Your Weekend Reader for March 25-26

by | Mar 25, 2023 | Weekend Reader | 3 comments

It’s the start of spring break week — for, well, some of you. But how about if we give the Weekend Reader’s Death of Democracy Desk a spring break? What say we offer a week’s sabbatical to our Science Desk, which these days is just forwarding missives about the next pandemic? (“Have we learned nothing?” I hear the Science Desk editor mutter, over and over, to herself every time I pass by.) And how about we let the week pass without any fresh news (not that there’s any) about that Pac-12 Conference media deal?

What about if we generated an edition of the Weekend Reader with nothing but light-hearted items that grabbed my attention during the last week? Is that a good idea? Already, I can see the staffer at the Cat News Desk grinning his approval — but, unfortunately, there is no cat news to report this week. Not even Breaking Cat News.

There is, however, breaking wolverine news:

Officials have confirmed a recent wolverine sighting on the Columbia River, the first one in some 30 years. I was not surprised to learn that the previous wolverine sighting in Oregon was in Wallowa County, tucked away into the far northeastern corner of the state. After two trips to this astonishingly beautiful — but fairly isolated — piece of the state, I have to say that it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that wolverines still are tucked into a corner of Hells Canyon. I was, however, surprised to learn about the existence of the Wallowa Wolverine Project. Wolverines, by the way, also have been spotted near Springfield — at least, the Springfield where “The Simpsons” takes place.

Here’s a story from the Oregon Capital Chronicle’s website about a proposed project near Hermiston that seeks to capture carbon dioxide from the town’s natural-gas facility and store it underground. Critics argue that projects like these only prolong the use of carbon-emitting sources such as natural gas, and they have a point. But it seems to me that, right now, we should be encouraging any and all possibilities for battling climate change.

I’m starting to worry about whether I’ve sent too much personal data to The New York Times: Not a week or two after my spouse and I were laughing about the new moans and groans that we hear ourselves utter as we age, here’s the Times, weighing in with a new story about what’s behind the middle-aged groan. (Like all Times stories mentioned in the Weekend Reader, this story is available to subscribers only, but I can send you a free link to the story if you send me your email address. Try not to groan as you type on your keyboard.)

Speaking of middle age, if you’re anything like me, you probably said something like this about your footwear a few years ago: “To hell with fashion. If these shoes aren’t comfortable, I’m not wearing them.” Now there’s great news from The Atlantic: Comfortable shoes suddenly are the height of fashion. Of course, it doesn’t matter to most of us whether they’re fashionable or not — once they go out of style, it’s not like we’re going to stop wearing comfortable shoes. But enjoy this moment while it lasts.

Fifty-one years today, some 14,000 people shoehorned themselves into Portland’s Memorial Coliseum for what almost certainly is the most-attended high school athletic event in Oregon history: a state basketball championship game between Jefferson High School in Portland and Baker High School in Eastern Oregon’s Baker City. It was the first high school championship game to pit all an-white team (the Baker City squad) against an all-Black team. Writer Andrew Kaza has just finished a book about the game, “High Contrast: A Story of Basketball, Race and Politics in Oregon 1972.” OPB’s Paul Marshall sat down with Kaza for a fascinating interview about the book.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” is in theaters now, the fourth installment of the absurdly entertaining (but very violent) series about a lone hitman (Keanu Reeves, perfectly cast) who’s pulled back into a secretive society of elite assassins after goons murder his puppy. (That’s not really a spoiler: It happens near the beginning of the first movie. ) To mark the release of “Chapter 4,” The New York Times set out to answer this question: How come such a taciturn lone wolf like John Wick has so many friends? There’s not really a good answer to the question other than it allows the filmmakers to stuff the series with terrific character actors like Ian McShane and the late lamented Lance Reddick.

The HBO series “Succession,” about the internal power struggles within an influential media family, begins its fourth and final season Sunday night. This story from Vanity Fair helps sketch out the connections between the show’s fictional characters and their real-life inspirations.

The Atlantic interviewed Rick Steves, the Washington-based travel writer, about what travelers to Europe can expect this summer. Here’s a quick summary: Expect big crowds, plan ahead (and create some Plan Bs) and don’t check your bags. The good news, Steves said, is that the sorts of “mom-and-pop” spots he champions in his travel guides have mostly survived the pandemic. (Stories from The Atlantic generally are available only to subscribers.)

Finally this weekend, here’s a piece by The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson about the internet’s addiction to bad news. I have some theories about this topic myself, but I’m not going into any detail about it in this (mostly) good news edition of the Weekend Reader. Maybe next week, when we’re facing the end of spring break — and all of us are grouchy about returning to work.

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3 Comments

  1. Constance Katasse

    What happened to the 365 boxes?

    Reply
    • Mike McInally

      “365 Boxes” is on hiatus as I fully recover from the hernia operation and work to wrap up some freelance assignments — but it will return soon.

      Reply
      • Constance Katasse

        Ah, yes, I remember now. Best wishes for the timely and trouble-free healing. Look forward to seeing you in person in the future.

        Reply

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