The Nose loves it when the cold frost of racism foams and sputters with the energy of a dropped can of Hamm's.

Saves him a lot of trouble when volk like Rami Makboul, the manager of the Vue nightclub, came out and wrote in an email that blacks belong in Northeast Portland, not downtown (see "The Whiter Vue,'' WW, Aug. 17, 2005).

And it was equally charming to see those four fine young cannibals in Gresham who last week demonstrated classic Aryan courage by threatening an African American at a convenience store with a machete. The Nose was particularly charmed by the gal, 22-year-old Ariane Celis, who had-in what was clearly a thoughtful career move-tattooed a swastika just below her eye.

You see, the Nose hates having to pick through all the code about black and white when channel-surfing in the Barcalounger or waiting for his Camaro to get the $29.95 special at the Jiffy Lube. Can't basketball broadcasters just come out and say "white player'' instead of using the code word "heady"? Or newspaper columnists just come out and write "black candidate'' when they feel compelled to note the politician is "articulate"?

The Schnozz much prefers his racial idiocy out front and in the open, like the Klanfest that white supremacists threw in the Gorge over the weekend.

Otherwise, it's too damn difficult to work through the issues and figure out what's racially tinged and what's not.

For example, is it just a coincidence that this city is run by five white guys, or is it because people of color still have trouble getting elected to office in the little big city that is Portland?

Does Detroit love Rasheed Wallace because he helped bring them an NBA championship or because that city is far more comfortable than ours with black men who seem unwilling to bow to their white massa?

Is North Portland's Jefferson High School potentially on the chopping block because it's losing too many students, or because nobody besides African Americans seems to give a damn about its fate?

Do cops and City Hall really only care about shootings when Muffy and Taylor have to dodge bullets downtown, or are they just as concerned about the threats that Taneesha and Kiwanda face every day in NoPo?

Is the Delta Cafe so popular because of its tasty, Southern-fried "soul food'' cuisine, or is it just that food tastes better to white people when it's enjoyed without black people around?

The Nose can't get up off the couch long enough to figure out these nuances.

All he knows is that when those coincidences start piling up like books at a Bund rally, it helps when some good folk do reveal their inner thoughts so we can awaken briefly from our slumber that Portland is some sort of racial Shangri-La.