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, November 24, 2015

The Best Gift in the World

There is Black Friday and then there is me, the ultimate shill.  Jumping the gun again.

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Seriously, I reread this the other day for the first time since its revision, and I gotta tell veritably soars.

I have no idea how I wrote it.  Got lucky, I guess, and I can only vaguely recall the ideas flowing at the time like good beer between me and the muses.

Was I drinking at the time?  Good God yes, but never during the actual writing.  I thrust it into the face of every barroom bookworm I knew.  I was delivering furniture at the time and attending PSU on the side, unloading my baggage concerning the Iraq War.

I knew far too many people who blindly followed that savagery, verily seemed proud of it, too.  I wanted to kick ass, place their stupidity under the heavy bombs of my own version of "shock and awe."

I gave it to a coworker who called me an "idiot savant."  He was that impressed with the prose! Amazing!  He was a real-live idiot calling me a savant.

Rare air, indeed.

"Impressive, but you know I don't agree," said an ultraconservative friend whom I secretly hoped to piss off with its politics and polemical breadth.

Score one for RBP.

It is mostly smooth sailing as the actual writing goes, no matter its clumsiness in places (I've reworked it as much as I care to, I'm done with it).  Like any great tome, its ideas resonate.

Before it was done and polished to its present sheen, I gave it to the editor of the online journal, Oregon Literary Review.

To my astonishment, CD published the manuscript in its entirety.  I had hoped that at best one or two of the essays might strike the right chord.

To this day, I am grateful for the man's largess and belief in the work.

It happened at the right time, as such thing tend to do.  Until then my writing had mainly been a matter of starts and stops as I struggled with both my discipline and voice.

Then it spewed forth, attended by the rigors of academia.  So thanks to you as well, PSU. (Now where is my honorary PhD?)

So I say to you, Buy!  Buy! Buy!

You talk about giving?  There can't be a better gift sent by you with a cold eye to someone you know who needs a thrashing this Christmas.

With love, of course.

The title essay at CounterPunch.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Crazy, Mixed Up Kids

This is the song, Otis Day and the Knights' cover of the Isley Brothers' "Shout," that Oregon football fans sing at every game.  The much revered (by Oregon students) Belushi movie "Animal House" was filmed on the Oregon campus and featured the song.

This is a better melody from Tears for Fears of their song with the same title.

I prefer the latter and only wish that Oregon's students could get with it, man.

Well, the truth is that both songs are lyrically stupid, but the TfF song would play better in a crowded stadium.



Here is an appeal to sentimentality that should make you think twice about being an American.


Don't Laugh, Cry

Don't laugh, but football is just like war.  It really is, because Nike has designed these cool camouflaged unis for Oregon's Civil War football game with OSU Friday afternoon.

You see, in the real world we're fighting wars to protect Nike and other major corporations from the Muslim rabble, the communists, and the union organizers in Third World manufacturing centers where workers are paid pennies on a dollar.

Which is how we like it right?  How it should be?

So you and I can dress in Nike, mind you.  So Oregon can win football games and look like warriors while doing it.  Just doing it, I mean.

This is called "freedom."  All the boys and girls who would like to go to college or find a decent paying job are after all free to join the US Army and play out their football dreams on a battlefield of our government's choice.

There's plenty to choose from, too.

Everybody knows war is just like American football.  Only, you know, more people die in an actual war.


Our Town

For Henry Wise and Cindy Cedeno, at least, the Portland they moved to from Tacoma half a decade ago no longer exists. Their neighbourhood – in the city’s inner south-east – used to be cheap and filled to the brim with other young musicians and students. “It’s already so different in so many ways. Everyone we know has been recently pushed out of their homes.”

Housing dilemmas.  The story of my life.  I even wrote a play about it in 1989 titled "Litany in a Trumpeter's Bog." The protagonist is a jazz trumpeter facing eviction.

It's in my Four Absurd Plays.

My old neighborhood, which had for 10 years been a fantastic refuge, had started to change into a shopping mall.  By then nearly all the artists I knew were fleeing Northwest Portland.  I hung on for another 10 years until I too became homeless, just like the character I created, and like so many others in the flesh.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Doc of the Day


A Sliver of Light

(Thomas Boyd Photo)

Oregon's offensive line dominated USC and gave Vernon Adams plenty of time to throw for six touchdowns yesterday in Autzen.

A satisfying win in a tumultuous season. Many of the Ducks' loudest, most abrasive, and quantifiably stupid fans were calling for a coaching change after six games.

Oregon is 8-3, with a chance to finish with 10 wins by beating OSU Friday and winning a middling bowl, likely in December.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


CHARLESTON, SC—Declaring that opening the nation’s doors to displaced Syrians posed a major security threat, GOP leaders warned Tuesday that any refugees who resettled in the U.S. would most likely be driven to terrorism by the way America treats them.

The rest of the story.


Odetta/The Staples/The Roots

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015


A lot of computer problems these days.  Can't blog or access email very easily.

Can't really do anything about it for a couple of weeks.  Oh well...


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sports and Militarism

One of my pet peeves, another aspect of popular U.S. culture that I find abhorrent and shallow.  I like sports, but I loathe much that surrounds them.  It has worsened over time, too.  I didn't like the jingoists on the teams I played on in high school and college in my youth; I certainly wouldn't get along with those types these days.

This attitude is coming from a guy who once had the entire PCL's Phoenix Giants (Triple A) bull pen threatening to climb into the bleachers and kill me at old Civic Stadium in Portland during a Beavers game, because the players noticed I wasn't standing for the national anthem pre-game.

Not standing for the anthem was a habit of mine, cultivated as my personal, lonely protest against jingoism and the rule of militarism in American sports and society in general.

The Giants started yelling at me mid-song, which I thought more disrespectful than anything I'd done.



Wednesday, November 4, 2015


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