Best Way to Go Gonzo for Goonies
The year: 1985. Director Richard Donner blessed humanity with The Goonies, the greatest film ever shot in the state of Oregon (with the exception of, maybe, Drugstore Cowboy or Dr. Giggles). Sure, you could celebrate the 20th anniversary of this immortal classic by heading down to your local Hot Topic for an "I Love Chunk" T-shirt, but why do that when the "Goonies House" is within a short drive of Portland? The place still stands on a hill overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River (368 38th St., Astoria). Its current owner, Sandy Preston, allows fans to march up the steep private driveway in order to pay homage. Just don't expect the Truffle Shuffle to earn you an all-access pass: Preston currently doesn't offer tours.
Best Wedding Present for a (Comic) Stripper
Your best friend's getting married and you don't know what to get her. After all, she's such a character. But a comic-strip character? When Cathy Guisewite married off the heroine of her nationally syndicated comic strip Cathy last winter, she knew fans would want to bless the cartoon couple with the perfect gift. That's why she turned to the Portland-based website TheBigDay.com to set up a real-life gift registry for her sassy, sardonic character. TheBigDay.com doesn't specialize in cartoon weddings-it actually caters to couples eager to let their guests pay for their honeymoon instead of the traditional mismatched set of impractical kitchen appliances, dividing gifts into chunks of airfare, hotel stays, and activities from scuba lessons to camel rides. But in Cathy's case, it benefitted Pet Orphans of Southern California to the tune of $25,000. What's next? Civil-union presents for Lucy and Peppermint Patty?
Best Place to Have a Pint with a Former Mayor (who's not Bud Clark)
Portlanders itching for a glance at former Mayor Vera Katz are in luck, as Katz has taken up residence in the South Park Square apartments, just off the Portland State University campus. On the ground floor is McMenamins' Market Street Pub (1526 SW 10th Ave., 497-0160), which provides lunchtime succor to PSU's faculty and students. So it makes perfect sense that Katz-who now holds a faculty position at PSU-is seen lunching at the pub weekly. Go, Vikings! Go, Vera!
Best Blog for Wonks and Hackers
The once and still-reigning local king: Jack Bog's Blog (bojack.org). Sure, other worthy contenders exist in Portland's online commentariat (just take a look at the readers' poll, page 64). But Bogdanski gets the nod because he knows to leaven his posts with wickedly funny humor that's just as likely to riff on Rasheed Wallace as it is to puncture the latest pomposity from City Hall or Salem. A newspaper reporter 30 years ago in his native New Jersey and now a popular Lewis & Clark tax-law professor, Bogdanski is entering his fourth year of blogging after thinking over the past year about giving it a rest. But relax, Jack Bog fans. Straight from Jack himself: "Let's face it, we are hopelessly addicted to this. So, on with the show.''
Best Care Bears for Abused Kids
Migima Designs' family of dolls seem crafted to appease a lefty's sensibilities. The dolls' hand-stitched eyes and well-knotted yarn hairstyles are sewn by American hands, not pieced together in overseas sweatshops, and they're available in three skin shades. But what makes the orifically correct dolls so special is their use in counseling sessions, legal investigations and court trials to help victims accurately describe acts of sexual abuse. Migima, the 25-year-old Oregon company that developed the dolls, sells some 60 sets annually ($349 for a family of four, 244-0044, www.migima.com), about half of which are sold to courts and cop shops in other countries. The mini crime-fighters, which come equipped with tiny penises, vaginas and pubic hair, may freak out lovers of smooth, inpenetrable Barbies and Kens, but they're comforting playmates for kids truly in need.
Best Outsourcing to an Inanimate Object
While Portland's finest chase down every last methamphetafiend this side of Tijuana, some lesser offenses have gone unchecked. Tired of seeing drivers use the rural highway in front of his home as a raceway, Rick Pyburn of North Albany developed an ingenious way to instill law into the lawless heart: He built a plywood cop car in his front yard. Pyburn says the two-dimensional cutout-adorned with a picture of grinning Officer Rick inside-psychologically decelerates leadfoot drivers. "Even people that drive by every day," Pyburn says. "People are respecting it. It's a reminder." Well, most people are respecting it, anyway. A few months back, someone stole Pyburn's decoy, which turned up a while later six miles from home. Pyburn assumes some teenagers took it for a joyride. Undiscouraged, Pyburn just made more and started a website (www.silhouettesrus.com) where you can buy a faux sheriff's cruiser for $659 plus shipping. While cheaper than hiring a living, breathing rent-a-cop, the plywood cop car may be a little pricey for most. But have no fear: Pyburn is devising a DIY kit (just add plywood) that will sell on the website for about half the cost. Park it in front of your North Portland bar or your Lake Oswego lakefront estate. Wherever you put it, the long, wooden arm of the law will extend.
Best Places to Spend Taxpayer Money
By the time Don Mazziotti, the high-rolling former executive director of the Portland Development Commission, resigned this spring, he'd stuck Stumptown with a food bill for $12,924. That's no small feat for a quasi-public servant. After The Oregonian disclosed Mazziotti's penchant for living large on the public dollar, WW decided to track down the Don's favorite places to wine and dine on the taxpayers' dime. The biggest repeat offender on our list: Hye's Deli Park (2020 SW 4th Ave., 222-5437), where common deli fare is the name of the game, as is convenience: The PDC liked to call ahead orders for their meetings. Try the Caribbean Chicken Salad, a Thursday special, and a particular favorite of Mazziotti's. The Don had a taste for fancier fare, too: The Heathman (1001 SW Broadway, 241-4100) is the definitive location to discuss a no-bid contract over Oregon mussels in a tomato-white wine broth. Downtown's old-guard dining experience was an occasional meeting room for Mazziotti and company, who enjoyed celebrated chef Philippe Boulot's French-Northwest fusion along with a healthy spot of wine-a perfect example of what happens when public servants begin to refer to government cheese as le fromage du gouvernement.
Best Betrothed Bovines
July 19, 2005, struck hot and clear-the perfect day for a classic underdog story. With the major papers full of legislative drudgery and terrorism, plucky upstart The Asian Reporter (www.asianreporter.com) ran an important story from way, way outer-southeast: Thailand. "Rare dwarf cattle married in traditional ceremony" blared the bold front-page headline announcing that stunted Thai cows Thong Khaow and Thong Kham had just been wed. For the Thai, this was as if Katie Holmes had dumped Tom Cruise for Karl Rove, who then leaked information about their sex life. In a year when same-sex couples had a hard time getting benefits, it's good to know cows are finding nuptial satisfaction.
Best Spot to See the Guv with his Mouth Full
If you run into Gov. Ted Kulongoski at Chopsticks restaurant (3616 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 231-9898), don't bother trying to score a quick death-row pardon-Ted's mouth will likely be stuffed with peanuts and rice noodles: "He always gets the pad Thai," says Chopsticks owner Phuong Hoang. Hoang is the smiling guy shaking hands with an equally beaming Kulongoski in the almost impossibly huge picture that graces Chopsticks' front window. Hoang's enthusiasm for the guv is almost as large as the picture: He remembers the exact number of times the K man has graced his restaurant (six) and can recall the orders of his wife (curry) and daughter (stir-fry).
Best League of Extraordinary Ladies
This year, the League of Women Voters of Portland (310 SW 4th Ave., 228-1675, www.lwvpdx.org) showed off some increasingly shapely muscle. The nonpartisan political organization's scrupulous research sent the Portland Development Commission back to the drawing board to consider a way to reconfigure the River District Urban Renewal Area to share the Pearl District's wealth with long-suffering Old Town. It also supported publicly financed campaigns, backed the city's departure from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and reminded us all not to mess with the misses. You go, girls!
Best Source for Political Scuttlebutt
To stay on top of Oregon politics these days, a lot of people are turning to the Web, everything from blueoregon.com for progressives to oregonwatchdog.com for regressives-but there are some darn good free newsletters out there, too. One of the best is put out by the Oregon AFL-CIO, with both news and analysis written by the labor federation's Tim Nesbitt, one of the smartest men in Oregon politics, as well as by former WWer and noted gal-about-town Patty Wentz. To sign up go to www.oraflcio.org.
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