How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Oregon upset, plays elimination game tonight.

The Weavers and the music of optimism

Listening this morning to one of the great albums, The Weavers At Carnegie Hall. Music filled with such optimism and hope! How old-fashioned that they were branded as commies. Like Guthrie, they had profound faith in "the people" to lead the charge toward equality and freedom, which I once bought into myself.

But I qualify myself today: if "the people" are going to reverse the corporate creation of our new species, Homo consumerus, immigrants, not raised on American mythology, will take the lead. But by then we'll probably be controlled by "wearable technology," the latest "advance" in our new subversive freedom, the triumph of opinion over knowledge.

How nostalgic to hear the Weavers!


Music class ... at least I'll get out of the house. Yard work if weather permits.

Some prep tomorrow.

One week to go but it will feel longer than that.

Friday, May 30, 2014



Thursday, May 29, 2014


This 2 season HBO series quickly expanded its canvas to become a Save the World, Whistleblower dramedy. First rate, though the ending had a bit of unearned optimism. Really enjoyed it.

The Weird, Wild World of Citizen Science Is Already Here | Opinion | WIRED

The Weird, Wild World of Citizen Science Is Already Here | Opinion | WIRED:

 "Up and down the west coast of North America, countless numbers of starfish are dying. The affliction, known as Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, is already being called the biggest die-off of sea stars in recorded history, and we’re still in the dark as to what’s causing it or what it means. It remains an unsolved scientific mystery. The situation is also shaping up as a case study of an unsung scientific opportunity: the rise of citizen science and exploration."

This is a long tradition. I joined the ranks in high school, a member of the AAVSO (Amer Assoc of Variable Star Observers), assigned three stars to keep watch on by Harvard Observatory, and I did my part with great passion, even though it sometimes meant getting up at 3 a.m. on a school night. I wasn't chasing girls (or boys) so I had time ha ha. I did show my typical teen self, however, by quietly listening to rock and roll on the radio as I observed (Little Richard, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, etc.)

Here’s How People 100 Years Ago Thought We’d Be Living Today | Science | WIRED

Here’s How People 100 Years Ago Thought We’d Be Living Today | Science | WIRED:

Today's happy reader

5.0 out of 5 stars Pulls you in from first line!May 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Murder at the Black Cat B&B (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed this book so much read in 2 days- I wished it was longer- The writer knows how to pull you in


Not all that common ha ha.

Here's What Corporate America Really Thinks About You

Here's What Corporate America Really Thinks About You:

 "If you are an American human being today, you probably labor under the illusion of having a self, as Rust Cohle put it, but what you really are is a sadly predictable agglomeration of demographic traits and buying habits."

The Obscene Interruptions of War

An unproduced one-act that I still like very much, as timely today as during Vietnam.

                                                              THE CAST:

                                                            Henderson, McCall, Smith, Friply, Peters and Sgt.
                                                            Willards -- all American soldiers

                                                            The Prostitute

                                                            THE PLACE:

                                                            An Army post near a war zone

                                                            THE SET:

                                                            The latrine of a military billets. Facing the audience
                                                            are six toilets. The toilet to the audience's right is
                                                            painted red; the others are white. The stage if bare
                                                            except for the toilets.

                                                            THE TIME:



                                                            (AT RISE: the four toilets to the audience's left are
                                                            occupied, left to right, as follows: Henderson,
                                                            McCall, Smith, Friply. Each soldier wears fatigues.
                                                            It is Sunday morning. The soldiers are defecating
                                                            and reading an old newspaper from the States,
                                                            except for McCall, who is reading a book. Each
                                                            soldier has his own roll of toilet paper and is
                                                            protective of it. Toilet paper is a luxury in a war

                           (to audience)
The first interruption.

                           (to audience)
Language is obscene.

                                                            (A beat.)

                           (straining to defecate)
Uhhhhhhhhh ... uhhhhhhhhh ... uhhhhhhhhhh ...

Who has fucking Sports?

                                                            (No reply.)


Sports, goddamn it!

I've got fucking Sports. Wait a goddamn minute.

                           (straining, to Henderson)
Uhhhhhhhh ... what you got, man?

I've got healthy bowels.

The motherfucker talks!

I was talking to Henderson. Uhhhhhh ...

Say something else, McCall. Just for the record.

                                                            (A beat.)

Uhhhhhh ... uhhhhhh ...

McCall, you gonna speak up or not?

Read us something from that jack-off book.

Uhhhhhh ...

                           (grabbing the back of McCall's neck)
Read, goddamn it!

Out of the hollow / of the Great Buddha's nose / flew a swallow

                           (releasing him)
Fuck. Friply, you gonna give me fucking Sports or not?

Part 2 of the Death Cycle, a trilogy of one-acts.

Last times

A very short timer now, where many things I'm doing I'm doing for the last time -- such as walking from southside Starbucks to my office. I got lucky and found a parking place near the bank this late ... very unusual. So I got my iced coffee southside instead of northside, where I usually park. Hence the walk, likely for the last time.

Also need to clean out my office. Will begin today, maybe I can finish during office hours next week and not make a special trip. Giving my books away to a grad student.

Need to recycle piles of student papers, after ripping off the grades.

Show Dreams On Spec today ... easy day! I need one. I need several. I need no days at all.

Life in Puddle City

A typical day ...

A typical evening ...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Started watching the HBO series Enlightened, a dark comedy about drug abuse and treatment, starring Laura Dern. She only involves herself in first rate material, and this is no exception. 30 min. episodes make it especially convenient to watch.

You Needn't Pay Them Any Mind: A Brief Look at the Treatment of American Indians in US History

You Needn't Pay Them Any Mind: A Brief Look at the Treatment of American Indians in US History:

"It has never been properly explained to me why we still celebrate Columbus Day as a national holiday. What is it exactly are we supposed to be celebrating? The fact that some gold-crazed Italian convinced the Queen of Spain to subsidize a failed attempt to circumnavigate the globe? By now, I would have thought our jingoistic fervor would have subsided to the point that we could collectively acknowledge that Christopher Columbus didn't discover a damn thing beyond the fact that he had no idea what an actual Indian person looked like. I mean, it takes a delusionally euro-centric worldview to convince yourself that you've discovered a place that people are already living on. "

Flash fiction: 3 stories

By Charles Deemer

She blew smoke and said, “You’re married.” He smiled. “I can always tell.”

“How’s that?”

“You’re nervous. Like your old lady may barge in.”

“Maybe there’s another reason.”

“Like what?”

“Maybe I’m undercover vice.”

“Just my luck.”

She passed him the cigarette. He took a slow drag.

“Yeah, I’m married.”


By Charles Deemer    

The bartender brought them fresh drinks. It was Frank’s round.

Joe said, “So what’d she say?”

“She gave me one of her looks.”

“Which look is that?”

Frank shoved a dollar tip at the bartender.

“The one that says get lost.” he said.

“And then?”

“Here I am.”

They drank.


By Charles Deemer

In the morning, he reached for her – and felt wrinkled sheets. So she was gone. Last night he was sure this one was different.

Making coffee, he became depressed. They always left.

Suddenly she walked in, carrying groceries.

“How does steak and eggs sound?” she asked. “I feel like celebrating.”

The Astrological Henry Miller | Arthur Hoyle

The Astrological Henry Miller | Arthur Hoyle:

 "Henry Miller was a devotee of astrology. He employed astrological imagery in his writing for expressive purposes, and he relied on astrology when faced with important decisions in his personal life. Miller viewed astrology metaphorically, as a system of correspondences between the inner world of the psyche and the soul and the outer world of the planets and the stars -- between the microcosm and the macrocosm. And because Miller wished to lead an astrological life marrying his own personal rhythms to the larger rhythms of the universe, he looked to astrology for guidance through personal difficulties."

Last two weeks

Really downhill from here ... full day in class today but Thursday I show my last documentary, Dreams On Spec, and the last week will be relatively easy. Then all the reading and grading. I am a very short timer.

They painted and reconfigured the office here, just in time for my goodbye ha ha. I've always liked this office.

The last day may feel weird -- because it will come and go without fanfare. Now you see him, now you don't. Not with a bang but a whimper. And all that.

I have to clean up here, get rid of old papers, books and such. I am giving screenwriting books to a grad student.

Protest Music and People Movements: The Tradition Continues | Common Dreams

Protest Music and People Movements: The Tradition Continues | Common Dreams:

 "The emergence of YouTube and other new technologies has blurred the lines between commercial and non-commercial music and made it easier for performers to spread their music. It has also facilitated the global use of song in mass protest-- in Spain, Egypt and elsewhere -- and thus encouraged mass singing as part of these movements.

The new means of cultural production are complex and variegated. It is impossible to keep track of the many ways music and protest are now intertwined. What is undeniable is that whenever and wherever people are gathering, mobilizing and fighting back, the tradition of protest music will continue."

See my Ramblin': the songs and stories of Woody Guthrie.

Jim Wylie, Charles Deemer

Folk songs by Jim Wylie.

We Are the Soil | Common Dreams

We Are the Soil | Common Dreams:

 "We are made up of the same five elements — earth, water, fire, air and space — that constitute the Universe. We are the soil. We are the earth. What we do to the soil, we do to ourselves. And it is no accident that the words “humus” and “humans” have the same roots."

Belmont Stakes News » California Chrome continues to train 'like a monster' for June 7 Belmont

Belmont Stakes News » California Chrome continues to train 'like a monster' for June 7 Belmont:

 ""He just keeps getting stronger," said Alan Sherman, son of and assistant to trainer Art Sherman, after the chestnut colt galloped two miles around the track. "I can see it in his stride and the way he's taking hold of [exercise rider] Willie [Delgado], he seems to like this track. He's actually put on some weight since the Preakness."

Cartoon of the day

Is war the human condition?

Is war the human condition?:

 " Is it natural for humans to make war? New study of tribal societies reveals conflict is an alien concept.  "


3 Commencement speeches

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, at University of Maryland, had a jab at climate change deniers. “To those who say climate change is not caused by human activity or that addressing it will harm the economy, let’s encourage them to go to college, too, and to study physics and to study economics, but for the rest of us, let’s get to work.”

Bill Nye the Science Guy, at University of Massachusetts Lowell, called out the conspiracy theorists delaying action on the climate. “Conspiracy theories are for lazy people,” he said. “People that don’t want to get down to the business at hand. Instead of just doing less, we have to find ways of doing more with less. That’s the key to the future.”

New Yorker Magazine Editor David Reminck, at Syracuse University, singled out President Obama. “[W]hat about our refusal to look squarely at the degradation of the planet we inhabit? In the last election cycle many candidates refused even to acknowledge the hard science, irrefutable science, of climate change. The president, while readily accepting the facts, has done far too little to alter them. How long are we, are you, prepared to wait?”

University Presidents Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank | Common Dreams

University Presidents Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank | Common Dreams:

"But the people who work for them are on food stamps and students are being crushed by debt"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Quotation of the day

Memorial Day

Very solemn holiday growing up, focused on mom's brother, who died at Pearl Harbor.

Our saddest holiday. Many of the wars that take these folks were not necessary. 

Playing tourist

Showed cousin Robin  the usual suspects.

Columbia Gorge from Vista House

Vista House

Home sweet home after a busy day

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lady Ducks yes, Bruins no

UCLA upset, loses 2 in row to Kentucky, season over. Ducks to World Series. Washington also eliminated.

UCLA's defeat a major upset. Sniff.

A simple, elegant breakfast

A slice of my buttermilk bread, toasted; a slice of my carraway rye, toasted. Slices of tomato over each. A strip of bacon over each. Done!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lady Ducks!

Easy 10-2 win.

Lady Bruins!

Behind 2 runs ... 2 outs ... 2 strikes ... bases loaded ...grand slam! Victory!


Picked up my first cousin Robin at the airport, whom I haven't seen in some 40 years. Not a close knit family ha ha. She thanked my family, via my dad, for convincing her parents to move from NJ to SoCal, where they stayed, where she was born. A journalist, USC journalism school, big Angels fan. We'll give her the local grand tour tomorrow. Tuesday she's taking the train to Seattle - to see 2 Angels games there! Harriet is showing her downtown this afternoon.

Alma mater without guilt

This doesn't happen often any more: I get to root for UCLA and Oregon in back to back games without feeling guilty because their programs are corrupt. Women's softball!! Too invisible for corporate crooks, apparently.


Boil order lifted today. If I had a restaurant, man, I would be pissed. Very strange sequence of events.

Spike Lee

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts may be Spike Lee's most important film. It is a devastating removal of political and social masks, the layers of myth about America, to reveal how poor people are mistreated and ignored during times of crisis, in this case during Katrina. It reveals the systemic problems of this country. As one musician put it, Katrina was a mirror and if you looked into it, you saw what needed fixing in America.

What frightens me most, however, is that this is just the mild act one of more horrific conflict yet to come. The French Revolution was bloodier than the American Revolution because the poor were more frustrated and angry with a longer history of abuse and neglect. We are at such an historical moment once again, the rich not only ignoring the poor but showing off about it, wallowing in it, claiming their moral superiority. Add the new immigrant mix and all the frustration that comes with it ... play this all out on an international stage ... if history plays out as it has always played out before, the Mother of All Revolutions, with all attached blood and horror, may be less than a century away.

Lee's film focuses on what is wrong in America, here and now ... the Katrina crisis tore off the masks. Thus we have Barbara Bush at the Dome, blabbering about how better off the "refugees" are here than they were before, Katrina as salvation. You have to hear it to believe it.

Spike Lee is an American patriot of the best kind, showing us a moment in history when reality trumps myth. We're not going to learn anything from this, unfortunately. But Lee did his job. He ripped off the social and political masks to show us what is important, and not important, to the powers that be in this time of crisis. A major documentary film.

Portland water

I smell politics. First, the city on its own was NOT going to issue a boil order. They followed procedure and retested all three areas of concern, 3 tests per area, and ALL were negative. Therefore, no order. However, then the state intervened and ordered the city to issue the order.

At the press conference, the only doctor speaking had the manner of someone dropped onto a strange planet. Nothing he said made me worried. He said they were taking "extreme caution," trying hard not to laugh.

This caused businesses money and great inconvenience to everyone. I don't believe it's real. This should get interesting.

Friday, May 23, 2014

University life

The odds are greater that a young woman will be raped if she attends college than if she does not.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Family & community

In the student union before class, Thursday. Family & Community.

A rare occasion this weekend: visiting with a first cousin I haven't seen in at least 40 years. Daughter of my dad's brother. A journalist in LA. We've never been in touch over the years, having a considerable age difference, but connected a few years back. She is visiting Portland and Seattle for her holiday break, coming alone.

The Deemer family is close in New Jersey. For a while, several relatives moved and lived in So Cal after dad settled and raved about ti but the first big earthquake sent them scrambling back to NJ. While they were here, I had a kid's sense of "family," a big family, and I liked it. I liked playing sports board games with my aunts and uncles. Family was cool.

But it was something of an issue between my parents. Mom had only one sister. It was the Deemer family that was large, and I don't think mom cared for many of them. Too noisy, too many practical jokes, usually with her as the butt. It became a joke how often they moved between NJ and Calif, depending on who won the argument at a given time.

My cousin's family got ostracized by many Deemers because her mother was a war bride, a German brought home by my uncle. I remember one family gather that ended in chaos, shouts, tears -- ends up, I learned later, that my German aunt had somewhat defended Hitler, pointing out the good things he had done for Germany. Oops. We were the only part of the family that visited them after that, I believe. Dad was very tolerant about controversial issues. A career sailor, he even told me once, from his experiences visiting China before the revolution, that if he'd have been Chinese, he'd be a communist.

When I settled into the Portland theater community in the late 70s, I felt "home" and community = family. I felt I really belonged here. This would last about ten years, then quickly dissipate.

Early on, however, I had decided "my work" as a literary artist were the chidren I was releasing into the world. My archive is the old folks home. This decision has not resulted in a very satisfying old age -- there's no equivalent of watching the grand kids play soccer -- and yet I can't say I'd do anything different. How could I? I'd have to be a different person.

And I believe my children are going to do fine. Not so hot now, perhaps, but many already had their moments of being appreciated and there's more to come, far down the road, if the species is still around by then. I am very proud of them, at any rate, and that counts more than anything. They are what they are. The kids can stand on their own feet. I am proud of them.

Sooooo ... what will my cousin be like? Will both being writers give us something in common? I think she went to USC. I went to UCLA. I know she's an Angels fan. I'm a Mariners fan. I have a strong suspicion that her family became Republican -- seems like the type, from what I remember. Will be ineresting, at any rate.

Even though I am writing this on the AS, I think it belongs in the general blog, not the new one. I want a tight focus on the new one, traveling around town.

I can't say enough for the AlphaSmart. Any "writing writer" would appreciate its advantages over laptops and tablets. Yet I've never seen another writer use one, though of course I found out about it from a foreign journalist's praises of it. He was right on.

Easy day in class -- a structure quiz, showing them POWWOW HIGHWAY, they break it down structurally. A little tricky in the middle but otherwise pretty straight forward. Love that movie. And most haven't seen it, so it's a treat.


Finished 2 of the 5 parts of the Spike Lee doc on Katrina. Devastating, revealing, depressing. The systemic problems, reinforced by personal ideologies of those in power, guaranteed far, far more suffering than should have been allowed to happen. Does not bode well for the future, when disasters of this type will increase and be compounded by food riots, water riots -- it's all in the cards unless drastic action is taken to divert this moving train, and there is no clue that this might happen. It would even begin to be happening. The anti-science idiots have too much power. Besides, Christ is going to float down and rescue those who merit rescue. What me worry?

How did so many idiots end up in the culture? A colossal failure of education and of parenting.

And in this same world, so much beauty, and wonder, and brilliance, and wit and humor ... a zero sum universe indeed!
In my last years, with the negative shit in chorus all around me, I strive to spend as much time in the positive sector as possible.

And nothing is more positive than Sketch. Simplicity. Instinct. Consistency. And he is forever cracking me up. The cosmic clown as rat terrier.

The SU is a surprisingly quiet place to work. I didn't realize. Might drop by here when I'm retired if I need a table to work at.

Only two weeks to go ... and I know what each class day will be, so the planning is done. On the downhill side, for sure.

This ending will be a whimper, I think. One day I am here, the next day I am not.

Best baseball app

MLB At Bat, hands down -- and the audio "lite" version is a steal, ten bucks for every game on radio, home or visiting broadcast, pre, season and post. So I just now saw on scoreboard TB leading Athletics in 9th, I turn to their broadcast hoping for victory - alas, to hear Oakland bats come alive. But instant access is the deal.

Katrina as prelude

Began watching the film Spike Lee made for HBO about Katrina. It occurs to me: the cat is out of the bag, this documents the horrific OFFICIAL neglect a government with limited resources, ideological biases and considerable confusion will give the poor in any crisis. This is just the tip of the iceberg. I don't want to be around to watch what happens.

Free ebook, new song cycle

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

John Adams

I begin with HBO miniseries with Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney. First episode, first rate.


My idea didn't work - but a new one works great, music homework conquered, a song using four different ending cadences.

Still have student work to look at.


Today many, many HBO series become free on my Fire via Amazon Prime - my summer watching schedule is now full indeed!

Everything Science Knows About Hangovers—And How to Cure Them | Magazine | WIRED

Everything Science Knows About Hangovers—And How to Cure Them | Magazine | WIRED:

A public service announcement.

A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change | Common Dreams

A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change | Common Dreams:

 ""In a rational world, no one would need to march...  But in this world, reason, having won the argument, has so far lost the fight.""

The Practical Choice: Not American Capitalism or “Welfare State Socialism” but an Economy That’s Working for a Few or Many | Common Dreams

The Practical Choice: Not American Capitalism or “Welfare State Socialism” but an Economy That’s Working for a Few or Many | Common Dreams:

How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment - Michael Waldman - POLITICO Magazine

How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment - Michael Waldman - POLITICO Magazine:

"The Founders never intended to create an unregulated individual right to a gun. Today, millions believe they did. Here’s how it happened.

'via Blog this'

Music challenge

A few school things to do but mainly today is music homework day, write a challenging song ... have a concept, just haven't tested it on the Cordoba yet ... if it goes ok, won't be too bad, if not then I need another concept, which take a while.

Only three in this class, which actually works out well. More direct attention. Time for questions etc.

What I didn't expect is lots of singing "do re mi" upwards and downwards and in all interval combinations.
This, too, a challenge for me, something I've never had to do before.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Clever bastards

Rec'd email about publisher of mine scheduling direct deposit to acct I never heard of. Setting you up for two links: "contact us" if question and "report here" if you suspect this is phishing. Latter will hook many, I fear. You send phishing and say, if you think this is phishing, click here. Duh.

Hate these bastards!


TS at Round Bend Press calls the new song cycle "a blend of vaudeville and street theater," which is a perfect description of an ideal production I'd like to see. Hope it happens.

If I ever returned to theater, and it wasn't to a permanent hyperdrama space, it would be to do street theater.

Monday, May 19, 2014


My music class has homework ... writing music satisfying certain criteria ... complicated enough this week that I need to devote Wednesday to it.

Ordered 15 copies of song cycle to send out. The script requires a high energy, tight production ... fast paced, song upon song. It would be very effective if done right. Slow with little energy, a real bore.

Not optimistic about finding a production in Portland. But maybe elsewhere. It's first rate for the genre, obscure as it is.

Now available: A song cycle about political scandals

Available as Kindle book

Clearly inspired by the local Adams affair, this cycle actually has a very different ending than what came down here in Portland. The Puddle City mayor is NOT Sam Adams. Of course, no one will believe me, any more than they believed that Swami Kree was not the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The imagination is so inoperative in our culture that the easiest, most literal "explanation" is what rises to the top. Literalists just don't get it.

The Sam Adams Affair

In retrospect, the most telling part of our local "scandal" was how it put so many progressives on the spot - because Adams is gay. He was "excused" and even defended by those who would have been out for blood had he been straight and seducing a teenage GIRL. The left has as many contradictions and double standards as the right.

Puddle City

Finished ... Kindle version should be available later today, paperback right behind it. This is right up there with Varmints as obscure work I really love. The power here, of course, is in performance, when the parodies come through popular tunes ... I doubt if I can find anyone here to do this but I'll try. I may have a better shot in Eugene and still know a director there who might dig the political incorrectness here.

What a surprise that this bubbled up. I love it and generalized it far beyond the particular inspiration in town a few years back.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Coming soon!

SAM ADAMS, the musical

SAM ADAMS, the musical:

Man, I love a lot of these songs -- still! Maybe a retirement project will be to use them as the basis of an actual musical ... all, or most, of the songs are already here, just need to throw down a plot and some twists and such, fictionalized of course ha ha, and well, a musical of political satire cannot be far behind.

THE PUDDLE CITY MAYOR SCANDAL, a musical.  I already have the songs ... a one-act musical would be very easy to put together. I should do it and publish it, just for the historical/hysterical record ha ha.

Something else to think about. Retirement will be busy -- and great fun! No responsibilities to students!

Easy transfer

Did a test run of moving text from AlphaSmart to blog ... very easy! Press the Send button and text goes wherever the cursor is, in this case in the window for a new blog post. Hey, this is very ancient technology by now -- but how can it get any better than this?

Indeed, so much "advance" in tech is not advance at all from the point of view of getting done what you want to get done. The AllphaSmart is still the best, easiest, most convenient and, with its 100+ hours battery life on 3 AAA batteries, most practical "tech" writing tool I've seen. Better than a PC, a laptop, a net book, a tablet -- devices I also own or have owned. It is limited. It just writes! No games. No Internet. No easy ways to avoid writing. But hey, if you are a writer, if you WANT to write, man, this is such a cool tool.

And designed for grade school kids. I am sure glad that journalist covering the Bosnia war discovered it, wrote it up, and I saw the article, several decades ago now.

When I turned mine on recently after it sat idle in my office for a year or two, the battery charge was at 96%! Beat that, high tech.

So the tech end of this new retirement adventure will be a breeze. A relief ... I don't have to figure anything out.

I think I will begin chronologically, in the two areas of Portland where I began, first Mississippi Ave where Polly and I lived after dropping out of grad school in 1967(and I use her real name now that she's passed and therefore can't send me nasty letters) ... and then NW Portland, where I came in the late 70s after my marriage ended. I established myself as a writer in the first spot, as a playwright in the second. Yes, makes sense to me to begin there.

First, perhaps, I should make a post on the new blog about context ... basically a summary of my relationship to Portland over the years. A lot of my adventure, I expect, will be visiting old haunts and making sense of past and present, or trying to. In the 1980s, I thought Portland was the greatest city in America. I haven't thought much of it since the mid-90s. What changed? A little of me, a little of the city. I want to explore that.

So I guess my exploration strategy is a bit of biography and a bit of playing it by ear. I won't start until I am officially retired, however, although I can add some contextual posts to the new blog before I head out.

The only rule of the new blog is ... everything has to be written on the AlphaSmart. This means I'll be out of the house.

City exploring

After retirement, plan to use public transportation a lot to explore the city: my "honored citizen" pass (go anywhere on anything) doesn't expire until fall.

The challenge is this: to what degree do I organize this? I could play everything by ear. I could ride the bus lines in numerical order. I could follow any of many area travel guides. I could explore by neighborhoods.

Brooding, brooding.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


The Belmont, last leg of Triple Crown, is a mile and a half, a quarter mile longer than the Derby, and the difference has killed many a good horse. I don't know if the distance will kill California Chrome or not.

Super horses, of course, use the added distance to their advantage.

The dream is alive

California Chrome wins Preakness!

Caught up

Early morning work got me caught up. Now I can go to class and watch the Preakness without class distraction.

Going to use my public transportation pass to explore when I retire, before it expires in fall, not to be renewed. Take some lines new to me.

Down the home stretch ...


Will the overwhelming favorite Calif Chrome perform? Hope so.

But anything can happen in a horse race. I learned this when my granddad picked the gray longshot Miche to upset the great Citation at Santa Anita. Miche won! How did granddad do it? "Anything can happen in a horse race."

So I look forward to post time.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Baking fool

Added doggie treats to the agenda ... a morning in the kitchen.

Hangtown fry

Man, I made a really good one for breakfast. My dad would have demanded seconds.

Also making meatloaf and baking bread this morning.

Then downstairs to do ALL of the little weekend school work I have.

Then yard work.

Last night watched live streaming of 5K runs ... Hasey 3rd but ran her best time ... Rupp upset, 2nd.

Cooking therapy to wash last night's commercial smog off my elitist body ha ha. However, was really great to see moderator, a colleague I greatly admire.

Agent lady was saying how great it is to have 16 writers work on a project. Jesus.

The university sure ain't what it used to be. It has joined what used to be the cultural enemy.

If I were young today, would I be a writer? Only in an odd way: closet maybe; or do street theater; or hyperdrama. Surely nothing in the main stream.

I plan to ressurect the AlphaSmart after I retire. Do a project with it. Love that device.


Thank the gods! Rain coming, need to finish yard work before it arrives. And start over when it leaves ha ha.

3 weeks to go.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Phone Plays

Phone Plays:

Very short audio plays.

San Francisco's Invisible Class War | danah boyd

San Francisco's Invisible Class War | danah boyd:

"San Francisco is in the middle of a class war. It's not the first or last city to have heart-wrenching inequality tear at its fabric, challenge its values, test its support structures. But what's jaw-dropping to me is how openly, defensively, and critically technology folks demean those who are struggling. The tech industry has a sickening obsession with meritocracy. Far too many geeks and entrepreneurs worship at the altar of zeros and ones, believing that outputs can be boiled down to a simple equation based on inputs. In a modern-day version of the Protestant ethic, there's a sense that success is a guaranteed outcome of hard work, skills, and intelligence. Thus, anyone who is struggling can be blamed for their own circumstances."

And more widespread than SF.

German Exceptionalism ha ha

Germany Sets New Record, Generating 74 Percent Of Power Needs From Renewable Energy | ThinkProgress:

There's no accounting for taste

A recent Amazon review says one of the nicer things written about my work lately:

"This is a well-written book that frequently manages to be sad, hilarious, and shocking in the same paragraph." 

The book in question is my recent "annotated" memoir, Always A New Horizon.

A play about family values

a play in two acts
by Charles Deemer

First produced at the Wharf Rat Theatre in Salem, Massachusetts, on August 7, 1998. Directed by Laney Roberts.

Winner of the 1997 "Crossing Borders" international new play competition and the 1998 Buckham Alley Theatre Playwrights Competition. Also the highest ranking stage play in the 1998 New Century Writer Awards and a finalist for the 1998 Oregon Book Award.

George, patriarch of the Wellington clan, retired
Martha, his wife
Thomas, their oldest son, an accountant, 30s
Vincent, Thomas' lifemate, an architect, 30s-40s
Emily, their daughter, college professor, 30s
June, Thomas' ex-wife, budding jazz singer, 30s

The Wellington condo in San Francisco. Living room. Stairs lead to bedroom. Upstage exits to kitchen and den. Front door.

July 4, 1976. Act II, scene ii: one year later, July 4, 1977.


(AT RISE: The living room of a luxurious condominium in San Francisco. Stairs lead to bedrooms. Hallway leads to kitchen, den, bathroom. Front door. It is morning, July 4, 1976.)

(VINCENT, 30s, is in the room, dressed in 18th century costume, suggesting Benjamin Franklin. EMILY, 30s, is on the divan, a body under a blanket. Vincent is reading a typed script, "going over lines," preparing for a one-man show he is doing tonight. Finally he puts down the script, stands up and begins "a dry run." In the beginning, his tone is casual, matter-of-fact; he is doing this primarily for lines.)

VINCENT: "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a people to change the institutions which have nurtured them since birth, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the redefinition of such institutions to which the Laws of Nature entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to such changes."

(Emily coughs, gets up and obliviously wanders out of the room, on her way to the bathroom. Vincent watches her, amused, but says nothing until she is gone. Then he turns to the audience.)

VINCENT:(to audience) Emily, the brightest Wellington of them all. Tenured professor of history at Columbia University. Younger sister of Thomas, who is my — my what? I refuse to say "significant other." Significant other what? My lover. My partner in life. It is not like Emily to come home to a family reunion. Apparently the last time, years before Thomas and I got together, she and her father really got into it. You'll get the details later.

(He looks at the spot where Emily exited, then turns back to the audience. Now he'll play his show directly to the audience at performance level.)

VINCENT: (to audience) "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Shelter, Security, Education, and Nurturing. That to secure these rights, Families are instituted among men and women, deriving their definition and social acceptance from the consent of the people. That when any definition of Family becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to abolish or redefine it, and to institute a new kind of Family, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its authority in such form, as to them seem most likely to effect the Safety and Welfare of the children."

(Emily returns.)

EMILY: Vincent, why are you dressed like that?
VINCENT: Emily! And good morning to you, too! Are we feeling a bit woozy this morning?
EMILY: Please don't tell me there's a costume party.
VINCENT: "There's a costume party." Close, but no cigarillo. (Modeling his costume) Who do you think I am?
EMILY: I haven't a clue.
VINCENT: You don't recognize gentle Ben, the scatological connoisseur of the Revolution?
EMILY: Of course. What do you mean, "close" to a costume party?
VINCENT: We, my dear, are riding a float in the parade. And later I'm doing a one-man show. You won't believe how I've rewritten the Declaration of Independence! Want to hear it?
EMILY: It's too early to concentrate. I couldn't find any coffee.
VINCENT: The coffee pot is in the den, not the kitchen. Be right back.
EMILY: You're a dearheart.
VINCENT: Dearheart! Is that what you academics say to one another now? Gag me!