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, June 30, 2012

Three for the Road

I've been on a bit of a movie binge.

It happens, as I seek periodically to clean up my lifestyle and find some semblance of sanity in things.

First, I went to Wenders and found this post 9/11 synthesis of what happened to American society in the aftermath of the attack.  Critics found this 2004 production to be somewhat over the top with its black and white depiction of opposing viewpoints.

Wenders is a German, but he loves the U.S., and he has done well here.  The Land of Plenty is a piece from the heart and it bleeds the disappointment he feels for humanity's present condition.

The second movie I watched last night is based on a book published in 2001 by the South African photographers Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva. The Bang Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War detailed the experiences of four combat photographers in the months before the curtain fell on apartheid in South Africa.

This 2010 production is not a bad movie, be it long on romance and action but short on political meaning.  I think you'd be best served to read the book.

Today I watched a great movie out of Norway, 2010's King of Devil's Island.  Based on a true story about an uprising among the children/inmates of an island reformatory school in 1915 Norway, this is an amazing movie.

I've seen many good Scandinavian films of late, and this one tops them all.


Friday, June 29, 2012


Houston, we have a problem.

Until Blogger remedies this, the posting will be sporadic because it is an unbelievable hassle right now.

The new blogger interface really does suck.


The Good Doctor

Best early analysis of the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bernie Sanders

I love Bernie, but I don't really see the anger, nor the citizenry's comprehension of the problems confronting this country.

What I see is apathy strung out on hopelessness and cynicism.

Some genuine anger would be nice, indeed.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good Read/Jonathan Cook

"In a traditional cowboy movie, we know what to do: we look for the guy wearing the white hat to be sure who to cheer, and for the one wearing the black hat to know who deserves to die, preferably gruesomely, before the credits roll. If Hollywood learnt early to play on these most tribal of emotions, do we doubt that Washington’s political script-writers are any less sophisticated?
Since 9/11, the United States and its allies in Europe have persuaded us that they are waging a series of “white hat” wars against “black hat” regimes in the Middle East. Each has been sold to us misleadingly as a “humanitarian intervention”. The cycle of such wars is still far from complete."
The rest of the story from Counter Punch.


NCAA Presidents' Blundering Move

They managed to screw things up

Rather than partnering with four college bowl-game enterprises and creating a meaningful, expanded playoff system, the corrupt idiots created this monstrosity.

There was only one option for doing this right and the big boys got it wrong--we need an eight team playoff commencing in four designated bowl games to determine the championship.  The politicking that will play behind this decision will far exceed what already exists.

Not good.  Not good at all for the game I enjoy more than any other.


Lebanon, Ore., 1979

L-R, in Bob Thomas's Lebanon house; Bob, Steve Shirley, and me.

I look like I have a fat lip here, perhaps the result of a drunken fight with my pillow the night before, or a recurring infection to a tooth I had surgery on in high school that bothered me for years.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Portland Kicks Seattle's Butt Up and Down Jeld-Wen's Artificial Turf!

I went out today to soak up a little of the soccer mania that has recently enveloped Portland.  Frankly, I was disappointed.  I expected to see more hot babes in the soccer bar where I watched Italy and England in the Euro Cup quarterfinals.

Maybe the hot babes understand when something is over-billed and out of touch.  The Euro was the prelim today on ESPN, and Italy beat England in a shootout after a full regulation game and thirty extra minutes of sudden death overtime led to my comatose acceptance of nothingness.

The American Major Soccer League match between Portland and Seattle followed.

Hey, I'm just a piker, but even I can see how much faster the national teams of Europe play than our lowly Timbers and Sounders.

Yet the I-5 challenge, or whatever it is called, was the more entertaining game.  I mean, goals were scored in ways other than in the idiotic shootout method.

If I were in charge, I'd make them play until one team quit or dropped dead of exhaustion, which England was close to doing from about 85 min. on.

Soccer's major disadvantage as a spectator sport is that players can't use their hands to catch the damn ball and run it into the goal.

Jesus, just let them do that and the game would be instantly more enticing.

Anyway, Portland beat Seattle 2-1, and the natives are happy here tonight.  I'm glad I'm safely barricaded in my apartment for the evening.

The hooligans have the streets.


Ashton Eaton

Oregonian photogs Thomas Boyd and Bruce Ely capture Ashton Eaton's  record setting day.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Big Brother

"My brother and I stood in sharp political contrast. I had been radicalized in college and I hated the Vietnam War with an abiding passion. My brother hated war protesters with equal force. Thus began a long stretch of hostility between two brothers born six years apart but separated by a war and rapidly changing American culture. I looked for a long time for the root meaning of our differences. I had become politicized in the middle of a great cultural change. When he joined the Marines in 1962 there were a few hundred American advisers in Vietnam, and any number of Alden Pyles. At first what they were doing there promised to be short-term. And then it turned to disaster and tragedy for everyone concerned."

from A Marvelous Paranoia


Thursday, June 21, 2012

No Blogger

Blogger just isn't working for me.  I'm sorry.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eight from the Movie

Here are eight stills from my past that will definitely make it into my video-telling of A Marvelous Paranoia.

"My youngest siblings, Bethel and Rich, lived with mom and I in the two-bedroom house on Thompson Lane..."

This looks like perhaps the first day of a new school year.

"I shared Christmas with a gang of nieces and nephews..."

I'm the one picking at his toes, something I still do frequently.

"Henry Hogan was like a father to me..."

I'm the taller one wearing a tie the day of my brother-in-law's funeral.

"The New Era's young editor, Bill Wickland,  pulled me aside in high school and asked me if I wanted to write sports stories for the paper...He paid me two-cents a word."

This photo was taken a decade later in the offices of the Northwest Neighbor, a community monthly Bill and I worked for in Portland.

"When the American bi-centennial "Freedom Train" rolled through Portland, Maine the activist crowd was ready..."

I helped organize this protest.  We made our own train of cardboard boxes and satirized the event.

"I wore the long hair and beard of an active Marxist, and I believed Marx..."

I still  believe Marx.  Fuck capitalism!

"I met Bob Thomas in Ashland and later rented a room from him in Lebanon... He taught me how to play chess and kicked my ass..."

"Bob's twin brother, John, liked to show off..."

The brothers were surreal hedonists, which is why I liked them.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Favorites

I play favorites.  You should, too.

Favorite aphoristic poet: K.C. Bacon

Favorite Portland novelist: Charles Deemer

Favorite ceramic sculptor/painter/photographer:  Charles Lucas

Favorite Eugene poet: Bill Deemer

Favorite decadent photographer: Gene Faulkner


The Repository of Orrie Hitt

I have great old friends, people I met years ago but remain in contact with in a loose, non-expectant fashion.

It is always interesting to see what my old friends are up to.

My former college classmates at Southern Oregon, Bob and John, are on an a weird lit kick.  They live in Ashland and sell cars, which must be one reason they love this photo.

They've fallen under the spell of Orrie Hitt.

It would be just plain wrong if it wasn't so damn funny.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Blogger Problem?

My blogger is screwed.

I have no idea why it is highlighting the first lines of my posts now.



Plugging Away

After putting in a full day working on my movie script and sorting photos and brooding about it all I've decided I was insane to begin the project.

But you knew that already.

Despite the toughness of the formula, which isn't a formula but rather more of an experiment, I'll make the case for the piece.

Though I feel insane for attempting it, I like the challenge.  I can see some of it with absolute clarity.  In other places, I have doubts.

Well, one plugs ahead with what he has, defective mind and all...


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Looking Ahead

Here is a tentative schedule of upcoming publishing projects for Round Bend Press this summer and fall.

August and September:  A pair of novellas by Tacoma artist/writer K.C. Bacon.

October:  The opera libretto Varmints by Charles Deemer.

November:  A book of Charles Lucas's recent photographs called Rust. The painted ceramic relief sculpture at left is CL's "Fishing," from the mid-nineties.

These are the rock-solid projects I'm looking forward to.  Perhaps a few surprises will be added in the interim.

Meanwhile, the work on my big project, a movie adaptation of A Marvelous Paranoia, is ongoing.

I'm busy, which is fine with me.


Interloper/Charles Lucas

An ugly cloud hovers above Portland's U.S. Bank Tower in this Charles Lucas composition.

I must say I like the banking metaphor; these swine now charge me for my electronic bank statement.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Help

I'm unable to shoot the video I wanted this weekend.  A couple of logistical problems arose concerning the schedules of my volunteer help on the project.

I have to remember that those volunteers who are helping me are indeed doing so to be nice, and not because they are scoring a profit from their work.

So it's hit and miss often times with a project on this scale.  I feel like I've been fortunate to get some of the video I have to date, and whatever happens from here on out is just part of the challenge.

In the end I'll assemble a movie, and it will be the movie I have made.


Friday, June 15, 2012

On Being Attacked

Given the world we live in every child is a close victim.

I'm thinking of the Jerry Sandusky trial and the brutal testimony coming from the alleged victims of his alleged abuse.

I hate having to use the word "alleged."  It is a word couched in legalese, and we will not be able to rid ourselves of it until, in this instance, Mr. Sandusky is put away for his crimes against children.

I allege.

Some would like to cast Sandusky's alleged crimes as an indictment against football.  Others, closer to the nerve center, would point to the hallowed halls of the academy itself.  Still others would choose to believe that all the witnesses for the prosecution are conspiratorially making shit up as they go along and that Sandusky did no wrong.

Let the court decide.

Many of the alleged victims in this case were fatherless children for one reason or another.

I know something about being a fatherless child because I grew up without a father.  Those circumstances were not due to any value a judgmental society could have placed on my father's worth (he died in an accident when I was a baby), but that doesn't stop people from being bone stupid about the following:

1. The reality of being fatherless (for whatever reason) in American society presents a grave disadvantage to the child.

2. We live in a world where predators will seek out the weak and fatherless to do them harm.

3. The reality of abuse is everywhere, even in adult to adult relationships, and  the real world run by adults is really dangerous.

My own confrontation with perverted, sanctimonious men started at a small church near my childhood home.   They didn't get to me, finally, because I put up a fight.

I've put up a long fight against abusers, the sanctimonious, those who would believe they have it over you in perpetuity for some misbegotten, frightening, and absolutely nefarious reason that only they believe worthy.

I have dealt with these sort of fuckers my entire life.  I'll continue to do so until I croak.

It is a rare day when I am not attacked by one shit clown or another.  I'm just doing what I do when I tell them they're barking up the wrong tree.

It's what I've always done, and may Sandusky's alleged victims find peace.


Three Women

L-R: Danae Wright, Amy Sackett, and Diana Callihan, circa 1994.

They were the three principal actresses in the original 1994 production of What Time is Left, since re-cut (but not finished!) and re-titled The Visitor.

Amy and Diana, a couple of hard-luck local theater women with extreme talent, are both deceased. Danae, whip-smart and equally talented, was living in the Seattle area last I heard.

They were unique, gifted, funny women.  It's hard to believe two of them are gone.  This is a very difficult post to make, but I have been chosen to sing their praises and remember.

I wish I could have given them a better script, better direction, in our work together those many years ago.  They deserved it.


Dooley Hangs Ten

Whack Skaters!
Buddy Dooley
Published in "Yes, But You Don't Understand!"
Round Bend Press, 2010


Nader Lashes Out!

The crux of the matter.

Otherwise, what a beautiful, glorious day it is here in the Pacific Northwest!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Morning Shoot

I spent the morning gathering some video of the old neighborhood.  I think I captured a few images that will fit nicely into the movie as I attempt to show what the area looked like when I moved into the neighborhood in 1977.

A few of the old warehouses that once dominated what is now called the Pearl District are still intact, but you have to hunt them down.  I found a couple of shots of those that will suit my needs. As a way of contrasting the old warehouse district with the Pearl, I also grabbed a few images of the new condos that clutter the area.

Along N.W. 21st Avenue I grabbed a couple of shots of the old Barker Apartments where my sister lived in the late fifties and early sixties during my first visits to Portland as a kid.  The building is now pretentiously called the Irving Street Tower Condominiums.

First, it ain't a tower.  Second, its exterior looks just as it did fifty years ago.  No doubt the units have been remodeled, but that doesn't make it a tower in the slightest.  It's a four-story apartment complex built in 1910 that the new owners have slapped a new name on.  The Barker was once a relatively affordable place to live.  No more.

The old neighborhood grew gentrified when I lived there.  I was disgruntled by the trend, knowing I'd shortly be priced out.  It's all flash and weak substance now.  There wasn't much there to shoot for the purpose of the film.

A tourist might have found it attractive, but I'm no tourist.

Across the street from the old Barker, however, I shot the marquee of the retro film house, Cinema 21.  Grand Illusion, the great anti-war film by Jean Renoir is playing this week.

To me the people who live in Northwest Portland are the ones with the grand illusions these days.  Money and asininity go so well together.

I did take a nice sequence of the dilapidated boarding house I moved into when I came to Portland permanently in the summer of 1977.  It's been painted recently; otherwise it looks the same.  I looked for a sign announcing that it too is now being called a condo, but didn't see one, thankfully.

I nabbed some shots of the old houses that dot the neighborhood, trekked up to Burnside and grabbed a few shots and then had some lunch.

A good day's work for five or six minutes of usable video.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Ramblin' Raw

Ramblin' Jack Elliott sings Dylan from "He's Not There," the Todd Haynes film.


Ducks Lose Super Regional

(Sherfy gives up blooper.  Blame it on the mullet.)

Top of the ninth.

A classic is brewing in Eugene right now!  Oregon scored two runs in the top of the eighth to tie game three against Kent State in the Super Regional final.

The winner of this one goes to Omaha to join the field of eight in the College World Series.

Two outs.

Oregon is subbing a pinch-hitter.  Crap, a one-two-three inning and it's the bottom of the ninth.  Kent State is the home team tonight again.

I have no idea why.  Must be a coin toss involved, but Oregon earned this home field advantage by finishing in the top eight in the NCAA final baseball polls.  I think they finished ranked number five.

If only the Ducks had a few sluggers on their team.  Those guys don't play college ball much these days, opting for the big contracts of the big leagues.

Jimmy Sherfy, Oregon's brilliant sophomore closer, is struggling now, walked the first hitter.  Nobody out, runner on first for KSU.

The Ohioans sacrificed the runner to second.  One out in the bottom of the ninth.  Sherfy came off the mound awkwardly according to Jerry Allen, the voice of the Ducks.  He may be hurt.

Throwing warm-up pitches now.

Count is 2-1, one out, bottom of nine.

Sherfy pitches.  Strike two!


Count is 3-2, "close pitch!"

Next pitch.  Oregon just lost the game, "a bloop single scored the winning run for KSU."  Left fielder Brett Thomas appeared to lose the ball in the grey Oregon sky.

Damn...Baseball can be a sudden charge, win or lose.  I'm crushed, but I recall there is no crying in baseball.

No Omaha this year.  I'll wait for football now.


Good Weekend

Not a bad weekend.

I met with a PA/photographer who is anxious to go out to the strawberry fields with my DP and I and help compose a few shots for the "project."

That's the film I'm working on now, in case you didn't know.

I'd like to get the shots next weekend, provided all the pieces come together concerning the weather, crew, and talent.  I'm looking forward to it.

I read a new novella by Round Bend contributor K.C. Bacon over the weekend, and I have no doubt it is among the best things this writer/painter has done since we've been associated in this ongoing experiment called RBP.

It is a very fine piece of work, and hopefully you'll get to see it soon, depending on how the scheduling goes for some of Bacon's other, earlier work.  His first three books with RBP were volumes of poetry and aphorisms.  Now he is going all out on this series of novellas, and the results are inspiring.

I was looking forward to going out to Minnesota to visit family in July.  Now it looks like that may be on hold for a while.  I'm a little disappointed, but hell, what can you do when the logistics don't work optimally?

Tonight my Oregon Ducks take on Kent State in game three of their Super Regional playoff, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha next week.

I listened to the end of last night's second game as Oregon's two top closers manged to strike out the side in the bottom of the ninth to preserve a 3-2 victory, after a lead-off double put the tying runner on.  The Ducks dropped game one 7-6 after a furious late rally fell short.

They rallied last night as well, scoring all three of their runs in the seventh.

Oregon plays "small ball," which means they bunt and run like fools because they have no power.  I don't care much for small ball, but they're my Ducks, so I'll let it be.

You can't argue with their success and the brilliance of their head coach, George Horton, who has won the CWS before with Cal State-Fullerton.

It would be fun to see Oregon win it, but I don't think they can for the very reason I alluded to above.  They don't hit well enough.

I was excited when Oregon State won back-to-back titles a few years ago.  What would I be like if Oregon, my alma mater, won?

I'd be very pleased.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gene Faulkner

He came out of a Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade porta-potty today and stood in front of me like a god.

One of the best photogs in Portland, I've offered him the standard RBP deal.  A collection of images for my soul.

When he is finished betting and losing his stake on the Belmont Stakes today, I'm sure he'll read the offer sheet and respond with a resounding maybe.

Mr. Faulkner took this iconic shot of Buddy Dooley in 2000, and boy is he pissed that I've used it many times without paying him a dime!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Deemer/New Poems

CD unleashes his voice again at Writing Life II with a blast of new poetry, always a good thing.

We published In My Old Age last year.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Now You Know

Now you
know what it is like
to profess to
be a literary man

They're all dead
smoked themselves
to death
took their own lives

Lived hard without
rules and paid the price
of literature
lived the dream

Now you know
what it is like to live
like this in a world
that doesn't give a shit

Now you know
that literature is second
to the popular culture
that these poets died

Lived their lives elsewhere
and turned to motes
gave it their all
turned mean

Inward where living
roughed them up like children
playing in a field
of illusion

Where nothing
not even a settling sun
could save them from the
choice of their reason


Frederick Exely


Jack Kerouac


e.e. cummings


T.S. Eliot


Dylan Thomas


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Publishing News!

I agree with this assessment.

A clear and concise piece.

Obama's drone wars are just as fucked, so this is a non-partisan issue.  This is about whether this country will ever elect a leader with balls.

As it stands, we've elected a string of shitbirds without remorse.

Nothing is going to change next year either, given our choice between a bad ass clown and a dumb ass intent on being a bigger clown.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Love & Money

Throughout most of the 1980s I had difficulties finding pop music that I liked.  Then, in 1988, this Scottish band caught my attention.

James Grant had a helluva voice and the drummer was tight with a big, rhythmic kick that pricked up my ears.



What a day...

I'm doing my editing chores and making headway, but not feeling right.  I feel a little congestion coming on like I had last year around this time.  I had to go on antibiotics to knock that out.  I hope I don't have to relive the scenario.

You can't drink and carry on like an ass when you're on antibiotics, and that kind of austere life just doesn't fit my style.

I feel light-headed. (Oh, shut up!)

I love how shitty the health-care system makes you feel when you don't have a regular doctor and have to line up with the rabble to see an overwhelmed clinician in a crowded room of fellow paupers.

It's all about triage.  Those with insurance form a line here.  The rest of you?  Good luck.

Small wonder people choose denial and death.

But getting old is exactly about that for most people.  Coupled with not being the most health-minded sort, I guess I'm getting what I've paid for, suffering the existence I've created.

Who doesn't feel at times that their friends who have passed on are the lucky ones?

My film is floating around inside my head.  Its ancillary themes of death and degradation are all too clear to me. The script is not there yet.  It is the most difficult project I've taken on in my life.  I wish I'd started it 20 years ago, but then it wouldn't be what it is now.

The life I lived 20 years ago is not this life.  It's not that I've captured wisdom, I obviously haven't.  Something is creeping in and I'm not sure what it is.

I just sneezed, never a good thing.

Didn't a poet once say that "grey" is grayer than "gray?"

I'm thinking Sorrentino, but I'm likely wrong.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Nick Cave

Bob Thomas sent me links to some old Judy Collins and Patti Smith this morning.  Two different but equally inspired artists.  Good stuff all around.

It's been awhile since I listened to them, so thanks, Thomas.

Collins could handle the soaring, sweet ballad like few others in her early years.

Patti Smith defined the earliest manifestations of punkish clairvoyance.

I remember the first time I heard this Nick Cave ballad.  It knocked me out with its opening line.

"I don't believe in an interventionist God,
But I know darling that you do..."

A music-dominated morning.  Always a cool thing.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Parade and No Rain

I live in an apartment overlooking the roof of a private school for wealthy children as well as a parking lot in the near distance.

A couple of trees partially obstruct the view of the parking lot across the street from the First Unitarian Church on 12th Avenue, but I can usually make out the chaos that erupts in the parking lot whenever a big event happens in town.

The lot is sort of cramped and many drivers I witness simply lack the skills it takes to park there without growing frustrated and confused.

In a car society it's frightening how many people don't know how to take command of that ton or more of steel and metal between their legs.

Parking is an ordeal that is fun to watch as one moron after another slaves to inch into a space they'll triumphantly pay $7.00 for when they've shot their last frustrated ounce of good sense.

Tonight Portland is celebrating its annual Rose Festival Starlight Parade, a tradition among this city's most escapist and dumb denizens.

On the avenues, people were conspiratorially setting up their viewing areas along the parade route by noon today to watch this great, silly tradition.

Arriving early is part of the parade's tradition.  To claim a sidewalk viewing space is of paramount importance to many Portlanders and tourists, but  a few years ago Portland's City Council deigned to make it illegal to set up early in the day and claim a spot along the sidewalk.

No duct-taping allowed.

Portland is a liberal town, still attempting to achieve the unobtainable fair and equitable deliverance of sidewalk viewing of its parades.

More socially uninhibited chaos has resulted.  More law-breaking, animosity and good fun.

As with the laws governing Metro's transit fares, you're only fined if you get caught cheating under the city's ordinances.

People set up on the street and wander away.

I could have nabbed a few free lawn chairs today, but the neighborly sorts were eyeing me closely as I passed.  The early setup is a private, clubbing affair, a shared movement among lawbreakers who watch each others' backs like common thieves.

The parade is passing near my street as I write this and people are having a great time, whooping and yelling at the paraders.

I hear a marching band playing an old saw.

The city's buses are at a standstill as the parade passes.

A helicopter is hovering above my building, which always pisses me off.

I have no cause or desire to be out there.  I've missed the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade once again.

Just hearing it is too much for my being.


Moondance/Van Morrison

I stumbled across this by accident, one of nearly a million viewers. I'll declare the colors and abstraction of this piece amaze me.  

Better late than never, I share it with you.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Talk Radio

Portland's Tad Savinar wrote the original stage play.  Oliver Stone directed the movie based on Eric Bogosian's development of the NYC stage production.

This is one of my favorites by the uneven and sometimes portentous Stone.

Talk radio is still out there for any idiot who wants to listen to it.


On Air

The college baseball post-season started today.

I'm listening to and occasionally watching the stream of the Oregon/Austin Peay game from PK Park in Eugene.  The video stream's audio feed is from the radio broadcast and between innings you can hear both the ads and the hot mics of the broadcasters.

I don't think the announcers are aware that the stream is picking up their voices between innings during the commercial breaks.

I'm waiting for something awful to happen and I'm excited.  One of these guys will say something he later regrets.

Ah, technology!  Its potential to please us is immeasurable.