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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ode To The Ones Left Behind


By Harry Cummins

     This year has been one of inconsolable loss.

     There is no handbook on heartbreak.  Each of us is left to deal with searing loss in our own way. I can tell you that I am sorry for your specific loss... but I cannot tell you that I know exactly how you feel.

     Today, the final day of 2020, is full of sorrow.  Yet, the midnight sky tonight will be filled with fireworks. I am not sure why.  Maybe it's simply hope for a New Year manifested in tradition.  My dog, however, will feel frightened and many of you will wonder what others have to celebrate.

     Each person that we love and then loose, is a uniquely private matter.  I, too, have loved and lost but can't offer so much as a clue as to how you should deal with your grief.  I can say to those in mourning, that my heart goes out to you.  I know something about how often my own ambulant heart leaves current comfort spots in search of a resting place in the sweet memories of a lost loved one.

     As social media fills the airways today with the names and faces of all the famous we have lost in 2020, I invite you to find comfort for your personal and private loss in the lyrics of a 1967 song by the Bee Gees, "To Love Somebody"  The love you still long for in this world is very real and did not die with your loved one.  Your love for somebody is highly singular...yet universal.

  " You don't know what it's like to love somebody..

      ..To love somebody..

      The way I love you."

Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb (The Bee Gees)

      I still believe there is a kind of love, a certain kind of light, in this world that "Beareth all things, beliveth all things, hopeth all things."

     That is the sort of illumination we need to send skyward tonight along with our pyrotechnics.

Illustration for this story is by David Delamare, an Oregon artist who died in 2016. He leaves behind his art..and those who love him.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

College Football Playoff Predictions and My Fiesta Bowl Pick

I've been asked to give you my College Football Playoff predictions along with my Fiesta Bowl pick. It won't be easy, but here goes:

Rose Bowl on January 1, 2021 at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

#1 Alabama vs. #4 Notre Dame - Alabama 47, Notre Dame 21

(Friday Final: #1 Alabama 31, #4 Notre Dame 14)

Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana

#2 Clemson vs. #3 Ohio State - Clemson 35, Ohio State 28

(Friday Final: #3 Ohio State 49, #2 Clemson 28)

College Football National Championship Game on January 11, 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

*Revised Prediction: #1 Alabama 35, #3 Ohio State 21

Alabama Crimson Tide will be the 2021 National College Football Champions.

Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2021 at State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

#25 Oregon vs. #12 Iowa State - Cyclones 42, Ducks 28

(Saturday Final: #12 Iowa State 34, #25 Oregon 17) (Was I close?)

The 2020-21 College Football season can't end soon enough. Have a Happy New Year. Let the fun continue.

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality and play-by-play radio voice of Henley Hornets football and Klamath County School District post-season games for Wynne Broadcasting in Klamath Falls and He's also the play-by-play radio voice of the Eugene Overhead Door Challengers American Legion baseball team on KKNX Eugene (AM 840, FM 105.1) and Find him on most social media platforms.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Night David McCarty faced Todd VanPoppel - Portland Beavers Lore


In 1991, Stanford's David McCarty was Baseball America's National Player of the Year.

By Harry Cummins

      I remember well the 1993 Pacific Coast League baseball season.  It was the year the Portland Beavers led the league with a 87-56 record and were then unceremoniously sold at the conclusion of the year and relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah.

     There were many moments and players to celebrate throughout that fateful season.  Bernardo Brito hit 20 home runs and batted .339 in 85 games and Pat Mahomes went 11-4 on the mound for the Beavers.  The singular moment that stands out from that season, for me, came in April when perhaps the two best prospects in the game faced off in a classic showdown in Civic Stadium in Portland. 

      I would wager that many of the 1,217 fans in attendance that night may not still remember when David McCarty of the Beavers and Tacoma's Todd VanPoppel were featured in a pitcher-hitter match-up for the ages. Both players were former first-round MLB draft picks. VanPoppel by Oakland in 1990. McCarty by Minnesota in 1991.  Both players were recently ranked as the top prospect in all of baseball coming into the game.

     On this night, VanPoppel sailed thru the first 6 innings, allowing just 2 hits.  Both hits came off the bat of McCarty.  Both hits were home runs.  The first coming in the opening inning, when the 6'5" slugger lined a lazer into the left-field seats. The second was a prodigious 420-foot blast into the centerfield seats.

     Van Poppel left after 6 innings with the score tied 2-2.  Suddenly the game lost much of its original appeal.  I remember the Beavers went on to win 5-4 on Derek Lee's 2-out, 12th inning home run.  Just a few days earlier in the same series, McCarty, the PCL's leading hitter at .460, went 4 for 6 and won another 12 inning game with a single.  McCarty played just 40 games in Portland in 1993 and hit .385.

     Van Poppel and McCarty would go on to long, but somewhat disappointing, careers in the majors.  Neither lived up to the incredible hype they attracted in 1993.  McCarty went on to play for 7 different teams over the next 12 years.  VanPoppel also played for 7 teams over a 14 year span.

     Although the Beavers returned to Portland in 2001 for a final 10 year run in the Rose City, I  don't remember another anticipated match-up quite like McCarty vs VanPoppel.

     Why do we remember these small, mostly meaningless moments, while so much of significance in left on the cutting room floor of the mind?

      Ah, the mystery and magic of memory.   Feel free in the comments section below to tell me about the greatest pitcher vs hitter at bats you can recall in that jumble of electrical circuits that constitutes your baseball brain.



Pac-12 Men's and Women's Basketball Power Rankings - December 29, 2020

COVID-19 has hit the Oregon State Beavers women's basketball team. I sincerely wish those who have come down with the virus to get well quickly. With that said, here are this week's Pac-12 men's and women's power rankings. Enjoy.

Pac-12 Men:

1) Oregon

2) Colorado


4) Stanford

5) Washington State

6) Arizona

7) Arizona State

9) Utah

10) Oregon State

11) California

12) Washington

Pac-12 Women:

1) Stanford

2) Oregon


4) Arizona

5) Washington State

6) Washington

7) Arizona State

8) Oregon State

9) Colorado

10) USC

11) Utah

12) California

This is always open for discussion. Your rankings may be different, of course. I trust some of these teams can prove me wrong as the Pac-12 campaigns continue.

Bill Crawford is a long time Eugene radio personality and play-by-play announcer. Find him on a social medium platform near you.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Stunning Figures From Sports World

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

Despite a worldwide pandemic of epic proportions, the 40 top sports agencies worldwide secured deals for their clients worth $56 billion in 2020. The commissions alone on those deals were worth $2.9 billion, a 10 percent rise from 2019. 

Creative Artist Agency to use a golf term is the leading money winner with contracts in 2020 valued at $8.8 billion and commissions of $419 million. 

Maybe you should think being an agent rather than an athlete.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas from Craw’s Corner

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

MERRY Christmas to our great readers, thank you for letting us entertain you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

First Pac-12 Men's and Women's Basketball Power Rankings - December 23, 2020

First of all, I'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 2021 will, no doubt, be a much better year for the vast majority of us.

Moving forward, here's the first installment of my Pac-12 Men's and Women's Basketball Power Rankings:


1) Oregon

2) Colorado

3) Washington State

4) Utah

5) Stanford


7) Arizona

8) Arizona State

9) USC

10) Oregon State

11) Washington

12) California


1) Stanford

2) Oregon

3) Arizona


5) Washington State

6) Oregon State

7) Arizona State

8) Washington

9) Colorado

10) Utah

11) USC

12) California

Yes. It's still early. But the conference campaign will tell the tale. Stay tuned, especially on Tuesdays during the remainder of the college basketball season.

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality, a huge sports fan and an overall nice guy. (I seem to think I'm a pretty nice guy.)

Find him on most social media. Email:

Finding A Way Home This Christmas


By Harry Cummins

     As the light dims on the final days of this most public of years, it may be useful to attempt to illuminate some of the private places each of us have constructed to serve as "home."  Places not bound by any travel bans or current circumstance.  Places we return to often in our hearts for safety.

     Of course, there is no standard definition, no single conclusion as to what home IS.  Each of us carries a divergent set of desires, memories, and expectations to the places in which we reside.

     Many of us speak of physical comforts and places of familiarity. Places with picket fences and noisy neighbors and rooms where children laugh.  Others point to the deepest consoles of the inner self, a calling to a higher place.

     Home for some is fluid.  For others, it remains fixed.  For some of us, the winding road to freedom has always returned to our front doorstep. For some, the image of home may repose in a distant cemetery, sweetly sealed inside us forever.

     What then draws us to one place and not another?  What alchemy pulls us back and forth across cities and states and zip codes in search of a home.  Maybe it's Thomas Wolfe's predicament playing itself out in a vagabond's wilderness.  A reoccurring lament for roads not taken.

     Finally, of course, it's up to each of us to make ourselves at home. 

     However rudimentary, predictable, lonely, or even accidental, there is no other place quite like it.

     May your home fires burn bright this Christmas.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Soup is on

This time of year on the Oregon coast, it can get dark, cold, and rainy. To warm the body and soul, I love soup (homemade or takeout). This past Sunday my wife made some amazing chicken soup.  That with a Deschutes Rip City Lager made my belly and heart full.  If you have not tried, the Rip City Lager it is light with just a slight lemony taste, perfect with some soup.    

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Final Sunday Pac-12 Football Power Rankings - December 20, 2020

It was, indeed, a pretty crazy and difficult Pac-12 football season. One team got to play all seven of its scheduled games. A second-place team in its division ended up winning the Pac-12 Championship because the division champion couldn't field enough players due of COVID-19. Nine of the 12 teams either didn't qualify for or opted out of a bowl game. A division champion was one of those nine teams that opted out of a bowl game. 

With that said, here's my final Pac-12 Football Rankings for the 2020 season:

1) Colorado
2) *USC
3) *Washington
4) *Utah
5) Oregon
6) *UCLA
7) Arizona State
8) *Oregon State
9) *Stanford
10) *Washington State
11) *California
12) *Arizona

*Either didn't qualify or opted out of a bowl game.

It hadn't been an easy task doing these rankings. It was fun, though. Please feel free to share your thoughts. I'm already looking towards 2021 and what it will bring. 

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality, lifelong Southern Oregon Raiders fan and an SOU alum. His opinions are strictly his own. You can find Bill on most social media platforms.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Trail Blazer’s Moves

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

Living in state of Oregon, I have been here since 1970 and the first year of Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA. I often wonder this question? What are the smartest and dumbest moves the franchise has ever made and you only get one choice on each. For me. 

1) Dumbest ; Getting rid of their 3 extremely popular broadcasters Brian Wheeler, Mike Barrett and Mike Rice. 

2) Smartest: Keeping Neil Olshey around. He has done a terrific job.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Catcher In All Of Us


By Harry Cummins

     Seemingly immobilized in performing the most rudimental of tasks these days, I find myself thinking a lot about Mackey Sasser.

     Sasser, the erstwhile catcher for the New York Mets, suddenly developed a celebrated hang-up in the early 1990's, a bonafide resistance in returning the baseball to his pitcher.  It was a real problem that baffled not only Met fans but likely the game's inventor himself, Abner Doubleday.

     Personally, I don't think Sasser's problem was such an abnormality.  More of a modern malaise, I'd say.  Merely an existential predicament of the human catcher in all of us.

    In those days before the pandemic, when I had a real job, I had a similar problem myself with neckties. It happened whenever I faced myself in the mirror, tie looped around my neck, thinking about returning to the office.

     Just as Sasser went thru a rather bizarre routine of double-pumping and leaning back as if he might fall over, so did I when confronted with that right-to-left return flip. Gripping my tie between my teeth for that final pull-down through the knot, the end uniformity always eluding me.

     I now have this theory.  I think all of us, in some form, are being called to return something. Baseballs are only a symbol of a greater process at work here.

     More of my theory, unsolicited I realize, is simply this: In our common comings and goings, we are continually challenged to a deeper life of renewal and discovery.  I strongly suspect that there exists a divine element in our very being that, unless we find a way to return to, we have little hope for ever balancing the obligations of the world against the growth of the inner self.

     In that context, Sasser's problem was quite elementary.  Once you played all the tennis, or catch, you can play, What then?

     Hypothecating that life is a mix of the fixable and the insurmountable, I offer the following advice:

     Until you figure it out, do what they tell every catcher.  Wear a mask!!


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Excited to be here


Thank you Greg for allowing me to join Craws Corner. I am a longtime educator and coach.. I am passionate about (sports, coaching, health & wellness, and food).  My hope is to share content that is fun,  interesting, and educational.

If you have any questions or topics you would like me to dive into please reach out to me, my email is and please follow me on twitter @CoachHop 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Elegance Of Everyday

By Harry Cummins

     I love sports as much as the next person.  Actually, maybe a bit more than the next person.  Top shelf sports have long been a dominant form of entertainment in my life, always providing shelter from any surrounding storm clouds.

     Many of those cloistered years were spent in press boxes chronicling the exploits of  the greatest athletes of our generation.  I had fun. 

      I once occupied a coveted end seat on press row during the infant days of the ABA.  During timeouts, I could lean in nightly to listen to the colorful celebrity coach Wilt Chamberlain trying to explain to his San Diego Conquistadors how they might best share a red, white and blue basketball among themselves.  Back then, sports were simple and joyful. As Wilt already knew, you didn't need to explain too many things.

     Things have changed, especially in this Year of The Great Exchange, 2020. Analytics running amok in an age of anxiety.  The incessant need to justify one's actions are now nudged by the need to understand a common good. Our distractions  need to be carefully selected, as they now come with greater consequences.

     Frankly, I can't understand why we are playing high level sports at all right now. Sure, I get the money thing. Still, the unraveling of all these excuses, the unjust application of restrictions across teams and leagues, hardly seems worth the time trying to make sense of it on paper. It doesn't make sense, at least to this aging sportswriter.

     With this pandemic spewing so much division and destruction, and causing so much suffering, I can no longer find the same solace in so many of my former pursuits.  Hospitalization and infection rates have overtaken scoring averages when seen thru the keyhole of 2020.

     Right now, I am having difficulty watching games on TV,  contested in front of cardboard cutouts and masked witnesses. These days, I find myself doing what writers have always done best..gazing out  a nearby window.

     During this past week, I have seen and heard a great deal out that window. All the melodies that were never missing. All the choices we retain during this pandemic.  This much is true:

     A tomboy in the next block with pig-tails who throws perfect spirals.

    Twin sisters across the street, racing the length of the sidewalk in shrieking abandon.

    The neighborhood mailman on his appointed rounds, a pied-piper throwing down dog biscuits  on the pavement like an NHL ref drops a puck for a face-off. 

    Winter yard-birds plucking the last holly berries from a thorny bush, skyward with their hard-won rewards.  

    An elderly lady in a walker, thru serious effort, never surrendering her daily stroll.

    An odd game of croquet down the street..the 'thack' of a mallet striking a plastic ball in syncopation with a roofer's hammer nearby.   

     Everyday a beginning.  Everyday an end.  

     Real sports.

     Elegance within reach.  Right now.




 Rick Lowell illustration      

NBA Power Rankings, 12/15/20

 By Gregory Crawford, @wchoops

My power rankings are always done in 9s, out of respect for 9 hole golf courses. If you disagree please feel free to tell me in comments section.

9. Phoenix

8. Dallas

7. Boston

6. Philadelphia 

5. Milwaukee 

4. Miami

3. Denver

2. Brooklyn

1. Lakers

Thanks for reading.

What is Craw’s Corner?

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

In response to today’s headline, Craw’s Corner is fun and a place we want people to get enjoyment from our posts. Harry Cummins is a world class writer, if you don’t believe me, just read his work here. Bill Crawford, (no relation, I would never claim him :)) is as knowledgeable as there is and so hard working. Both are talented obviously. 

We want to add to that talent. Craw’s Corner is popular and our readers want us to be here not 4 days a week, but everyday. In order to do that, we need to add to our team. If you wish to write about any of the following subjects, send me an email.

1. Basketball 

2. Football 

3. Soccer

4. Baseball 

5. Tennis

6. Golf

Or any other sport.

Thanks for reading 

Gregory Crawford

Founder of Craw’s Corner

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday Pac-12 Football Power Rankings - December 13, 2020

The Pac-12 weekend football schedule is out. It's Washington at USC on Friday in the Pac-12 Championship Game. 

Here's the rest of the schedule, all on Saturday:

Oregon vs. Colorado at USC 

Washington State at Utah

Stanford at UCLA

Arizona State at Oregon State

Arizona at California

Let's hope that all of these games can be played. Now, the latest Pac-12 Football Power Rankings (as determined by me):

1) USC

2) Colorado

3) Washington


5) Utah

6) Oregon State

7) Oregon

8) Stanford

9) Arizona State

10) Washington State

11) California

12) Arizona

Let the debate begin. Have an outstanding week!

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality and freelance sportscaster. The opinions expressed are strictly his own. Find him on most social media platforms.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Hubie Brown, You have to love it

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops and Periscope

Most people do not live to be 87 years old. In addition most people are not working at anything if they are still living at 87.

Hubie Brown is breaking all the rules. He not only is 87, but he is at the top of his game literally at 87. Brown is starting his 36th year as an NBA analyst in the 20-21, working for ESPN. In his analyst career Brown has also worked for CBS and TNT covering games.

Brown is a great basketball mind and for most part, fun to listen too. And yes, factually he has a legitimate chance to be broadcasting NBA games at 100 years of age. 

Interestingly enough Hubie Brown has never been on Twitter. A rarity for anyone in today’s world.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Minor League Baseball Changes

It was a very interesting day on Wednesday around Minor League Baseball, including the Northwest League as there were some interesting developments involving three of those franchises.

Here are the updated affiliations:

Eugene Emeralds - San Francisco Giants
Everett AquaSox - Seattle Mariners
Hillsboro Hops - Arizona Diamondbacks
Spokane Indians - Colorado Rockies
Tri-City Dust Devils - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Vancouver Canadians - Toronto Blue Jays

Eugene, Spokane and Tri-City received new invites. Eugene had a long relationship with the Chicago Cubs, while Spokane had been a farm team of the Texas Rangers and Tri-City was with the Colorado Rockies. Meanwhile, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and Boise Hawks were not extended invitations to affiliate with Major League Baseball teams and will go the independent route. 

Boise will join the Pioneer League, which will now be an MLB "Partner League." MLB announced that it will initially fund the Pioneer League's operating expenses, provide scouting technology to all eight ballparks and create a procedure for player transfers to MLB organizations.

The Pioneer League has teams in Idaho Falls, Missoula, Great Falls, Billings, Colorado Springs, Ogden, Grand Junction and Windsor (Colorado). 

It's unknown what the plans that Salem-Keizer will have in regards to joining an independent league at this time, but ownership has said is that they are committed to continue to bringing high caliber baseball to that area because "this community deserves it," said Volcanoes CEO Mickey Walker.

While the Pioneer League will have a 92-game season that will start in May, the Northwest League will now be a "High-A" league and will go to a 132-game season that will start in April. 

A "High-A" minor league will feature players with better ability who will eventually be called up to MLB sooner, which will make for better baseball.

A unique situation will exist in Eugene where the Emeralds and the University of Oregon share PK Park. The stadium belongs to the University. However, there is a strong relationship between the University and the Emeralds so possible schedule conflicts would not be a problem.

First and foremost, let's hope that 2021 will bring minor league baseball back to cities that are fortunate to have teams and try our best to forget 2020, a year that'll be worth forgetting. You know why.

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality and freelance sportscaster who happens to love the game of baseball. The opinions expressed are strictly his. You can find him on most social media platforms.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Of Characters and Cream Pies -When Salvation Was Just Down The Street


Fryer's Quality Pie Shop -circa 1980's

By Harry Cummins

     In 1992, despite a fevered cult-like following, Fryer's Quality Pie Shop on the corner of NW 23rd Ave and Marshall St. in Portland, Oregon shuttered it's doors forever.  Once a neighborhood's all-night therapy and redemption emporium, it has remained vacant ever since.  Some say society's current ill's can be directly traced to it's demise, and to places just like it all across America.

     To true believers and searchers alike, this brightly lit coffee shop with the rotating sign out front was  a spellbinding beacon in the Northwest night, a veritable lost and found department for the human spirit. For over fifty years, the "QP" was a place where people found much more than the marquee or menu claimed.

     What follows is a re-telling of a true account, first appearing in the pages of the NW Examiner thirty-three years ago. It describes an all-night odyssey, an assignment filled with characters and cream pies, and if it weren't for my stained reporter's notebook in front of me, I could not actually swear it really happened in just the way I am about to tell.

8:30 p.m.

I walk thru the front door and notice a man with a flashlight peering into a plastic cage. Like Binx Bolling in Walker Percy's The Moviegoer,  I know straight off that I am onto something. "What are you looking for," I ask.  "Plastic Balls" says a guy named Joe. "Find the little ball and win the big bear," he says, already holding an armload of stuffed animals.

I ask what he plans to do with them.

"I've got over 200 of them at home.  See that cab outside? I've been driving it for 20 years now.  I keep these animals in my cab for my fares. Kids mostly. This time of night they are usually going to the hospital.  It brings a little comfort to them. 

"Me too" he says.

9:15 p.m.

I find a table near the back of the restaurant.  Buffy, my waitress, pours me a cup of coffee.  "Heard you were coming.  You're 'gonna have a good time tonight," she says.  Later, during a lull, Buffy slides into my booth and talks a bit about herself.

"Been waitressing for 27 years, all over, California, Texas, Oklahoma. This is the best job of the bunch. It's my whole life right now. I'm glad for this job. I'm recently divorced and this Thanksgiving will be my first without family.  I just hope I get to work. It will be better if I do."

I ask Buffy about her children. "Have two of them, Paris and London."

I ask why she picked those names.

"Heck, I had to name 'um something, didn't I."

Buffy moves on and I am left imagining nights of passion in a pair of European cities. Or Paris, Texas perhaps.

9:35 p.m.

Bert is sitting at the counter, munching slowly on a bright orange muffin.  He lives in the neighborhood and drops by twice a day.  Sometimes more. He talks openly about his bouts with alcoholism and mental illness. "I don't have another recovery in me," he shares.  "Nice meeting you, but it's past time for me to go.  I have no business in here during the peak stress periods."

Wondering about those 'peak periods' ahead causes me an apprehensive moment.

10 p.m.

Mike and Kenny are playing table hockey in a nearby booth using two spoons and a quarter.  They are part of a large group of adolescents clustered around the restaurant. "We are all recovering alcoholics, this is our clubhouse. Right now Kenny and me are just looking to meet some nice girls in here.  Maybe you know some?"

They say they want women who demonstrate non-addictive behavior, carry large amounts of credit cards,wear Ralph Lauren glasses and don't have a mother.

I wish them good luck.

10:09 p.m.

Maurice Shahtout, one of the owners, drops by my table and talks of better days.  He tells me he has just given chase after two drunks who have fled in tandem toward Wallace Park with an over-sized tray containing twenty dozen of his cookies.

"People told me I should close that door to that truck," he says. Shahtout is clearly a man who can take things in rapid stride. He works 15 hours a day, overseeing a combined bakery and coffee shop operation that turns out over 1,000 pies and 2,000 cookies a day, employs 72 people and operates 14 vehicles.

"We never came here to operate the most sophisticated establishment in Portland," understates Maurice.  "We've been successful because we leave our customers alone to do their own thing. If they want to eat with their fingers, there is no pressure here.  People come here looking for certain things."

11:10 p.m

"People  call this place lots of things, but dull isn't one of them," says Lea, a waitress at QP for the past 5 years.  "Look at this,would ya," she implores, waving what looks like a .38-caliber pistol in my face.

"I was at the cash register just now and this guy comes running out of the restroom pointing this thing at me. Turns out he had found it in there. It's only a cap pistol but you could have fooled me."

11:30 p.m.

A man who tells me he owns the entire earth is sitting at the counter, looking a little disheveled for someone with such vast holdings. "Must have taken you quite a while to acquire the whole earth," I say.

"Let's just say I'm older than Mother Nature,"he deadpans, rubbing the stubble on his cheeks.

Back in my booth, Lea pours me my third cup of coffee.

"He's not so strange. A while back, a lady was in the outer lobby with her bags packed waiting for her spaceship to come pick her up. I've been waitressing for over 40 years and haven't seen no place as crazy as this."


By now, I am loosing my tenuous grip on reality.  Truth has now become a tease. Searching the coffee shop for a way to get back in touch, I strike up a conversation with a woman wearing heavy make-up.  She immediately starts talking about nasal sprays and cobra snakes.  I go back to my table and order a piece of coconut pie.

We are entering the "high stress period" Bert had warned me of earlier.

12:20 a.m

I step outside for some fresh air, perhaps now looking for my own spaceship. A young man eating from a pint of Ben and Jerry's White Russian ice cream asks me to follow him home for "philosophical studies" I thank him and decide I have had enough fresh air. 

Back inside, a man with a black cape has just launched a paper airplane.  It lands close to my coconut pie. "Viking Jet, it flys," says the pilot who has come to retrieve his projectile.

By now, I am convinced this whole place could fly if there were only a way to get it off the ground.


A large group moves through, heading toward the rear of the dining room.  They are lead by someone named Kingdom Herald, who is clothed in full-length garb, a sack of stones tied to his waist.  He is followed in order by Lady Pegasus and another woman named Ya Leah.

Ya Leah says she is the groups medium to the mundane world.

She thus agrees to talk with me. The conversation centers on gold keys and black kettles. My mind races to keep up.

1 a.m.

QP is SRO. A line is forming at the front door as it often does once the area bars have closed. I am sitting next to a woman who is wearing a braided headband decorated with huge fake pearls.  She tells me she is taking voice lessons, karate, and sign language.

"You can never learn to much she says."

I tell her that I think some nights you can.

2:30 a.m.

Three young men, Shawn, Kip and Byron, enter arm in arm.  Kip has dozens of buttons pinned to his jacket.  I look out the front window and see a striking young woman in formal dress standing guard in front of a white Cadillac limousine.  I go outside to meet Dawn.  She is chauffeur to these three young men inside.

"These nice boys have rented this limo for 5 straight nights," says Dawn.  "Last night, we were at the Coast."

Inside the limo I notice a computer dashboard, VCR and phone. It costs $50 and hour for a ticket to ride.

The three men return to the limo and ask if they can take my picture with Dawn.  "Fine with me," I say, giving the chauffeur a little squeeze. "I used to work for the feds," Dawn informs me.

I loosen my grip slightly.

3:20 a.m

I say hello to Victoria and Wanda, two art students from Portland State who are sketching together in a booth.  I notice the black swirls on their pads.  They say they are doing loose drawings.

"Perfect place to do it," I reply.  "Plenty loose in here"

4:45 a.m.

I am sitting with Jack at the counter.  He tells me he's past his 80's already and afflicted with sore feet. Jack has trouble sleeping.  Maybe two hours a night is all he gets, he reckons.

"I got jungle rot in WWII in the jungles of Panama. I've had my toenails removed lots of times but they just grow back worse. I worked all my life 'til recently. Sometimes it hurts a man worst not to work."

Jack tilts his head and sighs heavily. "The doctors tell me there is no cure for what I got. Can you believe it, that in all of medical history no one has found a cure for jungle rot?"

6 a.m.

Outside I can hear the whirl of a street sweeper and see the first Tri-Met bus of the day stop in front. A vacuum cleaner hums as a bus boy has started his side work.

A friend walks thru the door and finds my table. "So you survived the night, huh? Her familiar face renews me.  

It is time to leave.

       This night of preposterous and compelling encounters is swaddled in the soft glint of a new day. Walking the deserted sidewalks home, I think about Bert and Buffy. Lady Pegasus and Dawn. And about the Man Who Owned The Earth. I wonder more about their lives. About lovers who have left them. Sons and daughters that had made them proud. Regrets they could not speak and waystations in the wee hours where they seek refuge.

     Tough and tender get inexplicably mixed up in some people.  So, too, in some places.


Fryer's Quality Pie Shop - R.I.P

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sunday Pac-12 Football Power Rankings - December 6, 2020

Finally...all of the Pac-12 football teams played without any cancellations. After today's Washington State-USC battle and a couple of upsets, here we go with this week's Pac-12 Power Rankings:

1) USC

2) Colorado


4) Washington

5) Utah

6) Oregon State

7) California

8) Oregon

9) Stanford

10) Arizona State

11) Washington State

12) Arizona

There you have it. To the victor go the spoils. Hope the team you like gets the result you want this weekend.

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality and freelance sportscaster. The opinions expressed are strictly his own. Find him on most social media platforms.

The Crossing


Poem by Harry Cummins

How then

      should we cross


       wobbly expanse?

Must we suspend

          our beliefs...

or maybe...

           ..our disbelief.


          by what we imagine

                                        on the other side.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Resurrection and Rock' n' Roll - A Cabbie's Quandary


By Harry Cummins

     One of the most profound and provocative stories I have ever heard was told years ago by Dr. N.T. Wright, the esteemed Bishop of Durham.  It goes like this:

"The taxi driver looked back at me in his mirror.  His face was a mixture of amusement and sympathy.  We were stuck in traffic and he'd asked me as they do, what I did for a living.

'Ah,' he said, 'you Church of England people' (having told me he was a Roman Catholic himself) 'You're still having all that trouble about women bishops, aren't you?'

I had to admit that was indeed the case.

'The way I look at it,' he said, 'is this: if God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, all the rest in basically rock'n'roll.'"

     Stuck in the traffic jam that is our current not this the profound quandary posed to each and every pilgrim and passenger.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Ticket Stubs - Worth The Price Of Admission


Strike The Gold smells the roses in the 1991 Kentucky Derby

By Harry Cummins

     Do you love collecting picayune keepsakes?  I plead guilty.  I admit to a particular affinity for event programs and ticket stubs.  Particularly ticket stubs.

    No, I don't make fridge magnets or plastic sleeve scrapbooks out of them.  They are simply tucked away in a big manila envelope marked SAVE.  Savion Glover, U-2, The World Series, Elton John, American Pharoah, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. all rub shoulders in a cherished cacophony inside.

    To qualify for entry into my envelope, I have only two criteria:

   1.  The stub must originate from an event I attended that was memorable for me, for whatever reason. There's the one from the time Michael Jordan scored 30 points in the 4th quarter. Another from the night John Curry glided across the frozen stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.

    2.   In design, the face of the ticket must loosely resemble what I call 'art.'

     Over the passing years, I am putting less and less into my envelope.  I like to attribute this to a general economic tightening, rather than my own capacity to retain meaning and memory in our world.

     I am not sure, post pandemic, what might find it's way into my envelope going forward. It has remained sealed throughout 2020, even as eBay beckons.

     As any savvy railbird will attest, in a year when a virus and a vaccine arrive in a dead-heat, you heed the track announcement "hold all tickets."   

     I am doing just that.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Great Games in JUCO World Series History - The Night Frankie Rodriguez Struck Out 17


 By Harry Cummins

     In 1991, 18 year-old Howard College pitcher Frank Rodriguez was awarded the Dick Howser Award, baseball's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. In the 32 years since, no other junior college baseball player has won this prestigious award. 

     That's how dominant and deserving Frank Rodriguez was during that '91 baseball season, and on that unforgettable night I saw him pitch in the championship game of the 1991 JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

     Rodriguez and Howard College faced off in the Championship contest that Saturday night against Manatee (Fla) Community College, who entered the game with a robust.323 team batting average. Rodriguez was a major league bound pitcher and shortstop, who would be drafted just days after this game by the Boston Red Sox.  Boston had first drafted Rodriguez in the 2nd round a year earlier, but could not come to terms with the right-hand flame thrower and Rodriguez instead elected to spend a year at Howard in Big Spring, Texas.

     Rodriguez was named to start the opening game of the 1991 double-elimination Series, but was removed after one inning after aggravating a rib muscle injury.  He came back two days later to beat Allegany (Md) Community College, pitching 10 innings and striking out 15 batters while walking just three.

    The best was yet to come.

     In the Championship Final, Rodriguez drove in the game's first run for Howard, then proceeded to fan 17 Manatee hitters, including the final four batters he faced, en-route to a 7-2 win.  His 33 strikeouts in his last two games tied a JUCO World Series record and earned him the MVP Award.  He walked only one batter in his 17 strikeout gem, played before an overflow crowd of 9,550.

     Rodriguez entered the Series with some impressive credentials as a batter as well, with a NJCCA leading 25 home runs, and added another long ball during the Series. For his only season in the JUCO ranks, he hit .450 and drove in 93 runs. He hit .333 during the World Series, while driving in 6 runs. 

     Lost in defeat, but not in my memory, was the performance of loosing pitcher James Dorough, who fanned 12 batters in 7 innings for Manatee. Robin Jennings went 3 for 4 in that championship game and paced Manatee  in the Series with a .440 BA, with 4 home runs and 13 RBI's. 

     Rodriguez's performance was the 3rd highest strikeout performance I have been privileged to witness in person in my lifetime. Topped only by the 18 K game turned in by Brandon Bargas of Rogers State College in the 2012 NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho... and the 19 strikeout gem thrown by Nolan Ryan in 1974 against the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim, Ca, an AL record at the time.

     Today, Rodriguez is the pitching coach for SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx, NY.  He pitched for four teams over the span of seven seasons in the major leagues.  

     The night he won a national championship with a 'swing and miss' spectacular, will live forever.


Craw’s Corner NBA Power Rankings, December 1st, 2020

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

It will be a wild year in the

NBA. Who stays COVID free and healthy will be more important than ever. So here we go with my opening NBA power rankings, which will be out every Tuesday, cause as readers you asked for more power rankings in all sports. I personally always do things in 9s out of great respect for 9 hole golf courses.

9. Atlanta

8. Utah

7. Miami

6. Celtics

5. Golden State

4. Milwaukee

3. Philadelphia 

2. Nuggets

1. Lakers

Yell at me, not Bill Crawford.

Monday, November 30, 2020

They Also Play The Game - Seeing Beyond The Chosen One


By Harry Cummins

Tuesday, December 1, 2020


     In Bertolt Brecht's The Life of Galileo, a character remarks, "Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero." To which Galileo responds,"unhappy is the land that needs one."

    I am suggesting we simply try out Galileo's axiom when it comes to the way we watch sports. At present, this means seeing our favorite games unfold on television screens, since Covid-19 has shuttered so many gyms and stadiums across this country.

     All thru this holiday season of giving, try to telescope with a keen eye those we dismissively describe as "role players." Study the orbit of the offensive lineman who seems to be merely taking up space. The undersized forward who battles for position in the key. Take your eyes off the touchdown makers and the rim-rattlers.

    Stop 'star-gazing' long enough to see a sacrificial community at work for the 'other.'

     Perhaps a much needed new way of seeing ....a panacea in a time of pandemic.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday Pac-12 Football Power Rankings - November 29, 2020

What a wild Thanksgiving weekend of Pac-12 Football that was. Here you go with this week's Power Rankings:

1. Washington

2. Colorado

3. USC

4. Arizona State

5. Oregon State

6. Oregon


8. Washington State

9. Stanford

10. Utah

11. California

12. Arizona

Let the disagreements begin. Please, just be "civil."

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality and freelance sportscaster. The opinions expressed are strictly his own. Find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

30 Years Ago - Heisman Air Show


By Harry Cummins

     On this week in history, 30 years ago, Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer threw for a career best 560 yards and 5 TD's to lead the Cougars to a 45-10 victory over Utah State.  It was also the 23rd straight game with 300 or more passing yards for Detmer, an NCAA record.

    For the game, BYU amassed 732 yards in total offense.  A few weeks later, Detmer became the first BYU quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, edging Notre Dame's all purpose running back Raghib"Rocket" Ismail and Colorado runnning back Eric Bieniemy.

     Detmer set or tied 25 NCAA passing and total offense records during his career.

Craw’s Corner, Saturday, November 28th

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

ORANGES—- Who doesn’t like oranges. Yes, by far during the pandemic it has been the most popular purchased fruit worldwide, even causing a shortage worldwide early on. But proof that even fruit can become oversupplied, now the demand has decreased dramatically worldwide. Oh well, oranges taste great and always will.

WEIGHTLIFTING—- During the pandemic, weightlifting has been on the increase big time. I am not about to tell you that I am an expert on the subject and for sure have never been asked to be the guest poser at any gym. However I do study the subject and one thing all the experts say, do your weightlifting at night. Your muscles are much more warmed up and you will get much better results.

AMAZON—- No matter what you think of Amazon, this is a fact. Worldwide in 2020 Amazon has hired over 1,000 people per day worldwide to permanent jobs. Something no company has done in this century.

POWER RANKINGS—- I can hardly wait for Bill Crawford’s PAC-12 football power rankings tomorrow exclusively in Craw’s Corner. Things got muddled up big time last night with the sterling upset of Oregon State over Oregon. 

EMPTY ARENAS— It is great to watch college basketball on TV, but like so many others, empty arenas do not cut it for me. What was the hurry? By most indications, if you want a  COVID

vaccination, you are going to be able to get it by March. Why not start college hoops on April 15th and have May Madness, where fans could attend and everyone would be safer. 

Bill Bradley - On How To Pick A President


"How should we select the next presidential nominee?

Smoke filled rooms? Brokered convention? National primary?

Personally, I prefer jump shots from the top of the key."

-Bill Bradley                        

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Illinois Early Pick To Nab National Title


By Harry Cummins

     It's good to see NCAA D-1 college basketball finally off the launch pad.

     With the prospects of a complete season still hanging in the air, why not just go ahead and predict a national champion during this opening week salvo.  Anyone can embark on such a fool's errand, so who you got?

     From this corner, I see the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-0) cutting down the nets on the 2020-21 season. Coach Brad Underwood's squad is bolstered by the return of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, who both bypassed the NBA draft to return to Champaign. Freshman-of-the-year candidate, guard Adam Miller, will fulfill the '.and a little child shall lead them'.. prophecy.

     Happy Thanksgiving to all contenders and pretenders alike. Please stay safe!!!


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Please, Don't Call it the Civil War

On June 26th, officials at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University had announced that athletic events between the two schools will no longer be referred to as the "Civil War." 

Before leaving his post, OSU President Dr. Ed Ray said that changing the name was long overdue as it represented a connection to a war to perpetuate slavery. It was also an acknowledgement that not changing the name before now was a mistake.

Former Beaver football standouts Ken Simonson and Steven Jackson are among members of OSU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee that supports removing the tern "Civil War" from the series.

OSU's Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes also thanked U of O President Michael Schill and Athletic Director Rob Mullens for their collaboration in the process. Barnes, Schill and Mullens have moved forward to continuing to work to highlight the rivalry.

The 124th edition of the football game between the two schools will be played this Friday (11/27) at Reser Stadium in Corvallis starting at 4:00pm.

The two schools' men's basketball teams have played each other a record 354 times.

Personally, I've been seeing many posts on various social media (mainly Facebook) that there will still be detractors that will continue to refer to the Ducks-Beavers games as Civil Wars. My advice - move forward, please. Not backward. If you still want to refer to these athletic events as "Civil Wars," you may need to rethink your stance on slavery.

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality and freelance radio play-by-play voice of the Eugene Overhead Door Challengers American Legion baseball program. He also is the play-by-play voice of Henley High School football and post-season high school football, basketball, softball and baseball for Wynne Broadcasting, a locally-owned six radio station group based in Klamath Falls. 

The opinions expressed are strictly his own. 

Arthur Miller's Uneasy Truths


By Harry Cummins

     In 2005, when award-winning playwright Arthur Miller died at his home in Connecticut at the age of 89, we lost one of this country's great public thinkers.  

     Mr. Miller was of the opinion that the individual had a serious moral responsibility for his or her behavior, and for the behavior of society as a whole.

     Writing in "The Crucible" Miller surmised "The longer I worked the more certain I felt that as improbable as it might seem, there were moments when an individual conscience was all that could keep a world from falling."

     Flash forward to the world on Thanksgiving 2020.  The very same lights on Broadway that dimmed the night Miller died, are now off indefinitely. We appear to be entering the darkest days of a year-long pandemic. 

    In his autobiography "Timebends", Miller quotes the physicist Hans Bethe on explaining his morning routine, "Well, I take up my pencil ...and I try to think.."

     It's an impulse that seems to have lost favor in our society.  Private and public thinking!

     I am going to pledge to do more thinking myself,  just maybe not this week.  College basketball season finally starts tomorrow, Virgin River is back for another season Friday on Netflix, and Sunday night we all find out who killed Elena on the Undoing.

     Monday morning, if the weekend hasn't bent my moral responsibility, I just may pick up a pencil.... and decide to do some serious thinking.



Craw’s Corner, Tuesday, November 24th Edition

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

SPORTS—- Power Rankings are appealing to readers. We for sure need to do more of them at Craw’s Corner. Big congrats to Bill Crawford for his work on last Sunday’s PAC-12 football power rankings. It takes a lot of homework and Bill will continue his efforts each Sunday for you great readers.

SPORTS—- The Cascade Collegiate Conference is a great league, especially when it comes to basketball. It has a superior commissioner in Rob Cashell, so it was really sad to see yesterday that two conference members, Evergreen State and Walla Walla University have shut down their sports programs for 20-21. Good news is they will be back hopefully stronger than ever for 21-22.

SPORTS—- A raging high school debate always starts this time of year. Should states that don’t use a shot clock in basketball, do so? You can weigh in anytime, but yes, every state that does not use a shot clock should. One great reason, it puts players at a real disadvantage that come from a non shot clock state when they advance their careers to college where the shot clock is huge.

SPORTS— I hope he succeeds big time at Oregon State, football coach Jonathan Smith is an impressive person. Just listen to an interview with him and you can learn lots, not only football, but life.

CRAW’s CORNER— I was asked the other day by someone who wanted to write for Craw’s Corner, but was worried they have no experience. No worries, we will take the non experienced and experienced writers. If you are interested, contact me

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday Pac-12 Football Power Rankings - November 22, 2020

I've had people request that I do a Pac-12 Power Ranking. It's something I've never done before, so if you feel led to respond, please do so politely.

With that said, here we go. This is the first Pac-12 Football Power Rankings of the 2020 season:

1. Oregon

2. USC

3. Colorado

4. Washington


6. Arizona State

7. Washington State

8. Oregon State

9. California

10. Utah

11. Stanford

12. Arizona

There you have it. Let's see how this week plays out. 

Update: This week's Apple Cup football game has been canceled due to Washington State having to deal with COVID-19 within its program. 

Bill Crawford is a long-time Eugene radio personality and freelance sportscaster. He is currently on the air on KKNX and is also the play-by-play voice of the Eugene Overhead Door Challengers. He also is the radio voice of Henley Hornets football and other postseason high school sports for Wynne Broadcasting in Klamath Falls. 

The opinions expressed are strictly his own.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

A Time To Tell Stories


By Harry Cummins

It's time to tell our stories to each other.....and really LISTEN.

"There isn't anyone 

you couldn't love

once you've heard

their story"

- Mary Lou Kownacki

Craw’s Corner, November 21st, 2020

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

BOOKS—- Harry Cummins does a great job of giving us some history on books. If you have a great book that everyone should read, I am sure Harry would like to hear from you. Allow me to throw out a couple. 1) Breath by James Nestor 2) Getting Your Ideas Approved by Jon Spoelstra. You can thank me later please.

TENSION—- We came together in United States after September 11th. We came together after the economic meltdown of 2008. For most part as we should, we rally to help people after natural disasters. So tell me please, what is so dam tough about wearing a mask? Explain to me please how that takes away your freedom? I might not agree, but I will listen.

COMEDY— Yours truly is doing some in depth studying on how to be a comedy writer. Yes, I was actually urged to do so by a couple of comedians, so I am taking a subject that makes you laugh seriously. You might even see some of my work here. Stand by.

SPORTS—- Theo Epstein recently resigned as president of Chicago Cubs after a great run there and previously with Boston Red Sox. If I were Philadelphia Phillies I would throw kitchen sink at him to come and run their team. Epstein says he wants a year off. He is too young to take one. Phillies make your move now and you will be set for next 10 years.

Want some tremendous holiday deals to make you life better, both personally and professionally, email me at no obligation,

Thursday, November 19, 2020

If There Were Fans

If there were fans allowed at Pac-12 football stadiums this season, and if those fans could cheer Chip Kelly's return to Eugene this Saturday as Oregon hosts UCLA at 12:30 pm, would they cheer him for what he did as the Head Coach of the Ducks? Or would he be booed as he's the current Head Coach of the Bruins?

I would boo him. Even though Chip did great things for the Oregon football program during his tenure in Eugene, Kelly was rude and very condescending to the media or anyone else who would want to talk to him outside of football.

As a member of the media, I don't enjoy being talked down to. I don't enjoy being talked down to even if I wasn't a media member. Do you?

Kelly's favorite rally cry was "Win the Day!" Lose it, Chip.

Bill Crawford is a radio personality and freelance sportscaster for stations in Eugene and Klamath Falls. The opinions expressed are my own.

Covid Cliff Tourism



 by Harry Cummins - 

 They shall not be swayed

                          where to safely walk

  wayfarers on the precipice

                         in pursuit of 

                                      still another selfie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Craw’s Corner, Thursday, November 19th, 2020

 By Gregory Crawford @wchoops

POLITICS—- On local level I have been involved in several issues over my many years. Luckily I still have friends on both sides and some pretty good sources still. I am hearing many Dems are furious with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schmur for not winning back the Senate. Of course he is only one person, but the leader always gets blamed. The most fuming issues are the monies spent on non winners and some terrible polling. When you spend $90 million and a candidate loses, there is

going to be angst. The monies spent on Senate races is totally obscene and me included, every American should be embarrassed by it. (Note, I do realize the Dems could win back the Senate if they sweep the two runoff races in Georgia, in January, but chances of winning both are slim and none.)

COVID—- I spoke today with a highly thought of behavioral health expert and his feelings are that even when we get back to “normalcy” the negative impact of this pandemic could last for years for many people. Just being isolated takes it toll on many, let alone the economic impact. Let’s hope this is not the case and we all can be as positive as possible which helps.

FOOD—- In case you have not tried the Beyond Burger, do so. For my money it is the best vegetarian product ever made and there have been some good ones. Let me know what you think.

HELP OUT—- 3 things you can do this holiday season and for that matter, any season, 1) Give a homeless pet a loving home 2) Buy a toy for a child that might not get one 3) Check on you elderly neighbors, give them a card or some food, they will love it and you will too. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

1980 Horse 🐎 Tale Begs Re-Discovery


By Harry Cummins

     Looking for a book that can challenge the way you see the world?  Tall order indeed!

     Forty years ago, I stumbled onto Bill Barich's Laughing In The Hills.  Circumstantially, perhaps it arrived at a time in my life when it's message had a ready point of entry with room to run.

     Yet, this doesn't explain why it remains as one of best books I have ever read.  In 2020, a dark period of universal loss, this just may be, hands down, the best book you will read this year.