Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Purple and Blue

...from the backyard...

Monday, June 27, 2011

The 9:31 Conspiracy

It's out in the open now. No more hushed whispers or furtive glances. It's 9:31, America. What's next? 9:32? Stay tuned...


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Out for a hike with the dogs

We went out for a hike with the dogs on a trail near OHSU. The Marquam Nature Park is five minutes from downtown Portland--one steps into the forest as quickly as one can park a car. Check out Friends of Marquam Nature Park for more details...

a snail on the trail, over hill and over dale

the woods are lovely, light and green

consider the rocks of the wall, neither do they toil nor do they grin

donna and dogs take five after the hike



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Backyard Mini Mystery in Blue & Green

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Solstice in Portland Oregon Fun Facts

The View From My Backyard

The sun set in Los Angeles, CA at 8:09 p.m. on June 21st, 2011 (longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere). The very same sun set at 9:03 p.m. in Portland, OR.

Everything is relative. Even the setting of the sun...


Sunday, June 19, 2011

False God Found to be the Real Thing

Ganesha, Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles, pictured here before speaking at a TED Conference in San Francisco, California.

NEWS FLASH: A can of biblical-sized worms has been opened and all the worms are wriggling at top speed towards god knows what in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as members of the Kootenai County Constitution Party have taken offense to a statue of the Hindu God Ganesha being displayed in their fair city. Quoting from the group's website
My first sighting of the statue was four days ago. As I drove past the corner of 6th St. and Sherman ave. I immediately recognized the statue as the visage of a Hindu deity, the name of which escaped me.

At first I was stunned. How could the idol of a foreign god be erected in a place of prominence on public property in the middle of a Christian town in a Republic founded upon Christian Common Law?

It was too outrageous to be believed.
It is not known if the author of this first hand account was hospitalized after his shocking experience. But while he may have intended to put an end to public displays of "false gods" his plan took an unexpected turn Friday when it was determined that Ganesha is in fact an actual God, bona fide as they say in the parlance. The real deal. He be dat. I know this to be true because I read it in a book. End of story.

Members of the Kootenai Constitution Party have yet to comment on this latest development, but their case will be difficult to prove in a court of law. A spokesman for the group was at a picnic and could not be reached for comment. A local artist has volunteered to respond on behalf of the group with a public display of his piece entitled "Artist's conception of a conservative Christian's response to metaphorical symbolism"

According to the Hindu religion, Ganesha is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth. In fact, Ganesha is one of the five prime Hindu deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Durga being the other four) whose idolatry is glorified as the panchayatana puja.

Now what more proof could someone possibly demand without putting a strain on the evidence of their own version of a god? By declaring that Ganesha is a "false god" but having not one iota of proof to back that assertion (the bible is opinion, not proof) have the Christians of Kootenai County painted themselves into a dialectic corner? Will Yahweh/God/Jesus/Allah survive this theological conundrum? Oh, cursed Constitution Party! You have killed Jesus! Happy now?

Christ Jesus, God, King of Kings, refused to comment on this story. Not so much as a single tweet. Zilch. Bupkis.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day of Fathers

the summer solstice is near
the blue-white light of portland
lingers in the entryway to night
and clouds give way to rivers
and rivers run wild

my father came to me in a dream
only to die again
i kissed his forehead
and said goodbye
and clouds give way to rivers
and rivers run wild

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sauvie Island Breakdown

We went for a bike ride on Sauvie Island around two weeks ago--the first sunny weekend day in about 72 years. It was gorgeous, and I rode like an amateur, but we did a 12 mile loop regardless, and ended up eating frozen treats not far from the bridge that connects the island to Hwy. 30. As I get older life is still beautiful, it just hurts a little more.

An old truck stands just outside the entrance to a farm/nursery on the island

God's windshield

We listened to song birds, and watched them dart among the trees

The sky hovers, pauses, continues

Mt. Saint Helens meditates on impermanence...

Special Added Bonus: Mystery at the End of the World!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Wet Cat

Greta, who turned 18 in May, has a bath in the kitchen sink...and the earth continues to spin in the vastness of space....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Steve Earle Double Shot

Steve Earle reads from his book "I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive"

Back in May, Donna (aka Mrs. Jivester) went with my-own-self to listen to Steve Earle read from his first novel, "I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive" at Powell's Books Cedar Hills location in Beaverton, Oregon. The book is set in San Antonio, TX right around November 22nd, 1963. The main protagonist (Doc) is a defrocked doctor/junkie in his early 50s who provides medical care for the prostitutes and druggies who inhabit the poorer section of town--he also performs abortions, followed by runs to his supplier for his junk. For added amusement he has conversations with the ghost of Hank Williams, who though spectral is real enough, as far as ghosts go. I have a deal with my Mrs. to read the book aloud to her, which slows down my progress but what can I do? If Hank Williams can be a ghost, I can at the least give vapors form, making word-angels out of the air that had recently resided in my lungs, and all in the company of my lady.

mjs, who is mortaljive, who is Frank, with Mr. Steve Earle

Donna with Book Reading Swag

Last Friday night Donna and I went to the Steve Earle & the Dukes concert at the Crystal Ballroom--we had never been to this McMenamin's landmark venue, and enjoyed it very much. This was just the group's second stop on a tour that goes on into Autumn, and I can only wonder at Earle's ability to keep his voice from going into the ditch--he drove it through song after song, and though his range is not wide its force is deep and long. The audience stood up for the duration of two encores, and Earle obliged with wonderful music, some new and some more familiar.

The interior of the Crystal Ballroom is roomy, with a floor that is a combination of retro ballroom and fun house mirror...

Steve Earle and his wife Allison Moorer

He also took occasion to speak about issues close to his heart, making special mention of the great Corporate War Machine our nation is beholden to, and why he still has optimism in the face of powerful, vested forces who wield power cruelly for profits. His wife, the comely Allison Moorer, moved about the stage as gracefully as she could, being as how she was wearing steeply arched high heels--she played a variety of instruments, even taking lead singer duties while her husband had a break. I would like to hear her bust out more (she possesses a powerful voice mostly held in check) : she is demure to a fault, but when she let her leopard out she really came alive.

Allison Moorer

Earle sang a plethora of material yet still did not put too much of a dent in his song catalog. Years ago he could have gone the way of Townes Van Zandt and destroyed himself with booze or heroin or what-have-you but instead got "in the program" and has fought for his sobriety with determination and pluck, and a creative fire that burns brightly to this day. Besides being a talented writer, accomplished musician and actor (he has a small recurring role on Treme on HBO) he is also an outspoken critic of the death penalty (his "Ellis Unit One" can be heard on the soundtrack for Dead Man Walking) and can stand in front of an audience and speak knowingly about Emma Goldman and Joe Hill, about the crushing effects of corporate dominance on labor, and how this struggle is an ancient one--and one worth fighting for. Yes, Steve Earle did sermonize a bit on Friday night in Portland (a city he praised for having taken some measure of control of its own destiny) but he put on a hell of a show, ably backed by the Dukes (including The Mastersons) and I for one am grateful he didn't buy his grave too early in this world: by the looks and sound of things he's still got a whole lot of gas left in his tank.

Here's a link to another review of Friday evening at the Crystal Ballroom. If you get a chance try and see him this tour--maybe he's coming to a city near you.


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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Punked in Portland Part IV: Where Have All the Beavers Gone?

Donna and I moved to Portland in the spring of 2008. Three years later the Triple A Portland Beavers were gone. Coincidence? There are no coincidences. So what to make of this? There is no joy in punkedville, the mortaljivester has struck out...

I will admit that I didn't get to a Beavers game in 2008 or 2009, but in 2010 my partner in crime and I did go to a Beavers game, and stood in line forever for a beer, and sang and yelled our way through 9 glorious innings of "whatever." We looked out toward the left field wall, squinting for the Max Line that runs behind it, a hip and spare choo-choo, the kinetic ark of some child's imaginary city. A sleek mass transit ├╝ber toy, it looked like Christmas morning and the 4th of July to me: a native Southern Californian, I was used to Dodger Stadium, where trains aren't allowed and cars are waved in like returning war heroes and then, after the game is over, dismissed like cows that no longer give milk--Dodger-blue milk. But not in Portland: in Portland and the comfy confines of PGE Park! The weird building with exhibitionist windows in right field! The vibe that howls for the sake of howling! There is something quaint and reliable and fun and funky in the city of Roses, Stump Town USA! And Beavers, man! Not clitorally-topped labial temples, no, actual furry, buck-toothed Beavers! Though I love the female form I had never outright applauded a beaver until that July 31st night in 2010, and I vowed to applaud beaver whenever I saw one, but without throwing dollar bills at a gyrating business woman. By September the team that called out to me was done. There is no joy in Beaverville, fucking soccer has won out...

Now that the Beavers are gone crustaceans have gone wild in Portland...

Deals had been made by moguls who breathed rarified air far beyond the lungs of mere mortals, and a fella by the name of Merritt Paulson (son of Hank Paulson) had replaced the grand old game with soccer, which I should enjoy but just don't. Soccer looks healthy, which is a complete turnoff--and by the way, if I wanted to watch two hours of somebody struggling to score I could just look at the highlight reels of me in my barfly days (if the silver nitrate films haven't disintegrated yet). I have fallen out of love with baseball a few times: strikes, Rupert "Lizard Alien" Murdoch owning the Dodgers, Frank "Parking Lot" McCourt owning the Dodgers, a Raider-Nation mentality among the fans (read "drunk and thuggish")--I am my own personal pussy when it comes to crowd behavior. I don't like fights because, as an ex-bartender, I feel it is my job to break the imbroglios up, and if I don't break up a fight I feel cheated. Double bind, I think. You shouldn't hafta gotta.

Down in Eugene ducks are worshipped and even hunted

Our friends took us to a Keizer-Salem Volcanoes Double A game a couple of years ago, and it was great fun. Like Little League but bigger, and like the Big Leagues but littler, we enjoyed a warm night yelling at young men in baggy clothing and cheering on the home team. The mascot for the Volcanoes is known as Crater who looks like a cross between mescaline, pajamas and an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid. But no matter: it was fun, and with the Beavers snapped shut I will no doubt be headed down Interstate 5 for some good, clean volcanic fun.

The world is over-heating and almost out of gas. Our belief systems are locked into petrified legends, our politics mere varnish on unfettered larceny and greed, the marketplace of ideas a whorehouse for corporations, and in the middle of it all the slightly funky, at times depressed, marvelously misbehaving, creative and somewhat besotted furry river critter known as Portland trundles along, not chasing down fly balls but scurrying after the elongated vowel that comes with Goaaaaaaaaaallllll!!!!. It could be worse, which is an asshole thing to say. You could be dying from cancer and someone could say "It could be worse" and you might weakly ask "How?" and then someone kicks you in the groin--to that I say "it could be worse." How? You could get hit in the balls with a baseball bat. You could look it up.

p.s. My neighbor has season tickets to the Portland Timbers games. Just sayin'...

UPDATE: I forgot to include one of my favorite parts of going to a ballgame--beer! I'm a cheap date these days--two ales about does it. Mmm...


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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Yellow Haze, Golden Vistas

We went out to Sauvie Island, and my wife graciously lent my camera her sunglasses for a look at the world through her eyes...


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mini Mystery Remains Unsolved

Two more examples of Mini Mysteries can be found here and here.

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