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, January 31, 2015

The Four Clowns of the Apocalypse

Would make a good roll of toilet paper.


Friday, January 30, 2015

New Book

Will likely bring this new work out in about a week, with a few minor changes and improvements to the cover pictured here.

The cover photo is by RP Thomas, himself a resident of Talent, Oregon, but not a character in "The Talent Poems," because those people are all fictional, and RP is very much a real dude.

I designed the book of course, because I do everything around here.

The poems?  You'll have to read them and decide for yourself because what I really know about writing is limited to what I know.

This is what Buddy Dooley says the book is about:

The founder of Round Bend Press Books brings forth another volume of poetry exploring the political and social plight of the common man. In the first set of poems, "Nightscape in Empire," Mr. Simons explores universal themes of resistance and personal choice, themes of political and personal upheaval that play out in the ordinary act of everyday living and survival. These are protest songs rooted in rebellion and an ultimately hopeful vision of what Mr. Simons imagines a more just world would look like. "The Talent Poems" is a fictional narrative centered on the lives of a small group of small-town citizens in Talent, Oregon. In creating the characters that inhabit the town and his poems, the writer experiments with archetypes and a genre storytelling form that is in equal parts imaginative biography and social satire.

Whatever that means.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Shoot a Football, Be a Hero

Two very different "controversies" are playing out in the American hype machine these days, both illustrative of why claiming citizenship in our vast miasma of inane unconsciousness is so daunting, even disheartening.

The first is the silly notion that pro football matters--nobody with common sense cares whether or not a football was carrying the right measure of air during a recent NFL playoff game.  Among dumb debates, this one is a universal corker, a sure sign of mass stupidity.

The second is the "debate" over the movie American Sniper.   If you don't understand by now that you can't win when you simply invade a sovereign nation, run by a dictator or not, and start plinking off invader-described "insurgents" like so many moving targets in a sleazy American carnival shooting gallery run by sleazy war profiteers--while extolling the virtues of God and Country--you are hopelessly idiotic.

About the first issue I quote the American writer CD who said the other day over coffee, "Who cares?"

About the second, Sheldon Rich published this at CounterPunch today.

Jesse Ventura, no friend of the late American sniper Kyle, had this to say.

What a week, huh?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

West Hills, East

Portland freelancer Michael Arellano took this shot Sunday night.





This would be a sweet deal for every underpaid worker in Oregon.

The right argues that it would cost jobs of course, and indeed it might impact marginal businesses that are skimming by on the lucre they maintain by paying the current minimum wage, but that is beside the point.

If you are a businessman and you're not giving your workers a livable wage you are an exploitative bastard to begin with, and you don't deserve to ride on the backs of the people who are making you money while they struggle for survival.  Sorry Charlie, if your business fails.

Life is full of compromises, and the one here is that your business might go under.  We should not care about that, because all it really means is that you will eventually need to find another way to adapt to survive.  It also means your underpaid workers will likely look forward to the opportunity to re-enter a market where they will eventually find a better paying job--the indefatigable point of the law.

Believe it or not, new jobs will appear as well because more money will be circulating throughout the economy and demand for workers will increase as people spend their extra income throughout the community.  In the very least, workers will be partially unburdened from the constant pressure of an unlivable wage.

To the argument that says inflation will offset any gains made by workers, keep in mind that increased competition will effectively counterbalance that as those businesses that successfully deal with marginal adjustments will win, just as they always have.

Most enchantingly, businesses now reaping exorbitant profits on the backs of low-wage earners will be forced to share more of the spoils in an economy long under their excessive manipulation and control.

The goal here is solid.  There should be no exemptions.  Play ball or perish.  If you're already playing ball, you have no worry.

If you're an exploitative bastard, worry all you want because your time is rapidly approaching.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Youth Lost on the Young

The best Charles Deemer poems do what all good poetry does--reveal fundamental truths about the human condition that are recognizable to even the stone-aged and the most ambivalent of cynics. Another fine piece by the RBP contributor.


Bigelow on Zinn

A key premise that needs to be questioned, according to Zinn, is the notion of “national interests,” a term so common in the political and academic discourse as to be almost invisible. Zinn points out that the “one big family” myth begins with the Constitution’s preamble: “We the people of the United States. . .” Zinn noted that it wasn't “we the people” who established the Constitution in Philadelphia—it was 55 rich white men. Missing from or glossed over in the traditional textbook treatment are race and class divisions, including the rebellions of farmers in Western Massachusetts, immediately preceding the Constitutional Convention in 1787. No doubt, the Constitution had elements of democracy, but Zinn argues that it “established the rule of slaveholders, and merchants, and bondholders.”

Portland educator Bill Bigelow remembers Howard Zinn on the fifth anniversary of the great historian's death.


Landscape/RP Thomas

i like this shot

dunnigan hills in n. california

film for sure

visual treat every time

stop the car

pick which film camera

contemplate all the settings

fire the shutter--RP Thomas


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Talent Poems



In Noble Coffee, Harry Reems was
struggling with a crossword puzzle
when an old codger walked in and
ordered a double latte with skim
before peering in his direction.

Harry thought, who is this grizzled
old fool?  The graybeard looked right at
him and Harry turned away, undone
by his steely gaze, which if he had
admitted it, was cowardly of him.

He seems like a crazy dude, Harry said
to himself, feeling the old man’s roving
eyes as they burned into his back; he
was coming over to say something,
Reems knew as the crank drew nearer.

The old stranger looked down at Harry
and smiled. “Having trouble with that,
Mr. Reems?”  Annoyed, Harry covered
the puzzle, unused to being  recognized.
“Sir,” he said, “have we met before?”

“You’re the horn player!  I was a big fan
of yours in Portland years ago when you
played with Mel Brown at Jimmy Mak’s!”
Harry relaxed.  “No kidding?” he said.  “I
guess I don’t know you.  I’m very sorry.”

“Don’t be, friend.  The name’s Dooley.”
“Dooley,” Reems said. “A fan...really?”


Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Bicycle/Charles Lucas

"Took a ride and found a good place to take a picture of my bike..."


Friday, January 23, 2015

Mr. Cub

"It's a great day for baseball.  Let's play two."

I lived the credo when I was a boy, how about you?

Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks dead at 83.



Terence Connery sent along this link to a great film.

Thanks, TC.


Reading Lips, Sinking Ships

In the tradition of the best football follies.  This has over 9 million views.


Thursday, January 22, 2015


How much courage does it really take for a sniper to be given co-ordinates from a spotter and then firing from hundreds of yards away? To me that is the definition of cowardice even forgetting about the lies that got both Casey and Kyle to Iraq and the ones who made billions in profits while Casey died thousands of miles away from his loving home and a vet with PTSD would ironically end up murdering Kyle back here in the states.

I will always be proud of my son who is a grand hero to me for refusing orders in the heat of battle and ashamed by a cold-blooded killer like Kyle and a nation that lifts him up as the standard of heroism. I find it supremely ironic and sad that NOT being a killer is frowned upon here while being a happy killer makes one a best-selling author and garners all kinds of award nominations and ticket sales for those who wish to exploit this nation’s bloodlust.

A mother's anguish continues.


Timothy Lake/Terence Connery


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sawant's Response

My brothers and sisters, these problems are not new. And they are not an accident.

Working people have faced nearly four decades of wage stagnation and rising income inequality.

Four decades, with four Republican presidents and three Democratic presidents. Four decades that show neither party can solve these problems and that both fundamentally represent the same interests – the interests of the super-wealthy and big corporations.

We will only make progress on the basis of fundamental, systemic change. We need a break from the policies of Wall Street and Corporate America. We need a break from capitalism. It has failed the 99%.

Both parties bow down before the free market, and loyally serve the interests of their corporate masters – the only difference being a matter of degree.

The political system is completely dysfunctional and broken. It is drowning in corporate cash.

Working people, youth, people of color, women, the elderly, the disabled, immigrants – the 99% – have no voice or representation

We need our own political party. Independent of big business, and independent of the parties of big business.

Best response by Seattle councilwoman Kshama Sawant.


Poor Joni

The Speaker is a Prick

Boehner appeared to be drunk, slurred his speech and acted out like the contemptuous asshole that he is.

As difficult as it is for me to accept much of the horseshit Obama dishes out, particularly at the foreign policy level, the Republicans are truly unconscionable pricks.

Their contempt for ordinary Americans is glaring, and Boehner is exhibit 1-A.  The Republicans stopped just short of turning their backs on the president like the NYC cops who turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio while mourning two dead officers last month.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I don't often go to first-run movies in theaters any more (haven't been to one in years in fact) so whenever I stumble across something I want to see in the DVD racks at the library I'm overjoyed.

Nebraska was resting there a few days ago and I didn't hesitate. Interestingly, the director had to agree to an eventual color restoration and secondary distribution to finish his financing for the film, but I watched the B&W edition.

What a fine film.

One of the more interesting artistic compromises I've recently heard about.  Doubt that I'll pay any attention to the color version if I run across it, as that would be sort of pointless.

People have to have their technicolor, I guess.  Just as they need their sniper/heroes to rub out any sense of moral ambiguity in regards to empire.



Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.--MLK, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967.

Exactly one year later King was assassinated in Memphis.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Hidden Hong Kong

This 30 min. documentary is both heartbreaking and joyful.  Please watch it if you have a half-hour to spare.  You will not be disappointed and you will be moved.


Unholy Trinity

Something to ponder as we celebrate the life and message of Martin Luther King on this national holiday.

It is important to recall that King was assassinated five years after the "I Have a Dream" speech that most Americans associate with the civil rights leader.

By 1968, the Vietnam War was in full, ugly bloom and King was making associations that made the powers-that-be extremely uncomfortable.  This included members of his own organization who deemed that MLK had become "too radical."

His message had evolved from a call for "brotherhood" to a condemnation of the American status quo.  He had begun to speak out against the war and settled into a routine recitation of the unholy trinity of what ailed the U.S.--"racism, poverty and militarism."

Sadly, in the years since his murder we haven't moved very far off the block.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Photo of the Day/Terence Connery

Terence Connery lives in Portland.


Suddenly Pertinent

Didn't think it would ever happen. My pal Buddy Dooley is 64 today. Happy birthday, asshole!



Chris Pilon of Houston mentioned this yesterday in a short note.  I agree with Chris, who thinks it is one of the many stellar moments in "Last Waltz."


Thursday, January 15, 2015


Happy birthday to MLK.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Goodbye Charlie

If you want "terrorism defenses" like that to be criminally prosecuted (as opposed to societally shunned), how about those who justify, cheer for and glorify the invasion and destruction of Iraq, with its “Shock and Awe” slogan signifying an intent to terrorize the civilian population into submission and its monstrous tactics in Fallujah? Or how about the psychotic calls from a Fox News host, when discussing Muslims radicals, to “kill them ALL.” Why is one view permissible and the other criminally barred – other than because the force of law is being used to control political discourse and one form of terrorism (violence in the Muslim world) is done by, rather than to, the west?--Glenn Greenwald

You knew it would come to this, and if you didn't you haven't been paying attention.

And if that isn't enough, here's another sensible view.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015


As happens with every football season, I'm glad this one is over.

Maybe I can get down with something else in the coming days.  I'm a casual pro football fan and enjoy watching Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson play, so Sunday's game in Seattle ought to be fun.

Rodgers is gimpy, though.  So I doubt if he can beat the Seagulls.

Nice thing is I have no emotional ties to the game and could not care less who wins, which will be a relief after watching my Ducks struggle last night.

I didn't sleep very well, dreaming of dropped passes and missed tackles.  OSU's big guys handled both lines of scrimmage, left me wondering if TCU could have given the Buckeyes a better game.

I think I'll publish another book next month.

For the hell of it, because I've got nothing better slated.


Monday, January 12, 2015


Fuck it.

This guy dominated the game unfortunately, abetted by an offensive line that Oregon couldn't stop.

Nice season for the Ducks though.

One more year, Mariota!

I kid.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

24 Hours

The College Football Playoff championship game is 24 hours away.

Luckily, I live alone, because I'm about to start bouncing off the walls and when that happens somebody innocent could get hurt.

May the best team win, and I'm pulling for Ory-gone, as Lou Holtz would say.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Real Champ

The just concluded FCS championship game featuring North Dakota State and Illinois State was superb.

Went to the wire, with both teams leading inside a minute to play before NDSU scored last and put away its fourth consecutive FCS championship--a first in playoff history.

This game was everything you hope the FBS championship will be; an entertainment of the highest order and truly indicative of the best team winning the title--no questions asked.

The FCS playoff began, as is customary every year, with 16 teams and winnowed down to today's final game in Frisco, Texas.

It was the culmination in other words of a true championship playoff, unlike the College Football Playoff, which was decided when Condi Rice threatened to have the playoff committee members tortured if they did not abide by her desire to leave TCU out of consideration this year.

Thanks to CD for pointing out this New Republic piece by Chuck Thompson.  The writer eloquently explains why the new so-called national championship format--the College Football Playoff--isn't a playoff at all, and is far from an improvement over the late, unlamented BCS system.


Football and Pot

A second player, not as big of a star as Darren Carrington but still a valuable member of the team, was left home when Oregon traveled to Dallas yesterday for Monday night's NCG.

The team's many injuries have not been a distraction because they are a part of the game, unfortunate but accepted to a degree. Bad luck happens.

Losing players to the NCAA's drug screening program is another story. This has to be affecting the players' mentality and preparation for the game.

I would guess they're all over the map on this in terms of their feelings.  It can't help but diminish their focus.

Pot on any campus is not a surprise any more, if it ever was. Particularly at Oregon, a bastion of liberalism if one ever existed.


Friday, January 9, 2015


Man, it is taking way too long for the NCG to arrive.  Bad shit is happening.

Another Duck goes down.  This one for smoking pot, and he happens to be Oregon's best receiver of late.

The NCAA can test athletes any time it sees fit.

Now the team's receiving corps is ultra-thin.

Not good.  Not good at all.

This one might be too much to overcome.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

One Year Later

What a difference a year makes.

This is what I wrote December 30, 2013 on the eve of the Alamo Bowl, which Oregon would go on to win while capping a two-loss season that disappointed many delusional Oregon fans.

As many fans petitioned to get rid of first-year coach Mark Helfrich and his able assistants, I grew depressed.  So much nonsense, stupidity and self-righteousness made me angry and I wanted to give up on the college game.

Not because I had lost interest in the game, but because ignorance disappoints me.  Obstinate and irrational people disappoint me.

Now Oregon sits ready to play Ohio State in the first-ever College Football Playoff,  and the town criers have disappeared.

Thank the football gods for small favors--for now.

I have no idea who will win Monday night as the game and Oregon's season finishes up in Arlington, Texas.

But what a great pleasure to not be suffering the loud crowd of armchair experts bashing Helfrich's team at this moment.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I am feeling sick and shaky. I have been writing all day with tears running down my face. I don’t suppose I’m alone in reacting like this to the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, which is an assault on journalists and free speech. Like many people, I am trying to react to both aspects of the attack, thinking about the victims – human beings capable of feeling pain and terror – and the principle of free speech, which has to be defended at all costs.

It does not feel right now as though the pen is mightier than the sword, but I have to believe that the ideas of the Enlightenment will defeat hooded men with guns.--Joan Smith

The Guardian has this human disaster covered like nobody else.

In a parallel universe.




Monday, January 5, 2015


A documentary about Philip K. Dick produced by the BBC (1994).

thematic example of Dick's focus.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Walker/Alex Cox

Most of the reviewers at Amazon enjoyed Walker, the 1987 film by Alex Cox, as much as I did during my first viewing tonight of the 2008 Criterion Collection DVD.

I hadn't seen it before now, and wonder how I missed this excellent. though loathed-by-the mainstream, political satire.

Actually, I do know.  As with everything, one need pay attention.

About as brisk of a rebuttal to the Reagan years as was made in the old B-movie actor's deluded lifetime, the film is unfiltered history, a homage to several directors at once, and a pure sendup of everything powerful people held dear in the 1980s, and still hold dear in the good old American mythos of today.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Perhaps you've seen it.  If not I highly recommend it


Santa's Book at Amazon, and a Title Shot

(Sonny Rollins, by Lee Santa)

Hey, all of you wonderful people out there who want a copy of Lee Santa's A Journey into Jazz, published in Feb. by Round Bend Press Books, note that it is now available at Amazon.

It's a great account of his life in jazz as a fan and photog.  It's pretty dang impressive, as Lee crowded in right amid the notes and sweat and created some fantastic pictures over several decades.

Then Lee and I worked on a manuscript that reads a little autobiographical, a little critical, and a lot like a love affair with the music.

No need to worry about creating a Lulu account if you'd rather not, just use your regular workaday Amazon account and you'll be pleased as a singer with a good drummer.

I've been on vacation, in case you've missed my magnificence at this engaging site.  I had to get away to watch a lot of college football, partially.

I also became very depressed by everything awhile back, and I thought it best to simply step away, take a break from all the stupidity in the world.

Look, I'm as aware as you are that that never works...but...

Hey now, I know I've contributed my share to the milieu and likely will continue to do so...but...

Looking forward to the NCG, of course.

Go Ducks!