The Nose's extended sabbatical was bliss. He studiously ignored the so-called "news." The start of PopeQuest 2005, the latest tape from Tom DeLay's mountain hideout, Phil Busse's exciting vow to catch the real killers in the OJ case-El Schnoz missed it all. Instead, he watched a lot of Spike TV, especially that show that's all about blowing stuff up. Awesome.

But the bank account runs low. The in-laws are visiting. The bogus "hostile work environment" lawsuit has been settled. So Nostrilman sniffled back to WW's compound in the heart of downtown Portland's scenic Personality Disorders District, only to find general conditions largely unchanged.

Namely, discourse in the great state of Oregon continues to be dominated by the Nyah-Nyah People, a far-flung tribe united by a basic message: "We've got screw you." And Gov. Ted Kulongoski-a politician so wobbly that 19-year-old legislative interns are considering gubernatorial runs-continues to lead from positions defined by fear, empowering the Nyahs-Nyahs all the more.

The Nyahs-Nyahs notched a big win last week, when courageous tribesmen convinced the Oregon Supreme Court to block gay marriage. The brave crusade not only staved off a feared overload of Williams-Sonoma's wedding-registry system; it also upheld the Bible verse stipulating the Lord's will that joint-filing tax benefits be reserved for heterosexuals. So there, gays! Nyah-nyah!

Governor Ted flipped out when Multnomah County started issuing marriage licenses last year. Of course, the guv knows he'll need every last pinko metro-area vote (and the customary assist from the Libertarians) if he wants to keep living in Mahonia Hall after '06, so he is backing anti-discrimination legislation, which would allow Oregon to protect its gay citizens without causing civilization's overnight collapse.

Classic Kulongoski. Never one to be caught out in front of an issue, the guy shows political daring that seems to extend about as far as the nearest video slot machine.

In the case of slots, last month our Goobernator gingerly raised the idea that maybe lottery fees to restaurant and bar owners should be cut so schools could get more gambling money. Then, K-Man let the Lottery Commission-which should theoretically answer to him since he is, y'know, the governor-quibble him to death on its way to a deal that largely appeased the Oregon Restaurant Association. Nyah-nyah, kids!

To his credit, the guv has showed some steel. The inking of the deal earlier this month that allows the Warm Springs tribes to build a casino in the Columbia Gorge did show a twitch of boldness. And the Nose is less concerned about the nyah-nyahs that come from the anti-gambling types-Christ, that battle was lost so many years ago that it's hardly worth the oxygen it takes to respond-than he is from others who will nyah-nyah the Cascade Locks casino, specifically the enviros (come on, greenies, what's cleaner than craps?), and other tribes, specifically the Grand Ronde, who currently run the ATM machine known as Spirit Mountain and will no doubt kick, scream and pull every political trick in the book to make sure their casino remains the closest one to Portland.

Such is the state of the State-nyah-nyah! It's enough to make a Proboscis yearn for a new episode of Carpocalypse.