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A lobbyist popped this question last week at Magoo’s, my local watering hole in Salem: What are the three most hated and feared words these days to an Oregon Republican? I guessed maybe “taxes/gay marriage” or “equitable income distribution.” Turns out they are: “Governor Kate Brown.” Now you know why the current Republican minority leaders in Salem are being relatively quiet in their attacks on Gov. John Kitzhaber and fiancé Cylvia Hayes. Something about the devil you know.

Music news & notes from down in the Willamette valley

The Bearer of Bad News, the latest release of Canadian songwriter Andy Shauf, is now out on Portland taste-making record label Tender Loving Empire. Working with a Portland label is appropriate for a songwriter who lists legendary Portland songwriter Elliott Smith as an influence. 

There was a time when Eugeneans had to venture up I-5 if we wanted to catch the top touring classical and jazz pianists at, say, Portland Jazz Festival, Portland Piano International and other events. No more.

“We sound like Brit Pop with Americana trappings,” says Chris Masterson of Austin-based husband-and-wife duo The Mastersons, who are touring in support of their latest LP, Good Luck Charm

HARMFUL TESTING

Recently I wrote a letter to the 4J School District concerning my decision to opt my children out of the Smarter Balanced state tests. My reasons are that I think the potential harm that taking tests in which over 60 percent of students are likely to fail surpasses any possible benefit that my children will derive from participating. I reserve my right as a parent to make the decision to withhold my children from participating in these tests.

Chronicling the lives of five women in show business, the new play Five of a Kind spans half a century of friendship and social transformation. Written by Anita Dwyer and Adrienne Armstrong, the play premieres this week, Feb. 13-15, in a “reader’s theater” format at the Very Little Theatre. 

My 15-year-old son has been watching sadistic porn—and ONLY sadistic porn—for a couple of years. He also tells us (husband and me) that, though he’s not had sex (which he defines as penetration), he’s had oral sex, handjobs, etc., and that he didn’t “flash on” violent images at those times. But he says he thinks about this type of porn all the time—all day, every day—and fantasizes about doing sadistic things to the girls he dates. This all came out as we started having conversations about respect and dating!

If you know anything about Alan Turing — anything at all, including, say, what you might have gleaned from reading Neal Stephenson’s excellent doorstop of a novel CryptonomiconThe Imitation Game is unlikely to surprise you. As a tidy, glossy, good-for-you awards-season film about important Brits, it’s entirely watchable, and not much more.

In your Jan. 8 email to the UO community, “A message from Interim President Coltrane on sexual assault lawsuit” [see http://wkly.ws/1xk], you indicated that you welcome feedback from the campus on your progress. I agree with the open letter provided here by OASA [see http://wkly.ws/1xj]. I would like to express my additional concerns. 

Sniffing out what you shouldn’t miss in the arts this week

“Best-kept secret” doesn’t begin to describe Eugene’s Telephone Pioneer Museum. Though visibly situated next to the CenturyLink building downtown on East 10th Avenue, the place is only identifiable from the street by an oblong window displaying rotary telephones and a small, red-lettered sign on the door reading: “MUSEUM.”

And “museum” isn’t quite the right description, either. Walking inside the rectangular room feels more like stepping into the crowded attic of some aged and nostalgic collector.

Looking up at a rare starry sky in January, even rarer because of a warm night, I was drawn to do a little star gazing. Orion is heading out west long before midnight. I’m going to miss him because there is no summer character in the sky that I know well enough to track the spring-summer-fall passage. Maybe a little gazing this July will find the constellation that attracts my focus.

Lane County continues to move forward with its attempts to develop the community of Goshen much to the dismay of local land-use advocates. Goshen, just south of Eugene, is a rural industrial area that has been home to several mills and is the site of designated wetlands. Developing Goshen has become a pet project of Commissioner Faye Stewart. 

On Feb. 3, a wastewater feasibility study for Goshen done by Kennedy/Jenks Consultants was presented to Lane County’s Board of Commissioners for discussion.

Eugene’s food carts and trucks are sprinkled down West 11th, dotted around downtown and parked at Whiteaker breweries — their transitory nature means they’re not always easy to find. Once again, technology is here to save the day: The Street Food Eugene app for iPhone and Android debuted last month, making it a cinch to pin down your favorite food cart, check out new carts or find nearby carts. 

“This app could be a pivotal tipping point in the Eugene mobile food scene,” says KC Brooks, owner of Sammitch. As of press time, the app has been downloaded about 800 times.

The weather has been hitting us with record-breaking warm and dry temperatures recently. It would be nice to greet the recently blooming flowers with joy, but there’s reason for trepidation. These warm, dry days mean, as Julie Koeberle, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Services puts it, that “the snow has been elusive.” 

• Seneca Jones Timber Company LLC, 689-1011, plans to aerial and ground spray 69.9 acres near Crow Road with 2,4-D, atrazine, clopyralid, glyphosate, hexazinone. sulfometuron methyl, Crosshair, Foam Buster and/or Grounded. See ODF notifications 2015-781-02394 and 2015-781-02596, call Brian Peterson at 935-2283 with questions. 

• Seneca Jones also plans to aerially spray 54.4 acres near Wolf Creek Road and 56.9 acres near Hamm and Territorial with some of the same chemicals listed above. See ODF notification 2015-781-02390, call Dan Men

In 1992, two neuroscientists, Richard Davidson and Clifford Saron, trekked into the hills around Dharamsala in north India to measure the brain waves of Tibetan Buddhist monks. Although the journey did not yield empirical data, it was a turning point in the careers of both men, and they went on to become leaders in the science of meditation. 

• We would like to assure parents and their children that Mickey Mouse lives. 

Tiny Tavern at 394 Blair Blvd. in the Whit has reopened under new management after being shut down by the Lane County Health Department Dec. 5. The self-described dive bar, restaurant and live music venue had a Superbowl party Sunday, and we’re hearing good things about the new, improved and more sanitary Tiny’s. It was missed while it was closed. See our Letters this week. 

Who’s who and what’s what in dance this month

• Noted historian Randall Balmer of Dartmouth College will speak on “Jimmy Carter, Progressive Evangelism and the Religious Right” at 7 pm Thursday, Feb. 5, at 110 Knight Law Center on the UO campus. Ballmer is considered a leading expert on the role of religion in American life. Sponsored by The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. Find more upcoming Morse Center lectures at wkly.ws/1xe.

At its core, the West Eugene EmX project is about growing. On the heels of a long recession, we now see our economy ticking up with new businesses and redevelopment in downtown Eugene, downtown Springfield and across our metro area. We want to keep our economy vibrant. We want to retain the natural beauty around us with clean, fresh air. And we want to have more — and better — choices in how we live, travel and recreate.

As Oregon Democrats sadly watch federal politics in our country slide to the right in most states with little to say — Oregon being only 1 percent of the country’s population — it will at least be fun to watch President Obama wield the veto pen as he enters his last term facing a Republican majority in both chambers of Congress. In just three weeks John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have already stumbled on abortion and immigration. Who knows what’s next, another government shutdown? Anyway, since I’m approaching 66, I feel I’m at an age where, to paraphrase Roger Daltrey and the Who from 40 years ago, I shouldn’t get fooled again. So I’m having more fun watching Oregon politics.