Ben's Babbles: Let's (finally) play some football

September 3, 2011

After a long offseason filled with lockouts and recruiting scandals, it's finally time for some football.

No more politics, no more "recruiting services," just football. Those things aren't gone by any means, but at least actually focus on the game between the lines for awhile.

The college football season technically started Thursday with a handful of games, but it really gets ripping today with games that include a match-up between Oregon and LSU that will make or break national title game hopes.

But the best season of football started last night, with high school teams across Oregon taking the field.

It is going to be an incredibly interesting season in the Columbia River Conference.

Hood River is small and fast, much like Oregon. So is Hermiston. Pendleton is switching to a spread offense and has plenty of athletes, but the transition from a double-wing formation can be tricky. I can attest to that, having watched Hood River do the same four years ago.

The general consensus is that The Dalles Wahtonka will be the only team not competing for the conference title after losing much of its core roster from last year as well as coach Andy Codding, who built the team back up from doormat to league champion and a state playoff berth last year.

I had a chat with Billy Gates from the Hermiston Herald last week, and he picks Hermiston and Pendleton to duke it out for the league title, saying that one game will decide the league champ. I think he's partly right. I say it's one game, and it involves Hermiston, but that it will be HRV traveling to Hermiston to decide the league champ.

While HRV is battling for the championship in the second year of the Columbia River Conference, Oregon and Oregon State will be battling for the same in the new Pac-12.

Oregon is getting all of the hype heading into the season, and rightfully so. They are ranked in the top five in the country, and bring back the bulk of the offense that mystified most of the county last season.

Oregon State, meanwhile, lost Jacquizz Rodgers to the draft and will rely on quarterback Ryan Katz to carry the load.

The Beavers are flying below the radar again after a disappointing season. If memory serves, that's just the situation the Beavers like before they start slaying dragons.

In other words, watch out, Oregon; the Civil War will be interesting this year.

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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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