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. You could line up all the pols in the U.S. in a straight row and examine them head to toe and not find a single man or woman capable of admitting, never mind ending, the corruption of their vocation--Buddy Dooley

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Road South?

This might be the year I finally head to a warmer clime during Oregon's rainy months, as I've been threatening to do for years.

In the cards if things work out the way I suspect they will.  I've been in a protracted series of "debates" with my housing lords.   It's been a struggle.

I wouldn't mind cooking in a greasy spoon in the desert.  Saw a character doing that once in a movie.

Maybe the road south would offer a surprise, or at least relief from my current circumstances.

I've been in my present situation for over four years.  Not even sure if I'm healthy enough to hit the road, but if I go at the pace of Li Po, it might be doable.

I'll know more in a couple of weeks.  Will plug away here until then.

One thing that continuously crosses my mind is that a lot of poor folks have died here. I knew all of them.  None were old in terms of years, but their souls were long gone.

I can feel mine slipping away.  Not sure I want to die here.

There was a codger here for awhile, a feisty old guy who fought in both Korea and Vietnam. Dementia was setting in, and he had an "attitude."  Always exaggerated his recent fights, having just knocked some poor guy out.  Always in a tussle with someone, but you could tell it was in his head. All he was really doing was vegetating in his lonely room.

He was finally shipped out to a care home, bless him.  He never lost a fight that I know of, except perhaps for the inevitable one.



You listen in on foreign leaders and politicians across the planet. You bring on board hundreds of thousands of crony corporate employees, creating the sinews of an intelligence-corporate complex of the first order.  You break into the “backdoors” of the data centers of major Internet outfits to collect user accounts.  You create new outfits within outfits, including an ever-expanding secret military and intelligence crew embedded inside the military itself (and not counted among those 17 agencies).  Your leaders lie to Congress and the American people without, as far as we can tell, a flicker of self-doubt.  Your acts are subject to secret courts, which only hear your versions of events and regularly rubberstamp them -- and whose judgments and substantial body of lawmaking are far too secret for Americans to know about.

Something to ponder from TE.


Critic's Choice

Quite engrossing, I watched Pt. 1 of this last evening.  Recommended if you haven't seen it.


Not in Our Name

Violence as a primary form of communication has become normalized. It is not politics by other means. It is politics. Democrats are as infected as Republicans. The war machine is impervious to election cycles. It bombs, kills, maims, tortures, terrorizes and destroys as if on autopilot. It dispenses with humans around the globe as if they were noisome insects. No one dares lift his or her voice to protest against a war policy that is visibly bankrupting the United States, has no hope of success and is going to end with new terrorist attacks on American soil. We have surrendered our political agency and our role as citizens to the masters of war.

Chris Hedges speaks!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

End Game

How are you supposed to get it out of your system when shit like this happens?


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Game Report

Iowa State vs. Baylor better than Washington State vs. Utah.

WSU spent its wad on Oregon.  ISU is pretty good, but so is Utah.

ED:  Oh for god's sake.  I've seen better football at a futbol match!

I joke.  It's fun just watching the futility.

The dogs are both down by 2 TDs.  Not a bad night for a football watcher. I'm entertained at the moment because both of these games are still in doubt.

Later:  Nice comeback win by WSU.  I know they're better than people give them credit for.  They proved that against Oregon last weekend.


Nader Eviscerates The Speaker

Dear Speaker Boehner,

While millions of hardworking Americans are working more and more for less and less, you and your House of Representatives seem to have no problem working less and less for more and more.

You've got to admire Nader for going right to the epicenter of our discontent.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Uh, Oh

As a dyed-in-the-wool Duck I didn't need to see it--UCLA smashed Arizona State last night.

Now the team to beat for the title.  The Bruins are ascending, and we all know the Ducks are running on fumes and the arm and legs of Mariota.

Oregon has to play the Bruins in LA in a few weeks.  Be advised, it might be ugly, especially if the Ducks can't find an O-line after a rash of injuries.

Last night ASU threw a pick-six at the end of the first half when a field goal would have tied the game.  The big mo switched in a hurry.

CD is the biggest Bruin I know, and I'm sure he's elated with the outcome, along with his wife Harriet's progress since her recent heart attack.


The Plan

Off to the dentist again today.

Supposed to be a nice weekend.  We'll see about that.

Did absolutely nothing yesterday except read, probably
dreading today too much to properly cope.

Dentists simultaneously appall and impress me.  Why would anyone choose to spend his/her entire working life probing around other peoples' mouths?

And yet we're glad they do.

One of those things I definitely cannot relate to, like organized religion.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Are We There Yet?

The way I see it we ought to be jumping into the World Series right!

Sorry, Major League Baseball.  You're about a month behind schedule and you've lost this old one-time follower.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hipster Dipsters

Will Self is fed up with hipsters, and who can blame him?

In defense of "dickheads" however, some trip-hop is better than certain other genres of pop.

I mean, give me Portishead over Celine Dion any old time.


Dooley's "Destruction"


What if...

But what if we rethink the narrative of progress? What if we believe that the inventions in and after the Industrial Revolution have made some things better and some things worse? What if we adopt a more critical and skeptical attitude toward the values we’ve inherited from the past? Moreover, what if we write environmental factors back in to the story of progress? Suddenly, things begin to seem less rosy. Indeed, in many ways, the ecological crisis of the present day has roots in the Industrial Revolution.

There isn't really much doubt in my mind that I'd rather be kicked in the head by a horse than run over by a tractor.

Rethinking the Industrial Revolution.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Before the Beginning


The Beginning


The Savage God Again

I don't see the connection.

People kill themselves all the time for a lot of different reasons, and I'm not sure what value there is in attempting to correlate creativity and its supposed antithesis in the question of suicide.

Personally, I better understand the capitalist who jumps out of a skyscraper because he's lost his wad than an artist who kills himself over an ideal.

Of course if they are one and the same there is no argument.

The numbers of people who kill themselves behind economic stress and/or other sadnesses and maladies must outnumber the tortured artists, or I simply don't understand how it works.

Which may be the point, I guess.


F--k it!

More people in the television "news" business should do this just as a matter of principle.

We'd all be better off.

Closely related.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mississippi Fred McDowell



It's interesting reading some of the apocalyptic comments re: the Ducks below the game stories in the local press.

The voices are amazingly persistent among conservative boobs. Many are the same posters, identifiable by their made-up names, who inform readers in other contexts that Monica Wehby is a good candidate for the US Senate, that food stamp cheats are a colossal problem, that the US needs to nuke the Middle East, and that gun rights are in peril across the land.

These people think McCain, Palin and Boehner are bright and their basic take on Oregon football is that Helfrich and Pellum "need to go."

The idiocy is funny, though somewhat sad.



The faux football pundits are out in force this morning blaming Oregon's staff for a close win against what I believe is a very under-appreciated Washington State team and a QB who can make all the throws.

It boils down to this.  Oregon's defenders just aren't as good as they need to be.  You can teach tackling in space until your head falls off, but if the students don't respond because they don't have the innate gift, what are you going to do?

"If only Chip were here..."

If only Oregon's fans could come back to Earth...

Gonna be a long season.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Last of the Days

What a great day.

I took my usual weekend walk to the other end of town.  Enjoying the last of the good sun.

Rain to start at mid-week.  It will not let up until all the little animals have been herded into the barn.

I'm not ready for the barn, but that is where I'll be during the deluge.

I look on a shelf.  I see I still have an umbrella.

Tonight there is football.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Homage to Levon Helm

He battled cancer for over a decade and played this gig at the 2008 Newport Festival before passing away two years ago.

A happy belated birthday present to Chris Pilon of Houston, a lover of Levon Helm's great talent.



The so-called “War on Terror” should be seen for what it really is: a pretext for maintaining a dangerously oversized U.S. military. The two most powerful groups in the U.S. foreign policy establishment are the Israel lobby, which directs U.S. Middle East policy, and the Military-Industrial-Complex, which profits from the former group’s actions. Since George W. Bush declared the “War on Terror” in October 2001, it has cost the American taxpayer approximately 6.6 trillion dollars and thousands of fallen sons and daughters; but, the wars have also raked in billions of dollars for Washington’s military elite.

In fact, more than seventy American companies and individuals have won up to $27 billion in contracts for work in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan over the last three years, according to a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity. According to the study, nearly 75 per cent of these private companies had employees or board members, who either served in, or had close ties to, the executive branch of the Republican and Democratic administrations, members of Congress, or the highest levels of the military.

The rest of the story by Garikai Chengu.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

CD & H

CD's artist wife, H, had a cardiac "event" a couple of days ago. Appears she is rallying.  Good news.

The RBPD blog sends best wishes and my hope for a great, full recovery.

CD says the support system H has is huge.  Might be the best medicine.  The way it should be.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

History of Violence

Full-on writing about the NFL.



She organizes domestic workers and won a "genius grant."

Try that with McDonalds' workers and you'll get arrested, or shot.


Last Stand

Sounds like this was a helluva show.

Sorry I wasn't there.

I'm dated and jaded, but CS&N were an integral part of my coming-of-age.  I remember the first time I heard "Almost Cut My Hair."

I almost cut my hair.

Too bad Neil wasn't there, but he has his own issues these days.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Uh, oh...

Mariota ripped the Washington Huskies last season in Seattle and found himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  He promptly went out and hurt his knee in the first half against UCLA.  He wasn't the usual Mariota for the rest of the season, hitting his nadir against Stanford because he couldn't run.

There's plenty of evidence that the SI Jinx is real.  Not always, but too often to ignore.


Monday, September 15, 2014

PSU Stands Up for the OLR

(The late Jim Wylie and CD)

CD explains how his Oregon Literary Review (2006-2011) has made a soft landing at Portland State, where the author of five Round Bend Press books taught screenwriting for 17 years until his recent retirement.

CD and the OLR are old friends of mine.  I first met the author/educator in the late '80s in the raggedy neighborhood of Northwest Portland before that place turned into a gentrified tourist trap.

I lost contact with CD around 1993. You see, once upon a time I'd been one of CD's bartenders, a drinking buddy on occasion.

Around then CD made a serious lifestyle change, moved out of Northwest.  He went off the sauce and would soon remarry and settle down. The wild, Northwest bohemian years were long gone.

In 1995 he was asked to start the first screenwriting curriculum at PSU. The school noted that he'd founded an online screenwriting tutorial through another college that was garnering a lot of attention.

In 2004, after years of floundering, I enrolled at PSU in what would become another failed attempt to find a career more to my liking than the restaurant trade, where I'd languished off and on for twenty years.

I was 53 years-old in 2004, a desperate old codger in academia, an undergraduate, and I had it in mind that I might get a teaching certificate and try my hand as a high school instructor.

Sponsored by a real pro named Bart Millar, whose history classroom I landed in at Lincoln High to scope things out, I observed and listened and quickly ascertained that I'd made yet another mistake. A good teacher, Millar had told me the first day, "You've got to like children to do this. Do you like them?"

The comment resonated and I mulled it over, soon realizing I was indeed ambivalent about children, and in fact may not have liked them much at all.  Though people do it, it's tough to fake love.

The Lincoln students, many from the upper-classes, both scared and disgusted me.  If I wanted to teach, I realized, the students would have to be a little older and unspoiled.

There I was at PSU, then, as uncertain as ever.  I enrolled in CD's screenwriting class at his suggestion and over a ten-week span suffered along with the rest of his students the consequences of not quite "getting it."

CD showed "Adaptation" in class that year, and he was just like the mean-old screenwriting lecturer in the movie, only CD didn't cuss.

I wrote a shitty screenplay for the maestro, and he gave me the requisite A-minus, which is how he graded everyone who showed up consistently (I had perfect attendance) and made an effort.

So screenwriting wasn't in the cards, although you can buy this one here to verify the fact.  And here is another one.

I had to do something, so I loaded myself up with history classes--a Mexico seminar, one on Iraq, one on Japan, a couple of others.  I read extensively in US cultural history, the Cold War, the American Revolution, the history of cinema related to international conflict, Just War Theory, and a lot more.  Much of it was stuff I'd learned long ago and forgotten.  Some of it was new and exciting as hell.

Turns out I had enough brain cells left that it came sort of naturally.

I had to write, which was beautiful.  I got into it, got the gears working again, turned in my papers and did well enough to qualify for the  honor society as a budding historian (I haven't joined because it costs fifty bucks).

By 2008, I was out of there, walking away unqualified for anything like a career once more, and well aware of CD's online Oregon Literary Review.

So I gathered my history essays in an email bundle and wrote to my old prof, "Sir, perhaps one of these might interest you for publication in your wonderful online OLR?"

(Knowing how to flatter an editor is important; keep that in mind should you decide to submit here.)

CD wrote back soon thereafter. His non-fiction editor "loved" (it was about time somebody spoke of love) the book of undergraduate essays.

He said he would publish them in their entirety.  I was shocked, but pleased.

Here's the slightly revised paperback version.

PSU did the right thing in taking over the OLR archive and keeping alive all of the work collected therein for generations to come. Having had coffee a few days ago with the OLR founder, I know he is delighted with PSU's decision, and so am I.


Double Dose

Good morning my brothers and sisters. I hope you're enjoying your morning cup.  Here's a double dose just for you. Click on the authors and finish reading. You'll be glad you did.

Can anyone acquainted with American history really take this nationalist drivel seriously?  When contemplating the “freedom,” “justice,” and “dignity” that “have guided our nation since its founding,” is there no recollection of slavery, the seizure of a continent from its native people, lynching, child labor, the flouting of civil liberties, the exploitation of workers, legalized racial discrimination, and the war crimes committed by U.S. troops, most recently in Iraq?

Furthermore, all of this forgotten history is topped off with the ritualized “May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.”  God, apparently, is supposed to ride shotgun for the U.S. military.  Or is it really that the U.S. military and the nation are the emissaries of God?

Lawrence Wittner.

When you are willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable for political expediency it becomes easy, as Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have amply illustrated, to sacrifice all who are vulnerable—our own poor, workers, the sick, the elderly, students and our middle class. This is a Faustian compact. It ends by selling your soul to Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil. It ends by deifying a military machine, now largely beyond civilian control, that, along with our organs of state security, has established surveillance and a security state that make us the most spied-upon, eavesdropped, monitored and photographed populace in human history. It is impossible to describe yourself as free when you are constantly watched. This is the relationship of a master and a slave.

Politics, if we take politics to mean the shaping and discussion of issues, concerns and laws that foster the common good, is no longer the business of our traditional political institutions. These institutions, including the two major political parties, the courts and the press, are not democratic. They are used to crush any vestiges of civic life that calls, as a traditional democracy does, on its citizens to share among all its members the benefits, sacrifices and risks of a nation. They offer only the facade of politics, along with elaborate, choreographed spectacles filled with skillfully manufactured emotion and devoid of real political content. We have devolved into what Alexis de Tocqueville feared—“democratic despotism.”

The squabbles among the power elites, rampant militarism and the disease of imperialism, along with a mindless nationalism that characterizes all public debate, which Bob La Follette denounced and fought, have turned officially sanctioned politics into a carnival act.

Chris Hedges.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Documentary

Ken Burns has some interesting thoughts on history and our current media here.

Teddy Roosevelt would have had "10 Howard Dean moments a day."

Burns's work is always interesting.  This is a rare time when I wish I had a television, but I'll pick up on it later as usual I guess.

ED:  Looks like it'll be streamed after tonight's premiere, starting tomorrow night.

More on the series.


Friday, September 12, 2014

A.J. Bacevich

I've fumbled around with similar ideas many times here.

Let a favorite retired U.S. Army officer, who is not adverse to war but is particular about its purpose and methodologies, say it with these words:

This much is certain, however: Even if Obama cobbles together a plan to destroy the Islamic State, the problems bedeviling the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East more broadly won’t be going away anytime soon.

Destroying what Obama calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant won’t create an effective and legitimate Iraqi state. It won’t restore the possibility of a democratic Egypt. It won’t dissuade Saudi Arabia from funding jihadists. It won’t pull Libya back from the brink of anarchy. It won’t end the Syrian civil war.  It won’t bring peace and harmony to Somalia and Yemen. It won’t persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms in Afghanistan. It won’t end the perpetual crisis of Pakistan. It certainly won’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

All the military power in the world won’t solve those problems. Obama knows that. Yet he is allowing himself to be drawn back into the very war that he once correctly denounced as stupid and unnecessary — mostly because he and his advisers don’t know what else to do. Bombing has become his administration’s default option.

Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.

Here's how I put it in one post addressing Cornel West's opinion of Obama.

And Pogo was right.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Get It

My buddy Lucas laughs at me because I'm a big Oregon fan and watch every play of every Oregon game, even during blowouts over clearly inferior opponents.

This is boring! he cries. Why are you watching??  You know they're going to win!!

But I see how non-affiliated watchers can decry the obvious, watching BYU steamroll Houston this evening.  It really is sort of boring watching a mismatch.

I guess I'm an optimist.  I want something extraordinary to happen.  I like miracles and sudden, irrational comebacks.  I like the underdogs.

The only people liking this one have got to be BYU fans who love BYU.

And a bored viewer waiting for the unexpected.  Maybe Houston will recover.

ED:  Houston just scored!!

And again!!!  What a game.  "Completely flipped," say the announcers.

Turned out to be an entertaining game after all.


Then and Now

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Many old guys who are unfortunately dependent on drugs to help us maintain a healthy ability to take a piss when necessary have a big problem right now.

A worldwide shortage of Flomax (Tamsulosin Hydrochloride) is rocking our world.

This is what happens when you let Big Pharma rule your healthcare policy.  Congress could address the issue and guarantee the manufacture of more Tamsulosin if it had balls, but as we all know Congress would rather do nothing and hasn't balls at all.

I'll bet the old dudes who loll around the Capitol Building and create more problems than they solve every day have a secret supply, however.

After all, it wouldn't be becoming to have the halls of our legislature stinking any more than they already do.


Monday, September 8, 2014


I enjoyed the heck out of this documentary.  You might, too.


Sunday, September 7, 2014



Michigan State Loses Control, Falls Down

(Thomas Boyd photo)

Interesting strategy...1,2,3, everybody get down!
Here's the video.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Boston College

Football lore has it that offensive linemen are usually the smartest student-athletes in the college game.

It must be true.

I just heard, while watching tonight's Boston College vs. Pittsburgh game, that the entire starting front five on BC's offensive line are grad students.

For you non-football academics, that is the center, two guards and two tackles.  Five in all.

Very unique in this day and age.  Almost unheard of since football took over the university system years ago.



The CIA appears to have had a mole inside the Los Angeles Times.

Not surprising, of course.  And in this case, perhaps not intentional. We might refer to him as "the good, naive friend" of the American Empyrean.

A "Quiet American" for our times.

Or "benign fool."

Nonetheless, it is a sad commentary, a glimpse of something so insidious that it would be bothersome if anyone perchance noticed it while sipping lattes at Starbucks or shopping at the American Mall.


Thursday, September 4, 2014


I'm on their side.

Give them hell, people.


Goe Gets It

Ken Goe at The Oregonian gets it right--again.

The College Football Playoff is a poor replacement for the abysmal BCS.

Two wrongs don't make a right.


Good Story/The Northwest Examiner

Hell, the whole damn paper is first-rate, but the best story in this month's Northwest Examiner is on page 23.

Therein, NWE publisher Allan Classen provides a succinct description of my latest book, The Children of Vaughn.

He also mentions this blog, noting I express the "liberal/radical" side of things.

Well, in truth I'm not much on the side of liberalism these days...

But heck, it doesn't matter.  Hey, thanks NWE!


Pure Gold

CD passes along this info on an archive of old lit/art magazines.

Thanks, CD.  Great find!


The Real Big Game

The most intriguing college football game of the weekend is Oregon and Michigan State.

But most intriguing is not the same as most important.

While Saturday's Oregon vs. Michigan State game is getting most of the hype around the country, I think the Stanford vs. USC game is more important in the big picture, at least from the POV of us PAC followers.

The big picture being the final four of the new College Football Playoff.

People are naturally curious about Oregon and whether the Ducks have the defense to play with the Spartans. They're also interested to see if Mariota can finally overcome a rugged, physical defense such as MSU's.  He's healthy again, so perhaps he will.

Based on what I saw last weekend, however, I think Oregon is in trouble. Poor linebacker play cost the Ducks at the end of last season, and I expect that to continue because I just don't think they have the athletes at that position to compete at a high level.

Oregon will score, but not at its usual clip. The game will be tight, unless MSU simply road grades the Ducks, in which case it might turn ugly for the Eugene mob.

Stanford and USC is the more important game at this stage because it's a counter in conference.  The winner has a leg up and USC avoids Oregon in a scheduling quirk.

Everybody is dangerous in the league, including WSU and OSU, so having that early conference lead is ultra-important.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Always on the Run


No Accident

This is not for you because you already know all about it.

But I get the distinct feeling that some people just don't quite understand what is going on, or what happened.

So, this is for them.  We call it history.



A tough, old-fashioned freedom fighter and his right-hand man examine the plutocracy here.

Meanwhile, a new breed grows even edgier.