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Must be Happy H. time in P-town

Gray skies. Cold, slanting rain. Everybody in town's got a cold. Hey, it must be holiday time in P-town. É Which holiday, you ask? How should I know? I just live here, and that's what they call the big tree with all the lights in Pioneer Courthouse Square. É So happy holidays to you. And if you don't like it, the folks at City Hall apparently are telling us, you know what you can do with it. É Developer Bob Ball, who's come out of nowhere to become a force in city politics, says maybe I should lighten up on the subject. He has his own way of dealing with the issue. É He sends Merry Christmas cards to everyone Ñ but wherever it seems appropriate he just crosses out the word Christmas and writes 'Happy H.' É At least Jon Reinschreiber, who has the Paint the Sky Kites store on Northwest 23rd, is on my side: 'It's about time someone speaks out against the homogenization of all the winter holidays.' However, he suggests calling the 'holiday tree' by its pagan name, the yule tree Ñ which, come to think about it, just might work.

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In case you're planning to book Lou Rawls for your company's next Christmas party, you should know it'll run you about $40,000. É At least that's 'about' what it cost the Paulson Investment Co. to hire the famous singer and his band for its annual bash last Friday night at the Benson. É According to one in the know, there was a minor hitch when Rawls refused to go onstage until he had the check in hand Ñ not a bad idea, considering the uncertain state of the investment business these days Ñ but after a bit of scurrying around, a check was found and everything went off as planned. É Betcha didn't know that the aforementioned Bob Ball and newly seated city Commissioner Randy Leonard are related. Eleventh cousins, to be exact Ñ through George Washington's mother, Martha Ball. É Bob says it was Leonard, who he describes as a 'genealogy nut,' who came up with the information.

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Laura Merrill, who describes herself as a 'domestic goddess and full-time school volunteer, whose hobby is to visit small, independent coffee shops and return to the ones that have a certain energy about them,' nominates West Slope Espresso on Southwest Canyon Lane for best locally owned coffee shop. É Ace Trib reporter Jim Redden, who broke the Ward Weaver case, has an entire chapter devoted to him in a new National Enquirer book, 'They're Killing Our Children.' É In it, he says he likes writing about crime 'because it shows how people really live.' Sad but true.

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You know it's that special time of year when the Salvation Army West Women's and Children's Shelter gets an anonymous gift of $800 Ñ with instructions that it be spent only at pricey Saks Fifth Avenue. É Case manager Sandy Garner plans to use it to buy lingerie at the Pioneer Place store Ñ which, we would be remiss in not mentioning, is giving the Salvation Army a 25 percent discount. É And while we're at it, what's wrong with giving yourself a Happy H. treat? May I suggest the crab cocktail Ñ Crab Vera-cruzano, owner and resident food genius Glenn Fischbuch calls it Ñ at Springwater Grill on Southeast Milwaukie: big chunks of crab with avocado and a spicy Mexican salsa Ñ and no false bottom of crushed ice, either. If there's a better crab cocktail to be found anywhere in P-town É well, I'll eat it.

Contact Phil Stanford by phone at 503-546-5166 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..