Thursday, June 29, 2006

Take An Ugly Building, Add Paint...

Sick Day

Here is a list of stuff I'm sick of today:
Goatees, guys who shave their heads, unnatural red heads and hair dye in general, patriotic magnetic ribbons, dogs, The Learning Channel, baggy short pants, Rap (except when Nellie McKay does it) (who ever thought it would last this long), VH1, the two party system, backwards baseball caps, most generic products, excessive packaging, MS Access not having high lighting features in their tables or an area for notes, tattoos, men who wear sandals without socks (men generally have disgusting feet, like Froto), Hollywood films, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler, Ben and Jerry Stiller, Lance Armstrong, desk-top computers, Warrenton, the locals who call it Warrington,motivational posters, the fact that you can search Flickr and come up with 3,449 photos people uploaded that fit the search criteria of the word "Vomit."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Things That Make Me Happy to Live Here

It is always at least 10 degrees cooler here than in Portland in the summer and at least 10 degrees warmer than Portland in the winter. Seeing the lights of the city (Astoria) when you are driving across the Megler Bridge, or when driving down Alt. 101 by Air Port Hill at night. Watching the sea lions gorge themselves on salmon while you are waiting to get numb for dental work. Knowing who all the homeless people are, their names and what their stories are. We have very accessible homeless people here. Most attend cultural events… Sunday Market, I love Sunday market. How many monuments are disguises for public restrooms, the Doughboy, the Turn-Around… The Astoria Bridge, and I’d say that one should kayak under it during a low tide to fully appreciate it. The fine things that Chester Trabucco is doing to restore buildings (except the Schooner). City Lumber has a pet cat in the store (Patches). The River Walk. Lucy’s Books. Driving to work and the only congestion on the road is when a cow got out of its fence or when drivers slow down to look at the elk. Oh I had to stop for a family of ducks crossing the road last week.

So is that enough sunshine and lollipops for now? Can I get back to business?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What's in a Name?

Back when I was in second grade a racist joke went around about how the Chinese name their babies. It was said that the father threw a bunch of silverware on the ground and what ever sound it made when it hit the floor became the name of the new child. It was a curious idea to my second grade mind. It wasn’t funny, just odd. I knew it wasn’t true, but it lead me to think about the names we choose for things.

For the longest time it seemed African American mothers were naming their babies names that ended in the letter A. They appeared to be African names and rather common names that were elongated past the point of originality with an “A” thrown on the end to make it special. I’m not talking about Sara, Rhonda or Sheila here. I’m talking Sheffandala, Zhavanda, Semolena and so on. It’s all good.

My issue is with white people and the names they are choosing for their young. What the F… are they doing, thumbing through the phone book in the hospital after the kid is born? They are naming their kids with the last names of other people. I recently heard a child listing the “FIRST” names of kids in her class. There was McKenzie, Connor, Parker, Franklin, Harper, Cooper, Bailey and a few others.

It gets really screwy when the kid has a last name for a first name and a traditional first name as a last name. Did the kid write last name first?

Just when white women finally got over naming their kids after icons of the American West; Cody, Dakota, Austin, Huston, Chyanne, Shasta,Remmington (Some of those are last names as well)…they start up with this last name crap. And please don’t ever go back to names like Girtrude, and Grazelda like they did in the 20s. Nouns aren’t cool either, so don’t go back to the 70s with all those names like Rain, Cedar and River. It’s a baby, damn it! Not a damp hunk of cellulous.

Knock it off white people!


Have you ever noticed that Willis Van Dusen's voice sounds a lot like Butters from South Park?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Another Writer of Note

Last week I featured a blog and more so the author of the blog who caught my attention. I commented that she was a Republican. This week I would like to share another of my favorite writers with you who happens to be Libertarian. Believe me, I do not seek out these writers because of their politics, but rather what they say and the passion and conviction in their writing.

I first came across the work of Angela Eckhardt in the Capital Press last September. She has a monthly column, “My Free Country" in the Small Acreage section. After reading her work for a few months I just had to write her to say, “Right on Angela!” This woman not only does her homework when investigating a story, but her opinions are so reasonable, which makes one question exactly how things ever got so screwed up in the first place. Why have we granted the government Carte Blanche? Did we really think we would be governed by the people for the people? It doesn’t seem to be working out that way. It has become more of a parasitic entity that is slowly killing its host, we the people.

Angela directs the Rural Oregon Freedom Project for The Cascade Policy Institute and heads Freedom Solutions NW.

Angela eloquently points out the realities of just trying to exist in our modern “Serengeti” rural lifestyles, and how regulations make it difficult to do so. So do we bend to the pressure, or try to change things, or just live as outlaws. There are great efforts in doing any of the three.

From time to time Angela does get pelted with rocks and garbage, especially with her story about the benefits of raw milk, and a couple weeks later several people became seriously ill with e-coli from contaminated raw milk from a farm in Vancouver Washington. Angela’s article is still right, and she should not shoulder any burden of a dairy farmer who did not properly sanitize the cow or their equipment.

This sort of confrontation would make most writers reconsider how far they wished to stick their necks out, but Angela keeps forging ahead never losing sight of the big picture.

Here is the web address for a good collection of Angela’s articles.

I’ve said it to Angela before, “Right on Angela”, and if I may, “Write on Angela.”

Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup?

Does this go on every year? If so, what’s the big deal (or “BFD” if you will) with all the coverage and noise it is making this year? When the hell will it be over? Why is the media trying to turn us into Euro Trash? Isn’t it bad enough that we already have NASCAR? While we are at it, isn’t Basketball season supposed to be over in March? Why is that still on? Does this mean it will never go away? Hockey goes away once in a while. I even think one whole season never happened. The Canadians are our friends. If Europe wants to be our friends they should keep soccer to themselves, starting right now. And while they are at it, maybe they can take Lance Armstrong off our hands as well.

Library Finds

It seems like every year there is a discovery in the Astoria Library basement. Last year it was the blue prints of many of the buildings in Astoria. This year the head line read,“Century-old books filled with police wanted posters found at Astoria Public Library.”

With finds like this I wonder if someone should get down and root around and see what else turns up. Not knowing the archival environment of the library basement, though it was described as musty, maybe there are more things down there that should be receiving better historical attention and treatment.

A Novel Blog

OK, now for something positive. I know many of you were wondering when or if that was going to happen here. Well here it is, so calm down.

As reported in May, I cruse the Blogosphere looking for entertainment. Though looking at most blogs is akin to looking at cheese, once in a while I will come across something that is inspiring. I came across one yesterday that knocked my socks off. It reads like a novel.

OK, I will share the address in a moment, but please read this before going there. This blog is like a novel in the making. If you visit it, please don’t start reading the main page that pops up. The way to read this blog is to go to the Archive button, and start with September 2005. Once in September 2005, start reading from the bottom of the page, and read each article going upward. When finished move on to the next month and again start from the bottom.

I will stop calling it a blog now and refer to it as a novel. The author is Syd. She and her wife K live on a farm in the deep south. Syd introduces characters such as her 3 year old foul mouthed nephew, and her foul mouthed talking bird that can mimic Syd’s laugh. Her wife K is from South America and occasionally entertains by messing up the pronunciation of certain words. She shares her grief of the loss of her brother, her own obsession with risk taking and having surgical replacements and patches for doing crazy things. She owns and uses guns and votes Republican. She falls back on Southern Baptist roots when it suits her. She has an anger management problem, and wants control over things she can not control. She has an uncanny ability to reproduce short dialogues between people that would probably fly under the radar of most eaves droppers.

Though I call it a novel, I believe all of Syd’s adventures are true. Her emotions come straight from her heart. She is a woman with a lot of love and passion, and a well seasoned gift of rascallity. She has a sense of comedic timing that could outshine most acts working comedy clubs today. Oddly most of us overlook most of the comedy that goes around us at all times. Syd seems to possess irony radar, she can smell it coming in the way we can smell a rain storm approaching.

I wrote Syd yesterday to thank her for sharing her stories, and asked permission to link her to my site. She wrote back right away. I get a thrill when someone writes back after I send, for lack of a better word, “fan mail.” Anyway, she was pleased that I wanted to link her blog. She warned me that some readers may be offended by some of her content.

I don't have a photo of Syd, and it wouldn't be my place to put one here, so I put used a cooking related photo for this story which I think is somewhat fitting in a twisted way. She is a cooking nut.

Syd, keep up the good (excellent) work.

Here is the address, and remember, read it from beginning to end.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dining Out

I’m sure that like me, every resident in this area that ever comes into contact with visitors has to answer the food question. “Can you suggest a good place to go for dinner?”

Sure, I’ve sent the wrong people to the right places before, but I try not to do that anymore. I now ask questions like, “What sort of food do you enjoy?” Then my response is generally, “that’s disgusting! How can you do that to your body? Maybe you should eat one another!”

No, actually I don’t say that at all, but I am hesitant to send anyone anywhere. Restaurant dining is a testament to just how much the human body can endure. The preparation of the food is usually very unhealthy, which is the reason it tastes so good. Besides that I have known many people in the industry and I sincerely question their commitment to sanitization. Fortunately most food gets cooked at a very high temperature which lands things in our favor once again.

I stopped making dining suggestions after I had a visit from my mother. I wanted to take her somewhere where the food was excellent, fresh and well presented. One thing this place always did was place nasturtiums, an edible flower, on the plate. Nasturtiums are soft and have a sweet peppery taste. I was trying to convince my mother to try one. As I placed one in my mouth to show her it was totally safe, she pointed out the window to the garden where the restaurant owner’s Scotties were out in the garden pissing on the nasturtiums. I have not returned since, and I tell this story to anyone who ever brings up the name of this place.

I suppose one makes a leap of faith when dining out. Eating is a very personal thing. When you think about it you are going to a place where people prepare things that you put inside your body. Most people don’t even like it when a degreed medical practitioner with sterile gloves places a tongue depressor or a dental instrument in their mouth, and here they are totally trusting of some guy with a high school diploma (maybe) who is handling stuff with their bare hands that will not only go into your mouth, but will reside in your body for a day or so. If you are unlucky it may be in your body only a half hour… Don’t talk to me about oysters.

So what are my present rules about dining out? Never eat anywhere that has a very large sign. The best places usually have very small signs, and the best have no signs at all with their business name on it.

Next, if the food is at least interesting the restaurant gets three chances. If the staff doesn’t recognize me after three visits I don’t return. Recognition may seem petty, but this tells me that the staff turn-over rate may be high. If so there are problems going on that I am not seeing on the surface as a customer. Also, it tells me that they don’t care about regular clientele. They are just there to feed-em and street-em.

Lastly, I tip 20% when the service is acceptable. Rarely have I ever had to tip below that rate, and if I do I can tell you I wouldn’t return for their two other chances. I have only walked out from one Bistro in Astoria from lack of good service, better put, and blatantly rude service and general inattentiveness.

Out of all the places to eat here there are only three that I will go to on a regular basis. For breakfast I enjoy The Columbia Café. For lunch and dinner I enjoy, T-Paul’s Urban Café. Also for dinner I go to The Hong Kong. That’s the short list.

Communism Explained

I'm not sure which image I enjoy more here, so I figured I'd share them both. Though monkeys are always funny, and a Commie Curious've got to find that amusing.

OK, I’m taking some crap for calling myself a conservative Communist. Most people don’t understand Communism, they confuse it with Socialism. The USSR was a Socialist society. I once heard it said that in a Socialist society man exploits man and in a Capitalist society it’s the other way around.

Yes, I live in a Capitalist world and I have to deal with the world in a Capitalist way, but my heart is more of a communal institution. Each human comes with equal value. Our bodies basically take the same amount of space. We breathe the same air and the same amount of air. Our life spans are all about the same. We all basically eat the same foods. When grouped together we are all equal.

In a commune, a true communist society, we would all be equal and our time and efforts would be compensated the same. However in a Capitalist world we value an auto mechanic more than someone who makes sure the plates at a restaurant are clean for the food that customers will put inside their bodies.

I do understand that someone who spends ten years in school after high school to become a physician would want to be compensated for all the extra expense and years of lost income, and perhaps there is a formula to figure all that out.

It is said that incentive is lost in Communism. Why bust your ass to become a doctor if you are only going to be paid like a laborer? This may be true, but if your incentive to do something well is money or fame; you are in the wrong business. Those who have a true calling will do their tasks regardless of compensation. It is the task that matters.

Consider what your life would be like if you were paid in trade rather than money. Money is an easy commodity because you can put it in the bank, but what if (not that it will ever happen) money went away and we were paid with hourly credits. You do an hour of work and are paid with an hour of work from someone else. Add to that you may only collect two-thousand hours in one mass, which is enough time to take a year off. Any time earned above that goes back to the community to help let’s say the elderly who can no longer work enough hours to stay alive financially. This is the kind of Communist I aspire to become.

Consider what you would be doing if money wasn’t at the root of your decision making process. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “Do what you enjoy and the money will come.” I’ve been monkeying with that idea for a couple of years now, and it’s starting to pay off. So much so that I am now spending time with other interests and they are starting to pay off as well. Perhaps in five years I will only do what I enjoy doing full-time.

Maybe it is time to consider exactly what you are doing for yourself and for the betterment of human kind. Do you have dreams? Do you plan on living in them only when you sleep? It seems we all have the desire to do things for the betterment of the community because with that we all benefit. Community is the root of Communism. If you do something that benefits the community; you will benefit as well. If you are a Capitalist it is more than likely that you will try to benefit more than your community from your efforts. You will alleviate your guilt by begrudgingly paying your taxes to the community. There you still come out ahead. If greed is your goal I hope you will become a success at failure.

Monday, June 19, 2006

But is it Art?

So many artists, so little art. This is a claim that I do not make lightly, but here in America you can be whatever you claim to be. I have a story about an abbreviated event that happened a few years back in Manzanita, which drives home my point. One of the people I was dining with took a paper napkin, smeared some catsup on it, drew some squiggle on it with a pencil and two different color pens, ripped a photo out of a magazine and taped it to the napkin and then taped it to the wall. Under it he wrote on another piece of tape, “Mixed Media - $300.”

So what exactly is art? And better yet, what is not art? Sitting at that table watching it happen and the intensity or comedy of the moment combined with the commentary of what the local galleries were selling; this piece of time was total art. The moment alone was worth the $300, though the piece wasn’t.

Cottage industry products are not art to me. Once the uniqueness is over, the art is over. Though known internationally, Dale Chihuly’s glass factory turns out hundreds of pieces every day, each piece in the series looks basically the same. His pieces become like prints after the first one in the series. To further confuse this issue, nearly all of his work is done by he workers in his factory, yet he supposedly signs the pieces and commands a premium price for them. What’s up with that? One would be more connected to an artist if they paid $300 for the mixed media piece in Manzinita than they would by buying a $2000 Chihuly piece that Chihuly has only looked at (maybe) for a moment.

OK, many of my articles talk about blatant consumerism, and art buyers think they are above this? Do you really know what you are buying, and most times over paying for?

I know a printmaker, and I went to see some of his stuff in a gallery in Cannon Beach. I was floored to see the prices he placed on his prints were easily five times the price of comparable prints. Comparable by, size, effort, content, framing and general quality. Though I can see someone from Portland with more money than brains thinking they are getting better art because of the price. This guy’s work is somewhat interesting, but really not something that could easily be displayed because of the dark content, and general lack of content that would make his pieces great. I figure he is setting a price on his guile. He has a lot of it.

Maybe guile is all it takes. I once went to the Stieglitz show in San Francisco. Stieglitz was known as a fringie because he associated with more talented artists than himself. However, many schools of art have elevated him to the level of high art. Strangely, when you look at his work it is snapshot quality at best. There are no interesting compositions and no interesting contrasts. It’s like looking at the stuff your grandfather did with an instamatic back in the day.

I was also very disappointed with the clear cut series by Robert Adams. It was gray on gray and very uninteresting. If he wanted to make a point about how bad it really looked, he should have made his prints look better. It is OK to use filters or higher contrast paper. It looked like he didn’t even bother to get out of the car or roll down his window to shoot the series.

I think that the problem may be with the other artists in the community. They are too timid to tell another practitioner that their work sucks. Probably because they know that one day they may get the same reaction form someone else in their community. I am not a sports fan, but I do admire one thing about the sports community, no one covers up your mistakes for you. If you do something that is bad the referees or umpires, the fans, the reporters and the other team will call it as it is. The worst criticism you will ever get from an artist about the work of another artist is, “I really respect what they are doing and all they have done previously.”

In every other part of life there is success and failure, but in the world of art everyone gets a ribbon for participating. This is why there is so much bad art out there and why those with little artistic skill can get a degree in fine art and make a living showing people how to produce mediocre work.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


We discussed how people have no idea where their food comes from in the last article, now I want to discuss if we know where our waste ends up. Clatsop County is often a county that says “No!” to all sorts of stuff. No ship-breaking, no LNG… or it could be more of a No, Not in My Back Yard, aka NIMBY.

By its virtue, consumerism creates waste. There are unusable parts and packaging that needs to be disposed of. However we do not have a dump in Clatsop County so most people never consider what happens to their trash. Do you know where your trash ends up? Yes, WOW (Western Oregon Waste) picks up your trash or maybe you bring your trash to them. Your trash goes to the transfer station in Astoria, but that isn’t the dump. It is simply a weigh station where your trash is collected and then placed in trailers to be carted off to Riverbend Landfill near McMinnville.

So what happens when the land fill is full and somehow it comes to the attention of the trash gods that Clatsop County has lots of rural space for a land fill. I bet all the residents will go nuts. NIMBY!!! But all these years the residents here have thoughtlessly thrown away all their trash without consideration for the community where our trash ends up.

I visit the transfer station twice a year. I have a container that holds my trash and when it is full it is time for me to throw in on the pick-up and head for the the transfer station. I feel guilty imposing my trash on another community twice a year, but I am doing better. I used to go four times a year. My goal is to go only once every two years.

One visit to the transfer station you will often see it is like a smelly version of the Forgotten Works (In Watermelon Sugar). Most of the stuff had real recycling potential, but the lazy tossers couldn’t bother to take the time.

I wonder why people don’t care where the things they purchase come from and where it all goes when we dispose of what is left. Maybe they are better off not knowing about the about the child in Asia working in sweatshops for 12 hours a day. This child may be the same age as their own children who get to sleep 200 thread count sheets. And all that junk they rid themselves end up polluting a community in McMinnville. Just how long do people think this can continue before they end up with bite marks in their own butts? The NIMBY folks have to start realizing that McMinnville is our back yard and the trash is moving closer to their house every day.

The next time you walk into Fred Meyer or any larger store for that matter, stand in the entrance and look at all the future land fill. Shelves stretching out hundreds of feet in all directions filled with future land fill. You may get a sense of it while standing in one of the isles, but gazing at the entire store from the entrance will really drive home the point.

In 2005 the estimated population of Clatsop County was 36,798. In 2005, WOW shipped 36 tons of our trash to McMinnville. That’s nearly one ton of garbage per person…Jesus F-ing Christ! Open your eyes people! Only 8 tons of material was recycled in 2005.

Considering if the average weight of all people living in Clatsop County, adults and children combined were about 150 pounds per person, this would mean that we are each throwing away close to 25 times our own body weight every year.

In closing on an ironic note, if you put the words “land fill” into a search engine you are directed to look for Land Fill at Once there you are greeted by all sorts of pillows and bedding and other future land fill items you can purchase now with your Master Card.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My Beef Is...

Today I would like to talk about food and ask why people think it is OK to eat food that they have no idea where it came from. One lesson in our early lives is never take candy from strangers, yet it is OK to let the kids go door to door Trick-or-Treating. People who go to the market to buy their food roll the dice with the Trick-or-Treat game every week. Most times they get what they want, and sometimes they don’t.

I was speaking with friends last week about how you rarely ever hear about mad cow disease from the regular media news sources, however if you read the Capital Press there are sometimes three articles a week about mad cow, (except last weeks paper did not). By the way, it is rarely ever called “Mad Cow Disease,” it is almost always referred to as BSE, bovine spongiform encephalopathy. To most people this is a cow problem, not a people problem. This is why no one even batted an eye when two deaths attributed to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) were reported in the county in the last five years. One elderly woman in Gearhart, and one elderly woman in Knappa, oddly they were both Master Gardeners.

CJD is what happens to people who eat beef that had BSE. One might wonder what the chances of them eating a piece of meat from an infected cow. The chances are actually higher than you might expect, especially if you eat hamburger. The reason hamburger is a risk meat is that if you eat a stake you are eating the meat of one animal, but ground beef is made in massive bunches from several cows. If you go to an upscale place for an $8 burger, there is a good chance that you are purchasing a much better quality meat, but if you are buying from a fast food place you can just imagine them getting their meat from a factory that grinds up the entire cow. The way they make a profit is by buying very inexpensive meat.

So how does one protect them selves other than giving up red meat all together? There is a great meat resource right here in Clatsop County; the County Fair. On the last day of the Fair there is a live stock auction. If you are the average person who has beef once a week you will want to find three other people to go in as partners. We got a quarter beef last September and we still have enough to last through the summer. We also purchased a small freezer to hold the meat, and the quarter beef didn’t fill it. We still had room several other frozen items. You can expect to pay around $500 for your share after it is butchered, and wrapped.

When you buy your beef this way, not only do you support a kid in 4-H or FFA who has worked hard all year to bring this cow to show and to market, but you are buying meat that was grown locally. It wasn’t treated poorly and it wasn’t stuck with thousands of other cows in a feed lot. It will have more flavor that what you are used to eating.

OK, if you only want an occasional piece of local beef and you don’t want to commit to $500 worth, you can still find local beef at the Sunday Market. There is a fellow named Brian who sells grass fed beef and lamb grown on his farm in Nehalem. It is excellent. His booth is usually set up in the first row where Safeway parking lot was. If you like to eat beef, please make it safe beef. CJD isn’t a good way to go.

Monday, June 12, 2006

What If?

The Doomsdayers have been predicting the end of civilization as we know it since there were people around to make those predictions. In my lifetime the expected Doomsday was going to come from the Communists or from nuclear war. The Jehovah’s Witnesses said that the end times would come in October, 1975. Now it appears we will be driven back to the stone-age by the threat of terrorists, global warming, earth quakes, tsunamis and climate changes.

What if? Is the question many of us ask ourselves. It is a valid question. I wonder if anyone in New Orleans ever had a true concept of “what if.” So what if something like this were to happen in Clatsop County. One morning we wake up to find all bridges and roads destroyed, and both airports in the county under ten feet of water. (They are both slightly above sea level now.) The rivers are impassable because all the bridges have fallen in.

Let’s say the same event happens all over the Pacific North West. It is a major quake with a major tsunami and we are no longer able to drive up to Home Depot to get a pick-up full of building supplies; the Home Depots have collapsed upon themselves as well. Further more, we know how FEMA is going to work with all of this. New Orleans is still a disaster area after 10 months. What I am talking about is something that may very well be a disaster area ten years after the event, and the government too tapped out to help.

Let’s talk about the new buzz word, “Sustainability.” It seems this is the new demand from the consumer. They want their products to come from a sustainable source. OK then, why don’t we take it a couple steps above that and make everything come from a real sustainable source. Our community would have to employ sustainability or we would not make it.

How about if the community you lived in was required to operate fully from products that can be manufactured, grown or found within 100 miles, or better yet, within the county in which you live. How would we in Clatsop County deal with this?

If we wanted electricity we would have to build wind or water current generators. If we wanted to use internal combustion engines we would have to use the natural gas reserves in Jewell. It might be a tall order to think of bio-diesel since we don’t have the capacity to grow enough vegetation for that purpose. Maybe we do, though. Even if we can’t drive our cars and lawn mowers, Clatsop County is known to have more horses per capita than any other county in Oregon. We would have our transportation and burdens met.

We would be well set for fish and meat. There are a lot of dairy and beef cows, goats, sheep and chickens to supply us with food, fiber and leather. There is enough lumber for building and burning. There is enough steel in the county to meltdown and reuse in a small scale. Our water is clean and plentiful. We have enough fuel for wood fire heating.

We would have to build some green houses in order to raise salad and vegetable products through the winter months, but that isn’t insurmountable.

Our population could survive something very nasty and thrive in a more primitive environment. We are fortunate to live in an area that can sustain life. But one has to wonder how sustainable other locations in the country would be. There are people starving in Africa so how would people survive in places like Las Vegas, Southern California and Arizona? What if?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Local Publications

Are there too many local publications? Let’s review the ones we have and look at their good and bad qualities.

The Daily Astorian is our five day per week daily paper. As a community member I hear a lot of negative things about the editor. The letters to the editor often say the paper leans too far left. It rarely gets accused of leaning too far right, but then again they did endorse Richard Lee, who ended up winning the election by only 37 votes. All of the local news in the daily A is on the front page and in the small upper portion of page three which in now over-run by ads. The left over portions of the local news is stuffed on the last page. Their national coverage is top 10 news only. Generally the paper is OK, but not great.

The Seaside Signal, on the other hand is mostly local blather. They give everyone in town a chance to be in the paper every week. They have Clair Lovell still publishing her spew 20 years and counting. All I can ask is Why?

The Cannon Beach Gazette, has probably the smallest circulation or any news paper ever. They would get more readers if they went to a blog format.

The Columbia Press, with less circulation than the Cannon Beach Gazette is a right wing, crime fighting, dog loving recyclable cellulous.

Hip Fish was a great idea and maybe still is. It has some pretty talented writers, but after a few editions I feel as though I am going to be hit in the head with a sledge hammer with issues that I have long tired of reading about or even caring about. Yea, yea we know you are against the LNG, the war, George Bush and into the Zen Maze, the local drinking scene, the numerous music and theater events taking place here. But can you lighten up just a little. Make us laugh. What ever happened to that lisping dog that used to send messages from the after-life.

The North Coast Times Eagle, ho boy, talk about needing a sense of humor, this paper has never had one, which is odd because Michael McKusker is a funny guy. I read this publication when I want to read about to cheer myself up so my own existence doesn’t see quite so bleak. Great art work in this paper, though.

I suspect the Upper Left Edge is no longer in print, but it started as a really good paper. A real grass roots hobby paper.

Now the Astoria Review is a new glossy magazine that shamelessly promotes the artistic (?) endeavors of the three staff members, and throw in the River See Gallery. Please don’t encourage them. There is a reason they are in Astoria and not in a better place for their careers.

Finally, the Coast River Journal is replacing the Columbia Business Journal. This paper is much better than the CBJ because it tells you who started a business, bought and sold real estate and for how much and who applied for building permits. This is the sort of news locals really want, the nosy stuff.

So in conclusion there are a lot of publications and most of them suck, but to each their own. As long as people keep reading. Things change and get better or worse. Just like the Capital Press. This paper is getting worse with every edition. The paper is getting physically smaller as is the print as is the feature articles. They are owned by the East Oregon Publishing Co, the same group that owns the Daily Astorian. If this is a company trend, be prepared to see the Astorian get dumbed down amd reduced even further in the future. At least they have "Bizarro."

Monday, June 05, 2006

StopThe Development

OK, it’s time to stop all the building. What is it with people? They move to an area that is unique. It has unique cultures and businesses that are owned my individuals, and soon they long for the areas of blight that they left to move here. Suddenly all the Mom and Pop businesses are replaced by faceless corporations. Their homes look like all the homes in the places they left.

It is time to stop letting big business into our area. Stop it right now before it is too late. When I first arrived here the only franchised or big businesses here were Safeway, Dairy Queen, Pay Less, Les Schwab, McDonalds, Radio Shack and some franchised gas stations.

With the arrival of Fred Meyer and Costco the door was flung open. Oddly Fred Meyer and Costco are the cream of the crop. Both treat employees very well, especially Costco, and both make major contributions to local schools and charities. Though Fred Meyer has become more stingy since Kroeger bought them out, they are still not too bad. I’d rather shop there than Safeway, because Safeway does little for the community. They may look like they contribute, but they really don’t. Recently you may have seen Safeway presenting a check to some entity, but if you read the story you would realize that they collected the money from shoppers and took that money and wrote a check with it. It didn’t state that Safeway even added a penny to the fund.

So what’s on the horizon? Home Depot, which will really hurt if not eliminate our three privately owned lumberyards. Wall*Mart, scheduled for Jeffers Gardens once the sewer is in, and it will kill just about every small business.

Do we need and Office Depot? Bi-Mart? Best Buy? Old Navy? How much do we need to consume? How much more landfill can we create? How much more can we take before this place looks like Beaverton and Jantzen Beach? Where will we move next?

Can someone make Warrenton realize that the money from commercial development will be eaten away by the services that will need to be provided. These businesses will hire people for less than family wage positions and their poverty will eventually consume social services and create criminal opportunities.

If we want to live in a unique area we need to stop the development now. Won’t that be unique?