Hey, it’s the weekend right after Black Friday! Exhausted from the Thanksgiving meal? From frenzied shopping? If not … why not? What kind of American are you? Only about five weeks remain in this holiday season! Better get cracking!
But if you really need a respite, here are some selected readings to help kill an hour or two.
As I write this, we’re about 30 minutes away from the kickoff in the big Oregon State-Oregon football tilt, the Game Formerly Known as the Civil War. The game currently lacks an official name, but John Canzano, the ace Oregonian/OregonLive sports columnist, has a suggestion: Sell the naming rights to a sponsor — and split the proceeds with the players on both sides. I like it.
Speaking of the Platypus Bowl: Let’s say it gets to halftime and you suddenly get an urge to find out who won the 1921 edition of the game. The Oregonian has you covered, with this look at all 124 games in the series thus far. As for 1921: 0-0, but the game was affected by a torrential rainstorm that caused flooding throughout the Willamette Valley. (The series has featured 10 ties, six of them scoreless, including a 1931 epic that featured 37(!) punts.)
That’s enough football. Remember when Corvallis got all worked up about Benton County’s plans to build a roundabout at the intersection of 53rd Street and Southwest West Hills Road? It eventually was built, and civilization did not collapse (at least not then). Now, I hear that plans are in the works to put in another roundabout, at the intersection of 53rd and Country Club Drive — even closer to my home! But it’s a good decision — that can be a dangerous intersection. Now, The New York Times is reporting that evidence increasingly suggests that roundabouts are effective at reducing carbon emissions from automobiles. Reporter Cara Buckley recently spent time in the U.S. city that has 140 roundabouts — and, no, it’s not Bend. It’s Carmel, Indiana.
Every so often, Gazette-Times reporter James Day gets an urge to track down something odd; this is, after all, the reporter who created the G-T’s “Couch Patrol,” in which he and a photographer would cruise the streets of Corvallis looking for abandoned furniture. This week, Jim got a hankering to see if he could track down a working phone booth in the mid-valley. It’s a fun read. And don’t forget the followup story, in which an Alert Reader called Day’s attention to a working phone booth.
Will the Omicron variant ruin our holidays, just like Delta ruined the summer? Here’s Katherine Wu of The Atlantic, rounding up everything we know thus far about it. It’s not much, so far. It’s not encouraging that Omicron sounds like the evil corporation in a science fiction movie. In the meantime, it doesn’t seem like it would be a bad idea to get that booster shot.
Remember when you could say that Justin Timberlake was the likely heir to Michael Jackson’s “King of Pop” throne — and no one would laugh? What happened to pop music’s golden boy? Maria Sherman of Slate has a penetrating analysis of how JT’s — in this case, kids, that stands for Justin Timberlake, not James Taylor — career went astray. It’s not a pretty picture.
Here’s a piece that ran in The New York Times before Thanksgiving, but it’s still relevant, even after our national day of gratitude: Tish Harrison Warren, an Anglican priest, makes a good case for exercising your thankfulness muscles even after the turkey is gone — and she offers five ways to keep in practice.
Need an idea for something to do this weekend? Then you need to click here to take a gander at my curated (and frequently updated) list of local arts-and-entertainment events.
That’s it for this weekend — after all, the (unnamed) Big Game is just about to start — and then, it’s time to get back to putting those lights on the house. The holidays mean there’s no rest for the weary. See you next weekend.