Still No Ring

Maquiladoras, malevolent monstrosities of miserable moneymaking

Invites insanity and incumbent inequities involving

Stoical societies succumbing to sadistic symmetry.

Corporate cohorts connive and construct conglomerates

Operating ostensibly, overseers of the oppressed,

Nimbly navigating numbers of new natives,

Churning Chihuahua’s children into cheap chattel.

Enterprising, exploiting, enveloping environments en masse,

Privatizing, procuring, parceling people for production,

This thievery from threadbare third-world throngs

Is insidious, implementing irreverence with investment

Of our country’s ornate opulence, overbearing

Neighbors with NAFTA’s nightmare, todavia no anular.

Breakfast of Rainbow Puppies

Killers and jailbirds, dilettantes and scofflaws, I’m just trying to have coffee and someone is talking about some pseudo-news-reality-witch-hunt-bloodbath-headline television show. Apparently we all crave the details of how some father in the midwest went berserk at work with a sidearm or a couple in Florida rented their own daughter out from down in the basement until she was old enough to vote, it just never ends. The more it’s splashed everywhere, the less it all matters in our everyday lives, it just becomes wallpaper. I just can’t figure where the fringe sits between the filthy perpetrators and the good folks who love hearing about it. I eat cereal and drink orange juice and read about the most nefarious and disgusting kind of people doing the worst kinds of things to each other. Suddenly things ain’t tasting so sweet this morning.

Strangely, advertising revenue and media ratings have little to do with good and happy news.

Oh money, how you sometimes turn the world in such a dark and twisted way!

Maybe if I sprinkle some dollars on my breakfast it’ll give it some yummy again.

Need Money For Rocket Fuel

Man, the venting and fist clenching barely begins to relieve the insanity that burns in my bones when some guy with a dog or some girl with a sign decides to take offense when I don’t have any “spare change” or “extra dollar” to add to their panhandle swag for the day.

Man, oh man, oh man!

I understand the plight of the mentally ill and those folks otherwise deemed unfit for “normal jobs” or “productive places in society”  but when you’re wearing nice, name brand shoes and have a North Face backpack while asking me for spare money, I sense a problem brewing. And then to be smug with a sense of streetwise entitlement on top of it? (Man, oh man, oh man!)

There is a guy who goes up and down a main road by my house, he’s wheelchair bound and travels by pushing with one foot and going backwards mile after mile, collecting as many bottles and cans the side-hanging bags on his chair can hold. That dude gets paper money from me every time I see him and never asks for it but never refuses it either.

Apparently the economy is so bad that busy intersections are now the new kiosks for donations. These jokers on every off ramp and red light with a cardboard sign god blessing me have too much competition for me to believe they’re in dire straits. It’s as if Home Depot and Lowe’s were both across the street, which one really needs my money? Answer: Neither of them need your money. I’ve seen panhandlers giving each other the same look given when salespeople compete for customers. Motivating each other from across stop lights. I’m not holier than thou, just holier then them.

For every sap that rolls down the window to hand out a dollar to someone who’d otherwise insult them for not doing so, there’s me waiting for the unfortunate soul to get the buck without even asking for it.

It’s 2010, now where’s my rocket ship?

GTFO, Please Don’t Stay

The sign at the Oregon borders used to read: WELCOME TO OREGON. PLEASE DON’T STAY.

How badass is that? How cool does your governor have to be where the highway signs remind travelers that it’s wonderful if you visit, just don’t move here with your brood? Let’s see Spitzer or Schwarzenegger pull that off. Oh yeah, they have no clear idea of urban planning or preparation for the future. No shortage of hookers and terminators, though. There’s a new video game for the kids in the backseat: Hookers and Terminators. New decade, here we come, pushing the line between family values and the value of the dollar. We’re all hungrier than last year, our jobs suck more now than last year so this year we’re determined to make someone pay. Who that someone is, I’m still unsure of. But they will pay. By god, they will pay.

Every time some national media publication or televised crap-fest touts the serene beauty and smart living of Portland, 100,000 more liberal/hipster/unshowered sustainable urbanites  decide that this is the place to be. I blame all rush hour traffic jams, lines at the supermarket and my inability to get decent customer service in this god-forsaken town on the massive influx of transplants to Portland. Part of me wants to preserve the huckleberry values of my town while the other part knows that the future involves gentrification and a tender tongue when it comes to address the new, sensitive residents who have brought midwest and east coast money and “new and progressive” ideas. Don’t get me started on Californians.

And if you come to Portland to live, be prepared to meet the vehemence of one skinny but surly local who understands the surface appeal of the town but laughs on the inside at the reasoning of those who think they love it.

On a completely unrelated note: Why are most sex experts people you wouldn’t have sex with in a hundred years? Oh, how the questions of the universe produce maddening quandaries.

Files and Bills and Killers, Oh My.

Files. Bills. More crap in the form of paper than I can barely comprehend. An all-consuming pyramid of impending doom that towers up to the ceiling and hangs in the den like a black cloud with that weird hovering eyeball. It’s Machu Picchu demanding a check or money order. A looming pile of excess, financial drudgery and societal reminders that’s enough to make someone load a machine gun and prop its tripod on the crux of a dormer and clean the trees of squirrels. Not me, of course. Someone else, in theory.

Now I almost understand Texas bell towers and southern university rampages. Eep. Better watch what I write because freedom of speech only goes so far. But if the FBI is reading this than I’m just about big-time.

Book deal, here I come.

Economic collapse and food riots may be in our future but the hope in all the doomsaying is that maybe then we’ll come together and make a car that runs and sells, or maybe we’ll realize that we should help each other from across the street instead of cutting each other off to get to the red light. Or maybe just a health care system that helps us all instead of bleeding us dry and turning our elderly and children into dope-dependant zombies.

Palaver.

It takes the demise of many for those left behind to realize the importance of community.

I had no idea the stack of mail were bills, requests for attention, red lettered warnings of payment due and growing late fees were for me specifically since I’ve changed my name to Reid of La Mancha. And the rest of the credit collectors and public utilities can go jump in a lake because I know that the only reason light and gas cost so much is because it’s funding country club memberships and summer homes for those presently more fortunate than I. Don’t blame the “economy” as to why budgets crunch and prices rise, we all know it’s because the lifestyle afforded to those who are regularly privileged is being threatened and we certainly can’t have that. Who’s going to watch the cheewawa while the disgusting little brat gets her nails done? Who’s going to trim the hedges or nanny the kids, who’s going to cover the Nordstrom bill or the fancy luncheons if we don’t jack up the rates and milk the people just a little bit more?

Seriously.

When the economy truly collapses, when there’s rampant looting and wheelbarrows full of American legal tender are pushed up to the butcher shop for a few flank steaks, when the beggars outnumber the commuters and jumpers from buildings are mundane occurrences, maybe then we’ll know something about “economic downturns”. Buck up, quit yer bitchin’ and be lucky you have a few dollars for a glass of whiskey on the way home.

This is all really just a message to myself. You might not have enough for a glass of anything for all I know. Then again you may be a grinning fat cat who uses whiskey to wash your whitewalls.

Meow.

Better run, squirrel.

Random Righting

The World Famous Kenton Club is named so because of Racquel Welch. It is also one of my favorite places to sip whiskey. The north side of my town is where I was born and raised and though there are times I find it miniscule and tiresome, these neighborhoods are some of the best on the planet.

The knife protruding from that man’s belt is big enough that the handle alone could be considered a club. I wonder what he really cuts with it or is it just part of his hillbilly regalia. His denim is dirty and he’s an awful big guy to just be standing in the street like that.

I was on a train once where the handle for the bathroom had been broken from the inside and I was trapped for a good 10-15 minutes trying to negotiate the little door open. Sweating and frustrated, I kept wondering how much longer my claustrophobia would have held out until I just exploded out like the Kool-Aid man.

Bathrooms define an establishment. Usually. I’ve been in some beautiful restaurants and hotels whose restrooms are extravagant examples of lurid excess. I’ve also been in plenty of dive bars and rest stops where the toilet is the cleanest thing in the room. It’s always funny to me when I go into a somewhat high profile joint and the bathroom is a reeking cell of spilled urine and soggy toilet paper. My favorite: an unassuming and ordinary venue whose water closet is a lavish, immaculate chamber in which one is utterly honored to fumigate and soil.

The establishment is wearing us all thin. Corporate vultures, car giants discarding their dealers as if they weren’t generations deep in Chryslers. Layoffs and cutbacks but those who’ve survived still have cocktail parties and box seats.

I love the super-tight jeans these thin, lanky guys wear nowadays. I think it’s so their bicycles go faster catch less drag. What am I supposed to do with all my baggy jeans and backpacks? Trade ’em in for some hip-huggers and a messenger bag? Timbukt2 and Chrome? I think not! Maybe I’ll just save money by not buying insurance or gas for a car so I can spend hundreds of dollars for a lousy bag to carry my American Spirits and thrift store clothes to the next Arcade Fire show. I kid. (My motorcycle just broke down so I am secretly riding around on my 1989 Bianchi with a shoulder bag in tow.)

Back to the Kenton Club, where the brown stuff is lovely and heavy and it’s either the Stooges or the Stones that’s making it all kick in so nicely.