Monthly Archives: October 2003

Everyone needs to see this:

"DELAND, Fla., Nov. 11 - Something very strange happened on election night to Deborah Tannenbaum, a Democratic Party official in Volusia County. At 10 p.m., she called the county elections department and learned that Al Gore was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000. But when she checked the county's Web site for an update half an hour later, she found a startling development: Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000--all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters."

Halloween is in seven nights, so I thought I'd count down with seven scary movies. We just finished watching tonight's feature, The Sixth Sense. The rest of the list:

Stir of Echoes
(hey, gotta have comic relief)
The Ring
The Amityville Horror
(more comic relief)

I had to narrow down the list from about 30 scary movies I pulled out of the collection. I love this time of year.


I keep a restaurant blog just so Bill and I can keep track of our culinary adventures around the area. I thought this one was worth reposting here:

Appetizer: Vegetable dumplings, steamed
Bill: Ma po tofu
Kitty: Sweet and sour pork
Veggie fried rice for both
Cost: would have been about $30

Uh, no.

The decor is pretty, though a bit overdone. The waiters, though green, are attentive. But the food.

There really was nothing wrong with the dumplings. I'm allergic to large amounts of ginger (and it tastes awful to me), so I passed, but Bill enjoyed them very much. Not so with the tofu, which was too salty and had little to counteract that taste. The S&S was very fatty, and grossed me out after a few pieces. The fried rice had a smoked flavor added, and was also very greasy.

And then it hit me.

Well, he hit me. I was getting ready to pay the bill, when one of the waiters swung an empty tray and connected quite solidly my skull, just behind my left ear. I almost went down, and I'm ashamed to say I was a bit cranky with the waiter (who felt awful--I don't really blame him). We got our meal for free, but boy howdy, we are so never going back.

Quote from the evening:

Waiter: I'm so sorry, is there anything I can do?
Kitty: Don't hit me again. And go away.

I recovered my manners soon after, but I still feel kinda bad about the "go away". I have a nice sore spot on the back of my head today.

Also, I'm beginning to wonder if Bill and I just don't like Chinese food. We can't seem to find a place downtown that we really like. We used to order delivery from Ming's, but we made the mistake of actually eating at the restaurant once, and it put us off. I dunno, maybe it's us.


Every Portlander knows that Hawthorne Boulevard is a fun place to hang out, and that the Hawthorne Bridge is lovely and pedestrian friendly. But do they know anything about James C. Hawthorne, after whom these things were named?

Hawthorne is a true hero, not only of Oregon history, but of America's psychiatric history.

In the 1850s, when a mentally ill person was discovered, they were rounded up, judged insane or not by a jury, and remanded to the care of an individual. The patient's belongings were sold to help pay for care, and the rest of the burden was shared between the county or State, and the caretaker. Contracts for care were renegotiated yearly. It was an extremely burdensome process, no good for either caretakers or patients, and caused endless tugs-of-war between the counties and the State for funding.

In 1861, Dr. James C. Hawthorne put in the only bid for the care of the mentally ill, and won the contract easily. He founded his Oregon Insane Hospital in temporary quarters on SW Taylor between 1st and 2nd, moving later to a permanent home at what is now 12th and Hawthorne. The street was called Asylum Avenue at the time.

Hawthorne ran his hospital with caring and diligence, earning high marks from even the critical Dorothea Dix, a pioneer of psychiatric care. Hawthorne was endlessly scrutinized by the State, as his hospital was expensive to run--at one time taking half the State budget! Nonetheless, he was always able to show a good cure rate, which he attributed to the excellent location (at the time, it was a wooded setting on the edge of town) and conscientious care. Often, when patients were well enough to leave but had families far away, Hawthorne would pay for their transportation back home out of his own pocket, so they didn't just end up on the streets of Portland--and often back in his care because of it.

He also paid personally for the burial of 132 of his patients at Lone Fir, Portland's first cemetery. Hawthorne himself died in 1881, and is buried in the same section as his patients.

A History of Psychiatry in Portland
A Self-Guided Tour of Lone Fir Cemetery
Oregon Public Library Online History Project
Oregon Department of Human Services

Seven towering policemen filed into the elevator behind me.

First policeman: You've got to stop dating my wife. I've got you in this elevator, there's nowhere you can run!

Second policeman: That was your wife? Yow.

Third policeman: You can keep seeing my wife. I don't mind.

I've had a bee in my bonnet about Portland history lately. I have many questions and ideas, but the first thing I wanted to address was why was the police force replaced twice in the space of of two years?

I suspected an interesting story, and I was right. It revolves around then-Mayor Sylvester Pennoyer, aka "Silpester Annoyer." He'd already been governor for two terms--you'd think we'd learn. But no. This charismatic rapscallion became Mayor at the age of 65, and per his usual M.O., he was iconoclastic, eccentric, loud, and brooked no dissent.

Pennoyer was Mayor during the presidential election year of 1896. McKinley stumped for the republicans (and found considerable favor with The Oregonian), and Bryan was the Dem, and in deep cahoots with the Populist party. The election was about coinage. Bryan was campaigning for "free coinage", meaning he wanted to take us off the gold standard of the time. To paraphrase a contemporary editorial: "We now have a 200-cent dollar. Under Bryan's plan, it will be a 100-cent dollar--half the value! Is there any question about this math?"

Silpester was a Bryan man, and wanted everyone within his reach to vote the same way. Members of both the police and fire departments were threatened with firing if they did not become "bryanized". Indeed, that's exactly what happened--those who were intent on voting for McKinley were sacked, and replaced with firefighters and patrolmen of questionable competence.

I'm still in the middle of the saga, and need a bit more time with the microfiche. There are still gaps to be filled--did Mayor Mason put the old police force back in? What happened to Pennoyer? What happened to everyone after McKinley won the election?

This, and the Kenealy murder, are on my list.

Related, Bix! shares my interest in history, and has some great entries. Also, for an engaging overview, I've just started Jewel Lansing's Portland: People, Politics, and Power, 1851-2001.


Dear California,

You're my hero.

It seemed that the bullies would never stop. They said I was full of halfwits. That I was corrupt. I was even called the "armpit" of the country. I know words shouldn't hurt me, but they do. Thank you for stepping up to the plate. It's courageous of you to take on the laughingstock mantle. You'll always have my admiration and gratitude.

Your friend,