there’s one born every minute

Having lovingly but seldom soberly slapped out some sort of “content” here over the past few months every other day or so, I find myself still wondering about what readers want.  What I consider Rushmore-worthy monuments to probing thought and discourse might draw a scandalously small audience, while something shallow, slapdash and crummy to my eyes might draw an enormous, mesmerized crowd.  I don’t entirely understand why that is.  Further, what I consider parochial and narrow has proven surprisingly intriguing and enlightening to a broader audience, so I wonder whether I should indulge myself further with these topics, in which my passions and expertise lie.

Basically, the point of having this blog was to vent my frustrations about the continuing, post-Bush direction of our country, with particular attention to our dwindling freedoms and the sinister relationship this has to media, corporate, and government collusion, and to do so in a way that would make me, and you, laugh instead of cry, even though the latter might be the more appropriate reaction.  I hope I succeed, at least once in a while.  I do try.

Of course, that mission is always confounded by the horrifying breadth and depth of what is actually going on; I may be an optimist and even a clown, but it is impossible to find anything funny, even slightly so, about war, torture, and the dismantling of the Bill of Rights, and that was before debtor’s prison elbowed into the picture.  Maybe it’s time to quit being funny, like Dennis Miller.  Just kidding.   Here at CHNN, we aim to be a tad more prescient.  I’d like to broaden my focus, but not in a way that would cause me to have to do a lot of extra work.  That drywall doesn’t hang itself, you know.

That’s why I’d like a little input, and since I’m doing the asking, I’ll list the things I like to read, think, and talk about first, and invite y’all to throw in your own things as well as any rotten tomatoes at my little hobby horses.  I may be a boor, but I hate to be a bore, so I’ll listen.  Honest.

Things the Hag wants to talk about, because of either expertise, interest, or humor potential:


I’m very intrigued by the impact of building, which I’ve been doing for twenty years, on our lives, social structures, and geographic perceptions and relationships.  This ranges from our  homes to our city to our regions and our  whole country.  I think that the implications and motivations behind these patterns, given the climate, population, and lifestyle trends we are facing could make this subject central to our understanding of our past as well as our future.


As a lifelong resident of Portland, Oregon, a place Ada Louise Huxtable once called a “dingy backwater,” but now one of the most desirable and healthy metro areas in the country, I think I know a bit about what is happening here and can offer a fair amount of historical perspective, but most of my readers lie elsewhere, so unless something so irresistibly funny and sensationalistic as the Beau Breedlove story leaps out at me, I pass over local news.  Lately, though, people from all over seem to want to know about Little Beirut and its environs, and have said so.  Do you?


Let’s be up front here.  I am irreligious, perhaps to a fault.  As a recovering Catholic, I deplore the intrusion of religion into politics, and the Proposition 8 campaign in California pushed me over the edge.  The fundamentalism that is aggressively pushing aside more moderate belief systems, be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim, whatever…  seem to me to be as barbaric as they are nonsensical, and I would go on about this all the time if I could do so without offending the honestly and privately faithful.


While I personally don’t know a lot about this subject, I have a friend who does.  Maybe you know her.  But at any rate, sex scandals, across party lines, are always funny, even though less often consequential, and the crowds really seem to go for it, so why wouldn’t I?


Anyway, these are just some ideas I was hoping to toss around, and maybe get an insight about what Hag readers like, and what will send them fleeing for the exits.  Your comments would help a lot.


  1. Meremark says:

    Portland, and Oregon, and the Columbia River watershed, would be better living (in) on its own merits, detached from the federal government. Let’s not be a star anymore in the field of 50 on the flag. Said another way, (emphatically), this local landscape and climate will be better living (in) when the whole ‘United Coast-to-Coast’ thing fends every region for itself, scatter beans scatter.

    Not like this State or some States ‘secede.’ But like we just call the whole thing off. The ‘Union, indivisible’ thing. Like a divorce. By mutual dissent. I keep thinking of whatever happened to the USSR.

    [In fact, one who was there and participated in the USSR happening, is here and writing about it, to answer my question. Club Orlov dot-blogspot-dot-COM. For your consideration I recommend this entry: Social Collapse Best Practices. ]

    All going to say, as a topic, the stress and strain (and taxes drain) between the State and Federal layers of government friction, interests me to observe. It looks like the ruling influence in our lives. If 40 cents goes to taxes out of every dollar we earn working, half of that — 20 cents, is spent solely for puke so-called ‘wars’ where uneducated Americans cannot even find on a globe, with planetary plundering and suicide effects, for a LIAR’S purpose! That’s insane. Since we constitute it, we can ‘dissolve’ the federal Warshington blanket of bureaucracy. The insecurity blanket of insanity.

    I’m interested in and fascinated with the interplay of State and Federal. Why do we even have a Federal? Nations should be a manageable size. I expect it is inevitable that the Union is unkept, undone, unmanageably unwielded. The story can be told from either point of view — the concerns of local friends, or the consensus of friends in wider scope.

    The foreground/background power composition seems like a field of study that ‘contains’ many subtexts, such as Built Environments, localism, Religions, Weenies, and more.

    Which is to say what I like is not what your write about, Hag. It is what you write.

    That last ‘graf is the only thing I expressed clearly, I think. Let’s go with that.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Especially following the 2004 election, I too entertained fantasies about “Cascadia” being a breakaway Republic. The federal government is too big; so big that it attracts thieves like Dick Cheney and mental cases like Bush, Yoo, et al. Certain types always fall off the wagon when they spy a big bottle of power. Thanks for you comment about my writing, though, which I take as a compliment.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Great article…. Thanks.

  2. JoeMommaSan says:

    what I like is not what your write about, Hag. It is what you write

    I’m with Meremark. I tend to have favorite authors and read pretty much anything they write. If I like your writing style, it doesn’t matter much whether you’re writing about politics or the party you went to last night.

    Just keep writing – whatever catches your fancy at the moment is fine with me.

    • cocktailhag says:

      OK, I’ll go to more parties. Getting invited will be the only challenging part. I will be liveblogging my Brooklyn, NY gardening project this month, which ought to be something of a departure.

  3. heru-ur says:

    A post on the RC Church would be nice. That would give me the opportunity to explain the early Christians in the comment section. Too bad the Roman Empire molded the Xian religion into what suited their needs.

    It would also lead to a suggestion for ex-RCC people.

    Perhaps that is a reason not to write about it.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I have thought about that, Heru, since I was already a little atheist at age eight, but was nonetheless forced to attend church for many years thereafter. I remember looking around our church, idling away another boring hour each Sunday, dumbfounded that seemingly educated, intelligent people believed such rot.

  4. Karen M says:

    CinH: All of your topics are also of interest to me. And then there’s always the ongoing struggle against hypocrisy in its many forms… with lots of room for humor.

    I think you should go with what you want to write about. Write the posts that only you can write. That’s always best in my book. What I appreciate most, I guess, is your ability to turn a phrase in an amusing, yet biting, way.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Ah, thank you. Bamage asked me the other day whether I was so “mordantly” funny in person; I replied that although I am, writing a blog enables one to incorporate those elusive funny lines one only thinks up an hour after the fact in real life. I admit it. I backdate my humor. I also think of funny adverbs and adjectives to toss in during the proofreading process, and trying to decide whether another hooker joke would be gratuitous or not. Usually not.

  5. Jim White says:

    I’ll join with those who come here for the writing as a draw to whatever the subject may be.

    That being said, once we get into the weeds of the “built environment” some previous thoughts I have had, when coupled with the current economic meltdown, have me thinking about the introduction of the new commune.

    Think about a large apartment development that looks on the outside something like any large condo/apartment complex aimed at seniors, but translate that to the family level. I’m especially thinking about a complex with a central dining area and areas for other group activities. Now add genuine gardens on the grounds. Now look at the commie aspect: Let’s have some people earning all or a portion of their rent through growing, cooking or serving food. Maybe the food service is organized somewhat like a mall food court, so as not to offend current sensibilities, but it serves locally produced and cooked fare when possible. Some others can run on-site child care. Maintenance of a huge solar panel array and its feed into the local grid might employ a person or two. Of course, others will work off-site, but it seems to me that we have the opportunity to regain a new sense of community with new ways of living that would actually move things back to knowing one’s neighbors and perhaps even relying on them for a thing or two.


    • cocktailhag says:

      Actually, a lot of what you’re talking about can be found in one of what I consider to be the best text about building there is, Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language.” The book, which is finely leather-bound and bulky, but with thin pages not unlike a bible, uses examples of how places, from rooms within a house to the towns and communities of which the house is part, are good or not good to live in based on the history of human settlement. Communal gardens and shared eating spaces are a part of that, as well as the cooperative nature of work, play, and child-rearing.

  6. timothy3 says:

    CH, must agree with others who emphasized your writing. That’s what’s most pleasurable for me. Regarding topics, however, I’d like to read more about “built environment” and, of course, anything that kicks the GOP around. I really find that to be a good deal of fun.

  7. Gwen says:

    Dear Cocktailhag,

    Please continue to write about whatever interests you. That’s the enjoyable part of finding a blog written by a truly interesting person. However, don’t hesitate to weigh in on Portland goings on. We moved here nine years ago and still trying to figure this place out.