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In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thoughts on Place, Pigs

"We are forces of chaos and anarchy/ everything they say we are, we are
and we are very...Proud of ourselves..."

Jefferson Airplane, "We Can Be Together"

Portland's motto is (was?) "The City That Works". This has led to some interesting juxtapositions.
In the late '80's, there was a bunch of billboards in that War on Drugs motif -block letters, red white n' black (Nazi colors!) color palette- that read, "DRUGS DON'T WORK IN PORTLAND". As my friend and I were on acid as of this viewing, at least one of us must have said, "Shit; they seem to work just fine." Then we noticed the billboard next to it: A bunch of Corona bottles riding a chairlift to the top of the slopes. The brilliant punchline? "Brew-Ski."

Well, we certainly don't want you doing any drugs, but we fully encourage you to ski drunk. There are others who would suggest that maybe Portland's motto should be "The City That Is Way Too Proud of Itself". As I've said, as annoying as Portland's supporters are, Portland's detractors lose a lot of points with me for what seems like way too much anger at things that don't really damage anything noteworthy.
While just across the river is Linnton, who modestly posits that their community is "A Place to Live and Work." Unlike the rest of those places.

And for a while I had this t-shirt that said, "Missoula; A Place, sort of," and it had -I believe- a frog with a duck bill on it? I do not recall. Better still, I remember someone having an actual explanation for this, but I don't think it made any sense.

These issues of place loom large over the lady of the house and myself. That's us to the left there, on our fortieth anniversary, in 1985. Those damn kids got me a Cosby sweater again that year.
Anyway, we need to move to a smaller house, and we are. It, like our last house, is tiny, though situated on a large lot, and features a li'l shed out back for keeping tools and scheming darkly.

It's in a neighborhood whose existence I was not informed of. Hemmed in by industry of all sorts, it's out in the country while still entirely within city limits.
Across a large boulevard to the south, shootout territory; ghetto-type shit. To the north, railroa' tracks. To the west? The port!

And if you go east enough, Portland at large, Marine Drive, Edgefield, the Gorge, Mt. Hood, y'know.

"WE ARE AWESOME TO THE EARTH 42", reads the sign along Hwy. 99. It is ostensibly advertising some business along the way, but its unclear what that would be. Something that needs to be somewhat defensive about its earth-friendliness, I would imagine.
But it also looks like the work of someone who -bored- spends a lot of time wandering down the street/highway in the exurban sprawl that precedes Wine Country, changing around the letters on signs.
And '42'? Well, if you'll remember, that's the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. (And, by a nice coincidence, the episode number of the first Monty Python show Douglas Adams showed up on.) When the further issue of "...Okay, so what's the question, then?" came up, there was a search conducted, and when they found it, it was rendered in huge letters on the surface of a distant planet. But over the millenia, they had sunk into the soil so much that they now read, in the local dialect, "GO STICK YOUR HEAD IN A PIG".

More coming. This is all from a rather interesting week.



Blogger disco boy said...

oh how i hate moving. best of luck to you kids.

10:56 AM  
Blogger LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Those Nazi colors and talk about work makes me wonder where "Arbeit Macht Frei" fits into all of this. I never knew San Francisco had a city motto, but apparently it is "Gold in Peace, Iron in War".

2:15 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

DB: well, at least I have lots of barely-working stagehands to help out.
LB: good lord, that motto. It's like I've often said; if I encountered a politician whose motto was 'I shall be Ruler of All, with a Crown of Bones!', I'd find them amusing as hell, but I wouldn't vote for them.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Where I live, the motto is:
'Ithaca: We recycle better than you'

1:37 PM  

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