November 2015, The Whiteaker Bounce, No, A Study Did NOT Find That Your Cat Wants To Kill You,

The Whiteaker Bounce

One sunny afternoon I was sitting at the famous New Day Bakery in Eugene's Whiteaker neighborhood thinking of things to write about for the Beard Chewer. As I was leaving I noticed a flyer for a new book called the Whiteaker Bounce. I recognized the author's name from the Computer Guru database; Bernard Yandel. This is what the flyer said: A unique neighborhood in the city of Eugene, Oregon, whose homeless population has swelled, is confronted with the slow-rolling tide of gentrification. A rapidly approaching city council vote on future development portends tragedy for the working poor residents. A state-owned forest, containing large swaths of old-growth Douglas Fir—and possibly an endangered species—is threatened with clear-cut logging. At the Same Day Café, faced with these looming changes, a kaleidoscope of quirky characters, some residing in, some working in, and some barely surviving in the Whiteaker neighborhood, gather to plan responses that are both I was hooked by the desription so a few days later I met with Yandel. "I see what gentrification does," says Yandel, a former real-estate appraisor who originally started the book to be about gentrification. "It became more about the homelessness issue....I let the book come to me." It was perfect timing because I was going on a trip and The Whiteaker Bounce kept me very entertained on a few long flights. I think any Eugenian would appreciate the local references and could probably put at least a few faces to the characters in the book. At 258 pages it's a smooth paperback read that you can order on Amazon and it's also available for Kindle. Pick yourself up a copy and get ready to smile. - Keith Fox>

Do Not Think Good, Do Not Think Not-Good

When he became emancipated the sixth patriarch received from the fifth patriarch the bowl and robe given from the Buddha to his successors, generation after generation. A monk named E-myo out of envy pursued the patriarch to take this great treasure away from him. The sixth patriarch placed the bowl and robe on a stone in the road and told E-myo: "These objects just symbolize the faith. There is no use fighting over them. If you desire to take them, take them now." When E-myo went to move the bowl and robe they were as heavy as mountains. He could not budge them. Trembling for shame he said: "I came wanting the teaching, not the material treasures. Please teach me." The sixth patriarch said: "When you do not think good and when you do not think not-good, what is your true self?" At these words E-myo was illumined. Perspiration broke out all over his body. He cried and bowed, saying: "You have given me the secret words and meanings. Is there yet a deeper part of the teaching?" The sixth patriarch replied: "What I have told you is no secret at all. When you realize your own true self the secret belongs to you." E-myo said: "I was under the fifth patriarch many years but could not realize my true self until now. Through your teaching I find the source. A person drinks water and knows himself whether it is cold or warm. May I call you my teacher?" The sixth patriarch replied: "We studied together under the fifth patriarch. Call him your teacher, but just treasure what you have attained."

No, A Study Did NOT Find That Your Cat Wants To Kill You

A lot of headlines out there this week suggest that a recent study found your cat wants to kill you. Luckily for anyone whose feline companion has access to weapons, those headlines are blatantly untrue. The study, led by University of Edinburgh researchers, compares the personalities of domestic cats with those of Scottish wildcats, clouded leopards, snow leopards and African lions, based on assessments made by cat caretakers and zookeepers. It was published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology last year. Not even lead researcher Marieke Gartner knows why it exploded in the media this week. What she does know is that a lot of news outlets have gotten her study wrong. For one thing, she did not find anything indicating that domestic cats want to kill humans. "My research did not suggest this -- in fact, it's completely unrelated," she told The Huffington Post in an email. "I don't know why people would say that." But that's not all journalists got wrong. Article after article claims that across the board, both domestic cats and lions have prominent personality traits of "neuroticism," "impulsivity" and "dominance." But this is a misunderstanding of the study, Gartner said. The misconception occurred because Gartner referred to those three traits as the “personality factors” present in cats and lions. But what that means is that one way to assess the feline’s personality is to place the cat on a spectrum of not very neurotic to very neurotic, or not very impulsive to very impulsive. "In humans, personality is described by five personality factors: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism," Gartner wrote. "There is a difference between factors and traits -- so no, the most prominent personality traits [in cats and lions] are not dominance, impulsivity, and neuroticism. These are the three personality factors that describe each species -- but each individual will range along the spectrum of traits that make up each of the personality factors." Mikel Delgado, certified cat behavior consultant and Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley has some ideas about why people love to attribute murderous motives to cats. "They don't have as many facial muscles [as dogs]," she told HuffPost. "Their face is harder to interpret. People do seem to wonder, 'What's my cat thinking?'" Cats just aren't as big or as potentially dangerous as many dogs, so imagining them wanting to off us isn't really threatening. "We almost find it humorous that cats want to kill us, or hate us or we're their slaves," Delgado said. Plus, she noted, people have coexisted with cats for millennia. "If they really wanted to kill us," she asked, "don’t you think it would have happened?" - Hilary Hanson, Huffingotn Post