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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Introducing Nice Week

After a week of blogging about the likes of Dick Cheney, Sebastian Telfair, Ginny Burdick, Sharon Kitzhaber, Dale Penn, Vera Katz, and others, the foibles of our public figures have left me bone-weary. A raft of nasty comments, which led to the banning of a handful of folks, has added to the malaise.

And so now it's time for something completely different. Introducing Nice Week -- a week when I will try to do the impossible, that is, write only nice things on this blog for seven days straight. And only nice comments will be allowed -- all others will be removed. I may even de-ban a few commenters to see if they're up to the challenge.

Being the nice Catholic boy that I am, I've been taught that the first day of the week is Sunday. And so Nice Week starts at midnight tonight. If you've got something to say that isn't nice, now is the time to get it off your chest.

Comments (42)

You're looking lovely today, Jack.

I have never quite been comfortable with the political pressure in this town to "be nice and positive". I see it as a kind of a PR control game that prevents us from broaching and discussing some pretty awful situations. This is not to say that I don't appreciate good manners and nice things; I do. Or that I am not nice. I just am not convinced the major puryeyors of nice in this town are all that nice themselves. The Hales/Vera council was very insistent upon "nice" testimony at coucil meetings;I remember I was on a community development corporation board in the mid-1990s whose members were invited to testify before council by a coaltion working to solve housing issues for the very poor-to urge it to use Housing Trust Fund monies to help these people before subsidizing the high end condos. We were told to be very polite (as if we didn't already know this); what our advisors were missing, I think, is that that crowd would not have been convinced if we were the nicest people who had ever lived. Saying advocates and critics are not nice is just a way to focus attention away from the fact that they are being screwed over/ignored, imho. After that, I started working on citizen piece with the working title;"Land Scam, thank you Madam Mayor". The upcoming week should be interesting.

I have a crush on Lars Larson. He's so dreamy.


Seven days and seven nights of being nice? Hard, but not too hard. Being the nice Catholic boy that you are, how about giving up nasty comments for Lent instead?

Being a fellow former altar boy and current St. Philip Neri parishioner, and one who tries not to ask others to do what I wouldn't do myself, I offer join you in 40 days of online niceness.

Ash Wednesday is March 1. The rest of the month can be business as usual. Feb. 28 can be a Mari Gras of nasty comments. Easter is April 16. So you'll still have a full month or so before the primary election to bash Erik Sten.

How about it? I've never offered a Lenten duel before. I'm not even sure if it's covered under Cannon Law.

I could not do it for 40 days and 40 nights. That's why we have confession.

I'm with Cynthia on this. All too often, I've seen this imperative to be "nicey-nicey" as a cover while the perpetrator slips the knife in between the T4 and T5 vertibrae.

I prefer blunt honesty, even if it's not nice.

I guess I'll have to restrain myself for a week.

PS - So, if Sunday is the first day of the week, why isn't Saturday the sabbath? Isn't the sabbath day supposed to be the day of rest?

if Sunday is the first day of the week, why isn't Saturday the sabbath? Isn't the sabbath day supposed to be the day of rest?

This was changed in the late 18th Century, when Pope Clement XII was heavily into NFL football.

"You're looking lovely today, Jack."

I especially like the dreadlocks. Very hip for a law prof. But wan't it expensive to get the mural of you painted on that building?

While we're on it, why is it that so many dog owners in this area think they have some kind of god-given right to loose their dogs in public parks to harrass non-dogowners and the local wildlife (such as it is), the leashed dogs, tear up public fields, destroy plantings and crap in areas that are used by children playing?

Why is it that any time somebody opposes off-leash areas in Portland parks, some dog owner goes all high and mighty and makes that person into some kind of misanthropic puppy-kicking monster?

After garnering scars on my calf from a dog whose owner assured me that their dog did not bite, I'm loathe to take anything dog owners say about their animals as anywhere near the truth. How many small children have to be mauled before we reimplement and _ENFORCE_ the leash laws in this city?

There....I feel better now.

Hey, I figure that it's cold enough out there - a little warmth would be a more than welcome thing right about now...!

Maybe we ought to have a thread like this more often.

There are a lot of things that are not nice to be said, but what good would it bring to the people that are going to be reading this blog that I am now going to write. Once apon a time there was a city that lay upon two big rivers. The people were good and full of good intentions: they wanted their city to be the best it could be and decided the best way was to raise taxes for the benefit of everybody. This worked for many a year and year and year. The leaders thought they were the golden ones and could not be touched, or better yet, their touch was golden. Their call for higher taxes was always met by a thunderous yes, yes, and more yeses . But one day the people looked at the leaders and said: no ,no and no. The leaders were red faced and said this is a moment of decision for the people; no mention of the leaders resposibility was said at all. No answers came from the leaders only angst, a sense of betrayal, and thoughts of what taxes can we raise without a vote of the unwashed, ignorant people. Oh, in former halcyon days the people were held most high by the leaders when the people were compliant and willing to bankroll all the visions conjured in the minds of the leaders, but what now in the bright light of a new reality?

I think "the" Eugene Levy was great in American Pie.

Godfry: if they can't keep car thiefs or meth addicts in jail, what makes you think they have the resources to enforce the leash laws?

Cynthia: I agree with you completely...Be nice and listen to the planners and bureaucrats: they know what's best for you. Sit down, be quiet, and pay the new taxes. Or leave.

Ironically, they are a paper tiger when confronted with a developer that is hell bent on circumventing their regulations. In many cases, because the developer is working hand in hand with a more powerful interest within the City.
Sue me, comes the reply.

It will be fun to blog some postive things, one of the things that amazes me is the wonderful people that live here and some of the small businesses. You mentioned some my friend and I were nodding about on Division, we spent a wonderful evening at a new little restaraunt, called Baraka, Morocan, where the cook who was Morocan came out and talked to the folks, and we were even entertained by a dancer, it was a small place, but it is that kind of neat little place that makes this city so much fun to live in. Another business on Stark, an auto repair place, they are just east of Mt. Tabor, and usually have a wrecked car out front to warn teens about car wrecks that can happen. I pulled in because my poor kiddo needed to take his drivers test, and you have to have appointments a couple of weeks in advance, on the way there the taillight of our car went out, and you can't take the test unless everything is working on the car, not time to run home. These folks changed the light for me, then just smiled said no charge and wished my son luck on his drivers test. I can't tell you how many experiences I have had like this where the People of Portland have been so nice and unselfish. They are willing to give and give, it amazed me how much folks are willing to help and support the community when someone took the time to ask. They are obviously getting discouraged by this last school tax poll, but I don't doubt a double majority would give volunteer time of themselves if they felt they were welcome, and they felt it could make a difference.

I'll even make a positive comment about Erik Sten: his campaign homepage was able to get one old folk, one woman, two children, and two African Americans in only four pictures.

Other positive things:
- Oasis Cafe has delicious pizza
- Laurelwood's Free Range Red is probably one of the best beers I've ever had
- I never thought I'd like borscht (beets, yech!) until eating lunch at Javaman on Taylor between 5th & 6th
- Cha Cha Cha makes Mexican food for $4 that is 100 times better than stuff I'd willingly pay $15 for
- My kids love their teachers and are learning so much that I can see the improvements from week to week
- The guys at A-Boy on Broadway and Division Hardware can solve just about any home repair problem

Hey, save some of that! A week is a long time!

Yay Division Hardware! I love living so close...

Cynthia nailed it...spot on. The beauty of this blog is "call it as ya sees it"....making nice only emphasizes the mediocrity in leadership and government this region has grown to NICE-ly, compacently accept. Get mad! Say no! Don't take it any more! Vote the bums out!

Open the jails. Arrest the criminals. Fill the potholes. Stop laying more rails and striping more bike lanes. Buid some new roads. Get government out of doing the business of business. Government is messing with the market all too much around here....enriching developers; creating food service establishments who can't make their nut without our fiscally creative gambling programs.

Express your outrage and distaste for Portland's weirdness. Ya gotta speak up, or it's gonna get worse.

Alice sez:"Godfry: if they can't keep car thiefs or meth addicts in jail, what makes you think they have the resources to enforce the leash laws?"

Same as biting dogs, every dog gets one, then rural canine justice is applied.

I prefer blunt honesty, even if it's not nice.

Well...tough tushy, as we used to say in third grade. This is Jack's place, and you play by Jack's rules. I figure I'm going to try to take this and make it my committment for the week...not just on the blog, but everywhere.

I'm reminded of the Joan Baez song: "It isn't nice to blah, blah, blah...but the nice ways always fail." I agree...but it's a pendulum. Sometimes the screeds, the diatribes, the rants...maybe it works against where you really want to be.

A week of nice seems like a cool idea to me.

Godfry says

"Same as biting dogs, every dog gets one, then rural canine justice is applied."

For those city folks, what Godfry is referring to is most folks in the country with acreage let our dogs off leash, but we also know if they annoy the neighbors or chase the neighbors stock, then there is a 22 caliber solution to the problem. I used to have some issue with that solution until my four year old and I saw a pack of three dogs that belonged to an irresponsible neighbor running off leash in the pasture next door attack a herd of pigmy goats, beheadding one, and injuring two others enough that they had to be put down. Those poor things were screaming, I was yelling, but did not want to put down my toddler or go too near them and get caught up in that frenzy. I could see what these innocent puppy dogs would have done to my four-year old and two year old if they tried to run to the house from their sandbox where I watched them out the kitchen window fixing dinner. We love dogs so we tried to use a three step method, we captured and held them until their owners showed up to claim them or called the pound to collect them. (it is a favorite habit of some folks to drop off unwanted cats and dogs in the country where people supposedly can always use an extra and have room for the cute puppy that turned into a rambuncous 50-60lb dog to run). If they were claimed by the owner, we warned them, then used a pellet rifle on their butt, luckily that usually cured the situation and we never had to kill any of them or harm them beyond a bruised butt. We didn't shoot the dogs that killed the goats next door because we didn't own ANY type of guns at the time, but got the pellet and a 22 after witnessing that incident. But I believe the law allows out here for dogs attacking livestock, the owner on thier property to take action. I know in Portland there has been dog on dog violence of late, let alone cats torn up if they are cornered by some dogs. The majority of dogs like ours are just big babies, if they are loved and fussed with, but not all owners are responsible(note this group includes ex-Trailblazers so money is not the issue). Thought I better get that in before the midnight deadline as I think this kinda qualifies as negative.

This might surpise some of you but I may need a 12 step program to do this.

Have any suggestions for the first step?

What's the point?

Suppose you have a stock trading account with a couple grand and flip and flip and flip and then lo and behold the IRS ignores the purchases and instead claims that the sales are all profit. Shall I tell you how a two thousand dollar loss in each of two years can result in a demand for 139 thousand dollars from the tax man?

How dare me to insist that partial filing of the stock transactions with a complete printout from the online trading company is sufficient and not criminal, and that the lawyers have a duty not to present false (knowingly incomplete) data so as to exact pain and suffering. That is the price of not ceding to the demand that I sign something about my taxes when my actual income was below the reporting threshold in one of the two years and when they have been so darned happy to do my taxes and claim offsets in the past.

I must be a case study in stubborn. I want the local tax man in Salem to argue that the facts that were arbitrarily decided in Washington are true, then I can get the issue partially addressed in state court, for kicks. He has a duty to follow up with nearly matching demands from the State for payment of income taxes on the made-up numbers. But, I haven't yet heard from him. His office must be mismanaged too. Do they know it is based on false data? One never knows.

Tell me since when is it a possible felony not to claim a deduction or otherwise not object to too high an assessment? Are deductions mandatory?

Be nice week. This would be too weird. Does it apply to government too? I can't rest, because of government . . . can you afford to?

Steve Schopp: This might surpise some of you but I may need a 12 step program to do this.

Doesn't surprise me, Steve. Take a hint from Emeril Lagasse...but in reverse. Take it down a notch.

Step 1: Acknowledge a higher power....Jack, in this case.


One nice thing:

óBojack.org. Even though it drives me insane most of the time, I keep reading it. Why? Oh, maybe because it drives me insane! And, of course, the Prof is funny even when I completely disagree with him.

Jack's nice is usually genuinely nice imo. And you gotta see the positive sometimes or you burn out.
Funny, Steve, maybe I'll join you.

godfry-et. al: I would have to start my own blog to say all I have to say about animal issues. Yeah, there are irresponsible pet owners, but what chaps my hide is the question "why don't the major humane organizations take the lead in promoting genuine responsibility?" Instead, here in town, we have "responsible breeders" making policy behind the scenes for Animal Control who are really a front for the National Animal Interest Alliance-"wise users" with friends in the research science and biological supply business. It's up there with the rest of the pretext in this town. I think I have commented before that Multnomah County has really anti-cat law: cats can be "at large", but can't trespass. This operates to usher cats into the shelter where ferals are killed and pets often labelled feral. Carolina Biological has a branch in West Linn that has admitted to buying its dead cats from both OHS and MCAS. It's a real racket. And now OHS is expanding to put a vet training facility on site. This could be a good thing, I guess, if vet's who are real animal lovers take the lead. But with the local power's that be, it is going to be difficult, I predict. Same ol retaliation stuff. But I have am impressed with the "millenials" who are in college now. Maybe they will be real leaders (uh-o, I said something nice). I've noticed a lot of cat owners read this blog. If you aren't familiar with Alley Cat Allies, check out their website: www.alleycat.org. They are the leaders for cats imho.

I'm not saying Jack has real clout in this town, but I hear the City Council is scrambling to take advantage of next week.
Let me practice being nice: That Steve Martin sure is a terrific replacement for Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movie. Yikes, this isn't going to be easy.

Free jazz tonight is nice!

If we're all being nice where are the journalists going to get their better stuff?

It would have been nice to stop the insane Transit Mall before nice week.

Pound for pound, the four-man bobsled is the best Winter Olympic sport of them all.

It's not midnight yet

In the spirit of the original post, which was to get our digs in now, I say

Cynthia -- Vera was the veriest antitheses of Niceness" that has seen practice in City Council in a long long time. During her time she was the Queen of the "frying eye" -- a woman who couldn't give a fig for "niceness" and coined the "you've got three minutes till you die" thing.

Attack her if you will, I'll listen. Iím sure she will too, if youíve got some real beef. But "nice"??? Sheís laughing at you right now.

Thats Nice!

Reunite on ice

Could someone slip me an unused username and password for casemaker?

I have some work to do and can't even afford versuslaw.

That would be nice. But it might be construed as a violation of some professional rules. It would be nice nonetheless.


You could call it a normative commitment to the poor rather than a normative commitment to race by the ABA as discussed over at Volokh's site here. Race ain't the issue, but is just one context for discussion of the assertion of political influence via the power of a collection of lawyers at the direct expense of notions of law.

I feel nauseous. That's not nice, but is only my challenge alone. Is anybody out there? (Pink Floyd)

As part of your compaign to be nice, you should join the L&C Law Dragon Boating team...the Scales of Justice need you!

Here kitty, kitty, kitty. My doggie wants to run and play with you.

I assume the new "dancing banana" (above the "sounds" listings on the left margin) is new, as I just noticed him. It's defintely a him, based on his repetitive dance moves, and he's looking a bit pervey from this vantage point. Pervey in a nice way.

If it's not new, then I think nice week is beginning to affect my perception.

It would be even cooler if you had the whole Carmen Miranda fruit basket doing a chorus line.
And then have them hop up back into her hat at the end. I know a kid at Phil Knight Studios that could probably pull it off (ignoring possible copyright issues). Hey Madison Ave: would make a great Fruit of the Loom ad!

See what nice week has reduced me to: I'm thinking up new underwear ads for free. It's all YOUR fault, Jack.

Anne: I agree with you that Vera isn't nice, and I think it is very nice that we agree on this. And I am delighted if I was able to make Vera laugh. She probably needs it.

Alice, Is that nice? But I agree and that's nice. We are all learning the difference between nice and real and that sometimes nice shouldn't win out-except for this week, of course.

I think kitties are nice.

I think bunnies are nice, too. I used to have a bunny. Several actually. House bunnies and yard bunnies. Did you know they are actually quite easy to housetrain? And very cuddly, too, if allowed their freedom of a househould space they must share with humans...or a cat.

We had birds, too. Cockatiels, a small parrot, and budgies. But not with the cat.



Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Introducing Nice Week:

» Why the City of Portland should admit all its errors by tomorrow from Isaac Laquedem
Do you think that the reason the City's releasing more bad news about the South Waterfront cost overruns ($50 million and counting, including $15 million for the tram overrun) is that Professor Bogdanski vowed to write nothing but nice things [Read More]

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