Honoring Chavez

Renaming 39th Avenue Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard would cost Portland $86,000, reported The Oregonian last week. Meanwhile, the state is billions of dollars in the hole. Education and other government services are being cut to compensate for the deficit.

Satire at its finest

Chuck Palahniuk’s novels are always different than the run of the mill. Pygmy, however, is even more outlandish than his usual stories. There are no fight clubs or sex addicts. There are no reincarnations or porn stars. There are no deadly lullabies or plane crashes.

Shut up and drive

This week Oregon lawmakers are voting on whether or not to ban talking on a handheld cell phone and text messaging while driving. If it passes, we will be the sixth state in the United States to pass such a prohibition. Bluetooth headsets or other hands-free devices would still be legal.

A compendium of malaise

Three Middle-Aged Literary Men Lamenting Their Youth would be a more appropriate title for Keith Gessen’s debut novel. Instead, he has chosen to title it All the Sad Young Literary Men, and while that isn’t entirely accurate, it still hints at the general malaise portrayed within the novel’s pages.

Unnecessary patrolling

What is Oregon’s latest plan to fill the ever-expanding state deficit? Speeding tickets. Last week The Oregonian published an article that said, after six years without, Oregon State Police troopers will resume around-the-clock coverage on Portland’s suburban highways.

Twittering For Jobs

Even before the economic crisis, most businesses have a continual stack of fresh applicants. Now, as those numbers stretch into the hundreds, job hunters may need to be a bit more innovative and hip.

Experiments in perspective

Reading Kevin Brockmeier’s The View From the Seventh Layer is like drinking a jolt of caffeine for the imagination. There aren’t any real plots or twists in the stories, but they’re interesting, with imaginative premises.

Good grades aren’t enough

President Obama’s plans to make college more affordable show that his heart is in the right place. Hopefully this means he will address the other problem that is preventing people from being able to access higher education.

Going digital

Portland State should take a page out of Missouri College’s book by getting rid of all textbooks. According to NPR, Missouri College is the first higher education institution to completely discard physical textbooks and rely solely on e-textbooks.

Hopelessly Chasing Windmills

This is not a love story. This is a tale about desperation. That is how Catherine Ryan Hyde’s Chasing Windmills should be marketed. Instead, it’s depicted as a love story similar to West Side Story.

A Sonata to put you to sleep

Rarely can one find a novel as predictable as Linda Olsson’s Sonata for Miriam.

The last thing Adam Ankler’s teenage daughter, Miriam, tells him before she dies is to have an adventure. He complies by going to a local museum, which conveniently has an old letter that catches his eye. It was written from a loving sister searching for her long lost brother who fled Poland during World War II. The brother just happens to have Adam’s birth name and be from the same town where Adam was born. Could it be a long lost father? One year following his daughter’s death, Adam embarks on a journey to Europe to find out.