Is coffee a drug? And if so, why isn't the governor of our fair state interested in taxing it, too? I mean, doesn't he know sin when it's staring him in the face? É Until recently, the local chapter of Caffeine Anonymous used to hold regular meetings at the Alano Club on Northwest 25th. No one there seems to know what became of them, but it seems reasonable to assume that they're all lying in a gutter somewhere. É All the more reason, says Greg Hermens, proprietor of the Nob Hill Bar & Grill, to 'Tax Lattes, Not Beer.' He and Nob Hill sage Mike Ryerson are busy preparing bumper stickers to that effect, which they will no doubt be willing to sell at a reasonable price.

• • •

Scott Thomason, easily the most recognizable face in P-town, is about to relaunch himself as an advertising icon with a new, tongue-in-cheek TV series that will chronicle the making of 'The Greatest Auto Dealer Commercial in History.' Canadian comedian Kevin McDonald, of the TV show 'Kids in the Hall,' will play a wacky director, and Scott, well, he'll just play Scott. É Sort of an object lesson, if you will, in how far you can go if you maintain a sense of humor about yourself and, of course, make a few good business decisions along the way. É Speaking of which, look for Asbury, Thomason's parent company, to go public any day now.

• • •

Turns out the AFL-CIO poll that Ted Kulongoski has been crowing about Ñ and why not, since it shows him with double-digit leads over his Democratic rivals, Bev Stein and Jim Hill? Ñ was based on responses from 338 souls. Background documents show that 33 percent of them were 70 or older. É For some time now, if you've wanted to know who's getting a high-priced divorce in this town, all you had to do was hang out in Pioneer Courthouse Square and watch who showed up in the second-floor windows of the Jackson Tower offices of Jody Stahancyk. Soon, however, the lookout spot will be the Driftwood Bar in the Mallory Hotel at Southwest 15th and Yamhill, which is kitty-corner from the building that Jody just bought. Moving day is April 1. No fooling, she says.

• • •

But now it's story time: It's early morning, an hour or so before Nick's Famous Coney Island is ready to open for business Ñ and Sammy Nicoletti is sitting there in his usual booth, drinking coffee. Well, of course he is. What kind of person would start drinking beer before 10:30 in the morning, anyway? É 'Say,' says Sammy, 'I ever tell you the one about the time I was playing cards over at Pat Cassidy's? No? Well, it must have been about '61 or so, because she had this place over on Ankeny then, and I'm there playing cards when the phone rings. 'Sammy,' someone says, 'it's for you.' ' É ' 'Now how can that be?' I say, 'since nobody knows I'm here.' But I take it anyway, and it's Zorro on the line. That's Al Zornado, legendary cop and tough guy, in case you don't know. É 'Hey, Sammy,' he says, 'get the bleep out of there. We want to raid the place.' 'Whaddya mean,' I tell him, 'I'm on a winning streak.' 'OK,' says Zorro, 'give it two hours, and get out.' ' É Sammy doubles over, wheezing with laughter. Pretty soon, he comes to. 'Say,' he says, 'I ever tell you about the time they sent this hood down from Seattle, and Zornado hung him by his heels out the third floor of the Governor Hotel?' Next time, Sammy. Gotta go.

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..

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