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“I got tired of rain,” says Ron Buss, who grew up in the Seattle/Tacoma area, but spent high school summer vacations with his older brother in Modesto, California, moving furniture for Beacon Van Lines. “I started when I was 14.” After graduation, Buss moved south to work for his brother, then spent a decade at warehouse work. He eventually got a truck and a PUC license and returned to household moving. “I made  $100,000 a year,” says Buss, who was supporting a house, a wife and three kids.

Music News & notes from down in the Willamette valley.

Bruno Mars knows exactly what he is doing, and he does it better than just about anyone in the business. Not only has he released two chart-topping albums, sold over 100 million copies of his singles and albums and won multiple Grammys, but he’d made a name for himself prior to all of this as a songwriter and producer. 

Type “Soulja Boy” into YouTube, click the video for “Crank Dat” (with more than 158 million views, mind you) and dance along as you listen to the hip-hop song that took 2007 by storm.

Tone, taste and tenacity remain ZZ Top’s motto and rationale for their lasting popularity, lead guitarist Billy Gibbons tells EW

In 2014, what does punk rock mean? “Playing as fast as you can? Playing three chords?” poses Atom Willard, drummer for Against Me! “Spiking your hair? Punk rock is doing what isn’t generally smiled upon by the masses,” Willard says. “Doing something you believe in and isn’t easy to do — basically going against the grain.” Willard says the gender transition of Against Me! vocalist Laura Jane Grace (born Thomas James Gabel) is one of the most punk rock things he’s ever witnessed. 

Marriage apartheid’s over in our state (woo hoo!) so there’s no reason to continue referring to my lawfully wedded wife as “my partner.” I should call her “my wife,” but I still catch myself saying “partner.” I did it just the other day when I was explaining why I needed my laptop screen replaced and told the tech guy that my partner stepped on it. I gauged the situation in that second-nature queer safety-check thing we do, and added, “She feels pretty bad about it.” 

Intellectual though he was, writer H.L. Mencken positively came undone, his friend Anita Loos observed, under the beguiling spell of some … blonde.

Ellie Greenwich is the boss. A master songwriter, Greenwich had a hand in composing buckets of Top 40 hits, such as “Chapel of Love,” “Hanky Panky,” “Da Doo Ron Ron” and other baby-boomer jams.

NOT SO LUCKY

Sixteen years ago, I retired from the U.S. Navy. I had great comprehensive health care. Now I have high quality VA care and affordable retired military medical and dental health insurance.

CURSED FONT

Your choice of Helvetica Bold typeface on the cover of last week’s issue [7/31] was both alarming and disappointing. I had hoped that EW was more enlightened. But your use of that font shows that further awareness is needed. 

Helvetica is a curse on society. Aesthetically it is a scar on the landscape. It is drab and modern and completely uninspiring. It is less of a choice than a default. But the gravest danger posed by Helvetica is homogenization.

I am a 38-year-old married woman. My husband of 18 years is 22 years my senior. I credit my husband for giving me a good life and helping me pursue goals. But my husband is a type A professional, and that has played out in the bedroom. He has always been disinterested in my pleasure. When our kids were little, I did not want sex as often as he did (“only” twice a week). I suggested that he masturbate in the shower if he wanted a morning quickie.

It’s nothing new for Richard Linklater to demonstrate his fascination with the passage of time in cinema. Dazed and Confused took place on the last day of high school; his films with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, most recently Before Midnight, skip through the years in the life of a couple, their relationship moving from young passion to a maturity that’s both prickly and graceful.

Having all but walked away from movies in exhaustion and disgust after finishing his last full-length feature Killing Me, local writer-director Henry Weintraub now returns to the cinematic fold with The Assassin, a compact gem of shoestring filmmaking.

Ask a certain segment of Eugene’s population and they’ll say the Whiteaker Block Party, now in its eighth year, eclipsed the Eugene Celebration in relevance a long time ago. And with the celebration on hiatus until 2015 (and folks pulling the Festival of Eugene together), the Block Party now gets its chance to shine as the premier civic blowout of 2014. Every year, music is a central part of the event, and this year the Block Party boasts a powerhouse of local talent. 

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

What started as a small crowd partying in an empty parking lot in the Whiteaker among amps and beer kegs has grown, in eight short years, into a neighborhood-encompassing celebration of community and unique Eugene culture. Featuring a couple dozen local bands, food and craft vendors, an art and kid zone, carnival games, a dunk tank, beer gardens and even a bike valet, on Saturday, Aug. 2, from noon to 10 pm — it’s the Whiteaker Block Party (WBP).

During the Whiteaker Block Party, parking is usually a pain, with drivers scouring residential streets for a spot, sometimes giving up and parking illegally. This year, the Whiteaker Community Council is trying to alleviate the problem by opening up at least two gravel lots in the neighborhood for $5 per car. The WCC will use its share of the funds for a big long-term goal: a public parking lot in the Whit.

• Oregon Department of Forestry, 935-2283, plans to hire Nick’s Timber Services Inc., 503-910-1120, to spray herbicides including Rodeo, Accord XRT II, Polaris SP, Element 4, MSM 60, Sulfomet XP with additives including LI700, MSO and red or blue dye for site prep and release on a total of 356 acres near Liebre, Gall, Nelson and Wildcat creeks and tributaries. See ODF notification 2014-781-00727, call ODF at 935-2283 with questions.

Legalization of marijuana for adult use qualified for the November ballot the same day a panel of legalization advocates outlined how the new Measure 91 will work if it passes. What will it do? How is it different from Washington’s and Colorado’s marijuana laws? What will be the impact on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program? How will the tax revenues be allocated? What about hemp? What about the huge black market that currently distributes pot?

Kenneth MacPhearson, aka Kenny Mac, was featured in EW Oct. 10, 2013, as a homeless vet trying to get back on his feet with the help of local agencies, churches, nonprofits and Veterans Administration programs. After our story came out, Mac found six months of housing in a small apartment, but died July 13 following an apparent head injury sustained in the Whiteaker neighborhood. 

After allegations of a sexual assault by three Duck basketball players surfaced in May, UO President Michael Gottfredson announced he would appoint an independent review panel “to examine our practices for preventing and responding to sexual violence.” UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd then emailed Gottfredson and suggested he appoint Oregon’s U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall to the panel. He did not.

• A majority of five of the Eugene City Council, backed by strong support from Mayor Kitty Piercy, showed that rare quality of leadership this week in passing both the sick leave law and a tighter climate recovery ordinance. Six councilors favored climate action. The Register-Guard, conservative councilors, the idiotic and out-of-touch Lane County Commission and, of course, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce all asked for either delays or no such action as sick leave for workers in this city.

Kaiser Permanente announced this week that it will open a medical office in Eugene in late 2015, according to a press release. Medical office sites are being evaluated to accommodate at least four primary care physicians and their staff. Kaiser Permanente is a nonprofit provider of integrated health care services and insurance plans, serving 9.3 million members, including about 495,000 members in Oregon and Southwest Washington.