30 April 2005

My Speech to the Mayor of Portland Today

People's Tour of Lentz w/ Tom Potter
In today's MACG action on the Meth-Crisis, I have four minutes to address Mayor Potter, Lentz Neighborhood Leaders and the 200+ assembly:

(after introduction) Thank You.

It was over a year ago when I first heard about a certain “people’s candidate” who was running for mayor, Tom Potter, and what fantastic and creative ideas he had. At the same time, I also heard that he couldn’t win. He couldn’t possibly win an election against the power of Portland politics.

And this, “He can’t win” was instantly appealing to me, not only because of my attraction to anybody who takes-on those wielding power over others, but mainly because I heard that said about me…a lot: Scott’s a great musician, he’s a creative guy and all, but he’ll never beat his drug-addiction. He can’t win.

In my long battle with drug addiction, I was so isolated and so disconnected with any concept of support, any idea of community, that I saw no other way to cope but self-medication. I was out for myself, and I drew my lines in the sand and I survived the best I could.

Today, I stand before you a determined “winner” in recovery precisely because of an intentional participation in community. “You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone.” And there are a lot of us here that know exactly what O. Herbert Mowrer was talking about. My brothers and sisters in RAP certainly do.

Although you don’t have to be in addiction-recovery to understand this; there are a lot families and people who draw their own lines in the sand every day, and survive on their own the best they can. And a lot of us only connect and participate in community indirectly through technology: computers, cell-phones, and television and because of this, we begin to lose relationship to our own bodies and we begin to lose relationship to our own communities.

And we lose relationship to that guy there at the market. And we lose relationship to neighbors down the street. And we lose relationship to our own civic leaders. And we lose relationship with those around us without jobs and homes, and those around us without hope. And we lose relationship with that meth-addict.

We have more power and hope together in relationship with each other than we have isolated, adrift, on our own.

That’s why we’re here today - to stand together for what we know we need, and for what our community needs. Our community is us; whether or not you live in Lents, or know someone in Lents, or live somewhere else in the Portland Metropolitan area, we all have a huge stake in what happens here...right?

I think we all understand that there isn’t a quick solution to the Meth Crisis. I’ve heard on television and read in newspapers that the Meth-Crisis is out-of-control – again, something we can’t win.

But this morning we are more than 200 people here—more than 200 people!—and we're going to walk together, share our stories, and act together to confront the underlying issues of this crisis that in fact, we can win.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Courage consists in the power of self-recovery”, and in closing, I want to be very clear to those courageous individuals and families who feel hopelessly trapped in the bondage of meth-addiction or condemned meth-houses in neighborhoods: We in MACG stand beside you, in community, in organizing with you in support of your recovery and self-respect, and we stand with you in support of opportunities to prosper and provide for all our families, in support for opportunities to develop and recover through quality education and career training, and in the dignity of affordable home ownership for all of us.

I know together we CAN win: As you did, Mayor Potter, last November, and as I did in my own battle against addiction and isolation. Today we’ll walk and we’ll listen and we will act, and we will take one more step closer to being a healthy community. Together we can win.

28 April 2005

new feature: The Thursday Q & A

Albert Camus
"Mr Camus, since you do not believe that people can escape into religion, aren't you afraid that young people today will be led into a dangerous neglect of action?"

"If it were not possible nowadays to live or act without reference to God, then perhaps a very great number of people in the West would be condemned to sterility. Young people know this very well. And if I feel so great a solidarity with so many students, for example, it is because we are all confronted with the same problem, and because I am confident that, like me, they want to solve it by trying to act more effectively and to serve man."
from Lyrical and Critical Essays, p. 347

26 April 2005

Detroit Tiger Philosopher

Dimitri Young on Barry Bonds:
“I look at him like Jesus Christ. I’m talking Barry Bonds.
As great as he is, he gets persecuted more and more and more. It’s not fair.”

via Jim Rome

You’re right Dimitri, Barry is a lot like Jesus...except for:

  • Jesus’ trainer wasn’t loading him up on steroids.
  • Jesus’ head didn’t expand five hat sizes late in his career.
  • Jesus never suddenly went from 49 to 73 homeruns.

Don’t think MLB isn’t privately thrilled to hear that Barry's back on crutches. The last thing MLB wants is for Jesus Bonds to run down Hank Aaron.

22 April 2005

Sue the Bastards

Tom Waits
Adamantly anti-commercial artist Tom Waits is contemplating legal action over an ad campaign for GM's Opel car line running in Europe's Scandinavian region that reportedly boasts music and a vocal resembling his own. The singer/songwriter learned of the ads through fans who contacted his record label, Anti-, a division of Epitaph.

"In answer to the many queries I have received: No, I did not do the Opel car commercial currently running on TV in Scandinavia," Waits said in a statement. "I have a long-standing policy against my voice or music being used in commercials and I have lawyers over there investigating my options."

Waits has previously fought several advertisers who have aped his distinctively graveled voice and avant-garde style for commercial purposes. Among past infringers are car manufacturers Audi (Spain) and Lancia (Italy) and snack manufacturer Frito-Lay for a SalsaRio Doritos radio spot in the United States.

"If I stole an Opel, Lancia or Audi, put my name on it and resold it, I'd go to jail. But over there they ask, you say 'no,' and they hire impersonators. They profit from the association and I lose -- time, money, and credibility. What's that about?"

21 April 2005

Victoriaville 2005

This Year's (Stunning) FIMAV Schedule

Though I'd certainly be excited to see/hear Frith and Braxton, and Lars Holmer (Samla), and Thurston Moore, and Zeena Parkins with Ikue Mori (from DNA), and on and on...I might actually be most excited to see Kid Koala, a huge recent favorite of mine. I love these animated videos --and the songs--Basin Street Blues from "All My Best Friends Are DJ's" and FenderBender from "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome".

One of these years, I'll save up and then shell out the money to make it to Victoriaville.

19 April 2005

Hang It and Run Ads

a good one hung in S.F. on 101 by Portrero Hill (I think)

18 April 2005

Sunday Night Trashing of Fundamentalism

John Spong
@ Powell’s Book Store 4.17.5

Five of us went to Powell’s last night to hear the former Episopal Bishop John Spong plug his new book, “The Sins of Scripture” which focuses on “terrible Biblical texts" that have been used over the years to justify such things as overbreeding, the degradation of our environment, racism, sexism, child abuse and anti-Semitism.

We arrived 20 minutes early and found ourselves in the front row. At 7:30, I turned my head and was surprised to see Spong standing right next to me on his way to the podium. He chuckled and said, “So, did you have to pay any money to sit in the front row?” (The lecture was free) followed by his extended hand and introduction to me, “Hi there, I’m John Spong. I’m glad to see you here.”

Spong was a fantastic speaker over the next hour. He described the American fundamentalist-right as, “merely motivated by politics and power-gain”, and hammered those “ignorant and gullible people who attach themselves politically to fundamentalist hot-button topics and then in turn, vote against their own economic interests that would help them make better lives for their own families.”

Among other things in his new book, Spong asserts that Paul was a closeted gay man whose anti-homosexual statements in Biblical text were motivated by little more than his own self-loathing and guilt; that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married; that none of the supernatural events described in the Bible took place--including the resurrection--and that theism itself is a conceptual misunderstanding of God.

”These horrible biblical texts are not the incontrovertible Word of God, but flawed human responses to fear and perceived threats.”

A few of my favorite moments:

  • Funny anecdotes about being on Bill O’Reilly’s FOX news program, telling O’Reilly on the air, “I like you Bill, you’re sort of like Rush Limbaugh with perfume.”

  • Why the Ten-Commandments shouldn’t be allowed in US courtrooms especially since the last commandment is about men treating their wives (women) as property along with their oxen and asses. “That’ll work well in our modern courts of law,” he sarcastically offered.

  • On the repudiation of female preists in certain denominations, (based on a belief of the male image of God) : "If you take away all of the physical similarites between a man and woman - take away the eyes, the nose, take away the liver, the heart, take away the feet, the arms, and on and on...what are you left with? And that's the church's image of God?" (hilarious)

  • Crazy “Biblical sins” of the past such as coveting your wife’s mother: “You must first be capable of imagining the sin, and I can’t imagine sleeping with my mother-in-law!”

  • “None of us deserve Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, George Bush or Tom DeLay telling us who or what God is. It is unconscionable.”

16 April 2005

Saturday's Big Winner:

Afleet Alex
wins at Oaklawn by 8 Lengths

Four weeks after finishing last in the Rebel Stakes, Afleet Alex posted a convincing victory in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. The win stamps the three-year-old as the horse to beat in the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

Afleet Alex was the defeated favorite in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. It was later revealed that the colt had a lung infection which caused the unexpected failure.

Coming into the Arkansas Derby, Afleet Alex was declared healthy by trainer Tim Ritchey and was made the 2-1 morning line favorite. Nine rivals went to the starting gate to see if Afleet Alex was indeed healthy.

Afleet Alex will try to duplicate Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby. Smarty Jones won the 2004 Arkansas Derby on his way to winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

Afleet Alex made his move around the turn for home and took the lead at the top of the stretch. The colt went on to win the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths. Finishing second was Flower Alley followed by Andromeda's Hero and Real Dandy was fourth. Rounding out the order of finish was Greater Good, Canteen, Rush Bay, Wild Desert, Cat Shaker and Batson Challenge.
The time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:48.80.

Afleet Alex was ridden again by Jeremy Rose after John Velazquez had the mount in the Rebel Stakes. Velazquez was the winning rider in the Blue Grass Stakes and now has a decision to make for the Run for the Roses.

13 April 2005

It's Official:

via The Onion
Cost of Living Now Outweighs Benefits

"This is sobering news," said study director Jack Farness. "For the first time, we have statistical evidence of what we've suspected for the past 40 years: Life really isn't worth living."

WASHINGTON, DC: A report released Monday by the Federal Consumer Quality-Of-Life Control Board indicates that the cost of living now outstrips life's benefits for many Americans.

"This is sobering news," said study director Jack Farness. "For the first time, we have statistical evidence of what we've suspected for the past 40 years: Life really isn't worth living."

To arrive at their conclusions, study directors first identified the average yearly costs and benefits of life. Tangible benefits such as median income ($43,000) were weighed against such tangible costs as home-ownership ($18,000). Next, scientists assigned a financial value to intangibles such as finding inner peace ($15,000), establishing emotional closeness with family members ($3,000), and brief moments of joy ($5 each). Taken together, the study results indicate that "it is unwise to go on living."

"Since 1965, the cost-benefit ratio of American life has been approaching parity," Farness said. "While figures prior to that date show that life was worth living, there is some suspicion that the benefits cited were superficial and misreported."

Analyzed separately and as one, both the tangible and intangible factors suggest that life is a losing investment.

"Rising energy costs, increased prices on everyday goods and services, and the decreased value of the dollar have combined to drive the cost of living in this country to an all-time high," Farness said. "At the same time, an ever-increasing need for additional emotional-energy output, low rates of interest in one another, and the decreasing value of ourselves all greatly exceed our fleeting epiphanies."

Experts nationwide have corroborated the report's findings.

"The average citizen's lousy, smelly, uncomfortable daily-transportation costs rose 2.1 percent in January," Derek Capeletti of Wells Fargo Capital Management said. "Clothing costs were up 2.3 percent, reflecting an increased need for the pleated khakis, sensible sweater-sets, and solid ties we have to wear to our awful fucking jobs. And grocery expenses were up almost 4 percent, reflecting the difficulty that light-beer, microwave-burrito, and rotisserie-chicken makers have faced in meeting the needs of a depressed economy and citizenry."

Capeletti added: "The benefits of living remained stable or decreased. Especially—surprise, surprise—in our love lives."

According to the study, high-risk, short-term, interest-based investments in the lives of others cost thousands of dollars a year and rarely yield benefits, financial or otherwise. Although conservative, long-term partnerships do provide limited returns, the study indicates that they tie up capital and limit options.

Child-rearing, a course taken by many people who choose to live, is actually contributing to the problem.

"The fact is, the supply of Americans greatly outstrips demand," said Evan Alvi of the Portland-based Maynard Institute. "Americans seem to believe that minting more lives will increase the value of their own holdings. All they are doing, though, is inflating the supply and reducing the dividends paid by long-term familial bonds."

Despite life's depreciating value, Alvi did not recommend that shareholders divest themselves of their holdings.

"Limited dumping could result in a short-term increase in available resources for those who remain in the market," Alvi said. "However, it's a risky move that could affect perception of value, leading to mass divesture."

Alvi added, "And let's not fail to mention that some religious experts say there are penalties for early withdrawal."

11 April 2005

Open Directory Raids

"Sometimes, if I’m bored, I’ll surf around this place they call the internet and look for people’s photos in open directories. Today, I bring you images from directories with the words 80th birthday or big birthday in them."

1983-GranJean Bridge

"A friend and I were up late the other night looking through people’s open directories of photos. Basically, it’s like picking up someone else’s photos at the local Wal-Mart and flipping through them. You don’t know the story behind the images and you lose all context."

Mom Getting Flower

10 April 2005

Frank Conroy 1936-2005

"Stop Time"
was Conroy's lucid and evocative 1967 memoir that became a model for countless young writers - the sort of book that is quietly passed along like a trade secret.

Frank Conroy, the author of the classic memoir "Stop-Time", an influence on generations of young writers, died last week at his home in Iowa City.

Mr. Conroy, who headed the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa for 18 years, published just five books, a relatively small number for a writer of his reputation.

After Conroy moved to New York in 1959, he became a hanger-on at Elaine's, the literary watering hole, where, as the writer David Halberstam recalled, "he at first annoyed some of the regulars, who wondered who this brash young kid was...then Stop-Time came out, and we all shut up."

Though it sold only modestly at first, it one of the rare books to have been blurbed by both Norman Mailer and William Styron, which made Conroy a literary celebrity.

Conroy supported himself, his wives and children between books by working as a scallop fisherman in Nantucket, playing jazz piano and writing about jazz. In 1978 he taught at Iowa as a replacement and discovered he liked teaching and was good at it.

Mr. Conroy was a good enough jazz pianist to have jammed with Charles Mingus. In his 2002 essay collection Dogs Bark, but the Caravan Rolls On, Conroy recalled how he once apologized to Mingus for being a klutz. "You are an authentic primitive," Mingus told him, "but you also swing."

08 April 2005

Paying Taxes 2005

As you scramble to fill out your 1040 form this week,
consider this from Mike Rivero

When Congress voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq, it included two requirements.

The first was that the President prove that Iraq was in defiance of the United Nations by being in possession of banned weapons of mass destruction.

The second was that the President have proof that Iraq was involved in 9-11. In his letter to Congress activating the authorization for the use of force, Bush claimed he had proof of both of those conditions.

And the nation invaded Iraq.
And nobody knows the number of the dead.

In hindsight, Bush lied when he claimed to have proof that Iraq had WMDs. He lied when he claimed to have proof that Iraq had anything to do with 9-11. Bush lied.

And that means that the Congressional Authorization for the use of force in Iraq was not legally in effect when Bush ordered the military to invade. Bush has been misappropriating government property for personal use.

So, why should you pay for it?

Bush is holding his hand out to you this month to send in a check to pay for a war that is illegal under both US and International law. If you agree to pay for that illegal war, then you are just as guilty as Bush is. If you agree to pay for the torturers of Abu Ghraib, who tortured innocent Iraqis to find those WMDs we now know did not exist, the blood of innocents stains your hands. If you agree to pay for the depleted uranium that poisons not only Iraq but our own sons and daughters in uniform, then you are as guilty as those who poisoned them.

I don't think you should pay for an illegal war. I don't think there is a law that compels any US citizen to pay for an illegal war or indeed to pay for any illegal act of any US Government official.
When a US Government official is caught using government property for personal use, he is required to reimburse the treasury for that personal use. So should it be with Bush and his private little war in Iraq. He, not you, should be paying those costs. It's his war, not yours.

06 April 2005


Pocket Orchestra has been released

And of further note, the MIO folks decided to use my November '04 blog post as the intro for the liner notes, which I was only too happy to oblige.

05 April 2005

New Technological Awesomeness

Satellite Photos on Google Maps

Type in address and switch between Map and Satellite (towards right-side top)