Archive for August, 2006

Anniversary of Portland Police Riot on August 22

August 20, 2006

Two days will see the 4th anniversary of the infamous Portland Police riot of August 22, 2002. At the time, a couple thousand people were in the streets to tell George W. Bush what they thought of his plan to launch an immoral and illegal war on Iraq. (Won’t go into all of it right now, but it seems pretty clear that the people were right and Bush quite wrong.) W was at a fundraiser in the Hilton and his handlers weren’t real happy to hear “GEORGE BUSH SUCKS!” echoing off the cavernous walls of downtown high rises, so the Portland Police Bureau and the Secret Service decided to beat the people down. Here is a radio piece I co-produced for KBOO-FM on October 25, 2002.

The City of Portland paid nearly $1,000,000 to settle the resulting lawsuit in 2004.

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Hard-Working Squirrel

August 20, 2006

I was awakened the past two mornings by a very industrious squirrel that has been collecting some kind of cone from the evergreens around my place. Each morning about 8 o’clock the bombing started, jolting me from sleep. The squirrel was in the highest branches of this very tall tree pulling the cones free and dropping them 60 feet to the driveway and the roof of my cottage. It was really moving fast, plucking some 30 or 40 cones per minute. Smart weapons. The ground is still littered with the fruits of its labor: sticky, resin-y, green, densely packed cones from this giant that shades me from the sun. I have never witnessed such behavior, but I assume this was a major effort to “squirrel away” a food source or some kind of winter bedding or something. She or he is either a huge glutton, likes a really comfy bed, or is kicking in the labor for other squirrels in the neighborhood.

[Postscript: That squirrel (or those squirrels) actually started at 6:30am (I know, because I finally looked at the clock) – for 4 days in a row. Ouch! Today, I am home at mid-afternoon and a different species of tree outside my window is dropping dozens of those little helicopter things that spin so gracefully in the breeze. Something is afoot: the season is changing here in the great Pacific Northwest. – August 24, 2006, 4:19pm.]

[Update: This year, the squirrels have been dropping these pine-y cones out of the tree almost every morning for a month, raising several key questions: What are they doing? How many cones can one tree hold? Can I resist the urge to buy a pellet gun until the changing season puts an end to this activity? As I have learned the hard way (several maddening times) getting even the tiniest amount of sap from these pods on the hands requires one to head immediately to a sink for a warm, soapy and vigorous scrubbing. – September 22, 2008.]

Neil Young Video Archive

August 6, 2006

I can’t resist putting up some amazing Neil Young performances I have been digging this weekend.

Human Highway

Needle and the Damage Done

Don’t Let It Bring You Down

Old Man

Down by the River (Version 1)

Down by the River (Version 2)

Cortez the Killer

Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

Heart of Gold

Helpless

Looking Forward

Mr. Soul

When You Dance I Can Really Love

Out on the Weekend

Sleater-Kinney RIP

August 6, 2006

Portland’s Sleater-Kinney will give their last performance on August 12 at The Crystal Ballroom. Browsing around the Internet, I found this audio of their August 3, 2006 show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Scoring tickets to the Portland show turned into an adventure when tickets sold out in less than 20 minutes, leaving my friends heartbroken on the sidewalk of West Burnside Street. (By the time they called to say there were no more tickets, I found dozens of them for auction on eBay, selling for over ten times the original price. My friend, J, spent over $200 for two tickets.)

A few days later, to everyone’s relief, except J, a second show was added. Three hours in line got me four tickets, twice through the line, followed by a celebratory burger and fries at Ringler’s downstairs.

Sleater-Kinney gave stellar performances of “Jumpers” and “Entertain” on the Henry Rollins Show. (It is impossible to link straight to the songs and interview because the web designers have all the video embedded in a Flash player. Click on “Video”, “The Henry Rollins Show”, “Musical Performances and Interviews”, then scroll down to the bottom for the S-K stuff.)

Here is an easier to find performance of “Jumpers” on David Letterman.

[Postscript: It was a great show, but I wish I had not gone for the opening band. Also, the tickets J got for $200 on eBay never showed up!]

Boubacar Traore: Malian Guitar Genius

August 5, 2006

Last night I discovered a valuable musical treasure, Boubacar Traore. Traore, known affectionately as “KarKar”, blends hauntingly beautiful and hypnotic guitar melodies with his equally gorgeous voice and lyrics. His music was played on radio all over Mali during the period following its hard-fought war for independence from French control. For 20 years I have admired Ali Farka Toure (1939-2006) and recommended his music to everyone I can reach. I will still do that, of course, but now I realize that Ali Farka Toure’s style would not exist without KarKar (and, no doubt, many other artists that influenced them both). Here is a radio broadcast KarKar did live at KCRW in Santa Monica, California. It’s a little heavy on talk, involving a translator, but the music is amazing. The Multnomah County Library has all kinds of Boubacar Traore stuff: 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, and more.