Saturday, January 15, 2011


"Portland: Where Young People go to Retire."

this dead-on view of Oregon's popular city was perhaps the funniest line of the pre-released first episode of a new t.v. series called Portlandia. The premise of this show is to air all the eccentricities of the great city of Portland. It actually doesn't start until next week, but you can watch the first episode on HULU for free for the next few days.

My review: Hopes were high for this series because there is nothing a Portlander loves more than having their city on display. Unfortunately, the uniqueness of the spirit here is veiled by what seems to be thrown together character sketches. After a stilted conversation between the two main characters, the show cleverly entertains with an impromptu song featuring many Portland absurdities. It sets the viewer up to believe this show may be reminiscent of The Flight of the Conchords, but alas, once the song is over, the similarity with that great series ends. Although the chosen topics (organic chicken's life story; adult leagues of children's games; feminist power themed bookshops) were typical of Portland's vibe (albeit filmed in satiric hyperbole), each scene fell a bit flat-- like a joke that continues after the punch line has been given. The directors apparently forgot that less is more... unless of course it came to the acting. The personalities of the two main characters were a little too deadpan to generate the kind of big laughs that Portland's quirks demand. (exception: keep your eye out for the old lady in the library sketch. She steals the show because there is no apparent acting in her ridicule). In order for Portlandia to succeed, this show needs to be made more accessible to those who haven't ever set foot in Portland. Right now it just feels like we're smiling at a joke that only a very few insiders get.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

*Poor, Poor Willows*

Thought for the day:

who has it out for willows? I was looking out my window and noticed that the tree growing by my balcony was developing buds. Hey, I thought to myself, those look like pussy willows.

Then I got to thinking: PUSSY willows? What kind of cruel name is that? What, just because they're small, that automatically defines them to be wimpy?

Then my thought meandered further: WEEPING willows? Oh man, why are we looking at these gorgeous cascades of delicate boughs and thinking tears??

What does this say about our perspective on life?
What if we changed the way we viewed things?

Instead of seeing small and thinking weak, why couldn't we assume that pussy willows are growing in accessible abundance to soften the edges of thorns, who although are relative in size do not bloom soft like a whispered kiss to tickle our senses?

And perhaps instead of seeing the larger willows and believing they are bent over in grief, why don't we start seeing that they may actually be humbly bent over in an attempt to embrace us who appear smaller and more vulnerable than they?

so, What would change for you today if you reassessed the willow that is framed in the window of your apartment?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

* Ahhh... Portland...*

Two new blurbs about this city to show off its atypical spirit:

1. I lugged my two suitcases onto the bus last night, complete with two large carry-on bags and a purse. Oh, the joy of traveling for a month between the blustery north to the tropics and back again celebrating both a wedding and a major holiday. Anyhow, a woman my age asks me where I was coming from. I explained my travels, and she smiles at me and says, "Well, welcome home; I hope you have a wonderful New Year's." It was like having chicken broth on a cold day.

Ahhh, Portland.

2. Overheard in a local grocery store on New Year's Day:
A five year old boy, chasing his mom down the aisle: "Ooh! are we getting lentil soup?!!" And as I was pondering this imponderable question (which was asked with JOY), he continued to squeal as he passed me in his glee..."Or how about meatloaf?!!"

Ahhh, Portland.

The happiest of new years to you all.