Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Greetings Bloggers!

I'm back, and with some DIY Projects to boot. My husband Kyle and I just bought and moved into a duplex in August. Much like our marriage, there have been bumps in the remodeling road, but we have learned to take everything in stride. We are learning as we go along, and there have been a lot of tears and a lot of laughs.

We recently adopted two kittens, Suki and Saya, and my sister's dog, Layla. The kittens have been acting as my sidekicks while Layla supervises from the sidelines and occasionally comes in for a closer look or to reward my hard work with licks.

Now, onto the real reason for the blog: the holiday season is one of my favorites, great deals on craft materials and lots of projects to consider making as gifts. Often too many that I get myself and my wallet into a bit of a tizzy.

Some of my recent projects have been decopaging a dresser, refinishing a coffee table, dining table and some frames. Projects to come include a magnet board for your recipes/wall, magnets, a peanut heart for the squirrels, and more!

Tomorrow will mark the completition of my DIY Decopage Dresser, and I hope to get you some pictures and instructions up.

For now, take a look at these great, inspirational DIY websites. My favorite is Beach Brights, a DIY Master Christy Bright runs the site and has fantastic ideas. If you follow her you have a chance to win a prize! I recently won What Shall We Do Today, a DIY book of 60 crafts to do with kids. My second DIY website pick is DIY Ideas, presented by Better Homes and Gardens (and publishes a magazine under a similar title). It doesn't appear that they update their site more than monthly, but you can find great projects by digging a little. You can also follow them on FaceBook.

Well bloggers, that's it for tonight, I'm hitting the proverbial hay.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life and Love

Well, I'm very excited to say in 9 days, or a little less, that i'll be married! Seemed like 14 months ago this day would never come, and it seemed like a month ago I'd never be ready.

Most everything is set into place, only minor details like getting alterations complete, packed and everyone organized is left to do.

After our lovely honeymoon in Disneyland, we'll be traveling to Bellingham to participate in Kyle's best man's wedding, and spending a day in Seattle before we return "home".

We'll move into our new duplex off Shenandoah Ave about two weeks after the wedding, so anyone and everyone who wants to come help me clean and paint is welcome! In the mean time i'll be living out of a suitcase at Kyle's residence off Browning until its time for the real move.

Just a quick refresher for those who need it:

The ceremony and reception dinner will take place at Ron's Pond in Monmouth Oregon at 16300 Shady Ln. Rd, Monmouth 97361.

The ceremony will start about 630 pm to last about 20 minutes, followed by a reception line and dinner /dancing.

We are registered at target and in desperate need for just about everything and anything.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Graduation 2009

At 4:30 I heard the news from a Donkey Show news alert, fatal car accident along I5 southbound, just north of the exit we needed.

Mom and I were late heading out late, and decided to take the back roads to graduation, but according to the Albany Democrat Herald, the accident actually took place around 1:30 so there may have been no actual need for rerouting.

Regardless, we got to the fairgrounds on time, and graduation went as planned. Fortunately Rita Cavin, LBCC president is a fair woman, and didn't clog graduation full of boring speeches.

For me, this event was a proud moment, long awaited, and remembered for a long time.

My highschool graduation, is also one to be remembered forever, but not for the same reasons. It was 105 degrees that day in June, and we had to spend four hours practicing outside without breaks and refreshments. Those who needed to seek refuge from the heat were threatened with not being allowed to participate that evening.

By the time I got home around 12:30 that afternoon, the tentative plan to go to North Fork had been cancelled because I started throwing up. Heat stroke.

Many of the students had been showing signs of heat stroke (nausea, dizzyness) by the time graduation practice had wrapped up, but I seemed to be affected very negatively.

14 hours later I was still sick, but ready to pass out on our bathroom floor from utter exhaustion.

Fortunately, tonight was not like that night in 2003. I arrived on time, feeling good as I met up with fellow Commuter's and waited. Then waited some more until it was time to go outside to wait even longer. Then a time came where we filled the fairgrounds, listened to a few minor speeches, then went and smiled pretty for the camera.

Now I write to you as a 2009 graduate from LBCC with my Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer, Photography emphasis, and don't it feel good!

My goal is to keep up the blog for the summer, and to keep you updated as I check things off my long list, and to keep you refreshed in between with wacky news!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

If God had a cell phone . . .

If God had a cell phone, some might wonder what he would do with it. Would he text? Would he use the tip calculator? More importantly would God tweet?!

According to McSweeny's Internet Tendency, they have figured out exactly what God would do- he would text the 10 Commandments according to Jamie Quatro.

1. no1 b4 me. srsly.
2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
3. no omg's
4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)
5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool6. dnt kill ppl
7. :-X only w/ m8
8. dnt steal
9. dnt lie re: bf
10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.
M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl. ttyl, JHWH.

ps. wwjd?

Incase you cannot decipher, or are not familiar with the 10 Commandments here are the 10 Commandments according to AllAboutTruth.org:

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'
SIX: 'You shall not murder.' SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'

Sometimes, I have a need for a little cell phone humor when everyone is so consumed by technology, we forget how to write and communicate with one another.

Even the Pope is using YouTube and text messages to spread the Word, and I ponder to myself, what would God really think about technology!

Photo courtesy of Higherthings.Org

Sailor duck saves life.

Bay Area News reported that a rubber duck in the form of a sailor saved a 90-year-old woman's life this weekend.

Thursday, after Shirley Madsen had a riveting day at the casino she decided to have a bath before dinner.

"I only had an egg and a half of a pancake for breakfast," Madsen said. "When I got home I was trying to decide whether to have dinner first or take a bath."

According to Madsen's daughter, Diane Weber, Madsen leads a very active lifestyle, and it is not uncommon for her to miss her daughters phone calls during the day.

However, when Madsen decided to get out of the tub she could not lift herself. She stayed warm by continually draining and refilling the tub with warm water.

Too weak to use her hands as a cup, Madsen discovered that a rubber sailor duck had a hole in the bottom that would be sufficient for collecting water.

Madsen was discovered by Weber on Saturday when another daughter, Christine Steigelman grew concerned. Madsen returned home with dry skin, a deep tissue bruise and the equivalence of two bed sores.

"I will never get in another bathtub, ever," Madsen said.

With a laugh, she further advises: "Get a bunch of rubber duckies and make sure one of them can't swim."

Having a safety plan is important when many of us have older relatives that are beginning to show signs of aging. Madsen's daughter Steigelman said, "
We are close (family) and we had a routine, but we did not have a plan."

Madsen will be equipped with a waterproof medical alert device in case of this ever happening again. Unfortunately for some, it is too late, our elderly relatives may be too weak or confused to push the button on the device.

If you have an elderly relative, make sure you talk with your family to create a plan like Madsen's daughters did. If she doesn't answer their twice daily phone calls, a member of their family will go to her home and check on her.

For more information on medical alert devices, check out LifeStation's 11 tips, and an article in the NYTimes about the importance of research.

Flickr photo by Jo Naylor.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Q&A with Sami Laskos

On April 22, there was a special surprise waiting in the LBCC Commons for students. Sami Laskos, a Culinary student at LBCC had made a cake depicting zombie's eating Chef Scott Anselm's head. I had the chance to see the cake with my own eyes, and speak with Sami in an email interview for a short Q&A.

Laskos, a second year culinary student, had made the cake because she had signed up for a bakery display rotation.

Culinary student James Scales has had plenty of experience working with Sami and really enjoyed her creative cake, "The best part about working with Sami is she has the ability to get the work done. No matter what it is, she can motivate a group, organize people, or getting through any of the work that needs to be done, and she'll do it in a way that's fair to everyone involved."

Sami Laskos proudly looking over her completed cake.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me the other day about your cake. Why did you make this cake?

The cake was a project for my Bakery Display rotation. As a second year
culinary student, there are 6 mandatory rotations and 7 "elective"
rotations; each rotation is 8 or 9 school days. Bakery Display is an
elective rotation with a pretty simple goal: create something that
demonstrates at least 3 bakery skills. It's incredibly open ended. There
have been sugar sculptures, chocolate sculptures, even a Rice Krispie
castle... But I think cakes are the most popular because the basics are
familiar, but a cake can transform into almost anything.

At the end of your rotation you display your project in the scramble area.

What was your inspiration?

As a first year culinary student I said I'd never do a Bakery Display
project... I'm not good in the Bakery. Cooking and Baking lay at opposite
ends of the culinary spectrum. Cooking is pretty "free-form" and there
aren't a lot of rules: some of this, some of that... Baking is more
scientific and exact, and I think it requires more patience.

Over the summer I watched an episode of "Ace of Cakes" that lit the fire. A
woman wanted a cake for her husband with zombies sucking his brains. Simply,
I liked the idea of a zombie cake much better than I liked the idea of a
traditional wedding cake. School started a few weeks later and I signed up
for the rotation. The decision didn't really catch up to me until 6 months
later when the rotation came up and I went "Oh shit... I guess now I have to
do it."

How long did the cake take to make?

Not including the hours I spent hammering out the idea and mapping out a
game plan... I'd say somewhere around 30 hours in the kitchen. At one point
I fell behind (the zombies were trickier that I'd imagined) and I was coming
in before school and staying after to get it done...

What was your favorite part about making the cake?

Truely, I didn't know what I was doing. I just kinda went for it... and I
suprised myself.

Little things like lips and eyes took forever. Where things like carving
facial features out of cake seemed to almost happen on their own. Each small
accomplishment boosted me for the next challenge.

It's a great feeling to work really hard on something and then have it turn
out better than you'd imagined (the silly thing actually looked like chef
scott!). The cake is actually still sitting the classroom because I just
can't bear to get rid of it yet : )

What did the other students think?

I tried to keep the identity of the head a secret until the last minute- but
Chef Scott knows everything that happens in that kitchen and I'm sure he
knew before I did. Chef took it in good humor, though he says he'll get me
back : ). As for students, there was a lot of "you're doing what?!" and
"they're letting you do that?" I'm still in shock that I got away with it.
throughout the whole project I was kind of waiting for someone to put a stop
to it. But they didn't, and I just kept pushing. The blood was the "frosting
on the cake" if you will... the head looked much more innocent before the
blood. It even dried like real blood! Overall, the kitchen got a kick out of

Chef Scott Anselm, noted that "Sami's cake was very creative and incorporated many sound culinary techniques. Sami is skilled and has a good sense of humor. I think she and the other students enjoyed poking fun at me. We all have a good tome together in the kitchen."

Monday, May 25, 2009

All hail to you, Linn-Benton.

In the green Willamette Valley

Under skies of grey and blue

Is a school that welcomes ev'ryone,

Where dreams can always come true.

All hail to you, Linn-Benton!

Where learning changes lives,

Where caring teachers show the way,

And ev'ry student strives.

To achieve their own potential,

To aspire and succeed;

Linn-Benton's opportunities

Are ev'rything we need.

As spring term winds down, Linn-Benton Community College’s Concert Choir is gearing up for a special last show. James Reddan, conducting the final performance in June, has the honor of premiering LBCC’s first Alma Mater “All Hail to You, Linn-Benton”.

The debut will take place June 4, 7:30 p.m. at the First Assembly of God Church in Albany.

LBCC was established in 1966 as a two-year public college, and has never had an Alma Mater. Reddan decided to take the task on as a personal project because he felt the school needed one.

When I asked Reddan about the importance of an Alma Mater he said, “A school song (Alma Mater) is a way of showing pride in where you go to school, what you have learned, and celebrating the knowledge you take out into the world.”

The Alma Mater for LBCC was created by Eugene local, Rebecca Oswald, a composer. Her history with Reddan extends prior to 2001, where they both attended University of Oregon School of Music and Dance for their master’s programs.

According to Oswald, Reddan proposed the idea of the Alma Mater to her last fall, and she began researching the school’s history, and said, “Words of praise, reverence, and loyalty are essential” in the lyrics.

Oswald was inspired by students admiration of faculty and staff on campus, as well as the remarked beauty and location of LBCC. After much research, which included a survey filled out by students, faculty and staff, and visits to the campus . Oswald was able to complete the Alma Mater in late March and was told by Reddan that the dean and president “heartily” approved of the lyrics.

For tickets to the June 4 concert visit the Russell Tripp Preformance Center Box Office or call 541-917-4531.

All Hail to You, Linn-Benton

Music by Rebecca Oswald

Dedicated to the LBCC Choirs, James Reddan, Conductor in memory of John Reddan

In the green Willamette Valley

Under skies of grey and blue

Is a school that welcomes ev'ryone,

Where dreams can always come true.

All hail to you, Linn-Benton!

Where learning changes lives,

Where caring teachers show the way,

And ev'ry student strives.

To achieve their own potential,

To aspire and succeed;

Linn-Benton's opportunities

Are ev'rything we need.

As we step into the future

With a vision bold and bright,

We'll remember our beloved school,

This shining beacon of light.

All hail to you, Linn-Benton!

With gratitude sincere;

Our hopes and dreams become more real

With ev'ry passing year.

As eager, life-long learners

In this new millennium,

Linn-Benton, you have taughts us

That the best is yet to come!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summer lovin' will have us a blast . . .

Summer is knock, knock, knocking on our doors, and many of us are starting to concoct ideas, trips, and shenanigans.

Unfortunately for us, we still live in Oregon. It will rain. It is inevitable according to the Country Studies Web site, and Albany can expect anywhere from .5-7.7 inches of rainfall each month.

When it does rain, we should be prepared. Like a philosophical man once said, turn on, tune in and drop out. Oh wait, I'm talking about surfing the Web. Put on your fingerless gloves kids, it's time to have some fun with my favorite time-killing sites!

If you'd like to do some shopping, go to MySimon, where you can shop for prices 'till your cows come home.

Looking for a present for that special someone that likes quirky shirts? Or perhaps you're in the office on a rainy day and feel the sudden urge to shoot someone with a marshmellow? Head to ThinkGeek for your shenanigans.

But what if that special someone is being a Debbie-Downer and you need a laugh? Well, odd news stories always cheer me up and I know just where to look. If you go to Drew Curtis' Fark you will not be disappointed as they update several times a day with genres like sad, strange or scary stories. You will find the best stories originate in Germany or Florida.

Next, head over to PopCap to numb your brain a little longer with a riveting game of Zuma or my nephew's new favorite, Mummy Maze.

Know someone getting married? The Knot has all the tools you need to transform into bride-zilla.

Feel like flexing your brain muscles? Check out this day in history over at the History Channel Web site, then skip over to Hulu for your favorite summer flicks like "Southland" or "So You Think You Can Dance."

So, before you know it, the day has gone, the rain has slowed down to a drips pace, go to the Weather Channel Web site to find the rest of your weeks forecast.

Happy surfing folks!

_Becca Martino
Fingerless gloves photo by voteprime/ surfing photo by chrisjohnbeckett's (Flickr).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Celebrate diversity: 55 years since Brown vs Board

58 years ago, in Topeka, Kansas, a lawsuit was brought against the Board of Education by 13 parents on behalf of 20 children according to Brownvboard.org.

On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the parents, granting African American students the right to attend any public school.

The case originates in Topeka, when a young African American girl named Linda Brown, was told she could not attend a public school close to her home. Instead, she was sent to an "All blacks" school nearly an hour away.

Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that the "separate but equal" doctrine was in clear violation of the 14th amendment "which guarantees all citizens equal protection of the laws."

The parents involved in the Brown v. Board of Education case weren't the only to petition the government regarding segregation.

In the late 1800s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that having segregated railroad cars conformed to the 14th amendment in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. This ruling was impacting to the state of Kansas because it declared that all public locations were justifiably segregated.

Five different cases originating from five different states (Delaware, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC) with 200 plus plaintiffs were combined under the Brown v. Board case, which created a domino-effect across the nation which begged for social change.
Women protesting Brown v. Board: "We like you, but we don't want you in our school". Flickr photo by Techne.

According to the History Channel Web site, the U.S. Supreme Court required public schools to "integrate with all deliberate speed."

Today, residents in Topeka, Kansas, celebrated the courts ruling. Linda Brown just happened to be one of those attending.

"How much it's meant to so many people all over the United States, not only all over the United States but the entire world," Linda Brown said.

Without the Brown v. Board act, we would not be able to appreciate the great diversity our world has to offer. Open minds would be fewer,hatred would perhaps run rampant and we wouldn't be celebrating our first black president.

Fortunately, US history has proven that people will always stand up for the greater good, and our constitution will be there to back them up.

Map provided by Google.

To view a short clip of "This day in History" click here. Provided by History.com.

Kilt wearer or cross-dresser: you decide.

Most of us have experienced a time in middle or high school where school officials have decided a certain type of clothing inappropriate. For me, popular, inexpensive shoes (the ones with blinky lights in the heel), BK's were forbidden because they were potentially "gang" related.

Even Halloween costumes were monitered closely for offensiveness.

Utah however, has decided that a student wearing a kilt could be misconstrued as a cross-dresser.

In an article posted today on Standard.net reports that student Gavin McFarland, of Scottish heritage, was told to change from his kilt after many complaints by students and teachers. The principle Craig Jessop said that wearing the kilt could be misconstrued as cross-dressing.

District spokesman Nate Taggart disagreed "We certainly do not consider wearing a kilt, especially for a school project, as cross-dressing."

A public apology will be issued to McFarland and hopefully the state can take this as an educational directive.

McFarland's mother said it best in the article,
"A kilt is a distinctive garment. Nobody mistakes it for a skirt."

The description provided by Wikipedia: the kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century

These are my thoughts exactly. Hopefully the school will take it upon themselves to educate one another about different cultural backgrounds.

Principals should be trained on when its right to make comments, because its these statements that could land the school in the middle of a lawsuit.


Weekly there is a gentleman at LBCC who wears a pink plaid mini skirt with stockings, and you can definitely tell that it is no kilt.

At first, I was quite surprised, and now it is just one of those things that makes LBCC unique. I feel fortunate we live in a pretty diverse state, and I hope that my future children will grow up with respect and knowledge of cultural diversity.

Commenters came across very passionately on the site:

Ryan wrote:

...and on the other hand, it's sad to see a school administrator, who was just trying to do his best, trashed so publicly in this manner. I'm sure Gavin's parents did a fine job yelling at Mr. Jessop, teaching him a lesson before this article was published. Thank you for humiliating and bullying our underpaid educators who occasionally make a mistake.

Kevin wrote:

I just found this article in the Seattle PI. All I have to say is the principal's ignorance regarding Gavin's kilt is symptomatic of the false multiculturalism that has pervaded modern education. By that, I mean we have lost practically ALL knowledge of eastern and western European customs and their influence in America. Pretty stupid that a school principal, who likely has a Masters' Degree or higher, would make an assertion as dumb as that. Then again, graduating from college does not guarantee smarts.

Flickr photo by alan(ator).

Celebrate Christmas the Floridian way

Christmas in Florida comes early this year, when a report was filed Monday May 6, 2009 by an anonymous caller to the Fort Pierce police department that two palm trees lining the 800 block of South Indian River Drive, had been uniquely decorated.

Decayed fish, toys, and seagulls with ropes around their necks had been strewn about the trees.

Animal control cleaned up the scene and put ropes/toys into evidence.

Commenters on the TCPalm website had some interesting thoughts about this.

namvet67 wrote:

I am sure its just a "religous" practice, someone
is trying to summon their "god or gods". Happens
in Miami/Dade all the time!!!! As far a serial
killers are concerned, most do have some animal
mutalation in their backgrounds.It is a harbinger
of things to come in a lot of cases, as is the
guy who tried to abduct that young lady in Vero
last week, he is someone who should be sent away
for a long,long time.This guy attempted to spirit
away this lady in a van and we all know what he
had in mind. Wonder what his attorneys will come
up with in his defense??Insanity perhaps?

BORF was more sing-songy:

It's beginning to look a lot like christmas ....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Guards in Florida prisons shock kids

April 24, 2009 was "Take your daughter/son to workday", across the nation.

Ten Florida prison employees have been suspended and one fired, while investigations of guards using stun guns on as little as six children who were visiting, continue.

A news article from the St. Petersburg Times reported early Wednesday May 6, that up to six children are victims of a real life "show and tell" game. Three separate prisons have revealed that guards zapped the victims, ages ranging between 8 and 14, with "electronic immobilization devices," a.k.a the stun gun, which produces a 50,000 volt shock.

When George Sapp, deputy secretary of institutions for the Department of Correction, heard rumors that the Franklin Correctional Institution in the Panhandle ordeal was not an isolated one, he began calling wardens and discovered that Indian River Correctional Institution in Vero Beach and Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown had similar events take place.

However, Gretl Plessinger, a corrections spokeswoman, said that the three situations were "separate and unrelated," suggesting that no coordination or planning was to have taken place.

Matthew Foster, attorney for one victim said that his client "sustained abrasions and trauma when the powerful jolt knocked her to the ground, requiring a doctor's treatment."

The Department of Corrections is leading the investigation with House Council on Criminal and Civil Justice Policy keeping a watchful eye.

"If we think the department is not thorough and is taking care of its own, we'll step in," said State Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, chairman of the House Council.

The ten suspended employees are currently on administrative leave with pay, and will be notified by mail if and when they can return to work.

Since high school I have been an avid listener of the radio show Loveline featuring Dr. Drew and various hosts (including Adam Corrolla and Striker). To liven up the show, they played a game called "Germany or Florida" in which you had to guess where a crazy story originated.

Florida seems to be taking the cake in the news this week, producing one horrific story after another.

Personally, I am not surprised that this situation happened, and really that it was only a matter of time. I would not be surprised to find that more prisons around the country have experienced situations like this many times.

What I would like to know is how the situation came about? Did one or two kids mention it, and sweet talked the officers into a live demonstration? Was it an idea floated between the officers?

Next, I would like to know how the story leaked? It makes you wonder if the children were bragging to their friends, and a teacher found out; or if a prison employee reported it to their superior; or if the child told the opposite parent who responded accordingly.

Then I would like to discuss the fact that tazing children unnecessarily should involve a punishment much more harsh than losing a job or suspension with pay.

Personally, I feel like this falls under the category of "cruel and unusual" or even torture, no matter the context of how the situation came about.

This just proves, that not every fertile person should be reproducing.

photo credits: photo of Drew Pinsky provided by shell belle (Flickr); photo of stun gun provided by yoheiyamashita

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Holocaust survivor speaks at LBCC

Alter Wiener, Holocaust survivor and author of “From a Name to a Number” spoke at LBCC Tuesday, April 28, from 3 to 5 p.m. to an audience of 300. His speech was about his experience of the Holocaust, learning from history’s mistakes, celebrating life, and was followed by a question-and-answer session.

Wiener began his speech by telling us he was not here to entertain, but to tell us his story.

It began when Wiener was 13, after Germany invaded Poland and people were fleeing for their lives. Separated from their father, Wiener’s family tried to leave the country unsuccessfully. They learned three months later that, along with 37 others, Wiener’s father had been shot and left for dead in a ditch on the outskirts of Poland.

Not long after, the Gestapo came for Wiener’s oldest brother and, when Wiener turned 15, he too was sent to a labor camp. That camp was called Blechhammer. Soon after arriving, he discovered his brother had been there for a year.

He described the car that transported him and many others to Blechhammer as hellish.

“People died standing up because there was no room to lay down and die,” Weiner said.

Conditions at Blechhammer weren’t any better. Wiener shared an 8 by 10 foot room with 24 other people. There were no mattresses, pillows, or blankets – only bed frames that were already inhabited by roaches and mice. For breakfast, they were given stale, moldy bread and for dinner a watery soup. One might be considered lucky if their bowl contained a floating potato or onion.

Four months after arriving at Blechhammer, Wiener was transferred to his second labor camp and later transferred to his third, fourth and fifth camp.

He learned that Jews weren’t the only ones being persecuted. It came as a surprise when he saw groups marching into camps wearing different badges and soon learned that 30-40 different groups of people were persecuted, including Soviets, homosexuals, and gypsies.

Wiener described several unfathomable events that took place during the three years he was living in camps. He told of one particular event where a commander entertained himself by having everyone in Wiener’s barracks stand under the cold showers for an entire night. When the sun came up, he sent them to work.

Many actions were criminalized in these camps, including talking to each other while working and bartering for food, as Wiener learned after trying to trade his watch for some bread which he never received. When the commanders learned of the trade, they whipped Wiener 15 times.

Finally, on May 9, 1945 the Russians liberated his camp and Wiener was set free, weighing only 80 pounds. With only four surviving family members left out of 123, Wiener felt his time in Poland had come to an end and decided to move to the United States.

Now Wiener lives in Hillsboro, and speaks regularly at schools, churches and prisons about his experience. Instead of dwelling on atrocities committed against him, Wiener wanted people to learn that he believes that “we should be judged on an individual basis”

Wiener concluded many points in his speech by reiterating his belief that Hitler was a man without a heart, and someone needed to teach him to love.

Wiener was also very quick to point out the ignorance of Holocaust deniers, like the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“How dare he say so,” said Wiener, “there are photographs, and buildings, and graves, and I’m still here carrying my physical and mental scars. If you are tortured once, you are tortured every day.”

Audience members were moved to tears and gave Wiener a standing ovation before the speech was opened up to a question and answer session.

Alter speaking to students individually after the speech.

When I interviewed audience members, most left with mixed feelings of hope, sympathy and curiosity. Bob McCormick, a retired vet and education major at L.B.C.C. said, "my heart is opened more, there is great importance in passing this lesson on to our children."

Another audience member, Zachary Dietrich thought that the story about the watch was most shocking, "how anyone could be punished for trying to eat isn't fathomable."

photos by Becca Martino.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thank you mass media.

Ah mass media hype [aka mass hysteria]- how I loathe thee, you embarrass an aspiring journalist like myself.

When I originally discovered and reported about the swine flu last, I was very concerned. After all, a huge number of people seemed to be immediately sick. Link
It's been exactly a week since I first read about it, and even while the number of sick has increased in Mexico city, and there are cases all over the U.S. those numbers are still very minor and insignificant to the number of people who die every year from the flu.

Right now, numbers reported by AP suggest that 140 are sick in the United States. 140 Out of 300 million people living in the United States? Tell me HOW THAT DESERVES 24 news coverage?

That is why I REFUSE to watch, listen or pay attention to any of the news during times like this, or during election season, and I think you should refuse as well.

Lack of creativity has brought our beloved mass media providers to report on one topic 24 hours a day. Even during the same news reports like AP or T.V. segments and companies like Fox or KGW repeat the same thing over and over again.

How many different ways you can say 1,000 people in Mexico are sick, you might get sick too, wash your hands because there is no cure? ONE YOU IDIOTS. Please explain why one needs to devote a whole hour news program unless you're going to bring me original coverage.

Does Obama not have enough to do without the media blowing topics way out of proportion?

There are two logical explanations for everything.

1: Residents in Mexico City live in a more polluted, crowded environment than most in the U.S., with little options for quality health care.

2: Numbers are rising in the U.S., because those experiencing regular flu symptoms decide to get screened. Normally, we would stay home and wait it out.

Here in Oregon, WOU has decided to close campus classes and events through Monday because there may be a potential case.

Shutting down a college campus is not going to stop the spread of the flu, it's going to accelerate it because kids wont have homework and they're going to go party, or have fun in the sun.

According to the NYTimes, Cairo, Egypt, is experiencing a more serious problem, all because of mass hysteria created by the news. They are forcibly slaughtering all the pigs in the country as a precaution.

So friends and family, when you hear the news, check your sources and take a step back so you can logically analyze the situation, and put a blanket on the fire that is mass hysteria.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kazakhstan Hearts UFOs

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia, would like to properly welcome UFO's when they arrive on our lovely planet, thats why a typical field or air-strip will just not do.

According to an article on All News Web, Kazakhstan is in the process of building the world's first alien embassy. The embassy is sure to include a guesthouse, a translation service, and theatre.

The Caspian Sea, which borders Kazakhstan, currently houses an underwater base which is supposedly being used by UFOs.

"Fuad Gasimov, the head of neighbouring Azerbaijan’s national Aerospace Agency
has confirmed this to be the case and has gone on record stating the old USSR
constantly monitored alien spaceships regularly entering the water but kept this
a military secret."

So it makes sense then, our accepting friends in Kazakhstan should be the first to welcome our ET friends.

The original post came from a website in Cyrillic, but some responses to the article are in English.

IQXSORG writes: Bravo to the Citizens of Kazakhstan!

Thank you for the post and hello from Dayton, OH U.S.A.! IQXS sends you sincere good wishes for your excellent project and hopes your skies will be filled with incoming "visitors" soon! The world is watching! Kudos on being true future-thinkers, unafraid to challenge the status quo! We salute your efforts and wish you the best! Ciao!IQXS

Pleya must be a journalist because he/she writes: Where is the visual evidence? Pictures of the building & surrounding? Any pix of UFO above the Caspian Sea?

Lets take a minute to applaud Kazakhstan for welcoming our outer-space neighbors. Nothing shows diversity like welcoming extra-terrestrials.

Another reason to applaud Kazakhstan? For putting up with this crazy story. I for one, think it's a rumor, facilitated by well known actor Sacha Baron Cohen. You may recognize him as Borat, or Ali G.

Here is why:
1st: In an article in the NY Times, written by Noam Cohen [Noam is one of Sacha's middle names, that he could have been using as a writer] he spoke about Raƫlians, a group I will label as extra-terrestrial enthusiasts, who were sent to build an Alien Embassy in the Holy Land.

2nd: While Kazakhstan is not the Holy Land, Cohen's character Borat, was a reporter from Kazakhstan.

3rd: If you google the article, it does not appear in any reputable news journals like the Times, Washington Post or even the Oregonian.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Epidemic to become Pandemic?

A few days ago, we heard of reports of a deadly flu in Mexico, where thousands were sick, and almost 100 dead. Stores in Mexico reported selling out of medical masks within a few a minutes, yet more seem to be contracting and dying from the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, its a respiratory disease typically found in pigs caused by type A influenza.

The AP released a Q&A about Swine Flu, hoping to cure some widespread panic that is sure to follow.

The Symptoms: similar to a regular flu, cough, fever, fatigue and lack of appetite.
Prevention: The flu shots will most likely be ineffective, however, two flu treatments called Tamiflu and Relenza seem to be affective.

In a separate article from AP, they warn to seek hospitalization when:
a fever of 100 + degrees, body aches, coughing, a sore throat, respiratory congestion and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

In an article by Donald McNeil, Jr. on the NYTimes website, Dr. Nancy Cox, the chief of the agency’s flu division says:
" The A (H1N1) flu strain they had was quite unusual. It contained gene segments from North American swine, bird and human flu strains as well as one from Eurasian swine."

More current updates tell us that there are 20 confirmed cases throughout five U.S. states and suspected cases as far away as New Zealand.

When you are sick, stick to common sense.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing with the crook of your elbow or upper arm instead of your hands.
  • Wash hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • If you think you have the flu, stay at home.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Teh sick

Normally I pride myself on the fact that I rarely get sick. All last term, sickness spread through my school and Newspaper office like the Rage Virus. It seemed as though Mary Anne, Rick, James, Eve and Lydia were all taking turns getting sick. I was happy as a clam when I remained healthy even though my mom and fiance both experienced different illnesses themselves.

Then comes Max Brown, newest addition as feature editor and friend at the Commuter. Unknowingly, Max carried a little bug, the very thing that would be perfect to bring a Becca down.

I'm not sure what it was but it definitely caught me off guard. Sunday night it started as a pain-in-the-ass sore throat, which continued through Monday. I blamed it on freshly cut, beautiful smelling grass that lay on the lawns of LBCC. This beautiful grass however, had never bothered me in the past.

Why did I blame it on mother nature? Well, Monday I sat in the lawn for three hours drawing mother nature herself with my Drawing I class taught by Gary Westford.

Tuesday showed up with bright eyes, as I slowly melted off my bed and onto the floor because my legs were too weak to carry, and my head was to heavy to lift, I realized, it wasn't mother nature, it was MAX!

I tried to open my eyes and they burned, I tried to breathe threw my nose and failed, the thought of eating breakfast made my stomach lurch. Somehow I ended up at school after taking a shower, eating breakfast and passing out half-on and half-off my moms bed, oh and driving was somewhere in there.

I gagged my way through Bio 103 lab, where we dissected Chicken legs. When red marrow shot out of the bone after my lab partner Robin snapped it, I was ready to throw my towel in.

I kept my head down and survived work for a couple hours, and somehow made it home. I was exhausted. Surely bed was the right thing for me.

My eyelashes wanted to sew together as i curled up in bed. so. tired. Then i felt it. it started as a little tickle. then wet. then a little more tickle dripping from my nose. I knew right then, it would be a sleepless night.

Wednesday woke me up, even if I hadn't had any sleep. Do stay home? Do i go to school? I never miss school, so I go, for a very very very long day. Class, Class, break, class, break, three hour class then a drive home. so. tired.


Thursday, glorious Thursday. How i praise you. No classes today. Just homework (yeah right). If i wasn't in my bed i was on the couch, or puttering around the house in my leopard print bathrobe. It took everything I had to muster up some energy to get cracking on my homework by 9.

but what is this? DO MY EYES DECEIVE?! A BAND NEW GREY'S ANATOMY? FOLLOWED A BRAND NEW PRIVATE PRACTICE? TWO NEW OFFICE'S on CH.8 and NEW CSI on CH.6 , and the new show SOUTHLAND on CH.12?! Why Lord, do you painfully torture me with this scheduling of more shows than my DVR can conceivably record. I miss the Office's, CSI, (Parks and Rec) and Hells Kitchen. Grey's Anatomy and Private Pratice always win. Thank you good Lord for giving me T.V. online!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nazi hunters: Unsung Heroes

Sixty-four years have passed since the end of World War II, and it is still widely talked about today. When I interviewed Dr. Paul Kopperman at OSU, he mentioned that especially because of the popularity of Hollywood movies, the interest in WWII has “gained momentum since the 80’s.” Alongside Hollywood’s view, we have dates to recognize veterans, memorials to remember communities lost; memoirs to learn about personal strife, like those of Anne Frank and Ellie Wiesel. Museums, speakers and survivors around the world are dedicated to remind us of the tragedy that was the Holocaust. Even the villains like Josef Mengele are remembered for their atrocities in hopes that we can learn to be better people, to remember that all have equal rights.

Overlooked by some, and unknown to others, and supported by survivors and victims, there are some unsung heroes of this awful tragedy. Simon Wiesenthal, Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, Efraim Zuroff are just a few of a special group dubbed as Nazi-hunters, who should be particularly remembered when speaking about the Holocaust.

These four people, among others have made a living seeking out and bringing to justice Nazi war-criminals like Mengele who were or are hiding out around the world. Mengele was known as ‘The Angel of Death’ working as a doctor at different death camps, doing notorious experiments on twins. Individuals like the Klarsfelds, and governments, including the United States and Germany, are still very active today in seeking out justice against perpetrators of war-crimes, “trying to come to terms with happened,” says Kopperman.

A Nazi war-criminal is one who is suspected of committing war crimes, crimes against peace, or crimes against humanity. When I spoke with Michele Wilson, anthropology instructor at LBCC she said “these are people who removed basic human rights.” After the war, many suspected war criminals, like Mengele fled to other countries seeking exile and protection. They had help from Nazi sympathizers to escape to places like Argentina and Paraguay who had particularly good relationships with Germany according to Kopperman, and refused to cooperate in the apprehension of suspected criminals. Unfortunately, Mengele was never brought to justice, believed to have died on a beach in Brazil in 1979.

When I asked Holocaust survivor, and Oregon local Alter Wiener his opinion of those in pursuit of Nazi war criminals he said, "They [war criminals] should be brought to justice. I'm not looking for revenge, revenge is to only please me."

Kopperman noted that hunters like Wiesenthal, who passed away in 2005 and the Klarsfelds, who are actively and legally pursuing those suspected of war crimes during World War II. “They kept meticulous files and work off of leads and experience,” he goes on to say that “they have exonerated some who did not act out of malice”. It is important to note that not all who participated in the war as Nazi’s are sought, only those who cruelly stripped away basic human rights. Once found, these criminals are often sent back (not always) to the location of their crime, typically Germany or Austria.

“We can define [Nazi Hunters] them as heroes on a humanitarian level,” says Wilson, “ We feel better when we get rid of evil.”

Photo of Auschwitz block 10 where Mengele conducting twin experiments; by athena. [flickr]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sneaky fetus makes surprise appearance in bathtub

I am a sucker for weird, and especially gorey news. So I decided that one of my twice weekly posts for my Journalism class, is going to be a summary of a weird news story, and my opinion, as if it mattered.

I chose this particular news story in light that I know a lot of pregnant people at the moment, and this just bewilders me! It comes from

The story comes from Grand Rapids News about a brand new dispatcher helping two parents give birth to a baby over the phone.

Apparently the dispatcher just finished her six months of training and was her third day on the job. The couple Carri and Ryan Emmons apparently had NO IDEA that Carri was pregnant. So as she lay in the bathtub giving birth, husband called 911 as 10 year old son looked on.

"I didn't know my wife was pregnant," Ryan said of his 27-year-old wife, already a mother of three.

Angie Adams, the new dispatcher walked the couple through the birthing process leaving the Emmons a brand new, healthy baby boy. Rescue crews were sent to their house, and Ryan was given the privilege of scooping the freshly born placenta out of the tub to hand over to doctors for examination.

Alright- So here is what I dont get- how could a mother of three NOT KNOW SHE WAS PREGNANT?! Was there no morning sickness, no missed periods or psychotic cravings of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches? No sudden gaining of weight and need to constantly get a bigger clothing size? DID SHE NOT FEEL THE BABY KICK?! God help us if she thought that was just a bowel movement.

I think that would have made for a more interesting story. I like details when I read stories, and for me the most important ones have been left out! How dumb could this lady be?!
More importantly, why did my font just change? Anyhow, what I really want to know is how did the husband never notice? My guess is the woman in question is well overweight, the baby absorbed the nutrients, esentially acting like ice in water, replacing the weight of her fat, with the weight of itself. I must say, way to go sneaky fetus. Oh and i hope the hospital gave her a hystorectomy.

In reply to the article, Grand Rapid News decided they should write a blurb on how surprise pregnancies can happen. And when I did a Google search afterwards for Unexpected Births I came up with this link from TwinStuff . My mind is absolutely boggled.

Tune in weekly for more mind boggling news and my pointless opinions!

My friday night came early..

I sat down at the table my mom had reserved for us, it was a small table meant for the patio, probably wrought-iron and covered by a red paper table cloth,. I let out a sigh of relief as this was my Friday, even though it was only Wednesday night. It was nice not being in a crowded, loud brightly lit situation. The drapes were shut as the sun was setting, and lighting was low provided by a mish-mosh of lamps.

The clanging of glasses and silverware was carefree, and light laughter helped build the ambiance. In the background 50s and 60s music played quietly, and the smell of garlic was enough to tantalize any taste-buds. This is not a place we frequent, and I'm not really sure why. It's hidden in the downtown area of Salem, on the side of a lot occupied by an over-zealous bank. The food is overwhelmingly delicious, slightly over priced, and well worth the wait.

You can hear the light swishing of the dishwasher as it sneaks closer to closing time, and you can tell the waitress cannot wait. After all, the sun was shining, the mood was light and there was still plenty of time left to enjoy this mid-week Friday. I admire the quaint building, because where it lacks in size, it makes up with character. The walls are charmingly decorated in a variety of old photos, and oil paintings by local artists, perhaps even by the employees themselves.

Our time came to a close, as we walked out with the door jingling behind us, I left with a satisfied feeling knowing that my Friday was off to a good start.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Feature story ideas

This month is Holocaust Awareness Month, so our school's newspaper (and my current place of employement) is going to do a small feature. I have always been interested in the military history of our world, so I am thinking about doing a story about Nazi hunters and Holocaust survivors. I do face some difficulties with this topic though, not being able to actually find and interview a survivor or hunter. If i do, I may face difficulties with interviewing someone on such a sensitive topic.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Kids on the Block

Linn Benton Community College is giving a warm welcome to its newest sports team, a soccer club. While there have been LBCC soccer clubs in the past, Coach Art Mota along with the help of club president Kyle Boylan, is reviving the club with enough passion to light a city. “We’re the new kids on the block,” said Mota, “but it’s a good thing. Already other clubs are contacting us to set up games”. For the twenty members of the new club, these are the words they want to hear.

The team has already played and won their first game, 3-0 against Corvallis at North Albany Middle School and looking forward to more exhibition games during spring term.

The LBCC soccer club is a group of people with a comman passion for playing soccer, some are old hands, others are just starting. The club is open to everyone, men and women equally, with no limit to number of people who can join. Currently, Boylan has been setting up fundraisers to cover costs of equipment, uniforms, referees, travel and more. According to Boylan, the team has a tentative fundraiser in place for April 14th, at Red Robin in Albany from five to eight p.m. where ten percent of register sales will go to the club. Fundraisers like these help make the possibility of becoming a part of the Cascade Collegiate Soccer League (CCSL) a reality. The CCSL is coordinated by Scott Milum of Central Oregon Community College meant for Collegiate level club teams and allows for each team to play each other twice during the season.

Art Mota new coach of the LBCC Soccer Club.

The club has only been official for approximately three weeks, so spring term is dedicated to the club members practicing, getting to know one another, and playing exhibition games with the goal of joining eight other northwest collegiate teams in the Cascade Collegiate Soccer League.

What happens if they are accepted to the league? The game season will run from August to November and additional funding to cover costs will come from affordable member dues. Upon being accepted to the CCSL, approximately 16 members will play on the traveling team, with additional opportunities for other members to play games. When I asked Mota what drives students to join the club, he said “They have taken soccer classes in the past, want to try something different, or are aspiring to play at a higher level”. Mota continued by saying that playing with a club is a great way for new, young athletes to get noticed and build friendships.

Dates and times will vary for future soccer games because, as a club, they have to coordinate around everyone’s work and school schedule, including the opposing team. This can be a large downfall because it makes practices hard to schedule, and even harder to attend for some. Boylan did not seem worried though, “We're a hardworking team, always going to be fighting at every game, and for every opportunity to try and improve". So while LBCC has had some losses in programs, it has also made some gains, one of which is the soccer club. If free entertainment (yes games are free), showing support for your school, or your friends on the team is not a win-win situation, then I don’t know what is. Contact Art Mota at 917-4730 for more information on joining the team.

Fast Facts:
  • Linn Benton Community College welcomes new soccer club.
  • They will play games against other Northwest Colleges.
  • "We're the new kids on the block."
  • Dates and times vary for games.
  • Club may lay foundation for soccer program at LBCC .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

How I warmed my day at the Coast

Today is the last day of Spring Break, and I was determined to make something of it and I certainly did not want to spend the day dealing with real estate woes, or wedding planning. Regardless of the weather, I was going to do something fun! Fortunately when I woke up, it was sunny so my mom and I decided to go to the coast. We knew when we got there it would most likely be foul weather, but I knew we could find something to do, and inexpensively.

First, we packed some snacks, including a half PB&J, a bag of strawberries, 1 small green apple, 2 string cheeses, Salsa, a small bag of corn chips, and iced tea. After loading supplies into the car, I appropriately slammed my head with the car door leaving a small scratch and a bruise on my forehead (Coincidentally during spring break '07, when taking a trip to the coast in I smashed my finger in my moms car door leaving a gaping, painful wound).

Our first stop was the beach at Road's End, where the Dory Cove restaurant used to be a landmark, but burned down a few years back. I noticed all the 'For Sale' markers on the beach front property and wondering if they, like my mom, had been watching too many Tsunami movies.

When you're going to encounter some of Oregon's finest beaches on a cold, windy day remember these things:
1) Dress warmer than you think you need to be, wear gloves and a scarf!
2) Don't bother stying your hair or your face.
3) Wear a hooded sweater so when mobs of people start feeding the seagulls right next to you you wont get poop in your hair, which wont be swishing around (The Italians seem to believe that when pooped on by pigeons/seagulls it brings good luck, particularly in Venice where a quarter of the birds have hepatitis).
4) If you get pooped on, and it happens to be in your unkempt hair, let it dry- then it will flake off when lightly brushed (so says the Italians).

Don't listen to the Italian's advice about bird poop . . .

So we walked a small ways down the beach, watching people trying to use their kites, feed the maniacal seagulls, and play chicken with the waves. We decided to head back to the car and eat our snacks, since it looked like rain clouds were blowing towards us. Safely in the car munching on our sandwich, we watched a family try to picnic but were thwarted by swarming seagulls and being pelted by the rain and swooshed by the wind. I suggested to my mom we leave since it was starting to resemble one of Hitchcock's finest flicks, and because it was giving me the heebie-jeebies.

The next best thing the beach has to offer is the shopping! We headed down Highway 101 for Lincoln City's finest. First stop was at a wine shop called C&J Boutique: Wine-Cheese-Cigars, where you can go wine tasting for FREE! My mom and I tasted some great local wines from Honeywood Winery in Salem, Eola Hills Wine and a more expensive Italian wine by Cascina Castlet, along with some brie from Blue Heron, and a locally made treat called Triple Chocolate Nirvana, by Caroline's Desserts.

In the same shopping center we stopped at a favorite candle company where you can smell and buy a variety of candles for yourself or gifts. You'll spend a little more on Newport Bay Candles but they're bigger, burn longer and cleaner than most store bought votives. My favorite thing about NB Candles are the fact you only need to burn and the fragrance carries throughout your home or space. The Fragrances we purchased are Pomegranite, Oregon Noble Fir, Red Hot Cinnamon, and new smells Freedom (a mix of strawberry, vanilla and blueberry) ,and Coconut/Cranberry which cant be purchased online yet.

After that we headed down the strip to the Christmas Shop where you can find multitudes of Christmas ornaments all year round, and at all price levels. Its a great place to go if you love Christmas or you want to purchase a gift for someone, or in my mom's case, your tree doesn't have enough pink flamingo ornaments.

In this same shopping mall, between the NB Candle Store and Christmas Cottage there is a great, inexpensive Mexican restaurant called La Roca, even though we didnt stop there this time, smells permeating the walls made our tummies grumble with memories of past burritos and good times had.

We concluded our visit to Lincoln City at Tiki's at 51st, kiddy corner from Mo's. Whats great about Tiki's is that it looks like a surf shop you'd see in the 60's on a California beac, covered in Kitchy beach finds. They serve everything from Stumptown Coffee, Tillamook Ice Cream, Hot Dogs, Cheese/Veggie Burgers and Fish tacos! While sitting outside (some covered seating available) licking your chocolate chip mint ice cream and admiring your tiki trinkets purchased inside, you can chat with talking Blue and Gold Macaw Gypsy who dances to music and nods her head to questions. You can also pose in back of funny beach goer bodies or try and appease the tiki head by letting him taste some of your mom's ice cream while she isn't looking.

Stopped at the corner of 51st and HWY 101, I noticed a great looking art shop on the left corner, offering everything painted in skulls and across the street a Pirate Pastry Shop! Who knew pastries could fend off scurvy? All these great shops down one small section of a long highway, what more could you ask for.

All in all, even though I didnt get to spend much time on the beach, and the sun was hardly out, I had a great last day of Spring Break.

All photos taken by Becca Martino Mar 29. 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Drink for the Community's Sake

Every St. Patrick's Day, Salem residents gather at local bar and McMenamin's chain called Boon's Treasury, who celebrate in style by wearing green, eating traditional Irish fair, clapping along to live music, oh and don't forget McMenamin's Irish stout! When I spoke on the phone to longtime employee named Sam, he said that for as long as he could remember, they've always celebrated the day.
Lynnette Martino and Valerie Karnes raise their glasses to St. Patty! Lynnette is drinking the Irish Stout and Valerie is drinking McMenamin's Ruby Ale.

So, even though I had a paper due Tuesday night at midnight, and a chemistry final in the morning I decided to go take a look for myself to see what it was all about.

The night's lineup included Oregon Defense Force Pipeband who have been playing the pipe's since 1971 according to the band's website, accompanied by an Irish Dancer, which started around 8:15 in the evening playing for a half hour.

Don't know the lyric's to Irish Eyes are Smiling? Don't worry, the Oregon Defense Force Pipeband encourages audiences to sing-along with lyrics written on some tagboard.

Traditional food included Corn Beef Cabbage and Irish Reuben's served alongside McMenamin's Irish Stout. Now I am a vegetarian so I didn't try the grubs, but I can testify that the Irish stout is a mighty tasty beer, not too dark or hoppy in flavor for those who don't enjoy Guinness, but like a flavorful beer.

For many restaurants and businesses, celebratory nights on holidays are often the most anticipated, especially in our economy. Continuing my phone interview with Sam, he said that the economy hadn't hit them too hard, only having to lay-off a less than part time employee; saying that nights like this, are their biggest money making nights of the year and help reduce the chance of further layoffs.

For Salem residents like myself, celebrating St. Patrick's Day at McMenamin's gives us a chance to set aside stresses like college finals, and to pretend we're Irish for the night.

photo /video credits: © Becca Martino 2009.
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