« Previous | Main | Next »

May 25, 2004


If you start letting people play in parks, the next thing you know, you have anarchy.

(Thanks to Claire Martin)


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Yeah, parks are for putting fences around and mowing periodically. They aren't for people. Imagine!

Oh, and first. (probably.)

"Games are prohibited in some parks because there isn't always enough room for things such as Hacky Sack." These parks must be REALLY small...a hacky sack ball is about 2 inches in diameter.

It's the park nazi.

You mean you don't have anarchy already?

At bottom: Woman admits role in brutal street-family torture, killing

Bet she sure as heck wouldn't get away with that in the park.

Unless it's not against the rules.

Playing ball and with chalk in my living room is perfectly ok. Especially for a 4 year old.

... and why does a public park have a private security force?

I for one am glad Portland is taking this situation seriously.

We simply cannot tolerate this kind of tomfoolery in our public parks.

I know it's politically incorrect to say, but everyone knows that tomfoolery leads to shennanigans, and even monkeyshines.

Before you know it, people will be having "caprices" in the park, with full body gamboling.

I strongly support our civic leaders in their efforts to stamp out this so-called "lark". Giving a child a ball is no laughing matter. If you've visited the half-way houses and prisons and seen the human wreckage brought about by horseplay, you'd know what I mean.

I look forward to the day that we can all enjoy the park the way that God intended, with our heads firmly embedded in our backsides.

Just shut up and do as you're told. The audacity, thinking that the government should serve people, rather than the reverse. You should count yourselves lucky that we let you work fifty hours a week for forty five years thereby allowing you to give half of what you earned to the government and the other half to multinational corporations.

mudstuffin: "shenanigans & hilarity..."

see, this is why we can't go anyplace nice...:)

If the damper is not closed on this kind of frivoulous activity, the next thing you know the slithy toves will be gyring and gimbling in the wabe.

Then we would have to deal with the frumious Wellesley Snatch, the teeth that tear, the claws that catch.

Mudstuffin: Here, here, what! I say, sir, I like the cut of your jib. What are all these people, children some of them, doing in parks to begin with? Aren't there factories and workhouses and sweatshops that need filling? A stretch in the military would straighten out these layabouts, what. Nothing like a year or two behind the mast, eh, what, what.

There's a empty wing chair here at the club for you anytime [swings cane at passing waiter]. Except Thursday afternoons. That's the Bloated Old Tory weekly meeting day.

It's about time, Dammit!
The last time I was at our local park there were people having picnics, BBQ's, and playing baseball. I was shocked....shocked! I pay enough tax dollars without having to put up with kids playing and people going for walks. The next thing you know someone will want to have a family outing in the park, and then we'll all go to Hell.

"Dude, you're mellowing my harsh, man!"

ps: mdstfn, LOL, Big Time. I think that "full body gamboling" should be an Olympic sport.

If they throw out the comedians and children with balls and chalk - what do they do to the mimes?

Torture and execution? Sounds about right.

Never one to place my full faith in the press (Dave excluded of course), I did a little research about this so-called park. Apparently, it's paved. Clearly, government officials were concerned that some hapless imbecile playing ball could fall and incur some serious knee and elbow scrapes leading to the inevitable lawsuit. And of course, innocent chalk drawings are sure to incite gang violence and other turf issues. I'm sure global warming and ebola also enter into the equation too. I for one feel much safer to know that the government is out there trying to keep me safe from harm.

No Hacky Sack! What kind of monsters are they?

Mudstuffin, you are definitely on a roll this morning.

Since my brother lives in Portland and his life defines "anarchy" I can't see this as having any real effect. Maybe it's just a comic trying to get a little attention to get on one of the 400 reality shows we're getting next season.

Just got back from a walk and saw the bulldozer is dozing the beach sand and out in the water the dredgers are dredging. Life is a beach. Let's improve it to death!

Let's not forget the fragile ecosystems that we trample each time we schlep our wrinkled fannies to the park. Whenever we "picnic" we leave impressions in the soil that collect moisture creating micro-enviroments (or condominiums) for certain species of flora and fauna, giving them an unfair advantage over those species that prefer a dryer habitat (martini).

"'At that point," he said, "I decided to play with the balls until they did something about it.'"

Just who is this law addressing? Tennis players, or flashers?

Expect an amendment to the Patriot Act forthwith.
"What's that? We don't need to amend the Act to deal with situations like this? OK, good, that's good." As I was just explaining to Mike, here..."

(does a 360)


Nobody is thinking of that poor child here. What was his mother thinking? Hacky Sack? Where was his Gameboy? How is he supposed to get into Medical School if his gaming skills are not up to par?

Sure, he's only 4 now but next year he will be 5 and then 6. If he hasn't mastered all the Pokemon games, Ruby thru Plaid, by the time he is 6.... well he might as well forget the Final Fantasys 1-2589.

Then he will have no alternative but to go to Law School. Where he will learn he can sue his mother for neglect, sue McDonalds for making him fat AND having their coffee too hot. Suits will also be filed against the city of Portland for not protecting his educational right to have video games at all hours of the day and night.

So, you see, the Portland police are just looking out for our best interests. We do not need another lawer with an axe to grind, loose in the world.

Portland police, I thank you!

Yo, Pogo -- it is the FRUMIOUS BANDERSNATCH, as I, a former resident of Wellesley and a person who memorized "Jabberwocky" in high school, am authorized to tell you.

Guin - The Bandersnatch is no match for the Wellesleyan subspecies, which has been known to paint its claws bright red to disguise the blood of its victims.

I agree with Lily. Will somone please think of the children????!?!?! How are they ever supposed to compete in a global economy by doing such foolish things as playing hopscotch? The statistics on kickball injuries alone are devastating. They should be inside playing Gameboys or Playstation 2 and drinking Coca Cola and eating Domino's until they are 40 pounds overweight. Then they should have unrestricted internet access. Fresh air, bah! Exercise? Never!

We also certainly never want the people who pay for the parks to be able to use them. This park must be the size of a postage stamp.

Am I being libeled here?

I have claws that snatch, you know.

Hey, let's ban garages cause you can't fit a freakin' 18-wheeler into them. Let's ban sidewalks cause some people aren't able to walk. Let's ban clothes cause there's a guy in India who doesn't like to wear them. Let's ban the letter "E" so all the words without "E" won't feel bad. Let's ban the freakin' sky cause some people aren't freakin' tall enough to reach it. Give me a freakin' break! I'm freakin' out! Freakin' dumbass society!

Ok, enough of that now. :)

Don't go Frumious... It's a trap I tell you. A trap! Those pansy little mimsys are out to get you.


The MDPB was a friend of mine, and I still have its number on my cell phone. I called there New Year's Eve, midnight Dec 31,1999 or Jan 1, 2000 and got a busy signal. HUH? Finally got through and there was a party going on, people taking and logging calls from the rest of the world who called the booth that night. Was the highlight of my celebration. Thanks, whomever you are!

Who you callin' mimsy?

You talkin' to me?
You talkin' to ME?

Don't you be startin' somethin'.

Hear hear, Pogo!

And beware the Wellesley Undergrad!

'tis the best modernization of jabeerwocking 'taz ever bean...


I agree! As I type this, 2 out of 3 of my kids are playing soccer in the....gasp....outdoors. We don't own a Gameboy or a Playstation...my poor deprived little children. It's enough to break one's heart, LOL.

Nothing prepares one for life more than dodging dirt clods. And mothers after throwing said dirt clods at Sunday clothes.

Oh, that guy. Doesn't his blade go snicker-snack?
THAT'll ruin your day.

This reminds me of a friend of mine who has a very lofty personal life goal: to play tennis on the front steps of every state capitol in the US.

So far he's done one. And he got in a boatload of trouble for that incident. Still. It's good to have goals.

I always had this picture of Portland as being kind of granola-y, liberal, "do whatever ya' wanna do" (much like where I live). I guess you can probably smoke mary jane in the park, just don't use the chalk. You can commit assisted suicide in the park, just don't touch the sacred playground balls!

The possession of a snicker snacking with vorpal blade shall be a misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $5, five days imprisonment, or both.

Jabberwocky fan here. Wrote a paper on it. "Vorpal" formed from alternate letters of "verbal" and "gospel". Jabberwocky trivia, I got it!

TxGal, Sacred Playground Balls wbagnfarb.

I hate to diverge from the bloglits here, but all you guys screaming hysterically about overactive government need to chill out.

How big is this park? From the article, it sounds small -- more like a town square. You've probably got a lot of benches, pedestrians, people eating lunch (like the guy in the story), children, etc.

The official quoted sounds pretty reasonable to me. Some parks are too small to allow for sports. You certainly can't have full contact football or an adult baseball game going in certain parks, can you? Or do you want to pay for the resulting lawsuits from injuries? In fact, I bet this law came about because of a previous injury or a rash of hacky sack playing GenX punks taking over the park.

And hacky sack is annoying as the day is long. If I'm eating lunch on a pleasant spring day in a small park and some GenX punk kicks me in the head while chasing down his hacky sack ... well lets just say he'll need to wash his hacky sack before using it again.

The guy in the story sounds like a pinhead. A stand up comic trying to highlight silly laws? More like trying to get himself free publicity. Don't help him out.

TxGal, I disagree. I think that Sacred Playground Balls wbagnfapornmovie.

"Jabberwocky" by Louis Carroll:

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Okay, you guys are TOTALLY missing the funniest part of this story. And that is that the journalist who wrote it is named -- wait for it -- Stephen Beaven. Stephen Beaven. One more time. STEPHEN BEAVEN. And I though people with two first names were cool. It never occured to me that your first name and last name could rhyme.

Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland's living room?

Edelweiss, that's precisely why it wbagnfarb!

Thank You Blogchik! :-)

I was afraid I'd have to dig out the book from some forgotten box, to remember a poem I'd long since forgot!

Garret: don't bother us with facts, or reason, or a cogent argument, please. It's much more fun to wheedle and bitch about stuff, whether true or not.

(Goes galumphing back to work.)

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Await the Jabberwock, my dears!
As home I'm sure he'll soon be,
Let's get his dinner on the stove,
For it is half past three.

We have the vorpal swords outlawed
No more to worry and to fret.
Your Dad rests by the Tumtum tree,
And so we know he'll be home yet.

No more in uffish thought will stand,
The beamish boy with vorpal blade,
They are all playing Gameboy now,
And Final Fanasies times fifty-three!

One, two! One, two! And through and through.
The Gameboy player went snicker-snack.
He mowed through Pokemon and Digimon
He became a computer hack.

"But, they do not slay the Jabberwock.
Not unless he steals their Gameboy.
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
We chortle in our joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

And yes, the guy in the story does sound like a complete carbunkle who needs a good enema.

"At that point," he said, "I decided to play with the balls until they did something about it."

"Or, I sprout hair on my palms and go blind."

I agree with mudstuffin: don't bother us with facts, or reason, or a cogent argument, please. It's much more fun to wheedle and bitch about stuff, whether true or not. It's just too bad the jack-booted government oppressors didn't rough the erstwhile comic up a bit. He probably needs it.

Boo Augustus, Erstwhile Comic wbagnfarb.

Lily - pure brilliance! And yes, let's do continue to wheedledum about it all.

That's my kind of man. Going and buying sidewalk chalk!? That's just awesome.

Regarding the picture of Dave and his new friend...

Dave's ego speaking, "HeY MaBeL, WaNnA dO LuNCh?"

Mabel (pictured with Dave), "My boob is leaking, but seeing you won't take no for an answer, NO!!"

I'm a tad new here. what does 'wbagnfarb' mean, if anything, and uh, where's the kinky test?

queensbee, aka BeeGee

"would be a good name for a rock band," which is a staple of DB columns. I don't have the kinky test link; sorry.

wbagnfarb= would be a good name for a rock band

One of Dave Barry's fave expressions, appropriated by his loyal fans.

Here's the link to the How Kinky Are You test:


This is similar to me putting my head down on my books to take a break after studying for THREE HOURS and within minutes getting yelled at by a SECURITY OFFICER telling me I wasn't allowed to sleep in the library. I'm only slightly bitter.

Oh yeah, and now that I've read (most of) the comments, mudstuffin: YOU ROCK.

thanks to jeff and to blogchik, for the info... gotta to to that kinkytest...

"It is the middle of the dark ages, ages darker than anyone had expected."

Wow, the Nobel Prize. Thank you. Thank you all.

I would like to thank all the little people who made this great day happen.

First, I would like to thank Blogchik who took the time to post the entire original poem so I didn't have to look it up. You are amazing. Have I ever told you how amazing you are?

I would also like to thank anyone who has either written or posted a poem on this blog. You are an inspiration to me. You are also amazing. Have I ever told you just how amazing I think you all are? I mean really. I'm not just saying this to be nice, 'cause I know how hard you are all trying.

And of course I would like to thank Bangi_G for forging, I mean, reading my name. *I'll get the prize money in small unmarked bills and we'll divy it up later, promise*

And last, but not least, I'd like to thank Dave and judy. You are the wind beneath my wings. You are the sunshine of my life. You are every cliche that was ever spoken. Except that for you I really mean it. You are both just amazing. Really! Truly! Sincerely!

pogo said: Guin - The Bandersnatch is no match for the Wellesleyan subspecies, which has been known to paint its claws bright red to disguise the blood of its victims.
I think I married one of those Wellesleyan subspecies, once. I just wish I'd had a vorpal blade back then.

Has anyone read the novel where one of the characters (who had magical powers,) was drugged by someone (probably acid,) and created and transported himself to a Lewis Carrol Wonderland. With a vorpal blade and a Jaberwocky. Then pulled his buddy Merlin in with him. It was one of the second Amber series books by Roger Zelazny. Very, very entertaining!

Back to the topic (parks,) anybody remember Larry Niven's Cloak of Anarchy?

Excellent work, Lily! We need more people like you to get the fine art of poetry back in top form!

As far as the park goes, I can see both sides of the issue. However, I would hope that the park officials could differentiate between an all-out touch-football game and some chalk drawings, and maybe cut responsible park users some slack.

Oh, and my piano teacher's name was Richard Pritchard, and my high school English teacher was Randy Banderob. Discuss.

Lee - I read the Amber series about a hundred years ago. I don't really remember the one you mentioned.

I loved Zelazny, but I thought he kind of faded toward the end of that series. He did better with "stand-alone" novels. I think he was best writing short stories.

*ends literary commentary, which he is totally unqualified to make*

So, would any of you poetic brainiacs care to explain The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to me. Had to read it for an AP test back in high school but classes ended before we could ever get around to a discussion. Been wondering about that one for almost 15 years now.

i know this is late, but i have to do it:

all mimsy were the borogroves,
and the mome raths outgrabe.

thank you.

woah! no insulting t. s. eliot, poetry god! do you -really- want me to explicate "the love song of j. alfred prufrock?" because i'll get really into it. you won't like that.


I grow old, I grow old
I shall wear my trousers rolled
and walk along the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.

Poor, sad, lonely Prufrock! What viagra could've done for him!

"i grow old... i grow old...
i shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

shall i part my hair behind? do i dare to eat a peach?
i shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach.
i have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

i do not think that they will sing to me.

i have seen them riding seaward on the waves,
combing the white hair of waves blown back
when the wind blows the water white and black.

we have lingered in the chambers of the sea
with sea girls wreathed in seaweed red and brown
till human voices wake us, and we drown."

memorized that poem for drama class. ^_^ man, i love eliot...

and I nearly used "ragged claws" as my name, too. I love Prufrock. And Eliot. Named a canary for him, I did. And I went to see "Cats" not knowing it was based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats". Stoopid.

"This is the world ends, (x3)
Not with a bang but a whimper."

I'm almost ashamed to admit I live in Portland, since Dave's been linking to the Oregonian so often, but I do. And it's not really a park. It's a one block bricked area with a fountain and lots of benches where people tend to eat their lunches. It's really not very big.

But it's still dumb that he couldn't play with his balls in public, I guess.

Pogo - just as qualified as any of us, and perhaps more than most, since you apparently know about Pogo. And Zelazny. I would judge you decidely well (and eclectically) read.

Not sure I ever finished the Amber series, it got somewhat muddled and repetitive for me, I guess.

Favorite Poets: L. Ferlinghetti, Robert Browning.

Sara, your last line brought to mind a comment my sister made years ago about a teacher she had and she sat in the front row.

Then, she was appalled that while he was lecturing, he would occassionally reach down, hike up his balls in his pants, then set them on the edge of her desk!

No I don't think it was anything untoward, just protecting his pocket change ;-) I had the same teacher later and he was considered among the cooler teachers in the school.

pogo, it was in the second set of books, based around Corwin's son, Merlin. Written in the mid 90-s (Zelazny died in 97.) Some guy named Bentacourt is writing a prequel series. First one was rough. Zelazny did excell at his short stories and stand alone novels. "Lord of Light" remains my favorite novel.

The Niven story was about an "Anarchy" Park where the only rule was that you couldn't hurt anyone else. Robotic 'Copseyes' floated around and zapped anyone that tried to hurt someone else. Until this guy had the great idea of knocking out the 'Copseyes' system...

I'd sure like to know the reasoning behind the fact that you can't play with a ball in this park. I mean, what the heck? Can anti-Frisbee and no-kite-flying ordinances be far behind? Oh, and no climbing on the jungle gyms either -- they're just for looks.

All this time, no one has referenced The Sex Pistols song, "Anarchy in the UK".

So, it had to be done.

Lee, and there is an excellent mystery by Fredric Brown (who also wrote sf) called NIGHT OF THE JABBERWOCK, that you should look out for.

I always had this picture of Portland as being kind of granola-y, liberal, "do whatever ya' wanna do" (much like where I live). I guess you can probably smoke mary jane in the park, just don't use the chalk. You can commit assisted suicide in the park, just don't touch the sacred playground balls!

Yeah, I know what you mean TxGal--Portland IS ... sorta... like that.

Yes--The "Square" is considered the "Living Room" of Portland. It's this big below ground bricked circle with a statue of some guy holding an umbrella (go figure) in it. There are concerts there (I've gone to and been in several,) etc. etc. Pioneer courthouse square is busy (there's a starbucks nearby. Go figure again), and our dear hobos love the area.

...but hey... I don't think THEY'D complain about hopscotch! Much less bouncing balls...

RAH! Har.

I've been following the phone booth for quite a few years all the way though its demise. I drove down the highway close to it once, but that was before I knew it existed. I would have made the side trip. I must admit I never called it, nor visited. So, unfortunately, I wasn't the one that logged your New Years Eve call. I was actually at work worrying over the Y2K problem.

Check out his links to The Burning Man (which he doesn't visit anymore) and the Mountian Monograms collection. If I get a chance I'll contribute to that one.

Doug, let me call your attention to the Style Invitational link in the MOAT. You would clean up, I tell you.

Lee, I've never read the Amber books- yet- but I've read nearly every Pratchett. Haven't gotten to the Wee Free Men yet.

They sell a gigantic book called The Complete Book of Amber at Borders. Maybe I will finally get around to buying it.

Back in '91, when I used to BBS (does ANYBODY else remember BBSing?), there was a guy with the handle Corwin of Amber. Now I *FINALLY* get the reference. Duh.

Boo, I also had to read Prufrock in high school. Then I read it again in college. But I didn't really start understanding it til after I graduated. Til I could relate to it.

It's about growing old and having regrets and feeling like life is passing you by.


Crimson Room Red Room
Viridian Room Green Room
Amber Room Room with lots of stuff nonrelated to vexing mind puzzlers

I'm sorry to bring up articles that are two weeks old, but I just got a chance to read the article about the turtle going through the man's windshield in Florida, and I can't believe nobody brought this quote up:
"I have heard about a lot of four-legged animals going through windshields, but never, ever, a turtle," said Detective Joe Flescher, sheriff's office spokesman.
A LOT of four-legged animals? Personally, I've heard of deer and maybe dogs, but what else? Cows? Horses? Tigers? And besides humans, how many non-four legged animals are going through windshields?

Birds (turkeys, fat pigeons, pheasants, seagulls)

Moose (in Maine)
Alligators (in Florida, if they get elevated somehow or fall off a truck)
Cows (anywhere there's open range)
Horses (especially in Amish areas)

Perhaps he meant a lot of INDIVIDUAL 4-legged animals, like many deer.

Cool link John!

Hey, that sounds like a good name. "There goes Cool Link John, cooless linker west of the Mississippi."

John, great song. Of course, Cows With Guns wmagnfarb, as would Cow Tse Tung and Chickens in Choppers.

Um...Quick question to everyone...

would anyone like a response to this article from somebody that LIVES IN portland?


Let the playing of the balls commence.

Be serious, none of them are going to stop playing with the balls.

alright, let's clear a few things up...

First: although it is a "park", Pioneer Courthouse Square is, in fact, entirely covered in beautifully elaborate and intricate brick work that gets pissed on nightly by whatever transient nature's calling that evening.

Second: It's roughly 250 square yards with stairs, fountains, neat statues, etc., and except for a concert, christmas, or new years, I've never seen more than 50-60 people there at any given time. Saying there's hardly room for Hackey Sack is like calling the Pacific "wet".

Lastly: Did anyone happen to catch the X-GAMES SNOWBOARDING STUNT RAMP they set up in "the square" about two years ago? ESPN can shoot a national snowboarding tour, but we don't have room for playing games with balls...

Hey, Punky,

How's that?

Hi Dave,

Did you know that your site is a googlewhack of Carbunkle Pheasants?


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise