Portland State class of 2013: congratulations! You’ve navigated the byzantine web of university admissions procedures, student loan applications and degree course requirements!
Democracy, you make fools of us all. Did you throw back your ringleted hair in laughter when Athens cast itself for all-consuming war with Sparta? Did it cross your changeable mind to intercede in the trial of Socrates? Were you sunk stone-drunk into a bed of silk cushions when Rubicon-crossing Caesar cast you into centuries’ abeyance?
Who are the kings and masters of U.S. politics? Who lowered taxes and tore down trade barriers? Who led the nation to a new morning of 1980s prosperity and sunshine after the downward spiral of Carterist malaise? Who stood idly by as crack cocaine and gang violence razed American cities to the ground?
To each age its own Terror. The ancient Egyptians succumbed to the predations of the obscure Sea Peoples; the Greeks just managed, by naval ingenuity, to stave off the overwhelming might of the Persian Empire; for centuries the Romans stood shaky watch against the cross-border incursions of beer-swilling hairy blond Germanic barbarians.
I have many fond memories of my idyllic childhood in the rolling hills and flowing rills of the Ozark Mountains: tramping down muddy creek beds under the spreading green wild-fern canopy; indulging my prepubescent predilection for the congealed molasses sweetness of pecan pie; setting afire castoff Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures for no reason.
Death settles nothing. It turns out the lights on a life, but a putting-to-rest never puts what’s done to rest.
To quote Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The vortex of self and society that we call “now” is only the end-state of past actions.
Beer is totally awesome. There is no contrary position. Aside from providing much-needed refreshment and readily digestible carbohydrates, there ain’t nothing better to go with your Humboldt Fog cheese course and moules-frites entree. We needn’t mention the sweet elixir’s well-attested power to reduce anxiety, promote feelings of contentment and well-being and make your person more attractive to the opposite sex.Or the same sex, if you prefer. Beer is a famously inclusive and egalitarian adult beverage.
Walk to the nearest window, throw open any curtains or cheap aluminum blinds that block your view of the outside world and crane your neck upward. What do you see?
The international scientific community had a unique cause for celebration in March. The European Organization for Nuclear Research—known by its French acronym, CERN—announced in March that the 125-giga electron-volt particle recorded by researchers at Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider during an experiment last summer was in fact the elusive Higgs boson.
We agree that our city is far and away the world’s greatest. Paris of the Cascades; gateway to the Willamette Valley’s tight-plotted orchards and sprawling vineyards; land of milk and honey and high-gravity Imperial Pale Ale: Portlanders live nestled in one of the most charmed corners of planet Earth.
Reader, you are cowed. Your head is bowed. Your legs quiver and shake like reeds in the wind. And your eyes turn shifty over your shoulder with every halting step. Citizen of the United States of America, you are no longer invincible. Bearded jihadis stalk you, ululating in the night; stocky, brown-skinned individuals mount a slow and steady assault on your job security; the 1.7-billion-strong Red Chinese Menace grows fatter, lazier and more automobile-dependent. In 10 years’ time they will surpass America in every metric of the human development index. They’ve already tied us in the number of Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises they have.