Dependable Erection

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Doing God's Work

If you're doing the work of the Lord, why do you have to run away?


Continue reading Doing God's Work

Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Judges

One of the oldest BQP traditions is the celebrity judge. Now, mind you, celebrity means something quite different in Durham than it does on the pages of, say, Variety Magazine. Durham celebrities are celebrated for their achievements, accomplishments, and how much they add to our community, not for their PR machines. So let's start getting to know our celebrity judges.

2 Beaver Knotubeve kicks it off. Here's what he has to say about himself.
2 Beave (as he is known to his lodge posse) was born in Buffalo, New York back in the before-time when the beaver nation could speak. He learned the language of the Upright People and got his first job in commercial radio at the age of 19 (430 in beaver years).

He moved to Iowa, a place known to the beaver people as the land where nothing happens. And it didn't. He spent four years there working in both commercial and Public Radio. His time in Des Moines taught him a valuable lesson. Never live in a city that starts with "duh."

He moved with his wife and 18-month old daughter to Washington D.C. to work for NPR. Public Radio was under court order to improve its beaver hiring record. Beaver discrimination was rampant at the time and well-spoken beavers like 2 Beave had to fight negative stereotypes such as "beavers can't talk" and "they make good reporters but they eat the furniture."

He now lodges in Durham with his wife. He hosts a radio show called the State of Things on North Carolina Public Radio, WUNC. He loves talking to the Upright People who live here and says furniture is really tasty.

And yes, he is also a Shakesbeavian scholar. Here's his favorite soliloquy.
To beave er not to beave—that is the question
Whether tis nobler in the mind to build with sticks and mud or to
Murder the varmints with dynamite that they may build no more
To build—perchance to gnaw—aye there’s the rub—

For in that dam doth lie an undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns.
Unless he wears a snorkle which would make him conspicuous among the beavers—
And he would run from their lodge as the beavers pelted him with the spiney parts of long dead fish.
Thus cod fins doth make cowards of us all . . .

Damn those who would oppose our eager woodland friends because their lodges are here and there. Unruly, . . . unexpected . . . checkered threats to urban sprawl—they who cry---out out spot dam.

How easily I change from Hamlet to Macbeth—
Easier still to say—give me beave er give me death.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Judges

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Band

Entertainment between segments of the pageant is always of the highest caliber, and this year is no exception. Magical Mystery Beaver has been working on new material all year. Check it out.
Magical Mystery Beaver is proud to be the house band for the Beaver Queen Pageant. These beavers got their start playing at night in the beaver pond on Avondale, the crickets and frogs their captive audience. One bright morning they crawled out of the pond, shed their sticks and went electric. The results have been fantastic, and the band has been doing a lot of woodshedding in preparation for the BQP.

Led by "the little dictator" Fidel Castoridae (vocals, trumpet, guitar), MMB's lineup features songs sung by rising stars Pearl Blade (who also plays congas and mandolin) and Dental Dam (who also plays tambourine and happens to be the band's dentist.) Aunt Betty Beaver shreds on rhythm guitar and is backed by the tightest rhythm section this side of the Cape Fear River Basin--Nolan Cleaver (drums, sticks) and Bucktooth Benson (bass.)

They look forward to rocking you with hits like "Black Magic Beaver;" "I can't get no Beaver Action;" "Psycho Beaver;" and "Beaver Queen."

And here's some action shots for your enjoyment.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Band

Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Emcees

The Beaver Queen Pageant has been blessed with many talented friends who give freely of their time and talents to make the pageant happen. Our emcees, Anita Whacker and John Parton, exemplify this spirit.

This year we're both happy and saddened to say farewell to John Parton, who needs no nom de castor, who will be swimming upstream to the Northeast before the year's end. Thanks for all you've given.
Anita Whacker, of the Buford Dam Whackers, hails from the deep south wetlands. As a long-time debubeaver, Ms. Whacker has developed a sassy style all her own. At the age of four, she won the Little Miss Kit pageant and continued throughout her teens to rack up, er, collect numerous titles and crowns including Miss Dammit 1987 and the internationally renowned Miz WhataBeav. Her prestigious run culminated in the title of Ms. Beaver Universe, although she was stripped of the crown due to the leakage of some full frontal beaver shots taken when Ms. Whacker was much younger and much more naive, plus a little drunk.

She soldiers on, however, in the nature of beavers everywhere, having taken on causes such as Peace, Love, Beavering and the now popular Green Construction. In fact, she is now building an entirely green dam in an adjacent neighborhood. Anita believes everyone should live green and in harmony with nature.

And, of course, Mr. John Parton, about whom we must say, that the rumor he was offered the prestigious Beaver Queen Pageant hosting position in the first place was due to him being the only person we know who owns his own tuxedo, can neither be confirmed nor denied.
John Parton has tried and failed to keep a straight face for the past three years as co-emcee of the Beaver Queen Pageant. John’s natural affinity for beavers and their wetlands drew him to participate in this important event. John is proud to live in a community that not only stands up to large state bureaucracies, not only prevails in these struggles, but then throws an annual celebration of these victories that continues to benefit the community. John keeps his coat gleaming and tail flapping by listening to people who need assistance and pointing them in the right direction. John is grateful for the opportunity to be amplified while speaking frankly and soberly to large crowds about really ridiculous stuff.


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Friday, May 29, 2009

Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Contestants

Last up in one of our most diverse fields of contestants in the pageant's history, is the mysterious Beave Whisperer, who possesses a most interesting attribute.
Beave Whisperer is a world-renowned beaver behavior specialist, known for his uncanny ability to wrangle large lodges of beavers. Not only that but, from European Hairless Beavers to the now extinct Giant North American Beaver, these now well-behaved beavers have each been rehabilitated, rescued from a wide range of extreme behavior issues - anything from protesting gay marriage to severe 'red voting' aggression!

You gotta appreciate someone who has a way with so many different kinds of beaver.


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Pin Projekt

Man, i've been so busy with the Beaver Queen pageant, that i almost forgot tonight is the Pin Projekt fundraiser for Troika Music Festival. Doors at 6:30 at the Pinhook, bidding starts at 8. I've got a couple of pins from years past; don't know if i have the extra cash to bid this year, but Beck Tench's retelling of "Big Lebowski" on a bowling pin looks like it might be worth owning.

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Hot Beaver videos

I'm noticing that the BQP is being picked up by a lot more media outlets than in previous years. If you're new to the game, here's where you can go to see what you've missed.

Like this:


Continue reading Hot Beaver videos

Herald Sun discovers the Beaver Pond

Read all about it.

Earlier story here.


Continue reading Herald Sun discovers the Beaver Pond

Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Contestants

With a mere eight days to go, it's time to meet our penultimate challenger for the crown, Beaverella.
Let me take you by the tail into the future: In a universe of “Peace, Love, and Beaver,” where there is no war and therefore no weapons, I am the instrument of all: Peace, Love, and Beaver.

But there are some who would threaten this harmonious world, where the rhythms of time are as sweet and bubbly as the billowing pillowing waves of a lava lamp. When those threatening Dangerous Overlord Types (DOT) arise, I lie back to take them. Wherever danger is brewing, I am there. Wherever weapons of war are massing, I stick a flower in them. Oh yes, you bet your sweet bippy I do. No one will EVER pave paradise and put up a parking lot, for my innocence and love are more powerful than any machine or mal intent of man.


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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shooting the Bull

Rumor has it that WXDU's transmitter is down due to circumstances beyond their control, and no word on whether or not it will be fixed by 7:30 tonight. So, if you want to hear me and Kevin yakking about Durham, you'll have to click here, or wait for the podcast.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull

Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Contestants

I'm not sure how up close and personal we want to get with our next contestant.
Dirty Beaver is a rescuee from the depths of Love Canal in upstate NY. Found dripping in toxic waste, she was transported here via beaver rescue barge to seek a new life as a freer, cleaner beaver. Upon arrival at Duke Park, Dirty Beaver set out to find a beaver cleaning facility . . . however due to the scarcity of drive-thru beaver washes equipped withself-scrubbers, she was forced to go to Ingles and load up on Beaver Goo
Gone and handiwipes . . . but nothing has worked out.

No one asks a dirty beaver to a dam building party that's for sure, and she has been single for some time; I mean that B.O. (you know . . . Beaver Odor?) can be a real turnoff in a social life. Dirty Beaver is still seeking a beaver cleaning crew!
If interested, call 1-800-KleenBeev.

Dirty Beaver believes that no beaver is an island... as sometimes, it
takes a village to clean a beaver.

So far, we've met Durga Beaver, HRM Elizabeaver I, Bupkiss Beaver, and now Dirty Beaver.

Who else is competing?

Check back tomorrow and all next week to meet the rest of our contestants and celebrity judges, as well as our MCs and entertainers, and learn how you can cast your ballot for the People's Choice award.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Contestants

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the Contestants

Only 10 days to the 5th Annual Beaver Queen Pageant.

That means it's time to meet another contestant. Y'all show Bupkiss Beaver some hospitality, now:
It was a hot summer day in NYC. So hot, all I could do was go into my icebox and this hot furry beaver fell asleep. Ummm, it was so cool, as if I was swimming in a glacial stream. Aaahh. Alaska...This is the life! Look, I can see Russia from my dam! I better be careful; there’s that schlemazel governor who thinks she can be president. Oy Vey!

So this busy beaver started exploring.

I came upon a great erection, a totem to the mother beaver,

lovingly carved by many large front teeth.

A voice spoke to me. Feh, this was no dream, but a call from the great creator of wetlands herself!

Bupkiss, listen to me. Until now, your life has been bupkiss; now you have a mission. You are my chosen beaver. You must deliver my message, and liberate Ellerbe Creek’s beavers. That creek is a mess, a real shanda! No furry beaver could live with all that shmutz. The ECWA will clean up the creek, but they need the gelt. You must go to the pageant and throw a rent party for the Ellerbe Creek. Bring this package, this stimulus package, and stimulate the beavers! Bring my power to Durham. May wetlands spread over all beavers, for a wet beaver is a happy beaver.

Nu? So here I come, direct from New York, 1939, with the mother beaver’s schtick.

Looks like quite a schtick, too.

There are plenty of things to do between now and June 6th to get ready for the pageant. Beaver tail art is still on display at the Scrap Exchange, and this Saturday, the 30th, there will be an evening of comedy and cabaret, Sing One For The Beavers, at the Exchange, 548 Foster Street, at 7pm. It's a fundraiser for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, so bring ten bucks if you want to catch Beaver Streisand in her only Durham appearance.

Speaking of ECWA, they're partnering with Deep Durham Beautiful and the Scrap Exchange to do some cleanup around the beaver pond (ECWA's newest acquisition) behind Compare Foods on Saturday afternoon. You know you want to help. Please contact Ann Woodward at The Scrap Exchange, 682-2751, email, or RSVP through Keep Durham Beautiful to let them know how many pairs of gloves they'll need.

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Blues Festival ch-ch-changes

One big show at the old ballpark (DAP) this year, on Saturday, September 12, from 1 pm to midnight. Friday night's show will be the acoustic indoor show at Hayti center that formerly was held on Thursday night to kick off the weekend.

Makes a certain amount of sense, as attendance has been dropping over the past few years. And current pricing has made it difficult to afford going both nights. Not sure that Elvin Bishop as the headline act is going to reverse that trend, but we'll see. One thing that will have to change, i think, in going to a single, all day show. And that's the no re-entry policy. I wouldn't mind checking out the early sets, but 11 hours at the DAP?

Early tickets on sale through the Hayti Heritage Center on June 22. No word on prices yet.


Continue reading Blues Festival ch-ch-changes

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New puppy!

No, not me.

My neighbors. And because they leave him out all night, i get to vicariously experience the joys of raising him.

Fortunately i live in a community that has enlightened and progressive noise and animal abuse ordinances, and the resources to enforce them.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Why we love landlords

In January, Mr. Jarvis began working as director of investor relations for Brewer Caldwell, a property management firm that had been approached by the CBI Group, a real estate fund based in Calgary, Alberta. In its first foray into the American market, CBI is buying 175 rental houses in Phoenix.

One of them belonged to Mary Lou and Jorge Aguilar, who purchased it new for $111,000 in 1999. Three years ago, after a series of financial difficulties, they refinanced for $185,000 for reasons they no longer understand. “Our lender talked a pretty picture,” Mrs. Aguilar said bitterly.

When the couple’s mortgage payment adjusted to $1,242 a month, they fell behind and ended up in foreclosure. They now pay $1,014 in rent, which they say is bearable.

Still, their feelings are mixed. “It’s not our house anymore; it’s someone else’s,” said Mrs. Aguilar, who works for the state welfare department.

For CBI, the deal is sweet. At that rent, it would recoup the $52,000 it paid for the house in about five years. “This type of deal is absolutely not available in Canada,” said Jarrett Zielinski, a CBI executive. “No city here has fallen by 50 percent, the way Phoenix has.”

So, the lender was unable to work out a deal with the owners that could have knocked the mortgage payments back down to the $1000 or so a month that these guys are now paying in rent, the house got sold at a $130K loss, and an out of country fund is siphoning the profits off to Canada. How in the world does this benefit the community?


Continue reading Why we love landlords

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bus shelter update

My request for bus shelters at the stops in the 1800 block of Avondale Drive has been forwarded from Durham One-Call to DATA.

Given that it's a holiday weekend, i'm going to wait until Tuesday morning to followup with my DATA contact. Stay tuned.

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Final week

Last week of the English football season and probably time to give an update as to how the Dependables made out in my first ever attempt at fantasy sports.

I signed up for two separate leagues; one run by the English Premier League itself, the other by the Guardian newspaper. The rules are similar enough - Here's a fixed sum of money to spend on a team of 15 players, you can't have more than 3 players from any one time, you have to have a specific distribution of positions (2 keepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders, 3 strikers), and each week you select 11 players to be active. Again, there are minimum requirements for your active team - 1 keeper, 3 defenders, 3 midfielders, 1 striker - and you can add others to make a starting XI. Points are awarded based on certain specific performance criteria, which differed significantly between the leagues. You can make minimal changes to your team between games - 1 per week in the EPL league, 5 per month in the Guardian league. You can make more in the EPL league, but there's a 4 point per transfer deduction from your total for each one. That option isn't available in the Guardian league.

So, how'd i do?

In the EPL league, not so hot. After a fast start, i faded when my early hot scorers, Bacary Sagna, Arsenal defender, Amir Zaki, Wigan striker, and Roque Santa Cruz, Blackburn Rovers striker, all either got injured or fell out of form, or out of favor with their coaches. Things really went from bad to worse when Michael Arteta, Everton midfielder, went down for the season 5 minutes into the game in which i had just made him my captain. (The EPL league allows you to choose a captain for each game, whose point total is automatically doubled.) Totally disrupted my transfer plans, and i really never recovered.

Going into the final week, my position is about 790,000 out of about 1.9 million players, right around the 41st percentile. Among USA participants, i rank about 25,000 out of 60,000, also the 41st percentile. It's even worse in the local Bull McCabe's league where, barring either a spectacular collapse or even more spectacular performance from relegation bound Middlesborough striker Tuncay, i'll finish 12th out of the 18 participants.

Tough league.

Oh, and that 100 million pounds i started with? My team is now worth about 97 million.

Over at the Guardian, things are quite different.

Somehow, the modified scoring and transfer rules were more suited to my style of play. For starters, my team, and cash on hand, are worth a combined 140 million pounds, which i think puts me in the top 1 or 2% for return on investment. (Player values fluctuate during the season based on some not quite known combination of performance and demand.) As in any market, buying low and selling high is a good thing.

There are about 90,000 players overall in the Guardian league. Right now i'm sitting at 3663 overall, or right about the 96th percentile. For the month of May i'm up around 2300, or 97th percentile. I'm too far behind the leaders to have a chance at the $2000 monthly prize, but i could conceivably end up in the top 1000 with a good week.

Among American players, i rank 60 out of about 1000, or 94th percentile. I guess the Americans who sign up for the Guardian league are a little more knowledgeable than other fans? For May i'm at 34 out of 1000, with a decent chance to finish in the top 10 for the month. I'm doing slightly better among Bolton Wanderers fans (and they'll stay up for another season! Yay!) - 29th out of about 530, or 95th percentile. For the month of May i'm 25th. I've got a decent chance to finish in the top 15, depending again on who plays and who sits, and how well i guess that in advance.

So, even though i'd never seen myself as a fantasy sports guy, i admit to having fun with this, and i'm already looking to next year, when i will totally rule downtown fantasy soccer.


Continue reading Final week

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


For the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, tonight at the Pinhook.

Regina Hexaphone makes a rare appearance. And guess what? It starts at the civilized hour of 7 pm.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another small step

Last week i was surprised to see this little line in the minutes from the most recent PAC 2 (Partners Against Crime - District 2) meeting:
"Question of whom to call for having a covered shelter installed at a Bus Stop. This is Durham One call – 560-1200."

I've occasionally posted pictures of some of Durham's neglected bus stops, and Lord knows there's a lot of them.
Somewhere between 80 and 90% of all the bus stops in Durham lack shelters or benches. Partially because it's convenient, but also because they are fairly well used and both unsafe and unsightly, i've kind of adopted the bus stops in the 1800 block of Avondale Drive.
Seriously? This is all you need to do to get a covered shelter installed at a bus stop?

I'm going to try this out immediately for the bus stops on Avondale Drive and let everyone know how it works.

That's what i posted back to the PAC2 list. I called One-Call and requested bus shelters for the Avondale Drive bus stops on Friday. I didn't get a tracking number for the request, because the operator wasn't sure how to process it, bu i expect to hear back soon, because of this announcement by Councilman Woodard to the last on Monday night:
I'm pleased to report that the City will [use] ARRA (stimulus) funds to provide 20 new bus shelters with solar lights, 20 new bus benches, and more trash cans at bus stops. I don't have the exact locations right now.

None of the elaborate plans for light rail and other mass transit will work until we enhance our bus service and make it transportation of choice, not just chance. Some of us--elected and appointed officials--are working hard to make that happen.

Twenty's a small step in the right direction; and since we can't count on stimulus funds every year, we're going to need to figure out another source of funding to move this project along in subsequent years. But the notion that we need to make bus service the "transportation of choice, not just chance" is especially welcome.


Continue reading Another small step

Monday, May 18, 2009

Herald-Sun knock knock joke

Knock knock.

. . .

Knock knock.

. . .

Knock knock.

. . .

Oh, well. Nobody home.


Continue reading Herald-Sun knock knock joke

Good news for pedestrians

From the City:
The long-awaited demolition and replacement of the pedestrian bridge at Alston Avenue will begin later this month and motorists are asked to take note of planned overnight traffic detours on NC 147.

Beginning May 26 and lasting approximately two weeks, the City’s contractor, S.T. Wooten Corporation, will begin their first road closure of NC 147. Traffic will be rerouted using Briggs and Alston Avenues as detours from 11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. as crews complete the demolition of the old pedestrian bridge structure.

After demolition is complete and the new bridge span arrives, crews will again close NC 147 during these same hours and using these same detour routes for the duration of setting the new bridge span into place. An announcement regarding the second closure will be provided to the public once this date is set.

I think i blogged about this when the design was first unveiled around 3 years ago, but i'm too lazy to check. Here's a picture.

For an interesting read, click here, and check out the section called "Background."

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Deep thought

May 17th is the latest in the season I've had to turn the heat on.

Continue reading Deep thought

Friday, May 15, 2009

This looks like fun tonight

After you take in the monthly Third Friday activities, including a stop at the Scrap Exchange to view the Beaver Tail exhibit, head over to the Pinhook for
LET'S GET SMALL!: A Ukulele Challenge and Benefit Concert! It'll be an 8 act line-up of fancy and not-so-fancy panted musicians from the area, each plying their trade to "The Tiny Art" at the Pinhook on Friday May 15th, in what promises to be a hot damn grab bag of genres, original tunes, cover tunes, original cover tunes, and other noises. There will be ukes of all kinds, accompanying instruments of all flavors, the requisite smattering of animal sounds and costume changes, and if all goes well, the best taco truck ever!

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shooting the Bull

Barbara Lau stops by to talk about the Pauli Murray project which she is currently directing under the auspices of the Duke Human Rights Center.

7:30 pm on WXDU 88.7 FM, or online here.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull

Drinking Liberally

Hey - in case you hadn't heard, Drinking Liberally has moved to a new location. We're in the back room (non-smoking) at Bull McCabe's*, at 8 pm on Thursdays.

Tonight Mike Lux, who read at the Regulator last night, is going to stop by to talk with us about his book, The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be.

Seating is limited, so get there early if you can.

* You might want to turn the sound down on your computer before clicking that link.


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Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the contestants

Over the past 4 years, a great many beavers have vied for the title of Beaver Queen. This year, for the first time, true royalty seeks its rightful place. Meet Her Royal Majesty Elizabeaver I, Queen of Ponds and Isles, Defender of the Wetlands.

HRM Elizabeaver, first to bear that good and noble name, is the daughter of HRM Henry VIII (a man with much beaver experience) and Anne Boleyn (who found that axes are not so good for beavers). Though there has been much made about the relationship between HRM Elizabeaver and Sir Walter Wally, a groundhog very much in her favor, she always protected her wetlands and is still a virgin beaver queen. HRM Elizabeaver, also known
as "Good Queen Beav", "Gloriana", or the "Virgin Beaver Queen", is also known for her rivalry with her cousin, Mary Queen of Scottish Beavers.

HRM Elizabeaver succeeded to the throne upon the death of her sister, Queen "Bloody Beaver" Mary, and has created through her reign a time of great peace, love, and flourishing beavers. HRM Elizabeaver has come across the pond to compete in the Beaver Queen Pageant in order to continue her protection of wetlands and the promotion of the glory of beavers.

Don't forget, the official start of BQP season is tomorrow night at The Scrap Exchange, with the opening of "An Exhibition of the Finest Handcrafted Beaver Tails in the Entire Universe.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - Meet the contestants

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I wonder if Bill Bell's read this

Mayor David N. Cicilline said today he has not made a decision yet about whether to seek legislation that would allow Providence and other municipalities to levy an annual tax on every out-of-state student who attends a private college or university in Rhode Island.

In an interview with Providence Business News, Cicilline said he is still discussing the proposal with lawmakers, in addition to administrators and students at the city’s four private schools: Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College and the Rhode Island School of Design.

“This is really about everyone working together, doing more than they’ve done in the past to support the health and prosperity of the city,” he said.

I have absolutely no idea whether this is workable, desirable, or even Constitutional.

But i know that if it were to ever get on the table in Durham, you'd see some heads exploding. And that alone might be worth the price of admission.


Continue reading I wonder if Bill Bell's read this

Beaver Queen pageant - Meet the contestants

Say hi to Durga Beaver:
Durga Beaver, like her predecessor Durga, was created when the whole dam Earth had become overrun with demons. The gods who ran the world had done everything they could think of to stabilize the world economy, society and environment. They erected barriers and fences, bombers and Humvees, bailouts and restructurings. But all of them failed to provide a firm foundation for the world. The gods were powerless against the evil forces which were running amok. So they convened a special session of all the dam leaders and acknowledged their inability to solve the problems using the same methods they’d been trying for years at the cost of billions of dollars and millions of lives.

They had thought that if they just put their heads together they would come up with something. So they tried and tried until their frustration became almost unbearable.

Suddenly at the very moment that they admitted their total inability to ease their frustration and come to a satisfying conclusion the ideal beaver entered each of their heads. They noticed for the first time that there were no beavers among all the dam gods and they saw the capacity of beavers to know exactly where and when to apply their mouths and their tails in order to achieve the smoothest flow and the firmest
structure to provide a life giving environment and a good dam time. The gods realized that all of their pitiful erections were doomed to fail without the guidance and support of the beaver.

That was the first step in their recovery.

They knew then they needed the help of a higher power. So they put their heads together again and prayed for the Queen Beaver to manifest and bless them. Their humility, intention and fervent prayer for help woke the goddess Durga from her thousand year slumber and she donned her beaver tail and descended to the dam demon infested world once again to defeat the evil forces and return the whole dam world to peace and harmony. This is the start of the Durga Beaver tale.

The 2009 Beaver Queen pageant is June 6th, in the Duke Park Meadow. Stay up to date at the official Beaver Lodge Website, and see what you missed in previous years here.


Continue reading Beaver Queen pageant - Meet the contestants


I'm too busy at the day job to post much this week.

But this is worth the read:
Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

As a result, 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here. “When I had a car I was always tense. I’m much happier this way,” said Heidrun Walter, a media trainer and mother of two, as she walked verdant streets where the swish of bicycles and the chatter of wandering children drown out the occasional distant motor.

Vauban, completed in 2006, is an example of a growing trend in Europe, the United States and elsewhere to separate suburban life from auto use, as a component of a movement called “smart planning.”

Automobiles are the linchpin of suburbs, where middle-class families from Chicago to Shanghai tend to make their homes. And that, experts say, is a huge impediment to current efforts to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, and thus to reduce global warming. Passenger cars are responsible for 12 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe — a proportion that is growing, according to the European Environment Agency — and up to 50 percent in some car-intensive areas in the United States.

Durham remains on the wrong end of the trend, requiring huge parking garages for every new or redeveloped building downtown, and giving virtually no thought to integrating pedestrian friendly features into road construction anywhere but the very heart of downtown.

Oh well.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Doobie - ous

Last night's storms and the resulting power outages forced a change in our Mother's Day brunch plans this morning so we headed to north Durham to try someplace different and unaffected.

Saw this on the way.

OK, what am i missing here?


Continue reading Doobie - ous

Friday, May 08, 2009

For your weekend listening pleasure

Lat night's episode of Shooting the Bull, featuring Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield, is now online.

Listen here, or subscribe to the podcast through

thanks to everyone who sent in a question for Tom, either here, through Kevin's site, or via email. Sorry we didn't have enough time to ask them all.

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Continue reading For your weekend listening pleasure

Thursday, May 07, 2009


A reported $4,000 contribution from State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson's campaign to the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People is drawing scrutiny from state elections officials.

The contribution is listed on the Durham Committee's financial disclosure for the fourth quarter of 2008, but doesn't appear on the Atkinson campaign's. Officials from the State Board of Elections have asked the Durham Committee's treasurer, Keith Bishop, for a copy of the check.

The donation is of interest for more than just the accounting discrepancy.

Atkinson was participating in an experimental public-finance program funded in part with taxpayer money. Its rules bar aid recipients from channeling that money to other candidates or groups except for true "campaign-related" expenses like the purchase of advertising.

The article goes on to note that Atkinson has provided documentation showing the check in question was for $400, not $4000, and was to cover postage and mailing expenses. Presumably for a mailing that DCABP did on Atkinson's behalf. Let's hope Mr. Gronberg at the Herald Sun is able to keep an eye on how this plays out.

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Continue reading Ruh-roh

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Beaver Queen Pageant kick-off event!

Join the Beaver Lodge and beaver lovers throughout the Triangle at Durham's Scrap Exchange for the opening of The Green Gallery on Friday night, May 15th, in conjunction with Third Friday.

That's right, soon, Durham will be host to "an exhibition of the Finest Handcrafted Beaver Tails in the entire universe."

And don't forget, the 5th annual Beaver Queen Pageant takes place in one month, on Saturday, June 6, at the Duke Park Meadow, at the corner of Acadia and Knox, in beautiful Duke Park. Stay tuned for bios of all the contestants and celebrity judges, and check in often here and at the official Beaver Lodge blog for the latest news on this year's pageant.


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Shooting the Bull

Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield is going to be our guest on Shooting the Bull this week. The program airs Thursday at 7:30 on WXDU, 88.7 fm.

Got a question for Tom? Leave it in the comments and we'll try to get to it.

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Landlord registration

One of the the things i wrote in an email to the PAC2 list discussion on landlord registration recently was this:
I cannot imagine that Raleigh is the first municipality in the nation to
implement a program of this kind.

Personally, i'd prefer to see the data that comes in from Raleigh (and
other cities that may have similar programs) before i start throwing
around blanket generalizations like "this can never work."

Well, whaddayaknow?
Here's my favorite example:
New Jersey Landlord Registration Act - New Jersey Landlord Identity Law – N.J.S.A. 46:8-27 thru 37

The New Jersey Landlord Registration Act
The law requires landlords who rent (NON-OWNER OCCUPIED) houses, apartments, or buildings to register certain information with the clerk of the city or town where the building is located. If your building contains three or more apartments, the landlord also must register with the

New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (Bureau of Housing Inspection, PO Box 810, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0810

By law, every landlord of a dwelling, except owner-occupied premises with not more than two rental units, must file with the clerk of the municipality in which the residential property is situated, or with the Bureau of Housing Inspection in the Department of Community Affairs, a certificate of registration.
N.J.S.A. 46:8-28.
The certificate must contain the following information:

1. the name and address of the record owners. If such owners are a partnership, the name of all general partners. If such owners are a corporation, the name and address of the registered agent and corporate officers;
2. if the address of any record owner is not located in the county in which the premises is located, the name and address of a person who resides in the county in which the premises are located and is authorized to accept notices from a tenant and to issue receipt therefore and to accept service of process on behalf of the record owner;
3. the name and address of the managing agent of the premises;
4. the name and addresses, including the dwelling unit, apartment or room number of the superintendent, janitor, custodian or other individual employed by the record owner to provide regular maintenance service;
5. the name, address and telephone number of an individual representative of the record owner or managing agent who may be reached or contacted at any time in the event of an emergency; and
6. the name and address of every holder of a recorded mortgage on the premises.

The landlord must display this information at the property in a place where tenants can see it, and the landlord must give this information in writing to each tenant. Cite: N.J.S.A. 46:8-28 and 29.

In addition to the filing of the registration statement, landlords are required to provide each tenant with a copy of the registration certificate.

Failure to register. LANDLORDS TAKE NOTE! The registration law prevents a landlord from evicting you if the building is not properly registered.

If your landlord has not registered the property or has not given you a copy of the registration, the court cannot enter a judgment to evict you in favor of the landlord. In most eviction cases where a landlord has not registered, the judge will postpone hearing the case to give the landlord time to register. Once the landlord registers, the court can then hear the case and enter a judgment for eviction. The postponement can give you extra time to move or to obtain the rent you may owe. Some judges do not follow this procedure and will enter a judgment anyway, if the landlord agrees to register the property later. This practice is clearly wrong. Cite: N.J.S.A. 46:8-33 and Iuso v. Capehart, 140 N.J. Super. 209 (App. Div. 1976).

If your landlord is not registered, you can file a complaint in Superior Court or municipal court. A landlord can be fined up to $500 for failing to register. Cite: N.J.S.A. 46:8-35

If there is any change in any of this information, a landlord must file an amended registration with the Bureau of Housing Inspection or, in the case of a one-or two- family dwelling, with the clerk of the municipality, within 20 days, correct with the information posted in the building and notify each tenant in writing 7 days after filing. No fee is charged by the Bureau for the filing of amended registration statement

In court, a judgment for possession cannot be entered if the landlord has not complied with this registration requirement. Non-receipt of the statement is almost a standard defense by tenants who are represented by competent counsel to avoid an immediate judgment of possession. The court has the authority to stay the proceedings for 90 days to allow the landlord to come into compliance. If the landlord has not come into compliance within this 90 day period, the landlord's action for possession will be dismissed.

Durham landlords have it pretty easy, from what i can tell.


Continue reading Landlord registration

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Durham residents can now water their lawns and gardens only three times a week.


Continue reading Irony


As regular DE readers know, i like a good whine as much as anyone in town. But the spectacle of a bunch of landlords on the PAC mailing lists yesterday whining about how difficult it is to get good tenants in response to the suggestion by a couple of local activists that Durham ought to keep on eye on how Raleigh's new landlord registry program was too much, even for me.

As my daddy used to say, nobody's holding a gun to your head forcing you to be a landlord. If it's really that much trouble, get out of the business. You might even have more respect for yourself in the morning.


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Monday, May 04, 2009


Got my tickets.



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Outliving the bastards

Happy birthday, Pete Seeger.

Continue reading Outliving the bastards

Beaver Pond preserved!

I've written about the Beaver Pond off Avondale Drive, behind Compare Foods and just north of I-85 numerous times.

Here's some great news to report.

Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association has, finally, taken title to the 32 acre parcel. The spring newsletter, in print but not yet online, has all the details. Turns out the previous owner was persuaded to sell below market value, and both the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative kicked in funds. Look for the Beaver Pond to join the list of ECWA managed nature destinations in Durham in the near future.

More information, i'm certain, will be available at the 5th Annual Beaver Queen Pageant, coming up on June 6 at the Duke Park Meadow. Check out the newly revamped Beaver Lodge website for all the details. I'm honored once again to be the official blogger for the pageant. I'll be posting both here and at over the next month or so till the pageant.

See you there.

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Continue reading Beaver Pond preserved!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Deep thought

Our first May Day under socialism.


Continue reading Deep thought