The release of Brandon Roy this week got me thinking about who my all-time favorite Blazers are. Of course, Roy is on the list. Now, I’m not saying these are the most talented players the team ever saw, and you’ll notice that none of them are before 1990 or so. I moved to Oregon in 1988, and started following basketball at the same time. Therefore, these are the guys whom I loved to watch play the most.
Starters Terry Porter – Point Guard
Porter is, to me, the greatest shooter in Trail Blazers history. He was the kind of guy that had you standing up as he shot, because you felt like it was always going to go in (and it quite often did). He also was very smart, and his leadership was key to the two Blazers’ finals runs in the 90’s.
Brandon Roy – Shooting Guard
What more can be said about Brandon, other than that he was supremely gifted, a natural leader, and a top-ten NBA player when his knees finally gave out. He was deft around the basket, was unstoppable with his step-back jumper, and had an innate sense of time and place when it came down to the end of the game.
Clyde Drexler – Small Forward
It’s kind of a cheat, but I put Clyde at the Small Forward Spot. He can handle it. Clyde always had that incredible athleticism, and a “how’d he do that?!” kind of game. His shot was too flat, he could do nothing with his left hand, and yet he consistently made plays. He was also the kind of guy you’d love to hang out with.
Rasheed Wallace – Power Forward
Rasheed was a knucklehead, to be sure, but he was OUR knucklehead. The guy was so naturally good at basketball, that the game itself seemed to come easy to him. I always felt like no matter what, through all the technical fouls and other nonsense, that Rasheed cared about winning.
Arvydas Sabonis – Center
It’s been well documented that Arvydas was past his prime when the Blazers finally got him, but he was still mesmerizing to watch play. That flat, flip of a 3-pointer. Those no look drop passes to cutters. That scowl when he would bang against Shaq in big games.
The Bench Wesley Matthews
Although he has the well-earned reputation as a grinder, the label belies Matthews’s impressive skill-set. I think he has grown as a player each of the years he’s been in Portland, even if his stats are fairly static. He’s a smart, witty guy, and I think that he brings that intelligence to the court.
Another polarizing figure for some, I always felt Rod Strickland was like watching lightning. He was so quick, and as a high school player, I would tape my fingers just like Strickland, and try to BE him when I played.
I love watching LaMarcus play. He gets bagged on at times for being “soft,” which is a label I’ll never understand. All the guy does is hit shots and rebound. You can’t name another player with his kind of shooting touch, who also bangs down low like Reggie Evans. It’s one or the other. I’ll take the really talented guy who can score in a wide variety of ways.
Uncle Cliffy! Another dynamic inside-out big, Cliff Robinson was always so easy to root for, and not just for his trademark headband. When he stepped up against David Robinson in the playoffs his rookie year, without backing down, he won my heart forever.
With his weight struggles, it’s easy to forget that Kevin Duckworth was a two-time all-star in the 90’s, when the Western Conference was packed with talented centers. That sweet jump hook and push jump shot was automatic, and he always seemed like a guy you wanted on your side.
If you can’t cheer for a guy like Ime Udoka, then you probably have no soul. Obviously, the fact he’s from Portland helps, but he was really the glue to the transition year the Blazers had from the Jail Blazers era to the Roy-Aldridge era. He’s proof that you don’t have the be the team’s star to be the team’s leader. His corner three was deadly, and he was a lock-down defender. It’s no wonder the Spurs stole him away.
Another guy from Portland, Damon always got a bad rap from his hometown fans. I am not sure why they thought he’d be the same guy who averaged 20 points a game for Toronto, when he was never going to get the number of shots he did on those bad Raptors teams. I appreciated that Damon looked to be aggressive, not necessarily just for his own shot. He wanted to win more than anything else.
Least Favorite Blazers Ever
Looking over the list of past Blazers, I realized there are guys for whom I always hated to cheer. For most of them, it was their games on the court, not who they were as people.
I’m sure he’s a nice person, but he’s useless on the court. I always feel like he’s not shooting to make the shot, but rather not to miss. The fact he can’t do anything else but shoot three-pointers makes him a liability. And let’s face it: he has kind of a punchable face.
Politically, he’s a carpet-bagging douchebag. But I disliked him long before I knew any of that. Wildly untalented, he was like watching a gangly JV center who you knew was someday going to grow into his body. The problem was, Dudley was fully-grown.
Donuts, donuts, donuts. Plus, I don’t know if you knew this, but his horrible play wasn’t his fault, or at least that’s what he’s told me.
Another North Carolina point guard disaster. McInnis was the classic “all ability, no game” NBA player. He coasted by his whole life by being quicker than everybody else, but never worked hard to develop the skills to truly excel when faced with equally gifted players. I dreaded every missed open jumper and stupid turnover.
Miles takes the cake for squandered ability. 6’9″ with a huge wingspan, Miles looked like he should have been good at basketball, but he wasn’t. He couldn’t shoot, and wasn’t smart enough to contribute in other ways. On the plus side, he did a really nice job acting in his cameo in Van Wilder, so you know, that’s nice.
What do you think? Who were your favorite and least favorite players?
It’s been a while since I posted anything, and I think part of that is because I’ve had such a good and busy fall. I thought I’d take some time to share some of my favorite things of the year. These are the things I experienced this year that made my year a good one.
10. Pizza Stone
My in-laws got me a pizza stone for my grill last Christmas, and holy cow was it a great present. We made all kinds of fantastic pizza: pear and blue cheese, barbeque chicken, bacon and cheese, sausage and pepper, and more. Just put the stone on the grill when you fire it up, and when it’s hot, cover the stone with corn meal, roll out your dough, and top your pizza. The crust is crunchy, the cheese is gooey and smokey, and you can’t beat the flavor.
9. Captain America
Now, first off, I don’t think that Captain America is a perfect movie, but I sure enjoyed it. Part of it is sentimental. Captain America was my favorite comic book as a kid, so to see it on the bigscreen was awesome. I have some quibbles with it, most notably its lack of Nazis. The best part of the comic book as a kid was seeing Cap routinely defeat evil Nazi plans. In the movie, the Red Skull (the film’s villain) almost immediately breaks off from Germany to form his own evil organization. I think that was a big mistake, and a befuddling decision.
But that’s my only real complaint. I thought that there were so many awesome little touches, such as having Cap going around selling war bonds in that wool uniform. It just made me happy to see something I liked so much as a kid so brilliantly executed on the big screen.
8. Sushi Chiyo
I love the sushi train in all of its forms. However, Vancouver’s Sushi Chiyo takes the cake (of rice, topped with salmon) right now. Most sushi train places put only 2-3 pieces on each plate, with only simple items like California Rolls available. But Sushi Chiyo offers full plates, with 4-5 pieces, and it offers a wide variety of choices. I’ve had rainbow rolls, spider rolls, and the biggest pieces of salmon sashimi possible. Go during happy hour (2:30-4:30pm), and every plate is only $1.50, which is a steal.
Find it at: 13007 NE Highway 99 Vancouver, WA 98686
7. Four on the Floor Hamburger Challenge
I already blogged about this here, but the Four on the Floor Hamburger Challenge was awesome. It was my baby; I wanted to see if we could eat four hamburgers at four places in four hours. Turns out, almost all nine of us could. Read the blog for the details in all their gastronomic glory.
6. Los Gorditos Mexican Food
Los Gorditos is a taco cart on the corner of 50th and Division, and I think that their burritos are the greatest in all of Portland. The best part of Los Gorditos’s menu is free: their sauces. They have a great salsa bar. My favorites are their green sauce, their smoky chipotle, best of all, their peppery red sauce. The Stacy Burrito rolls up your choice of meat, rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, grilled onions, cilantro, and that red sauce in an enormous tortilla. I always end up dumping at least 4 containers of sauce on it, too, resulting in a delicious, sweaty experience. The red sauce has one of those flavors that makes the corners of my tongue, where the muscle meets my jaw, start to cringe and salivate. Mmmm….
5. The Stormy Weather Arts Festival at Cannon Beach
Marisa and I have been going to the beach every fall since we first started dating 13 years ago, so for this trip Marisa had the great idea to go during the Stormy Weather Arts Festival, a weekend of art and wine at the town’s galleries. She got a great deal on a hotel, so we were able to stay 3 nights.
We went out on Friday and Saturday night, drinking wine and enjoying some interesting (and not-so-interesting) art. It was fascinating to see the different approaches the galleries had to their inventory. Generally speaking, I don’t think highly of the kind of art available at the coast, but I was genuinely surprised to see some paintings and sculptures I found interesting. It was good to see young artists with edgier style, instead of just the dowdy middle-brow fare usually for sale. I’ve had enough of sad Native Americans and paintings of Haystack Rock, and this year’s festival delivered new choices (not that we could afford any of them).
4. Hoops Tournament
For my birthday this year, I decided to throw myself the birthday party I’ve always wanted: a basketball tournament. I invited 18-20 guys to a gym I rented out, split them up into 4 teams, and played a big tournament. We had a clock and a scoreboard, and we played a round-robin schedule.
I picked the teams, and tried to keep them even. I won’t lie: I stacked my own team. But honestly, I only picked guys with whom I enjoy playing, not just good players. My squad managed to win the whole thing. Happy birthday to me!
3. Brandon Roy Leads Miracle Comeback
When Brandon Roy led the Blazers back against the Mavericks in Game 4 of the first round of the NBA playoffs, it was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen in sports. At the lowest point, the Blazers were down 23 points, and Roy single-handedly brought the team back and eventually ahead.
I was watching the game at home, and Marisa can tell you, I went from down in the dumps to screaming and standing by the end. Just thinking about the comeback gives me chills.
2. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Last year, it was Of Montreal. This year, it’s Neutral Milk Hotel.
I know, this album came out in 1998. But I only discovered it this year, so it counts, dammit! There are so many reasons that I shouldn’t like this album. The lyrics are reportedly based on the life story of Anne Frank, which sounds painfully pretentious. It’s sort of folky, and I generally don’t go for folk music. The singer, Jeff Mangum, has sort of a whiny, nasally voice.
And yet, I can’t stop listening to this album. The lyrics (about Anne Frank) are strange and beautiful. The melodies are gorgeous and catchy, and the raw-feeling production values are perfect. I think that the album makes you relate to something and someone in a situation seemingly impossible to really understand.
1. Paris and London
My wife would likely kill me if this wasn’t the number one thing on my list, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best thing I did all year. Marisa and I took about two weeks during April to see Paris. The airfare was so much cheaper to go to London, so we decided to fly there and take the chunnel over to Paris.
I had never been to Paris, but Marisa had, and she was excited to show me the city. We rented an apartment for a week just half a mile from the Eiffel Tower, which was a great experience. We were able to take the Metro train wherever we needed, we ate cheese and drank wine everyday, and we saw a phenomenal amount of art and history.
I never thought I’d see Paris, and to actually get there was simply amazing.
Once every couple hundred years or so, the best and the brightest come together to collaborate, compete, and revel in the spirit of excellence. Saturday, June 25th, was one of those times. Or so I assume. I’m guessing somebody was doing something profound somewhere. My friends and I got together on that date to eat a lot of beef.
The premise is simple. Four hamburgers, four restaurants, four hours. We started with 18 people. Of those, nine were competing. Competing for what, you say? Mostly pride and satisfaction, but also for mastery over our bovine cousins. It’s like playing golf. Sure, you’d like to beat your buddies, what with their stupid shorts and condescending talk about “the plane of your swing,” but you’re mostly trying to improve yourself and master your own game.
One evening, while talking about eating challenges, I wondered if I could invent my own. I thought that 4 burgers sounded achievable. My wife, Marisa, disagreed.
It’s pretty straight-forward. Competitors had to eat the aforementioned hamburgers in the time alotted. They were allowed to remove one condiment of their choice, and were not required to eat fries or salad; this was all about the burgers. The rest of the gang was along to eat side dishes, drink beer, and laugh at our meat sweats.
These were our stops, listed in the order in which we dominated their burgers. I selected these places because they all serve burgers, and they’re all walkable from my place.
4100 SE Division
Portland, OR Website 2. Nick’s Coney Island
3746 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR Website 3. The Backstage Bar – McMenamin’s
3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR Website 4. Dick’s Kitchen
3312 Southeast Belmont Street
Portland, OR Website
I asked all of the competitors to write brief summaries of their burger experiences, and after a few weeks passed, most of them did. A special thanks goes out to Brad, who served as our videographer and photographer.
This dependable and delicious neighborhood restaurant has awesome burgers, and that’s why I chose it to lead off; I figured that I’d enjoy the first burger the most, so it might as well be a really good one. Normally, I’d get the BBQ burger, which has loads of BBQ sauce and onions on it, or the California Chevre burger, with avocado and chevre. Today, however, it was the house cheeseburger, with blue cheese. The burger was delicious, with a sturdy bun and a healthy slathering of cheese. I also consumed my one and only beer. I didn’t want to fill up with liquid. Golden, delicious liquid.
A juicy delicious burger. Nothing complicated, but it went down quick and easy. The veggies were crisp and the patty was perfectly medium-rare.
The waitress was hot, the beginning of the burger challenge tension was palpable, I added cucumber to my burger and it was good. I remember it being a clean classic burger and at my hungriest state, I was very satisfied.
Tasted substantial, well-seasoned, a good size and was cooked well.
I actually thought this burger was the best of the day. It don’t think it was just because I was hungry and it was the first. The meat was of high quality and the bun melded together nicely with the meat. A pleasure to eat and the staff did a great job in bringing out the team’s burgers in a fast orderly pace. I will go back to this place, maybe even for another burger.
This was a great burger. Granted I was hungriest here, but the salad was good, and thanks to Colin for donating half his potato chips for an extra topping. It was a good thick burger that washed down well with 2 Mirror Ponds. (editorial note – Mike ate all his sides at each stop, which most of us did not. He was an eating machine.)
This was one of the most amazingly delicious hamburgers i have ever had – and I don’t think it was just because I hadn’t eaten anything else for 2 days then exercised excessively to the point of delirium in preparation for this most monumental of events. and of not getting fat because of it.
Sckavone’s was awesome! Maybe it was because I was starving since I hadn’t eaten anything since 8:30 am, and it was about 5 pm when we got our burgers. I put fries on my cheese burger, which made it quite tasty. I finally figured out who our waitress was, after thinking she was some lady I saw in a band playing bass. She was a lady in the huge poster on Burnside advertising for the Timbers Soccer Campaign. I didn’t recognize her without her chainsaw. The burger was really tasty, regardless. Well sized and delicious.
As the name implies, Nick’s Coney Island is best known for its Coney Dogs, not its burgers. That said, Marisa and I have had their burgers and sliders a number of times, always with pleasant results. The burger itself reminds me of the kind you’d make on your backyard grill, only a bit greasier. You could definitely tell it was fried on a stovetop, not flame-grilled. That takes it down a notch in my book. That said, I did enjoy the burger. It was unpretentious and delicious.
Slightly greasy and perhaps not perfectly cooked, but still tasty. I ended up with some kind of tangy sauce on mine that brought it from mediocre to decent.
I like the classic diner atmosphere and the pinball, but the service was slow and unorganized. For this burger, I added coleslaw, and despite the refreshingly crisp taste of my addition, I was not impressed with the rest. The burger seemed thrown together with little love.
Smaller than I was expecting. It wasn’t bad, but it was kind of overwhelmed by the toppings for me. Given its name, the place probably does a lot better with hot dogs.
I thought this burger was a bit unremarkable, but when I smothered it in hot sauce it felt nice going down. Next time I go back to Nick’s I will stick with the coney cheese fries. I think I may have ate this one in four large bites. At this point I still felt fine, just another day eating more than my fair share of beef, of which I have had plenty.
The most surprising burger for me. Thought it might suck, but it was just greasy enough. I had to add the chips myself on this one, and for my only strategy, switched over to 2 Bombay Sapphire and Tonics. Had to save some space.
A perfectly average hamburger – like the kind you’d get at a state fair, or a bar-b-q in the suburbs, or a slightly better than average state campus cafeteria line. If an alien landed and said “show me the epitome of the average American hamburger”, that’s probably where I’d take him. Plus it was the cheapest.
Nick’s Coney Island was good as well. I ordered their regular burger, to which I added their very creamy cole slaw on top of the meat patty. Pretty tasty. I was pretty par for the course as far as stomach stretching went at this point of the competition. I was worried this burger would be the worst of the four places we would go to, but it was far from it. Surprisingly very tasty. I also became aware of the awesome power that both Micah and Sasha have on the ol’ pinball machine. They were masters of the flippers and royalty of the “four-legged ball flicker contest”! Unreal!
This is one of my favorite hidden bars in Portland. Located right behind the Bagdad Theater (as the name implies), I can’t believe this place isn’t packed all the time. The ambiance is incredible, with its 4-story ceilings, beautiful bar, pool tables, and projection screen for sports. Plus, awesome McMenamin’s beer and the chain’s reliable food.
McMenamin’s burgers are generally best when you get one of their specialties, like the Communications Breakdown (covered in onions and peppers) or Dungeon Burger (mushrooms and swiss). Their regular burger is okay, if unspectacular. I do think they’ve improved it since last we met. The bun is now whole-wheat, which added a nice, hearty chew. It was after this burger that I felt like I might be getting into trouble. My stomach felt a bit bloated, but I was confident I could finish the challenge at our final stop.
Already fading at this point and struggling to enjoy the flavor of food. I think I ended up with blue cheese on this somehow, which I love, but I struggled to finish. The patty, as is often the case with McMenamin’s was a little dry, but still adequate for consumption. (editorial note – Dan decided to quit here, but was talked back into the competition by Micah. Who says peer pressure is a bad thing?)
The group came in with low expectations but I enjoyed mine. This time, despite warning from my fellow competitors, I added on their famous tots and bit down on the sandwich with determination. The tots created the perfect texture change from the rest and I ignored my stomachs aches and pains.
The 1/3 pound size was appreciated and the pickles cut through well on this one. Overly greasy though, and that knocked it down a bit.
I have never been a huge fan of McMenamin’s burgers, or their food in general. You know it is never going to be horrible but also never really that good. They tend to never ask how you want your burger cooked, and it always seems to come out overdone and a bit dry. This burger was no exception. I felt that I hit a bit of a wall half-way through this one. The last few bites were particularly unpleasant. My eating partner Kendra claimed that her burger had been infiltrated by horseradish, and that somebody must have played a trick on her because they knew she can’t stand horseradish. I chalked Kendra’s complaints up to paranoid over-eating-caused delusions, but Captain Nick confirmed the taste of horseradish as well. To be honest, I think there may have been a hint of horsey in the mustard.
No surprise this burger ranked last. As always with McMenamin’s, overpriced and flavorless. It probably didn’t help it that it was third in line, but no pity can be granted. Also with McMenamin’s, go for the beer, tolerate the food. The Ruby was the best part.
There is only ONE food on earth that I cannot stand and that food is horseradish. Not only did this place surreptitiously sneak horseradish onto my burger, but they did it by mixing it into a “secret sauce” of grease and watery mustard which they injected into the bun. I have my suspicions that the waitress then wrung her dishrag onto it. . . But that might have just been mine cause I asked for happy hour prices 2 minutes after happy hour ended and I think that made her mad.
Bagdad Theatre… oooh boy. Worst. Burger. Ever. Soooo greasy I thought they used old tater tot oil as a condiment. There was a literal pool of grease under the burger and tots. Luke Warm as well. Disgusting. The patty was obviously previously frozen and machine shaped. I could taste the formaldehyde. It was that repulsive. I wolfed it down, just to get to the next round. I did add said Tater Tots inside my burger, just to keep the extra “Pat on the Back” points going. Man, that was a tough burger to get down, after having two already. I was still feeling pretty good though. I remember I had to do something similar when I was about 22. I went to a friends girlfriends house for Easter lunch/dinner. They were really excited about their Easter hams they had prepared. Apparently the person in charge of cooking the hams forgot to actually COOK the hams, as they came out nearly raw. We were all sitting around a table, where I had to eat the oinking ham, as to not insult them. I didn’t want to insult the purity of this burger challenge, so I did the same by eating this burger at the Bagdad Theatre. Let’s skip this place for next year, how about that?
I have to say, I picked Dick’s Kitchen because it looked good, and it was right where I wanted to end the night. I am really glad that this was our final stop of the night, however, because the food was amazing. The restaurant staff was nice enough to dedicate some tables to our enormous group at 7pm on a Saturday night, which is prime dinner time. I ordered the French Onion “Zizou” Burger, which was the only non-standard burger I got all night. It was fried with onions mashed into the patty, with a delicious gob of cheese melting on top. The burger was sensational; rich and flavorful, it was juicy without being overly greasy.
The owner, Dick, stopped by each of our tables to say “hello” and to explain his approach to cooking, which was really interesting. He has an agreement with a ranch that supplies all of his beef, and all of the cows we ate were grass-fed. Dick seemed like a nice guy, and he was clearly passionate about his burgers, which showed on the plate.
The only burger that felt gourmet, although I lacked the capacity to enjoy it in any way. The patty was clearly fresh ground and the flavor of the meat was perfect. I’ll go back sometime when I can properly appreciate it. (editorial note – Despite urging from Micah to finish, Dan did quit in the middle of this burger, just a few bites short of burger immortality. As for actual immortality, he’ll likely die like the rest of us: with arteries clogged with beef.)
Despite my dangerously full belly, each bite gave me pleasure. The beef was just too pure and cooked to perfection. I added nothing to this one, party due to my fear of not finishing, but mostly because I didn’t need to do anything to distinguish it from the others.
I could really taste the beef quality. Good pairing of meat and bun. While it seemed a little odd to have a burger that wasn’t salted and/or peppered a bit before cooking, adding the pickles and pickled onions that came on the side made up for the lack of salt.
The owner of this place is a Dick in name only. He was very friendly and went out of his way to talk about the high quality local beef that is used at his establishment. The burger looked good, but that’s were I have to stop with my praise. To be fair, I can’t say that my burger didn’t taste good objectively, but at that point my own subjective biophysical difficulties could not be ignored. Tasting, chewing, and swallowing another burger was just not what the doctor (or my insides) ordered. I SLOWLY got this one down and completed the challenge, but it wasn’t easy. I think Kendra and I were the final competitors to finish. Kendra put down a whole strawberry milkshake as well!
Although I’d like to denounce a burger that flaunts such froo-froo grass-fed nonsense, it was quite excellent. Especially being the last of the 4. It went down well with the Dry Hop Orange IPA. I was stuffed at this point, and couldn’t even attempt the cole slaw, though it looked excellent as well.
This one’s kind of a guess. I have a feeling it was really good. Unfortunately, I was a little full by this point and everything was kind of a blur. Sitting by the kitchen and eating in 95% temperatures didn’t help, nor did the sight of the cooks with their abundance of body hair and shortages of hair nets. The strawberry milkshake was fantastic though!
Dick’s Kitchen was interesting. I got the lamb burger, but looking back I wish I had gotten the French Onion Soup burger, since it looked a little better than the one I got. I just can’t resist lamb when it’s available. It’s the curse I have to live with. Still pretty good burger. I added the “No-Fries” to it, thus completing my “Pat on the Back” extra credit points. I need to go back there and get the French Onion Soup burger to see what I missed. I do remember the owner of the place coming out and talking to us about how he runs the place. Seemed nice, but I got the feeling that I was being sold something. Perhaps more burgers for another time… He was wearing a shirt with Michael Jackson and E.T. on it, that read “Alien Vs. Predator”. That was pretty funny.
I had each person rank his/her favorites, and as you’ll see, Dick’s Kitchen was the winner. It gets moderately more interesting after that, though.*
1. Dick’s Kitchen
3. The Backstage Bar – McMenamin’s
4. Nick’s Coney Island
1. Dick’s Kitchen
3. The Backstage Bar – McMenamin’s
4. Nick’s Coney Island
I highly enjoyed the event even-though I was extremely sluggish the next day. The group walking felt like a traveling circus and most establishments warmly welcomed us. I look forward to other food challenges in the future and would like thank the organizer, Nick Voll.
1. Dick’s Kitchen
3. The Backstage Bar – McMenamin’s
4. Nick’s Coney Island
1. Dick’s Kitchen
3. The Backstage Bar – McMenamin’s
4. Nick’s Coney Island
2. Dick’s Kitchen
3. Nick’s Coney Island
4. The Backstage Bar – McMenamin’s
What a contest. Almost 24 hours later, I’m still not ready for another burger.
1. Dick’s Kitchen
3. Nick’s Coney Island
4. The Backstage Bar – McMenamin’s
1. Dick’s Kitchen
3. Nick’s Coney Island
4. The Back Stage Bar
Afterwards, we went down to Swirl on Hawthorne to get some pallet-cleansing Frozen Yogurt, which hit the spot. After 4 burgers, I needed the variety. Delicious challenge! Looking forward to the sequel. Street Tacos? Waffles? Pitas? Kabobs? Pizza Slices?
*That was a lie. It was almost unanimous.
Nine competitors, eight winners. I’m glad Dan couldn’t finish, so that way we had at least one loser. It would have made me feel like less of a winner to not have beaten anybody. I know that’s not what I said at the beginning of this blog, but whatever.
Some competitors want extra credit for eating more, but I refuse to grant it. I will, however, give those who ate extra food a little bit of a shout-out. Mike, Jon-Michael, Kendra, Micah, and a couple of other people ate some of their side-dish options throughout the night. Most notably, Kendra drank a milkshake at Dick’s Kitchen, which looked so tasty we went back on the 4th of July to get one for ourselves (it was awesome). I will also give an approving head-nod to Mike and Jon-Michael for eating frozen yogurt at Swirl immediately after the competition.
I would definitely do this again, but at four new restaurants. I was really, really full, but I had fun, and I love hamburgers. There was talk of a taco or wing-eating competition later this summer, but we’ll have to see. I’m not sure if my arteries will be clear by then.
Marisa and I headed to the Oregon Zoo on Sunday, braving rain and mammoth crowds to see some animals. We first tried to park at the zoo, but it was full. Then we went to the overflow lot to catch a shuttle, but the line was about 70 people deep. We ended up parking downtown and catching the MAX in, which was the best way to go, as it was not crowded at all.
Overall, I liked the otter exhibit the best, because of how playful the the animals are. Marisa had one chasing her hand along the glass at one point, which was really cute. I was surprised by how much I liked the Pacific Northwest exhibition in general. You go to the zoo expecting to see African animals, but the section that showed this area’s native creatures was surprisingly engaging.
Marisa meets a Sea Lion
Hello Sea Lion!
Orangutans are really big.
The trainer had the elephant bow down to his human masters.
After years of trying, I finally trapped Marisa in a cage at the zoo.
It was incredible how close this cheetah came to the glass!
The zebra (behind me) would only show us his rear end for this picture.
The giraffe was surprisingly graceful.
*Insert Crocodile Dundee reference here
Marisa had an unfortunate encounter with a bear....
Marisa feeding nectar to a lorikeet.
Look at how tightly the bird is holding onto her thumb.
For the first time since I was about 13, I am the proud owner of a new bike. I purchased this beauty at Target today:
My New Bike
It’s a 26″ Schwinn Gateway. I got it for $180, but most of that was birthday money. Marisa has wanted me to get one for a year or so, since she got a bike for her birthday. We will go for our first ride this afternoon.
I’m a little nervous about riding in traffic, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m not always a fan of Portland’s cyclists, since most of them seem to have the attitude that “sharing the road” is something only cars have to do. But who knows? Maybe riding around will give me a new perspective.
For many, Easter is a time to reflect on their religion, or spend time with family. For me, Easter is an opportunity to prove my dominance over the buffet at the Benson Hotel in Downtown Portland. This year was no exception.
Before you start thinking I’m a glutton, I should explain: I’m not simply a volume eater; I don’t count up how many plateloads I down. My focus is more sophisticated, my goal nobler. Simply put, I try to eat as many different kinds of meat as I can. I found an old blog entry from 2008, in which I ate 10 varieties. That’s certainly a feat to be proud of, but nothing compared to this time around.
This year’s tally: 17 meats. I know, it’s impressive.
The first rule is pretty simple: at least one bite of a meat makes it official. The second rule is a subject of debate between my friends and family. What constitutes a meat? Can one animal produce two different kinds of meat? In the end, we decided that eggs are not a meat (although I believe they should be), and that one animal can give us several kinds of distinct meat products. After all, can you say that bacon is the same as a pork chop? However, in the case of salmon, we concluded that there isn’t enough of a difference between smoked, baked, and poached, so I only got one check mark there. Alright, enough with the explanations, let’s see the list!
Bacon – standard
Sausage – breakfast
Ham – standard
Pork – 2 kinds: chop and roulade (but it only counts once)
Lamb – chop
Duck – breast
Clams – steamed
Chorizo – served with clams
Oysters – smoked and on the half shell (but again, it only counts once)
Salmon – see “The Rules” section
Whitefish – smoked
Scallops – smoked
Tuna – sushi
Eel – sushi
Shrimp – cocktail-style
Crab – legs
Beef – roast
When it was all said and done, I was quite full. Although I’m quite pleased with my meat consumption, there were consequences. Nothing unpleasant, I assure you, but consequences nonetheless. I stumbled into a bit of a meat stupor toward the end of the meal, but then again, so did everyone else. No, the main problem was that my single-minded pursuit of meat meant that I left some really delicious food on the buffet table. Blintzes, eggs benedict, cheese, cheesy potatoes, omelettes, and other taste treats went barely touched (by me, at least).
Questions still abound. Can I top 17 meats next year? Is it worth trying? I guess we’ll have to wait until next Easter to find out.
I went over to help my friend Chuck clean out his girlfriend’s deceased grandmother’s house recently (which sounds more complicated than it was), and I stumbled across a piece of my childhood: “Rip City Rhapsody” on cassette. To refresh your memory, this song was put out by Z100 during the Blazers’ run at the NBA Title in 1990. Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey, and Danny Young help sing the chorus, and the rappers are the guys from the U-Krew. For Blazers fans, this is one of the touchstones of the early 90’s Western Conference Championship teams. For everyone else, it’s a ridiculously cheesy hip-hop song. I can’t believe this song came out 20 years ago. I’m so old. Below I’ve posted the original song, the instrumental, and a ringtone. I know the ringtone works for me because I have a memory card in my phone, but I’m not sure it will work for everyone. I can send you copies of any of these if you email me. Just click on the contact link in the menu. Also below: the video and lyrics, which were written by none other than Tony Martinez, the traffic guy from KPTV-12, who used to be a morning DJ for Z100.
Rip City Rhapsody
Rip City Rhapsody Instrumental
Rip City Rhapsody Ringtone
Rip City Rhapsody Lyrics
RIP CITY RHAPSODY, PORTLAND, OREGON USA,
RIP CITY RHAPSODY, WE’RE THE BLAZERS AND WE LOVE TO PLAY.
SLAM A JAM OR JUMP SHOT, BLAZERS BURNIN’ RED HOT,
RIP CITY REPEAT, WINNIN’ TO A NEW BEAT,
BIG AND PROUD IN THE NBA,
SACKIN’ HOT STATS EVERY TIME WE PLAY.
TEAMWORK, BOUNCE PASS, POISE, PRIDE, FIRST CLASS,
HOT SEATS COURTSIDE, BLAZER BUS FREE RIDE,
HALFTIME HOMETEAM GAME ENHANCERS,
TALKIN’ ‘BOUT PORTLAND’S BLAZER DANCERS.
FASTBREAK FLYIN’, KEEP ON TRYIN’, NOW WE’RE SMOKIN’,
NOW WE’RE SKYIN’, WE AIN’T MESSIN’, WE AIN’T LYIN’,
PORTLAND’S WINNIN’ SO STOP YOUR CRYIN’.
BIG PRESS FULL COURT, FOUL SHOT FALLS SHORT,
TIP IN, IT’S GOOD, LEATHER BALL, HARD WOOD
STEAL IT, SCORE IT, LICKETY BRINDLE,
THAT’S WHAT WE CALL SWISH AND SWINDLE.
DRIVE, STOP, PUMP, SHOOT, LISTEN TO THE HORN TOON,
BACKBOARD SNAP BACK, BE BLAZERMANIAC,
REF IS RUNNIN’, BLOWING HIS WHISTLE,
YA BETTER HANG ON, ‘CAUSE WE’RE FLYIN’ LIKE A MISSLE.
PORTLAND’S JAMMIN’, DRIVIN’, SLAMMIN’,
OTHER TEAMS ARE FAKIN’, OTHER TEAMS ARE SCAMMIN’,
LAY UP’S NICE, BUT WHY NOT CRAM ‘EM,
BLAZERS DON’T JUST WIN, THEY SLAM ‘EM.
LOOSE BALL, MAD DASH, INTO THE FANS CRASH,
JUMPBALL HALF COURT, ROUNDBALL’S A HOT SPORT,
DEEP FROM THE BASELINE, BALL IN FLIGHT,
CHALK IT UP TWO, RED, BLACK AND WHITE.
LISTEN TO THE FLOOR SQUEAK, PORTLAND ON A HOT STREAK,
POWER PLAY, HOOK SHOT, PARTY IN THE PARKING LOT,
RIMS ARE BREAKIN’, BACKBOARDS FALLIN’,
CAUSE WE’RE BLAZER BASKETBALLIN’.
PORTLAND’S CRUISIN’, BUSTIN’, BRUISIN’,
NO MORE SLEEPIN’, NO MORE SNOOZIN’,
I DON’T CARE WHAT ‘D’ YOU’RE USIN’,
PORTLAND’S GONNA LEAVE YOU LOSIN’.
LACIN’ UP A HIGH TOP, GONNA MAKE A BIG STOP,
PICK ‘EM OFF, PUT IT IN, THEN YOU STEAL IT BACK AGAIN,
EVERYBODY STOMPIN’, FEET AND HANDS,
AND YA GOTTA GIVE IT UP FOR THE PORTLAND FANS,
MOVIN’ ON A DRIBBLE DRIVE, SLAPPIN’ UP A HIGH FIVE,
AT THE BUZZER IN FOR THREE, WE WANT A VICTORY,
LIGHT THE BLAZE AND LET THE SCORE GET HIGHER,
BUT YA BETTER CALL THE COPS ‘CAUSE THE HOOP’S ON FIRE.
HUSTLE, SWAT IT, NOW WE GOT IT,
BLAZER FEVER, HOPE YOU CAUGHT IT,
TRUE BELIEVERS EVERY MINUTE,
YA KNOW WE WANT IT, COME ON WIN IT!
Scientists reveal footballers' efficiency can be affected by air pollution
A group of German scientists have published a paper which claims the performance of professional footballers may be affected by the level of air pollution.
The paper, produced for the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn, examined the form of players in the Bundesliga between 1999 and 2011 and cross referenced it with air quality data from outside the stadiums.
The researchers, Andreas Lichter, Nico Pestel and Eric Sommer will present their findings to the Royal Economic Society's annual conference in Brighton later this month.
pre bonded hairResearchers found that players in their 30s, such as Bayern Munich midfielder Arjen Robben, pictured yesterday theatrically throwing himself to the ground are at greatest risk from the effects of air pollution
Scientists who examined compared air quality data to player performance in German stadiums such as the Allianz Arena in Munich, pictured, said they could measure the impact of pollution on the game
The scientists wanted to know if elite players were affected by air pollution pumped out by traffic and industry
According to the 29-page paper, air pollution costs the EU between £46 billion and £154 billion a year and scientists have already established a link between poor air quality and ill health.
'In this paper, we contribute to this scarce literature by providing casual estimates on the effect of ambient air pollution on individuals' short-run productivity on a national scale for an entire industry, exploiting information on the universe of professional soccer players and teams in the German Bundesliga.'
The team examined 2,956 matches across 32 different stadiums over a 12-year period. The researchers measured a player's total number of passes per match and compared that information to air pollution data from the stadium around kick-off time.
The stadiums were in cities such as Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Cologne.
'We find that a one per cent increase in the concentration of particulate matter leads to a 00.2 per cent reduction in the number of passes.'
The researchers claim: 'We find that the negative effects of pollution on short-run productivity increase with the individuals' age and are largest for players aged above 30.
'Moreover, midfielders' and defenders' productivity is particularly affected by pollution, players who are moer attached to the game and exert a large number of passes.'
remy hair extensionsAlso, players who have less rest between games are also more affected by pollution.
The team collected data on 1,771 players from 29 different teams. If a stadium did not have the appropriate air quality monitoring data nearby, it was dropped from the survey.
The researchers conclude that their work may have a wider impact on society, especially among workers in low-skilled jobs and suffer from poor air quality.
'Our analysis highlights that economic consequences of environmental pollution are not limited to adverse impacts on population health.
'Even moderate concentrations of particulate matter commonly experienced in developed countries negatively affect the productivity of a selective group of professional soccer players, young and male athletes, to a considerable extent.
'Our findings hence complement previous empirical evidence on air pollution’s negative effects on the productivity of low-skilled agricultural and factory workers in countries with higher levels of pollution.'
She impressed audiences with her gorgeous legs as she flirted with Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street.
And Margot Robbie’s pins were on display as she strolled around New York City in a short black slip dress paired with a long pink Kimono, on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old showed why she is tipped to be the next Bond girl, showing off her slender physique in the eye-catching number from Spell & The Gypsy Collective.
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Stepping out: Margot Robbie’s trim pins were on display as she wafted around New York City in a short black slip dress paired with a long pink Kimono on Wednesday
The oriental-inspired garment featured broderie anglaise in elaborate flower patterns on the sleeves, shoulders and back, and flowed behind her as she strolled around downtown NYC.
perruques cheveux naturelsLeaving a Tribeca hotel, the Australian actress smiled behind oversized round metallic sunglasses with her blonde locks tied back in a bun.
The Hollywood starlet’s complexion was characteristically flawless all over, but years in the Northern Hemisphere appeared to have erased her Australian tan.
All smiles: Leaving a Tribeca hotel, the Australian actress smiled behind oversized round metallic sunglasses with her blonde locks tied back in a bun
High fashion: The 26-year-old showed why she is tipped to be the next Bond girl, showing off her slender physique in the eye-catching number from Spell & The Gypsy Collective
Good taste: The oriental-inspired garment featured broderie anglaise in elaborate flower patterns on the sleeves, shoulders and back, and flowed behind her as she strolled around downtown NYC
She enhanced her look with natural-look makeup and subtle pink lipstick and carried a small black leather handbag to run her errands.
Margot had been at a fitting for the upcoming NYC premiere of her new film Suicide Squad on Monday night.
Tinseltown is abuzz with rumours that the blonde beauty will appear in the next James Bond film as a Bond girl, following a long line of glamorous actresses.
Flawles: The Hollywood starlet’s complexion was characteristically flawless all over, but years in the Northern Hemisphere appeared to have erased her Australian tan
Going natural: She enhanced her look with natural-look makeup and subtle pink lipstick and carried a small black leather handbag to run her errands
Looking her best: Margot had been at a fitting for the upcoming NYC premiere of her new film Suicide Squad on Monday night
Online polls have revealed the 26-year-old stunner is at the strongest odds to fill the role, sitting at 12/1, while Emily Blunt sits at 16/1, according to Paddy Power.
Others sitting at promising odds to star as the much-desired female character are American model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, who sits at 22/1, with Brit Emma Watson further down the line at 40/1.
The Gold Coast girl found her big break in 2013 opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street as the feisty and seductive, Naomi.
Plenty to smile about: Tinseltown is abuzz with rumours that the blonde beauty will appear in the next James Bond film as a Bond girl, following a long line of glamorous actresses
Adoring fans: Margot caused a stir with passersby as she stepped out in NYC
Well made: The beautiful garment had an elaborate rose pattern on its back
perruques cheveuxMore recently, she starred alongside Alexander Skarsgård in The Legend Of Tarzan as Jane.
As well as the blockbuster, Margot has various other projects in the pipeline, including Suicide Squad, in which she plays Harley Quinn.
Other females who have starred as the prestigious Bond girl include talented beauties Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike and Eva Green.
Next big thing: Online polls have revealed the 26-year-old stunner is at the strongest odds to fill the Bond role, sitting at 12/1, while Emily Blunt sits at 16/1, according to Paddy Power .
In demand actress: As well as the blockbuster, Margot has various other projects in the pipeline, including Suicide Squad, in which she plays Harley Quinn
Following in footsteps: Other females who have starred as the prestigious Bond girl include talented beauties Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike and Eva Green
Although the buzz around who will land the role of Bond girl is growing, the film is not expected to be released until at least 2018.
Producer Barbara Broccoli has two other projects firmly underway and is said to be keen to tempt Daniel Craig into reprising his role as the titular character for the fifth time.
Holding her own: Her breakout role was as DiCaprio's feisty wife, Naomi, on Wolf of Wall Street, which her portrayal earned her international acclaim - and showed off her gorgeous legs to the world
Next week will see the conclusion of the 12th season of The Bachelorette, as Joelle 'JoJo' Fletcher gets engaged to either Jordan Rodgers or Robby Hayes.
And according to a new report, there's set to be a dramatic break-up ahead of the romantic proposal.
Us Weekly claims that JoJo comes to the difficult decision of choosing between the two suitors after one of them makes a big mistake with her parents Joseph and Soraya.
Family matters: Joelle 'JoJo' Fletcher apparently picks her fiance in next week's Bachelorette finale after one of the men makes a big mistake with her parents
Who will it be?: Jordan Rodgers (L) and Robby Hayes are the two men left in the competition, and one of them allegedly gets sent packing after failing to ask JoJo's parents for her hand in marriage
lace front wigsThe runner-up gets dumped after failing to ask the 25-year-old's parents' for her hand in marriage, and during the emotional rejection, JoJo confesses that she wanted things to turn out differently.
'JoJo was sobbing,' a source told Us Weekly. 'She told him, “I wanted it to be you.”'
The insider added: 'It was important to JoJo that the guys get her parents’ permission before proposing. JoJo viewed it as disrespectful that he didn’t.'
Us Weekly claims that JoJo's family liked both of the finalists, but thought that the man she eventually picks was better suited to her.
Favourite from the start: Jordan received the First Impression Rose and his relationship with JoJo has gone from strength to strength ever since
Not true: The 27-year-old former quarterback has denied that he cheated on his last girlfriend
'Everyone thought he was husband material,' a source said. 'Later, they told JoJo that they liked the other man too, but they thought the second would be more loyal and a better fit.'
And speaking about the family's meeting with the runner-up, the insider revealed: 'After he left, Soraya said she thought he was a player.'
It seems that JoJo did make the right decision however, as she is apparently still very happily engaged to the winner.
She likes what she sees: JoJo has also fallen in love with former competitive swimmer Robby, 27
cosplay wigsDenying the rumours: Robby has refuted claims that he dumped his girlfriend to appear on the show
Former quarterback Jordan, 27, has been a favourite to win the show from night one, when JoJo presented him with the First Impression Rose.
Show secrets: Us Weekly revealed details of the dramatic finale
And while on Monday's episode of the show he was seen telling the real estate developer that asking her father's permission to propose would be very important to him, a clip for the finale showed JoJo asking if he is ready to get down on one knee.
Both of the finalists have faced rumours about past relationships, with Jordan's ex Brittany Farrar claiming that they broke up because she cheated on him. He denied this to JoJo on the show.
The footballer is estranged from his famous NFL star brother Aaron, whose girlfriend Olivia Munn is close pals with Jordan's ex-girlfriend.
Aaron finally addressed his younger brother speaking about their fraught relationship on the show during an interview with WISN on Tuesday.
'As far as those kinds of things go, I've always found that it's a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I'm not going to speak on those things,' he said. 'But I wish him well in the competition.'
Meanwhile a friend of Robby's ex-girlfriend Hope Higginbotham has claimed that he dumped her in order to go on The Bachelorette, something which he denied during last week's hometown dates.
The Bachelorette finale followed by the After The Final Rose special will air on ABC on Monday.
She made the right choice: JoJo is apparently still happily engaged to the winner, who popped the question in May. The finale airs on ABC on Monday