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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gold Star: The Mercury's Web Comment of the Week!

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 5:44 PM

This feels really wrong.


Really, really wrong.


(Non nerds: Dalek.)

Missing 14-Year-Old Was Likely Murdered; Why Police Didn't Originally Think Her Case Was "Suspicious"

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Yashanee Vaughn
  • Yashanee Vaughn
Tragic news: Portland Police report today that missing 14-year-old Yashanee Vaugh has likely been murdered. While they have yet to find her body and will not divulge exactly why they believe Vaughn is dead, police have arrested 16-year-old boy, Parrish Bennett, on murder charges in the case.

Vaughn's family sharply criticized the Portland police's handling of the case, saying the officers dropped the ball by classifying Vaughn's disappearance as "not suspicious" when her mother, Shaquita Louis, first reported her missing on March 21. Only after Louis called the police again on March 23rd were two detectives assigned to find out what happened.

To counter that criticism (or, in their polite words, "clarify what has occurred in regard to this case"), Portland Police released a timeline of the case (pdf).

The decision to classify a disappearance as "suspicious" or "not suspicious" makes a major difference in the way a case is treated. Police spokeswoman Lt. Kelli Sheffer explains that all missing people are entered into a national missing persons database and police are alerted about all missing people, but when a juvenile's disappearance is deemed suspicious, the case gets a dedicated officer who does not leave the case until the person is found. Search dogs are deployed and a press release goes out. "They'll look until they find the child. And either they find 'em. Or they keep adding more resources," says Sheffer. If a disappearance isn't suspicious, the case doesn't get the specifically dedicated staff, though they are reviewed by officers.

In Vaughn's case, the officer who took her mom's missing call didn't think the case sounded suspicious.

"All the information is looked at to determine whether they're at risk," says Sheffer. "She left on her own free will and there was no information present that she couldn't return home on her own." Vaughn didn't have a history of mental health issues that would have raised red flags and, additionally, she had briefly left home the year before after a family fight.

When Louis called again on March 23rd, saying her daughter was still missing, the officer on the line decided it was potentially an unusual case and two detectives got on it. It wasn't until March 28th, ten days after she'd gone missing, that police came to believe Vaughn could be "at risk" and sent out a press release about her.

But, significantly, if initial evidence is correct, a "suspicious" classification wouldn't have saved Vaughn's life. While the "suspicious" tag may have led to tracking down Vaughn and her alleged killer quicker, the police report that it appears Vaughn was killed on March 19th, a day after she disappeared. Her mom, according to police records, did not report her missing until March 21st.

Ask Questions, Answer Questions—Get Free Pizza!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Got questions for your friends and neighbors in Portland? Like pizza? You said "Yes" to both, didn't you? (I knew it!)

Well, over on Questionland, the person who posts the best question of the week, and the person who posts the best answer of the week get a delicious Hot Lips pizza. FOR, like, FREE!!

What's a good question, you ask? Start with legit queries about life in Portland. Here's a bunch: Where can I get a decent salt bagel in PDX? Best Coconut Cream Pie? What restaurant/bars have a real, working fireplace? Where can I donate sample size/slightly used shampoos and toiletries? What restaurants offer dining after 2AM? What record store in Portland has the best selection of metal on vinyl? My 60-year-old mom is visiting me next week... any suggestions?

You can (and should) vote for your favorite questions and answers. Rhetorical or jokey questions ("Why am I so hot?" "Does anyone have a recipe for diaper gravy on toast?") won't get you bumpkis. (BTW, "bumpkis" is not "free pizza.")

They'll announce the winners and mail out gift certificates every week. So do it to it! Ask good questions, post good answers, and eat good pizza in return. That's QUESTIONLAND, and that's what I call WIN-WIN-WIN.


It's Happening Tonight!

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 2:44 PM


GET 'EM HIGH—With razor-sharp lyrics and a delivery that's at once laidback and powerful, Talib Kweli's a hell of a hiphop artist in his own right, even if he's most famous for his collaborations (Mos Def, Hi-Tek, Madlib, some guy named Kanye). Tonight he's in Portland, no doubt doing a few tracks off of his latest solo album, Gutter Rainbows. EH
w/Fashawn, Animal Farm, T&E; Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside, 9 pm, $18-20, all ages

HEADBANGERS' BALL—Cram in your earplugs and limber up that neck, because tonight is your chance to bang your head to the star-studded Metalliance Tour lineup. Catch local heroes Red Fang debut new material from their epic Murder the Mountains album, plus a headlining set from Helmet, who will perform Meantime in its entirety. Prepare for things to get heavy. EAC
w/Saint Vitus, Crowbar, Kylesa, & more; Roseland, 8 NW 6th, 7 pm, $18, all ages


BIEBER BEAT: Beebs Grows Up to be a Douche

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 2:29 PM

BIEBER BEAT!! People often speculate what Justin Bieber may be like when he turns 30—and now? There may be a movie to answer that very question! From the LA Times.

Bieber is eyeing a lead role in the comedy “What Would Kenny Do?” according to a person who was briefed on the project but was not authorized to speak about it publicly. The film tells of a relationship between a 17-year-old and his thirtysomething self. Said thirtysomething would be played by Ashton Kutcher, the source said.

What… the… SHIT?!?

Chris Baldi’s “Kenny” script, which landed on Hollywood’s Black List in 2008, is an R-rated comedy describing a teenager who meets a hologram claiming to be the adult version of himself; the hologram then helps guide the teen through high school.

I'm pretty sure that if I needed someone to guide me through high school, it wouldn't be Ashton Kutcher. (My first instinct is to go with Kelly LeBrock.)

BEIBER BEAT!! In other critical Bieber news, remember how Beebles cut his hair for charity, which was then purchased for $40,000? That very same hair is currently ON A NATIONWIDE TOUR (I swear to god I'm not kidding) in a glass case (under constant supervision from TWO bodyguards), where anyone who donates money to the Japanese relief fund can have their picture taken with it! In a related story: THAT'S FUCKED!

BIEBER BEAT!! Washed-up salvia huffer and one of the most terrible people in the world Miley Cyrus pissed on both Justin Bieber and Rebecca "Friday" Black in a recent interview saying that kids these days? They got it tooooooo easy!

"It should be harder to be an artist. You shouldn't just be able to put a song on YouTube and go out on tour," she told Australia's Daily Telegraph.

See, maybe that's Miley's problem. She never put out a YouTube video. Or learned how to sing. Or got her teeth fixed. Or emancipated herself from her hillbilly dad. Or learned to shut her stupid hee-haw. YOUR ENVY SMELLS LIKE A MOLDY T-SHIRT, MILEY. Gurgle a salvia bong and chill-the-fudge-OUT.

Justin offers his own advice for Miley after the jump.

Continue reading »

Overheard on American Airlines Flight 1919

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Nattily dressed business woman sitting next to me: "You fucking tell them they're not to fucking change any of those fucking purchase agreements until they hear from me, you got it?" Turning to me: "Forgive my language."

Club 915 is for Rent

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 2:04 PM

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has only suspended—not canceled—the license of the bar responsible for two deaths and 17 other "serious incidents" over the past year, but now it looks like the owners are moving on:

  • DCT

Any takers?

Embroidered Book Covers

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Holy stitches, these embroidered book covers by Jillian Tamaki are bitchin'. Penguin Classics commissioned them for release in the fall. I know what my niece is getting for Christmas.

Wrap-around book cover for Emma
  • Jillian Tamaki
  • Wrap-around book cover for Emma

More after the jump.

h/t to Heather for the link

Continue reading »

City Club Report Rips Into County's Mental Health System

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Assembling a fairly scathing report after months of study, a City Club of Portland committee had some blistering words for the way Multnomah County doles out treatment to the mentally ill—accusing the county of muddy budgeting, poor communication both internally and with regional partners, and failing to properly assess whether its programs were actually working.

The report was issued after more than year of close work with county officials, who invited committee members to advisory discussions and shared hundreds of pages of documents and data. And, harshness aside, it's a fairly fascinating read (non-wonks may want to reach for a cuppa coffee) on a worthy subject, especially with politicians and others increasingly pointing the finger at mental health whenever a police officer shoots someone.

Needy individuals fall through the cracks, sometimes receiving no care or care at inappropriate levels and locales... Coordination among departments within Multnomah County that serve the mentally ill is poor. Financial resources (primarily Medicaid monies) flow through a multi-level system from the federal government, to the state, to the county, to those providing care in a system that is complex and opaque. It is impossible to distinguish direct costs for patient care from indirect costs for administration. Even worse, assessment of treatment outcomes is inadequate, so that the effectiveness of treatment cannot be ascertained.

Committee members did pay lip service to the fact that much of the county's funding is tied up by Salem and Washington, D.C. And they took pains, at one point, "to praise the the dedication and commitment of those who testified, including both service providers and county administrators."

But while county officials said they welcomed the review of their work on mental health, it's pretty clear they weren't happy with what emerged, especially in light of all the time they spent with committee members. County Chair Jeff Cogen's spokesman, David Austin, rather charitably called the report an "attempt" to study the problem and said committee members drew mistaken conclusions. For one, he says, the county has already begun reaching out to the state and other regional governments.

Continue reading »


TV Headline of the Day (Perhaps Millennium)

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Check out this headline:

NBC gets Betty White to host a senior citizen hidden-camera prank show.


NBC gets Betty White to host a senior citizen hidden-camera prank show.



I am gong to watch the shit out of this show, and I will never stop watching the shit out of this show. In addition, I feel like this show could use some "senior citizen prank ideas" from Blogtown readers. Please furnish yours in the comments.

The 22nd-Century Church

Posted by Tony Perez on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:44 PM


In case you were worried that the secular humanists were going to win the culture war and God-fearing people would be stuck with lame Geo-Cities pages, fear not. Check out the "web presence" of Evangel Cathedral.

"Thou shalt go forth and make wicked flash animations and tasty guitar licks in all nations." -Matthew 28:19

Homebrew for Me, Homebrew for You.

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Two of my favorite things intersected this week: Beer and politics.

On Monday, Governor Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 444 into law—this is the bill that rewrites the suddenly enforced state law that bans serving homebrew outside the home.

Until last summer, the state fair had hosted a homebrew competition for 22 years and homebrewers hosted numerous tasting events around Oregon. Then, in June, the state Department of Justice told the OLCC they had to crack down on outside-the-home homebrew competitions. The state fair canceled its event and legislators introduced three different bills to change the state homebrew laws.

Senator Floyd Prozanksi, who brews a Captain Nimrod Nut Brown Ale, was the chief sponsor of the bill that passed the House unanimously this month. Whatever their political differences, Democrats and Republicans can all agree that homebrew is good for Oregon's well-being, I guess.

In addition to okaying competitions, the bill also eliminates restrictions on transporting homebrew and allows homebrew club members to participate in small-scale professional brewing at pubs.

This Week's Mercury Film Section

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 12:14 PM

We've got reviews of the disappointing/bland Source Code, the great/funny Win Win, the boring/boring Harvest, the bizarre/awesome Gone with the Pope, and Heartbeats, yet another movie about hipsters in crisis. :(

We've also got a piece about tonight's Cort and Fatboy/Mercury screening of Aliens. There's even more, as ever, in Film Shorts, and here are Movie Times.

OH, AND: I've seen a lot of stills from a lot of movies, but few have rivaled those available for Gone with the Pope. In addition to the one we used for Courtney's review, there are the two above—thanks to Scrappers for making that .gif for me, I think we can all agree that it is majestic—but hit the jump for a few more that almost made the cut. This movie looks phenomenal.

Continue reading »

What are the Worst Oregon Bridges?

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:59 AM

So... ever wonder which Oregon bridges are most likely to collapse, killing us all?

Transportation advocacy group Transportation for America released a report yesterday on the state of the nation's bridges, including a run down of Oregon's crossings in most need of repair.

The good news? According to the report, Oregon is making smarter choices and has safer bridges than most of the country. Although 456 of the state's 7,259 bridges are "structurally deficient", that's actually better than 42 other states. Which is, um, scary.

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This Week's Mercury Music Section

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM

My Chemical Romance
  • My Chemical Romance

Another week, another Mercury music section to console yourself with while you put your house back together after renting it out to Prince. Seriously, if I rented my house to Prince and he didn't install a purple waterfall, I'd be disappointed.

With Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, My Chemical Romance have created a post-apocalyptic rock opera, plus an accompanying line of designer jackets! If you're gonna survive the end of the world, you might as well look sharp.

My Chemical Romance - "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)"

Caitlin Rose grew up on Nashville's inside track. But if anything the young singer/songwriter is the anti-Taylor Swift.

Caitlin Rose - "Shanghai Cigarettes"

The Dodos returned to Portland to record their latest record, No Color. But art doesn't come easy. The casualties along the way included the band's vibraphonist, and possibly a few red-and-black caterpillars.

The Dodos - "Black Night"

End Hits: Never too many "Na's."

I Think We Can All Agree That This Is <Hic> Probably Necessary

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:29 AM


And at $2.99 for a pack of 12, a lot of other people must have agreed too, 'cuz they sold right the fuck out. Still, not a hard thing to replicate...

The City Bureaus Portlanders Hate (Or Just Complain About) the Most

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:17 AM

The city auditor's office just put out its annual ombudsman report. It's nothing juicy—that sort of thing usually is saved for audits. But it does round up a few cases when the auditor's office was able to help regular Johnny and Jane Lunchpails like yourself extract some answers from the city's sprawling, often faceless bureaucracy, on things like sinkholes, a neighbor's tall grass, and city workers sloughing off on the job.

What I found most interesting comes near the bottom of the report. It's a chart showing which bureaus received the most complaints in 2010. Topping the list? Randy Leonard's old domain, the bureau of development services. Given the bureau's mission—conducting code and safety inspections, and issuing permits and fines—that's actually not that surprising. Though I might have thought, what with all the pothole bitching on the mayor's Twitter feed, that the second-place bureau of transportation would have won out.

Other beefed-about bureaus: environmental services and water, the people who bring your apartment/house water and then whisk away your slime and waste.

399 problems and a... never mind.
  • 399 problems and a... never mind.

Tonight in Music

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Crystal Ballroom—Talib Kweli, Fashawn, Animal Farm, T&E, 9 pm, $18-20, all ages
Doug Fir—O'Death, Helado Negro, Lee Corey Oswald, 9 pm, $10-12
The Know—STLS, Hungry Ghost, Neal Morgan, DJ Shawn Creeden, 8 pm
Mississippi Studios—Franz Nicolay, David Dondero, Barton Carroll, 9 pm, $10
Roseland—Helmet, Saint Vitus, Crowbar, Kylesa, Red Fang, Howl, Atlas Moth, 7 pm, $18, all ages
Rotture—Pegasus Dream, RYAT, CC Swim, Nucular Aminals, 9 pm, $6
Someday Lounge—The Fix: Rev. Shines, DJ Kez, Dundiggy, 9 pm, free
Together Gallery—Orca Team, Future Twin, 9 pm, free, all ages
Wonder Ballroom—Seasick Steve, 9 pm, $12-13
The Woods—Boats, Hot Panda, The Four Edge, 9 pm, $7
Bossanova BallroomBikini Creature Beach Feature: The Lordy Lords, Guantanamo Baywatch, 8 pm, $12-15

The Modest Prequel: One-Piece Creature Beach Feature
  • The Modest Prequel: One-Piece Creature Beach Feature

This Just In: Obama Owns His Own Computer

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:44 AM

In a live interview, Noticiero Univision anchor Jorge Ramos asks President Obama if he has his own computer. While the president will put up with a lot of dumb questions, he doesn't put up with this one—which is good, because his response is priceless.


SL Letter of the Day: Methy, Methy

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I am writing to you out of complete and utter desperation. I feel like my life has completely fallen apart and I don't know how I am going to turn it around.

I am a 23-year-old gay man who has been seeing this guy for almost five months. Things have been great, aside from the usual ups & downs of a relationship. I want to point out that before this relationship with "Thomas" I was in a long term (2 year) relationship that ended up completely devastating me. Thomas was very supportive in terms of taking things slow and working on my insecurities. So, what's the problem? Recently Thomas went on a trip with some friends for a weekend, and long story short I got upset with him over some now seemingly trivial issue, but instead of expressing my true feelings to him I pretended everything was okay. This led me to going out and allowing myself to get so drunk & fucked up that I ended up doing meth, selling my body for the drug. Of course then I felt guilty and stupid for doing it... but I also felt addiction taking control of my life.

I continued selling myself for the drug over the course of the next few days, not able to finally come down until I acquired some Xanax. By this point I felt so awful and so low about myself that I didn't want anything to do with Thomas. I didn't want to confess because I knew how much it would hurt. I ended up breaking down and telling him about my drug use, and thanks to the support of my incredible roommate I now have an appointment in a week to start some counseling. But things are complicated because Thomas. Instead of hating me like I expected him to, stood tall and is supporting me getting help for myself.

I just don't know how we are ever going to be able to get over this. I didn't think I believed in love anymore but seeing how he is reacting to my confession has made me realize that he wasn't lying when he told me how he felt. I feel hopeless that I will be able to overcome my addictions (as this is the second occurrence of me cheating on him) and make things up to him. I don't know what to do to start the healing process. Do you think I should let Thomas go? Do you think it's fair for me to ask him to support me through this new crisis when he has already offered so much support? I cry every time I'm with him because the guilt I feel is so overwhelming. I know you'll tell it to me straight—so let me have it. Did I fuck up permanently this time? Am I going to lose this amazing man that I would now do anything for?

Desperately Needs Hope

My response after the jump...

Continue reading »

Sorry Nostalgia Junkies, Mega Man Universe Is Kaput

Posted by Earnest "Nex" Cavalli on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Mega Man Universe always seemed like such a brilliant idea (and had a totally bitchin' debut trailer).

Take the level-building concept from the criminally underloved Mega Man: Powered Up, wrap it in a crispy shell of LittleBigPlanet-style online features and drop the whole thing onto Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

It would have sold ... at least a copy to me.

Sadly, it looks like Capcom hates the idea of my ever smiling at anything that isn't Shotokan-related, as the publisher's Japanese wing has just announced the game's cancellation.

I guess the development of Mega Man Legends 3 offers some kind of solace (until they cancel that too), but I'm personally taking this news as yet another reason to swear at the screen every time I play Marvel Vs. Capcom 3.

You Fire the Mad Men Actors!

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:13 AM

As I mentioned the other day, negotiations for the fifth season of Mad Men is currently at a near standstill. Show creator/runner Matthew Weiner was offered a reported $3 million over two years (which he is now disputing, though he doesn't deny it's a lot of money), and all he has to do is 1) allow product placement in the series, 2) trim two minutes from each episode to make way for more commercials, and 3) fire—or severely reduce—two regular characters. I DON'T KNOW, GUYS! For three million bucks, I'd do some pretty nasty things... as you can probably imagine. But pretend for a second you're Weiner and you have to shitcan two of your regulars: WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
(Let's assume Bert Cooper's gone for good. The two actors who get the most votes will be immediately shitcanned, as all Blogtown polls are legally binding.)

Trump Feels Great Pride in Being a Moron

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM

According to Politico, Donald Trump is dead-set on becoming the birther presidential candidate:

Donald Trump said Wednesday that he's proud to be part of the so-called birther movement, which he says is comprised of "great American people.”

"A lot of the so called birthers, these are great people, these are really great American people,” he added. “These are hard working, unbelievable, salt of the earth people."

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Grim fallout from Japan's nuclear crisis. Bodies of hundreds of disaster victims found near the increasingly troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant remain uncollected amid fears they might contaminate mourners with intense radiation.

Meanwhile, in a losing battle, "suicide squads" of nuclear workers reap hefty paychecks, but get by with little food or sleep, all while facing the possibility of death.

No troops! So how about the CIA...?
American spies have landed in Libya to help direct allied airstrikes and also reach out to rebel operatives, presumably to check them out before we covertly funnel them weapons. Because that always goes well. In one big blow to Moammar Gaddafi's regime, a bigshot defector is apparently singing for the West.

Going the way of Wisconsin, Ohio's legislature, after months of acrimony, approves an anti-labor law of its own. They might beat America's Dairlyand, though. A judge confirms the Wisconsin law is on hold while a legal challenge gets sorted out.

While her miraculous recovery continues, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords has become the subject of rampant (if wishful) speculation that she might be well enough to run for—and seize for the Democrats—an open U.S. Senate seat next fall.

Who knew "transit criminology" was an emerging field? After years of sliding downward, crime on MAX trains has ticked upward. When's the last time you saw a fare inspector?

Bedbugs are so 2010. Here's your next insect epidemic: STINK BUGS! (AND THEIR ROTTING GARBAGE AROMAS!)

I'm sympathetic, but hardly surprised.

Governators are forever. Stan Lee is going to make a Batman-ish cartoon show about Arnold Schwarzenegger: politician by day, superhero at night. Maybe he could fix this, since, you know, it's kind of his fault.

He wasn't always this punny in press conferences. Just sometimes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Portland Author Kevin Sampsell...Covered?

Posted by Jacob Schraer on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Local author/publisher Kevin Sampsell was surprised to discover the other day that a chapter of his memoir had been adapted into a song by Illinois songwriter Paul Kotheimer. Wondering aloud about royalties and trademarks, I asked Kevin how he felt about the homage.

Mercury: One word, synergy. Writing. Publishing. Retail. And now, music. Do you plan on expanding your influence into the music world more?

Kevin: First off, I want to point out that Reclinerland made a (not very well publicized) CD of songs based on SEVERAL chapters of my memoir. Find it on iTunes. It's called "Secret Notebook."

Now, to answer your question: I would love to pull "a Robert Pollard" and have a late-starting but very influential career in songwriting, but whenever I try to write things that rhyme, it always starts to sound like a bad Prince song. In other words, they read like Vanity 6 B-sides. Thanks for asking!

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