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EW! A Blog.

March 13, 2008 03:55 PM

Three things to brighten a certain kind of person's Thursday:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to be made into two movies. OK, yes, this is yesterday's news. But it's still fantastic news; if only they'd taken that path around, say, the last film (Order of the Phoenix). Lots of talk about how it serves the story and not the bottom line is floating about, which raises my bullshit flags a little bit, but frankly, I don't care; I just want the movie(s) not to suck.

2. The possibility of the sequels to The Golden Compass getting made is ... still a possibility. As Variety reports, the film "is on course to make box office history as the first film to gross $300 million in foreign while failing to reach $100 million in North America." The film's producer, Deborah Forte, "won't give up the fight," and is quoted as saying, "I will make 'The Subtle Knife' and 'The Amber Spyglass.'"

As disappointed as I was in Compass, I still hope the sequels get made. And not just because it's more exposure for the fantastic Philip Pullman.

3. From USA Today comes this story: "Rapier Wit: Western Martial Arts tradition enjoys a renaissance." Why is it relevant locally? Because Northwest Academy of Arms' Maestro Sean Hayes is quoted in the story. (I admit to thinking this is extra cool because I take Maestro Hayes' fencing class, as does my colleague Chuck Adams.)

And with that, I have just one thing left to say for the day: Go Ducks!

March 8, 2008 03:10 PM

Eastside alternative elementary parents who have strongly opposed a merger with the poorer and browner Harris neighborhood elementary have verbally "beat up" their own teachers to the point where half may no longer want to work at the school, according to 4J Superintendent George Russell.

"I worry now how Eastside can be Eastside if half or more of the teachers are deciding they don't want to be Eastside," Russell said at a school board meeting today, March 8.

"It's not right for the teachers to get beat up by parents," Russell said of the Eastside teachers who have supported talking with Harris teachers about a merger or some other collaborative hybrid. Harris is 67 percent free and reduced lunch (FRL) and 25 percent Latino while Eastside is 5 percent FRL and 1 percent Latino.

Russell said given the opposition of Eastside parents to a merger with Harris, he may want to close both schools. "Probably the way I feel now, I'd make a recommendation to close them both."

Several school board members shared Russell's dismay at the parents at Eastside, one of the whitest and wealthiest schools in the entire state. "I was disheartened by what I heard from the parents of Eastside," said board member Alicia Hays. "I don't think Eastside is viable because I don't think they are going to be able to diversify."

"To the extent there is an exodus of teachers, that suggests to me a viability question," said board member Craig Smith. The merger/collaboration offered Eastside parents the opportunity to show their "good faith" commitment to diversify, Smith said. "What we're hearing is they don't want to do that."

Russell said that some Eastside and Harris teachers are talking about another meeting on Tuesday to further discuss mixing the two schools. Some board members said they would like Russell to meet with the teachers to see if the merger still has any chance of success.

Board member Yvette Webber-Davis said, "I think there is at least some sentiment on the board for trying to give Eastside and Harris a chance."

March 8, 2008 01:52 PM

Just how far are some people willing to go to keep driving their SUVs?
Check out this (hopefully tongue in cheek) video of techo fixes for global warming.

Wacky? The New York Times reported last year that most scientists and governmnt agencies used to think so,
"But now, in a major reversal, some of the world's most prominent scientists say the proposals deserve a serious look because of growing concerns about global warming."

Hmmm. Sounds like another video. What was it called? Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying about SUVs and Love the Bomb:

March 6, 2008 11:31 AM

Volunteers in Portland have been chalking the names of U.S. and coalition soldiers killed in the Iraq war on sidewalks across the city. Artist Nancy Hiss began the project last May and has drawn more than 4,000 names with the help of passers by. She has about 300 names to go.

A list of civilians would require a lot more volunteers and sidewalks. Iraqbodycount.org estmates that the U.S. invasion has resulted in more than 80,000 civilians killed.

If anyone wants try try this in Eugene, you'd need to write names all the way down one side of Willamette Street from downtown to 29th Street and then back down the other side, assuming about four feet per name. Include the civilian deaths, and you'd need to chalk names from Eugene to Salem.

March 4, 2008 01:11 AM

Oh, lord. I wrote a whole blog. And then I hit preview. And then I forgot to post. I'm too tired. In short:

1. Ninkasi now comes in bottles! And the Mercury blogged it first. Good for them. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking some Believer while watching the Ducks squeak past OSU on Sunday. And I wondered aloud whether they might be among the first breweries to include their MySpace page on their labels...

2. Last week, Suzi sent me a link to a story in The New York Times about a memoir by a writer who lives in Eugene. This was interesting, but annoying, because while I'd gotten the book, neither the book flap nor the press materials had mentioned this fact. Well, as it turns out, it was sort of irrelevant, because "none of it is true":

Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.

All I can do here is sigh.

3. Someone will doubtless think I'm gloating, but I seriously think it's awesome that my counterpart (and friend) over at the R-G wound up in the New Yorker's Correction of the Week. I love it even more because when I read the press release in question, I saw it the same way. As Randy Stapilus notes in his quote from the magazine,

< blockquote >An item about a Thursday event at Diablo’s featuring four women DJs on Page 8 of Friday’s edition incorrectly identified DJ KaatScratch as transgendered. She describes herself musically as ‘transgenred.’”

Three cheers to the most entertaining misreads being noticed by the whole world out there.

Now? Sleep.

February 29, 2008 12:35 PM

Looks like the UO has become the national poster child for vulgar sports fans. A "Over the Top" Feb. 26 article in Sports Illustrated leads with the example of the UO:

"Kevin Love knew it would be bad. But not this bad. Sure, he'd chosen UCLA over Oregon after being the consensus national player of the year as a senior at Lake Oswego (Ore.) High -- but what happened to his home state's rep for peace, love and understanding? On Jan. 23, the day before the ­Bruins-Ducks showdown in Eugene, Love found more than 30 voice-mail messages on his cellphone when UCLA stopped for a layover in San Francisco. He listened to the first one: If you guys win, we'll come to your house and kill your family. He played another: We'll find your hotel room and blow your f------ head off with a shotgun. He ­didn't bother to check the rest. 'I mean, these were death threats,' Love says."

Death threats are usually serious crimes. Maybe the authorities should take some of the zeal they use to track down campus music pirates and check some phone company records?

February 27, 2008 01:37 PM

Is it better for global warming to read a newspaper online or in the dead tree edition?

Considering the electricity required to power computers on both ends of the internet, a Swedish study says it may be about the same.

"It should be noted that with a reading time of 30 minutes per day the environmental impact of the web based newspaper was often in the same range as the printed newspaper environmental impact, sometimes higher sometimes lower. The same result was presented by Hischier and Reichart (2001) in their comparison between printed newspaper, television and internet. Hischier and Reichart showed that using the Internet for around 25 minutes or watching the television for roughly 1.5 hours gave environmental impact of similar magnitude as a printed newspaper."

The 2007 report from the Centre for Sustainable Communications at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm does say that mass use of more energy efficient readers now in development could change the environmental equation in favor of the internet.

The Swedish report could be biased by the nation's large pulp industry. Of course newspapers also have a strong bias. They haven't figured out how to make much money on the internet and without the dead tree editions, they'd go bankrupt. That could save a lot of trees falling in the forest. But, then again, if no one was around to report on it, who would hear about it?

February 26, 2008 10:25 AM

Everyone on the internet thinks everyone else on the internet has already seen these videos. HOWEVER, it's possible there are still people who are not aware that Sarah Silverman is f*cking (please note: only in this sort of instance will I ever fake swear) Matt Damon, and Jimmy Kimmel, well, you'll just have to see what he's been getting up to in return.

It starts with this:

Poor Jimmy! Also, I began to heart Matt Damon after I was done wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. The boy is funny! Who knew?

But Jimmy, of course, is not to be outdone. It took a little while for him to find the best way to get back at both Sarah ... and Matt:

This is what the internets is for.

* This is a joke. Clearly the best thing Affleck and Damon have done since Good Will Hunting is Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. **

** This is also a joke.

February 25, 2008 05:48 PM

Full City on 13th and Pearl, circa 4 pm Monday, February 25. You: Curly-haired fellow with a Mac laptop, a gold fanny pack and a scowl. Us: One arts editor seeking an intern and one college student seeking an internship, both chatting incessantly and over-caffeinatedly about all manner of faintly internship-related things. What that embarrassed smile I directed at you on the way out meant: Sorry, dude! I could see your scowls but she couldn't. We both felt really bad when you moved to get away from us.

xo,
The Noisemakers

February 22, 2008 04:20 PM

Hmmm, old Republican white guy runs for President and turns out very horny. If this sounds familiar to you, down boy, you're not the only one:

February 19, 2008 10:18 PM

District Attorney Doug Harcleroad has dismissed Eugene Police Sergeant Ron Swanson’s criminal allegation against independent Police Auditor Cristina Beamud.

"That’s good news," said Mayor Kitty Piercy, responding to a letter from Harcleroad at tonight’s City Council meeting. "He has concluded there is no evidence of any violation."

February 15, 2008 10:43 AM

Of course the best music news I've heard in some time comes with a catch: the weekend Cat Power plays the McDonald (April 12) is the same weekend I'm supposed to be Seattle for the EMP Pop Conference. Damn! Maybe I'll just start driving south at about 3 pm on Saturday ...

February 15, 2008 06:02 PM

Eugene Police Auditor Cristina Beamud announced today that a Eugene police sergeant had accused her of the crime of official misconduct, that the police chief had referred the matter to the district attorney and that the district attorney was investigating.

At a press conference, Beamud issued a statement: "On February 4 a police sergeant submitted a memorandum on city letterhead accusing me of official misconduct. This memorandum was directed to the City Council. The City Council supervises me and I account to them. However, the correspondence was also directed to the Chief of Police. The Chief directed the allegations to the District Attorney and the District Attorney is investigating the matter."

Beamud said she did "not want to discuss the factual details underlying these allegations for fear of compromising or influencing the investigation."

Beamud’s statement continues:

"I would like the public to know at this time that I fully intend to cooperate with this investigation. I deeply believe that public officials must fully account for their actions and I am confident that the process and the investigation will not reveal any wrongdoing on my part. I do not want this to obstruct the important work that I have to perform and I am concerned that these allegations may serve to disguise the bigger issue — that is the establishment of a viable, transparent system of police oversight."

Mayor Kitty Piercy said at the press conference:

"I applaud the auditor’s commitment to transparency and accountability, and her absolute confidence that she can go through this, whatever process the DA puts in place, and come out the other side with clear evidence that she’s doing a good job. In my case, I’ve seen the accusations and there’s not enough specifics in them to indicate to me in any way that any wrong-doing has been done."

February 13, 2008 11:20 PM

The 4J School Board gave little indication tonight, Feb. 13, that they would alter the recommendation of Superintendent George Russell to force the poor, largely Latino children out of a neighborhood elementary school in South Eugene to give the building to whiter, and wealthier alternative school children.

Russell recommended last week to close Harris neighborhood elementary and give its building to the Eastside and Charlemagne alternative schools. Harris is 67 percent free and reduced lunch while Eastside is 5 percent and the Charlemagne French Immersion school is 10 percent. Harris is 25 percent Latino while Eastside and Charlemagne are both 1 percent Latino.

Kristen Larson, a parent of three Harris children, told the board that the decision to close Harris for the alternative schools was "basic discrimination against the lower income families." Larsen said, "if you support these recommendations, shame on you."

But not a single board member gave clear indication that they did not.

School Board Member Charles Martinez did question how it was decided that the alternative schools would have an "immunization from closure" during the district's "Schools of the Future" process to consolidate schools due to declining enrollment and supposedly reduce inequities. "I don't think that's consistent with board direction."

Russell admitted that school board minutes clearly show that closing an alternative school should be "open for consideration."

So why didn't Russell recommend closing an alternative schools to boost enrollment at neighborhood schools?

Russell said if the board directed him to close the alternative schools, "I'm happy to do that." But he said it was his impression that the board had eliminated that option. "I felt that was not really on the table in light of the decisions that had been made previously."

An Eastside parent testified to the board reading a statement from her school's parent group thanking the superintendent for giving the Harris building to them. "Our community appreciates and supports George Russell's recommendation."

In other news, Russell said that unlike every other school, Charlemagne students would be immune from his recommendation to limit transfers to Roosevelt Middle School and South Eugene High School. The French immersion students would be given automatic places at the two popular schools even if they did not reside in the appropriate school boundary.