Michael

Life is Short

March 31, 2009

In an interview broadcast today, singer John Mellencamp described to NPR’s Terry Gross the inspiration for the song “Longest Days” on his 2008 CD, Life Death Love and Freedom. He said his grandmother called him Buddy. She lived to 100. Late in life she often asked him to lay in bed with her as she […]

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Search for Secret Rooms

March 31, 2009

When I was a kid in the 1960s and lived in an old rented house (old by Florida standards — 1930s), I was convinced it had hidden spaces. Off the living room was an alcove we called the library. One wall had a love seat and window looking out onto an orange grove. The other […]

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Vicarious Escapes

March 31, 2009

Every so often I stumble upon a story and see myself as the central character: It sounded like a bunch of centaurs were following an exercise video upstairs, right above my bed this morning. Interesting visual, but at 7 AM there ain’t a damn thing more fascinating and beautiful than the backs of my eyelids […]

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Film Trip To Nostalgia

March 29, 2009

Odd for nostalgia to grip me while viewing a century-old film of a place I’ve never been. I’m a sucker for black-and-white historical images as it is. But Barcelona 1908 conveys in seven minutes a longing for a simpler time — people on the streets amid streetcars, bicycles, and few automobiles. Part of the appeal […]

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Violence of Spring

March 28, 2009

The ‘hood has changed after a week of violent crime only a short walk from my Northeast Portland house. Count them: two stabbings in two gang fights at the Lloyd Center Mall, another gang fight at the Applebee’s restaurant across the street from the mall, a bank robbery, and a gang-related shooting at an Asian […]

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The Great Takeover

March 26, 2009

Has Matt Taibbi written the definitive account of what’s really happened to the economy and why

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Pink Light War On Youth

March 26, 2009

To deter teenagers from congregating in certain areas at night, British groups are deploying pink lights that highlight their pimples. The lights, unlike those that attract and electrocute mosquitoes and other insects, play on the vanity and self-consciousness of young people to drive them away.

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Media Bashathon

March 25, 2009

I usually wield no club in the intensifying mainstream media bashathon. But Todd Gitlin, whose journalism bona fides make his views worth a read, rightly hammers Big-Time Reporters’ coverage of President Obama’s press conference last night. Petulance born of arrogance is especially repugnant when it leads to stories focusing on style at the expense of […]

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Cracked Window needed a friend. How else to explain its diminutive new companion, More Cracked, a spartan place for random photos and asides. With Cracked Window nearing its one-year anniversary, I decided a big blog and Twitter aren’t enough for the ephemera I latch onto. Better to get it out of my head and make […]

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Not Living This Large

March 24, 2009

In the midst of economic despair, my Visa card company sends me a promotion to see a Formula I car race in Monaco (copied in full below). The cost, not including airfare, is $13,600 for two people — the required minimum. Receiving the offer must portend a pending windfall. Either that or someone believes I […]

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Sealing Up the Gold Mine

March 23, 2009

Posting a comment on Facebook has landed me a radio show interview tomorrow. Topic: the implications of severe cutbacks at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, where I spent much of the last two years researching this book.

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Tricycle Symbolism

March 21, 2009

Do two make a trend? I’ve now seen lone tricycles perpetually locked to sidewalk bike racks outside two Northeast Portland restaurants. They’re obviously in place for symbolic value, but symbolizing what? One has been parked outside Tin Shed for at least a few years. A couple nights ago, a newer trike grabbed my attention. It’s […]

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Humane Efficiency

March 20, 2009

Feel like the country is overrun with greed and inefficiency? Hard not to these days. So these numbers sprang off a whiteboard at the Oregon Humane Society today: Animals adopted last year: 3,810 dogs, 5,197 cats, and 999 other (rabbits, hamsters, and similar small animals). Adoption rates, respectively: 99, 95, and 92 percent. Only medical […]

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