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MANAGING THE HOMELESS

There are more than 2,000 homeless persons living in Lane County, and I’m one of them.

Our sleeping shelters include the Eugene Mission, women and family shelters and Egan Warming Centers when it’s cold. Due to the magnanimous decisions of city and county governments, a few outdoor refugee camps have been approved for tent and car camping. A constantly moving, unauthorized Whoville — rightfully flying an upside-down American flag — is also an alternative place to sleep.

What is your stance on maintenance sex? I’d never thought about the issue until reading Amy Poehler’s new memoir. I didn’t find anything she said controversial, and was surprised when this quote blew up in the feminist blogosphere: “You have to have sex with your husband occasionally, even though you’re exhausted. Sorry.” I’d never realized many people firmly believe one should have sex with their partner only when they are in the mood! Some articles even made it sound like maintenance sex is a form of nonconsensual sex.

I hunkered in my chair, rolling behind the desk, periodically gazing down through grimy windows 17 floors above Eugene’s winter-wet streets. Derelicts and “travelers” huddled in the park, smoking, yakking, looking to score, ducking cops. Through the pebbled glass on the office door, I caught sight of a deformed shadow. The door creaked open.

Tim Burton’s Big Eyes falls firmly into the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up camp, which seems appropriate for a director best known for making all kinds of wonderful things up.

Alex V. Cipolle

 et al.

I’m a sucker for A Charlie Brown Christmas, and as a kid I managed to tune out the whole birth of Christ thing at the end and just focus on that sad little tree  becoming beautiful once everyone comes together to decorate and nurture it (and nurture Charlie Brown himself). 

The holidays, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice or don’t celebrate anything at all, bring a focus on giving — sometimes it’s the crass commercialism bemoaned by Charlie Brown, sometimes it’s gifts of love or kindness and, sometimes, it’s because you just realized the year is about to end and it’s time to donate and get a tax write-off.

Whatever your reason for giving, donating or volunteering, Give Guide is our annual offering of local nonprofits worth giving to.

When Pastor Erin A. Martin first arrived at Wesley United Methodist in 2006 to fill a part-time staff role, she says the congregation was aging and in “self-preservation mode.”

“They were more worried about keeping the lights on and filling the pews and not necessarily looking outside of themselves,” Martin says. “What I’ve tried to do in my leadership is to help them understand that they’re not dead yet; God isn’t finished with us yet, and in many ways we’re coming back to life by serving those outside of ourselves.” 

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) may sound like a sci-fi TV show, but they’re actually the name of Oregon’s new science standards for public schools, passed earlier this year. Is Eugene School District 4J ready for them? Well, not yet. Not even close.

Late in the summer of 2013, Lane County closed a protest camp in the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza leading to one of many recent debates on the nature of free speech and whether a government agency can shut it down. 

In a Dec. 15 ruling on a motion to dismiss, Municipal Court Judge Karen Stenard writes that the closure in this instance was not unconstitutional under Oregon law. She writes there were “legitimate health and safety concerns.” Activists disputed those concerns at the time of the closure and in the months afterward.

Local group Predator Defense has devoted a large part of its 25-year existence to putting an end to Wildlife Services, a federal agency that traps and poisons predators. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Wildlife Services killed more than 4 million animals in 2013. Recently Predator Defense’s documentary, Exposed: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife, which delves into the federal agency Wildlife Services, won high praise from noted primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, who writes, “I hope it will be watched by millions.”

“We’ve been pretty busy these last couple days,” says Mindy Beer, who created Pay It Forward Cottage Grove a year ago with her daughter, Jennifer Neil. As Christmas approaches and the weather has turned colder, people have turned to Pay It Forward to give and receive everything from baby formula to refurbished bicycles.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) sent Lane County a warning letter last month for low pH levels in water pollution discharged from Short Mountain Landfill. Low pH means discharges are acidic, and low pH was observed in both initial and follow-up sampling. 

Our Give Guide has expanded from less than a page in years past to the multiple pages you see this week. Eugene is home to hundreds of nonprofits doing exceptional work locally and around the world, so our list is far from complete. Why are we such a thriving center for nonprofits, much more so than other communities our size?

Where would Jesus eat? Many local restaurants will be closed Christmas Day. Among the businesses that will be open is Agate Alley Bistro & Bar at 1461 E. 19th Ave., but only from 5 to 10 pm so the staff can have Christmas morning off. If you are planning on dining out anywhere Christmas Day, we recommend calling ahead and leaving big tips. Going to the coast? We once showed up late and ravenous for a Christmas buffet at a fancy hotel near Depot Bay and found only scraps of salmon and halibut, but plenty of mystery meat, soggy broccoli and cold potatoes.

A woman with mild developmental disabilities finds herself in an abusive relationship with a man who is also the father of her 8-year-old daughter. Tired of the physical violence and verbal abuse, she files for a restraining order and has the man removed from their shared apartment in a Section-8 housing unit. 

“We had an amazing world-lit teacher who introduced us to Greek literature,” says Johanna Mitchell, who was then a high school senior in Miami. “There was a lot of mention of planets. That’s astrology!” Mitchell went to a bookstore and found Sun Signs by Linda Goodman. “I devoured that book,” she says. “I knew then that astrology was a vocation.” She spent a year at the University of Miami, but dropped out to protest the Vietnam War, and for 10 years worked at retail jobs in fabric and jewelry stores in Iowa City and Berkeley.

San Diego punk band Drug Control evokes the glory days of So Cal bands like Black Flag and Circle Jerks. “We take influences from older East and West coast bands and blend them into our style,” says vocalist Danny Lyerla. 

You know how your head always starts bobbing and your toes start tapping whenever you hear that certain song? Maybe it’s a Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis or Chuck Berry tune. Whatever it is, it makes you want to move. Daddy Rabbit falls into this category. 

In 1929, surrealist painter René Magritte scrawled under his painting of a pipe, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”), in his famously enigmatic painting The Treachery of Images. For Tree Branch Twig, a side project from Lindsey Keast of popular Eugene-based experimental group Lady Paw, there is a similar cognitive dissonance.

For people like me who are Jewish and queer

It’s especially hard at this time of the year

When gentiles assume that we all are alike

Like straight folks ignore that you’re really a dyke

 

When people around you are into a thing

That makes them rejoice, get nostalgic and sing

And all the whole time, it’s a thing that’s not yours

And YOUR thing’s a thing everybody ignores

 

Or else they just act like both things are the same

NOT THIS GREEN

Glad to see your mention in Slant last week [12/18] of the R-G’s littering — aka the viral green Emerald Valley Shopper every Wednesday — and in a town that actually “likes” green! Sure, it is a micro issue given all the major topics, but we do notice. I walk daily and I espied this hard-copy message on a south Eugene lawn in October. Someone just said NO! But does the R-G read?

Douglas Beauchamp, Eugene

 

MIRROR, MIRROR

I’m a short guy and I need advice. I don’t want a small paragraph’s worth of advice, like you gave “Below Their League” a few years ago. I need advice beyond “Women like men taller than them, get over it!” I get it. I’m short (five foot two), and most women are taller than me. And women like tall dudes just like I like slender women. Fat women may have it hard, but at least they have their fans and their own sex-object abbreviation: BBW. But where can a short guy go to feel appreciated?

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is a story in which many of us can find a hook that reaches out and sinks into our skin, whether it’s the delicately imploding marriage, the rage, the grief, the attempts to find a way out of oneself, the knowledge that you’ve lost your way or the satisfaction that comes from letting go. 

The following is an extended interview conducted for eugeneweekly.com. The condensed print edition can be found here.

 

Former KVAL reporter Dan Carlin lives in the past. That is, at least when he’s working on Hardcore History, the podcast he delves into with fanboy fervor, humanizing the past with episodes about everything from Ancient Greece (“The Macedonian Soap Opera”) to World War I (“Blueprint for Armageddon”). Hardcore History, which he records in his home studio in Eugene, has been downloaded almost 3 million times and was recently named Best Classic Podcast in iTunes’ Best of 2014 awards. Carlin squeezed in a quick phone chat with EW in-between recording the 5th installment of the “Blueprint for Armageddon” (it’s due out before the end of December) and producing his other podcast, the current events-centered Common Sense

Appeared in the 12/24/2014 print edition of Eugene Weekly. An extended interview for the web can be found here.