You didn’t really expect me to shut up did you? Poor, poor you. Poor, poor, stupid you.

The worst sub-headline in recent memory: “Easier credit gets the blame for the boom in repossessions in the four-county region even as the economy remains robust.” Yes, like a thief in the night or an evil avenging angel, “Easier Credit” roams the countryside looking to strike terror into the hearts of unsuspecting homeowners everywhere.

I can’t fathom that newspaper writers and their editors can be this far out of touch with reality, but it looks like I’ll have to try. Blaming “easier credit” for the rise in foreclosures requires some really tortured logic along with a complete denial of personal responsbility. Presumably somebody is making a freewill choice to accept these higher interest house loans, and not to put too fine a point on it, but if somebody has an inferior credit history, in all likelihood they’re the ones who need to looking in a mirror when it comes time to do a fault assessment.

Is it just me, or does it seem like our entire society is in denial when it comes to personal responsibility? (By the way, if it is just me, I assure you that it’s not my fault.)

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Mountain View, California and Salem, Oregon: Compare and contrast.

Newspapers: Both the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle kick butt over the skimpy Oregonian and awful Statesman-Journal. Indeed the Statesman-Journal is so bad it’s still known by many as the Statesman-Urinal. Recent Statesman headline for an article on the Marry-A-Millionaire trend was supposed to read “Public Unions Find Happily Ever After.” Instead, we got the soon-to-be-on-Leno knee-slapper “Pubic Unions….” Lovely.

The Oregonian has pretentions of being a big time paper, but you only need to look at an issue of The Merc or The Chronicle to see that’s a pipedream. The Oregonian has also undergone in awful, design-rules-violating makeover in the last three years, and that doesn’t help their case any. Both of the Bay Area papers are relatively high quality, but I preferred The Merc by a fairly wide margin. (The Chronicle also has major delivery problems in Mountain View, which was one of the reasons I switched to The Merc in the first place.)

Weather: Despite a beautiful Oregon summer this past year, if you like sun and pleasant weather there’s no topping Mountain View. It has more glorious days in a year than I know what to do with. On the other hand, there’s really no such thing as Spring or Fall in Mountain View, and Winter down there consists of slightly increased rain amounts and colder weather at night. In Oregon, you get all four seasons topped by a fair amount of rain in each.

Highway Congestion: You’d think the runaway winner in this category would be the Bay Area, and you’d be right. Still while it is undeniably worse, boy, have Portland’s roads become more crowded in the last three years. No, you won’t find the 5+ mile long backups of the Bay Area commute, but the Portland-area is a lot less fun to drive than it used to be. It’s worse in Salem too, but the Bay Area is easily the Michael Jordan of commuter hell.

Gas Prices: Having spent three years in the Bay Area with the highest gasoline prices in the nation, what kind of perverse black cloud is it that follows us up to the Northwest and now gives Oregon some of the highest prices in the United States? Good grief, we just left this party. (That said, the Bay Area is still about 20 cents higher than Salem.)

Pace: You’ve not lived on the human treadmill until you’ve lived in Silicon Valley. I took every step imaginable to insulate myself from this nightmare and I still required shock therapy at the end of it all. The amount of work expected and required by businesses of the Bay Area is insane. If you thrive on stress, there’s no better place to be.

Politics: Oh, what the hell, they’re screwy no matter where you live.

* * * * *

The most interesting thing to me about microwave popcorn is that it has more calories unpopped than popped. Where do those calories go when the kernals explode? Could stuffing myself inside a microwave for 2-3 minutes be the key to future weight loss? Sure, I’d probably cook my internal organs, but if that’s what it takes to be as thin as Jennifer Aniston, it just might be worth it.

* * * * *

Lara Croft, the popular cyber heroine of Tomb Raider video game fame, has long been criticized for her Barbi-esque proportions. In other words, more crudely put, she has a waist the size of a thimble and breasts the size of watermelons—and not small watermelons, either.

A number of really lonely and/or really bored hackers who have taken the not-so-subtle sexual clues here and created patches for the Tomb Raider games which essential de-clothe Lara while she goes about her adventures. Core Design , the company who created Lara and owns her copyright, has been driven nearly apoplectic by these so-called “Nude Raider” patches. Core Design seems to believe that if Lara is seen as more of a sexual object than as a female Indiana Jones type, it could hurt the games’ marketability. (That’s their theory, not mine.)

While hunting down these patches and threatening to take legal action where applicable, Core Design has put on a somewhat disinterested public face, saying that these hackers need to get a life. Lara is, after all, just a computer-generated image made up of sprites and polygons. (All which may be true, but those are, ahem, two really big polygons.)

Now comes word out of London that a Core Design executive has been arrested and charged with seeking out a nine-year old girl for sex. He’s been suspended from the company, of course, but I can’t help but think that, deep down, a company that promotes a heroine with such unrealistic proportions can’t have what you or I might call a “normal” view of women.

Or it might be worse than I thought.