From the Life Imitates Art Department

by Steve, February 22nd, 2007

Slap Shot fans are loving this one. In a perhaps sub-conscious nod to Ned Braden’s on-ice strip tease, USC goalie Mickey Meyer dropped trou and mooned the officials during a tournament game against BYU in Utah Saturday morning. This being Utah, he not only got ejected from the game, he was given a ticket for “lewdness” by a cop who was working security for the game.

The whole story is hilarious. The fans evidently loved it, the USC coach and announcers can’t stop laughing about it, and there’s such great humor in the reaction of the locals. “We don’t treat this as a funny incident,” Eccles Ice Center rink manager Floyd Naegle told the Associated Press. “We’re a family-oriented business.”

But the punch line is the name of the substitute goaltender: Matt Buttweiler.

I’m looking for video or audio of this. Post links if you got ’em!

Thirteen Goodbyes

by Steve, February 21st, 2007

After 81 weeks, Thursday Thirteen founder Leanne is pulling the plug. The whole shebang has gotten really big, really fast, and I suspect that may have something to do with her decision.

I’ve never felt like I fit in especially well with the TT crowd, even though my first TT got me listed as a featured blog.

This despite my anti-war, anti-Libertarian, anti-religion, pro-feminist TT. Four weeks later, Leanne posted on my blog arguing against my slam of Mel Gibson after his anti-Jewish tirade. I guess I struck a nerve.

But I didn’t let this dissuade me. I continued to post TTs about war, politics and religion, probably pissing off most of the TT regulars, but that wasn’t enough. I had to go one farther by posting Thirteen Things I Will Never Blog About (and if I do, Somebody Please Shoot Me). This one even pissed of my wife, who generally understands my sarcasm. It also drew a gentle rebuke from Leanne.

Now, I’m not out to piss people off. I’m just what one friend calls a “sarcastard”. Not wanting to leave any raw nerves, I followed up with an entry about those exact 13 things I vowed never to blog about, which may or may not have put me back in the good graces of the founder.

Anyway, I’ve managed to find the three or four TT regulars who share my lefty politics, and I figure I’ve pretty well alienated the other 250 or so. Sorry about that. For all of you, here are my Thirteen Goodbyes.

  1. To all the dog lovers, so long.
  2. To the cat lovers, meow.
  3. To all the devout Christians, good bye and Godess bless.
  4. To all the posters of cute baby pictures, I hope your children grow up strong and don’t resent you for publishing their pictures on the World Wide Web before they were old enough to give you their informed consent. And I hope their friends don’t look them up when they are in middle school and tease them about pooping in the pool. And I bid you adieu.
  5. To the wives and families of soldiers fighting in foreign lands, I sincerely hope your loved ones return home safe and sound. I cannot imagine the gut-wrenching anxiety you must be going through. May we someday live to see the global outbreak of insurmountable peace, when all of humankind recognizes warfare as obsolete and shuns leaders who would wage it. Goodbye and Godspeed to you and yours.
  6. To the bloggers of ailments and injuries, may you have a speedy recovery. I’m sorry about your colons, knees, kidneys and gall stones. Adios.
  7. To the suburban dwellers, may your lawns always be green, your SUV fueled, and your children better dressed than the neighbors’. Take care.
  8. To the Libertarians, I hope someday you get a chance to live in a truly libertarian society. Like Somalia, for example. No government intrusion when there is no government! Good bye, have fun, and good luck!
  9. To the Republicans, it’s been a rough year, eh? Don’t worry, my friends, the Democrats will most likely fuck up the ’08 elections and hand it to Rudy or McCain. Farewell.
  10. To the Democrats, quit gloating. You didn’t win the ’06 elections, the Republicans imploded. Lot’s of luck in ’08, you’ll need it. See you in the funny pages.
  11. To the fellow travelers, hang in there. I really believe someday everything will be very different. See you on the other side.
  12. To all who have taken the time to read my posts and comment, thank you, and sorry I’ve been lame about reciprocating. I’m a bad blogger. Bad, I tell you! I love you. Stop by and see me sometime.
  13. Finally, to Leanne, thanks for hosting the hub. It’s been real, and some weeks my TT has been my only post. Sorry if I in any way contributed to the demise of Thursday Thirteen.

What the Fuck is Wrong With Portland Public Schools, Pt. 1

by Steve, February 18th, 2007

Portland was once admired among cities for the fact that the middle classes had not yet given up on its public schools. But after a series of ballot measures in the ’90s requiring severe property tax limitations, a major economic downturn, and a complete lack of leadership from two Democratic governors (not to mention a Republican state house with a strong libertarian bias against public anything), Portland’s public schools seem to be throwing in the towel.

Today, in part one, I focus on the funding crisis.
Read the rest of this entry »

Thirteen Things I Love About Portland

by Steve, February 14th, 2007

Suddenly Wacky Mommy has a wild hair about moving from Portland to — get this — Iowa. Here’s the deal: I grew up in Iowa and left in my early twenties. She grew up in Portland and is still here. So somehow dragging me back to the place I fled as a young adult is okay, but staying in the town she grew up in is not.

Now, when I say Iowa, you have to understand, I’m talking about Iowa City, a.k.a. the Johnson County Free State. It’s got an inordinate amount of culture for a town of 60,000. Anyway, I never really considered it until I had kids and discovered how crappy and underfunded the schools are in Portland. Anyhoo, WM is pretty sick of P-town, and blogged all about it today. To counter her bile, I’m going to list Thirteen Things I Love About Portland.

  1. The weather. Nine months of rain just makes you feel, uh… wet.
  2. Libertarians. Low taxes. Crappy schools. Could there be a connection? Nah!
  3. The northern light. Ah, darkness at 4pm.
  4. The amazing traffic engineering that makes it impossible to get around town unless you already know where you’re going and exactly how to get there, turn by turn.

    Okay, seriously, I’m not as down on P-town as Wacky Mommy. There are many things I’ll miss.

  5. The professional theatre scene.
  6. The mountains.
  7. The ocean.
  8. The Columbia River Gorge.
  9. The greenness. (The flip side of nine months of rain.)
  10. The weather. Yeah, it goes both ways. It may be raining, but you can survive just fine without winter gloves or hats or scarves or boots. Or long johns or sweaters.
  11. The northern light. Ah, twilight at 10pm.
  12. Summer. The most perfect three months you can imagine. You can almost forget the nine months of rain.
  13. It’s the place I met my wife, and where my children were born.

So you may have discerned that I’m a little conflicted about leaving. Wacky Mommy’s champing at the bit, though, so we’ll just have to see what comes.

The Shop is Back!

by Steve, February 12th, 2007

More Hockey Less War Stickermhlw-olive-240×240.jpg

I finally got off my booty and got the merchandise sorted out and put back online. I’ve reorganized it so that each design has its own Cafe Press shop, and you can choose from many styles for any given design.

I’ve been checking out the quality of stuff, and I’ve pulled one of my designs that printed poorly. If you buy anything, and it doesn’t look like you expect from the photos, be sure to return it for a refund. Cafe Press has a full satisfaction guarantee. If nothing gets returned, I will never know if a design isn’t working, or if there’s any problem with the process.

Proceeds help pay for bandwidth to keep this site (and others) online. Thanks for your support!


by Steve, February 12th, 2007

Greetings fellow peace lovin’ hockey fans! Here’s the place you can support the cause and take the message to the streets. All designs available on a variety of long- and short-sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, hats, women’s and men’s, children, etc. from Click on any of the pictures below to see the full selection of colors and styles for each design.

Buy with confidence; all merchandise comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee!

The first t-shirt design (and still my favorite).

A tribute to the WWI Canadian 148th Overseas Batallion.

Left Coast Hockey, celebrating hockey in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Cities of the WHL Western Conference over a red star on the back.

Why can’t we settle our differences at the rink instead? WWI soldier dreaming of the rink.

To my surprise, one of my most popular designs — now available in dark colors.

More Hockey Less War bumper sticker
Stickers and magnets

Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch…

by Steve, February 10th, 2007

Home Town Hero Paul Gaustad is out for the season with a cut tendon. I’m actually surprised this kind of injury doesn’t happen more often, and we should all be grateful it doesn’t. Speedy recovery, Paul!

Spiders on Drugs

by Steve, February 8th, 2007

Funny stuff on youtube.

Thirteen Pieces of Music You Should Take The Time to Really Hear

by Steve, February 7th, 2007

Those who know me off-line (and some who have only read about me here) know that before I developed a mid-life obsession with playing hockey, I had an avocation as a musician. I’ve played out on alto sax, clarinet, bass guitar, string bass and guitar. Music is thus very evocative to me in terms of moods, times and spaces. I once had an argument with a writer friend of mine who insisted that language is more specific than music. My response is that music is every bit as precise; in fact more so.

Anyway, without any more rambling, here are Thirteen Pieces of Music You Should Take The Time to Really Hear:

  1. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony I know this is totally cliche to say, but this really is about as close to perfect as you can get with a musical work. As Homer J. Simpson would say, “This show has everything!” It was my favorite record when I was eight, and I still get goose bumps when I hear it. Wacky Mommy got me a nice CD of it by the Cleveland Symphony for x-mas.
  2. Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 A.K.A. “Pathetique”. I’m listening to it now, recorded by Glenn Gould in either 1980 or 1983 (stupid liner notes aren’t specific) on CBS Odyssey. Ludwig van and Glenn Gould are a formidable combination.
  3. I’ve often thought it would have been nice to have started out on strings instead of winds (my first instrument was cornet) and have become a cellist. Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of chamber music, especially string quartets and trios and piano trios and such. You can’t go wrong with Any Beethoven String Quartet. Pick one and listen to it uninterrupted. Then listen to it again.
  4. Any Brahms String Quartet. See above. Pay attention to form.
  5. A composer friend turned me on to Bartok’s string quartets when I was working in a sheet music store in Beaverton, Ore. I special ordered the score to read along with, but the best way to listen to his quartets is with the lights off, sitting perfectly centered between your speakers. I recommend Bartok’s String Quartet No. 5 Sz 102. Bela was writing rock ‘n’ roll in 1935. Then there’s Bartok’s String Quartet No. 3 Sz 85 which you shouldn’t listen to if you’re feeling anxious or touched. Old Bela wrote some choice cello lines in this one. (Note: If you’re not already comfortable with the string quartet, you should start with some Brahms and Beethoven, and turn on with Bartok when you’re ready to blow the doors off. Seriously. Work up to these.) I’ve got a nice recording of Bartok’s three, four and five recorded by the Chilingirian Quartet in 1988 on Chandos.
  6. I never appreciated Bach until I played Bach, first on clarinet, then on guitar, and finally on piano. There is a mathmetical precision to his rhythms and harmonies that are best understood and felt from the inside. With two voices, he could weave a tapestry with richly implied harmonies. With four voices he can lose all but the most intrepid listener. I can’t get enough of his simpler works, like the Two- and Three-Part Inventions, BWV 772-801. I have a recording by Glenn Gould, in which he reorders the pieces to better fit his interpretation. I’m so used to hearing them in this order, it sounds odd to hear them in the order in which they were written. This recording by Gould is on Sony Classical, recorded 1964. My wife requested that we play this CD for the birth of both our children.
  7. One final classical entry. If you like the two-part inventions, and the three-part inventions left you wanting more, take the next step to Bach’s The Art of the Fugue.
  8. But enough of the old stuff. Let’s move into the second half of the 20th century at least. Get right into it with Thelonius Monk’s Brilliant Corners (Riverside, 1956) featuring Sonny Rollins on tenor sax.
  9. Keep that inimitable Monk groove going with Monk’s Music (Riverside, 1957) to get a sense of the places the 32-bar popular song form can go. Deceptively cute melodies are backed by jagged swing rhythms and complex harmonies both sublime and strident, and give way to solos by Ray Copeland on trumpet, Gigi Gryce on alto sax and both Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane on tenor sax. Ruby my Dear alone is a clinic by Hawkins in playing the hell out of a ballad on the tenor sax. (Somewhere I think there’s an outtake of Coltrane playing the lead on this at the same session, but the CD I have today does not have that as a bonus track.)
  10. Moving up a couple years to 1958, you’ve got to get cool with Miles Davis Kind of Blue. Featuring Cannonball Adderly, my favorite alto player, trading solos with Coltrane, this record is so well worn that Davis’ solo on So What has become as important in recognizing the song as the head itself.
  11. Speaking of Coltrane, let’s move right up to 1960, put on a sweater and listen to some of his own compositions. John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, that is. A mind-blowing record in 1960, it can still open your eyes.
  12. Almost done, and it’s tough to figure what I’ll leave off… Definitely not Mingus Ah Um/Charles Mingus. Absolutely one of the most important jazz albums in my collection.
  13. Finally I leave you with a Latin jazz selection, Poncho Sanchez Cambios (Concord Picante, 1991). Go ahead and get up and dance to this one, featuring Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and flugelhorn. This is some of the funnest music I can think of to listen to. I’ve heard Poncho live a few times, and he puts on a hell of a show. These guys tour like mad, and there’s fairly high turnover. This is his band at a peak, anchored by the incredible bass and timbale combo of the Banda brothers, Tony and Ramon. There is nothing locked-in like the rhythm of brothers playing bass and drums (think Aston and Carlton Barret). If I ever got back into the music world, it would be playing (or composing/arranging) music like this.

Happy Anniversary (to ME!)

by Steve, February 5th, 2007

Well what do you know, this blog turned one the other day, and it totally slipped past me.

I started this blog on February 1, 2006 as a successor to, which was a non-bloggy blog I used to post on occasionally. It’s still out there, just as I left it a year ago.

This remains a relatively low-traffic blog, since I do very little (i.e. nothing) to promote it. (Wacky Mommy, on the other hand, has been around for two years, and her traffic has gone up dramatically in the last few months.)

Even though y’all rarely (if ever) comment, I know you’re out there through the magic of logging. I even know who you are and where you’ve come from. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! So thanks to both of you, and here’s to another year of hockey, politics, and life.