Saturday, July 31, 2021

Things I Am Grateful For

I am grateful for not owning this laser hair regrowth therapy cap. It would be embarrassing to walk around with multiple laser burns on my scalp. 


Monday, July 26, 2021

Speed, Power, Flow

These three words are the criteria for which surfers are judged when they ride a competitive wave at the Olympics.

I like them. I also like the philosophy. Maybe speed and power are less subjective, but the notion that judges are rendering opinions about flow makes me mentally whoop with joy.

When I read the judging criteria, I had a flash of recognition as I review my own activities in a similar fashion. It’s not about going the fastest, or doing the most, there’s a je ne sais quoi to flow, or style, vibes, or whatever, that can bring an experience up or down. It’s the invisible, crucial element to a ski run, cooking a tasty meal, doing the grocery shopping.

Life is to be lived.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Intifada

Feeling a bit restless on the weekend so I wrote an op-ed.

It’s exciting to think that a maker of fancy ice cream can move the needle for one of the world’s intractable problems. Here is the link:

#BenAndJerrys #PeaceLoveAndIceCream #IceCreamIntifada #EndTheOccupation 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Teenage Derring-do

Young people swing on a rope off a bridge and drop into a river in Eastern Oregon – something I would like to do but will not for obvious reasons.

Adding to the epic nature of this pursuit is the hairy extraction zone indicated by the red.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Teenager Wants the Old Punk Trunk


In college I used a cheap trunk to transport/store an array of stuff spanning stereos to cycling gear, with the quotidian random bits of clothing in between.

I treated the trunk roughly, covering it with stickers, ripping out the flimsy lock that came with it and installing a hasp that could be padlocked.

The trunk made it to Israel and back in addition to the vicissitudes of academic life. And yes, that is a picture of Michel Platini, the sticker coming with a pair of cleats. That was back when Platini was a soccer star. In 2015 he was banned from involvement in football over ethics violations. C’est la vie.

I wanted to get rid of it as the trunk has more than served its purpose and is taking up space in the garage. The kid wants it, as it is a bomber piece of gear from the olden times. The kicker is that he has no room in his bedroom and wants to store it in the garage until the time arrives when it is needed.

C’est la vie indeed!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

How to Be a Connoisseur

Once upon a time I wanted to be a connoisseur of food and drink. I began the process and did better on the food side of things. My relaxed philosophy is universalist in that many foods are already perfect; they just need the right environment to be exulted. I couldn’t imagine eating foie gras at a ballpark. A regular hot dog is wonderful.

I tried to learn about wine and spirits, but I just didn’t drink enough of anything to really cultivate serious opinions. I tried drinking coffee but with even less success as it doesn’t agree with me.

As I began to drink tea, by default I became a fussy tea person – or a connoisseur, or a pain in the ass. As I am home a lot, I can brew tea in a teapot and order teas not found in the grocery store over the internet.

Tea is the most popular beverage in the world and the philosophy is if it tastes good, drink it.

The above teas reflect my current habit of drinking copious amounts of green tea. The caffeine content is mild, one batch of leaves can be infused up to three times if I’m super thirsty, and I can pontificate about the superlative nature of a variety without ever encountering a serious rebuttal. Try that with your whiskey.

Also, I can always move into fancy teapots if I want to advance my expertise in a new direction.

Despite claims to be a fancy person when it comes to tea, I am still grateful to get a cup of hot water and a sachet of pedestrian black tea when on a plane or out and about.

Maybe the secret of being a connoisseur is to chill the fuck out and drink whatever you want without too much fuss. 


Thursday, July 15, 2021


It would be wrong to use a drone to surveil other people so I surveilled myself. This really isn't necessary as I usually am included in my comings and goings and general thought process. 

I am learning to fly a drone so to help my friend make trike videos. Stay tuned.

My Viral Video

Someone posted my "Meadows Pond Skim" video somewhere in Southeast Asia and 189,000 views resulted. 

I don't feel any different. I assure all fans that I will continue to be the same Portdaddia that I always have been.


Saturday, July 10, 2021

Netflix Cat People


This is a still from the Cat People Netflix site

As academics and serious amateurs know, we here are nutty cat people.

So of course, we’re going to watch a show about other nutty cat people.

The problem has arisen that after watching a few episodes of the Netflix series Cat People we realize that we are just not nutty enough – either with our level of eccentricity or minimum number of cats (1).

I resist the urge to make every blog post about our therapy cat which may have something to do with the above problems. It seems I’m anchored too much to the non-cat world.

I suspect what I call nuttiness is normal for most who have cats as animal companions. A bazillion names for the critter, anthropomorphic narrative overdrive, terminal and absolute adulation for the creature as it does absolutely nothing, and the feeling that every photograph of something else is a picture wasted.

Today my mind wandered and I imagined myself being asked what my hobbies were: “Giving our cat an interesting life” was an answer that quickly sprang to mind.

As much as I hate being average, I realize we are average people with an average cat – an American shorthair tabby of medium size. Long live normalcy! Sometimes it just feels right. 

The average cat.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Hood River Independence Day

So many shiny black police vehicles staffed by tactical-vest wearing officers -- anyone who doubts the militarization of local police forces need look no further than this small town.

The above vehicle and .50 caliber machine gun is from a local museum and not the Hood River police.


Thursday, July 1, 2021

Dudley Flamm (1931-2021)


Dudley Flamm died on June 25 at his home in Northfield, Minnesota.  He was ninety years old.  He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1931.  A child of the Great Depression, he often recycled and repurposed outdoor equipment and household items for friends and family long before it became popular.  As a young man, he was active in the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout, which helped a city kid develop a lifelong passion for the great outdoors.  For many years, he also served as a scout leader in Northfield.

After Dudley earned his B.A. from Columbia University in 1952, he joined the U.S. Navy.  For two years, he was a staff officer in Washington, D.C.  Then he served for two years as the executive officer of the U.S.S. Paiute, a repair ship.  In the military, he learned to scuba dive, spearfish, and speak Spanish, which he put to good use at ports of call in Latin America.  He also crossed the Arctic Circle and navigated a tropical typhoon.

After Dudley completed his tour of duty, he took full advantage of the G.I. Bill.  He traveled in Europe and earned an MA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 1958.  The following year, he met and married Ellen Schloss.  Together, they had three children: Michael, Eric, and Maya.  After he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1964, he joined the English Department at St. Olaf in 1965 and moved to Northfield, which became his home for the rest of his life.  Never again did he consider living in New York.

A man of many words and interests, he embraced the adventurous life.  He rode motorcycles, canoed and camped, whitewater kayaked and alpine skied all over the western states and Canada.  He created sculptures and repaired automobiles, bikes, and appliances.  To him everything manufactured was customizable and nothing was off limits.

Of all his hobbies and projects, he may have most loved to kayak – he ran more than seventy rivers in North and Central America.  The combination of water, wind, and sun gave him enormous satisfaction; he took his last whitewater trip on the Kettle River in Banning State Park at eighty.  

Dudley was truly a force of nature.  He possessed an inexhaustible supply of usually accurate information about almost everything from literature and film to food and politics, space exploration and Jewish actors in the original Star Trek cast.  At times he could overwhelm you with his opinions.  Many who encountered Dudley saw him as a legendary figure from the mystical land of Brooklyn or a true curmudgeon.  But he was also a loving and loyal man.  If he was your friend, you cherished his stories and knew that in a crisis you could always count on him.

You also knew that Dudley was extremely generous with his knowledge and possessions.  A lifelong learner, he never hesitated to teach others how to repair bikes, ride motorcycles, build darts from shingles, or understand Judaism.  When he could no longer pursue his outdoor passions, he was extraordinarily intentional about giving away his outdoor gear and work tools to those who would most appreciate and best use them. 

Dudley divorced in 1978 and married Beth Wickum in 1990.  For the next three decades, they celebrated life together with love, friendship, laughter, and adventure.

Dudley is survived by his wife Beth, his three children, and four grandchildren (Olivia and Jonah, Austin and Alexandra).  He is also survived by his sister Jeannette Brockman and her sons (George and Josh).  The family will hold a private service and requests no memorials in his name.