One senses the competitive spirit in Portland, Oregon, USA – by J. E. Boles

J. E. Boles

J. E. Boles

Someone brags that the city has the world’s highest per capita occurrence of brew pubs, but nobody checks the numbers.

Someone else brings up the World Naked Bike Ride, for which nobody can state the purpose, except that it is vaguely anti-consumerism.  Before you buy your plane tickets, know that the girls all wear bottoms.

A real numbers wonk says about 4,000 young people moved here in the last decade. With the small number of people voting, this group can sway any local election.

This is the place young people go to retire, quips someone else.

Home of Voodoo Donuts, a triumph of marketing to tourists, with a long line waiting outside 24 hours a day. How could a city, claiming to be hip, promote a form of fried bread?

Home of nearly a dozen marijuana stores, especially since the last election.  See the local papers for their ads.

The place where two big rivers come together.  The Willamette, rhymes with Goddamnit!  And the Columbia, the most radioactive river in the world, on account of Hanford Nuclear Reservation upriver, a relic of the Cold War. Dozens of big hydroelectric dams everywhere on both rivers and their tributaries, but some dams are coming down to give the salmon a chance to swim upriver to spawn.

On a clear day, five snow-covered volcanoes on the horizon, with four of them active.  Lots of people here keep track of earthquakes, for fear of more eruptions.  Or worse, The Big One, a 9.5 mb earthquake originating from an offshore fault line nobody ever hear of 20 years ago.  Those earthquake and tsunami scientists are getting really good.

Outside of Portland, the original Oregon immigrants hold sway. Their ancestors came on wagon trains, 1849-1852.  In Polk County, west of state capitol Salem, more than 102 families still live on farms founded then.  They are the landed gentry of the future, they hope.  They decry the Portland hipster.  Native Americans displaced by Europeans have become visible, what with their numerous casinos.  All it took was that gambling money, lots of it, for Native Americans to rebound.

In Portland, hipsters over the ages of 40 and 50 compete with these younger immigrants. “Hey, you brats, I was hip before you were born, and it was really difficult then!  In those days, we had to take change from our food stamps at the supermarket in little coupons, not real money, don’t you know!”

J. E. Boles is an author from Portland, Oregon, USA.

for more of her work, check out

Portlandia: The Back Side

This Guy Took A Walk Around Oregon. What He Filmed There Will Give You Chills (The Good Kind).


Christmas Tree on Portreath Beach Cornwall.

Christmas Tree on Portreath Beach Cornwall.

Forecasters said that the summer will return in the next few weeks; with a heatwave hitting the UK on Christmas Day, with the hottest area being Cornwall.

The hottest day recorded this year was 94F and could be smashed on Christmas Day, when a new batch of hot air rises from the southern hemisphere to the South-West and settling in Scotland .

Rex Winters of the Pool Weather Centre in Cornwall said “Well, there is a chance that it will be cold and raining like it always is on Christmas. But my brother Dave reckons we’re due a Heatwave, because we haven’t had one for ages! I looked at the barometer and it only predicts the weather for the next couple of days; which is cold and wet. But we’re pretty sure it’ll be a heatwave on Christmas Day. Dave’s pretty good at these things, I think he’s a bit psychic you know; last week he picked the winning lottery numbers and won ten pounds!”

Not everyone is sure there will be a heatwave on Christmas. London’s weather expert, Jill Frost said “Dave and Rex are off their tits if they think it’ll be hot on Christmas. It’s forecasted to be miserable as usual. The UK will see a few days of snow which will bring the whole of the UK to a stand still, followed by half of Britain posting photos of the snow on Facebook and the other half moaning about the photos”

This year has seen some very unpredictable weather. Earlier in the year the coastline took a beating, with the worst storms in twenty years. If Dave and Rex are right; the heatwave will go down in history as the hottest Christmas ever.


John Cheesman was caught with a Pasty down his pants.

John Cheesman was caught with a Pasty down his pants.

A Hayle man has lost his job at the Corner to Corner Pasty shop, after being caught with a Pasty down his pants. John Cheesman of Foundry Square is thought to have performed this weird act, as part of a sex game.

One of his friends said “Old Cheesy is a nice bloke, but he does some seriously strange stuff. Last year he tied a fishing line round his privates, put a hook on the line and went fishing off the estuary. When the fish started pulling on the line, he yelped out and quickly cut the string! I really have no idea what he was thinking. He also has a big obsession with stuffing things down his pants! One day he came round for tea, I left him in the kitchen for five minutes and when I came back, he had my sandwich down his drawers. I’m glad I caught him in the act, as if I didn’t see him, I would have eaten the bloody thing”

Neil Evans, the owner of the Corner to Corner Pasty shop said, “customers need not to worry, we have cameras all over the premises, we watched back through the security footage and that was the only time he has ever done this! He seemed like a nice chap, but I always thought he was a bit strange. On his tea break he would always go to the back garden of the shop. Holding a bit of fishing line, he would stand with his back to us, looking at our pond. Then all of a sudden, he would make a loud yelp noise and then come back to work with a big smile on his face! Then one day, he was late back from his break, he looked really depressed and when I asked what was wrong, he said “it’s terrible, I didn’t get a tug today”

A spokesman from the Pasty Institution of Standards and Safety or P.I.S.S. said “It is very rare for someone to tamper with Pasties. Shop owners follow strict procedures and face anything up to a jail sentence if they fail to meet health and hygiene standards. Mr Cheesman has some seriously wrong issues and I would be surprised if anyone ever employs that dirty bugger – ever again!

Sadly John was not available for comment, as he was down the job centre.


From Left; Dave Ferguson and Dan Richardson.

From Left; Dave Ferguson and Dan Richardson.

Two Camborne men won a Halloween fancy dress competition last weekend, when they both dressed up as sanitary towels. Dave Ferguson and Dan Richardson were very surprised when club goers voted them winners. Dan said “We certainly didn’t expect to win! To be fair we expected someone to get a bit funny about it, but everyone seemed to take it in good fun. The costumes were made by my mum and she wasn’t very happy about doing it. Mother drew the line at decorating them though, we had to do that ourselves!”

Dave and Dan in their winning costumes

Dave and Dan in their winning costumes

The Zone Nightclub, Redruth is one of Cornwalls longest running Nightclubs and is known for it’s themed nights and competitions. Club Manager Dave Bailey said; “the competition had a great turnout and almost all of the five hundred Clubbers were in fancy dress. The final consisted of the Marshmallow Man from the Ghostbusters, the Bride of Frankenstein; where a lady customised her wedding dress and the two guys dressed as Sanitary Towels.

When the finalists were called to the stage; Sanitary Towel Dan had to go on stage alone, as Dave was outside having a smoke.

The crowd were the judges and the DJ asked for them to cheer for their favourite costume. He then individually introduced the finalists. The Marshmallow Man and the Bride of Frankenstein both received a small cheer.

Dan was the last person to be judged, but before the DJ announced the last costume, he turned to the crowd and said “are you going to be a bunch of sick fu##s?” He then asked the crowd if they liked Dan’s costume, which was a six foot sanitary towel. The whole club erupted with one loud cheer, making Dan the winner. DJ Gary Roberts then waited for the room to fall silent, before turning to the crowd and shouting “you bunch of sick fu##s!” which got another big cheer!

The winners received seventy pounds in drinks vouchers to spend at the club.

Dan and Dave were delighted with their prize, Dan said “we often mess around and dress up for a laugh, this was a gamble, but it paid off! We might spend our prize money on Bloody Mary’s or something.”

Playing Pool in the Spice of Life Pub, next to the Zone.

Playing Pool in the Spice of Life Pub, next to the Zone.

The Zone Nightclub runs weekly drinks and entry promotions and will advertise their next themed night close to Christmas. It hosts a VIP area which is free to book for people celebrating their Birthday . VIP guests can choose some of the clubs music for the evening and the group will receive a free bottle of bubbly. The club is open throughout the year; every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10pm onwards.


Frankii Rogers holding her Pasty which has the face of Ian Beale burnt on it!

Frankii Rogers holding her Pasty which has the face of Ian Beale burnt on it!

A Redruth lady got a little more than she bargained for when she bought a Pasty from a shop in Truro. Because when Frankii Rogers tucked into her large steak; she found a picture of Ian Beale burnt into her Pasty, and if that wasn’t enough; he was actually crying!

Twenty year old Frankii said “I love a nice Pasty. I bought myself a Large Steak and was about to take a bite when I felt a sharp pain in my hand. I wasn’t sure what it was at first. I looked down and saw some gravy coming out the side. It was really weird because the Pasty looked fine apart from a circular burnt bit at the top. When I looked a little closer, the burnt bit looked like Ian Beale from Eastenders. I just couldn’t believe it. It was a bit off putting, you know; being Ian Beale and all. Then I realised the gravy was coming out Ian Beale’s eyes and he was crying!

Frankii took the pasty back to the shop where, owner Bernadette AKA Bernie took a photo, she couldn’t believe it either, she said “When the customer came back into the shop, I thought she was joking. I looked at the Pasty and it really did look like Ian Beale crying. I’m a huge Eastenders fan and I think it was a sign. I’m not sure what for, but it was definitely something.

Pasty expert, Dave James said “it’s very rare to get a face burnt into a pasty. People often see the face of Jesus on their toast and I have even seen a picture of Jesus on a goat’s ass. Although it’s very rare!”

Frankii is not alone. Ben Todman of Newquay had a similar incident, only he had a picture of Phil Mitchell on his Pasty. Ben said “Having Phil Mitchell staring at you whilst your trying to eat your dinner; is a real turn off! If it ever happens to anyone else, I suggest they just throw the Pasty away and buy another one! It’ll be the best thing you ever do!”

Ben Todman found a picture of Phil Mitchell on his Pasty.

Ben Todman found a picture of Phil Mitchell on his Pasty.


Jim Wearne Cornish American Folk Singer.

Jim Wearne Cornish American Folk Singer.

Looking way back, more than a half-century ago, I see a distant white farmhouse along a 2-lane road in rural Michigan. I’m in the back seat of my grandfather’s Buick with my brothers. No seatbelts in those days and, because he‘s the youngest, Tom has to sit on the “hump” in the middle. Windows open, (no AC back then) warm breeze flutters in as we get closer to the farmhouse. We pull into the dirt driveway and park under an old tree. Behind the house is a huge, red barn and I can see chickens, frightened by our arrival, scurrying around the back yard. We pile out and head for the open front-porch door. We three boys hang back a bit, bashful in the presence of a very old lady who we barely know, but are aware that she’s a relative of some sort. We’re city boys, and the farm is disorienting. Plus, although I don’t ever remember her speaking to me, I was aware that she talked sort of “funny.”
I don’t remember much else until lunchtime. I remember a kitchen with bright sunshine streaming through curtainless windows. I remember sitting at a grey Formica table. In front of me is a plate and, there on the plate, is something I had never seen before. Is it bread? It looks like a pie, sort of. It’s thick in the middle, and pointy at the ends. It’s steaming through slits in the top. And something smells really good.
I see the grownups cutting theirs in half. I do the same, and through the slash spills beef. Juicy chunks of beef. And potatoes. Little squares of potato. And something that looked a bit like potato, but not quite. Never mind – that could be pushed to the corner of the plate. I stuck a fork into the meat and looked at it closely, examining it for foreign or unknown spices or (worse) green vegetable traces. It was clean.
It looked hot, so I nibbled a morsel from the fork.
Oh. My. God.
I took a big bite – damn the searing of my palate. Potato next, with bits of onion clinging. Then a piece of crust. NO! No pastry has ever tasted so sublime! Lard! Suet! Beef drippings! Onion! All baked into a brown, crisp perfection.
I remember little of that lunch after that. Just the old lady, in her odd speech saying “ ‘es a shaam ‘e diddn like ‘en, eh?” I looked at my plate. Empty.
I’m sure that we went, after lunch, out to the yard and chased the chickens and tried to make the many cats get close enough to pet them. I remember being taken into the barn where there were cows. I expect that when we were put back into the car to head home, I slept the whole way.
My first pasty. Made by a cousin of my Grandfather, a lady who must have been 90 if a day, and who had left Cornwall for America easily seventy years before. Out in the middle of Southwestern Michigan, hundreds of miles from the seacoast, and then an ocean away from Cornwall, there was a bit of Cornwall. And I ate a pasty in it.

Jim Wearne is a Cornish-American Singer-Songwriter from North America, performing at Cornish Festivals in the U.S.A, and Cornwall. He is a Bard of the Cornish Gorseth and is known for his dedication to establish national status for Cornwall within the United Kingdom.