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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Museum Collections Or Historical Hoarding

THE THIN ARCHIVAL LINE

A cultivated museum connoisseur sees a roomful of weapons in the Tower of London and marvels at the minor diversity of each piece.

A hoarder sees the same room and thinks of the screw collection in their kitchen drawer.

A philatelist breaks out tweezers and a magnifying glass to plumb the depths of her new stamp collection.

The hoarder hears the word stamps and goes off while they walk the canyons of Sunset Magazines stacked in their living room.

“Stamps are stupid,” they say. “Don’t they know it’s just a stamp, not some cultural insight? Sunset Magazine is about life. So is National Geographic and newspapers. If it’s stamps they want, they can have them.”

The difference between collecting and hoarding is often a question of public and private.

A collector takes pride showing their treasure, unless it’s Nazi loot or pot-hunter grave robbing; a hoarder lives in quiet shame once they reach the point of an intervention.

Unique collections get showcased on the Discovery Channel. Hoarders find themselves on Oprah or A&E. 

Writers gush about museum grade material in Smithsonian Magazine. Hoarders have their obsession pealed away in Psychology TodayRead the rest of this entry

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Big Time History

Publsished on oregonsportsnews.com

WHEN IT’S NOT ABOUT SPORTS, IT’S STILL ABOUT SPORTS

A sports fan’s journey to the top of the college football world is the best part of the trip. While a national championship answers all questions with one word, scoreboard, ignoring other teams along the way  leaves out more than you imagine.

When the Beavers checked out at #4 in the nation during the Dennis Erickson era, they raised the bar higher than any point in Oregon State football.

They missed the Big Time where they would have rolled over Oklahoma and one of the Stoops brothers in the Orange Bowl.

A great year? Read the rest of this entry

On The Wings Of Karl Friedrich, And History

Living in the city means hearing it all day and all night, urban voices from every cement jungle in history.

You hear voices from the sidewalk, inside the trolley.

Voices outside your apartment window wake you up.

It’s the charm of who’s who in the neighborhood.

Moving to the suburbs only changes the voice, from the actual words that sometimes annoy, to a distant buzz of a freeway that always annoys.

You hear airplanes buzzing overhead because you forgot to check if your new neighborhood lies under a flight path.

A human voice makes a difference.

We hear things as youths that stick a lifetime. That’s what happened to Karl Friedrich.

His mother told about women pilots in WWII. Like a good writer, it stuck with him.

Like a dedicated writer, he did something with it.

Karl Friedrich was the second writer I met while I was downtown for a Willamette Writers meeting; the first didn’t know he was a writer. Read the rest of this entry

Oregon Historian History

OR, “YES, I KNOW.” (Thank you RICHARD ETULAIN )

The question: Where are the historians of Oregon and why don’t we hear more from them?

Blame confusion.

Oregon is not England.

There is no long and dramatic history of the King and Queen of Oregon, deciding battles in the Oregon Channel, or telling timelines of Oregon colonizing the rest of the world.

For some, Oregon is a cherished Eden far beyond the power of common words. The aching beauty of a beach at sunset; the ghostly drama of shadows dancing through the Columbia Gorge; the noble fierceness of the Cascades.

History happens somewhere between the natural environment of Oregon and a forgettable county commissioner meeting in Hillsboro, Coquille, or Vale.

Images of Oregon could fill a calendar a thousand months long, but it wouldn’t be history. Notes from county meetings fill archival storage all over the state, but that’s not history either.

What is history, then? Read the rest of this entry

Portland, Oregon: America’s Hot Spot, Or Wishful Thinking?

Inspired By Time

I'd ask for your number, but I didn't bring paper or pen or a pocket

(With history, it’s either hard or soft. Hard history comes with footnotes, citations, and references; soft is anecdotal word of mouth. Some go both ways.) 

Time Magazine ranks Portland #1 for less than meaningful relationships by researching okcupid.com.

And you thought the heat came from the number of Volcanoes In The City Limits 

Their investigative journalist looked at boxes checked for the sort of relationship okcupid members wanted, then cross-checked where the members lived.

Portland apparently leads the pack by more than a nose.

Before listing the Top Ten friendliest locations in America, let’s look at okcupid first.

When you land on the sign-up page you’ll learn that over 56,000 people are currently using the service, or “online now.”

The drop down menus are pre-filled for Gender, Orientation, and Status. With no corrections you are female, straight, and single. So far, so good?

Anyone wondering if okcupid is OK will see the blurbs from The Boston Globe – “The Google of online dating,” which means you’ll get 6,340,986 matches in 0.5 seconds?

About.com calls okcupid “The best free dating site.” You know you’ll get your money’s worth, and then some in Portland.

The Village Voice shows a certain hippness by calling okcupid “A favorite hangout for internet goers.” It makes you want to break out the beret, shades, and snap your fingers to show you’re cool. Internet Goers?

Time says, “Completely free.” The co-pay comes later at the itch clinic.

Boston didn’t land on the top ten, neither did New York, yet they still pump okcupid. Where’s the Oregonian and Willamette Week?

Here are the top ten cities in America for most promiscuous residents (MPR) according to the experts: Read the rest of this entry