Category Archives: Uncategorized

Good Bumper Sticker

Saw it yesterday:

“Don’t Believe Everything You Think”

A Collingwood Day

Goats

First off this morning was a visit to the Collingwood Children’s Farm, where we saw a number of animals including these long eared goats!

Then we joined 77,000 other people to see an AFL (Aussie rules football) game at the MCG, Collingwood vs. Carlton.  After a slow start Collingwood tied the game several times in the third quarter and pulled away to an easy win by the end.

Easter colors!

Here’s a shot I took this morning; as you can see spring in Portland is all about colors!  Have a great day.

Spring!

Spring tree blossoms

Saturday here in Portland, OR on NW 23rd Ave.

Mose Allison @ Aladdin, 20-Jan-2007

Mose Allison

I finally got a chance to see the legendary jazz/blues piano man Mose Allison last night.  Still going strong at 77 (or so), Mose played two sets with a stand-up bass player and drummer, and did both a number of his songs and lots of covers, closing out with ‘Tumbling Tumbleweed’ and ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’.

For the youngsters out there, read about Mose here.  As an indicator, know that The Who were covering Mose Allison songs back in their early days!

Diet RockStar?

Diet RockStar

Somehow I just don’t think that partying like a dieting rock star cuts it for me.

Glen Ridge, New Jersey

Post Office in Glen Ridge

I spent the last couple weeks out on the east coast, mostly in New Jersey, and I decided to take a few shots of my old hometown.  I actually didn’t live there all that long, but they were those ‘critical’ high school years.  All in all the town doesn’t look much different from thirty years ago.

It’s known for it’s slate sidewalks and gas lamps.

Slate sidewalk
Gas lamp

There’s a quaint old train station at the center of town.

Glen Ridge train station

I went to a grand old Middle School for 6th-8th grades.

Glen Ridge Middle School

I’ll post a bit more later…

Michael Pollan in Portland, 11-May-2006

Here’s a belated report on Michael Pollan‘s talk on May 11, the final lecture of the 2006 Illahee Series on Oil + Water. Pollan’s talk was based on his new book about food, and in particular focused on the incredible over-use of corn in our food supply these days.

He traced the history back to the end of WWII, when folks wanted to make use of the ammonium nitrate production that had been used for explosives during the war, made from natural gas. The chemical is a good fertilizer, and it was promoted for that use in 1947. Production of corn made a big jump up from about 20 bushels per acre in 1900 to close to 200 bushels now.

Then in the early 1970s there was a price drop in the food markets, and Nixon told his Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz, to do something about it. At that point a concerted policy started to subsidize growing corn with price guarantees, and this led to mono-cropping, increasing production of corn beyond the market demand.

So the next step was to find more uses for corn, which led into all the various corn syrups and so forth that permeates industrial food production in the U.S. now. As Pollan put it, these days we are in some ways “corn chips on two legs” as so much of what we eat comes directly or indirectly from corn.

Lots of corn goes to feed animals, such as cows. Of course, cows eat grass naturally, and not corn, so antibiotics are needed to stop disease from eating corn. Pollan said we’ve even turned ruminants into gas guzzlers!

Essentially the least healthy calories in the food supply are the most heavily subsidized, and the price of corn is $1 per bushel less than the cost of production. This leads to problems; obesity, diabetes, air & water pollution, etc.

What to do about it? Pollan said his biggest recommendation was moving toward local food (and this got probably the biggest round of applause of the night). He felt that the ‘organic’ movement is being fast co-opted (look for organic Rice Crispies soon!), but local food does not play so well into the corporate food structures.

See earlier reports from the Illahee 2006 series:  Michael Klare, Maude Barlow, Ken Deffeyes and James Howard Kunstler.

Maude Barlow in Portland, 22-March-2006

Maude Barlow, author of Blue Gold and much more, spoke tonight in Portland, OR as the third event in the Illahee Oil + Water series.  She’s a very good speaker!  Just in from Mexico City where she and others were essentially protesting the World Water Council‘s meeting (where she said the levels of security were incredible).

Her general message is pretty simple: water should not be a commodity sold for profit; it’s a common heritage of all species, present and future.  I found the case pretty compelling, amidst the stories of privatization and exploitation of water around the world.  Also:  stop buying and drinking bottled water!

Eat the Document – Dana Spiotta (2006)

Eat the Document

Eat the Document is the new second novel by Dana Spiotta, that deals with the interesting period of the early seventies and the underground war protest that got violent. The book switches between 1972 and 1998, looking a two young generations attempting to make some sense of the world. The portrayal of the modern teens is pretty interesting, as they are hyper-aware, cynical, and media-savvy, and alone.

This connects to something I heard on a podcast today, David Foster Wallace on the KCRW Bookworm show. Wallace ends by talking about how his students are no longer afraid of being known as obscene or perverse, things that used to be avoided at all costs. That today, the thing that they most want to avoid being seen as is sentimental. That these feelings have been so used and abused by corporations to sell things based on emotion, that it’s very difficult to talk about or write about what it feels like to, say, mourn the loss of a loved one.

Back to the book, as is evident from the dust jacket photo, there’s an undercurrent in the book on female body image and identity. In the acknowledgements, Spiotta thanks Don and Gordon, who I must assume are DeLillo and Lish. ‘Eat the Document’ is the name of a film that was made about Bob Dylan in 1966 during his world tour, a film that was never officially shown. Another current in the book deals with obsessive music collecting/listening, which seems to be a type of escape that some are able to grow out of.

There are linkages here going back to Pynchon’s Vineland, Susan Choi’s American Woman, and Chris Sorrentino’s Trance.