Friday, March 13, 2009

Someone stop me; Oh someone please, just try and stop me!

I'm not the type of liberal that'a reflexively against public funding of sports stadiums. I enjoy sports and I do think there is a public value to build cost-effective stadiums if the interests of the taxpayers are looked out for when the deal is formed.

I wish we would the same sort of public support go towards the arts, schools and libraries as we see towards crafting deals to bring major league sports franchises to big cities. This nation would be a much greater country were culture given the same attention that sports enjoy.

In the end I consider sports as much a part of our lives as literature, art or the symphony. They're a part of our identity. They provide a needed diversion, especially during difficult times. They provide value to the community at large.

That's why if these were normal economic times I would probably support a deal to bring major league soccer to Oregon.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The City Council has approved financing $60 million to lure a Major League Soccer franchise to Portland, but hasn't resolved how to raise a quarter of the money.

The $60 million would go to renovating PGE Park to meet MLS specifications, and building a new ballpark for the Portland Beavers, the city's Triple-A baseball team.

Major League Soccer is expected to choose two expansion teams by March 19. Four cities are in the running: Portland, Vancouver, Ottawa and St. Louis.

But the times aren't normal.

The state of Oregon is proposing 24 day unpaid furloughs for state workers and wage freezes. The Ways and Means Committee is proposing cutting public safety by $58 million, human services by 19 million and economic development projects by $5 million dollars. We are looking at shortening the school year and laying off teachers. Our unemployment rate jumped to 9.9% in January making it the fifth-highest in the nation.

Spending public funds for a major league soccer team in this economic climate is unconscionable. If the city of Portland has surplus cash it should throw it into the state kitty.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Boy. What a softshell I'm turning out to be.

It's that time of the year- the sound of bagpipes and drunken drunken Irishmen is in the air.

That also means the giant crab is up at Jake's Famous Crawfish a couple of blocks from my place of business. The crab appears during their St. Patrick's Day party. I snapped this with my camera phone yesterday...

The crab goes up every year like clockwork and every year I get a chuckle out of the fact that there's little rhyme or reason to this tradition. It's St. Patrick's Day not some other seafood-centric holiday. St. Patrick drove the snakes(*) out of Ireland, not the Dungeoness crab.

You could sort of make a case that crawfish are sort of like crab. They have shells. They have pinching claws that are fun to stick on a buddy's nose while he's sleeping off a bender on a wild weekend camping trip at the Nehalem Bay state park. (Too specific?)

But Jake's is really famous for crawfish. Thus the name: "Jake's Famous Crawfish." The restaurant is about 100 years old and legend has it they grew their own crawfish in rancid pools in the basement of the place during the first couple of decades. Before there were things like health departments.

If I really wanted to know why they have the crab up I could easily waltz in and ask the manager. I'm sure he would give me some boring story about how they don't make giant inflatable crawfish and they do serve crabcakes on the menu, so there you are. But what's the fun in that?

I'd rather stick to the explanations bouncing out of my imagination. For instance: Jake won the crab playing poker with Dillinger when he was visiting Portland on a bank robbing spree throught he Northwest. THAT'S a good story. The real story will never stand up to that.

(*) And those snakes moved to the United States to practice law. Lawyer joke! (Rimshot.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

And you can tell Rolling Stone magazine that my last words were... I'm on drugs!

Michael Jackson seems to have taken the idea of a rock star concert rider to a whole new level.

Besides the 4 hair driers he's reportedly demanding 9 top doctors, 3 master chefs and a host of other ridiculous crap backstage at his upcoming London concerts that would put Van Halen to shame.

It did get me thinking that coming up with a rider for my own rock band would be kind of fun. Presented for your consideration is the concert rider for the Dean Wormer Experience; soon to be coming to an arena near you.

Dear Purchaser

Attached is a rider to assure you of a smooth and professional theatrical presentation. It is spelled out in great detail so that we don't have to trash your place.


Olaf Weaselstein
Tour Manager


Purchaser agrees to provide three (3) dressing rooms. Rooms shall have lavatories mostly devoid of human feces and (1) king-sized bed with accompaning ceiling mirror.


Purchaser agrees to provide one (1) room with three (3) couches so that band can get baked. Purchaser further agrees that a 50" plasma television will be provided perpetually looping episodes of "Gilligan's Island," "Spongebob Squarepants" and "Family Guy."


Purchaser agrees to provide one (1) room with 12-person hot tub filled with KFC "Masterpiece" style barbeque sauce.


Purchaser agrees to provide band with (1) massage room with two (2) massage tables to be staffed at the time of the event by one (1) Selma Hayek, one (1) Grace Park or one (1) Yvonne Strahovski.



One (1) costco size box Mozarella sticks. Heated.
One (1) barrel General Tsos chicken.
One (1) roasted poultry of purchaser's choice but must be on endangered species list.
Six (6) cases Captain Morgan's spiced rum.
Eight (8) cases Hefeweizen beer.


Two (2) packages orange slices.
Four (4) sandwich plates various types. Note- no mayonaisse, meat, bread, lettuce or tomatoes on sandwiches.
One (1) case pepperoni sticks.
Two (2) bowls caesar salad without lettuce, dressing or parmesan cheese.
One (1) case gerber's brand baby food in variety flavors.


One (1) package red vines.
One (1) Selma Hayek, one (1) Grace Park or one (1) Yvonne Strahovski.
As many cashews as you can comfortably fit on the table.


One (1) barrel KY Jelly
Three (3) maid costumes in men's sizes.
One (1) box Tylenol.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Do you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.

Fran sums up an awful conversation she had with someone of a conservative bent over gay marriage. Lest we think that all conservatives all as much of a lost cause as that guy she posted a seperate discussion with a different conservative gentleman that went much better.

Fran's tale reminded me of a story about Mrs. Wormer. One of the things I love about Mrs. Wormer are her very impressive rhetorical skills. She's not someone you want to get into an argument with as she'll leave you tongue tied.

Several years ago (before kids) we volunteered to fight the first of many anti-gay rights ballot measures that the Oregon Citizen's Alliance but on the ballot. I have a vivid memory of watching Mrs. Wormer in a heated, but cordial discussion with a conservative Christian over this ballot initiative.

Mrs. Wormer dismantled each and every argument he threw at her, not by dismissing his religious beliefs but by confronting and even playing to them. You either believe in a God of compassion and love or you believe in a vengeful, angry God. You can't have it both ways.

She got this guy to admit he may be wrong which was a pretty amazing thing around such an emotionally heated issue. I'm pretty proud to be married to somebody like that.