Thursday, July 30, 2009

Odd Fellows Indeed



Emmert International of Clackamas Oregon contracted to move the 118 year old Odd Fellows Building to accomodate the construction of a new US Courthouse. Does it seem a bit dim witted to move a 118 year old brick building? Does yet another city need yet another monumental over engineered Federal Courthouse?

Work on the building transport stalled last month. General contractor Layton Construction says subcontractor Emmert International walked off the job, leaving the building perched on its own equipment. Oregon-based Emmert International, which specializes in moving heavy structures, claimed Layton Construction owes it money.

Terry (I can move anything whether it's a good idea or not) Emmert always has an entertaining difugilty in progress. Previous hilarious escapades included the destruction of a county sherrif's car by Terry's herd of buffalo, his attempt to become a major sports owner by purchasing a very minor local basketball franchis and hosting games at the long abused Eastmoreland Racquet Club and much more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Future Darwin Award Winner

I am about to pee myself with excitement. I have waited a long time for something as mind numbingly stupid as this. I have been tipped off to the exploits of one Robert Maddox of Medford Oregon. He apparently (no actually!) is manufacturing pulse jet propulsion systems in his garage and marketing them via E-bay for installation on bicycles. The objective is to propel oneself at upwards of 100 mph for 5 minutes or so generating lots of flame and an ear-splitting 150 decibles of sound. Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3V5qbVbNLM.

As good as the hare-brained technology itself was the spin the Oregonian newspaper had on the story, interviewing the local Southern Oregon Business Development manager who pointed out that Mr. Maddox had given up on carpentry work due to the economic downturn and is now focused on selling these little beauties. The Oregonian stated: "While the pulse jet may not hold the key for economic development, jobs and payrolls, entrepreneurs like Maddox are critical the region's future, says Ron Fox, executive director of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. in Medford."

According to the Oregonian: "The pulse jet - which powered Hitler's V-1 bombers over England - runs on air and gasoline or just about anything flammable. It compresses the ingredients in a long tube, igniting them with a spark plug and forcing in air with a leaf blower or air compressor. Once it's running, the explosive flow of exhaust gases creates a vacuum in the tube, sucking fiery exhaust back inside and igniting fuel 220 times a second, with an enormous pulsing roar.

I can only hope that Mr. Maddox has one hell of a product liabililty policy to backstop his venture. I suspect however that he is not worried about such trifles. Unencumbered by fear, common sense, or any demonstrable thought process it is Mr. Maddoxes intention to take this technology to a whole new level. The Oregonian gones on to clarify: "Thinking further ahead, Maddox, a skydiver with over 1,000 jumps, has begun work on a four-pulse jet rocket with a capsule on top to carry a pilot. The 40-foot tall airship will weigh 2,500 pounds, generate 4,000 pounds of thrust, travel at 250 mph and, when it gets to 25,000 feet, allow the pilot to bail out and skydive down, while the rocket descends on parachutes."

It must be something in the water in Southern Oregon. "Two of Maddox's big nitro-methane powered, 1,000 horsepower pulse jets sit on the Top Gun Ground Fighter of Wally Larson of Jacksonville. It looks like an F-16 minus the wings and, while Larson, who uses it only for show, said he believes it could break the land speed record, but "I never wanted to kill myself." Back in the late 60's while attending High School in Central Point I assisted a friend in the creation of what we believed was the world's fastest Honda 50. My friend Jerry bored out the cylinder and adapted our little beauty to run on straight alcohol. It was doing somewhere in excess of 70 mph when the head completely shattered resulting in extremely rapid deceleration and rather nasty shrapnel wounds for the pilot.

We look forward to more on the exploits of the courageous Mr. Maddox.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Faith, Ignorance and Death


Carl and Raylene Worthington of Oregon City, members of the Followers of Christ church, stood by and watched their 15 month old daughter Ava die from multiple causes culminating in pneumonia and a blood infection, both treatable conditions. Why did they do this? As they stated repeatedly in court, they do not "believe" in doctors or modern medicine.

Their recent trial for manslaughter took place in Oregon City. They were acquited of the manslaughter charges by the jury. The only conviction was for Carl for a misdemeanor charge of criminal mistreatment. One of the jurors has subsequently stated that he would certainly have voted for conviction if only he had known the history of the church including the deaths of 18 children since 1991. These victims of medical neglect are all buried together in the Oregon City cemetery.

In court the defense claimed that the parents were surprised by the child's death because they thought she only had a minor cold. Doctors testifying for the prosecution stated that medical evidence showed that the child was poorly developed for her age, lagging in most growth and development benchmarks. At the time of her death she suffered from a very large growth on her throat which impeded her ability to breath and swallow properly. When police and medical teams arrived at the Worhington's home they had to move a large number of people out of the child's room and the house. The members of the church had gathered to pray, annoint the child with oil and perform rituals to save her life. They did not take action even when little Ava ceased breathing. They did not call 911. Does the entire congregation gather to "annoint" the ill for a common cold? How in good conscience can they claim that the death was a surprise? How can this happen?

Afterwards jurors stated that they were swayed by empathy for the Worthingtons who thought they were doing the "right thing" for their daughter. To my mind this calls into question the wisdom of a jury system to rule on an emotional issue like this. They clearly did not apply the law to the facts of the case but were swayed by emotional arguments alone.

I am apalled by the sheer arrogance and disregard for human life displayed by the Worthingtons and their fellow church members. President Fred Smith, a seventh-generation member of the church, testified in a January court hearing that members adhere to biblical teachings and traditions passed down through families. There are no written policies or guidelines on faith healing or other practices, he said. The church has no pastor or leadership. They are in fact a dangerous cult following beliefs based on charismatic pentecostal thinking of the 19th century. Please let me remind you that antibiotics had yet to be discovered in the 19th century.

Our criminal justice system failed us on this one. I can only hope that the Followers of Christ who have now stood by and watched a minimum of 18 children die will themselves succumb to treatable illness and suffer as have their children.

The citizens of of Oregon City have another chance to get one right. Raylene Worthington's parents, Jeff and Marci Beagley, go on trial in January. They are charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of their 16-year-old, Neil Beagley, who died last June of an untreated urinary tract blockage. Apparently young Neil had suffered on and off for years with easily treatable urinary tract infections, but never received any medical treatment. Once again the Followers of Christ stood by and watched him die in agony.

Shame on everyone involved in the terrible history! I cannot fully express my outrage at this ongoing tragedy. Ruled by ignorance and the tyranny of religious dogma the trail of suffering and death continues... This is the saddest thing I have ever written.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Let's Dance

I know you have all seen this already, but if not then you are in for a treat:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mellow Velo

This morning the Lady Wife and I joined our neighbors for an outing to the Alpenrose Velodrome to see the bike races. I am not a big fan of bicycle racing commuters who plunge headlong into traffic, run stop signs and lights and generally expect traffic to part like the Red Sea, but.. The Velodrome track races are cool. With high speed, an edge of serious danger, and serious athletes it was a great deal of fun to watch. I highly recommend that more people turn out to watch these events.
video

Friday, July 17, 2009

Economics Lecture

The Professor hails from Reed College and is teaching at UW. More leactures are available on YouTube. There will not be a test...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Best Portland Tirade

Fair Reader,

I copied the following text from http://www.professorbainbridge.com/. Check out the post "The Best Trend Ever". The following hilariously accurate text is copied from a comment to the aforementioned post by one "Evil Dave". Yes, I have broken my rule about overly long posts, but you may consider this a multiple post. I suggest that it be savored like a good bottle of whisky. Perhaps it would be better not to chug the entire bottle in one sitting.

The Three R's of Portland or Why Portland Sucks

"Latte Town" was coined a few years back and is the most appropriate term for the City of Portland that I have ever heard. A Latte town consists of mostly white, educated baby boomers and young single people. The inhabitants of the town are usually newcomers who have priced out all the original inhabitants. These towns are usually expensive, pretentious, abound in natural fibers and are laid back on the surface. Latte towns like Portland pride themselves on their most cherished concepts of diversity and inclusiveness. Most Portlanders accept this myth as Gospel but upon close examination Portland's dirty little secret is revealed. Portland is an overwhelmingly white, non-ethnic city. It is as vanilla as it gets so it makes one wonder what all the celebrating of diversity is all about. Drive through any neighborhood surrounding the downtown area and the impression that you get is that Portland is nothing more than a series of elitist ghettos compromised of rich white homosexuals, rich white yuppies, rich white hippies, rich white trust funders, and rich white kids from the suburbs pretending to be street people. Where's the diversity? Well it doesn't exist but the average Portlander likes the concept and in their eyes the different shades of rich whites all constitute diversity. In a series of articles I will attempt to breakdown and explain these subtle distinctions between the various factions of lily white, latte people that make Portland what it is.

The Artist-Intellectual

The visitor or newcomer to Portland is bound to be struck by the sheer numbers that belong to this group. They seem to be everywhere and are in fact everywhere. They are the reason that all the coffee shops have tables and chairs. The artist-intellectual fancies himself as a poet, a writer, a musician, a filmmaker, etc. You get the drift. They spend most of their days idling around the coffee establishments that one finds every 10 feet. They are usually equipped with a notebook that they use for their poems, journals or their artwork. No one ever gets to see the contents of these notebooks. More often than not they have a beaten and weathered paper back copy of some book authored by Kafka or William S. Boroughs. They love to discuss their favorite subject, themselves. Given the opportunity they will prattle on for hours about their poems, art work or the film they are making. You never get to actually see any of their work but you do get to hear about it. Their lives are like one never ending semester in grad school. Initially I believed these losers but then got to thinking. What would an aspiring actor, artist, musician, filmmaker being doing in Portland Oregon, a latte town? Why wouldn't they be in NYC or LA? Because they're phonies, that's why. Here's how it works with these clowns. They flunk out of college in New Jersey so their parents send them to Reed College in Portland in hopes that they will get their act together. They drop out of Reed but stay in Portland while still on Daddy's tab or some trust find. One Saturday Josh or Seth drifts down to one of the hundreds of hippie craft markets downtown. Some hippie is selling didgeridoos that he made I between bong reps. Josh buy one and takes it home where he proceeds to get baked after which he blows a few sour notes into the didgeridoo. The next day he's a musician. Not really but that's what he's telling everyone at the coffee house and pretending is good enough for a Portland artist-intellectual, in fact it's everything. In three months he will switch his designation from musician to filmmaker and then onto to something else 3 months later. As long as it sounds cool he will keep this charade up and no one in his circles will call him on it because they are doing the same thing.

The Activist

This group is usually comprised of people that used to be part of the artist-intellectual group in Portland. They have gotten a little older and may have finally, after 12 years, obtained a liberal arts degree from Portland State or Reed College. They may still run in artist-intellectual circles but have latched onto some "cause" at this time of their life. An activist always lives off some sort of trust fund or inheritance. When you ask an activist what he does for a living he will actually say he is an "activist" with a straight face. I used to look in the want ads and at the state employment office but never once did I see an advertised job entitled "activist". The activist usually lives in some semi communal house with other activist and artist-intellectuals, the kind of place where people sleep on mattresses on the floor and where the walls are covered with hippie tapestries. Oh yeah there are always like 15 cats roaming around the house and it stinks of cat piss, body odor and patchouli. The activist is still a bum at heart but feels the need to pretend that he is productive and feels extremely self conscious about living off some one else's money but not enough to actually get a job. So the activist associates himself with the following types of groups: art councils, school-to-work collaboratives, environmental groups, preservation groups, community-supported agriculture, antidevelopment groups, and other ad hoc activist groups. Affiliation with these groups will change every 6 months or so. It all sounds cool and actually creates the impression that they work.

The Crone

The Crone is a middle-aged woman that lives alone with her two cats. She is extremely bitter and unpleasant to be around. Crones usually populate the SE and NW sides of Portland. Often you can see that the Crone was quite attractive in her day. You can easily envision her twirling around dressed like Stevie Nicks at some Grateful Dead show back in 1978 Nature and time have not been good to her. She's always had a bad attitude but at least in her younger days she had perky breast and booty to match. Nice T&A can go a long way for making up for a crappy attitude but now she's only left with the bad attitude and the Stevie Nicks get up. The Crone is usually involved in several crackpot wymn's organizations that promote some sort of radical and unrealistic form of feminism. They usually have names like the United Front of Sisterhood or Radical Wymin For The Extermination Of The Male Species. Crones usually have jobs in local government or at State Universities, places where their inability to get along with anyone has no bearing on keeping their jobs. I worked with a Crone at City Hall. She filed a sexual harassment charge against me because she was eavesdropping on a phone conversation I was having and I said the word "chick". She filed another sexual grievance against a guy because he displayed a family picture on his desk of his wife and four kids at the beach. His wife was wearing a bathing suit, one piece, and this sexually offended the Crone who viewed this as objectifying women. The Crone wishes she were a lesbian because she hates men so much. She's tried to convert but it never took. Now her only objective in life is to feed her cats, read Tarot cards and make every one else's life a living hell.

The New Age Spiritualist

This could very easily be the official religious doctrine of Portland. All Portlanders fall into one of two groups when it comes to God. They are either atheists or they are new age spiritualists. You can hear them espousing their creed everywhere, "I'm spiritual but not religious", as if this automatically put them on the moral high ground. This belief system can best be described as spirituality without obligation. The new age spiritualist lives in a moral temperate zone where he picks and chooses tenants from all faiths that suit his lifestyle of the moment. Anything self sacrificing or too stringent is discarded and deemed "dogmatic" or "too religious". This way he can have the best of both worlds. In reality he gets little more than a set of watered down moral concepts that do nothing more than validate the liberal sensibilities that may be in fashion at the moment. For example, the New Age Spiritualist eschews judgmetalism. Particularly judgementalism that conflicts with their desires but he will embrace judgementalism when it comes to condemning cigarette smoking or individuals that don't have the right perception on the three R's which are racial sensitivity, recycling and reproductive rights. The new age spiritualist's home will be adorned with religious objects of oppressed people. Amazonian figures, Native American totems, Egyptian deities, animistic shells, or Shinto statuettes abound. The rules is that it's OK to display religious articles as long as you have no real association or knowledge of the said religion. A Crucifix would be seen as something a little too extreme.

The Dude

This is without a doubt the most ubiquitous character roaming the streets of Portland or any other Latte town for that matter. The Dude is usually a young white male that has great enthusiasm for games that are usually associated with extreme sports and the X-Games. He is called a Dude because this is the most commonly used word in his vocabulary. You've heard them before. They are the kind of guys that refer to everyone as 'dude' and use 'dude' as a noun adjective and a verb. When they say 'dude' they put a lot of emphasis on the "u". They say 'duuude' instead of 'dude'. Their aspiration is for life to resemble an extended hobby. Work is playful and play is something they pursue with earnest. Most don't work but if they must you can find them working at places that sell skateboards, snowboards and other thing that are of supreme importance to the Dude. Dudes are usually extremely stupid and have flunked out of all the worst community colleges so they rarely associate with the activist or artist-intellectual unless of course there is some sort of sharing of drugs thing going on. The Dude is held in high esteem in Portland because he is seen as someone who is bucking the system. He will quit a job in a heartbeat if the swells on the Columbia are optimal for shredding. He lives for the moment, the perfect wave and the perfect buzz. Priorities and responsibilities are no more than an after thought for these Portland cowboys.

Hippies

These dirty repugnant characters are the status quo in Portland. They seem to run across three generations and are composed of people who came from privileged backgrounds because no one from the real world could possibly embrace the fairytale concepts that the hippies hold dear. The hippies day is a full day consisting of sleeping till noon, smoking pot, protesting progress and reason, playing hackey sack and seeing how long they can go without bathing before they become infested with ticks. The hippie's biggest fears are work and responsibility so they go to great lengths to paint the "system" as thoroughly corrupt in order to avoid growing up. In their eyes any participation in the "system" is "selling out". This allows the hippy to live a lay about life without any moral quandary. Hippies without trust funds and generous parents must do some sort of work in order to buy pot and overpriced organic hippy food. This is why Portland has so many "markets". These are closed markets in the classic Marxist tradition. The hippies sell their hippy crap to tourist and yuppies with more money than sense. Here you can buy beeswax candles, dream catchers, and soap dishes made out of bird feathers. Bring plenty of money cause this shit ain't cheap. All major credit cards accepted. Hippies are easy to spot in Portland. Just envision the crowd at the original Woodstock in 1969. That's exactly what you will see with the Portland hippy. They will usually go by names like Sunshine, Rain, Heather, Noah, Seth or Jeremiah although the varieties are endless. Some hippies are hard to spot. They are usually 40 and over and have compromised themselves with jobs. Make no mistake about it, they are still hippies and when 5:00 pm rolls around they ditch the suit in favor of Birkenstocks and hemp clothing. These are the ones that make sure that the hippy ethos is forcefully inserted in all spheres of Portland's civic, cultural and business affairs. They are the ones that ensure that Portland remains soft on crime and educational standards and hard on increased taxation, subsidies and cumbersome business regulations.

The Psycho-Feminist

This is usually a young woman in her 20's or 30's. She has attended college and has received some feminist indoctrination in how awful the male species is. The problem is that the Psycho-Feminist still prefers men sexually. Some how she must balance her desire for empowerment with her more natural desire to find a mate. The Psycho-Feminist is truly a confused individual. She really has no idea how to reconcile her place in the world. She cannot balance her professional aspirations with her private life and is in constant turmoil over making any sacrifice between marriage, family and career. If you have had the misfortune to have dated or married such a woman I feel for you. Once you get out of that relationship, and you must get out, you will need years of therapy before you are right again. The Psycho-Feminist will subject you to years of emotional abuse over her gender turmoil. She's not man but doesn't know what it means to be woman. One minute she will want flowers and doors held open for her the next minute she will be cursing you out like a drunken sailor for some perceived slight. This breed more often than not ends up joining the ranks of the Crones. You can usually find the Psycho-Feminist at Powell's Bookstore completely immersed in some feminist manifesto like "Our Bodies Ourselves". Guys do yourselves a favor and find a nice foreign-born girl.

The Sensitive Male

Nature abhors nothing more than the sensitive male yet he proliferates in Portland. You will often be out at the Saturday Market and say to yourself, "Another lesbian couple!?" Upon closer examination you noticed that the more feminine looking partner is not a lesbian but is fact a man, the sensitive male. This is a guy that is really in touch with his feelings and it is not below him to gently weep after reading a poem or a love story. He usually "is not really into sports". He prefers careers in the "healing fields" like massage therapy, teaching yoga or some sort of new age mumbo-jumbo therapy. He is devoid of any passion or a sense of humor. Regular guys horrify him. He is disdainful of them and feels that his sensitive approach to life is superior. A psycho-feminist usually scoops him up and she controls every aspect his life. Eventually he decides, after years of dream remission therapy, that he is a homosexual and he leaves her. The sensitive male likes to read Iron John Bly and participates in events allied with the Men's Movement. He can usually be found pounding on a drum in the woods with other sensitive males. He is best personified by the hippie school teacher Mr. Van Dreesen on the Beavis and Butthead cartoons. Wymn in Portland prefer that all men go down the road of sensitive male and throngs of counselors in the mental health and educational professions have made it their business to castrate young men by turning them into these cream puff, pussies knows as the sensitive male.






Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

Remember when I waxed on about the inadvisability of decorating your body with inappropriate or poorly thought out tattoos? I could have just as easily gone off about the morons mutilating their bodies with piercings and large jangly metal decorations. But just when I thought I had hit the bottom, here comes some guys from the Japanese club scene billing themselves as Bagleheads. The stomach churning effect shown to the right was accomplished by injecting themselves with large quantities of saline solution. I wonder what happens at altitude in an airplane under reduced air pressure? The real excuse for this awful post is that every time I list tattoo as a keyword, I get hundreds of pings from around the world. Maybe you will read some of the other posts while you are here?


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who is this man?

This morning the Portland City Council voted to re-name 39th Ave. after this person. Despite the fact that only some 60 respondents out of 650 39th Avenue residents were in favor of the change, the City was swayed by the very vocal proponents who had gathered some 2500 signatures from around the city. Despite the fact that the gentleman's son said that his father would not have wanted this kind of recognition for his accomplishments. Despite the fact that there is not a single Latino business, sign or restaurant on the entire length of the street. Despite the fact that the great efforts of this gentleman to promote the interests of farm workers in California have no relevance to the residents of the street. Despite the fact that it will cause significant disruption and economic burden for the residents of 39th Ave. Despite the fact that any number of bridges, parks, pathways, statues, fountains, or public building could have been renamed in his honor without disruption to people who did not seek or want this change.

The only folks happy about this one are the "activists" who showed that a little political pressure and multicultural flag waving can trump common sense any day of the week in our fair city. The Portland City Council led by Mayor Creepy and Fireman Randy continue to show complete disregard for the for the wishes of the people who put them in office. What were we thinking?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

This is better than a roomful of SC governors! Watch the video below to learn how Sarah has "passed the ball for victory". What better timing than the 4th of July!!!


I am eager to learn the dimensions of the Iceberg...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Foot Hurts

And apparently my health care provider could care less. I pay Kaiser Permanente the total sum of $290 every month for "insurance" for my wife and I. In addition to this I get dinged $15.00 "copay" (who is the co in copay?). I have had appointments with Kaiser less than once per year.
Here is a picture of my foot, and yes that nasty bump on the ball of my foot hurts. Squash is out, basketball is out, hiking is out, walking is not fun.
I called my primary care physician and asked for a referral to a podiatrist. But no... The doctor had to see me before he could make a referral. After a few days I got in to see him and as expected he scraped at it a little with his scalpel and advised me to soak and abrade to reduce the bump. I asked if I should use a cheese grater but he suggested a pumice stone. Of course this didn't work. The bump now feels huge, swollen, and explosively painful.
I called my primary care physician to request the inevitable referral to the podiatrist. I was informed that the doctor was on vacation for the next week. I insisted on a referral, vacation be damned. This was Thursday one week ago. On Tuesday I hadn't heard back. I called, and was at last given the phone number for the Podiatry Department. I called and was informed that the earliest possible appointment was on August 11. Jesus H F_cking Christ. I asked if their strategy was simply to wait for the problem to cure itself or if they were actually hoping that a major infection would lead to my demise and eliminate their need to deal with me.
I emphasized to the shaken receptionist that this was not personal, except for me of course. She persisted in declaring that the appoinment 6 weeks out was the best I could hope for. I advised that this was unacceptable and that this was not the last they would hear from me.
My next call was to the customer service wing of Kaiser. I explained the situation and stated that I wanted to file a formal complaint. This seems to be the only way to get a referral appointment with this organization. The next day, today, I received a call from Podiatry (surprise!). They advised that by some undefined alchemy that they now had an appointment available on July 13th. I graciously accepted this and pointed out that now I only had to walk on my disfigured supurating necrotic foot for a further two weeks. I suspect that if I could get some care tomorrow that this would probably be a minor procedure. In two weeks they may have to remove the entire foot! Well, tomorrow it's back to customer service to file formal complaint number two.
Republicans, I understand are worried that a single payer health care system would result in the rationing of care. Of course health care is npw being rationed by ability to pay, and apparently the will and capacity to bend the bureaucracy to your needs. I suspect the more timid among us just wait until they finally get to see a doctor, get better, or succumb.
Well fair reader, I know that you are trembling with excitement about the outcome of my medical adventure. Stay tuned, maybe I will be able to get live video next time.