Observed

Sam Adams and Blood of Jesus

January 25, 2009

I’ve come around to the view that Portland Mayor Sam Adams should not resign for lying about his relationship with another gay man. I say man because that’s how Beau Breedlove describes himself at age seventeen, though both say the sexual side of their brief relationship began when Breedlove turned eighteen. As awful as Adam’s […]

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Library Castaways

January 23, 2009

Sometimes you see something over and over without really seeing it. Then one day it registers more vividly and emotionally. The scene, static and benign before, comes alive. That was my experience today at the Multnomah County Library in downtown Portland. I had popped in to check out a book. A library employee, whose makeup […]

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Inauguration Day

January 20, 2009

My day began with champagne and two friends, Benjamin Alexander Clarke and Kelley Burke, at an elbow-to-elbow cafe, Krakow Koffeehouse, where we watched President Obama sworn in. It ended with a neighborhood potluck dinner and never-to-forget, flag-waving march with 40 other people through the streets of Portland.

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Perfect Prelude

January 19, 2009

An email promoted tonight’s showing of vintage film footage from the civil rights movement. The location: a pizza place on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Northeast Portland. It seemed a fitting way to spend the evening with wife and little boy. So we sat with about fifty people we didn’t know — white, black, […]

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Disappear, Faux Santa Butt

January 18, 2009

Not far from my house is a big faux Santa Claus butt. It’s actually a painting of his butt made to look like it’s sticking through a tire. The painting hangs from a tree like a, well, tire swing. A nearby peace sign I understand as a year-round decoration. But whatever clever humor the butt […]

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Cannibalism and Love

January 15, 2009

Hard to correlate these two disparate ideas: airplane crash victims lost high in the Andes resorting to cannibalism, and stark humanity imbued with love. But that’s what played out on the movie screen tonight in the documentary Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains. After the plane carrying the Uruguayan ruby […]

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Siren Song Calling

January 12, 2009

I find myself drawn to people who embark on solitary adventures far from the helter-skelter of cities. Contemplating them is an escape from the mundane and predictable. Seriously imagining myself in their roles induces tinges of exhilaration — and panic. In August last year, I wrote about and began following the blog of teenager Zac […]

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Spam and Sam

January 3, 2009

Looking at my junk email folder, I feel unloved. Normally jammed with obnoxious, fraudulent, and salacious offers, it’s received only eight spams in the last fifteen hours. That’s a shockingly small number, even with the typical weekend slowdown in such traffic. It’s also low considering that spam has rebounded since a dramatic drop worldwide in […]

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New Year’s Eve feast at Simpatica’s communal dining tables. Suzame and I sit across from each other. A couple takes the seats next to us. Strangers, but not for long. He’s a musician, she’s a pediatric nurse practitioner. Outgoing and warm, they’re scheduled to wed in June. Talk turns to politics, and they describe an […]

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A Year in Perspective

December 31, 2008

Like many people, I’ve been dwelling today on my year’s highlights and lowlights. Besides the most important and obvious — the health and love of my family, I keep thinking about what it means to have rekindled long-lost friendships with a handful of high school friends. They’re not just people I like because of our […]

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Snow Days

December 30, 2008

No one is happier about Portland’s record December snowfall finally melting than our Irvington neighborhood Gnome. There was more than enough white stuff to fill his tree-trunk abode, so I’m assuming people kept his doorway sufficiently cleared so he could maintain his perpetual southeasterly gaze from our block.

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Dark Side of Crappy Weather

December 27, 2008

Portland’s rapidly melting blanket of snow reveals how whacked out the city became during its record-setting bout of wintry weather. Many people who zealously clean up after their pooping dogs didn’t. The result: on the sidewalks there’s lots more to slip on than patches of slushy ice. Were dog owners too cold and hurried to […]

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Starstruck at Safeway

December 22, 2008

I wrote recently about the fertile ground my neighborhood Safeway provides for observing people and things I’d otherwise never see. Passing through its doors makes me suddenly alive to the world. That’s not what I was thinking this afternoon as I trudged through ice-encrusted snow to the grocery. Soon after entering, I saw a tall […]

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