Cliff Gardner

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I got up at 7:00 this morning to watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee Semi-Finals. This is my favorite time of year, I love this stuff. It's the only thing that would make me toggle between a Blazer playoff game (during the commercials or course). My prediction is Kavya Shivashankar and Sidharth Chand is the finals. Kavya has been in the top 10 the last three years, which is the Spelling Bee equivalent of eating 100 hot dogs in 10 minutes or something, and Sidharth got 2nd last year in his first bee, and you KNOW he wants to get that one back. There are even places where you can BET on not just who will win/lose, but on how many syllables the last word will have, whether it will be a noun/adjective/verb, if a kid will faint and/or throw up and if a parent will start screaming...I would post the link here but since the Bee has started, they stopped taking bets (of course). When in doubt, back the Indian kids to do well. Think about it--good news comes in threes. 1) The Assassination of Pakistani Political Leader Benazir Bhutto, 2) Slumdog Millionaire winning all those Oscars, and now THIS. JAI HOOOOOOOO!

Quick edit--First, I don't actually think Bhutto getting killed was good news. It was a joke and it wasn't even that funny. So yeah. Also, I wrote a short story about Spelling Bees three years ago. Enjoy?!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Slow your roll

Nothing bothers me more than bike riders who roll around Portland with a huge sense of entitlement. We’ve gone out of our way to make PDX as bike-friendly as possible—there are huge bike lanes, places to hang bikes on public transportation and lots of well-established bike paths, and I’m not against any of these efforts. It’s a good thing to encourage people to bike places for a myriad of reasons, and I understand that, and for the most part, bicyclists are awesome. However, far too often, bikers ride through traffic, cut through intersections and turn lanes with no regard for anyone else, and act as though they deserve to do whatever they want on our roads--this attitude has got to change. Bicyclists need to understand that they are part of a larger community of commuters just trying to get places and they are not entitled to treat other people with such disrespect. Riding a bike does not make you better or more deserving of human decency than anyone else, and it's time that more Portland bikers got that through their heads.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I tweeting this blog right now

If you don't know, I'm the funniest Twitter person alive. Check me out at, you'll be glad you did. What I like about twitter is that I can update my account from my cell phone, so the world doesn't have to wait to get hit in the face with my giant, swinging hilarity.

There's been a pretty big void in my life since all my favorite shows ended for the season. I was watching (and making Jessica watch) the Tudors, The Office, 30 Rock, The Girls of Hedsor Hall and The Tool Academy every week. Now all I'm left with is The Duel 2 (Evan's going to win, FYI) on MTV, plus whatever movie is on BET, Spike TV or random On Demand channels X, Y, Z and John Stewart/Colbert the amazing. Normally I would feel super guilty about watching this much TV, but after going 2 years without any real form of entertainment and considering that I'm about to start grad school where I presumably won't be able to watch much of anything, I think I'm allowed. Three cheers for technology.

Finally, I want you all to know that I've put on lots of weight since I got home from Peace Corps. I'm weighing in at 161 pounds right now, which for me is HUGE. When I was at Willamette, I weighed 115. For most of Peace Corps, I weighed 125-130. That was about 6 months ago. At this rate of 5 pounds a month, I'm going to on season 16 of The Biggest Loser in a few years--I'm even practicing my flabby arm thrusts of victory.

The (somewhat) bad news is that all of this weight gain is coming while I'm running between 5 and 10 miles a day, which just confirms my theory that my body does what it wants and no one can stop it. I spent about 3 years doing everything I could to gain weight and was completely unsuccessful, so it stands to reason that the opposite would also be true. The good news is that I've consulted multiple (internet) doctors and my Body Mass Index is still within the acceptable range (though just barely) and everyone seems to like this "filling out" I've done since I got home. Still, feel free to make fat jokes at my expense, I really don't mind.

Gotta go watch The Duel 2 now. LET'S GO EVAN!

Friday, May 15, 2009

10 things we've learned this week

I'm writing this from beautiful Southern California, where it's 70 all year and no one cares about anything. That's not true, it's not always 70. Seriously though, people care about the Lakers, which for me is like living in Occupied Paris. ANYWAY, here are things that I've learned along with the rest of society this week:

1) Don't show teenage hoo-ha in yearbook photos. It's bad news bears.

2) From TLC, it looks like Jon probably cheated on his wife (and all 8 of his kids because he hurt them too), and Kate might have even cheated on him. I've been saying for a while that Jon looks like the most miserable man in the world. Look at it this way--10 years ago, Kate (who is seriously cute now) was probably a straight up hottie when Jon, who is kinda funny looking, married her. My point is, whenever there's this big of a difference in attractiveness in a relationship, there's usually a catch. For Jon, it took a while, but the catch ending up being him having absolutely no choices anymore and living with someone who's hobbies include nagging, singing songs about school buses, and more nagging. OF COURSE it was wrong for Jon to cheat on his wife. It was stupid and horrible...and also one of the five more predictable things to happen in the history of reality TV. Just saying.

3) Darius Miles is a tool. The last holdout from the Jailblazers era got busted for weed, driving with a suspended license, and for general asshole behavior last night. He's also, apparently, the reason OJ Mayo is acting like a spoiled tool. Great move, Memphis. I hope it was worth it.

4) Pam might be preggers. I for one can't wait for the baby names episode next season.

5) Brandon Roy made the all-NBA 2nd team and was invited to try out for the Olympic team (along with Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge). He was also the youngest person on the all-NBA list. THE FUTURE IS NOW. We have one of the top-7 best players in the league, and my argument is that we can't have a "well, just wait until they get better, they're so young, just be patient" attitude.

Look at it this way--when the Celtics got KG and Ray Ray two Summers ago, everyone thought the team was built more for 2009 more than 2008 for a myriad of reasons, and the attitude was, "we're going to win in 2009 so anything we get with these guys this first year is just a bonus." Well, every Celtics fan is really happy they won it all last year because KG snapped his knee in half and it looks like he'll never be the same. My point is, in the NBA, YOU NEVER KNOW. What if Brandon Roy hurts his knee(s) again? What if LaMarcus opts out in two years because the Sacramento Kings want to give him max money? What if Rudy decides to play for a team that runs more, like New York, or just go back to Spain? We have a great roster now but we can't afford to wait for these guys to mature. The Blazer front office needs to make some big moves this off season to put us in a position to win a championship next year. Everyone in Portland needs to have a win-now attitude while we still have a championship window.

6) Long Beach is amazing! I love everything about it--the location, the team, the coaches, the facilities, the program. The next two years are going to be fun, hard, challenging, exciting and amazing. I can't wait!

7) Twitter is fun. I've updated...a the past few days and I'm really enjoying myself. Check me out at notalentclown.

8) I'm really hoping to be a special guest on the321podcast because, as a spelling bee enthusiast, I feel I have a duty to tell as many people as possible about the upcoming competition.

9) Star Trek is great. I saw it twice and loved it twice. The hot green chick was one of Charlie Wilson's assistants, FYI. Seriously, IMDB that. When I texted my friend Hillary, who's from Iowa, about Kirk being from her homeland, she replied with a gruff, "Of course he is! EVERYONE knows that!" Um, no, actually--most people don't know that. Iowans really like their Star Trek, I guess. BTW, did you all know that at the Iowa State Fair every year there's a giant model of something out of butter? Last year is was a butter Shawn Johnson, the Olympic Gold Medal-winning gymnast. This year, I'm hoping for James T. Kirk.

10) I am happier now that I've ever been. Life is great! P.S.--Jessica is amazing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Helpful guidlines for sex with a bigot

My friends over at the321podcast were discussing the neo-Nazi twin band Prussian Blue and how their music is, you know, genocidal, but how they were still pretty attractive (or at least they will be in 7-8 years). I've put some thought into this...a little too much thought, as you'll see...and I've realized this problem is both bad and difficult to fix. It centers around a simple question: are you allowed to be attracted to hot women (and men, although I focus on women--think Prussian Blue if they're 24) if they are dropping n-bombs and quoting from the Prodigals of Zion all the time? Obviously, there's nothing worse than genocide and racism (at least I hope there's not). However, if someone is really, REALLY hot, are there any ways around this huge roadblock? I say yes, and I've created a 4-part set of guidelines, listed below, to help you through this tricky situation. Here is your guide to guilt-free sex with bigots:

1) The bigot must be really hot. As will be explained later, this relationship has to exist ONLY on a physical level. Talking to the bigot is discouraged, because conversation will only remind you that they want to kill all of X race. If they're not hot, and I mean Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's love child hot, then don't bother, it's not worth it.

2) Your relationship with the bigot must be temporary. This little racist isn't your girlfriend, fiance or wife. This is not a regular thing. The goal here is to form no attachments whatsoever to the Hitler spawn because the more time you spend with them doing relationship things, the more likely it is you'll have to listen to their Mein Kampf poetry or, worse yet, you'll start to actually consider their arguments. No drives to wine country with the chick in the Klan Hood for you. A good rule for this step is to not sleep with the bigot more than ten (random and irregular) times, and if she expresses any feelings for you at all, it's over.

3) Your entirely-physical relationship with the bigot must be one-sided. You don't want the n-bomb dropping girl to enjoy herself at all. AT ALL. Your goal is not to give her any pleasure whatsoever while ONLY satisfying yourself, and ideally she'll want to take a shower immediately following these encounters (use your imagination). Anything that makes her life better would only seem to reward her terrible behavior, and that's obviously a backwards-step.

4) Some side-efforts must be taken, both during and after sleeping with the bigot, to reject her specific bigotry. For example, if you decide to have sex with the Prussian Blue twins in ten years, you can do so while wearing a Star of David condom (do those exist? If not, throw in your copy of Schindler's List or put on your headphones and listen to an audio book of Night by Elie Wiesel while you're being intimate with them) and then later, donate 50 bucks to the Shoah Foundation or something. If you're sleeping with the daughter of the KKK's Grand Dragon, throw on Ruben Carter's boxing rob and go for it, and then write a big fat check to the United Negro College Fund 20 minutes after you're done. This way, no one can accuse you of actually subscribing to their twisted logic just because you're having sex with them.

Bottom line: These guidelines aren't perfect. It's unlikely that anyone in the racist community would actually fit/put up with all 4 of these steps, and finding such a person could very easily be like chasing your 100% white whale (actually, I forgot about step 1 for a second, so never mind, bad analogy). Still, I believe that if executed as suggested, these guidelines can obsolve you of any guilt you might have over sleeping with Megan Fox if she had a swastika tattoo.