Your Weekend Reader for April 29-30

by | Apr 29, 2023 | Weekend Reader | 0 comments

It’s the last weekend of April — and Saturday marks the last day of this recent (and welcome) stretch of sunny days, the National Weather Service tells us: High temperatures are expected to dip back into the 60s starting Sunday, with mostly cloudy skies and a chance of rain. But it’s been nice to see the sun, right?

If the warmer weather has triggered thoughts of starting your vegetable garden, but you’re too lazy to actually follow through and plant the damn thing, there’s an alternative: You could subscribe to the weekly Community Supported Agriculture box curated for your pleasure by the folks at Gathering Together Farm in Philomath. From mid-June to the end of October, the farm will provide you with a weekly box of organic vegetables, all fresh and all farm-grown. Diane and I have subscribed for years — and this year, we’re planning to share the bounty with a neighbor. (The process we are creating to see who gets first dibs on which box will rival the NFL draft.) It’s not too late to sign up for a CSA box from Gathering Together: A source tells me that the farm still has nearly 100 shares available in this year’s CSA program. If you’re inspired to sign up for the program after reading this, the source tells me that the farm offers a referral award: a bottle of wine, so feel free to drop my name. But I’m not greedy: I’ll share the wine.

Faithful Weekend Reader readers might remember that last weekend’s edition mentioned that beaver dam in Sunset Park, just west of the Starker Arts Park, that has flooded a good portion of the parking lot. So I was pleased this week to see this long story by Alex Powers at the Gazette-Times about the structure, and the ongoing battle between the beavers and city employees who are trying to deal with it. This being Corvallis, most of the people watching this play out are betting on the beavers.

Speaking of the Gazette-Times: Lee Enterprises, which owns the G-T and the Democrat-Herald in Albany, reportedly plans to reduce the number of days it prints most of its newspapers to three times a week. Sources told The Daily Montanan (the States Newsroom outlet in Montana) that Lee is planning to reduce its publication schedule at all but 20 of its largest publications. I was unable to track down recent circulation numbers for Lee, but I can assure you that the G-T and D-H are not among Lee’s 20 largest publications. The decision to cut publication days has been an industry trend, and Lee has been talking about it for years, but if the Daily Montanan report is accurate, I think it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the G-T and D-H will become three-days-a-week publications — most likely Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Those of you who still subscribe to the print edition may ask if the company will also trim back its subscription prices, and I have a guess about that — and I suspect you do too.

Speaking of newsrooms, here’s Maureen Dowd of The New York Times writing what amounts to a eulogy for newsrooms — not newspapers, you understand, but the newsrooms where reporters, editors, photographers and the like convened to gather news and produce each day’s edition. The onset of remote work emptied out newsrooms, and the camaraderie of those places — the gallows humor, the occasional outburst from a reporter, the vibrant noise — cannot be duplicated over Zoom. (Like all Times stories, this one resides behind a paywall, but I can send “gift” links to it if you’re interested. Just send me an email or drop a note in the comments below.)

It’s been a rough stretch lately for Portland (Oregon), so who can blame the city for indulging in a little diversion? Portland (Oregon) got a chance to swing back at Portland (Maine) when the latter tried to poke fun at its Oregon-based counterpart with a banner on a light pole in town that read: “We were here first Oregon. You’re not even a port.” Lizzy Acker at The Oregonian/OregonLive had fun with this story, explaining not just the historical inaccuracy of the banner but elaborating how rivers can have ports, too.

The Oregon Capital Chronicle has an up-to-date story about revelations that Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan accepted a side job consulting for a cannabis company at about the same time that her agency was working on an audit about state regulation of the industry. Ben Botkin of the Capital Chronicle says that nobody is accusing Fagan of breaking any laws, but Gov. Tina Kotek has called for an ethics investigation and Republican lawmakers are calling for her resignation. Certainly, the timing hasn’t been great for Fagan: Willamette Week first reported about her side gig on Thursday, and the audit was released on Friday.

The recent Weekend Reader item about that leak in the seafloor near the Cascadia subduction zone might have alarmed some readers into thinking that the Big One — the somewhat overdue megathrust earthquake that would emanate from the fault — was imminent. And it might be, but not because the leak, named Pythia’s Oasis, has suddenly bubbled into life. This new story from The Oregonian/OregonLive summarizes what scientists know and includes the reassuring news that the leak has been spewing liquid at the same high rate for hundreds of years.

Here’s Alexis C. Madrigal in The Atlantic, wondering why nobody answers their phone anymore. You know the answer, of course, and so does Madrigal, but she goes on to write a (sort of) lament for the end of telephone culture. And you will learn bits of telephone trivia, such as this priceless tidbit: Alexander Graham Bell thought people should answer the phone by saying “Ahoy-hoy!” (Stories from The Atlantic are available to subscribers only.)

I was cheered this week by the release of Jessie Ware’s new album, “That! Feels Good!”, which may be a better album than even her outstanding dance album “What’s Your Pleasure?”, which resuscitated the career of the British singer-songwriter in a spectacularly unexpected way. (Early reviews of “That! Feels Good!”, like this one in Pitchfork, and this one in The Guardian, have been strong.) The lead single, “Pearls,” also features this lyrical line, which is so gloriously and over-the-top dumb that it nearly achieves a Zen-like purity: “I know you wanna go to the moon / But if you don’t go, you’ll never get there.” Now, those are words to live by. (If you follow this link to a Pitchfork feature about Ware, be forewarned: Ware is famously and gloriously outspoken.)

That’s it for this weekend. I’ll be back next weekend to say “Ahoy-hoy!” to you with a new edition of the Weekend Reader.

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