Observed

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 […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

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 […]

{ 1 comment }

Read the rest...

Mystery of the Mounds

March 14, 2009

Three mounds of black dirt sprouting droopy yellow flowers in a vacant lot. It’s raining and I almost don’t stop the car. But the sight is too incongruous in this expanse of green to pass up. The oddity warrants a photograph, I decide, and unsheathe my camera.

{ 1 comment }

Read the rest...

History Lost

March 13, 2009

Today I stood beneath a statue of Teddy Roosevelt astride a high-stepping horse. I was among  75 people in Portland’s South Park Blocks. Warmed in late afternoon sun, we protested plans to greatly reduce access to the Oregon Historical Society research library across the street. Many people spoke of the library’s key role in their […]

{ 1 comment }

Read the rest...

Merits of Chaos

March 10, 2009

If better organized I would not have spent so many hours this month navigating the treacherous paper trail of my recent past. Tax time triggered this journey through canceled checks, receipts, and cluttered file draws. Disgust with the disarray then led to wholesale purging and imposition of order. But the paper trail also reconstructed much […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Panhandlers for Obama

March 6, 2009

Long before The Sopranos, I learned about real-life Mafia from Gay Talese in his stunning 1971 book Honor Thy Father. So his recent byline in the New York Times‘ City Room blog caught my eye. Talese recounts helping panhandlers improve their income by composing better-worded signs that invoke President Obama’s name. Word gets around. Tonight, […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Commode Commentary

March 6, 2009

The bathroom at Mississippi Studios in Portland is the home of succinct political commentary that summarizes the sentiments of many people these days. A message typed on a sheet of paper taped to the wall above the toilet advises patrons to flush twice. Below the message someone has scrawled an addendum: It’s a long way […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Amped Up on Live Music

March 5, 2009

Strange feeling, though not new, to look around a small-venue concert (my favorite) and see I’m the only one looking, well, old. I wonder what the twenty-somethings think when they see my gray and white hair. Have they ever considered that love of live music doesn’t vanish when you hit thirty or well beyond?

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Mouth At War

March 3, 2009

I might have been sitting in a dental school classroom, taking lecture notes on all the bad things that can happen in the mouth. But I was prone in my dentist’s chair, enthralled with a stream-of-conscious presentation the hygienist delivered while prodding gums and polishing teeth.

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Graffiti and the Fartinator

February 22, 2009

Graffiti fascinates me. It’s hard to miss in Portland, especially east of the Willamette River where I live. Some is artistic. Most is illegible, as if space aliens scrawl communiques at night, unaware that their writings generally make no sense to Earthlings. And defacing property, no matter the creativity involved, is a crime costing major […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

Choirboy Graffiti

February 9, 2009

Finally, graffiti I can read. And it’s not only legible but painted in a flamboyant cursive script, conveys a simple but powerful admonition, and is brazenly displayed in the heart of one of Portland’s most-tagged neighborhoods.

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...

UFOs over Portland

January 31, 2009

An amateur photographer obsessed with jet contrails snapped photographs from the Burnside Bridge about ten days ago. Later, while reviewing his images, he noticed two tiny circles of light above Oregon Health Sciences University. He zoomed in on the circles and came away convinced that they were UFOs.

{ 1 comment }

Read the rest...

Naked Artist at Work

January 28, 2009

Someone might question a father who posts a photo of his naked toddler online. But I’ve cropped it tastefully, which helps focus the viewer on Atticus’ intense gaze as he loses himself in shower-time “drawing.” I captured the image last night not with my expensive Nikon but wimpy iPhone camera. Besides the photo’s unusual quality […]

{ 0 comments }

Read the rest...