This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Meet Joe (the) Plummer

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 9:55 PM

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John McCain: Leader, Maverick, and Indie Rock Fan??

Tonight's debate featured McCain constantly playing the indie cred card against Obama by mentioning Joe Plummer. The Portland resident (finally Oregon matters in this election) is known for being one of the best drummers out there, having spent time behind the kit for the Magic Magicians, Black Heart Procession, and currently he drums for Modest Mouse. Now Plummer is at the center of the biggest election in history, and proof that McCain is flexing his sharpened knowledge of indie rock and courting the all-important (undecided) pretentious record collector demographic.

Too bad there isn't a bass player out there named Joe Sixpack.

End Hits: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Photo: Neff

Blogging Project Runway

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 5:44 PM

That's right, we here at the Merc have got this live blogging sh*t covered. I'm here at The Tanker to see the final episode as early as humanly possible (6 pm, if you have DIRECTV!). So when you get bored of tracking the presidential debates (which, in this multi-TV paradise I will be able to watch simultaneously, though I will try not to cross too many mental streams), click on over to my fancy live blog thingy. Scared of spoilers? DON'T CLICK BELOW unless you want to know!!!

Live Blogging the Final Presidential Debate

Posted by Amy J. Ruiz on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels": Literally!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 5:08 PM

Last week I introduced you to a very literal translation of A-Ha's "Take on Me" video. And if you loved that one, prepare to flip your wig over Dust Film's hilarious follow up, Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels": the Literal Translation! (BTW, any video that includes a Dave Coulier joke automatically gets extra points!) Don't miss this one... it's a goddamn hoot!

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Free Preview of The Receptionist

Posted by Alison Hallett on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 5:00 PM

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(Any excuse to post a picture of Joan. God I love her.)

Tonight at 8 pm, Coho Productions is offering a preview preview of the first show in their 2008/2009 season, The Receptionist, the West Coast premiere of Adam Bock's script about a receptionist with no idea what kind of company she really works for. Bock is no stranger to the underbelly of interoffice dynamics--his mean-spirited office comedy The Thugs ran to general acclaim at Portland Center Stage last year (read: everyone but me liked it. I thought it was, um, "pointless and halfhearted"). The show's got an excellent cast (Sharonlee McLean, Laura Faye Smith, Chris Murray, Gary Norman) and it's directed by Rose Riordan, who also helmed PCS' Drammy-winning production of The Thugs. Go see it, then come back and tell us how it is.


CoHo Productions at the CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh, 8 pm, FREE

How Much Does Portland Heroin Cost?

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Ask the Mercury readers!

The article I wrote in last week's paper about Portland having the purest heroin in the nation (we're number one!) is attracting some interesting comments:

I am a junkie, 14 months clean. I have done a lot of Portland heroin, and I can safely say that 90 percent of it pretty weak compared to the rest of the west coast, east coast, vancouver, BC etc. Ask any junkie who has moved here and they will tell you the same. If cops think the heroin here is stronger and that overdoses are more common because of that "fact", then Portland drug unit has some catching up to do. Heroin here typically runs $30-40 a gram whereas decent stuff typically sells for $80 plus in my experience.

- from doncabellero

and the response:

i am a junkie, 8 days clean. and I have done a lot of Portland heroin, as well as heroin all up and down the west coast, and I can safely say that the skag in portland is the best i've ever come across. i don't know where the previous poster copped his dope, but i had 3 connections from various parts of portland (one from vancouver, wa), all with very high quality shit... my 3 years of dope use in portland, i've never seen a gram go for as cheaply as $30-40, in fact the best deal i got was basically $100 for 8 balloons which were about .10-.15 grams each.

- from lastpushoff

skag! That reminds me of the hilarious Federal drug "street names" website, where heroin is also known as "Racehorse charlie" "moonstone" and "foolish powder."

TREKKIE NERDGASM! New Star Trek Images, Plus Kevin Smith's Thoughts on the Film.

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 4:35 PM

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Earlier today, I interviewed Kevin Smith about his new flick, Zack and Miri Make a Porno--and while I had him on the line, I couldn't help but sneak in a question about two other upcoming movies, Zack Snyder's Watchmen and J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. (Smith, the patron saint of geeks everywhere, was able to see rough cuts of both films a while ago.) Smith's verdict? "Both rock, man." On Abrams' reboot/prequel Star Trek, Smith had this to say:

Star Trek, it just seemed like one of those ideas where you're like, "I dunno, dude, there's no point in doin' it if you're just gonna have different people playin' those parts." Like, it was one thing when they did Next Generation and you had completely new characters--but to go at it with the same characters but different actors was chancy. But J.J. did it, man. And he chose the best guy to play Kirk. This dude Chris Pine? Oh, he's just fuckin' amazing.

So I'd say that's a thumbs up from Kevin Smith. And if that's not enough, today a bunch of stills from Star Trek hit the internet, finally giving us a good look at what the characters, ship, and sets will look like in the upcoming film. I know it's not like you can judge a film's quality by its stills, but that said, holy shit--these images certainly make it look like Abrams has nailed it, at least visually. I love the look of these. Beam on over to Hit io9 for more images.

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Rose Quarter Transit Center is Nearly Open for Bikes

Posted by Amy J. Ruiz on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 3:54 PM

On my way to city hall this morning, I passed through the Rose Quarter Transit Center, and saw workers busily applying the green thermoplastic that designates bike boxes, as part of the new bike route cutting through the transit center. Technically speaking, bikes haven't been allowed through that area before.

The new route will officially open tomorrow, with a "bike parade" featuring Mayor-elect Sam Adams and TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen, and bike advocates.

The parade kicks off from NE Wheeler, between NE Interstate and Multnomah, at 1:45 pm tomorrow.

Sit/Lies In The Shadow Of New Construction

Posted by Matt Davis on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Condo tower by Gerding Edlen (contribution to mayor Sam Adams' election campaign by boss Mark Edlen, $1000). Illegal activity in the foreground courtesy of the City of Portland and the Portland Business Alliance (contribution to mayor Sam Adams' election campaign by PBA chief executive Sandra McDonough, $250).

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The mayor's Street Access For Everyone committee meets tomorrow at 9:30 at city hall to decide on what to report back to council about the controversial sit/lie law. Although not everyone affected by the outcome of that meeting will be there...or as well represented in the pockets of the politicians with the power to decide the future of the law.

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Portland is a small town. But I don't think it should be small enough for everyone to pal around and ignore the political injustice being wreaked all over our most vulnerable citizens by those without the guts to stand up and say: No. This is wrong. This is heartless. This could stand in the way of my career, but god damn it, I'm going to fight it.

Ambition runs deeper than compassion at city hall, I think. Commissioner Randy Leonard is the only commissioner against the law on civil rights grounds.

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Like Sands Through the Hourglass

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 2:55 PM

So goes the time in your day with the amazing website thisissand.com. Did you ever do those weird sand paintings in a bottle when you were a kid? Do you remember how relaxing it was? Recapture your childhood while simultaneously throwing every useful moment in your day out the window. Just click the little box on the upper left hand side of the thisissand window to enter an ever sifting world of wonder.

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oooohhhhh groooovy

She's a Republican Strategist and -- What Was That, Kyra?

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM

Via Queerty.

Tonight's The Night Leanne Marshall Will Win Project Runway

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Hey, don't take my word for it--after all, as a local who writes about local fashion design, I'm kind of biased. But as we prepare for the finale of Project Runway, airing tonight (I am so glad it is not in conflict with the presidential debate, because I hate to say it but...), it seems just about everyone who's weighed in is on Leanne's side. NPR's Linda Holmes sums it up nicely:

Sometimes, you don't even know that a show has any legitimacy until you realize that a particular outcome would really hurt its legitimacy, and a win for Kenley would demolish Project Runway's legitimacy. People like this show partly because it was one of the first reality shows to showcase actual skill -- not always, but sometimes. Not reliably, but at least sporadically.

It's true. And given the response Leanne has already received at New York Fashion Week, it seems all too clear... Come celebrate tonight at the Tanker with us--it all goes down starting at 8 pm.

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Obama vs. McCain = Batman vs. Penguin?

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 1:52 PM

Another reminder! Don't miss out on the final presidential debate tonight at 6 pm -- and by all means, please join the Mercury as we drink beer, hoot, holler, hiss and cheer at either the Clinton Street Theater on the big screen (2522 SE Clinton) or at Roots Organic Brewery (1520 SE 7th). PLUS! We'll be LIVEBLOGGING the whole shebang, so drop back in to Blogtown starting at 5:30!

In the meantime, take a look at this 1968 debate between Batman and the Penguin. Notice any similarities to 2008?

Zombies Throughout The Years (Resident Evil Style)

Posted by Earnest "Nex" Cavalli on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Resident Evil 5 should be coming soon, barring any massive delays at Capcom, so to celebrate, the Gamevideos.com people have glued together a montage looking at the evolution of the series' most prolific antagonist, the zombie.

I'm all for this video -- both zombies and Resident Evil hold a special, sticky place in my heart -- but damn if that music doesn't totally ruin the mood. You'd expect something a bit darker to accompany the hordes of undead gore junkies, and yet Gamevideos serves up the Muzak equivalent of the most generic adventure movie theme ever imagined and immediately forgotten (with a disgusted look) by John Williams.

It gets better as the video goes on, but the PlayStation years are aural torture.

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Oregon Teen Sex Report!

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Every year, the Department of Human Services surveys all the Oregon public school 8th and 11th graders about a handful of personal questions. They use the results to monitor mental health and substance abuse but for everyone the data is a treasure trove of juicy details telling us what those kids these days are up to. And they just released the 2008 8th graders report!

What do you want to know? How about how many 8th graders are actually having sex? According to them, 17.4 percent of Oregon 8th graders have had intercourse, the majority of them with only one partner. That's about the same as the stats for last year, though there's a slight gender split for both years: 16 percent of females have had sex (I feel weird using the word "female", but neither "girl" nor "woman" seems right and besides, this is science) versus about 19 percent of males ("guys").

edit: Wm. Steve Humphrey points out that the survey includes only "intercourse" as sex excluding us from knowing, sadly, the 8th grade handjob/blow job percentages these days.

Among those who had sex, 20 percent said drugs or alcohol were involved (last year was 25 percent) and 30 percent didn't use a condom... though it looks like nine percent of those condomless kids tried some sort of other birth control method, like the Pill or withdrawal. Thanks to budget cuts, not all Oregon junior highs have sex ed. That means a good number of those young males and females having sex won't learn about birth control in school for at least another year.

So what about drugs and booze? Adults are always writing about teens using the drugs and the booze, but what do the teens themselves think of it all? Turns out they view cigarettes as a bigger danger than alcohol. Here's the percentage of 8th graders who think using these substances is "very wrong":
cigarettes - 68%
alcohol - 59.8%
marijuana - 73%
LSD, coke, meth - 87.9%

And in a slam on the police - or just evidence that the 21+ drinking age is impossible to enforce - only 23 percent strongly believe that the police would catch someone their age drinking in the neighborhood. About 20 percent say that's "not true at all."

The survey's nutrition section also reveals that 15.5 percent of 8th graders didn't eat a single vegetable in the week before the survey and 34 percent only ate fruit 1-3 times. WTF?

The DHS's website is tough to navigate, but if you follow their cryptic links you might stumble onto how to look through the data yourself.

Downward Dog

Posted on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 12:49 PM

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I know we tend to stick to things feline here at Blogtown, but we also recognize the importance of keeping you hip to the necessary internet memes to get you through your day. So, dear readers, Upside Down Dogs. It's dogs, that are upside down. Expect upside down presidential candidates (holding upside down babies?) by the end of the day, followed by upside down Mad Men characters, and then, of course, i can has cheezburger cats, upside down, dressed as ninjas, singing Usher. It's how the internet works. LS

Rumor: Watchmen in Portland Tomorrow Night? (Also: If So, Who Wants to Help Me Sneak Into the Screening?)

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 12:21 PM

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Take this with a grain of salt, but earlier today, Collider posted a very interesting story.

This Thursday, Warner Bros. is testing Zack Snyder's Watchmen in Portland. They're trying to get a blind audience, so no one would know what they're seeing. Well, that is... until now.

Here's what I know, the movie is scheduled to show at the Regal Lloyd Center 10 Theater in Portland at 7pm.

While all the test screenings I've been to use passes to get in, supposedly the screening has no passes and they'll just be recruiting people at the theater that night. So if you decide to go, it's probably a good idea to play dumb.

Hrm.

First off, I want fucking in.

Second, my contact who does PR for Warner Bros. mysteriously hasn't returned my inquisitive email about this particular subject, so your guess is as good as mine as to whether the Collider story is legit or not. (And even if it is legit, it's not like the studio would tell a member of the press about it--especially if they're looking for a blind audience.)

But all that aside: If you're into possibly seeing Watchmen a few months early (and who the fuck isn't, I ask), it can't hurt to show up at Lloyd Cinemas tomorrow evening to scope out the situation.

Thanks to Nex for the heads up.

This Is the Most Depressing Article I've Ever Read

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 11:52 AM

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This dude lives at the mall. Literally.

From Time Magazine:

...When the Americana at Brand opened in Glendale, Calif., in May, shoppers really got a chance to make themselves at home. That's because the $400 million retail complex includes not just Cole Haan, Barnes & Noble and Urban Outfitters but also 100 condos and 238 apartments--part of real estate's mixed-use trend.
Here are some quotes from the lucky tenant:
"This place actually feels more like a European shopping district."

"It's $2,800 a month, for a one-bedroom with a big patio. It's not cheap, but I'm saving money on gas, 'cause I can get everything I need right here."

"I go to the movie theater, the restaurants, the Barnes & Noble. It's free to people-watch. If anything, I have to worry about gaining weight from the Cheesecake Factory."

"[Frank Sinatra] seems to be playing on the mall speakers all the time. Yup. Him and Michael Buble."

Oh dear god. I'm kinda speechless. It sounds like he's enjoying it, but this is like my worst nightmare. Reading this just makes me grateful for my crummy, dirty, rundown apartment with no muzak and nary a Cheesecake Factory for miles.

Community Rallies Round North Portland Grandmother in Adoption Case

Posted by Matt Davis on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Community organizers and neighborhood activists met at the Urban League of Portland headquarters on N Russell yesterday to rally round North Portland grandmother Carollynn Smith—who is fighting the state department of human services for custody of her two youngest grandchildren (read the story in the Merc, here).

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Reporters from KOIN 6 and the Skanner newspaper watched as the group planned a strategy.

Jeri Williams, a neighborhood program coordinator from the city of Portland, who was at the meeting in her personal capacity, and plans to get Smith signed up to speak to city council next Wednesday morning in open testimony.

Sunshine Dixon, a community organizer for the Urban League of Portland, plans work with Oregon Action to find an attorney for Smith by the end of this week. She's also circulating a petition, and fliers urging the community to contact the police. Midge Purcell, coordinator for organization and public affairs for the Urban League, is planning an event at a church before October 30, when Smith's grandkids' adoption becomes final.

Meanwhile Jan Meskimen, a retired Portland Public Schools teacher who was among the first couples in Oregon to adopt cross-culturally, was there to offer her perspective. Having raised an African American daughter and granddaughter through adoption (Meskimen is white), she said she knows how difficult it is for African American kids adopted by white families, like Smith's.

"She needs to get her grandkids," said Meskimen. "Because you can love other people's children, love them all you want, but that biological connection, the heritage and culture, it binds them all together. The other kids need to be part of that."

As this reporter left, he was asked to join a prayer circle. He didn't think it would be appropriate for a journalist to do something like that, although he hopes the ladies said "hello" on his behalf.

If you can help, especially with the legal side of things, you're encouraged to call Sunshine Dixon with the Urban League on 503 280 2618.

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Obama's Campaign Sets the Tone for Tonight's Debate

Posted by Amy J. Ruiz on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 10:29 AM

From Team Obama's press secretary:

In tonight's debate, Chuck Todd of NBC News says, McCain needs to "figure out how to disqualify Barack Obama." Time Magazine's Mark Halperin writes, "McCain will have to produce a major memorable moment." The NY Daily News says the debate is "do-or-die for McCain's campaign." However they put it, people agree, John McCain needs a game-changer.

On the big issues, this debate is one last chance for John McCain to do what he has failed to do throughout this entire campaign: explain to the American people how his economic policies would be any different at all than the failed Bush agenda he has supported every step of the way. It's his last chance to somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn't disqualify him from being President.

Just this weekend, John McCain vowed to "whip Obama's you-know-what" at the debate, and he's indicated that he'll use Bill Ayers to attack Barack Obama. Even though Senator McCain has said he doesn't "give a damn" about Bill Ayers, his campaign has admitted that if he talks about the economy, he'll lose.

Join us tonight at Roots Organic Brewing or the Clinton Street Theater (or, check out Blogtown's live-blogging extravaganza) to see how desperate McCain gets.

Al Gore's Coming to Portland

Posted by Amy J. Ruiz on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley is running a great race against incumbent Sen. Gordon Smith, aka the only Republican senator representing a West Coast state. And for voters who aren't convinced on the straight up issues (or, for those who just like to have fun), Merkley has been busting out the celebs lately.

Last weekend, Colin Meloy headlined a show at the Doug Fir for Merkley. And on October 24, Al Gore's coming to Portland to stump for Merkley. Head here to get tickets to the Convention Center event.

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 9:27 AM

Retail sales took its largest dip in three years, as consumers shun the malls. I don't know what they're talking about... I was at the mall just yesterday, at the food court. Have you tried Oriental Max? It's delicious.

The final presidential debate is tonight, and it's all or nothing for McCain who swears up and down he's going to pull the William Ayers card. Following that, expect Obama to pull the "you look like an asshole" card.

SPEAKING OF DEBATES! Don't forget to join the Mercury tonight at the Clinton Street Theater (2522 SE Clinton) and Roots Organic Brewing (1520 SE 7th) to watch the final presidential debate -- but get their early (5:30 at the latest) to get your beer and "boo" on!

The Sacramento GOP grudgingly took down an ad on their website that said "Waterboard Obama." Wow. Sorry to put you guys out!

Vice President Dick Cheney experienced an abnormal heart rhythm today... but then it went back to normal, which is no heartbeat at all.

Speaking of lying liars, after nearly a year of denials Madonna and Guy Ritchie have announced they will divorce. Hey Sean Penn... here's your chance!

Want to virtually guarantee your daughter will eventually commit suicide? Name her "Sarah McCain Palin."

Hotsy-totsy Hayden Panetierre from Heroes explains why you should vote for John McCain: "Because he's just like Bush except he's older and has a worse temper."


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