Keep Portland Weird

P-Town, Bridgetown, Little Beirut, Stumptown, Rip City, The City of Roses, Beervana or Beertown, what is this all about? Let’s see… it starts with the letter P, has a lot of bridges, protested the visits of the first President Bush so much that his staff compared it to Beirut, grew so fast that the cleared trees left stumps everywhere, had a play-by-play announcer named Bill Schonely who used odd phrases, has a lot of roses and a ton of micro breweries… must be Portland, Oregon.

So with all of these informal handles, how did the official name come about? How about a flip of a… CONTINUE READING >>

P-Town, Bridgetown, Little Beirut, Stumptown, Rip City, The City of Roses, Beervana or Beertown, what is this all about? Let’s see… it starts with the letter P, has a lot of bridges, protested the visits of the first President Bush so much that his staff compared it to Beirut, grew so fast that the cleared trees left stumps everywhere, had a play-by-play announcer named Bill Schonely who used odd phrases, has a lot of roses and a ton of micro breweries… must be Portland, Oregon.

So with all of these informal handles, how did the official name come about? How about a flip of a… CONTINUE READING >>

Balls to the Wall

Ever since I was a kid growing up in the Colorado Rockies, I have heard the lore of the “oysters” but never had the balls to try them. Suddenly my opportunity was just over the horizon.

Pressing across Montana, we began to travel through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind, mountains and cooked animal parts… CONTINUE READING >>

Ever since I was a kid growing up in the Colorado Rockies, I have heard the lore of the “oysters” but never had the balls to try them. Suddenly my opportunity was just over the horizon.

Pressing across Montana, we began to travel through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind, mountains and cooked animal parts… CONTINUE READING >>

Big Heads, Badlands & Bear Claws

After the seemingly endless trek across the windswept northern prairie, the landscape suddenly changes. On second thought, suddenly hardly describes it.

Abruptly, immediately, instantaneously the topography dramatically goes from flat grassland besieged with billboards to the spectacularly gnarled Badlands.

Out of nowhere the South Dakota plains give way to layers of soft shale, clay and limestone that wear away at a rate of about an inch a year… CONTINUE READING >>

After the seemingly endless trek across the windswept northern prairie, the landscape suddenly changes. On second thought, suddenly hardly describes it.

Abruptly, immediately, instantaneously the topography dramatically goes from flat grassland besieged with billboards to the spectacularly gnarled Badlands.

Out of nowhere the South Dakota plains give way to layers of soft shale, clay and limestone that wear away at a rate of about an inch a year… CONTINUE READING >>

Antelope + Jackrabbit = Jackalope

Once the mighty Mississippi disappears in the rear view mirror, there’s not much to look at for the next thousand miles except corn. An insane amount of corn. It goes on and on and on and then, the corn turns to wheat. An ocean of wheat. Amber waves of grain. Then, a few hundred miles farther West, the wheat turns to tumbleweeds and we can drop the “mid,” we are in the West.

To break up the monotony along the way, or perhaps because of it, there are signs. Millions of signs. This is the home field of the billboard. Every business garishly competes for attention. Out there, you’ve got to have a gimmick. See the World’s Largest this, five-legged that, First Ever this or two-headed that. Almost any collection becomes… CONTINUE READING >>

Once the mighty Mississippi disappears in the rear view mirror, there’s not much to look at for the next thousand miles except corn. An insane amount of corn. It goes on and on and on and then, the corn turns to wheat. An ocean of wheat. Amber waves of grain. Then, a few hundred miles farther West, the wheat turns to tumbleweeds and we can drop the “mid,” we are in the West.

To break up the monotony along the way, or perhaps because of it, there are signs. Millions of signs. This is the home field of the billboard. Every business garishly competes for attention. Out there, you’ve got to have a gimmick. See the World’s Largest this, five-legged that, First Ever this or two-headed that. Almost any collection becomes… CONTINUE READING >>