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