Dependable Erection

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The more i think about it . . .

The more i want to see Mark Sanford stay on as governor of South Carolina.

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Continue reading The more i think about it . . .

Monday, June 29, 2009

Parking deck goodness

A section of a car park has reportedly collapsed near the centre of Atlanta city in the US state of Georgia.

TV footage showed that part of at least one floor had fallen onto the level below, crushing cars.

Witnesses told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper that four floors of the deck had collapsed, but that the overall structure remained.

It is not known if anyone was hurt. The car park is near the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Let's hope everyone's OK. Let's also hope that Durham has fixed its own parking deck problems.


Continue reading Parking deck goodness

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Speeding and drinking

A month or so ago Kevin and i interviewed city manager Tom Bonfield on Shooting the Bull. One of the questions i asked him went something like this. Now that Durham has reported a statistically significant drop in violent crime over the past few years, would it be possible to see the Durham police devote a few more resources to enforcing traffic claws, especially things like speeding and crosswalk encroachment in our neighborhoods that make Durham so uncomfortable and unsafe to walk or bike in.

Tom's response was that not every neighborhood had the luxury of feeling the way the people in mine do, and that this may not be a priority for people in perhaps higher crime neighborhoods.

Well, i see his point, even if i disagree with it.

But, first of all, my neighborhood isn't all that if you know what i mean.

Second, if we don't have enough officers to enforce our traffic laws, why did i watch 3 of Durham's finest spend 20 minutes making sure two men drinking beer in a public space on Main Street last night had to empty their containers and vacate the space. Yeah, public consumption is against the law. I know that. But so is speeding. And if you ask me, and i think many people in Durham, our safety is a lot more jeopardized by people behind the wheel of a 2500 pound vehicle traveling at 45 mph on a residential street designed for 25 mph travel, than it is by a couple of guys drinking 40s out of a brown paper bag on a park bench on Main Street.

Know what i mean?

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Continue reading Speeding and drinking

Friday, June 26, 2009

Traffic circle tribute to MJ

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Continue reading Traffic circle tribute to MJ

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Draft Sanford!

Via TPM: Draft Sanford 2012.

Classy unauthorized use of the Beatles, too. Visit now while there's still time.


Continue reading Draft Sanford!

More about rabies

From my old hometown:

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services reported that terrestrial animal rabies has been confirmed in a raccoon found in Huntington, Suffolk County. The raccoon was found dead on Dewey St. on January 8, 2009. The Suffolk County Department of Health Services submitted the specimen to the New York State Department of Health Rabies Laboratory, where the rabies virus was confirmed. There was no known human contact with the raccoon.

This is Suffolk County's nineteenth case of terrestrial animal rabies since March of 2006 when the first case was found. All cases have been from the Huntington/Lloyd Harbor area.

. . .

Suffolk County has been actively distributing oral rabies vaccine to wildlife since September 2006. This has been complemented by similar efforts in Nassau County. The goal of this program is to vaccinate terrestrial wildlife against rabies in order to prevent further spread on Long Island.

In this map of Long Island, Suffolk County essentially extends from "Melville" on the west all the way to Montauk and Orient Points on the east.

And this closeup shows the area where all of the rabies cases have been found.

Suffolk's got about 6 times the population of Durham County, but only about double the population density. Huntington Township, the area where all of Suffolk's rabies incidents have occurred, has a population nearly that of Durham's (just under 200000 in 2000) in about 1/8 the area. Compare Huntington to the City of Durham, however, and things are much more alike, with both municipalities covering an area a little under 100 square miles, and densities around 200 people per square mile.

19 rabies cases in 3 years averages a little over one every two months. In Durham, we've had 4 in about 6 months.

Do we even have a response from the County Health Department, or is all of this being placed on our already overworked Animal Control Department to manage?

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Continue reading More about rabies

What's the difference . . .

between Mark Sanford and Eliot Spitzer?

I mean, why is no one calling for Sanford's resignation?

UPDATE: Maybe i spoke too soon.


Continue reading What's the difference . . .

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rabies update

From Durham County Animal Control
This marks the fourth positive rabies case in this year for Durham County. Since January Animal Control has sent 31 bats removed from homes, 7 cats, 3 foxes, 2 raccoons, 1 beaver, 1 dog, 1 skunk and a vole. Only the foxes and the skunk proved to be rabid.

Animal Control officials warn that while there may be only 4 recorded positive rabies results since January this year that number is not indicative of the number of animals that may be positive within the territorial boundaries of the County. Animals are only sent in for testing for rabies when results need to be determined because they have exposed a human or a pet. Sick or injured animals that are impounded, but have not exposed domestic animals or pets are euthanized, but not tested.

Animal Control officials also warn citizens to stay away from wild animals and to refrain from feeding them in their backyards. While they may appear cute and beautiful to watch, they pose a great health and safety risk to humans and pets should they become infected with the disease. It is better to not escalate that risk by inviting wild animals to visit residential areas.

Durham County Animal Control also offers low cast rabies vaccinations to owners of dogs and cats for $10.00 at their office located at 3005 Glenn Road in Durham. Vaccination times are from 10:00AM to 12:00PM and from 2:00PM to 4:00PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If the times are inconvenient, citizens should call the office to make an appointment for a different weekday.


Continue reading Rabies update

My awesome powers of prognostication

Me, in an email to a friend earlier today:
I don't think i can get away from my meeting in time to see a 9 man US MNT get chastised 5-0 by Spain.

final score?

US 2-0 Spain.



Continue reading My awesome powers of prognostication

BQP - HRM Elizabeaver I

Her Majesty's performance in the talent competition


Continue reading BQP - HRM Elizabeaver I


A gray fox Tuesday emerged from the woods near Westminster School for Young Children and bit a student, a little girl, on the leg.

The animal ran into the woods but was captured.

"Eight animal-control officers responded -- promptly," said the Old Chapel Hill Road school's director, Kathy Stickley.

The fox was killed, and a sample has been sent to a lab for rabies testing, Durham County Animal Control Director Cindy Bailey said. Results are expected today.

Stickley sent home a note explaining that the children were on the playground when the fox slipped in and attacked the child.

After the fox attacked, a staff member called 911, and then called the little girl's mother. Emergency personnel showed up and treated the child.

The little girl's classmates were intrigued by the fox.

"They're very interested in it," said Stickley, who praised her staff for keeping the kids calm and otherwise handling the situation.

Bailey recommended that the children stay off the playground for a while. The dead fox was a juvenile, so there could be a litter of young foxes lurking in the nearby woods, Bailey said.

Bailey's officers have set traps to apprehend any foxes that might venture outside of the woods.

Same story, reported by the N&O:
A young fox climbed into a fenced play yard at a Durham day care Tuesday morning and bit a 4-year-old girl.

. . .

George Strader, a state wildlife biologist, said fox attacks are uncommon and typically indicate rabies.

"These are actually the first I've heard of this year," he said.

Animal control personnel in both counties blamed the attacks on rabies.

"He looked like Marty Feldman," Hess said of the gray fox he caught after the Chapel Hill attacks. "That's a furious form of rabies."

Both foxes were sent to the N.C. State Laboratory for Public Health for rabies tests. The victims will need vaccines.

"All the indicators ... would say yes," Durham animal control administrator Cindy Bailey said of the likelihood of rabid foxes. "Those are not actions that a healthy fox would take. They would retreat from a child and go back in the woods."

The first attack occurred about 10 a.m. Tuesday on the playground at Westminster School for Young Children in Durham. The fox chased some children and bit one girl on the back of the leg before escaping.

Responding to a 911 call, eight Durham Animal Control officers were able to trap the animal in a large trash can.

"It angrily pulled everything that was in the trash can out," Bailey said. "I had my entire field staff out there. ... They were using the trash can to shield their bodies from the fox."

Thumbs up to the N&O for getting the significance of the story out there. Next time you get a chance, ask the Durham County Commissioners just how many pets in the county are actually registered and up-to-date on their rabies vaccines.

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Continue reading Rabies

Another one bites the dust

The old Carmike theater at the north end of the K-Mart shopping center on Avondale has been vacant for what, 6 years now? There' have been all kinds of rumors in that time of different plans to turn it into various kinds of specialty theaters.

Not no more:
Date: June 24th and June 25th
Time: 10am-5pm
Movie Theater Liquidation
We are Liquidating the contents of a Movie Theater located in Durham, NC. We have everthing from consessions to speakers to projectors. There is a list below of most of the items there . If any of these items are an interest to you and would like to know more, please call us at 757-622-1010 or 757-446-8080. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 14 lg round trash receptacles, 4 - 2 seat sofas, Beverage Air Cooler (approx. 3' tall), nacho machine server, 4 s/s popcorn holders/warmers, 4 Selmix ice boxes, 4 POS register system, 4 lighted menu boards, 4 movie ticket POS registers, 4 drawer file cabinet, small Sentry safe, large safe ( approx. 30" X 24"), 6ft folding table, Link computer monitor/keyboard, Epson LX-300 printer (pinfed), assorted Desks, Tables, and Chairs, Radio Shack FM Intercom, Scotsman 1000 lbs ice machine. Cretors Giant Dual Popcorn popping table w/ hopper, 3 - 6ft s/s racks, 3 compartment s/s sinks (no apron), 1348 theater seats, 54 speakers (on wall), 7 movie screens (approx. 24 ft wide), 7 base subwoofers, Film Splicer (model T), set of 6 ½ size lockers, 3 DTS-6D playback systems, 6 channel cinema stereo processor, EX520 Regulated Exciter lamp supply, 7 Strong X-90 Projection consoles, 7 passive crossovers, 3 Smart Model #3 sound processors, 4 smart Model Mod II C Sound processors, 7 Simplex 1050 projectors, 7 Simplex 2000 lens Turrents, 7 Simplex 5 star sound heads, 2 Schneider 75 primary scope lens, 2 Schneider 80mm Primary scope lens, 3 Schneider 95mm Primary scope lens, Schneider MC2x anamorphic lens, 4 Schneider 50mm flat lens, 3 Schneider 60mm flat lens, 7 Xenon power supply (model #6280001), 7 hi tech dimmers, 7 hi tech automation, 3 smart mn 586 monitors, 4 Smart Showman 4 monitors, 3 Smart exec. Power supplies, QSC power amps (run TA242), Sony cd player, 12 Telex Car A Mate slide projectors, 8 XBO Xenon short lamp, 6 flip top garbage cans, rewinder for trailer, 3 s/s racks, lot of used chairs/chair parts, 3 dbl metal cabinets, lot of Christmas decorations, old stereo system, lot of light bulbs, lot of upcoming movie trailers, lot of Coca-Cola slides, lot of misc. bulbs, solvents/degreaser/etc., 6 Schneider WA 2X anamorphic lens scope.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, and at the Indy's Triangulator blog, Chapel Hill's Varsity Theater is shutting down its operations on Friday.

Not that i go there often, but every showing i've been to at the Varsity has been well attended. It's a shame that a specialty theater can't make a go of it on the main drag of a college town.

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Continue reading Another one bites the dust

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BQP - Wetlands Ready Wear

Here's the first half of this year's Wetlands Ready Wear competition, featuring Beaverella, Beave Whisperer, and HRM Elizabeaver.


Continue reading BQP - Wetlands Ready Wear

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bikes For The World

The Durham chapter of the group Bikes For The World is holding its second annual bicycle collection drive on Saturday, June 27, from 10 am to 2 pm. The group is DC based, but is now holding collection drives in upstate NY, Baltimore, Charlottesville, VA, and here in the Triangle.

From their website:
We accept ANY serviceable bicycle, adult or children’s, accompanied by a suggested $10 per bike donation to defray a share of the costs in getting bikes to quality programs overseas and get information back for donors and the public. Flat tires or a missing seat or pedal matter little. Mountain bikes are the most-desired models. Also highly desirable are fat-tired one-speed “cruisers”, three-speed touring bicycles, and good-quality men’s road bicycles. We also accept tandems, recumbents, adult tricycles, trail-a-bikes, and even unicycles. We accept scooters in good condition.

We DO NOT generally accept: children’s tricycles, “Razor” scooters, bicycle frames lacking any or most components, or “rust-bucket” bikes whose painted frames are beginning to rust through or whose chains are frozen solid with rust.

We welcome children’s bikes, because (1) they get children to school, (2) servicing a kid’s bike overseas generates mechanic employment just as an adult bike does, and (3) they fit well into the interstices of a shipping container (and increase the value of the shipment)!

In addition, we gratefully accept most bicycle spare parts and components (e.g., tubes, tires, chains, cables, and mountain bike handlebars, but not “drop” handlebars), accessories (e.g., pumps, locks, helmets, gloves), bicycle books and manuals, bicycle tools (including wrenches, screwdrivers, and hammers), and operating portable sewing machines. These items fit well within the shipments of bicycles, adding value without displacing bicycles, and are much welcomed.

Got a bike lying around the house that you're not using? do some good with it.

The collection site is in the parking lot of Family Health International at Headquarters Park, 2224 E NC Hwy 54, Durham (RTP) NC 27713. For info, write wennywigley AT or call 919-688-9347.


Continue reading Bikes For The World

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dirty Beaver's Interpretive Slip 'n' Slide performance


Continue reading Dirty Beaver's Interpretive Slip 'n' Slide performance



Continue reading Beaverella!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's it worth to you?

I hear the N&O is telling its subscribers they need to cough up a buck a week (or 40 something for a whole year) if they want to keep getting the weekly TV listings with their paper.

Maybe they can start charging extra for the comics section as well. Somehow, i don't see this having a positive effect on circulation numbers.


Continue reading What's it worth to you?

Magical Mystery Beaver


Continue reading Magical Mystery Beaver

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pedestrian crossings

Commenter and friend PM makes the suggestion: "And for PR, if nothing else, push people to use the pedestrian crossings instead of darting across streets wherever. Even if darting across the street is legal, we'll all be better off if people get into the habit of using the ped crossings."

Good point.

Here's the intersection of Trinity and Avondale.

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Avondale and Markham.

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Avondale and Alston.

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Alston and Geer.

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Avondale and Geer.

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Alston and Drew.

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Geer, Miami, and Drew.

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That's a total of 1 crosswalk in these 7 fairly active East Durham pedestrian crossings.


Continue reading Pedestrian crossings

Small steps

I guess this got reprinted in yesterday's print Herald-Sun, though it's originally from the Jacksonville (NC) Daily News:
As the city increases efforts toward pedestrian safety, the Jacksonville Police Department is as well.

The traffic and patrol divisions of the police department have started enforcing pedestrian safety in recent weeks, said JPD Lt. Tony Campbell, with the traffic division.

Traffic officers and community officers pose as pedestrians and bicyclists and cross at various intersections and crosswalks throughout the city as unmarked patrol cars watch from nearby. When drivers don't yield the right of way to the officers posing as pedestrians they are stopped and enforcement action is taken, Campbell said.

The infraction entails a fine and court costs. The fine is at the discretion of the judge, Campbell said.

"We feel that we're trying to educate people on pedestrian crossing and we're trying to make more people aware of what the laws are and what they're responsible to do when a pedestrian is crossing to try to reduce these fatalities and injuries," he said.

As always, the commenters will provide your best entertainment value.

We've talked in the past about the "Three E's" that are necessary for walkable communities - education, engineering, enforcement. In a lot of ways, our engineering hands are tied. Many of Durham's streets are state maintained and designed primarily to move the maximum number of vehicles from point A to point B. That leaves education and enforcement, which go hand in hand. The best way to learn the lesson that pedestrians are part of the transportation mix and have certain rights is with a financial hit when people violate those rights.

Let's hope Chief Lopez is paying attention.

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Continue reading Small steps

Monday, June 15, 2009

Magical Mystery Beaver video

La Beaver!


Continue reading Magical Mystery Beaver video

My new favorite bus stop

Long time readers will note that i occasionally post photos of some of the less attractive bus stops on the DATA system. I'd really like to do more of that, but the day job keeps getting in the way.

The two stops in the 1800 block of Avondale drive have been regular features here, mostly because they're the ones closest to my house that, if i used the bus, i'd end up spending a good portion of my day at. Fortunately for me, i am not one of those many Durham residents with no other options, because those bus stops are, quite frankly, degrading.

Last Friday afternoon, i was part of a team of 5 volunteers and two city officials conduction a ComNET survey of Avondale Drive. We found a number of items (graffiti, busted storm drains) that should be pretty easy to take care of, and some code violations that the city hasn't shown a lot of interest in enforcing in the past. In the past 7 years, i've probably walked up and down this stretch of Avondale Drive 50, maybe 75 times. And i've never noticed the mid-block bus stop, between the day care center and the first private house on the west side of the street. It turns out that, as the crow flies, this bus stop is even closer to my house than the ones down the hill. But i'd have to wade through the creek and cross a couple of back yards to get there, so i'll take my chances elsewhere, thanks.

It provides a full 1 square foot of clay to stand on while you're waiting for the bus, with little or no safe pedestrian access to either get to the stop, or cross the street once you've exited the bus. And a healthy helping of poison ivy (highlighted in yellow) while you wait.

I doubt that bus riders are terribly visible while they're waiting here.

This last picture requires some explanation. On this side of the street, the bus is heading downtown. so it's destination is the new transfer station, not Durham Regional Hospital. In fact, if you board the number 9 bus thinking that you're going to Durham Regional Hospital, you're in for a surprise when you get to the transfer station: "Note: Route 9 is connected to Route 11. When the bus arrives into the Downtown Transfer Facility from Route 9, it will depart and serve Route 11, Duke University and Hillsborough Road."

So not only is this bus not heading towards DRH, you're going to have to transfer to get to DRH once you get downtown.

So while we're all patting ourselves on the back that US News & World Report thinks our greenways make us one of the top 10 places to live, spare a thought for those Durhamites who have to rely on public transportation to get to their jobs, the grocery store, or the emergency room. This is what we offer those who have no choice.

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Continue reading My new favorite bus stop

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Via BCR:
The "plow-to-pint Southern brewery" that's the brainchild of Sean Wilson -- who led the successful Pop the Cap battle to raise the alcohol by volume limits on beer so craft beers could succeed in the state -- has announced its founding location will be at 726 Rigsbee.

The DAP-area building used to be a Seven-Up cola bottling plant, and it seems that a site that once made the "uncola" it a fitting home for the unique beers Wilson and his team hope to brew.

We know Sean will do as good a job making his own beer as he did convincing the NC legislature to "Pop the Cap" a couple years back. And it's walking distance to my place.



Continue reading Awesome!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Close-knit cities?

Via Ginny, we learn that the NY Times has discovered the Triangle. Coming on the heels of USNWR discovering Durham, i don't know how much more of this being discovered i can handle.
TELL North Carolinians you’re heading to the Research Triangle, and they’ll probably ask “Which school are you visiting?” Yet the close-knit cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are marked by more than college bars and hoops fans.

To be honest, it's hard to read past the phrase "close-knit cities," especially after reading, say, the comments in the N&O following the US News top ten story earlier this week.

But kudos to the Scrap Exchange for making the list.

. . . adding, as my friend RH reminds me, there is another college in Durham not mentioned by the NY Times.


Continue reading Close-knit cities?


Just announced by the City of Durham:

Durham Closes Recycling Drop-Off Centers Effective July 10

All But One Recycling Drop-Off Center to Close Due to New Curbside Recycling Program Beginning the Week of July 13

DURHAM, N.C. – Durham residents that use the City’s recycling drop-off centers should that note that effective Friday, July 10, 2009, all but one of the centers will be closed.

According to Donald Long, director of the City’s Department of Solid Waste Management, multiple reasons are behind the closure of all but one of the recycling drop-off centers. “With the introduction of our new curbside recycling collection service beginning the week of July 13th, we anticipate that the use of these centers will decrease significantly,” Long said. “In addition, since these centers are not staffed, only a minimal amount of usable recyclables are recovered from these locations, mainly due to contamination of what’s left there. Add to this issue the rampant illegal dumping that occurs in addition to considerable staff time used in keeping the sites clean. When we take all of these factors into consideration, we believe it is just not a good use of our taxpayer dollars to keep these centers open, especially since the new 95-gallon recycling roll-out carts should eliminate the need for these centers almost completely.”

The location of the closing drop-off centers are as follows:

· Festival Shopping Center, located at 3457 Hillsborough Road

· Heritage Square Shopping Center, located at 401 East Lakewood Avenue

· Northgate Mall, located at 1058 West Club Boulevard (behind Office Max)

· The Village Shopping Center, located at 1100 North Miami Boulevard

· Southern Boundaries Park, located 3400 Third Fork Road

· TFC Recycling, located at 1017 South Hoover Road

According to Long, the only drop-off center that will remain open after July 10 is the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center (Transfer Station), located at 2115 East Club Boulevard, Durham. The City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. “This is the only City recycling drop-off center that is staffed, and as a result, the recyclable contamination and illegal dumping that has occurred at our other sites has not been a problem here,” Long said. “If our customers need to recycle something that doesn’t fit into their new curbside roll-out carts, they can still use this facility to drop off their items.”

The Durham County Convenience Centers continue to be operational and city residents can bring recycling only to the County centers at no charge. These centers are located at:

· Highway 55 and T.W. Alexander Drive (Parkwood), (919) 560-0460

· Quail Roost Road and Ball Road (Bahama), (919) 477-8552

· Redwood Road and Electra Drive (Redwood), (919) 682-8200

· Highway 501 North and Bill Poole Road (Rougemont), (919) 477-4325

Personally, i think this is a pretty good idea.


When the new 95 gallon roll-out carts were announced a few weeks ago, one of the biggest complaints aired on my neighborhood listserv was that keeping 3 big carts around (household trash, yard waste, recyclables) was too much. People didn't have enough room for them, there's going to be more carts left at the curb, etc. One of the solutions for people who were going to be recycling, but didn't want to switch to the new roll-out carts, was to take the recycling to the drop-off center. Now there's only one, and its hours may not be the most convenient for the folks who want to do this.

Expect to hear more kvetching about this in the next week or so.

Chalk it up as another case where a relative handful of morons, the ones who use recycling drop-off centers as their personal dumping grounds, make life a little more difficult for people who want to do the right thing.


Continue reading Ruh-roh

BQP - Evening wear competition

Some photos from the evening wear segment of the pageant. This will wrap up photos of last week's spectacular event. With luck, we'll start posting some video segments next week.

More photos are available for your viewing pleasure at the following links:
Michael Naclerio's flickr set.

Nirethak's blog.

Durham Magazine.

Barry Yeoman's flickr set.

Wenny Wigley's flickr set, featuring backstage photos of Beave Whisperer preparing for the big day.

Lisa Marie Albert's pictures.

And of course - the official Beaver Lodge photo album.

Beave Whisperer


Bupkiss Beaver

Dirty Beaver

Durga Beaver

HRM Elizabeaver I

And let me add, on a personal note, that the creativity and joy brought to the meadow by all of the contestants and judges, never ceases to amaze me. To think that all of this grew out of a couple of neighbors standing up to protect a handful of nocturnal mammals from destruction by the NCDOT.


Continue reading BQP - Evening wear competition

Always glad to help out

From the HS story about the new County budget:
In other 2009-10 budget matters, the county is expecting the state to halve its funding for convicted misdemeanants held in the jail, costing Durham $280,000, and sales tax revenues were decreased by nearly $400,000 following new estimates. On the plus side, rising alcohol sales should add $225,000 to the county's bottom line.


Continue reading Always glad to help out

Thursday, June 11, 2009

NCMLS - citizens meeting

Commenter Client 56 left this note about tonight's meeting between Museum of Life and Science staff and concerned citizens of Northgate Park and Durham regarding how to deal with the vandalized dinosaur:
The neighborhood association meeting went very well. We had Dusty Wescott, son of Bronty's creator, with some history and great pictures, and Julie Rigby, VP External Relations at the Museum, discussing some options and asking for comments. Also present, Joe Colopy, CEO of Bronto Software, whose company has pledged money toward the restoration. We split into groups to talk about what it means to us, what we want to happen, and how funds could be raised. I'll leave the details for others to fill in, but there's interest and enthusiasm -- stay tuned!

Can't wait to hear what comes from this.


Continue reading NCMLS - citizens meeting

Drinking Liberally

Quick reminder that Drinking Liberally is meeting on Thursdays at Bull McCabe's, in the back (non-smoking) area. Come by at 8pm and have a beer.


Continue reading Drinking Liberally

Shooting the Bull

Matt Dees, editor of Durham Magazine (and first time Beaver Queen Pageant attendee, btw) stops by to chat about Durham and media with me and Kevin. Tonight at 7:30 pm on WXDU, 88.7 FM. Listen online here, or look for the podcast on iTunes:Shooting the Bull over the weekend.

: Matt's latest thoughts on the USNWR top 10 ranking for Durham are here. We'll certainly be talking about that tonight.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull

The Slicklog Beavonaires (formerly the Disco Beaver Fever Dancers)

Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding for the sensational Slicklog Beavonaires, who once again wowed the crowd with a stunning performance of "Jai Ho", from Slumbeaver Millionaire.

With luck, perhaps next year they will grace us again with a performance of the rarely seen "Dance of the Seven Beavers." Till then . . .


Continue reading The Slicklog Beavonaires (formerly the Disco Beaver Fever Dancers)


Durham public school system officials continued to struggle Wednesday with telecommunications problems that have plagued the district for nearly two weeks.

The district's digital phone, voice-mail and e-mail systems have been sporadically knocked out by a Conflickr computer virus. The virus causes havoc in part by compromising and using system administrator passwords.

At least three times since the initial attack, the district's information technology staff has thought the problem to be under control, only to suffer further flare-ups.

. . .

The district is working with a consultant to evaluate the cause of the virus attack -- which Muirhead attributed to antivirus software that was not up to date -- the district's response and future countermeasures that can be taken.

Muirhead praised the district's digital security contractor, Trend Micro, for working diligently to counter the attack. The school system pays Trend $70,000 annually, but Muirhead said it will have to consider a more expansive security contractor.

emphasis mine

Um, $70K per year for out of date anti-virus software? Hell, i'll provide out-of-date anti-virus software for half that. Where do i put in a bid?

But wait, there's more. An anonymous commenter at the HS asks: "I'm curious: how are the computer networks working at the North Carolina State Lottery offices?"

Top ten, baby!


Continue reading Ouch!

BQP Talent competition - Beave Whisperer

Although Beaverella took home the Most Talented award at this year's pageant, the new queen, Beave Whisperer, demonstrated his prowess at taming even the wildest beavers. Including littering and wasteful beavers, who were converted to ecologically aware beavers, and Miss California, who changed her tune on many social issues.

More Beave Whisperer photos, including backstage before the talent competition, here.

We're hoping his parting advice is heeded.


Continue reading BQP Talent competition - Beave Whisperer

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Learning to count

The attack was the third in a recent wave of unsettling shootings that appeared to have political or ethnic underpinnings.

Four, by my count.



Continue reading Learning to count

Top ten!

So, i've just learned that Durham, one of the ten most desirable places to live in the US, has no money in its 2010 budget for street lights. That's zero.

Top ten, baby!


Continue reading Top ten!


So, has anyone seen a statement from the governor or the Secretary of Labor about yesterday's workplace tragedy?

I can't find anything.

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Continue reading Silence?

Top ten

There's a lot of reasons to take ten best places to live lists with a grain of salt. Despite any attempt at objectifying the criteria used to rank various cities, it's a totally subjective game. If, for instance, a decent public transportation system is important to you, it's hard to see Durham breaking into your personal top 100 choices.

That said, there's even more reasons not to pay much attention to US News and World Report naming Durham one of the best places to live in the US yesterday.

For starters, they've got a number of facts wrong in their subjective list, especially the sales tax rate. If climate is that important to you for a place to live, it's hard to see how you'd pick Durham, or really any place in the Piedmont. Yeah, we get 5 delightful months (6 in a good year), but summers are particularly difficult, especially if you're coming here from SoCal, the Northwest, or the Northeast. Winters, while not as harsh or as long as the North or Midwest, are really winter, with temperatures dropping below freezing most nights in January and February. And while we don't get significant snowfall every year, in those years when we do, a 2 inch accumulation has the same effect on Durham as 18 - 22 inches does on, say, Rochester, NY.

And hiking? Seriously? I'm not much of a hiker, but almost every place i've lived, and that includes Sacramento, had better and more convenient hiking, both urban and rural. Durham is simply not in the same league.

But those are minor points. Those of us who love living in Durham all have our own reasons for it, regardless of whether USNWR found them. And there's the rub. If this mag actually inspires people to consider making Durham their home, i think it's likely that the people so inspired are going to be disappointed; and once they're here, they're going to dilute those aspects of Durham that are so attractive to the rest of us.

Durhamites are going to be pretty smug and self-congratulatory for the next month or so about how we made a better choice of residence than our peers who are living in Cary. I can live with some of that. I've indulged in some of that myself. What really worries me, though, is the likelihood that our elected officials are now going to say that, hey, we have one of the best communities in the US, why are you complaining about (insert whatever peeve you have about Durham here)?

Workable public transportation? Absentee and negligent landlords? Polluted waterways? Sprawl? Crime? Crumbling infrastructure?

Just because we're a top 10 city in some irrelevant magazine editor's eyes, doesn't mean that all of our problems have magically been solved.


Continue reading Top ten

Beaver Queen Pageant - Talent competition

Ah, the talent competition portion of the Beaver Queen Pageant. We've already looked at Dirty Beaver's mind-altering Interpretive Slip 'N' Slide performance, and Beaverella's winning ability to project Peace, Love, Joy, and Beaver onto an unsuspecting crowd.

Musical performances are always a hit at the pageant. This year there were two. HRM Elizabeaver I serenaded us with a Beaver Madrigal from the 16th Century

while Bupkiss Beaver performed some old school Beaver Klezmer music on the licorice stick.

Durga Beaver showed off her divine talents.

She was most impressive turning Fear and Hate into Love, War into Peace, and Greed into Generosity.

I'm hoping she sticks around for a while.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - Talent competition

Your best entertainment value

N&O commenters.

. . . and did the HS miss this story completely?

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Continue reading Your best entertainment value

Some links to other pageant photos

Michael Naclerio's flickr set.

Nirethak's blog.

Durham Magazine.

Barry Yeoman's flickr set.

Wenny Wigley's flickr set, featuring backstage photos of Beave Whisperer preparing for the big day.

Lisa Marie Albert's pictures.

Of course - the official Beaver Lodge photo album.

(Bumped to the top of the page on June 10)

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Continue reading Some links to other pageant photos

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Beave Whisperer - Wetland ready wear

You've probably already heard from the underground just how spectacular the Beave Whisperer's costumes were. have a look for yourself at that magnificent tail.


Continue reading The Beave Whisperer - Wetland ready wear

Pot, meet kettle

From the Indy's Triangulator blog:
Durham City-County Planning Commission Chair George Brine has told the Indy he plans to sit out tonight’s public hearing on Jordan Lake’s critical watershed boundary, “unless the attorneys tell me otherwise.” The commission is scheduled to recommend whether to incorporate changes resulting from a developer-funded survey of Jordan Lake into the city and county’s Comprehensive Plan.

In a letter dated June 1, 2009, lawyers representing Southern Durham Development, which would financially benefit from the map change, accused Brine of holding a “personal opinion” on the matter, and said his participation in the hearing would “further taint this already deeply flawed process.” When asked if the letter had influenced his decision, Brine said, “That’s part of it. But it’s better for the commission without any clouds hanging over them.”

In an interview, Durham Planning Director Steve Medlin said Brine had no legal obligation to step down from the public hearing, since he serves in an advisory capacity and is encouraged to form, and share, opinions. Brine was one of several applicants who asked the N.C. Environmental Management Commission to reconsider the N.C. Division of Water Quality’s approval of the developer-funded survey.

“He’s not in violation of rules of procedure, or ethics policy, as we read it,” Medlin said of Brine, adding that “he could sit if he wanted to.”

for "lawyers representing Southern Durham Development" read K&L Gates lawyers Bill Brian and Patrick Byker. I don't know much about Mr. Brian, but Patrick Byker was the guy who, a few months ago sought to appoint himself the representative from the Rock Creek neighborhood to the Inter Neighborhood Council so that he could cast a vote in that advisory body in favor of altering Durham's current billboard ordinance. Oh yeah, he also represents to billboard industry in lobbying the city and county to make that change. Current INC president Craigie Sanders also works for K&L Gates, and has had to recuse himself from almost every vote the INC has taken during his term, since he's got a financial interest in the outcome. that's what a real conflict of interest is. Tonight's meeting isn't a criminal trial, and there's no obligation for any of the members of the advisory board to limit themselves to evidence presented at the hearing. Byker's sleaze just gets thicker every time his name appears in the paper.

Continue reading Pot, meet kettle

Number 5, baby!

But that's only because it's an alphabetical listing.
Durham, North Carolina
Once a tobacco town, Durham, N.C., has evolved into a world-class center of all things advanced. This city of 206,000, located halfway between the Atlantic coast and the Great Smoky Mountains, is called the "City of Medicine" because of its expansive healthcare industry. And although widely known as the home of prestigious Duke University, it's also a thriving technology hub. At the same time, Durham's mild climate allows residents to get out and explore the region's abundant outdoor attractions. Consider hiking one of the many distinct trails and greenways or heading over to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for an afternoon baseball game.

Say what? Obviously written by someone who hasn't been here in, say, mid-July. For the record, the Bulls scheduled precisely 9 day games this season, including 2 11:05 starts which are specifically designated as schoolkid days. Thankfully, none of the day games are scheduled for July or August. There are two left, one on june 17, and the other on the last day of the regular season, Labor Day, September 7.

And, it's a bit disingenuous to say that our July temperature range is 86.84 °F/65.51 °F. Let's be real, it's a rare July day that doesn't hit 92 or better, and an even rarer July overnight that actually drops into the 60s. Most nights we don't even hit the dew point, which can be as high as 75 or 76.

Finally, i don't know what part of Durham has a sales tax rate of 4.25%. that's just blatantly bad fact checking.

h/t to KdN for the heads up.


Continue reading Number 5, baby!

BQP talent competition - Dirty Beaver's interpretive Slip 'n' Slide

I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that Dirty Beaver's unique approach to the talent portion of the show won over the crowd, which responded by giving her the People's Choice Award. Interpretive Slip 'n' Slide could very well be the new wave in performance art.

Can't wait for Tony Beaveroni to get the video of this online.


Continue reading BQP talent competition - Dirty Beaver's interpretive Slip 'n' Slide

Paging Cherie K. Berry

Been doing your job much lately?
A major explosion hit a ConAgra food plant Tuesday, sending suspected ammonia fumes in the air and blocking access for a half-mile in all directions.

Family members were trying to reach employees of the plant on Jones Sausage Road, and were being escorted from a nearby Wilco Hess gas station.

Reports from the scene are that people were injured from the explosion and the ammonia fumes.

UDPDATE: This article gives a little background on how Ms. Berry has been missing in action for much of her term as labor Secretary of the state of North Carolina.
A Charlotte Observer investigation last year found that penalties for serious workplace violations in the state's manufacturing plants are less than half the national average. Some poultry processing plants haven't been inspected in more than five years.

Berry has said she can do more to improve workplace safety by cooperating with businesses than by levying stiff fines.


The 425,000-square-foot plant last was inspected by the North Carolina Department of Labor for workplace safety last July and no violations were found, said Labor Department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry.
Ooooh, we'd love to read that report and hear comments from anyone who works there.

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Continue reading Paging Cherie K. Berry

Dinosaur thoughts

Just wanted to take a quick break from BQP blogging to recap the dinosaur vandalism issue.

Good job to the DPD for investigating this, finding the dino's head and the vandals. It would have been very easy to let this slide, reasoning that there are more important issues in Durham. (And there certainly are.)

Mixed feelings, on the other hand, towards the Museum of Life and Science. Their initial reaction, that the old dinosaur was not going to be restored, has been walked back a bit, and a meeting is scheduled with activists from the Northgate Park neighborhood to discuss options for the dinosaur. Their reluctance to press charges against the vandals, while understandable on some level, also didn't resonate well with a lot of the community. I've had some off the record conversations with museum staffers, and i get where they're coming from. As well, the service levels that they are going to ask the perps to perform are a bit more than "come in on a Saturday afternoon and pick up some trash in the parking lot." What they're considering is more like a year long part time job, with the possibility of severe consequences if the commitment isn't kept. The main thing that's still missing, in my mind and in the minds of many folks in town, is the apology to the community by the vandals. We don't get why their identities are being sheltered.

Again, it's not the biggest deal in town right now, but it's an opportunity that i don't think is being taken full advantage of.

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Continue reading Dinosaur thoughts

Monday, June 08, 2009

Most talented - Beaverella

Beaverella won the coveted Most Talented Beaver prize this year. By the simple act of reading from the Book of Beaver Tales, she was able to inspire many members of the crowd to shed their inhibitions, and join in the dance of life. A rare talent indeed.


Continue reading Most talented - Beaverella

So long, and thanks for the memories

John Parton has MC'd the Beaver Queen Pageant for the past 4 years. Barring unforeseen developments, Saturday was his last pageant, as he's leaving Durham to minister to a new lodge up north. As a token of appreciation, John was presented with his own beaver tail, and serenaded by Beverly Woody (the first Beaver Queen, in a surprise appearance), Fabulous Fishscenta Beaver, the 4th Beaver Queen, and the Disco Beaver Fever Dancers.


Continue reading So long, and thanks for the memories

Random Beaver Kit photos

Some kid pics from the pageant:


Continue reading Random Beaver Kit photos

Random Beaver Queen Pageant photos - part 2

Not so random, actually. Here's Bupkiss, Durga, and Dirty Beavers showing off their Wetlands Ready Wear:


Continue reading Random Beaver Queen Pageant photos - part 2

Random Beaver Queen pageant photos - part 1

Beaver kits prepare to lead the crowd in the Beaver Chant

And the crowd responds

HRM Elizabeaver I

Beaverella's Wetlands Ready Wear entry

One of our sponsors' displays.

If you took any pictures on Saturday, and you've got them posted on flickr or your blog, leave a note in the comments, and i'll compile the links and post them on the front page of the Beaver Lodge site.


Continue reading Random Beaver Queen pageant photos - part 1

Saluting the Queen

This year's judges applaud the new Beaver Queen, Beave Whisperer. From left - Dam Flo, Beav Perdue, Woody L. Ocavore, Dock Beaver, 2 Beaver Knotubeve, Woody Van Pelt, Maxi Go-Lightly.


Continue reading Saluting the Queen

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Damn socialists

Expecting government to save them. Ha!
Residents who lost everything in an April wildfire are asking why officials gave them just minutes to evacuate when flames had been raging for most of the previous day.


Continue reading Damn socialists

BQP - Did you go?

So, who went to the pageant? What did you think? Especially you first timers. How did it compare to your expectations?


Continue reading BQP - Did you go?

The queen is crowned

The new Beaver Queen receives his crown.


Continue reading The queen is crowned

Long Live the Queen

Congratulations to the Beave Whisperer on his coronation as the new Beaver Queen. May his reign be glorious.

Full details and pictures Sunday.

I never imagined that interpretative Slip and Slide was even a possibility.


Continue reading Long Live the Queen

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Beaver Queen Pageant - If You're Going . . .

Here's a few things to keep in mind.

Duke Park is in the middle of the Duke Park neighborhood. Parking is at a premium. Please obey all parking signs and don't block anybody's driveway. If you can walk or bike, even better. (One day, i hope to be able to write, "Take public transportation to the Pageant," but not, alas, this year.)

The Duke Park Meadow, behind the bathhouse on Acadia Street, is affectionately referred to by neighborhood residents as "the swamp." A branch of Ellerbe Creek is culverted directly beneath the meadow. It's going to be wet there following all the rain we've had. (Fortunately, no rain is forecast for today.) Bring chairs and tarps if you've got them, but blankets on the ground are probably going to get soggy.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from the Only Burger truck and a LocoPops kiosk. With hundreds of people expected to attend the Pageant, though, you might want to pack your own picnic. Duke Park is a City of Durham facility. That means alcohol is prohibited.

Souvenir programs, T-Shirts, and tchotchkes will be on sale for you to have tangible reminders of the Pageant. Sales via cash or check only. All profits are donated to the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, so you'll be helping a good cause in addition to building your memory stash.

The number one guideline of Beaver Queen Pageant is having fun. We do this because we enjoy it. We want you to enjoy it too.

See you tonight.

Peace. Love. Beaver.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - If You're Going . . .

Beaver Queen Pageant - Final Contestants' Lineup

Here's the rundown on the 6 Beavers who will be vying for the coveted Beaver Queen crown this afternoon:

Beave Whisperer
- a world-renowned beaver behavior specialist, known for his uncanny ability to wrangle large lodges of beavers.

Beaverella - 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.

Bupkiss Beaver - "You are my chosen beaver. You must deliver my message, and liberate Ellerbe Creek’s beavers."

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

Durga Beaver - The gods realized that all of their pitiful erections were doomed to fail without the guidance and support of the beaver. 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.

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.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - Final Contestants' Lineup

Beaver Queen Pageant - Final Judges' Roster

Well, today's the big day. Here's the complete lineup of judges for this year's pageant:

Woody L. Ocavore - In the spirit of Woodstick, Woody wants beavers to believe in their fellow kind, and work through cooperative principles to make sure that all have access to the finest local wood and the healthiest local brush.

Dam Flo
- She’s all flash and brash, but with a heart of gold, and she’s loved by all.

Maxi Go-Lightly - I choose to live my life without things like telephones, expensive threads, jobs or soap dragging me down. I just live life in my van going to the best music festivals on the planet spreading peace and love.

2 Beaver Knotubeve - 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).

Doc Beaver - Doc has worked with other beavers to stop the asphalt industry from building stinky asphalt plants near beaver wetlands, the DOT from building stinky Eno Loop over beaver lodges, and Devil University from building lots of stinky stores next to little local beaver shops.

Woody Van Pelt
- Over the past twenty years, Woody has maintained both his rocking lifestyle and his chasing of beaver. He has observed, tracked, trapped, and tagged hundreds of the flat-tailed furry fellows. He does not believe in attempts to tame the bristly buggers, so practices a catch and release program.

Beav Perdue - Since being elected as the first Beaver governor in N.C., she has been hard at work on the Beaver Stimulus Package, a two-pronged effort to rescue beaverdom from those forces that seek to crush us under the wheel of “progress”.


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant - Final Judges' Roster

Friday, June 05, 2009

Random Beaver Queen pageant photos - part 1

Beaver kits prepare to lead the crowd in the Beaver Chant

And the crowd responds

HRM Elizabeaver I

Beaverella's Wetlands Ready Wear entry

One of our sponsors' displays.


Continue reading Random Beaver Queen pageant photos - part 1