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, August 31, 2014

Word of the Day


An obfuscation meant to express the fiction that Oregon's defense was hiding "schemes" and "packages" from its next opponent, and thus didn't bother to seriously challenge the South Dakota offense in a football game yesterday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

Not to be confused with "inept" tackling.

Or "disinterested" play.

Or "inferior" talent.


Be Afraid



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Clearly, it's over

Combine Oregon's offense and UCLA's defense and you might have a team with the potential to beat the next Pac-12 champions--the USC Trojans, who will play Stanford in the league championship game and advance to the final four.

Seriously, you don't need to know anything more than that.

BTW, how do you like Mike Riley?  Year after year the guy takes mediocre talent and molds it into a team that by year's end is capable of upsetting anybody.

The Beavs were bad for the most part today, though some of that is attributable to an improved PSU team.

By November they'll give everybody trouble.

True story.


My Big Day

Up for the day.

UCLA at Virginia (Oregon made this trip last season).  Look for the Bruins to win, but I betcha the Cavs are improved over last year.  Hope they've found a QB.

UCLA already has one of those, a good one who shall remain nameless because this is an Oregon Ducks blog.

Want to see Portland State kick OSU's butt, but it likely won't happen despite the Beavs' tendency to play poorly early in the season.

Then at 7:30, if I'm upright, it's time for the Oregon vs. South Dakota game, a contest drawing hecklers from far and wide.  One grumpy blogger asks, Why doesn't Oregon just play a local high school team?  "It would be more interesting."



Friday, August 29, 2014


T S Eliot once told someone at a party that his inspiration came from “gin and drugs.”

Quitting it is the only reason why I'm still alive

But like Eliot I'll swear by its hallucinogenic qualities.

Here's the story.  You are only going to live as long as you live.  If you don't drink gin you may have nothing to give.

But you'll live longer.


Nob Hill Bar & Grill/Retail Outlet

I delivered a stack of books to this place this morning.

If you're a Portlander and don't want to wait for an Amazon delivery and a chance to read The Children of Vaughn, by all means head over to Nobby's, buy lunch and a brew, pick up a copy for a mere $15.

Ignore the review at Amazon, by the way.  The typos have been fixed and the story was never meant to be a comprehensive history of baseball in Portland.

The reviewer is anonymous, of course, which any self-respecting critic would not choose to be.

ED: A second review has appeared at the Amazon page for this book. JoeB gets it and makes a great case for why the book deserves some recognition.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's Only Thurs.

I guess I was wrong.

Carolina missed Clowney badly, along with a defensive concept.  Made TAM look better than they are, though Kenny Hill is the real deal.

Boise and Ole Miss in a slug fest with lots of mistakes, errant throws, penalties, etc.  Both lack good QB play.

Maybe WSU and Rutgers will be more entertaining.  Sparse crowd in Seattle.  Heard this is the last year the Cougs will host there.  Sounds like a plan.

ED:  Ole Miss' QB played a lot better in the 2nd half as the Rebels finally got it going.


Third and Long

I just put this on hold at the library.  I hope I like the book as much as I like the premise.

I swear, I'm so far behind it's not even funny.

I'd never heard of it until today.  Damn, it sounds like a book Ben Fountain may have written for me personally:

Dear TS,

Here's what you've been saying for years without much success, without my clarity and skill. It's the story you always wanted to write because it's plugged into your brain.  You didn't write it, I did.  I won the awards, I did the work.

I took A Fan's Notes and End Zone to the next logical step.

Maybe you'll do something in your next lifetime. Keep at it, old-timer. Good luck.

Ben Fountain


Big Pow Wow

The Degrowth Conference 2014 will be streamed live from Leipzig, Sept. 2-6.

Check it out.

I wanted to send Buddy Dooley to this, but he balked. He doesn't like to fly.


Expert Liar

This weekend's games that matter from the viewpoint of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Or so we are being asked to believe.

Condi Rice will be watching every one of these fer sure, so you should too just in case she finally gets indicted and you're asked to fill in for her at committee meetings.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Georgia State!!

First win since '12, snapping a 16-game losing streak!

It's officially on.


World of Hype

Lazy journalists bought it, corporations hyped it, everybody was looking for a "feel-good" story.

The Mother of All Hype Stories was this one long ago.

They're right.  Football is like war.


How and Why

The protests were also about more than Ferguson. Because Ferguson isn’t an outlier; it is, at least for a large part of the country, the norm. The same fuel of poverty and disenfranchisement exists in similar communities from Los Angeles to New York. The spark just happened to come in Ferguson.

How it came to pass in Ferguson, and why it will happen again.


The Battlefield

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bureaucratic Nightmare

New insurance forms arrived in the mail today.

Must keep the bureaucrats busy, it's my duty.  After all, it would have been too easy to make things easy.

I'm open to accepting the bids of anybody out there who will sponsor my move to your nation, provided it is not scheduled to be bombed by the U.S.

Give me a job.  I'll work on your little magazine or be your personal chef. Do you like hamburgers?

Of course, we can't be sure whom the U.S. will actually start picking on next, but I want out of this place.

Sweden?  Norway?  Denmark?

Anybody out there living in a sane place?

Let's talk...


Jerry Jazz Musician and Lee Santa

Just published online, here is a good write-up on Lee Santa's Journey into Jazz by a fellow jazz aficionado.

Jerry Jazz Musician looks like a well-informed place for true jazz lovers to congregate.

Check it out.


RP Thomas

Nice composition from Talent, OR photog RP Thomas.


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Return of Chuckie

Chuckie's back in town.

And no, he's not the DJ the kids are searching for when they come to my blog from all over the world and see that I'm not a pop writer writing about their hero, AKA, DJ Chuckie.

The search for Chuckie the DJ is numero uno at RBP, which is a big reason why young people are so cool.  In general, you know?


Up Ahead

While Eastern Washington and Sam Houston did indeed play the college football season opener Saturday afternoon on EWU's sacrilegious red rug, the games begins in earnest Wednesday evening when Abilene Christian and Georgia State play.

Rah rah...

I'll watch a little of that just to get a feel for things, but I'm more looking forward to Thursday when a few of the week's more enticing games begin.

There are three spread out over the afternoon and evening that have my interest. Texas A&M plays at South Carolina in the first match up of nationally-ranked opponents.  That'll be interesting.  See how far A&M drops with no Johnny Football.  I suspect the impact will be bigger than SC's loss of Jadeveon Clowney, the overall number one pick in the NFL draft this year.

A couple of hours later, Boise State gets a crack at #18 Ole Miss, a team I know is coming on after a couple of good recruiting years.  Be interesting to see Boise after the loss of Chris Petersen to Washington as well.

The nightcap features Rutgers and Washington State and Mike Leach's 100 percent passing attack.  The game starts at 7 p.m. and ought to be over around midnight.

I'll be back later in the week to tell you what to tune in on Saturday, in case you don't know.


Hedges on U.S. Hypocrisy

A beheading of one of ours enrages us.  A baby blown to smithereens by the U.S. or our allies is of no concern.

Hedges telling it like it is--again. Our own murders around the world are sanitized or ignored by the majority in this country, or accepted as simply the way things must be.

The arrogance of such thinking is only overshadowed by its immorality.


Ha ha, very funny, mister

I'd like to write a book about my experiences inside the poverty industry.

I've been putting it off because I thought I might one day grow rich.  Isn't going to happen, so...

I kid.  I've never been able to make real money.

I've been homeless twice, and it happened both times after age fifty. While there are thousands of homeless these days everywhere in the country, millions are a paycheck away from joining the club.  Older workers are the most vulnerable, obviously.

One experience came near the end of my tumultuous career in the restaurant industry.  The business is famous for paying barely enough to keep ahead of the landlord and its not-very-subtle discrimination against aging workers.

I'll put it this way. After a certain age, if you walk into a restaurant to apply for a job and you are obviously older than everybody in the room, including the young culinary school hotshot who is interviewing you and the owner who is standing next to him, your odds fall to about zero unless you are Anthony Bourdain.

It doesn't matter that the hotshot and the owner may both be destitute next year.

If you are homeless and try this you'll be tossed before you make it past the hostess.  You may look normal or middle-class, but if that were true you wouldn't be in the place clutching a resume in your hand while inquiring about an imaginary job opening and whether you can use the bathroom.

Besides, the hostess has seen another person wearing the same clothes you're wearing just a week previously and figures you picked up your wardrobe at the local shelter, which is likely true.

The second experience came at the height of a growing battle with ennui and despair coinciding with the 2008 recession.  I was, in a word, expendable as the outfit I worked for shrank its work force from seventy to fifteen in a very short period of time.

When my minuscule unemployment benefits and credit cards could no longer cover the essentials, I lost my home--a cheap room actually (but not "affordable"), because that job paid pennies as well.

A steady dose of rental inflation and stagnant wages combined with my growing alienation--the latter due in part to the former--created a cycle of loathing and despair over the years that at various times engulfed me--survival 'til now has largely depended on an admixture of street cunning, lowered expectations, and controlled rage.

(I've yet to master any of these disciplines, either, which makes me doubly unemployable.)

Economic erosion and income disparity tell the story of a vast segment of my generation, defined by a series of "soft" depressions that followed the sudden and more violent collapse of my parents' economy last century.

(The contemporary young baristas with masters' certifications and a bucket of college debt have their own set of problems. My advice to them would be to start marching and refuse to sell any more coffee to anybody who looks rich.)

None of what I would write about is new information, of course, but it is the crux of the problem elites refuse to acknowledge even as they spend billions to capture the next generation of vital resources across the world--for their own benefit and the trickle-down theorem of shared abundance which we know isn't working.

I don't have the chops to pull off such a book in an academic sense by revealing anything about capitalism that isn't already known, but an anecdotal telling of my experiences in the quicksand could be very funny--a personal survival story.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Not Counterfeit--Ingenuous

This goes somewhat contrary to my Obama thesis, which states that our prez has been stymied by events and the subterfuge of Wall Street and those whose interests demand a continuous raid on global resources, and thus perpetual war.

My argument is that Obama might have been a pacifist with an egalitarian streak, a man who started out a dreamer but soon--very soon--learned the lessons of realpolitik in the "New American Century."  Remember--that right-wing plan began as a "project,"  but it is very real now.

More than any politician I can recall in my lifetime, he was molded by real power.  He came to the fray empty-handed--if not empty-headed--without an ideology, without a plan.  His rhetoric appealed to people tired of the aggression of Bush and Cheney, but a condition of his acceptance by real power said he would have to continue the Afghanistan War and redouble efforts to deny all of Central Asia while making a move in Africa.

He was assigned with putting down every insurgency around the globe that threatened U.S. hegemony.  He had to join the thieves or be run out.  He chose to play the game of his masters, the people who gave him the best job he's ever regretted.  (Obama didn't act like a man who cared if he won or not in '12; more the other fellow was so bad that even the prez's obvious disinterest couldn't oust him.)

Illustrative of his entry, and in hindsight his guaranteed failure, was his initial handling of the Iraq War when it was given to him like a hot potato. Such a man of peace was he that he couldn't imagine a continued occupation of that country--a war and occupation he never believed in.  But things were so destabilized by the fiasco that he couldn't escape its terrible consequences, now playing out.

West calls him a conniver and "counterfeit."  I say he was in the beginning ingenuous.  I blame modern capitalism rather than the man bogged down by its untenable machinations. I say he is a domestic victim of empire's appetites--no less than a U.S. worker whose job has been shipped overseas or a black man gunned down by authority on a U.S. street corner.

That isn't to insinuate that I like or support anything he does. Quite the opposite.  Unless our very quest is altered and the U.S. gets off its global resources panic and changes, we'll destroy ourselves.

It's not just a few celebrities who are suicidal these days.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reason to Believe

After a hard-earned day, you need a reason to believe.


R.I.P. Derek

I guess all suicides, particularly the illogical ones, are relative.

I was saddened like many by the passing of Robin Williams. The news that he may have been ill didn't come as a surprise; after all, the longer you live the more likely it is you'll confront such things.

This one shocked me, however.  Derek was a cool guy. I met him just as he was starting his kitchen/musical career twenty-five years ago when he worked at a joint in Northwest Portland called Casa U-betcha, a hot spot in the old neighborhood.

Derek worked everywhere in the joint, and always found time to come out of the kitchen to meet people and chat.  His curiosity about everything was beyond charming.  He was just a smart, smart kid.

But that was just Derek gearing up until he found his voice as a world-class musician and joined Pink Martini, becoming the band's superb, reliable percussionist.  A huge success.

But trouble lurked, as it tends to.

This one threw me for a loop.

Too young.  Too young.



Artois, CA

Photo by RP Thomas


behind the
livery gate a
57 Plymouth
awaits in
the string of
a guitar
and another
chip of paint
falls away
like a woman
the wind
a memory
a poem


Friday, August 22, 2014


A review of Frank.


Pogo was right

I don't think Obama came into office as intent on global domination as the puppet masters expected or required him to be. Hence, his entire presidency has been bogged down in an approach-avoidance syndrome that precludes him from taking a consistent stand on anything.

The prez isn't a natural-born killer. Secretly, he's a man of peace. The mad-bomber status has been thrust upon him; too willingly, he has acquiesced at times, knowing full-well that violence isn't the answer.  He just doesn't have the balls to say no.

He came close to achieving something meaningful with his healthcare overhaul, but it was compromised into an unnecessarily complex entanglement of competing interests. It's not the universal healthcare system he or his supporters envisioned, but even in its ragged implementation it is better than nothing at all.  Nothing at all is what his malevolent detractors preferred.

Putting it another way, it wasn't the sort of socialism I'd prefer, though I can't bring myself to despise Obama like so many others do.

(Aside: with Ferguson and ISIS dominating the headlines these days it's abundantly clear that we can keep just two crises in mind at once, isn't it?)

But the globalists in the U.S.--and they include majorities in both political parties--have more on their minds than who does or doesn't get healthcare coverage in this country. That is small potatoes.

Obama has been an awful president, but not for the reasons the clumsiest of the oafs in the opposition propose, including every wannabe president out there, from (fill-in-the-blank) to Hillary.

Obama's failure hasn't come about because of his inability to ascertain who our enemies are and accordingly bomb the fuck out of them, as the residue of neocons in Washington would attempt given a second or third chance (the future awaits).

The problem is that Pogo was right--the enemy is us.

Lord knows Obama has done enough mad bombing to keep the globalists busy and the rest of us teetering on the edge of the proverbial cliff, i.e., terrorized.

It's just that they would prefer to be busier yet--and their world demands it.  And by the way, Obama has botched things, hasn't he?

The presidency is no place for a would-be man of peace.  True globalists only need apply.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Yes, but the truth isn't american enough!

It must be time for a new school year.

The education wars are heating up.


About John

Here's an Iraq War vet throwing his combat boots at John McCain's talking head.

Nicely turned.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Halfway There

Oregon is at the mid-point of its pre-season football camp, and there are either fifty or sixty guys on the team who can really play, or everyone is being overly praised.

Position and depth-chart battles are playing out everywhere on the field and decisions on which freshmen need to redshirt (practice but not play in games until next year) are being extended through this the third week of camp.

The coaches have ideas, but nothing is firm.  Seems they were a little surprised by the talent that showed up--in what sounds like a good way.

Nice problem to have if it's real.

I'm looking forward to the start of the regular season, of course.

I'm not looking forward to the loudmouths who will bitch if things don't go exactly according to plan. Oregon is highly ranked, and people put too much stock in that.

Love the team and the idea of sports in college, but boosters and know-it-all fans with untethered expectations are a real drag these days.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Puff Puff Beer

Life of a Portland band.  The night before.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Keep it Coming

But I’m sorry, liberals – you don’t get to blame the Republicans exclusively, or even primarily, for this one. It’s been a truly bipartisan effort. Militarizing the cops goes along with the larger package of “security” issues that Democrats in Congress have largely embraced for fear of appearing soft on crime and terrorism, from NSA surveillance to the drone wars to the prison-building boom. There are some noteworthy exceptions, including Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., who have spoken out forcefully on this complex of issues. But the loudest objections to the national-security state, and to the specific combination of ingredients we saw on the streets of Ferguson, have come from Rand Paul, which is exactly why Hillary Clinton fears him so much. She represents the Democratic Party’s fundamental confusion about the nature and limits of state power, along with its innate tendency to abandon principle in search of perceived political advantage, which have led it to drink deeply from the cup of evil.

More good thinking.

Yow, I'm impressed...


Revolt Crushed in Ferguson

The biggest reason the U.S. will never achieve an idealized state of equality is because every time the shit hits the fan the powers-that-be will call a state-of-emergency, thereby crushing dissent.

As Dooley says, "If you want to die young, dream big."



American exceptionalism — perhaps the most prominent of exceptionalist doctrines — is the idea that the U.S. is qualitatively different from and morally superior to the rest of the world, such that it should act and be treated according to its own special set of rules. We’ve seen this kind of logic in action for decades now. It might not be wholly moral to suspend or violate the law and threaten violence against anyone who stands in your path; but if you believe you’re saving the world from communism, terrorism, “rogue states,” dictators, Muslim “extremists,” nuclear threats, or “suspicious persons,” it becomes a lot easier to justify abridgments of rights and abnegation of sacredly held legal and moral codes.

The rest of the story.


Coming Home to Reality

Mr. Voight, have you ever visited the Palestinian West Bank or Gaza or spoken with Palestinians who've suffered under decades of Israeli occupation? Had you been forced to suffer their fate, your anger would certainly be directed elsewhere. During the last five decades Palestinians have suffered continuous expropriation of their lands, collective punishment, destruction of their homes, seizures of their agricultural land and destruction of their trees and crops, extrajudicial executions, exile, kidnapping, torture, use of human shields, economic blockade and closure, constant invasions and bombing, denial of the right to education or development, massive exploitation and then closure. And contrary to your assertion that Israel has "always labored for peaceful relations," it not only completely ignored its obligations to support full Palestinian autonomy in the Camp David Agreements but invaded and occupied another sovereign country, Lebanon, for 19 years.

The talented but uninformed Mr. Voight is undressed by a pair of scholars.


One More Time

Nothing to see here...move along.


Friday, August 15, 2014


From The Oregonian:

DavidKoller90 "This season is it.  Anything more than one loss and Helfrich needs to go. Games like Stanford and AZ cannot happen this year.  I'm tired of all the hype and excuses"

Wonder if this idiot ever played football?

Oregon could lose two games by tripping over a yard marker and it wouldn't necessarily be Helfrich's fault at all.  Who would a moron like this have as a coach?

Maybe he could pick one out of his ass.

He's tired of the "hype and excuses."

Self-centered much, you fucking dunce?


P.S.  This entry has been edited for anger issues.


A Day in the Life

"...the news was rather sad..."


Bombs for Humanity

While visiting Baghdad last year, I was struck by what Iraqis said every time I tried to apologize for the 2003 invasion: “Don’t apologize for that. We needed an invasion to get rid of Saddam Hussein.” And then they would add, “But you do need to apologize for the occupation.”

More from Prof. Elliott Colla of Georgetown University.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Murder by Any Other Name

Events in Ferguson, MO remind me of how a Portland SWAT team killed a friend of mine nearly a decade ago.

This is from Buddy Dooley's "People, Polemics & Pooh-Pah: Notes from Under the Bar."

The Death of Raymond Gwerder

I met Raymond in 2000 when we worked together at Jimmy Mak's in Portland’s Pearl District. I started at the club about a week before Ray, so I knew the kitchen's routine pretty well by the time he arrived, and it fell on me to show him how things worked on the hot and cold sides, where storage was located, etc.

In his mid-twenties, Ray was no beginner in the restaurant trade. He'd recently cooked at a high-end French restaurant in Northwest Portland, and it was obvious from the get-go that he knew what he was doing.

Within days he was handling both sides of the kitchen with ease. Rushes didn't faze him, he always found something to do when things slowed, and he loved to invent dishes that weren't on the menu for our dinner breaks.

I'd watch him throw a few ingredients together from the line and come up with something entirely unique. He was creative that way, and always insistent that I try whatever he'd concocted. It was usually excellent. I liked Ray a lot. He had a sense of humor and a dry, sarcastic wit, and one soon got the sense that he was extremely smart. Ray was young, but wise beyond his years.

When I met Ray, I was going through an extremely rough time. A relationship I was in had crumbled and I had fallen into a torpor like none I'd experienced before. Ray and I talked about my condition as I struggled to pull the pieces of my life together. I was a wounded, middle-aged man, and Ray was a kid. He was giving me advice in a kind of father and son role-reversal scenario.

We started hanging out together after our shifts and he'd lambaste me for beating up on myself over a woman whom he reasoned wasn't worthy of my interest. He didn't know the woman, but he understood that if I was hurting that bad she couldn't possibly be worth it. We talked about his situation as well. He loved a girl, he told me. He was succinct. He said he'd like to kill her.

I knew he wasn't serious. He'd simply found a way to handle the pain the relationship had caused him and he, too, was trying to move on. It was blustery and funny, as Ray attempted to shatter the darkness that had surrounded me.

I was stuck, and Ray grew impatient.

But Ray kept at me, using the usual pop psychology one uses in such matters. Get over it, he said. Don't let it ruin you, man!  Don't be stupid about it; there is nothing you can do! On and on, Ray had the answers. He knew I didn't.

I was a mess and Ray knew it. He said, man, take a trip up to Seattle with me. He told me his sister lived there and he was going to visit. I should come along, take my mind off things, meet his sister, and hit Seattle's night life.

I turned him down. Whatever it was I needed, I knew I was in no shape for a road trip.

My work suffered, I had a fight with a co-worker, and Jimmy Mak got pissed off and messed with my under-the-table wages, robbing me essentially.

I walked away from the place.  Jimmy Mak  called: "Where you at? You're late..." I never went back. Things had snowballed into misery.

I found my next job, returning to a place I'd worked before I fell into my destructive relationship, and I tried to keep it together.  Ray dropped by many times to visit while I worked. We hung out. Ray soon quit on Mak as well. He also found the guy to be a jackass.

The food business is highly transient. People come and go in jobs. The wages are poor, people don't always consider the job as a career, people are always looking for a way to move on, a way out.

Ray and I lost track of each other, migratory restaurant workers, and years later I'd started taking a few classes at Portland State to test myself. Could I still read?  Could I, at age 53, do the work?

I ran into Ray one morning in 2004.  We were walking through the campus Park Blocks in opposite directions

Ray was studying biology at PSU. Good, I told him. He had talked often about his desired work. Science was everything to him.  He loved biology more than anything else.

A year later, Ray grew depressed, somehow got his hands on a gun. Maybe he had it all along, I don't know.

He was threatening to use the gun on himself and talking on the phone to a Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) negotiator outside his home when he decided to go back inside. Maybe he was going to put the gun away. Maybe he was going to shoot himself. Nobody knew.

It didn't matter either way. A SERT sniper shot Raymond Gwerder in the back. Ray died 23 minutes later in the hands of the EMTs.  The cops hadn’t tried to save him.

Another crazy depressed kid. It didn't matter.

I think about Ray a lot. One day long ago he may have talked me out of doing something really stupid. But then he let life grab him by the balls, too hard, too rough, and he got a raw deal. The pop psychology didn't work for Ray on Ray, this terribly bright young man.

Leo Besner, a SERT sharpshooter, shot Ray in the back.

The police ended up promoting the shooter five years after the shooting.


Ronson on TED

I thought his was an interesting TED talk.  You might enjoy it as well.

"...pursued or declared a failure..."

If only...


Frank Deford

It's true, the news/propaganda section of NPR is functionally no better than FOX.

Minor variables exist, but they're meaningless and purposefully fraudulent.

The cultural and entertainment aspects of public radio have a place in my world, I admit.  I enjoy numerous of those types of programs.

But the news analysts, the pundits, the old-hands that are comfortably lodged in public radio's power structure lost credibility long ago.  Listening to them is like listening to a broadcast-reading of a piece of fantasy literature.

They talk of a world I do not recognize.

NPR, like any big news organization, presents a narrow view, creates narrow choices that suffocate humanity, all the while padding the status quo.

The news is easy, made to order for our mindlessness.  Since most people have to be told what to believe, it makes sense to present them with nothing challenging.  Cokie Roberts is a fraud.

She's reflective of the insider status that controls NPR, the beltway miasma, the ongoing power-elite cocktail party that is D.C.

Whenever I hear Cokie Roberts' voice I simply turn off the radio, because I know what I'm about to hear is going to amount to nothing more than a pure con job, something so divorced from reality as to cause you to wonder--is Cokie Roberts sane?

Or to move on after the headier days of Bob Edwards--is Steve Inskeep a complete moron?

You really want to know the best thing NPR has to offer?  That would be Frank Deford.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Pervert

When I looked down at the rim of my toilet bowl this afternoon it appeared that a lone fruit fly was resting there.

Then, almost imperceptibly, a second fly appeared and I realized I was watching a moment of post-coital bliss as neither fly wanted to leave.

Both rolled over onto their backs.  I was just happy one of them didn't light up a cigarette.

I'm sure the flies must copulate there all the time, but this is the first time I've ever caught a pair in the act.

I think it was sort of embarrassing for all of us.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Ugh, my energy is low today after being high yesterday when I was interviewed by a local writer about my new book and the press in general.

I'm glad I don't have to listen to a tape of the conversation.  I know it would be torturous on my end.

Funny, but I remember when conversations came a little easier for me.  Seems the older I get the less polished of a speaker I become.

Or am I just finally awakening to this weakness that I've had all along?

Anyway, it was like work.  I first noticed my regression a few years back when I briefly had an Internet radio program.  I'd get so damn tongue-tied on the thing that I was unbearable even to myself.

Who would want to listen to that guy?! I argued.

Not sure I said anything worth writing down yesterday, but the journalist said he planned a story.  I tried to answer his quite reasonable questions, but I might have been better off saying, literally, "blah, blah, blah."

We'll see.  I hope it happens because I'd like some of the others involved with the press to get mention. I attempted to point the interview in that direction a couple of times.  In the end the writer will say what he wants to say, of course.  That is what writers do.

Maybe some good will come out of it, keeping in mind that it is not always how or what you say, but often your intent.

My intent is good.


Monday, August 11, 2014


Dedicated to the memory of Robin Williams.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Confronting the Herd

Big crowds turned out around the world yesterday to protest the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Meanwhile, in Portland this morning I met a throng of bicyclists from who knows where unleashing their bikes for the annual Bridge Pedal 2014.

This is an organized bike ride, mind you.  And it is far less interesting than Portland's famous "naked bike ride."

One thing I've never understood about this gang bang.  Why do people drive into Portland with their bikes attached to their gas guzzlers, unstrap them, and then ride around in a vast circle over Portland's many bridges with a horde of like-minded  health and wanna-be eco-friendly fanatics?

What a goddamn leisurely waste of petrol!  You just drove 100 miles to flaunt your awareness?!

Jesus, if you have to drive your car into Portland with your bike on the roof or bumper just to ride with your fellow sheep why not do us all a favor and ride around your hometown?  Call it a day?

Don't get me wrong.  I like to bike myself.  But if I wanted to go bike around Salem or Bend, I'd bike there first.

Sure I would...

I get the feeling that Portland's utilitarian cyclists, those for whom the bike is a function of their daily lives--a mode of commuting to work rain or shine for instance--avoid this tourist event like the plague.

Another of Portland's almost criminally-stupid events that out-of-towners seem to cherish while the rest of us say ho-hum.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll stick with my theory.  The bike herd is for those trying to fit in, like all herds in general.


Free Association

For some reason I cannot ascertain this song has been inside my brain all day.

Unless it is because I am reading this novel by Portland author Smith Henderson.

Good book, by the way.


Ed Edmo

(Photo by Anne Morin)

I ran into Ed Edmo at a MAX stop downtown last week.  He gave me his card.

I give you his web address.  Check it out.


CD on the river

I'm loving CD's The Years: a writer's memory.

In this one he takes his inflatable raft out on the Willamette and enjoys life to the fullest.


Eyes on Eugene

This would have been the year to write an insider's story following the Oregon Ducks throughout the season.

Maybe someone will.

I'm thinking of two of my favorite sports-related books from years past: David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game, a chronicle of the Portland Trailblazers following their 1977 NBA title, and George Plimpton's Paper Lion, the hilarious account of the author's brief, satirical attempt to play quarterback for the Detroit Lions in 1963.

Some things that would make this year's story about Oregon football interesting include the dynamic play and leadership of All-Americans Marcus Mariota, Hroniss Grasu and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.  All three turned down surefire NFL money to return to Oregon for a final run at college ball.

In this day that is in itself remarkable.

Another angle is the tension inherent in the program as second-year coach Mark Helfrich, an Oregonian from Coos Bay, attempts to solidify his coaching career in the long shadow cast by Chip Kelly, who led the team to unprecedented success before moving on to the NFL.

Kelly has been deified in some circles, though people tend to forget that he lost a number of "big games."

Many critics find Helfrich lacking, inasmuch as this is his first head coaching position and he was perceived as shaky last year, leading the Ducks to an 11-2 record.

The second-year coach is on the hot seat, one heated by the imaginations of a rabid fan base.  So are offensive coordinator Scott Frost and first-year defensive coordinator Don Pellum.

Last year's record would please most fan bases around the country, but Oregon, behind the money of Nike and Phil Knight, is unique--or thinks it is in many cases.  Helfrich is in an unenviable situation.

Unfortunately, Oregon is either going to make it to the new College Football Playoff this season or people are going to demand the coach's ouster. Not fair, but such is the twisted nature of the college football beast now--at least in Oregon.

That's a weird story, telling in its primal "win-at-any-cost" mantra.  It should be documented closeup, along with the personalities that shape the team.  This is a big football story steeped in a morality play about the direction of college sports.

There are some interesting cats at Oregon right now.  Bright guys like Tyler Johnstone and Bralon Addison (who are both out for the season) and preternaturally gifted players like Mariota, Thomas Tyner and the new kid, Royce Freeman, who will soon be a household name.

There are some animals. Jake Fisher is a prime example, a big tackle who plays with nearly unhinged violence.

There is a boatload of emerging athletes, possibly stars, including the fastest high-hurdler in the U.S., Devon Allen.

Oregon has some monster players, a roster as gifted as any other in the league.  What does the future hold?

Can the center hold on what many believe is Oregon's last chance to win it all, carried to the promised land by the magnificent, generational QB Mariota?   Because UCLA, USC, virtually all the usual heavyweights, are bouncing back and Stanford has had Oregon's number the past two seasons.

There are so many "ifs" one cannot help but be caught up in them--legions of Oregon watchers, here and around the country, are curious.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Finding Another Way

It seems so fundamental as to be like breathing.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Quack, Quack

Dos quacks.

Last night it was DAT'S show in the NFL with an 80 yard punt return for a score.

Tonight Josh Huff did his thing, running a kickoff back 102 yards for a TD.

Both played at Oregon last year, and both had good overall careers.

Lots of Ducks in pro ball these days, reflecting the success of the team in recent years.

Can Oregon keep it up?  We'll see in about 20 days when the college football season opens.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Eighty-Yard Run

No, not this Eighty-Yard Run, as great as it is.

This one, the second time he touched the ball in his pro debut.

The once-disgruntled ex-Duck is an early hit maker in Kansas City. Let's hope things turn out better for him than they did for Christian Darling.


A Review!

Well, there isn't anything in this review that I haven't commented on ahead of time at this blog.

I particularly like that the reviewer is in agreement with what I wrote here as I was putting the book together; I knew that the book I was writing was not definitive and in-depth, and I've stated as much many times.

I'm not using that as an excuse at all.  I knew what the book was, which is why I agree with the critic.

I agree that the subject deserves much more, but as I confessed I have neither the resources nor the energy (nor the interest) to write such a book.

One might ask, well, why bother to write a book at all if you know it's not going to be comprehensively pleasing to people? Fair question.  I wish I knew the answer.

Perhaps it's just because I felt compelled to write and publish something, which I guess is a base instinct in these times.  I should probably check myself before I try anything quite so stupid again.

Re: the "inaccuracies" of how the end of baseball came in Portland, I wrote from an observer's standpoint.  It looked to me like the powers-that-be couldn't get a deal done for a baseball stadium in Portland.  Since there is no stadium in Portland I guess I got that part correct, at least.

Now if there is somebody else I should have blamed other than those the public might deem responsible, so be it.

Hey, this is the book's first review at Amazon.  Keep 'em coming, folks.


P.S.  I think I've finally fixed all the typos, but there may be a straggler here and there.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


The good ol' USA has changed too damn much for me in a lot of ways, some good, a lot of bad, and some just plain puzzling.

Things like this didn't happen when I was young.

The Major League Soccer All-Star game is in Portland this evening, with a 6:30 start.  This end of town, not far from Providence Park where the game will be played, is in an uproar right now.

I can hear groups singing, others chanting, and even a group singing choral music, something purely religious that must amount to a statement regarding the holiness of futbol.

Helicopters are flying back and forth in the area to document the event.

The sirens are heavy, too, as if mayhem has already broken out in the soccer bars around the neighborhood, of which there are plenty.

The all-stars are playing Bayern Munich.  A good number of the German club's players repped Germany in the recent World Cup.

Definitely a party out there right now.

I wonder if anybody will go to work tomorrow...


Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I watched this again recently.

I never get tired of it because it's just so damn articulate and clear and lays everything on the line.

By the same token, it's like Chomsky says in his interview.  There is no mystery about any of it, and 80 percent of Americans know they are being fooled all the time.

Whether or not we should or must acquiesce is the most recent question.

We're still trying to figure that part out as a society; but watch, while we're thinking about it something else will come along and ensnare us.

Or you will be asked to believe it has.

And if you choose to ignore the powers that be you might find your ass in a sling.

Round and round we go.


On Being Mean

Here is a fascinating look at the mind of a neo-liberal apologist of the fashion that rules the Democratic Party these days, a regular Clintonite.

I am speaking of the reviewer himself, and not his subject.

Berman's piece is so much horseshit, and an unfiltered bashing of a great radical/humorist and free-thinker who is no longer around to defend himself.

A piece like this would be better placed in the Wall Street Journal, another source of spiteful incandescence whenever it attempts a cultural or literary analysis--in short, something appealing to the snob in all of us.  You know, WSJ, stick with the stock quotations and business analyses and leave the important stuff to people who do the heavy thinking. 

Be forewarned; things did not go well for the author during his lunch with Alexander Cockburn at the Odeon, which is the real genesis of this outlandish smear piece.

That the author explained his dust-up with his subject so late in his piece is telling. I suppose it took courage to even mention it--like finally admitting that you once told a fib. 

With no mention of CounterPunch, the newsletter and publishing house Cockburn founded with Jeffery St. Clair, the author blithely attempts a coup de grace, and fails miserably.

I wonder if Walter Lippmann would have approved?


Made for TV

They always accomplished the mission, but it was fiction, made for television.

Here then is the reality:

If it is Hamas that you hate, let me tell you that the people you are killing have nothing to do with Hamas. They are women, children, men and senior citizens whose only concern was for the war to end, so they can return to their lives and daily routines. But let me assure you that you have now created thousands -- no, millions -- of Hamas loyalists, for we all become Hamas if Hamas, to you, is women, children and innocent families. If Hamas, in your eyes, is ordinary civilians and families, then I am Hamas, they are Hamas and we are all Hamas.--Asmaa Al-Ghoul, Rafah*

*Source: Beyond the Pale

Or as Patrick Cockburn puts it.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

I Protest

I protest
these obscene wars
I did not volunteer to fight
for Empire
or patriotism

I protest
poverty and the
subjugation of mankind to
the tired
will of capitalism

I protest
all of the isms
particularly pragmatism
and its idiocy
day in/day out

I protest
East vs. West and
the simple-mindedness of
unworldly knowledge and
the end of science

I protest
the gods and their
unreliable fortitude and will
to divide and conquer
their bland foes

I protest
this day and the next
the heart blown to pieces
by the bombs of
the masters

I protest
the inevitable power and
the crazy demigods and
the fearless warriors and
the empty speeches

I protest
the righteousness of
those whom I'm incapable
of talking to about
the grace of Man

I protest
the hollowness and the
emptiness that has us
caged like prisoners
unable to walk away

I protest
I protest
I protest