Dependable Erection

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Top local stories of 2008

Kevin and i reviewed our top local stories of the year on Shooting the Bull last Thursday night. We had a great deal of overlap in our picks, but not unanimity. Here's my list.

10 - New Justice Center parking deck design modified after complaints from local activists. It's still sub-par, but at least it'll have the potential for a retail wrapper.

9 - Durham Board of County Commissioners bans dog chaining. Kudos to the Coalition to Unchain Dogs for their hard work and patience in getting this passed. 2009 will education efforts; warning tickets will be issued to people still keeping their dogs tethered beginning in January 2010, with actual citations issued beginning in July 2010.

8 - Lakewood YMCA saved from closing by community activists. Chuck Clifton is a big time hero in this one. Chapel Hill Rd. could have easily ended up with a big empty eyesore of a building dragging down the neighborhood.

7 - Drought ends. A year ago we were down to about 28 days of water in our reservoirs. I can honestly say i haven't felt the need to check the levels in about 4 months. But don't get too cocky. One of the lessons of the drought was how little water Durham actually stores compared to demand, and how it only takes a couple of abnormally dry seasons to put us in a precarious situation.

6 - Crime increases, & Durham gets shut out of new probation officers. These two items have to be considered together, i think. A couple of high profile crimes allegedly committed by people who were on probation but had slipped through the cracks made the headlines, but bubbling under the surface has been a widely discussed sense that crime levels in general in Durham have increased beyond the point of acceptability. Yesterday's meeting in Morehead Hills, between police and citizen activists, is probably only the first sign that Durhamites are going to be demanding a greater response from Chief Lopez and his team.

5 - Durham Performing Arts Center opens. And, relatively speaking, on time and close to budget. The DPAC could have been a disaster, and it still isn't what a lot of people thought Durham really needed. That it's a whole lot better than it might have been wasn't an accident, although a lot of the people who fought to make it that way didn't stick around long enough to see the results of their efforts.

4 - Local economy hangs tough, so far. A recent audit shows that the city has 11% of its annual appropriations budget in savings, below recommended guidelines (12%) but in line with the budget approved last summer. Unemployment in the county was at 5.2% in October, up from the 3.7% recorded a year ago, but down from the high of 5.6% over the summer. Still , that's substantially below the 7.9% recorded statewide. Nobody's running around jumping for joy at those numbers, though, and there's no guarantee that 2009 is going to be economically strong. Everybody's holding their breath, waiting to see what kind of stimulus package comes out of Washington next month.

3 - Prepared meals tax fails at the ballot. Miserably. but as far as i'm concerned the big story here was the alliance formed between the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, ostensibly a progressive group, and the far-right anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity. This group actively campaigned against several candidates that the Durham Committee, headed by Dr. Lavonia Allison, endorsed. And considering that Dr. Allison is a member of the State Executive Committee of the Democratic Party, that's got to be raising some eyebrows in back rooms in Raleigh.

2 - Tom Bonfield hired as Durham city manager. I really like Patrick Baker. but his lack of experience as a city manager meant that his administration was always going to be at best a holding effort, following the tenure of Marcia Conner, who was forced out by City Council in 2004. Bonfield's got a good track record and lots of experience as a manager. He's going to need all of it in 2009, i suspect.

1 - Satan came to Durham, and he had a pair of handcuffs and a dog collar. Earlier this year, a couple of officers in the county Democratic Party were arrested on some rather spectacular charges, and generating headlines linking them with a Satanic cult. I love this story for so many reasons, not least because it inspired so many right wing bloggers to jump to so many unsupported conclusions, that the resulting wank-off threatened to permanently alter the earth's orbit. Unsurprisingly, the case still hasn't gone to trial. In fact, it's hardly generated a line of news in 6 months. Look for charges to be quietly dismissed sometime soon, probably announced at 5:15 pm on a Friday afternoon, maybe just before the Super Bowl.

Other stories to consider from the year past included the continuing deterioration of local print media employment, with layoffs at the N&O and the Independent Weekly, and rotating reporters at the HS, the upcoming battle between the billboard industry and neighborhood activists (among others) over the proposal to amend Durham's zoning ordinances to allow digital billboards on our highways, and the very late breaking story on Minor League Baseball's dissatisfaction with Durham's progress on the DAP restoration project. We'll certainly be looking at these in the coming year.

Have a Happy New Year wherever you're celebrating.


Continue reading Top local stories of 2008

Thank God it's (almost) over

Happy New Year, y'all.


Continue reading Thank God it's (almost) over

Great sports names

Jets owner Woody Johnson made it clear that he prefers to keep football, business and coaching duties separate, so a candidate wanting complete control would be less likely to be hired. Any coach the Jets hire would have to fit into that structure.

We may have an all-time winner.


Continue reading Great sports names

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best song ever

I hate it when YouTube does that. No idea why the Eliades Ochoa version got pulled.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

New Year's Eve?

Last year we celebrated the new year at our local traffic circle with about 6 dozen or so of our neighbors, but the random bursts of automatic weapons fire all around us convinced me that i don't want to do that again.

So, Pinhook to see the Wusses, or Broad Street Cafe to see "Cool" John Ferguson and the rest of the Music Maker crowd? Anyone know what the ticket situation is at Pinhook?

Labels: ,

Continue reading New Year's Eve?

Didn't see that coming

This month Minor League Baseball CEO Pat O'Conner complained about construction delays and poor quality of work. By 11 a.m. Monday, Bonfield had told several top city staffers he wants an "update report" by next Tuesday.

"This is a very serious matter for the project, the city's relationship with Minor League Baseball and the City's credibility as a whole," he wrote in an e-mail.

Chris Boyer, director of the city's General Services Department, which is managing the project, said compiling all the facts during a holiday week, when many of those involved are away, might be difficult.

"It's a complex project," she said Monday afternoon. "There are a number of issues involved and a number of different stakeholders."

In a Dec. 19 letter, Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner said he and his staff "fear the DAP renovation project is falling short of everyone's goals and expectations."

Specifically, they think there have been "numerous failures to meet the construction specifications for the field design," to the point the city might have to spend money on repairs that could be put to better use elsewhere in the stadium, O'Conner said.

He added he wants a Minor League Baseball-chosen contractor to take control of field maintenance as soon as workers finish planting its turf and wants an "independent review" of its renovation.

Anyone who's lived in Durham since 1996 and has watched the revenue from two major bond issues buy incomplete and substandard projects is shaking their heads right now and mumbling something about Northgate Park. This is the way our city manages almost all of its projects. This time, though, the customer is not a Durham resident and appears to, you know, have expectations.

How inconvenient.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Didn't see that coming

Monday, December 29, 2008


Time Warner doesn't carry Sundance Channel* but they do have Sundance On-Dmenad, and they've been teasing me the past 3 weeks with listings of the new Elvis Costello program, Spectacle. But whenever i click on the show, i get a message that it's not available for viewing.

Till tonight.

Got to watch the premier episode with Elton John, and the legendary Allen Toussaint playing keyboards in the band.

Now i remember why Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across the Water, and Honky Chateau were must haves in any serious record collection in the early 70s.

Channel 503 if you've got TWC digital cable.
* Well, i guess they do. But i'd have to pay even more than i do now to get it.


Continue reading Elvis!

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Just sayin'

If i were an online furniture retailer, i would make sure that i provided accurate dimensions for every item i carried.

Continue reading Just sayin'

My mind is on vacation . . .

. . . to paraphrase Mose Allison, but my keyboard ain't working overtime. So, light posting again through this holiday week, as i play with my new toy, upgrade my old toy, and rearrange my work space to take advantage of them both.

Turns out that the vinyl comeback comes with a price. Check out Dylan's new one at Amazon on CD, and vinyl. At about 11 minutes a side, how great a listening experience is that going to be?

And Mrs D thinks this reminds her of me. I dunno.


Continue reading My mind is on vacation . . .

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Highway 15, VA


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Friday, December 26, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt

Labels: ,

Continue reading Eartha Kitt

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Who knew?

I feel better about the future of America already.


Continue reading Who knew?

Deep thought

The world at the end of the Obama administration is going to look very different from the world at the beginning of the Obama administration.
The Times previously refused to sell the Globe after former General Electric Co Chief Executive Jack Welch and former advertising executive Jack Connors reportedly asked about the possibility. At the time, they valued the Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper at $550 million to $600 million, the Journal said. Barclays now values the Globe at about $20 million.

Happy war on Christmas. Don't shoot your eye out.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Deep thought

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

A prediction

The New York Yankees will not be in the 2009 World Series.

Now, what kind of odds can i get on that?


Continue reading A prediction

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday time waster

Like you've got something better to do.

Continue reading Holiday time waster

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Papal irony

That was then:
Pope Benedict XVI has paid tribute to 17th-Century astronomer Galileo Galilei, whose scientific theories once drew the wrath of the Catholic Church.

The Pope was speaking at events marking the 400th anniversary of Galileo's earliest observations with a telescope.

He said an understanding of the laws of nature could stimulate appreciation of God's work.

In 1992, Pope John Paul said the church's denunciation of Galileo's work had been a tragic error.

Galileo used his scientific methods to demonstrate that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around.

This is now:
The pope has sparked controversy by saying defending heterosexuality is as important as saving the world's rainforests from destruction.

Speaking in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration, Benedict said yesterday the church viewed the distinction between men and women as central to human nature, and "asks that this order, set down by creation, be respected".

The church, he said, "should protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man was needed, he said," adding: "The tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

Benedict focused his attack on what he described as "gender" theories, "which lead towards the definitive emancipation of man from creation and the creator".

Homosexual groups in Italy called the speech an unfounded attack on homosexuality and, more specifically, on people who undergo sex changes. "What keeps the pope awake at night is the idea that human beings might be able to seek out their own sexual identity in a bid to have a happy life," said Franco Grillini, head of Gaynet.

"The speech has no scientific basis," said Aurelio Mancuso, head of Arcigay. "A divine programme for men and women is out of line with nature, where the roles are not so clear."

The Catholic church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage, and in October a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound".

Seriously? Homosexuality is a "wound" that "threatens the destruction" of humankind?

Labels: ,

Continue reading Papal irony

Monday, December 22, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Job creation program

Their deployment as a makeshift missile robbed President George Bush of his dignity and landed their owner in jail. But the world's most notorious pair of shoes have yielded an unexpected bonanza for a Turkish shoemaker.

Ramazan Baydan, owner of the Istanbul-based Baydan Shoe Company, has been swamped with orders from across the world, after insisting that his company produced the black leather shoes which the Iraqi journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi threw at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad last Sunday.

Baydan has recruited an extra 100 staff to meet orders for 300,000 pairs of Model 271 - more than four times the shoe's normal annual sale - following an outpouring of support for Zaidi's act, which was intended as a protest, but led to his arrest by Iraqi security forces.

Orders have come mainly from the US and Britain, and from neighbouring Muslim countries, he said.

Around 120,000 pairs have been ordered from Iraq, while a US company has placed a request for 18,000

I may order me a pair as a gift for Rick Warren. Special hand delivery.

Labels: , ,

Continue reading Job creation program

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Highway 15, rural VA


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Great moments in marketing

Brand name fail.

How'd you like to be the account exec responsible for selling this brand to the American people?


Continue reading Great moments in marketing

Friday, December 19, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Washington, DC

Off to see some big statues. Pick up some trash for me while i'm away.

Continue reading Washington, DC

She made a mean plomik soup

Majel Barrett 1932 - 2008.

Adding, although Barrett was there from the very beginning, playing the Executive Officer, Number One, to Jeffrey Hunter's Captain Pike in the first pilot before playing Nurse Chapel in ST:TOS, it was the recurring character Lwaxana Troi, the amorous and unpredictable mother of Ship's Counselor Deanna Troi that really won Barrett a place in all Star Trek fans' hearts. The episode where she gets Worf to soak in a mud bath, for instance, and shows up at her wedding nude, is classic.

Go boldly.

Labels: ,

Continue reading She made a mean plomik soup

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best song ever

Brian Wilson thinks so, anyway.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Drinking Liberally

Tonight 7-9pm at the Broad Street Cafe. Stop by and let us wish you Happy Holidays, just to piss Bill O'Reilly off.


Continue reading Drinking Liberally

Shorter Rod Blago

I didn't do it.

You didn't see me do it.

You can't prove anything.


Continue reading Shorter Rod Blago

Shooting the Bull

Outgoing Office of Economic Development Director Allan DeLisle stops by tonight to discuss the DPAC project, his upcoming move to Louisville, and other items relating to Durham's economy. Tune in to WXDU 88.7 at 7:30 pm, or listen online here.

Podcast available through iTunes, probably in a day or two.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull


Meant to finish this post days ago, but the day job keeps getting in the way.

Last week on Shooting the Bull, Ginny brought up the question of Durham's active citizenry. Although there are a lot of different areas of Durham life in which citizens are involved, when you get down to it, in a lot of cases it's the same people over and over again who seem to be taking on these responsibilities.

For some, it's a matter of having vested financial interests in town, and working to protect those. And hey, to be clear, i'm not saying anything negative about that. Others seem more interested in improving the Durham experience, whether that means lessening the racial divide in our education system, cleaning up our city's appearance, or countless other things.

But the question was what's the impact of having such a relatively small number of people involved in this work, compared to the Durham population at large? And for me at least, it's relatively straightforward.

Discouraging. Even within my own neighborhood, for example, the same handful of people are the ones who show up to pick up the trash in the park, to edit and distribute the newsletter, to lobby city council for crosswalks and traffic calming. After a while, for me, it's time to take a break and let someone else put those hours in. Especially when, two weeks after picking up the trash, some thoughtless idiots have replaced it with more trash. Or when, 7 years after starting to redesign the "worst intersection in Durham, and possibly the state" (that would be the Roxboro, Markham, Mangum crossover) Council still hasn't got a clue how they're going to pay for the redesign.

So, just a low-level whine for all you folks who've never taken the time to get out and about to make the community a better place. The rest of us don't have unlimited amounts of time, energy, or money to pick up your slack.

Get with the program, OK?


Continue reading Volunteering


Atrios says, if you're at the inauguration, turn your back on Rick Warren.

If i get close enough, he's gettin' a shoe.

Just sayin'.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Tactics

Whiny men of the 80s

Come to Durham.

Ticket prices are murder.

Continue reading Whiny men of the 80s

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever


Just, wow.
Chrysler said it would shut down all of its production for at least a month, effective from the last shift on Friday.


Continue reading Wow

Noted without comment

Because, really, anything i might add would be superfluous.
A New Jersey couple can't understand why a local supermarket has refused to paint their child's name in frosting on a cake they ordered.

Deborah Campbell says she phoned an order into the ShopRite in Greenwich, near Phillipsburg, and spelled out her son's name: Adolf Hitler Campbell.

The store refused to complete the order. A spokeswoman for ShopRite said the request was inappropriate.

The couple ended up getting their 3-year-old son's name written on a cake at a Pennsylvania Wal-Mart instead.

Campbell and her husband, Heath, also have a daughter whose middle name is Aryan Nation.

Heath Campbell says he likes the name Adolf Hitler and it doesn't mean he's raising his son to hate minorities.


Continue reading Noted without comment


As reader T says in his email, WTF?
Officials in Durham were dumbfounded today to learn that none of the 26 new positions created this fall to ease heavy caseloads among probation officers will be added in the Durham probation office.

Wake County will get nine new positions. Guilford County gets three and New Hanover gets two. The remaining 12 jobs are spread across the state in urban and rural counties.

"This sounds like an April Fool's joke in December," said Marcia Morey, a Durham District Court judge who has been outspoken about the problems in Durham. "I'm just dumbfounded."


Continue reading Probation

Maybe you could upgrade the bus stops while you're at it?

DATA officials said that if Congress makes the money available, they could use $32.5 million to expand public transit service in the city.

The system's wish list includes $9.1 million to buy more buses, $7.5 million to pay for three years' worth of fare-free service and $4.2 million in support for a proposed downtown circulator route.

Officials also told DOT they could put $10.2 million into Durham Access, the city van service for disabled and elderly residents. Some would go to buying more vans, but the bulk of the money would subsidize expanded operations.

Seriously, isn't spending money on improving conditions that bus riders have to deal with more important than going to a fare-free system? Can't we work with employers to develop tax breaks for subsidizing bus fares, and spend capital on, you know, capital improvements?
This is a typical Durham bus stop. It practically screams "Don't take the bus unless you have absolutely no other choice." If you treat your bus riders like dirt, so what if you give them free service?

Labels: ,

Continue reading Maybe you could upgrade the bus stops while you're at it?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Numbers bleg

I'm trying to get a sense of how Durham's population is distributed across the different police districts. Census bureau data doesn't easily translate to Durham's 5 police districts, and the city doesn't seem to have that data readily available, either. I'm not looking for demographic breakdowns, either. Just a sense of how many people live in district 1, district 2, etc.

Anyone point me in the right direction?


Continue reading Numbers bleg


Remember when you were a kid and your parents taught you that as you made your way in the world, if you came across something that seemed too good to be true, it probably was?



Then send me all your money. I promise you that i'll get rich, and you'll never see a dime.


Continue reading Memories

Of the people, by the people, and for the people

Bush can pass the rules because of a loophole in US law allowing him to put last-minute regulations into the Code of Federal Regulations, rules that have the same force as law. He can carry out many of his political aims without needing to force new laws through Congress. Outgoing presidents often use the loophole in their last weeks in office, but Bush has done this far more than Bill Clinton or his father, George Bush sr. He is on track to issue more 'midnight regulations' than any other previous president.

Many of these are radical and appear to pay off big business allies of the Republican party. One rule will make it easier for coal companies to dump debris from strip mining into valleys and streams. The process is part of an environmentally damaging technique known as 'mountain-top removal mining'. It involves literally removing the top of a mountain to excavate a coal seam and pouring the debris into a valley, which is then filled up with rock. The new rule will make that dumping easier.

Another midnight regulation will allow power companies to build coal-fired power stations nearer to national parks. Yet another regulation will allow coal-fired stations to increase their emissions without installing new anti-pollution equipment.

The Environmental Defence Fund has called the moves a 'fire sale of epic size for coal'. Other environmental groups agree. 'The only motivation for some of these rules is to benefit the business interests that the Bush administration has served,' said Ed Hopkins, a director of environmental quality at the Sierra Club. A case in point would seem to be a rule that opens up millions of acres of land to oil shale extraction, which environmental groups say is highly pollutant.

There is a long list of other new regulations that have gone onto the books. One lengthens the number of hours that truck drivers can drive without rest. Another surrenders government control of rerouting the rail transport of hazardous materials around densely populated areas and gives it to the rail companies.

He deserves a lot more than having a pair of shoes thrown at him. but maybe it would be an interesting piece of political theater if we all mailed a pair of shoes to him at the White House before he leaves office. Preferably ones that have stepped in a pile of dog shit.


Continue reading Of the people, by the people, and for the people

Didn't see that coming

We need more parking decks in Durham!
New research illustrates the health benefits of regular biking, walking or taking public transportation to work, school or shopping. Researchers found a link between "active transportation" and less obesity in 17 industrialized countries across Europe, North America and Australia.

"Countries with the highest levels of active transportation generally had the lowest obesity rates," authors David Bassett of the University of Tennessee and John Pucher of Rutgers University conclude.

Americans, with the highest rate of obesity, were the least likely to walk, cycle or take mass transit, according to the study in a recent issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. The study relied on each country's own travel and health data.

Only 12 percent use active transportation in the United States — 9 percent walk, 1 percent ride a bike and 2 percent take a bus or train — while a quarter to a third are obese, the study said.

Labels: , ,

Continue reading Didn't see that coming


Nine and a half, in case you were wondering.

Continue reading Shoes

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Fayetteville Rd., Durham, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

$1.48 bitches!

Hess on Highway 70, east Durham.


Continue reading $1.48 bitches!

Traffic circle blogging


Continue reading Traffic circle blogging

Friday, December 12, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Serene, and a little bit out of touch with reality

So there's this WaPo article on Obama's new environmental team. (Steven Chu, who is supposedly being tapped for Energy Secretary, seems like an especially brilliant choice.) the gist of the article, as so often mainstream media attempts to portray the world, is that some in the environmental movement see the new players as "not radical enough" while some in the business community see them as "too radical."

Especially clueless is the VP of the US Chamber of Commerce:
Industry groups were more cautious. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vice President William Kovacs said the group worried that the new officials would use their power to limit greenhouse-gas emissions and impose painful new costs on energy use.

"I think that they could be aggressive, and we're hoping that they're really going to look at the circumstances" of the economic downturn, Kovacs said. "That is our biggest single concern, because literally all three of them have a regulatory bent."

Let's see if i have this right. The entire US automaking industry is about ready to declare bankruptcy and this moron is worried that limiting greenhouse gas emissions is goin gto be a problem because of the economic downturn? He probaby thinks that if we cut the capital gains tax, the recession will be over.

What part of "you guys fucked it all up and you don't get to make the decisions any more" do they not understand?

Labels: ,

Continue reading Serene, and a little bit out of touch with reality

Bettie Page 1923 - 2008

50s pin-up queen Bettie Page dies

Bettie Page, one of the most famous US pin-up models of the 1950s, has died in Los Angeles, aged 85.

Her provocative poses - often in bikinis - made her a cult figure and she was one of the first models to appear in Playboy magazine.

Bettie Page was credited with helping to pave the way for the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Some pictures of her showing bondage and spanking generated controversy and attracted a congressional subpoena.

The secretary-turned-model was admitted to hospital last month, suffering from pneumonia. She had a heart attack last week and never regained consciousness.

Here's to ya, Bettie. The 20th Century would have been a whole lot less interesting without you.


Continue reading Bettie Page 1923 - 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever


Lot of discussion about billboards around town this week. Kevin's recap of the issue is here. Here's the Herald Sun report on Fairway's (the company that owns most of the billboards in town) presentation to the INC to lobby for a change to the local ordinance that governs billboards. (Read Kevin's post to understand the ins and outs of the deal.) Nothing so far in the N&O, but i wouldn't be surprised if Jim wise has something in the weekend Durham News.

Here's the piece that nobody's picking up on yet.

The INC presentation was made by Patrick Byker, attorney for Fairway. Byker works for the law firm of K&L/Gates. As does Craigie Sanders, the current president of the Inter Neighborhood Council. We've pointed out the appearance of a conflict of interest in Craigie's two positions in the past. As far as i'm concerned, that's just getting worse.

K&L/Gates Associates:
K&L Gates LLP comprises 1,700 lawyers who practice in 28 offices located on three continents: Anchorage, Austin, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Fort Worth, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, San Francisco, Seattle, Shanghai, Spokane/Coeur d'Alene, Taipei and Washington. K&L Gates represents capital markets participants and leading global corporations, growth and middle-market companies, and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions and philanthropic organizations. Our practice is robustly a full market practice — at once regional, national and international in scope — and it is cutting edge, complex, and dynamic.

Patrick L. Byker Counsel
Research Triangle Park +1.919.466.1264
Fax +1.919.516.2064 Add to Outlook Contacts

Areas of Practice • Professional/Civic Activities • Speaking Engagements • Bar Admissions • Education • Additional Information

Areas of Practice

Mr. Byker focuses his practice on land use and zoning. He was previously Vice President of Government Relations with the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Craigie D. Sanders Real Estate Staff Lawyer
Research Triangle Park +1.919.466.1259
Fax +1.919.516.2059 Add to Outlook Contacts

Areas of Practice • Professional/Civic Activities • Bar Admissions • Education • Additional Information

Areas of Practice

Mr. Sanders focuses his practice on land use planning and development matters. In addition to having extensive experience in working with elected and appointed government officials, he has experience conducting neighborhood and community meetings.

As a former city planner, Mr. Sanders also has experience in comprehensive planning, rezoning matters, Board of Adjustment requests, plan amendments, historic preservation matters and city ordinance revisions.

No way it's a coincidence that the INC is being pitched on the billboard ordinance revision, after so many years of that group leading the fight against billboards. One more step along the road to irrelevance for this once important organization.

Labels: , ,

Continue reading Billboards

Drinking Liberally

Tonight at the Broad Street Cafe. 7-9 pm.

Stop in and have a beer.


Continue reading Drinking Liberally

Shooting the Bull

Ginny Skalski, one of the editors of the 30 Threads blog, stops by tonight to talk about bloggin in the Triangle for a major media company. To add to the festivities, she'll be shooting video of the occasion, and interviewing us about the radio show at the same time. If only someone from the Durham Noise Network picks this up and uses it for an audio documentary, and then someone else blogs about it, we could touch all the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

7:30 tonight on 88.7 FM, WXDU, or listen online. Podcast available at iTunes:Shooting the Bull in a day or two.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull


Consider this a public service announcement:
DiFranco's music is equal parts warm, funny and profane. Her energizing music is enough to make even the most committed cynics grin and dance and sing along. Belting out her infamous feminist hits will give new fans a look at what m any others discovered long ago: an Ani DiFranco concert simply rocks.
Ticket Information: Tickets go on sale: Dec 12, 2008 11:00 AM
Ticket Prices: $34; Members: $31
Fletcher Hall Box Office Hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and on day of show one hour before showtime. To order tickets by phone, call the Box Office at (919) 560-3030 or toll free at 1-888-241-8162 or go to

Labels: ,

Continue reading Ani!

This has turkey written all over it

I'm not a big fan of movie remakes in general, and when someone decides to redo one of the best movies of all time, they better have a damn good approach. This just ain't gonna do it.
In nice stroke of plotting, the filmmakers come up with a reasonable explanation for why Klaatu looks human: He's really an entity made of light, and decides to visit Earth in human form to experience life the way the locals do! He comes in a gooey womb-like bio-suit which incubates him for a while before peeling off to reveal Keanu Reeves. If this still sounds hokey, remember that in the old version, Klaatu stepped off the ship fully formed in a silver nylon spacesuit.

Really!? He's made of light!* And he wants to experience human life like a local? Let's just hope he doesn't drink any green alcohol or get hooked on television, maybe he'll be OK. (Noted - it looks like a remake of that movie is coming out next year. Oy.)

It gets better.
"In re-imagining this picture, we had an opportunity to capture a real kind of angst that people are living with today, a very present concern that the way we are living may have disastrous consequences for the planet," Reeves said. "I feel like this movie is responding to those anxieties. It's holding a mirror up to our relationship with nature and asking us to look at our impact on the planet, for the survival of our species and others."

Great. Not only are they remaking one of the classics, they're throwing in a remake of An Inconvenient Truth for the same price.

I think i'll stay home and watch this on DVD.

* One of the best parts of the science fiction game, for me, as a reader and viewer, is the "how did that get to be that way" challenge. It's not necessary, and seldom desirable, to spell out all the details of how the miners on Voltan 6 were transformed into worker drones of the intergalactic bee hive as a result of breathing in the virus laden dust 600 feet below the surface of their arid planet which had been deposited there millenia earlier in the first wave of insectoid colonization. A skilled writer who understands the tropes of the genre well can provide enough information while telling the story that we can figure that out for ourselves.

The inability to do that is what killed Contact, for example. Well, that and Matthew McConaughey.

Labels: ,

Continue reading This has turkey written all over it

Marriage made in heaven?

I see that the Mets have picked up Seattle closer J.J. Putz in an effort to bolster a bullpen that's kept them out of the playoffs the past two years. All i can say is that, for Omar Minaya's sake, i hope this trade works out. Because if it doesn't, the headlines in the New York sports pages are going to be absolutely brutal. Not to mention the fans at Taxpayer Field.


Continue reading Marriage made in heaven?

Harry - are you taking notes?

Republicans were preparing a strong fight against the aid plan in the Senate, not only taking on the Democrats but standing in open revolt against their party's lame-duck president on the measure.

The Republicans want to force the companies into bankruptcy or mandate hefty concessions from autoworkers and creditors as a condition of any federal aid. They also oppose an environmental mandate that House Democrats insisted on including in the measure.

Considering that you couldn't even stand up to Joe Lieberman, how do you propose to run the Senate next year when these guys pull this shit over every bill that comes to the floor?

Labels: , ,

Continue reading Harry - are you taking notes?

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No posting today

Find out why.


Continue reading No posting today

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Quote of the day

On Monday, the Cubs said the bankruptcy of its parent would change very little as the team tries to finally win its first World Series since 1908. “It is business as usual at Wrigley Field as the Cubs continue to prepare for the 2009 season,” a team statement said.

Let me translate.

"Aw, who are we kidding? Last year was the best chance we're gonna have for a generation. We'll be out of contention by August 15."


Continue reading Quote of the day

Someone beat me to it

Senate seat available on eBay

Labels: ,

Continue reading Someone beat me to it


Well, i guess that'll knock Sam Zell's broad daylight theft of a couple billion dollars from the employees of Tribune Corp. right off the front pages, won't it.
CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions - both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.

Too bad. Zell's deal is, in the long-term, far more serious than your standard issue corrupt politician.

UPDATE: Harmonic convergence:
In other words, the Tribune company wanted a deal that would save them millions. Harris, the governor's aide, told them that if they removed the paper's ed board, the governor would play ball. In response, Harris got the impression that Zell had received the message and would do what Blagojevich wanted. The governor was pleased.

OK, maybe not "standard issue" corruption. Maybe this is a once in a generation fuckup.

UPDATE II: Email conversation with a friend:
Him: It’s a good thing this didn’t happen before election day.

Me: Well, the main case seems to be that he was auctioning off Obama's Senate seat, and he was pissed that Obama didn't want to give him any scratch for appointing Obama's person to the seat; so if anyone can walk away clean from this, it's going to be obama.

i wouldn't be surprised if Obama's behind this somehow.

From FireDogLake:
In the meantime, here's my question for Fitz (not like he'll answer it). Local Chicago press is reporting that Rahm Emanuel reported Blago after someone approached the Obama folks about who he wanted for the Senate seat. In other words, yes, Rahm may well be the good guy here, and Obama couldn't be cleaner. Is that true?

Like i say, don't be surprised if Fitz' initial tip came from Obama's people. He's pretty sharp, he is.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Blagojevich

Memo to Keith Upchurch

From: Mr. Dependable
Re: Rick Soles article

Suggested followups - Perhaps you could interview some of Mr. Soles' tenants to gain their perspective on the kinds of properties he manages, or some of the neighbors of those properties to get a sense of his contributions to the greater community regarding issues of property maintenance and appearance, criminal activity in the units he manages, etc.

Get back to me, i might be able to point you in the right direction.

Labels: , ,

Continue reading Memo to Keith Upchurch

A tale of two teams

I ran into a reader last week who wanted an update on the fantasy soccer front. As i told him, it's a lot easier to do this stuff when you're winning. Stephen Ireland's piss-poor game last weekend certainly didn't help me at all.

some of you may remember the fine details. I actually signed up for two different fantasy leagues, one sponsored by the Premier League itself, and one run by the Guardian newspaper. Within the Premier League's game, i'm in 4 different groupings, one for Bolton Wanderers fans, one for people from the US, a small, 18 person Durham league loosely affiliated with Bull McCabe's, and a "head-to-head" competition with 19 other random strangers. I started out pretty well in that league, staying on top of the Durham group for most of the first 9 weeks or so, and in the top 3-5% of the larger groupings. Then i lost a few players to injury, made a few bad trades, benched players who should have been starting and vice versa, and now i find myself pretty much in the middle of the pack: 428,000 out of 1.77 million in the big game (25% or thereabouts), 2670 out of about 10,000 Wanderers fans, 12,600 out of 55,000+ Americans. And despite having the 5th highest points total in my head-to-head league, a run of bad luck has me languishing in 18th place as i've lost a whole bunch of matchups by less than 5 points each.

But let's take a look at the Guardian.

There are about 88,000 players in this league. In addition to the overall competition, i'm in three other leagues. Again, one for Wanderers fans (about 525), one for US players (about 1000), and one for readers of the daily soccer humor column, The Fiver (about 1000).

I currently sit around 5800 overall, or about 7%. For the month of December, i'm at 2809, or top 3%, and for the past weekend, i'm in position 315, or about the top .4% (99.6 percentile, if you've just taken the LSAT.)

But wait, there's more. Among Wanderers fans, i'm at 54 for the season, and among US players i'm #101, both just around top 10%. But check this out:

That's right. A top ten finish for the week among Americans, and the number one slot among Wanderers fans. I'm in the running for the December prize of a thousand pounds with another good week, and i didn't come that far from winning the signed jersey for manager of the week.

Like i said, it's easier to write about this when you're doing well.


Continue reading A tale of two teams

Monday, December 08, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Good for them

Medical research projects by a student from Texas and a team from North Carolina won $100,000 prizes Monday in a prestigious high school science competition.

Prizes of $10,000 to $50,000 were presented to five other high school students and five teams of two at the awards ceremony for the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

. . .

Sajith Wickramasekara and Andrew Guo, both 17 and seniors at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, N.C., won the team prize for genetic research aimed at identifying new chemotherapy drugs.

"We were looking at developing a model to take existing chemotherapy drugs and improve them, and in the process identify new ones easily," Wickramasekara said.

Kushlani Wickramasekara said her son and Guo worked on the project from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily over the summer.

"I think they put in altogether about 1,000 hours," she said.

Today's Durham feel good story.


Continue reading Good for them

Noticed around town

Forget that post i made last week about gas prices going up. Clearly a temporary aberration. Gas is in the $1.60s most places.

Hooray for the recession!

Also noted - a Zip Car in downtown Durham on Friday afternoon. Must be one of those UNC folks. I put Durham at 3 years minimum before we get Zip Cars or one of their competitors in town, more likely 5 or 6.


Continue reading Noticed around town


Kevin has a post up indicating that the Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) is making a high priority of going to a fare-free system. I don't have any real objections, in the long run, of doing away with fares, but in the short term, i think it's a mistake. Here's why.

Public transportation systems rarely generate enough revenue to be self-supporting, and thus almost always require taxpayer funded subsidies. A small minority of Durham residents see public transportation as a public good, and are willing to subsidize it, even if we don't use it, because we see the benefits of a decent public transportation system. A much larger number thinks "I don't use the bus, why should i pay for it?" so when DATA needs more money for things like increasing service levels, they really have to fight for that kind of support, and it's really easy for our elected leaders to bow to the public will and not find as much money as is needed. In order to reshape the political calculus making it easier to improve bus service in the city, you'll need to increase the number of stakeholders who see the system as a public good. Which means increasing ridership. By a lot.

And you'll do that by making the bus a more convenient alternative to the car, especially for trips to and around the urban center, but also for daily commutes. Dropping fares to zero doesn't increase the number of stakeholders who will support making our public transportation infrastructure more extensive. All it will do, in the short term, is give more ammunition to those in our community who will make the argument that they don't want to subsidize a system that they never use. If you need to get people on the bus who can't afford the current fare structure, then develop a subsidy system that gives folks vouchers good for X number of rides at discounted rates, or even for free. But those folks who can afford to contribute to the fare system should still do so. In fact, bus service levels need to be increased so that people will consider paying the $1.50 per ride, or $40/month a bargain that they're happy to buy. Drop fares to zero, and people will figure that they service they get will be equal to what they pay for it.

Labels: ,

Continue reading DATA

Third world

Mrs D forwards this story to me of a California journalist returning back home after spending much of the past 7 years reporting from Latin America. Although the gist of the article is mostly political ("In Argentina, Mexico and other places I lived and visited as a foreign correspondent, people asked me if my country had gone crazy."), Mrs D (and i) found this passage telling:
Once a week or so, I am reminded that I am not in Mexico City by a small, everyday miracle of life here. A siren sounds in the distance. As it gets closer, all the cars around me part ways, in a synchronized dance. An ambulance or a fire truck speeds past, and seconds later, all the cars dance back into traffic.

What happens when an ambulance hits crowded traffic in Mexico City? Few if any drivers move. The ambulance driver's strategy is to pull up to the bumper of the vehicle blocking his path and emit an ear-shattering siren blast.

Every time I see an L.A. car stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk, or when I see an L.A. commuter use her turn signal before switching lanes, I think: Ah, it's good to be home.

Also found on the LA Times website is this wonderful story of how chickens can give a town an added dose of quaintness. Good stuff.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Third world

Insert obligatory cigar joke here

Obama was often observed on the presidential campaign trail chewing Nicorette gum, which helps ease the craving for nicotine. He has tried several times to quit.

The 47-year-old president-elect, who takes office on January 20, works out daily at the gym and sometimes plays basketball. His doctor said in May he was in excellent health, often jogged 3 miles a day and was fit to serve as U.S. president.

Website says Gerald Ford, who served from 1974-77, was the last U.S. president to use tobacco on a regular basis. The White House no-smoking rule was imposed by former First Lady Hillary Clinton, now Obama's nominee for secretary of state.


Continue reading Insert obligatory cigar joke here

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Curb cuts to nowhere - part 3

The southwest corner of Markham Ave. and Washington St. has relatively recent sidewalk construction, with ADA compliant curb cuts for wheelchair accessibility. So if you're rolling south towards town, or west towards Duke St. and campus, you're OK.

But what happens if you're heading the other direction?

Looking north on Washington from the only sidewalk at the intersection of Markham and Washington.

Basically, there's nowhere to go if you're coming back from town, and no way to get to this intersection if you want to go to town. Just look at that sea of asphalt.

This is the block of Markham just east of Washington. Pushing a stroller or rolling a wheelchair? You're in the road.

When the city came to the voters and taxpayers back in 1996 and asked for approval of a couple of million dollars for sidewalks, the stated goal was to put a sidewalk on at least one side of each thoroughfare in the urban zone. This intersection is one mile from the Carolina Theatre, half a mile from Durham Central Park and the Farmers' Market. I kinda think it qualifies for needing sidewalks coming to it from all directions.

I don't know how many of you read blogs from other urban areas that talk about walkable communities. In this DC blog post, for example, the issue is whether zoning codes should encourage townhouse construction without street level garages, for instance. Durham, clearly, is not at that stage yet. Our city and county governments are still at the point where every new building in town gets a publicly funded parking deck. But the very first step toward creating walkable communities is, you guessed it, sidewalks and crosswalks and the infrastructure that makes walking (and rolling) practical and safe.

I don't want to say that not having the basic amenities for walkable streets leads to urban decay. It may be coincidence that this house, which was condemned earlier this year but has somehow, without any visible improvements being made, become habitable again, is located at the Markham/Washington corner.

Or this beauty, which is two doors down from the Markham/Washington intersection. Who knows, maybe it's actually a used appliance outlet.

Less than a mile from downtown. A major gateway to our city. Gotta love it.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Curb cuts to nowhere - part 3

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Bus stop

I think this is the bestest bus stop ever. Nothing says "Our customers have no other choice but to use us" like a big fucking mud puddle in the middle of nowhere to stand around in waiting for the bus that only comes every half an hour.

And certainly nobody in a wheelchair better ever need to ride this bus.

Labels: , ,

Continue reading Bus stop

Sunday morning church marquee blogging

E. Geer St., Durham, NC


Continue reading Sunday morning church marquee blogging

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Why we need a comprehensive yard waste program in Durham

Exhibit 1:
This guy spent a lot of time gathering his leaves up on W. Markham Ave. Sadly, the city of Durham doesn't pick up leaves that are placed in plastic bags, so they'll be there for a while, until enough people complain and the city has to send a special crew out to grab them. They'll probably be dumped in with regular solid waste.

At least the bagged leaves aren't clogging the storm drains, though. This is near the corner of Markham and Washington.

First prize, though, goes to this house on the corner of Urban and Duke which is, it appears, in the midst of a renovation. Someone just decided that the leaves weren't their problem, and dumped a whole yard's worth of them onto the street. Even better, though, they decided to block the curb cut with them as well.

Fortunately, no one in a wheelchair or pushing a baby stroller ever has to use the sidewalk along Duke Street there.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, because these same folks have blocked the sidewalk with this pile of sand for at least a month, now. I first came across this on the Friday after the election, when i was walking back from Brightleaf Square. I just kind of assumed that they had a permit from the city to block the sidewalk for a couple of days while they mixed some concrete as part of the back yard renovations. But here it is a month later, and nothing has changed about the scene.

At least, there's a sidewalk, though.

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of "Curb cuts to nowhere."

Labels: , ,

Continue reading Why we need a comprehensive yard waste program in Durham

Fantasy soccer

Two words: Stephen Ireland

Two more words: Yellow card

Two more words: No goals



Continue reading Fantasy soccer

It's hard to argue with this kind of logic

I'm reading an AP story on a report published by a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The upshot of the story is that a relatively small group of states, mostly located in the South and Appalachia, are net exporters of weapons used to commit crimes elsewhere in the country.

Now, i'm pretty much agnostic on most gun control stuff. To a large extent, it's a dead issue, and certainly the idea of running a campaign on a platform of making it more difficult to own guns has been shown to be a loser. I think liberals and progressives have come to understand that. (It would be equally worth while for gun rights advocates to come to understand that there might be some benefit to regulating the presence of handguns, automatic weapons, and other people killing devices in high population, urban settings, but that's another story.)

Here's the part i like the best:
South Carolina Rep. Mike Pitts, an ardent gun rights supporter, said the state's high ranking doesn't surprise him. He recalled a burglary at his home, saying the thief stole about a dozen of his guns.

"It's not our lax gun laws. It's our high crime rate that causes the problems," said the Laurens Republican, a retired police officer and a National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses committee member. "What's happening is people break into my home, steal my guns and get a premium price by taking it to other states and selling them."

Emphasis mine.

One of the arguments constantly being made in favor of "lax gun laws" is the deterrent effect they supposedly have on crime. Criminals are theoretically less likely to act if they have reason to believe their intended victims might have superior firepower. Pitts pretty much, unintentionally, i assume, puts the lie to that idea in two ways. First, by acknowledging the "high crime rate" that accompanies his state's lax gun laws. And second, by acknowledging his personal contribution to both the rate of crime in his community ("people break into my home, steal my guns") and in the communities where his weapons stash is resold.

It gets better:
A spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who signed a bill removing the one-a-month limit on how many handguns a person can buy, said state laws are not the problem.

"We think we have adequate controls in place," said Joel Sawyer. "Unfortunately, criminals are always going to find a way to circumvent the process."

You keep using the word "adequate." I do not think that word means what you think it does. Criminals, of course, are always going to be around. Does it follow, though, that the response our leaders should have is to throw up their hands and say, "Shit, nothing we can do. No matter how much we try, we'll never get a handle on this."

I mean, you'r ethe governor, right? Shouldn't you be making an attempt to, you know, govern?


Continue reading It's hard to argue with this kind of logic

Friday, December 05, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Hooray for English only!


Churton St., Hillsborough, NC


Continue reading Hooray for English only!

Public service announcement

Durham 911 Center Debuts Non-Emergency Number

Non-Emergency Number Frees Up 911 Lines for Life Threatening Emergencies

Durham, N.C. – Barking dogs…loud music…burglaries occurring hours or days earlier…vandalism to public or private property. These are just a few examples of the types of calls that can now be reported to Durham’s new, non-emergency phone number.

The new number, (919) 560-4600, was established by the Durham Emergency Communication Center (DECC) to free up 911 lines for life threatening or in-progress emergencies. According to Jim Soukup, director of the DECC, the non-emergency number is an ideal way for residents to report events that do not need an immediate response by a public safety agency.

“I have read on community list servs and responded to countless inquiries from citizens who need to report something, such as a stolen flower pot or a barking dog, but don’t know of another way to do so other than using 911,” Soukup said. “Given the community need for a way to report an event that doesn’t rise to the level of life threatening or in-progress emergencies, we felt a new number to call would be beneficial to ensuring our 911 lines are free for people who need immediate help and our non-emergency line would be ideal for reporting non-emergency problems or concerns.”

According to Soukup, all incidents reported through the non-emergency line are tracked the same as if the call was received on the 911 lines. “All calls received on the non-emergency line are still received directly into the DECC,” Soukup said. “We still track the information and report it as normal to the appropriate agency. However, the 911 lines take precedent and by citizens using the non-emergency line for these types of incidents and events, the 911 lines remain open for people who do have life-threatening emergencies. Of course, if anyone is ever in doubt as to which number to call, they should use 911.”

I'm encouraged by the fact that the barking dog example was used to illustrate the need for this number. I'll be programming it into my speed dial.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Public service announcement


Here's a modest etymological query (or maybe, as Mrs D recently remarked, it's an entomological one, since it's been bugging me for a while). When i was younger, we used the word crap to mean "shoddy" or poorly made. It had some metaphorical equivalence to the word shit. So, a Ford Pinto, for example, could be referred to as a "piece of crap" or a "piece of shit" with equal gusto, and everyone knew what you were saying.

But the literal use of "crap" to mean "shit" was not part of my vocabulary. We wouldn't, for example, have used the phrase "he crapped his pants," or yelled at a neighbor, "Hey, your dog crapped in my garden." The word for that was "shit." So i can, i guess, understand how this linguistic shift took place. And probably why it took place, since we need a word for the physical object "shit" which we can use in more or less polite company that doesn't provoke the same snicker that, say, "feces" does. Crap functions equally as well as a verb, just like shit does.

But when did this change take place? It's like i woke up one day two years ago, and found that my neighbors were fertilizing their garden with chicken crap and horse crap. Anybody know?


Continue reading Crap

No spin zone

"The media business is getting more and more intense," O'Reilly said Thursday. "We've got to keep the TV show at the level we have it now, and that means more and more time to keep it competitive and fresh. I've been working 60, 65 hours a week and I just can't keep doing that."

That's one way of looking at it..

Labels: ,

Continue reading No spin zone

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I don't even know how to pronounce it, but it seems like one hell of an interesting way to run a country.
Governor General Michaelle Jean agreed to prorogue - or suspend - parliament until 26 January when the government is set to present its economic plan.

Ms Jean - the representative of head of state Queen Elizabeth II - has the right to make a final decision on such matters.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, one representative wonders if we have even one functioning president:
Frank, who has been dealing with both the bailout of the financial industry and a proposed rescue of Detroit automakers, said Obama needs to play a more significant role on economic issues.

"At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time," Frank said. "I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have. He's got to remedy that situation."

Labels: ,

Continue reading Prorogue

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Drinking Liberally

Tonight 7-9 pm at the Broad Street Cafe. Now with 50% more DL swag.


Continue reading Drinking Liberally

Shooting the Bull

Independent Weekly Music Editor Grayson Currin joins me and Kevin tonight at 7:30 in the WXDU studios to talk about the debut of the Durham Performing Arts Center and other cultural touchstones. Listen at 88.7 FM or online here.

Full podcast available at the iTunes store, probably on Saturday.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull

My kind of history

How Helvetica Took Over the Subway

City Room took a day-long tour with Paul Shaw, a New York historian who has an encyclopedic knowledge of signs in the city and in the subway system. He is known to scold people for confusing the terms “typeface,” “lettering,” and “font.” (Font, the word most familiar in an age of software drop-down menus, traditionally had a more narrow definition than “typeface,” but is now conflated with older term.)

Only a typeface aficionado like Mr. Shaw can point out remnants of Helvetica’s predecessor — Standard (also known as Akzidenz Grotesk) — scattered around the underground labyrinth. Mr. Shaw says the subway design team had originally chosen Standard, as the universal typeface in 1966, not Helvetica. A manual of that time declared that, “Of the various weights of sans serif available, Standard Medium has been found to offer the easiest legibility from any angle, whether the passenger is standing, walking or riding” (Sign legibility when your audience is in motion continues to be a vexing problem).

Helvetica was originally created in Switzerland (the name is derived from the Latin word for Swiss). It was a neutral typeface from a neutral country and gained runaway popularity starting in the 1960s for its modern grace. But the subway system looked elsewhere.

“It was an incredibly courageous thing to do at a time when Helvetica was riding high,” Mr. Shaw said.

Seriously, i could spend the whole day following the links from this article to various discussions of how serifs mutated over time, and why subway mosaic tiles look the way they do.

Labels: ,

Continue reading My kind of history

What happened?

I thought we were in a recession? Gas is up a nickel a gallon this week.

Labels: ,

Continue reading What happened?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

Well, damn

And how much she wanted to perform at the inauguration.
Her voice was an accompaniment to the black-and-white images of the freedom marchers who walked the roads of Alabama and Mississippi and the boulevards of Washington in the quest to end racial discrimination.

Rosa Parks, the woman who started the boycott of segregated buses in Montgomery, Ala., was once asked which songs meant the most to her. She replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.”


Continue reading Well, damn

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Best song ever

Labels: ,

Continue reading Best song ever

DATA wants your opinions

Durham, N.C. – Durham residents interested in bus service in Durham will get a chance to make their opinions count at an upcoming open house.

The Durham Area Transit Authority will host a public information meeting regarding the short-range transit plan to outline proposed bus service improvements for the next five years. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 3, 2008, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the DATA Board Room, located at 1907 Fay Street, Durham.

“Resident feedback received in July 2008 was incorporated into planning the proposed improvements in the short-range plan,” said Pierre Owusu, senior transportation planner for the City of Durham. “Following public input, a complete draft of priorities for the short-range transit plan will be reviewed by an advisory community made up of various City departments, all of the local education institutions, community leaders, and other stakeholders.” According to Owusu, the short-range transit plan will be ready for consideration by the DATA Board of Trustees by January 2009.

Transportation will be provided from the Downtown Transfer Facility to the DATA Operations facility beginning at 12:45 p.m. The bus will depart every 30 minutes. The regularly scheduled DATA Board meeting will follow the open house at 7:15 p.m.

To review the first draft of the short-range transit plan or to send comments, visit the City’s Web site at or call (919) 560-1535, extension 214.

Here's mine - more frequent bus service, bus routes that don't require you to change at the depot to get to the other side of town, more bus stops with shelters and benches. And updating the DPAC website with information on how to get there using the bus would be nice, too. By the way, if you can figure out exactly where on the city/DATA website to submit comments these comments, please let me know. I have a meeting in Hillsborough tomorrow from 5 - 7:30, so i'm going to miss this open house.


Continue reading DATA wants your opinions

Parking question

I just noted this in the comments, but i thought i'd ask it out loud. Any of you city government folks reading this know why the north side of Dillard Street (especially between Roxboro and Mangum) isn't signed for on-street parking during theater events the way it is for ballpark events? Hell, any reason why it isn't signed for on-street parking all the time? It's certainly wide enough. And you're giving up at least 6 more on-street spaces at the Dillard/Roxboro intersection on the south side as well, that could be reclaimed just by repainting.


Continue reading Parking question

Monday, December 01, 2008


You're sorry?
"I'm sorry it's happening, of course," Bush said in a wide-ranging interview with ABC's "World News," which was airing Monday. "Obviously I don't like the idea of people losing jobs, or being worried about their 401(k)s. On the other hand, the American people got to know that we will safeguard the system. I mean, we're in. And if we need to be in more, we will."

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, no. You don't "need to be in more." You need to far the fuck away from anyplace where you can do any more damage.


Continue reading Sorry?

Some images from the DPAC Grand Opening

Durham Children's Chorus waits to sing

Local politicians in the limelight: Councilmembers Woodard and Brown, and State Senator McKissick

Venus, Jupiter, and the moon put on their big show in the background

New Old Bull signage

The controversial Plensa light obscures the heavens for astronomers as far away as Morrisville

And whose brilliant idea was it to have the sports mascots arrive in a stretch Hummer? 'Cause nothing says "Durham" like a stretch Hummer, i'll tell you.

Labels: ,

Continue reading Some images from the DPAC Grand Opening