Friday, December 29, 2006

Cut-away from Beavers' game to Ford service clogs KOIN lines


Yesterday, thousands in Oregon and Missouri had settled comfortably and avidly into watching the Sun Bowl in El Paso. It turned out to be a terrific game, won in the final seconds by the OSU Beavs.

But near the end of the second quarter, the outcome of the entire broadcast itself was thrown into serious doubt.

In the middle of Beavers's drive, KOIN TV and CBS suddenly cut away. No, not to breaking news of the expected hanging of Saddam Hussein, which would come later, but to a private memorial service for former President Gerald Ford at the Ford family church in Palm Desert, California.

Suddenly we were jarred from the roar of the Sun Bowl crowd to hushed, funereal coverage sprinkled with such trenchant detail such as a description the late president's favorite ice cream flavor.

The interruption clogged KOIN's telephone lines, and deservedly so.

I finally e-mailed my complaint and eventually got a response that the decision to break into the football game was made in New York.

Well, duh.

My guess is that if Ford, a star lineman at the University of Michigan and an avid football fan, had had his say, he'd be complaining about the interruption too.

The coverage from Palm Desert ended just in time for the commercial-clogged half-time show in El Paso, but the entire second half was clouded by the possibility that Saddam's execution would break into the game's riveting finish.

By some miracle, it didn't

Labels: , ,

Injured Westerman on the mend, ready for duty

As reported a couple weeks ago, Portland Police Sgt. Scott Westerman, a Hillsdale neighbor and former police neighborhood liaison in Southwest Portland is out of the hospital and well on the mend after being injured in the line of duty two weeks ago.

The injury happened Sunday, Dec. 18 around midnight in SE Portland, and Scott got out of the hospital, Dec. 19, after an 18-hour stay.

While pursuing a suspect on foot in SE Portland, Scott tripped and hit a curb face on. The fall "rearranged" four teeth and dislodged one. He broke a facial bone, dislocated his left ring finger and got "lots of bumps and bruises," he said.

He didn't lose his humor though. He describes his fall as leaving him looking like a duck-billed platypus.

Scott, who was recently promoted to sergeant, recounted how a senior sergeant jokingly lectured him ("Scott, Scott, Scott") about the sergeant's need to stay in the squad car and leave it to lower ranking officers to give chase.

Scott, who put in light duty last week, expects to be back to work full-time in the first week of the new year.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Politics worthy of TV profiteering, but not TV reporting

In yesterday's Oregonian, readers got a glimpse of the local TV industry's cynicism and disdain for the public and politics.

The paper reported on the meager amount of time local stations devoted to Oregon political races in the month before the 2004 election.

Defending the one percent of TV news time given to state and local political coverage, Bill Johnstone, president of the Oregon Association of Broadcasters, was reported as saying the journalistic pittance gave TV viewers "more than their fill....Very few politicians can tell the truth."

A Portland coalition called the "Money in Politics Research Action Project" (MIPRAP) is asking the Federal Communications Commission not to renew the licenses of the stations because of their failure to "serve the public interest" as required by law.

But Johnstone told The Oregonian that asking TV stations to air more campaign stories would simply provide politicians more time for mudslinging.

Wait just a minute, Bill. Don't the broadcasters collect millions in revenues from these very slime-ball ads? If they are so disgusting, why do the stations run them? Moreover, if broadcast managers are so concerned about the mudslinging, why don't they devote journalistic air time to expose the sliming for what it is?

Or are the media managers simply giving the advertising greater "value" by ignoring the issue? Commercial TV broadcasters have hardly been out front in criticizing other kinds of polluters and hucksters who advertise.

It's this sort of hypocritical, lucrative collusion that has led critics to compare FCC-granted broadcast licenses to "licenses to print money"...the public be damned.

Sadly, the Oregonian story omits the irony of Johnstone's attacking the political class whose money his industry is all too happy to take.

And important sidebar is that The Oregonian itself is part of the vast Newhouse media empire that includes 12 television stations. In fairness, none of them are located here or are part of the complaint. But how well do they serve the public in their markets?

I hope MIPRAP is monitoring how, and if, the local TV stations cover the story of its FCC challenge. Or do local TV managers believe the challenge is just more lying and mudslinging and hence unworthy of coverage?

In my view, we haven't begun to get our fill of this story.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New energy for the Farmers Market

Anyone who patronizes the Hillsdale Farmers Market has felt the energy–the food energy and community energy.

But another kind of energy is coming into play as some of us plan a sheltering plaza for the year-round market. To be built on
the present site,

Photo courtesy Yves Rubin
the new home would be permanent and partially covered, providing shade in the summer and warm in the winter. It would also have restrooms and a storage facility. When not being used for the market, it would serve as a partially covered parking lot.

It's that new kind of energy that might be a key ingredient to financing the construction.

Think solar energy.

As envisioned now, the market would be a series of handsome shelters with solar-panel roofs whose electricity would be metered and fed into the electrical grid.

Imagine: a market that produces energy from community connections, local agriculture…and solar power.

Imagine “The Hillsdale Solar Farmers Market.”

In February, those of us working on the project will hold two public meetings smack in the middle of the market to invite community comment on this and other ideas about the market's site.

Bring your own energy to the discussion then.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hillsdale's popular pizza of "easy virtue"

OK, for 100 points, this kind of pizza is the most popular at the Hillsdale Pizzicato.

What is Puttanesca!!!

When I arrived to pick up my pizza order, no one was in line, and the friendly young clerk was chatty, so I asked about the best seller.

Blam, like that, she says, “Puttanesca!” Nothing comes close.

Turns out I joined the Hillsdale Puttanesca craze when I placed my order – for a large to feed out-of-town Christmas visitors.

Next time you place your Puttanesca order, keep in mind that you are also buying a prostitute. Or, as they say in polite company, "a woman of easy virtue."

No kidding. This pizza has a history.

Check it out here.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Joined by neighborly early birds

In the pre-dawn hours on Christmas Day, full from feasting on Christmas Eve, I set out to walk off my indulgences. My goal was three miles.

The damp, dim streets usually have no traffic at this hour, but here on Christmas morn, I found a trickle of cars, neighbors embarking, no doubt, for distant families.

My own destination was the Wilson High School track and 10 laps around it. Those coupled with my walk to and from the house would earn me my three miles.

In the darkness I had the track to myself, or so it seemed. To pass the time, I had my iPod plugged into my ears.

Two recorded professors lectured me in tandem about St. Francis, all courtesy of “The Teaching Company.” As I paced off the laps, I was feeling mildly smug and righteous about my choice of topic for the dawn of Christmas Day.

I was well into a lecture about the saint from Assisi when the seagulls joined me, wheeling, soaring and squawking above.

Yes, the loving affinity of St. Francis and his “sister birds” did occur to me. But more than that, Hillsdale and its feathered inhabitants were giving me their own unexpected Christmas gift.

As I rounded the eastern end of the track, a raucous cawing drew my attention to the chestnut next to the grandstand. One of Hillsdale’s clans of crows fussed and bickered over some pressing matter.

The morning lightened, the seagulls settled on the field, grubbing for their communal breakfast. The crows, though restless, seemed to have found peace.

Anyone who spends time in the Hillsdale Town Center knows these birds well. If you are like me, you take them for granted. They are, at best, curiosities: the crows pecking at some small morsel in the road; the gulls hanging out at Wilson, unacknowledged but deserving mascots.

But as Christmas dawned, for the first time in my years here, I viewed the gulls and crows as neighbors, companions really, on my trek around the track.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Rewind to a manger

Now obsolete audio and video tape technology has given the language a transforming one-word metaphor: Rewind.

On this Christmas Day, I'd like a spiritual, historical rewinding.

Rewind the tape 2000 years.

Rewind Christianity, past the wars, past the Middle East, past Northern Ireland. Go past preachers, pastors and popes. Past saints, bishops and cardinals.

Past schisms, sects and denominations.

Past works, good and bad. Past charity. Past devotion. Past hypocrisy. Past hatred.

Past dogma and ritual, sin and salvation.

Roll on past Salem and witch burnings, Indulgences and The Inquisition. Rewind by Meister Eckhart and Saint Francis, past the Crusades, past martyrs, past Paul and Peter, and Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and Thomas.

Go past The Resurrection and The Crucifixion, The Stations of The Cross and the Last Supper.

Leave behind the miracles and metaphors, the Sermon on the Mount and the parables on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Roll past the shepherds, the Wise Men and the guiding star.

Roll past them all.


Stop at the manger in Bethlehem.

Pause on a frozen frame.

Pause and be still.

Wait and prepare to witness.

Press "play."

Watch —watch closely— what happens.

Labels: , ,