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.
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.
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.
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.