Thebeerchaser’s Final Thoughts on the Dirty Shame Saloon

In three prior posts on Thebeerchaser, I have written about the World Famous Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana – its fabled history, the Shame’s character, the staff,  the regulars, the events that capture the imagination of the community and its erstwhile owner, John Runkle – the most recent recipient of the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter “honor.” (Click on the links to see these posts.)

Since I stated in a previous narrative that it is the most interesting of the 350 establishments I’ve visited and reviewed in the eight years of Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bars, Taverns and Breweries, the Dirty Shame and John Runkle collectively deserve one final narrative.

The most recent Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter

Now many bars can be defined as “a place where lonely desperate people go to get hammered enough to find other lonely, desperate people suddenly irresistible.” *1 The Dirty Shame Saloon is the antithesis of this description.

*1 The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm – A Lexicon for Those of Us Who Are Brighter and Smarter Than the Rest of You (Page 34)

The book is by James Napoli and a brilliant tome you should definitely read – one rivaling in wit and intellect, the legendary On Bullshit by Princeton Professor Emeritus, Harry Frankfurt – another Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter. (January 2012)

The Shame is a community treasure and one which Yaak residents regard with affection.  I previously tried to convey the stories which John related to me ranging from the AR-15 incident last summer as well as the  the “crack pillow.”

And don’t forget the double shots of whiskey downed in a quick and unfriendly visit to the bar by a now convicted murderess and her boyfriend after they dispatched her husband at Milepost 48 on the Yaak River Road – the Shame is at Milepost 29.

There’s also the tale about the kidnapping of the life-size Trump poster, the young women who “bartered” for their fare to Portland, Oregon, the Missing Person chronicle or the personable and courteous nature of the direct relatives of the leader of the Kehoe Gang related in the second post:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2019/09/11/the-dirty-shame-saloon-in-yaak-part-ii/

You will find out if you stay tuned to this blog for rundowns of the other 48 bars and breweries on our June road trip through Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming, that there are many other historic dive bars and excellent breweries in nearby Kalispell and surrounding Montana villages not far from the Dirty Shame. You can then hit these on your road trip as listed in an earlier blog post on Beerchasing in Big Sky Country.

Thus, it is my strong recommendation that you add a visit to the Dirty Shame Saloon and raising a mug with John Runkle to your bucket list.   As such, you will need lodging, so l want to provide a little more info on the Yaak River Lodge – about 1.5 miles down the road from the Saloon – also owned by John since 2004.

Drop in on Sunday to hear Pastor Clayton..

The Lodge sits on a beautiful 7.5 acre site on the Yaak River and across from the wonderful Yaak Community Church.  I attended their Sunday service on my last morning in Yaak and Pastor Clayton gave an inspiring sermon.   I also sat next to a memorable career Naval officer who retired in Yaak.

The church was built in the tradition of community barn-raising by members of the congregation and with no debt incurred.  You should view this impressive YouTube video to visually comprehend

At  the Lodge, you will see llamas and a horse grazing in the pasture in back.   There are no locks on the doors to the Lodge or its rooms, but whether you stay in the Moose Room or the Wolf Room, you will be secure.   In the event of inclement weather, just read a book in the living room by the roaring fire.

Folgers, cheese omelet and bacon….It doesn’t get any better.

And the $115 nightly charge (that’s during the busy season) also includes breakfast – one morning it was memorable blueberry pancakes cooked by John and the second it was an outstanding omelet cooked by Darilyn, who is also the lead bartender at the Shame.  There was plenty of bacon with it……

Or you can sit in the back and tell stories with friends…… as you can see by the photo, this fire pit is a great place to have a nightcap.

During the summer months the average high temperature is in the 70’s to low 80’s lowering to the low 40’s at night.   September is also usually pretty moderate.

Or take a walk down to the beautiful Yaak River flowing through the property….

The Yaak River at the back of the Lodge.

The coffee was also notable – not Starbucks but Mountain-grown Folgers which lent credence to their slogan, “The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup.”  (I might add that Folgers (black) goes extremely well with either the blueberry pancakes or cheese omelets.)

Although there are a number of gun stories related to the Dirty Shame, John told me he did not hunt so I asked him why he had a package of shot gun shells on the kitchen counter. “Oh those. My mom who lives near by has a recurring bear problem at her house which is nearby……”

Bear issues….

As I mentioned previously, John is an Orange County, California native, served as a paratrooper and instructor in the Army and returned to earn his degree at Cal State Fullerton.

 

 

 

Starting in 1988, he then built a successful real estate company.  In the twenty years he managed it, he successfully expanded the business to seven states with 300 realtors.

Runkle realized one day after being inundated with business calls while vacationing in Glacier National Park that his ambition was nature’s way of preparing him for heart medication. (* 1 Page 22)   So he threw his cell phone out the window and ended up buying first the Lodge in 2004 and then the Saloon in 2013. He and his wife, Dallas, welcomed their second daughter in August.

In the entry way to the Lodge was a framed advertisement for the Lodge and the Saloon.  I asked him (with some element of concern) about this.

That said, I certainly hope to visit Yaak again in ten years and see John still at the helm of these two great businesses in NW Montana.

John told me, “At 57, I’m no spring chicken and I don’t have much of a bucket list left. I’m usually at the bar until 2:30 AM on Friday nights and then Saturday morning, I’m up cooking breakfast at 5:30. On Monday morning, it’s tough to get going.”

Up at 5:30 cooking breakfast – but still with a smile….

 And he realizes that each Monday is one of 52 opportunities we are given each year to question what the hell we are doing with the rest of our lives……That said, the following Facebook post also demonstrates why John continues his legacy as a leader, a hard worker at whatever he does and why those who work with him admire his character.

“As another summer approaches, I think of how much whining I do as it become overwhelming busy at the Dirty Shame.  I have to continuously remind myself that I own a hunting lodge and a wild west bar.  Life just doesn’t get any better – truthfully.”

John, helping to unload food for the Crawfish Festival

I think John would be the guy who in an office setting, would fix the copy machine after a paper jam.  You know the situation – the copier sits there non-functional for several hours with everyone just ignoring it.   After he fixed it, he would then photocopy his rear end and leave it for the next user as the Runkle “signature”…….

Unjamming and leaving a signature….

So I was not surprised to see another recent Facebook post by John asking for feedback on whether Yaak – with the Dirty Shame as the focal point – should become the new site of the legendary Testicle Festival.

The Testy Festy was an annual event held for years in Clinton, Montana although discontinued in 2018. It attracted people from all over the West for a chance to sample the culinary delicacy Rocky Mountain Oysters.

Testicle Festival Canceled Following Deaths – Attendance Decline:  After 35 years of drinking, nudity, debauchery and tens of thousands of Rocky Mountain oysters, the Testicle Festival is over…….”  (The Missoulian  4/23/2018)

Considered a delicacy by some……

Whether Yaak has the infrastructure to support the resurrection of this “carnival” remains to be seen, but it shows that John is still ready to promote and his entrepreneurial spirit still courses through his bloodstream.

And if you don’t know what Rocky Mountain Oysters are, you should look it up.  You might be surprised…..  (The Beerchaser’s personal recommendation is to keep the current Yaak celebrations and not try to resurrect this jubilee, ball or whatever you want to call it.)

Because with the Adult Easter Egg Hunt, the Sasquatch Festival, the Crawfish Festival and spontaneous celebrations, John and his crew keep the residents of Yaak entertained and offer the chance to celebrate their community.

Some regulars told me that John should use his real estate skill and negotiate either the purchase or merger with the Yaak River Tavern (a nice bar with a personality that could use some spark) across the road – possibly even construct Yaak’s first skybridge between them…….

That way Geoff, the amiable, slightly inebriated singer I met at the Tavern, could entertain at either location.  Those at the Tavern that night got to hear Geoff’s original creation celebrating the joys of beer, bananas and Montana beaches…!

Don’t wait too long to plan your visit.   Now if you are looking for the Dirty Shame on the internet, don’t get confused with the Dirty Shame Saloon in Garden Valley, Idaho.

Besides a probable violation of John Runkle’s federal trademark on his bar (he is not interested in a lawsuit – “The lawyers would get all the money…” ) it is a poor and unsatisfactory imitation of the “World Famous Dirty Shame Saloon” as evidenced, in part, by the fact that the Idaho establishment on Yelp gets 2.5 stars (out of 5) while the Yaak authentic garners a rating of 4.5.

And if you want to talk to John and find out more about the Lodge i.e. seasonal rates and availability, give him a call at (406) 295-5463.  You will enjoy the conversation and tell him that Thebeerchaser suggested it.

The World Famous Dirty Shame Saloon  

29453 Yaak River Road   Troy Montana 59935       (406) 295-5100

The Yaak River Lodge

27744 Yaak River Rd     Troy, MT 59935      406-295-5463

yaakriverlodge@aol.com

Beerchaser Miscellany – College Bars and College Professors……

   Best College Bars

Number 19 on the Top 25 College Bars

Number 19 on the Top 25 College Bars

Last falI, I posted some pictures and information from our trip to Colorado.  One of the bars we visited was The Sink – an historic dive bar (Thebeerchaser Does Colorado – Part II) in Boulder, near the campus of the University of Colorado.

It was recently selected as one of the “Top 25 College Bars in America.”  Some under-achieving college student may have toured the country developing this list for The Daily Meal, but The Sink, a ninety-three year old watering hole for CU students should clearly be on this list.

The Sink interior

The Sink interior

As described by Dr.Thomas Noel in his book, A Liquid History & Tavern Guide to the Highest State:

“During the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was at CU, students sat around here in puddles of beer, smoked pot, and watched Batman and Star Trek…..Mobs of students consumed oceans of beer by the quart. 

After a 1995 restoration, the reincarnated Sink still lives in this two-story house with a tacked-on storefront. Among gobs of graffiti, the place’s crowning achievement is a re-creation of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Man, with God holding down a Sinkburger to Sink Rats in the “Sink-stine Chapel.”

 You Probably Don’t Want to Take a Class or Have a Beer with This Guy!

And while we are on the subject of higher education, it is fitting to revisit another topic addressed briefly in this blog in May 2013, in an excerpt entitled, Emotional Disequilibrium, Rotating Metaphors and ‘On Bullshit.’”  I took exception to what I viewed as extremely pretentious behavior by one, Dr. David Shields, an author and literature professor at the University of Washington.

The Quad at the University of Washington - a great institution of learning

The Quad at the University of Washington – a great institution of learning

Now UW is a great institution – one of the finest on the West Coast (both my oldest daughter and son-in-law are alums….), but a quote from an interview in which the good professor was quoted astounded me:

 “What I am good at, I think, I hope, is meditating with rigor and candor on my emotional disequilibrium and trying to rotate that out as metaphor so it comes to feel, God forbid, somewhat universal and it makes the reader feel as Phillip Lopate says, ‘less freakish and more human.’”   (For the unwashed, Phillip Lopate is a writer, media critic and professor of English at Hofstra University.)

Here’s a more recent Shields quote:

“So many of these formal gestures seem to me a way to get beyond self. I marry the self, through braided collage gestures, to the cultural warp and woof. That seems to me one of collage’s blessings, its potential for multiplicity of investigative modes…..”

Dr. Shields is no slouch – he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown and has written fifteen books – one of which made the New York Times best-seller list and has received numerous writing awards.  But I would suggest that the good professor’s humility quotient needs to increase.  He appears to validate the premise put forth by one scholar – possibly a classic Greek philosopher:  “A damned fool with a Ph.D., is still a damned fool!”

To validate my visceral reaction, I checked out some of the student reviews of their esteemed lecturer.  For example, one student wrote:  “I never got the impression that he actually wanted to be there, or had any interest in helping students improve, and certainly didn’t seem to want to actually read any student writing. He only wants you to listen in awe while he muses about why fiction is so useless. He thinks everything he has to say about writing is gospel and it gets old fast.”

On Bullshit - A Wonderful Book by another Academician from Princeton

On Bullshit – A Wonderful Book by another Academician from Princeton

A quote from Princeton Emeritus Professor Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the brilliant book, On Bullshit, who I named as January 2012 Beerchaser-of-the-Month, seems appropriate to describe the above statements by Dr. Shields:

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.”   

Dr. Frankfurt - an educator who could filter the hot air

Dr. Frankfurt – an educator and author who could filter the hot air

 

———

This is not to suggest that I have a problem with academicians.  I have had some wonderful professors both at Oregon State and at Portland State.  I even singled out my graduate school Public Finance professor at PSU – Dr. John Walker, as the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter in June 2012, for his dry wit and pithy statements.  I learned a bunch in his class and loved going to his lectures for such gems as:

“It’s much more economically efficient to bury people vertically rather than horizontally.”

Dr. John Walker - An economist with a sense of humor and common sense

Dr. John Walker – An economist with a sense of humor and common sense

“It is my opinion that we could lower the defense budget to zero and the Russians would not attack….However the Mexicans would.”

Under the Oregon fraternal organization statutes, something has to be given to charity each year to be exempt from property taxes.  The law doesn’t say how much — all  you have to do is give $1 to any deserving midget once per year.  When the Department of Revenue conducts an audit and asks what your charity is, the organization simply replies, ‘Marvin.’”

Dr. Melody Rose - President of Marylhurst University and former Oregon Chancellor of Higher Education

Dr. Melody Rose – President of Marylhurst University and former Oregon Chancellor of Higher Education

Two Ph.D.’s – both the current and a former President of Marylhurst UniversityDr. Melody Rose and Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch – with whom I have raised a mug and martini, respectively – on multiple occasions are shining examples.  They are leaders who have not only risen in the academic world, but are educators who convey their wisdom clearly and articulately – even in casual conversations over a beer or cocktail.

Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch - President Emeritus of Marylhurst U and sought after corporate board member

Dr. Nancy Wilgenbusch – President Emeritus of Marylhurst U and sought after corporate board member

Back to Dr. Shields – well, his ostentatious style appears to continue – at least as opined by one 1/27/15 review in The Stranger – a weekly Seattle newspaper, who takes issue with Dr. Shields’ latest book I Think You are Totally Wrong. as evidenced in the following excerpt from his scathing review:

“…A handful will swoon over his genius, but more likely you’ll hear a rant about his endless lectures, which my many accounts are packed with self-promotion, name dropping and smug proclamations.”

“The most unbelievable aspect of (this new book) is that everyone involved in its publication somehow thought it was worthy of publication.”

“Shields and (his co-author) simply talk for a little over 250 pages.  One man is the closest thing to a celebrity you’ll find in academic circles; the other is a failed writer……….(The book) serves as a blooper reel of 21st century literature failings, with its elevation of two privileged white dudes talking about beer and pop culture, its mistaken belief that a postmodern acceptance of your own flaws somehow serves as absolution for them.”         

Students are good at measuring this factor....

Students are good at measuring this factor….

Perhaps an apology should be forthcoming for my rant, and it may be an overreaction, but there are shining examples of university faculty who are both brilliant teachers and good writers – who have a sense of humor and a refreshing perspective that motivates students.

University of Portland's Portland Magazine

Portland Magazine

If you want an example, just read Portland, the award-winning quarterly magazine of the University of Portland edited by Portland author, Brian Doyle Contrast David Shield’s writing with a brief excerpt from a wonderful essay entitled, “What is Quantum Mechanics?” by Dr. Max Schlosshauer, professor of physics at UP:

“Quantum mechanics also made me a humble scientist, because it tells me that while nature may at some point be fully describable, nature will never be fully knowable

But quantum mechanics is also emporwering for it tells us that our interaction with the world – our choice of which door to open, which question to ask – brings forth genuinely new events that were in no way determined by anything that has gone before.  And thus every one of our actions helps write nature’s eternally unfinished story.” 

Scientist (and writer) Dr. Max Schlosshauer

Scientist (and writer) Dr. Max Schlosshauer

This is the kind of guy with whom you want to have a draft PBR at the Twilight Room near the UP campus or, heaven forbid (for a political science major) even audit one of his courses!

A toast to Quantum Mechanics from a Beaver

A toast to Quantum Mechanics from a Beaver

 

 

 

 

 

And perhaps if Dr. David Shields is tired of teaching, he should focus on just being an author and attending book signings.   There are evidently many individuals more intelligent and cultured than Thebeerchaser who love his writing, but Abe Lincoln’s quote summarizes this reader’s opinion:

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”

 

 

 

2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Year: Janet Dancer Williams

2014 Beerchaser of the Year, Janet Williams

2014 Beerchaser-of-the-Year, Janet Dancer Williams

After publishing this blog for over three years and periodically recognizing various individuals or organizations as Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, events dictate the establishment of the first Beerchaser-of-the-Year Award – and it will now be a yearly happening retroactive to 2014.

Janet (usually a wine drinker) and Thebeerchaser
Janet (usually a wine drinker) and Thebeerchaser

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulsom Brew Pub

Author and Editor, Brian Doyle, at The Fulton Brew Pub last year

Thebeerchaser blog posts have  “honored” individuals who are war heroes such as my good friends, Jud Blakely and Steve Lawrence; authors such as Northwest icon, Brian Doyle, deceased mystery writer James Crumley and the venerable Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of the marvelous tome On Bullshit

Lt. Jud Blakely USMC in Viet Nam in 1965

Lt. Jud Blakely USMC in Viet Nam in 1965

Harry_Frankfurt

Princeton Professor and author, Dr. Harry Frankfurt

 

 

 

 

 

 

———–

Since I worked with  attorneys for many years, some of the Oregon stalwarts in the profession such as Schwabe’s Jack Faust and Stoel Rives’ Jim Westwood have been designated.  And then there are some more creative picks such as the Crew of the USS Constitution and retired chemist Charles Schlumberg.  For you Seinefeld fans, the venerable Art Vandelay made the list and even former Beaver coach, Mike Riley and his 2012 football team, for their performance — at least after the first six games……

Former Beerchaser of the Quarter - Oregon appellate lawyer, Jim Westwood.

Former Beerchaser of the Quarter – Oregon appellate lawyer, Jim Westwood.

 

But the omission of any female Beerchaser honoree is glaring, especially since there are many worthy of the recognition.  Although this situation will be rectified in 2015, none have made a more lasting and significant contribution to Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Bars, Taverns and Pubs than my wife of 35 years, Janet Dancer Williams.

A hike in Breckenridge

A hike in Breckenridge

Although our first date in 1979 after an Oregon City Planning Commission meeting (where we first met) was having a beer, Janet is a wine-drinker.   Notwithstanding that, she recently accompanied me to eighteen bars and microbreweries in twelve days on our Colorado trip and was a great companion as we integrated our tour of the wonderful Colorado scenery with Beerchasing in some of the great brewpubs. P1020965

In fact, she was responsible for our VIP tour of New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins – arranged after she met Shawn Hines, one of the executives and his wife, Allison, at the Dundee Hills Winery earlier this year.

She tolerates the hours I sit at my computer researching and writing about the watering holes and only once in awhile accuses me of being preoccupied and not listening to her — at least that’s what I think she’s said……

Jamie and Lisa Williams Magnusson, Laura, Don and Janet Williams with Sullivan

Jamie and Lisa Williams Magnusson, Laura, Don and Janet Williams with Sullivan

And besides her support for Beerchasing, she is a wonderful wife, mom to our two daughters and grandmother (Mimi).

We survived two terms of graduate school Data Analysis in the same class at Portland State University right after we got married in 1980.  We still laugh about negotiating who would stand in line on Saturday mornings to run the computer program at Shattuck Hall and who would stay home and clean the bathrooms.

Memories of Shattuck Hall on the campus at PSU
Memories of Shattuck Hall on the campus at PSU

 

Janet is a native Oregonian, born in McMinnville where her dad, Joe,  was City Manager for 26 years – Joe Dancer Park is named in his honor.  She is a Duck, having graduated from the U of O in 1976 and went on to earn her Masters-in-Public Administration at PSU in 1984.

Mu logo

 ————

She had an outstanding career in local government (Assistant City Manager in both Oregon City and West Linn) and then worked in Human Resources at Nike before becoming the Vice President for Human Resources at Marylhurst University – a position which she held for twenty years.   During that time she also served on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations.

P1020885

Janet with Barb and John Senger at The Sink in Boulder

 

Now back to her role in Beerchasing.   She first accompanied me in 2011 to the Coalition Brew Pub, which she loved, but the enthusiasm was not forthcoming that same night when she returned with me and our son-in-law, Jamie, for my second visit to the first bar I reviewed.

That was the Brooklyn Park Pub, a great neighborhood bar.   She asked me afterwards, “Beerchaser (she only calls me that when we are in bars), why do you go to dives like this, when there are so many other good bars?”

She was not agreeable with my response (originally authored by an unknown expert) when I stated, “Janet, these bars are just like hanging out in our own living room —- if our living room were a dingy dive full of strangers.”

On the Mediterranean in Italy

On the Mediterranean Sea in Italy

We have had some wonderful retirement travel together to National Parks, European museums and cathedrals, Spring Training in Arizona, an Alaskan cruise and a Rick Steves’ Best of Europe Tour.

On the Rick Steves' Best of Europe Tour

On the Rick Steves’ Best of Europe Tour

DSCN0699

Hiking in the Colorado aspens

And with cheerful (and sometimes restrained enthusiasm) she has gone with me to a number of bars including the Muddy Rudder, Lutz Tavern, Bazi Bier Brasserie and Saraveza in Portland and to the eighteen aforementioned venues in Colorado.

Don’t forget the Devils’ Forest Pub (Venice) and Café Karpershoeck (Amsterdam) and last summer Humpy’s Ale House in Alaska to Roadhouse 101 and the Snug Harbor Bar and Grill on the Central Oregon Coast.

Beerchasing at Saraveza in Portland

Beerchasing at Saraveza in Portland with Mary Maxwell and Roy Lambert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—————–

Thank you, Janet, and please accept the bottle of 2011 Penner~Ash Pinot Noir that I bought you.  I figured that you would appreciate it more than a case of PBR – a great gift you might consider for me on our next anniversary.

March 30, 1980
March 29, 1980

Beerchaser Miscellany V

“They Stopped Drinking There Today….”

Down and Out.....

Joe’s Cellar   —  Down and Out…..

Last month, Joe’s Cellar, the fourth stop on Thebeerchaser’s Tour (“Step Up to Joe’s Cellar” – 9/17/2011) served its last Budweiser and “Pork De-Lite” lunch (a pork chop, two eggs, cottage cheese and tomato slices for $7.50).

Unfortunately this great dive bar, in an historic building on NW 21st – down towards the industrial section rather than the trendy shops and cafes farther south – closed after Portland code officials condemned the building.  Now the legendary ’50 style bistro and the lounge – one which had a Happy Hour at 7A.M. for the factory workers getting off night shift – is gone for good.

Similary, the Original Safari Club in Estacada (Beerchaser post on 3/18/13) has gone out of business and a report in Willamette Week, also says another historic dive bar, the Black Cat in Sellwood, has closed because of building problems. The latter was on Thebeerchaser’s list for a future visit – sob!!

"Whose Gonna Fill Their Shoes?"

“Whose Gonna Fill Their (His) Shoes?”

And another legend sang his last tune in April when country crooner, George Jones, died.  A verse from his hit vocal, “Bartender’s Blues,” written by James Taylor, was featured in a post on this blog on November 9, 2011.

“Well I’m just a bartender And I don’t like my work, But I don’t mind the money at all.  I’ve seen lots of sad faces, And lots of bad cases of folks with their backs to the wall

But I got four walls around me, to hold my life.    To keep me from going astray.  And a honky-tonk angel, to hold me tight to keep me from slipping away.”

Ruggers – Some Other Legendary Bar Guys

A Gorilla (?)  and Scholar......
A Gorilla (?) and Scholar……

Jay Waldron is an outstanding Portland environmental and energy lawyer who practices at the Schwabe Williamson firm.  Jay wasted 40% of his undergraduate study years and spent the other 60% drinking and partying at Providence College.  He appears to have changed his ways while both getting his Masters in English and graduating from one of the nations leading law schools at the University of Virginia.

Somewhere along the way, (Some say it happened when he heard the motto, “Lose the first two letters of ‘scrum’ and drink what’s left,”) Jay started playing rugby and his passion for the sport evolved into playing, coaching and broadcasting rugby on a regional, national and international level and stints as a director of the U.S. Rugby Foundation. He reminded me after reading the December 2012 post (“All Hands on Deck at The Ship Tavern”), that this great dive bar had once been the site of the Portland Rugby Club’s ”Book and Brew” discussions.

A Shrine to Ruggers??

A Shrine to Ruggers??

The Glory Days...

The Glory Days…The 14th Annual Blitz Weinhard Rugby Tournament in 1976

He also urged me to visit the “shrine,” of sorts, to ruggers in the bar at Jakes.

Yes, I was skeptical, but these pictures attest to the fact that an alcove leading into the men’s room preserves some  rugger nostalgia – thanks to John Underhill, Jake’s former manager and rugby player.

One of the best mementos is a letter to Jakes written by Steven G. Hayford on April 29, 1982.  He took umbrage with his experience in the bar where:                                                     Haywood Letter

“….. we were assaulted by 5 to 8 of your largest patrons.  My arms were pinned behind my back while a third cut my tie with a pair of scissors…..one mustached individual bounded over the bar to break up a possible ensuing riot. 

As each offending participant was twice as large as (we were) and a full four times as large as your bartender, a riot did not ensue, and my party bid a hasty (although loud) retreat.

…..I believe the ‘gorillas’ that attacked us belonged someplace other than at a high-class place like Jake’s and should have been evicted……I would like to consider the incident closed…but my bruised ego is preventing me from making a clean break……

I would appreciate it, if you would reimburse me for the nominal amount of $20…… for my silk tie.  If you decline, I’m afraid…..people who wear ties will start avoiding your restaurant.  Please consider my flippant tone a measure of my sense of humor and not as a lack of seriousness of this matter.”

Since the statute of limitations has tolled, Waldron is pretty candid about the incident and provides this perspective:

Surely you Jest....

Surely you Jest….

“We placed the cut portion of the tie on the bar with a double margarita as compensation —I cut it with the scissors from a Swiss army knife — A warm night in Jake’s after rugby practice, we in shorts and practice gear, he and others were in suits .

He made a loud remark about the inappropriateness of our attire. We reacted immediately—Two 250 lb. players lifted him off his feet and pinned his arms , a Swiss army knife appeared on car keys from one of the player’s pocket and I cut cleanly.”

Now, while we do not condone social upheaval in bars, there should be consensus that unless you’re a client, it is better to hear Waldron’s authentic rugby stories than his legal theories on siting of mining facilities or the definition of major stationary sources under Title V of the Clean Air Act.

From the Rugger Archives..

From the Rugger Archives..

Thebeerchaser is conducting some additional research to determine if there is any other info on this historic incident to update you.  For example, were there eight “gorillas” or three participants?  There is a Steven G. Haywood, who is a “Think Tank Professional” in San Diego who is approximately 60 years old …. who might be the victim – er, guy!

New Bar Opening in N Portland

A new bar in North Portland will be having its Grand Opening on May 11th.  Check out the brews and food menu at the Lost and Found not too far from the University of Portland at   5426 N. Gay Street – right off Killingsworth.  Let’s try to help the two young women owners, who have a vision, achieve their dream and see if they can deliver on their promise below:

“While you sip fresh-made signature cocktails, craft beer, or local wine, you can enjoy the truly unique atomic Northwest atmosphere, custom-made works of art, great music, delicious snacks, and a huge patio. And you can rest easy knowing you are in the care of the friendliest and hardest working staff in the entire city.”

Emotional Disequilibrium, Rotating Metaphors and “On Bullshit”

A Masterpiece by Dr. Harry Frankfurt
A Masterpiece by Dr. Harry Frankfurt

 Dr. Harry Frankfurt, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, wrote a brief but brilliant and witty book  – On Bullshit. His marvelous work was quoted extensively in this blog when Dr. Frankfurt was named Thebeerchaser-of-the-Month in January, 2012.

I thought of the good professor when I read this excerpt from a recent interview of David Shields, a University of Washington Professor and author, who gave this response to one question:

“What I am good at, I think, I hope, is meditating with rigor and candor on my emotional disequilibrium and trying to rotate that out as metaphor so it comes to feel, God forbid, somewhat universal and it makes the reader feel as Phillip Lopate says, ‘less freakish and more human.'”   (For the unwashed, Phillip Lopate is a writer, media critic and professor of English at Hofstra University.)

Shields has written fourteen books including some on sports.  While he is the Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington, and his latest book, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, was a New York Times bestseller, his statement led me to the following conclusions:

  •  I would not want to have a beer with Shields, and if he frequented a bar where there were ruggers, they would cut his shirt off (as an academic he would not deign to wear a tie) and run him out of the bar after he uttered his second sentence.
  •  While there were a few favorable reviews, the U.W. students who wrote the following reviews should have the pleasure of listening to Dr. Frankfurt in lecture, instead of Shields:

” I learned almost nothing from this class.  He accepted very few deviating opinions; not available outside of class at all. Find another prose teacher ASAP.”

“I never got the impression that he actually wanted to be there, or had any interest in helping students improve, and certainly didn’t seem to want to actually read any student writing. He only wants you to listen in awe while he muses about why fiction is so useless. He thinks everything he has to say about writing is gospel and it gets old fast.”

“David Shields is a nice guy. But he’s kind of a snob. He told us in class repeatedly he didn’t think we were capable of any “good” writing because we were too young, had too little experience.”

Author and Philosphy Professor is January Beerchaser of the Month

Dr. Frankfurt  — This is the Professor to whom you want to listen and with whom you want to drink a beer.

Or to quote On Bullshit:

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.”  

Now perhaps Thebeerchaser is not erudite enough to appreciate Shields need to pontificate although a reviewer of his two books (How Literature Saved My Life, and Reality Hunger: A Manifesto  in the 2/13 New York Times seems to agree.  Maybe it would be worth having a beer with Shields rather than making a big inferential leap about his pomposity from one interview.  I think, however,  I’ll pass and drink with a regular at The Ship Tavern.

Thebeerchaser Tour Continues…..                            

Naomi affirms legacy of great servers...

Beerchasers of the past at Gold Dust Meridian on Hawthorne

After almost 21 months since the commencement of this blog, Thebeerchaser has visited forty-one bars, pubs, taverns and breweries.  Forty-three of you follow this blog regularly and it received view number 12,000 last month – beerchasers from all over the world. 

If you have an establishment that should be visited in the future, please leave a comment on the blog.

Go Beavs 00002

A Hobby Cultivated at The University

Portland Attorney, Jim Westwood Beerchaser of the Quarter for January – March, 2013

Attorney and Model Citizen, Jim Westwood

Attorney and Model Citizen, Jim Westwood

It is fitting and proper to recognize those who distinguish themselves, not only in their trade or profession, but also for their contributions to the overall community. Portland lawyer, Jim Westwood, is the epitome of civic virtue and an accomplished appellate lawyer.  Besides, he and Thebeerchaser are alums of both Oregon City High School and Portland State University.

He therefore joins such luminaries as Princeton Professor Emeritus, Dr. Harry Frankfurt, author of “On Bullshit,” crime novelist, James Crumley, former Oregon State Beaver and NFL football player and mountaineer, Craig Hanneman, and even the crew of the historic USS Constitution as a Beerchaser honoree.

We spent a recent evening drinking beer at The Tanker and Beer, two more establishments on Thebeerchaser Tour of Portland Taverns, Pubs and Bars.  Reviews of both venues will be posted on this blog in the next ten days.

Westwood at Beer drinking beer....

Westwood at Beer drinking beer….(stay tuned for the forthcoming  review of Beer)

Those of you old enough to remember black and white TV sets, will probably also remember the “GE College Bowl” quiz show.  It pitted a four-person college team of erudite students against another school for a half-hour showdown each Sunday evening during the 1960’s and ’70’s.

Westwood, Coach Padrow and the PSU College Bowl Team

Westwood (Center – left) , Coach Padrow and the PSU College Bowl Team (Portland State University Magazine May 2, 2005)

Westwood was the captain and is the only surviving first-team member of the legendary Portland State College team coached by legendary speech professor, Ben Padrow.

The PSC team played the same upset role Florida Gulf Coast University has so far in 2013 March Madness, by defeating their opponents for five straight weeks before they retired as champions with the sum of $15,275 in scholarships.

The legacy of the PSU scholars is evident:

“The 415 points scored in their final match ties them for fifth-highest single-game total achieved, and their 1725 points total set a new record at the time, and is fourth highest overall. The March 26, 1965 issue of Time has an article on how the College Bowl victories helped change Portland State’s image as “the flunk-out school” for University of Oregon and Oregon State drop-outs…” (Portland State Alumni Association News article by Kathryn Kirkland, May 2, 2005)

Portland State University Campus
 Portland State University Campus – now rivals the U of O and OSU

Rod Hill

 Jack Cappell

 Bruce Sussman 

  Jim Westwood   .

beer weather bureau

An IBM meteorologist console in 1965   (From Wikipedia – a work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin. – public domain)

What do all these gents have in common?  Well, all are current or past meteorologists for Portland Network TV stations.  Jim helped pay his college tuition by predicting low pressure fronts and daily temperatures for KGW in the ’60’s.

Last year, he again used his experience in front of the camera to play a nutty professor in a video published by the Multnomah Bar Foundation to teach students about the US Constitution.

Nutty Professor??

Nutty Professor or a former Jason Bourne??

—————

He changed from physics to history as a major “because of the math….”.  After graduation from Portland State, Westwood served in the military as a Naval Intelligence Officer for several years.  Because of his superior language skills, he spent a year learning Thai – an extremely difficult language to master.

While he still cannot talk about what he did in the military, Jim’s tenure as a “spook” may have led him to subscribe to the following premise:  “When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.  Very often, that person is crazy.”

After the military, he spent three years and graduated from Columbia Law School in New York City, which in 2012 was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the top law school in the US for future employment of law grads.  After serving for two years as the Assistant to the President of PSU, he’s practiced law in Portland since 1978 at both the Miller Nash firm and Stoel Rives, where he is now a senior counsel.

He is considered a constitutional scholar, and has been designated from 1998 to 2013 in Best Lawyers in America and as an Oregon Super Lawyer.  Jim has volunteered for 11 years as a coach for “We the People” high school constitutional law teams for Grant High and De la Salle North Catholic High School.  Marilyn Cover, Executive Director of the Classroom Law Project (CLP), stated, “He’s a great teacher, a great coach and a great model citizen.”  He was honored last year as the 2012 Legal Citizen of the Year by the CLP.

Ok - the answer is "Nutty Professor!"

Ok – the answer is “Nutty Professor!”

His other civic and professional contributions are too numerous to mention but include a term as President of the City Club of Portland (1991-2) and the Board of the Multnomah Bar Foundation.

So join Thebeerchaser in hoisting a mug to Jim Westwood.  Your toast might be more appropriate if you convey it in Thai as a tribute to his military service.  If you need a tutorial, the following excerpt from Wikipedia may help.  While drinking, keep in mind the last sentence below:

“From the perspective of linguistic typology, Thai can be considered to be an analytic language. The word order is subject – verb- object, although the subject is often omitted.  Verbs do not inflect. Duplication conveys the idea of doing the verb intensively.”    (Some of the Thai vowels are illustrated below)

unrounded unrounded rounded
short long short long short long
Close /i/  -ิ /iː/  -ี /ɯ/  -ึ /ɯː/  -ื- /u/  -ุ /uː/  -ู
Close-mid /e/ เ-ะ /eː/ เ- /ɤ/ เ-อะ /ɤː/ เ-อ /o/ โ-ะ /oː/ โ-
Open-mid /ɛ/ แ-ะ /ɛː/ แ- /ɔ/ เ-าะ /ɔː/ -อ