Last week it was hometown hero Joey Harrington on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This week, it's P-town's other favorite son, Matt Groening Ñ or at least his creation, the Simpson family Ñ on the cover of Rolling Stone. É According to what's inside, the 'Simpson franchise' Ñ as they put it Ñ is worth about $1 billion. Not bad for a sharecropper's son from Lincoln High, or am I confusing that with a Steve Martin routine? É Commissioner Erik Sten, who couldn't get a constituent's e-mail because of the city's 'filter,' says he wasn't even aware of the policy. But if it's naughty language the folks over at the Bureau of Information Technologies want to protect him from, Sten says, 'I think I'm big enough to deal with it.'

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More fun filter facts: You already know that you, as a mere private citizen, can't send e-mails to your favorite commissioner with words like 'free' and 'sex' within five characters of each other. É But did you know that the city's filter permits them to send them to you? As several readers want to know, how fair is that? É Before we get too excited about the governor-elect's bowling agenda, it's probably worth remembering that this spring, shortly after he started using those man-of-the-people bowling ads on TV, Ted Kulongoski was on KEX (1190 AM) with Mark Mason and Dave Anderson, where, in a weak moment, he acknowledged that he hadn't bowled in ages. É In other words, it was all a publicity stunt cooked up by his campaign advisers. É Last week, Kulongoski was back on the 'Mark and Dave Show,' discussing his desire to get the Legislature bowling with him. Dave, who usually doesn't stand on ceremony, didn't make a peep. 'I learned long ago,' he explains, 'you don't argue with people who claim to bowl.'

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The pot continues to boil over at Vivid, the chic new restaurant in the Pearl. When Vivid boss Andrew Sugar canned executive chef Tom Hurley last week, Hurley threatened him with litigation. É 'If you continue cooking my food,' he said, 'I will sue you.' É Then Hurley, who got his start cooking as a fireman for the guys at Engine No. 1 downtown, grabbed the three-ring binder with all his recipes in it and stomped out. É 'If he wants to sue me, bring it on,' says Sugar. He doesn't think Hurley has a leg of lamb to stand on. É Hurley says he's already talking with a lawyer. 'I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.'

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Boats Johnson is back in town after a triumphal tour of clubs in Kelso, Wash., Astoria and last Ñ but not least Ñ Lebanon, where he opened with: 'Nice to be here in Leb'non, which, as we all know, is just a meth lab with streets.' É 'And they laughed!' says Boats, still in awe of his own comic genius. Catch him this Thursday evening at O'Connor's in Multnomah Village É Mark Kikel, or 'Mustard Man' as he is known because he once ate a jar of mustard on the 'Mark and Dave Show,' reports that he's reached the semifinals of something called the Portland Comedy Challenge, which convenes every Monday night at Exotica, the strip club on Northeast Columbia. 'Sometimes if we do a really rockin' routine, the girls come up and give us tips,' he says, sounding somehow out of breath. É Must be because the winner gets $500.

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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