Dependable Erection

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pssst, hey, wanna buy a judge?

The sixth annual Beaver Queen Pageant takes place next Saturday, June 5, at the Duke Park Meadow/Marsh. Read all the details here.

Seven celebrity judges, along with the hundreds of attendees, will choose the 2010 Beaver Queen, an event whose glory and hilarity can only be experienced, but never described.

You can preview the contestants here, and start stuffing the ballot early via PayPal here.

This year, i'm honored to have been asked to join the panel of judges, and you'll see me in the Meadow on the 5th as Speed Beaver. And yes, I'm for sale.

And there's some good news to go along with your (probably) tax deductible donation*. Jack Johnson, the musician behind the All at Once Foundation has added Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association to his list of supported non-profits. This means that any donations to ECWA that mention the All at Once Foundation will be matched 100%, up to $2500. So, buy a judge for five bucks, mention All at Once Foundation in the comments, and ECWA receives 10 bucks. It's that simple. And all the money goes to preserving and restoring streams, creeks, and wetlands in Durham.

So do it already.


* Consult your tax adviser. ECWA is a 501(c)3 organization.


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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Deep thought

I'm going to miss oysters.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Stop trashing Durham

From the comments section of the Durham Central market post:
I look forward to finding Eat Local Y'all litter on my neighborhood cleanup instead of wrappers for the Mcdouble juicy grease burger.

Couple of months back, i found this little known section in the Durham Municipal Code of Ordinances, Chapter 26, Article 5, Section 26-121:
It shall be unlawful for any person selling goods, wares or merchandise of such nature that the purchasers thereof throw the containers or wrappers of such goods, wares or merchandise or portions of the goods, wares or merchandise themselves on the sidewalks, streets or other public ways of the city to allow such containers, wrappers or portions of such goods, wares or merchandise, or any part thereof, to remain thereon. Any person selling goods, wares or merchandise of such a nature shall also keep his or her premises clean and free from such containers or wrappers or portions of goods, wares and merchandise, so that the same will not be blown or otherwise transferred to the streets, sidewalks or other public ways.

You don't have to be a lawyer to understand that. If you sell anything that could end up as trash, it's your responsibility to see to it that it doesn't end up as trash.

Now, file this alongside the barking dog provision of the noise ordinance at the top of the list of unenforceable sections of the Municipal Code. Even worse, it doesn't seem as though one iota of effort was made to educate the public about the existence of this ordinance. Except for you, dear reader, and myself, i doubt that a dozen Durham residents are aware of this section of the Code.

But here's a thought. Next time you see a McDouble wrapper on your street, or even worse, an empty plastic bag with a store logo on it, don't pick it up*. Take a picture of it with your cell phone or digital camera. Then file a Durham One-Call request, attach the picture you've just taken, and ask for enforcement of Section 26-121 of the Municipal Code. I bet if One-Call gets a hundred requests in June for this service, somebody at City Hall will start thinking about this as a problem.


*If it's a plastic grocery bag, yeah, you'll need to pick it up. Some bird is going to strangle on it. But take the picture anyway.


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

2010 Beaver Queen Pageant Official Video Invite

Y'all need to be there.

And i'm now accepting bribes to choose your favorite contestant via PayPal donations to Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association here


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Beaver Marsh cleanup

Thanks to the volunteers from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, and Hillside High School for their efforts in cleaning up ECWA's Beaver Marsh Preserve yesterday.

The new kiosk is cool, and features a "green roof" designed by Hillside High students. Eventually, the vines planted in the rooftop boxes will trail down and around the kiosk. it's a prototype for residential roof structures.

Lots more work to do at the marsh. You can see in the pictures that the water surface is covered with some invasive species whose name, no matter how many times i hear it, i can never remember.

The Beaver Queen Pageant is coming up next weekend on Saturday, June 5. It's a fundraiser for ECWA and will help clean up and preserve the marsh. If you've been to the pageant before, you know how much fun it is. If you haven't, you can watch video of previous pageants here, or read about it here.

This year, i'm going to be one of the celebrity judges and, in keeping with tradition, i'm taking bribes to vote for your favorite candidate. You can pass the bribe to me in person at the pageant (don't worry - it all goes to ECWA!) or you can make a contribution via PayPal here. Scroll down to "Buy a Judge" and click on "Speed Beaver" to help me reach my goal of raising $250 for ECWA.

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Troika Pin Projekt

Time once again for Troika Music Festival's annual Pin Projekt fundraiser.

This Friday, May 28, at Pinhook (naturally), auction preview starts at 6:30p. Bid on local bowling pin art in support of Durham's homegrown music festival. I'm liking the preying mantis this year.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

They hate us for our freedoms

In Egypt, tentative plans to schedule (Elton) John were canceled this month. Mounir el-Wasimi, the head of the Egyptian musicians' union, warned against the singer's possible visit in a statement that said he was "a symbol of homosexuals in the world."

Fortunately, all Islamophobes in the US are proud supporters of gay rights.


Continue reading They hate us for our freedoms

Road trip 11

Pizza by the slice!


Lexington, KY

Charleston, WbgV

Warm Springs, VA for cryin' out loud

Well, maybe the new Central Market location will inspire someone to open up a pizza joint on N. Mangum?

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Road trip 10

Heaven Hill distillery.

One of my favorite photos from the whole trip:
I'm rather partial to the 18 year old Elijah Craig, and Old Fitzgerald was on my sampling list in Lexington. It's kind of smoky, and reminded me of Laphroig scotch whiskey. The state ABC website is a mess, but i don't think it's available in NC.

Maker's Mark pics tomorrow.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Durham Central Market news

Got some news over the past few days that the Durham Central Market, a new co-op attempting to get off the ground in town, has settled on a location. (I'm an owner/founding member/whatever you call it of the market, but not at all involved in any decision making aspect.)

The new site is at the corner of Mangum and Broadway, a currently vacant lot just south of Little Five Points.

I'm pretty happy about this location, because it's just on the edge of walking distance from my house (1.1 miles), and a much more pleasant walk (especially after the city finishes its planned sidewalk construction in my 'hood over the next year or so) than the shorter walk under the freeway to Compare Foods.

But a couple of thoughts occur. First, how much parking is the Planning Department going to require for a grocery store at that location? I hope the co-op asks for a waiver from whatever number the city and county come up with, and make an attempt to minimize the parking lot footprint on the site.

Second, Mangum is a one-way street. Manageable in a car, but for patrons who live north of the site, and want to use public transportation, you're either stuck heading home with your grocery bags via the downtown terminal, or schlepping your bags a couple of footbal fields over to Roxboro and Dowd. You'd hope that one of the advantages of locating a grocery store in this part of town is that it would give those residents who don't drive a more convenient option than a taxi to Kroger or Compare. But for some of our elderly residents, this is still going to be problematic.

Hopefully, the Market folks will add their names to the growing list of people who think converting Mangum and Roxboro back to two way streets makes sense.

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Milwaukee School of Engineering

The milwaukee School of Engineering was probably the busiest place we saw on our walking tour of downtown. The Grohmann Museum at the school boasts a collection of over 800 pieces depicting "Man at Work" over the centuries. This is my favorite. Make up your own title.

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The awesome power of Dependable Erection

One of my absolute favorite things to whine about the past few years has been the patch of curbside mud on Avondale Drive that serves as my nearest bus stop. Since the bus doesn't really go anywhere that i need it to, i never take it, but there's usually a couple of people waiting for a ride downtown in the morning, standing in the mud or the hot sun, or sitting on the trash can.

I've made several requests over the years to have a shelter installed there.

What a surprise to come home to from the recent road trip:

I think it's worth celebrating myself.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Road trip 9

Why i don't live in Minneapolis:

Milwaukee is a city without irony. Click to embiggen

And i haven't figured out its historic preservation policies yet.

It's got a nice, if sporadic, River Walk.

And a Bronze Fonz.

And some other appealing traits.

They made a big mistake putting the ballpark a few miles out of downtown, though. The lakefront area, near the children's and art museums, would have been just perfect.

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Interesting read

FBI crime statistics for 2009, data for most cities with populations over 100,000.

Particularly interesting to compare, say, Durham (population 227k) with Jersey City (population 240k), or Springfield MO (population 157k).

May challenge your assumptions.


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Road trip 8

Humpback Bridge, Covington VA:

From the Wikipedia article:
Covered bridges were sometimes referred to as "kissing bridges" during the more modest era of the late 19th Century, as the privacy from passing through a covered bridge would allow passengers in horse and buggy an opportunity to kiss each other unobserved.

Graffiti dating back to 1966 was still visible inside the bridge. This was a lovely, and totally unexpected, find on the journey home.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Road trip 7 - Beaver, WV

Sadly, the good people of Beaver, West Virginia seem to given up on embracing their inner beaver. We were unable to find a single Beaver souvenir in the entire town. Not a t-shirt, coffee cup, ball cap or shot glass to be had.

I'm thinking in the future the Beaver Queen Pageant might consider adopting this town.

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Little Beaver State Park, WV


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Road trip 6 - Target Field

I've been a Twins fan as long as i can remember. The only explanation i can think of is that my father must have taken me to a ballgame during those dead years when the National League abandoned New York (1958 - 1961), and the Twins were playing the hated Yankees, which would date it to 1961, the year the old Senators moved to Minnesota. So it's beena nearly 50 year dream of mine to catch a Twins home game.

Some sights from the new Target Field, Wednesday, May 12. Twins 3 - White Sox 2.

The Killer:

Some things are universal:

My favorite logo of all time:


Babe wins the cartoon race:


Nostalgia display:

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Road trippin'

Yadkin Valley
Cedar Rapids
St. Paul
Stevens Point
Bourbon County
New River Gorge
Warm Springs

Spent time in three new metropoli that i'd not visited before, and half a dozen smaller towns that were also new to me. Revisited some memorable places from younger days. Saw a bald eagle flying over my head with a pretty big fish in his claws on the banks of the Mississippi. Tasted sour mash at three different stages of fermentation. Photographed 3 generations of graffiti in a covered bridge. Watched a mama black bear and cub navigate the interstate highway system successfully. Soaked in a 250 year old hot spring. Listened to Patricia Barber at the Green Mill. Ate ribs on Beale Street. Stood in Huck Finn's house.

Good to be home.


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Monday, May 17, 2010

Road trip 5

Kramarczuk's - you never sausage a place.

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