Pondering the Pandemic – No. 2

The historic New Atlas Bar in Columbus, Montana – notice the albino mule deer

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped or shortened.)

As I’ve mentioned in my last few posts – probably self-evident – visits to new watering holes whether bars or breweries are temporarily on hold for Thebeerchaser.  That said, I have a lot of old memories and thoughts about my favorite topic which can still provide grist to loyal followers – at least for awhile.

That was true reminiscing about our road trip through Montana last year in the recent post (see link below)  and that narrative was about just five of the 49 new establishments we visited on that 3,700 mile trip — like the historic New Atlas Bar in Columbus, Montana.

Joan Melcher, who wrote two books on Montana bars described the New Atlas  – one of her favorites below – and the second paragraph is a little curious.  The New Atlas, indeed, was one of the most curious of the forty-nine bars we hit on the trip:

“Hulking throughout the room are bald eagles, an albino mule deer fawn, a coyote howling to the moon, young bobcats fighting an Audak (African mountain sheep), a Canadian lynx, raccoon or two, a fox, a snow owl. moose heads, elk heads – buffalo, antelope, mountain sheep – all kinds of heads…

Amused acceptance?!  What’s the other option??

…..There’s a queer sensation that goes with drinking sur-rounded by dead, stuffed animals.  The first reaction is one of nonchalance – ah some nice stuffed animals. 

After a few drinks, you feel countless pairs of eyes bearing down.  You have another beer to relax under their scrutiny, look around again, and you’re among friends, the animals’ glares having softened to amused acceptance.”

The last post with the five other Montana bar descriptions (Trapper’s Saloon in Eureka, the Saw Mill Saloon in Darby – a town with a legendary Town Marshal, the Wise River Club in Wise River, the Antler Saloon in Wisdom and the Dewey Tavern also in Wise River – all Montana classics is at the link below:

https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/08/19/pondering-during-the-pandemic-1/

A Return to the Central Oregon Coast

Right now, however, I’m coming back to Oregon – some of my favorite spots – dive bars on the Oregon Coast. These institutions are in jeopardy especially since the pandemic and be protected as should any endangered species such as the Washington golden mantel ground squirrel…..

The Sportsman in Pacific City

One of the great resources in the earlier days of this blog (2011-14) was a similar blog I came upon in doing research for my posts.  Matt Love, a prolific and talented author and now owner of a small Astoria publishing house he founded in 2003 – The Nestucca Spit Press

His blog, “Let it Pour”, originated as a popular column in Hipfish Monthly, an alternative magazine in Astoria. He no longer maintains the site and unfortunately a number of the watering holes are no longer in business..

Matt in his younger days sans beard…

Matt is a keen observer of both the ambiance of dive bars and the interactions that take place among the patrons – and is an expert in describing those in entertaining style.  Take this one from LetItPour.net that made me check out the Old Oregon as one of my first Coast dives.

“(It’s) a damn fine gritty place to drink beer – a lot of beer….The regulars call it The Old O and after spending time there over the years, I feel it is not too outrageous to suggest the nickname stands not only for The Old Oregon Tavern in Lincoln City — which it does — but really some of the patrons’ last long ago orgasm.  Maybe in the Johnson Administration.”

The interior of the Old O reflects the taste of the owners and its rich history as a tavern.  According to one patron who smoked cigarettes (Matt wrote this before the 2009 law banning smoking) and drank beer while attached to a portable oxygen tank, the joint dates to World War II, but maybe earlier.”

So with some curiosity, but no expectations, I hunkered into the Old O – right on Highway 101 in the heart of Lincoln City with my brother-in-law, Dave Booher and our friend, Steve Larson for a few beers and to observe. 

As per my usual Beerchaser process, I was sitting at the bar drinking draft PBR’s, asking the bartender questions and taking photos around the quaint place.  As per Matt’s observation about the family character of Coast dives, we noted  there was going to be a wake for a recently deceased regular – “Rod.”  We did not take the sign literally and assumed that when it stated, “Have a drink on Rod,” that his casket was not going to be in the Old O for the celebration.

A wake – but no casket….

Then, in walks a very stocky middle-aged guy in a motorcycle jacket and hat and purposefully strides towards a seat at the back of the bar where he could observe everything going on.   The bartender said softly, “That’s Irish Mike – our local ambassador.”   I took a few more pictures and rejoined my companions at the bar.

At that point Irish Mike pointed and motioned me to come to his chair.  With some trepidation, but also curiosity, I headed back to him and as I approached, he reached into his wallet and pulled out two one-dollar bills.  He stared at me and said:

“It’s your turn to plug the juke box. Don’t screw it up!”

Irish Mike and Thebeerchaser

Fortunately, he liked my selections of Van Morrison and the Eagles.  We had a great chat and I found out that he is a retired exec from San Francisco and rides his Harley up to Oregon a few times a year and the Old O is always one of his stops.

That stop after three years of Beerchasing, affirmed that there were many more yarns in the future. My stories, however, pale to Matt’s Love’s.  So take a look at his newspaper-tabloid publication Oregon Tavern Age – a bargain at $10 or three copies for $20 at his Nestucca Spit Press website where you will also find other wonderful books on Oregon he has written.

Before we get to OTA, the picture above gives me reason to momentarily digress.   I asked Matt what spurred his fascination with beavers – pervasive and tactically placed throughout the almost eighty different bar tails… (sorry – I couldn’t resist) tales throughout the 58-page OTA publication.

I thought it might be because he, like I, was an OSU grad but he got his degrees at Portland State and Lewis and Clark.  His captivation with the flat-tailed, semi-aquatic rodent was a product of observing them in the woods during his walks on the Oregon coast and his collection of beaver wood – an obsession, of sorts, for the last ten years – and an amazing sight adjacent to his RV.

Beaverwood – ten years worth…

The topic of Beavers then provides a convenient segue to my next topic – Oregon State Football and whether the Beavs under Coach Jonathan Smith will exceed expectations this fall.

However, not only will the Beaver quarterbacks, lineman and defensive backs, etc. be occupied otherwise on Saturday afternoons, but so will the midfielders on the soccer team and the setter and outside hitter on the volleyball team.

The Pac 12, as did some of the other NCAA conferences made the wise decision to protect athletes and fans by either suspending or delaying fall and winter sports.

So instead of being on the gridiron, the Beaver football players will have a chance to spend time in the library until at least next spring and help bolster the academic standing of OSU – possibly to a scholastic peak that the football team can be proud of. Thus, any current discussion of football would be strictly academic……

Oregon Tavern Age

Don’t bother Googling Oregon Tavern Preservation Society. That’s Matt’s imagination…

Matt describes how the phrase was coined based on an experience thirty-four years ago when he and some friends were sitting in Seaside’s The Beach Club, drinking 50-cent drafts:

“A man blasted through the door and obliterated the tavern’s somnolent mood.  His hair was feathered….and perfect.  He appeared anywhere from 40 to 70 years old.  Many years later, I coined the phrase ‘Oregon Tavern Age’ or ‘OTA’ to describe the condition….*1

The man’s name was Larry or Wayne, both solid OTA names.  He sat down with us at the bar.  He was loud.  I struck up a conversation with him and learned he had $10,000 in cash stuffed into his pants pocket…..*2

He had cashed a check the previous afternoon – a settlement from an injury suffered in an automobile accident and was ready to party down – hard.  He bought the house a round, screamed an encouraging profanity, and then bolted out the door.”

*1 I am appalled now that I’m 72, Matt doesn’t consider me part of OTA.  Through my lawyer, I will consider notifying federal and state agencies (such as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission) and WCTU (?) on possible sanctions for age discrimination.

*2  Wayne or Larry probably only had about 70% of that amount of cash on him as his lawyer would have taken the other 30% as his or her contingency fee.

This was clearly not the last or even a tiny slice of the stories and observations Love makes in this treatise that was so interesting and enjoyable to me that I used a yellow highlighter so I could come back and savor parts of it again later.

Matt published OTA in 2019, but these stories go back years to:

“…the halcyon days of Oregon tavern life:  no liquor, no craft beers, no meth, no video poker or  slots, smoke-filled and the classic cheap Pacific Northwest lagers brewing in the Pacific Northwest by union men reigned supreme.”

Now based on the 375 watering holes I have visited, I have a lot of stories, but Matt is a master of observation not only of the human interaction, but the trappings and character of these dives.  He converts the notes he took “jotting down observations with a pencil on a golf score card” and his conversations with the regulars into a captivating collection of stories and anecdotes with great graphic illustrations – courtesy of his ex-wife.

It will make you want to drive down to Pacific City and have a draft Budweiser at the Sportsman Pub and Grub where for years, Matt served as the bar’s Writer in Residence (Thebeerchaser reviewed this great dive in October 2014.)

“I like Old!”

For example, his observation upon getting a recommendation to check out the Crow’s Nest Lounge in Gold Beach – although being warned it’s regulars were an older crowd:

“’Good,’ I thought. I like old.”   That’s where the real OTA action unfolds like so much frozen molasses locked inside a glacier.  I hate fast bars with loud, dumb kids throwing down jello shots while fiddiling on their fancy phones.  They need a little Black Velvet to calm then down…..We all do.”

And I can just visualize Matt, sitting at a dark red booth with cracked vinyl, enveloped in second-hand smoke and nursing a cheap Hamm’s – this as he observed a guy drinking white wine:

“The white wine hailed from a black box.  The man sat next to another OTA man drinking Budweiser from a tall can.  In the wings, a female bartender fiddled on her phone.  The Stanley Cup Final highlights played quietly on a flatscreen.

At a nearby table, an OTA woman drank coffee and ate clam chowder and dunked a peanut butter bar, in both, while reading a firearms magazine.  She hacked an ex-smoker’s hack between dunks and turning the pages.”

Now there have been about eight dives on the coast that have either closed permanently or indefinitely suspended operations   It’s not possible for someone to open a new dive bar – it’s somewhat of a contradiction of terms. And Matt is the cerebral vault in which many of the stories are maintained and only unlocked on special occasions.  For example:

“One day, many years ago, a woman sat in Pitch’s Tavern in Port Orford.   She saw a horse drinking beer from a saucer on the counter.  On another visit, she saw a live boxer crab holding an unlit cigarette in one claw and a glass of beer in the other.”

The author is sometimes maudlin and philosophical in his musings and I will leave you with his rhetorical question and the recommendation that you order the Oregon Tavern Age and join Thebeerchaser in reveling at the stories of a gifted writer:

“Could all the bartenders in OTA country be replaced by Alexa-like robot devices?  Can you imagine Alexa responding to a question like: “Alexa, can I have the bear tacos and Hamm’s special?’ 

There will never be an algorithm for that.  There will never be an algorithm for OTA country. Everything is utterly random, except for the consistency of the regulars and their stories and the utter unpredictability of the bartenders.  If I want an algorithm, I’ll go to a brewpub.”

Savor the story of the Deep Fried Miller High Life at the Mad Dog Country Tavern just out of Newport (that and The Triangle Tavern under the Megler Bridge in Astoria are two of his favorites )

Or check out the one on the blue parrot playing video poker (and winning) at the historic Bay Haven Inn in the heart of Newport, by ordering Matt’s OTA.  And take a look at some of the other great offerings at the Nestucca Spit Press while you’re at it.

And Finally…

Courtesy of Molly Larson Cook

With two daughters who are both nurses, I’ve stated before, my plea for everyone to wear masks.   And here’s a great place to get one plus a bonus from Patty Voldbaeck – a former excellent legal secretary at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm. 

Patty’s masks are made of 100%cotton fabric with ultralight fusible interfacing (if requested) and a pocket insert protector of your personal preference.  She also has a piece of N-95 fabric available with instructions for care.

Designer Masks

The bonus is that one of Patty’s Famous Molasses Cookies comes with each mask order or if you would like more (based on my experience, you will….) they are available at $12 a dozen. 
 
GP   Grandma Patty’s Famous Creations
Masks, Molasses Cookies & Scrubbys
Notary-Oregon
503-476-2216

Pondering During the Pandemic – 1

Vortex 1 – Protesting in 1970…No tear gas, projectiles and violence – just sunburn!

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped or shortened.)

Thebeerchaser’s exploration of new establishments during the pandemic has been limited (or basically non-existent) so on recent posts I’ve covered some miscellaneous topics such as reminiscing about Vortex 1  – the only state-sponsored rock concert in US history held near Estacada, Oregon in 1970.  It’s a fascinating story: https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/07/16/beerchasing-miscellany-lockdown-version-ii/

In a number of posts, I’m also “revisiting,” in a manner of speaking, some of my favorite bars and breweries visited during the nine years I’ve pursued my idiosyncratic retirement hobby with the tally now at 375 establishments reviewed since August, 2011.  This time I will focus on the Big Sky State.

Oh Montana!!

No gun rack, but Starbucks and Sirius satellite radio

In June 2019, my wife and I had a marvelous combined road trip of fourteen days from Oregon to the Dakotas and back.

I say “combined” because the first six days, I drove our 2015 Prius (without any gun rack) through Montana  – solo before picking my wife up at the Billings, Montana Airport for the remainder of that trip.

If it weren’t for the weather from October to March, Montana, with its outstanding scenery, would be an ideal place to live.

Lake Koocanusa near Eureka, Montana

We love road trips and miss them greatly. In the last six months, about the only road trip I’ve taken is into the next county to a store that was one of the few places that had Chlorox Wipes available.  That 49 mile round-trip had none of the benefits I experienced in Montana other than picking up an all-beef Seven-Eleven Big Bite Hot Dog for only $1 on National Hot Dog Day on the way (unbeknownst to my wife…..).

Only $1 on National Hot Dog Day

My first two nights were in Yaak, in the far NW corner of Montana where I spent much of that time in the Dirty Shame Saloon with owner, John Runkle.  The Shame was the most interesting and my favorite watering hole of the 375 in the nine years of Beerchasing and John, one of the most interesting personalities.

(Click on the links in the para above or below to see one of the four posts I did on this legendary saloon and put it on your bucket list — I mean Right Now!!   https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/10/16/thebeerchasers-final-thoughts-on-the-dirty-shame-saloon/

John Runkle in front of the bar that reflects his personality

Thebeerchaser and John Runkle with the gift of Benedictine Beer from the monks at Mt. Angel, Oregon

Subsequent nights in Kalispell, Hamilton, Anaconda and Livingston increased my bar tally by 29 establishments.   After I picked up Janet, we hit the road, visiting six National Parks and Monuments in addition to museums and, of course, bars and breweries in North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho before returning home.

The total of 3,700 miles on the combined trip saw us visit a total of forty-nine new establishments for my Beerchasing reviews.

Visiting Badlands Natl. Park in South Dakota

One can go for for miles and miles without seeing anybody or even having to turn your steering wheel!  Montana is known is the Big Sky State although it could easily be captioned as the long, straight road state as well. For road trippers, it’s superb.

If you want to see, the composite list of bars for that trip, check out the end of the following post: https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/07/05/big-sky-beerchasing-the-preface/

On those six days solo in Montana, I hit some of the most memorable bars and met the most colorful characters since I began Beerchasing and a sample is shown below.   One common theme is taxidermy and Miller High Life. (I had the Time and the bars had the beer……..)

This picture of the Trappers’ Saloon on Highway 93 near Eureka, Montana is a great example and also very typical.  Their slogan is “Where the West is Still Wild!” and they try to prove that in the horseshoe pit by the side of the bar each day.

The Trapper – an exquisite example Where the West is Still Wild…

And the 205 taxidermists in Montana are ubiquitous.   All parts of the animal are used as can be seen from the lower left of this photo: 

And it’s not just in the bars where you will see mounted wildlife – birds, snakes, fish, beaver, deer and elk, bison and even an alligator and a polar bear (Blue Moon Saloon outside Kalispell) decorating the walls as evidenced by this picture of the lobby in the historic Murray Hotel on Main Street in Livingston.

Speaking of Taxidermy….

In going through old files from the law firm that I have kept for almost ten years since retirement, I came across this one from one of the Schwabe lawyers coincidentally related to this topic…..

For those uncomfortable with the end result of taxidermy, at least this actual case involved the more cuddly substitute. One of Schwabe’s female appellate lawyers sent this e-mail to the firm in April 2001:

“I need a small to medium sized stuffed squirrel for an oral argument at the Court of Appeals next Wednesday.  No taxidermy please.  I promise to return said squirrel safely after the argument.”     

Cute and protected…..

Well, she told me a few days ago in response to an e-mail that the case involved the golden mantle ground squirrel – a protected species in Oregon, but not Washington where it is a native species, but curiously not protected.

Unfortunately for our client – an Oregon rancher – one of the pesky critters had hopped a log raft and took a leisurely cruise across the Columbia River and “invaded” his Oregon property.  The State wanted to shut his operation down. Schwabe was trying to get the case reversed after an unfavorable verdict in the lower court:

“The State had cutesy pictures of the little critters in its brief so I needed the stuffed squirrels for “live action” pictures.”

Did she get a stuffed squirrel for her court appearance?

Just kidding – Counsel would have dressed her’s up in male outfits because it was an all-male panel in the Court of Appeals.

“I ended up with ten stuffed squirrels from various firm members, I lined them up on counsel table.  One of them fell off the table during my argument…I heard from a law clerk several years later that the three judges never stopped talking about it…and, I lost.” 

But I Digress – Back to Montana

After two nights in Yaak, I spent a night in Kalispell and then Hamilton – a nice berg on the western border of Montana.  Then I took a “rural” and roundabout route to my next stay in Anaconda, but only after stopping at four great bars in the boonies.

The Sawmill Saloon in Darby

Having graduated from an aggie school –  Oregon State University (in Corvallis, Oregon not Montana – see below) with a great forestry program – and given the history of the Oregon Timber Industry, I was very interested in another bar – the Saw Mill Saloon.

Darby is right on Highway 93 and has a population of only 720 (it gained 10 between the 2000 and 2010 census) and this watering hole was understandably not hopping on a weekday morning.  Located in the historic State Bank of Darby building, the bartender showed me the two big vaults, one of which is now used to store kegs and cases of beer.

Darby was once a bustling timber, mining and transportation hub, but since the ’70’s has relied mostly on tourism.  Town Marshall, Larry Rose (who is also a taxidermist… ) has been marshal for 36 years as chronicled in a fascinating 2014 article in the Billings Gazette:

“…..(Rose) once punched the town judge during a city council meeting before handcuffing him. (That made the late Paul Harvey’s news broadcast) In a town that celebrates Old West individualism, Rose has more law enforcement surveillance cameras monitoring his citizens than any other city in Montana.

Obey the speed limit and watch for Larry’s surveillance cameras

…..Rose’s station house looks like a memorial to the town’s Old West heyday. It features an iron-barred jail cell in the corner, a gun rack full of lever-action Winchester rifles and mountain lion skins on the wall. The 71-year-old Rose flicks a button on his computer. A checkerboard of 16 little screens pops up.

They’re the surveillance cameras Rose has strategically positioned around town, on light poles and balconies, and even in flower planter barrels. The software spots vehicle license plates and automatically records the numbers.”

I wish Rose had been at the Saw Mill Saloon that morning since he was born only 22 miles up Highway 93 in Corvallis, Montana – only 675 miles from the OSU campus.  We we could have regaled each other with Corvallis stories while raising a mug.  Based on a call to Darby yesterday, they confirmed that Rose – now 76 – still holds the office.

Don’t you go speedin through my town, Mr. Letterman!

For example there was the time in 1998 when he came into contact with the former host of the Late Night Show“Town Marshal Lassoes Letterman”)

“David Letterman can’t escape traffic tickets even in a state noted for its high-speed highways.  While Montana has no posted daytime speed limit on its highways, Letterman found out the same can’t be said of city speed limits.

He was stopped Saturday for driving 38 mph in a 25 mph zone and was pleasant as he paid a $50 fine, said Larry Rose, town marshal of Darby, population 800.”

If you look on Google, Rose’s tenure has been filled with internal political turmoil, he’s been in the middle of a town polarized on the issues and even involved in a 2005 incident, when Rose killed a man who tried to take away his firearm during a domestic disturbance. (He was exonerated after an inquest although the family of the victim was unsatisfied with the decision – so his Corvallis stories would probably be more interesting than mine…….)

Not used for cash and bonds any more – just kegs and cases!

And you would not believe the number of old chain saws and lumber mill saw blades hanging from the ceiling, which gives the Sawmill Saloon a great Montana ambiance.

Take a look at one perspective from a very recent (June, 2020) Yelp reviewer – also named Don, who I gleaned from his website, like Thebeerchaser, also a native New Yorker. This interesting fella wrote:

Stihl in good operating condition…

“one of the main reasons i love it is that liberals really hate sawmills, mining, coal, gas and everything that keeps our country moving forward. so i love the decor. hopefully this is not just some shallow statement from people who really oppose sawmills and blue collar workers who keep our country great.”

As an aside, Don on his website also stated that his wife is his “latest crush,” the last great book he read was “Books not written by liberals or wacko leftists”  and his latest discovery is that “liberalism is a mental disorder.”

The bartender was a jovial, rather rotund guy, and I guess I missed a nice bartender – also named, Dawn, who a guy named Jonathan on Restaurant.com just this March, wrote:

Great bartender, really cute, going to be a great mother,”

Of course, this raises many questions and unfortunately, Jonathan didn’t elaborate on his criteria for “great” parental skills…..

The Antler Saloon in Wisdom

In a little less than an hour I got to Wisdom, Montana, where I met Bernie, the “head bartender and pizza maker” – their specialty which draws rave reviews – at the Antler Saloon.  As you can see below, the taxidermy was not disappointing nor was my  Miller High Life and I contemplated the beer’s 117 year history.

Bernie at the Antler

Fritz – soft spoken but friendly

I sat at the bar next to a warm-blooded character, although not the best conversationalist.  As I left, however, my new, but tight-lipped buddy, Fritz, waved a paw and I look forward to going back for heightened Wisdom.  I’m confident that my canine friend will be sitting on the same bar stool.

Bernie did not tell me if Fritz was the enforcer for those who violated the admonition in the  men’s (and possibly slightly modified in the women’s) restroom:

“Spit chew in the garbage not the urinal.”

Joan Melcher, in her outstanding book, Montana Watering Holes does point out that the Antler Saloon was previously named the Wisdom Inn which, in itself, had a fabled history.

 

The Wise River Club

Only 38 miles from Wisdom, through some stunningly exquisite scenery, I stopped in Wise River and had a Miller High Life and a great chat with Tom Davis at the Wise River Club.

Tom is the 75-year old owner and head bartender (also singer and guitarist for weekend live music based on his experience leading opening acts for Sonny and Cher, the Mamas and Papas and Paul Revere and the Raiders in the ‘60’s).

Tom Davis – bartender, storyteller, singer and guitarist

The cordial Scotchman also related the story about the guy who was murdered in the men’s room at the Club a number of years ago in this watering hole and hotel on the north edge of the Beaverhead National Forest.  (Marshall Larry Rose was not involved….)

One other distinguishing characteristic of this historic bar – it had the only working pay-phone of any of the 49 watering holes on the trip.  I guess you could call 911 in the event of a murder if you had a quarter or maybe it was just a dime…..

And the picture below may raise some questions which are answered, at least in theory, by author, Joan Melcher.  You are looking at elk antlers:

“Nineteen sets – attached to the ceiling and extending from the front of the bar to the end and around a corner.  They were all from one elk that was kept across the street, he says, in some sort of game farm.  The elk lived for twenty three years.” (Page 31)

Better than a draft – after all, it is the Champagne of Bottled Beers!

Perhaps it was the two bottles of Miller High Life – after all, it is the “Champagne of Bottled Beers” or perhaps it was the great bartenders and the history of the establishments, but after I left Wise River and then Wisdom, I just felt a bit more intelligent…..

The Dewey Bar in Wise River

Now, the Dewey Bar is only seven miles east of the Wise River Social Club on Highway 43 along the Big Hole River and you won’t find it in Joan Melcher’s book of classic Montana bars.  Nor will you find a website for it and their Facebook page went mostly inactive since 2015.  It’s just that it was a reunion stop for me.

Road trip sixteen years ago….

In 2004, I was on a two-month firm sabbatical and for part of that time, Janet let me take a ten-day road trip through Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

I had no set itinerary (except to stop in Stanley, Idaho to visit the Stanley Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon) and carried my mountain bike on the back of my Forester.  I had not even thought of Beerchasing at that time because I was still a number of years from retirement.

But on about the sixth day out, I ended up at the Dewey Bar, in the late afternoon.  It was the one night I was car camping in a nearby National Forest Campground and I saw the Budweiser signs on the exterior near the front entrance in a one-room building with wood plank siding and it was Happy Hour!

I sat down at the bar next to a somewhat grizzled guy drinking a Bourbon and Coke and found out he was a retired lawyer from Seattle who had settled nearby.   About that time, there was some shouting at the other end of the bar – then occupied by about fifteen patrons – and two guys looked like they were going to square off.

Retired from Seattle

The lawyer suddenly shouted, “If you guys sit down and shut up, I’ll buy everybody in the house a round!”  They did – he did – and everyone toasted him.  The bartender took our picture above and that was the last time I laid eyes on him. But I always vowed to go back.

Lori, Shawn and Steve

(Fortunately I was not there in 2010 when the bar was fined $794 by the Montana Department of Environment Quality for failing to monitor the coliform bacteria in the bar’s water supply.)

But the bar looked exactly the same and I talked to the friendly bartender, Lori and had a beer with two great guys named Shawn and Steve who were on their day off from the Montana State Highway Division – also on their second round of  Bloody Mary’s (and listening to CNN – one of the few times a bar didn’t have Fox News on in Montana).

Jake Tapper rather than Sean Hannity – a refreshing change…….

They told the story about the day the bar opened fifteen years ago and some guy with a rifle shot off 64 rounds in the back area by the kitchen. A dog got wounded and went berserk and a Forest Service guy tackled the offender and told him he better switch from Budweiser to Gatorade.  As a result of the damage done by the rifle fire, they had to totally remodel the kitchen and the back area.

Well, after that I rolled into a rough old mining town – Anaconda – with one of the rougher bars I’ve been to in my Beerchasing journey.

But the story on The Owl in Anaconda will have to wait for another post.

Cheers!

The Owl Bar in Anaconda

 

Beerchasing Miscellany – Looking Back……

Darwin’s Theory Bar in Anchorage (see below)

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped or shortened.)

While we’re not technically still in a lockdown, by no means have things returned to normal based on the pandemic.   And for me, Beerchasing is on a hiatus other than Happy Hours on our back deck and one trip to the Benedictine Brewery in Mount Angel. Janet and I could easily social distance outside in a wonderful environment.

Visit the St. Michael Taproom in Mount Angel at the Benedictine Brewery

The Evolution of Darwin’s Theory

One of my favorite Dive Bars in the nine years of Beerchasing is Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage, Alaska.  It’s owned by an Oregon State graduate and we visited it in 2014 at the start of an Alaskan cruise. To that point, I had pretty much restricted my blog posts to Portland establishments.

My wife and I were doing a lot of retirement traveling, however and I thought, “Why not expand this project to other venues than Portland?”  Darwin’s was one of the first and we loved this little two-room dive bar with great nooks and crannies and which only served beer in bottles.   We each had a beer and left at about 10 PM to walk back to our hotel – but – it was still totally daylight and I said, “Since it’s this light, I’m going back to have another beer.”

Lincoln Town Coupe – plenty of passenger room, but more important, spacious fenders….

At the crowed bar, I ordered a PBR and sat next to Bill – an Alaskan fisherman.  He told me about his work driving repeatedly across the US from LA to Washington DC in the 70’s.  Bill said he had a Lincoln Continental with big fenders.    I’ll leave it to your imaginations what he carried in those fenders….

When I told him about my hobby reviewing bars he advised me to be very careful in downtown Anchorage because there had been several murders in watering holes during the past year.  I thought he might be exaggerating, but when I got back to the hotel, I checked it out on-line.  He wasn’t!  Three men were shot and injured outside the Anchor Pub less than a year before – three blocks from Darwin’s.

Jon and Nancy Magnusson and Bob and Stephanie __

My daughter’s wonderful in-laws, Jon and Nancy Magnusson, from Seattle, were traveling to Alaska with their good friends Bob and Stephanie Thompson in January to see the Northern Lights and their first stay was in Anchorage.   They asked if I could recommend a good bar….  And you can see from the picture below that they loved Darwin’s as they did the dog-sled ride they took the next day.

Homespun wisdom from Darwin

Darwin’s also publishes a monthly newsletter I still receive and I got a chuckle out of this rhetorical question on page 3 of the June edition.  After being closed for ten weeks during the pandemic, the bar reopened on June 1.

“I always wondered what a job application is like at Hooters.  Do they just give you a bra and say, ‘Fill it out.’?”

Speaking of Darwin and looking for some more lighthearted topics in response to a global crisis, I was reminded of the Annual Darwin Awards.

“How did my work evolve to this ridiculous award??”

The judges use five criteria and to win, “Nominees must significantly improve the gene pool by eliminating themselves from the human race in an astonishingly stupid way. All races, cultures, and socioeconomic groups are eligible to compete.” 

I was struck by the reference to a winner in a 2014 article in the Arizona Independent Network which quoted a study by researchers in England.  One of the 413 winners from 1995 to 2014 was the the terrorist who posted a letter bomb with insufficient postage stamps and who, on its return, unthinkingly opened his own letter.

High School Memories Continued….

Vortex 1 – August 1970

In two recent Beerchaser posts, I mentioned Dr. Cameron Bangs and the story of this late and fabled Oregon physician including his role as supervising physician at Vortex I.  It was the only state-sponsored rock concert in US history held at McIver State Park near Estacada, Oregon in August, 1970.

Matt Love, a very talented and prolific writer who has his own publishing house on the Oregon Coast – the Nestucca Spit Press – wrote a book on Vortex I from Dr. Bangs’ 20,000 + word diary.  Several articles Matt wrote for Vortex Magazine are also fascinating and particularly relevant at this time because of the 60 + days of protests now occurring in downtown Portland 50 years later.

And through a few conversations and checking out his website, I also discovered that Matt wrote a serialized chronicle entitled Pioneer Pride – An Oregon City Memoir.  It was fascinating to me because we both graduated from Oregon City High School – I was in the class of 1966 and Matt in 1982.

I would suggest that the recollections of sports, high school love and unforgettable teachers – both terrible and terrific – among other interactions in Matt’s great narrative make it one you should read regardless of when and where you graduated.

And it made me start to reflect…….I thought about our senior prank.  Around ten of us managed to hoist an old berry field outhouse on to the roof of the high school.

Oregon City High School as it was in the 1960’s

This was not fake news in 1966 – unfortunately….

Principal Vern Larson scared the hell out of us the next day when we were called into his office to “property chastise” us as referenced in the article to the left in the Oregon City Enterprise Courier.

Now I joke, however, about how he told us to shape up and even “said a little prayer” for us in his office at the end of our session – “If you ever do something like that again, God Help You….!”

“I’ll Say a Little Prayer for You…..said Vern Larson

And there were the highs and lows of high school romance.  I recently played about ten times consecutively and now cannot get the hit tune which epitomizes this topic out of my head, “There’s  a Moon Out Tonight” by the Capris.

“Dated Up” just like he “Married Up”

It reminded me of Ginger, my first girlfriend.  The Capris – a doo-wop group out of New York City, were a one-hit wonder, but one member is still living and the group continues to perform.  (The flip side of the 45’RPM was “Indian Girl” which never hit the charts and would also not be politically correct in this time.)

 

————

The Capris – “There’s a Moon Out Tonight…”

The Jet’s – the OCHS dance team

I was a junior and Ginger was a senior and I couldn’t believe that a member of the Famous Oregon City Dancing Majorettes would go out with a younger guy.

We met in a study hall and I finally got up the nerve to ask her out.  We kidded Ginger because KISN – a Top Forty Radio Station had a contest – Mrs. Brown’s Daughter – named after the Herman’s Hermits 1965 number 1 single on the Billboard Top 100“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.”

Senior Picture

She had been nominated and her picture was one on display in the window of their studio on W. Burnside in Portland.  Ginger was embarrassed and I assured her that it wasn’t me who nominated her; however, nobody would have been surprised if she won.

And nothing beat a date after the Friday night football game (even though OCHS did not have its own field and played home games at Thora B. Gardiner Jr. High’s cow pasture gridiron).  Getting a cheap burger in my VW Bug at Dick’s Club 19 in Gladstone – that’s right, burgers were only $.19 – was a chance to see classmates and plan the weekend.

Matt’s memoir was a great catharsis.  On three consecutive days when I was drinking a Buoy IPA (7.5 ABV and 70 IBU) on our back deck, I was also harkening back to what a great place Oregon City had been to live and be educated.   I moved here from Cincinnati, Ohio, the summer before 7th grade.

For a few years, I had an Oregon Journal afternoon paper route and every day would park my bike on the Promenade overlooking downtown and take “the only outside municipally owned elevator in the US” down to Main Street to deliver to my customers.

Oregon City was the first incorporated city west of the Rocky Mountains and when I delivered the paper to the County Clerk’s office, I would see the original Plat of San Francisco –filed in OC.  It was first filed in 1849 and rediscovered in a vault in 1904.

Flash Forward…..

After college and the Navy I came back to live and work in OC and eventually was appointed to the City Planning Commission (for almost eight years).  I met my wife (now of forty years), Janet, at one of those meetings in 1979 after she was appointed the Neighborhood Involvement Coordinator on an LCDC grant.  She  subsequently became the Assistant City Administrator for the City of West Linn in 1981.

One of my favorite teachers in junior high was Mrs. Maxine Stroup, who taught Oregon History .  She made us realize we were living right where countless celebrated Oregon events took place over the years.  Mrs. Stroup brought those to life.  She was a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher and historian.  She made a lasting impression on all her students.

Historic Willamette Falls at the south end of town

I had not seen Mrs. Stroup in almost twenty years until she showed up at the final hearing in 1979, where after six-months of agonizing debate and testimony, we were set to adopt the controversial Historic Preservation Ordinance.   Sentiment on what type of control the City should have on historic property was very polarized. (sound familiar….?)

Janet in 1981 after she became Assistant City Administrator for the City of West Linn

After three hours we finally took the vote and it was adopted with one dissent.  As the hearing ended, I saw Janet (we had been dating for several months but nobody new it) talking to Mrs. Stroup and a very outspoken Neighborhood Group representative advocating for strong controls and who was not pleased with the final ordinance.  The conversation went like this:

Beerchaser:   “Hi Mrs. Stroup.  It’s so good to see you and I remember well your wonderful classes from many years ago.”   I then turned to Janet and the neighborhood rep and said, “Mrs. Stroup was my seventh grade Oregon History teacher.”

Neighborhood Rep“Well it’s too bad that she didn’t teach you a damn thing about it.”

Flash Back

And each day when I delivered papers on Main Street, I would look to the Willamette River and see the beautiful and historic Oregon City (Arch) Bridge, built in 1922. (Some classmates walked the arch before the game with arch-rival West Linn right across the river)

We first lived on Center Street right across from the historic Barclay House.  (I learned in Mrs. Stroup’s class that Dr. Forbes Barclay, after working for the Hudson Bay Company, moved to Oregon City and built the house in 1842.)

The Barclay House – right across the street from our house on Center Street

“(He)…… served as physician for local settlers and townspeople, and served as Clackamas County coroner, City School Superintendent, Oregon City mayor, and city councilman.”

Now, according to Wikipedia, the house is purportedly one of the haunted locations in Oregon – “The apparition of a red-haired boy has been seen on the property.”  

The Barclay house is in the same block (right next door) as the historical  McLoughlin House (Mrs. Stroup taught me that Dr.John McLoughlin was the Superintendent of the Hudson Bay Company and the Father of the Oregon Territory…..)

My summer job was watering the (expansive) lawn each day and mowing each week for a total of $20 per month.

A big lawn for $20 per month…..

Now even in the 1960’s, it seemed like a paltry wage.  However, on reflection, I guess it could buy 104 burgers and a large order of fries at Dick’s Club 19.

There were some astoundingly bad moments in high school like in the middle of Mrs. Westwood’s Latin 1 class (they still taught it back then….and she was another outstanding educator) in 1963, when we heard a shaken Principal Larson announce that President John Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.

Excellent Latin and French teacher

I loved my senior Modern Problems teacher, Mr. Larry Austin who was also my Senior Advisor.  I had an A going when I missed one afternoon class because we had an away golf match.

One week later, Mr. Austin decided to give us a quick oral quiz and told us to write two pages on what we thought were the most salient points in the film he had shown us the week before about the “Census.”  

Just one of the five “Census???!!”

Well, it was spring term my senior year, I was thinking about the fall when I was going to enter Oregon State University and without giving much thought to its relevance to a Modern Problems Class, I produced an eloquent stream of consciousness essay on the “Five Senses.”

“It’s been interesting……”

He gave me a D and wrote at the top of the test, “I  suggest next time, you focus more on hearing…..” 

Perhaps that’s why when he signed his picture in my yearbook, he ended with the sentence, “It was interesting having you in class this year.

Wasted Willie?

Another teacher – this one in my junior year for Algebra II and Trig was Wayne Bauer – he was also the varsity baseball coach.  The following incident took place his 29th year of teaching at OCHS.  Mr Bauer’s classroom routine for the fifty-minute period was pretty basic – lecture for ten or fifteen minutes, give the next day’s assignment, tell the class to work on our homework and then sit back in his desk chair and read what I assumed were coaching magazines until the bell rang.  (Alternatively, he would leave the room altogether for the Teachers’ Lounge.)

Admittedly, I was somewhat immature (as were a number of my classmates) and getting the homework done was not a high priority.  We usually just chatted or read our own magazines.  But I made a mistake one day when Mr. Bauer came back and heard me yelling across the room to a classmate as he opened the door.  He walked to the center of the room, paused for effect and then said in a stern and emphatic tone:

“Williams.  You have a lot of potential.  Too bad it’s wasted.”

On 30th anniversary with OCHS – “(HIs) ability as a teacher balances his skills in coaching.”

Well, two of my teammates on the JV Basketball team were in the room and by the time I got to practice that afternoon, my fellow hoopsters had adopted the moniker “Wasted Willie.”   And it stuck through High School.  (Even Ginger in her message when she signed my yearbook, referenced “Wasted Willie.”)

Now perhaps, Wayne Bauer, had some foresight because my nickname from my freshman year in college (and to this day as you will see from my blog header above) is “Dirt”  – a derivation of “Dirty Donnie” — that’s another story.   I guess both “Waste” and “Dirt” could be considered Salt of the Earth!   But his comment did at least motivate me to shut up and do my homework in the 80% of the period available each day from then on.

Basketball at OCHS

Things have changed since the ’60’s.  To make the varsity (or for that matter a JV squad) these days, one generally has to start playing AAU or club sports in grade school and go to summer camps.  The physicality of most contemporary varsity athletes is amazing.

In Ohio, there were no grade school team sports and junior high was therefore the first time I tried out for basketball.  After getting cut in seventh grade, I made the eighth grade team but got cut in the ninth.   I was devastated – so my dad put up a lighted basket in our driveway. (Probably no longer permitted in the historic neighborhood…) I spent many hours practicing.

Knowing the chances were not good because the JV Team is made up of both sophomores and juniors, I still tried out and made the JV Team as a sophmore.

Notice the athleticism of the guy on the far right..  1964 Sophomore Year *1

Then the next year, I was one of the three juniors to play JV (guys who would make varsity their senior year but would get more playing time as a JV.)  I loved it.

*1 A heartfelt expression of gratitude to Joe Gabriel, the Manager in the picture above, one of our classmates along with my best friend, Gary Kestler, both of whom made the ultimate sacrifice for his country in Viet Nam.

Inspirational Coach

I started every game and Coach Dick Arbuckle, who was also the head varsity football coach, was the best coach I ever had – a real motivator.

He went on to be head football coach at Sheldon High School and then had an outstanding career as an assistant coach at a number of Pac 8 Division 1 schools including Oregon, Oregon State, Cal and Arizona.

He inspired us as a team and even the last guy on the bench knew he might get called and to be ready at any time.  I learned that first-hand my sophomore year when towards the end of the first half of the season we played West Linn away.

I had hardly played at all that season and only if the game was out-of-reach.  In the first quarter, the starters and sixth-man guard were just dragging and Coach looked down at the end of the bench and said to my surprise, “Williams!”

I was in pretty good shape and got two steals right away and played most of the rest of the game ending up with three steals and going 7 for 8 at the free-throw line.  The next week, a local sportswriter, started his column with:  “Sometimes its not the stars of the game who make it interesting to watch.  Such was the case when Don Williams, who couldn’t weigh more than 120 pounds dripping wet……”

Coach Arbuckle years later

I also still remember in my junior year what Coach did after we lost our first two games and then went on to win eight straight only to lose in a lackluster Friday night effort at McMinnville. (Janet’s home town.)

On the next Tuesday night, we were suited-up and ready to play Forest Grove and as we were gathered for the pre-game talk, he said,”

“After last Friday, none of you deserve to start.”   He handed the score-book to the manager and said, “Manager, you pick the starting line-up.”  He did and we won the game by the largest margin that season.

While most of my hardwood experience in my Senior Year was on the bench, it was always a thrill to come up from the locker room for game warm-ups to a packed spirit-filled gym.  The pep band was stationed on an elevated platform in one corner of the gym and except for the cross-river rival West Linn Lion’s game when they played “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” the group would play the memorable four stanza pep-song “OC – OC – OC High!”   It had stunning lyrics sung by everybody in the gym:

“OC – OC – OC High

“OC – OC – OC High

“OC – OC – OC High!  (OC High)

OC——High!

And one of the most thrilling highlights for our class during our senior year was winning the TYV League Basketball Championship and a trip to the OSAA State Tournament held at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. 

Although we lost our first round game to Lincoln High of Portland, we beat Wyeast in the second round before losing to Thurston High in overtime to be eliminated.

I will never forget that experience even though I did lose my chance to score in the State Tournament when in the Lincoln game, I missed an uncontested lay-in after intercepting a pass at half-court.  We had a cracker box gym in OC and there were rows of spectators behind the basket at the Coliseum.  Oh well….!

The first time in 20 Years!

Pioneer Pete

At the end of our senior year, our class gave the School a big plywood rendering of Pioneer Pete – our wonderful school mascot – to hang at the entrance to the gym which it did for years until a new school was built in 2003. 

Fortunately, in 2001 when a few activists wanted to “emasculate” our mascot by “photo-shopping” out his musket, the ill-conceived move was resisted.  One suggestion was to replace the musket with a flag pole.

And I covered this story in a 2012 Beerchaser post, because it was quite interesting as reported in this excerpt from the December 12, 2001 story in The Oregonian:

” A burly guy with a coonskin cap, Pioneer Pete stands like a sentinel throughout Oregon City High School. He stares from hallway murals, the backs of varsity jackets and walls in the gymnasium and football stadium.

A musket in his grip and a knife slung off his hip, Pioneer Pete is catching some flak these days. Some students and administrators say his weapon-toting ways break rules that apply to students. He’s even been booted off the cover of a brochure advertising the search for a new superintendent.”

A rich history from 1885

Well, the District Administration got quite irate about the flack this article created and sent the following message:

“Please note that this was not about Pioneer Pete , the OCHS mascot. It was a clip-art picture that was to decorate a brochure to advertise our superintendent position nationally. Our preference, with the covered wagon on the cover, was a couple of pioneers, not a mountain man with a gun.

The story in the newspaper was inaccurate. There is no conversation about changing Pete at the high school. The Oregonian reporter has certainly heard from us today about the misleading story and we have asked for her to clarify that this was not a discussion about Pete. On a slow news day, this story has taken off. We have been barraged with angry people over our decision to change a clip art picture on a brochure……….”

Current logo from OCHS website

I, personally am all in favor of most gun control legislation, but Pete, who used his musket and Bowie knife primarily to put meat on his family’s table should not be a victim of revisionist history.

And I’m proud to see that the current logo on the OCHS Website still has Pete carrying his musket.  In fact, in a June 2019 Oregonian story entitled, Oregon’s Top 10 High School Mascots, Pioneer Pete (with musket) was No. 5!

At our 50th class reunion in 2016, we got a good laugh when a classmate – rather than taking away from what Pete was carrying – added something in his left hand for a more mature Pete to help “walk the trails.” He also gained a receding hairline.

And Finally

I guess a certain amount of penitence on my part is required for those of you who logically come to a blog entitled Thebeerchaser expecting to hear about bars and beers and instead, read my embellished memories of high school and living in a great Oregon community.

Stay Tuned….

But rather than apologize, I want to thank Matt Love for his Oregon City MemoirIt was so well written and enjoyable and it compelled me to take some time to recollect some times in the past we tend to take for granted.

And remember, I currently can’t go to most bars or breweries now anyway.  But that will come.  In fact, in the next post I will feature Matt Love’s Oregon Tavern Age – a fifty-four page tabloid that is filled with wonderful stories on his 22-years writing about dive bars on the Oregon Coast.

In closing, my fellow Beerchasers, Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (the late actor Michael Conrad) used to close every episode of Hill Street Blues with the now famous admonition, “Let’s be Careful Out There!”

Well, I think the good sergeant, if he were still on duty would change that now to:

PS:  Thanks to my friend Mollie Larson Cook for the pins she sent me shown here.   Mollie, also known as The Jazz Cookie, is a talented writer and painter now living in Corvallis. She has two outstanding blogs which you should check out:

Art and Tulips        and       I Thought There was a Pony    

Beerchaser Miscellany – Lockdown Version III

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped.)

Pandemic Age Procedures

Whether it’s a simple trip to pick up groceries, getting a haircut or even an overdue appointment at your friendly urologist….formerly routine tasks and activities are a lot different during the Pandemic.  They require more planning, enhanced awareness and even paradigm changes especially on those where group gatherings used to be the norm.

The new normal…..

I know a slew of people who are primarily or exclusively working from home – another example requiring changes in ingrained routines ranging from attire, work companions i.e. wife and family members and work furniture to on-the-job accouterments – for example, having a mug by one’s side.

An April 23 (even in the earlier stages of this crisis) Oregon Live article entitled, “Almost half of Oregonians are drinking while working at home during coronavirus pandemic survey says.” talks about a new phenomenon.

It’s 10 AM somewhere…..

Multiple national surveys affirmed this trend and it’s probably not surprising that:

“Advertising and marketing agency employees had the highest percentage of employees answering with ‘Yes’, with 49.14%” and “North Carolina, Oregon and Connecticut were the biggest drinkers, each with 47% partaking on the job.” 

Of course, this raises other questions such as:

“Will growlers in the refrigerator, replace the water cooler during breaks?” and “Will employers need to install breathalyzers as a supplement to passwords before computers can be accessed” and “Will growlers and the contents thereof qualify for a home office deduction under the Internal Revenue Code?”

This would really be safe!!

So many questions, but unfortunately, so much time…..

The Legion of Zoom!

And Zoom, Microsoft Teams or other video platforms which are now main (live?) stream are a blessing although not without their negatives.   I  have attended services at multiple churches – even noon prayer at the Mount Angel Abbey, Happy Hours, book club sessions, non-profit Board meetings and even had a routine physician visit by Telemedecine – all of which went pretty well and were safe.

(And since I am on the Abbey Foundation of Oregon Board, I will put a plug in for the short and inspirational video messages by Abbot Jeremy Driscoll.   Regardless of one’s specific faith or lack thereof, the Abbot conveys messages of hope and comfort that are superb.)

Abbot Jeremy Driscoll – a wonderful Man of God

But two June International Rotary Club presentations on the nine-year story of my blog, Thebeerchaser, were quite different and a lot more challenging than the two I had done in prior years at Rotary Chapters in Lincoln City and West Linn

For the separate presentations at Lake Oswego and Bend, Oregon, I pre-tested the technology to ensure my PowerPoint would be visible to the audiences which averaged about eighty attendees.

Since everyone except the speaker(s) is supposed to mute their microphone, Zoom results in no audio feedback from the audience – something which normally helps to encourage or alert the presenter that things are either going well or he/she is crashing and burning.

Note:  There have been some embarrassing incidents where a participant forgets that “mute rule.”  The most publicized was when the US Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments by phone and livestream and in the midst of the proceeding, during a pause, a toilet was heard flushing.  The case was Barr v American Association of Political Consultants regarding the issue of robocalls.

He dealt  a straight flush?

This led one analyst to opine, “I bet that was one of the guys….”   Later speculation was that Associate Justice Stephen Breyer was the offender although there was no rationale for that conclusion.

However, in an article in Slate – an online publication associated with the Washington Post: “Investigation: I think I Know Which Justice Flushed,” the author presents a “scholarly” and exhaustive case as to why Breyer appears to be the culprit.

With the absence of auditory cues on Zoom, I decided to get some visual calibration on Rotary Club attendees’ reactions by looking at one of the four panels on the right of my computer screen in which I could gauge the ongoing response by the expression on their faces.  I focused on one middle-aged guy and about half-way through, I got concerned because he seemed totally passive – no reaction when I mentioned an historic dive bar, nor a smile or even a grimace when I told one of my bar jokes.

Notice the panels on the right of some attendees

Then I realized that the guy was using a photo as his “background” – some people use landscapes or photos,etc. rather than appear live so they can multi-task without appearing rude….I learned a lesson.

This PowerPoint slide from the computer of a friend who “attended” – shows the number of Internet views for the blog each year since its inception.

Dr. Cameron Bangs continued……

Dr. Bangs in his younger days.

In my first Lockdown Miscellany post, I ended the post with my own story when he was my personal physician and some of the remarkable history of his medical career and adventures.  He was an icon in the Oregon medical profession.

Dr. Bangs said, “I have never treated more sunburned breasts and penises or LSD overdoses

Cam Bangs was the supervising physician at  Vortex 1: A Biodegradable Festival of Life held at McIver Park near Estacada in 1970.

As stated in the previous post, Vortex I hosted between 30,000 to 100,000 protesters – against President Richard Nixon, who was scheduled to appear at an American Legion Conference to be held in Portland. “……it remains the only state-sponsored rock festival in United States History.”  (Wikipedia) 

It would appear that today’s political leaders at the national, state and local level, could learn some useful lessons from the creativity, courage and cooperation evidenced exactly fifty years ago in light of the ongoing violence and ham-handed (or perhaps that should be small handed) tactics to quell it in Portland for the last 50 + days!

Listening to rock music rather than destroying property…….

Oregon writer, Matt Love, wrote a book entitled “The  Far Out Story of Vortex 1″based on Bangs’ “entire 20,000 word-in-the-moment diary of Vortex.”   (More on Matt Love and his publishing house on the Oregon coast below.)  He also wrote an article for Vortex Magazine (Vortex I – A Strange Oregon Trip) of which every Oregon Baby Boomer or student of Oregon history or leadership should read.   Some  excerpts:

 “McCall, a Republican, was facing a tough a re-election vote later that fall. When he approved the festival, he said, ‘I’ve just committed political suicide.’ He won a second term by a landslide and became an Oregon legend for his visionary leadership.”

 “The state’s most powerful corporate executive of that era, the Cascade Corporation’s Robert Warren, drove a pickup truck full of licorice out to the park.”

“Several Oregon National guardsmen stationed around the park stripped off their uniforms and swam across the Clackamas River to join the party.”

Governor Tom McCall – The epitome of leadership….

“At the festival’s end, McCall visited the park, hugged some hippies, and then joined them holding hands in a circle. They chanted ‘oms’ for a few minutes and then recited the Lord’s Prayer and a few lines from William Blake.”

Dr. Bangs medical career including his research on hypothermia and his long involvement and activities in mountain-rescue medicine saved many lives.  This 2015 Oregon Live obituary gives a full account of his contributions to medicine and society.

And I have been fortunate for my friendships with two other physicians who are in the same category as Cameron Bangs – Oregon medical profession icons – both now retired and living in Portland – Dr. Fran Storrs and Dr. Doug Walta.

Dr. Doug Walta

Doug is now retired but founded the Oregon Clinic and served as CEO of Clinical Services for Providence Health & Services.   He has dedicated many years to serving others outside his time as a leading Northwest gastroenterologist. 

Doug served on the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners,has been active in legislative efforts to combat big pharma and has championed efforts to expand affordable medical care at both the state and national level.

He has been a board member for the Oregon Transition Projects advocating for the homeless and most recently spent many hours working on the successful campaign to pass the Metro Housing Bond Measure at the Primary Election.  Doug has always worked in a low-key but influential manner behind the scenes, and is known for his effective advocacy.

He is also an avid hiker, outdoors-man, skier and international traveler.

Dr. Fran Storrs   

Fran was the daughter of two physicians and she graduated from Cornell University’s Medical School. She is a charismatic woman who is known as a trailblazer – the first to complete a residency in dermatology at Oregon Health Sciences University.  She later joined the OHSU faculty and is now a Professor Emerita.

A life-changing incident in her career occurred at Portland’s Arlington Club in 1971:

“When she was asked to leave a meeting of prominent dermatologists being held  (at the) males-only establishment, Storrs got mad. ‘I had a curtain going up (on my consciousness) …. For me, it was a dramatic experience with being excluded for an irrational sort of reason. It changed my life.'” (OHSU Blogspot)

Fran, in a 2007 interview stated: “Through these experiences, a lifetime of conservative influence dissolved, and I saw the world through a suddenly opened window shade. I got to feel what it was like to be an outsider…..I also learned that in my community I couldn’t be ‘prominent’ because I had no penis.”  (The Dermotologist – April 2007)

Site of Fran’s epiphany – The Arlington Club – Males only bastion from 1867 until 1990 – that’s 123 years!

After that incident, she became passionate about civil liberties joined and became a board member of the ACLU.

She was elected President of the City Club of Portland in 1997-98 which is where I first met her when we served on the Board together.

Interestingly enough, the City Club, founded in 1916 excluded women from membership until 1993.  (Unlike the Arlington Club, it only took them 77 years to come to its senses.)  Her creative and colorful introduction of Friday Forum speakers was another example of creativity and dedication to excellence.  And her impersonation of NPR reporter, Sylvia Poggoli in one of those introductions was one for the archives.

Fran served as chair of a citizen’s committee for the City of Portland that resulted in a ballot measure and creation of an oversight committee for the Internal Affairs Division of the Portland Police Bureau.  While her immersion in other civic activities and non-profits such as Outside In, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia-Willamette and the Portland Baroque Orchestra, are remarkable, (she is evidently a woman with poor refusal skills…) it is her achievements in the medical field which deserve more comment.

“Her skills in the classroom have earned her many teaching and service awards. She is known nationally and internationally for her work in contact dermatitis and discovering new workplace allergens. She has received virtually every honor her specialty can bestow.”

Dr. Storrs’ mentoring, especially for women emanated, in part, from the Arlington Club incident and “It is the teacher and mentor whom generations of OHSU residents celebrate.” (Fran Storrs M. D.- A Lasting Legacy”)  In fact, my current dermatologist, Dr.Patty Norris,was a mentee of Fran’s.  Each time I have a visit, we spend the first five minutes telling Fran Storrs’ stories.

“She takes pride in the mentorship program of the Women’s Dermatology Society that she initiated. It pairs young men and women with senior women dermatologists. Almost 400 young dermatologists have participated in the program and most other dermatology sub-specialty societies have since copied it.” (OHSU Women in Academic Health and Medicine)

David Brooks, in his remarkable book The Second Mountain has a chapter entitled “What Mentors Do,” and states:

“Good mentors teach you the tacit wisdom embedded in any craft…..they give us the freedom to not fear our failures, but to proceed with a confidence that invites them, knowing they can be rectified later on….Finally, mentors teach how to embrace the struggle–that the struggle is the good part.” (Page 104)

And my younger daughter, Laura, got to witness Fran’s influence first-hand in 1997, when Fran, notwithstanding her incredibly busy schedule, spent an hour with her on a fifth-grade school project where she was researching Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell – another female trailblazing physician who was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States.

The interview had an impact on Laura who is now a Pediatric Emergency Department Nurse at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland.

Sixth grade school project in 1997 had an impact.

All three of these physicians (Cameron Bangs, Doug Walta and Fran Storrs) knew each other and I have been the beneficiary of their friendships.  I had dinner with Doug Walta in January and a beer with Fran Storrs at the Gemini Bar and Grill in Lake Oswego in early March – right before the lock-down.  Both radiated enthusiasm and had insights that make me yearn for the end of the pandemic and another round…..

Oregon Tavern Age and Oregon City Pioneer Memories

I quoted prolific Oregon writer Matt Love, both in this post and my previous one regarding Cameron Bangs.  I first became aware of Matt’s work in 2011 when I started Thebeerchaser blog and I discovered his blog Let It Pour.net – a wonderful blog on his adventures in bars on the  Oregon Coast.  It was both an inspiration for my own exploits and a great resource which I cited often.

I reconnected with Matt while doing the post on Dr. Bangs.  He now is the owner of a small publishing company on the Oregon Coast, The Nestucca Spit Press. Matt is an incredibly talented writer and anyone who enjoys good narratives and essays on Oregon, ranging from a chronicle on the filming of Ken Kesey’s novel Sometimes a Great Notion to poetry and fiction should check out his website.

I am ordering The Bonnie and Clyde Files – How Two Dogs Saved a Middle Aged Man, after vociferously digesting two other publications I just received and will cover in my next blog post.  Matt states about this book:

“In 2017, at the age of 53, I experienced an extinction of self. For the first time in my life, I could not get a job, I was nearly broke, and I had no freedom of movement or conscience…..I learned important lessons of faith, friendship, family, face-to-face encounters and the timeless remedy of nature, lessons I intuit can enlighten others who experience a cataclysmic personal event.”

The “Oregon Tavern Age” should be read by any person who appreciates the history, rich character and the legacy of the regulars in these unforgettable (and endangered)  watering holes on the Oregon Coast.  And the pandemic exacerbates this unfortunate trend as stated in a July 14th e-mail Matt sent me stating, “The OTA joints where I am are teetering.  It really is dire.”  The 64-page tabloid was so interesting and compelling that I used a yellow highlighter when reading it so I could come back and review.

I was also delighted and surprised when I discovered one work – “Pioneer Pride:  An Oregon City Memoir” written in 2020 about Matt’s time at Oregon City High School.  (He graduated in 1982) Nostalgia washed over me as I’m also an OCHS alum – although sixteen years before Matt.

His account of sports, classroom antics and the days when many Pioneer grads went to work at one of the two paper mills – Publishers in OC and Crown Zellerbach in West Linn – also will elicit smiles and recollections of the travails of adolescent education.

Cheers and Stay Safe

Beerchaser Miscellany – Lockdown Version I

Image created by and courtesy of Pam Williams

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this through an e-mail, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking on the title above so the post is not clipped.)

Since my exploits to new bars and breweries are essentially locked-down temporarily, the next several posts will be entitled “Beerchaser Miscellany” – tidbits I wanted to share – some related to beers and bars and others which, in my opinion, deserve to be told.

We salute the medical providers during this crisis.

The pandemic causes us to reassess priorities, relationships and future goals.   We are all adapting to new restrictions, routines, ruminations, regimens (dietary) and responsibilities – to do our part to stay safe, to help others who are struggling and to use the time we have as productively as possible.

Having two daughters who are nurses, I salute all the healthcare providers and pray for their safety.  Also for parents struggling to balance work and childcare and business owners who face financial jeopardy.  (And speaking of healthcare providers, see the end of this post for a narrative and pictures of one Oregon physician who left a lasting legacy.)

But I’ve been trying to move forward by reading – new material rather than my standard escapist trash fiction, exercise daily, reach out to friends and former colleagues to check on them, expand the scope of movies and documentaries I watch (will still not watch soccer…..), listen to new music genres and even do jigsaw puzzles – we did four 500- piece and then tried a 1,000 piece enigma –  named “The Pottery Shed.”  (Going through old files has also been productive – see below.)

Pontificating on Puzzles

The Potting Shed – Agony or Ecstasy?

I checked on Google to see how long, on average, to complete a 1,000 piece puzzle and the first cite stated 3 to 4 hours which is absurd in my opinion. After reading another post by the Puzzle Warehouse that opined 10 to 24 hours, it made our collective approx. 40 hours over two weeks seem more reasonable and I reflected:

1. After agonizing over the features of a bunch of flowers which predominated, I am comfortable with my intent never to have gardening as a hobby.

2. If one assumes an average reading speed of 70 pages per hour, I could have, for the same investment of time, read each of the books in the photo below which are still unread on the shelves of my home library.

A Must Read!

(“On Bullshit,” is not unread and worth reading again and again – 27 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List in 2005! And if you want more of a justification of that last assertion, check out this former Beerchaser post)

https://thebeerchaser.com/2020/03/12/bs-revisited-if-only-i-had-known-in-2012/

3. After spending several hours and telling me “I’m done!”, Janet was eventually lured back and we finished it together – time we spent together which would not have been the case if we had read separate books.

2,860 pages of great reading….

Bar and Brewery News

Fly Boy’s Artistic Logos (And the Pilot’s Peach is a great beer….)

Fly Boy Brewing and Cascade Brewing – I was pleased, but not surprised because of his entrepreneurial spirit, when Mark Becker joined three partners to buy Cascade Brewing, known throughout the Northwest for its sour beers.

Mark, who began brewing in his parents’ house while still in high school, founded FlyBoy with his wife, Kristi, in 2014 and it was featured in Thebeerchaser in 2017:   https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/05/25/navigate-a-course-to-flyboy-brewing/       

Mark Becker – followed his high school passion and took risks

FlyBoy is one of my favorite breweries in the Portland area and Mark is an engaging guy.  Although I had been to the Cascade Barrel House, in 2017, I was not as enamored with its ambiance and sour ale – although I’m in the minority on the beer. I’m looking forward to returning to see what the new owners concoct.

 As  reported  in  BrewPublic  (April  2, 2020)

“(Cascade founder Art Larrance) helped pass Oregon’s Brewpub Law, paving the way for scores of pubs since. He founded Cascade Brewing in 1998, and in 2006, worked with his brewmaster, Ron Gansberg, on an aging and blending program that would lead to countless awards and an entirely new style of beer known as the Northwest Sour Ale.”

Flat Tail Brewing in Corvallis – As I reported in my last post, I was sorry to hear that the cherished Corvallis Flat Tail Brewery appears to have permanently closed – not because of Covid 19 – but because of a dispute with their landlord over their lease as chronicled in a BrewPublic.com post on June 15th entitled “Flat Tail Brewing Closes its Doors in Downtown Corvallis.”

Rooting for its return in a new location

It showed its mettle when it took on Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing on use of Flat Tail’s slogan “Dam Good Beer.”

“(Dave) Marliave was dismayed when he learned that 10 Barrel Brewing Co. — a Bend brewer now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewing company in the world and the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light — had taken the slogan for itself.   A semi-trailer from 10 Barrel with the phrase even drove right past the downtown Corvallis brewery earlier this week, Marliave said.”

“Dam” pleased with their slogan…..

We certainly hope the ten-year old brewery with the slogan “Dam Good Beer,” finds a new location and reopens in the near future.

Renner’s Bar and Grill – This historic dive bar in Multnomah Village – opened in 1939 – which closed after a disastrous fire in April 2018, just reopened in June as reported in Portland Food and Drink.com   

Just around the corner from another one of my favorite bars – The Ship Tavern, I reviewed Renner’s in 2017 and unlike the stereotypical dive bar, it has great food.

Re-opened. Go check out the food!

As stated by co-owner, Josh “Uncle Stumpy,”“My goal is to maintain the dive bar experience, but offer superior food from scratch and a neighborhood bar charm.”

And the food is inexpensive and delicious with a surprisingly varied menu.  And, of course, a short walk to The Ship, which made my list of Best Dive Bars in Portland in 2019 is also a must for a nightcap.

One of Portland’s Best – especially if you go on a Sunday during a Packers’ Game

The Standard – This classic made the list as my top dive in the 2019 post for a reason best stated by Mathew Korfhage, former Willamette Week columnist, when he stated:

“The bar is cheap, no-nonsense fun in a way that takes all comers and yet is loving towards its long-time regulars.  These days in Portland that makes The Standard not very standard at all.  It makes it a GD treasure.”

Gone but not Forgotten

Fortunately, The Standard reopened on June 19th.  Unfortunately, it’s trademark Happy Hour and all-day Wednesday $1 Hamm’s Drafts are gone but not forgotten – thanks to their insurance company and its lawyers.

WWeek told the story in a July 2019 article, “A Beloved East Portland Dive Bar is Being Forced to End One of the City’s Cheapest Beer Deals.”

Owner Reed Lamb said, “After over 11 years with no claims, zero OLCC violations, & a spotless payment history, they chose not to do business with us anymore.”   Hamms’ Drafts are now $2, but they could be twice that and The Standard would still be a must.

And Speaking of Lawyers

Although not an attorney, I worked with lawyers for over forty years in three different organizations and loved Legal Management and the lawyer personality. The Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm from which I retired in 2011, after twenty-five years, was a wonderful firm with lawyers who were skilled advocates and with great character. (Okay, there were some exceptions, but very few…  You’ll have to wait for my book to see the specifics….)

I was therefore surprised when the Oregon Supreme Court in a 4 to 3 vote, approved waiving the bar exam – not just temporarily, but permanently, for any 2020 law grad in the State of Oregon.   The Washington “Supremes” took the same action for grads to the North – a benefit that the State of Wisconsin has long offered their grads.  Law School Deans lobbied for this course of action which was opposed by the State Bar.

I have not talked to any of my friends, but it would not surprise me if many practicing lawyers – who went through the long and arduous prep and grueling two-day exam (with an average pass-rate of 75%) have the same opinion as a July 1 Oregonian editorial entitled, “No bar exam – no problem – except for the public.”

And Files to Go Before I Sleep

Since a good part of my career involved communication – most notably with lawyers who were trained in the nuances of the language and relish analyzing and attacking, others’ oral and written discourse, I saved many e-mails, memos and articles from my 40+ years working with attorneys.

For future social science classes??

Also pictures and memories from college days, civic work, grad school papers, newspaper articles on travel and entire newspaper editions on significant events such as the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the OJ Simpson Trial in 1995 and the Impeachment Trial of Bill Clinton in 1999.

I also saved a number of Newsweek Magazines from events of similar magnitude.

From the garage archives….

And at a charity auction, I even paid a relatively handsome amount for the January 1, 2000 Editions of seven notable US Newspapers – the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, the Boston Globe and the Miami Herald.

I can’t remember if I told her how much I paid, but it did have a Certificate of Authenticity!

My wife, Janet, insisted with good reason during the lock-down, that I start going through and recycling at least 50% of the eleven file-cabinet drawers and multiple boxes I have filled with this (junk?)  She even helped me and one day when I was in doubt, she said, “Don, we are not going to use an 1998 article about a brewery in Des Moines for a future road trip.”

Just part of the “collection” in the garage…

And when I asserted that our grand kids could use the historic newspapers in their future social science classes, she just rolled her eyes and laughed.  (And the Kodak carousel trays with slides from my Mt. Hood climbs and Scout backpacks had to go since I had not looked at them in over fifty years.)

Janet wouldn’t let these slide…..

 

So with some diligence, I began attacking this mass (mess?) so our kids would not have to in the future……  Some of the job-related material I’ll save for the aforementioned book, but even the bulk that I recycled gave me a good chuckle that was welcome during a pandemic.   One of my favorite examples is below and I’ll save some others for the next post.

An Oregon Medical Icon – Dr. Cameron Bangs

Cam Bangs, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 78, was a unique individual and physician who practiced for thirty years in Oregon City.  I had the privilege of having him a my primary-care physician for a number of years.

I loved Dr. Bangs and one of my most prized letters was from my home medical records file following a physical exam in 1990 when I was 42.   But, first, a few words about Dr. Bangs.

Mountain Man and Medical Expert

In his younger days, he had the appearance of a Mountain Man – a big red beard and long untamed hair, and he usually wore wilderness duds.  That’s because he essentially was a Mountain Man – climbing major peaks all over the world and developing the expertise to become one of the worlds’ expert in mountain medicine and hypothermia.

Not Dr. Bangs but a similar experiment

In fact, I remember one time that I saw him, he had just participated in a hypothermia research project in which he immersed himself (I think with a companion researcher) in a tank of freezing water so his bodily responses could be monitored.

Southcoast Today 10/31/2015“……with a renowned expertise in mountain medicine, cold weather injuries and treatment, and mountain rescue. He participated in more than 50 rescues of climbers and skiers on Mt. Hood, in Oregon, and set up the local hospital’s frostbite and hypothermia treatment facility.

In the 1970s, he was given national recognition for his work in mountain medicine and was awarded Oregon Doctor of the Year.”

Photo by Don Williams on backpacking trip

Dr. Bangs was generous with his time – helping others and also a non-conformist, of sorts, who railed against the establishment and ostentation as evidenced by this article from People Magazine in 1977:

“The 40-year-old internist is a member of Oregon’s mountain rescue service. Usually working as part of an Army National Guard helicopter squad (nicknamed the “Flying St. Bernards”), he has helped save an estimated 75 lives in 55 rescues over the past nine years, and has treated hundreds of cases in hospitals for climbing injuries and exposure…..‘I deplore the kind of thing where a doctor joins this or that because he might pick up a few referrals. And frankly, many of my colleagues bore the hell out of me.’” (emphasis supplied)

And any Baby Boomer Oregon resident will remember the 1970 rock festival held near Estacada – Vortex 1: A Biodegradable Festival of Life at an Oregon State Park that hosted between 30,000 to 100,000 protesters – against Richard Nixon who was scheduled to appear at an American Legion Conference to be held in Portland.

Based on the courageous decision of then Governor Tom McCall’s – a Republican who showed remarkable foresight and integrity throughout his term – it remains the only state-sponsored rock festival in United States History.”  (Wikipedia)

And Cameron Bangs was the supervising doctor for all medical care at Vortex 1 as written in the Clackamas Review by his friend, Matt Love, to whom Dr. Bangs gave his “entire 20,000 word-in-the-moment diary of Vortex” for a book this prolific author wrote  entitled “The  Far Out Story of Vortex  1″                                       

Not your average Doc. In younger days at Vortex. (Courtesy of Matt Love)

“Dr. Bangs joined me at several events to promote the book and charmed audiences with his candid and humorous memories from the festival, particularly his assertion that he had set a world record for treating the most sunburned breasts and penises in a single time period…..

A lot more people should know what Dr. Bangs and many other Oregonians did at McIver Park 45 years ago. It was so much more than just a big party to avert potential violence. And Cameron Bangs was so much more than just a doctor.”

A State-sponsored Rock Festival!

He also served on the Portland Trailblazers’ medical staff during the ’70’s and had a 45-acre farm outside Oregon City where he raised a variety of farm animals.  His herd of cows started when he took a pregnant cow as payment for a medical bill.  https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2015/09/cameron_bangs_hypothermia_and.html

So what story do I have that can contribute to the engaging accounts above.  Well, in 1990, I was having a lot of intense migraine headaches.  My wife and I both had demanding jobs and were the parents of two fantastic young girls in grade school.

Migraines and out of shape….

I got little exercise and hadn’t had a physical exam in awhile, so I made an appointment with Dr. Bangs, knowing this visit would be a lot more pleasant than our previous appointment.

It should make any person who complains about the current prep process for a colonoscopy think of one word and thus be thankful for progress in medical technology i.e. “sigmoidoscopy” but that’s another story……

Not Thebeerchaser – I was only 42 at the time!!

He decided I should have an electrocardiogram – a treadmill test – after the rest of the exam and lab tests.   (Keep in mind that I was 48 years old.)

Afterwards we went into his office and he said, “I’ll send you a letter, but I can tell you now how you did on the treadmill.”  Our conversation went like this:

Dr. Bangs:  Your results compare to an average 35-year old male.

Beerchaser:  That’s encouraging news.

Dr. Bangs:  That’s one way to look at it.  Personally, I wouldn’t be satisfied with average anything!

Beerchaser: Dr. Bangs – this advice from a guy who just got back from a trip to Asia where he climbed several peaks over 15,000 feet and ran a marathon before that?

Dr. Bangs:  (Smiles) Get out of here!

So a week later I get a letter – excerpted as shown below. (Note that this was before e-mails, when a mailed letter took a lot more time and effort).

When I saw the P.S. above I started laughing, but the next day joined the 24-Hour Fitness near my office and began a regular exercise regimen (and subsequently lost seven pounds).

Well Beerchasers.  I hope you had a Happy Fourth of July. Stay safe, wear a mask and catch more Beerchaser Miscellany in the coming weeks..

A Monumental Day for America!

BS Revisited – If Only I had Known in 2012!

The Brilliant Tome by Dr. Harry Frankfurt

“The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they can serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept.”

When I started this blog in late 2011, I decided that besides reviewing bars and breweries, I would feature an interesting individual or group each quarter.  They might not have anything to do with beer or bars, but in my opinion they’ve made a meaningful contribution to society and their story should be told.

In almost every case, I have known the approximately thirty-two individual or groups I’ve since tried to recognize personally and they range from athletes, authors, media personalities, military heroes and even academicians (including my graduate school professor in Public Finance).   One of the few I did not know, but felt compelled to “honor” after reading his brilliant essay, was Princeton Emeritus Professor Dr. Harry Frankfurt.

One of my friends in the Schwabe law firm, when I was COO, gave me a hardbound copy of the professor’s 1986 essay On Bullshit – I think as a subtle hint to describe the information conveyed by firm management….  I couldn’t put it down, laughed out loud throughout and decided to make Dr. Franklin my second Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

As a lark, I looked up his contact info at Princeton and sent him an e-mail describing Thebeerchaser blog and his designation as B-O-Q.   I thought it would get caught in Princeton’s spam filter or that a person with this distinguished Ph.D.’s schedule would just ignore it..

So I was surprised and thrilled to receive the e-mail below several days later.   His cryptic reference in the last sentence also indicated that he read the very long post in its entirety.  (If you want to find out what it is, you should also……)

Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 7:36 AM
To: Williams, Donald
Subject: RE: Hello Dr. Frankfurt

Dear Mr. Williams,

First of all, thank you for the honor of naming me the January 12, 2012 Beerchaser of the Quarter.

I have looked at the blog in which you announced my receipt of this distinction, and I was impressed by its wit, its charm, and its erudition. Also, I enjoyed the pictures. I intend to follow your blog regularly. I am especially interested in keeping up with the debate over whether to remove the letter M from the alphabet. I believe that, with regard to this issue, my mind is still completely open.

Anyhow, thanks very much for writing.

Sincerely,         Harry Frankfurt     

And I can say with some confidence that eight years later, few of us would believe that the level of BS pervading the airwaves and emanating from the Nation’s Capital would have far surpassed what even Dr. Frankfurt described.  So I decided to republish it – in some ways as a sad commentary on ongoing communication. 

A dramatic increase in BS percentage

I sent a copy to my late friend and author and another Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Brian Doyle, knowing that with his wit and appreciation of the written word, he would enjoy it.  His reaction was as follows:

“I read it (On Bullshit) instantly and was delighted.  In all my life, I never read such a careful essay on such a crucial subject and one with a humor so dry I was thirsty at the end and had a glass of the best.”

The narrative below will give you a taste (or sip) of what Brian described and I would recommend you purchase it.   Dr. Frankfurt is now fully retired at the age of 90, but his incredible perceptions on BS will be a lasting legacy!

The Original Blog Post – January , 2012

Although somewhat erratic in 2011, the intent of this blog is to recognize a Beerchaser of the Quarter four times each year.  The honoree, so to speak, may or may not have a direct relationship to pubs or beer.  When more indirect, I will attempt to explain the link, which is necessary for the January recipient.  Dr. Harry Frankfurt Ph.D., an author and professor at Princeton University, has shown wisdom and humor in promoting meaningful communication.

One of the reasons for thebeerchaser tour is to experience the ambiance unique to each bar, pub or tavern.  I would suggest that each ale house has its own character based, in part, on the conversations and relationships of its patrons.

The Yukon Tavern

Thus, by listening and interacting, I have gleaned pearls of wisdom from my visit to Joe’s Cellar that were distinct from Prost, the Yukon Tavern or the Twilight Room and other stops on my tour;

however,

All the discourse was worthwhile and sincere, which is not true of much of today’s dialogue – most notably in politics, government and law.  It seems fitting, therefore to start the New Year by acknowledging, Dr. Harry Frankfurt Ph.D., as the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.  He is the author of a brilliant 67-page treatise published in 2005 entitled On Bullshit.

As the esteemed Dr. states: (all quotes below in blue italics)

Unmitigated Bullshit

“The realms of advertising and of public relations, and the nowadays closely related realm of politics, are replete with instances of bullshit so unmitigated that they can serve among the most indisputable and classic paradigms of the concept.”       

 

In On Bullshit, Dr. Frankfurt, quotes from learned sources such as the Oxford English Dictionary The Prevalence of Humbug(an essay by Max Black 1985)   

The Economist,

St. Augustine

and ‘”Lying’ in Treatises on Various Subject in Fathers of the Church” by RJ Deferrari (1952) re. St. Augustine’s position on the  issue of lying.

Dr. Frankfurt’s stated purpose in On Bullshit will help you understand why this little book is so insightful:

“In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.  And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us.  In other words, we have no theory. 

I propose to begin the development of a theoretical understanding of bullshit mainly by providing some tentative and exploratory analysis…..My aim is simply to give a rough account of what bullshit is and how it differs from what it is not.”

Understandably, the professor agonized that, “Even the most basic and preliminary questions about bullshit remain, after all, not only answered, but unasked.” (emphasis supplied)  

Questions on BS??

With the Presidential election cycle upon us and the increasing use of the internet and social media for communication, On Bullshit becomes an invaluable resource to gauge communication….and character.

A recent column by The New York Times Columnist, David Brooks, entitled, “Behaving Badly in Cyberspace” wisely states:

“And if more people spent their evenings at least thinking about what exemplary behavior means they might be less likely to find themselves sending out emotionally stunted tweets at night.                                    

   ……The reason politicians behave badly these days is that we spend less time thinking about what it means to behave well.  This was less of a problem in past centuries when leaders, teachers and clergy held detailed debates over what it meant to have good character.” 

The New York Times David Brooks

Does the proliferation of e-mail and social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, increase the amount of bullshit in global society?  Dr. Frankfurt wrote his tome before the advent of social media and since then the number of talk shows and reality shows has also increased dramatically.

Is the Amount of BS – Time Relative???

Even in 2005, when Dr. Frankfurt wrote his book, he opined that the amount of BS was distressing:

“Why is there so much bullshit?  Of course, it is impossible to be sure that there is relatively more of it nowadays than at other times.  There is more communication of all kinds in our time than ever before, but the proportion that is bullshit may not have increased.”        

Perhaps it is nostalgia, but it would seem that some of the great statesman and intellects of the past were more direct and concise – essentially far less inclined to bullshit, than current dignitaries.    For example, let’s compare the wonderfully concise assertion of Henry David Thoreau in 1854, to former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s response at a press briefing in February 2002:

“We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.” 

Henry David Thoreau – Thought a lot before he talked….

Thoreau said this even before some of the statements uttered by George W. Bush and Texas Governor, Rick Perry  (I wonder if they had a pub in the vicinity of Walden Pond?)  It also begs the question whether Thoreau was implying that Maine and Texas residents are bullshitters, which Dr. Frankfurt does not address in his book.

Known Knowns (Although Rudy has become a known unknown in 2020)

And now, Rumsfeld’s comment on why no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq:

“There are known knowns, there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

Rumsfeld’s quote may typify government communication and reinforces the need for a new law signed by President Obama, effective October 2011 – “The Plain Writing Act” – perhaps more aptly described as the “Anti-Bullshit Act.”

It was prompted by such examples as the Pentagon 26-page brownie recipe which included a directive that “ingredients shall be examined organoleptically.”

Frankfurt would certainly classify that directive as bullshit. A pre and post – Act comparison is edifying:

Before –The Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommends a half-hour or more of moderate physical activity on most days, preferably every day.  The activity can include brisk walking, calisthenics, home care, gardening, moderated sports exercise and dancing.”

After – “Do at least 30 minutes of exercise, like brisk walking, most days of the week.”

A Stark Contrast – Does it Drive One to Drink?

To further the premise that communication has declined in quality and the bullshit quotient increased, we can turn to the contrast between Benjamin Franklin and current Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.  Perhaps dialogue was more meaningful, tempered and civil in Franklin and Thoreau’s time because they exerted considerable effort to make it that way.

Founder of The Junto

Franklin integrated his social and civic life with his business life.  In 1727, he formed a club of young workingman called, “The Junto.”     

When they met they discussed issues of the day, debated philosophical topics and devised schemes for self-improvement.  In a description of the goals of this group, Walter Isaacson, in his 2003 590-page book, Benjamin Franklin, An American Life states:

“Franklin stressed the importance of deferring, or at least giving the appearance of deferring, to others…… ‘When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him.’  

Instead, he would agree in parts and suggest differences only indirectly…. This velvet-tongued and sweetly passive style of circumspect argument would make him seem sage to some, insinuating and manipulative to others, but inflammatory to almost nobody.”

BS Trendline in Election Years

The contrast between Franklin and Gingrich’s demeanor and communication is striking.  Gingrich’s term as Speaker of the House, essentially marked the beginning of the end of bi-partisanship and civility in Congress.

Warning – BS Alert!!!

“I think one of the great problems we have in the Republican party is that we don’t encourage you to be nasty. We encourage you to be neat, obedient, and loyal and faithful and all those Boy Scout words.

..There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

The above is Newtie’s rationale for multiple marital affairs – BS so profound that it would astonish even Dr. Harry Frankfurt.  Perhaps the following excerpt from On Bullshit is particularly apt during election campaigns — especially in this era of concern about global warming:

“When we characterize talk as hot air, we mean that what comes out of the speaker’s mouth is only that. It is mere vapor.  His speech is empty, without substance or content.  His use of language accordingly does not contribute to the purpose it purports to serve. 

Hot Air!!

No more information is communicated than if the speaker had merely exhaled.  There are similarities between hot air and excrement, incidentally, which make hot air seem an especially suitable equivalent for bullshit.  Just as hot air is speech that has been emptied of all informative content, so excrement is matter from which everything nutritive has been removed.”

While Franklin’s Junto may not have initially met in a tavern or alehouse, it would seem that this type of setting would have been appropriate.  Although it is a generalization, I have found that those who frequent pubs have a propensity to identify and refrain from drinking with bullshitters.  There is a certain authenticity and candor to bar-room rhetoric that is refreshing.

This is not to suggest, however, that a good bull session is out of place in the tavern setting.  It is critical to understand the distinction.   

“What tends to go on in a bull session is that the participants try out various thoughts and attitudes in order to see how it feels to hear themselves saying such things and in order to discover how others respond, without it being assumed that they are committed to what they say. It is understood by everyone in a bull session that the statements people make do not necessarily reveal what they believe or how they really feel…..

Bull Session at Tavern

The purpose of the conversation is not to communicate beliefs.  Accordingly, the usual assumptions about the connection between what people say and what they believe are suspendedThe statements made in a bull session are different than bullshit in that there is no pretense that this connection is being sustained.

This resemblance between bull sessions and bullshit is suggested also by the term ‘shooting the bull,’ which refers to the sort of conversation that characterizes bull sessions and in which the term ‘shooting’ is very likely a cleaned-up rendition of ‘shitting.’  The very term ‘bull session’ is, indeed, quite probably a sanitized version of ‘bullshit session.’”

So let us embark in 2012 by toasting Dr. Harry Frankfurt and his essay – still available at Amazon.  Let us resolve to speak with candor and frankness, but with civility.  Let us not shy away from debating issues ranging from the Portland Trailblazers, to the Columbia River Crossing to the impact of eliminating the letter ‘M’ from the alphabet, in bull sessions.

But as we lift our mugs in 2012, let us at least attempt to avoid the furtherance of bullshit.

A Concluding Rhetorical Question from Dr. Frankfurt

Is the bullshitter by his very nature a mindless slob?  Is his product necessarily messy or unrefined?     The word ‘shit”’ does, to be sure, suggest this. 

Excrement is not designed or crafted after all; it is merely emitted or dumped.  It may have more or less coherent shape, or it may not, but it is in any case, certainly not wrought.”

Happy New Year from Thebeerchaser

Thebeerchaser’s 2018 Annual Report

The Beerchaser and wife, Janet at historic dive bar, Durty Nelly’s in Boston

Another year of Beerchasing concludes and after over seven years, the count of bars, pubs and breweries visited and reviewed logs in at 286 – with 111 of those in the City of Portland or metro area and the remaining 175 ranging from several in Europe to establishments in Alaska, Hawaii, various regions of the US and all across and down the coast of our wonderful state of Oregon.

Indeed, our retirement travel has expanded the scope of this retirement hobby, which I originally intended to be confined to those in Portland.  The chart below was done after an intensive audit of all my posts during the last 7+ years – because when it comes to watering holes – accuracy is important…..

Portland Outside Portland Yearly Total Composite Total
2018 12 30 42 286
2017 15 27 42 244
2016 14 39 53 202
2015 11 36 47 149
2014 17 17 34 102
2013 13 21 34 68
2012 20 5 25 34
2011 9 0 9 9
  111 175 286

 Blog Statistics

As has been the case each year, the number of views and visitors to Thebeerchaser.com has increased.   And I beg your indulgence in spouting a few of these statistics – possibly because the habit was ingrained by reviewing the “always stimulating” management and productivity reports produced at a large law firm – Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt – one I was proud to call my work home for twenty-five years. 

This year there were over 25,340 views of posts by 18,190 visitors – exceeding the record last year of 24,577 and 18,623.

And I still am surprised at where these visitors view the posts with 86% from the US and another 6% generated collectively from India, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany.   The remaining 8% were people from 128 different countries, many of whom I suspect, Googled the term “Beerchaser” and were probably looking for something different than my bar tour.

The national flag of Lesotho

As usual, this hobby has been educational for me and 2018 was no exception.  For example, it took some research to locate where the one view I got from Lesotho emanated – It’s an enclaved country of two million within the border of South Africa.

Note:  Now it does not surprise me, but after publishing this post I got a comment from Jay Waldron, Schwabe partner and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (March 29, 2016) that he had ridden his motorcycle through Lesotho when he cycled through South Africa.  Click on the link above to read about more of his exploits.

2011- 2018 Beerchaser Graph

(Notice the 377% increase in views from 2012 at 6,704 – the first full year – to over 25,000 in 2018.)

The Beerchasing Itinerary in 2018

As you might have noticed from the chart at the beginning of the post, the number of Portland bars at twelve, was one of the lowest counts since this blog was launched in 2011.  This was because we traveled more and I had extensive involvement as a volunteer in the development of the Benedictine Brewery at the Mount Angel Abbey.

The Benedictine Brewery and St. Michael Taproom

I’m proud to say that we opened the Brewery and the St. Michael Taproom in September and so far, it has been a great success.  It’s one of three breweries owned and operated by monks in the US and came to fruition after six years of planning, fundraising and construction.  You should plan to visit the Taproom in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Portland Area Bars

While the number visited and reviewed was somewhat meager at only twelve, I Beerchased at some distinctive bars and pubs this year ranging from the classic NE Portland dive bar – The Standard to the upscale cocktail bar – Palomar –  named Bar-of-the-Year by Oregon Live to a new and wonderful neighborhood pub not to far from my home in West Linn – The Salty Rhino.

Captain Eric (yellow shirt) skipper of the Brew Barge shirt) briefs his crew..

And there was the cruise on the Portland Brew Barge with my former Schwabe colleagues in  August.

We also paid our first visit to what has become our new favorite place to eat and have a brewski or cocktail – Wilder Bar/Cafe in Northeast Portland. I included the Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel in the Portland area as everybody in the Rose City should make this short trip.

Wilder – A gem in NE

Of course, there were a couple misses – venues to which I would not return.   These included the Happy Fortune and Bar 33 – Brooklyn.  Read the reviews to determine why Thebeerchaser – who by his own admission – loves almost all saloons and pubs, thought these were not worth your time.

Stop in for a daiquiri at Palomar on SE Division

Name Location Type Date of Post
The Salty Rhino West Linn Neighborhood December
Palomar SE Cocktail December
Bar 33 Sellwood Neighborhood September
Benedictine Brewery Mount Angel Brewery and Taproom August
Brew Barge Downtown (River) Miscellaneous August
The Happy Fortune SW Miscellaneous August
The Standard NE Dive June
The Dockside North Neighborhood June
Oaks Bottom Pub Sellwood Neighborhood April
Wilder Bar/Café NE Neighborhood April
Woodsman Tavern   * SE Neighborhood February
John’s Market Place Multnomah Village Bottle Shop January

*  After seven years, The Woodsman Tavern has now closed and a new site for popular restaurant Tasty N Sons will open in the same quarters.

Bars Outside of Portland

O.H.S.O. Brewery in Scottsdale

We traveled to Arizona for a week in the spring and while Phoenix/Scottsdale is definitely not our favorite urban spot in the US, there were some great breweries and hikes to make it a good trip.

The highlight of our travel in 2018, however, was an eleven day trip to New York City, Maine and Boston.  While we love the Northwest, the frenetic and diverse culture of Manhattan;  the scenery, including Acadia National Park; the micro-breweries in Maine (ranking third in breweries per capita in the US) and a night in the North End of Boston, made it a vacation to remember.

Overall, we visited thirty bars, pubs and breweries on these two trips.

The District Tap House in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District

Name Location Type Date of Post
North Mountain Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub April
OHSO Brewing North Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
McFate Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Wren House Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Scottsdale Beer Company Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Helton Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub April
Mesquite River Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub April
Sun Up Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub February
OHSO Brewing Phoenix Airport Taphouse February
Four Peaks Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub February
Goldwater Brewing Phoenix Brewery and Pub February
Two Brothers’ Brewing Scottsdale Brewery and Pub February
Durty Nelly’s Bar North Boston Dive Bar October 30
Shipyard Brewing Portland, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Sebago Brewing Portland, Maine Brewpub October 30
Rising Tide Brewing Portland, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Marshall Wharf Brewing Belfast, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Sea Dog Brewing Camden, Maine Brewpub October 30
Rock Harbor Brewing Rock Harbor, Maine Brewery and Taproom October 30
Atlantic Brewing Bar Harbor, Maine Taproom October 18
Cottage Street Pub Bar Harbor, Maine Dive Bar October 18
Island Bar Southwest Harbor, Maine Dive Bar October 18
Sips Southwest Harbor, Maine Cocktail Bar October 18
Ebenezer’s Pub Lovell, Maine Neighborhood October 9
Standard Gastropub Bridgton, Maine Gas Station Bar October 9
Sea Dog Brewing South Portland, Maine Brewpub October 9
Heartland Brewing New York City Brewery and Pub October 1
District Tap House New York City Taphoue October 1
Mariott Pulse Rooftop Bar New York City Hotel Bar October 1
Mariott Pulse Patio Bar New York City Hotel Bar October 1

Atlantic Brewery in the heart of Bar Harbor, Maine

Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter

How can I rationalize the fact that in 2018, I named only two Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter (BOQ) – a contradiction to the name of the “honor.”  Again, maybe it was the travel or prhaps it was involvement in the Benedictine Brewery……..however……

Mark Edlen outside his favorite bar in Portland

I prefer to assert that the gravitas of the two 2018 BOQs is expansive enough to justify naming only two.   Portland developer, environmentalist, outdoorsman and civic icon, Mark Edlen, was named in February and it was a pleasure re-engaging with Mark, who I originally met in 1979.

Our law firm was also the beneficiary of his real estate expertise when he served as our commercial realtor for a number of years at Schwabe before he formed Gerding Edlen Development Co. in 1996.

Cyclist and outdoorsman

And I could also maintain with some accuracy, that the second BOQ – the 1967 Oregon State Giant Killer Football Team and it’s de-facto historian, Jud Blakely, if considered as individuals rather than as a group, would garner this designation for a number of years.

Jud, who is an SAE fraternity brother and has been a friend for over fifty years, was one of the early BOQs (September, 2013) based on his remarkable persona and achievements.

Any OSU alum, or for that matter, any Oregonian interested in one of the great historic athletic tales of the State of Oregon, should visit the website below for the complete story.  It’s a labor of love by this OSU alum and former OSU Student Body President and I consider it the War and Peace equivalent to sports websites.

http://osu1967giantkillers.com

Blakely receiving his Bronze Star and promotion to captain from the Asst. Comandant of the Marine Corps.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2013/09/16/beerchaser-of-the-quarter-george-m-jud-blakely-iii/

Indeed, the story of the Giant Killers is so compelling, that it will require subsequent Beerchaser posts to complete the story of this unique team and the outstanding individuals.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2018/05/20/the-1967-osu-giant-killers-beerchasers-of-the-quarter-part-i/

And it was incredibly rewarding to interview or reconnect with some of my long-term friends who were either on the team or associated with the Giant Killer Era including Larry Rich, Craig Hanneman, Chris Wahle, Gary and Duane Barton and Scott Spiegelberg (played football after the Giant Killers and is now Director of OSU Varsity and Alumni Engagement) – but also to meet a number who I didn’t know until researching for the blog post.

The latter includes Billy Main, Steve Preece, Louis Armstrong, Bob Josis, Russ Jordan, and Don Wirth (former Executive Director of the OSU Alumni Association and a trustee of the OSU Foundation.)

Lunch at the Angry Beaver before the 2018 Washington State Football game. L to R (Billy Main, Jud Blakely, Don Williams, Karen and Steve Preece and Bob Gill)

Fear not for I have already identified my next two Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter and will get back on track with some very interesting people in 2019.

Similarly, since I have already visited, but not made a customary second visit and/or written the reviews of another ten Portland area bars and two from a trip to Palm Springs, Thebeerchaser will have no shortage of watering hole stories to relate.   If you have a bar, pub or brewery that deserves inclusion, please let me know.

Stay tuned in 2019 for the fascinating story of Portland’s Old Town Brewing…..

And in January, I will also publish the complete (and audited) list of each establishment visited from 2011 to 2018 including the location and the date of TheBeerchaser post for those who want this data base as a resource.

I might even decide to identify a number of my favorite habitats of different types e.g. dive bar, neighborhood, sports, cocktail lounge, etc. during this journey as well as pointing out the few that I would recommend you pass by as they would not enhance your Beerchasing experience in my humble opinion.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

At the covered bridge entrance to Pondicherry Park and the Pinehaven Trail in Bridgton, Maine

Now Edgar Allan Poe was not considered a really positive person based on his personal life including his military career including being purposely court-martialed at West Point, his marriage and his caustic literary reviews and writing on many macabre topics.

That said, it seems appropriate to start the New Year out with one of his poems on the merit of drinking ale.  (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes)

Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain —
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.

At least he was positive about ale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books and Brew

Thebeerchaser’s home office and library  –  See narrative below

I have written about books devoted to beer and brewing in prior posts.  Examples include Jeff Alworth’s, The Beer Bible which Goodreads states, “….is the ultimate reader-and drinker-friendly guide to all the world’s beers.” 

Another volume I’ve mentioned and purchased from the Mount Angel Abbey Book StoreDrinking with the Saints – The Sinners’ Guide to a Holy Happy Hour is also a great reference “and a concoction that both sinner and saints will savor.” 

It’s a great collection of cocktails, toasts and anecdotes based on the Holy Days and saints.  For example: “As our Episcopal brethren like to say, ‘Where two or three are gathered in His name, there is a fifth.'”

And then there’s my friend, Dr, Eric Hall, who teaches theology and philosophy at Carrol College.  In his book, The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to God.  Eric integrates academia and spirituality with wit and wisdom.  For example:

“Then again, some mystics describe the deep sorrow of seeing their true self within a context of divine luminosity.  Again, this idea makes sense as it’s kind of like seeing what a bar floor looks like when the lights come up: you didn’t know how many dirty old pork rinds were either on the ground or in your soul prior to the divine unveiling.”

The Rose City Book Pub

The spark for the topic of this blog post emanated from the grand opening of The Rose City Book Pub on November 3rd. This new pub is located in the former NE Portland space of County Cork (see Beerchaser review in June 2012)  While I am sorry to see any bar bite the dust, it’s good news that a new watering hole filled the vacuum.

Reveling (rather than reading) at County Cork in 2012 with the Schwabe Williamson Environment Group

Portland Eater describes the new venture as “a bookstore-meets-bar-meets restaurant with beer, wine and comfy cafe-style menu..”

I’m just not sure if I am comfortable with a pub where regulars are sitting in comfy nooks in easy chairs rather than telling stories at the bar while raising mugs.  That said, I will make a trip and let you know what I think and I wish owner, Elise Schumock well.

However, the concept pervaded my consciousness with some other thoughts on books – including pondering my own reading habits after a visit to Powells City of Books – a Portland treasure which houses about one million books.

What I Should Read Versus What I Do Read 

While wondering through Powell’s, I saw some books on display with notations of “Staff Picks.”   These are works of both fiction and non-fiction that Powell’s staffers are evidently reading and have favorable reactions – they print a short synopsis on a note card by the tome so you can see why it is recommended.

Staff Picks at Powells

But I was struck by how cerebral and refined the majority of the books on these shelves  appeared to me – two in particular that made me think a little bit more:

Where the Crawdads Sing  by Delia Owens.   Now this novel did get five stars on Amazon but the staff account was “This story is a beautiful and mesmerizing coming-of-age saga featuring Kya – aka Marsh Girl.  Part mystery, part love story, this book will haunt me!” 

It was also a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Selection and Reese, who after all, went to Harvard Law in one of her movies, went so far as to say, “I can’t even express how much I love this book! I didn’t want this story to end!”   (Perhaps she was reading it while she was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail…) 

The New York Times describes it asPainfully Beautiful,” (emphasis supplied) which makes me wonder if it was one of those books where you’re half way through and hate it, but refuse to lose the investment of time by abandoning it.  You slog through it with discomfort and end up being glad you finished it afterwards.

Now the book above is a murder mystery and perhaps a good story, but The Vegetarian by Han Kang elicited this excerpted comment by the reviewer:  “Somewhere between the crossroads of obsession and mental illness, lust and betrayal, the Vegetarian exists.”

This novella, which was critically acclaimed internationally, takes place in South Korea and scored 3.6 out of 5.0 stars by Goodreads.   Their synopsis, in part, states, “In a country were societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more ‘plant-like’ existence is a shocking act of subversion.”

Potentially subversive??

Well anyway, it made me wonder what books are really on the bed stands of these reviewers.   Do they really devour these for enjoyment or is it just part of the job?

It’s the same concept when magazines ask celebrities what novel they are reading.  The answer is usually one by Dostoevsky, Jane Austen or F. Scott Fitzgerald or a four-hundred page non-fiction book on dialectical materialism rather than a thriller by Danielle Steele or James Patterson.

And then I remembered hearing about Oprah’s Book Club.  Maybe it differs from Reese’s in that those who indicate they like her selections get a free car.  Since I was reflecting, I then wondered why I had never heard any famous males who have national book clubs.

Buffet’s Book Club?

Although according to a New York Times article “Men Have Book Clubs Too,” why don’t famous guys like Warren Buffet, Tony Bennett or UCLA Coach Chip Kelly have national book clubs with recommended selections?  Maybe Chip’s would feature The Carnivore…..

 

The Annals of America – A compendium on the great story of America

So I started feeling guilty looking at my own library.  After having my own office on our dining room table for most of my career, in retirement I now have a wonderful library/office. Some of the collections are those my parents gave us in school.

These include the 54-volume “Great Books of the Western World” (1952) and the eighteen-volume Annals of America, both published by the Encyclopedia Britannica.  There’s a bunch of others that I enthusiastically accumulated over the years with the idea that I would read them when I had more leisure time.

Churchill – “Their Finest Hour” is still waiting to be read…

But I noted that although my intent has been to read Churchill’s six-volume The Second World War, all of the sixteen volumes in my set of “The Nobel Prize Library” and about 35 books on the Civil War and World War II, they sit largely untouched on the shelves.

I shouldn’t leave out the twelve of forty-one volumes in the Time/Life Collection of World War II, I bought at a used bookstore in Lincoln City a few year ago.  

Twelve of the forty-one in this great collection

Although I have read some great non-fiction books in the last two years (see below) my most recent reads (which I have really enjoyed) are the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child, a slew of John Sandford paperbacks (which prey on you…) and almost all of the wonderful mysteries by Phillip Margolin.

Should my book time be devoted to more cerebral works?

Interesting, albeit tragic times in American history

But rationality prevailed and I realize that one of the reasons I have not read more highbrow volumes is because I have spent gads of time in the last seven years visiting about 250 bars, pubs and breweries (about half in Portland the rest throughout Oregon, the US and Europe) and then writing 200+ posts on Thebeerchaser.com – each averaging about 2,200 words.   I love this idiosyncratic hobby!

Joe R. Lansdale – unique dialogue and compelling.

And it can be asserted that what some would describe as escapist-trash fiction is really enjoyable.  If you look beyond the mainstream authors such as Sanford, Child, Ignatius, Turow and the aforementioned Phillip Margolin, you can find some treasures.

I’ve discovered some lesser known scribes such as Joe R. Lansdale, who has written forty-five novels.  (The one below is the first one I’ve read – I liked the cover art when I saw it in the Library).

I recently read Bad Chili, a “tongue-in-cheek” murder mystery in Texas.   The action is innovative e.g. an early encounter with a “vicious, angry, bloodthirsty, rabid squirrel.”  Lansdale’s dialogue is unique and  rich with quotes such as this one from Jim Bob Luke, a primary character:

“Life’s like a bowl of chili in a strange café.  Sometimes it’s pretty tasty and spicy.  Other times, it tastes like shit.”

A novel of suspense (and spice….)

Or the following from protagonist, Hap Collins, a working-man, turned private detective:

“His mother, a harried woman in lace-up shoes designed by the Inquisition, a long black dress, and a Pentecostal hairdo – which was a mound of brown hair tied up in a bun that looked as if it had been baked into place to contain an alien life form – was pretending to be asleep.”

I should also state that I have read some very good historical works in the last two years – among them Ike’s Spies  by Stephen Ambrose and the Path Between the Seas – The Creation of the Panama Canal, both by David McCullough.

Add to that River of Doubt (Teddy Roosevelt’s exploration of the Amazon River) and Destiny of the Republic – A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President (about the assassination of President James Garfield) both by Candice Millard.  All read like novels.

And I’m half way through an insightful and thought provoking work by David Brooks entitled The Road to Character – a timely topic these days….. I would heartily recommend all of the above – just do 25 pages in one of these non-fiction works and then 100 in a Jack Reacher tale before you fall asleep.

Odysseus – his exploits make Jack Reachers look tame!

I’ll keep devouring the paperback spy adventure or murder mystery without guilt and just enjoy looking at the volumes while I’m in my office with the thought that I will at some point read another Nobel Prize author besides Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea) read last year.

Oh, and I forgot that I studied a Great Book selection – Homer’s The Odyssey with my youngest daughter when it was a selection she studied in her senior year at high school.  (I guess that was about ten years ago come to think of it…)

A Story about the Northwest’s Lawyer Novelist

Speaking of Phillip Margolin, let me introduce you to another long-time Portland lawyer.  Mike Greene is a Stanford Law graduate and practiced law in Portland for many years.   He is now basically retired although he still serves in an “Of Counsel” capacity to a small law firm.

Portland Lawyer and sometime Sr. Deputy District Attorney, Mike Greene

Since I worked at the Oregon State Bar and in Portland’s second largest law firm for a combined total of over thirty years, I know and have a lot of attorney friends.  Mike is one of my favorites.

After graduating from Stanford, he was admitted to the Oregon State Bar in 1972, and became a highly respected trial lawyer – Oregon Super Lawyer six times – among other peer review honors. Like many of the counselors I know he has also devoted a considerable time to civic and professional endeavors.

Mike’s resume of these goes beyond most and he has been involved in American Diabetes Association work since 1982 and was Chair of the National Board of Directors from 1994 to 1995.  He also created a legal advocacy program to fight discrimination on behalf of people with diabetes.

Recently I read one of Phillip Margolin’s earlier novels that I had inadvertently skipped, since I have read and enjoyed almost all of his twenty-three books, all of which have been in the New York Times best-seller list.   In Fugitive, one of the primary characters is a senior deputy district attorney, named Mike Greene – the boyfriend of protagonist, Amanda Jaffe, a criminal defense lawyer.

I thought that I remembered this character from a few of the other Margolin mysteries.   Now the Portland Bar is a “small community” and Mike is about the same vintage as Phillip Margolin.   So I e-mailed Mike and wrote:

“I know that a number of novelists name characters after friends and/or colleagues and this seemed to be more than a coincidence.”

Mike responded:

”Phil has been a friend for decades. I purchased at a Diabetes Auction, the privilege of Phil using my name.  He liked the name and character he created to use the name.  I am now in five of his books.  What a purchase?  A piece of immortality?  It’s fun.  I have been asked about this by many people over the years.” 

Portland Lawyer and Author, Phillip Margolin

Mike and I go to the same church and last Sunday when we chatted, he agreed to send me the names of the novels in which Mike Greene makes his appearance.  He added that the topic has helped break-the–ice in some tense legal negotiations over the years.

I told him that I assumed the Oregon State Bar could not prosecute him for any disciplinary issues that might arise from his conduct in the novels.

If you are reading any of the following Margolin novels, look for Mike Greene:  Wild Justice (2000), Ties that Bind (2003), Proof Positive (2006), Fugitive (2009) and Violent Crimes (2016).

As an aside, besides his writing career – he began writing full-time in 1996 – Phillip Margolin had a distinguished legal career as well.  After graduating from NYU School of Law in 1970, he started by clerking for the Chief Judge of the Oregon the Court of Appeals.   As an appellate lawyer, he has appeared in the US Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals and both the Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Frequent speaker

As a trial lawyer, he represented about thirty people charged with homicide, including several who faced the death penalty.  His service to others began with a two-year stint in the Peace Corps after college graduation and he taught junior high in the South Bronx during his last two years of law school.

He was Chair of the Board for Chess for Success from 1996 to 2009, a non-profit that uses chess to teach elementary and middle school children in Title I schools study skills.   He was also on the Board of Literary Arts, which sponsors the Oregon Book Awards from 2007 to 2013.

I regret that I never got to see either Mike Greene or Phillip Margolin in the courtroom!

Farewell Tom

Tom Dulcich

Another notable Portland lawyer was Tom Dulcich, who I knew from working with him for twenty-five years at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt.  Tom passed away in July at the age of 65 from a rare form of cancer.

The Astoria native besides being a wonderful human being was the consummate lawyer.   He was a Phi Beta Kappa grad at the U of O and one of two Rhodes Scholar finalists in 1976.  He attended one of the nation’s leading law schools – the University of Chicago and started his 38-year career as a Schwabe trial lawyer soon afterwards.

He was a fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, served on the Schwabe Board of Directors and as a member and Chair of the Board of the Columbia Maritime Museum.   He was a man of faith and family.

Justice Scalia – Fishing partner…..

One of his passions was fishing and he took pride in operating the family’s gillnet boat.  In fact, a number of years ago, when the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia was in Oregon for a speech, he asked Tom to be his guide in a successful fishing trip on the Columbia River.

“Dry Humor”

Earlier in the post, I mentioned some good brew-related books and I remembered one other mentioned in the The Week magazine.  The Wet and the Dry: a Drinker’s Journey relates a pub crawl, of sorts, that author, Lawrence Osborne, took through the Middle East and Southern Asia.

Now I have read (and used as a resource) some similar books including Colorado – A Liquid History & Tavern Guide to the Highest State by Dr. Thomas J. Noel, a professor at the University of Colorado, who visited every bar in Colorado for a doctoral thesis.

And don’t forget Joan Melcher, who essentially made the same journey (50 watering holes) in Montana as documented in Montana Watering Holes – The Big Sky’s Best Bars

It seems a little unusual to undertake this type of study in some countries where alcohol is illegal, but as the reviewer states, “If you are looking for ‘an entertaining romp through half the bars in the Middle East” The Wet and the Dry will not disappoint.”

Cheers!

Beerchasing Miscellany -Updates and Brew Tidbits….

The Benedictine Brewery and Taproom under construction

Benedictine Brewery Update – I have enjoyed working on this project on the grounds of the Mount Angel Monastery and Seminary.  It will be one of only two west of the Mississippi in which the monks are the owners and operators.  Construction is proceeding well and a certificate of occupancy expected in May and the Taproom is scheduled to open in September.

Father Martin, the Head Brewer and Procurator of the Abbey did a great job at the Meet-the-Brewer function at the University of Portland Pilot House Pub last month where they served Black Habit and Farmhouse Ale – our two flagship beers.

Meet the Brewer at UP

He got feedback from the students on the beer and had a great chance to chat with them.  Notwithstanding his assertion that he is basically a shy person, the students appeared to really enjoy the conversation.   I think many of them will make the trip to the Taproom when it opens.

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update: Each quarter I feature an individual or group who has an interesting story or has made a contribution worth noting.  The “honorees” may or may not have anything to do with bars or beer.  Here’s an update on three of them.

Jud Blakely as 1964 OSU Student Body President

Jud Blakely – this SAE fraternity brother at Oregon State and long-term friend (about 50+ years) is living in Alabama.   Those who remember my previous post when he was Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, will remember him as former OSU Student Body President, Viet Nam war hero during service as a Marine Corps Officer (Bronze Star and Purple Heart) and Renaissance guy who is a prolific writer, former athlete, consultant , family man and general overachiever.

Well, he’s done it again.  Jud’s initial technology work went into the website for the Oregon Viet Nam Veterans’ Living Memorial a number of years ago, which is an outstanding tribute to those who served and died in the War.

Jud after patrol in 1966 at Than Thrah Viet Nam

His latest effort – recently finished (although still an ongoing work in progress…) is a website on the OSU Giant Killers. It’s  the result of months of effort mastering the technology and work during the years since he wrote a screenplay on the subject and started interviewing, obtaining records and film, etc.

Dee Andros – The Great Pumpkin

The 1967 Beavs were the un-ranked (pre-season) football team who amazed the nation, by beating two top-five teams including Purdue and USC and tying UCLA when the Bruins were ranked second.  I was a sophomore at OSU then and still have memories of the game and beating an OJ Simpson-led USC Trojan team 3 to 0.

The Battle of Borodino. No Great Pumpkin, but the “Little Corporal…”

Stated simply, “This website is amazing!”  It is the War and Peace of websites only featuring the yardage gains of football players after mowing down defensive opponents as compared to Napoleon’s French marauders’ march to Moscow after the Battle of Borodino.

Check it out.  You will be amazed at this inspired effort.   http://osu67giantkillers.com/

Coach Andros after the USC win

Thebeerchaser will feature the website and some of the amazing stories from that season when the Giant Killer Team is featured as the next Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

Jack FaustThis Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt Of-Counsel and well known Oregon appellate lawyer was also  for many years the moderator of the award-winning public affairs show “Town Hall” which was broadcast on ABC/KATU.  Some of his most noted broadcasts were on the Rajneesh “invasion” of Central Oregon where they formed a commune and tried to take over the town of Antelope and Wasco County by poisoning citizens and importing busloads of transients – whom they later dumped on the streets – after they had voted.

The sordid historical account, which includes attempted murders, political manipulation and organizational intrigue, has been captured in a new, excellent Netflix documentary entitled, “Wild Wild Country.”   A younger, Jack Faust, is shown in the film – his second appearance in such documentaries as he also had a much larger role in “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” the story of the Portland Mavericks which is also on Netflix.

Jack’s food was allegedly poisoned by the Rajneesh, who felt that it would preclude him from broadcasting his third Town Hall show after the first two came across much more negatively than they expected.   (Faust used his cross-examination skills well during the session.)  The box lunch from the Rajneesh deli, Zorba the Buddha, delivered to him at the law firm made him incredibly sick, but thanks to his wife, Alice, who drove him to Antelope, he moderated the show.

For a first-hand account, read Thebeerchaser post on Jack and his amazing career which includes a compelling excerpt from the article his daughter, Amy, wrote for 1859 Magazine. https://thebeerchaser.com/2014/09/02/john-r-jack-faust-fall-2014-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

And you should definitely watch “Wild Wild Country”.  In a long e-mail to Thebeerchaser Faust gives his assessment of the film.  While he asserts that there are some issues which could improve the documentary, overall he gives it a “Thumbs Up” as you will see from the excerpted final three paragraphs of his missive below:

One of the Bhagwan’s 90 Rolls Royce

However, none of that should dissuade you from enjoying a fascinating 6 hours.  It is bingeworthy – incredible footage and the amazing feat of telling the story without any narration; the whole story is told by those interviewed and contemporary news broadcasts. 

And, it was well edited from a mass of  materials:  e.g. I was interviewed on two topics – my own poisoning and the fraud perpetrated to get LCDC approval for their comprehensive plan. Both were cut, but I would have added little to what the film presented.

The cult leader smiling at one of his “followers.”

Ma Sheela, whom I came to know, seemed creepy to me from the start.  The mouth smiled but the eyes never did.  At lunch in her home at the Ranch – twice – she treated the Rajneesh girls who waited on us like dirt. And in Town Hall 3 she showed herself to a large northwest audience to be arrogant, contemptuous and heartless.

The parts in hour 6 about the sorrow of the abandoned sannyasins leaving the ranch were on target.  Those were 90% decent people, many very talented, who had hit some bad ‘bumps in the road’ (divorce, depression, personal failure) that left them with damaged psyches that found solace in the group and a lifestyle that was ‘alternative’ to the max.”

Dr. Sam Holloway this associate professor at the University of Portland Pamphlin School of Business, is also an internationally recognized brewing consultant, who is a founding partner in the craft-brewing consulting firm – Crafting-a-Strategy.   Sam is also on the Board of the Eugene Brewery, Oakshire Brewing.

He and his family are on his first sabbatical from the University and besides enjoying Rotterdam, Sam continues to make his mark as an expert in the craft brewing industry as can be seen from this excerpt from a May 2 e-mail to Thebeerchaser. He will return to Portland for the fall term at UP with an additional accolade as set forth below:

Sam’s photo from Sarajevo Brewery in Bosnia-Herzegovina

“First, Erasmus University.  Due to my research and publication record prior to my sabbatical (and their department chair’s love of beer) I was offered and accepted a visiting professor job the University’s Rotterdam School of Management – it’s ranked in the top 10 in Europe and offered me the chance to work in a research focused institution. (I was relieved of nearly all teaching and allowed to focus on research the Dutch craft beer industry as well as overall growth of craft beer in Europe.)

I had an amazing and large group of colleagues that included professors, doctoral students & masters students.  So I got to spend a year surrounded by brilliant people in my area of focus. I also am excited about a new paper Ion which I am collaborating that uses Ratebeer.com data overlaid on Brewers Association data to see how a craft breweries mix of products affects their growth over time.

Dr. Sam having a brew with Guinness Master Brewer, Fergal Murray

I’ve also been able to grow Crafting A Strategy over here and been a featured speaker at two beer industry related events. At the first event, I gave a beer business talk to about 85 Dutch beer industry professionals in February 2018.

Even more exciting, I am a keynote speaker at the first ever beer business June conference in Europe in Brussels. I am speaking opposite Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev.  At this exciting conference, I will be presenting and also emcee a panel of small to medium sized breweries in Europe where discussing how small and independent breweries need to think and act differently to survive.”

 

Finally, Sam was just honored by being awarded a named professorship at the University of Portland.  The Bay Area Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship.  UP stated, “These professorships are critical to support the scholarly work of our finest professors and to recognize and retain their leadership and expertise in their disciplines.” 

Bar Update –  One of the smaller but interesting breweries first reviewed by Thebeerchaser in 2013 has expanded to a second location in Portland’s Pearl District.

Sasquatch Brewing which started five years ago, after the owner, Tom Sims, decided to expand his garage home-brewing hobby, opened a new taproom and sandwich shop, just below Forest Park in the summer of  2017.

“…a new brewing facility in a 4000-square foot warehouse in industrial Northwest Portland.   The new brewery will include a 15-barrel system, two 90-barrel fermenters and a tasting room open to the public seven days a week.” (Brevnet.com 3/31/17)

The beer is anything but abominable……

Check out the 22 beers on tap and see another example of a home brewer who pursued a dream to fruition.

Renners’ Grill and Suburban Room –  This classic dive bar in the heart of Multnomah Village, is trying to continue the tradition of “Generous Cocktails, Cold Beer and Good Food Since 1939,” after a disastrous two-alarm fire on March 29th which closed most of Multnomah Village while firefighters made a successful effort to save the old building.

The community is trying to help get this neighborhood icon back and co-owner, Josh Hartnell, who told me when I interviewed him on one of my visits, to call him “Uncle Stumpy,”  has established A Go Fund Me account to help supplement insurance proceeds.

 

Uncle Stumpy and server,Emmie, on Thebeerchasers visit

According to a May 3 article in the Portland Tribune, which quotes the other co-owner/manager Stephen Potter, who is optimistic that Renners’ will again be serving strong drinks and what I found to be excellent food:

“‘We’ve survived a lot of things. We’ve had our ups and downs. This is definitely a setback,’ Potter said. ‘We’ll power through it and try to look at it as thoughtfully as we can about trying to make it a better place when it comes back open again. Our goal is to keep the same ambiance we had before.’ 

Beerchaser regular, Walt Duddington, at Renners’

Potter purchased Renner’s about two and a half years ago and has since expanded the menu, doubled the beer selection and collaborated with organizations such as Neighborhood House and the Oregon Humane Society for fundraisers. And he says revenue has spiked since he bought the shop.” 

Stay tuned along with Thebeerchaser for the re-opening of this great establishment which according to my brother-in-law, Dave, served “the best hangar steak, I’ve eaten in Portland.”

Beechaser Miscellany –

The Origins of Dirt – Followers of this blog may remember reading about how the nickname “Dirt” was bestowed on me as a freshman at Oregon State University.  And when my younger brother, Rick, started at OSU living at the same fraternity two years after I graduated, they named him “Dust.”  To see the origin of the story, check this link about Cracker Jack’s Pub in Portland.

The Origin of Dirt

The moniker Dirt has stuck all these years as you may be able to discern from looking at the blog header above.  I therefore chuckled when I saw the truck above in Lincoln City from the Rogue Brewery a few weeks ago.  The length of the trailer had this phrase, “Beer begins in the dirt.”

It’s Rogue’s campaign to promote the agricultural component of their brewery ranging from growing hops, wheat and corn to raising free-range chickens and pot-bellied pigs. http://legacy.rogue.com/roguefarms/

Update on Brewing by the Monks at the Abbey in Mount Angel

The Benedictine Brewery is moving forward in anticipation of opening in late spring with the Taproom ready for visitors in June.  Stay tuned and come down to see us at the Mount Angel Abbey St. Benedictine Festival which will be held on the Abbey Hiltop on Saturday, July 7th.

It’s a beautiful and historical location and you can look forward to ” an afternoon of great food, drink and things to do that are inspirational, educational and just plain fun.”

https://thebeerchaser.com/2017/07/26/father-martin-grassel-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/

Check the link above to read about the Benedictine Brewery’s  Head Brewer and mastermind of the project (in addition to being this blog’s Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter last summer – Father Martin Grassel.)

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update

Followers of this blog also know about my effort to highlight one person or group each quarter by bestowing the “honor” of Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter four times each year.

Past recipients of this award include authors, war heroes, athletes, media personalities and other interesting folk that may or may not have anything to do with bars and beers.  (See the tab at the header to see a list of all former B-O-Q’s and click on their names to see the entire story of the three featured below.)

Amy Faust (4/11/17) Amy and her co-host, Mike Chase who are on the air from 5:30 AM to 10:00 each weekday morning on KWJJ -The Wolf are award winners and I mean National Awards.  The duo was named the Country Music Association Major Market Personality of the Year.

“The CMA Broadcast Awards are among the most prestigious awards given out in the field of Country Radio…..

(They) are judged on air-check ratings, community involvement, format leadership and biographical information.”  (We don’t know if Amy’s ability to play the mandolin was a factor in the last category….)

They received the honor on stage in Nashville, Tennessee when the November ceremony was televised nationally on ABC.

Perhaps radio management realized this was another reason why replacing them with a syndicated robot DJ in 2012, after they had been on the air for thirteen years, was a mistake and reaffirmed the decision to bring the pair back to the air in 2014.

Jay in his earlier rugby years

Jay Waldron  ( 3/29/16)  Portland lawyer, Jay, was named to the US Rugby Association’s Hall of Fame at the 2017 induction ceremony in San Diego.  To see why this honor was well deserved, check out the link.

You can also find out why he will never receive the same award from the US Boxing Association even though his ring (and IM Football) name at the University of Virginia was, “The Dancing Bear.” 

 

The Dancing Bear

 

 

Dwight “The Godfather” Jaynes (12/13/16) Dwight and Aaron Fentress started a new talk show which is broadcast on both radio and television each weekday from noon until 3:00 PM on  “NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio”

They’re a good combination and their debates show some real knowledge of both current and past events and personalities in NW athletics that you won’t get on any other station.   Dwight also continues to serve as a regular panelist on “Talkin’ Ball” – broadcast after each Blazer game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put These on Your Book list

In an effort to expand my list of regularly read renowned authors such as Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Dostoevsky and ….David Balduci……, I successfully requested two new non-fiction works at Christmas.  They’re both excellent to this point although I’ve only read the first few chapters of each so far.

I first saw Drinking with the Saints – The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour by Michael Foley in the Mount Angel Abbey Bookstore when I was there working on the Benedictine Brewery.

The book has a Catholic focus although readers (like Thebeerchaser) who are not Catholic  will also find it educational and entertaining.

Just take a few examples in the first twenty + pages and you can see why I am using my yellow highlighter when I read it. (And any book which quotes G.K Chesterton is a must…)

“As our Episcopal brethren like to say, ‘Where two or three are gathered in His name, there is a fifth.”  (Forward – Page x)

G.K. Chesterton – poet, writer, theologian, etc. etc. etc.

“And I am in accord with G.K. Chesterton, who is said to have converted to Catholicism because it was the only religion that could reconcile the pipe, the pint and the Cross……..”   (Forward – Page iX)

“A Franciscan and a Jesuit, both fond of the drink, wanted to have a draught while they prayed the Breviary, and so they asked permission from their superiors.  The Franciscan was turned down because he asked if he could drink while he prayed, but the Jesuit’s request was granted because he asked if he could pray while he drank.”  (Introduction – Page xvii)

Foley has toasts, blessings, a glossary and how to make some great cocktails.  One of the first is the “Monk.”  (1 ½ oz. of gin, ¾ oz. of lemon juice and ¾ oz. of Benedictine)  “Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.” (Page 6)

The Beer Bible is written by author and blogger (Beervana), Jeff Alworth, a Northwest guy who has written about beer for over fifteen years including several books and whose blog has a national audience.

I am an expert on bars but not on beer, so I have eagerly become engrossed in the chapters detailing the different styles of beer, the history of the beverage and how to store, serve and taste beer like an expert.

The Military

We should all be thankful for the sacrifice and service of our military personnel.   There is no need to have a parade down Pennsylvania Ave in Washington D.C. for us and other nations to understand the might and toughness of our military infrastructure and the quality of the men and women who serve.

However, like any large bureaucracy, there are many mistakes, humorous stories and facts which are stranger than fiction that are part of the ongoing story of the United State’s fighting forces.

Brothers Garry and Don Williams

My two brothers and I are veterans and we encountered  these during both training and while on active duty.

The story of my late brother, Garry, calling home when he was singing at the White House in 1972 and stood next to President Nixon when he was there with the West Point Glee Club still makes our family chuckle.

Garry (3rd from left) and the West Point Glees Club at the White House with President Nixon in 1971

Youngest brother, Rick, who like Thebeerchaser, graduated from the OSU NROTC program, became an underwater hard-hat diver and ultimately the skipper of a nuclear submarine the USS Spadefish (SS 668). 

He surfaced through the ice at the North Pole a couple of times among other adventures when the Cold War was still frigid.   He also has many stories, but still maintains he would have to kill me if he related them to me.

Captain Rick Williams at Spadefish change-of-command ceremony

But a recent article from the 2/15/18 Washington Examiner entitled, “Navy Acknowledges Air Crew Drew Penis in the sky over Washington,” caught my attention.  It was a Northwest story about an electronic warfare plane based at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.  (The link above has a photo.)

The two-person crew was grounded pending an investigation after they, “….created skywriting in the shape of male genitals in the skies over Okanogan, Washington……Witnesses took photos and posted them on social media platforms (of course!) and they were widely viewed.”

The righteous indignation in the Navy’s response and apology statement is worth reading.  No word on whether the recalcitrant crew collected on a bet from their fellow pilots which might mitigate the effects of the punishment.  And how many discrete toasts to the pilot were there that night in the Officers’ Club for his creative use of the “joystick.”

And this one about the German Navy written by Tyler Rogoway December 23, 2017, in The Drive entitled, “The German Navy Decided to Return Their Bloated New Frigate to the Ship Store This Christmas,” makes one wonder when an exec from a military contractor will write a “tell-all” about some of the horror stories emanating from the manufacture of these technology-driven land, sea and air behemoths.

Another example – according to a 3/18/18 story in Seeking Alpha “The Pentagon estimates it will cost nearly $16B to modernize the fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 jets through 2024, including $10.8B for software development and $5.4B for deploying the updates.”

New German Frigate

The aforementioned German frigate (Baden-Wurttemburg class) which in size, although not armament and technology, is similar to the US Navy Destroyers – the “Tin Cans” which served heroically during World War II.  It was constructed by a three member consortium of German defense contractors.

Well this new ship because of its advanced technology including “an advanced command and control communications installation based around an open architecture concept and has a 360 degree surveillance and situational awareness system….,” is supposed to be able to have a crew component much smaller than ships of similar size and be able to deploy for a least two-years at a time i.e. it can sale very reliably.

However, during sea trials before commissioning of the ship, there were some real problems:  “A chronic list of 1.3 degrees to starboard…….(and) they are severely over weight.”  (like by about 356,000 pounds!)  And a few more technical problems like “There doesn’t seem to be enough internal volume to add a vertical launch system in the back of the ship’s main gun.”

The USS McGowan (DD 678) World War II Tin Can

Perhaps this account can make us feel a little less concerned when Vladimir Putin boasts about Russia’s capability to send nuclear missiles that could overcome any U.S. missile defense system – he used animated versions to illustrate the concept.

And it makes at least this guy have a renewed appreciation for the manner in which those World War II ships stayed in combat service.  For example, the Destroyer USS McGowan, which served valiantly in the South Pacific in World War II, with heroic engagements from Guadalcanal to Okinawa to the Leyte Gulf.

Websites

Since I use a lot of on-line resources to research and write this blog, I find it annoying when entering a brewery website and it has a question about whether the user is twenty-one years or over.  Of course, any enterprising minor regardless of how rules-oriented he or she is, probably won’t feel too guilty and “getting older,” to access the website.

Avery Brewery in Fort Collins

And ever wonder what happens if you answer that you are not of legal age.  I tried it with two of my favorite Colorado breweries – Avery and New Belgium – both in Fort Collins and also Oregon’s Rogue Brewery.

Avery takes a simplistic route and states piously and directly, “You must be new to the internet.”

New Belgium is more empathetic and states in large letters,Take Solace.”  It then goes on to console the minor that he or she will “someday be 21 years old,” and cites statutory prohibitions, but continues in the conciliatory vein by stating, “However, if you would like to learn more information about our brewery, our business practices or our Core Values…..contact us by phone or e-mail.” 

New Belgium Brewery

The e-mail address was not that of Shawn Hines who Janet met while he and his wife were touring a winery a few years ago on a visit to the Yamhill Valley.  He was high-up in the New Belgium exec ranks with a title of “Pharaoh of Phlow!”   Shawn invited us to tour the New Belgium facility when we were in Colorado – it was a wonderful tour.

The most innovative approach is that of Rogue which immediately upon the indication that the computer user is under age, redirects them to a website for Disneyland.   (Try it….) https://www.rogue.com/

This rant reminds me that another reason those warnings annoy me is that most have drop down menus for year of birth, and it takes me three “Page Downs” to get to mine!

And while on annoying  trends, how about the robo calls that start with a lifelike voice that states, “HI, I’m Kathy.  I hope you are having a good morning and just wanted to talk to you about your bathroom drains (Fill in the topic.)” About that time I interrupt Kathy (who keeps on talking) and tell her she should be in a holding cell because I realize it is a taped call.

Or how about those automated receptionists who answer your call with, “Please listen closely because our menu options have changed,” even though the last time they  modified them was in 1999.

This from a brief clip in The Week (a magazine which is a good source of news and irrelevant tidbits like this one) about Mya, an artificially intelligent “chatbot” who “can evaluate resumes, schedule and conduct applicant screenings and even congratulate you on your first day of work.”  If I had retired later, I might have avoided listening to all of those candidates reel off their boring strengths and weaknesses.

Tidbits

In my research (and since I’m retired) I save a lot of miscellaneous bits of information to share with others in the hope that they will appreciate my sometimes cynical sense of humor. They get thrown in a file folder or electronic file – sometimes without date or info to allow proper attribution, so please indulge me, but below are a few:

Has Mount Rushmore but evidently not enough micro-breweries

The Week (5/5/17) – “A South Dakota man was arrested after he pushed past police and firefighters and ran into his home to rescue his beer……..He emerged clutching two cans of Bud Ice Premium, but officers quickly cuffed him and charged him with obstruction. A police spokesman said (the guy) had demonstrated ‘poor judgment.’”  (At least there was no collusion.)

The Beer Celebrator(Fall 2017) – “America, it should be noted, has more breweries than colleges.” There is no source or data to back up this statistic, but perhaps they need more in South Dakota….)

Parade Magazine (no date) – Abe Lincoln, among his other qualifications, was a licensed bartender.

Concerned about a lot of trends…..

The Oregonian – George Will’s column – (1/3/16) – This conservative, but erudite columnist, railed against some trends in 2015 that he felt were ludicrous.  He was concerned that “The common thread is the collapse of judgment in, and the infantalization of society by government.” Below is one example:

“The University of Georgia said sexual consent must be ‘voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest.”

The Week (6/2/17) And finally, this one about the village of Wacken, Germany. They are “building a 4-mile network of pipes so that it can funnel beer to thirsty attendees at the world’s largest heavy-metal festival.  (75,000 attendees)  …….In previous years, tractor trailers have turned the fields into a giant mud pit…”

Pipeline Solution

This got me to ponder if corporate execs decided to change the focus of the much maligned and delayed Keystone Pipeline from carrying oil to beer, would they gain bi-partisan support and mitigate environmental concerns.  They wouldn’t even have to change the name…….

Cheers!