Your Weekend Reader for April 22-23

by | Apr 22, 2023 | Weekend Reader | 2 comments

First, this confidential message for Elon Musk: “Your Weekend Reader” is not government-funded media.

And now, a reminder. Thursday is Poem in Your Pocket Day, the annual day during National Poetry Month in which you are invited to pick a poem, print it out (assuming that your printer isn’t balky), put it in your pocket and look for opportunities to read it aloud or share it in other ways as you see fit. (But try to read it aloud at least once during the day — poetry so often takes on different dimensions when read aloud.) You have a few days remaining to choose your poem for the day, and here’s a site from the Academy of American Poets that has worthy suggestions. If you don’t have an opportunity to share your poem on Thursday, let me provide a couple of outlets: First, on Thursday, I’ll leave a poem on my voicemail — feel free to call 541-905-4282, listen and then, after the beep, leave me a message with your poem. And I’m thinking of writing a fresh entry on the blog on Wednesday, posting my poem and inviting readers to post their selections for the day — so, check back on Wednesday.

Today is Earth Day, and The New York Times has thoughtfully put together a collection of its environment-related stories that won’t, like, completely bum you out. One of them might be familiar to alert Weekend Reader readers: It’s a story about a rancher who made his peace with beavers, which I have mentioned before in the column. (Have you noticed what appears to be a beaver dam that has partially flooded the parking lot at Sunset Park in Corvallis? I’m no expert, but it certainly looks like a beaver dam. It’s pretty cool.) Here’s a story I hadn’t noticed before, about how seaweed suddenly is a hot global commodity. And, finally, here’s a piece in which longtime environmental activist Bill McKibben — not always known for his optimism — says he’s taken hope from the younger activists who have followed his lead. (As with all Times pieces, these are available only to subscribers, but I can “gift” you a free link to any Times story. Just leave me a message, below.)

Also for Earth Day, here’s the Pew Research Center with a roundup of what polling data suggests Americans are thinking about climate change. There’s some good news here as well — but also some bad news, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is which.

And The Associated Press’ climate desk has put together a collection of photos of a changing Earth, as seen from above.

Today also is Record Store Day, and this story from OPB commemorates this happy occasion — and includes comments from Doug DiCarolis at Corvallis’ long-running Happy Trails Records. The renewed interest in vinyl has provided an unexpected lifeline for many record stores, but even if you can’t find your old turntable in your garage (I cannot), swing by your neighborhood record store today and pick up a compact disc — you know, shiny round discs that you insert into a music player and, oh, never mind.

Speaking of entertainment, I was shocked (but, I guess, not really surprised) to learn that Netflix plans to discontinue its DVD rental business this fall. Chances that I’ll get through all 200 titles in my DVD queue just took a big hit. It probably would have helped if I hadn’t hung onto some of those DVDs for months.

New York Times columnist and short-lived candidate for Oregon governor Nicholas Kristof is due to speak at Oregon State University Monday about poverty, homelessness and the rural-urban divide, all big issues in the state. (Kristof should deliver the same speech in Eastern Oregon, and I can suggest some excellent venues in Wallowa County.) In the meantime, he continues his string of provocative opinion columns about guns in the United States with this piece, which argues that having a gun in the home does not make anyone safer. (Like all Times pieces, this one is available only to subscribers, but I can send you a “gift” link to the piece if you leave a message below.)

The Good Food Awards, a specialty-food show showcasing products made with environmental and social responsibility in mind, moved this year from San Francisco to Portland, and Michael Russell of The Oregonian/OregonLive explains how that happened in this story. (Hint: Oregon travel organizations provided financial support, as did Oregon State University. Take that, San Francisco!) And a pair of mid-valley operations brought home awards at the show, including Philomath’s Moku Chocolate, for its Goat Milk 60% Dark Milk Chocolate bar and its Nicaragua 70% Cacao Bar; and Corvallis-based Oregon’s Choice, for its Gourmet Chinook Salmon.

Speaking of food (kind of), surely you’ve noticed this news item from Belgium, where customs officials this week crushed more than 2,000 cans of Miller High Life beer after Comité Champagne, the trade organization that defends the reputation of the French sparkling wine, objected to High Life’s longtime slogan, “The Champagne of Beers.” The beer was a special shipment bound for Germany; Molson Coors Brewing Co., which owns Miller High Life, does not import the beer to Europe. Molson Coors said it respects international restrictions around the word “Champagne” and added:  “We invite our friends in Europe to the U.S. any time to toast the High Life together.” That’s a gracious response, but I had to think: Is that really how to treat a friend?

That’s it for this weekend. Get your poem ready for Thursday.

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