Sunday, May 30, 2021

Getting the Good Stuff


The pedal-assist motor is at the front. One chainring and 11 gears on the freewheel make this a smooth and easy system.

Today I participated in a promotional event for trikes. My friends Mel and Janet own Recumbent PDX, a shop that specializes in trikes.

As I am recuperating and don’t feel energetic, it was a hard sell to get me to participate. I agreed only after being assured I would have a trike with full electric assist so any pedaling would be greatly enhanced by a motor.

Part of me didn’t want to be the guy who needed the extra help of a motorized trike. My concept of self is the guy who rides a two-wheeled bike, fast or slow, rain or shine, and plods across the land with the dull, single focus of the truly obsessed or religiously inspired.

A significant expertise of the shop is adapting trikes for people with disabilities. Stroke, weak knees or back, partial paralysis, balance issues, all motivate people to consider the stability and comfort of trikes.

In taking with the patrons, I realized no one thinks of themselves as disabled. These are the women and men who once bagged the peaks, sprinted to the finish line, ran the ultra-marathons – the super fit, the gym rats, hammerheads, leathernecks. Now that they are older and suffer the usual infirmities, they need just a bit of extra consideration for another taste of the good stuff – the being outside with the wind in the face and moving fast and close to the ground.

Can’t argue with that.

This time around I will eventually recover enough to ride a bicycle once again. Whatever ideology made me think twice about a motor assist is now out the window.

My illness has underscored that going forward I will use all tools at my disposal to get as much of the good stuff as I can.


The video

Saturday, May 29, 2021


A few friends dropped by for some lox and bagels. Felt like good times from years previous – long time coming.

Let the positivity continue.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Further Impact

I don’t remember the band, but I remember the flyer for the show, made in the grunge style of excessive black and white copy machine use popular in the `80s.

It read, the electric guitar is to music the way a street riot is to organized religion.

There was no further explanation, just show dates, and a tweaked image of a cathedral.

I nodded in appreciation for that’s exactly what I wanted. I didn’t go to the show but was thankful there were artists out there who knew what I was thinking.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

I’m the Liberal in Liberal Arts

I went to a private liberal arts college. My freshman year all students were required to take a course called “Basic Inquiry” which was meant to introduce students to the tools of analysis that were expected.

The first assignment was to read Nadine Gordimer’s novel “Burger’s Daughter.”

As a student I instinctively didn’t like required courses and as a result defaced my copy of the book so that the floating image in the distance on the cover resembled Mr. T.

But I did read it.

I was challenged just to follow the jumps in time and place as well as the literary voice. The class discussion opened different layers of meaning and I ended up being a life-long Gordimer fan – especially when I lived in Israel and encountered unusual racial situations.

This is one of the life lessons that make me a fan of liberal arts and academia in general. I didn’t have entrance into this complex work and needed someone to show me the way. All books may be equal value as paperweights, but some require more interpretive work than others when read.

At the time I read the work I viewed it as a hoop I needed to jump through to get my degree. I now see it as a transformative book that made me realize all learning is valuable.  


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

I Am Oversharing Again

Now that I have lived la vida Grub Hub, I can report on my favorite takeout dishes. These are not ranked in any order as a hot day might elevate sushi or a cold one Asian soup noodles.

  • Cesar salad with salmon
  • Sushi
  • Asian noodles of all varieties and ethnicities
  • Classic American Chinese
  • Tacos
  • Pizza (of course!)

I understand that this list is not particularly creative but not all food items are good for takeout. I maintain that fried food needs to be eaten minutes after it leaves the fryer or it loses its specialness. For the record, I’m not all that picky an eater, but I do have my preferences.

I made this list for academics and serious amateurs.



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Cooking a New Hot Dog

The splash screen at

We’ve been eating takeout food almost every night as I recuperate.

I’ve both enjoyed the new range of dinner options as well as have new resolve to do more in the kitchen when I feel stronger.

On the later point, I’ve joined, a site that is an additional payment even if one has a subscription to the New York Times.

I like the way the site is curated by a specific, vocal editor, Sam Sifton, rather than by anonymous worker bees who may or may not understand their subject matter.

Also, I am intrigued by the speed in which one can search the recipes, then add the ones that sound good to a personalized online account called “Your Recipe Box.”

If you are browsing on a mobile devise, you can send a recipe’s ingredients list directly to the place you create shopping lists. I use the To Do app that links with Outlook.

Part of this resolve is to find a few new dishes to replace the ones that I cook year after year. I view myself as capable of change and evolution and it’s time to put that thought to the test.  

We will see…


Monday, May 24, 2021

Partners in Napping


I’ve been told there is a genre of internet stories/photos of the dad who didn’t want a cat who then becomes the biggest proponent of felines ever.

Guilty as charged.

Stuart the cat is my inspiration for how relaxed I want to be. I look at him and feel that whatever achievements I have made in comfort/napping/sleep, there is still the next level to attain.

In the above photo, when I initially fell asleep Stuart had his head cocked to the side on the red blanket and looked as chill as the historical Buddha.

Recuperation stoke!   

Saturday, May 22, 2021

United Shades of America: Portland

The comedian W. Kamau Bell is the presenter in the CNN show “United Shades of America.”

For anyone who is interested in how the marathon 100-plus days of 2020 Portland protests unfolded, his recent episode Power of Protest examines this phenomenon.

He does a good job of chronicling the general outrage that Portlanders felt with first the murder of George Floyd then the issue of police brutality and Trump’s sending federal troops to the city – officers who wore no insignia and abducted people off the street into unmarked vehicles.

Bell also presents the anger felt by local Black people at having their agenda usurped by those who might not place the Black Lives Matter movement at the top of their agenda. Although there could be 20 excellent examples of this, Bell focuses on “Naked Athena” and “Wall of Moms” to invite critical perspective.

Bell is a sympathetic interviewer who lets his subjects talk and reigns in his quick wit.

If I were to offer any criticism of this episode is that the cool soundtrack and quick edits makes the actual protests, violent as they were, seems too much like an MTV version of social justice, with fancy costumes and theatrical personalities.

But don’t be dissuaded, this is a well-crafted show that captures the rage and nuance of a volatile time in our nutty, wonderful city of Portland.


Monday, May 10, 2021

The Write & Spray Put To Good Use

At the several protests I attended I have observed members of the press taking notes on a pad. They also use phones, recorders and cameras, but the notepad apparently is a failsafe device still in vogue.

The above might be filled with mace so that one could jot down the important information and then use the pen for self-defense.

Or one could fill it with essential oils, as recommended, and hope a pleasant smell would calm roiled nerves at a protest.

I suppose a ballpoint pen isn’t the best graffiti tool, but it might work in a pinch.

All to say this item might be useful in this city.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Bicycle Makes A Comeback (For 1 Day)

This isn't my bike but I like the shot (my bike has brakes and shifters on the handlebars).

Once upon a time I was all about the bike commute, or going to a store on a bike, or visiting friends via the bicycle. Those days are gone. Instead, most of the time I am on my bike I am doing so strictly for exercise.

Today was throwback Sunday and I rode the bike to the park to see the kid play in their punk band. As a true punk band would be, they were behind schedule and I needed to move on before the show started.

I felt proud of myself for biking across town. Evidence of my age and decrepitude surfaced when I arrived and broke out a puffy jacket to stay warm in the frigid 60-degree air.

I look forward to being a productive senior citizen by keeping the sweater industry on solid financial footing.


Saturday, May 8, 2021

When Was Tie Dye Introduced To Portland?

When I first arrived in the 1980s to Portland, Saturday Market and tie dye clothing were traditions already firmly established. Today that tradition is stronger than ever with several booths selling tie dyes in the current iteration of the COVID -restricted Saturday Market.

Popular culture would tell us that Ken Kesey brought tie dyes to Portland, and the nation, sometime in the 1960s.

This question is where the academics and serious amateurs are sorely needed.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Driving Practice Brings Us To New Pants


The kid wanted to drive and purchase a new pair of rugged cargo pants. So we went to the Duluth Trading Co. in Jantzen Beach.

The orientation of the store was to big men, so I was happily surprised to find 28 inch waist, 32 inch inseam pants for the skinny kid. He now has two pairs of pants with so many pockets that he will not need a backpack. Ever.

An older gentleman was checking out ahead of us with a big order of several hundred dollars. He took out bills and paid in cash, finding the coins for exact change as well.

Ten years ago, that might have been me purchasing a small item. I can’t remember the last time I paid for something in cash – certainly not an order worth a significant amount of money.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Driving Practice Took Us To Lake Oswego

The kid had no recollection of what Lake Oswego, Oregon was like. So we went to this tony suburb of Portland and looked for hair metal bands and BMWs.

What we found instead were chain stores and a lot of SUVs – but the houses looked nice and nobody yelled at us.

I remembered good times from college with a great friend who grew up there.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Big Lebowski Enjoyed By New Generation

I taunted the kid last night by saying I created a meme that had cultural references he could not comprehend.

The result was a family viewing of “The Big Lebowski.” A good time was had by all.

Now I can say, “I don’t roll on Shabbos” and everyone can roll their eyes. 


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Should Resign

Today the centrist-right newspaper “The Oregonian” published an op-ed titled “Havoc Stems From Upholding Supremacy, Not Dumpster Fires.”

The piece was written by a guest columnist but the fact it appeared at all shows a softening on this issue for Portland. A quote:

Definitions of “violence” are contentious, but surely, we can agree there is a significant difference between broken windows and a 46-year-old man shot dead by police while in a city park, the latest person to be killed by Portland Police. There is no moral equivalency between dumpster fires in the street and murder. It is disingenuous to condemn property destruction while ignoring the relentless violence of Portland police, who used force a documented 6,000 times last year alone against citizens expressing their opinions on the value of Black lives. The overwhelming majority of violence against people occurring during protests is committed by Portland police, not by protestors.