David Raffin

Minty Rosa, Pretty Please

Once it starts it never stops. The album is driving. No dead spots. There are very few perfect albums – albums like the first Ramones record, NoMeansNo’s Wrong, Rikk Agnew’s All by Myself – albums that inspire a desire to listen over and over again. Pretty Please by Minty Rosa is such an album. The voice is melodic and strong, punctuated with feeling. The music is punchy and heavy. An irresistible mixture of driving hard rhythm and melody, and at times slow and bluesy, the album manages to sound simultaneously vintage and modern. This is the second release from the band and the first full album. The production value is very high, the sound clear and powerful. The members of Minty Rosa have been playing for years in various bands in the northwest music scene and the experience shows clearly on this release.

No Excuses

No Excuses

by David Raffin from the book Rhyme or Treason 

Dear friend,

If ever I use you as a personal reference, please do not tell the interviewer about the time I burned down that orphanage.

If you do, at least have the decency not to tell them I laughed.

I do not think I am asking too much.

You know I had my reasons. While you understand that my heart is not hardened, you also surely understand my sense of fiscal responsibility. While I am not made of stone, neither am I made of gruel. When a child asks for more sometimes it is just too much for me.

I try to avoid all such issues completely during job interviews. I find it is best to focus on the positive. My track record. My accomplishments. My hobbies. I mean, I do tell them about the orphanage—I just don’t tell them I burned it down. And I certainly don’t tell them I laughed. All I’m asking is that you follow my lead. Back me up here.

If it comes up, when it comes up, I try to handle it to the best of my professional abilities. I wonder aloud who was really harmed by such an action. I mean in the big picture. I also pose the question: who was harmed more by my action, the children or me? Who’s sorrier now? On whose shoulders did the repercussions fall? I think we all know the answer to that.

Luckily I am more well suited to bear this burden than the children ever could’ve been, with my greater maturity and grander sense of purpose and civic duty.

Really. Just don’t tell them. It will work out better that way.

They are never happy to hear about it. You wouldn’t want to make someone, some stranger, unhappy for no real reason —would you?

Frankly that’s not the kind of person I thought you were. I know that’s not the kind of person I picture myself as.

[amazon asin=B002OHD220&template=iframe image]


Sonny Bowl, Portland food cart (vegan)

While I was sitting near the John Reed Bench in Portland, OR, I ate a meal I carried there from Sonny Bowl. You know, while I fomented revolution.

The number Two, Sonny Bowl, Portland, OR

The number Two, Sonny Bowl, Portland, OR

Located at SW 3rd Ave & SW Washington St, Downtown, Sonny Bowl is one of Portland’s now ubiquitous parking lot food carts. But it is an all vegan food cart.

I ordered “The Two.”

the Two
Chickpeas, mixed vegetables sauteed in pineapple-agave curry sauce, and kale salad tossed in citrus-ginger dressing. Garnished with almonds, raisins, and cinnamon and served over brown basmati rice. $7/$4

The full menu is available here.

It was the best meal at a Portland food cart I have so far eaten. And I have eaten, I don’t know… at least 6 previous Portland food cart meals. Because I only eat at Portland food carts when in Portland. Because that’s where the food carts are.

Sonny Bowl, Portland, OR

Sonny Bowl, Portland, OR

Portland’s communist bench

Disclaimer: This article is about a communist plot.

Recently in Portland, OR I waited in line to sit on the communist bench. The bench is so popular, at least it was that day,  I waited an hour and the  man on it never left. He sat there, reading a newspaper, like he owned it. This might require revolution.

The problem is, there are not enough communist benches to go around.

John Reed Bench, Portland, OR

John Reed Bench, Portland, OR

This bench, which looks just like the other, empty, benches in Washington Park is communist simply because it is dedicated to Portland’s homegrown communist revolutionary, John Reed. Reed was a journalist who traveled the world covering war and strikes. When in Russia in 1917 he wrote a book about the Russian Revolution 10 Days that Shook the World. He returned to the USA and formed the first of two rival Communist parties in the USA, which soon merged.

The bench says little of this. It just says he was a writer and bears a quote about the beauty of the local area. It mentions his book but provides no context. It should bear a quote more in line with the spirit of Reed:

“All I know is that my happiness is built on the misery of others, so that I eat because others go hungry, that I am clothed when other people go almost naked through the frozen cities in winter; and that fact poisons me, disturbs my serenity, makes me write propaganda when I would rather play…”

[via Marxists.org]

Reed died in 1920 in the Soviet Union, at the age of 32, and is buried at the Kremlin Wall. The Multi-Oscar winning 1981 film Reds is about his life. Some of the action in my short story More Than One Day in the Life of Igor Igoravitch takes place “at the Kremlin wall, near the grave of John Reed.”

John Reed Bench plaque

John Reed Bench plaque

[See also A Taste of Justice by John Reed, a short article.]

True Stories of a Fictional Girl by Chelsea Baker

My friend Chelsea Baker has published the first of nine issues of her new comic “True Stories of a Fictional Girl” detailing her stint as a phone sex operator.

True Stories of a Fictional Girl by Chelsea Baker

True Stories of a Fictional Girl by Chelsea Baker

It is 20 pages long. It has a naughtiness factor of 2, on a strict scale of 1 to 2. A hard 2.  As it says, 18+.

Chelsea Baker is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and has a BA in Comics and Sequential Art. I checked this volume and everything seems in order.
She will probably sell you one.