Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, February 01, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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Offbeat Oregon History
Legendary sinister video game
It’s a scenario that would have chilled the blood of any parent of
a teenager in the early 1980s:
One day when the Beaverton Mall opens for business, there’s a
new coin-op videogame cabinet tucked into the back recesses of
the video arcade by Sunrise Photo. It’s made by a computer com-
pany nobody’s ever heard of before — a German outfi t called “Sin-
Soon the kids are lining up to play the new, hypnotic game. They
play as long as they can, as long as their supply of quarters holds
out, and afterward stumble off through the mall in a trance-like
state, sometimes unable even to remember their names and home
It soon becomes clear that Sinnesloeschen isn’t a computer com-
pany at all, but a shadowy military-technology group. And the
game isn’t a game at all, but some kind of behavior-modifi cation
tool developed for an intelligence agency — the CIA perhaps —
or, worse, the KGB. The game bores into the players’ minds like a
worm, leaving them helpless as heroin addicts. They can’t remem-
ber their phone numbers, they can’t remember who their parents
are, but they always remember their way back to the tall, sinister
black cabinet with the electric-green letters across the top that read,
Every day or two, sinister-looking men in black suits and opaque
Foster-Grant sunglasses appear in the arcade, pushing their way
through the crowds of zombie children, inspecting the high-score
chart and copying down information from a special output screen.
Then, without a word to anyone, they disappear.
Then one day, a week or two later, just as dozens of parents are
wondering what they have to do to save their children, a whole crew
of the men in black appears at the arcade. Shooing away the crowds
of disappointed zombie children, they load the machine on a hand
truck and wheel it away. No one ever sees it, or them, again.
So ends the Legend of Polybius, the mysterious mind-controlling
The Legend of Polybius is an urban legend set in Oregon. Ac-
cording to the story, these mysterious game cabinets were deployed
in a tiny handful of obscure video arcades in the suburbs of Port-
land, and used to test videogame-delivered mind control algorithms.
When their effect on local kids got too obvious to keep a lid on, the
experiment was halted and the mysterious agents picked the games
up and disappeared with them.
There remains a possibility — a tiny one, really too small to mea-
sure — that the legend is true. But none of the vast crowds of chil-
dren, or their parents, have ever come forward, and the name of the
company — Sinnesloeschen, apparently a clumsy portmanteau of
two German words meaning “Senses” and “Erase” — is a dead end.
“What H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon is for books, Polybius
is for videogames,” writes Portland historian Joe Streckert. “The
legendary creation is a character in and of itself, and any hapless
humans curious enough to open its pages (or press its start button)
will soon fi nd their minds warped by the secrets contained therein.”
The legend of Polybius doesn’t appear in any written records un-
til about 17 years after it supposedly happened, in a 1998 forum
post on the Website. The anonymous poster claimed to
have discovered the games’ operating software, and recapped the
zombie-players-and-men-in-black story.
After that, the story bounced around here and there on the Inter-
net for a few years before getting picked up (and thoroughly de-
bunked) by the online mythbusting site And after that,
suddenly Polybius was all over the Internet.
Several different people, with varying degrees of non-credibility,
stepped forward to claim involvement in the darksome game. Sev-
eral other people built fake versions of the game and tried to pass
them off as the real thing. And one joker even built a fake Website
for Sinnesloeschen, the shadowy German company that supposedly
made it.
But Polybius probably hit its pop-culture peak when a Polybius
cabinet appeared on an episode of The Simpsons — the episode
titled “Please Homer Don’t Hammer ‘Em,” from September 2006.
It has the words “PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT” stenciled
on its front.
Tomatoes and heart
health: the low down
A word from Councilwoman Slay
Throughout my time on council my priority has been IMPACT. I feel compelled to fo-
cus on things and people that impact our community, whether negative or positive.
Brent Czaban plant manager at Weyerhaeuser, Cottage Grove’s biggest local employer,
made a huge impact when he announced Thursday that beginning in March we will see a
radical change in shift posture.
What does that mean exactly? It means that day shift in both the mill and the planer will
be curtailed, and hundreds of employees will be affected. After years of working towards
the sought after day shift positions, these people will suddenly go from working during
the week to working Friday thru Monday.
To put this into a little clearer perspective, the families that work opposite shifts here to
avoid leaving their child with someone else, will now need to make other arrangements.
The single parent who works while their child is in school, will now pay daycare for half
of their work week and rarely see their child. The amazing community members who vol-
unteer their time here, the consumers who spend their money here during the week, and
even the godly who preach for us on Sunday will no longer be available to do these things.
This will impact our entire community.
The shift posture is not the only thing changing at Weyerhaeuser, the mood itself is
somber, people are frustrated, angry and yes even afraid. For many it is just not possible to
make the new shift work, and after years of dedication will be forced to seek employment
elsewhere, somewhere outside of our community.
I am writing this strictly to show support to my co workers, some of them are my friends,
my family and even my constituents. They are all facing a very unexpected upheaval here
at work, and I am asking the community to support them during this strenuous time.
Reach out to them if you know them, pray for them even if you don’t and please re-
spect the fact that many people in our very small community are facing some diffi cult life
choices after years of stability. I ask that you show kindness and patience to those who
may seem rude or short tempered. They will be fi ghting unimaginable personal battles in
the coming months and will need our support more than ever.
Let me be clear this is not a lay off, no one is being fi red, with the new 13 million
dollar project that will stream line production, it is simply a “change in shift posture”.
This change is being made to gain an additional nine hours of maintenance time a week.
Weyerhaeuser could curtail a less desirable weekend shift but feels the additional 9 hours
is worth the sacrifi ces their employees will make.
I have always realized Weyerhaeuser is a huge corporation, and profi ts matter. We at
Cottage have almost always made money and stood a foot above others in the industry.
Our safety records, our commitment to a quality product, and our dedication to our mill
has been proven time and time again. These records are not achieved with machines alone,
they are achieved by PEOPLE, people taking pride in what they do, and being proud of
where they are. In my almost 13 years of employment I have been proud to say I work for
Weyerhaeuser, until today. Today I am saddened and disappointed that for the fi rst time
in my career Cottage Grove Weyerhaeuser is behaving like a corporation rather than the
small town sawmill we have come to know.
116 N. Sixth Street · P.O. Box 35 · Cottage Grove, OR 97424
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Ultimately, Polybius is a fun sort of legend — the kind of thing
that’s almost, but not completely, certain to be untrue. But, like the
tall tales of waterfront smuggler-shanghaier Bunco Kelley and the
equally unlikely legends of lost gold mines and buried pirate loot,
its contribution to Oregon’s history is not much diminished by the
fact that it’s most likely fi ction.
(Sources: Streckert, Joseph. The Legend of Polybius (Kindle Edi-
tion). Portland: Amazon, 2015; Dunning, Brian. “Polybius: Video
Game of Death,” Skeptoid Podcast, Ep. 362, 5-14-2013)
Finn J.D. John teaches at Oregon State University and writes
about odd tidbits of Oregon history. For details, see http://fi nnjohn.
com. To contact him or suggest a topic: fi
or 541-357-2222.
For The Sentinel
Carotenoids are a family of over six hundred
phytochemicals, including alpha-carotene, be-
ta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Carotenoids are abundant in green and yellow-or-
ange vegetables and fruits and help to defend the
body’s tissues against oxidative damage, which is
a natural byproduct of our metabolic processes;
oxidative damage from free radicals contributes
to chronic diseases and aging. 1
Lycopene is the signature carotenoid of the
tomato. The lycopene in the American diet is 85
percent derived from tomatoes.3 Lycopene is
found circulating in the blood and also concen-
trates in the male reproductive system, hence its
protective effects against prostate cancer.4 In the
skin, lycopene helps to prevent UV damage from
the sun, protecting against skin cancer.5 Lycopene
is known for its anti-cancer properties, but did
you know that lycopene has also been intensively
studied for its benefi cial cardiovascular effects?
Many observational studies have made a con-
nection between higher blood lycopene and lower
risk of heart attack. For example, a study in men
found that low serum lycopene was associated
with increased plaque in the carotid artery and tri-
ple the risk of cardiovascular events compared to
higher levels.6-8 In a separate study, women were
split into four groups (quartiles) according to their
blood lycopene levels; women in the top three
quartiles were 50% less likely to have cardiovas-
cular disease compared to the lowest quartile.9
A 2004 analysis from the Physicians’ Health
Study data found a 39% decrease in stroke risk in
men with the highest blood levels of lycopene.10
Data from an ongoing study in Finland has
strengthened these fi ndings with similar results.
One-thousand men had their blood carotenoid
levels tested and were followed for 12 years.
Those with the highest lycopene levels had the
lowest risk of stroke – they were 55% less likely
to have a stroke than those with the lowest lyco-
pene levels.11 Previous data from this same group
of men found that higher lycopene levels were as-
sociated with lower risk of heart attack as well.12
A meta-analysis of 12 trials also found that daily
supplemental tomato products (approximately 1
cup of tomato juice or 3-4 tbsp. of tomato paste)
reduced LDL cholesterol by 10% - this effect is
comparable to low doses of statin drugs (with no
risk of side effects, of course).13
Of course, lycopene is not the only nutrient in
tomatoes – tomatoes are also rich in vitamins C
and E, beta-carotene, and fl avonol antioxidants
just to name a few.3 Single antioxidants usual-
ly don’t exert their protective effects alone; we
learned this lesson from clinical trials of beta-car-
otene, vitamin C, and vitamin E supplements,
which did not reduce cardiovascular disease
risk.14 It is the interactions between phytochemi-
cals in the complex synergistic network contained
in plant foods that is responsible for their health
effects, and this is something that we cannot repli-
cate in a pill. Out of all the common dietary carot-
enoids, lycopene has the most potent antioxidant
power, but combinations of carotenoids are even
more effective than any single carotenoid – they
work synergistically.15 Blood lycopene, as used
in many of these studies, is simply a marker for
high tomato product intake; similarly high al-
pha-carotene and beta-carotene levels are markers
of high green and yellow-orange fruit and vegeta-
ble intake. Colorful fruits and vegetables provide
signifi cant protection.
In a given year, a typical American will eat
about 92 pounds of tomatoes.16 Enjoy those
92 pounds and even add some more. Add fresh,
juicy raw tomatoes to your salad, diced or unsul-
phured sun-dried tomatoes to soups, and enjoy
homemade tomato sauces and soups. Be mind-
ful of the sodium content of ketchup and other
tomato products – choose the low sodium or no
salt added versions. No salt added, unsulphured
dried tomatoes are also great. Diced and crushed
tomatoes in glass jars are preferable to those in
cans, to avoid the endocrine disruptor BPA. Also
keep in mind that carotenoids are absorbed best
when accompanied by healthy fats – for example,
in a salad with a seed or nut-based dressing.17, 18
Lycopene is also more absorbable when tomatoes
are cooked, so enjoy a variety of both raw and
cooked tomatoes in your daily diet.19, 20
Dr. Fuhrman is a #1 New York Times best-sell-
ing author and a board certifi ed family physician
specializing in lifestyle and nutritional medicine.
The Eat To Live Cookbook offers over 200 unique
disease-fi ghting delicious recipes and his newest
book, The End of Heart Disease, offers a detailed
plan to prevent and reverse heart disease using a
nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style. Visit his
informative website at Submit
your questions and comments about this column
directly to
News from beyond The Grove
Lorane Grange meets this Thursday,
February 2 at 7:00 pm. Last Saturday,
they enjoyed a wonderful turnout for
their spaghetti dinner and bingo. Forty
ate and 23 played bingo, but no one won
the progressive blackout. So, next month
it will be even greater. Plan on Saturday,
February 25 to come out for another great
evening of dinner and bingo in Lorane.
Crow HS freshmen spirit gear fund-
raiser has been extended until February 6.
It is student designed and quite appealing.
CHS student scholarship applica-
tions are out and due between now and
April. Check with the offi ce.
Oregon Battle of Books (OBOB)
regional battles begin February 15.
Lorane Christian Church invites
you to bring your family and friends to
a no host Friendship Dinner on Sunday,
February 12 at Sizzler's on Gateway
Boulevard in Springfi eld. It all begins at
5:30 pm. Come enjoy this evening with
friends and neighbors.
CAL School Board meets at Lorane
Grange this month on February 16. Exec-
utive session begins at 6:30 and the open
board meeting begins at 7 pm.
For those community members
interested, there are three fi reboard posi-
tions coming open. Check with Lorane
Fire Department.
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