Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

I’m sure you’re all wondering where I’ve been. Me too. One minute I’m changing my earplugs in the press room, the next I’m sitting cross-legged in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa. I think there may have been a writers’ workshop of some kind or another nearby, because I heard a bunch of idiots hooting and hollering about POETRY! And they were all wondering what was at steak and whether or not some asshole earned his cliche or not. And there I was, scratching my ass and wondering how in the hell I got there. It wasn’t even sweet corn, just that nasty starchy field corn that’ll make ethanol and feed cattle.

Anyway, I was just sitting in the dirt and the shade, watching aphids crawl all over everything, when an incredible sense of calm washed over me and I knew I was on corncation. I never liked Magnes, that squirrely turd of an administrative assistant, but he got the corncation thing right.

Here’s what I think happened: Patty, the idiots’ long-suffering secretary, got tired of Magnes eating her yogurt (Patty’s yogurt, DON’T EAT!), so she set up on a corncation. I was mistaken for Magnes and sent on corncation instead. And I spent six weeks in the dirt and the mud and the rain and the sun and the corn. I found myself steadily coming to peace with the fact that the editors of the Portland Review are incompetent slobs.

And now the issue is on its way to me. And maybe those kids running the show upstairs are damn dummies, but at least they’ve managed to churn out a product. Look for it in the middle of Novemeber.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD


Magnes’s Mailbag! 8/12/2011

Hidy-ho Reviewers! Welcome to another gut-busting installment of Magnes’s Mailbag. We bust your gut so much that you’re going to need brain surgery. I asked a doctor about that once, well on my iphone, so I know it’s true. I’ve busted many a gut in my time.

So it seems that Elton is a little late with his saw. I’ve been here rationing out the Combos snacks he left me so I don’t die, but luckily there is plenty of water here in the sewers. I just. Feel. A little. Ugh. Er. Off. So to. Speak. Me. My tummy….

Well, at least there’s no one stuck in the pipe behind me! Behind my behind! So to speak!

Anywho, I thought this might be a good time to introduce you to the rest of the staff here.

Sarah Marshall is the Editor-in-Chief. She is the one who makes all of your literary dreams come true and then squashes them. She is the one who has become death, the destroyer of worlds–not unlike Galactus from the Fantastic Four comic books. She urges you all to write like Nic Cage acts–with wild abandonedmentness. Just make sure you know what you’re doing because Nic Cage is an untamed, Wild at Heart, force of nature who needs a good director to control him. If you have that Trapped in Paradise wild abandonedmentness then you need to make sure you have a director, living in your head (but make sure he’s the only voice there!), to control your own City of Angels.


Michael Magnes is the Managing Editor. His job is to manage the editor. If you ask him a question about his past he will likely mumble something about carved whale bones and mandrake dust. He does not know how to pronounce words so if you can figure out what he’s mumbling you won’t be able to understand him. He’s a bit like that girl from that movie about the piano, Holly Hunter, who made up her own language because she didn’t want to talk to Harvey Keitel because he is a big creep.


Daniel Mollet is the copy editor. He drinks out of Claussen pickle jars. He ONLY drinks out of Claussen pickle jars. He is from South Dakota and enjoys Claussen pickle jars. He once read a novel, but that was only by accident. While not literate, Mollet does possess a wild eyed intelligence that one might associate with a baby seal or dolphin or some other animal that people think is smart. But really Daniel Mollet is a cold blooded killer. He enjoys the music of Tom Waits and Claussen Pickle jars. He will also edit all of your stories so there are delicious, crisp, refreshing Claussen pickle jars in them.

Sam Newson is our poetry editor. Not much is known about Sam other than his name is Sam and he edits poetry. He is probably screaming at our poetry Tumble right now. http://portlandreview.tumblr.com/ He runs it. Into the ground? Haw haw haw.

Magnes, me, is the administrative assistant. I recently got fired for…..an incident. The court cases have been sealed. I am Michael Magnes from Earth-2, probably, and am currently trapped in sewer pipe.

Elton Deacon is the master printer here. He makes the magazine. I don’t want to say too much more about him because he’s got this uncontrollable rage about him. The slightest insult sends him off into a well…have you ever seen the Hulk? Yeah. Elton is a good man. Very good. Please don’t hurt me.

There are other people up there too, but I forgot their names because they probably don’t matter.

Did anyone see the Republican debate last night? I just can’t decide who to vote for! I’m just going to have to vote for all of them!





Q:Dear sir,

I’m intrigued by the notion of a corncation and am more than a little concerned that I may have unwittingly spent ages 5-17 on corncation. Is it only a corncation if it happens in Iowa, or are other breadbasket states included as well? Did I waste twelve years of my life without taking advantage of the relaxing properties of such a starchy excursion?

Please respond soon,
Corny And Concerned
Vermillion, SD


A: What the hell are you talking about? Corncation? You can’t just make up words like that. Honestly, I don’t know where my readers come up with this stuff!


Anywhom, email me at the portlandreviewonline@gmail.com with the subject line: Magnes! Mail! And all of your questions will be quickly dismissed because I’m dying. In a pipe.





Magnes’s Mailbag! 8/5/2011

Well folks here we are. It’s a new week and that means it’s time for a new Magnes’s mailbag! I’m still stuck in the sewers in the building here but Elton Deacon found me so everything should be okay soon! Elton, for the uninitiated, is the master printer here at the Review and is a member of the local Pipe Cutters Union (Local #40024). He’s currently using an experimental saw to cut me out, well he left to go get it at the Union offices downtown (the saw is still in its testing phase), but he left me a package of pepperoni pizza Combos to nosh on in order to tide me over till he gets back!

My mailbag has been overfilled with your queries about the Review! Thanks!
Before I tackle your amazing question I want to clear something up. People have been asking me if I’m the illustrious Managing Editor Michael Magnes. No. I am not. You see I am simply Magnes and he is Magnes (no relation). He found me naked, bound, and gagged in a corn field in Iowa in 2005 while on a corn vacation. A corn vacation (or corncation) is when you relax in a field of corn for a weekend in Iowa. I’m told it’s very calming. I had no memories of my past. I couldn’t even remember my name! In his infinite humility, Michael Magnes named me after himself and then christened me his personal assistant, which at the time meant mainly rubbing his feet and downloading episodes of ER onto his computer. Fast forward to June of this year and he hired me as the Administrative Assistant for the Portland Review! Now fast forward to July of that year (whooooa whiplash) and I got fired for refusing to rub his feet, among other tasks that I thought were beneath me thanks to my new title–Administrative Assistant to the Review! (I love typing that!)!!!!!
So I hope that clears that mess up. Boy. We were sure embarrassed. But remember, Michael Magnes and I, simply Magnes, do look exactly the same and have the same name so I see how that could be confusing! We also live together.  Michael Magnes is convinced that I am him from Earth-2, an alternate reality where shrimp does not exist, so he is currently looking into that. I received this email from him:

Hey Magnes,

Or should I say hey shithead! Hahaha. We joke here. How is it going? Found a new job yet loser? Also, pick up some milk. Soy Milk. The one with the panda on it. That’s my favorite. Dick. Keep it sleazy.
Magnes (the real one)

Now that that’s cleared up onto the question for this week!

Q: My dishwashing soap bottle is all clogged up and I need to do dishes.
A: That is not a question. That is a statement.
Even I know the difference!
I think I hear Elton coming! See you next week!
Send Magnes your life queries at portlandreviewonline@gmail.com with the subject line Magnes! Question!?


Editors note. This column is satire. Humor if you will. Our website is full of humor pieces like McSweeney’s only no one reads them. Humor may be subjective but like any art you can tell when something is crafted well. Like how some people don’t like Virginia Woolf but can appreciate the care and love and structure that goes into her work, which are the ingredients in everything we here at the Review do. With that in mind, please stop searching for our website using the keywords “Common Grounds Wellness” and “Gay.” That was made up. But I bet Jonathan Swift would have gone through the same thing if that essay about eating Irish children babies were published today. Now that was fucking vulgar.