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

Monday, April 29, 2013


The taxi to the ER cost ten bucks.

The EKG, IV and rigorous attention of two nurses and the ER doc will cost much more.

Everything scanned from the bar code on my wrist to a computation of facts, tabulating costs, rising debt.  Nitro, pills, pills, pills.

Am I dying?  Why are you asking me if I have money?  Now?

Sign this, sign this, sign this.  Hurry, hurry, hurry.

Overnight, attached to a myriad of technologies, rising, yet lessening fear.

Poked and prodded.  Blood drawn repeatedly, a few laughs, pretty nurses.  More and more cost, hearty bland food.

Enzymes, enzymes, enzymes.  Normal.

A cool liquid applied to my chest above the heart.  Echo test,  as the diligent tech appraises the situation.

Sound waves, an occasional misdirection.  Nothing serious.

Years ago I paid my taxes in support of several wars I hated, and now I have no money.  I protest!

I'm still alive, the much poorer, an American.  I can't afford this.

Money, money, money.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Nothing to See Here

Ain't it the truth.

The armed and deadly robbery persists.



Just fine, but this was the high water mark...

RIP, George Jones.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Room for Debate

The always evocative Glenn Greenwald on terrorism and its discontents.


Sunday, April 21, 2013


Mamet joins the club.

An interesting perspective on why he will self-publish.


Saturday, April 20, 2013


War criminal and  number one Clown, GWB.

Nader on the way things are.


Here We Go

Wait until you and I lose our Miranda rights, then start crying.



Few words.

Deemer has taken to drawing.

Like a natural.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Real Enthusiasm

I vividly remember seeing Mark "The Bird" Fidrych pitch his televised complete game against the Yankees in 1976.  The night pushed him to 8-1.

Here are excerpts from a recently published bio of Fidrych by Doug Wilson.  It's a good read.

Fidrych was killed in an accident as he worked on his gravel truck in 2009.

He was indeed a rare Bird.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bombing Collage

It's a dangerous world, but I am awake.

In a culture that relies on violence to keep the American way of life intact, you're shocked?

This old poem said it well.

Mad bombers are everywhere.

Our mad bombers are superior to your mad bombers, however.

If you do not buy into this, you are clearly anti-America.

Sorry if history is not your thing, America.

I too wonder if the American Dream is dead.

But I also love America, just like you.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


(Mr. Willie Lyles)

Oregon made an offer, the NCAA turned it down, and now the slow simmer begins.

As somebody said in the comments section of the above article, sanctions will fall somewhere between nothing and the "death penalty."

And if you could read the mind of the NCAA on this you would be in demand.

It's too bad Kelly couldn't lead his program at Oregon without resorting to the ridiculous 25K cash payment to Willie Lyles.  It was a dumb move.

Kelly's arrogance was his biggest drawback, and I'm happy he is somebody else's problem now.


Saturday, April 13, 2013


A unique triple play.

Poor base running as well.


Woo Hoo!

More on Obama's Grand Compromise, from William Greider.

Compelling stuff.

How did Obama become such a good friend of my enemy?


Friday, April 12, 2013

RIP Jonathan Winters


Too Little, Too Late

I've been invited to join.

The letter came today, signed by Tom Luckett, Chair of the History Department and Faculty Advisor to Phi Alpha Theta at Portland State.

Funny, but Chairman Luckett was the one guy on the PSU History faculty who gave me a hard time and seemed unable to appreciate my genius.

I'm honored.

This exclusive club has over 350K members.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Glory Days

The gamesmanship in the Rep. Greg Walden uproar, when the Oregon Republican broke with the party line on Social Security this morning, is hilarious.

So is Walden a good old teabagger, or a bane for the Republican elite?  His head must be spinning.

Watch Walden squirm in this video as he tries to justify his opinion in light of the GOP blow back he must have guessed would arise.

Boehner has Obama right where he wants him, and Walden speaks up to upset the status quo!

Strange bedfellows, indeed: Sanders and Walden!

Walden has been a clownish rep for years and has never seen a military contract he doesn't like, but in this instance he sucked it up for realpolitik. 

It's sort of admirable.  Few but the wealthy think cutting Social Security is a good idea.  Not even his conservative constituency in depressed Oregon will go down without a fight on this one.

This is all terribly exciting.

Walden is in limbo.  He's left himself on an island while marrying progressive Demos without so much as a kiss.

I thought there was a law against that...



Rep. Greg Walden jumps party lines, faces off against Boehner!

This is a shocking development given the lone Oregon GOP congressman's record.

Obama is blowing it on Social Security (as he has on many things), and now Walden is aligning with the Demos' progressive caucus?

I've seen everything.  Can he hold up under Boehner's cudgel?


Tuesday, April 9, 2013


The heart of the matter.


Hillary Ponders the Future

Will she run?

I think she'll set all of this aside and go for it.

In other words, ambition will trump common sense.


Dead Icon

Estoy simpatico.

Adios Margaret.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Exhumation in Chile

Was Neruda murdered by Pinochet?

His regular driver and aide has been claiming such for years.

How many U.S. poets these days have full-time drivers to ferry them around to their poetry readings and other business?

Not even this guy achieved that level of reverence.



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jack Hoffman

Seven year-old cancer victim scores in Nebraska's Spring game!



On this day 29 years ago, Dwight "Doc" Gooden made his Major League debut as a 19 year-old phenom for the New York Mets.

An interesting off-field and post-baseball life, including a fondness for cocaine.

And more recently.


Wild Horses

One of the best...



Big balls Frank...



Pretty dang sweet...


Sinatra and B-Ball

I thought the Final Four games yesterday were as entertaining as could be.  Watched the first game with my pal Lucas, who can't see worth a damn and continually asked me the score.

Place we watched, near Jen-Weld Field, has a great jukebox which played throughout the game, so we didn't have to listen to the broadcasters.  Enjoyed some old tunes I hadn't heard in a long time.

Then the place filled up with soccer fans prior to the Timbers vs. Houston match, and it was time to leave.


Friday, April 5, 2013

19 Years

Nineteen years and a butt-load of irony.



Dig it, man...


Thursday, April 4, 2013

James Reston on King, 1963

To recall and imagine that good old America was merely mulling the "Negro problem" over a century after Lincoln is mind-boggling.

Washington will be "impressed," Reston opined after the "I Have a Dream" speech.

The point after all was to impress the U.S. Congress, a sullen body of hacks (white) and posers (white) determined to protect not the rights of the citizenry, but their own.

Some things never change.  Well, perhaps they have...marginally.

America, I love thee...sweet land of liberty.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Savage Art

Boy, am I excited about this...

My copy of Robert Polito's biography of Jim Thompson, Savage Art, came in the mail today. I'd read somewhere that it is a much better book than Michael J. McCauley's take on the esteemed noir novelist's life--Sleep with the Devil--which hasn't been as interesting as I had hoped.

I agree with the critiics.  After reading a few pages into the Polito book I'm a true believer.  His depth of analysis is far superior to McCauley's.  His rendering and voice hooked me from the first paragraph,

Only problem is that the print is so small that I may need to find a magnifying glass to finish the damn thing!

I tried to find Savage Art in the public library here in Portland a couple of weeks ago.  Naturally, because I wanted to read it so badly, I discovered the library doesn't have a copy.

I found my pristine copy at Amazon for four bucks.

Once again I've achieved one of my most important goals in life--to always have an interesting book at hand.

I hope you are as fortunate.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

You Got That Right, Pal

K.C. Bacon turned me on to this Joseph Epstein essay from the Wall Street Journal.  I agree with it in the main, though I could quibble about a few of Epstein's lesser points.

The author's thesis is strong, if obvious to those of us in the writing trade.  Few people care about poetry outside of academia.

Bacon reminded me of another Epstein essay that I read years ago, which covered a lot of the above material in more depth.

"Who Killed Poetry" is actually the better read if you have a little time to digest it.


It Won't Be Easy

Words are easy.
You can slop a few
here and there and get
away with murder.

That is something else.
Slop paint around too much
and you'll earn
a demerit.

You'll have to
live with yourself,
which is never as easy
as slopping words around.

That is for sure.


Opening Day

The Major League Baseball season starts today, and I can't decide whether I want to watch the games or organize a boycott.

I've had a love/hate relationship with baseball for many years, as I related in this piece about my fleeting career as a baseball writer in the 1980s.

(You can read a polished version of that amazing piece and much more if you buy this book by Buddy Dooley.)

Sometimes the game of baseball induces utter boredom for me, which causes me to wonder why I ever liked it to begin with.  At other times, particularly when I recall playing third base in high school and junior college many years ago, the juices start to flow again.

Or at least trickle.

As I discovered early on the left corner of the diamond was no place to nap unless you wanted to risk being murdered by a line drive. Even then I might grow sleepy, but that is because I was a dreamy lad.  I managed to lose track of both the pitch count and the number of outs in an inning on more than one occasion, just as I do now as I try to read Being and Nothingness while watching the BoSox vs. the Yanks.

Baseball is timeless, have you heard?

I've watched a handful of Major League baseball games in person over the years, and now I've mainly forgotten them.

I did watch Catfish Hunter throw a no-hitter in Oakland once, I think.

Another time, in San Francisco, I sat next to a band of Dixieland Jazz players wearing pork-pie hats. That was pretty cool.

I know I didn't see Hunter's perfect game, but I saw this one on television last year.

"Yeah...Woo!"  I documented the damn thing like I was there and not sitting in a bar talking to the guy next to me who never played baseball.

One other memorable televised baseball moment occurred for me as I watched a game in 1986.  I was as stunned as any mild-mannered baseball fan has ever been as I watched a grounder go between Bill Buckner's legs.

To this day that is as funny and fucked up as anything you will ever see.

I chased a foul ball down in the third tier of the old Seattle Kingdome one time. A ten year-old baseball memorabilia collector offered me fifteen bucks for it on the spot.

I threatened the kid with ultraviolence and he backed off.

Just kidding, I gave the ball to my daughter, who will one day give it to this little slugger, which is the way things ought to work, the way they do work in a decent world.

The Kingdome was the worst baseball venue in the history of the game by the way.

Best thing that ever happened to Seattle.

Speaking of baseball memories, here's a shitty little story.

Anyway, Major League Baseball starts today, and former Boston slugger Kevin Youkilis now plays for the Yankees.

See what I mean?   Why shouldn't we boycott these uncaring millionaires?

But this is Opening Day... maybe I'll take another crack at Ulysses and watch a couple of innings.  With any luck, Jon Lester will knock Youkilis on his keister a couple of times.