April 2011

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Monday, June 30, 2008


Hot coffee

I had never heard of the Bikini Coffee Co. or the Portland metro area's other "sexpresso" shops until I saw a sign hanging outside of an upcoming location on SW 5th yesterday. After reading this and watching this* I still can't figure out the answer to the first question that popped into my mind: isn't slinging 175-degree lattes while you're basically naked an incredibly stupid thing to do? I wonder how many second degree burns the BCC's flagship location in Salem sees in a given work week.

I'd love to see the waiver that the women that work at these places must have to sign before they're allowed behind the counter. It must be 10-pages long. My sister spent a few years working at a Starbucks while in college. I remember her telling me about a waiver she had to sign regarding potential on-the-job burns. For her own safety, corporate policy also required that her and her fellow baristas wear pants, aprons and leather shoes to off-set injuries. Some customers would come in and order their coffee extra hot. While she managed to survive her Starbucks stint without landing any scars, she could probably tell you tales of what happens when a 200+ degree cup of joe accidentally lands on bare skin.

These bikini-clad baristas: way braver than me.

* According to that news report, Salem is located somewhere right around Hells Canyon.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008


Live, from three blocks away

I think this may be the closest I've ever come to a lighting strike. My guess: that's about three blocks from where I was standing at the time. Then again, I don't know jack squat about meteorology.

Very scary? Uh, sure.



Thursday, June 26, 2008


Fun with water fountains

Spotted downtown yesterday: a disheveled man attempting to light a cigarette on the water coming out of a Benson Bubbler. Afterwards, he began puffing as if it were lit.

I'm pretty sure this was some sort of street performance.


Fun with relatives from a red state

Half of my family lives down south and, yeah, we differ in many, many ways on many, many different things. They like BBQ, I can't stand it. They live in a place where the sun comes out more than 45 days out of the year, I don't. They voted for GW in the last two presidential elections, I voted for Nader and....a dancing mule (I wasn't a Kerry fan and I knew he'd take Oregon without my support).

My red state relatives also love email forwards. This one landed in my mother's inbox and if you, like me, live in a place where people slap Globe Trotter-style Obama posters on every available surface, I think you'll enjoy it. By "enjoy it" I mean "become incredibly queasy and further convinced that the south is populated entirely by NASCAR-obsessed troglodytes."

Note: for the record, I'm pretty sure the south is *NOT* populated entirely by NASCAR-obsessed troglodytes.

Subject: According to Revelations -
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 11:18:45 -0400

I STRONGLY URGE each one of you to repost this as many times as you can!

Each opportunity that you have to send it to a friend or media outlet...do it!

A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine that America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves.

Pause a moment, reflect back.

These events are actual events from history..

They really happened!!!

Do you remember?

1. 1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40.

2. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

3. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

4. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

5. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

6. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

7. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

8. In 1988 , Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

9. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

10. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

11. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take down the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by Muslim male extremists between the of 17 and 40.

12. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

13. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by-- you guessed it-- Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40.

No, I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you? So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people... Absolutely No Profiling!

They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids,airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winner and former Governor Joe Foss, but leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 and 40 alone lest they be guilty of profiling.

According to The Book of Revelations:

The Anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, he will destroy everything.

And Now: For the award winning Act of Stupidity Of all times the People of America want to elect, to the most Powerful position on the face of the Planet -- The Presidency of the United states of America ... A Muslim Male Extremist Between the ages of 17 and 40.

Have the American People completely lost their Minds, or just their Power of Reason ??? I'm sorry but I refuse to take a chance on the 'unknown' candidate Obama...

Let's send this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldreds and other stupid attorneys along with Federal Justices that want to thwart common sense, feel ashamed of themselves -- if they have any such sense. As the writer of the award winning story 'Forrest Gump' so aptly put it, 'Stupid Is As Stupid Does'

So apparently the "Obama is a scary Muslim" rumor is still floating around the internet and, if my relatives are falling for it, that means that plenty of others down there are doing the same. Naturally, I felt the need to respond to this thing. Here's what I scribbled and passed along to my mother to send back to them:

Well, I guess it's a good thing that Obama isn't and has never been a Muslim between the ages of 17 and 40. To put it simply, everything about Obama in that email is hooey. He isn't even between the ages of 17 and 40. Not even close. He'll turn 47 in August. If you really believe all that, there's a bridge in New York I'd like to sell you. The "Obama is a Muslim" myth was roundly discredited at least six months ago. In case you missed it all...

Obama's father was raised Muslim but later abandoned the religion and became an atheist by the time he met Obama's mother. They divorced when Obama was two and Obama only met him once during a trip to Hawaii. His dad passed away when he was 21.

Obama's mother was also an agnostic but considered herself "spiritual." He spent a good portion of his childhood in various Catholic schools and did a brief stint in a predominantly Muslim school in the Philippines for around two years as a child. It was not officially a "Muslim school," as many have claimed, but many of the kids there were Muslims. Obama was basically raised as an agnostic, although there were multiple religious tomes around his household while he grew up. He became a born-again Christian in the mid-1980s and has practiced the religion for over 20 years.

If you have any further doubts or questions regarding Obama's religious beliefs, they can be found via the link below at Snopes, a popular and respected website devoted to debunking internet rumors. It roundly discredits and tears apart the Obama/Muslim rumors and cites sources and facts, unlike the baseless and incorrect rumors included in your forwarded email. I'm sure you'll find it an enjoyable and informative read:


Further information on Obama's background and biography can be found at Wikipedia:


In closing, not every Muslim on this planet is a radical extremist bent on the destruction of America anymore than every Christian is a domestic terrorist. Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot JFK, was a Christian. Timothy McVeigh, the gentleman who blew up that federal building in Oklahoma City, was also a Christian. John Wilkes Booth, the fellow who put a bullet in ol' Honest Abe Lincoln? Yup, you guessed it. A Christian.

I could delve into the Book of Revelations and pass along historical and religious critiques of it but this email is long enough. I'll give you this bit though: I just took a look at my study Bible and there's nothing in there about the Anti-Christ running around the planet dressed as a Muslim.

Still not a Muslim but I'd vote for him even if he was.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008


A week later and still no angry letters from Paramount

And I was so looking forward to hanging it on my refrigerator. Oh, well....

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What are they putting in the water over on Belmont?

You never see these sorts of headlines coming out of my neighborhood.

  • Hipsters Deface the Front of a Semi-Racist Local Mattress Company [link] (not the original headline but I like this one better)

  • Half-Naked Mud Wrestler Throws Self Through Stumptown Window [link]

  • Then again, my neighborhood is boring-ass boring.



    Don't go chasing waterfalls

    A colleague and I failed to heed the time-tested advice of T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili and ran around Silver Falls over the weekend. There's some stunning and downright nature-ific beauty to be found within its borders. Please enjoy these snapshots in all their 7-megabyte glory....

    This one is called Frenchie Falls, named for Roland "Frenchie" Lecompte, the assistant manager of Silver Falls State Park in the '60s. Why did he land the smallest waterfall in the place? No idea but my guess is that the then manager wasn't a big fan of "cheese-eating surrender monkeys." Note: I do not approve of this sort of nationalist name-calling because I am quite fond of cheese-eating surrender monkeys and their native culture. Crepes rock.

    Also: there were chipmunks.


    Monday, June 23, 2008


    Deep-fried hell balls

    The contents of my stomach after I walked into Salvador Molly's in Hillsdale on Saturday night:

  • Three glasses of Champagne.

  • Two bowls of cereal

  • One microbrew

  • A handful of tatter-tots

  • A ball of rice wrapped in grape leaves

  • More rice

  • Potato salad

  • A very large slice of cheesecake wrapped in a mochi-style, green tea outer shell

  • Ham...yeah, I'm pretty sure there was some ham in there too.

  • We arrived on the heels of a wedding reception. I wasn't the one that suggested ordering a plate of "Great Balls of Fire" but I would have if someone else hadn't beaten me to it.

    [insert junior high-level gag about eating something ball-shaped being "totally gay" here]

    The size of golf balls, they seemed so innocent-looking and hush puppy-ish on that plate, next to what looked like a dipping bowl full of marmalade. But within their deep-friend shells lay unholy pain.

    I only made it halfway through mine. It wasn't so bad when I first bit into it but the second I started chewing the ball filled with my mouth with fire. We're talking a level of spiciness that caused Homer Simpson to start hallucinating coyotes that talk like Johnny Cash. I began profusely sweating and had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom. Not to puke but to get a look at what these horrible little balls of hell and brimstone has done to my face. It took 20-minutes and lots of water and margarita gulps to make the pain subside.

    I engaged in this contest of gastrointestinal stupidity with two others. One admitted that his ball made his hair sweaty but that he had endured worse. A colleague to my left downed my extra half after I refused to finish it. He even vowed to return to Salvador Molly's at a later date to take the 5 ball challenge that would earn him his picture on one of the restaurant's walls. Females included, everyone at the table was impressed with this display of bravery.

    Twenty-minutes later he was sitting in my car with a "Whatever Level of Dante's Hell Was Actually Hot" case of the hiccups. Each hiccup reportedly blasted up his esophagus like a nitro-fueled Brillo pad. I didn't try the dipping sauce, thank God, but he had. It wasn't marmalade. Far from it. It was actually super-spicy jalapeno sauce.

    He spent the rest of the evening slumped in a recliner in a daze. I had to go home to clutch my stomach for a few hours after adding another three beers to the mix.

    Full confession time: the balls burn going down and coming out the other end. Consider this a warning if you ever decide to punish yourself with Salvador Molly's deep-fried sadomasochism. If you aren't gagging yet, I think you'll enjoy this:

    When it comes to local culinary challenges, I think I'll stick with my dream to one day conquer this one.

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    The world's grumpiest old man is dead and this makes me sad

    George Carlin is dead? Well, here's hoping he's sitting in a shady spot on the sun, along with Joe Pesci and a long way from his noisy neighbor with the barking dog.

    Like a lot of people my age, I didn't know about Carlin the comedian until I was older. I knew him as "Mr. Conductor" from Shining Time Station until I reached what he might have called "an age of reason." When someone introduced me to his comedy albums in high school I couldn't believe it was the same guy. Mr Conductor once spent time in jail on an obscenity-charged and his day job was spewing foul-mouthed philosophical tirades? I couldn't believe it.

    Thus began a life-long infatuation with his books, comedy albums and HBO comedy specials. I don't think of him as a comedian. There's no way he belongs in the same boat as Robin Williams or Jim Carrey. Carlin was an endless source of amazing wordplay and frank and vicious social commentary, especially in his later years. Take his opinion on the topic of prostitution: "fucking is legal, selling is legal...why isn't selling fucking legal?" The man was brilliant at tearing down social norms, everyday absurdities and especially at draining the piss and vinegar out of organized religion. I don't think anyone could agree with all of his viewpoints, or even half of them, but he always made a great argument for whatever was on his mind.

    I'm more of a fan of the angry, '90s-era Carlin than the loopy hippie obsessed with the foibles of the English language that my parents' generation laughed at in the '70s. I managed to see him during a sold-out tour date at the Hult Center in Eugene when I was in college. Carlin made the opening act, a musical comedian that sang songs about Bill Clinton, look like an contestant in a 5th-grade talent show. A well-dressed family sitting in front of a friend and I walked out during a bit about why he had decided to give up on God and start praying to Joe Pesci instead. This would have been nearly a decade ago now but I still wonder what the conservation on their ride home was like.

    His last few stand-up specials were unmercifully bleak and I hope that his increasingly dark world view was mostly a put-on. Carlin supposedly lost a well-paid gig at the MGM Grand in 2003 because the audience couldn't handle his views on post-9/11 America. His last comedy special, It's Bad For 'Ya, which focused mostly on aging, death and parenthood, was as bitter as a nuclear-powered lemon. I guess it's oddly appropriate that a failing heart is what finally did in George Carlin. There's that old line about "behind every cynic is a disappointed optimist" and Carlin was one hell of a cynic.

    Here's to you, George. Thanks for being an icon and for providing my colleagues and I with plenty of one-liners to throw around over the years. Here's one of my favorite Carlin bits, the one about Joe Pesci. This one, on why the Ten Commandments should be cut down to two, is also damn sharp.

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    Friday, June 20, 2008


    Random Cell Phone Photo # 36

    A communist pig spotted in a shop in Chinatown. Political affiliations aside, he may have also been a male chauvinist pig. I checked his tag. It offered cleaning instructions but no details on his dating habits.


    Thursday, June 19, 2008


    Even better than the real thing

    Some of the best writers from Portland Metblogs have gathered together to create a new blog called Our PDX Network. There's still some kinks to work out but it's sure to bring back the glory days of what was once the city's best (mostly) non-political blog.



    At the (Motor-Vu) Drive-In

    I'm a big fan of drive-in movie theaters and there's a great one out in Newberg called the 99-West. While they've enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past decade they're still few and far between. Oregon has hundreds of movie theaters but only four or so drive-ins still operating. Besides the 99 West, there's supposedly one out in La Grande and another in Lebanon, all too far from Portland for a jaunt there and back on a boring Saturday night. There's also the Motor-Vu in Dallas, a small town located 20-minutes outside of Salem.

    It's known for having the largest movie screen in Oregon. I've been meaning to go down there and check it out for a few years now but I've never been able to convince anyone to make the long drive with me. With nothing better to do last Saturday, I finally made the journey. Here's what finally convinced me: they were screening a Incredible Hulk/Baby Mama double-feature. That's inspired programming, right there.

    The drive from Salem passes along a scenic stretch of the Willamette and the Motor-Vu sits in the middle of a large patch of farmland. Visitors pass under the screen and the parking area is almost double the size of the one in Newberg. The snack bar is filled with '50s decor and they've got White Castle burgers on the menu. Oddly, the bar sits in the middle of the property, which blocks the view of around a sixth of the drive-in's potential audience. I guess the owners assume that most of the audience up front wouldn't make the 100-yard trek if it were located all the way in the back.

    Being a liberal Portland wuss with limited knowledge of what lies along the I-5 beyond Salem and Eugene, I expected to find a crowd of methheads and families along the lines of Cletus' brood on The Simpsons. While I was one of the few people there in a foreign-made automobile, the crowd was similar to the low-key, suburban one that turns out for movies at the 99 West. I was all geared up for a night of culture shock but left disappointed.

    About half of the crowd stuck around for Baby Mama and I guess it's a testament to how strong my gag-reflex for half-assed Hollywood comedies is that I made it through the whole thing. As for The Incredible Hulk, I actually prefer Ang Lee's version. Edward Norton's Bruce Banner is an improvement over Eric Bana's but the action sequences were actually weaker than the over-the-top ones that Lee cranked out. At no point does the Hulk ride a jet into the stratosphere or fling a missile at a helicopter after catching it in mid-air. And if you're ever going to film an epic battle-royale between two comic book monsters in the middle of New York, it helps to stage it somewhere besides a vacant lot and the street outside the Apollo Theater.

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    Tuesday, June 17, 2008


    Indiana Jones and the Cease and Desist Letter From Paramount

    I've been writing this blog for going on five years and I realized something today: I've never been threatened with legal action for anything I've posted here. That's a damn shame, isn't it?

    That said, here's a link to Frank Darabont's leaked script for the fourth Indiana Jones movie, a copy of which may or may not be sitting on my server right now. The screenwriter/director wrote a draft in 2002 that Stephen Spielberg supposedly loved but was rejected by George Lucas. Supposedly, everyone who has dared plop a copy on the Internet has received a cease and desist letter from Paramount.

    I spent the afternoon reading Darabont's 140-page final draft of Indiana Jones and the City of Gods and I have to say that it's heads and shoulders above what was released in theaters last month. The plot is very much the same but many of the annoying elements are gone. In this version, Mutt doesn't exist, Marion is given much more screen time and the alien-related final act isn't completely goofy and unwatchable. There's a fantastic aerial dogfight about half-way in and, after getting fired and branded a communist conspirator, a bitter, drunken Indy breaks into a campus museum to steal back the idol featured at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sallah and Henry Jones Sr. also have cameos.

    While overall better than the script Spielberg and crew eventually used, Darabont's dialog isn't so hot and the film's main villain isn't nearly as interesting as Cate Blanchett's weird physic/doctor/colonel/commie. The ending though? Kick-ass. At the very least, I'm sure it's better than whatever M. Night Shyamalan turned in.

    If you're as geeky as me and have some time on your hands, I suggest having a look. Meanwhile, I'm putting my lawyer on speed dial.

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    Monday, June 16, 2008


    You can't kill overpriced Hard Rock Cafe wannabes

    Er, uh, I mean rock n' roll. It just can't die. Kind of like Superman, Keith Richards and Bush's belief that history will redeem his administration's innumerable blunders. I guess this same rule now applies to Mark Lindsay's Rock and Roll Cafe. According to the man himself during his back-from-the-dead Saturday night radio show, the restaurant/radio station/etc. will reopen later this summer, possibly in late July. In the meantime, he'll be broadcasting from the KOIN Tower. As of right now, the cafe's website hasn't been updated to reflect this.

    Here's hoping they get the formula right this time around.

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    Fitter, happier, more likely to boost sales

    Carrie Brownstein over at Monitor Mix has written a good and very random post about the resurrection of Strawberry Shortcake and how it relates to British soul music. Trust me, it makes sense in context.

    When I was stuck working Saturdays last autumn I found myself watching a revamped version of The Care Bears one morning as I was getting ready for work. The main difference between the new version and the one I grew up watching was that Grumpy and Lucky had emo haircuts. The "be nice to each other" and "buy plenty of Care Bear brand merchandise" themes remained mostly unaltered from what I spent many a Saturday morning staring at during my preschool/booger-eating years. All things considered, I'd have to say that the 21st century incarnation of the bears are more tolerable than last summer's Transformers relaunch.

    Flame decals on Optimus Prime? What was that all about?


    Friday, June 13, 2008


    21st-century digital annoy

    New advances in greeting card technology have been achieved since the last time I set foot in a Hallmark. During a recent trip to the Washington Square location I discovered that half of the chain's racks are now filled with cards that play songs and/or yell at you. Take this one featuring Chris Rock. Yes, apparently Chris Rock now has his own line of greeting cards.

    I wonder if P-Diddy is jealous that he didn't think of this a long time ago. Say what you will about selling out, but if Hallmark offered me a garbage bag filled with hundred dollar bills to have one of my comedy tirades blast out of a million greeting cards on Father's Day I would smoother my sense of common decency and take said big bag of cash. Opening this card activates a digital speaker buried in the greeting card that unleashes a very loud Rock bit about husbands being patronized by their wives. The f-bombs are, of course, edited out.

    Hallmark now has talking cards with themes based on just about every popular tv show and blockbuster in existence. I'm not joking when I say there's at least five different talking cards based on characters from the US version of The Office. There's also at least a dozen cards based on The Simpsons. I was pretty impressed with one that folds out into three sections, the opposites sides of which feature Marge and Homer yelling across the card at one another.

    But maybe the most disturbing was one with John McCain in a section devoted to 2008 election-themed cards. The inside features Cartoon McCain running for a toilet stall while holding his crotch. A word bubble over his head contains the words "AND RUN FOR THE BATHROOM!"

    Ha? Er, no. The ones featuring Obama and Hilary are even lamer.

    The cards also allow customers to record a personalized message that plays before the rest of the recording. My attempts at leaving an obnoxious message for a future customer were thwarted by a pull-tab on each card that prevents a recording from playing more than once until it's removed after purchase.

    I went with a nice, safe Indiana Jones-themed Father's Day card for my own dad. One that doesn't talk or sing because he would probably throw it at my head.

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    Absinthe makes the heart grow drunker

    After a half-hearted six month search I finally consumed legalized absinthe within US borders a few weeks ago. In the weeks leading up to this, I heard rumors that bottles could be found at liquor stores around town. A trip to the Pearl Specialty Market last winter turned up nothing and I never got a chance to follow-up on a reader's tip that absinthe could be found at a liquor shop tucked inside the Garden Home Thriftway.

    The opportunity presented itself at the Highland Stillhouse in Oregon City, a tavern that typically caters to all things Scottish. A few friends and I were sitting in the Highland's upstairs parlor when I noticed a chalkboard on the wall with a tell-tale green fairy drawn on it. The Highland has two different kinds of absinthe on hand, an 80-proof and 120-proof, if memory serves. We went with the 80. Because it's cheaper and I am cheap.

    For $8 a head the bartender brought out a clear bottle, tumblers, sugar cubes, absinthe spoons, the whole bit. I've heard reports that the stuff that's now legal in the US is a bastardized version of what you can find overseas and that the level of wormwood mixed-in is supposedly lower. I'm no expert but I once embarrassed myself by ordering absinthe in a UK bar and, for me at least, the varieties available at the Highlands seemed to pack the same punch. Maybe the effects are psychosomatic but I'm convinced that absinthe offers a different sort of drunkenness than your average liquor.

    None of us spotted Tinkerbell floating around afterwards though. Maybe she arrives sometime after a third glass but I wasn't willing to contend with a bar tab that would get me that far.

    On a related note, I'm convinced the Highlands has the best bar bathroom in the Portland metro area. I don't think any other drinking establishment here can top its English inn decor. If only all public potties could be described as "cozy." Here's a cell phone photo that doesn't even come close to capturing the bed and breakfast feel of it:

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    Gentrification once again rears its well-coiffed head

    There are other places in downtown Portland where you can find post-last call six packs, emergency Slim Jims and other mini mart-type items but none of them were as conveniently-located or iconically sleazy as the Peterson's on SW Morrison. Now it's slated for the chopping block. Thanks for nothing, Portland Business Alliance. You too, bow tie shop who's name shall remain unmentioned that I will never, ever set foot in.

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    Tuesday, June 10, 2008


    Timber ________?

    Tonight the Portland Timbers lost a match against Hollywood United of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (USASA) in the first round of the 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

    I wish I could tell you what that means but there's a lot I don't know about soccer in this country. Despite having attended several Timbers games over the past few years, I still don't understand the rules, why the clock stops after forty-five minutes at the end of each half but the players keep playing for another five to ten minutes afterwards or what getting a "yellow card" means. At one point, I'm pretty there was a band called Yellow Card that recorded a song that may or may not have appeared on a Volkswagen commercial but I can't quite remember the details because I'm 92% sure that the band, the commercial and the song all sucked horribly.

    I must confess that I don't know jack squat about soccer and that I only attend the occasional Timbers game to watch their mascot run around with a chainsaw and the Timbers Army throw around scarves, obscenities and smoke bombs (see above). I cheer when they cheer, swear when they swear and seem to always have a good time despite a complete ignorance of what's going on down on the field.

    This much I do know: the Timbers are currently searching for a successor for Timber Jim, their now retired former mascot. The hour is growing late, I have to get up for work early and I can't seem to find anything beyond a Tribune article from a few weeks back regarding the application process. Please overlook my half-assed research and have a look at one would-be new guy's attempt to fill Jim's boots. Feel free to rate his log-cutting skills in the comments area below.

    I went to tonight's game with two people who know even less about soccer than I do. They spent the whole time starring in a combination of both wonder and horror at the army, the smoke bombs, the chainsaws, etc. I'd like to think that they liked it.


    Monday, June 09, 2008


    Zoe the dog, lover of the local music scene?

    On Sunday my parents and I decided to take their dog Zoe for a walk along the Waterfront. Given that it was the last day of the Rose Festival, this could have quickly turned into a disaster. Zoe's a young dog and had never really been exposed to things like battleships, crowds, rivers, bridges, dragon boats, Canadian geese, parade floats or Saturday Market. Despite the madness, she navigated the Waterfront like a champ but I learned that has a peculiar "phobia."

    Of street musicians. The pooch can't stand them.

    Or so I thought at the time. As we passed alongside Saturday Market we ran into a guy playing the blues on an old Fender. Zoe froze and flopped over on the ground in front of him. It took some nagging and a minute of reassuring pets to get her going again. Thankfully, the bluesman didn't seem offended by this sudden burst of unsolicited criticism from the local furball community.

    Then the same thing happened in the middle of a gigantic crowd as we were trying to make our way to the Hawthorne Bridge. She had no problem diving into an ocean of humans, kids and dogs but the minute Zoe laid her eyes on a drummer banging on a row of buckets she flopped over again. Juxtaposed between the drummer and a large kiosk set up for a Rock Band tournament she completely froze. The clanking buckets and the mangled guitar cords of a gamer botching "Mississippi Queen" formed a, quite frankly, terrifying cacophony of sound.

    And so a circle in the crowd quickly grew around myself and Zoe. I had to quickly think of a way to convince her that neither the video game nor the buckets were going to attack us. After another minute of embarrassment and me saying, "It's ok, music, crappy or otherwise, can't hurt you," Zoe came to her senses again. We made a beeline for the bridge and got her back to the car without further incident.

    Then at the car she flopped over again. It was at this point that my mother decided to reveal that this is some sort of new game for Zoe. I have no idea why she withheld this information up until this point. Maybe she thought it was funny or maybe she was getting back at me for something I did to piss her off as a teenager. So, apparently, the dog now lays down when she doesn't want to leave a given place. Zoe has done this at various local Pet Smarts, her doggy daycare center, at least one dog park and whenever she's brought back in from the backyard on nice days. It's hard to tell if she was scared of the musicians or actually liked them. For the sake of this anecdote, I'm going to roll with the later.

    Regardless, my parents' dog is an expect in the art of nonviolent resistance. I can only assume that she must have caught a History Channel documentary on Gandhi at some point. But is she really a lover of the local music scene? I remain unconvinced until I see her running around with a Blitzen Trapper bandanna tied around her neck.

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    Random Cell Phone Photo # 35

    Spotted in North Portland last winter. Or was it just a few days ago? Given how the weather has been in this city over the past few months it's hard to tell.


    Saturday, June 07, 2008


    Grand Floral wrap-up

    Some final thoughts instead of photos because I accidentally left my camera at home this morning. All the photos I took are on someone else's camera and that's on its way to Eugene right now.

  • Screening Top Gun at a theater called the Baghdad while the city is filled with sailors and battleships are parked along the Waterfront? I guess that's pretty ballsy. Kudos to KUFO for hosting that late night screening on Friday. Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be talking about the parade here. Right...

  • I'm incredibly glad I didn't camp out for this. Heading down there after a half-night's sleep and spending around six hours on the parade route has left me feeling more or less jet-lagged. The 36 ounces of Starbucks sludge I consumed isn't helping. Even after a long afternoon nap my body feels like it's operating on Romanian time right now.

  • Last night I saw an older guy in a fedora sitting on a lawn chair alongside 4th Avenue with some camping equipment. As I was heading towards Broadway this morning he was still there reading a book. Could that have been ol' Doctor Henry Jones Jr.? Naw. Either way: tough old bastard.

  • The parade started at 10 but didn't begin passing our spot on Broadway until well after 11:30, not including the Grand Floral Walk. Grand total wait time: over 4 hours. The really swell part of all of this: we could have shown up five minutes before the parade rolled past and we would have still scored a decent spot.

  • Rose Festival Queen: 18 years old. Rose Festival King: at least 60. Hmmm....

  • This state has entirely too many rodeo queens. I'm pretty sure Oregon has more rodeo queens per-capita than any other state in the union. They. Just. Kept. Coming. And they all looked the same. I'm convinced that Salem might have snuck several of them in the parade. Another state surplus: high school marching bands.

  • A parade this long apparently needs numerous people to zoom around on riding lawn mowers to pick up horse doodie. Some of them were dressed in costumes. One pooper-scooper was suited-up in a Winnie the Pooh. Another was riding around in a Indiana Jones-themed mobile. The best of the lot: the Poop Princess and her parents, who will no doubt subject all of her upcoming boyfriends and husbands to photos of her dressed in a pink dress carrying a "Poop Princess" sign.

  • The Xtreme Cheerleaders? At least 67% xtreme.

  • The award for the Most Bored And Embarrassed-Looking Teenage Parade Participant goes to...one kid, about 14, wearing glasses, dressed in an oversized marching band uniform, carrying a banner for a local high school. Oh, wait, there were hundreds of those in today's parade, all likely thinking "I hate my parents for making me do this."

  • The Jack Sparrow float with the torches that light up with real fire? Neat.

  • Final verdict: The Grand Floral Parade needs more floats that spit dry ice smoke into the crowd. This year's parade only had one of those.

  • Am I glad I went? Sure. Are the other people that sat out there in the rain with me glad they went? Maybe. Will any of us get up early on a Saturday morning for a future Grand Floral Parade? I wouldn't bet on it.

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    Live from the parade route - 9:48 AM

    Ok, it's roughly ten minutes until the parade gets underway but there's no telling how long it will take to reach where we're sitting. Some highlights from the past hour:

  • I guess we're all breaking the law. I was "cited" by a homeless advocate about an hour ago for violating the city's "sit/lie ordinance." A quote from the back: "Everyone needs sleep. It is a medically proven fact that you will die without it."

  • The exchange student has been hit by frisbees and Nerf footballs way more times than I have. Nonetheless, she still has an expensive-looking mini-laptop sitting on the pavement.

  • Another preacher is wandering around handing out gigantic, folded hundred dollar bill pamphlets to anyone who will take them, including kids. You can imagine what's printed on the back. One gem: "Have you ever told a lie? Even what you might call a 'white' one? [NOTE: The rest of this paragraph was mysteriously lost while live blogging on Saturday. It was added back in from a saved draft on Tuesday.] Then you won't be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God." This is a real quote from this strange pamphlet. I seriously wish I was joking but I ain't. Honest. I also don't quite understand how Ben Franklin or the 100 dollar bill work into the whole theme of who is and who isn't getting into Heaven. I sat through all seven episodes of HBO's John Adams miniseries and let me tell you something about Franklin: no saint. I'm pretty sure he spent at least 40% of his time in France sitting in bathtubs while engaged in erotic chess games with random members of the aristocracy (one of many great Franklin scenes from the series). My best guess is that the writer of this religious pamphlet isn't an HBO subscriber or a Paul Giamatti fan.

  • OK, I've got coffee to drink, a scone to eat and I have a million not-so witty remarks to mutter. From the parade route, over and out.

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    The Portland Mercury is better at this than me

    They've been out here since last night watching movies, roasting marshmallows, hanging out with politicians, etc. They're somewhere around here on Broadway but I can't see them from where I'm sitting. AND they have Pop Tarts. (link)

    I have no Pop Tarts. I could go try to steal some but if I abandon my post supposedly I'll be fined or something. My fellow parade watchers are supposed to be here soon. I guess there's still time.

    But I want Pop Tarts NOW! Dammit, I suck at this. All I've got is old Cliff Bars to eat.

    The exchange student knows enough English to ask a cop on a moped for a McGruff sticker. Awesome.

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    Live from the parade route - 8:52 AM

    Wow, they're selling Cartman balloons too. Remember when parents got all freaked out about their kids seeing Jurassic Park? Fifteen years later, the next generation of parents are apparently showing their kids cartoons with stuff that would have been deemed unairable on American TV a decade ago. If I see one of these kids pose for a family photo while holding a South Park balloon the effort of getting down here at the god awful hour of 7:30 will have been all worthwhile.

    A small kid next to me is downing a double-cheeseburger from McDonalds. An exchange student from Asia has just resisted the advances of a smelly hippie PSU guy by pretending to speak no English. Awesome.

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    Live from the parade route - 8:46 AM

    This should be good. A street preacher in a leather jacket is standing on the corner and screaming about Jesus. The tykes across the street are laughing and waving their My Little Ponies and inflatible weapons at him. Everyone else is tuning him out.

    Sweet. A teenage girl is now arguing with the preacher. She just yelled: "There's four year olds out here waiting for a parade and the last thing they want to hear about is Satan killing them and the wrath of God!"

    Good point.

    This has shut him up. He's now heading up Broadway towards the Schnitz. I heard him mumble as he passed me by: "I'm just trying to talk about going to Heaven. It's an exciting thing."


    Damn, it's cold out here.

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    Live from the parade route: 8:30 AM

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    Live from the parade route - 8:26 AM

    105 minutes until parade time and I'm sitting on my brand new $4 lawn chair. The good folks at Rite Aid opened two minutes early to let in a crowd of grandmothers, bleary-eyed fathers and street kids in search of cigarettes. The chairs are on sale and going fast.

    So let's get down to it. I'm going on about four hours of sleep. I forgot to buy anything with caffeine in it and I left my camera at home. Morale at "base camp" is low.

    There's cops all over the place. One just went running down Broadway after someone's baseball. A, er, "rotund" kid is pacing back in forth in front of me singing. A kid across the street is hitting his sister with an inflatable, medieval-style mace just purchased from a guy wearing a florescent umbrella hat. He's pushing a cart up and down the street. It's full of toys, balloon weapons and Spiderman paraphernalia. Wait, isn't Spiderman played out? Shouldn't he be selling Iron Man or Hulk stuff?

    A weird mix of stuff in that cart and I'm getting some odd vibes from the crowd but that's probably just the lack of sleep and a slight hangover talking. My guess is that the weapons are selling the best. The kids on my block are bored out of their skulls. A long wait in cold weather and on a morning with potential rain in the forecast could make a few of them turn violent. If they stage some sort of grade school revolt against the Grand Floral Parade, it's probably for the best that their weapons are made out of plastic and vinyl. I'm thinking there's enough cops around to offset any potential coups.

    A four year old across the street is stabbing the head of a Stewie from Family Guy balloon with a plastic sword. Over and over and over and over again. It's a fairly disturbing sight to behold but her parents think it's funny. Good God! I may not make it out of here alive.

    Also: isn't Family Guy a little risque for kindergartners? Another thing: is there anything unusual about selling 5-year olds balloons of an R-rated cartoon character that spends his free time trying to kill his own mother? Naw, I'm probably just over-thinking this.

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    Mission: Grand Floral Parade - 1:52 AM

    On second thought, uhhhhh, no. Maybe it's because I've been up since 6:30 Am. Maybe it's because I'm all tuckered out from having spent part of the evening laughing at the unintentional subtext littering one of America's most popular action movies with several hundred people. Or maybe it's because it's 51 degrees outside and raining.

    Regardless of the reason, this whole leaving-my-nice-warm-house-to-camp-out-for-a-parade-on-a-sidewalk thing suddenly seems like a bad idea. Sure, people are counting on me to save them a spot but there will be time for that later this morning after I get some damn sleep. I drove up Broadway a few hours ago. There's only a few tents set up. If I get down there at a reasonable hour, I'll surely be able to land a decent spot.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Next update: sometime after dawn.

    Also: why am I doing this again?

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    Grand Floral....why am I doing this again?

    1:30 AM A few hours ago, I was sitting in the Baghdad Theater with a sold-out crowd of drunks waiting for Top Gun to start. Plans to camp out for the Grand Floral Parade had been essentially thwarted by the promise of happy hour at the Portland City Grill, a trip to the Waterfront for elephant ears and carnival rides and the opportunity to spend a few hours laughing at Tom Cruise. Then I borrowed an iPhone and read this. And then I saw this sitting in the comment area on the post below:

    "If you do it - email me your location! We'll put you on TV to talk about what you call the "Stupidity" of this! I'm stuck covering this. I've got my blackberry readY Thanks -

    Anita Kissee



    Hmmm....I guess there's the possibility that two people could jump over from Bojack expecting parade coverage here and there's the slim possibility that I might wind up on the local news if I head downtown to sleep on a sidewalk. Ok, why not? This sort of thing doesn't come up too often and this whole thing is too ridiculous to pass up. I'm going to grab a tent. I'll write another post from "base camp" on SW Broadway...provided I can leech off someone's wi-fi. More to come...

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    Thursday, June 05, 2008


    Grand. Floral. Stupidity.

    I've lived in this city for roughly 82% of my life. This includes childhood. For better or worse (I suspect the former), I've never attended the Grand Floral Parade. This year I'm working out the logistics of camping out overnight on Friday night to watch it. Why? Several factors, not limited to:

  • I actually know people that are willing to go with me.

  • Stupidity. I don't even like parades.

  • To display a sign of solidarity with area homeless people that sleep on Portland's downtown streets every night and/or for the novelty of being able to legally camp in the middle of a major metropolitan city.

  • Stupidity. It's supposed to get cooooooooold on Friday night.

  • I would get to watch city commissioner Randy Leonard land himself in the middle of inevitable arguments with old women and small children.

  • Because I enjoy getting hassled by drunks, employees of the armed services, crazy people, other people stupid enough to camp out over night for a parade (AKA crazy people) and/or the police.

  • Stupidity. My Friday night could be better spent someplace warm that serves both alcohol and is screening Top Gun.

  • A deluded sense of civic pride.

  • Stupidity. Good, old fashioned, all-American stupidity.

  • If I do decide to go through with this I plan on the live-blogging the whole thing. Stay tuned.

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    Tuesday, June 03, 2008



    People are dancing in the streets and waving "Obama" signs over the candidate finally, officially sealing the nomation.

    OK, it was only one guy.

    And one sign.

    And he was standing on a sidewalk along SW Terwilliger.

    And he's the same guy I saw dancing around Multnomah Village with an Obama sign a few weeks ago.

    But that still qualifies as "people dancing in the streets," right?

    Regardless, Wolf Blitzer just said on CNN that this is an Official, Real Deal "Historic Moment in American History." That's good enough for me.



    Make way for a pirate ship

    The long boats are back at Waterfront Village again this year. I spotted this one on Friday night tying up traffic on the Morrison Bridge.


    Monday, June 02, 2008


    Beware of Greeks bearing beer

    I've spent many a weekend evening in the Goose Hollow Inn. This little tavern, owned by former Portland mayor Bud Clark, never seems to get any respect in local drinking guides put out annually by the city's alt-weeklies but it remains my favorite place to toss back a pint around here. The Goose Hollow has a mean Reuben sandwich on the menu and, of all the drinking establishments I've been to in Portland, it draws the most eclectic crowd. Spotted over there on Saturday night:

  • Several members of Willamette Week's editorial staff.

  • Two beauty contestants in evening gowns. I'm pretty sure one was Ms. Mississippi, the other was from Nebraska.

  • Wonder Woman.

  • Barack Obama, Hilary and Bill Clinton.

  • A group in '70s-era gym wear.

  • Four dozen people in togas. They invaded the porch right around the time we went looking for the tab.

  • All of this had a lot to do with the Starlight Run but I don't see how anybody can run 3.1 miles in an evening gown. While most of these people were dressed in costume, I'm pretty sure the folks from WW were dressed in their native garb.

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    And now Old Town Pizza has a second location too

    It's located over on NE MLK and it's housed in a former car dealership that looks more like an old masonic lodge. I wonder if this location has a resident ghost like the one on NW Davis....



    Photos from the doughnut parade

    Last Friday I went to the doughnut parade. It got started late, at least partially because the KPDX Street Team Mobile was pointed the wrong way. Also: the parade tied up traffic. And it featured hearses, roller skaters, cops on motorcycles, an ice cream truck, a teenager in a maple bar suit and a kid dressed up like a carrot, as all good doughnut-themed parades should, I suppose.

    It was all part of a celebration to break in the second location of Voodoo Doughnut. I've never been to the Grand Floral Parade or the Starlight Parade, despite all my years in this burg. No matter. I'm pretty sure the doughnut parade could best them all in the "Boosting Any Given Citizen's Civic Pride" department.

    With its big, iron gate, the new Voodoo Doughnut looks like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory crossbred with a prison and a fast food franchise. I consider this a good thing.





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