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EW! A Blog.

May 24, 2012 04:48 PM


Nine months after embarking on the original journey to the Mother Coffee tree [as chronicled in this week’s cover story], I had the opportunity to hike to the oldest Coffea arabica tree in the world once again. This time I would do make the approach coming in the opposite direction: a two-day journey coursing through a rocky river valley, relying only on a hastily printed map, my fuzzy memory, and a handful of helpful locals. Again I would wonder: Why all this hardship to make it to a tree?

Luckily it was the tail end of the dry season, and the un-dammed rivers were well below their flood levels. And, more thankfully, I was with a trio of gung-ho American dudes who would risk their skin for an adventure into the Kafa Biosphere Reserve. We followed animal trails along the river, ducking under vines and squeezing through dense foliage for as long as it stayed true. But then, abruptly, the trails ended, and there was only the river as a guide. We leapt from boulder to boulder, afraid of the parasites and bacterium that might afflict us if we fell into the dirty brown river. (The biggest threat was schisto, a worm parasite that is easily acquired in lakes and streams in Ethiopia.)

Oftentimes we had to boulder around sheer dropoffs, or duck under natural bridges and caves. One misstep and a rolled or broken ankle would’ve spelled disaster. No cellphone network. No passing locals. No Coast Guard helicopters rushing to our aid. If someone couldn’t walk, he’d have to be carried out of the gorge. This predicament only got worse when we exhausted all options and, at the cooling hour of 4 pm, had to hitch up our pants and wade through the waist-deep river, up and up the river valley.

Finally, at dusk, we found a suitable place to camp on a rocky sandbar on the side of the river. With moldy feet we pitched our tent, made soup over an open fire, and roasted marshmallows under a night sky with a million beads of starlight dripping on our heads. The next morning, after a harrowing traverse of waist-deep rapids and an uphill climb into foothills, we finally found the “road” that led us to the Mother Coffee tree. Once again, the tree itself was an underwhelming goal, but something occurred to me while I scooped tuna fish out of a can with glucose biscuits while sitting under the Great Tree: No destination is worth its weight in gold if it’s a cakewalk to get to. Mother Coffee was just a landmark we could slap and then turn around and trudge the rest of the way back to the main road, where a 4x4 vehicle awaited us. The route to get there was the trial and tribulation. The coffee trail was the destination.

When the four of us white boys spilled onto the main road, exhausted, hungry, soaking wet … a local elder stopped on the opposite side of the road and stared at us for a very long time. He leaned heavily on his walking stick. He contemplated our very existence. What were we doing here? Where did we come from? Where were we going? Long after the 4x4 LandCruiser spirited us away back to Bonga, the man stood silently on the side of the road, looking on, utterly baffled.  

Follow more of Chuck’s ramblings and adventures at Narrantology http://chuckadams.tumblr.com/ and read more about the Kafa Biosphere Reserve at http://www.kafa-biosphere.com/ 

May 23, 2012 01:50 PM

Looks like the Emerald is joining the tabloit format club next year -- welcome, ducklings! They're also moving to online first, twice-a-week print. Here's an example of the new format:


More at http://collegemediamatters.com/2012/05/23/oregon-daily-emerald-reinvented-for-the-digital-age-announces-revolutionary-changes/

May 22, 2012 07:48 PM

The “Indigenous People, Climate Change, and Environmental Knowledge” conference at the University of Oregon kicks off Wednesday May 23 with a keynote at 7 pm in the Many Nations Longhouse. UO History Professor Mark Carey, the co-organizer of the conference, says he sees a lack of understanding in the general public about the impacts of climate change on indigenous people. 

 “Native peoples are disproportionately affected by climate change,” says Carey, who teaches the new UO Honors College course Climate and Culture in the Americas. Larry Merculieff, deputy director of the Alaska Native Science Commission, and Daniel Wildcat, a Yuchi member and professor of American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University, speak 7 pm  May 23 at the UO’s Many Nations Longhouse and the conference continues on Thursday, May 24 with an additional keynote address at 9 am in the UO Fir Room, followed by student presentations and three student panels: Traditional Knowledge and Climate Change, Cultural Perspectives and Responses to Climate Change, and Cultural Impacts and Climate Education. The conference rounds out a year of events for The Americas in a Globalized World series, part of the UO Big Ideas initiative. The conference is free and open to the public, for more information, visit uoclimateconference.wordpress.com and for a full story, see this week’s EW. 

May 22, 2012 10:18 AM

Hey local musicians, the NBT competition is now accepting submissions! Both electronic and physical subs are welcome. For contest rules go to http://nextbigthingeugene.com/

We are looking forward to listening and loving and judging!

May 22, 2012 02:40 PM

Who ends up looking better here, the irritating guy with the gun or the EPD?

May 21, 2012 01:43 PM


A news story about how organic foods might make people act like jerks is making the internet rounds this week, with gems like this:

 "I stopped at a market to get a fruit platter for a movie night with friends but I couldn't find one so I asked the produce guy," says the 40-year-old arts administrator from Seattle. "And he was like, 'If you want fruit platters, go to Safeway. We're organic.' I finally bought a small cake and some strawberries and then at the check stand, the guy was like 'You didn't bring your own bag? I need to charge you if you didn't bring your own bag.' It was like a 'Portlandia skit.' They were so snotty and arrogant."

As it turns out, new research has determined that a judgmental attitude may just go hand in hand with exposure to organic foods. In fact, a new study published this week in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, has found that organic food may just make people act a bit like jerks.

Also big in food news this week is "meat glue." Will it be the next pink slime?

Transglutaminase (TG or TGase), better known to chefs as “Meat Glue,” has the amazing ability to bond protein-containing foods together. Raw meats bound with TG are often strong enough to be handled as if they were whole uncut muscles. TG is safe, natural, and easy to use. In the kitchen, TG is primarily used to:

• Make uniform portions that cook evenly, look good, and reduce waste

• Bind meat mixtures like sausages without casings

• Make novel meat combinations like lamb and scallops

• Produce special effects like meat noodles, meat and vegetable pastas (using gelatin as a binder), etc. Additionally, TG can thicken egg yolks, strengthen dough mixtures, thicken dairy systems, and increase yield in tofu production, among other useful applications.

Umm, increase yield in TOFU production? Heads up hippies.

May 21, 2012 09:50 AM

Volunteers: The City of Eugene's Transportation Planning department needs some folks who excel in counting to help them out:

Friends! We need volunteers for our annual bicycle counts. The bike count period is Tuesday May 22-Thursday May 24 and Tuesday May 29-Thursday May 31. If you can help out, contact Lee Shoemaker at (541)682-5471 or lee.shoemaker@ci.eugene.or.us

May 20, 2012 04:09 PM

Dogs Against Romeny is not going to let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to presidential hopeful Mitt Romeny and the time he stuck his Irish setter Seamus in a kennel and strapped it to the roof of his car.

Now they have a dog theme song. Warning the language is for mature audiences only. The dog curses in an Irish brogue.

May 18, 2012 11:08 AM

Sometimes we get info about cool events a little late for publication, but everybody loves Food For Lane County, and everybody loves a bowl sale:



FFLC’s 21st Annual EMPTY BOWLS Sale


Nearly 1,000 bowls made and donated by local artists will be available for purchase.  Bowl prices start at $10. Each bowl also comes with a gift certificate for free soup or salad from one of several local restaurants. NEW THIS YEAR --- “Meet the Artist” featuring the exquisite work of woodturner Brian Nordlof, clay demonstrations and tastings of FFLC’s new Lentil & Barley soup.


This Saturday!                                                                      May 19, 2011                                                                             11am – 3pm


Clay Space Pottery Studio                                                        222 Polk Street    (Eugene)


Because the need is greater than ever for hungry families!

We also heard a carnival to help Relay for Life, which celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer:


Children in the City of Eugene's Youth and Family Services KidCity program will hold a Family Fun Carnival to support Relay for Life 2012 on Friday, May 18, 6-8 p.m. at Sheldon Community Center, 2445 Willakenzie Rd.

Youth in KidCity's school-age programs selected Relay for Life 2012 as their community project and worked all year to support the organization that that celebrates the lives of people who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and encourages students to eat healthy and get active.

Games at the Family Fun Carnival are just 10 cents per play. Dinner for the first 350 guests is free. Swimming at Sheldon Pool is free, too!

For more information call 541-682-5312.

May 16, 2012 12:44 PM

Tomorrow, May 17, the Oregon Aviation Board will be looking to adopt new rules that will allow noisy float planes to land and take off on Waldo Lake, despite the ban on gas motors and the lake's 10 MPH speed limit. Oregon Wild is posting an online petition with talking points at www.oregonwild.org

You can also email comments today to aviation.ma8il@state.or.us and find a list of board members and their phone numbers at http://wkly.ws/185

May 15, 2012 11:08 AM

Naming a Portland beer after a Hindu goddess was apparently not appreciated by some Hindu members in India’s Parliament this week who summoned the U.S. ambassador after hearing about the special brew.


“Kali-Ma” beer was scheduled to be launched today (May 15) by Portland-based Burnside Brewing Company, but was then canceled after the Hindu protest. The company has apologized and will rename the beer and change its label. The brew is imperial wheat ale flavored with Indian spices and Scotch-Bonnet peppers.


Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest, called identifying of the beer with Goddess Kali “inappropriate,” but has thanked and commended the company for showing responsibility, respect and maturity by taking quick action and for having an understanding for the hurt feelings of Hindu community. It was a step in the right direction, he said, according to Burnside’s Facebook page.

May 14, 2012 01:50 PM

Too late to mail in your ballot but it's easy enough to drop it off at one of the white ballot boxes around town and on campus up until 8 pm Tuesday. And we hear some Democrats are getting together Tusday evening at Roaring Rapids Pizza, 4006 Franklin Blvd. to watch the election results as they come in. Springfield mayoral candidate Denise Bean has reportedly organized the event. See http://roaringrapidspizza.com/

More election watch gatherings will be at the Vet's Club on Willamette and at Rob Handy's election headquarters at 354 W. 6th Ave. in Eugene. Call 344-1161.

May 13, 2012 12:39 PM

On April 2012 Copenhagen Phil (Sjællands Symfoniorkester) surprised the passengers in the Copenhagen Metro by playing Griegs Peer Gynt. The flash mob was created in collaboration with Radio Klassisk http://radioklassisk.dk/. All music was performed and recorded in the metro.

Here's to hoping the Eugene Symphony will flash mob the EmX.