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With the vernal equinox just passed, lengthening days coupled with warmer temperatures means the rapid appearance of first blooms on the wildflowers of the Willamette Valley. When the blooming time is delayed by extreme cold weather, like this spring, the subsequent appearance is all the more dramatic. One week of warm weather will likely bring all species back on line with close to normal flowering time. April and May produce the peak of floral diversity in our region.

Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns recently announced he will retire in the next month or so. His departure affords our community a critical opportunity to ensure that the leadership of our local law enforcement maintains and instills the values we believe are essential to a just and fair city. 

I’ve read your column for as long as I had access to the internet and was interested in sex, so here goes: I’m a 27-year-old male with a 42-year-old girlfriend. We met at work; we were both going through divorce. At the beginning, holy moly! My dream girl in the bedroom. We’ve been together for a year, and the sex is still the best I’ve ever had—she says she feels the same—but it’s vanilla. I am assertive and in-control in the bedroom, which works for both of us, as she prefers to be passive and wants me to make moves or switch it up.

It is certainly true that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s new U.S. Secretary of Education, poses a distinct threat to the institution of public education. She is intent on advancing the privatization, corporatization, standardization, theocratization and profit-taking that have been part of the decades-long assault on public education. Who in America is going to step up to defend the pillar of our democracy, our precious system of public education?

First, a Salem legislative update: It ain’t lookin’ good.

I’m a woman in my late 40s. In my early 20s, I married a much older man. We did all the requisite things: kids, house, intercourse once a week. When the sex fell off due to his declining health, he surprised me by suggesting we open our marriage. He said I was too young to be limited and he didn’t want me to leave him for sex. I spent time contemplating how to truly fulfill my desires. I read a lot of erotica, indulged in porn, and discovered that what turned me on was Dominance. Not intercourse particularly, but power play with me as the Queen controlling a slave.

I have exactly 1,476 trophies, and I adore every single one of them. 

I have participation awards from every sports team I’ve been on since kindergarten, eighth-place trophies for speech and debate tournaments, and my well-loved third-place medal for a watermelon-eating competition from third grade.

How do we assign value to a forest? Is it in board feet of timber? Is it in jobs? Is it in its ability to re-grow trees?

Is it in the size of the trees? Is it in tourism? Is it in waterfalls and boulder runs? Is it in elk and deer to hunt? Is it in salmon to fish? Is it in habitat for ravens, bald eagles, osprey, northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, belted kingfishers, juncos and chickadees? Is it in foraging for chanterelles, thimbleberries, fiddle heads and stinging nettle?

Gay guy here. Met a guy online. He came over. We had incredible sex and then a great conversation lasting several hours. But—and you knew there was one coming—he told me that he lied about his HIV status. (I asked him before meeting him, like I do with anyone.) He is undetectable, but he told me initially he was “HIV/STD negative.” I got very upset—more from the lie than his status. (I know that undetectable is practically the same as negative.) I really like him, but that was a big lie. He told me all about his life and any other secrets after that.

Nightingale Health Sanctuary (NHS), a city-sanctioned rest stop, needs help from its supporters. 

I recently spoke at Curious Minds Weekend in Toronto at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Audience members submitted questions on cards before the show—anonymously—but the moderator, Lisan Jutras of the Globe and Mail, and I were having so much fun talking with each other that we didn’t get to many cards. So I’m going to quickly answer as many of the questions from the audience at Curious Minds as I can this week.


For the past six months or so, some animal has been digging holes next to the path along the ponds on the east side of Delta Highway. Tracks left in mud on the path after a winter rain finally gave us a clue: nutria. Their distinctive tracks include a tail streak between footprints. Nutria are well known to dig up roots, worms and bugs. They seem to have been eating lots of roots of poison hemlock since its leaves have appeared. Considering how deadly it is to humans, I wondered how nutria could survive.

Take a drive out Highway 99 to Clear Lake Road and turn west. As soon as you leave the busy industrial highway you are in another world, instantly surrounded by green, open farmland. You experience a vista that stretches all the way to the Coast Range to the west. 

That’s what I see, and maybe that’s what you see, but that’s not what the city of Eugene sees. Instead of prime farmland and green open space, Eugene envisions a 924-acre industrial park. 

One way the news media demonstrate bias is by what they report and what they leave out.

Another is the negative or positive content of articles that do make it to print. A vital role of the media is to be a watchdog and a check on power, but not enough attention is given to monitoring the fairness of our local media’s narrative.

I went to Dark Odyssey Winter Fire, the big kink hotel takeover event in Washington, DC, in February. There was one thing I saw there that is messing with my head, and I hope you can set me straight. There was this lovely little six-person orgy going on with two cute-as-could-be hippie girls and four older dudes. Then these four people came along. They sat and watched—a guy and three women in hijabs and dresses that went wrist to ankle, fully covered.

In January the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon’s Tribal Council approved a resolution to protect TV Butte in Oakridge. Lane County has nevertheless tentatively approved a zoning change to allow the butte to be mined, ignoring oral history evidence of previous native occupation of the site.

TV Butte in Oakridge is part of a Native American village site, and native burial sites are thought to be near the butte. The Chakgeenkni-Tufti Band of Molalla Indians, whose descendants are enrolled members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs of Oregon, lived at the TV Butte site for thousands of years.

“They call them huddles, Vicki, not meetings,” my sister Annabelle said over the phone. 

She was telling me about her weekend event with the L.A. Indivisible group that is organizing against Trump, and she was revved. This is my sister who was by my side in the ’60’s. 

My wife and I have a decent sex life. Pretty vanilla, but we’re busy with work, chores, and life in general with two small kids, so I can’t complain too much. About a year after having our second kid, I went down on my wife. As usual, we both enjoyed it greatly. Unfortunately, about a week later she got a yeast infection. She attributed the YI to the oral, and since then I am strictly forbidden from putting my mouth anywhere near her pussy. I understand that YI are no fun, painful, and embarrassing. I understand her reluctance.

Fortyish, straight, white dude here. I have this weird (possibly misogynistic) belief that, when it comes to sex, I can’t win. Actually, I think men in general can’t win. Thoughtful, well-meaning men at least. It comes down to this: During sex, if the man doesn’t come, it’s the man’s fault, because he clearly has problems with his dick and is barely even a man and should be ashamed of himself. If the woman doesn’t come, it’s also the man’s fault, because he’s clearly bad at sex and doesn’t even care and is barely even a man and should be ashamed of himself.

What do kids typically experience the first day of school? Nerves. Will I make friends? Will my teacher like me? Where is the bathroom? These are the typical concerns that you’d imagine.

In the flurry of disturbing and provocative executive orders coming out of the new presidential administration, it is understandable that some of us may have lost sight of the greatest fear that many of us had at the prospect of a Trump presidency: that a thin-skinned ill-informed man would be in control of our devastating arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, recently released a report, “10 Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President,” with contributions from a broad range of experts on nuclear policy. In a synopsis of that report, Ploughshares lists five policy areas where we could try to steer the Trump administration to improve our nuclear policy:

It’s almost impossible to overstate how devastating the 1980s recession was for Oregon. 

The early 1980s had the largest percentage of job loss since World War II. For Oregon, this truly was the "Great Recession,” hitting the state harder than the more recent recession of 2008, and it would change Oregon forever. 

This recession would result in making economic development a permanent part of the Oregon political landscape, changing the state and fueling economic growth, for good and for bad, in ways that were almost unimaginable prior to that crisis. 

I am a straight married man. My wife and I have a 4-year-old and a 3-month-old. We’ve just started having intercourse again. For Valentine’s Day, we spent the night in a B&B while grandma watched the kids. We had edibles, drank sparkling wine, and then fucked. It was amazing. After we came and while we were still stoned and drunk, my wife mentioned she was open to inviting others into our sex life. I asked about getting a professional sex worker. She said no. But maybe if we were in a bar (we’re never in bars) and met someone (a unicorn), she might be into it. Anal came up.

What should we make of the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the U.S. Secretary of Education?

The answer is, perhaps, “Not very much.”

For professional educators, the choice of DeVos is a bummer but no surprise. Secretaries of education who champion the system have been rare. And yet our school system has been a robust and productive institution, worthy of pride. It does not yet live up to our dreams, but we have accomplished a great deal, plugging away at the local level.