March 30, 2022

Picnic at Mololla River State Park, Hal Brown

 I rarely post political stories on this blog. It is, by and large, a photo diary about my excursions around northwestern Oregon featuring lots of scenic photos and stories about unusual restaurants. For my political views: 1600+ of them are here on Daily Kos).

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Mar. 31, 2022

I avoid making this into a blog about politics which I why months ago I stopped posting links to my Daily Kos stories here. This Kos post of mine is about a subject which is making the news and which has nothing to do with politics so I am also sharing it here.

Did Will Smith have an Amygdala Hijack which explains his slapping Chris Rock?


I’ve only found one article about this subject:

The Neuroscience Behind Will Smith's Attack on Chris Rock — The Oscar-winning actor snapped due to a phenomenon called "amygdala hijack."

This is an except from what the author, neuroscientist Bobby Azarian, wrote:

So, when Will Smith perceived Chris Rock’s joke as a threat to his wife’s emotional well-being, it is not a surprise that he did what he did. His amygdala temporarily hijacked his cognitive system, and for whatever reason, his prefrontal cortex was not able to override his automatic behavioral response in time.

The now famous Academy Award slap is being discussed on TV and online but nobody is considering the possibility that Will Smith was not in control of his emotions and of his actual behavior when by all appearances he purposefully walked from his seat onto the stage and slapped Chris Rock. Except for the one article everyone discussing this is assuming Smith was acting rationally, that he was in total control of his emotions.

I thought immediately that because what he did was so self-defeating that he was not processing the consequences of his action as he did this but was on a sort of automatic pilot as a result of having what medically is called an Amygdala Hijack. Consider these articles:

This is from Wikipedia:

An amygdala hijack is an emotional response that is immediate, overwhelming, and out of measure with the actual stimulus because it has triggered a much more significant emotional threat.[1] The term was coined by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.[2]

Amygdala Hijack: When Emotion Takes Over, Healthline

This article explains how under some stressful situations the fight or flight response is triggered and how under some circumstances the “thinking part” of the brain is “turned” off and the “reactionary” part of the brain takes over resulting in impulsive behavior.

All About Amygdala Hijack, Psych Central

Consider the examples from the Psych Central article:

  • Your boss criticizes you in front of your coworkers. You’re so angry that you yell back and quit your job.
  • A car swerves in your lane nearly causing an accident. You go into road rage and throw your smoothie in their window.
  • You get a phone call that your loved one is in the emergency room, but you’re so distressed that you don’t hear the details.
  • You win the lottery, and your excitement makes you scream and cause a scene in the convenience store.
  • You lose a tennis match, and in your anger, you throw your racket across the court.
  • You’ve been trying for 5 minutes to open a can, and you’re so angry and frustrated you slam it on the counter.

Could you add the following?

  • Someone hurts your wife’s feelings on national television and you become so enraged you commit the crime of assault and battery without thinking of the consequences.

While Smith did not react to a physical threat, and thus the explanation of his behavior as an amygdala hijack may not fit exactly, it may be that seeing his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, being so distressed triggered rage rather than fear. If this is what happened, he either did not even think of the negative fallout from what he was doing as he was doing it, or may have been in a kind of detached mental state knowing at some level, perhaps observing himself from outside that he should stop himself but was unable to do so.

The poll and comments are here on Daily Kos.

90 votes

How likely do you think that Will Smith was not in total control of his behavior when he slapped Chris Rock? 10 = Very likely to 0 = Very unlikely

Mar. 30, 2022

I was tired of frequently losing my TV remote what with it falling between sofa pillows or on the floor. Hopefully this solution with a dog toy will be effective.

Mar. 27, 2022

It was supposed to be a decent day, not sunny but in the low 60's so rather than eating out nature called. Therefore, another picnic was planned. I intended to make tuna salad but I had some previously frozen but already thawed halibut and after a few days in the fridge it still smelled okay so I looked up a few recipes for halibut salad (Number one, Number two). I didn't have all the ingredients for either recipe so I improvised adding salt, pepper, onions, parsley, and mayo after slicing the fish into aprox. half inch strips the long way (as shown in the photo) and fried them on medium heat for a few minutes on each side in olive oil. Then I put everything into a blender and used the pulse action to mix everything into a salad suitable for sandwiches or to put on a bed of lettuce.

The state park is named for the Molalla River which flows through the park but it also includes a portion of the Pudding River and it is on the bank of the Willamette River where the perfect picnic table was. The Willamette River flows downstream to the park in West Linn, to the waterfalls, and eventually to where I live. "The Willamette River is a major tributary of the Columbia River, accounting for 12 to 15 percent of the Columbia's flow. The Willamette's main stem is 187 miles long, lying entirely in northwestern Oregon in the United States. Flowing northward between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Range, the river and its tributaries form the Willamette Valley, a basin that contains two-thirds of Oregon's population, including the state capital, Salem, and the state's largest city, Portland, which surrounds the Willamette's mouth at the Columbia." (Wikipedia)

By the end of the day the sun had come out and the temperature was 70.

Aha! There's the perfect table as close to the river as you can get unless you want to climb out on the giant tractor tires just down a path from the table. You can see the table was as close the the Willamette River as the one at the park in West Linn (here)


Lots of people had carved their initials into the tires.

The tires were used for erosion control along this section of the riverbank..

The ultimate fish salad made with halibut instead of tuna. It tastes better eaten by a body of water. Okay, it wasn't the the ocean but the Pacific is almost a two hour drive away and it took less than a half hour to get here. 

The rest room weren't exactly clean, but then they were only a short walk from the picnic table.

Click to enlarge photos.

Only three small boats passed by on the river.

Boat ramp

The Canby Ferry

Canby Ferry

This is how close the car was.


One of the walking paths.

Mar. 25, 2022 Second picnic at Willamette  Park (website) in West Linn, this time scored the best table which as you can see in the photos is on a deck next to the river. There are other tables close to the river on the grass. These tables are all located next to the boat ramp parking lot. The other picnic tables are in the area of the park near the children's play areas.

Downriver you can see the old Blue Heron paper mills at the foot of Willamette Falls in the distance.

The view upriver.

A long pier anyone can walk out on.

Mar. 23, 2022
The day started over overcast but turned sunny so I took a trip to Aurora. I thought that a meal at a favorite lunch spot, The Old Colony Pub, was in order. Vowing no politics on this blog I'm making an eception. A walk after lunch provided a photo op showing how these rural towns around Portland are divided politically. For example consider  the one zealous pro-Trump  former Marine master sergeant pictured as he left his house goes.  His leaving enabled me to take some photos without being confronted. In contrast to all the flags in front of his house and the decals on his vehicles it was gratifying to see the Ukraine flags on the same street he lived on.
Here in no particular order are the photos from today. Click to enlarge them.

It was sunny on the way there. The abandoned factories are old paper mills at the foot of Willamette Falls.

Leaving Oregon City to head through Canby and then on to Aurora.

Here are photos of the pub.

Outside the men's bathroom: "I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy."

The walk around town.

This was in front of the house with the Trump flags. The stripes on the left side of the window indicate he made it to being a master sergeant.

The man who apparently lives in the pro-Trump house

The pro-Trump man

Across the street from the pro-trumpet

On the way home it had totally clouded over and was raining.

Truck from Salt Lake City, Utah 
I looked up the company because I thought the skunk logo was cute.

This is from their website: Everything we do is so stinkin’ dependable -- including your paycheck. Consistent miles means you know what you’ll be earning all year round.


We know that good benefits and shiny trucks aren’t all that matter. Being treated with the respect that you deserve is essential. We’ve built our company on always putting our drivers first -- ahead of profits, customers, or egos. With us, you’re not a truck number. You have a name, a family, and you’re the backbone of our company and we treat you as such every day. Their website.

I am not sure what this means although the pride colors see, to be in the shape of Idaho. The  SUV had Oregon plates.

Mar. 22, 2022

My trip to Lowes to buy wood wasn't successful because they couldn't saw a 4"x 6"six foot post poll in half for me to use to build a step so one of my Westies could get onto the sofa more easily. I did talk to a builder who was work shopping and he lamented that the cost of lumber had increased fourfold (see "

Lumber prices soar again, adding $18K to new home costs"). 

The trip wasn't wasted however since I saw this hearse, no doubt not used for it's original purpose, and it was a photo op:

I couldn't find where this particular Dead Sled decal came from though there's a chance it came from here:

 Mar. 21, 2022
Home of the Happy Onions
"Onion" by Tailor Bell

How fair you my sweet onion 
Layered, full of spite but mine 
How this day without you in past 
Regarded flames 
Can you hold still and know 
Your best taints everything near 
A roundness, a beauty, yet 
If a goddess allowed 
I would trade all lesser botanicals 
Once more for your smile 
Your jest, your natural pungence 
Yellowless world have you 
Void of heart, been an opportunist 
Let me dive into the tilled soil 
With deft toes tear loose 
A bit of sky spiralling ever down 
Unthread blueness and wispy clouds 
Pull them completely in 
That all may know how unkind 
An unkindness has been 
Garden maestro take a bow 
Sky you also bow today 
For my sweet onion is frayed 
Tightly bruised under fine layers 
Deglaze yourself my desire 
My martyr, my innocent onion 
Rest sweetness, dream once more

Recommended reading:
This powerful and evocative essay about embracing being alone begins:

In the loneliest time in my life, I spent a lot of time in my local bagel shop. I was living in Baltimore, a new city, and had just gone through a splintering breakup. As a middle school teacher living with two others, I was often surrounded by people. And yet I was lonely in my classroom full of students and lonely in my apartment full of roommates. I was lonely in my room at night, where Netflix would accost me with the passive aggressive, "Are you still watching?"

On Sunday mornings at the bagel shop though, being alone never felt so bad. I had my Sundays down to a science. Grabbing my latest book, I drove eight minutes to the bagel store by the water, one of the few routes I had memorized. There, I waited in line while watching for a booth to empty.

A bagel store on a Sunday morning is like an exhibit of dioramas, perfect human moments displayed in miniature all around you. The college kids in sweatpants, clutching chocolate milk in their fists like hangover talismans. Parents wiping schmear from their children's cheeks as the little ones babbled and squawked. Each person who approached the counter seemed deserving of attention, of appreciation. (Except for the blueberry bagel types. You know the ones.)

Mar. 21, 2022

Yesterday, the closest place to where I live to chow down for a great meal is at a secret location. The speciality is prime filet mignon with a baked Russet potato (sour cream with chives optional) and stir fried vegetables. 
The local Fred Meyers doesn't carry prime beef. It only has choice. Here's an article about the difference between prime and choice filet mignon. 
Fortunately, Costco does sell prime beef.

Here's the Secret Dinertorium as it was being set up for four. Note that it is a dog friendly eatery. 

Now for a break from food to entertainment. 

Like many of my friends I am a fan of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. 
Food, especially Midge's famous brisket, is featured in the series. 

More about the series: I finished watching this season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It has been renewed for one more season (article). Here are some articles about it.

March 20, 2022

Here's a break from the usual topics I write about on the blog:

What old show I am binging:
Above: "Hey, Ken, want to see my impression of Gandi?" to monster Ken whose legs have been impaled on a gate that closed on his legs trapping him as he was about to attack Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

Her "impression of Ghandi" was not being a pacifist. It was to use the large club  he was trying to kill her with to dispatch him back to Hell from where he came.

I wasn't the only viewer and fan to be struck by her line in this episode.
Buffy traps Ken, a demon disguised as a Christian minister to lure people into Hell, beneath the gate. "HeyKen, wanna see my impression of Gandhi." She then crashes his skull with a large club. "Gandhi?" asks a shy girl. Buffy replies, "Well, you know, he was really pissed off."

Buffy traps Ken, a demon disguised as a Christian minister to lure people into Hell, beneath the gate. "Hey, Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi." She then crashes his skull with a large club. "Gandhi?" asks a shy girl (a homeless girl named Lily who she was saving from being killed by Ken). Buffy replies, "Well, you know, he was really pissed off." A thin veil of metaphor makes the epistemic violence used by movements for social change physical, graphic, and blatant.

It is the 25th anniversary of Buffy, a show we used to watch when it aired before there was such a things as streaming video.

Why devote some of the space on this blog to Buffy, one might ask. On the other hand since nobody has ever gotten back to me about anything I post here I have no idea what you, dear reader, might be curious about. What I do know if the statistics about the blogs readership is accurate is that people from around the world for reasons I don't understand actually do read this. Even three were from Ukraine.


March 16, 2022

Lunch at New Panda (their website) in Estacada and checking out the boutiques and craft and gift stores there.

This came with a cup of soup and sticky rice. I had the hot and sour soup which was very tasty. The entree portion was so large I could only eat half.

Here's a photo of one of the gift and craft shops:
Above The Spiral Galley:

From Wikipedia:

Estacada is a city in Clackamas CountyOregon, United States, about 30 miles southeast of Portland. The 2020 population was estimated to be 3,700. 

The last time I was in Estacada was a few months ago just to see if there was an appealing restaurant to eat in. Driving through the town I didn't see any place to eat besides a pizza place and a couple of other uninteresting places. Since then someone told me there were several good places to eat and that it was a town with lots of boutiques and they suggested I check it out again. This time I looked on YELP and found New Panda, a Chinese restaurant with good reviews. I decided to head out there again. Although only 23 actual miles from home it is a 50 minute drive because the last half is on a winding road. It is a scenic ride along the Clackamas River. 

The food at the New Panda was excellent and the servings were huge. The decor was typical for a Chinese restaurant.

If you have no other way to judge a restaurant it might be that it is the lunch choice for the town's fire fighters. Three of them were eating there.

Walking through the town you'll find several shops with lots of gifts including arts and crafts items. There's also an unusual store which sells DVDs and discounted groceries. I talked to the owner who bragged that he had the lowest grocery prices in town and planned to increase the shelf space, currently 50%, to include more grocery items. 

This is the store's competition.

Here's a decrepit motel on a side street. Note the anti-Biden "Let's Go Brandon" sign in the window.

While rural areas around Portland may have numerous pro-Trump residents willing to display their support for the former president (there were a few houses with pro-Trump flags) the residents of this house were obviously not among them.

Politics & Voting in Estacada, Oregon (Link)

The Political Climate in Estacada, OR is Leaning liberal.

Clackamas County, OR is Somewhat liberal. In Clackamas County, OR 54.0% of the people voted Democrat in the last presidential election, 42.9% voted for the Republican Party, and the remaining 3.2% voted Independent.

In the last Presidential election, Clackamas county (borders on the city of Portland and is where I live) remained strongly Democratic, 54.0% to 42.9%. 
Clackamas county voted Democratic in the four most recent Presidential elections, after 2000 and 2004 went Republican

Just about every building with the space to have a mural has them. Here are a few (click to enlarge):

This restaurant isn't in the downtown section. It is across the busy street and located by the river. This is from their website.

The Cazadero Steakhouse, formerly The Cazadero Inn, is an icon for many who live or travel through Estacada. Located on the beautiful Clackamas River, the Cazadero offers an arrary of 5 star dishes, everything from berry pancakes to house smoked prime rib. We take special care to pick high quality products and prepare our meals from scratch when ordered. Menu here.

A few more photos:

Nixon and Kennedy were evenly matched intellectually in their first debate. Nixon lost because of how he looked on TV. Trump may lose because he "loses it" on TV. By Hal Brown, MSW

  Read: Team Biden bets an unfiltered Trump at the debate can shake up the race GOP pollster Frank Luntz said the June 27 faceoff will be &q...