Guy Fieri, PLEASE Eat Food With Me

Why wont you notice me?!?!
Why won't you notice me?!?!

I love Guy Fieri. I love his style, I love how much he loves food, and most importantly, I love his shows, especially Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Guy's Grocery Games. I think Guy Fieri is cool, and you're just going to have to deal with it. Given my boundless enthusiasm, imagine my shock and delight when I saw this tweet:

Initially I did nothing. Why would Guy deign to eat with me, someone who still regularly consumes Pizza Lunchables? But last night, something changed. Realizing how life-altering it'd be to break bread with my favorite celebrity chef inspired me to do something a little bit wild:

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Central Eastside Business Owners Have Prevailed in Fight Against Right 2 Dream Too

A rendering of what the new R2DToo site might have looked like.
A rendering of what the new R2DToo site might have looked like.

The rationale for placing Right 2 Dream Too on a spot of industrial land on the Central Eastside always seemed a bit too convenient.

In a "zoning confirmation letter" from the city's Bureau of Development Services, officials offered up baroque arguments that a homeless rest area like R2DToo amounted to a "community service"—a land use type that might be allowed on industrial property in some instances. But the bureau said that R2DToo was definitively not a "mass shelter" or "short-term housing," two community service types which are prohibited on industrial land. (Here's the same basic argument, made about another piece of land R2DToo wanted to move to.)

Business owners swore the reasoning was illegal. Now the argument appears to have been put to rest.

The state's Land Use Board of Appeals has agreed with the Central Eastside Industrial Council, which as long argued that the city's reasoning was awful. In a 69-page opinion [PDF] issued today, the board says Portland City Council overstepped when it ruled the rest area could move to the plot at SE 3rd and Harrison.

"A mass shelter and the proposed tent camp appear to provide the same basic function: overnight shelter and related services for houseless persons who otherwise have no place to sleep," the board wrote in the opinion. After a good deal of technical analysis about the nature of tent camps versus other types of shelter, the board found: "The city’s interpretations are inconsistent with the express language of the relevant [Portland City Code] provisions and for that reason alone cannot be affirmed."

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The Story of that Letter from Donald Trump's Doctor Just Gets Weirder and Weirder

This is all of the information the public has gotten about Donald Trumps health.
This is all of the information the public has gotten about Donald Trump's health. Trump Campaign Website

Remember this? The above letter—download Donald Trump's doctor's letter here—is the only information we have about the health of the man who would be the oldest person ever sworn in as president.

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If You're Thinking About Buying a Home in Portland, DO NOT BUY A HOME IN PORTLAND

Stop looking at this house; you cant afford it.
Stop looking at this house; you can't afford it.

From today's Seattle Times:

Home prices in the Northwest continued to climb at a double-digit pace in June compared to a year ago, easily twice the rate for the nation’s 20 largest metro areas.

Seattle home prices rose 11 percent, second only to Portland, where prices rose 12.6 percent, according to the Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday.

The article also goes on to state that Portland has topped the list of price gains for the last five months—even while other top markets have begun showing signs of slowing. Read the rest of this story here.

I was recently talking to a local real estate broker about rising house prices, and he had this to say about the current market in Portland: Developers and landlords will continue pushing prices higher and higher until the bubble eventually bursts—even though they know it will only hurt themselves and others. Why? Because the money is there now.

And it won't be after the bubble pops. In other words, it's kind of like this:


Shut Up About Trigger Warnings


A Mashup Using Scenes from The Avengers and Full House? Okay, Fine, I'm In!

Three cheers to YouTuber Zach for slapping together this mashup which depicts a world where The Avengers are in a Full House-style sitcom. Because... WHY DO YOU PEOPLE NEED REASONS FOR EVERYTHING? It's great, so enjoy!

Portland = Big in Japan

The interior of Paddlers Coffee, a Portland-themed coffee shop in Tokyo. (Records + wood paneling = Portland, apparently?)
The interior of Paddlers Coffee, a Portland-themed coffee shop in Tokyo. (Records + wood paneling = Portland, apparently?) Photo by Amelia Ayrelan Iuvino, via Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura just published a new article called "Why Portland-Themed Businesses Are Big in Japan," which documents the slightly strange phenomenon of Portland branding and esoterica in Japan and Tokyo in particular, the most populous metropolitan region on earth.

"Americans may be sick of those pretentious, self-involved Portlanders," writes Amelia Ayrelan Iuvino, who has also contributed to the Mercury, "but over in Japan, Portland's image carries a more profound meaning, and the Portland-style cafes and bars that are cropping up have personal significance to their owners."

Shots fired, Iuvino. Shots fired.

Iuvino cites a Portland-themed beer bar and a similarly Portland-themed coffee shop as examples of this micro trend, along with an upcoming branch of Voodoo Doughnut opening in Tokyo. But the article's explanation as to why Portland in particular has made an impact is surprising:

Matsushima traces the origin of the Portland-in-Japan trend back to 2011, when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused a huge tsunami that killed almost 16,000 people in Japan.

“It made people here start questioning how they’re spending their time and what they’re doing with their lives,” he says. “People in Japan are usually really career-oriented, but now some young people think, maybe we should do whatever we want with our lives too, like people in Portland.”

This appears to be a slightly nostalgic, rearview-mirror version of our city—the one epitomized by that well-known TV show and their "dream of the '90s" song. Of course, that Portland never really existed, not even 10 or 12 years ago. But it certainly feels a long way away from where the city is today, with a housing pinch, a significant gap between wages and housing costs, out-of-town investors, and a homeless crisis. The idea that this city is where young people go to retire, or whatever the cliché is, is significantly out of date.

Read the article on Atlas Obscura.

Get Your Tickets Now for Portland‘s “Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy” Show!

The Portland Mercury and Revolution Hall presents...

Portland comedy is BLOWING UP—and in this one-of-a-kind show you’ll see Portland’s funniest people (and hilarious up-and-comers) all on one stage. Stand-up comedians, funny music, improv, sketch comedy… all from Portland’s local undisputable geniuses!

Featuring stand-up from: Bri Pruett, Alex Falcone, Nariko Ott, Jason Traeger, Kirsten Kuppenbender, Katie Nguyen, Mohanad S. Elshieky, Marcus Coleman, and hilarious PowerPoint comedy from Phil Schallberger.

Plus! Sketch and improv from the Aces, the Liberators, and Bang + Burn, as well as music from the Doubleclicks.

Hosted by the Mercury’s Wm. Steven Humphrey.

And it all goes down at 8 pm on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 at Revolution Hall (1300 SE Stark)

Don’t miss the undisputable fun of THE UNDISPUTABLE GENIUSES OF COMEDY!


Savage Love Letters of the Day: Dammed If You Don't

A question, sir, if I may. I'm a bi guy in my forties who enjoys swinging the other way more and more. I rarely do anal, and am always safe when I do, but my question involves oral. I absolutely love giving head, but how exactly do I do this and stay safe? People say always use a condom. But do people give head with condoms? What am I exposing myself to by giving head bareback? I don't want to get some type or oral STI, obviously. Any advice?

Please Insert Terrifically Catchy Handle

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Good Morning, News: A Nude Interloper, A Nasty Old Mansion, and Olympus' Displeasure with Reindeer

ICYMI, more (predictable) drama over that proposed homeless shelter at Terminal 1. Now a business group is teaming up with developers and a Portland architect to challenge the city decision that could allow a "mass shelter" on industrial land. One of those developers had tried to purchase the property, the other has built three apartment buildings nearby.

No surprises here: Two Oregon universities, George Fox University and Multnomah University, find themselves on a list of "absolute worst" campuses in the country for LGBTQ students. That's because the schools have argued they're allowed to discriminate against students for being gay or transgender, as we reported last year.

I want so badly to have a favorite Gene Wilder movie at odds with the apparent cultural consensus, but Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was my joint. Rest in peace, Gene.

For his next proposed tax, City Commissioner Steve Novick reportedly wants to slap a new levy on companies that pay their CEOs exorbitant sums.

A City Club of Portland member used the club's online directory to email every member in support of a ballot measure campaign. The list apparently made its way to other ballot measure campaigns. The City Club does not like that one bit.

History-minded neighbors rallied to line a Portland developer's pockets by buying Northeast Portland's Ockobock Mansion, rather than allowing it to be torn down. Now they're mad about it, and accusing developer Vic Remmers of purposefully tearing up the home prior to the sale.

A Portland-based lead activist says Big Lead has launched a smear campaign that's gotten her booted from a nonprofit she founded. Big Lead's tentacles are everywhere (like in the water fountain at your kids' school).

Drunk driver kills a cyclist. Gets more than six years in prison.

The wrath of Zeus: Lightning murdered more than 300 Norwegian reindeer last week. There goes Christmas.

In a weird attempt to mute public outrage, the makers of the EpiPen now say they're going to make a generic version of their own product? And sell it at a slightly less-inflated price? While it's competing with their still-existing name-brand product?

If you haven't, read this story about a 25-year-old guy in Maryland bilking Donald Trump supporters who think they're giving to the campaign by entering a contest to have "Dinner with Trump."

BTW: Trump's a bit north today, in Everett, Washington. You can sate your daily Trump binge by perusing hundreds of documents from the man's past that the Washington Post put online.

Hillary Clinton is going deeeep when it comes to prepping for a debate with Trump in four weeks.

The perils of Eugene: You're trying to make a memory and a naked dude ambles into the shot with his dog. Senior picture complete.

Autumn approaches, my people.


The City Club of Portland is Investigating How Its Membership List Got Leaked to Three Campaigns

The City Club of Portland, a perennially weighty voice on pressing civic matters, has walled off a portion of its web site after a list of its membership was improperly shared with three political campaigns, the club's executive director tells the Mercury.

One of those campaigns—for state ballot Measure 99—recently sent an email to the club's members to influence a vote on whether to endorse or oppose the ballot item. Measure 99 would create funding for statewide "outdoor schools," and is at particular risk of being opposed by the City Club, after robust support for a "no" vote at the club's "Ballot Palooza" event last week.

Here's a snippet of an email City Club member and Audubon Society of Portland Executive Director Nick Hardigg sent out yesterday:

I’m writing to you today as a fellow Portland City Club member to ask for your support of Measure 99 – Outdoor School for All.

Originally the Ballot Measure Research Committee recommended a YES vote on Measure 99. Unfortunately, members at the meeting this past Wednesday were split and those favoring a NO endorsement won. Now it is up to us to reverse that decision so that City Club will not advocate against Outdoor School and Measure 99.

Hardigg then launches into a sales pitch, and urges members to vote in support of the measure in an online vote.

This type of mass lobbying is not the way the process is designed to work—and the club's membership roster is supposed to be shielded from being shared. City Club bylaws include a provision that states "use of the membership list is limited solely to facilitate the conduct of Club business."

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Today in Stupid: Giuliani Says He's Saved More Black Lives Than Beyoncé

Rudy Giuliani was on Fox & Friends this morning to discuss, among other things, Trump's moving-target immigration position. The panel also touches on Beyoncé's performance last night at the VMAs, a performance Giuliani called "a shame."

What's causing the consternation of the Fox & Friends crew is a vignette from the pop star's breathtaking and politically-charged medley from her visual album Lemonade, which took home a haul of 8 Moonmen at the awards show. In the vignette, set to album opener "Pray You Catch Me," Beyoncé is surrounded by a coterie of women, dressed in angelic garb, who collapse to the ground in pools of red light.

"That was supposed to symbolize cops killing black individuals,” Ainsley Earnhardt explains, helpfully. The Fox & Friends co-host also prefaces the conversation by saying she wants to ask Giuliani about "the war on cops," so you know right away this is going to be a balanced discussion.

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Right On, Colin Kaepernick: America's National Anthem Celebrates Racism and Slavery

"I have to stand up for people that are oppressed." Helga Esteb /

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick won't stand for America's national anthem, he says, because people of color are oppressed by police. He's being vilified by conservatives.

Seahawks defensive linesman Michael Bennett supports his right to protest however he sees fit.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

For instance, just this month, a Department of Justice investigation concluded that Baltimore's police department is unconstitutionally racist and violent.

Here's another reason not to stand for the anthem: Like the Confederate flag, it represents white supremacy. The song celebrates slavery and the vengeful killings of slaves seeking freedom.

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The Clinton Campaign Is Courting the Christian Left, Which Has Really Existed Since Reagan

Remember this Clinton campaign ad from four months ago? Did it have a religious vibe to you?

Maybe not overtly, but a New York Times piece from yesterday puts it in fascinating context.

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Gene Wilder is Dead; There is No More Good Left in the World

via Wikipedia

Get ready to bawl your goddamn eyes out: Gene Wilder, the comedic genius and star of such amazing films as Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and Stir Crazy, has passed away at age 83 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. From Variety:

His nephew said in a statement, “We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him “there’s Willy Wonka,” would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.

He continued to enjoy art, music, and kissing with his leading lady of the last twenty-five years, Karen. He danced down a church aisle at a wedding as parent of the groom and ring bearer, held countless afternoon movie western marathons and delighted in the the company of beloved ones.”

Read the whole thing here.

To say Gene will be missed in an understatement of the gravest sort. He brought so much joy and delight to the world, and we should all continue to reach for his beautifully high standards. Here's how I'll always remember him: