Tony Hayward on the McHurlish Report

by Steve, June 6th, 2010

BP CEO Tony Hayward gets candid on the McHurlish Report:


One Toke Over the Line, Sweet Jesus

by Steve, November 17th, 2009

Kook fight!

by Steve, November 10th, 2009

Wherein Loaded Orygun’s “torridjoe” calls Blue Oregon’s Kari Chisolm “a condescending dick.”

In the department of unintentional hilarity, this is one of the best entries I’ve read on local blogs recently. Chisholm, whose Blue Oregon blog is a de facto organ for the Democratic Party of Oregon, makes his living selling Web sites to politicians and shills for them on his own blog and others. One well-placed source told me, “The nicest thing I can say about him is he’s a political hack with an over-inflated ego.”

“Torridjoe,” who himself (sarcastically) describes his low-traffic blog as “Tumble Weed Hotel,” works for the City of Portland, and shamelessly defends every cockamamie scheme his bosses on city council come up with, on pretty much every blog in town that dares question them (including this one, and my other one).

Both these guys are mainstream party guys, actively trading in access and influence (or trying to), and they both like to assert their political relevance. It’s pretty funny to see them mud wrestling about the minutiae of health care policy. Especially when it starts getting personal.

Torridjoe: “…I’m sure it’s jarring to step away from Blue Oregon and visit blogs that don’t blindly and vacantly cheer for the Democratic brand no matter way [sic].”

(Much kvetching about the details of various “public option” health care plans, none of which would do what only single payer can do: cover everybody for less money than we spend today.)

Chisholm: “Off-topic, but absolutely fascinating: Since October 29, when you posted the above comment, there’s been exactly two comments on all of Loaded Orygun. Some ‘community’ you’ve got going.”

Torridjoe: “you’re kind of a condescending dick, aren’t you? At least, your ‘my blog’s dick is bigger than yours’ barb at the end of your comment would suggest so. It sure would be nice to have my business subsidize my blog project like yours does (not so nice to have my blog topics beholden to keeping my business as yours is, but I guess that’s the price you pay), but those of us who have to squeeze in time on it at the end of all other responsibilities are not blessed with that luxury. In any case, I think I’d prefer a few rational comments to the stream of idiocy often prevalent at BlueO. But hey, thanks for slumming down at the Tumbleweed Hotel with us.”


Footnote: what’s a kook fight?

Back in the days of USENET (if you don’t know, don’t ask), I used to enjoy trolling the alt.paranormal groups for entertainment. There would always be a cadre of remarkably credulous and humor-challenged “kooks,” who, when not defending their absurd beliefs against the “kook hunters,” would occasionally get into arguments amongst themselves. That’s a “kook fight.” There were also “kook reach-arounds,” wherein they’d give props to one another and circle the wagons against their detractors. (You could probably find a torridjoe/Kari Chisholm reach around if you searched hard enough.)

All good fun while waiting for compiles to complete at work. Not much substance, but it’s all archived at Google, for what it’s worth (i.e. nothing).

Oh, er, shit, does this make me a condescending dick?

Mr. Rogers vs. Julia Child

by Steve, November 5th, 2009

They don’t make TV like this anymore.

More fun with the Oregonian

by Steve, October 2nd, 2009

A couple years back, the Oregonian’s hackneyed Web front-end,, started experimenting with a local implementation of Reddit, a link-sharing social network. It never gained critical mass, and it was easy to game the system to get (and keep) links on the front page of OregonLive.

Hey, we had our juvenile fun, but it was to a point: the Oregonian simply doesn’t have a clue how to operate in the 21st century new media world.

OregonLive made a number of tweaks to their Reddit system, including moving the links to the very bottom of the front page and giving up on hosting Oregon Reddit (it’s just a category at now). We can still have a little fun with them.

They (obviously) still don’t get new media at the Oregonian (they had a daily podcast for a couple months starting in August 2008, which petered out last March), but that’s just a critique of their delivery.

The real knock on the O is the same knock on pretty much any old school daily: their pretension of objectivity makes them shills for the status quo.

Journalist, author and pundit Dan Savage had some fun recently with what he calls a “drug war” story in the Oregonian, and gave Oregonian reporter Bryan Denson the honor of “Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day” not once, but twice in the same week.

I thought that story deserved a link on the front page of OregonLive, and voila!

Dan also published a long and humorous e-mail exchange with Denson, which is an object lesson in the insularity of reporters at the O. (Here’s Savage’s Wikipedia page, just for future reference, Bryan.)

The front fell off

by Steve, August 17th, 2009

From my flickr friend OneEighteen, who drives ships in and out of the Port of Houston for a living.

Burghability: how’s your playoff beard?

by Steve, May 15th, 2009

Hey yins guys, I got more beer! (For my Pittsburgh family… go Pens!)

Obama and the Leafs

by Steve, March 2nd, 2009

From the Left Coast Sports Babe, with a tip of the hat to Greg Drinnan’s Kamloops, B.C. based Taking Notes:

Barack Obama took his first foreign trip to Canada this past week. He said in a speech there that he expected to fix the U.S. economy, bring the troops home from Iraq, and solve global warming. Realistically, however, he said there was nothing he could do about the Maple Leafs.

So you want to be a barista

by Steve, November 21st, 2008

Maybe it’s the economy. Or maybe it’s just the way evil do-gooders do business. But have you ever seen a five-page application (PDF) to work in a coffee shop?

Besides the usual work history and contact information, they want you to write a short essay about why you want to work at Ladybug Organic Coffee Company. They also give you a cutesy “pop quiz” with the following questions:

  • Please tell us about a time that you provided excellent customer service. (Well, there was that one time at Mickey D’s…)
  • What one thing makes you absolutely stand out above the rest? Why should we hire you over applicant X? (Because I wasted an hour of my life answering these ridiculous questions?)

Okay, no big deal so far, but then it starts getting good:

  • What is the most important thing that you have ever learned and how has it changed your life? (Well, there was that time I stayed up all night drinking Mountain Dew driving a school bus to a Grateful Dead concert, then took a Xanax to get a couple hours of sleep before waking up and dropping acid for the show. I learned to never, ever, sleep under the school bus after the show, because some drunk deadhead might come and pee on your leg. Man, what a show, though. Jerry changed my life that night.)
  • What are your greatest strengths, the things about yourself that cause you greatest pride? (Ah, pride, that deadly sin that employers always want us to indulge in. Well, I’m pretty proud of my gluttony and sloth! And I’m pretty good with lust, too.)
  • What are your greatest weaknesses, the things about yourself that you could benefit the most from working to improve? (It’s okay to have weaknesses! Unless of course, you’re Superman or Wonder Woman!) (Dude! Speaking of lust! Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman! All the world’s waiting for you, and the power you possess! In your satin tights, fighting for your rights and the old red white and blue! Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman!)
  • Tell us about your best friend and why they are a part of your life? (Would that be my best real or imaginary friend?)
  • What is something that you do on a regular basis to make the world a better place? (I believe… Just by waking up every day, and walking lightly on Mother Earth, and smiling at strangers, I make the world a better place.)
  • What is one thing that you think would make Portland a better city? (Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I got this one: More coffee shops?!?)

Then there’s a whole series of yes/no questions:

  • I can usually work weekends. No.
  • I get along well with many different types of people. Yes, as long as they’re cool.
  • I am always upbeat and positive Always? Uh, well, no, I guess not. I mean, I’m mostly always upbeat, just not always.
  • I can work during most holidays. No.
  • I enjoy working evenings. No. I mean, wait, that means I can sleep in, right? Yes.
  • I am a problem solver. Depends. What kind of problem?
  • I enjoy getting up early. I prefer staying up until it is early. Is that a problem?
  • I like to work by myself. Absolutely! Then I can smoke out in the cooler.
  • I pay attention to details. When I come out of the cooler, all the details are so, like, intense, man!
  • I am a good listener. I’ve listened to every bootleg of the Dead at least six times
  • I like to clean. Who doesn’t? Whenever I’m out of weed, I clean my roommate’s bong and get a couple good hits out of it.
  • I am a quick learner. What was the question again?
  • I can multi-task. I can kick a hacky sack while reciting the set lists from the Dead’s last six shows at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.
  • I am self-motivated. Everything’s cool, man. Stuff will get done.

And finally: “Last question. What one word describes you best and why did you choose that word?”

I’d have to say “cool.” Because if you’re not being cool, man, you’re being uncool. Nobody likes it when you’re uncool. I think it would be cool to work at your coffee shop! Is there, like, a dress code or anything?

Overheard in Minnesota

by Steve, November 6th, 2008

From my dear friend in Minneapolis:

I was just at this postage-stamp size Euro cafe La Belle Crepe drinking coffee while these two women ate their crepes. One mentioned how she had been at a bar and when the election results were announced, a lot of people just put their head in their hands. The other woman nodded. I thought to myself, What are you bitching about, you’re eating crepes.