Quote of the Day

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Publication Day--Eight Oregon Plays

(Deemer and Sketch)

Round Bend Press is pleased to announce the publication of Charles Deemer's Eight Oregon Plays.

Deemer made his reputation as a playwright in Portland, Oregon in the 1980s by telling stories of loggers and longshoremen, country singers and urbanites, bartenders and drinkers. Here, collected together for the first time, are eight of the best of these, "the Oregon plays."

From Swami Kree in Christmas at the Juniper Tavern to the disgruntled longshoremen of 1934: Blood and Roses, to the agony of the late-great Oregon Sen. Wayne Morse as he opposed the Vietnam War and battled rising neo-Republicanism in American Gadfly--plus a whole lot of characters in between--Deemer has painted a complex, deep-rooted picture of Oregon for theater lovers who desire a taste of the state's real history and color.

Buy this book now, enjoy it, read the plays to your loved ones or classroom full of hungry students--or better, stage them--and appreciate the gift of a writer who has made Oregon his home for four decades.


TS

Le Trou (1960)



Jailbreak...


TS

Monster (2003)



Christina Ricci and Charlize Theron.


TS

Down By Law (1986)




"It's a sad and beautiful world."


TS

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Relaxation

I've started the comb-through of my proof copy of Eight Oregon Plays, plus I have just a third of the manuscript of another first-draft project to analyze before returning it to the author for a re-write.

I'm inching along here, and actually feeling a little better in my battle with the flu, but most of this day will be dedicated to relaxation.

In fact, I think I'll take in the Oregon/Oregon State basketball game today. I haven't seen either team this season, which is odd for me. I usually pay attention to both teams, but I just haven't made basketball a priority of late.

I'm loaded with projects, and with more on the way next week this seems like the day to take off and put a lot of stuff aside briefly. Recharge. Have fun. Reduce rather than inflate.

I'm telling myself I need such a day. Buddy Dooley would agree, I'm convinced.

I'll begin the day tomorrow by ordering proofs of K.C. Bacon's Aphorisms and move on from there. The project has been delayed somewhat as I sought answers from Lulu about the book's distribution status.

I'm not happy with Lulu regarding this matter, but their policy is finally clear to me.

It's just Dooley and me today, bein' pals.



TS

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Eight Oregon Plays Nearing Finish

I received my proof copy of Charles Deemer's Eight Oregon Plays in the mail this afternoon.

What a handsome book! Now I must dig into it as an extra set of eyes to see if everything is in order.

The author found a couple of minor problems. We'll see what I find, if anything. The book looks great, so I don't anticipate trouble.  All one might find is an occasional typo, the result of the fatigue that sets in when prepping a 400 page book like this one.

One thing is certain, the plays are polished and as vibrant as they were when staged in the decades of the playwright's most active theatrical years, the eighties and nineties.

My favorite among these is the award-winning "Christmas at the Juniper Tavern," an Oregon classic, but they are all noteworthy for their visitation upon Oregon's earthy characters, charm, and uniqueness.

That's right.  I said Oregon is unique, mainly because we know it so well.

Depending on how it goes, we'll announce an official publication date soon.


TS

Friday, January 27, 2012

National Signing Day Feb. 1

A must read for college football fans out there, of which I know a few read this blog.

The writer is funny and has a full appreciation of how ridiculous the football recruiting process has become.

I was recruited when I played high school football, a few letters came in the mail. A couple of phone calls.

That was a long time ago when few people understood how the whole thing would blow up, how coaches would be earning two and three million, or more, annually.

Hell, college was inexpensive back then. If you didn't get a scholarship you worked in the summer and saved to pay your tuition.

Now a scholarship is more valuable than ever, because college is more expensive than ever.

The process has become as cutthroat as any other big business.


TS

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chayefsky, Finch, and Lumet

It's too bad I can't embed this.

I regularly put in a lot of time--I call it research--marveling at the genius of Paddy Chayefsky

I'm sorry, but you just do not get this kind of writing in today's cinema, or anywhere else. You don't get this kind of writing anywhere except from the truest visionaries, of which there are few.

I don't know anyone this talented.

It is noteworthy that Pauline Kael, the influential New York critic who died in 2001, hated this film.  Kael's opinions could make or break a film, but she was dead wrong about Sidney Lumet's Network.

Here is Lumet's April, 2011 obit from the Washington Times.

Chayefsky won an Oscar for this script.

Peter Finch died shortly after filming and won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of Howard Beale, whose "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" exhortation might be the rallying cry of the Occupy Movement.

Oscar got things right that year, a rare occurrence.


TS

Some Crap About Marty

(Jay Rothbell, circa 1980)

Here is a mainly forgettable homage to Marty Christensen.

This really is a larger-than-life piece of Willamette Week's typical poop, but the author has a few nice things to say about Marty, so you might be able to get through it.


TS

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Work

Had a good, productive day of editing.

The better the writing the easier that goes, of course, and I feel like I'm getting somewhere, making a little progress with the work.

However, I am now drained, though I'm feeling somewhat healthier after a week battling the flu.

I remember the days when I could pull a double-shift in the restaurant business and it didn't faze me. Sixteen hours? No problem. I may not have always liked it, but I could do it if I had to.

I know I couldn't these days.

Back then all I had to do to stay inspired was count the money, which by the way I spent faster than I made.

I left the restaurant business almost ten years ago, or rather I was summarily dispatched from a certain place, my final position in the trade.  It's been a fairly austere existence since then, but a better one in many ways.

I worked myself out of the business, made a lot of enemies, because I always wanted to be the boss. If someone over me acted the fool and fucked up my agenda, I came out with both barrels blazing.

Or I acted the fool and fucked myself over.  It happens.  For me it usually happened when I was ready to move on anyway.

After a number of years I always assumed I knew what I was doing, although at times I really didn't, but I clung to a lot of stubborn pride. Lord, who hasn't made mistakes?  Who hasn't been plain wrong at least a few times in life?

I say this stuff now. Back then I could just as easily have told someone to fuck off.

I couldn't take criticism, particularly towards the end of my restaurant career. I thought I'd seen it all. I didn't want the kids messing with me.

But that's okay. I was tired of restaurants by then anyway. I certainly don't regret not being in the business now.  I might even enjoy eating out in restaurants more these days had I not worked in so many of them.  As it is I know too much about what goes into the making of an operation.  It isn't always an ideal world.

It's surprising the numbers of naive owners who jump into the business before they know what they're doing.  It's not surprising that they seldom make it.

For me restaurant work was nothing more than a means of survival, which is problematic when an owner or boss expects you to be dedicated and inspired all the time.

Most recently, outside of writing a few books and producing this blog, I drove truck part-time when the work was available, but it often wasn't. It seemed to be a feast or famine situation a lot of the time.

I didn't mind the work too much, but it wasn't anything to depend on, like so much in today's labor market.

Some good things are happening now with Round Bend. If I can keep them going the future may be provided for, at least in the short term.  But how long do I have anyway?

It's gonna be less than I've already had, that is all that is guaranteed!

Things may work out yet for this old country boy from the Oregon woods, who always desired this sort of engagement with the world, something resembling a life in the arts.

I'm in it full-time, too.  It's far more rewarding for me than making an omelet, though I can make a damn good one.

I feel pretty good about things, but I'm drained for this day.


TS

Lucinda Williams & Buick 6



Lucinda Williams joined a helluva band, Buick 6, for this 2009 Cambridge Folk Festival appearance.

She appeared regularly in Portland for years, where her fan base is about half the population. I saw her in a free concert at Waterfront Park in 1998 when she was playing the hell out of this great album, Car Wheels On a Gravel Road.


TS

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Father's House



A poetic masterpiece.


TS

Vermeer

(Girl with Pearl Earring)

Tom Clark's entry today at his Beyond the Pale blog has a pair of wonderful enlarged e-reproductions of Vermeer.

You never want to forget how magnificent Vermeer was, and the fact that he wasn't "rediscovered" until two-hundred years after his death just adds to the mystery of how art functions in our lives.

Clark's blog is always a must see for his melding of poetry and visuals.  You need to bookmark his site and visit it often.



TS

Ned Beatty and Paddy Chayefsky

A couple of posts below I note that Deliverance, the John Boorman film from James Dickey's novel, featured Ned Beatty in his first film role.

That was good stuff because Beatty is brilliant, one of my favorite actors.

Who can forget this Paddy Chayefsky-penned monologue by Beatty as Arthur Jensen in Network?

Embedding is disabled for this scene, or I'd post it directly like the others I occasionally embed here.

I watch this scene once a month or more because I can't get enough of its writing and acting genius.


TS

Coffee

I got a nice rest last night, slept eight hours rather than my usual four to six.

Maybe that's one advantage of being sick. My ass-end has been dragging lower than a show roadster's at a national hot rod convention. I was ready for some real sleep and this morning I woke up more refreshed than usual, jonesing for a good cup of joe.

However, I can already feel my energy draining as I type this.

A few days ago I ran out of coffee filters, so I pilfered a few paper towels from the cleaning lady's cart in the lobby of my apartment complex. She usually leaves it unguarded while she roams the hallways looking for someone to gossip with.

I don't think I'll ever buy coffee filters again. These particular towels make great filters and I have complete access to them because the cleaning cart is always sitting there unattended.

I hope the janitorial staff never changes brands around here because  I doubt if all paper towels make good coffee filters.

The cleaning lady could get fired because she never works, which might skew my method, but I hold out hope that I'll die before that happens.

The coffee filters fast through the towels, resulting in a clean, rich cup of coffee that takes a fraction of the usual brew time.

I'm all about getting my coffee now, which is why I won't stand in line at a Starbucks if the place is busy.

Starbucks is famous for its good service, but it's usually not good enough for me.

I'm saving pennies on filters, people. That is no small accomplishment in these rough times.


TS

Great Scenes from the Movies #12



Deliverance, 1972, from the James Dickey novel. John Boorman directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Dickey. The director and writer early on got into a fistfight on location in Georgia. Dickey was drunk and started the brawl, but the two men made up and Dickey even played a cameo in the film. In addition, this was Ned Beatty's first film role.

TS

Monday, January 23, 2012

Food

You know what the worst part about being sick is?

You can't taste food.  When I'm sick my hunger doesn't diminish, but my taste buds are shot through with indifference.

As much as I love to eat, this is a very disgruntling reality.

If I ate better food every day perhaps I wouldn't be sick at this time, but that is another story.


TS

To Do List

1) Market Eight Oregon Plays.

2) Edit a couple of manuscripts.

3) Laundry (see it's not all glory and roses here at RBP).






TS

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flu Bug

(Haloti Ngata, Baltimore)

I just spent the entire day on my bed watching professional football.

And I'm not a pro football fan by any stretch of the imagination. But with these new flu symptoms I have--I'm not alone apparently--staying on the bed was about all I could muster.

I watched a guy miss a little chip-shot field goal in the first game. I'll bet he feels like shit, too. He could have sent the game into overtime.

He might get the flu tomorrow when he gets fired.

Or jump out a 10 story window in Baltimore.

Prior to the missed field goal, a receiver dropped a game-winning touchdown pass.  Let a little cornerback strip the ball out of his arms.  Sheesh...

Way to go, fella.

In the second game, San Francisco's Kyle Williams made a couple of huge mistakes and helped the New York Giants steal an overtime victory.

Springsteen sang a song about one Kyle Williams back in 1983.  Might be the same one, about the same age.

Take a baby to the river, Kyle William they called him
Wash the baby in the water, take away little Kyle's sin
In a whitewash shotgun shack an old man passes away
Take his body to the graveyard, over him they pray
Lord won't you tell us, tell us what does it mean
At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

"Reason to Believe" from Nebraska

Poor Kyle Williams.

Poor Baltimore. A couple of my favorite old Oregon Ducks play for the Ravens. Haloti Ngata and Ed Dickson.

Better luck next year, guys.


TS

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Joe Paterno

One must wonder how much fight Joe Paterno has left after the scandal of the Jerry Sandusky affair at Penn State University.

Sandusky is the infamous former coach-in-waiting at PSU, whom Paterno cut loose when he heard the first allegations of his former assistant's pedophilia. That happened in the nineties.

Paterno sat on the information, paralyzed by it seemingly.

Fired in November after a long career as the PSU football coach and as the initial indictments against Sandusky became public, Paterno went into seclusion and soon thereafter revealed he has lung cancer.

The 84 year-old's health is deteriorating quickly according to this ESPN story.

UPDATE: RIP.



TS

Friday, January 20, 2012

Etta James--1938 to 2012



One of the greatest R&B singers to ever live.

Check that. One of the greatest singers ever, period.

Her Mama was a prostitute, just 14 at Etta's birth. The singer believed Minnesota Fats was her father, but never proved it.

The L.A. Times obit.


TS

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why a Design?

This is the cover of K.C. Bacon's new book.

There is a philosophy concerning why we decided on this simple design, which hearkens back to the early days of publishing in western civilization.

We think it conjures images of the aphoristic form as an historical method, which was first a process of writing sprung  from sage messengers and steeped in oral traditions

As publishing progressed, changing attitudes and typographical experiments colluded to change the way books look, but in the beginning they expressed a quite simplified meaning and artistic expression.

Here are aphorisms, what more could you possibly need on the cover?

Very pure and down to earth, the message was delivered via the form, as all readers needed to know was what the book concerned.  Opening it, readers might judge for themselves its sage qualities.

To that affect, this cover is a bit of an homage to one of the oldest methods of expression and publishing's birth.

In addition, we chose a pocket-size format, the better for you to whip it out of your jacket or purse when you feel like impressing your knowledge upon your friends and/or bar buddies.

See?  RBP aims to please.


TS

Sneak Preview (Cover)

(Buddy Dooley, circa 2000, who was not a character in one of CD's Oregon plays, but would have certainly fit right in)

Charles Deemer has posted the cover of the forthcoming RBP edition of his Eight Oregon Plays at Writing Life II.

Very handsome indeed.

I expect to have this book and K.C. Bacon's Aphorisms in hand as proofs by next month.

Then we'll throw a publishing party at your house.


TS

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two New Projects Nearing Completion

Discounting the cold, wet, miserable weather here in the Pacific Northwest, things are moving along nicely with Round Bend.

I just received a batch of ISBNs from Bowkers, so we're set to publish a pair of new books that have been in the barrel for a few weeks now.

Charles Deemer has collected eight of his Oregon plays for publication, and we're set to bring that out once we shape the POD files up.

The second book is a collection of K.C. Bacon's aphorisms, a nice addition to his previous two collections published by Round Bend (see the sidebar).

I'll try to post both books' covers in the coming days offering you a sneak-peek.

It's a good day, except for the damn weather!

Maybe I'll move this operation to Mexico next year, when I officially retire (not from RBP, but from everything else). I had birthday 61 Monday.

Next year at this time I might be packing up and heading south.


TS

Monday, January 16, 2012

Structure and Craft

One draft manuscript down and one to go.

I've been tasked with giving a pair of writers feedback on their recent work, a job that reminds me of what incredibly hard work it takes to bring a book, particularly a novel or novella, to fruition.

Rare is the writer who can sit down at his writing table and produce a first draft of a work that doesn't need development and polish, a nuts and bolts work-over, which is why good writers always say that all writing is rewriting.

The author of the draft I've just finished and commented on has written and published several fine novels, and what I've seen from his latest tells me that many, many of the elements for another success are in place.

The story has a wonderful structure and uses several unique methods to advance the tale in a non-linear fashion, weaving events from U.S. history into a contemporary account of the lives of its characters.

Finding the proper structure for a novel has always seemed to me to be the most difficult aspect of writing one, which is perhaps why I've never completed one to my satisfaction. My sense of what a good novel should do for the reader is guided by its elements of craft.

I truly admire people who can get the job done and who are dedicated to the rigorous work of finishing--artists dedicated to craft in other words.

Good storytelling involves craft initially. Without it, the writer will deliver a ragtag piece that hasn't the proper form, or loses its direction before eventually losing the reader as well.

A good writer gets it down, gives the tale the structural integrity it needs to stand in a strong gale, then goes deep into its interior. There he builds the windows and the doors, firms up the arches and ceiling, scrubs it thoroughly with honesty and makes the thing organic and whole.

With a series of painterly strokes, the thing begins to gain color and a newness that absorbs the reader in moments of recognition and, at its most powerful, delivers him into another realm, a world of make-believe that is as real as actual life.

It'll be interesting to see what becomes of the tale I've just read and the one I'm about to study. I surely hope that what I've contributed in the way of feedback assists the author of the first book, and I have the same hope for the second manuscript, which I plan on delving into this week.

This kind of stuff makes this job interesting. Watching a project come together--indeed being active somewhat in it--is both a pleasure and a learning experience.


TS

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marty Christensen

(Marty with William S. Burroughs, likely at Kesey's farm)

Marty Christensen, who died Jan. 5 of pancreatic cancer at age 69, is given tribute in a series of remembrances here.

Mine reads:

"Marty tended to crowd your face, leaning in, drops of spittle mixed with beer flying at you from the corners of his mouth. If you objected he thought you quite ridiculous, that you might not have anything to feed his poetic hunger, and so the question became what use could you possibly have in the world? Hygiene never entered the equation. It was as unimportant as a job. You had to be careful as his madness threatened to become your own."


TS

Friday, January 13, 2012

How it Works

I have a lot of fun with this blog.

It is always interesting to view my Feedjit tracker and see where people are when they land at Round Bend. I've written on an array of topics here, and people around the world have an interest in many of the things I write about.

Eighty-percent of my traffic comes from Google, people surfing for stuff.

They don't stick around this blog for long in most cases, and you have to wonder if the landing even registers in their surf-soaked minds at times.

Once, months ago, I wrote a short analysis of the similarities between the poetic sensibilities of Baudelaire and Bukowski. I see that combo a lot; people around the world seem to understand and hunger for the poetry of those two giants.

The poets have a tremendous affinity, which Buk may have understood, though Baudelaire was in no position to appreciate the fact. He died many years before Buk arrived on the scene.

I hope when the lovers of Buk and Baudelaire see my short essay here they appreciate what I've written.

Who knows?

Another search topic I see frequently is Irwin Shaw's "The Eighty-Yard Run." This masterful short story, which I've cited several times here, is a big draw. Would-be short story writers out there, trying to solve the mysteries of the masters, want to know what makes this story special.

I've written quite a a bit here about Africa and the AIDS epidemic, a huge subject worldwide, of course. Readers from Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain are digging deep into the subject, curious about what's what on the battlefront against the insidious disease.

Round Bend, without a technical and scientific approach to the epidemic, may give these readers some small input regarding the tragedy of AIDS.

Lord knows this blog won't sate them, but they look nonetheless. If only for a moment.

Other subject matter supersedes all of the above however as I read through my list of visitors' searches every day.

 The two biggest? "Punk lyrics" and "big tattooed tits."

Are you surprised?

Every degenerate asshole in the world arrives here because I've written, fleetingly, about punks and sucky tattoos and big creamy tattooed tits, themes of great import in the new modernism evidently.

And it's happening all because I, in a moment of absurd clarity, made this blog entry on July 21, 2010.

Now isn't that something?



TS

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Old School

I've never been a big telephone guy.

Even back when I was a kid and the chicks called my house to talk to me in order to impress me I'd shun the telephone.

"TS!", my mother would cry out when the phone rang and some hot eighth-grader wanted to hear my velvety voice woo her for a movie date, "it's for you!"

To hell with it, I had no use for the telephone. Sure, I'd go make out with said babe in the movie house, but I wasn't about to make a date out of it. Over the phone!

I wanted to suck her tongue, not talk to her!

I didn't like phone conversations. I feel the same way all these years later.

Alas, I was just gifted minutes on a small cell phone: the thing is so tiny it feels like an unhatched sparrow egg in my hands.

Quite unusable.

I gave my new number to a friend today. He called and left a voice mail.

Unintelligible.

How does this shit work?

I miss land lines. Do they even have land lines these days?



TS

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On to New Hampshire

The transparency of the corruption in American politics amazes me and has for a long time now.

A handful of multimillionaires fight it out to see which one of them can be the most vulgar.

Yet people willingly turn a blind eye.

Millions are spent on attack ads that mostly avoid the need for policy decisions that should be on the front burner in any political debate.

Serious debate rarely happens, replaced by a sideshow of poor punditry and gossip that would make a starlet blush.

Elections are bought and sold like commodities, the seat to the highest bidder while we are bombarded with nonsense and egoism of the ugliest variety.

People are persuaded to believe that the essence of politics is who can fart the loudest and make the biggest stink.

The process reeks of course, and it is the fault of every American who buys the package and allows it to happen by repeatedly voting against his best interests.

In the main, the largest segment of U.S. society gets raped while the fat cats dance off with the spoils.

It's a crying shame, but it'll likely never change.


TS

Monday, January 9, 2012

Star Power

I've had a couple of manuscripts under my nose of late and missed a day or two posting here, but suffice to say things are brewing in the Round Bend editorial offices overlooking the parking lot next door to the Unitarian Church in S.W. Portland.

Prime locale, wonderful view.

I'll announce more concerning a few publications that are in the works, but this isn't the right time to go ahead with that.

Instead I'd like to tell you that I've relaxed the past two evenings by taking in Lonesome Dove, the iconic Western written by Larry McMurtry and turned into a made-for-television flick back in 1988.

I watched the entire thing. It was awful, but engaging for the star power of Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall.

Never in the history of filmmaking have two greater actors  had so little to work with.

I can recall wondering what all the fuss was about when the series started. I never bothered to investigate.

Turns out I didn't miss much, but I'm glad I finally saw it.

I'll bet my mother liked it. She liked Westerns to begin with, being a big fan of Zane Grey. I don't remember talking to her about it, but it was her kind of sentimental bullshit.


TS

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thomas Frank

Michael Kinsley is a little bitch, but he mostly gets it right in this review of Thomas Frank's new book about the American oligarchy.

Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? is a seminal study of America in these times.

Can't wait to read this latest.


TS

Friday, January 6, 2012

Faith-Based Politics

You want to know something?
Hitchens was right about these dumb shits.

Hitchens pissed me off more than once in the past decade. But he was on the money regarding evangelicals.

If you're a religious person, fine.  Just keep your dumb, reactionary politics out of my sight.

Praise the Lord!



TS

Jonesing



Self explanatory.


TS

Heaven



One of the great moments from Stop Making Sense.


TS

The Buddy Holly Story



Busey takes a lot of crap these days for his persona, but he did an excellent job in this bio-pic of Buddy Holly.


TS

Dead Flowers



Jagger and Richards wrote it, but I always preferred Townes' vocals.   In this version he sounds resigned to the inevitable, tired, purely emblematic of deadness.

TS

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ballad of a Thin Man



The Malkmus version from I'm Not There.


TS

Hicks' Top 15

Bob Hicks, the former Oregonian arts writer who now keeps an arts journal on the Web, thinks Charles Deemer's In My Old Age is among the best books he read in 2011.

Hicks placed Deemer's book of poems on his top fifteen list for the year.

I'd have to agree that the book is pretty darn good, and I also believe Hicks has it rated too low.

It's in my top five.

Lists are subjective by nature of course, but you can see my top fifteen by scrolling down the sidebar to the right.


TS

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Loaded

I'm changing hats this week.

Off comes the football helmet with the big yellow O plastered on the side. On goes a visor with a shaded-green bill.

I'm evolving from wide-eyed football analyst to squinty-eyed editor, and because I am more capable than most of making the transition from huddled head-banger to lonely pencil-wielder, I expect to have a great deal of fun in the short term.

I will be reading the work of a pair of writers who evidently trust my profound literary good sense, if not my grammatical expertise.

Such wise men are rare, so I humbly thank them for allowing me the privilege.

A whale of a story has landed in my lap from an author given to lusty meditations on boats and commerce, on Mexican whores and lazy workers, on capital and risk, on things that matter in the rainy world of sage-poets and dreamers.

From another source, I shall soon receive a manuscript telling a story that, like the recipe for a good, albeit questionably healthy breakfast, has been circulating in the vast space of the cyber-world for months.

The overriding question is--will the traveler find nirvana at the end of the road?

What we have shall soon be revealed first to me and a few others, and later, with luck, to you.


TS

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Not Bad, Just Not Good Enough

It feels a little anti-climatic now, the Ducks' victory in the Rose Bowl.

The Oregon football program has been good for so many seasons in a row that winning a meaningful game--that is becoming champion of something besides the PAC--was only a matter of time.

The Rose Bowl last night felt like just another game, which, interestingly, is exactly what Darron Thomas said in a post-game interview.

It hadn't sunk in for Thomas in other words that winning the Rose Bowl is a significant accomplishment. The game felt like any other to Thomas, who has lost just three games in two seasons as Oregon's starting quarterback.

Winning a lot in a sense makes one jaded, expectant of the desired results. Perhaps that is one way of measuring both the depth of my boredom at season's end and the stature of the Oregon program under the leadership of Chip Kelly.

Twenty years ago I might have been overwhelmed with excitement about what happened yesterday in Pasadena.

These days I prefer to rue last season when Oregon should have beaten Auburn in the national championship game.

(Always keeping that negativity close, because that's where one best controls it.)

The Rose Bowl is nice, if not the ultimate football prize.  It'll be interesting to see how things play out next year, with Darron Thomas returning for a third season, with the stunningly gifted De'Anthony Thomas earning more carries in the likely absence of LaMichael James, and with 34 of 44 players returning from the two-deep roster, many of them young stars ready to shine.

Maybe I'll conjure interest in the championship game this week, but it's unlikely, because I really have no use for LSU and Alabama, despite knowing they are both excellent.

Feels to me like the season is finally over.

Good.


TS

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Greatest

I've said this myself, and I believe we can all assent, LaMichael James is among the greatest.

Here's to a Happy New Year and a Duck win in the Rose Bowl tomorrow.


TS