Oregon Ducks Football Players Get Brand New iPads


Oregon Ducks Football got a special treat from the University of Oregon. No, I don’t mean the brand new Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. I’m talking, of course, about brand new iPads. The entire football team has been given iPads by the athletic department. And many of the Oregon Ducks football players took to social media to show off their hot new toys.

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Of course, getting something like this isn’t out of the ordinary. The players on the team are often decked out in the latest tech devices. Whether it be MacBooks or Dre Beats, the team makes sure its players are caught up with the latest technology.

Who knows, maybe this device is just what they need to watch game tape and be on an entirely new level of preparation.

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Where Did The Week Go…


— Ryan Beltram, EDN

It’s been four years since the Ducks last played in the NCAA Tournament. That doesn’t seem like a long time, but consider that they made the big dance five times in the ’00s, or half the number of times they’ve appeared in the tournament in their 73 year history. So the last decade was a pretty good run for the Ducks including two trips to the Elite Eight.

Will the Ducks be celebrating a spot in the big dance?

Following a few down years, the end of the Kent era and the beginning of the Altman era, things appeared to be turned around as the Ducks went into the PAC-12 Tournament hot. As the three seed, it should have been a victory for the Ducks against Colorado following one win and one (should have won but didn’t because of the refs).

But the Ducks shot the ball poorly, particularly from its big three in Simm, Joseph and Singler, and lost in the final seconds. Now they have to wait for Sunday to see if they make the tournament. Officially a Bubble team, the Ducks got a little help with Northwestern losing early in their conference tournament but it doesn’t look good. An argument can be made that Washington, the number one seed in the Pac-12, doesn’t deserve to make the tournament so how likely are the Ducks chances?

At least there’s a consolation prize if they don’t make it this year. They have to defend their NIT championship. Forget the Big Dance, let’s repeat as the best of the not quite good enoughs.

Apple Unveils iPad 3

On Wednesday, Apple unveiled details for the iPad 3 which will be available March 16. Featuring the highest resolution retina display, an improved rear-facing camera and 4G LTE connectivity, Apple’s latest tablet looks like it will be the best mobile device on the market.

People love their iPads

The speed with which new technology moves is lighting quick. Just a few years ago , nobody had ever heard of a tablet. Laptops were getting smaller and thinner and an emphasis on mobile devices was becoming more popular. Now Apple is about to introduce its third iteration of their tablet while many more companies release their own variations to compete.

But what’s next? What more is there to think of? The possibilities can’t be endless can they? Not if Apple has anything to say about it. They probably have rooms where people a lot smarter than me sit around thinking stuff up.

The tech giant just announced plans to invest more than $300 million in a new campus in Texas. Located in Austin, the facility will create more than 3,600 new jobs. I guess when you have more money than the government, you can do just about anything.

Netflix Instant Pick: Gonzo

Hunter S. Thompson was an unusual man, much less an unusual journalist. In Gonzo, Thompson’s never dull life is chronicled from the mid 60s when he wrote his first book, Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Ganges, to his final days in the mid 2000s at his home in Colorado.

A deeply unstable man, Thompson’s popularity has grown into cult status over the years. His unusual perspective and methods to writing have become the stuff of legend and Gonzo balances the legend of Thompson with the real story.

An unconventional journalist

Credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in a story to such a degree that they become key figures in their stories, Thompson never seemed to mind breaking the objective rule of a journalist and share his own opinions in a particular story.

The film goes in-depth into the period when Thompson wrote both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trial ’72. Using actual video Thompson shot, as well as his own voice recordings and some dramatizations mixed in, Gonzo is able to coherently tell the writer’s story while also appearing somewhat fractured and nonlinear.

Narrated by Johnny Depp and featuring interviews with friends and colleagues, Gonzo is a celebration, examination and exploration of the life of Hunter S. Thompson. The film is never boring considering its two-hour running time and like Thompson himself, the film does not shy away from presenting all the facts about its main character both good and bad.

The film is funny, entertaining and sad, but viewers are strongly encouraged to check out this unconventional documentary about an unconventional man.

The UO Continues its Month-Long Celebration of Nixon in China

This year marks the 40-year anniversary of the 1972 trip to China by President Richard Nixon and national security advisor Henry Kissinger.

The trip, which produced the Shanghai Communique, signed by Nixon and Premier Zhou Enlai, is known in history as “the week that changed the world.” The meeting not only realigned global power relations, but it also created a line of communication between the U.S. and China.

To celebrate this historic event, the UO has created a series of events including, lectures, panels and an exhibition at the University in conjunction with a Eugene Opera production of Nixon in China.

This past Thursday, Peter Sellars, the theater director who originally conceived the Nixon in China opera and directed a production at the Metropolitan Opera in New York this year, talked about not only the opera, but the relevance of President Nixon’s historic trip to China in 1972 and why it spawned an on-stage interpretation.

The opera will be next week but in the mean time, people can visit the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art to see the exhibit: Nixon in China, Scenes from History and Stage which features archival photographs and video footage of China taken by journalists and diplomats in the Nixon entourage.

Is there still a place for local bookstores?


Is there still a place for local bookstores?

– Ryan Beltram, EDN

In Fahrenhiet 451, Ray Bradbury wrote a story about a  frightening vision of the future where firemen don’t put out fires–they start them in order to burn books.  Bradbury’s society in the book believed that the appearance of happiness is the highest goal and that books give us knowledge and ideas that ultimately will influence us negatively. But in our own future, will we have any books to burn at all?

The nations second-biggest book retailer, Borders, filed for  bankruptcy in February and has already begun  closing 30% of its more than 600 stores.  The  Waldenbooks store at Valley River Center will also be closed soon, but what about local  bookstores?  The number of independent bookstores  has been declining for some time, from about 6,000 in the early 1990s to about 2,200 today, according to the American Booksellers Association.

“Are we an endangered species? Probably.” said Peter Ogura, owner of Black Sun Books.  “The most challenging times have been the last couple of years because of declining sales.  There are so many ways people can buy books now and I have not been particularly good at doing everything that I can to sell books online.” Despite being open for nearly 20 years, Ogura can understand the appeal of staying home to shop for books.

“It’s pretty simple but it takes away from  options in your community for sure.  If paying the least amount of money is your goal then you can always shop Amazon or Walmart. In the end it’s going to have an impact on local businesses and I’m not sure we will survive.”

In a digital world where everything is right at our fingertips whenever we want, the idea of leaving our home computer and driving to a store is becoming less attractive.  The music business was the first to feel the affect.

In 2009, the Virgin Megastore in Manhattan’s Times Square, said to be the largest record store in the world, closed its doors.  Last year, Portland’s Sheet Music Service store closed after almost 100 years in business. The end of music and record stores were due in large part to consumer’s ability to buy music from sites like Napster or iTunes and then download their music onto their computers and then onto small, portable MP3 players.  No need for CDs, tapes or records anymore.

Next to go were video stores.  Blockbuster, the leading video-rental chain filed for bankruptcy in September of 2010 due to debt and their inability to compete against Netflix, which mails movies to subscribers and also provides digital streaming and Redbox, which operates movie-rental kiosks at a cheaper price.

The demise of Borders has been a result of crushing debt and  their inability to successfully navigate rapid changes in behavior in  consumer’s spending habits.  Those new spending habits include the purchase of electronic readers or e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle or the Nook which is made by Border’s competitor, Barnes & Noble.  According to a report from the  Association of American Publishers, e-book sales in the month  of March increased by 145.7% from January of 2010. Compare that to hardcover books which saw an increase of only 6% from  last year.  Paperback books decreased in sales by nearly 8% in the same time span.  E-book sales have increased annually and significantly in all nine years that the AAP have been tracking the category.  But there is still an admiration and passion for books, particularly in local bookstores.

Lauren Kessler, Director of the Literary Nonfiction graduate program at the University of Oregon, thinks the appeal of local bookstores is the other things they offer. “There’s always going to be a hardcore group of people, and I’m one of them, who love bookstores and libraries.  The way artists love museums.  If bookstores want to succeed they have to give people reasons to come to them other than, we have a bunch of books and you should buy them. I do a lot of touring for my books and I go into bookstores all over the country and the ones that are vibrant today are the ones that have events.  There is a reason for people to go there.  They have author events, stuff for kids and community events related to books.”  Kessler, who has written six books herself, also believes that a book holds more value than any form of digital content.

“Books are an artifact.  The art that is done for book covers, the feel of the paper or the type style.  All of those things are like a piece of art.  Either you think of books as little works of art or you think of them as vehicles of information or entertainment. I have three children and none of them have e-readers and they’re not interested in them because they spend so much time on a computer anyway so it’s like a relief not to have a screen in front of them.”

In December of last year, Google eBooks launched its long-awaited electronic bookstore.  It immediately became the largest e-book provider in the world, according to Publishers Weekly, with almost 3 million books, including more than 2 million titles available for free.  The program offers options for independent booksellers to sell Google’s books on their websites without having to invest in expensive software platforms. This may spell good news for local bookstores trying to embrace the digital age.

But others in the independent book world like things the way they are.

“Why would anyone pick up a guitar or  a drum again when they can create a  whole orchestra digitally,” said Scott  Landfield, owner of Tsunami Books. “Why would anyone do anything when they can sit in front of a screen and appear to be doing something.  I have  people come in here and they want to  tell us their whole life story because this is a safe environment.  We’ve got to  have that interaction with people particularly if we’ve been behind a computer all day.”

Landfield is proud to say that despite some ups and downs, his business has been able to survive because of his loyal customers.

“We started with no money.  Our challenges have never ended.  We’re the only business that I know of that started 15 years ago with no money and is still a business.  I have nothing if nobody comes in here.  There’s a lot of wise people in the book industry but no one really knows in 5 years how this business is going to change.  The month Borders came to town my partner and I planned and made a move to advertise and our business took a 50% jump.  That was a cataclysmic move, the ultimate bookstore coming to town.  You don’t try to battle with them, you find your own niche and go for it.  People want to keep us open because it’s a traditional thing.  New is not always better.”

The independent book scene isn’t doom and gloom everywhere though.  San Francisco is a place where independent bookstores are not only surviving, but thriving thanks to a city of readers who view books not only as pleasure, but as a cause.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, San Francisco is the only city in the country that ranks in the top three annually in consumption of both books and alcohol. It remains to be seen what will happen here in Eugene.

Lauren Kessler is optimistic.  “I still think bookstores will exist.  You go to browse, to get ideas.  One of my friends is totally into vinyl and there has been this whole resurgence of vinyl lovers.  Why would there be?  Albums are big, they scratch, you have to put them some place and go to a store to buy them and he appreciates them as artifacts and I think the same goes for books.”

Tsunami Books
2585 Willamette St
Eugene, OR 97405
(541) 345-8986


Black Sun Books
2467 Hilyard St
Eugene, OR 97405
(541) 484-3777