All The News That’s Fit To Print

July 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm (Cussed Dumbers, In Memoriam, Sweet sticky things, Waxing Nostalgic)

I joke with baristas all the time, “I wish I had an app that would give me back all the minutes that I spend waiting in line at Starbucks to hand someone exact change.”

For twenty years, Sister delivered the Oregonian, and I was the beneficiary of her complimentary daily copy. She’d read it, I’d take it to work and read it, then pass it along to someone else. Often, it would be a customer looking for the day’s copy that we’d sold out. Three reads per newspaper seems as conscientious as any other form of recycling.

Daily went to four-a-week delivery. Then it got so far between customers that she could no longer do her route on foot, so she retired from newspaper delivery and began working at a hotel. Every day there would be newspapers, and she would bring me the daily, as well as the New York Times and other random hometown papers left behind. Again, I would take them to work, then share. Usually with folks wouldn’t read, and certainly wouldn’t pay for information.

When her gig at the hotel ended, I was on my own. Home delivery might have been an option, but that’s only four days a week. I like DAILY news. I like having something light to read at work when it gets quiet for a minute. But it can’t be too heavy; I can read the same paragraph three or four times while being interrupted for lottery redemption, free books of matches and so on. Books only work on major holiday nights. I read a whole book on Xmas day when I work.

Master P’s was a newsstand when I started. Magazines as far as the eye could see. A porno section with something for almost everyone. (No incest or animals. Straight from the office.) Little by little it all went away. First the car mags, then the Smithsonians, tabloids, horoscope books. Newspapers went away about three years ago, as did the porn pit. I now have a stock line:

“We used to be a newsstand, but the internet won. Now we just sell you stuff to keep you awake while you play with your phone.”

And I still have to scavenge for a goddamn newspaper.

Starbucks was my unlikely ally. If I got there early enough in the day, I could have the previous day’s copies of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or the Oregonian if I’d missed a day. I knew the baristas by name, and if I showed up close to closing? “Go ahead and take them, ain’t nobody looking for that at night.”

I know, I can find everything on my phone. I KNOW. I have embraced smartphone culture, somewhat, but I like holding books and newspapers, in my hands. I don’t want to have to open Photoshop to do my Fambly Circus fun.

So, little by little everything I know is dying. In three months newspapers will be such an annoyance to find that I will give up and let them die. (I will never stop reading, but if you want my eyes looking at your ads? I have to be able to find them first.) I had been thinking of doing a lighthearted series of things in and around my life that I used to love, find important, or otherwise interesting. To record the memories before they fade away forever. I had some pretty good ideas.

Then some real death came along and fucked up my whole year.

My longtime love interest, roommate and occasional bestest friend, passed away a few months ago. I’ve been meaning to write her the granddaddy of all love letters, but it’s coming slow. I know what I want to say, but I know it’s gonna tear me up, and I don’t want to have to be in public after. But, as Bro-in-Law said, “You need closure.” He’s right. I miss her every day, even though we’d been apart for a couple years. We still talked on the phone a lot, and when she found out I hadn’t been with anyone since she left? “Ya wanna come over?”


Now that’s love.

Her death took me by surprise, and yet it didn’t. It has caused me to embrace every day, and to appreciate more those I appreciate already. Babe, your love letter is coming, straight from my heart.

But first I have to limp on down to the Starbucks and see if any Sunday papers are left…

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Goodbye to U…S Bank

December 5, 2018 at 11:55 am (Waxing Nostalgic)

It is a day for funerals, (RIP #41, GHWB) so I will continue my series of eulogies. Things dying off that are damned inconvenient.

Today’s victim is the US Bank branch, downtown on SW 6th and Taylor Street. It has been there since 1948, and I have been banking there since 1979. I loved its central location and regal presence.

The ATMs, both inside and out, saw lots of action. The inside-one issued $5 dollar bills, handy for those on a budget. I would use the handicap entrance, saying hello to the nice guard who looks like Jeff Sessions without the perverted smirk, avoiding the panhandlers that would linger outside the main entrance. It was two blocks from my bus stop, perfect for my errand-running ways.

I asked why they were closing the branch, already knowing. “There’s a new owner, and they want to rent the space for ten times the amount.”

It’s the downtown way.

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Goodbye To You

December 4, 2018 at 11:55 am (Waxing Nostalgic)

Hi there! Long time no see!

Yeah, it’s been a while. I haven’t given up on my beloved blog/sorta-diary, but I have been staying away. I needed to percolate for a while, to let some dust settle, see how things played out. Not every thought needs to be recorded, not every feeling shared with the internet.

I still write in my head, every day. I miss the morning routine, where I had a day’s activities sorted and punned up, ready to be shared. I need to get back to that.

So who am I saying goodbye to? Everyone, eventually, but for now I’m going to eulogize things that have gone away from my life, and now I miss them.

I will begin with the Fred Meyer store on SE Foster and 82nd…

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The Crashing of the Mothership

January 12, 2018 at 11:11 am (Cussed Dumbers, Waxing Nostalgic)

After 34 years, Master P’s main store is closing. After a long, hard-fought battle with the landlord, (the City) he let out a big sigh and closed the doors last week. Downtown’s infamous late-night c-store is no more.

I peered through the window of the Mothership. Art East was winding up cords from the security cameras, and storing them in milk crates. I used my key to come inside. The first thing I noticed was the quiet.

“Wow, the sounds of silence. It’s amazing how quiet these places are is when you don’t have thirty to forty coolers running.”

“Yeah, and how funky-smelling it is with the door closed for a week!”

The dusty smell was pervasive; the aisles have been emptied, rectangular squares of dust marking their previous location. An old copy of Busted! Magazine was on the floor. I was tempted to grab it, but Art was using it to protect his jacket. I settled for the Wall of Shame, a poster collection of mugshots, of whom half the people were still coming around. It would make a nice addition to profiles of the shitbird contingent at the Nightclub Store.

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Deja Vu All Over again

September 20, 2017 at 11:11 am (On the road again..., Waxing Nostalgic)

Country Bumpkin

I love to drive. I started at age twelve by taking laps of the back yard in a 1970 Toyota Corona. I learned to drive a stick (three-on-the-tree) in a 1964 Ford F-100 half-ton pickup. When I turned fifteen and got my permit, I took my driver-licensed, stroke-paralyzed Dad along to keep it quasi-legal, and we drove and drove. This last weekend has been reminding me of that.

Mizelle has been using me… as a means of getting her vehicles home to middle-Washington. Work hours and childcare complicate matters, but I am more than willing to help.

It’s like being on vacation!

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Bishop Takes Night: Check!

July 4, 2017 at 11:59 am (Cosmic Encounters, Waxing Nostalgic)

Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

I am a Portlander through and through. Though I was raised in Sandy, Oregon I was born in Portland, and the minute I was allowed to ride the bus by myself I was all over the city, investigating, pretending to be a cop or a criminal or wherever my imagination (and TriMet) would take me. Much like these days, I’d rather be out walking around, soaking up atmosphere and enjoying my weird city.

Back then, there was a thing called Neighborfair. It was an end-of-summer day-long concert, and a good reason to load up on cheap wine and head for the park. When I heard there was going to be a blues festival?

I was down there waiting when the opening act took the stage.

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The Devil’s Music

May 9, 2017 at 6:55 pm (Cosmic Encounters, Waxing Nostalgic)

My mother was a religious nut, to cut to the chase. She’d find the devil in the damnedest places.

Most frequently in my record albums.

There were a few records that scared me. Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Slayer all gave me varying stages of the willies, whether because of religious paranoia or because I was psychedelically impaired to the point of nonsense. (With Slayer, it wasn’t the devil but rowdy skinheads that I feared.) As to the devil, Black Sabbath was the closest to me actually believing they’d signed a contract with the Devil hisself. A lot of coincidental occurrences (and that I’d happened to be reading Anton Szandor LaVey) inspired me to give away all my Sabbath albums. I gave them to my ex-wife. Sorry Satan, she’s your problem now.

The theme to The Exorcist was not written for the movie, it was a piece created by a 19-year-old wunderkind named Mike Oldfield. It fit the movie so well, mixed with the hype of the day, that it scared my twelve-year-old ass shitless.

I would listen to it on an antique radio in the garage, watching the bats flying around the streetlight. Over time it became a piece of music, and once I realized Satan wasn’t coming for my soul, I bought the album and have had it in various forms since.

The above piece is the only time I’ve seen it attempted live. Enjoy…

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Styx and Stones and No Broken Bones

December 22, 2016 at 2:34 am (Waxing Nostalgic)

Multnomah County Library is always coming through for me. Being low of budget and even lower in patience when it comes to finding new music, I was thrilled to hear that the Rolling Stones have a new blues album out. While it isn’t on the shelf in hard copy, I can stream it to my phone and play it through my TV, or the cute little speaker Rain gave me. It’s the size of a tennis ball and fills the room. (Great for jazz, Slipknot not so much.) While trying to connect phone to television, I saw David Spade and Angus Scrimm from Phantasm playing Come sail Away.


Oh wait. I’m watching Styx.

Back in my misspent youth, before weed and alcohol even, I had a couple Styx albums. They rocked about as hard as it gets on AM radio, and I liked their mystical side. For some reason I was allowed to study Greek mythology in grade school, and I knew what Hades was thanks to a Jehovah’s Witless upbringing. I’d often dreamed of swimming the river Styx and playing with the dog Charon. I discovered Jim Beam about the time The Grand Illusion came out, and it was “my album” for a year or so. Pieces of Eight followed, and I scooped that right up. My musical tastes were shifting from pop to heavier stuff. Led Zeppelin, Rush, Judas Priest, and of course all the “devil music.” Mom liked the ethic preached of in Blue Collar Man, so she left Styx alone.

I’d never bothered to see Styx in concert. Over time their focus shifted from hard rock to power ballads and poor attempts at rock opera. By the time I could afford Styx tix, they had broken up. The two albums previously mentioned seemed the pinnacle of their appeal to me, and if I wanted to hear them, all I had to do was switch on KGON-FM. Lady, or Lorelei can be heard once a day, and Renegade still gets played almost hourly after dark. And of course, the staple Come Sail Away

So when I saw them playing on TV, I watched out of morbid curiosity. I cringe when I see a lot of the rock stars of my generation, but these guys were doing all right. Tommy Shaw’s nose hasn’t fallen off from coke abuse, and his hair appeared to be his own. James JY Young, the Phantasm caretaker doppelganger, rocked his business suit, and later in short sleeves. Hitting 60 doesn’t mean you have to go to hell. Topping it all, he was having fun! Getting paid to have fun is what it’s all about.

So I’ve been on a Styx kick the past week or so. Castle Walls echoed in my head, reminding me of the snow storms of 1978 when I worked at PCC and stared off toward the icy mountain tops. I can still taste Jim Beam when I hear some of the songs.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was when I clicked on Crystal Ball. I’d forgotten that song. I heard three different versions before selecting this one. The boys were just boys then; now they are grown-ass men.

Thanks MTV for that random week of nostalgia. Now I can get back to that new Rolling Stones album. It’s called Blue & Lonesome, it was recorded in two days, and it kicks ass.

I just got to hear that song one more time…

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Grateful Not Dead

November 25, 2016 at 5:49 am (Sweet sticky things, Waxing Nostalgic)

Halloween c-word2016 has been one hell of a rough year, and it’s not over yet. Mrs Brady died last night. Damn. (Florence Henderson, not my Mrs Brady. She works at the weed store across from Rain’s.) I have lost friends, and mortal luminaries from the music and video world have gone to the great beyond.

So far, death has missed my immediate friends and family. Praise cheeses!

I am thankful, so thankful, for that. And a few other things.

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Guardian of the Garden

September 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm (Sweet sticky things, That's not funny..., Waxing Nostalgic)


A celebration of life was held in our backyard this morning. It was attended by Sister and I, as well as animal representatives Luna and Django. Luna, the ADHD-addled teenager, was all over the place, not understanding what was going on but having a great time helping. “We’re digging holes in the back yard?” Luna loves the dirt, and she loves rootballs that resemble human hearts. With her all-black coloring and demon-eyes, watching her rip and tear makes me proud, and a bit nervous.

I would use a three-pronged prospector’s pick to loosen the clay, until Luna would get nosy. Then I’d shovel some dirt out, toss an empty plastic bottle across the yard and shovel some more, before Luna would come dashing back to the top of the dirt-pile, knocking a bunch of dirt back into the hole. At one point I would pick with my left hand while she attacked the shovel in my right. Some days this might make me cranky and impatient, but today I was enjoying her insolent distractions.

The time had come to bury Sandy.

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