Swords at Sunrise

Randy Leonard

For those who didn’t catch it, Jonathan Nicholas, columnist for the Oregonian, published this article Heightbias_2
in yesterdays Oregonian.

The following is an open letter to Mr. Nicholas.

Dear Jonathan-

In your column, you said, “Which brings us to Randy Leonard. Sorta short. Sorta stocky. Sorta, well, pugnacious. More than a little, well, hairy.”

More than a little hairy? I will have you know, Sir, that I patronize the finest back waxers ever employed in this fertile Willamette Valley.

Sorta pugnacious? All I can say is, clearly, you have never spent any quality time with Vera Katz.

Sorta stocky? Ok, I guess I gotta give you that one.

And now for the offense which most directly motivates this missive to you.

Sorta SHORT?

I have known short people. Short people have been my friends. Sir, I am no short person.

I have been measured on this very day at 6 feet and ¾ of one inch.

Over the years, I have often been pained by the media’s attempts to explain the origin of my, well….for lack of a better word, “attitude”.

My own Mother used to explain that I inherited the “moxy” of my forbearers.

Others attribute my “attitude” to the neighborhood I grew up in… inner NE Portland, before gentrification!

Until now, Sir, no one has ever called my height into question.

Because of your reckless charge, I may now be falsely accused of having the cursed “short man syndrome” to explain my various approaches to government reform.

I will confess to you that a part of me has always taken a somewhat strange pride in the various public insights into what causes a man like me to take such a “pugnacious” approach to revitalizing government bureaucracy. However, your charge has crossed the line of propriety, even by my standards.

Therefore, I ask you to renounce your accusation that I am vertically challenged. Any number of factors may contribute to the genesis of my “attitude”, however, altitude is not one of them.

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    Commissioner Leonard, I agree that you aren't vertically challenged, but like Gimli, you are funny--just what the Fellowship of the City Council needs.

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    PS But please, no more back waxing jokes. The visual in my mind's eye, well, it's a little creepy.

  • Randy Leonard (unverified)

    Well, Leslie, in the interest of transparancy (if not to avoid being sued), I stole that line from the blogging King, Jack Bogdanski

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    Knowing that it came from Jack Bog doesn't help one bit. Sorry Jack.

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    I stole it from Letterman. Actually, he says something like, "I pay the neighbor kids to come over on Saturday and shave my back."

    Speaking of which, I'm overdue for a wax job myself. Still can't get my aesthetician Michelle to wear the Nazi outfit, though...

  • Aaron (unverified)


    Riddles you speak in don't you hmmmm? Wrong movie series...

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    I know for a fact that Randy Leonard was always too tall to be invited to the biennial short person party near the end of the legislative session. And, as I recall, I didn't have to look up to Jonathan Nicholas when I met him, as I do with Randy Leonard. The real questions, of course, are, who in heck reads Nicholas' column? He gets paid for that?

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    There's a short person party? Where do I show up?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Hmm. The Randy Leonard I met couldn't be over 5'5". Is the CIA producing ersatz Randy's to some nefarious purpose? Which is the genuine item? Will Jonathan Nicholas get to the bottom of this?

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    As a person who often has to mail-order clothes, has had bike stores refuse to sell him bikes because none of the bikes are big enough, looks for dates at basketball games, and constantly has very bad posture just to talk to people face-to-face, let me tell you: you're all short.

    Sadly, it seems that short people may slowly be taking over the world. Resident Bush managed to sneak into the White House over two taller opponents. Airplanes remain anti-knee on their exit row seats, which they give out to short people as willingly as us regular-sized folks. REI sells short people's clothes for a lot cheaper (they're code-labeled "children's clothes"). And the new Big and Short store is opening in Pioneer Place.

    Sigh. Why don't you all just grow up?

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    'Hairy' was short for Houyhnhnms, 'pugnacious' briefly alludes to Brobdingnaggians, and nothing says 'stocky' like Lilliputian.

    It's code, in short, your loyal yet dedicated seeker of asters -- Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquiggy, at your servants -- long imagines. And what's the humor in it? At the nonce, in a modern proposal that we heat the hobbits' goblets -- crucibles of swords by sunrise, and today: moonrise, so that you may have a dual answer back, as Jonathan writes swiftly.

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    Over at the Big O, Jonathon Nicolas printed a significant excerpt of the letter today.

  • iggi (unverified)

    as a person with an extraordinarily hairy back, i am highly offended by your post...now, where's my lawyer?

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    Can you folks speak up? I can't hear you down there.

  • Beloved Accident (unverified)

    Wait. Hey Pop, this is the first time you've been regarded as hairy. At least since you were in your early twenties. Now you're COMPLAINING about it? Huh. Oh, and the elevator shoe store called. Your size 8's are ready for pick up.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    I told you so: that Jonathan writes switftly, and was going to reply (react?) to Randy's post today, (sunrise and moonrise were at the same time today only -- as happens each month on the singular day of the new moon, which today is and yesterday and tomorrow are not).

    But there is something missing from Nicholas's column. Perhaps, depending on the answer to this: Randy Leonard, did you send the text to Nicholas? in email or fax or messenger, or did you post it anywhere else besides Blue Oregon? My guess is the answer is No, and I go on that presumption.

    What's missing is Nicholas's citation of this source -- BlueOregon.com, (my pet name for us, btw, is 'the BlOr blog'). No citing is wholly out of character for Nicholas. So I presume he put it in his copy, originally. (Although he might have been ordered not to.) And if he put it in, then it was taken out by his editor.

    Whether he was ordered not to cite BlOr blog beforehand, or sees it censored out after he submitted it, either way makes a point -- the point -- which Nicholas must face up to and confront: he is not free to communicate information which contradicts or denies the opinionated political 'facts' -- even those that are false -- of his employer; and, in that BlOr blog is leftist material, it goes to show the institutional politic of The Oregonian is committedly rightwing, by fiat, which is the extreme exercise of rightism. (The extreme exercise of leftism is a mob.)

    And, the point for us at BlOr blog that I write this to emphasize is that The O. is scared s**tless. Scared of our information, scared of BlOr blog, and scared of the internet. The power we have here, individually and collectively, is mightier than the power of the editorial writers and news slanters at this town's newspaper and newspapers (and 'media') in general, broadly. I think that many of us here do not recognize the power here, and do not write respecting it. That is, do not write saying powerful things. Whereas we should be saying powerful things, (for example: Since The O is complicit in hypnotizing people to accept a senseless and criminal war-which-is-not-a-War in Iraq, where Oregonian and American military people have needlessly died, then The O has blood on its hands and everyone should -- Everyone, Message: Cancel subscription to that immoral and corrupted newspaper, first, and boycott advertisers, second; unless you got no problem with immoral teachings being infected into the public mind and you got no problem with deadly state propaganda being falsely sold as news reporting), because powerful things must be said in order to change the unConstitutional course of public affairs that this administration is steering toward a Hitlerian autocratic police state. That's right: by cancelling newspaper subscription (which doesn't mean stop reading it, there are free copies everywhere; it means chopping down the 'paid circulation' figure by which they gain advertising revenue), and by cancelling cable TV subscription (BOYCOTT Bundle TV), we can end the Iraq invasion and end this administration. Because we can end the hypnotic spell the media casts on the public. It is a subtle ('nuanced') point and it is a point that is slippery to express so that people can grasp it -- but it is the point. Recognize the power BlOr blog holds, and use it. To save Oregonians' lives. Stop the killing. Convict this administation for war crimes. The proprietor(s) of The O are complicit and so also guilty of lies for oil invasion, and have blood on their hands and souls.

    Please notice how violently quick and vicious Liars Larson hit and ran from BlOr blog, when his personal psychological defects and lies were brought up. (His is the 'you're all retards' comment, and "I have no intention of ever visiting this site again," Posted by: LordLawless | January 4, 2005 05:48 PM, in the Gregoire Wins! thread.) The power of BlOr blog, and blogs, to counteract the mass hypnosis, and counterprogram, and even destroy the establishment media, is a power that they cannot deal against or suppress. The first thing they think to do is to eradicate any mention, any citation, of BlueOregon.com, to try to keep the public unaware of the information displayed here.

    This is a lot of claiming to predicate on a couple of presumptions, but it is how I see it. The thread "Reporter favors Christian felon" might be strong enough to derail Wendy Owen from any more such news assignments. BlOr blog is read completely by many scared-for-their-job people at The O, and any one of them there being criticized by name here is stigmatizing. I expect the subject is forbidden to be mentioned in print, and in time the only evidence of effects on them is going to be, in this one case, that the byline does not appear again for a news story.

    A variation on that is seen in the many new bylines that have cropped up unannounced in The O's pages since last summer, say. True b!X offered a wonderful link (in "Please ignore the little man behind the curtain. Or not."), where newspapering's view of blogs and the internet is comprehensively laid out, and the cause explained of newspaperman's fear of being discarded.

    Going forward, as Senators Smith & Wyden, (sounds like gun-vigilante nuts), appear in-state this week, someone should confront their record of lies. I commented here earlier that when they appeared in Feb.'03, saying Saddam had WMD, I spoke up to them in front of the assembly and I said that Saddam didn't and that they were lying. It has proved out that there were no WMDs and that I was right and that Smith & Wyden lied to everyone. Now they're back, someone should hold them to their record, saying that since they lied the last time about WMDs, we distrust them to be lying again about Social Security. Again, facts that the newspaper is hellbent to suppress from being publicly heard.

    And Steve Schopp, who wants to see Liars Larson lying, who, however, 'will see us on the radio,' here's an action point: Ask Liars when you call him (as you regularly do), Did he comment on BlueOregon.com, one, and two, Did he disguise his ill mentality as 'LordLawless.' That should get you two lies, told personally right to your face. Liars Larson is very likely to hit the censor-button if a caller tries to get the word BlueOregon.com on the air. Same as it may have happened, (it is all and only my presumption, I said that right out front), in Jonathan Nicholas's column.

    All in all in all, I keep remembering President Clinton's profound quote: "Democracy is what comes out the end of the internet ... uh, and cell phones." And by that, I see a meaning in the behavior of a person who tries to override and prevent things from coming out the end of the internet.


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