No more Pagoda for you, Hollywood! The project to erase one of the neighborhood's iconic buildings is well underway.
More wanton destruction after the jump. (Wanton. Get it?)
I've been visiting Oregon Media Central since Oregon Media Insiders wrapped last month, and this morning, they've broken their first story: Oregonian Single-Copy Rate Increases to $1. Head over there for local media scoops when you get the chance.
And if you could answer my question about "Why bags of Kettle Chips are so hard to open," that would be nice, too. (Avoid advising me to use scissors, unless you would like a pair in your eye.) WOOT NOW! QUESTIONLAND!
Personally, I don't taste much difference between an A-hole and a B-hole… but then I'm funny like that. However, the people in this ad for Hardee's new Biscuit Holes have a lot of opinions… mmm… about holes.
That's the official line of our esteemed editor Wm.Steven Humphrey on today's big free speech/tech story: "NYTimes and Wikipedia Save Reporter’s Life By NOT Reporting On His Capture."
Earlier last week, New York Times reporter David Rohde escaped from a Taliban prison. He had been a Taliban hostage for the last seven months, but the general public had absolutely no clue. In a joint effort by The New York Times and Wikipedia, the story was kept quiet until his daring escape.
"There'll be obvious comments from people saying 'I thought his writing was better than before'," says Coleman, who was recently released just in time to take over from the drunken chimp we had commissioned to "ghost edit" Coleman's section.
Also: I have not been "working from home" for the last three years, but in fact, was kidnapped by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman in 2006 and have been doing his bidding via Wireless from a dungeon at Saltzman Towers, ever since.
Needless to say, these truth-tellings may throw up Orwellian trust and free speech questions, but we only lied to protect our own. Just like the New York Times and Wikipedia. More at Buzzfeed.
Former Mercury Arts Editor Chas Bowie once advised me that when a woman wears a romper, "it screams, 'please don't fuck me.'"
What do you suppose this one is screaming?
A woman is being questioned by the police (for a murder charge, no less), and a squirrel pops out of her cleavage. Now… this is one of those situations where there are probably hundreds of good jokes to be made, however, these newscasters are simply not up to the challenge. Nice attempt, though!
Tomorrow is the start of Oregon Craft Beer Month! I know for some (I’m looking at you, soulful-eyed beer hounds) this information is completely exciting. However, if you’ve been reading my blog posts you know chief among my many flaws is a lack of proper zeal for beer.
Generally when I’m out for some alcohol-based recreation, the only beer that hits my table is the one accompanying my whiskey. When I do spring for a pint, it’s some fashion of cheap American lager. Then, to completely emasculate the beer experience, I drop a lime into the glass.
I’m not a bad man. I know that I’m lucky to live in a region that is blessed with fantastic hops varieties, amazing water, fine grains, and brewers creative enough to turn these things into a seemingly endless array of beers. I’ve also loved many a craft beer. The problem is I’m stymied by a mild case of brew ignorance.
I’ve been to enough tastings and breweries to have a fairly good working knowledge of the brewing process (shit, if it weren’t for beer, there would be no whiskey), and if someone put a gun to my head I could probably tell a firkin from a standard keg. Still, much of the lingo is lost to me. It’s become very clear, while trying to navigate this suds filled ocean, that tasting craft beer is every bit as complex as, if less snooty than, tasting wine. There are so many varieties, and riffs on flavors and styles, that it’s difficult to try and track down what I like; to find what moves me. Or to understand why.
I trust my palate (that’s a necessity in this gig), but when I’m at say, a beer festival, I often feel like I’ve been tossed into the deep end of the pool, and that pool is filled with beer, and I’ve been asked to identify by taste how it was made before they release the sharks… the deadly beer sharks. Plus, I’m drunk, which complicates things.
Therefore, I’m announcing today that for the month of July, the only alcoholic beverage that will pass my lips will be Oregon craft beers. Yes, while others in the food community will be going vegan for the summer, I’m going “beer hound”. I will have at least one new pint every day (there must be at least 31 unique Oregon craft brews, right?). I’ll be seeking out local beer experts to aid me in my education. I’ll be attending beer events and opening my mind to the craft beer experience as if it were a clean, unused, imperial pint glass. I will not let a single distilled spirit sully my liver. My body will be a temple… Filled with Oregon beer.
However, dear Blogtownies, I need a little help from my friends in the form of a drinking list. What are your Oregon craft beer essentials? I’ll start there, because for some reason I trust you. Would you like to aid in my education? E-mail me and we'll go drinking.
Now, to celebrate my last day of cocktails until August...
The Oregon Brewer’s Guild kicks off Oregon Craft Beer Month at the Horse Brass [4534 SE Belmont] tomorrow night at 5pm. A whole passel of breweries from around the state will be represented and t-shirts and pint glasses will be raffled off. Check the OBG blog for more details and a schedule of Oregon Craft Beer Month events.
Tomorrow, the Portland Timbers take on the Seattle Sounders in the second round of the US Open Cup. There is no deeper, more hateful, or hotly contested rivalry in American Soccer. These teams hate each other, and if the Sounders had fans, they'd hate us. As it is, they have customers, who are starting to get the message that this is a rivalry.
As of Monday there were only about 2,000 tickets still available. I cannot impress upon you all how awesome this game will be. We will win, we will smash, we will out sing, out play, out shout and out class any wanker that comes from Seattle, in a jersey or donning one of their 'rave green' scarves.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has handed down its much-expected ruling in the heavily-litigated Minnesota Senate race from 2008—and it's a unanimous one—deciding against Republican former Sen. Norm Coleman's appeal of his defeat in the election trial and affirming the lower court's verdict that Democratic comedian Al Franken is the legitimate winner of the race.
The courts finds that "Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minn. Stat. § 204C.40 (2008) to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota." This means that when Franken is ultimately seated, the Democrats will have 60 seats and be able to beat any Republican filibuster if they stay completely united (though good luck with that, obviously.)
IRAQIS CELEBRATE U.S DEPARTURE!!! It only took six years.
MADOFF'S NEW PONZI SCHEME!!! Exposed on the Daily Show:
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JOE'S LOSS IS DICK'S GAIN!!! Reminds me of my mother in law's advice about Googling for "Dick's".
BEWARE OBAMA'S EVIL EYE!!! But not for much longer...
PORTLAND'S CREATIVE CLASS!!! Crafts the smuggest, most infuriating website I have ever seen.
FIRED REPORTER ENDS UP ON THE STREETS!!! This one really made my morning.
DID DERMATOLOGIST SIRE JACKSON'S KIDS??? Oh, Jesus.
"SCANTILY CLAD MALE DANCERS IN CARPENTER'S BELTS!!! Ohhhh, Jesus.
IT CAME FROM WASILLA!!! McCain's former staffers dish the dirt on Sarah Palin.
I really have nothing else to add here.
Link: Camp Rudy
Most American Soccer fans were excited about Sunday because the US Mens National Team, so long the butt of jokes around the world, had pulled off an improbable win (3-0 against African Champions Egypt), followed by a Holy Fucking Shit Did That Just Happen? win (2-0 against European Champions Spain, whose squad collectively earn something close to $1billion a year in salary), to put them in the Confederations Cup Final against Brazil, a country so famous for it's Soccer prowess that international friendlies against them often degenerate into Globetrotters vs Generals games.
For Timbers fans, however, that match was only the beginning of a magical day of footie: the Timbers Army sponsored a Timbers U23 match and BBQ (a portion of the ticket sales went to charity), followed by the Timbers Senior team playing the Montreal Impact, who we beat at the last moment earlier this month.
In an expected move, the Portland Trail Blazers are cutting ties with Channing Frye, this according to an article by the Oregonian's Jason Quick. By not giving Frye—the Blazers' best blogger and second best PF—a qualifying offer, he is free to seek out employment with another team (which he should find, no problem).
Frye's stay in Portland will probably best be remembered by his deep love for the city, and less for his limited time spent on court. He was the only Blazers player to make Portland his full-time home during the off-season, and was, without question, the nicest/funniest voice in the locker room. You hear that Oden? Time to turn that frown upside down and be funny.
Hopefully Frye can land on a team that will give him some more playing time, and perhaps pay his salary entirely in Sweet Leaf tea. Good luck, man.
I just want to say a big "thanks!" to the many hundreds of people who stopped by our awesome booth at Multnomah County Bike Fair on Saturday. Special big thanks to the brave people who participate in the track stand contest, withstanding thirty seconds of intense water balloon bombardment from the feisty crowd in exchange for a cool multi-tool prize from Bike Gallery.
It has always been a personal fantasy of mine to pelt trackstanders (those people stop at stop lights and twitch back and forth rather than putting a foot down) with water balloons and you helped make my dreams come true! And more so! One of the first winners was this guy with a seriously broken arm, who could not be talked out of sitting dangerously atop his bike while children with Mercury-supplied water balloons assaulted the shit out of him. Good job, guy! Next year we'll have water balloons AND waivers.
More ridiculous photos below the cut!
There are few constants in the world. Death and taxes are the two constantly bandied about by those glibly trying to assign some sort of meaning to the insignificant minutiae of their lives, but the one everyone forgets is the inescapable reality of human greed. Money is endlessly motivating to the people of our modern world and nothing — not love, not death, not the endless dilution of otherwise treasured ideas — will keep people from exploiting, scheming and manipulating in the pursuit of cartoonish bags of cash.
Case in point: The Harry Potter franchise. The last decade has seen untold millions of dollars pulled down by the scarfaced wizard and his precocious pals, and far from being content with the revenue from book sales, the series has been spun off into films, comic books, knapsacks, lunchboxes, band-aids, flavored gelatin, pencil cases, hair care products, prophylactics, radio plays, model airplanes, even larger knapsacks, Nordic fjords and, of course, videogames.
This morning the latest of those arrived on my doorstep, courtesy Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. My tenuous grasp on reality du jour hinges on the idea that there must be some kind of redeeming quality in everything, so consider this an attempt at finding that gleaming heart of gold in what most would otherwise dismiss as a cynical cash-in.
Translation: Strap on your helmets kids.
So that Leverage show that shoots here? They need extras—specifically, "hip and fashionable men and women to be fashion show attendees, fashion designers, buyers, magazine editors, etc." They're also looking for "runway models" between 18-30 years old who "NEED TO KNOW HOW TO WALK THE RUNWAY." (Christ, I get it, stop shouting at me. That's the last time I show off the walk I learned from Top Model.)
And yes, they're paying—which in times like these, justifies posting notices like this one on Blogtown. Hit the jump for the full press release and all the details.
County Chair Ted Wheeler this morning told the Mercury that he doesn't feel $15million for Major League Soccer is an appropriate use of urban renewal money—setting the stage for a fight with Mayor Sam Adams unless the mayor can find an alternative source for the cash.
Adams is hoping to plug a financial hole in the planned renovation of PGE Park with money from a yet-to-be created urban renewal area (URA) in Portland's central city. But the URA is unlikely to have been created by September 1, the deadline for the city to finalize its deal with Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson. In the mean time, Adams and Wheeler have been meeting every two weeks with PDC experts and downtown big hitters like the Portland Business Alliance and Portland State University to try to hammer out what a new URA might look like.
Still, it's not clear how Adams plans to extract the extra $15million before the URA's creation process is complete. Adams can hardly raise the $15million as a footnote over the coming months, with MLS such a controversial issue for Portland.
Wheeler delivered a pointed presentation to the group this morning, arguing that since URAs are supposed to improve "blighted" areas, the city is going to have to agree on what "blight" means downtown. The definition of "blight" in state law is "wishy-washy," he said, before encouraging the group to decide whether "we're taking dollars from areas that are truly blighted, and not just with a wink and a nod around the table here."
Wheeler repeated his perennial point that the creation of a URA means at least a quarter on every tax dollar is taken away from vital county services like jails and drug treatment, and also the school district. "We're going to make some very real trade offs on some of the important community services we're investing in," he said.
After the meeting, the Mercury asked Wheeler whether he intends to oppose any effort by Adams to take $15million from the URA to fund the renovation of PGE Park for MLS.
"I hope I didn't come across as being confrontational," he said. "It's just that the trade offs with urban renewal are not theoretical. They are very real. I'm helping focus the question. I'm not telling people what to do. I just want people to be able to consider these questions."
"If people believe that renovating PGE Park again is more important than some of the critical services in our community then that is up to them," said Wheeler. "But from my perspective, the answer is no."
The $15million hole came up at city council last week, with City Commissioner Dan Saltzman reiterating his resistance to the use of URA money to renovate the stadium. He said he thought Paulson should be put on the hook to find a source for the money, prompting City Commissioner Randy Leonard and Mayor Sam Adams to effectively shush him. Leonard said the city needed to have some "integrity to [its] negotiations" with Paulson, while Adams said urban renewal money was still on the table as a "last resort," but that "the great thing about a democracy is that we can move forward with slightly different points of view on the detail."
The prospective problem for Adams is that Wheeler doesn't look prepared to allow the mayor to view the $15million as a matter of "the detail." There'll be no glossing-over of the decision, no "nods" or "winks" with Wheeler at the table. Wheeler's vocal up-front position on blight issues seems designed to push others around the table—Adams, the PBA, PDC, in particular—to take political responsibility for their decisions on a new URA. Perhaps Wheeler's presentation was not intended to be as "confrontational" as when he savaged Randy Leonard over the issue in council back in March, but there's more than one way to fight.
In semi-related news, the Mercury asked Wheeler for advice on the completion of a triathlon. Your reporter is training along with former Mercury news editor Scott Moore for the sprint triathlon in the Willamette this August. Wheeler said the best way to go is to focus on the bike and the run. "You're not going to win in the swim," he said. "It's the bike and the run where you can really make up some time." Wheeler has completed two Iron-Man triathlons in his time (these consist of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and lastly, running a full marathon...ouch). "It's all about tenacity," he said.
In this forum, the future of URA funding for the MLS deal may well depend on whether Adams has any tenacity left after going a full 12 rounds with the attorney general over the Breedlove scandal. Wheeler, on the other hand, seems just to be getting warmed up.
Not all the new stores on NW 23rd are chains like Free People and Restoration Hardware. IDOM is celebrating their grand reopening in the former Seaplane location tonight, and if you go you'll be able to take 20% off and enter to win a $350 outfit. Plus, how cute is the paint job?
Read all the deets on this and other PDX fashion events over on MOD, where we ponder the pervasive influence of R. Buckminster Fuller on local design, and other stuff.
A simple, yet profound question that deserves a final answer! C'mon neighborhoods! Represent! Upper Arbor Lodge 4-evah! (Though I'd rather live in Questionland.)
The Times breaks down Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's jaw-dropping box office success:
Horrid reviews couldn’t dent Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which demonstrated once again the power of sequels by selling an estimated $201.2 million in tickets at North American theaters over its first five days.
The huge No. 1 entrance to the marketplace was on par with last summer’s Batman sequel, The Dark Knight, which sold $203.8 million in tickets over the same period and now ranks as one of the biggest blockbusters in movie history with over $1 billion in global sales. Overseas Transformers sold $186 million in tickets in its first five days....
Few expect this Transformers to match the staying power of The Dark Knight because the new picture, directed by Michael Bay, with Steven Spielberg as executive producer, has received some of the worst reviews of the decade. Roger Ebert’s critique used the terms “horrible,” “unbearable,” “meager” and “music of hell” to describe it. (And that was just in the opening paragraph.)
Drawing particular scrutiny are two new robots, Skids and Mudflap, who talk in jive and are portrayed as illiterate; one has a gold tooth. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, two of the three credited screenwriters on the movie (the other is Ehren Kruger), have blamed Mr. Bay for the stereotyping. The director has brushed off the criticism in interviews.
Hear that, movie critics? No one gives two shits what you have to say about anythi—wait, wait! Hold up! Seriously? People are calling these guys racist? No fucking way!
I wish there was a clip or something of Skids and Mudflap on YouTube—you really don't get the full effect until you see them fist-bumping. Admittedly, these guys are just two more WTF things in an already-WTF movie, but christ, I can't think of a single black stereotype that Bay doesn't have his two minstrel-bots embody during the film—by the time the film's final battle arrives, one half-expects Skids and Mudflap to transform themselves into their car forms and drive to Popeyes. But c'mon—what're you getting all concerned and depressed for? Paramount's delighted with Transformers! Just look at their gloating press release!
"Michael Bay has once again proven he's an outstanding filmmaker with a unique ability to connect with audiences," said Paramount Pictures Corporation Chairman and CEO Brad Grey. "The entire Paramount family is proud to be behind him and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with him in the future."
"Proud to be behind him"? "Continuing our collaboration with him in the future"? $200 million five-day gross? Start getting excited for Transformers 3: The Skids and Mudflap Variety Hour, America! Because Michael Bay has a unique ability to connect with audiences, you see.
Frank Rich contrasted the bravery of Stonewall rioters—mostly street kids who'd been thrown out of their homes by their parents—with the cowardice of President Obama. Unlike their contemporaries, student anti-war protesters, the kids at Stonewall didn't have dorms to go back and student meal plans and parents willing to speak to them much less bail them out of jail. They had "no powerful allies of any kind, no rights, no future." But they had something President Obama lacks: courage.
No president possesses that magic wand, but Obama’s inaction on gay civil rights is striking. So is his utterly uncharacteristic inarticulateness. The Justice Department brief defending DOMA has spoken louder for this president than any of his own words on the subject. Chrisler noted that he has given major speeches on race, on abortion and to the Muslim world. “People are waiting for that passionate speech from him on equal rights,” she said, “and the time is now.”
Action would be even better. It’s a press cliché that “gay supporters” are disappointed with Obama, but we should all be. Gay Americans aren’t just another political special interest group. They are Americans who are actively discriminated against by federal laws. If the president is to properly honor the memory of Stonewall, he should get up to speed on what happened there 40 years ago, when courageous kids who had nothing, not even a public acknowledgment of their existence, stood up to make history happen in the least likely of places.
Read the whole thing here.
After moonwalking off this mortal coil, and leaving Macaulay Culkin without a best friend, there has been an awful lot of Michael Jackson memorializing this past week. It's like everyone was just waiting for this to happen so they could finally speak well of the man without being weighed down by the guilt and confusion that pretty much sums up the past two decade of Jackson's troubled existence. It's similar to discussing the life of Phil Spector: We want to praise his recording skills and pop vision, yet there is that whole shooting-a-woman-in-the-face thing.
From the re-released version of Thriller, this 1981 bedroom demo of "Billie Jean" just might be my favorite MJ song ever. Clearly an incomplete version of a song that he had yet to fully write, you hear a comfortable (his request for Quincy Jones to add "More kickin' stuff" is adorable) artist on the cusp of great things. The young man in the studio that day is a not the same posturing/creepy/sad creature that fell to a heart attack—or shady doctor conspiracy—last Thursday.
Remembering Jackson shouldn't be just limited to grandiose posthumous praise—it had been decades since the man truly wore the "King of Pop" crown—nor should it just be limited to lazy jokes about molestation and plastic surgery. His career arch—from cuddly kid star, to pop legend, to horror movie villain—was far from ideal, but with Jackson, you take the very good with the very bad.
Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean" (demo version)
End Hits: We're hoping "Blanket" Jackson continues in his father's footsteps.
For his devastating Ponzi scheme, financial dickhole Bernie Madoff gets the maximum sentence: 150 years. (Why does that not sound "maximum-y" enough for me?)
Pack yer bags, boys: the troops begin their withdrawal from Iraq.
Michael Jackson's mom has filed to get custody of the dead pop idol's kids. Wait… isn't the father… GAHH! JOE JACKSON! Hasn't he done enough?
Supreme Court rules that four white firefighters were discriminated against because of their race. FINALLY, some justice for the honkies!
Doctors say that ovary transplants are possible. FINALLY, some justice for men who are tired of women who say "Ooh-la-la, I can make babies, and you CAN'T."
To placate the mobs, the hard-liner Iranian president orders a partial election recount. (In that they will only count the votes made for him. Fair?)
South Carolina governor decides to stay on the job following his Argentinian love scandal—because that's the new hep thing all the politicians are doing.
And finally, remember the Filipino prisoners who rose to YouTube fame with their Thriller reenactment? Here's their tribute to the late Michael Jackson. (It's mostly a lot of arm waving, but jump to the 5:30 mark to see their very weird MJ poster.)
Here's a cheerful Monday morning musical message from the Westboro Baptist Church. It's one hell of a catchy tune and I defy you to keep from singing the chorus all day long.
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