Sunday, March 30, 2008

Looking for the truth, in a coffee shop, in the mountains.. the scraps of paper on the floor ...

"I gotta tell you the truth, folks, I gotta tell you the truth.

"When it comes to bullshit ... big-time, major-league bullshit ... you
have to stand in awe of religion.

"Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there is
an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every
minute of every day.

"And the invisible man has a list of ten things he does not want you to

"And if you do any of these things he has a special place, full of fire
and burning and smoke and anguish, and where he will send you to burn
and suffer and choke and scream and cry forever and ever, 'til the end
of time.

"... But he loves you."

— George Carlin, Zeitgeist
TWIN PARADOX COFFEE SHOP, Portland, Oregon — "Hey, dude fellow, gimme one a them-there Grandee Motcha Breeve's."

Turn right at E. Burnside St., turn left onto 10th Ave., end at NE 10th Ave.

My car floor is littered with notes from Mapquest and hosts about how to get from Point A to Point B. Sometimes I get there, sometimes I have to scramble from Point P to T to C, then B, but so far so good.

Tomorrow I'm going into the mountains with Joe Beelart, a longtime email Bigfooting friend. We are going looking for Bigfoot, looking for the truth about America. We are going to turn the stone and look beneath it — and also find out who killed John and Bobby and Martin and Malcolm.

It's Sunday. I have correctly followed the directions given me to a funkedelic Portland coffee shop, dogs roam in and out. I ask the guy behind the counter for a Grande Mocha Breve.

You cannot buy black coffee in Oregon. It is against the law.

In Oregon they also pump your gas for you. It's either because they think everyone else is too stupid, or something. I ask the guy to explain the Grande Mocha Breve to me, and after he's done I smile and nod and say okay. I have no idea what he said.

I ask for "one of those bagels" and point.

He asks if I want it toasted and whether I want Brazilian almond spread or Guatamalan Bagel Spread Mocha Shit on it, and I say no, just plain, thanks.


Yesterday I read at Laughing Horse Books. I met with five members of the local 911 Truth group.

It is the uber-intelligentsia of Portland, is my impression. And here I am reading out of a big children's book with color pictures.

Well, we had a good time, really. I enjoyed listening to them.

Tim Calvert is one of the original founding members of Laughing Horse. He has been with the store since 1985. That is hard-core. Dedication. Serious.

After my thing we go to Nicolas' Restaurant for Lebanese food. It is the best Lebanese food I have ever had. There is humus and pita bread and other stuff.

And Turkish coffee. Farm out. Also the best Turkish Coffee I have ever tasted.

Then we went over to Powell's Books, on 10th Avenue. I guess people do still read. There are hundreds of people looking around.

Geezuz God, that is kinda surprising.

I think of my two books in the trunk of my car and think that these people would like them, but they will never see them.

It is magic — to be able to get a book into a store like this.


I am gone, outside, into the rain to call home, talk to Ruth, feel at ease, at home, if only for a while.

Ruth says that Emily has a cold, but she went to work today at Hy-Vee anyway, but now she has a chance to rest.

And it seems Ruth got a postcard from me from Albuquerque, a full-color photo of the back of the ol' brown, rusted '91 Honda and a speeding ticket for $89.


I wonder if I have sent anymore postcards home without knowing it.

I spoke in Corvallis on Friday night. It was one of the really good nights. It was upstairs at the Odd Fellows Hall, put on by the local Veterans For Peace. About twenty-five people, very nice. And then I got to stay in the back yard cottage of Bart and Leah Bolger for the night.

The next morning Bart went out to deliver mail in the snow in the hills and Leah and I went out for breakfast at The Beanery.

Around the table sat the regular group of gray-hairs, some with pony tails, talking, eating bagels, laughing, passing around petitions.

Leah and Bart are retired from the Navy. Beginning in 2000, they spent three years on a sailboat and two years in an RV — never touching the ground except to pee.

Leah has long, graying hair and on her sweater she had numbers written on masking tape. They are the number of United States soldiers killed in Iraq and below that the estimated number of Iraqi's killed in the war.

She wants people to ask her what the numbers mean.

Leah was at the recent Winter Soldier hearings in Silver Spring, Maryland. If you listen to the tapes you can hear her sobbing when a mother and father describe the process their son went through after coming back from Iraq until he committed suicide.

Leah says that she tried to get the local Gazette-Times to cover the hearings, but the editor said there was no local hook, besides his not wanting to alienate his readers and lose money.

I recall that in my first newspaper job at the Ainsworth Star-Journal in the Sandhills of Nebraska I once wrote a column about the first gulf war that said "I do not support the troops."

That was when the yellow ribbon thing was really getting started up. My column was cancelled and the publisher said he did not want to alienate his readers and thus lose money.

That burst my idealistic journalism bubble.

And I ask Leah if maybe that feeling extends all the way up through the Corvallis Gazette-Times to some fancy wood-soaked meeting room in a big CBS building, and that is why we are stupid.

A guy at the table in The Beanery, from Mississippi, grins when I ask him if Mississippi is like Iowa. His grin says, "you dumbshit."

He says that he once heard of a guy from Iowa telling a friend that he was going to visit Pittsburgh.

"Why," his friend says, "you can see it from Iowa."

It's baseball season, but you would not know it from the rain and the mud and the wood smoke smell. The Oregon State Beavers have won the College World Series the past two years. I love baseball and should go see if they are playing today.

Too cold. No time. I have to get to Portland.

I stayed with Tim & Jan Calvert in Portland. We watched "Something Funny Happened On The Way To the Moon."

Have you seen that yet? Wow.

Have you ever seen the video of the press conference of the three astronauts, Aldrin, Armstrong, Collins — the very first public appearance they had after claiming to walk on the moon.

You would think they would be high-fiving and turning somersaults.

"The freaking MOON, man! Wa-effing-hoo!"

They sit there like they are depressed, like they just ran over their own new puppy in the driveway on their way home, after midnight, after stealing their dad's car, to get drunk, with money they stole from their blind grandmother who lives in the nursing home on the edge of
town — all dimes and nickles.

Dude. We didn't go to the moon.

Dude. Is there a God?

Dude. Did our own government attack it's own country in order to start
a war and get rich?

Who killed John and Bobby and Martin?

Dude. These are things we need to talk about.

Let me getcha a Grande Mocha Breve — my personal favorite — and lets just sit and talk for awhile.

Besides, it's raining outside.


— Mike



April 2nd: Seattle, Revolution Books, 1833 Nagle Place.

7 p.m.


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