Tuesday, October 8, 2013


At some point in the 60s or 70s, this golf bag phone was probably a status symbol. 

One of the fun things about having a housemate is you get to do things you might not have thought of--such as Trivia Night at the local Gladstone Pub a few blocks away. It's a great way to relax, laugh, and make huge mistakes answering questions on subjects you have no expertise about. Ken and I have been going to Trivia Night at the Stone Pub for about six weeks now. We drink a lot of beer, enjoy a pub fare dinner, and so far have walked home with a few very interesting prizes. Andy, the host and emcee of these Monday night revels, scours flea markets and garage sales in search of some of the tackiest prizes you have never imagined. For instance, we won this bizarre golf bag telephone (it works). I shudder to think how anyone could have invented this device, but invented it was, and it is now in Ken's rooms where I've banished it, never to be brought upstairs. 

How's this for a strange bit of Americana?

Last night we played again after a two-week absence. We ended up winning this surreal ceramic bald eagle draped with the American flag. It's such a strange-looking thing, but I've become fascinated with it, and have named it the Cry Baby Boehner statue for Speaker John Boehner's idiotic and suicidal decision to shut down the federal government because he can't get his way over defunding Obamacare. It now occupies a perch of honor in my office. I keep thinking Stephen Colbert would covet this statue!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


My good friend, Trish Hamilton, took this photo of her husband, David, and their French Bulldog, Porter
 as they readied themselves to bravely face the rainy elements that attacked Portland last weekend. 
Good thing they didn't stay out in that mess long. Like all little dogs, Porter doesn't like rain.

We got six inches of rain in two days of solid downpours last weekend--the tail end of a Japanese typhoon. I went grocery shopping on Friday afternoon and never left my house all weekend except to put the garbage out on Sunday evening. Archie would only be lured outside when he could no longer hold his bladder. I kept the towels at the ready for his re-entries into the house. He hates the rain. Rain doesn't quite describe it. It poured buckets. On Monday, I went outside to get a good look at the carnage and my tomato vines and dahlias were the worst hit. The tomatoes, even the unripe ones, were split. The dahlias were knocked over by the winds and the rain broke the tall, but vulnerable central stalks of the flowers. Time to put the garden to sleep for the winter. We got out there for a few hours today and just kept cutting away until we had a huge garden refuse can full. The rest of it will have to wait for next week. I'll mulch the garden after right around Thanksgiving time, and forget about the garden until next spring. I love the idea of not having to water every day, especially as I opened by quarterly bill from the city--$305. That's now over $100 a month for water. Need to let the plants dry out a bit more between waterings. Rates went up. It's ridiculous in a state that has no serious water problems.

The view of Mt. Hood,  from a friend's back yard just before sunrise after last week's big rain storm. 

As you can probably surmise, the weather dominates a good deal of conversation in Portland. What with rain affecting us pretty much eight months out of the year, weather becomes our year-round obsession. Without it, I'm not sure how much we would have to talk about!

Yesterday, Ken and I went to the Lewis & Clark Pioneers homecoming football game. We finally won and it was a rout against the Puget Sound Loggers:  60 to 30! That doesn't mean the Pioneers played well. They would get ahead, and in the next few seconds of the game, watch dumbfounded as a Logger headed towards their goal line--instant TD! I'm not expert, but I was yelling about the holes in their defense all afternoon! I was beginning to think I had jinxed the team for the season. We've got two more home games to see.

My twin brother, Scott, is visiting this week. His fiancee is up here working for her company for the week, so he drove up and will bunk with me a few days before joining her. They will spend next weekend at my house, which will include taking a look at houses in the area. They are determined to pick up stakes in California and find a house here in Portland. It will be nice to have a family member close by. I love looking at real estate, so it will be fun to help them in the search. Housing prices are on the rise here (as they are in many areas of the country--a sign of the economic recovery that is still a long way off from the highs of pre-2008).  They will want to buy early during their time here, and it's only a matter of time before interest rates start climbing. Inventory is low because the housing industry stopped building houses. But there's far more choice here in Portland than there is in the San Francisco Bay area, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

I have pretty much steered clear of politics on this blog. But the Republican shut down of the government in a fit of pique over President Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act is one of the most shameful political tactics the Republican party has taken. That is saying much from a party that has repeatedly misbehaved towards voters, particularly since Bill Clinton left office in 1992. It is my fervent hope that Republicans, especially Tea Party Republicans, will feel the sting of voter's ire in the 2014 elections and later on in the next Presidential election in 2016. Irresponsible is putting it politely.

Ken gave me this apron, and then took a photo. My abs haven't been this firm since 1986!