In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell
“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life
The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.
I went to school there also, so the Vikings are one of my teams. They dipped last season when I thought they might finally get over the hump after a decent 2011 campaign; I still think Nigel Burton can get it done in the Park Blocks.
In his fourth year at PSU, he's running out of time to do something and move up in the coaching ranks. If he doesn't prove himself this season he'll probably lose his job, and the Vikings will have to start anew once again.
We all know what that is like, right?
The team starts practicing tomorrow at 1 p.m. First game: Thursday, Aug. 29 at Jeld-Wen, with a 7 p.m kickoff against Eastern Oregon.
Won't be much of a contest, but at least it will be a football game rather than soccer at the landmark old stadium that was gussied up by the Timbers ownership a few years ago.
The Timbers draw 20K a game. PSU will be lucky to get half that many to its opener.
If the GOP could put up a credible candidate, I'd be tempted. Unfortunately that is not going to happen, either. The teabagging wingnuts on one hand and the cruel, social-budget-slashing nincompoops on the other are ingredients in a rotten stew.
If it smells bad from here, up close it's gotta be toxic.
Throw in the anti-preventive-war Libertarians (cool) who want to stake out your bedroom (not cool) and--presto--more buffoonery ahead.
What a funny, dismal reality.
Look at how easily the right-wing bozos from both parties and centrist Demos have climbed into bed together recently over a couple of unruly whistleblowers' threat to their dominion--the National Security State of America.
Here is another fine essay from one of our best, the ex-Harvard divinity student,ex-New York Times reporter and current social activist Chris Hedges, who writes circles around not just the defenders of the status quo, but around his peer-activists everywhere.
I must admit I like the potential in this one. Sounds like the in-depth annotations of the novels and stories might be of assistance to a reader like myself. For me, Hemingway's non-fiction always rang truest.
Though I admired his first novel and was in great awe of "The Old Man and the Sea" and many of the short stories, I had trouble with some of the bulkier fiction.
For me the best Hemingway was "Death in the Afternoon" and "A Moveable Feast," along with his collected war correspondence.
It may be time to revisit Papa in the pages of this book. Maybe it'll spur me to finally read "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
The user has taken down my post of the full movie "Stop Making Sense."
Man, that was sweet while it lasted. Love that movie, but I suppose my blog does impact sales of the DVD beyond even my wildest imagination.
I have fond memories of the Talking Heads breaking the cycle of rubbish the music industry was putting out in that era.
The industry has changed of course. A good songwriter with a good computer program and a quiet room can make astonishingly good music these days, though it is seldom heard unless you hunt it down.
I'm not very good at that. I'm regularly surprised and pleased when the youngsters turn me on to something I like.
Everyone is trying to get to the bar The name of the bar, the bar is called heaven The band in heaven, they play my favorite song Play it one more time, play it all night long Heaven, heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens Heaven, heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens There is a party, everyone is there Everyone will leave at exactly the same time When this party's over, it will start again It will not be any different, it will be exactly the same Heaven, heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens When this kiss is over it will start again It will not be any different, it will be exactly the same It's hard to imagine that nothing at all could be so exciting, could be this much fun Heaven, heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens Heaven, heaven is a place, a place where nothing, nothing ever happens Byrne and Harrison TS
Patrick Leigh Fermor, who lived 96 years despite being a life-long heavy smoker (I refuse to believe it), published this in 1977 when he was 62.
Reflecting on the long solo walk he began at 18 from Holland to Constantinople just as Hitler rose to power in 1933, he worked from a lost journal he had kept during his trip and which somehow came back to him forty years later.
Fermor credited the journal with firing his imagination and shaping the project, while his matured sensibility allowed him to build upon his adventures with hindsight, and with a critical and descriptive interpretation of everything he saw and felt before Europe fell into its great calamity.
Perhaps I'll share more if I get into this book, which seems likely given my present interest in travel writing and itch for a good tale.
For months now, I've obsessed about going--just going. Last night I was reading about the annual pilgrimage walk across northern Spain--the Camino de Santiago--which is visited by thousands--an event that has taken on extra poignancy this summer in light of the recent Santiago train tragedy.
While I am not a particularly religious sort, and certainly not Catholic, my understanding is that religion is somewhat irrelevant to the scope of the event, as many diverse people walk the Camino de Santiago.
I wasn't a full-fledged hippie back in the day, either, but I always rather enjoyed the Country Fair outside Eugene for its visual texture and energy.
Impressions of all that aside, I'm thinking Fermor's tale of a solo walk might entice me more than any telling of what happened to another author--unless he is very good--during an organized walk.
The author set out alone. His adventures were his alone, and he bore the hardships as well as the great satisfaction epic walking must give.
I knew way too many people would show up at the Grimm casting call for my taste, so I didn't go. But I am enrolled at extrasonly.com, the local company that specializes in finding and placing extras in an array of local film projects, including Grimm.
I know I've been remiss for nearly a month now by not properly recognizing a notable Idiot of the Week each and every Friday as I recently promised I would.
Please accept my apologies.
I wish I could say this unfortunate circumstance arose because I was unable to locate a worthy idiot since the last time I named one. But of course you and I know that is not the source of my negligence. The world is teeming with idiots, many of them in high places. They are the varietals this blog favors. All one must do is pick one, for the world is ripe with idiocy.
Importantly, America has its fair share of idiots, the sort I prefer to laud. I deem Americans most worthy of my special award because I am an American, and the Idiot of the Week Award is a uniquely American prize.
Go with what you know, as the old adage says.
The truth is I've been lazy of late.
But I have had an awakening!
I have found a subject so worthy of the award this week that I would not be merely remiss to not name him; I would be criminal, as low as the lowest Floridian sitting in judgment of Trayvon Martin, who was murdered many months ago and was recently found guilty of "getting what he deserved" in a segment of the court of US public opinion--which stretches from sea to shining sea in our great nation.
Now, I beg your pardon, I am not saying George Zimmerman is an idiot or guilty, though he clearly is an idiot--and guilty. To give George the Idiot of the Week Award would be cynical, an easy ruse, not to mention belated and biased against whatever it is that passes for justice in Florida these days.
But back to the topic at hand: This week's Idiot of the Week Award goes to a man who, as far as we know, hasn't stalked and blown away an unarmed black kid. However, that doesn't absolve Mitch Daniels of suspicion.
We don't know if he has robbed and thieved any more than what is permissible by the more-than-fair standards of US jurisprudence, nor do we really know whether he is a thug; but that doesn't mean he hasn't robbed and thieved or isn't a thug--all we have are perceptions, after all, and you may disagree with mine.
All we really know is that he is a so-called leader, one of a type who, given what we know about history (which is more than Mitch), has occasionally exhibited a style steeped in fascist tendencies.
Again, bear in mind that I am not saying Mitch has fascist tendencies. But like you, I have my suspicions, which as we all know after Florida, count for something. Also consider this--would we be living in a Surveillance State if suspicion was not warranted?
All we can safely and righteously assume is that Mitch is an idiot, in other words. All I can do is give him the coveted award.
The late historian Howard Zinn ruffled a lot of feathers during his long career, and evidently none more thoroughly than those of Mitch Daniels, the current president of Purdue University and one-time governor of Indiana.
We now understand that when Mitch was governor he mailed some unsavory emails to his underlings while mentally stalking Howard Zinn and that he was much relieved when the old radical passed on.
I ask in all earnestness, should such a man lead a major US university?
Mitch, you are guilty of idiocy, and thus highly deserving of this week's Idiot of the Week Award from Round Bend Press.
The head pharmacist was nearby and overheard the conversation. He frowned. He came over and looked at the prescription and then got on the computer.
I understood what he was doing--checking the wholesale cost of the drug against its potential retail value in order to make a determination as to whether my initial price maintained profitability. He was looking at all the angles outside of the Medicare scam, where the prix fixed menu assures exorbitant profits.
I said, look up my records. I know what I paid three months ago.
I had no idea how this was going to turn out, however. I stood and waited, wondering whether I would just tell them to shove it and walk out without my pills or win this bruising battle.
A couple of minutes lapsed as the pharmacist keyed the computer some more. He finally nodded assent and said, yeah, we can sell it for that--meaning my price.
He walked away; the clerk frowned this time, and the second pharmacist followed suit. I exhaled.
I got my pills.
I got my pills because I fought for them and was sharp enough to maintain control of the situation. I'm not old enough to be on Medicare, and for the time being I'm not senile enough to be taken in by a collective of out-and-out thieves.
Old people, beware. Taxpayers, beware.
These people will take your last dime if you let them and think nothing of it.
I watched damned near the whole thing, blinking in and out of consciousness.
Then I heard the crowd erupt. The roar was louder than any previous celebration in recent memory as it wafted over from Jeld-Wen. It rose above and obliterated the traffic noise that hums with a regular cadence from I-405 below my apartment.
Something had happened.
I saw the Timbers were lining up for a corner kick and noticed that the match was in it's 95th minute. My God, I thought. I'd been watching, but I wasn't focused at all. I had lost track. The match was five minutes into stoppage time and I hadn't even noticed.
I figured this was it. The loud celebration could mean but one thing. The Timbers had managed to score a second goal and finally break their miserable tie with the L.A. Galaxy--break their league-leading habit of tying everybody.
Or as is the preferred word amid the odd idioms of soccer--drawing with.
Draws, those sisterly kisses, are the Timbers' curse and trademark.
The suspense built as I waited for the stream to catch up with real time--a thirty second delay. The corner kick finally lofted up and my favorite player--favorite because I admire his name--Andrew Jean-Baptiste thrust himself into a mass of players in front of the goal.
But I didn't see it happen, even as I squinted to watch the bad standard definition of the stream. The replays told the story in slow motion. Jean-Baptiste lingered at the rear-edge of the swarm, stepped around one defender, nudged in front of another and somehow got his head to the ball.
He didn't jump, but lunged, lashed at the ball and it whistled past the diving goal keeper's outstretched arms, nestling into the goal's left corner.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste--say that name and tell me it is not the name of a poet, a Brooklyn poet--tore his shirt off and ran to the corner of the stadium where the Timbers Army reigns and chants and carries on all match long, ceaselessly.
He looked up at them, and they down on him. Oh my, did they give Jean-Baptiste their love as his teammates swarmed over him like human locusts. The Army was deliriously in love with twenty-one year old Jean-Baptiste, from Brooklyn, New York, a poet's town.
I sat and watched this, not quite comprehending the mutual, enormous love, the adoration that filled the stadium, because I am not a fan. I am not.
Except of the name.
The first stoppage-time goal in Timbers' franchise history did not do it for me. If this game did not do it for me, it shall not be done, Andrew Jean-Baptiste.
I'm looking forward to my trip to Idaho next week. It's been awhile since I last traveled. Four summers ago to be exact.
That summer I took the train to St. Cloud, Minnesota to see my grandson for the first time. Despite the difficulties I had sleeping on the train, I had a great time. I would take the same train I took then--the Empire Builder--to Sandpoint next week, except I have to make this trip on the cheap.
I'm going rideshare, provided one of the two people I've been in contact with comes through as planned. I exchanged emails with Lauren a couple of days ago. She is headed to Spokane from Eugene on Monday morning. Says she could stop in Portland and pick me up. She'll call me Sunday to discuss things.
Earlier today a second option arose. A retired fellow from Vancouver, just across the Columbia from Portland, called and said he recently purchased a new truck and wants to give it a road test. A bright blue Avalanche, he said, and of course he loves it. He mentioned he's disabled, which I could have guessed from our conversation. He spoke shakily, but seemed very nice and sincere. The first thing I thought of is that he might be a stroke victim. I didn't inquire further, but agreed to meet him on Sunday for coffee to discuss a potential ride. This guy was likable over the phone. He asked me if I was a good driver, a good sign.
I'll make an assessment of Gerald when I meet him, but my second impression is that he is lonely. I have a third impression of Gerald as well, which I won't get into. Suffice to say that prior to reading my rideshare post he clearly had no plans to go to Sandpoint.
The advantages in this possibility are clear. He wants me to do part of the driving (I would prefer to do it all), he is cautious, and I could conveniently get all the way to Sandpoint.
Gerald, please don't be too weird. When I see that Avalanche and think about riding in comfort, I'll be tempted.
The train? I loved the train, particularly when it passed through the Continental Divide and edged Glacier National Park in Montana. It is beautiful out there.
Into heavy planning for my Idaho trip in about 10 days.
A few more rough-edged details to this than I initially expected, but I'm trying to get up to to Sandpoint to help photog Lee Santa with his jazz memoir, a book of photos and text about his life as a jazz lover.
KC Bacon has another chapbook of aphorisms ready to go as well.
A master of disguise has odious secrets, or worse, objectionable motives. Distance is the barrier between what a man desires and what he should do. While critics are facile, their work is not, lest they be untrue. TS
I had a friend during my work/party days in the restaurant business who always wore a favorite shirt on the 4th of July.
Cut tightly around her supple breasts and lovely waist, her flag-embossed shirt convincingly announced her allegiance to the good old USA.
"My favorite holiday," she exclaimed, knocking another one back in celebration.
"My favorite shirt," I said, lifting a brow. I liked her laughter. I liked the way she ate her hot dog.
While it was not meant to be between us, I always admired this Boston-born babe. I'd known people before her who wrapped themselves in the red, white and blue on the 4th, but rarely with such revolutionary zeal--or irony.
For in many ways, she was a rebel in love with an ideal.
Or so I wanted to believe. Wasn't the American Revolution still a living, breathing thing? Something to cherish, but also something to watch carefully in perpetuity, something to preserve as more than the simple-minded jingoistic refrain heard all too often in every stratum of our society--USA, USA, USA!
This is something to think about in our age of overwhelming surveillance and "preventive" war and, dare I say, seeming constitutional illegality. It's something to think about on this day.
The one regret I have--and it is a large one--about not making any real money over the course of my working life is that today, in semi-retirement, I don't have the money to travel.
With all this free time on my hands, I am sort of lost, and I am suffering writer's block even more than usual these days. I'm getting by, in a poor and foul mood, but I think writing a travel book or series of hard-travel articles might help pull me out of my rut.
I don't mean tourist summations, either. A bad payday is as bad as no payday.
Of course, one would like to have Theroux's talent as well, but that is another issue. This is pure fantasy, I guess, but it would be fun to try. One could, with a decent retirement account. Failure wouldn't be an issue; not writing something worthwhile would be.
Write something I like--and not give a damn if it sells.
I blew it. Most of the jobs I worked over the years angered or bored me, sometimes in tandem, so I usually lost them or simply walked away with the understanding that there was always another one down the block. Maybe it would be better.
I wanted to do it my way or take the highway.
That worked for young people back in the day, or it did for me, when jobs were easier to get than they are now. I could always find a new distraction, a new place, which pleased me temporarily.
Clearly, I lacked a certain amount of discipline in my life. That goes as much for my writing life as it does for all the other things I've done or tried to do. I never chose a career that paid beyond the value of a bowl of gruel and a cheap pitcher of beer after the rent. Sometimes, especially in recent years, I couldn't even make the rent.
I studied political science and history in school--what I learned was alienation. I know many of my betters in the first two disciplines. I am the king of the third.
About ten years ago, with a resume shot full of gaps and dubious assignations, I could no longer run my private racket, i.e., be the boss of my own working life.
My "earning years" were finally lost in a brutal market, passing with age and a deepening disappointment in everything.
I know I'm not alone in that regard, for what it is worth.
I once took pride in cooking a decent plate of eggs or organizing a protest. I never wanted to own a breakfast cafe or be Gandhi.
Don't enslave me! I cried.
Then I lost interest and fell very hard. All the way to the bottom. I really cried then.
I don't regret that, or even where I am now in an existential sense. I regret not doing what I needed to do when it counted.
I had an algebra teacher in high school who always referred to a tough algebraic problem (they were all tough for me) as a "sticky wicket."
Standing at the chalk board, munching on the pieces of beef jerky that were his constant pacifiers, he repeatedly tossed his chalkstick into the air, caught it with the deft flair of an old lecturer, and pretended to be stumped for a moment over one problem or another.
Then he asked his students for help, or assigned one, like me, to help him (I never did).
"This is a sticky wicket," he would say, demonstrating why such was the case. Then he would show us how to solve the problem.
As far as I can tell, that is what you have now in Egypt--a sticky wicket. Someone, an Egyptian, needs to step up, like my old algebra teacher, and show us all how to solve the problem.
Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books, Round Bend Press Detritus, and an associated writing/editing service to aid and abet renegade authors. He has worked as a day laborer, dishwasher, factory drone, community organizer, journalist, media consultant and freelance writer. He attended the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where he read journalism, politics, literature and history. He is the author most recently of "Along Came the Death Squad: Political and Scattered Notes."
RBP books are available from Amazon and Lulu.
Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org