink inside a tent in the middle of March? Probably not but I was still curious enough to head down there on Saturday with a colleague. By 4 PM, a line snaked down the block in front of the pub's main entrance. The crowd seemed to consist of spring breakers too broke to spend the week in Cancun. Maybe it was the summer-like weather or the fact that the holiday came on a Saturday but every bar on 2nd Avenue was clogged with drunks. Unwilling to drop cash to drink alongside undergrads in giant green hats shaped like beer mugs, we decided to return later in the evening, figuring that several hours of binge drinking would thin out their ranks. We stayed long enough to take a few photos...
Meet Mr. Guinness. Could he take on Sudsy, the Oregon Commentator's mascot and the only other anthromorphic beer I can think of off the top of my head? Naw. My money's on Sudsy. At least he has a face and can tell which way to throw a punch.
These guys were setting up shop in a nearby parking lot as we passed by. They practiced that one song you always hear when someone plays the bagpipes that isn't "Amazing Grace." It was the first of many times we would hear the tune over the next nine hours. I still don't know the name.
The local chapter of MADD decided to contribute to the holiday's good cheer by parking this wrecked sports car in front of Kell's party tent. Slapped on the side was a terse message warning celebrants to take it easy on the green beer if they plan on driving. I'm not convinced the message was getting through to the crowd. As we headed back to the car I spotted a frat kid climbing around on the front, urging a buddy to snap his photo.
From downtown we fled all the way out to Edgefield, where we waited two hours for a table at the Power Station Pub. The grounds were packed with an older crowd covered in shamrock paraphernalia. These guys were playing classic rock covers in front of the Little Red Shed. We ate stew, drank beer and had our ears shredded by a bagpiper who wandered into the pub, thus proving the Theory of Bagpipes. Bagpipes + indoors – decent acoustics = shredded ears.
Back on 2nd Avenue, a new round of frat brats had taken over. All the bars were still packed and, with the hour growing late, the cover charge at Kell's again worked its de-motivational mojo, despite the promise of glowing, keepsake beer mugs. We settled on Dan and Louis' Shucking Room, tucked in a corner off the main drag. Inside, a guitarist was playing traditional Irish tunes, "traditional" in this sense meaning that they were filled with crude sexual innuendos and fart jokes. The drinks were stiff and the song about what happens when you leave a live crab in a chamber pot was killer.
From there we headed over to Voodoo Doughnut for custard-filled sweets covered in shamrock candy and green frosting. The DJ at Ground Kontrol wasn't spinning any drinking songs but the elaborate Pirates of the Caribbean pinball machine with a sinkable Flying Dutchman made up for it.
We didn't manage to drink any green beer, get into any brawls or track down a bartender willing to make us Irish Car Bombs but, eh, whaddyagonnado? We ate green doughnuts, listened to songs that referred to flatulence as "passing wind" and played arcade games. The first time I ever sunk a plastic pirate ship with a pinball? 12:30 AM on 3/18/07. Yes, I consider this an accomplishment. Where's my resume?
Monday, March 19, 2007
This is what democracy ...something ...something...
It seems like it's been years since Portland's last full-blown, anti-war protest or maybe I haven't been paying attention. Back in spring of 2003, in the early days of the Iraq War, downtown hosted a march every few weeks, each regularly drawing upwards of 30,000 protesters. One in particular descended into chaos as a group of demonstrators staged a sit-in on the Burnside Bridge and spent part of the evening dancing in the middle of I-84. I attended as many of them as I could, if only for the photo opps. Despite Portland's "weird" rep, it's not everyday that tens of thousands march through the streets, some of dressed as death personified or wielding blood-soaked dove puppets.
If anything, yesterday's protest felt like a class reunion. Even many of the signs were the same, dusted off after years spent in attics and closets around town. Has this war really been going for four years now? The homemade "Big Brother is Watching You" sign, complete with a creepy image of Big Brother himself? Somewhere towards the back of the line near three bedsheet doves I'm pretty sure were regulars back in the day. And the "radical cheerleaders" and the giant Bush doll? Maybe they were up towards the front.
Organizers expected a crowd of 30,000 but various media outlets placed yesterday's crowd at somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000. I attended with my mother and younger sister, who spent the car ride and walk to the starting point bickering over the relevance of the entire thing. My sister's argument: demonstrations like this accomplish little and that a letter-writing campaign to local congressmen and state senators would prove more effective. Within seconds of hitting the park blocks we encountered a tent full of volunteers urging marchers to do just that. We filled out a few postcards and sent them on their way. Figuring we had fulfilled our obligation, she urged us to break ranks and veer off towards Stumptown Coffee. My mother, a veteran of anti-Vietnam demonstrations, remained staunchly determined to stick with the crowd at least as far as Pioneer Place.
It was hard not to notice that 80% of the crowd was over 40 as we slogged towards 4th Avenue. Make what you will of this. Does today's youth prefer to protest via the internet, through blogging, posting, etc? Are they apathetic? Do they have their hearts set on Obama magically making everything better in a few years? Or have they, unlike their elders, realized that no amount of outrage or Bush puppets will yank this country out of its current quagmire? Well, I'm not qualified to cough-up a theory here. After all, I only tagged along to people watch...
...and for the opportunity to watch local anarchists inevitably hijack the spotlight and subvert the day's good vibes. Sometime after the main event, we ran into a crowd of fifty black-clad protesters clogging a street near Nordstrom. They were in the middle of a stare-down with a row of riot cops as we passed through. We missed this incident by a few minutes after I failed to convince the family to stick around for a evening chock full of pepper spray, arrests and flag-burning.
It was fun, everybody. See ya' at the 10th-anniversary protest in 2013! That's sure to be off the hook!
Friday, March 16, 2007
It Came From My Cell Phone Part 7
The current display in the front window of the Florida Room.
Random Links: "Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day" Edition
Last summer a colleague of mine was killing time on the streets of Nagoya, Japan when he wandered into an establishment with an "Ilish Pub" sign over the doorway. Unable to speak the language, he was unable to communicate with the bartender, who seemed eager for him to leave. Figuring it was a "locals only" joint, he headed for the exit where a hostess stopped him. Overhearing his British accent, she explained in English that the pub was still a day away from its grand opening. But since he was obviously a citizen of the Emerald Isle, they were willing to serve him in exchange for a critique. They plowed him full of free food and Guinness and, from what I've been told, the decor and the food were on the money. Despite his true heritage, he gave them a good review and a few pointers but didn't have the heart to tell them about the typo on the sign out front.
This leaves me to wonder about all the Kanji tattoos I see around Portland. While Mr. Random Bishops Barbershop Employee may think that symbol on his right arm means "wind," there's a good chance that it actually means "fart."
Yes, that's two fart jokes in the space of 24 hours. Tim, if you're out there reading this, sorry. Anyway, here's a batch of random links followed by a second round of random, holiday-related links.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
A gastrointestinal movie review
I've written this blog for over three years now. I think it may finally be time to break out an anecdote about flatulence. While many might not be willing share tales of embarrassment caused by an ill-tempered stomach in a public forum, I've suddenly found myself without that level of personal restraint.
So who wants to hear a story about a huge fart? Ok, here we go...
Last week I went to a screening of Black Snake Moan at the Fox Tower. If you've heard anything about this film, you'll know it's "controversial" and not the sort of thing you would want to bring a date anywhere near. Nonetheless, the screening I attended was filled with couples. As a result, nervous sighs and chuckles filled the air at a rate of once every 10 seconds. There's no telling how many break-ups director Craig Brewer's southern opus caused that night but my stomach wasn't eager to play love counselor.
Without giving anything away, the movie does have its tender moments and towards the end of the film, it happened. I was leaning forward in my chair with my feet rested on the seat in front of me. As one character professed their love for another, my stomach cut loose. The ensuing fart came out of nowhere. With no advanced warning, there was nothing I could do to stop it. The fart reverberated off the seat, tearing through the stale cinemas air with a sound somewhere between that of an airhorn and an enraged hippopotamus. It was the sort of fart that belongs in a '80s "snobs vs. slobs" comedy, something like one of the lesser Revenge of the Nerds sequels.
Was this my stomach's way of scoffing at Justin Timberlake's performance? Of mocking the over-the-top premise or the film's cliched depiction of a rural Tennessee town? When did my intestines become so opinionated? Or maybe it was the Crunch Wrap Supreme I had for dinner that was doing all the talking. That must have been it. The obvious culprit: Taco Bell.
I slid down in my chair. An elderly husband turned around in his chair to shoot my vacant headrest a disgusted glare. I could hear whispering from somewhere in the back. Someone laughed.
So what would you do? Stand up and apologize to the entire theater? Skip the ending of the movie and sneak out? I opted to stick it out and remained seated through most of the credits, avoiding eye contact with anyone in the lobby before hitting the exits.
My stomach may not have been able to suspend its disbelief but I didn't think Black Snake Moan was that bad, for a Biblical parable involving a poor farmer/bluesman chaining a nymphomaniac to his radiator in a misguided attempt to cure her of her psychosis. Now please enjoy this NSFW clip of Samuel L. Jackson's cover of a "Stack O Lee" from the film:
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
If you can't say anything nice...
On Friday I made a few disparaging remarks about Springfield, Oregon in a "Random Link" post. This led to an outrageous outpouring of outrage. Two readers, remarkable numbers for this blog, wrote in to express their dismay. While I will not apologize for my comments, in the interest of impartiality, and because I'm hard up for material, here are several factoids that shine a different light on the community of 57,000+ that lies nestled in the bosom of the Willamette Valley:
Three cheers for Springfield! Hip hip! Hooray! Hip hip! Hooray! Hip hip...etc.
Friday, March 09, 2007
It Came From My Cell Phone Part 6
Random Links: RIP Biggie Smalls edition
He died ten years ago today, don'cha know. Let's pause for a moment of silence...
...ok, now for something(s) completely different.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
CBS: turning kids gay since early February
This link to a collection of FCC complaints about Prince's Super Bowl halftime show has been making the rounds today. Here's the one that has been getting most of the attention on the blogs I've been reading this afternoon:
"I am very offended and I would prefer not to have showed it to my 4 children who love football. One of them has hoped to be a quarterback and now he will turn out gay. I am actually considering to check him for HIV. Thanks CBS for turning my son GAY."
Am I the only one that thinks this thing is a fake? If it's real, I can't imagine what sort of Ned Flanders brand upbringing this kid is receiving. Still, I remain convinced this is the work of a bored 15-year-old killing time in his high school's computer lab. Time that might be better spent reading ancient "____ Ate My Balls" websites.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
And they've got naked mermaids in the bathrooms
Pirate jokes. Pirate movies. Pirate movie breakfast cereal tie-ins. Pirate restaurants with vegan menus. Pirate festivals in Cathedral Park.
While the pirate fad is getting long in the tooth, this shouldn't be held against Maiden in the Mist, a nautical-themed restaurant and bar over on SE Morrison. It opened in January and seems geared more towards fans of sea-going shanties than the exploits of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Chinese lanterns hang over the bar and the lights are turned down low, giving the place a mysterious, candlelit vibe worthy of an opium den done up by interior design majors. Paintings that look like they were lifted from an old Sea Galley hang over the tables and in the bathroom? Portraits of topless mermaids getting it on with each other and their pet sea serpents. I tried to take pictures with my camera phone but the dim lighting made it almost impossible. I had a choice between posting a blurry photo of a ship or an extremely blurry photo of one of the mermaids. I went with the ship. Sorry if I've disappointed anyone out there.
The menu holds back on pirate puns. There are no "mAAAAARgaritas" on the drink menu but there are concoctions named "Scurvy Dog," "Red Tide" and, er, "Man Cherry." Captain Ahab would probably feel like a wuss drinking a "Walk the Plank" (vodka and Bailey's served straight up in a martini glass with a sugared rim) but that's what I went with. Strangely enough, aside from a salmon fillet, there aren't any other seafood items on the landlubb-ing entree menu. Maybe Maiden in the Mist doesn't quite have her sea legs yet.
I'll be back, if only for the cool ambiance that's stuck somewhere between the Shanghai Tunnel and a martini bar. Also: Gypsy Thursdays.
Something in the airwaves
A few months ago I wrote about problems I was having with an iPod I received for Christmas. After a few hours of arguing with Apple's phone support team they finally agreed to let me ship it back for a replacement. Three weeks later, my new iPod arrived and now it's chock full of music and Podcasts, all of which I planned to listen to during my evening commute.
But now there's another problem. My car's stereo doesn't have a tape deck or an AUX port I can plug the iPod into. This means I have to use a small FM transmitter I purchased for a road trip last summer. It works great while bombing down US 26 or in the Montana outback but it's almost completely worthless within city limits. In the past few years, nearly every nook of Portland's airwaves have become clogged with religious programming. No less than six Christian stations now litter the local FM dial.
I suppose they'll all come in handy if I ever find myself in need of patronizing homilies or endless donation drives. Still, to be honest, I'd much rather listen to "Grammar Girl" or "Morning Becomes Eclectic" podcasts as I fight my way out of Beaverton every Monday through Friday night. It's pretty difficult to improve my ability to conjugate verbs when a firebrand cuts through GG's lessons to extol the virtues of, er, virtue...and writing over one's Social Security check to his organization.
I'd happily trade Jammin' 95.5 or OPB Radio's tedious pledge drives for a clear signal but at least their genres are covered by a mere station or two. The Christians are hogging more than their fair share of the city's FM band and my iPod and I are sick of it. Right now, 96.1 works pretty well for the Beaverton area but the second I hit Raleigh Hills the reception gives way to static-filed sermonizing. I'm still hunting for a chunk of the dial that's clear enough to pull in something while driving around the eastside.
Or I guess I could always tear out the current stereo and replace it with an old-school tape deck and a adapter, if anyone still sells them.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Fly me to the moon
I found myself drinking gin from a cracked glass at Joe's Cellar on Saturday night. Like a lot of neighborhood dive bars in Portland, its usual clientele of crusty old salts have found themselves competing for stool space against an onslaught of hipsters 1/4 - 1/2 their age. The salts come in search of strong drink, their younger brethren for...the same? The ironic digs? The bar signs? The comfy vinyl booths? Because of the close proximity to their apartments? All of the above?
Whatever the motives of all involved, it's always interesting to kick back and watch both sides interact. On Saturday at Joe's, a Stan Lee lookalike found himself at the bar trying to tune out a booth full of cackling kids in hoodies. Meanwhile, in the other room, both sides mixed harmoniously in what appeared to be the final hours of a crashed wedding reception. Roses, a white table cloth and a singer calling himself "The Voice" did what they could to distract from the bar's "dank." They failed but Mr. "The Voice," dressed in a white tuxedo, did crank out a pretty decent set of chart-toppers from the '40s and '50s.
Interesting side note about Joe's Cellar: the panels on the ceiling are brown. They may have once been white but they're brown now. Don't let the anti-smoking zealots know about this. It would only further their cause. Keep it like a secret.
Friday, March 02, 2007
It Came From My Cell Phone Part 5
This photo was taken somewhere on the Eastside about a year ago. Your guess is as good as mine.
Random Links: In Like a Lion Edition
In Portland the last week in February typically brings with it a few days of unusually warm weather. It's a brief respite from the months of rain and darkness that we call winter around here. Instead of that, this year we received a week of wind and rain mixed with snow. I don't know about you but my Seasonal Affective Disorder is going full throttle. It's time to bask in the warm glow of random links (and rum).
Thursday, March 01, 2007
The worst bar bathroom in Portland
Yesterday, "Divebarwife" over on Metroblogging Portland wrote a post about bar toilets in the City of Roses. The lady's room at the Basement Pub earned her nomination for the worst but I think I can top that (not that I've ever been. I'm basing this entirely on her description).
As of last year at least, the Matador on West Burnside had the worst bathroom, anywhere, that I've had the displeasure of expelling bodily fluids in (overlooking a few campsite Port-a-Pots). Sure, I've encountered bathrooms with stalls that would traumatize most people, the sorts of scenes that could only be caused by laxative-munching circus gorillas pumped full of discount enchiladas but those don't count. It's not the fault of the bathrooms themselves but instead those who use them.
The last time I stopped in for a gin and tonic, the Matador's mens room was like something out a military war camp. While well lit, the two toilets were out of order. One stall was boarded up, the other's door was missing, revealing a piece of plywood nailed to the floor where a toilet had been. The urinals, which must have dated back to the turn of the century. smelled like they'd been graced with the urine or roughly 30 million boozehounds. They didn't flush, the porcelain was worn away in places and they were filled with ice and shallow yellow puddles. The floor, while dry, was covered in grime and dead bugs.
Of course the service, the cool black velvet paintings and the Sopranos pinball machine in the corner made up for all of that. In November, the Matador was taken over by new owners who reportedly cleaned up the bar itself. No telling if their restorations made it as far as the bathrooms though.
Other bar potties liable to make you throw up a little bit in your mouth: the Lotus, the Space Room and the Shanghai. The best one I can think of off the top of my head: the first floor men's room at the Doug Fir Lounge. A private "poop closet," wood paneling and '70s era mirrors and countertops that make you feel like you're in Hugh Hefner's guest bathroom circa 1977? Sweet..
Isaac Brock vs. the ocean
Who will win? Click on the video above to find out. My money is on the ocean. It's got sea serpents and merpeople and toxic waste and oil rigs. What does Isaac Brock got besides a pudgy belly and a healthy booze lust and his own unique brand of self-absorbed indie rock tunes?
To learn more about Modest Mouse's soon-to-be-released album, click here. Or simply take note of the wee, helpful icon below.
Being for the benefit of the ACLU
A few years ago I became a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union. A small donation netted me a membership card, an occasional newsletter and all the self-satisfaction that five dollars a year in annual dues can buy. It also brought me junk mail.
A lot of it. Tons.
Almost immediately thereafter I was bombarded by inquiries and informational packets from what seemed like a million charitable organizations. Pleas to send cash immediately to every corner of the world for a litany of worthy causes- among them money for genocide victims in Darfur, Ninth Ward residents broadsided by Hurricane Katrina and starving orphans in eastern Europe. I was also now penpals with a litany of grass roots efforts, political campaigns and lobbyist groups. Within a month my mailbox became an endless source of horror stories, rally cries and guilt-trips. Some packets came with photos of nightmarish maladies while others included pleas on Bill Clinton's letterhead or small presents specifically designed to send me hunting for my checkbook.
Now I'm not a rich blogger. My day job consists of working on the bottom rung of a corporate gulag. While I'd like to send fistfuls of dollars to these causes, I can't. So, in an effort to silence my nagging conscience, I've decided to promote a few of them here.
Now then, are you in the market for stickers, address labels and/or prayer cards? Then just join the ACLU or fire off an email to the following individuals and organizations. Here's what will most likely land in your mailbox within a few weeks.