Thursday Thirteen from Wacky Mommy, Ed. #128: Thirteen Reasons Why I’m a Better Blogger Than Hockey God

by Wacky Mommy, January 16th, 2008

Hullo 13ers and All You Sexy Little Usual Suspects,

Here are Thirteen Reasons Why I, Wacky Mommy, Am A Better Blogger Than My Husband:

13) Sex talk. Honestly. How much of that do you get around here? So to speak.

12) I, Wacky Mommy, like to have my girlfriends drop by. (Virtually, and in person.) We can talk, cuddle, make goo-goo eyes at each other. Here? So much yelling. Ouch. I’m like, turn it down, it’s hurting my ears a tiny bit. Also, some of you commenters over here? Damn. All I can say is, Get yourself a blog. My commenters are all, Hit it and quit it, babe.

11) I am willing to share the details of our day-to-day life, even when my kids are protesting: Girl Scout cookies! Culinary magic! Advice columns! Sunday School updates! Big Love!

10) When is the last time he gave you a book review? Or any big love? Heh heh heh heh heh.

9) I am willing to blog nine times in one day if that’s what it takes to entertain you people. Frankly, I do not see that kind of commitment over here.

8) Does he know I’ve hijacked his blog and am posting this? No, he does not. He is putting the sweet little blonde children to bed as I’m typing. Thank God they have one responsible parent.

7) I have been at this longer than he has. It’s my blog’s third birthday on Valentine’s Day! Happy VD! Clap, everybody, clap!

6) Are you in it for the money, honey? Yes. I think my ads keep the site lively. I never know what the heck is going to pop up. Anytime I bring up ads (ie — Why won’t you put some on your site, Hockey God?) he’s all, “Ethics,” yadda yadda, “You’re a commercial whore,” yadda yadda, “What won’t you do for a buck, damn,” etc. (He does sell more T-shirts than I do though.) (Not that I’m keeping track.)

5) Do you find the sailor-talk over here? No, not so much.

4) Do you get General Hospital updates from him occasionally? That’s right, that’s only over at my place. (Why am I posting here, you ask? I’m selling Girl Scout cookies on my site, I cannot add a new post up top. JUST KIDDING. That would be AGAINST POLICY.) (What do the Girl Scouts do if you break policy, anyway? Chuck Thin Mints at you until you promise to shape up?)

3) Hmm. I’m thinking, he does have MetBlogs going on, too. And his full-time job, doing whatever it is he does in between going for coffee, playing hockey and playing ping-pong. And when he’s here, he’s building castle beds, taking care of the kids, saving the world, one school at a time. Maybe I should cut him a break. Yeah, maybe not.

2) He does not have quite the flair that I do for the English language. That certain je nais se qua. See? French, too!

1) He never ever ever writes Thursday Thirteens anymore.



Wacky Mommy has her own blog. Sometimes one blog is just not enough for her.

Drop… The… Puck

by Steve, August 29th, 2007

Here’s Thirteen reasons I’m glad hockey season is almost upon us.

1. Winter Hawks owners Jim Goldsmith and Jack Donovan seem to have struck a lease-to-own deal with the city and Paul Allen’s arena management company to install Goldsmith’s replay screens in the Memorial Coliseum.

After a whole lot of bluster on Goldsmith’s blog with the boss (later removed) and with an assist from play-by-play guy Andy Kemper who questioned the “moral compass” of a couple city commisioners, Hawkey Town’s new hero Randy Leonard contacted Goldsmith and worked a deal with the Hawks, Allen’s people and the city, approved today.

2. That means I will eat crow (I said I’d believe there are replay screens when I see them installed) and buy a ticket package this year

3. which means I’m going to be seeing some hockey.

4. Live.

5. Real soon now.

6. (Hopefully they’ve cleaned the stinkin’ beer lines from last season at the old Coliseum.)

7. I love the old Glass Palace.

8. And I love the smell of the ice.

9. School’s back in session next week, so us old farts can reclaim the lunch hour scrimmage at the old rink.

10. Which means I can get my tired old arse back in shape (at least somewhat!).

11. It’s been a really long and interesting off-season for the Winter Hawks, and also for me.

12. But I’m ready to get back into the game.

13. See you at the game!

Thirteen Garments I Once Prized

by Steve, June 20th, 2007

Taking a cue from Wacky Mommy (whom I mostly love out of her clothes), I give you thirteen garments and accessories I have loved throughout the years.

1. striped Osh Kosh overalls when I was a preschooler

2. my Chicago Black Hawks pajamas from the grade school years

3. a puka shell necklace when I was in 6th grade

4. a t-shirt that said “Brass Power” when I was in 7th grade (I played trumpet)

5. a whole string of black concert Ts, starting with Cheap Trick

6. then there was Heart,

7. AC/DC,

8. and Alice Cooper (and probably one or two I can’t remember from when I was a budding rocker in my early teens)

9. my pocket Ts, blue jeans, work boots, tool belt and safety glasses from the summer I worked in the scene shop for summer rep in college

10. my Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax t-shirt from when I was a young adult (which I still have)

11. my work boots from when I worked produce in the 90s

12. my “More Hockey Less War” shirt from the Left Coast Hockey League

13. my stripedy pajamas I stole from my wife and wear when I snuggle with my kids

Thirteen Verbal Ticks That Really Bug Me

by Steve, June 7th, 2007

I was raised by two English majors, so you’ll have to cut me some slack here. I’ve always been a stickler for proper speech. There’s a time and a place for colloquialism, and lord knows I use it in my speech and writing.

But there are some verbal ticks that just really bug me. I’ll see if I can come up with 13.

1. “Yeah, no…” I’m not sure where this came in, but it’s a meaninglessly self-contradictory interjection used to start sentences in conversation. I hear it all the freakin’ time at work, and it drives me nuts. I worry I’ll start using it. Maybe I already have.

2. “The thing is, is…” I’ve even heard the variant “The thing was, is…”

3. “I mean…” This one I hear all the damn time on NPR when a news anchor is talking to a reporter. It’s the new “you know,” I guess. The irony is, is, I mean, it has no damn meaning. Okay, fine, use it in everyday speech. But if you’re on National Public Radio? I mean, Come on!

4. Upspeak. This is when topic sentences? or clauses? are inflected as questions. It’s residue of valley girl talk, and as the valley girl generation has grown up, it’s become common in adult speech. I think of it as a solicitous tick, as in “Are you listening? I think I have something to say?” Our local NPR affiliate’s morning anchor does this, and it drives me crazy.

5.”Uh.” Practically everyone says “uh” in everyday speech. No big deal. But when the Secretary of State of the United States of America can’t speak a single extemporaneous sentence without uttering it, I cringe.

6. “…for Jack and I.” Or the equally jarring “…for Jack and myself.” For whatever reason, nobody wants to say “Jack and me”. Me is a proper object, people, I can’t emphasize this enough.

7. This one’s common among stewardesses for some reason: “If you do need to leave your seat, we do ask that you do buckle your seat belt when you return.” We ask that you do omit needless words.

Okay, I guess that’s all I can come up with off the top of my head. Apologies to the Thursday Thirteen crowd for punking out early.

Gay Marriage: Thirteen Cartoons

by Steve, May 2nd, 2007

With Oregon’s passage today of domestic partnership legislation, I join the celebration with thirteen cartoons on the topic. (Most of these are from the New Yorker, and I’ve just used text links for them. They’re worth clicking, and you can buy prints and t-shirts, etc.)

Again, congratulations to all the couples who will soon be able to enjoy the rights that hetero couples have long taken for granted. It is one small step, but a very significant one.

1. Here’s the New Yorker cartoon Wacky Mommy referenced on my post earlier today: “Gays and lesbians aren’t a threat to the sanctity of my marriage. It’s all the straight women who sleep with my husband.”

2. “Gays and lesbians getting married–haven’t they suffered enough?”

3. “So if you’re the best man at a gay wedding, is that like being first runner-up?”

4. “No, but I do think there should be a law against no-sex marriage.”

5. “There’s nothing wrong with our marriage, but the spectre of gay marriage has hopelessly eroded the institution.”

6. “Sometimes I think you only married me for the political statement.”

7. “I’m sorry, Jim. I love you, but I hate Vermont.”

8. “You knew I was straight when you married me.”

9. “I wouldn’t marry you if you were the last gay person on earth!”

10. “Relax, Captain Bush says he’s gonna ban gay marriage.”

11. “Our family is getting clobbered…”

12. “The nation is crumbling! amend the constitution!”


Thirteen Reasons Vicki Phillips Needed to Go

by Steve, April 25th, 2007

The news today that Vicki Phillips is stepping down as Portland Public Schools Superintendent comes as good news to those of us who have been critical of her leadership.

Perhaps her three-year legacy can best be summed up in three words: Jefferson Cluster Fuck. The planning for Portland’s only majority black high school and its feeder schools has been an abysmal failure of imagination and leadership. With only token community input, Phillips produced a disjointed plan that the community overwhelmingly rejected. The Jefferson campus was to be segregated by gender, with Tubman Middle School closed and the building used for an all-girls 7-12 school (two miles from the actual Jefferson campus). The boys would get their 7-12 school in Jefferson proper (shared with three other 9-12 “acadamies”). You see, you can’t trust young black men around young women. Also, you need discipline, so these 7-12 schools would require uniforms.

It is inconceivable that this type of plan would have been floated for a majority white school in Portland. It is further inconceivable that this was floated as a way to increase attendance and save Jefferson. Inconceivable, I tell ya!

But it gets even better. In order to add to the chaos, Ockley Green, the other middle school in the cluster, was converted to K-8 (how does that articulate to a 7-12 high school?), with plans to turn all the grade schools into K-8, too. Or just close them (this part they didn’t say out loud, but it’s been widely suspected that schools that are too small — or too close to Ockley — don’t have a part in this bizarre plan).

Because of tremendous public outcry, and underwhelming applications to the gender-segregated 7-12 schools, that part of the plan was delayed until the 2007-08 school year. We can only hope that with Phillips’ departure (and her hand-picked Jefferson principal floundering on administrative leave — see number two below), this asinine plan will be scrapped.

So here, in the spirit of Thursday Thirteen, are Thirteen Reasons Vicki Phillips Needed to Go. (Many thanks to the Neighborhood Schools Alliance for keeping such good tabs on Phillips during her stint here.)

1. The Jefferson Cluster Fuck, as detailed above. This alone was enough to disqualify her from further employment.

2. Leon Dudley, while technically part of the Jefferson Cluster Fuck, deserves his own item in the list. The district paid a head hunter $30,000 to help find him, but evidently they failed to take into account his troubling work history before offering him the job.

3. Her affinity with church-based education, exemplified by her attempt to sneak a church-run alternative school (to be housed at Jefferson) past the school board after they had unanimously rejected it as a charter school.

4. Sadly, this is part of a pattern of channeling taxpayer education funding to church-based organizations.

5. Her emphasis on closing down small, neighborhood-based, walking-distance schools, in favor of large, centralized schools.

6. Her alliances with conservative business interests and right-wing think tanks.

7. Her outsized PR budget.

8. Her general shoddiness in including the community in planning school closings.

9. Her general shoddiness in including the community in planning school boundary changes.

10. Her duplicitiousness on racial segregation. At the beginning of her tenure in Portland, she made a speech to the City Club of Portland decrying the trend of resegregation, correctly pegging it to liberal school transfer policies. (I can’t find the transcript anywhere, darn it.) But her policies, particularly with regard to Jefferson, seem designed to perpetuate segregation.

11. Her mismanagement of a $6.2 million federal grant that nearly led to its termination.

12. Her mis-diagnosis of declining enrollment as an artifact of demographics, and her failure to identify and address the true causes.

13. That hair. Good God, woman, are you hoping to get an award at your high school reunion for the one who looks the most like her senior portrait?

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last one.)

In all seriousness, I had high hopes for Phillips, as did many of my fellow Portlanders. And I realize that with unstable and inadequate school funding, there’s only so much you can do. Still, Phillips managed to blow it in ways nobody could have imagined three years ago. Good riddance.

Thirteen Great Things About North Portland

by Steve, April 19th, 2007

You may have noticed that I’ve gotten really bad about writing these lists. For a while, it was a good impetus to write every week, but lately I’ve been pretty uninspired. Also, I don’t exactly fit in with the “TT” crowd, and I’m not good about visiting everybody’s blog to leave comments. Most of my online reading is political, and my writing tends that way, too. That’s a whole different ball of wax than most of the TTs, which tend toward the personal. Plus, I haven’t even been able to come up with thirteen things the last couple of times. Lame!

But since I’ve written some pretty snarky things about North Portland and Portland Public Schools lately, I thought I owed one to North Portland. Here goes. (Let’s see if I get to thirteen on this one.)

1. Great transportation. We’re two blocks from light rail transit, just a bit more to I-5. We can be downtown in 10 minutes by freeway or 15 minutes by train.

2. Hockey. The home of the Winter Hawks is in North Portland, just four light rail stops away.

3. Real neighborhoods. The streets are laid out in a grid. There are sidewalks. Parks. Nice old houses. Tree-lined streets.

4. Great views from the bluff.

5. More and more, nice urban amenities like bakeries, restaurants and shopping within walking distance.

6. Socio-economic diversity.

7. My choice of churches on Sunday.

8. The Peninsula Park sunken rose garden.

9. The Peninsula Park Community Center and pool.

10. The Portland Ship Yard on the site of the old Swan Island airport. This is viewable from the bluff, especially from University of Portland. It’s pretty cool to see the big ships in dry dock, and the old, gigantic tankers in fresh water storage before they’re sailed or towed to Asia to be scrapped.

11. My lovely wife.

12. My beautiful children.

13. My happy home.

Edited Friday, 4/20/2007: I can’t believe I forgot the St. Johns Bridge.

Thirteen Ways my Life is Like Slap Shot

by Steve, April 11th, 2007

It’s playoff time, and it’s wall-to-wall hockey. Our local cable affiliate is carrying some of Shaw Cable’s coverage of the WHL playoffs. Vancouver just beat Seattle in game four, taking their series to 3-1 Vancouver. Now I’m watching the NHL Vancouver, tied with Dallas in the third 4-4. Damn, those NHL guys can skate.

Playoff hockey… is there anything better?

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. No, it’s Thursday eve, and I’m supposed to crank out another Thursday Thirteen (turns out some of you expect these of me). So here are Thirteen Ways my Life is Like Slap Shot (the movie):

  1. “She’s not happy….” (Wacky Mommy that is.)
  2. She sits in the stands while I play my old farts beer league games and chats with the other hockey wives. “He doesn’t care for the fighting,” she tells them, “he told me.” And “He always says you can just screw so much and drink so much.”
  3. She told me the other day “If we got divorced, I wouldn’t have to watch so much hockey.” Did I mention, I never asked her to come see me play. Seriously, watching beer league hockey is like watching paint dry. She told me. And we haven’t been to a WHL game since February, I think. And she’ll never watch hockey on TV, unless it’s game seven of the Stanley Cup Final and I beg.
  4. Yesterday at the rink, there was a guy who shows up occasionally. He’s kind of slow, and yesterday he was being especially goofy, celebrating goals and shit (we generally don’t make a big deal of goals at stick time). One of the regulars said he always shows up drunk. I went up against him and hoo boy! did he reek of alcohol. So I’m thinking, if I board him, will he pee himself? Total Nick Brophy moment.
  5. If the mill closes (i.e. my software factory)… Fucking Chrysler plant here I come.

Ah, crap, that’s all I’ve got. I’m really getting lousy at this Thursday Thirteen thing. But five’s better ‘n none, eh?

Have a great week, and maybe I’ll post again before next Thursday.

My Quickest Thursday Thirteen Yet

by Steve, March 28th, 2007

Wacky Mommy said I take too damn long writing these things, and I need to learn to just dash shit off. So here ya go, Internet, Thirteen Random Thoughts From a left-wing hockey nut in the Pacific Northwest.

  1. There is much intrigue in Hawkey Town, as Portland Winter Hawks owner Jim Goldsmith has taken over hockey operations. The big questions now, buzzing around both the Oregon Live Winter Hawks forum, e-mail lists and blogs, is this: What does the future hold for long-time G.M Ken Hodge, head coach Mike Williamson, and the rest of the hockey staff? No matter how you cut it, this has got to sting for Hodge, a broadly respected figure in major junior hockey.
  2. There is even more intrigue in Washington D.C., as George W. Bush careens into his first real collision with the newly Democratic congress. Will he negotiate with the Democrats, or will he remain on a collision course?
  3. There is intrigue in the Portland Public Schools (what else is new?) as rumors begin to circulate about another round of school closings, and Neighborhood Schools Alliance founder Ruth Adkins challenges incumbent Doug Morgan for his school board seat. I’m proud to support Ruth, who has long advocated for a community voice in important school decisions, and for a reasonable school size policy.
  4. Oh man, that’s just three, and I’m definitely not dashing! Okay, here goes, quick like a bunny!
  5. Spring is in the air. Man, I love spring because I love sumer even more.
  6. I joined a hockey league. So far we’re 2 and 0.
  7. Everything’s better when you put on a sweater.
  8. Coffee tastes good.
  9. Especially a good double shot of espresso, straight up, baby!
  10. It’s spring break, and I’m taking a day and a half of to hang out with the family. Nice. Wish it were more.
  11. Wacky Mommy has turned into a serious hockey chick. I can’t get into details here, but let’s just say I’m shocked at the times she brings up hockey.
  12. Damn, I’m already 3 minutes over my self-imposed deadline… quick here’s number 13:
  13. I’m not so good at dashing shit off. And I probably cuss too much.

Okay, only five minutes over. Good. Night.

Would Che Have Skated?

by Steve, March 21st, 2007

I told Wacky Mommy, if Che had been Canadian, he’d have been out at the rink with the guys, smacking pucks around. She thinks I’m nuts.

So I thought I’d make a t-shirt design with Che as a skater. It would say something like “Left Winger”. But it turns out Cafe Press will have nothing to do with selling images of Che, at least not that one famous one in particular. Back in 2000, Alberto Diaz Gutierrez (a.k.a. Alberto Korda) claimed copyright to the famous image which is based on his original photograph. There’s a lot of convoluted debate about fair use, not to mention the fact that Fidel never signed on to international copyright accords. Nevertheless, Korda successfully claimed copyright in British court, and stopped Smirnoff from using the image in a vodka ad. Which I think is a good thing. (Korda said it never bothered him when people used the image in solidarity with Cuba, just when it was used against Cuba or to sell something. Which I guess is what I wanted to do, so…..)

So since Cafe Press said no, and my research made me feel a little guilty about wanting to sell t-shirts with that (ahem) maybe a tad tasteless image, my wacky shirt idea has transformed into a minor site redesign. Hope you like it, and find the irony in it. In case you don’t, here is my Thursday Thirteen, all about irony.

  1. Che probably never played hockey. But he looks good on skates, no?
  2. I am a pacifist, and this is an anti-war site. Yet Che Guevara made his name as a warrior.
  3. I am a vegetarian, pacifist hockey addict.
  4. The longer I live the more I see the pure, unadulterated truth that lies at the heart of every contradiction.
  5. I’m a socialist, yet I sell crap on my crappy Web site.
  6. I don’t think I’m going to make it
  7. to thirteen tonight.
  8. And I hope you don’t care
  9. if I just go to bed
  10. and bid you farewell
  11. and
  12. Good
  13. night.