Who’s Weirder… or Weirdest?

Bud Clark, the weirdest mayor?

Portland historically has been viewed as a less-sophisticated Seattle wannabe. So Portland has always proclaimed why it is better than its neighbor to the north. Seattle has Starbucks, Microsoft and Amazon. Portland has Nike. Sonoma County –where I spent the last twenty years in Santa Rosa before recently moving back to the Northwest’s Rose City – has a similar view of Napa. The slogan, “Sonoma makes wine; Napa makes auto parts,” is often credited to Sonoman Tom Smothers. Napa doesn’t recognize the existence of Sonoma.

Having become hip, in large part a result of television’s “Portlandia” comedy, Portland now self-consciously wants to keep Portland weird. I was recently in Austin, Texas, where the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” is unavoidable. Rather than compete with Austin, however, OregonLive, the on-line remnant of the once-proud Oregonian newspaper, has declared that Portland is weirder than San Francisco. Not that San Francisco claims to be weird or cares much what Portland thinks. They just refer to their home as The City.

OregonLive enumerated all the things making Portland weirder than the City by the Bay, from having a weirder mayor to a weirder NBA star.

If you care, you can peruse the list here.

Why Does Austin Texas Have Six Congress Persons?

austinGerrymandering has a long and proud tradition in the state of Texas. Republicans have been firmly in control for years. In 2012, the Texas legislature redrew the lines for Congressional districts. Austin, famous as an island of weirdness in a deep-red state, presented a challenge: how to prevent a liberal area from sending a liberal politician to the Congress. Republicans were up to the challenge, however. They carved Austin up into six districts, one stretching in a narrow eighty-mile band all the way to San Antonio.

Here is the Daily Show’s portrait of Austin: