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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.

Comics, Politics, Kneecaps

It took about a half second to realize my patella suddenly snapped over to the side of my leg and then crunched back in place as I drew back to kick a soccer ball. Dislocated my kneecap while bending it like Ronaldo and the mad game of soccer should be left to children and athletes.

Has the whole world gone completely off the deep end? Is there an anti-fertility drug that would prevent certain citizens from reproducing another generation of mongoloid offspring that still believe life didn’t start until Adam met Eve? How do they explain dinosaurs? Ask Bill.

What’s that you say? The word “mongoloid” is offensive? “Mulatto, Oriental, Christmas” is now “Mixed, Asian, and “Non Religious Celebration of the Winter Solstice”. Ask George about all that.

I don’t know a darn thing about relationships and know less about women but I’m pretty confident that marriage may be one of the 7 gates of hell. I’ll have to get back to that one later though Sam has some ideas worth hearing.

Is there any more of a cliche personality than the philandering politician? South Carolina guvy is worldwide in his exploits, about time someone took it to the international level of adultery. Is the Chandra Levy case solved yet? Back east politicians tend to do more openly wretched and violent things to their interns and staffers. Here in the great Northwest we have lovers, like the Idaho toilet creep who toe-tapped men beneath lavatory stalls, or my own hometown favorite, senator Bob “Gimmie some whiskey and sit on my lap” Packwood. Ol’ Bob had 26 women in line to testify against him and his grotesque libido. Usually if one person complains about something that means at least 10 more people felt the same way but didn’t say anything. That’s a lot of pantsuits and tweed skirts to roam for Mr. Packwood.

Oregon also boasts one Neil “I bought you a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine so sit on my lap” Goldschmidt who rose the ranks of local politics all the way to governor and had already finished his term before his affair with a 14 year old during his stint as mayor in the 1970’s was broke. You’re mayor of a city and all you can woo is a teenager? If I had the word “mayor” stamped on my stationary I would have at least swooped someone who could cast a vote for me.

Today they are pushing for a recall for the present Portland mayor who, when on the campaign trail fooled around with a barely 18 year old man while being in his 40’s. More fodder for the miniature minds attached to mouths belching “moral outrage.”

I hope we all agree that fooling around will always be better than missing women and bodies in the river.

My knee is swollen mush and thank goodness for dead comics and the cads of NW politics.

Gresham Rules

Behind the willow trees that line the river behind that big house I heard these boys talk and knew for a split second I was about to see something great. 15 years old and newly minted from the north side of town, wide-eyed out here, where enormous watersheds sprawled across the hills and where the mountain looked so much bigger, where streets were long and straight, vacant and smooth, a place I used to skate and absorb the natural emptiness. Aside from the freshly carved neighborhoods, it was quite serene and pleasant, even the older streets and houses were close knit and protected by winding little streets and cul de sacs, coming from the little city this tiny town was beautiful and microcosmic.

I just didn’t know it.

What I saw were jumpers off bridges, rocks, ledges, straight from the sky itself, bodies plunging into the river of soft currents below. Those currents had taken many under for good but right then it was giving me more life than any Portland pool ever did.

I just didn’t see it.

Boats and Trucks

life-on-the-river

I used to live in Oregon. Worked hard, smoked, drank, slept, tried to stay out of trouble, and I enjoyed and savored every moment I had. Recently I’ve had this recurring thought of getting hit by a truck and not having enjoyed myself up to such a fateful minute so I try not to lose sight of that while I wander around.

Having traveled a small bit I’ve never felt so close to that truck until now. I realize there are literally thousands of other ways people live, different foods, customs, cultures, and ways of life I have no idea about. So much more to know and see and no time to just go and be.

It’s humbling and exciting to know that I’m one of billions of other bugs on this planet but entertwined somehow because when I see how some people live I feel strangley connected, familiar and comfortable though I don’t know them or anything about how they exist.

The perception I have about different people and their cultures is all designed solely by my own experiences so it’s impossible for me to say I understand how other people live.

But when I see this boat and wonder how many different directions my life would have taken had I been born in Vietnam, I feel like it could have it happened either way and in the back of my head I’d still be thinking about that truck.

Cold Weather Crap Watch, 2008!

ha-long-bay1

He was conceived during an autumn around the same time Puzo’s masterpiece became Americana, Tony Iommi developed the riff to revitalize an icon, Americans were paying the way for Chile’s Pinochet and a White House Dick was poring over how to salvage grace while plummeting from it.

After a wonderful union that resulted in such a bittersweet creation, he was raised in the northwest corner of the United States for the better part of 3 decades. Like a skinny Douglas Fir, he grew up swaying in the breeze, impervious to rain and thriving in cold, damp, windy winters and warm, showery, and at times, scorching summers.

Presently, this bucktooth, flat-tailed river rodent is spending his days and nights a few degrees closer to the equator, which allows him to swim in rooftop pools at 9 in the morning and not have to wear socks or long pants for months at a time.

All the while his hometown is in the grips of a “Deep Freeze Whiteout”, “Arctic Winter Smash”, or “Santa’s Shitstorm ’08” or whatever the local news calls a week of frigid temperatures where kids throw ice balls at the frostbitten homeless beneath park benches only to offer them hot soup afterwards in accordance with their community service conditions.

ha-long-bay2Oddly enough, part of said local traveler would love to be writing his name in the snow and laments not being able to enjoy the serene chill of quiet snowy nights but that particular individual is being soundly bamboo caned behind the poolside tiki bar as we speak.