Behavior patrol at a strip club is usually just a matter of some neckless hulk dispatching with the obnoxiously drunken. But for those who are only annoyingly tipsy, Sassy's Bar and Grill (927 SE Morrison St., 231-1606) provides a "thou shalt not" style tablet of commandments to keep the etiquette clear on stunts most bars would unfortunately let slide. No crying. No mussed hair or disheveled clothes if out of character. Sassy's even pulls the plug on that conspiracy-theory guy on the stool next to you, banning "irrational statements" and "loss of train of thought." Sound like joke rules? Just try lighting more than one cigarette at a time.

The Art Nucleus (1905 NW 26th Ave., 224-2582) has a knack for making you say, "Why didn't I think of that?" The gallery's February exhibit, 52, assembled artists from Portland and around the world to illustrate a playable deck of cards that would budge even the most unflinching poker-face. Project mastermind Travis Pond included 16 extra jokers but still had to turn away 40 potential contributors to the multimedia undertaking. Miamian Norberto Rodriguez's cut-and-paste photography re-envisions a sentimental five of hearts, while Portlander Gretchen Gammel watercolors a macabre three of spades. Hundreds of decks are still available at the Nucleus for only $20 apiece.

With any luck, the days of people trying to unload unwanted couches and broken televisions by leaving them on the sidewalk with a "Free" sign are gone. Now, thanks to Freecycle (, a Yahoo-based message board that's a project of RISE Inc., a nonprofit group working to reduce waste, there is a way to bring together people who want to get rid of stuff and give it to people who want free stuff. Started in Tucson in 2003, Freecycle now has groups in more than 1,000 cities, with some 7,500 members in the Portland network alone. Now if we could just figure out what to do with freeloaders.

Tacked to a telephone pole at the corner of North Lombard Street and Emerald Avenue, WW discovered a random 8-by-11-inch color copy of what is obviously a photo of a wedding sponsored by "The Peter Cetera Fan Club." While the true reasons for said photo's haphazard hanging remain obscure, certainly the duo's classic coifs are grounds enough for power-pole placement. The bride's bangs are sprayed into an admirable case of the "Clackamas Claw," while the groom sports what appears to be the top half of a fresh-whacked "Soccer-Rocker." And they say chivalry is dead. To quote Cetera, former frontman of Chicago, "I'll be the hero you're dreaming of...."

In an election season when mailboxes groan with glossy postcards pushing candidates in slogans heavy on cajolery and light on content, it's a relief to get a bit of candidate literature that makes a point of engaging its reader's intelligence. "Voter Advisory: Contains Actual Information" reads a warning on the eight-page pamphlet for City Council candidate Sam Adams that likely voters received before the May primary. The brainchild of local powerhouse consultant Mark Wiener, the pamphlet starts with lessons from Adams' hardscrabble childhood (complete with second-grade photo) and takes voters on a detailed tour of his achievements in city government--though it oddly glosses over his decade-long role as Mayor Vera Katz's chief of staff. What else is missing? Adams is coy. "What you really need is a category for Best City Council Candidate in a Dress," he says, "but I'm pretty sure I've tracked down and destroyed all those yearbooks."

Everybody suspected the Internet would eventually become the first place to turn for leftover dairy products, but who knew the future would come so soon? Semi-anonymous Portlander "Sarah" brings PDX to the vanguard of the online milk revolution with her posting for an unfinished gallon of Sunshine Foods 2 percent cow juice. Listed July 15 on the website's freebies section, the remains of Sarah's jug were up for grabs, with a preference to those bringing their own cups and cookies. The bulletin's already been deleted and the milk expired two weeks ago, but don't touch that keyboard--more groceries are just a click away.

Contrary to anything implied by Portland's stringent policies against community mural projects, graffiti art is not a crime. It's not cryptic gang code. It's not driven by a subversive plot to deface private property. Bothered by a lack of legal graffiti outlets in Portland--unlike in San Francisco or Los Angeles, where murals characterize the cityscape--Rumblefish music company founder Paul Anthony pitched the "Not A Crime" campaign to billboard company Clear Channel Outdoor and received enthusiastic response. In the coming year, Clear Channel will post nine graffiti artist-designed billboards to help dispel myths perpetuated by Portland's stifling policies. Look for the first, by Joker, later this month.

At the March rally for the anniversary of the Iraq invasion, this confused pro-war counter-demonstrator won our nod for best evidence that fox news has gained viewers.

Drivers go through the Southwest Hills like it was the Autobahn, making pedestrians scared for their lives. That is, until handmade signs mysteriously popped up urging speed freaks to slow down. First, one-word posters lined Broadway, piecing together the Burma Shave-style reminder "Just-Because-The-Road-Is-Straighter-Doesn't-Mean-Accelerator." Then, a new crop appeared, this time with kid art. One on Southwest Dosch Road depicted a momma dog urging her puppy to quickly cross the road before he got squashed. The caption read, "Do you like dogs? I used to have a dog." Students at Ainsworth and St. Thomas More elementaries are behind the second round of signs, organized by Southwest Hills Residential League President Pamela Settlegoode, who corralled art supplies from local businesses and convinced the schools to implement an "Art and Safety" curriculum. None of the signs has survived the weather, but rumor has it that "Anonymous Sign Maker No. 1" isn't letting drivers get off easy and has a whole new batch ready to pitch.

What kind of a thief would steal a houseplant? That's what Shirley Barley asked herself when she left for work one April morning to find her precious greenery missing from its usual place on the front porch. (The plant had belonged to Barley and her husband, Steve, for nearly 15 years.) So she did the only logical thing: tack have-you-seen-my-beloved-botanical? fliers all over her North Portland neighborhood. "I thought maybe if some kid had taken it, he'd see the flier and bring it back," Barley says. "But I didn't hold out much hope." Four months later, the plant-nappers--and the plant--remain at large. The flier still sparks one question for us: How close did Shirley get to climbing off the sentimental-value truck and boarding the obsession train? "The photo of the plant was cropped from one of the cat," she laughs. "I never took a picture of my plant by itself." Oh, that's good.

Missing-pet posters riddle most family-friendly neighborhoods. Be it a Pumpkin, Muffin or Teddy, the pictured pooch or feline always looks cute, nice and super-friendly. Not this missing cat. Identified as "Surely" (did the owner mean "Surly"?), his description sounds more like the feline belongs in a most-wanted lineup or in the back pages of WW than on a neighborhood telephone pole. It's only in Portland that you would find kitties who sling crack and ho' themselves. Only in Portland would they be missed, and only in Portland would someone have the sense of humor to post a missing poster for a sexually aggressive stuffed cat like "Surely."

Stumptown's telephone poles play host to an eclectic profusion of paper art (no matter how City Hall tries to stop them), from cut-and-paste band posters to forlorn lost-and-found signs. But since early spring, the poles that stand sentinel at the gritty corner of Northwest 19th Avenue and Northrup Street have hosted a stranger, softer crew: a scrappy menagerie of whimsical beasts crafted from a neon rainbow of furry fabric. Every few weeks, a new lime-green kitty or tiger-striped dog is staple-gunned to one pole, while across the street what looks to be a pink raccoon and an unidentifiable red triangular creature--maybe it's a bat--hang out. The employees at the nearby Les Schwab Tire Center and Pro Photo Supply are keeping their mouths shut, but WW figures if we keep baiting the corner with bags of JoAnn Fabrics remnants, we'll catch our zookeeper sooner or later.

For more fantastical fabric art, take a gander at Alicia Paulson's sweet li'l line of handbags and accoutrements, called Posie: Rosy Little Things (Ella/Posie Boutique, 2337 E Burnside St., 236-2933, They're not as weird, but just as cool.

Inside "Best of Portland 2004"