Things To Do In PDX

These can be done in no particular order geographical or otherwise:

(a) Go to Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown; ask a stranger where you can hear your echo.

(b) Visit the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens:

(c) Eat dim sum (visit Yelp, etc. to consider your choices).  This will give you a chance to see Chinatown as well.  There are tours of the underground passageways, etc. associated with the “shanghaing” of sailors.

(d) Visit the Rose Gardens/Hoyt Arboretum/World Forestry Center (these are all roughly in the same area of PDX).

(e) Visit OMSI:

(f) Spend some time at the greatest bookstore on the planet – Powell’s:

(g) Hang out in NW Portland; lots to do, food to eat, things to buy, etc. (though it has suffered from gentrification over the years).  Many of the names of the characters from “The Simpsons” come from streets in NW.  When I write “hang out,” what I really mean is walking 23rd, 21st, etc. and getting a feel for the place; it still has a wonderful vibe to it.  Catch a movie at the artsy “Cinema 21” – a favorite old haunt of mine.  Lots of night life here.

(h) Visit the Baghdad Theater and Pub (part of the “McMenamins Empire” as I call it):

(i) Voodoo Doughnuts!

(j) Visit Waterfront Park.

(k) Pittock Mansion – where you will not only see a beautiful home from the early 20th century (with all that entails), but great views of the city (great views of the city can also be found at the Rose Gardens).  The Pittocks were instrumental in the foundation of Portland.

(l) During the summer there is “Trek in the Park” – where performers stage episodes of the original series in the park.

(m) Portland Art Museum, which has a great permanent collection (particularly of objects related to the native peoples of the NW).

(n) Drink from a Benson Bubbler (one of the many water fountains in downtown PDX – they were put in place the temperance movement in the early 1900s as a means to cut down on the drinking of alcohol – it obviously didn’t work).

(o) The numerous and beautiful public fountains of PDX:

(p) The Oregon Zoo (during the summer they have a concert series there):

(q) Portland Saturday Market – really a must see:

(r) Go bowling:

(s) Eat at the Wildwood (possibly the coolest farm to table restaurant I know of):

(t) Some places to drink that I haven’t already mentioned:;;;


I am re-reading the whole of Plato’s “Dialogues” (trans. Hamilton and Cairns), something which I haven’t done in over a decade. First up, the “Apology” of course.

As it is a new year…

…I thought I should post something. 🙂

What I Am Reading

Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital and European States: 990-1992

Sitta von Reden, Money in Classical Antiquity

Umberto Eco, Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages

Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules

Glencoe, Tillman and Mimetic Desire

I watched “The Tillman Story” for Veteran’s Day.  What struck me most were the sorts of institutional processes associated with the after action reporting of events.  If I have time I’d like to explore the parallels between the investigations of the Tillman incident and the Glencoe massacre (1692)  through the lens of Girard’s concept of mimetic desire.  If I don’t get around to that I at least wanted to put that thought out there.


“The organization and development of fisheries was a matter of politics.  It meant competitive exploitation of water resources and manpower, and here the princes and landowners stepped in; already in the twelfth century the piscatura was a form of lordship along the coast, on rivers and lakes, jealously guarded against encroachments by poachers, and protected from overfishing by bans on certain kinds of net.  The fish itself was an acceptable token of power, and could be paid in tribute or tithe; the islanders of Oland, off south-east Sweden, made their sole acknowledgment of loyalty to the king of Uppsala by sending him an annual present of herring, and in the 1170s Bishop Absalon of Roskilde let the Slavs of Rugen present him with a single fish in recognition of his sea-patrols, which enabled them to bring in their catch unmolested.  When the warriors of the king of Poland reached the Pomeranian coast in 1107 they sang of their conquest in this terms:

Salted fish and stinking, once theought us from afar,
Now the boys have caught ’em fresh, and all alive they are!”

Eric Christiansen, The Northern Crusades, pg. 13-14

For most of human history the relationship between other animals and humans has been a highly charged one; much of mythology, folklore, etc. is based on it, and it isn’t surprising that everything from fish to unicorns to lions to dragons to etc. figure in heraldry, etc.  For example the pelican (which in the Middle Ages was said to pluck the flesh from its own breast)  was analogized to Jesus on the cross throughout much of Christian history; and Shakespeare uses the pelican as a means to describe the relationship between King Lear and his errant daughters:

Death, traitor! nothing could have subdued nature
To such a lowness but his unkind daughters.
Is it the fashion, that discarded fathers
Should have thus little mercy on their flesh?
Judicious punishment! ’twas this flesh begot
Those pelican daughters.


Happy Halloween!

New Books

I keep forgetting to update what I am currently reading; so here it goes.

Eric Christiansen, The Northern Crusades (1997).

Susan Brand’s translation of Lucan’s Civil War (1992).  In the mid-1990s I read the translation by Graves.  It is less well known than the work of Virgil and Ovid, but every bit its equal in my opinion.


“She did the right thing with such precision, such complete precision, that Aniysa Fyodorovna, who had at once handed her the handkerchief she needed for the dance, had tears in her eyes, though she laughed as she watched the slim, graceful countess reared in silks and velvets and so different from herself, who yet was able to understand all that was in Aniysa and in Anisya’s father and mother and aunt, and in every Russian man and woman.” –  Tolstoy, War and Peace, trans. L. and A. Maude (1998), p. 546


alterius non sit qui suus esse potest

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