To the Point

There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed.--TL Simons

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kansas v. Kentucky

(Former Portland-area prep stars Terrence Jones and Kyle Wiltjer play for Kentucky)

I have no idea how Kansas won its semi-final over Ohio State tonight, and I watched the game!

It was close and went to the wire, and as exciting as hell to watch as I attempted to discern which team wanted to give it away the most.

That's called pressure.

Kansas reminds me of the Oregon team that went to the Final Four last decade with the "Two Lukes" (Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson), with Freddie Jones and Aaron Brooks leading the charge. That team had four decent starters and an inept, tall center who wouldn't have been playing--except he was so freakishly tall he could stand flat-footed in front of the basket and occasionally swat away or alter shots.

No Russell, Chamberlain, Jabbar, or even a Shaq was in sight tonight, either.

The Jayhawks' center, a kid named Withey, is a 7-footer with absolutely no body control, touch, or instincts aside from his shot-blocking/changing prowess. He managed to keep OSU close in the last couple of minutes by touching the ball too much, making an array of bone-headed plays-- bad passes, traveling in the lane, kicking a rebound out of bounds, etc., etc.

Kentucky, with its freakish young athletes, will murder Kansas in an anti-climatic finish of what has really been an entertaining NCAA Tournament. They played in November and Kentucky beat Kansas by ten. Could be by twenty on Monday night.

Kentucky let Louisville stay around too long but was clearly the dominate team in the first game today.

I'm glad I purchased the NCAA Tournament package online this year. However, if the price doubles next year like most everything else tends to from year to year, it might be a different story next March.


Friday, March 30, 2012


I was suckered into playing the Mega-Millions jackpot today.

I didn't win.

Round Bend will therefore carry on and apply for a tax-exemption next week.


My Day

(photo by Lee Santa)

A day filled with editing the very funny book, "A Society of One," by K.C. Bacon.

If this one, the second book in the New Rotterdam Trilogy, doesn't turn the heads of people in the same manner as Deemer's Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones, I will be disappointed.

The Trilogy will appear in late summer if our schedule holds up.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Let Us Not Forget

In the old neighborhood, in the early nineties, Allen Ginsberg sat at the end of Seafood Mama's bar as I walked in one evening.  He sat near the kitchen, amid the smoke-haze and unending jazz, waiting to go on stage at Cinema 21 across the street.

I nodded in his direction.    I wanted to go over and speak to him, but he looked like he was rehearsing his lines and didn't want to be bothered at the time.


Marketing and How it Works

I went out yesterday in the afternoon to deliver a copy of my memoir to the DP on the new RBP video project that is currently in pre-production.

Multi-tasking, I sat down at my favorite lunch spot, a sports bar on West Burnside, and decided on a bite to eat.

I placed the book on the bar and ordered a burger and a beer. The plan called for me to pass the book to my DP as he drove past the establishment on the way to his workplace in Beaverton, a Portland suburb. (Good plan, too; he caught a red light in front of the place and I passed the book to him through the passenger-side window--mission accomplished.)

But before that happened, my server, a nice lady named Elaine, took my order and placed it with the kitchen. She brought my beer, set it down, and noticed the book.

"Did you write that?" she asked, seeing my name on the cover of A Marvelous Paranoia.

I nodded, and it started. "I didn't know you were a writer!" she exclaimed, truly surprised and excited to learn as much about one of her best regulars.

(I'd told Elaine before that I am a writer/editor, but everybody says that, right?)

"Oh yes," I began, hoping to make her laugh, because Elaine has a great, happy spirit filled with laughter. "You read the New York Times Best  Seller's list, don't you? I'm always at the top."

"Where's the paparazzi?" Elaine shot back.

"Outside, waiting," I said.

Elaine picked up the book, holding it in a manner that told me she reveres books and reading. She read the back cover blurb. Her eyes glistened with pleasant recognition.

She glanced around. There was time to peruse the inside for a moment. Her smile and pleasure while reading deepened.

I was thinking, jeez, if her boss Gus catches her she'll get in trouble. She read a little, turned the pages to another section and read a little more.

"Can you buy this in the bookstore?" she asked.



"Yes, Elaine."

Then she guessed the price on the nose--fifteen dollars.

"Plus shipping," I said.

"Well," she said, placing the book down. "I'll buy one tonight."

Off Elaine went to help another customer.

And that is how the RBP marketing plan went yesterday, moments before I passed the book through the window to Terence, my video DP.

Every day should be so good.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Final Poem of Roger Blakely III


I've been having those feelings
that life was better with music, mystery, 
empty bottles, and early morning 
poetry festivals from the bottom 
of the drunk tank floor.

I do reserve the right to be lost at any time.
So that I never need to be frightened,
I carry at all times
on my person
a small unseaworthy sailboat,
vast uncharted waters,
the prayers of past generations,
and a category five hurricane.

I tell you, I miss the late night air.

Roger Blakely III


Looking for Three Sisters

(This view of the Three Sisters is from the east side of the Cascades. I grew up on the west side.)

I put a copy of my memoir in my director of photography's hands this afternoon, as we prep for our shoot late next month in my hometown.

Though a friend of mine, he's been reluctant to read the book. Feels he'll be disappointed or something.

He might also be so much the photographer that he mistrusts words. Probably believes the book is chock-full o' lies, which it isn't. Exaggerations, perhaps, but...

Sort of funny. Now he has to read it. I'll certainly be able to tell if he doesn't. But it is the source of the type of imagery that must be captured to make the video I have in mind.

One example: In the book, I wrote about being able to see the Cascade Mountains peaks known as the Three Sisters from my back yard when I was a kid. The script obviously demands that view to replicate the feel of the book in that section.

That is just one of many images that we'll be seeking in our initial shoot.

This project feels right, worthwhile, like it is absolutely necessary for me to bring to the fore.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Movies


"A Society of One"

I am editing the very funny pages of the second book in K.C. Bacon's The New Rotterdam Trilogy.  This book follows the artist Selden in New Rotterdam as he copes with women and other friends and enemies who may or may not understand his vision of himself as "a society of one."

Selden speaks to the commitment of the artist to his work of course, and what he must do to preserve it. Yet this is a farce, and so Bacon's artist must learn that he is not alone in the world, that even in a society of one others matter.

Such as his would-be girlfriend, Christina, and best friend Curley.

The author has the story, flow and tone of this down pat.

It is a pleasure to read and work with material like this.

The Trilogy will appear sometime this summer.



Man, I went from a general lethargy to a case of flash flu in no time at all last night. Spent what seemed like hours in the middle of the night hunched over the bathroom sink basin tossing cookies. (Or perhaps I had   a touch of food poisoning.)

Be careful, whatever it is may be going around out there.

I'm excited as hell about the opportunity to shoot a docu-style video of A Marvelous Paranoia. Shooting begins in late April in my hometown of Sweet Home, Oregon. The book is built in a vignette style of short reminiscences, with an opening chapter that introduces some of the book's themes and anticipates what follows--a recounting of growing up in the Willamette Valley, my escape from small town life, a grinding poverty that I didn't even recognize until I got out to see how others live, a high-school career filled with sports and sports writing fantasies, an unfocused university life (paid for by working in mills), a short political activist/organizing career in New England, a return to disappointment in San Francisco, and finally resettlement in Portland.

The story picks up in the fifties when, as a child, I was taken to the berry and bean fields of the Willamette Valley and told to earn my keep. It ends with me taking a trip to Paris in the late 70s, determined to become an expat writer, and returning home with my tail between my legs.

With all that said, it's a funny book.

I have planned and written segments of a second volume that picks up with life in Northwest Portland circa 1980, when the Nob Hill neighborhood was unencumbered by the greed and phoniness of its current incarnation. The neighborhood meant something to me after my short-lived literary career in Europe. I look at the old neighborhood now and rue what passes as progress in the American mind.

I'll finish that book when I finish it, but right now I see an opportunity to do something special with the video.

I'm on the lookout for an actor to record the book so that the parts of the text I include are vocally polished and articulate.

The pictures, stills and video, will have a collage method designed to accentuate the story.

You've seen this sort of thing before, but you haven't seen this one, which is why I'm jazzed about it.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Writer's Block

I have writer's block now.

Check back tomorrow. Perhaps I'll be cured by then.

Write through it.  Write through it...


On Track

I have a couple of books to edit over the next weeks. When I am done I will have but one certainty. That is that I will have done the best job I can to bring  forth something both the author and I can respect. It will have a luminous glow, and as with every new book published by Round Bend Press, it will be my newest favorite.

Bottom line: I do this to please me. If the authors I work with like what I do, allow me to do it, it's gravy.

I have a video to make, an adaptation of my memoir, A Marvelous Paranoia. Thanks in no small part to three friends who wants to see something good happen with Round Bend, I have the tools and resources to do this.  We begin our shoot at the end of April.

The team is in place; the ideas are roiling.  The storyboard is progressing.  So read the book if you want the big picture.

Or don't.

All I can tell you is that it will be the most self-indulgent (except for an earlier edit of this post) yet beautiful thing I've accomplished to date.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Final Four Set

The Final Four is set.

Kentucky v. Louisville, a classic in the offering. Interstate rivalries are always fun. Throw in the fact that Louisville's coach, Rick Pitino, once coached at Kentucky, and you have March Madness at its best.

This Final Four was not in the least surprising, but it is an incredible field.

The second game is Kansas v. Ohio State. Kansas, the traditional college basketball power, just knocked off Roy Williams and the University of North Carolina. Williams once coached at Kansas.

We're talking pure-bloods here. These are elite coaches and traditional teams that show up year after year.

Are the programs clean?

Who knows and who cares this time of year?  If you want to see college ball the way it is meant to be played, don't miss the action next weekend.

Even I'm excited by the cast of characters.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Non-Profit Motive

The "small" but mighty Round Bend Press published Charles Deemer's new novel, Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones a few weeks ago, and it is getting rave reviews, as with this fine turn from Bob Hicks at Art Scatter.

"Small" and mighty mind you.

Give me a break.

I'll inform my readers, because the reviewer knows nothing about it apparently. Round Bend Press is solely and expressively built to highlight the genius of authors unaffiliated with the "big" publishing concerns.

I am insulted by the reviewer's mention of the smallness of Round Bend. These ideas are not small. The book was a big idea, and so is the press.

Given that, why mention it? Because the author is not making millions?

Or, more likely, because there are millions of readers out there who wouldn't know a good book if it fell off the shelf and cracked them on the head?

Save the "small" talk.

Hicks is right about the book, however. It's damn good. But he shouldn't get RBP confused with an unrealistic idea of what publishing, particularly as it applies to Round Bend Press, really is.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Roger

As buoyant as I feel today, as relaxed, as clear, as hopeful, as full of life as a realistic old man can feel--I still mourn my friend Roger, who died two years ago on this day.

To his family, I say I loved him.

Roger Blakely III was a great friend of mine and I miss him.


Practicing Reality

I'm set to make a trial video interview this afternoon. I've found a willing victim who will allow me an opportunity to learn as I go, work out some craft bugs, and familiarize myself with the beast.

I made a trial video last night, set the camera on a tripod, used the white balance feature to acclimate to the lighting in my apartment. Did my best acting job. Not bad technically, a set scene of me scrounging around my kitchen looking for something to eat.

In fact, it achieved a kind of poetic quality, a two-minute take of existential angst.

I will not show this video, because I am apparently quite overweight, spend too much time at the refrigerator in reality, and look older than my age. The camera revealed this, setting a new standard for clarity and truth in pictures.

I reaffirmed the long-held judgment that I am a method actor, that is I am acutely aware that for me the transference of what I know--the very essence of my soul--to the screen may only be done by an assertion of my will.

In other words, this camera works wonders.

I'll never be in another video because of this recognition, so I would like to thank the Canon Corp. for assisting me with my revelation.

But this isn't about me. It's about making quality pictures of others who, like my friend later today, may allow me the indulgence of my vision/quest.

To become Werner Herzog.

Or somebody like him.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Moving Ahead

I'm pleased today to reveal that Round Bend has procured a camera, with the intent to begin a series of video projects that I've been brainstorming for a while now.

It will take me some time to get up to speed with the tech, but by late spring and throughout the summer I'll be making a concerted effort to integrate more original video into this blog.

Look for interviews, private and public readings, narratives of life in the literary and visual arts, even a travelogue that I plan on producing this summer when I head out to Minnesota to visit family.

Also in the planning stages is a new book by a Round Bend writer who has finished the first drafts of a trilogy that is both quite funny and arresting. It follows numerous minions of a port city called New Rotterdam as they cope with life and love in the rainy Northwest.

We're shooting for a late summer release of The New Rotterdam Trilogy.

Things are on the uptick. It's good.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Four Old Photos on a Contemporary Theme

Billy Bragg brings it in "Ideology."


Monday, March 19, 2012


For dinner this evening I'm finishing off the last of my traditional St. Paddy's Day corned beef and cabbage special.

I made it my way this year, cooked the beef in a crock for hours, boiled the potatoes, carrots and cabbage al dente in a separate pot, lots of salt and pepper, and finished in a swath of real butter--fantastic!

The chunk of corned beef I purchased was just the right size for a solo eater--two dinners and a couple of bonus lunches.

So damn good, I think I'll see if any is left at my Safeway and stock up tomorrow. I could eat the stuff for another month straight and not tire of it.

When I was in the restaurant trade, one of the places I worked had a very different recipe than my very simple approach. Oven-finished the beef in wine, added garlic and cloves.

I hate cloves.

I never liked the restaurant's recipe.   Didn't see the attraction. One year I under cooked the dinner and managed to piss off all the regulars as well as the establishment's owner and beef purveyor.

It became something of a joke, not to let me fuck up the traditional dinner the next year. Call in a real chef! Etc.

I worked in that place for eight years. I think I got it right most of the time, at least for my customers and their guests.

This year I did it my way, and that is how it should be, will be from here on out.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

George the Gambler

The Sweet 16 is set for the NCAA championship march to the Final Four in New Orleans.

It's an interesting field, but somewhat predictable. The number-one seeds are all intact. A couple of famous number-twos are not.

 Duke and Missouri fell hard.

Xavier is rising, but that really isn't a surprise. It's a basketball school. Four teams from Ohio are represented, which really isn't a surprise either if you've been paying attention.

The best two teams on the West Coast didn't make it into the tourney. They were relegated to the kissing-cousin NIT. Oregon polished off Iowa today in the NIT quarterfinals and faces Washington, the PAC regular-season champion, in Seattle Tuesday night. It will be an exciting game.

I expect Washington to take care of business at home and go to NYC for the NIT Final Four next week, but I will root for my Ducks.

I expect Kentucky to win it all in March Madness by-the-way, but I've been wrong before.

I can, however, tell you about a time when I wasn't wrong and picked all eight winners in the Sweet 16.

It happened back in the 1990s. My friend George, who is dead now but who lived with me at the time because he had a bad gambling habit and an inability to keep a steady job, walked into Seafood Mama's one night and pulled his Sweet 16 bracket out of his jacket.

He set it in front of me and said, "What do you think?"

I hadn't given it much thought, because although I like basketball and at that time was a huge fan of March Madness, I really never gambled on the games. Gambling was just something I never bothered to do, even though I knew the teams and their tendencies, and may have been viewed somewhat as an authority on the subject.

First, I'll confess I have a hard time keeping track of who is in the NCAA tourney in it's early stages every year. There are just too many teams to keep organized in my brain--64 back then, 68 now with the "play-in" round. But once the field narrows, I know my stuff.

For example, this year I did not realize Norfolk State was in the tourney until they were pulling off an upset; so I had to go back and research Norfolk State to see what was up.

The year George asked for my opinion, I knew everybody. It was the Sweet 16 after all, and there had been few surprises. I scanned George's bracket.

One through eight, I chose my winners.

"Are you sure?" George said, shooting me a serious rum-soaked gaze, the inveterate gambler's look.

"I'm here to help, George," I said.

It was pure bullshit. Do you even appreciate how hard it is to pick the eight winners of the Sweet 16? (If you think you can do it invest in a pool and make some money.)

George had paid pretty good money to somebody to play in his Sweet 16 pool, so he was in with my picks and his own gauzy thinking.

I forgot about it until George walked into Seafood Mama's with a wad of cash the next weekend after the field had been set for the Final Four.

He peeled a fifty from his wad and gave it to me.

"What's this?" I said.

"I won the pool," George said.

It was a nice tip, one I didn't expect. But that was George the gambler. He figured he could share the wealth because I offered my two-cents.

I never bothered to ask him how much he won in his Sweet 16 pool, but judging by the way we drank for the next several days it was considerable.

And he even chipped in on the rent for my pad the next month.



No kidding, my wireless faded in the final minute of the VCU/Indiana classic in the Rose Garden last night, and so I missed Indiana's surge to win.

My kind of luck of late.

Actually, I've seen most of what I've wanted to see out of the tourney to date. So perhaps things are not as bad as I whine.

It's hard for me to sit still through an entire game as I did as a mega-fan of March Madness years ago.  So I don't mind missing a little here and there.

Yet that was disappointing.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Uglier Than Oregon

Those uniforms Baylor is wearing tonight look like something out of the reject pile at the University of Oregon.

The color is called Grello (green and yellow, get it?). Oregon rejected it finally after people complained it damaged their eyesight.

At least it's a good game. Or it was. Baylor is pulling away.


Mark Wilson/Babysitter's Song

(Mark Wilson at "Bards Between Bardos," Forest Park, Portland, Oregon, 1979).

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s in Portland, the Nob Hill/Northwest neighborhood was the place to live if your quest included an absorption of or participation in the arts. Rents were cheap, a number of old-fashioned working-men's bars dotted 21st and 23rd Avenues, a 24-hour restaurant called Quality Pie sat at Marshall and 23rd, and so few cars crowded the streets that the place had a kind of eerie quality through their exclusion.

(I can recall two friends of mine hitting golf balls off the pavement on a Sunday afternoon along 23rd Avenue without concern for mistakenly hitting any parked cars; the street was empty.)

The neighborhood became gentrified in the 1990s and turned into a shopping mall, the traffic became unbearable, rents skyrocketed, and many of the "good old houses" that dated from the 1920s backward to mid-nineteenth century came under the developers' gaze.

Those old dwellings, sectioned into rooming houses or communal rentals, were a source of inexpensive living, places where artists and writers could practice their crafts while scraping by with a survival job, often in the neighborhood itself.

Many of the old houses were, regrettably, torn down to free the land for condo structures and the expansion of Good Samaritan Hospital during the rapid gentrification period of the 1990s.

Some survived however, as neighborhood activists attempted to influence the rapid change by demanding a voice in the process. A second wave of developers began to work with the old structures, remodeling them, and even occasionally moving the houses to new neighborhood locales in order to preserve them.

Things didn't remain cheap, but at least some of the houses with their beautiful architecture remained to please the eye.

Several of my best friendships in the neighborhood were sealed in the pre-gentrified Northwest in 1977 and carried on until 2000, when I finally moved out of the neighborhood.

I met Mark Wilson at the Breadline Cafe on 23rd Avenue during the summer of 1977. He lived in the neighborhood for a decade after that before relocating to San Francisco where he could find a larger pool of families willing to employ him as an Au Pair, his profession of choice after his dishwashing career ended in the early 1980s.

One of Wilson's truly endearing qualities was his love of babies. It was amazing to watch him around babies and, particularly, toddlers. I never saw a toddler take a dislike to Wilson; rather it was the opposite. The kids hated to see him leave for home in the evening, because Mom and Dad were such adult louts by comparison.

Wilson could play and teach and demonstrate joy all at once, a life babies covet.

Here is a poem by Wilson from At the Wire, published March, 1987 as a handmade, spine-stapled-sheaf first edition.

Babysitter's Song

I take care of the child

and it doesn't matter who

I am. I take care of the child

since she was seven weeks.

Now she is fourteen months

(I am four hundred sixty-two

months) and I have shared

her months too. Such joyous months.

Such joyous months. Such sunny silence

in the neighborhood.

A wind comes up, shakes the risen

window, tosses the baby's bright hair.

Her tiny hands grip the world (the sill).

My only picture of hope.

Mark Wilson (1987)

A Wilson short story and two of his poems can be found in Cold Eye, published in 2011 by Round Bend Press.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Charles Lucas/Mirror Frames

Detail of a ceramic mosaic mirror frame by Charles Lucas.


Buddy Dooley/Terraces

Buddy Dooley (2012)


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pac Prevails

Someone should break the news to the two sportscasters who called the Colorado/UNLV game that the lower seeded team just shook their East Coast bias.

God, UNLV is great. They didn't win, however.

Colorado used a stellar defense to hold down the over-rated Rebels from the Hotel and Restaurant Management school out there in the Nevada desert town of Las Vegas, where the largest employers in town are all controlled by organized crime.

It was a pathetic exhibition of basketball, but the good guys won.


Dancing/Swimming Pool

I caught this 2003 flick featuring Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier last night. In French and English, it follows a mystery writer through a bad case of writer's block to the promised land, i.e., a book about what may or may not be happening to her in the movie.

This movie is about the creative process, the risks writers take to find a voice, about possibilities, moments that might become fodder for stories.

Sayles called the process "thinking in pictures," which he applied to movie-making, but might be reversed to apply to art in general, particularly writing.


Thur. Afternoon

Got a copy of Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones, CD's new novel, in the mail today.

Fantastic looking book with a stunning cover painting by Charles Deemer's wife Harriet Levi. The author would tell you to go to Kindle to read it, but I say you must own a copy of the book with the great painting in order to be truly happy.

First team out of the tourney today was Colorado State. They didn't look very sharp to me, lost to Murray State. Not sure they deserved to be in the thing.

I purchased the NCAA March Madness package online. The tourney was free at the NCAA site until this year. Cost me 4 bucks. Still a decent deal, but nothing beats free.

Adds a few million to the coffers of everyone except the student athletes who are exploited through the process. You can't change games in mid-commercial however. So you get a double dose of commercials for your trouble.

Coca Cola and those frauds at Capital One are the biggest offenders.

Such money, such godforsaken money is involved.

Well, as they say, you don't have to play if you'd rather not.

Back to the games--if my Internet connection allows it.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Band Wagon Fans

(Picture clearly shows that these MWC guys can't jump)

Here's a guy who is all of a sudden a big Mountain West Conference fan. His drug-addled team of UCLA prima donna misfits didn't make it to the big dance, so now he figures the Pac-12 is pure shit.

Forty years ago I would have slam dunked on him and left imprints of my Converse tennies on his forehead.

Now that's windy. I like it!


Monk and the Jazz Baroness

(Thelonious Monk)

K.C. turned me on to this brilliant BBC Four documentary about Thelonious Monk and The Jazz Baroness Nica Rothschild.

Highly recommended.


Hold the Mustard (And Hype)

(Devoe Joseph went for 25 last night in Eugene)

Oregon was good at home in Knight Arena all season long.

The Ducks handled LSU with ease last night in Eugene in the first round of the NIT. LSU, fresh off of playing the number 1 overall seed in March Madness Kentucky tough in the SEC tourney, couldn't handle Oregon's razzmatazz motion offense.

You are not going to convince me that the Pac-12 doesn't have the ballers to compete with other teams across the country.

There is a lot of media denigration of play in the Pac-12 right now. People are buying into it like fat a man at a hot dog eating contest.

Dana Altman is a first-rate coach. Coached the Ducks up this year against the odds and got them close. Were it not for the suits from the Big East who run things they'd be in the big dance.

Oregon hosts Iowa Sunday in the second round.


Buddy Dooley/ Portrait of a Fighter

Portrait of a Fighter
Buddy Dooley (2012)


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Portland State Notice

(Sketch Deemer, too embarrassed to sit on his father's lap)

CD is wrong about so many things in the world of sports that it isn't even funny.

Yet he is a fine writer. His institution, Portland State, where he teaches screenwriting to budding Hollywood-types, gives him his due notice here.

How can a guy know so much about writing and producing creative work and yet be so far amiss when it comes to common, everyday things like sports and competition?

It's a strange world.


Monday, March 12, 2012

In-Game Blog/Timbers v. Philly

(Freddy Adu.  The Philly star signed his first Major League Soccer contract at age 14.)

For some strange reason I'm listening to the Portland Timbers soccer game against the Philadelphia Union on the radio at this very moment, live from Jeld-Wen Stadium, which is seven blocks from my home.

(Jeld-Wen manufactures doors and windows.  They're in some financial difficulty right now, but who isn't?)

I'm thinking about turning it off because, frankly, it is boring. Soccer is boring on the radio. Soccer is boring in general, but on the radio it is completely lifeless. The crowd is so loud it drowns out the play-by-play announcers.

The crowd likes what it is seeing. Chanting Timbers' slogans.

Nothing is happening. I just listened to a few in-game advertisements. The announcer just reminded me that it is a scoreless game.

When I open my window and the wind and rain blows over me I can hear 20,000 hardcore fans yelling their heads off.

Most of the seats in Jeld-Wen are covered. These people would not be yelling so loudly if the rain was pelting them.

The wind is disrupting play, passes hanging in the air a split-second too long.

In the 43rd minute, no score!

Free kick for Portland!

Portland has controlled the ball 58 percent of the time.

The announcer just said "Portland is not an easy place to play. Philly will be happy to go into the locker room with a 0-0 tie."

Quote: "The Timbers are just missing that last final ball."

It's halftime.  The Jeld-Wen halftime.

A Monday evening.

I must be in Hell.

The second half has started.

Philly scored in the 53rd minute!  At last something happened!

Portland scores to tie!!!!!! Jack Jewsbury serves a delicious assist to (let me catch the name) 19 year-old Andrew Jean-Baptiste!

We have a game!  Now I'm into it!

This is the best thing since Wheaties!

I'm reminded this game is brought to me by Jeld-Wen.  Bless you Jeld-Wen!  Bless!

We're in the 57th minute.

Rodney Wallace made a great play, but didn't score.

The fans are into it!

A former OSU Beaver just entered the game.  Go Beavs!

The announcer called it "Good back-to-back action."  It's 1-1.

A shot was well-off, meaning a wide miss evidently.

Adu is touching the ball often, fitting a star.

Officials called a ball dead.  The fans are booing.  The officials are being berated at this very moment.  The ball is slippery.

Shucks!  The Timbers are playing well, but missing opportunities.  They're playing their guts out on a rainy night in Portland!

65th minute.

Portland scores in the 67th minute! Timbers 2-1 now.  Darlington Nagbe is in the game.  For defense?

Non-stop action here tonight folks, and it's still raining!

Portland has a free kick, crossed, nothing came of it.

72nd minute.

Chris Boyd nearly scored a header.  A great Adu save!

Nagbe "almost got around his man!"

Another Portland free kick.

Portland scores!  "Goodness me," cried the announcer.  "A lot of fun to watch," says his partner.

The score is 3-1 Portland in the 77th.

Philly is stunned.  Are they finished?

13 minutes left.

Substitutes entering the match.  Everybody plays, like Little League.

Shucks, another wide shot missed!

The Timbers were down 1-0 in the 58th minute.  Then Wham!  Bang!

This one might be over.  Too much Nagbe roaming on defense?

Adu is out of the game.  Is Philly quitting?

83rd minute.

The color man advocates keep away.  Kill the clock.  "It's fun to watch, like a hockey check."

A reminder of the post-game show.  Interviews with the coach, players.

The Timbers' Army is singing in the rain!

This is anti-climactic.

Yet, Philly keeps threatening to score.

Is Nagbe hurt?  He's slow to get up.  A sore ankle, perhaps.

It's time to consider player of the game.  Wallace, Nagbe, Jewsbury, Boyd, Jean-Baptiste?

The Army is loud, singing their best.

Time is running out for Philly.  This sucker is over.  There is a lot of love in Jeld-Wen tonight.

We're in a little extra time now.  It's the timekeeper's call.

Nagbe is knocked down, they play on.

End, sucker!

"The Timbers will be happy with their effort.  Quite impressive."  The color man is brilliant.

Killing clock.

Killing clock.

The Army is restless.

The announcers say it's over.  Are they to be believed?

3-1 Timbers!  It's over!

I've opened the window against the rain.  I can hear the Army singing!

Thanks for following the Timbers v. Philly in-game blog.


Charles Lucas/Ubiquitous Serpentine

The Introduction to Ubiquitous Serpentine:

Nature’s Underworld

Born in 1953, Charles Lucas grew up in a middle-class family in Chicago, Illinois, where he developed an early interest in art. Bored by the rigidity of his formal education, he left high school before graduating and earned a GED. As a teen, he grasped the significant social change sweeping the U.S. in the late sixties, which led him to work for a variety of social causes in Chicago’s impoverished neighborhoods.

After stops in several other major U.S. cities, where he focused on spiritual work, Lucas arrived in Portland in 1977. He began working construction and remodeling jobs to pay the rent. Simultaneously, he mastered the demanding crafts of tile design and installation.

Introduced to Charles that same year, I learned to appreciate the artist’s expertise in all things ceramic—particularly his ability as a clay sculptor.

Recently, painting rather than sculpting has become Lucas’s focus. The thirty-five paintings on ceramic in Ubiquitous Serpentine have a prepossessing beauty that shimmers and pulses. Disdaining straight lines in his compositions, Lucas’s poetically stated ambition is to “enhance the serpentine,” by which he explains, “are those profound explications of the mystery inherent in nature.”

Lucas’s bold, color-laden brush strokes conjure mysterious, magical gardens. Expressively, almost impetuously drawn, the paintings reveal a cellular essence invisible to the naked eye. These are paintings to be felt as much as viewed, as one is drawn into Lucas’s vision of nature. Designed to inspire imaginations more than to present any cognitive interpretation, they confront us by charm and beguilement, creating a sense of the quixotic and, sometimes, of the foreboding.

Clashes of color and texture form a chaotic elegance balanced by a pronounced lushness of depth. Splashed, unexpected light counterbalances the considered formalism in each painting. To peer at them closely is to be taken into nature’s underworld, submerged in the possibility of what lies below the surface.

The strong spiritual sensibility the artist has embraced his entire life resonates throughout these works.

Round Bend Press is pleased to showcase them and celebrate this new direction in Charles Lucas’s art.

And I'm just as pleased to present this video.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

March Madness No Longer

The University of Washington won the regular season Pac-12 title and didn't get an invite to March Madness?

That is pure bullshit.

The NCAA basketball tournament has become as corrupt as the football Bowl Championship Series.

Put a sock in it Dick Vitale and ESPN.

Pure bullshit.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kal Tanner/The Webbers

There may have been more talented musicians in the old neighborhood of Northwest Portland in the 1990s, better guitar players, better voices, prettier specimens, acts with international followings, but for my money Kal Tanner was the best songwriter in the whole bunch.

I was a huge fan of Kal's voice.

Once over a decade ago, Kal and his band, the Webbers, owned the neighborhood.

Everything Kal represented and everything he did was big. He was a big man, he lived big, ate big, drank big, laughed big, and loved big.

Kal and his pals in the Webbers could rock a club-full of patrons through the roof any night of the week, for they were the quintessential club band in Portland, circa the 1990s.

Though I loved going to Webbers shows to hear them blast the room with their high-energy, old-school brand of rough and ready garage rock, it was this ballad that always sent me home happy and a little sad at the same time.

Kal and his mates in the Webbers wrote a lot of great tunes in their time, but The Only One stands out for me. Kal sang this one like he meant it.

Here is a website with partial information about the Webbers' discography.

Here is a write-up about Kal published a month after his death on April 18, 2001, age 43.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Shop 'til Yer Dead

Here at Round Bend we're all about options and diversity. That is why I'm taking a little time now to help you satisfy your needs.

You feel the need to shop online for your books at Amazon. And why in the hell not? The name is more familiar to you than your third child Pip's real name.

You know what you're getting when you shop Amazon, right? A fast turn-around, quality, and good prices.

When you shop for books at the online mega-store you avoid crowds and traffic jams. You can remain safe in your cocoon, secure next to the glowing fire in your chamber room.

Let your fingers do the shopping for these new releases at Amazon.

Charles Deemer's Eight Oregon Plays, and Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones.

But don't stop there. You will also want this one: K.C. Bacon's Aphorisms.

And this: Bill Deemer's August release, Variations.

And then, for good measure, to heal what is ailing you, and because you want to reward me for turning you on to all this good stuff, you'll want to buy my memoir A Marvelous Paranoia.

So there you are. Click and buy, because you love Amazon and Round Bend Press, a couple of real cool sites.


Disclaimer--I didn't write the above.  Buddy submitted it to me along with an invoice that would give Wieden and Kennedy pause to rethink the advertising racket.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oregon Loses/I'm Crying

Oregon loses to Colorado by one in the PAC tourney quarterfinals.

All of us Duck fans are crying like babies.

Oregon probably needed this game to make the field in March Madness.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life Explained

I'm reminded by one of the actors in the short play posted below that it was made in 1992, rather than 1995 as my initial recollection had it.

That of course speaks volumes about how time messes with memory for some of us. On one level it seems like only yesterday that we gathered in an office space in Portland's Market Square and deigned to become competent performance and video artists with this production.

Pre-YouTube and the explosion of interactive voices worldwide, this was a rough attempt, but it was done, and I'm happy we did it.

In those days anyone with money or good sense would have used film, but I had neither, and since this was my big idea I'll take the blame along with the credit for it showing up on YouTube twenty-years after the fact.

I think the actors did a swell job. Charles Deemer surprised everyone involved by breaking out an improvisation in Russian towards the end of the piece. Posted in Germany at the height of the Cold War, he'd learned Russian at the behest of the U.S. Army and became an intelligence operative, a situation he is sworn to keep secret, unless you read his novella Baumholder 1961.

The VHS cameras of the era were of course vastly inferior to the cameras on the market today, in terms of both video and sound quality.

I'd like to do more of this sort of thing. Round Bend may obtain a camera in the near future, at which point I doubt anything will stop me from venturing once more into video.

It's truly been awhile. We'll see what transpires.


The Problem (1992)

Pal, Jale and Sen, three businessmen, are unable to grasp exactly what is happening here.

The actors are K.C. Bacon as Pal, Isaac Stringer as Jale, and Charles Deemer as Sen, whose job would be to write "six by next season."

If only he had a mind to, which he doesn't.   Because it is impossible, unnecessary and upside down,  and furthermore, Sen would rather sleep.


What this production lacked in technical chops was more than made up for in the enthusiastic performances of the actors, who had a lot of fun doing it.  Jean Johannson and Peggy DeLay were production assistants on the project, directed by the late Chris Thompson.

This short play is published in Four Absurd Plays.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Slide Show

This is my first YouTube video and as such represents a test run.

The singer is Mira Billotte, from I'm Not There, directed by Todd Haynes.  Bob Dylan wrote the song, of course.

The images are from Yes, But You Don't Understand!, a book of graphic art by my pal Buddy Dooley.

Here is a short piece I published last year on the process:

Yes, But You Don’t Understand!

I created the ClipArt pieces in Buddy Dooley's book Yes, But You Don’t Understand during the winter months of 2009. I had only recently purchased my first laptop and I started to mess around with Microsoft Paint, a program I knew little about at the time.

I began with the distraction of color, splashing it around randomly like an abstract expressionist, a poor man's Jackson Pollock.

Despite my decidedly untrained art background I've always been a colorist at heart. Though I am fond of and admire technical artists, the strong renderers and the masters of perspective, it is color that sets me off when I look at a painting.

Color has always done it for me, I suppose, ever since filling the pages of my first coloring book.

The images I've posted here aren't sophisticated, nor was I talking myself into believing they were at the time I composed them.

"Childlike," my good friend Charles Lucas, no slouch as a colorist himself, said recently.

So there I sat at my desk every day that winter, the rain pounding the window pane of my cheap basement room. I played with Paint and I played my guitar. I wrote poetry and drank beer and let the ideas come as they might.

A childlike experience indeed. I was home alone, fusing boredom and an obsession with my new toy, a shiny Toshiba laptop. Fortunately I was old enough to buy my own beer.

The overriding question became, "How do I use these wonderful tools?"

I began with juxtaposition, clashing imagery, nonsense, a childlike vernacular rooted in primary colors.

I have several favorites in the batch of thirty I made in that stretch of obsessive work, but I think I finally accepted I was onto something when El Toro en Bolero came to me. Combining wordplay in its title, the memory of a composition by Ravel which has always disgusted me, and  ClipArt images of a conductor about to be charged by a bull tethered to a hand in the foreground, I created a personal statement.

You make the stuff because you have to or don't know enough not to, but when someone "gets it" you appreciate the fact and move on to the next obsession.


Mark-Almond/The Ghetto

Here is one of my favorite acts from the early 1970s. The piano and sax parts jump out at you. The entire composition feels like it came from another era, somehow anticipating the present. A very soulful mix of jazz ballad and blues, with a crescendo of arresting background vocals.

"New York City is where I'm from..."


Monday, March 5, 2012

Publication Day--Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones by Charles Deemer

Fresh off the publication of his Eight Oregon Plays and K.C. Bacon's Aphorisms, Round Bend Press is pleased this morning to announce the publication of Charles Deemer's new novel, Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones.

The story:

Carlton "CJ" Jones is a septuagenarian U.S. citizen with a bone to pick about American society. Carrying the baggage of a past he cannot reconcile with today's realities, the retired history professor and widower watches the awful news on television every evening, reads heavy tomes on the Native-American genocide (after having written one himself) and the Kennedy assassinations, and formulates his own understanding about the way things are.

Jones broods about and reflects upon and puzzles over the newness of everything in the lives of today's young people. But it is not until he befriends a pair of young women in their twenties that he begins to understand exactly how much things are rubbing against the grain of his perceptions.

Then CJ discovers a secret concerning his deceased wife while going through her personal papers. That secret convinces him to finally do something about the longing and depression he has felt for years.

CJ develops a new vision and a new way of settling with change in a challenging world, and readers will be happy that in the book's final chapters he discovers a new sense of liberty to feed his soul.

The first succinct review is in from an advanced reader and Deemer fan.  More good notices are certain to appear.

Buy and enjoy Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones today.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Getting it Together

You want to know something?

It feels good to have a clean pad. I spent the entire morning cleaning my small studio-domicile. Dusted and swept and mopped, moved my sparse furnishings around, cleaned off my small writing table.

Now I'm thinking I need a small bookcase/headboard for my bed. Right now I have my reading lamp above my bed attached to the door of the electrical-switch box, not really the best place for it.

I'd like a larger table to convert into a writing table, so this little thing I now use can be turned into an intimate-like dining table for two.

My writing table was teeming with crap. Scraps of meaningless paper, receipts, notes to myself I no longer understand. Junk mail.

(Like I need a bigger table to accumulate piles of more junk mail.)

I separated out the business cards and phone numbers/addresses that were scattered amid the debris.

I likely threw out something I shouldn't have, which may explain why I accumulate all this crap to begin with. I'm afraid of the damage I'll do to my archives and records.

I'm afraid to throw stuff out. But why am I keeping a coupon from Burger King that somehow lingered in my pile of oh-so-important scraps? It expired in 2011.

Why did I throw out a baseball card collection in the 1970s that might possibly be worth a small fortune now?

Life is full of opportunities to fuck up.


Now, to make a list and go buy some food for my barren refrigerator.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

March Madness?

(Dana Altman)

If I'm Cal, the second-place team in the PAC, I don't want anything to do with the Oregon Ducks at the PAC tournament next weekend.

Cal beat Oregon by 16 in their first match up this season in Eugene.

Oregon lost by 3 in Berkeley in the second game.

Oregon is playing very well right now, coached by Dana Altman.

Unless I don't know what I'm talking about, Oregon is ready to make a move and land in March Madness, one of the 64 anointed.

The experts say the Ducks must win two in the PAC tourney to get there.

We'll see.


Eating and Remembering

I made a special trip to my favorite restaurant/bar on the Portland State campus this morning for a simple breakfast called "The Best Deal in Town." Two eggs to your style, a large pile of delicious hash browns, and a choice of toast for $1.99.

Best deal, indeed.

I rarely eat breakfast out, but decided to treat myself this morning. I normally have a bowl of cereal or cook my own version of the "Best Deal" at home, but my version never tastes as good as the fare at the Cheerful Tortoise on 6th Avenue.

It's a quasi-sports bar with a cool staff of young people who seem downright friendly.

The Memphis v. Tulsa basketball game was on one of the big screens, so I watched a little of that as I ate, priming myself for March Madness, which is mere days away.

On a sadder front, I received two copies of my book Cello Music & Other Poems in the mail yesterday. I'm to sign and return them to another friend of Roger Blakely III.

Roger died nearly two years ago (March 22, 2010) in a bizarre accident on I-5 south of Portland, and I dedicated the book to Roger's memory.

The friend will send a copy to Roger's mother in southern California as we prepare to remember again what a great son and friend Roger was .


On Design

Charles Deemer explains his design decisions for his book cover for Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones, to be officially released here on Monday.

(Round Bend publications are designed by their authors, unless they choose not to design them, at which point I will step in with suggestions in order to facilitate a happy end.)

I like the cover of Sodom, Gomorrah & Jones and would have certainly voiced my concerns if I did not.

Deemer puts up the good fight in this longish justification of his decision.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Read?

In my quest to discover how and why things happen, I read. I like to read. I'm all for it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, not everyone is. I know a fellow—I won't mention his name—who in all seriousness said to me, "Man, you read and all you do is regurgitate."

You see, in his mind a type of learning I favor has been reduced to regurgitation, and that somehow has evolved into a negative value. No exceptions. His claim is that to read and cite sources for your discoveries, as in an essay or conversation centered on ideas, is essentially a waste of time, a valueless exercise.

Somehow he has gotten it into his mind that the accumulation and absorption of important ideas, what is referred to as knowledge, is valueless.

Well, perhaps he's onto something. Or perhaps he isn’t.

Let us separate out, for the purpose of my response, the difference between reading and practical experience. The latter is of course an inarguable aspect of learning. I’m not here to argue or quantify the difference.

I will not make the mistake my acquaintance makes and short-change either methodology.

Readers, no matter their discipline, often are forced to recall knowledge. For example, your doctor usually has a compendium or two handy to help him comprehend what ails you. He's no doubt read them many times, or you would hope he has. What does it take to be a doctor, twelve years of rigorous study and application?

I'd hate to be treated by one who can't recall his knowledge of diseases. One who knows the basics and demonstrates imagination in the application of what he knows may in fact be a great doctor, which is what you want.

Regurgitate is an ugly word. It has an ugly sound. In the context of anti-intellectualism, it has an ugly purpose. It is designed to tear down rather than build discourse.

It is designed to blow up reason and enhance ideology.

It is a favorite word of those who would ignore history, for history is purely regurgitation in the minds of those unaccustomed to nuance and subtlety.

Sadly, history is often taught that way to young, hungry minds, deadening them by junior high.

Here's what my acquaintance doesn't understand. Reading offers the basics, a foundation for originality. To gain knowledge you must read. If you can then use what you have learned and create by taking a step ahead, devise something new, foment a revolution of ideas rather than ideology, then you have accomplished something.

By all means, tear that motorcycle engine apart and put it back together again, and be proud of your ability to do so. That is knowledge of an important variety.

But consider this—if you do not bother to read, you haven't even a chance to give back, or fight back on a very fundamental plane. You haven't a chance to go beyond what you think you know.

You haven't a chance to truly learn, absorb ideas, and be creative in your own right.

I have two reactions to the sort of anti-intellectualism I’ve just described. First, it makes me angry. Second, I wonder how one lives without reading.

You may not die if you don't read, but you certainly won't live fully, either. Rather you will find solace in delusions and dogma, and you will be poorer for your lack of effort.

If you're so damn smart that you can get along without reading, you're a unique human being.