U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) sent Oregon House Democrats a late valentine last week when he came out in favor of a tobacco-tax increase the D's are trying to pass over Republican opposition. (Note to Smith: Don't expect any sweet nothings from your fellow R's.)

Give Volodymyr Golovan credit for creativity. The man accused of masterminding a signature-forgery scheme that duped Portland elections officials out of $145,000 has woven a tale that attributed his inability to pay for a defense lawyer to his "low sperm count," according to the Portland Tribune.

Maybe the Trail Blazers' secret attendance-boosting strategy is to have an entire roster of local players so friends and family can buy up all the Rose Garden's empty seats. Not that we're complaining about last week's trade for hometowner Freddy Jones, who now joins Portland's Ime Udoka and Vancouver's Dan Dickau.


Maybe plastic-container manufacturers (see Rogue of the Week, WW, Jan. 31, 2007) can spike their products with booze to ease the pain. Last week, the state's Environmental Quality Commission rejected their request to water down recycling regulations.

As if diaper duty weren't enough of an indignity for harried parents, a TriMet driver kicked off 36-year-old Joseph Bullock in Sherwood last Saturday for trying to change his 2-year-old's diaper on board the bus. Injury was added to insult when the man hurt his leg while trying to chase down the bus.

From the school of hard knocks comes this lesson for Girl Scout Troop 2338: Trust no one. As the troop was peddling cookies last Friday at the Fred Meyer on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, a man ran off with an envelope containing $500. The upside? Fred Meyer has agreed to replace the stolen money.