Roses and raspberries (Oct. 8)

2010-10-08T09:15:00Z Roses and raspberries (Oct. 8) Corvallis Gazette Times
October 08, 2010 9:15 am

ROSE (roz) n. One of the most beautiful of all flowers, a symbol of fragrance and loveliness. Often given as a sign of appreciation.

RASPBERRY (raz'ber'e) n. A sharp, scornful comment, criticism or rebuke; a derisive, splatting noise, often called the Bronx cheer.

We hereby deliver:

• ROSES to a boggy patch of ground on Ted Leonard's ranch between Kings Valley and Airlie that is finally yielding its fascinating prehistoric treasure. Leonard discovered the bone of a giant sloth in 1991, but its excavation was repeatedly delayed.

Finally, a team from the University of Oregon's Thomas Condon State Museum of Fossils, led by paleontologist William Orr, began last weekend removing the bones of a giant sloth (8 feet tall, 1.25 tons) from the land that trapped it 13,000 years ago. In addition to two huge sloths, the site is turning up bones of ancient bison, bear, wolf and badger and even a mastadon.

A special bunch of roses goes to Leonard, for whom the dig is named. His intellectual curiosity, patience and generosity now make it possible for us to learn more about the ancient giants that once roamed Kings Valley.

• • •

• ROSES to Oregon State University marketing intern Neha Neelwarne and the OSU students, faculty members and genial co-conspirators who know how to keep a delightful secret.

Since last summer, Neelwarne, who teaches a Bollywood dance class at OSU for students and faculty, recruited and rehearsed a group of volunteers to prepare for a salute to diversity.

It all started inconspicuously enough a week ago, on the steps in front of the main entrance to the Memorial Union:

As the bouncy, beat-driven theme from the 2007 hit Bollywood film "Salaam-E-Ishq" ("A Salue to Love") started up, Neelwarne began to dance. Another student - and then another and another - stripped off a jacket or a sweater to reveal a Powered by Orange T-shirt. A few at a time, 70 participants joined in. For almost four minutes, videos of spectators and invited media captured a planned "flash mob" dance that reflected skillful social networking, volunteerism and a shrewd marketing vehicle for OSU's "Powered by Orange" branding campaign.

Neelwarne gets roses (and a gold star for her resume) for the idea. The volunteers all deserve roses because they were awesome dancers, and we all get roses for being able to see a video that well represents diversity, joy and OSU's intrepid spirit. If you missed it, check it out at Click on our "most popular" section on the right side of our home page and scroll down to the bottom of the story to view the video.

• • •

• RASPBERRIES to gnashing of teeth this week over the decision by the Frito Lay Co. to stop making its supposedly compostable Sun Chips bag. It's made out of something called corn plastic that, according to a commercial aired this summer, slowly disappears into the soil over time.

The development was hailed as good news for a planet that has several continents of garbage (OK, yes, an exaggeration; the one floating in the Pacific is only about the size of Texas).

But consumers didn't like the bag made from corn plastic. They found it ... noisy.

Oddly, few made much noise over the fact that the bag was compostable only in a commercial composting facility.

Frito-Lay has promised to go back to the drawing board. We don't care if it's quiet, as long as it actually dissolves over time.

• • •

• RASPBERRIES to a distressing new development in the perennial lawn couch controversy:

It seems that now we are seeing lawn couches as bonfire fodder - and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality isn't amused. The agency fined the OSU fraternity Delta Upsilon house at 235 N.W. 25th St. a cool $1,000 for burning a couch last June. The DEQ didn't announce the fine until Monday.

The couch-burning happened June 4, when a 5-foot-long couch was burned in a fire pit. That's just nasty because a couch is foam, treated wood and often covered in a fabric that isn't natural at all.

It wasn't Delta Upsilon's first couch torching, either. DEQ heard about similar action in September 2006 and March 2008. Because it's within an an open burning control area, that's a no-no.

Delta Upsilon has until Oct. 14 to appeal. We don't yet know whether they'll take this fine lying down.

• • •

• RASPBERRIES to an observed increase in carelessness along with the welcome increase in bicyclists' numbers.

For instance, on Oct. 6, a bicyclist dashed in front of a car and ran a signal, causing a rear-end crash between an ambulance and a motorist at the intersection of Ninth Street and Garfield Avenue. The bicyclist left the scene.

In another incident the same day, a 19-year-old cyclist was cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol and reckless driving when she darted in front of a car. No injuries.

A gentle reminder: Slow down, pay attention and enjoy the gorgeous color show that's autumn in Oregon.


Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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