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Friday, June 08, 2007


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I blame Bush.


Never underestimate how just dumb people can be. Without meaning to. Or because they are jerks and they can't help themselves.Such as:

*The guy who honks and gestures at me because I slide into his lane. My motivation? The police car with flashing blue lights coming up behind me.

*The woman who almost runs Dan off the road on his bike, screaming "Sidewalk,sidewalk!"out her car window. It is illegal in Charleston to ride bikes on the sidewalk.

*The couple that mars the ballet for my daughter and me by talking the entire time and rattling something in a box. Like junior mints or milk duds or something.

*The guy who hurries up to us and says "You have to leave the building" like we're casing the joint for bomb placement ideas after David's high school graduation ceremony, while we stopped in a good cell phone reception spot in an attempt to find him in the crowd of 8,000.

*The parking garage clerk who never speaks, slams out the change and generally treats us like we have totally wronged her in some soul-scarring way because we want to leave the garage.

Sometimes, people just suck.


As Spoleto winds down, Portland revs up the Rose Festival. This kitschy celebration is one hundred years old this year, so you can imagine the traditions it entails.

The whole thing is run by the Royal Rosarians, who are grown ups but wear cream-colored suits and straw boaters. There is the Royal Court of Princesses, comprised of high school girls from around the city. They were called Ambassadors for a while, but the backlash against feminism has restored their traditional title. Tall ships sail in early in the week, and US Navy ships come later. You can host a sailor in your home if you like, but I think the sailors prefer visiting the city's numerous strip joints. There are fireworks galore, dragon boat races (my wife participated one year: her team edged out a gung ho boat full of Marines to get to the semi-finals in their class), a Grand Prix race. Well, you get the idea.

The strangest tradition involves the Grand Floral Parade, the largest of the Rose Festival's many parades. At one time, people would arrive early for the parade to get a good viewing spot. Sometimes people would even camp out on the street, sometimes for a couple of nights. But gradually people started reserving their spots by outlining rectangles on the sidewalk with duct tape and even leaving lawn chairs out. Strangely enough, people seemed to respect the reserved spots and the chairs were not stolen, and it has become another of the traditions of the Rose Festival.

This tradition has become a divisive issue in the city recently. Some people think it is quaint, but others think it is grossly unfair for people to reserve a spot on a public sidewalk. I don't care much, one way or the other. Mostly, I just hunker down and try to stay out of the way of the Rose Festival. However, I tend to agree with William Steven Murphy, editor of the Portland Mercury, who says, "If you want a good spot to watch the parade, then drag your fat ass out of bed, and get there early."

However, there is one aspect of this tradition that I find both baffling and infuriating. A large number of the people that reserve spots with duct tape leave the stuff behind after the parade. WTF? How hard is it to rip up the tape and throw it away? Who the hell do they think cleans the stuff up?

So, maybe next year I'll drag my own fat ass out of bed and join the Mercury's clean-up crew the night before the parade.


I can understand your frustration at seeing this happen, but at least these people are throwing it into the recycling container. I live in a state that is ass backward when it comes to recycling and a city that doesn't even have a recycling program. There are also no deposits of any kind on bottles or cans, so you can imagine that every intersection, median and the urban core is just littered with the refuse of our disposable society.

So in protest my family has decided to go all styrofoam (to save water of course) use styrofoam for cups, plates and all plastic utensils for every meal and snack. If our city doesn't care about the amount of waste in its landfill, then why should I?

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