Dependable Erection

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good luck with that

Carly for California

Passover is a time of remembrance and thanks. This festival provides us all — Jewish, Christian and all faiths — an opportunity to reflect on the challenges we have faced and the triumphs we have achieved together. It is also a reminder of the resilient spirit that has carried people through trials of every kind through every generation.

This week, as we break bread and spend time with our families and friends, I hope we also take a moment to say a word of thanks for our freedom and for those who have given their lives in freedom’s name. Let us also look ahead with hope to the opportunities to come.

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday.


Carly Fiorina

Some of my best friends are Jewish. Why do you ask?

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Continue reading Good luck with that

Monday, March 29, 2010

This has to be a joke, right?

Look, i'm at least as much of a reduce, reuse, recycle guy as anyone i know. But this is just, well, ridiculous. It has to be someone mocking Ms. Black, doesn't it?


Continue reading This has to be a joke, right?

Friday, March 26, 2010


Quick note of thanks to Frank Heath of the Cat's Cradle and the folks at the Carolina Theatre for last night's Joanna Newsom show. It's not easy to make an auditorium show feel like a house concert, but that's we got last night.

Minimalist lighting certainly helped. No gels, no computer controlled gyrating spots, just plain stage lighting and house lights dimmed to about 1/3 power. I'm especially appreciative of not having to duck any spots aimed into the audience, which i absolutely hate. The sound was also impeccable, even up in the balconies. One of the biggest complaints show-goers make is that the people around them don't know when to shut up. Triangle audiences are generally better than other parts of the country, but i realized last night that, somewhat counter-intuitively, the solution is not to turn the volume up, but to turn it down. Newsom's main instrument is the harp, although she also played a few numbers on the grand piano. Her backup band was 2 violins, a trombone, percussion, and a multi-instrumentalist who mostly played recorder, banjo, with some electric guitar and a balilaika-like stringed instrument. And a very tasteful drummer. The sound never got overwhelming, and if you wanted to hear it, well, you had to keep quiet yourself. Which, amazingly, all of the audience members did.

Contrast that with the show i saw the previous night at the DPAC, which was a lot of fun for geezer-rock. The Moody Blues were never exactly cutting edge, thought they did play the Fillmore back in the day. I'd heard they'd become something of a lounge act over the past two decades, but that's not the case. They ran through a nice selection of their hits, and some lesser known album cuts. They haven't had Mike Pinder's mellotron sound since the 70s, but i think most people know them as Justin Hayward's band anyway, so that's probably OK. But again, i could live without dodging laser beams every 10 minutes. And that wall of sludge that passed for sound up in the balcony was pretty unforgivable. I've heard that the DPAC was pretty good acoustically, so maybe we just had the only seats in the house where bass notes hung on forever, but somehow i doubt it.

My only regret from the last two nights, though, is that somehow Leo Kottke and Los Lobos got booked into Duke the same night as Joanna. Couldn't do both, so i went with the one i'd never seen before.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Here's an interesting map i came across via DC Streetsblog

On the left, the area in yellow indicates that portion of Durham County where housing is considered "affordable" based on the traditional 30% of income metric, ie a family earning the median income will spend no more than 30% of income to live in median priced housing.

On the right, the yellow area shows the affordable portion of Durham County using a new housing + transportation < 45% of income metric. As you can see, that area shrinks considerably. Yet the blue areas on the map, especially to the north and east, are certainly those where much of Durham County's growth is going to come from over the next 20 years.

Food for thought.

Click here and play with the map to check out how pretty much any community in the US changes with the new metric.

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Continue reading Affordability

Monday, March 22, 2010

Deep thought

Bradford pears have got to be the worst smelling flowering tree in creation. Fortunately, they only bloom for a week and a half or so.

Continue reading Deep thought

We're number 4

Rumor going around that the Today show thinks Durham is the 4th most livable city in the US.

There goes the neighborhood.

UPDATE: Ah, they're talking about affordability.

Yep, it's all over now.

How many times did she say "cheap" in the Durham segment?

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I have always depended on the kindness of strangers

To keep Durham's waterways (relatively) clean. Here's some of what got picked up from the Beaver Pond behind Compare Foods this weekend.

I think this is the fourth year that there's been a trash cleanup in the Beaver Pond, and it looks like this was the most stuff hauled out yet. Sadly, there's a lot of crap still lining the fence between the creek and the parking lot.

Maybe this will help.

Also noticed that one of the undeveloped parcels on Foushee St., between the old K-Mart and the new McDonald's parking lot, is for sale. The city's GIS doesn't differentiate this lot from the rest of the shopping center. Given how much abandoned retail space there is in the shopping center, and how much extraneous parking exists to serve that unused space, i'm curious how much new parking whoever buys and builds on that lot is going to be required to add.

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Continue reading I have always depended on the kindness of strangers

Friday, March 19, 2010

Open invite

Dear Mayor Bell and Durham City Council Members,

We would like to invite you to participate in two Creek Week events.

The first is a clean up of the Ellerbe Creek Beaver Marsh from 9 to noon, this Saturday, March 20. This magical place is all too often the location of illegal dumping and has been the site of neighborhood clean ups since 2006. It is also one of the few sources of clean water flowing into Ellerbe Creek and thus into the Falls Lake.

The second event is a nature walk at this hidden gem at 6:00pm on Sunday, March 21. The Beaver Marsh is located behind Compare Foods and Big Lots. We will look for birds and beavers at this urban ecological treasure. I think you would be surprised by the beauty of this place.

Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association was highlighted as an Environmental Hero on WUNC-TV. Here is the seven minute video that appeared on North Carolina Now.

It was produced by UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication's Medical and Science Journalism Program as well as WUNC-TV.

Hope to see you at the Beaver Marsh on Saturday and Sunday!

Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association


Continue reading Open invite

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shooting the Bull

Dale McKeel, the city of Durham's bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, joins us tonight on Shooting the Bull to talk about all things bike and ped in the bull City.

7:30 PM on WXDU, 88.7 fm or listen online here.


Continue reading Shooting the Bull


Interesting panhandling experience last night walking back to the car on Parrish Street from the "impromptu" St. Patrick's Day parade.

Guy comes up to us walking down the middle of the street at the corner of Parrish and Roxboro, clearly inebriated and possibly not in possession of his full faculties otherwise. Makes a big deal of shaking my hand and thanking me for not being afraid of him. Asks if he can talk to us, and we move out of the street onto the sidewalk. Can't recall if he took his hat off or not, but begins this speech about Jesus, ministers, ex-girlfriends, good hearts, etc., for about 5 minutes in which maybe one word out of 8 is actually intelligible.

Stops, looks and me, and says, "hey, can I just skip through this and get right to the point?" Which i thought was pretty wonderful in its own way.

The point, though, turned out to be another mostly unintelligible 5 minute spiel about needing to get to Butner or Oxford or some place out of town at which point i cut him off and told him i was sorry, but i needed to get the puppy home and didn't have either the time to listen to him or the money to give him.

I have lived in Durham for 17 years, you know. And in that time no one has topped the freelance philosopher i met on Ninth Street that first summer who offered, for a buck, to create a philosophy of life for me on the spot.

Either way, growing up in New York City, where pandhandlers are more numerous, varied, and creative, not to mention the two times in my life where i did my own panhandling, leaves me with a jaded view of Durham's street beggars.

Raise your game, people, if you want Durham to have the respect it deserves.


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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

RIP Alex Chilton


Continue reading RIP Alex Chilton

Holy moley!

Stony Brook off to a 7-0 run over the Illini in the first round NIT game.

(And for all you snickering Tarheels - how's your team doing this week?)

UPDATE: 18-18 at the second break. The boys from the America East hanging tough against the Big 10.

UPDATE 2: Illinois by 2 at the half. The game's on ESPNU if you're wondering.

UPDATE 3: Illinois by 12 after a 7-0 run with 13 to play.

Final score: Illinois by 10, after Stony Brook closed to 5 with about 4 minutes to play. Good game, especially considering it's the Seawolves' first ever tournament appearance.


Continue reading Holy moley!

Asheville 'cue?

I'm looking for a barbecue joint in/around the Asheville area capable of catering an event of 100-120 people. I've got a list of 15 or so options that i'll be checking out in the few weeks. Any readers have a personal favorite up that way?


Continue reading Asheville 'cue?

Bigger puppy

March 13

January 5


Continue reading Bigger puppy

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's the difference?

So, when i was at City Council last night for the Major Special Use Permit hearing on the McDonald's parking lot expansiion, we asked, on behalf of Northgate Park NA, Colonial Village NA, Duke Park NA, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association & duke Park Preservation Initiative, for a 60 day delay to allow these groups to review the site plan, which some of us had gotten less than 2 weeks earlier, and others not until last night, and come up with constructive dialog about any changes that we might like to see.

City Attorney Patrick Baker described the granting of such a delay in this kind of quasi-judicial hearing as "unprecedented."

If that's the case, what exactly was it that Council did back in December when they granted a 60 day delay in the Broad Street Cafe Special Use Permit hearing? Or was that, like the Supreme Court said in Bush v Gore, not to be taken as a precedent?


Continue reading What's the difference?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Of course

Durham's problem is that there aren't enough parking spaces at our fast food establishments.

How stupid of me not to have noticed.

Continue reading Of course

Best health care system in the world

David Beckham says he hopes to make a "swift and full recovery" from his torn left Achilles' tendon after leaving Monday for surgery which will keep him out of the World Cup.

"I am on my way to Finland to see a specialist and have a scan on the injury," Beckham said in a statement posted on his Web site. "I am upset but (want) to thank everyone for their messages of support. I hope to make a swift and full recovery."

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Sunday, March 14, 2010


For all that he's overpaid, past his prime, and didn't really make soccer a household sport in the US, i feel really bad for David Beckham, suffering a potential career ending injury just 3 months before the World Cup.

This picture really does speak a thousand words.


Continue reading Becks

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Student loans

Great piece by Chris over at Facing South on how student loan reform, which Obama called a "no-brainer" is being held hostage in the Senate. Here's the money quote:
But as The New York Times writes today, this week six senate Democrats have threatened to derail the Act, writing in a letter to senate majority leader Harry Reid that "provisions of contemplated student lending reform that could put jobs at risk."

The letter was signed by Democratic Senators Thomas R. Carper (DE), Blanche Lincoln (AR), Ben Nelson (NE), Bill Nelson (FL), Mark Warner (VA) and Jim Webb (VA).

Why don't we just acknowledge the obvious already? We never did have that majority in the Senate that we thought we did. Let's dump these bums and elect some real Democrats. Too bad Lincoln is the only one up for re-election this year.


Continue reading Student loans

Shooting the Bull

Lloyd Schmeidler of the Durham Affordable Housing Coaltion is our guest tonight, talking about the group's 10 year plan to end homelessness in Durham

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


Continue reading Shooting the Bull

Tuesday, March 09, 2010



Continue reading Sproing!


Limbaugh threatens to leave the country if health care reform passes.

Funny, though. He threatens to go to Costa Rica, which appears to have full blown Obamacare in operation.

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Continue reading Incentive

Monday, March 08, 2010


Oh, man.

Yeah, i'm bummin'.

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Continue reading Sad

Friday, March 05, 2010

Unnatural disaster - part 2

A few more pics from the trailer park "recycling" center.


Continue reading Unnatural disaster - part 2

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Unnatural disaster

On the way down east last month we passed a scene of destruction and chaos on Highway 24 east of Beulaville so inviting that i had to schedule our return trip in such a way to allow time to stop and photograph it. At first i assumed it was a trailer park disaster, a tornado or fertilizer bomb exploding unintentionally. I later learned, after asking around town, that it's actually a recycling facility for old trailers. Can't say that there appeared to be anyone actually, you know, recycling anything.

Have a look:

I've spent a bit of time the past two weeks working on these photos, and hope to have them hanging somewhere in the next month or two. More to follow later.


Continue reading Unnatural disaster

Puppy pics

Friend and occasional reader DH sends along a couple of recent pics from the post Mardi Gras Carnevale Ambrosiano parade in Duke Park.


Continue reading Puppy pics

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Always enjoyable

Because really, who doesn't enjoy a giant inflatable beaver?

And FB users? Become a fan.

via CDR

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