Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Advance Recon

Here are the notes:

1. Had lunch at a local Thai restaurant near my office. No idea why I haven't eaten there before. The food was fantastic. The cocktail of choice, however, was sublime. On a whim, and slightly out of character, I ordered a Thai Basil Gimlet.

Now, I am a fan of both basil and Gimlets. The combination of both, punctuated by the sweet spice of the Panang curry was super fantastic. It made my mouth very happy. I must learn the recipe...

2. I made an advance scouting incursion into Casa Diablo, the vegan strip club here in Portland. I had 10 bucks to spend and time for one drink, so it was just a cursory visit.

The location sucks, but the venue is very nice. The sound is good and the double stage is expansive. Being early on a Wednesday evening, the line up was made up of the C-team, or worse. So, I'll reserve judgement on the performers. The bartender was friendly and sassy though, so she gets high marks.

3. Lastly, I am in the process of reevaluating Silverado's place on my favorite-movie list. I am frequently drawn to it, and find myself unable to flip away from it when channel surfing. I feel it may be climbing...

4. That is all for now.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

-Genesis 9:13

There is little doubt, at least in my mind, that god hates metrosexuals, and he outright abhors hipsters.

Which was proven to me once again, just this very evening.

The missus was waylaid with a hair appointment this evening after work, and therefore, I was left to mind, with my own devices, two tots, each in their own way full of vim and ready to wiggle.

With the pantry running low, and the children running hot, these varying interests converged in my mind, therefore, into a singular plot. Costco, it would be, with its glorious two-fer-seated carts and myriad snack stops, and the opportunity to shop for pantry stock with value.

The boy and the girl crammed neatly into place, two-astride, in the wide tandem shopping cart. The boy was directly distracted, hypnotic-like, by any number of shiny baubles, blinking lights and whirring whizz poppers. The girl, prudently, enjoyed the snack buffet.

With the cart loaded, and the parental distractions waning, we made a mad, though sluggish, dash for the the shortest check out line. Simultaneously, however, our targets slot was spied by a young woman with only one boxed item in her clutches.

She was tall, and bone-thin. Her blond hair was razor-sliced with severely tasteful angles. Her blue-striped sailor shirt was retro and ironic. Her too-tight, seat-worn, denim dungarees were emblazoned with sparkly bedazzled rainbows stitched across her emaciated ass.

If she were less waspy, she could have been a poster child for famine relief.

Her boyfriend, however, could have been the poster boy for the Apocalypse.

His clothes looked like something picked up from a macabre crime scene. His hairdo looked like a large-caliber exit wound. At 5'10" he was shorter than his girl, and about 40 pounds lighter. His unimaginable tight pants revealed thighs the width of my forearm. His fat-less paper-like complexion betrayed the intricate bony details of his skull.

He could not have weighed, as a grown man, more than 110 pounds, with his wicked fierce Doc Martens on, no less...

The Gestapo girlfriend eyed me as we converged on the checkout lane. They had only one item, and I am not always a complete prick, so I smiled and nodded, allowing them to go first.

She rolled her eyes in that arrogant fascist hipster-superior way... and assumed her rightful place in front of me, turning her gaunt rainbow-clad ass in my direction. Her wraith-like man-slave fluttered past me and stepped up to pay for their purchase.

And just what exactly was it that they were purchasing? Well, I'm glad you asked. For you see, the one and only thing the bulimia twins were buying was a Costco-sized case of weight-loss breakfast shakes.

I smiled at their misery, their fucked up self-image and utter lack of descent self-esteem. I snickered at their misplaced superiority. I gaped with glee at the sad little rainbow as it walked away from me.

Once outside, the kids and I discovered that it had started raining. Well, misting more like it, and we made yet another mad dash for the car as the sun crept out from behind an angry-looking storm cloud. As we pulled out, the girl giddily yelped, and pointed out a remarkably-bright rainbow in the sky.

A serious goddamn double rainbow, end-to-end, with the entire spectrum of visible light waves on refracted display. It seemed, perhaps, that God agreed with me in the end, and that he does, in fact, hate hipsters too.

Woe to the fashionably ironic, for they shall die of malnutrition...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lounge Lib

Here you go.

Write your own goddam Lounge post. It's easier than you might think. Just copy the text below, post it into the comment section and fill in the blanks. Think of it as a challenge:

It was (year), I was (age), and the weather was (adjective). My best friend, (name), and I were feeling (juvenile emotion), so we decided to skip down to the (destination) and have some fun.

Unfortunately, my (older relative) was a total (expletive)(derogatory adverb)(common vegetable) and wouldn't drive us there. So, we decided to take a (mode of transportation) down to the (same destination).

Since the weather was so (expletive adverb) (expletive adjective), I decided to wear a (inappropriate apparel), which made me feel like a (adjective)(rodent). My friend, (friend), whose fashion sense was even worse than mine, decided to wear a faux (animal)-skin (clothing item). Together, we looked like (the worst thing you can imagine).

Once we arrived at the (destination), we discovered that the (expletive) heads that ran the place decided to require a cover charge.

"(juvenile expletive)!" my friend said.

"That's right!" I said, "(expletive verb) those (expletive adjective)(expletive)-wads!"

We were angry, of course, because we didn't have the cash to get in. So, we sat for (number) minutes and hatched a plan.

"Perhaps we could (crime against nature)," suggested my (adjective) pal.

"Right, I said, "Or maybe you could (verb) (religious icon)'s (anatomical appendage) for the money."

"Well, you're a regular (19th century German philosopher), aren't you?" (friend) said.

Needless to say, we never got in. We also had no money to get back home. So, once again I was forced to (lesser crime against nature) just to earn some (mode of transportation) fare to get home. (Religious expletive)!! It's a wonder I still talk to (friend) at all anymore, that (adjective) (point of anatomy) licker!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


A mediocre bowl of flavorless Chinese take-out, with a lukewarm glass of watered down white wine for dinner.

The sky was hazy overcast today. No sun, but no rain.

We had lunch at the zoo. My cheeseburger was dry and condimentless. The tigers were taking a nap.

I napped, myself, for most of the afternoon.


Friday, April 25, 2008

A Blond in Every Pond

Sucking Rush's Weiner

Do you like Rush Limbaugh?

Do you think his views are good for America?

Do you like to perpetuate hate?

Well, it seems everytime a Democrat votes for Hillary Clinton, you are just giving dirty sloppy slobbery head to the vicodin-addled radio beast. And here is proof:

Limbaugh: 'Operation Chaos' Helped Hillary
Thursday, April 24, 2008 3:04 PM

Rush Limbaugh says his “Operation Chaos” played a significant role in helping Hillary Clinton achieve her 10-percentage-point victory in the Pennsylvania primary this week.

Operation Chaos is the leading radio talk-show host’s campaign to urge his conservative listeners to cross party lines to vote for Hillary Clinton. Limbaugh says the aim is to keep her in the race so she can continue battling Barack Obama and create chaos in the party, thereby aiding the Republicans this November.

“Were it not for Operation Chaos, Obama could win this by winning the primary process. But he can't now. Nor can she,” Limbaugh said on Wednesday.

“Both of these candidates need unelected superdelegates to be the nominee.

“So, unelected party hacks . . . are gonna choose the nominee. All the people that have voted in these primaries up to now will not be a factor. The nominee will have been delivered by party hacks, unelected superdelegates, and that is a dream come true for Operation Chaos."

On Tuesday, Rush told listeners as voters went to the polls: “Operation Chaos is succeeding exactly as planned and meeting all objectives.”

He pointed to the tens of thousands of voters in Pennsylvania who changed registration from Republican to Democrat in the weeks leading up to the primary and suggested they were “Operation Chaos operatives.”

Following Clinton’s win, the McClatchy Newspapers reported: “One out of 10 voters said they'd changed their party registrations so they could vote in the primary, according to exit polls. They broke for Obama by a margin of nearly 2-to-1.

“Yet late-deciding voters — including those who'd long been registered Democrats — broke heavily for Clinton. One possible explanation was the flood of controversial news about Obama in recent weeks, as well as his defensive performance in a debate last week.

“Another possible ingredient in the mix was mischief: Popular conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh for weeks urged his loyal listeners to register as Democrats to vote for Clinton and prolong an increasingly harsh battle that might benefit the Republicans.”

On Wednesday Limbaugh told listeners Obama could secure the nomination by acknowledging the success of Operation Chaos. "What Obama has to do is go out and say this [Hillary] win is artificial and this win is phony because of Operation Chaos,” he said.

“He needs to go out there and say, 'Why in the world is everybody taking this seriously? Rush Limbaugh had his listeners register as Democrats for one day to go vote for Hillary to prolong this. We're letting Limbaugh get away with making our party look like it's in a total sewer and a mess. This victory in Pennsylvania is illegitimate, is undeserved because Democrats did not vote for her. Republicans did.'"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Do You Subpoena a 12th Level Rogue Orc?

The man in the purple coat was planning to kill me. That much was certain. I looked around. I was in a shoddy tavern and was surrounded by innocent bystanders.

Cautiously, I fingered the hilt of my rune-encrusted two-handed broad sword hidden beneath my cloak, and nodded once toward my dark-robed friend in the corner. The man in purple continued his bee line toward me. I knew his friend mus be in the crowd, but I had more friends in the room as well.

As my dark-robed friend finally finished her incantation, a brilliant flash of blue light filled the room, and the man in purple found himself bound by a level 5 binding spell. I struck a lethal hit-point draining blow as his allies and my own erupted from the shadows...

It was late. I played out the melee, saved the game and shut down my computer. Then, I looked at the clock.

"Jesus Christ, it's fucking late!" I said aloud to no one in particular.

I had meant to go to bed much earlier. MUCH earlier, but I had chosen to play just five more minutes. That actually equated to four more hours.

But that was the way it was with computerized role playing games back in the day. The story was linear. The parameters were limited. You played against the computer. You played until you got tired (or got a girlfriend) and put it away.

Things, it appears, have changed however.

These days, it's all online. It's hours days or weeks at a time on line, living in a virtual world as a virtual ogre or an elf, wielding magical weapons and bearing outrageous costumes. It's a life style. It's life.

I, of course, have no time for such things anymore, what with parenting, litigating and blogging. But, I can see the allure.

And then I read the article about the lawsuit in Florida.

OK, hold on to your thinking caps as you follow me down this rabbit hole...

Seems, in the World of Warcraft, the biggest MMRPG in the world, the make believe Tolkien-inspired creature characters rely on a form of electronic credit-based wealth, euphemistically referred to as "Gold." They use Gold to pay for increased training, better armor and wickedly devastating weapons.

The gold does not exist outside of the game. It is game gold, like monopoly money, and the more they can get their hands on, either from conquest or mining, the more they can enjoy the game. And so, folks smarter than me formed actual businesses, in the real world, in our world, dedicated to mining play gold and selling it in the real world for real money.

They have been , by all accounts, wildly successful.

So successful, that some of the straight players, people who fight dragons and war against warlocks to earn their reward, are pissed off at the modern day short cutters. See, the game is smart and adjusts values, prices and rewards based on make believe inflation. It's controls are tighter than the federal reserve. So, this artificial flush of wealth has thrown the whole enchilada catty wampus.

And that, my friends, is where the lawyers have gotten involved. Real life, legal-pad-wielding, suit-wearing lawyers, representing various players have filed a class action lawsuit against gold farmers seeking various injunctive relief and damages.

No lie.

Real people are paying real money to real lawyers to file a real lawsuit to stop a real company from farming for fake gold and selling it to fake people for real money in a fake world. (you may need to read that part twice.)

I mean, what is it that is being sold? It isn't even material, like Monopoly money. It is gold colored numbers on a computer screen in a virtual bank account in a virtual bank in a make believe realm. It has value because the game says it has value.

Then again, the same could be said for our real money. Currency by fiat. It has value because the government says it has to. It is essentially a make believe credit, and these fine folks were simply exchanging one virtual coin for another...

It isn't clear what the plaintiffs' damages could possibly be. I mean can a US District Court order restitution in the form of ogre pelts and Rings of Invulnerability?

Probably not.

So, the players will go back to playing and the gold farmers may or may not return to farming. Hopefully, someone will remember to pay their lawyer bill, and everything will be right in this world, and the other one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thank You Pennsylvania

I, Vice President Dick Cheney, White House puppet master, Grand Dragon of the GOP, Dark Lord of the underworld, would like to whole heartedly thank the kind people of Pennsylvania.

Thank you for making me rich and for making my life easy.

See, by choosing to vote for the doomed Mrs. Clinton, you have chosen to extend the gut-wrenching, flesh tearing, demoralizing schism in the Democratic Party. You have thrown your weight toward a dead woman walking. Thus, draining the Obama coffers, and weakening his eventual run at my personal cock sucking sauna boy, John McCain.

I appreciate that you chose to avoid the difficult task of thinking, and rather chose to vote your heart... Thank you for your lack of strategy. Thank you for your lack of logic. Thank the sweet Lord Jesus for your total inability to process a single abstract thought.

Now, the nation will be subjected to many more months of wearisome political ranting and wrestling. The Clintons will continue to do MY bidding, tearing and clawing at your only hope of victory, battering and bruising him, resorting to dirty tricks and outright lies, undermining what electable character he has left. Essentially, doing MY job for me.

All the while, the oil companies, Arabs and military contractors will pump massive amounts of cash into my and John's pockets. Goddamn, who would have thought that Hillary Clinton would be the means of extending my influence for another 8 years?? Thankfully, she has no party loyalty whatsoever.

Oh, and if John could get his mouth off of my cock long enough, I'm sure he would thank you for your support.

I LOVE you Hilary! [wink wink, kiss kiss]

C'mon Indiana and North Carolina. You can do it! Extend the blood letting! Clinton 08! Clinton 08! Clinton 08!

Alright, I'll get off my soap box now. It's time for my nightly ritual of counting my cash while I drink the blood of new born babies...

Monday, April 21, 2008


It's an opulent orgy of veritable Lounge delights!

Item One: The Zombie

She is the sub-living undead. In debt, and losing in every possible tally, behind in delegates, behind in states, behind in the popular vote. She has no hope of winning. Greedy and divisive, though, like her lizard-like husband before her, she can think only of herself.

Fuck the party!

Fuck the country!

Fuck the world!

Clinton Uber Alles! Zieg Heil!

So, now, she has openly proposed the nuclear annihilation of Persia. Yes, that's right. She has openly advocated the instigation of global ballistic thermo nuclear hostilities with Iran. That is her 11th hour solution. That, my Clinton-supporting friends is your candidate. And it is a megalomaniac in a state of sheer desperation.

This country is ready for a female President. She, simply, is not that woman. Just like Jesse Jackson was not the right African American.

So, to my friends in Pennsylvania, all two of you, this is your hour. This is your opportunity to put an end to the partisan hemorrhaging. If we are going to stop Cheney and Rove and Bush and Aramco and King Abdullah and the Bin Laden family and Northrup and Halliburton and all the rest, then we must first stop Hillary.

She refuses to accept the inevitable, and she further weakens any chances that we and Obama have against the well-armed right.

Pennsylvania, you must stop her. You must staunch the flow. You must destroy the zombie. A single decisive blow will do it. A simple 51% majority. Even if you love her, it's time to send her a message. It's time do the smart thing.

Item Two: The Second Coming

Once before, we have been graced by his presence in this state. He descended through the clouds, as if upon the backs of cherubim. Yet, no, it was only a 737.

Dr. B is coming to town, and I know y'all want to lay hands upon him. Now, I'm not attesting to the rumor that he has magical healing abilities, but you can be sure I will be rubbing the hem of his garment.

Booze and strippers, for certain will be upon the menu. In fact, I suspect that the Saturday of his tenure will be the date of a legendary stripper safari. And yes, all of you are invited.

"When?" you may ask.

June, it seems, June 6-9, unless for some unforeseen reason, plans change. So, mark your calendars now. Plan for poker. Plan for drinking. Plan for an unholy hoedown of mystical proportions. The Dentist is coming to town.

Item Three: Did Someone Say "Orgy?"

And, just what was all this about an Orgy??

I've been wondering lately, just what happened to the good old fashioned Orgy party? I suppose you used to hear about them. Back in the age of Disco and key parties.

You know, Orgies. Groups like-minded consenting adults, hooking up, getting high and losing their clothes. I mean, who doesn't enjoy naked fun time? Who doesn't enjoy pleasure?

Yet, somehow, those days have gone the way of the rotary telephone. sure, there are any number of hangups, risks and complications, but really, how has human nature let this hot button to the pleasure center lapse? I dunno know. I just don't know.

Of course, leave it to the Japanese to sterilize, sort, and organize such a perfectly prurient pleasure...


The ban is lifted.
The comments are back on.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Silver Pass

Not to toot my own horn, but...

It was 1979. Maybe it was 1978. I don't really know. It was the 70's. That's all you need to know.

Everyone was a hippie. My neighbors were hippies. Dan Rather was a hippie. President Carter was a hippie. My school teachers were hippies. Bell bottoms, long hair, and a pervasive sense of communal kumbaya wove a macrame-like web of happy socialism.

My elementary school, like every other elementary school in Southern California, was made up of individual rows of classroom buildings, arrayed around a central outdoor courtyard. The architectural conceit being that it would not rain often, and it would never snow, which was mostly correct.

It was, I believe, the second grade, and my teacher, Mrs. S., had also been my first grade teacher the year before. By some fluke of scheduling, I had her two years in a row, which was fine with her, as I was her favorite student.

Truth be told, It is likely that I was her favorite student in her entire career. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

At that time, and in the sharing-sense of the 70's, the administration had decided to experiment with open-door teaching. Our building had three classrooms in it. The first was a first-grade class taught by a new teacher. Young, gangly and somewhat horse faced, the homely Ms. H. was a little too weird to be liked. Mrs. S. and I had the middle room, and Ms. C. with her third graders had the end.

The district designers had decided that it would be a useful teaching tool to combine these classes. So, they simply punched holes in the walls, creating wide open breezeways between classes. Sitting front and center in Mrs. S.'s class, put me at the center of it all.

Feeling that it was not fit to simply punish the bad kids and the imbeciles, the academic coven of three, H, S, and C, decided that they need to somehow encourage the good kids and reward good behavior.

Thus, the Silver Pass was born.

It was a shiny silver slip with your name printed in permanent marker, pinned to the wall, providing privileges pined-for by many. When the bell rang, we were allowed to leave first. We were the first in line for lunch. We were the last to come in from recess. There were other rights at titles, which have been lost to time, but I think you get the idea.

The Silver pass, of course, was created just for me. Sure there were two other second graders who squeaked in to the club on the first try, but really, it was me. It wasn't enough that Mrs. S had special nicknames for me. It was frustrating that she could not give me more than straight A+'s. And while it was gratifying for her to tell my parents at parent-teacher conference that she wished she could have an entire classroom full of Bri-Bri's, I suspect that she and her cohorts needed some sort of more-substantially objective demonstration of just how fantastic I really was.

The following year, I graduated to Ms. C's third grade, and my Silver Pass followed along with me. I made sure of it.

But that was just the kid I was. I mean, most kids will stay awake at times, afraid of the bogey man or the monster in the closet. But me? Me? Oh yes, I stayed up awake at night too, but I couldn't care less about some monster.

No, my neurosis went something like this: I was a good. Very good. SO good in fact, that I was simply sure that Jesus was VERY happy with me. And being happy, he would naturally want to come down from heaven to hang out with me. Maybe play some board games. Of course, being mystical and spiritual, Jesus would only want to sneak down late at night, in the dark, when I was in bed.

And so, I would pull the covers way up over my head and close my eyes tight, for fear of seeing the glow-in-the-dark lord standing next to my bed holding a Yahtzee box, or maybe Scrabble...

Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of the busy day, I forget to stop and consider just how stupendously fantastic I really am. I have to remind myself just how grateful you all are just to know me, and how fortunate the blogosphere is to have my words.

AND, fortunately for you, I am still the only one able to leave comments, which I am going to go do right now.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back to Basics

Well, that was an interesting week.

I hope you all have had the opportunity to sit and drink, or smoke, and breathe. I know I certainly have.

I have pondered the nature of change, weighing where things are and considering where things are going. Change is natural, inevitable, healthy and right. Change can be scary, but it can also be good.

And so, I think it is time for a change.

What? The Lounge? No no no, that's going to continue as the narcissistic nightmare it has always been. No, i am speaking of something far more important. I'm talking about the Laminated List.

My fickle libido has turned from the blonds and the reds to a more brunette-heavy gaggle of desire, so to speak...

...and they are...

Number 1

Number 2
Gabrielle Union

Number 3
Gina Torres

Number 4
Halle Berry

Number 5
Kerry Washington

Oh, and my gay alternate?

That should be obvious...

Of course, the comments are still locked out to all but me...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rediculous Absurdity

The comments are back on for review. I'm still wrestling with the idea of comment moderation, but haven't decided what to do. So, for now, only team members can comment. And, as I am the only team member, that means me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The comments are turned off.

Everyone, just cool the fuck down.


Here is a secret.

Everything I know about blogging, I learned from Howard Stern.

Good radio, he says, is compelling. If listeners are compelled to listen, then the show gets ratings. It doesn't matter if folks like it or dislike it. If it is compelling, they will listen.

My glutenous ego dictates that the Lounge have readers, many of them, and so I try, at least, to be compelling.

That begins with a hook. The first line, the very first thing after the usually-obscure title, is what the readers read. I often spend quiet time in silence with my eyes closed, pondering that first line. Often it is the last thing I write. Sometimes it writes itself.

Then there is the twist. Often it is the end-bit that comes to me first. Then, I just have to write the seemingly non-related story that leads to it. And presto, we have a Lounge post.

You will notice that nowhere in the Lounge, or my description of it, do I use the word "Musings." Musings are shit. No one cares. Why bother?

Likewise, I will rarely relate the days events or provide a personal update, unless there is some punch line I can pull from the facts. Generally, with the exception of very few of you, I don't really care how your day is going. In turn, I don't expect you to care about mine.

And that, my friends, leaves us with comments.

As Inog is very fond of pointing out, most folks come only for the comments, mostly to read their own. However, most folks will at least give a cursory glance over the post itself, first.

In my mind, the comments section is a playground. An absolute forum for free speech. Much is said there, mostly at my expense. And over the last three years, I have come to categorize the commenters.

First there is me. I am always witty and sparkly. If you particularly enjoyed a comment, it was probably written by me.

Second, there is the closely-held cabal of long-time ball busters. I can name 5 or 6 of you right off the top of my head. In truth, there are probably about 8 or 9 of you, who consistently come up with witty, well-thought-out barbs, again, usually at my expense. These are the superstars. These are the spice.

Third, we have the truth police. There are three or four of you in this category. You keep me honest. Which can be fun, but not always.

Fourth, we have the snipers. Four or five of you who read daily and comment occasionally. Usually, whatever you have to say is pithy and worth reading.

Fifth, we have Anonymous in all of its many splendid varieties. Anonymous, Other, The Hat, the Panties, Kansas, whatever... Anonymous is me. Anonymous is you. If you haven't been anonymous yet, you should give it a whirl. There is freedom and power in speaking your identity-less mind

Six, we have the fuzzy bunnies. The literalists. The cheerleaders. Always cheerful, always game. Enthusiastic, but not always judicious. Not everyone can see the game you're playing, but I can.

And last, the lurkers. Regular readers who visit us every day. I know you're there. I see your shadows. Yet, you never comment. You never contribute. You never say "Hi." Yes, the Lounge is rough and tumble, but at heart, we're an OK bunch of misfits. C'mon in. the water's fine.

And so, in the last couple of weeks, I have received a shocking and surprising number of private complaints from many long time readers regarding the quality of comments as of late. The quantity has exploded, but I am told that the quality suffers.

It has been suggested by more than a few that I limit and moderate the comments. Several have suggested that I select only those that I find compelling enough to pass through the filter.

To that, I say this: the Lounge will remain, for better or for worse, an absolute forum for the free expression of ideas, no matter how big or how small, how left or how right, how right or how wrong, how titillating or how banal. There is room enough for Battlestar and NASCAR, gay clubs and minivans, Obama and McCain, Scotch and beer, tits and ass, Christina and Scarlett...

And that, I think, is the flavor of the Lounge, which is, I hope, compelling enough in itself.

I will do my part to write the most titillating posts I can. And if you really want the comments section to be exciting and provocative, don't just complain to me about it, go write a compelling goddamn comment!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What I've Learned from Gangster Movies

Gangster movies are not my favorite genre. Perhaps I'll turn this into a series and discuss war movies, romantic comedies, heist films, Sci Fi, and Westerns...

Tonight, however, I bring you life lessons from the mob:

1. Drug-packing whores must work naked.

2. If the boss requests a favor, do it. Really, Just do it.

3. Every smart gangster has an entirely-incompetent motherfuckingly-stupid brother and or cousin. Usually, both.

4. Most women will overlook morally-suspect endeavors if you buy them shiny things.

5. All Italians are connected. All Italians living in New York or New Jersey are Made.

6. Surprisingly, real tough-guys look like Joe Pesci.

7. Real-life gangsters like to imitate big-screen gangsters who, in turn, like to imitate real-life gangsters. Or, perhaps, I have that backwards.

8. Don't snitch. Not ever.

9. It is safer to go to a mob funeral than a mob wedding. Funerals are usually attended and watched by half a dozen law enforcement agencies, while wedding guests usually get slaughtered.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Learnign to Fly

Having spent most of the useful work day laid out on my sofa, looped-out on double-dosed antihistamines, with ice packs on my swollen eyes, I did manage to wander into the office this afternoon at the crack O'3. The likely-lucrative mediation on Tuesday called for some special attention today. So, I carefully meandered my way in to downtown.

I worked quickly with surprising efficiency, crunching numbers and reading medical records. I stopped only for a few convulsive sneezing fits, which I combated with more allergy eye drops and pills. By 7:00, I was done with my work and felt pharmaceutically mellow. It was time to head home.

It was a well-lit late-evening commute. Traffic was swift, and the sun spread golden light across the valley. All of the gray, which had turned green over the weekend, reflected the low-lying sunlight in a dazzling spectacle of color.

I exited the freeway and made the familiar pattern of turns that lead to my house. As I came around a wide bend, I spied two boys on bikes, riding toward me on the sidewalk to my right.

The first boy dipped down into a driveway, and my eyes followed his path. Suddenly, reflexively, as he reached the upward concrete lip, my arms flexed and my forward foot pulsed.

I saw that his arms and legs did the same thing, and the front tire of his bike gained altitude, if only for a second, and the rest of his bike followed the same trajectory toward the sky.

Like lightning, and clear as day, my mind flashed to 1981. It was a hot summer day. I was riding my red Kent BMX bike with yellow pads down the street toward my friend's house. (No helmet, of course!) I was bored and looking for something to do. I, however, had no idea what was brewing at the far end of the street.

For years, the other boys and I had been building bike ramps, each increasing in height and risk as we got older. Apparently, the tire and railroad-tie construction from when we were 9 had become passe. Now at 10, we were going to ramp it up a notch, so to speak...

Tommy and David (Not to be confused with Drunken Ramblers, Tom and Dave) had been busy prior to my arrival. What met me, as I skidded to a distracted halt, was an engineering monstrosity. Wooden crates, 2X4s, tires, buckets, and duct tape held together a magnificent skeletal frame, which supported a lengthy 2-inch plank, placed atop as a ramp.

The apex of the thing reached approximately 4 feet off the ground.

Now, here is the genius: someone, exercising some degree of common sense, had realized that any jump from that ramp, and the resulting gain of vertical elevation, combined with the force of forward momentum, would cause dire consequences upon descent. Despite all else, you have to admire that guy's singular ability to think ahead.

However, that is as far as the logic went.

The "safety" precautions thus taken entailed moving the ramp to the base of the driveway, pointed upward at an angle, leading a jumper from the street, up the ramp and into the safety of the soft grass in the front yard. The utilization of the driveway, of course, added an extra 8 vertical inches to the whole thing.

Oh, and did I mention the tree?

It was a mature sycamore, and its branches overhung most of the yard. Following simple euclidean geometry, it was clear to see that the leafy branches lie directly in the path of the ramp.

A discussion was held. A conference. And it was determined that the tree branches would be useful in breaking the fall. Essentially, we would ride like hell down the street and up the ramp, launching with the maximum velocity our short-cranked single-geared rigs would produce. We would fly up into the soft arms of the Sycamore, and then drop onto the pillow-like lawn below.

It made sense.

I was by no means brave enough to go first, and watched as my pal essentially succeeded on the very first try. Of course, the trees arms weren't soft, and the ground below the grass was a hardened clay. Nevertheless, the fearless pioneer pulled him self up from the ground bruised, ripped, scraped and bloody, but grinning ear-to-ear.

We each, then, took our obligatory turns. I somehow missed the tree altogether on my first attempt. I suspect it would have been better to hit the tree... We all then made a second, machismo-proving second jump, and called it quits for the day.

On that old beat up bike, though, I never missed an opportunity to hit a jump, and caught air whenever I could, just as that boy did today. Maybe it is a universal thing. Maybe all boys of a certain age feel the need to fly, if only for a second.

Maybe girls do it too. I don't know, I was never a girl.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


When I was a kid, my grandfather liked to tell me that I was "Full of Baloney." Which, literally taken, was never true. I did not like bologna. I did not eat it. Which meant, therefore, that I was never full of it.

Bologna, as we know it in America, is a tasteless greasy slab of meat-like byproducts used as a sandwich cold cut. It has the grayish appearance and consistency of a wide-diameter hot dog slice, and it leaves a thick greasy coating tot he roof of your mouth when you eat it.

It makes me sad, in a way, to consider that for many Americans, the word "sandwich" is synonymous with bologna and pre-sliced American cheese on bleached-white Wonder Bread.

And what the hell is in it anyway? And do I even want to know? And why is it pronounced "Baloney" when it is spelled "Bologna?" And would it be any better if it were cooked?

Good lord...

Proudly, I can say that while this blog may be occasionally full-of-baloney, I never will.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cleaning My Gun

The wind blew north along the beach. The drying sand swirled and flowed in a corrosive current, like a sheer river of mist. This, after the rain had stopped.

I had taken a walk with my camera, hoping to capture an interesting image, but only managing to muck up the works with rain, sand and salt.

Fortunately, my spacious, but over-stuffed, camera bag contained all of the cleaning supplies I could ever hope to need.

And so, I sat, with my scotch in front of the fire, armed with brushes and blowers and solutions and compounds. I had soft rags and lens tissues. I had everything I needed for the delicate maintenance task at hand.

So, slowly and methodically, I removed and cleaned each component. taking care to protect the all-important glass. It was time consuming, but meditative, and I enjoyed the detail.

The missus noted my calm focus and asked whether I enjoyed cleaning my camera as much as I enjoyed cleaning my gun.

"Good question," I thought.

My gun is a stainless steel Smith and Wesson .357 revolver. Some of you have seen it. Some of you have fired it. Some of you were there with your own guns when we shot down that tree...

I like to shoot my gun, whether with the wimpy .38 practice rounds, or with the occasional .357 magnum rounds that wake the mountain gods from their slumber.

The only thing I like more about my gun than shooting it, perhaps, is cleaning it. It is a quiet steady ritual that involves a cold drink and solitary attention to detail.

That image, though, conjures another thought. A cliche. A gender-based hang-up perpetuated by old fashioned western values.

As I clean my gun, even as I did so a decade ago, before I was even close to parenthood, I pictured myself polishing the cold steel as my daughter's date rang the door bell to pick her up...

She is only three now, so, I'm still a good distance from that time. However, I hope now, as I look ahead, that my vision will not come to pass.

Sure, I know that teenage boys are testosterone-ridden maniacs hell-bent on only one goal. But I hope to be able to trust her judgment. I hope not to have, and therefore not pass down, the same puritanical prejudices against sexuality that were passed down to me.

I hope that by that time, I will have prepared her to make her own reasonable and responsible choices, to have the self-confidence and assertiveness, so that I do not have to resort to threats or fear to maintain control.

Still, I'm not sure how I'm going to do that. So, for now, I'll keep the gun, as well as the camera, clean and in good working order.


Really, I prefer Quiznos to Subway. The turkey bacon and guacamole may be the world's most perfect sandwich. However, subway is far more ubiquitous, and therefore more convenient.

It is important, therefore, to know your Subway order in advance.

Well sure, that's true for any fast food dining experience. At McDonald's, it's a Big Mac and a cheeseburger. At Burger King, its a Whopper with Cheese and a cheeseburger. At Taco Bell, I order a Burrito Supreme and two soft tacos. At Del Taco, it's a Combo Burrito and two chicken soft tacos.

At Carl's Jr., I will order the Western Bacon Cheeseburger and whatever else is on sale for 99 cents.

At Subway, however, there is more pressure. You can't just order the item and move along to the drink machine. No, there is always a line behind you and they expect you to personally direct the entire sandwich making process.

So, you really don't have time to fuck around and pick your ass.

Thus: When I go to Subway, as I have for the last 20 years, I always order the exact same thing, and here it is.

Foot long BMT on Parmesan Oregano. BMT is a stack of all the Italian-style deli meats. And as everyone knows, I like to put spicy Italian meats in my mouth. Yo this day, however, I have been able to figure out what BMT stands for. (I'm sure Fred is working on that one right now...)

Lettuce, Onions, Pickles, Olives. The key here is "No Tomatoes." As I've said before, Tomatoes are fine fine fruit. Sliced with a bit of salt and pepper, or in a salad with fresh Mozz and fresh basil... mmm...

But not on a sandwich. Never. It's a big juicy slice of watery fruit. Whoever it was that came up with the notion that Tomatoes go on burgers and sandwiches, should be punched in the head.

Pepperoncinis. Ah, ,the patron pepper of the Lounge. The number one Google search term. Remember, in the Lounge, we pronounce them "Pepper-Cheeneys."

Mustard and Mayonnaise. Two of the finest condiments known to man.

Black pepper. Here is a common selection for me. I often go with pepper as a plate-side spice, but very rarely, do I add salt. Most foo is salty enough,and adding more salt to my food conjures horror-images of fat Americans in patriotic t-shirts salting their deep-fried fat before cramming it into their reddened jowls.

Also, by ending with black pepper, I avoid further nauseating discussion of oil and vinegar. Oil, like vinegar, is a liquid. A liquid than runs out, and all over your sandwich, seeping and pooling throughout the plastic sandwich carry bag, soaking every available inch of the bread.

And, as soggy bread is an abomination unto all decent things, we cannot have the oil and vinegar on the sandwich.

Jesus Christ, I'm getting ill just thinking about the soggy bread now. Oh god... That's it, I'm done.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I'm beat. I'm going to bed. I have a an ugly arbitration scheduled for tomorrow, and I need my beauty rest. For your reading enjoyment, here are my favorite Craigslist personals from today's Portland Craigslist...

Learn the art of smoking a cigarette - mw4w (Westside)

We will teach you.
Let's talk.
Sex is optional.

Looking for kink partner to enjoy my pee - 45 (pdx/tigard/bvrtn)

I'm hoping to find a compatible kink partner for regular and on-going get-togethers. You would appreciate that I am somewhat of a BBW and that I'm kinky. You would enjoy drinking straight from the source and cleaning me well afterwards and during. With the right person, we might enjoy more together. Single persons are encouraged to apply. I am Dominant and enjoy several kinks as well as vanilla and just plain old friendship.

Natural sperm donor - m4w - 32

Are you having trouble getting pregnant with your partner? Or are you wanting a baby on your own? Either way, there's no need for you to go to the expense and embarrassment of visiting a fertility clinic. Creating a child isn't supposed to be a clinical experience! A discreet private arrangement is much more relaxing and enjoyable for all concerned!

Professional man, dark hair, blue eyes, proven fertility. Contact me and let's discuss your needs and desires and see what we can arrange. Natural insemination. Discretion assured, and no hassles about having me interfere with your or the child's life later.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Meat Show

I love meat.

Which used to be somewhat complicated by the fact that my wife was once a vegetarian. Not a political vegetarian, I discovered, just not a fan of cooked animals.

While most carnivores, like myself, have certain fleshy favorites, when it comes down to it, meat is meat, and fire makes it good.

Vegetarians, on the other hand, possess many varied theories and practices with regard to food. Too many, in fact, to list here. However, they do break down into certain umbrella sub-groups such as ethical/political, health/diet, religious, and taste.

The health/diet veggies make the most sense. Most appear to be lean, and occasionally appear to be healthy. These are the same folks who fear trans fats, starches, alcohol, sugar, flavor and joy. They will out live all of us, but we will die happier.

Then, there are the Tasties. These folks don't like the taste/texture of meat. There's really nothing to do for them. More BBQ for me, I guess.

The religious Veggies make me a little sad. Most religions teach some form of self-denial, which often translates into passing the denied goods on to the religious leader. Some religions say don't eat Pork. Others say don't eat Beef. Still other's say don't eat any at all on Friday. Ancient priests used to accept sacrifices of herd animals, which would quickly be hoisted upon some burning alter, or other, effectively making a giant holy BBQ. Going to temple smelled yummy!

Then, then, we come to the ethical/political veggies. This is the group that watched Bambie at too early an age. This is the group that likes to make their own lives as tediously difficult as possible. This group also has a number of subclasses, from PETA, to Eco-terrorists, to Vegans.

And really, it's the Vegans that I want to discuss. Vegans, it seems, encompass the extremes of all the sub-groups combined. Admittedly, it's very hard to be a vegan, and very easy to be a hypocrite. No animal products. No meat. No dairy. No eggs. No Jell-O. Nothing.

A good vegan will avoid leather seats, leather shoes, leather belts, fur, lard, yogurt, wool, cheese, or even vegetables cooked on or near a surface that has ever cooked meat.

Part of the problem, in-so-far as Veganism can be called a problem, I suppose, is both species guilt and the failure to recognize the fact that humans are animals themselves. There is an over-bearing sense among vegans that human beings are somehow above the animals, separate from them, distinct from nature, and it is our separate superiority that gives us some burden or duty to the lesser beings. A failure of perceived duty leads to guilt, and then turns into all manner of unmanageable obligations.

I would disagree, though. Humans are, in every sense of the word, animals. We are an indistinguishable part of nature. The fact that we have reason and opposable thumbs, does not change the fact that we are mammals. We bear live young. Our females breast feed. We have fur. We eat, sleep, breathe, shit, fuck and die. We are hyper-developed tree monkeys, and as such, we sit at the top of the food chain, ready to devour all other life forms. It is our place at the table. It is our position in the circle of life [cue Disney music].

Those are not my rules. That is nature.

Now, if you want to be a vegan, more power to you. I support your right to make your own gastronomic policies.

But really, the vegan marketing has gotten a little carried away.

Just a couple of days ago, as I researched information for a previous post, I came across an ad for the most amazing thing. Right here, in our own little town of Portland, we have the world's very first, number one, all-vegan strip club.

That's right. Vegan Strip Club. I kid you not.

It is called Casa Diablo, and it is situated at the corner of NW 37th and Nicolai, in Portland. The menu is Vegan, and the drinks, I have to assume, are organic. However, that item remains to be confirmed.

Johnny Diablo (his given name?), the club's owner, is fond of saying: “It's vixens, not veal, and sizzle, not steak. We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate.”

No, I haven't been yet. Yes, I will be visiting soon, and I will be sure to provide a report.

I do have to wonder, though, considering the club's strict vegan ethic, what the policy is regarding fur... So to speak... You know... I'm just sayin...

Update From the Fleet

Welcome Princess and Mr. Princess to the fleet. The Princess family has recently completed season two, the Cylons having just arrived on New Caprica... They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Season Three from Netflix.

I, of course, already purchased Season Three. Having just watched the various deleted scenes, I have come to a startling conclusion. If you've already watched Season Three, you know four of the final five. There is, obviously, one left to reveal.

My guess, which is not at all a spoiler since it is only my own subjective conjecture, is that the final Cylon is President Roslyn.

There you go. Mark my words.

Apologies to the non-fans, you heathens, there is nothing for you here.

Overheard in the Office (again)

I've mentioned before that Fred sends me a daily BEST-OF update from a site called: "Overheard in the Office"

Well, I just had to pass along today's submission:

Young guy to his friend: At least if she's got diarrhea, I won't need the lube.

Friend: Dude. That's gross. Like I don't want to talk about this anymore.

Guy: Well I mean it sounds gross and if you get past the smell, it's pretty kick ass. Awesome texture man!

Friend: You've done this before?!

Guy: The first time, I didn't want to. But afterwards, I was thinking of sneaking her laxatives cuz it was so rad. But dude! I lucked out, she has digestive issues!

Friend: What the hell did NYU do to you?


The weekend was swell, thanks for asking. The third floor view over the sandy beach was spectacular. The missus and I proudly worked our way through half a bottle of Tequila and two bottles of wine in less than 48 hours.

Peering out my window, however, besides the numerous kites and occasional dead bird, there did appear something of a geological mystery. Said mystery being Ecola Creek.

The creek, clear and cold, runs rapidly down from the looming coastal range. Clear-cut and crosshatched with highways, the coastal range is a never ending source of deluge and myriad soggy miseries. However, by all historical accounts, Ecola Creek has been present for some time, at least hundreds of European-counted years, and likely much much longer.

It is a broad creek, some 30 feet across, and it runs swiftly over the sandy beach. The aquatic erosion in the sand is observable, with slices of sandy bank falling into the rushing water every few seconds.

Throughout the day, the creek changes course and wipes away entire swaths of land. However, each night, when the tide comes in, the entire process gets reset.

The rolling tide washes away the creek bed. It rebuilds the bank and redraws the course of the water. Every night, the tired decayed creek, with its lost way and crumbling walls, disappears beneath the foaming deep and is reborn, as if a new creek altogether, each morning. No trace of the deep water-cut gouge is left from the day before. It is never the same creek twice.

I'm certain there is a metaphor for life in there somewhere. I'm kinda drunk though, and fairly tired. Tomorrow is Monday and I need to sleep.

So off you go, my rambling sophists. Wax existential to your hearts' content. Tell me what my creek means. And tomorrow, after a night's rest, I'll post a new post, as if it were a new blog altogether.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

No Laying On of Hands

Gay men, or at least some, I understand, enjoy turning straight guys. Although, you have to question, if the straight guy can be "turned" was he straight to begin with?

It's like the Craigslist ad that reads: "Married Man seeking other well-hung man for straight sex. Not gay at all, but just want to spend the weekend sucking a fat cock. You know, in a completely straight way."

(No, I didn't get any dates out of it...)

Actions, it seems, speak louder than words. Even the Book of James, in the Bible, chapter 2, verse 26, teaches us that "Faith, without works, is dead."

Now, there is a question about who actually wrote the book of James, whether it was one of the two apostles named James, or whether it was more likely James, the brother of Jesus, the first Bishop of Jerusalem...

But really, it doesn't matter.

However, it does all remind me of a story...

It was the early 90s. I was in college and I was running a pizza restaurant. For a dinky dirty pizza place, we actually had one hell of a staff.

My co-manager had large reptiles that roamed his home, and he also made his own bullets for his arsenal of firearms. I had a Portuguese woman, born in Angola, who spoke three languages. I had a Lebanese man with an engineering degree who spoke two languages. I had a Mexican man, who also spoke French, who worked in the kitchen at night as a second job. Several of the staff were in college getting various degrees, and the Owner, my boss, had a graduate degree in Philosophy.

Then, there was Brian. No, not me. No, not Doctor Brian. Not Brian M. Not crazy Brian D. Not funny Brian G. No, this was Brian C., and he was one of my shift supervisors.

Brian was also in school. However, he didn't actually attend a normal college. No, Brian was a seminary student. He was going to serve the Lord.

Brian's family was from Spain. He wasn't Catholic, though. I guess I never actually figured out what he was.

He wasn't necessarily religious either, which was funny for a future minister. He did, however, like to drink...

So much so, that I can credit him for introducing me to Jell-o shots. I can also credit him for teaching me that ground bloom flowers, a 4th of July favorite, actually work on top of the water in a swimming pool, not unlike Jesus himself.

And so it was, one rainy December night, that Brian and I found ourselves closing up a very empty restaurant. I ran-out the register tape and counted the cash. He mopped the floor and put away the cheese.

Having god-like authority over the inventory, I directed that we should each enjoy a pitcher of beer to increase our productivity. Brian complied with my directive, and we each began to drink.

45 minutes later, as I dead-bolted the large mahogany door, we discussed further entertainment options. We were buzzed, to be sure, and wanted to make the most of it!

He proposed pool, or maybe darts. I, of course, proposed strippers. Brian perked up through the beer-haze. He was curious. He was frightened. He admitted to me that he had never actually been to see naked ladies.

I knew I had him hooked, and only needed to reel him in.

He hemmed and hawed. I knew he was fighting against some unfortunate sense of religious guilt, not wanting to make the baby Jesus cry, and all that...

I promised he'd be safe and well-cared for. I assured his anonymity. I swore never to tell.

Hmmm... I'm kinda fucking that up right now, aren't I??

Oh well...

So, off we went, South, toward Pomona. Then East, toward Ontario.

I pulled into the parking lot of the two-story stucco building. You could smell the cherry-vanilla and hear the boom boom boom of the music from outside. The club was called De Ja Vu, and it felt like I had been there before...

I paid the cover, and ordered the drinks, non-alcoholic of course (because California sucks). It didn't matter. I was still riding that wave that only a pitcher of cheap beer can give you. Brian, on the other hand, looked like a thirsty man who had just discovered water.

Wide-eyed and dumb-struck, he soaked it all in.

Now, Brian was a nice guy, funny, with charming Southern European good looks. His hair was curly, and he had a close-trimmed beard. The girls dug him, or at least read him for the drunken first-timer that he was. They swarmed to our table, sitting on our laps, sitting in the chairs, sitting on the table itself.

He was enjoying the attention, finally calming down. The heaving cleavage being thrust into his face was helping him forget the threat of hell and eternal damnation.

For one brief minute, as he exchanged smiles and small talk with the bountiful brunette straddling his lap, I thought that I saw the real Brian. The libidinous, relaxed, unencumbered Brian. I could not hear what he was saying, but his actions were saying plenty.

Then, slowly the dancer started to stroke his face. She ran her fingers through his beard and said, laughingly, loud enough for me to hear:

"Do you know who you look like??"

"Who?" He innocently asked in return.

"Jesus!" She said.

And with that, the night came quickly to an end.

Friday, April 04, 2008

One Inch

The girl, all dolled up in her spring dress and stick-on earrings, stood atop the telephone counter in the baggage claim hall. She is only 3 feet tall, and used the added boost to peer through the throng toward the escalator.

She was looking for Nana, who, with Papa, eventually descended into sight. Squeals and hugs followed, with the obligatory: "You're looking good!"

My parents, who arrived this morning to watch the kids for the weekend, both looked at me kinda funny. "Have you gotten taller?" my mother asked. And I had to say "yes" in return.

Now, I've always been tall, and unless I'm at Inog's house or out with Tom, I'm often the tallest person in the room.

At 37, however, I've been roughly the same height for nearly two decades. Height, is the sort of thing you stop noticing after a while. You take it for granted. It dictates, the clothing you buy, airplane seat that you take and your daily perspective on the world.

I'm used to seeing the dust on top of the fridge. I have to hang pictures on the wall below eye level, because my eye level is too high for most folks. I also have a good impression about other people's thinning hair and scalp hygiene in general.

Relative height, like that of my wife or my boss, is fixed with relation to mine. My wife's head comes up to my chin and my boss's head reaches to about my nose. Or, at least, it used to.

Everything seems to have changed.

Friends, recently have seemed shorter. The wife doesn't quite reach the chin. My head seems to strike more low-hanging objects and my pants do not fit quite right.

Til now, I have put aside the silly thought of a mid-life growth spurt, but my parents confirmed it. I've grown, I suspect, about an inch.

If only I had grown the inch elsewhere...


Now THAT is what I call a premier...

"You are a bigger man than I, because if I found out that you were a Cylon, I'd put a bullet between your eyes."

5 Photos

Thursday, April 03, 2008

April 4

We have waited nearly a year, and as I will be out of town for the next day or so, I will have to wait a little longer. Until Sunday, to be specific. Thank the gods of television for DVR!

Who knows what I'm talking about? Inog Knows. So does Ryan. Fred, Mrs. G&T, Lisa and Abestis all know what I'm talking about.

Mitch might too, I forget... Maybe Dave.

The rest of you though, well, you are all about to roll your eyes.

Friday, April 4 is the beginning of the end. It marks the beginning of the final season of Battlestar Galactica, one of the darkest and perhaps most compelling television shows ever.

The wait is over, the questions will be answered. If it has all happened before and it will all happen again, then what is happening now?

Starbuck knows the way to Earth, but is she a Cylon? Is she the last of the five? If not, then who is, and what the frak is she??

They will find Earth, but how many of them make it there? When they do, when will it be? What year? What epoch?

This is the best show no one watches. Don't believe me? Fine, read what these folks have to say:


San Francisco Chronicle

New York Magazine

LA Times

What, still need a refresher? Well here you go:

Oh, and, if you haven't started watching it, don't worry, it's not too late. Just be sure to start with the 2003 miniseries, and watch the whole damn thing in order.

Geek out.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Per Capita

Stop me if you heard this one before...

It was 5:30. It had taken nearly a half hour to slog through traffic heading out of downtown. The Ross Island Bridge was narrowed due to construction, but once over, it was a straight shot to Tom's house, on 26th...

I was gussied up in lawyer garb. Tom had goop in his hair and wore a snappy linen shirt. It was Wednesday. Obviously, we were headed for a strip club.

It was our weekly night of debauchery. Like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, we tried to canvas every club in Portland's vast titty-bar buffet, but along the way, clubs we had visited closed, and new ones opened in their place. The project never ended.

The rule was to go, sit, and have one beer. Then, you could say you had been there. At times, we were able to hit up to five in one night. Often we brought guests. Sometimes, it was just the two of us. We occasionally made friends at our regular stops, and we learned the pattern of which clubs got hot, and when.

For me, it didn't really matter whether the club was a premium joint, or a dump. I was there for the circus. Sometimes, I say "Freakshow," but that conveys an unintended negative implication...


Once again, Tom and I were out for cheap thrills and cold beer.

(By the way, right now, as he reads this, Tom is a little uneasy and thinking to himself: "Oh lord, which one is Brian going to tell this time...?" Don't worry, Tom, this is the one about me at Tommy's)

So, OK, where was I? Oh yeah...

Tom and I were out for cheap thrills and beer. Generally, we would break down our prospects by geography, concentrating on the SE, the west side, the airport, 82nd, Sandy, or the far east. That night, however, we were feeling lazy and not a little bit lackadaisical. So, we stayed close to home, focusing on our familiar favorites on Powell Boulevard, just down the street from his place.

Really, there were two. Doc's was a home away from home. They knew us there. We knew them. My favorite feature was the outside patio stage in the summer time. Blue sky, warm breeze, cold drinks, and naked women wriggling on the tiny stage beneath fake palm trees...

The second was Cocktails and Dreams. Famous, mostly for Wednesday-Night-Big-Girl-Night. The performers there seemed to be a bit naughtier...

Between the two clubs, though, lay a non-descript orange-painted shack. On the side of which was painted the name: "Tommy's."

For some reason, we had, up to that point, completely overlooked the existence of this club. That night, however, we were up for something new. So, we walked in.

It was, as expected, a low-budget rundown shit hole. There was a tall man, with a 1970's style afro sleeping at the bar. It appeared that he had perhaps been sleeping for a long time because many people had taken the opportunity to stick straws, plastic forks, sugar packets and bits of paper into the folds of his hair.

I suddenly grew hopeful...

The drinks were watered down. The music was, um, primarily Urban in nature. The rotation was small, but should have been smaller.

Suddenly, without warning, a tall red-haired secretary with nerd-girl glasses and spiked heels appeared out of nowhere. She was hot. Shockingly so, and she was completely out of place in this dive. She was smart too, and witty, able to hold off both Tom and I in conversation, all while removing her underwear.

Somehow, without me knowing he had done it, after the secretary's set was over, Tom went over to have a chat with her. This left me alone at the rack.

Then, the final girl in the rotation came out onto the stage. In stark contrast to the secretary, this girl looked like she could be the mascot for Tommy's.

She weighed maybe 100 pounds, if she were holding a brick. Rail thin, maybe a size 2, with only tiny skin flaps for breasts. She was friendly though, and smiled with her crooked stained smile. Unfortunately, her costume selection was a leather-strap-and-brass-ring dominatrix harness, made for someone who was perhaps a bit more statuesque.

The twin brass rings on her chest, which were designed for ample C or D sized mams, simply circled and highlighted her tiny protuberances, like little eyes winking behind big glasses.

I held my seat at the rack. Even as every other patron in the bar scooted quickly away from the stage. This was the show. This was the reason to go.

I was not disappointed.

The dancing was awkward and disjointed, but earnest. She was friendly, but not very witty. She had been practicing the moves, but needed a little more practice.

Finally, after the second song, the harness came off. I was glad to see that distraction go. But then... oh then...

There is a move, for those of you who don't know, where the dancer faces away from you, then bends over at the waist and waves hello between her knees. And that is the exact move she attempted right then.

A moment passed in that position. Then, it seemed, we both saw it at the same time...

It was a large, crumpled, pulpy wad of used toilet paper, and it was well-lodged in her craw. I was thrilled. She was unfazed.

"Oh, that doesn't belong there," she said, and in one fluid motion, reached up and flicked the paper, sending it sailing past my head over my left shoulder onto the floor behind me.

Whereas, I had already been tipping well, I opened my wallet and and showed true appreciation.

Helping a friend move this week has taken me past the Powell Boulevard clubs a dozen times, which has rung my Pavlovian stripper bell... It has also gotten me thinking about starting a new project.

Either here or in a related blog, I'm hatching a plan to document and review every strip club in Portland, which won't be easy because of that oft-quoted statistic. Does Portland actually have more strip clubs per capita than any other city in America? Who knows! I am, however, willing to visit all of them, for your sakes, of course...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula

...Or, Los Angeles as they call it today. That was its original name when it was founded by 44 Filipino, Native American, African and Spanish settlers in 1781.

I left LA many years ago, but had returned for Christmas. It was warm, as it always is, the air conditioner was on to cool the house down enough for a yule log to burn in the fireplace.

We sat around, as we always do, chit-chatting and watching the tots tear at the glossy wrapping-papered presents. It was leisurely, and I drifted in and out of consciousness.

In the back of my mind, however, I picked up on a conversation that made me ill at ease...

"...with all of them Vietnamese and Koreans over there, they got their Chinese writing all over everything!"

(I was about to make the obvious correction, but then...)

"Ya, didn't we pass that 'English is the Official Language' law? Some help that was!"

(Now, I started to sit up, trying to recall California's legislative history while also processing the shocking affront to the First Amendment of the Constitution...)

"[Blah blah blah blah blah...]"

(I chose not to upset the harmony of Christmas morning, and let it go, muttering something about the rule of law and slippery slopes under my breath.)

Then: "I mean, this is our country. We were here first."

So, OK, let's do the math. To be certain, If one were to move to India, one would be expected to speak any one of the various Indian dialects. Or, well, I suppose you can speak English too since it is taught in their schools.

But OK, Japan. You have to speak Japanese there too, right? Well, no, they also learn a number of languages in school, English being among the top. Same with most of Europe and the industrialized world.

OK, but, the point is, different indigenous languages are spoken in different nations, right? Russian in Russia. Spanish in Spain. Malay in Malaysia.

Our problem is, I suppose, the United States isn't a nation. It does not have the cultural, historical, linguistic or religious homogeneity that nations enjoy. Sure most of us are Caucasian, but that could mean origins from Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Hungary, etc...

Many of us aren't Caucasian, though, with origins in Africa, South America and Asia. And despite the cultural baggage brought by all of our ancestors, all of us are equally "American." Well, at least, those of us who ARE American... (Sorry Lisa)

With each new flood of immigrants, English-speaking Americans feel that their language and lifestyle are somehow threatened. Yet, with all of the big city urban conclaves, the China Towns, the Little Italies and Barrios, folks seem to adapt over time, and learn to fear and loath the next waive of immigrants.

I mean, if you live in America now, you are the descendant of immigrants.

However, some people insist on touting English-Only or English-as-the-Official-Language laws and rules. And Sure, why not? I suppose that makes sense. I mean English comes from England, and the Pilgrims settled this place, Right??

Well, no.

Actually, the first permanent English settlement was Jamestown. (Ignoring, of course, the lost colony of Roanoke...) That was in 1607, beating the pilgrims by 13 years.

Still and all, if "We Were Here First" is the standard by which we are to determine the "Official Language," then Nous devrions peut-ĂȘtre parler français, because France started settling America in 1524, a full 80 years before the English.

OK, sure, the English beat their blue-coated asses back to Quebec and won the right to speak English-only, at the end of the French-&-Indian War.

However, it doesn't matter, because the Spanish were the first ones here in 1492, beating everybody to the linguistic punch. Hola Amigo! Se habla Espanol?

OK, OK, There was Leif Ericson, of course, in the year 1003, but he didn't make it much further south than Newfoundland, and who wants Norwegian to be the official language of the United States anyway?? Certainly not me!

So, Spanish it is! They were here first. Spanish should be the official language of El Estados Unitos...

Oh, but wait, the Spanish weren't actually the first ones here... Hell, folks have been coming to America for 35,000 years! Among Native Americans, the oldest known tribes was the Sandia Paleo-Indians, who date back about 15,000 b.c. Unfortunately, their language died out with them...

So, the oldest known, currently-existing native language is Athabaskan, a native language family that includes sub-dialects such as Apache, Navajo and Umpqua. That's about as far back as American linguistic history goes. So, based on the "We Were Here First" theory, Navajo should be the official language of the United States.

Hell, we've all seen that Nicolas Cage WWII movie. If we switch to Navajo, we can all be wind talkers!

Major Medical Breakthrough

Hillary Wasn't Lying After All