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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013


They can deny it all they want, but the Ducks came out tonight and played scared in the first half against the Cardinals of Louisville.

Once they discovered Louisville's players tie their sneakers the same way everybody else does and adapted to the intimidating environment it was too late.

They were fine in the second half, but the damage was done.

Still, Oregon beat the Vegas line (10), which even I didn't really figure they'd do.

The Ducks were a senior-dominated team this season, but a couple of their young guys can really play.

Losing Kazemi will set them back.  Though well-coached I don't see them doing as well next season.

I wasn't happy with the results of any of the games tonight.  My favorites all lost.


Window/Bob Thomas


Thursday, March 28, 2013


Oregon wasn't supposed to be here and few are giving them a shot against the overall number-one ranked Louisville Cardinals, but they have to play the game, right?

I personally felt good about the Ducks' chances in the first two games, sensing the team gelled during the Pac-12 tournament.

But Louisville is a different breed than OSU and St. Louis.  Louisville is one of the few programs that rounds up all the thoroughbreds out of the gate every year, particularly since Rick Pitino became head coach.

It isn't so much that Oregon's low seeding has finally cursed them, but rather being thrown into the toughest bracket in the tourney--the Midwest--inconveniently put them up against this traditional power too early.

I think Louisville beats Oregon, Michigan State beats Duke, and the winner of the Michigan State/Louisville elite eight game goes on to the championship game and the title.

That's the way I see it, and I haven't been wrong very often recently...



Billy Joe Shaver

Good old country tune by one great honky tonk artist.

"I was not even born yet when my father first tried to kill me."


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dylan, 1975

The Rolling Thunder shows were unannounced throughout New England. Tickets were snapped up within minutes for the small-venue shows as word-of-mouth notice circulated through communities like the one I lived in at the time--Waterville, Maine.

Alas, the ducats were long gone by the time I tried to buy a pair.

Always regretted missing this.

Later: Web Sheriff took this down, so don't bother.


Monday, March 25, 2013



...and this...

That is all, folks.  Not chipper today at all.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Deemer Poem

An intense, new poem on love and hate by Charles Deemer at his new blog.

He explores the incongruity of men killing their women, circumstances wrought from social and self-inflicted values that too often portray acquiescence and compromise as forms of weakness.

I would add, uninvited, that a similar intransigence by extension motivates the warrior class...inviting mayhem.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Iranian Connection

Arsalan Kazemi is one of college ball's best rebounders.  And now his Ducks are in the Sweet 16 behind his stellar play.

Oh, man!


Shaping Up

First into the Sweet 16? Michigan, a big winner over VCU.

Oregon gets its chance v. St. Louis at 4:10. Go Ducks!

Speaking of just 4.99 for all the games last season the tourney was a hard deal to pass up.

This year beats that like Minnesota laying a whuppin' on UCLA.  The tourney stream is free this year, one instance of a great product deflating in the marketplace, not because it's value has diminished but because the basketball god in the sky intervened and said it is just.


Or as the GOP might say, it's just another rotten instance of people getting too much "free stuff."


Friday, March 22, 2013

Bigelow on Corporate Education

Bill Bigelow, a popular educator who taught history in the Portland, Oregon school system for many years, is a prominent advocate of an academic prejudice calling for a "rethinking" of the structural foundation of our schools.

Bill is displeased, as well he should be, with our educational system's approach to teaching a viable history curricula in U.S. high schools. First and foremost, the retired educator is critical of a U.S. educational system that has, er, historically churned out a steady diet of pablum about our nation's role in world geopolitics.

The effects of this long history of shallowness is today everywhere present in American life as the U.S. largely ignores the causes and effects of its recent wars, not to mention its myriad other problems.

Bigelow doesn't stop there while buttressing Howard Zinn's enormously important critique of the rampant self-delusion in the U.S. body-politic.

Rather than bullshit artists like the abysmal Obama and his pathetic foe Romney in the recent election, why can't the U.S. create a ticket comprised of people like Sanders and Bigelow, progressives who truly understand corporatism and greed are cancers eating away at America's fundamental essence?

A neo-progressive party for the ages in other words.


Thursday, March 21, 2013


The Ducks came out and played defense like the dickens against an over matched OSU team, setting the tempo and tenor for the day.

Oregon was the quicker team, no doubt, or at least more primed for this matchup.

My Ducks were never really threatened, as Oregon's coaching and senior leadership, combined with the stellar play of freshmen Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis, caused that house of cards from Stillwater to collapse; to suddenly become stillborn.

Next:  St. Louis, a better team than OSU, but beatable.

I may yet wish Oregon into the Sweet 16.

Can't wait!


Product Placement/Drama City

This clip from The Wire is remarkable for several reasons, the least of which is its bold depiction of homosexual co-habitation.  We've seen that treatment enough in drama to live with it.  No big deal.

Every Baltimore drug dealer on the street fears Omar Little, a gay outlaw with a Robin Hood-like mystique.  This conceit was certainly remarkable television, no matter your regard for its plausibility,  but what sends this scene over the top is its underlying humorous treatment of another myth, one as compelling as the Robin Hood story.

The bad guy roaming the streets of a stark and dilapidated frontier is an homage to a thousand  old-fashioned westerns, embodied by the the neighborhood kids' behavior as they dash toward cover, certain a clear and present danger has arisen.  Comically, they are modern townspeople terrorized by the specter of a known gunslinger's penchant for violence.

That in itself is remarkable storytelling with classical underpinnings, but where this scene grows even more enchanting is in its use of product placement--the Cheerios must be the sugar-coated variety for God's sake!  What is more real than that in today's America?

And finally there is this touch. Omar's boyfriend is reading a book when the outlaw returns to their nest with an unsatisfactory product, the ordinary Cheerios.  The book Reynaldo is reading is George Pelecanos' latest novel at the time of the segment's filming, Drama City.

George Pelecanos was of course a producer of the series as well as one of its frequent scriptwriters, and a close friend of series creator David Simon.

If this is not the best product placement I've ever seen in a dramatic production, it is close, right up there with Hitchcock placing himself unobtrusively in his movies just for kicks.

Dennis Lehane wrote this particular segment of The Wire.  Like Pelecanos, he is a best-selling crime writer.  This must have been his own homage to a brother-writer in the business, and a beautiful, collaborative slight-of-hand by everyone involved.


A Glimmer of Hope

Oregon is getting a lot of backhanded respect from writers around the country who believe the Ducks are seeded too low (12 Midwest)  in the tournament, which begins this morning.

A 9-16 seed has never won the dang thing.  Here's a novel approach to explaining why it won't happen this year either.

Oregon has a tough opening matchup against Oklahoma State (1:40 TNT) and its star freshman point guard, Marcus Smart.

But since the Ducks are known to be seeded too low they are exempt from this logic, right?

Wrong.  The numbers guy in the basketball sky puts it this way:  Oregon has an .03 percent chance of winning it all.

Whatever that means.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Charles Deemer is in the middle of transitioning to a new blog as he prepares to mothball Writing Life II.

I sort of hope he decides to keep the old one and work both of them like he has for the past week, but what I want doesn't count.

It should, but it just doesn't.

Oh well, we wish him the best with the new site, knowing full well he isn't really retiring but is rather merely thinking about it, as he has for the past fifty years!

Good fun.


Big Pharma

I ran up against the system in dealing with a little medical problem yesterday.  I have a prescription for a certain drug that will supposedly help me with this problem.

Because I do not have insurance, my pharmacist is charging me 24$ for the magic pills I will be inhaling daily for awhile until my problem goes away or I try something else.

Had I insurance, the same bottle of pills would have been charged off at 300$ to the carrier.

This is the American  health system in a nutshell.

A completely corrupt enterprise guided by greed and an absolute lack of common sense.


The Last Letter

An Iraq War vet gets down with the truth.

An excellent letter that says what many others must feel, and what others yet should feel but don't because they have their heads up their asses.

Good job, sir.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pop. 1280

Several months ago I read Jim Thompson's classic noir novel "The Killer Inside Me," my first meeting with Thompson after hearing about his work for years.

Shortly after finishing the book, I looked up the most recent movie made from the story, the Casey Affleck project of the same title.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now, in a style reminiscent of how I approached things as a young man, I've been moved to read a bio of Thompson.

The urge arrived yesterday after finishing his dark and hilarious "Pop. 1280."

You haven't?  Do.  You have?  You understand what I'm saying.

Thompson has my fullest attention these days; now I'm repeating an old pattern.

For years I would find an author, read a couple of his books if my interest held, and then move on to a bio of the writer if I could find one.

I think I was looking for secrets, or insights into how and why a particular writer impressed me.  The history of the writer's life seemed like a good place to visit.

Over subsequent years, until recently, I'd fallen out of the habit and read fewer bios in general.  But it feels good to reenter that realm, first with the Joe DiMaggio bio last month and now Michael J. McCauley's Thompson bio, "Sleep with the Devil" (1991).



Monday, March 18, 2013

Nearly There

Damn heater in my apartment has malfunctioned.

Put in a work order for a repair man but he's been a no show all day.

It's sort of chilly right now, though not intolerable.

Maybe there's a bright side to this.  It's almost Spring here in the Pacific Northwest.

Woo hoo!


Sunday, March 17, 2013


Oregon may have caught a break after winning the automatic Pac-12 berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon could win its first game against Oklahoma State, and follow up with a game against the winner of the St. Louis/New Mexico State game.

I like Oregon's chances all of a sudden of making it to the Sweet Sixteen!

Call me a homer, I don't care!


Purple Mailbox


Somewhere in California


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Toward March Madness

What do you know?

My Ducks pounced on the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament semifinals tonight, winning 64-45 just six days after losing to the same team by 10.

That loss cost the Ducks the regular season PAC championship.  They now have a chance to win the tournament title at least.

They meet Deemer's UCLA Bruins tomorrow night in the championship game.  Oregon beat the Bruins in L.A. earlier this season in their lone match-up.

Can the Ducks beat the Bruins again, this time on a neutral court in Vegas?

Tough to say.  Both teams are headed to the big dance next week, but I don't expect either one to go very far in the NCAA tournament because neither team is great shakes.

Gonzaga has the best team in the West, but I doubt if the Bulldogs make the Final Four either.  It's been a long time since a truly great team came out of this part of the country.

In fact, I don't see a great team anywhere.  There are, however, many good teams in the East and Midwest.

Anyway, the tourney bracket comes out Sunday.  I always look forward to evaluating the first round and dutifully filling out my bracket just to see how I'd do if I jumped into an office pool like the old days.

Truth is, I've never even come close to winning one of those things, so it's a good thing I no longer go into the office.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Watch List

A few of the movies on my "to watch" list because...

Because they are sitting on my desk.  I go to the library frequently and I'm always scrounging in the DVD section for something good.

Sometimes I check out movies that I'm fairly certain I'll not watch, or others that I know I may not like but feel obliged to view because I've heard good things about them.

Thus, the television mini-series "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is sitting in front of me. Will I give it a try?  I likely will, but if it tests my patience too much I'll abandon it early.  Alec Guinness has tested my patience a couple of times in the past, so who knows?

I also have "The Pinochet Case," a film by Patricio Guzman, which The Nation,  my favorite lefty publication, calls "a gift."

Pinochet, the great friend of the American oligarchy, was brought to justice in 1998.  One can assume he is still guilty of his crimes against the Chilean people.  I think I'll watch this one and treat it as a brush-up on my SA history curriculum.

On rare days I find really good stuff that I can't wait to dig into.   This is the stuff I know is good because I've seen it at least once and been blown away.

Consider the pile on my desk now.  I have a couple of movies that I've seen in the past, liked a lot, and decided to give another go. The first is Polanski's "The Pianist."

Forget about the auteur's trouble with US authorities, I don't care.  Roman Polanski is simply one of the great filmmakers, one truly worthy of the title genius, and "The Pianist" is one of his greatest works.

I've seen it just once.  It is hard for me to watch any movie twice, but I think I'll be fine with this particular work.

The second movie on my "will do" list is Terrence Malick's "Badlands," which I saw, again just once, in its initial run.  I wonder if it will be as good as I remember it being?

The rest of what awaits me falls into a mixed category of haven't-seen-films, documentaries and television.

I have "Luzon," the History Channel production; "Girl, Interrupted," which earned Angelina Jolie her Oscar in 1999 (I'm not a fan, but again I'll try anything once); the fifth season of "Dexter" which I'm sure will disappoint me if it is like most of television's popular fare and becomes a cartoon.  I haven't seen any of this series, so perhaps I should begin at the beginning when I can find season one.

I have the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's "Ten," which I haven't seen.  I've enjoyed what I've seen of his work, so this is a no-risk exercise.

Finally, I will at last get around to watching a documentary I once heard a great deal about. It is nothing short of shocking to me to realize I haven't seen this--"Hoop Dreams."

I once had hoop dreams myself, so perhaps my avoidance of the subject is understandable.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blue Notes

I'd forgotten how good Dexter Gordon was in this film by Bertrand Tavernier.

I watched it over the weekend for the first time since it came out in 1986.

The score by Herbie Hancock won an Oscar.

Gordon played a composite of Bud Powell and Lester Young, who lived and played in Paris in the late fifties.


Dog Days

One doctor
One patient
One blood test
One rectal exam
One prescription
Two weeks of waiting


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013





No end to the stupidity.

Like this will ever stop a crazy fucker intent on mass murder and suicide.

We're running out of band-aids.


Cold Truth

This piece by Greg Kaufmann tells it like it is.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I haven't had Internet service recently, except for brief trials on the local wireless.  Won't have regular service until next month.

The free trial is held hostage by ads, so I lose a lot of my posts in the resulting hassle.

Thus my posts will be few and sporadic until then.

It's okay, I'm watching a lot of DVD stuff and catching up on some reading.

I just feel sorry for y'all, not getting your usual dose of RBP!



Colorado is stomping my Ducks tonight.

A pathetic exhibition with the PAC title on the line.  I just don't get it.  How can a team play this poorly with everything to play for?

Next they have to play in Salt Lake against the Utes Saturday morning.

The Ducks didn't show up tonight in Boulder.

Packing it in?


Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I didn't have a television for years and didn't see The Wire when it first appeared eleven seasons ago!  I recently took the time to gather up the DVD sets at the library, so I'm just getting caught up on this David Simon creation.

I'm into the fortieth hour of this dynamic series.

I'd like to claim that I was doing something more productive with my time than watching television last decade, but I can't honestly say I was.

I was in school, but hell, students watch TV don't they?

I missed out on this just as I have missed out on so much else in my lifetime.  I'm not really a TV guy, but every once in awhile I get the bug.

It recently happened with Mad Men as well.

The writing and acting in both series are top-notch.

There was never anything this good on the telly back in the day, before I gave up on the big three networks.  NYPD Blue may have came close, but even that wasn't this raw and bold.  Network television had the commercial breaks, too, which I deplored.

So something has finally impressed me.



This will be interesting to watch.

And for something completely different.


Artis and Dotson to Play!

It looks as though my Ducks will have their two best freshmen ballers for this weekend's road trip.  That is good news, as winning in the PAC on the road is no gimme these days.

Their chore:  to beat Colorado and Utah and win at least a share of the PAC title.


Close Call


Friday, March 1, 2013


In 2002 James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly attempted to explain what might happen if the U.S. started a war against Iraq.

He now admits he was somewhat taken in by the rush to war and gave the war hawks too much leeway in his analysis of their plans (or non-plans as it happened).