Ben's Babbles: Name games

November 26, 2011

There are many reasons I am thankful for graduating from a small college. Small class sizes, great education, wonderful experience.

But the ambiguous mascot always makes things difficult.

I was driving back to Hood River Sunday night, and took the opportunity to tune in to the University of Portland-Washington State basketball game on satellite radio.

I'm also thankful for my satellite radio, for otherwise I would have pretty much nothing to listen to from Multnomah Falls to Hood River.

But that is neither here nor there. Late in the game the Washington State announcer wondered why the Chiles Center, the home for basketball game at the University of Portland, did not have a cool nickname like "the runway, or "the landing strip because it is the home of the Portland Pilots."

Leaving aside the fact that neither of those nicknames are particularly good, they simply wouldn't fit.

See, the Pilots of my alma mater are not airplane pilots, but riverboat pilots.

To his credit, the announcer later corrected himself after receiving a text message advising him of his mistake.

I would hope that an announcer may notice the nautical theme and the building and not think of jet pilots, but that's alright; some of these team names can get confusing if you think about it.

We do not all have the fortune (or misfortune) to come from schools with mascots as easy to define as a Cougar, or Duck or Beaver or Husky.

For example, what exactly is a Demon Deacon? Answer me that Wake Forest.

Or a Blue Devil? A Tar Heel?

Enter the world of pro sports and things get even more confusing. Is there even such a thing as a Blue Jacket?

Or my favorite of all time, belonging to the old WUSA women's professional soccer league: the Cyber Rays.

I may occasionally have to correct the ill-informed of my alma mater's nickname, but I will always be thankful that I don't have to take a half-hour explaining what sort of pilot the Pilots are.

I can't say the same about the Cyber Rays.

Which is probably one big reason they don't exist anymore.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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