This is Why I Love Portland


A brown vehicle, surprisingly tasteful in its wildly gothic external decor, stops at a light. Amid the various brownish skulls and headstones adorning the SUV-ish car, I spot a sign saying “Thank You For Your Patience During Our Remodel,” and the active rear window wiper has been fashioned into a waving hand. Inspired by two comely girls waiting on the corner, the driver rolls down his passenger window, and out blares “Break on Through” by The Doors. Accompanying the song is a lip-synching monkey puppet, singing to the girls, who squeal and delight in this spontaneity.

This is an example of shit that happens in Portland every day, and why I adore it.


The Portland Bomber… Entrapped?


I have loved ones that live a few blocks away from Pioneer Courthouse Square, where Somali-born suspected terrorist Mohamud planned to enliven the tree-lighting ceremony with fire and death. As I was celebrating the successful prevention of the catastrophe, I found an interesting difference in what I was hearing from my connections in the intel field. A different slant on what happened. One source, J. Price, opined:

Entrapment is bad, because it’s a moral gray area, and I don’t like gray areas.

the NSA tries not to concern itself with every petty loser who doesn’t like the U.S., and the NSA definitely doesn’t give people fake bombs and encourage them to commit terrorism. If it happens, the NSA gets them.

Just opinions, but a chorus is singing a song of Mohamud possibly being a victim of entrapment. That the FBI coulda and shoulda just apprehended the man and subsequently deported him to Somalia. Instead we got this media circus, which could have been totally avoidable. Why continue this pattern of close calls with hostiles when we could just deport them at any time? Not because the agency wanted to learn more about this kid’s contacts, and certainly not to placate any government agency overseers. This was all about the media attention the FBI has been thirsty for since 9/11.

And I for one could have done without knowing that a terrorist was even near my loved ones, albiet under observation by the Feds.

Can’t Wait to Rock Out…


…at the newly named Sleep Country Amphitheater, formerly the amphitheater at Clark County, a delicious outdoor venue where I saw The Police two years ago. I can only assume the outfit is hurting for money and resorting to branding, so just like Candlestick Park became Safeco Field, they awarded naming rights to the highest bidder.

I wonder if I’ll ever catch R.E.M. or Dream Theater there. Bad naming rights story aside, it always has been, and always will be just The Amphitheater to me.

(Image: Disney)

Cool (Extremely)


As winter arrives, and temperatures drop across the country, readers have lapped up Linda Howard’s novel Ice: A Novel. I downloaded it just because it seems like the kind of book to read while the freezing cold surrounds your every move outdoors.  The narrative isn’t really my style, but it’s a thrilling premise that would make a pretty good mediocre film.  Guy on leave gets sent to rescue woman from ice storm, meth heads with guns chase them through the Maine wilderness.

It’s like reading Jaws on summer vacation at the beach.  With meth heads instead of a shark.

Speaking of movies, when it gets cold like this, and I start to feel too chilled, I remember Alive.  I try to make a point of seeing that pretty good mediocre movie as often as I can, to remind myself that no matter how cold I’m feeling, I’m fine.  I’m not really cold.   Try 72 days in the Andes with very little shelter, leg broken, being buried by an avalanche, dealing with death constantly, and somehow making it out alive after all that time.

Here’s the Wiki on the true story, which was slightly padded for the film.

The others who had clustered around Roy, upon hearing the news, began to sob and pray, all except Parrado, who looked calmly up the mountains which rose to the west. Gustavo [Coco] Nicolich came out of the plane and, seeing their faces, knew what they had heard… [Nicolich] climbed through the hole in the wall of suitcases and rugby shirts, crouched at the mouth of the dim tunnel, and looked at the mournful faces which were turned towards him. ‘Hey boys,’ he shouted, ‘there’s some good news! We just heard on the radio. They’ve called off the search.’ Inside the crowded plane there was silence. As the hopelessness of their predicament enveloped them, they wept. ‘Why the hell is that good news?’ Paez shouted angrily at Nicolich. ‘Because it means,’ [Nicolich] said, ‘that we’re going to get out of here on our own.’ The courage of this one boy prevented a flood of total despair.

Update 14 December: Having read  78% of Ice, I can officially declare it a piece of crap that no one should ever read.  I also want to wish scorn on those who made this a bestseller.  I’d rather listen to Kanye, and that’s sayin’ a lot.  Ice is a bad, bad novel, and we didn’t get a snow/ice storm here anyway.  Bring on Under the Dome!

Behold The Metal Glory: Rail


The year was 1984, and the hair metal was flourishing.  My friend Bill and I were glued to MTV to catch all the Rattness, the Dio-tude, and the general mayhem associated with leather pants.  That was when Northwest upstarts Rail released their one and only album, a self-titled EP with 4 or 5 songs on it.  Bill and I loved this EP.

In the past several years, having long since lost that cassette tape of juicy goodness, I’ve vainly searched the tubes and tunes to find Rail.  It’s been awhile, but last night I went looking again, and YouTube has ’em.  The two best songs, actually, if you’re into that kind of thing.  The sound is terrible, but the boys are there, rocking hard and smiling big in their boots and leathers.

1-2-3-4 Rock n’ Roll was their first video~

Fantasy was my personal favorite to jam in the car late at night~

Okay, I’m done.  Gonna go hide now.

Talking In Movie Quotes



They got cool shirts there!

They got cool shirts there!



Many of us say classic lines from movies in everyday conversation, stuff like “You’re gonna need a bigger (boat)”, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”, or the vaguely annoying “Stupid is as stupid does.”  

I tend to use movie quotes that not a lot of people know, especially in my business.  Oh, I’ll get the occasional person who actually laughs and responds when I say “Run away!” in my very non-Graham Chapman way.  But there’s a few I say that are only for my amusement.  Such as:

“I’m wrong.  I’m Wrong Roy!”  
I swear this is in the original version, if not the remastered weirdness that is Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

“It’ll work, Philip.”
From Fandango.  It’s from the fateful scene where they try to get a tow from a passing freight train, and Costner’s character sounds so certain in his declaration, I must use it whenever I’m about to attempt something foolish.

“Yes they do.  Don’t they, tho?”
Yeah, again…a few older people get it, but not a lot of people are really hip to Yellow Submarine.

“It’s Over, Johnny!”
Yeah, you know it’s from First Blood, but people near me think I’m just being a defeatist.

“Get ’em up against the wall!”
Pink Floyd The Wall also always comes to mind whenever I hear someone say, “Fuck me!” in squalid desperation, which is kind of frequently these days.

“Truck?  What truck?”
Again, people think I’m seriously unaware of the truck they just mentioned, and need to go on describing it, year, make and model.  I’m probably just too much of a Raiders of the Lost Ark fan. 

“In the car?  No, man, it’s not in the car.”
Often in response to a similar comment, this sometimes elicits puzzled looks from those who haven’t seen Scarface more than once.   (Link NSFW)

Actually, I used to say “That’s some bad hat, Harry.” to anyone looking good in a hat.  But that line from Jaws is now a film company’s name, so I quit using it.  All in all, I wonder if I missed some.  I live in the world of movies as often as I can.  It’s inevitable the parts I remember would spill over into my conversations.  Surely, you’d think I’m mad, but it’s actually a kind of therapy for me.

And don’t call me Shirley.

Wintery Precipitation

Sled Abuse

Sled Abuse

 Well, the weather men and women of this world are really challenged these days.  An ARCTIC BLAST that was supposed to cripple this town today was a joke.  It was tough in elevated areas, but they kept ringing that alarm bell, and I went home early, preparing to hunker down for something that not only didn’t happen, it actually warmed up a little.  Most hilarious quotes on how the weather might be tonight include, “Expect some wintery precipitation” and “Liquid rain.”  I’m not shitting you, he said liquid rain.