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, May 31, 2014

Solid Day

Man, I've had a marathon day with the baseball book.

I think I can wrap up a draft by next weekend and then set out to polish and hone it, add select photos, let it simmer, etc.

Say, a late June release?

Sounds about right at this time, though things could change.


Truth Be Told

"Kerry is either amazingly ignorant or being disingenuous when he suggests that Snowden would be allowed to “make his case” if he returned to the US. No one outside the penal justice system would ever see him again, the moment he set foot here, assuming he was not given a prior deal. He could maybe try to explain himself to the prison guards, assuming they didn’t stick him in solitary. Here are some reasons Mr. Snowden would be unwise to trust himself to that system, given the charges against him:"

Prof. Juan Cole's argument.


Pawel Kuczynski

Make sure you check out the other links to the artist's portfolio.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Gil Scott-Heron

GSH passed away three years ago at age 62.

My how time flies.


Why Are We So Quiet?

"Are we failing, squarely and patently, to give examples and proof of the pain this world is suffering because of the bestiality of market fundamentalism, because of unchecked neocolonialism and shameless Western supremacy? Are we not providing enough stories and images, enough footage, to convince the citizens of the countries that are ruling the world, that something has gone awfully wrong?"

More from Andre Vltchek.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Talent Poem

Carl Hicks' Head

Those who choose to leave
must do so ecstatically, thought
the philologist, Carl Hicks.

The gun, the seductive pill,
the very comprehension of
reality must play into it all.

If death be a fear-mongering
whore, then life should usurp it,
Hicks surmised through his fog.

Bleeding because he’d hit his
head in the dark while pissing,
he looked in the mirror.  He’d

Been up all night reading an
account of the short life of
Gavrilo  Princip, his favorite.

It takes all kinds. If Berle Marks
lifted the wag from our midst, so
what?  War has the same cruelty.

Did Marks take the wag home
on terms they’d both reconciled
as true to form, absolute and fine?

Outlaws are born to die, Carl
Hicks thought; though the wag
was weak, Ted knew the score.


The Limits of History

The Portland baseball history presents a complicated challenge.  The subject warrants a document of greater depth focused on the game's regionalism and aspects of its lesser-known history--the people, places and events forgotten by omission.

I regret I can't do that.  I don't have the patience or energy any more, not to mention the necessary resources, which makes me feel like I'm cheating and glazing over too much.  Every aspect of the history has richer possibilities that would take much more time and research to polish into a comprehensive account.

Then of course there would be the small matter of finding an audience for such a book. Its regionalism would be limiting and expectant to begin with.

An in-depth, regionally-focused work wouldn't have the "Big Event" (read famous) personalities and happenstance that piques wide-spread popular interest, such as the Babe getting drunk every night throughout his career, or Ty Cobb's mean streak. I mean, who would care that some small-fry .220 lifetime hitter in Portland had similar attributes?

Therein unfolds the ever-present dilemma in historicity.  Micro-history is a tough sell, aside from being tough to dig up and write.  People prefer the big story to be dished to them on a platter.

I tend to believe historians are like poets.  They write for each other much of the time.

How much is enough? And what is the meaning of that which is revealed in any historical narrative?  How much of the peeling away of a subject even matters?

So my book will be a somewhat breezy, thin volume, with a few pictures throughout.

Not optimal history or storytelling by any standard, just me trying to deliver a more readable account than my original.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Slogger

Another good day on the Portland baseball history.  It's a slog, but everything is a slog for me, so I accept graciously the small gift I was born with, a matter of DNA and nurture, and an unwillingness to kowtow to fools.

Just as importantly, I've figured out a way to pay the bills for the coming month, which buys me the time to hopefully finish the Beavers narrative and write some more poems for the "Talent" cycle.

At least I have the Internet for another month, and thus a research tool for the baseball book. (You see, I'd rather not work in the library or an Internet Cafe, where there are too many potential distractions for me--like books and beautiful women.)

When you're writing a story about the history of minor league baseball in the West there are a lot of connecting dots, as you might imagine. The trick for me in this project is managing them relative to the pro baseball scene in Portland.

The other day I wrote that there isn't a lot online about the Beavers.

Not true if you examine the material in the context of the early Northwest League as well as the city's long history in the Pacific Coast League. Searching Los Angeles Angels' or San Francisco Seals' websites can boggle your brain.

There are lots of dots, particularly if you compute how important the PCL was to baseball before the Giants and Dodgers moved out here in 1958.

And then along came the curse of television.

Minor league baseball in the early twentieth century was as volatile as any other small business then, or now.

You've got to be heads up to even keep track of it, sharp to catch the business subtleties.

It's interesting.

Okay, perhaps not for you.  But I'm writing something that is borderline fiction as well as an historical piece, and it's sort of fun.

We'll see what happens.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

A Memorial Day message from a member of Veterans for Peace.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sy Hersh

This is a revealing book about Seymour Hersh.

I didn't know that he and the founder of the upstart Dispatch News Service colluded to sell the Mi Lai story to CBS 60 Minutes in 1969.

They did it behind the back of the poor maimed soldier who spilled his heart out to Hersh concerning Mi Lai during the writer's research for the third or fourth article he was preparing on the 1968 massacre.  Hersh essentially passed the kid off to Mike Wallace and pocketed the loose change.

The vet had no clue what his story meant to the news market. He was simply trying to tell the truth.

To this day Hersh's ploy seems sort of anti-ethical, much like the Snowden affair relative to Glenn Greenwald, a story of high-risk politics without a known moral quantification.

I like Hersh, Snowden and Greenwald.  I must be in the minority these days. I'm just not convinced that the government needs to know, nor should it know, more than the governed in an idealized democracy.


Surviving the Indy and Vortex

I don't know how in the hell it happened, but I was a big fan of the Indianapolis 500 when I was a kid. Maybe every kid was in those days, but in hindsight you tend to wonder why.

I must have listened to the race on the radio in the days before it was televised, and I know Sports Illustrated always gave it full-coverage, so perhaps those were the key elements to my fascination early on.

I did love the look of the cars, and likely fantasized about driving very fast around and around an oval track. I wasn't a gearhead by any stretch, so I know the technical stuff involving these specially-built cars wasn't part of it.

It must have been purely the flash of speed and color, the essence of which was drawn out in those incredible SI photos that accompanied the Indy racing stories.  I also had a fondness for Formula 1 racing. That one I appreciated more because the race courses ran through certain European and South American cities. That was very appealing from a visual standpoint, which must have been part of it.  Speed and interesting architecture in combination.

In 1970, after attending college in Ashland, Oregon for a year, I moved to Albany, an armpit of a town famous for its stinky industry and not much else sitting squarely in the I-5 corridor.  A new community college had just sprung up there, fashioned out of modular trailers before the campus had even broken ground. Since my mother had moved there after I finished high school in close-by Sweet Home, I commandeered her screen-enclosed front porch and moved in, transferring my shaky academic records from Ashland.

Then, as now, the community college was an outlet for the poor in funds and academics.  I was on academic probation in Ashland, having not bothered to do anything except play football and drink while following my friends to the occasional antiwar symposium or rally.

I slept on my mother's porch and froze my butt off during the cold and rainy winter months, but when spring came around I had two more fairly solid terms of college under my belt and looked forward to transferring to the University of Oregon the next fall. I also played basketball and baseball for the first-year school, which kept me occupied as I worried about the draft that was still in effect at the time. I had a student deferment and definitely wasn't interested in going to Vietnam, so I studied and got my grades up.

I'd bought an old beater from my brother-in-law for fifty dollars so I could transport myself out to the community college at the edge of town.  The beater's driveline would fall out eventually, stranding the car on a short access street between two of Albany's busier arterials near the railroad tracks, an occurrence that cost me a night in jail (another story). Until then the car served its purpose, however.

I drove it to Portland once, a risky adventure because the car wasn't freeway-worthy, like a moped isn't road-worthy. It spewed a little oil. It rattled and shook violently until it exceeded 60 mph, and it certainly was unsafe at any speed.  But, you see, I just had to see the closed-circuit broadcast of the 1971 Indy 500 that I'd heard would be simulcast at Memorial Coliseum, a twelve thousand-seat basketball and hockey arena.  It's where the Trail Blazers played before the Rose Garden, now the Moda Center, was built in the 1990s.

I remember being excited about the trip, despite its risks. I was determined to see the race for the first time start to finish, but I soon found myself disappointed. For a number of reasons.

The crowd was extremely sparse, just a few morons hanging out. Somehow I'd pictured a full house of diehard racing fans.  The grainy picture on a thirty-foot wide screen viewed from the back end of the seating area was in black and white.  From where I sat, the screen seemed tiny. Hell, I could barely see it.  I must have projected in my mind that it would be expansive, like a modern football replay screen in today's stadiums.  I envisioned it covering an end wall inside the arena, I guess. The thought that it would be in black and white didn't occur to me, either.  Colored TV hadn't been in existence very long at the time, but it was ubiquitous and improving annually.  I expected color, dammit!

It was the beginning of the end of my interest in the Indy 500.

I watched half the race and got out of there. On the way home, I drove that beater way too fast.

I'd taken the beater on a previous risky trip, to the 1970 Vortex I gathering, where I camped for a night and recall being blown away by a rock band from Vegas called High Voltage. I rode with a bag of bad pot, but once at the festival I found the good stuff.

If you're not familiar with the famous circumstances of the Vortex Festival read about them here.

When the driveline fell out of that car, I went to jail.  I'll spare you the details of that for now, but I'll tell you this much. I'm glad the driveline didn't fall out when I was speeding up and down I-5 as a dumbass kid seeking some of life's greatest pleasures.  I guess I was lucky in that regard.  I lived.


Friday, May 23, 2014


Decent progress on the baseball book today.  I'm liking this rewrite. Though the English language still gives me fits, I'm confident I'm a better writer today than I was in 1980.

Finished, I think it'll be something I can claim with pride. That wasn't the case with the original manuscript. Even though the paper I worked for published it, I was never happy with its tone or focus.

Everything has its time and place, and that's always tied to where you are mentally and spiritually as a writer. Likely is with other endeavors as well, but I'm not familiar enough with other disciplines to comment.

With one exception.  I think I could hit a curve ball now, whereas I couldn't touch one in my youth.

Hey, all you can do is keep getting better--until you die.


Danger! Do Not Drink the Water

So I'm boiling my evening's water.

I got sick in the middle of the night last night, but I think that was from some bad Parmesan cheese.

Or was it?


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Joe Tinker and the Boys

As I work at a leisurely rate on the "Talent Poems," exploring the edges, I'm taking on something else, a project I've had in mind for quite some time now.

It's a rewrite of my old six-part history of baseball in Portland's early times.  Doing a little addition and subtraction with it, cleaning it up, using the little bit that is available online, which is obviously something I couldn't do in 1980 when I first published the series with a Northwest Portland monthly.

The recent research has taught me a few things I didn't know.  Maybe no one did when I first scoured the microfiche at the library and wrote the initial stuff. Well, obviously someone did, but I don't remember reading about it in the Oregonian, which was my main research crutch.

For instance, how did I miss the fact that Joe Tinker played in Portland in 1901?

The initial work ended in early 1980 of course, around the time baseball promoter and Beavers co-owner David Hersh came to town for a few years before returning to his roots on the east coast.

Hersh owns a sports consulting business in Portland now.  Has PSU as one of his clients.

I should include a few things about the Hersh years in the new draft; in fact, I already have a previously published essay about Hersh's time that I wrote a couple of years ago.  It'll fit in nicely.

The Portland Beavers came and went a few times after the initial series.  I should briefly write that up as well, but the body of the work will be the six stories.

The team disappeared for good in 2010.  Soccer mogul Merritt Paulson sold them out of town so he could convert their old stadium into a futbol field.

Imagine that.  In the good ol' USA.

While others watch and play the game of baseball this summer, I guess I'll be writing about it.  Not a bad deal, since I have more interest in baseball history these days than in the contemporary game.

Though I am listening to the 13th inning of the Orioles/Indians game at the moment.

We'll see what happens.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Talent Poem



The good fall to sleep
to never awake.
Every town has
its criminals,
lunatics and pacifists.
Its bad actors,
failed musicians.
Hustlers and widowed,
its pious drunkards; its
housekeepers humming
melodies they can’t keep,
suicides and fathers,
broken veterans,
its poets and mean people,
its generations.


Dooley was sleepless.
Smoke from a cigar
found its way past his door,
the scent drifting toward him,
lingering until it diminished
with the footsteps in the hallway,
sound and scent
falling away,
falling into
lost day.


across Emigrant Lake,
among the spiny pines,
in the noiseless distance,
the blackbirds found a place to
be themselves,
to be quiet for a time,
to sleep with their own.

Until, in one of Talent’s
secret groves,
they heard voices,
the violent clicking
of stones and metal,

By moonlight,
the soft dirt falling away
like black snow.


The good fall to sleep
to never awake.
Every town has
its mechanics and bartenders,
floozies and coffee drinkers,
guitar pickers, singers,
philologists and trumpeters.
Its old dogs,
the lonely;
always the lonely,
awaiting a new day.


Photo Op

Photo by Buddy Dooley

Buddy Dooley did some major damage to the photoartiste world today by snapping this one with his cheap Bloggie at MoMo's.

He says, "I like the angular dissonance in the photograph, the play of blue, brick-brown, shadows, and the white-walled edifice in the background.  If you really want my opinion, Mr. Detritus Guy, this is one of the best photos I've ever taken."

Buddy, I won't argue with you.  You're pretty dang good, despite what everybody says.  I will add this, however.  At your age, it's kind of embarrassing that you consider this one of your finest pieces of work "ever."

In fact, if I wanted to be mean, which I never do, I'd call it cliched crap--old school.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Song Cycle

A satire from Charles Deemer combining his lyrics with some melodies from yesteryear.

It tells the sordid tale of  a corrupt, lying politician and, as the author says, isn't about that swine Sam Adams, but about politics in general.

Amen and right on.

I'd love to see this in performance, a blend of vaudeville and street theatre.


Third Chance (Recently)

Being the bleeding-heart liberal that I am, I hope this kid recovers from his disastrous exit from Oregon and makes a differing name for himself in the NFL.

He's an Oregonian who grew up under, sniff, difficult "circumstances."

I've always rooted for underdogs, even the ones who have rubbed me the wrong way, or the ones with gifts they've squandered.

The trick to my own avoidance of trouble as an impoverished youngster was that I didn't know I was poor.  Hell, I thought everybody ate government cheese by the pound, free of charge, and that not having dental work done when you needed it in childhood was the norm.

This was before ubiquitous expressions of privilege and middle-class expectations of comfort dominated the polity.  We've gone full-circle, and now I do expect a level of comfort in my world, like everybody else.

Like Lyerla, I was fatherless.  I envy listening to others' lives with Dad, good or bad.  Didn't happen for me, so any kind of basic role model, mentor, whatever, was out of the question. Perhaps I leaned too much on my childhood friends' fathers, but often times they were missing as well. Perhaps I've leaned too heavily on friends themselves subsequently.

A good female friend of mine once labeled me a "malcontent."  As I look back at things, I can't think of a better description.  I certainly don't feel any love for the "way things are."

Fortunately, I haven't had much trouble with the law in that regard. I think I've been lucky.

Some of us are simply born rebels, with nothing recognizable to fall back on. I write of this in my unread partial memoir, A Marvelous Paranoia.

Others have called me cynical, whereas I prefer the more nominative handle--confused.

To be cynical projects something related to egoism.  I'd have to have blind faith that I know something to begin with to achieve the sort of cynicism I see around me.  The most cynical are the assholes with perfect vision, or worse, those with money, particularly those who haven't earned it, but have rather had it handed to them.

Step down, Mitt Romney, you dumb fucker.

I love being a malcontent.  I'm not being cynical about this, either.

I understand Lyerla.  I don't like cocaine, but he does (or did).  The rest of it I can relate to. I understand his anger most of all.

The world doesn't need another ditch digger or insurance salesman or homeless beggar, even another would-be writer.  If it needs another football star, I'm rooting for him.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Documentary of the Day

The Century: America's Time is a 15-part documentary produced by the History Channel and ABC in 1999. Peter Jennings read the narration.

The series gave surprising (given its genesis) credence to the idea that America was built on strife and activism, that the struggles of ordinary Americans throughout the twentieth century were as much a part of the historical record as the "Big Events" often cited as the end-all of Americanism, particularly now that a segment of the polity would prefer to regress, despite logic, to an imaginary and unreal past rather than confront the challenges of the future.

It was produced and aired prior to 9/11. That day marked, ironically, the biggest calamity in the majority of Americans' lives, the day this nation lost its mind and turned a blind eye to the post-World War II miscalculations of a geopolitical world run over by newly minted imperialists on both sides of the long, abysmal Cold War.  Our subsequent failures of leadership have created a compendium of ongoing, contemporary messes--bounty for a new historiography.

As a program of ideas and a stark reminder of historicism's malleability, the discussions in this series, not 9/11, ought to be touchstones for today's politicians and policy thinkers.

Out of Congress and the rest of the bizarre crowd today, we are hearing strange and unnerving babbling that doesn't even begin to approach an understanding of the past--much less a plan for the future.

That the
world be guided by Whitman
and not Scrooge
a poet
not a miser
and object of


Saturday, May 17, 2014


So I'm waiting for a long-delayed city bus on Burnside St. and I peek into a tavern window and see Portland score a late goal to tie the match against Columbus tonight.

I look away to comment to another would-be bus rider and when I look back at the TV Columbus has scored again.  Bang, bang.

The bus is very late by now, there are five or six minutes left in the match, Portland is down by a goal just as it was ten minutes before when I started watching.

I'm waiting for TriMet's awful service to take me home to a good dinner and book.

Dang, if the Timbers don't score again.  Tied 3-3.

I love the way I watch soccer. I accidentally see all the important action at the end of every match. Only problem is when I watch neither team wins.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Kinda Like That

Celebrate the blues.

Old joke:  How did the blues singer know he was dead?

He didn't wake up this morning.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014


A view from the provocative Aussie, Pilger.

Remember this?


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Texas Friend

My buddy Chris Pilon writes, "Well, at least they beat Houston."

He hates Houston, though that be where he lives.

I wrote back, "You're a San Antonio fan anyway, right?"

He won't argue with that.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Spark of Life

For the sake of damn TV they start these games too late.

I'm ready for bed at the start of the 4th quarter.

I hope Portland wins--showing some life--not that it matters. A team has never come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a series, likely never will.



We are definitely in a mutant stage of earthly species.

That fly I just crushed to death in my kitchen was about the largest I've ever seen.


Basketball Poem

Something is wrong.
The whole town's bio-rhythms are skewed.
San Antonio is too strong
for Portland in the games I've viewed;
San Antone is too long.


In Case You Missed It

An interesting 1963 Masters of Photography documentary on Edward Steichen.


How We Got Here

The entire 24 part Cold War documentary produced by CNN in 1998.


Sunday, May 11, 2014


Now I know how to watch futbol.

I turned the Timbers/Galaxy match on just as it went to 5 min. of stoppage time knotted 0-0.

Two minutes in the Galaxy score!!!

Inside the final minute, Portland scores!!!!

Final: 1-1!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sis, get over here, I'm gonna give you a big old Frenchy right on the lips.



Saturday, May 10, 2014

Slow Saturday/Playoff Blues

I'm not into it.  San Antonio is too good.

As talented as L.A. is he can't get it going in this series.  Tony Parker is making Damian look silly.

Oh well...

I have some reading to do anyway.  Bios of Seymour Hersh and Bobby Fischer. A few books of poetry.  I have DVDs of Boardwalk Empire.

I'm set.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Altman Speaks (And Obfuscates)

He knew about an "incident" prior to the tourney and was just abiding by the request of the Eugene Police Department, which apparently rules his basketball program.

He didn't bother to ask what had happened--the specifics of the incident, which should have been his first priority.

This ostrich buried his head in the sand, as did the A.D., Rob Mullens.

Both of them should be fired.


Talent Poem

Talk of Talent

Sunday morning at
Talent's Universal Church
of God, Pastor Fred Herring
called Ted a “cautious man
given to reason
despite the demons
that afflict human beings.
Though Ted be sodden
and occasionally unhappy,
all of God’s children
are part of His Divine plan.”

The philologist Carl Hicks
knew the ambles of rhetoric.
This love of Ted was sudden.
Fiction. On the sidewalk
gossip filled the emotional air.
About the wag’s failings the flock
heard from his barber Dale Stock:
“His account is overdrawn,
we know he’s an expert con,
and what he says is cheap talk.”

“I like him,” Lizzie DeLay replied,
not caring if anyone noticed her fib.
“If something happened, he died
or whatever, I’d be heartbroken.”
Rex Dern turned red. “Don't be glib,
Dizzy. You hate him. Don’t lie.”

As Carl Hicks turned toward Noble
Coffee, Dooley said, “C'mon, I’ll buy.”


Thursday, May 8, 2014

No Johnny Football

Watching the NFL draft.  It is hilarious.  Mean old Ray Lewis is excellent at this.

The best part though is that the announcers all want Johnny Football, Johnny Manziel, to be selected ASAP.

He's falling like a burnt-out star.

Funny stuff.

Update:  Anthony Barr of UCLA!  Number 9.  Go Bruins!  First PAC player taken!  Brandin Cooks of OSU ought to be the second.  Funny, but it makes sense.  The media darlings are falling down the scale as teams go for size, big linemen, bulk, unheralded linemen, character, etc., etc.

It's like watching politics, wherein a Sarah Palin gets all the headlines on Yahoo. But everyone knows she's useless.

Extra Update:  Bingo.  Brandin Cooks!  Off the board.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Good Discussion

I don't believe that Oregon's staff didn't know about this in the days before the PAC and NCAA tournaments. News like this spreads too fast to believe that, based on my experiences with both campus life and the dynamics inherent in team sports.

Oregon coach Dana Altman, three days after the public learned of the assault complaint and subsequent legal decisions resulting in no charges being filed against the three players, has not yet said a word.

That is completely irresponsible.  The three are, according to OTL, dismissed.  The head coach ought to be dismissed as well if he knew about the investigation prior to the games and still let two of the principals play.

But it should not stop there, either.  If the A.D. knew, he also ought to be shown the door.


Three Notes

Photo by RP Thomas

The Missing Wag

Neither Big Mike nor Harry Reems, the
P.I. learned, had set eyes on the young
man from Oberlin. Dooley watched the

Overhead fan spin ‘round and ‘round;
a soft sound like a rubber band
strummed thrice, followed by a rest

Of equal length. Repeated, the flatness
of the composition was its strength,
a subtle, monophonic abstraction

Devoid of a dynamic counterpoint.
Dooley imagined a pianist’s repetitious
middle C, inspired by Erik Satie’s

Symphonic deconstructions, or Miles’
reliance on silence, or an atonal
rebellion; the Sex Pistols in full throttle.

He’d talked to all of Rex Dern’s friends
but one, the wag Ted, whom Tex had
seen leaving his bar with Berle Marks

At  2 a.m. Scattered in the rustic room like
pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the intersecting
clues filled the P.I. with a familiar dread.

The music ebbed in the Irishman’s head.
No more did he envision an easy resolution.
Talent’s dissolute wag Ted was missing.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Catching Up

My good neighbor Bob told me about this excellent American Experience documentary last night.  I hadn't seen it, naturally.

You're likely already hip to it, but just in case...


Monday, May 5, 2014


A TED film.

This is very good, so check it out.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Long Day

This is the best thing I read today.

I spent the day dreaming, indoors, out of the rain, studying maps.  I think I'd like to move.  Not sure where though.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

We Want Miami!!

I guess I'm not a big fan these days.  I watched the opening quarter of the Blazers vs. Rockets playoff game last night and grew exceedingly bored.

Odd, isn't it?  With the season and a playoff run on the line?  I woke up this morning and read the news of Damian Lillard's game-winning heroics.  Yea team!

Then I watched the highlights.  Good enough.

A couple of days ago, scouring the DVDs in the library, I found the first two seasons of  Boardwalk Empire, the HBO collaboration with Martin Scorsese (who knows better, at least in the theatrical sense, the peccadilloes of the American gangster historically?) and became absorbed with it in several different ways.

I've been watching this highly praised series with a critical eye, and while I like it generally I'm not completely convinced.  Not bad TV, but not up to the level of anything by David Simon, the ex-newspaper man turned television mogul.

Anyway, I was studying the program and forgot about my Portland Trail Blazers, who won game-six against Houston and advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

First time in a long time.

Hooray!  The team's most passionate fans (which must be the majority of Portlanders) finally have something to cheer about.

I'll peek in occasionally.  I hope the finals are doable.

How about a Portland/Miami final?   Maybe Lillard can beat LeBron James head-to-head.  Not likely, but just maybe.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Geek Love at 25

This is a nice piece on Katherine Dunn and her life since the 1989 publication of her famous novel, Geek Love.

In 1978, around the time Dunn was steeped in the work of writing the novel, which took her ten years to finish, my friend David Sevedge, whose pen name was H. Home, interviewed Ms. Dunn for a small poetry tabloid I edited at the time in Northwest Portland.  I knew Katherine (I watched the first Tommy Hearns/Sugar Ray Leonard fight at her house), but not well enough (nor was I brave enough, I'll confess) to interview her.

To say that this friendly, extremely intelligent woman intimidated me would be an understatement.

Sevedge was a fast friend of hers, a good poet and very funny guy who could match Katherine's meteoric wit syllable by syllable in a heartbeat.  He'd read her two published novels as well, which made him uniquely qualified for the job.

The resultant interview, a collaboration of high art, was rousing. We called it "Portrait of a Genius at 33."

The interview is published in the Round Bend Press edition of Cold Eye, one of the first books this press took on in 2010.

You ought to have it if you're a Dunn disciple or just curious about the early Katherine Dunn.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day Report

The May Day turnout in Portland's South Park Blocks was attended by a sparse but talkative crowd of liberal and progressive utopians, while the conservative utopians mostly stayed away and wrote nasty letters blasting Karl Marx in the comments section of the Big O.  The weather cooperated this year.


Dooley Goes Fishing

How to Catch a Fish

The man came from the parking lot along the
sloped path, carrying his pole on his shoulder
like Tom Sawyer. “Having any luck?” he said
congenially. Rex Dern didn’t know him, had
never seen him before, but the old fellow’s
friendly expression and pleasant demeanor
said  he was harmless enough, probably a little
eccentric but nothing to cause worry or panic.
They began talking, and Dern suspected the
older gentleman might be a prattler intent on
hearing his own voice rattle on about nothing.
“Beautiful day, isn't it?  After all that rain it’s
good to see the sun again.  I was worried there
for awhile, thought we might be witness to
another biblical flood.  Here I’d be stuck
without an Ark.  Heck, you've got to wonder
sometimes if us Oregonians are pure nuts to
stay up here.  I’d be long gone, Arizona most
likely, but my son lives over in Ashland, and he
has a couple of kids I enjoy seeing now and again.
How about you?  Any kids, grandkids, anything…
Well, heck maybe you like the rain. I talk too much…”
Rex Dern and his new friend reeled their lines in
and recast at the same time, and Rex  wondered
if he should talk about his son. “Yeah, I have a boy,
he’s 30. Taught film at Oberlin out in Ohio until
last year.”  Rex looked at the stranger, who put his
pole down and reached into his tweed sports coat.
He passed a business card to Dern. “They’re not
biting today are they?” the man said. Rex read the
card. “Black & White Detective Agency…What is it
you want, Mr. Dooley?”  “A fish,” the amiable P.I.
said, watching a black cloud roll in above Talent.