Monday, October 16, 2006


I may just take up residency here in the Portland airport. Free wi-fi AND the delicious coffee of the indigenous Coffee People. My flight to SFO is delayed so I just get to love it all more.

Yesterday I had a delightful phone interview with the improbably named Billy Sunshine Show. As you can guess, Billy Sunshine was apoplectic with rage. Fortunately, it wasn't directed at me but rather at the modern American right. He and his co-host/producer Barbara had actually read the book, which is always nice since it often leads to questions I hadn't heard before (Barbara wanted to know about the footnotes).

The day before I had been on David Gold's show. He's a conservative in the Bay Area and we had a lot of fun sparring on a number of issues related to political identity. He tends to call folks on the left "libs". I asked him if he called the other side "cons" or just "people" or "Americans". He wasn't sure. It got a bit shouty, more so than I'm used to in The Urbane World of Public Radio, but it was always civil and even friendly. Afterwards we both agreed it was fun. One caller said that if I couldn't get what was so great about Reagan, I was an idiot. Also that all liberals are communists and socialists. Sigh. This is the kind of dumbing down of discourse that I hope I can change just a tidge. Gold appeared to be embarrassed about the caller. I just feel bad that the caller has to go through life with such a filter. I don't think it helps you understand the world better to do crap like that.

Last night was my reading at Powell's, the famed "takes up a whole damn city block" bookstore in Portland. When I got there, I learned that it was all coordinated by esteemed McSweeney's veteran Kevin Sampsell who also introduced me. Maybe 50-65 people at the event. I knew six of them and while the personal me was glad to see friends, the professional me was pleased to see strangers. I'm still stunned and delighted that strangers are paying to read my book and going to bookstores to hear what I have to say.

I was a little nervous to see hippies in attendance given that I empathize with Nixon in his battle against the hippies and generally read that part at bookstore events. But the hippies can take it. They are a docile race (and thus easily conquered if someone really wanted to, which no one does).

After the event, I went out for zesty macaroni n' cheese (hipster gourmet style) at a place in Portland that might have been called either Montage or Collage (but not, I don't think, Corsage or Fromage or Dressage).

On to the Bay Area to read tonight at Capitola Book Cafe. I think it's part of Santa Cruz. Billy Sunshine is expected to be in attendance.

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