Monday, July 31, 2006

Blog Format Change

I don’t know if you, the blog reader ever reads the comments that people leave, but someone in the last post asked me to change the color from white letters on a black background to the exact opposite.

It’s funny because I am starting to have a macular thing going on with my eyes and looking at the blog the way it was this morning would render me just about blind for about ten minutes after going through an article.

So I hope the change to a white background makes it easier on the eye for everyone.

Thanks, Cynthia, I’m seeing better already. And thanks for saying the blog is a must read in your comment. I have a lot of respect for your opinions and I am touched by your consideration. I only hope you didn’t mean “must read” in the way one can’t look away from a train wreck… Oh well, I’ll take anything I can get.

Happy reading!

Pacific Northwest Fashion

A few years ago, back when Seattle was the best place to find new music and fashion, my sister-in-law came to Astoria for a visit. She is a costume designer in Hollywood, and she has a keen eye for trends, or at least she has as keen an eye for someone working down there.

We always like to show visitors the local color, so we dragged her to some sort of local function. No one here gets overly dressed unless there is an opera at the Liberty and even that doesn't assure proper attire. Everyone here dresses in their everyday clothes, all day, everyday.

After spending only a few minutes with us and the crowd, my sister-in-law leans into me and said as though our town was really hip and trendy, "“Wow, the people in this town really embraced “Grunge Fashion” don'’t they?"

I smiled and said, "“Yes, and they have since 1850."

This reminds me of the time the US Bank in Cannon Beach was robbed about fifteen years ago. The suspece scribedcribbed as a man with a beard and a flannel shirt. This meant that 1/2 of the county population was suspect.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sick Day III

I haven’t had a Sick Day posting in a while, so here are the things that are making me sick this week:

People who don’t look in the mirror before they leave the house. Especially when they have a bunch of belly fat hanging out, that’s just disgusting. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be fat, some people dig that sort of thing, but dress appropriately.

Homeless men who smell like urine. Please guys, stop pissing on yourselves. You make me sick.

People who still haven’t read one of my first articles on this blog and still insist on bringing their dogs to Sunday Market. More so those who did read my article and still insist on bringing their dogs.

While we are on the subject of smell, how about a little less incense stink from the only music store in Astoria. The last time I went in there I couldn’t get the smell out of my nostrils for two days. I now shop online.

And those who still insist on wearing Patchouli oil. That shit never smelled good, and never will, so give it up, please. If you do people will stop saying, "What's up with that patchouli stink?" as soon as you walk away and are out of ear shot. Trust me, we all say that about every one of you.

Friday, July 28, 2006

John Fraser - Of Can In Peach

Recently while writing the article about Cannon Beach sucking (see yesterdays post), I was mentally taken back to the days when Cannon Beach didn’t suck. There was and still is a local counter ennui hero, Dada Artist, John Fraser. John’s rascality captured nearly everyone’s attention especially since he came to town as a street performer and then decided to open a kite shop (supposedly the oldest kite shop on the coast.)

I have been out of the loop with what he has been doing over the last ten years, but I fondly remember his van with all that junk stuck to it, his VW with all those plastic pool toy stuck to it, but those were his most showy items.

I first met him distributing his monthly newsletter, "The Rocker" which was a spoof on all local things, and people. I still have all editions, but am missing 1-3. The humor is priceless.

Next, John had an answering machine on a phone and if you called 436-BOMB you could either leave a message or listen to all the messages that people left. This pre dated chat lines.

Next to his kite shop he had shop that offered plastic pickles for sale, but the shop was never open. There was only a sign that said Closed on Tuesdays. He placed the pickles in there to make it look like a real store. There was a counter and all the stuff a real store would have, but he never unlocked the door or opened the store. This was to test the city to see how long they were going to allow him to have a store in the city without a business license. I don’t know how that ever worked out, and since I refuse to go to Cannon Beach I may never know.

It is alleged that John is best known for his April Fools Day pranks. I’m saying alleged because I don’t know the statute of limitations of certain pranks, besides I have no personal proof that it was he who did these things. There was the year he (allegedly) went around and taped a sign on every business window in town that said “Espresso Sold Here.”

However my favorite was when he (allegedly) purchased a bunch of keys at a garage sale, and put a string tag on each one that said, “US Bank Back Door” and scattered them all over town. People were turning in the keys at the bank and at the police station for days. The police were not amused. The funny thing was that the US Bank didn’t have a back door. The police were not amused.

I did a quick search on John’s name, and I came up with his present website. It’s not totally wild and crazy, but it is simply a taste of the John I used to know. I'll look forward to seeing this site grow. It appears that it started up recently, at least the forum only dates back to June. I'm sure that with some seasoning and constant input of ideas from John, the web site will be a great resource for local comedy. Thanks John, and keep it coming.

You will need to copy and paste the link. Somehow this address has strange things happen when I try to link it in Blogger.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

When Exactly Did Cannon Beach Start Sucking?

Was it when they knocked down the Round Table to build the Post Office? Was it when they built Ecola Square? Was it when they tore down the Whaler and put in more stupid shops? Was it when they yuppified Bill’s Tavern? I know for sure it was before the Pig N Pancake came to town.

When did Manzanita start sucking? Was it when Lynn closed down the Log Cabin? Was it when they repaved and added sidewalks?

Why is it all resort towns are all basically the same? They have the same architecture, the same uniqueness, (Yes, I said that, move on if you didn’t catch it.) They all sell the same high end crap.

Aren’t there any safe unique areas left between the sameness of the Wal*Mart Shop-O-Rama suburbs and the cedar-shake with white trim and phoney gas fireplace resort bullshit of the Coast, Sunriver and Sisters?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

From the Mail Bag

It's time I reply to some of the stuff in my mail bag:

Alan wrote wondering what exactly I have against Richard(Dick)Lee and Jeffers Gardens. Here is a photo that shows just how much he improved that nice little pasture he owns. at Miles Crossing. The neighbors must be so pleased.
Next, Syd enjoyed Chief Condomhead, so here is a better photo for you. He's no Uniroyal Girl, she's definitely a babe, but this is all we have here to compare. Please note the reservoir tip.

Now I didn't get any mail over this photo, but the first I saw this sign I said to myself "WTF?" and I had to turn around to see that it didn't say what I thought it said. Anyway, it's on Alt 101 by a logging company workshop, and it actually has to do with sustainable logging, which I guess this logger doesn't support.

So dear readers, keep those emails coming and I will do my best to uncover more mysteries of Dried Salmon County.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sharing Entertainment

A few years ago, a neighbor couple invited us over for dinner, and they kept telling us about this DVD that we had to watch with them after dinner. They promised it would be the funniest stuff we’ve ever seen.

OK, I though, knowing their pedestrian taste for beer from a can, the situation of us watching a DVD they recommended would probably far funnier than the DVD itself.

I’ll cut to the chase, it was that vulgar (not in the good way) fat hillbilly cable guy who kept shouting “Git R Done”, which probably means something in Hillbilly, but to my ears was a total non-squinter from one fecal void to another. We watched and occasionally glanced to one another wondering if there were really people out there that were so stupid and they found this stuff funny.

Well and good, we survived, but the following week we got to have our revenge. We invited them over for dinner and to view something. OK, we are well seasoned with wise-ass, but we figured we’d raise their viewing to a different level. We thought about showing them My Dinner with Andre, but they would have been asleep as soon as Wally got out of the cab. We decided on something we recorded from HBO.

All were settled and I hit play and on came, “The Vagina Monologues”, or as I call it "Vag-Mo."

Their reaction during those long 90 minutes would best be described as watching children eat lima beans (I’ve been told the official food of the anti-Christ.) Needless to say, this couple doesn’t invite us around any more.

Monday, July 24, 2006


We were brought into this world with the idea that all men and women were created equal. However, it is the things that we do after that birth that distinguish us. In the end this all boils down employability.

Clatsop(Dried Salmon)County is not known for family wage jobs. There was once logging and fishing, but now we have stumps and canneries falling into the river. There is no industry that can carry the burden of employing our local talent. Employees flock to jobs that pay the minimum wage. There is big competition for jobs that pay more. People with Graduate Degrees are applying for jobs that pay $9.00 per hour.

Here is a test on how well you stack up in the highly competitive job market. Since we were all created equal you get to start with 100 points, and deduct all the points that apply to your situation.

Deduct 5 points - if you wear a hat.
Deduct 5 points - if you wear a hat backwards or sideways, or if it's a Cowboy hat.
Deduct 5 points - for every visible tattoo.
Deduct 5 points - if your shirt does not have buttons.
Deduct 5 points - if you have any stains on your clothing.
Deduct 5 points - if you are a man wearing visible jewelry that requires piercing.
Deduct 5 points - for every piercing you have on your face.
Deduct 5 points - if you wear more than three pieces of jewelry (including watches.)
Deduct 5 points - if you haven't had your hair professionally cut in the last three months.
Deduct 5 points - if you haven't been to a dentist in the last year.
Deduct 5 points - if you use tobacco.
Deduct 5 points - if you have facial hair.
Deduct 5 points - if you purchase beer by the case and that case costs less than $25.
Deduct 5 points - if your car is not clean.
Deduct 5 points - if you do not shower daily.
Deduct 5 points - if your belt looks tattered.
Deduct 5 points - if you like to share your opinions with anyone who will listen. (remember opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and most of them stink.)
Deduct 5 points - if you do not know how to turn on a computer.
Deduct 5 points - if you think someone is out to get you.
Deduct 5 points – if someone has gotten you.

Your Score
Score 85 -100 You can work anywhere and you are highly desired.
Score 70 - 84 You may find work if you know someone like a relative who is hiring.
Score 55 - 69 You can pump gas, flip burgers, or drive a taxi.
Score 40 - 54 You can clean toilets.
Score 25 - 39 You can work where you can not be seen by the public.
Score 0 - 24 You are unemployable.
Score Below 0 You should consider prison or maybe moving to a third world country.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I need to congratulate Angela Sidlo for her fine work at the (Dried Salmon County) County Fair Grounds, and it was a big deal that she brought Pro Rodeo here. The place was packed. Denny Holmes, the last person that was able to do something good with the fair grounds, was there as well, so let’s put the dark days of bad management behind us.

Now let me talk about rodeos for a moment. I’ve been to a few, and never paid much attention until last night. I’m starting to wonder why we don’t legalize bull fighting and cock fighting in the USA. We are a cruel culture. First there is calf roping where a guy throws a rope around a calfs neck and jerks it to a sudden stop where its head snaps quickly and its feet fly off the ground. Then this predator swoops down and binds its feet. The look of terror on the faces of these animals was not hard to miss.

Next there is bronco riding where a guy jabs his spurs into a horses neck to piss it off so it will buck more. Come on people, I know it’s your culture, and I remember when you could smoke in hospital waiting rooms. That was a culture, too, and it changed.

Now the thing that pissed me off the most, and this is the second weekend of my doing so (getting pissed off about it), hence me writing again on Sunday… They started the whole thing off asking everyone to stand for a prayer. Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ! Can’t I get away from this? Can’t I just go somewhere without someone shoving their god down my throat.

See, this was going to be a positive article about all the wonderful community people we have here, but I simply can not let the offenders off the hook.

By the way, I hope you enjoy the photo of the animal cruelty theocrat above.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Publication reading is one of my favorite things to do. If you have been paying attention you will remember that I look forward to the Friday edition of the Daily Astorian because of the Real Estate ads, and I also get a kick out of the letters to the editor. That is worth an article here someday. On Thursdays I look forward to the Weekend Section. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I can only hope that either the new Hipfish or Columbia River Business Journal comes out.

I also look forward to Fridays because that is the day the Capital Press shows up in my mail box, but I never read it on Friday. I save that for Saturday and Sunday which are my paperless days. I have long given up on Sunday papers since they are just big attempts at marketing. They are 500 pages of ads and unless you have a need of seeing the comics in color and in a larger format or want to clip coupons, the Sunday paper is a waste of recycled paper and ink.

So I have the Daily A five days a week, and the Capital press on Saturday and Sunday. I was recently thinking that I should revive an old game that I used to play every Saturday. I don't know why I stopped playing, but this is the way it used to be.

On Saturday, I used to get a copy of the Oregonian, and hunker down in silence with a large cup of coffee. I unplug the phone, turn off the radio. I would search for the only thing that makes the Oregonian worth reading. Yes, that right. It’s the weekly ugly bride and groom contest. Most of the photos don’t make the cut, but I have yet to find a Saturday without a winning couple. It never seems marginal. There is always a "vomit in the face" winner.

I went out early last Saturday to get my very own copy of the Oregonian. The ritual was easy to bring back. No phone, no radio, lots of coffee, no interuptions. I stuck my face into the paper. I paged through it entirely, and than entirely again. There were no brides and grooms to be found anywhere? Did they switch days? Did they stop the competition all together? I am at a loss, and my fellow readers, as are you. There would have been wagering!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Good Luck with Pot Luck

Pot-Lucks are disgusting. I'm really surprized that people don't end up in the hospital more often.

For me this pot-luck phoebia started a few years ago when this woman would bring in baked goods to this place where I was working. There was no doubt that she was a gifted baker. I probably packed on some weight because of her good baking. BUT, one day I happened to see this woman sitting in her car. As I walked by I noticed that not only did she have four cats living in her car, but the back seat was an open litter box. She transported all her baked goods in this infested automobile. I could only imagine what her kitchen looked like. I later heard it was worse than her car.

That was it for me. I will no longer eat anything that comes from a kitchen I can't see. I have even asked to see the kitchens in restauraunts before I order. Pot-lucks are no longer acceptable to me.

The next time you go to a pot luck look at the people who brought items, then think of what their kitchens look like.

Once you get food poisoning, your life will change for ever. And you folks who eat raw oysters...have you lost your freaking minds? Why not try Fugu. It's all a throw of the dice.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The real Evil in America

Last year Jack Huberman wrote the book, 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America where he pinned the blame on all that is wrong in the world on these 101 people. One would expect so much from him and is politics. His knee jerk book was more of a Republican shills attempt at gaining favor higher up in the organization he wished to be more of a part of.

These are just people with the ability to speak and be heard, and are doing so while they still have the right to do so. If one were to pen a book about where the evil in America is spawned and reared, it would have to search in other areas; the corporate world.

The Top 10 Corporations That Are Really Screwing America:
(in no particular order)

Monsanto for GMO’s. It is now very possible that there is no GMO free corn anywhere in the world. They also designed seeds with a terminator gene, so some plants can’t produce seed, which means that one day Monsanto could control all the seeds for agriculture. Talk about a hostage situation. And don’t get me started on Round-Up ready crops, which are crops that that can not be killed or even harmed by one of the most powerful herbicides in existence.

Wal*Mart for poor wages, and selling a bunch of crap that isn’t made in the US, and for putting smaller stores ( Mom and Pops) out of business since they do not have the purchasing clout. Most employees are paid so poorly and without benefits they receive food stamps and state assisted health care.

Tyson for screwing small farmers and meat producers for setting sub standard prices, and preventing or at least making it difficult for producers to sell their animals elsewhere for a reasonable profit.

News Corp, Fox news…nuff said?

United Way, for not dropping the Boy Scouts when they, the Boy, Scouts enforced discriminatory practices against gay men within their organization. Also, the United Way skims 14% off the top of what you donate for their administrative costs. So if you donate to the United Way it isn’t all going to charity. Please don’t be lazy. Pick a worthy cause and donate your money and time directly.

Clear Channel for monopolizing radio and making radio sound (like white bread and mayo) the same everywhere.

McDonalds, for targeting children in advertisements and promoting an unhealthy way of eating. You must see the film, “Super Size Me.”

Enron, or what is left of it. Its sorry carcass is now in a heap, and if it does survive it better come forward with some sort of compensation for the people it has ruined.

ADM for price fixing and screwing with the price of the world food supply and necessary agricultural products.

Phillip Morris. If they were really concerned about the issues around tobacco they wouldn’t just have a website that gives suggestions for not starting or quitting smoking. They would stop selling that evil shit.

Dishonorable mentions go to at least the following: The Kellogg Foundation, Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, Shell, BP, (Not Citgo), DuPont, Union Carbide, Citi Bank, MBNA, Discover, Ford Motors, General Motors, AOL, Time Warner, Nike, Starbucks. I could go on but I don't have a copy of the Wall Street Journal in front of me right now.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Only in Astoria

There was something going around like this ten years ago, and many who are new to the area may enjoy it now. I’ll try to remember as many as I can and add a few more.

Astoria is the only place where:
1. More people own boats than air conditioners.
2. There is a statue of something that looks like a condom head greeting visitors at the South entrance of town. (See photo above)
3. The Mayor delivers your Pepsi
4. A total stranger walks up to you, offers you fish, and you take it and eat it.
5. The phrase “Git ur elk?” acts as an acceptable greeting in the Fall.
6. The phrase “Sturdy Women” does not get a rise out of any one. (it’s actually a compliment)
7. A ride down 8th Street is compared to the best rides in any amusement park.
8. Driving on 8th Street you can catch air when doing the speed limit.
9. Peoples ears actually close up because they surf in the cold water too often.
10.Locals are actually nice to tourists.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Astoria on Film

OK, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail asking about Astoria and why it sounds so familiar to the writers. You probably wouldn’t have heard much about this area other than the movies that were filmed here. Here’s a list.

Kindergarten Cop
The Goonies
Free Willy
The Ring II
One of the Ninja Turtle movies
Short Circuit
Probably a couple more that I’m forgetting.

And what the hell is it with The Goonies? We have streams of people come to town because this was their coming of age movie. Get over it, for christ sake and go see a real film. Try something with sub-titles, and learn to read.

Blog Spam

This blog was hit by a spam bot last night. I added word verification to comments today. So if you wish to comment on an article you will need to type the random letters in a box before it is accepted.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lars is a Racist!

Lars Larson opened his show today talking about his tan, saying he looked like an illegal immigrant, and that if he got any darker he will soon qualify for welfare. Enough of this hate radio asshole already!

Free Advertising

Let’s say I offered you a job in advertising, and it would be your job to advertise products every waking hour of the day. Knowing that advertising executives make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, how much would you expect to get paid for this position? How much is your endorsement worth?

Now how about if I told you that you were not going to be paid for this job, and that you would be expected to pay for the position and the material. It would be an outrage! Right?

Now, slowly look down. Is there anything written on your shirt or jacket? How about your hat? Are you renting out bill-board space on your body and not being paid for it?

So you think that it was a good idea to pay good money for clothing that advertises something for someone else? What are you really saying? I support NAFTA and sweat shops in third world countries! Yes, I know people who are unemployed here but I still support the North American Fair Trade Agreement that took their jobs and sent those jobs to third world countries so big business can make more money. Now the unemployed can get minimum wage jobs without benefits selling all their crap to poor people back here in the US.

There was a company recently who started a thing called Bumvertising. This is where they pay the homeless to walk around with ad pieces. Yes they are paid for their work, but millions of people allow themselves to be bill boards for free. So I hope you are happy with that Nike Swoosh that you are so proud to wear for free.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Message for the Believers

Normally I don’t write on Sunday, and not because of any religious thing, but religion is something I feel I need to talk about. Here’s a concept for those of you who may believe in something... The concept is KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

OK, here’s what happened that really pissed me off last night. I belong to this agricultural organization, and once in a while they will have a function that includes a pot luck. ( Oh pot lucks, that’s an article all on it’s own that I will need to spew on…) Anyway, the thing last night was a Dutch Oven Cookout. It’s time to eat, and this one guy shouts out, “Can’t we all say grace, come on people let’s gather in a circle and take your neighbors hand.”

All the sheep put their plates down and did as he asked. I did not. I wonder how they would have reacted if I then continued their prayer, delaying their meal with a prayer to end discrimination, give equal rights to everyone, and to smite Wal*Mart, Paul Harvey and all the other things these hicks hold dear.

Please believe what you want. I don’t care if you believe in peanut butter sandwiches and accept them as your savior and Christ. Just please keep it to yourself.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I’m as nosy as the next guy, so I take great delight in the real estate section of the Daily A every Friday. I get to see who is selling what and for what price. The problem is this happens only once every week, so I have a void in my life from Monday through Thursday.

However, there is always the For Sale By Owned adds that run every day of the week. This is nearly as entertaining on a few different levels. First you have to realize that anyone who tries selling their house by themselves has one or all of the below characteristics going for them.

1. They are too cheap to pay a commission to a real estate agent.
2. They think their house is worth way more than it really is.
3. They are in no hurry to sell and will wait until the market value comes
to their price.
4. They have something to hide.

Sometimes it is fun to see a FSBO sign on a house for a couple months, then one day there is a sign from a broker, and a week later it is sold.

I can understand selling a house yourself if someone one day knocks on your door and offers you a ridiculous amount of money. At this point you will need an attorney to look over your paperwork and contract items. You will need to employ a title company. No problem, but if you plan to start from scratch with no prospective buyers, you are a person with the qualities listed above.

Friday, July 14, 2006


OK, this week we've discussed changing a bunch of things, now let's change the calendar. Why do we still go by a twelve-month calendar instead of a 13-month calendar? Do you know that if we used a 13 month year, every month would have 28 days? Every month the days of the week would fall on the same dates. Women would be able to keep better track of their menstrual cycle. The lunar phases would be in sync with our months. It would be easier to tell when our lunatic friends will be acting up. Again, and again, and again.

Why don’t we, here in Dried Salmon County, pioneer the 13 month calendar? We would be able to name the 13th month…let’s call it Dried Salmon and if you happened to be born between the present dates of December 4th and December 31st, you will have the honor of being able to say “I was born in Dried Salmon. By the way, Christmas will fall on Dried Salmon 22nd. Don’t worry, I did the math. It works.

So if we are going to go through all this trouble of adding an extra month to the year, how about if we take it one step further. How about if we make the new year start on the day after the winter solstice? That would make New Years on what is now December 22. Christmas would now be on January 4th and you would have Dried Salmon as your month of birth if you were born between November 24 and December 21st. Don’t worry, I did the math and it works.

One more thing before I move on…, standard time and day light savings time. Why don’t we split the difference and set our clocks a half-hour between the both and call it Dried Salmon Time.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dried Fish Metric

We (The USA, or as many call it "Merica") still have not converted over to the metric system. The rest of the world has. Think of what that is costing us. We even lost a probe that was rocketed to Mars over a metric conversion. If we knew the metric system we would be able to blend in better when traveling to other countries. We wouldn't need to purchase two sets of tools.

How about if we designate Clatsop, excuse me, “Dried Salmon County” (see yesterdays post), as the first county in the US to go metric. We will take no prisoners and we will be arrogant. We could make so much money!

First we will change the speed limit signs to 65. In Oregon our speed signs make no mention of MPH. People will think that it is OK to go 65 miles per hour, but they will all be ticketed for driving at 104 KPH on a 65 KPH zone. That is 39 KPH over the limit, or as we now know it, 65 in a 40. Don’t worry, I did the math. It works.

We could also have a metric jar. That’s kind of like a swear jar. Anyone who uses a swear word drops a nickel in the jar, but in our situation if you used a non-metric measurement you would have to contribute. Metric jars would be placed at all grocery stores, fabric stores, gas stations and lumber yards…oops we can’t have lumber yards any more. They will have to become lumber meters. You will have to convert your back yard into your back meter. Ten Gallon hats will be known as 37.85 liter hats. If you go to the pediatrist you will have to show them your centimeters. The grains of rice on your plate will become grams of rice. We can confuse ourselves into a tizzy, but soon we will be as confused as the rest of the world as to why the rest of our country hasn't gone metric yet.

Maybe we will make some head-way when there is no one left who calls our country, "Merica."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


The word "Clatsop" in the Chinook language means "dried salmon."
So when ever I go somewhere that has "Clatsop" in its name I change its name to Dried Salmon. Example:

I've attended Dried Salmon Community College. I buy my beverages from Dried Salmon Distributors. Coffee? Dried Salmon Coffee Company. He works at the Dried Salmon County Jail. When I get old I want to go to Dried Salmon Care. This is how I add flavor to my experience of living here. I only wish that Astoria meant something cool in another language other than a fur capitalist who has never been here.

Dried Salmon... Dried Salmon!!! Ah, Dried Salmon. Enough With the Goddamn Fish Already!

Yes I know that fish are the regional symbol of all that is Pacific Northwest, but enough is enough. In one day of shopping one must see thousands of examples of symbolism, and it's getting to be as annoying as a Texan's accent.

First there is the fish, the real thing. They get tossed at the Pike Street Market, they are in net pens in the bay, they are at every Bar-B-Que, they are at every wedding and at every event. They are counted, weighed, fin clipped, and many get their eggs or sperm squeezed out of them. If you catch one you will need legal representation to determine if you can actually keep it.

Then they appear in art. There are in paintings, sculpture, photographs, and on pottery. Few things are more annoying than Native American salmon art. Actually, their whale and eagle art is equally annoying, but I'm trying to make a point here. There are pictures of fish painted near storm drains. I was at a party the other day and there were block prints of fish on the siding of the persons' house.

A fisherman once told me that "Fisherman" are a living proof that fish is not brain food. I agree!

They are the names of our streets, towns and counties. Does someone really want to live on Sock-eye Lane in Chinook? Sound a little fishy? Why not just move into the river and become one with the object of your desires.

The Daily Astorian once ran a series of articles on what we can do to save the salmon. My answer was to stop eating them and above all, stop worshiping them.

There are sea lion opposition groups out there who are trying to make it legal to once again kill of a large number of the sea lion population because they eat salmon. However they don't realize that salmon is now their main diet since we eliminated most of the lampray eels. Yes, historically sea lions ate mostly eels, and we screwed around with nature and created an even bigger problem, AGAIN! The sea lions can't go to the Wet Dog for a burger and humans do not have to eat salmon, they just do so because it is a Northwest tradition.

The salmon industry is totally screwed right now. The only thing I can see saving the salmon right now is to leave them alone. Leave the eels alone, leave the river alone. Maybe everything will recover in a decade or so.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Melanie Brown (not Scary Spice of the Spice Girls)(and this photo is the first time I've seen her without her sunglasses) is a young Portland film maker who shared a long round trip ride with me to Bend, back in April. I’m not one who cares to spend time with people. Usually a half hour with someone is enough to make me feel as though I’ve been social enough for a few months. Melanie was different. We talked for hours on end, and by the end of the weekend I felt like I still could stand more conversation with her. This is rare for me. By the end of the trip I was missing my youth and wishing I had a daughter.

Melanie left for Africa a couple weeks later, and returned sometime last week. Her curiosity and fearlessness impressed me. She has lived in China, speaks fluent Chinese, works in the film industry, on and on, her stories kept my interest.

It was obvious to me that Melanie sees things with the eyes of experience that few people her age (31) could possibly have. She sent me link to a short film she made a while back, and a link to a music video she just finished this spring. She seems to give the impression that film making is just something she is tinkering with, but I have seen a lot of student films, and Melanie is far beyond that.

Check out the links and please feel free to share comments with her, or you may leave comments here.
Bartlett Pear

Here is the link to the video she did for the Binary Dolls, and she still won’t tell me where she got the goat from.

Binary Dolls

Keep up the great work, Mel... This is your true calling. By the way...can I interest you in a script I've been working on?

The Sirens of Astoria

Living out in the country where all is quiet except for the occasional cry of coyotes in the distance, I find I really appreciate the quiet. While spending some time at a hotel in San Francisco, we fortunately stayed in a hotel with windows that open, and hearing the sirens of fire trucks one evening, my wife said to me, “Those aren’t coyotes.” The sound was similar but indeed they were not coyotes.

Often spending time in the city of Astoria I’ve realized that Astoria is a noisy town. Perhaps the hill reflects and amplifies the sound, but it seems that no matter where you are you can hear sirens anywhere between Smith Point and Alderbrook. When you don’t hear the sirens of emergency vehicles and the CG and life flight helicopters you can tune into the other sirens of Astoria, the barking sea lions.

Fortunately Astoria residents are not all that noisy. You don’t hear a lot of automobile horns in town. Occasionally someone with a mental illness will be found making a bunch of noise here and there, but I understand he is back on his meds now.

There isn’t much industrial noises, hence the poverty among the working class. It was different back when the plywood mill was here. Pile driving even seems quieter since the ground beneath is liquefactions (and since Skip and Jim got their asses sued off). Safeway was never an issue, but in reality it should have been the focus of the land slide.

For those of you who don’t live here, much of Astoria is built on a hillside that has a history of land slides. There was a construction company driving piles for a new Safeway store while at the same time someone else was excavating the heal of a hillside and building a retaining wall to hold back the earth. Hundreds of feet above both sites the land started moving, houses with them. The residents sued the hill cutters rather than the pile drivers. Probably because they knew the cutters couldn’t afford the type of attorney Safeway could afford. Pretty sad after all that Skip has done for this community over the decades that I’ve been here.

That was a digression… Anyway, here’s to silence. Enjoy it when you have it. If the emergency sirens ever start getting to you just imagine the sounds are coming from a pack of coyotes howling at the moon.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Overheard (Eavesdropped)

OK, inspired by Syd, I too want to try posting dialogue that I have overheard. Please readers, let me know if you want me to stop.

Overheard in the doctor’s office:

Old Woman: It’s awful, what ever medicine she (the doctor) gives me has the total opposite effect. Sleeping pills keep me awake, pills to wake me up put me to sleep, the pills to help me be regular make me constipated.

Daughter of Old Woman : Well then, maybe you shouldn’t be taking birth control pills for hormone replacement therapy.

They chuckle…

Daughter of Old Woman: I wonder what they will give you if you are ever in pain.

Old Woman: Probably pain pills.

Overheard Skateboard Kids:

Kid #1: Where has Travis been?

Kid #2: He went somewhere to some role playing event, some kind of Dungeons and Dragons shit.

Kid #1: You ever get into that shit?

Kid #2: Fuck NO! That shits only for Goths and fat chicks with red hair.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sick Day II

Here are things that make me sick this week:
Telephones, people who insist you listen to some crappy song before you get to ring through to their cell phone, cell phones piss me off, too, you’d think after all these years they would have clearer communications instead of sound like Buzz Armstrong landing on the Moon, “One iant eap for mankind.” Long out-going messages on voicemail or answering machines bug me. I can tell you aren’t there, why go on about it…
People named “Dick”, it makes me shiver when I call someone “Dick” unless they are one, like Richard Lee, I could easily call him Dick. How could they agree to be called that? Credit cards and especially credit card offers in the mail, to which I usually stuff in all back into the postage paid envelope and mail it back to them with a note to remove me from their mailing list. This way “they” have to dispose of the garbage they send me.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sick Building

Tell me the architect of these buildings didn't have a hidden agenda.

The News

Let me talk about local TV news today (and how shallow I am). It seems that everyone has a local news show that they enjoy more than others. The competition in the Portland market is KATU, KOIN, KGW and FOX aka the fear news.

So, I shot FOX out of the box right away because their version of the news is sensational and fear mongering.

Next, KOIN, is really dull, kind of like watching cheese on TV.

I used to view KGW, but I really got sick of all of their news promos. I’m watching the news already, yet they still have to make me suffer with all the ads to get me to watch their news while I'm watching their friggin news.

OK, KATU news isn’t anything all that special either, BUT they have Julia Radlick (see photo above, she is a competitive skater as well.) I have a major crush on her... She is soo cute (See I told you I had a shallow angle on this whole thing.)

Frankly I’m not impressed with any TV news, except for Liberty News on Free Speech TV. (If you have cable you are probably out of the loop on this channel, along with Link TV and the Documentary Channel. You should really get a dish.) And after the local news is over it goes to all those national morning shows, Today, GMA, and the other forgettable one. Their talking heads are vapid at the very least. Realize it isn’t a news story if the story has background music. Also I am really annoyed by seeing the crawler on the bottom of the screen. If I wanted to read the news I’ll pick up a paper. Some cable news channels have so many crawler messages going on at once that the moving picture is now down to 1/3 of the screen. There is other news, weather, sports and stock reports all scrolling off in print while there is a head talking the news up in the corner.

And all the Hollywood news, does anyone really give a crap unless someone gets arrested and has a bad mug shot?

If you insist on using news crawlers, please give us a way to turn it off.

I find myself saying, "Is this really news?" way too often these days. In the mean time, Julia is hot, and I’ll look up from the newspaper when ever I hear her voice.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New Shoes

Ray Bradbury wrote about the relationship of a boy and a pair of sneakers in his book Dandelion Wine. Shoes are very personal items that men rarely think of and women have been known obsess over.

In life it seems that my memorable shoe moments come in the form of:
1. Most ugly and embarrassing shoes that refuse to ever wear out.
2. The cool shoes you’ve been begging for, finally got and now you are in the “In Crowd.”
3. If you were around in the 70s, Earth Shoes were supposed to help your back, but ended up screwing up your knees.
4. The must have expensive sneakers that was made by children in Asia.
5. The cheapest crap you can find because you are paying for them out of your own pocket.
6. The most comfortable or orthopedic shoes you now have to wear because you screwed up your feet with those cheap shoes.
7. Finally, the “I no longer give a crap” shoes.

I am presently in the “I no longer give a crap” stage. Unless there is something special I need to do like dress up and wear a suit, (which I haven’t done in at least 10 years), or climb on a roof, I can be found wearing only sandals or muck boots.

Muck boots (not necessarily the Muck brand of boot, but rather the slip-on rubber boots that dairy farmers wear) are the new ideal for me and the wet climate in which I live. I got my first pair last year and now I wonder how I ever got along with out them. I retired my garden clogs and work boots and haven’t looked back. I would wear my muck boots all the time if I could.

For the other times I wear sandals. Yes, even all winter in the rain and snow. Yes I wear socks with them. Men should always wear socks because their feet generally look like Froto. I think it has been close to three years now since I’ve worn a traditional shoe.

So why do I write this? It’s because I was thinking of a woman I used to work with who would stuff her size eight foot into a size four shoe every day. It looked so strange seeing layers of flesh pouring out over the sides of these stupid looking pumps. I can only imagine the stress on the material in those shoes. How could she endure the pain every day just to give herself the illusion that her feet were smaller than they really were? How did she physically get those dogs in there? Grease? Maybe she never removed them, and just grew into them when she was a teen. It is still a mystery to me. A tortuous mystery.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Day Off

I'm taking the day off, tomorrow, too. So if you have nothing better to do, go back and re-read NIMBY and the Fireworks over Fireworks. See you on Wednesday.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fireworks over Fireworks

A few years ago I attended a 4th of July party at the home of a friend in Astoria. She has a wonderful view of the river from a large deck. It was a perfect place for the 20 of us to view the Astoria fireworks.

Fireworks are special because you don’t see them every day unless you work at Disney Land. People have a certain reverence for things that don’t come around every day like fireworks, watermelon, the first frost, the first robin of spring, the first smell of autumn in the air…

The fireworks event was at the climax and the smoke in the sky was glowing with different colors as each burst of explosion flashed. The final explosion sent tendrils of glowing red, white and blue flames towards the river like the slowly moving branches of a weeping willow in the breeze.

It was at that moment a person standing next to me said, “just think of all the heavy metals they just added to the river.” Oh man, again something so innocent becomes sinister. Gone are the days when one could eat a hot dog, stand in the back seat of a convertible while it was being driven, or walk through a field in deer tick country. Is nothing safe and easy any more?

I have to admit that I no longer enjoy the visual uniqueness of the summer time light show because of this. I think about the sturgeon eaters eating the toxic tissue of the fish that inadvertently consumed a feast laced with heavy metals we put in the river. It is truly a wonder our life spans aren’t decreasing due to our own stupidity.

OK, I’m a kook, and you only believe what you read from a reliable source. Try this from

Fireworks produce smoke and dust that contain heavy metals, sulfur-coal compounds and other toxic chemicals. These by-products of fireworks combustion will vary depending on the mix of ingredients of a particular firework. (Green color, for instance, is produced by adding barium, a highly noxious heavy metal.) These variables include the amount of gunpowder used, type of oxidizer, colors produced, and launch method.

Pollutants from fireworks raise concerns because of potential health risks associated with the hazardous by-products. For most of us the effects of exposure to low levels of toxins over a long period of time are unknown but for persons with asthma or multiple chemical sensitivity the smoke from fireworks may aggravate existing health problems. Environmental pollution is also a concern because heavy metals and other chemicals from fireworks can contaminate water supplies and because fireworks combustion gases can contribute to such things as acid rain which can cause vegetation and even property damage. Because of the pollution some countries are against the use of fireworks, yet many events are populated with the use of fireworks around the world. In the US some states and local governments restrict the use of fireworks in accordance with the Clean Air Act which allows laws relating to the prevention and control of outdoor air pollution to be enacted.

Happy 4th every one!