Dependable Erection

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Deep thought

I'm so old i remember when Republicans were the party calling for law and order.


Continue reading Deep thought

Monday, June 28, 2010

Worst gig ever

Got an email from a friend announcing that, among several others, long-time WNEW-FM dj Scott Muni was being posthumously inducted into a broadcasters Hall of Fame in New York.

Scott's bio included this line:
Scott Muni began his broadcasting career in the United States Marine Corps in 1950, when he read "Dear John" letters over Radio Guam.

That had to suck.


Continue reading Worst gig ever

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Congratulations to the US MNT for a great performance in the 2010 World Cup, and a thrilling round of 16 match against the Ghana Black Stars, which they actually could have won, despite being outplayed for large stretches of the game (ie - first half, and all of extra time.)

But what the hell does this mean?
When they had a chance to move into soccer's elite, against a Ghana team they should have handled easily, the Americans came out looking flat and uninspired.

No slight intended, but Asamoah Gyan eats Jozy Altidore's lunch as a striker, and Ghana's back four was superior to the US's in almost every facet of the game. Probably the best thing you can say about today's game was that losing to Ghana spared us the ignominy of going down to Uruguay 4-0 next week.


Continue reading Seriously?

Friday, June 25, 2010

So, where's the retraction? - UPDATED

UPDATE - As Michael notes in the comments, the N&O published their story about the non-endorsement this afternoon at around 3:20. I was out picking blackberries, and missed it.

So, you all followed the shitstorm that erupted on local blogs and listservs yesterday after it emerged that Fairway Outdoor Advertising had misleadingly presented a member of the City-Wide Partners Against Crime to the media on Wednesday and claimed that the entire Partners Against Crime community endorsed their proposal to have Durham's current billboard ordinance overturned to allow them to install flat screen TVs on highways and roadsides all over town.

Turns out that City-Wide PAC didn't have a valid vote to endorse the proposal, as one of its supposed members didn't represent the PAC she claimed to be representing (see below). Turns out that one of Fairway's attorneys (we can only assume he was from the firm of K&L Gates until we hear otherwise) pushed the City-Wide PAC facilitator to hold the vote over the objections of several of the members because "there was not more time" available to discuss the issue.

Wanda Boone, who was the spokesperson presented by Fairway, has apologized for her role in the fiasco.

So how come there's nothing in the Herald-Sun or News & Observer about this yet? If you rely on those two organs for your coverage of Durham events, you're still thinking that Partners Against Crime wants digital billboards in Durham. And you'd be wrong.


Continue reading So, where's the retraction? - UPDATED

Dear God, please don't let them do this

The Shagg's Philosophy of the World album is perfect just as it is.

This, though, is an abomination.
Concluding that this “amazing cacophony” would not necessarily make for good drama, Mr. Madsen said his original compositions would instead try to answer the question, “What did they hope they would sound like?”


Continue reading Dear God, please don't let them do this

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Updating again - sleazeball tactics

Another email from Wanda Boone, and i have to say it sounds as though she understands the first law of holes.
Dear Fellow Citizens,

Mistake number 1.

I naively carried a message regarding the above as requested by the Facilitator of City-Wide PAC about a very important vote that took place several months ago.

Although information was provided to PAC 1 via Melvin Whitley about the important safety features of electronic billboards, it is obvious that PAC 1 might not have received all of the information at the disposal of others. It is also obvious that there are still silos between us as PAC members. I suggest that a larger conversation should have taken place during City-wide PAC which would have been a great use of our time.

To make sure that this happens, I would like to invite members of PAC 2 as well as Mike Woodard to attend our next PAC 1 meeting to present the information that you have.

My sincere apologies for any misunderstanding, confusion or seeming misrepresentation. It was unintential on my part. I have spent 39 years in Durham and a lifetime of building a trusted reputation in the community that I have no desire to see end on this issue.

I hope that both my apology and invitation are accepted.
Best Regards,
Wanda Boone

Now, let's go back to Ms. Boone's earlier email and look at this quote:
3. The request for me to speak came via Harold Chestnut, City-wide PAC to voice the result of City-wide PAC's vote (period) in favor of the electronic billboard "for the safety of our Durham Community". The majority of PAC representatives voted yes during the City-wide PAC meeting in question and the process was conducted fairly, as overseen by Harold. I carried the message.

emphasis added

Jumping ahead, here's an email from the PAC 2 list today, addressed to PAC 2 co-facilitator Bill Anderson:
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think this is kind of important: as far as I've heard, PAC2 -- the organization that meets monthly at the DPS Training Center -- has not formally voted on the issue.

In the future, if a similar situation were to arise at the Citywide PAC meeting, I would suggest making a motion to table the question until the emissaries from each of the five PAC groups have received instructions from their respective memberships.

And Bill's response:
There's nothing overly "fine" about your important point. I did try to table it in that way, and every other way I could think of at the time.
The attorney representing Fairway said there wasn't enough time, so the Chair agreed to vote on it that evening. My objections barely slowed it down ten minutes.

emphasis added

So, enquiring minds want to know, what was so important about this vote, conducted, according to Wanda Boone "several months ago," that City Wide PAC Chair Harold Chestnut had to have it voted on that night, without allowing for alternative viewpoints to be presented, without allowing for the facilitators to consult with their respective groups to determine how they wished their organization to vote, and without questioning the credentials to vote of one of the 3 facilitators who voted in favor of the resolution, and who, according to the current facilitator of PAC 5, was not authorized to represent that group, and voted against that groups expressed preferences?

I don't know anything about Mr. Chestnut; don't think i've ever met him. But this information seems to indicate that he's at the center of this ill-advised decision to jump into bed with Fairway Outdoor Advertising. Would love to hear his take on this situation.

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Continue reading Updating again - sleazeball tactics

Updating again - sleazeball tactics

From the comments:
Marion Lamberth does not represent PAC5, and I am insulted to learn that she presented herself as such at this meeting. The co-facilitators of PAC5 are myself and Ms. Alice Cheek. Ms. Lamberth has not attended a PAC5 meeting in the two plus years that I have been co-facilitator. She was a former co-facilitator of PAC5, incorrectly presented herself as representing PAC5 on the CCIP Advisory Board, and now I learn she is casting votes when a) she is not authorized to cast such votes; and b) she has no possible understanding of the desires of the PAC since she does not even attend our meetings.

I am dumbfounded.

PAC5 did discuss the billboard ban at one of our monthly meetings, and all in attendance supported the existing ban. Ms. Cheek, my co-facilitator, attends the City-Wide PAC meetings, and was either late or absent for the meeting in question.

Scott Harmon


What the fuck is Fairway thinking?

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Continue reading Updating again - sleazeball tactics

Updating - sleazeball tactics

Wanda Boone of Durham TRY, who claimed to speak for Partners Against Crime at Fairway's press conference yesterday, has just sent out an email to the various PAC's.

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Four very quick points:
1. Have have not been contacted by nor have I made statements to the media regarding anything that has been in print.

2. TRY received donated billboard space in late 2007 after my approaching Fairway with the request. Fairway did not at any time offer free billboard space to TRY. As you see this transaction occurred prior to any recent electronic billboard discussions.

3. The request for me to speak came via Harold Chestnut, City-wide PAC to voice the result of City-wide PAC's vote (period) in favor of the electronic billboard "for the safety of our Durham Community". The majority of PAC representatives voted yes during the City-wide PAC meeting in question and the process was conducted fairly, as overseen by Harold. I carried the message.

4. I appreciate and respect the opinions of all those who wish to voice them. TRY's mission continues to be to prevent the devastating effects of substance abuse and underage drinking. Our billboard has been a successful tool in reaching that goal which is separate and apart from the electronic billboard discussion.

Best Regards,
Wanda Boone

A couple of questions remain. Wanda claims that "The majority of PAC representatives voted yes during the City-wide PAC meeting in question and the process was conducted fairly, as overseen by Harold." We ask, when has the City-Wide PAC, a group which consists of the facilitators of the various district PACs, ever been asked to take a position on an issue like this? What information was available to the members of that group before they made their decision? So far as we know, only a representative of Fairway addressed the group? Were any other parties invited to present their viewpoints?

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Continue reading Updating - sleazeball tactics

Sleazeball tactics

So i got an email yesterday telling me about a press conference in downtown Durham on behalf of the billboard "industry" and their ongoing attempts to have Durham's current billboard ordinance overturned. For about 20 years, after several court battles upheld Durham's right to ban new billboards through zoning ordinances, seemed like everybody was OK with that status quo. Then a new technology arrived, digital billboards, essentially giant flat-screen TVs for your highways, capable of showing new images every 10 or 15 seconds or so, the industry suddenly saw massive revenue streams available, and began pushing for modifications to the ordinance. "We just want to be able to replace a handful of our existing, rundown billboards with some of these new ones," they said. They offered access to some not-for-profit groups for occasional 10 second messages. They said that digital billboards were no more a traffic safety risk than conventional billboards.

Well, the jury's still out on that last one, since the study that came to that conclusion was, not surprisingly, funded by the industry, and objective evaluations of it cast doubt on its methodologies and conclusions. The full evidence isn't in yet, of course, but it's not looking good for the industry. Which probably explains why they're pushing so hard to get Durham's ban overturned. It'll be a lot harder to get of these things once they're installed, if the data shows that they're unsafe, than it will be to keep them from going up in the first place.

So anyway, didn't pay much attention to the press conference announcement since they've been doing this for three years.

Until i saw an email on the PAC 2 list asking if the PACs had endorsed the industry's position on overturning the billboard ordinance. WTF?

Quick digression - PAC stands for Partners Against Crime. There are 5 of them in Durham, roughly corresponding to the 5 police districts in town. I live in PAC 2, and i probably get to a couple of PAC meetings a year. It is a specifically non-political group in which citizens, police representatives, and city department heads interact and discuss concerns (street lighting, garbage pickup, maintenance issues, landlord/tenant conflicts, etc.) that can have impacts on crime and safety in neighborhoods. The PAC 2 website may not be completely up to date, but a review of the minutes of its meetings does not indicate that the issue of billboards was ever taken up.

So what gives?

Apparently, there's another PAC. It's called City-Wide PAC, and it consists of a meeting among the facilitators of the 5 distract PACs. And it was as a representative of this group that Wanda Boone, founder of Durham TRY, was speaking at yesterday's press conference. We'll get into some of the ironies of a group whose mission is to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors getting into bed with the billboard industry later. But for now, let's go to the videotape:
"Digital billboard technology is a wonderful tool" in locating missing persons and catching crooks, said Wanda Boone, representing Partners Against Crime at a press conference announcing the campaign this morning.

We've established that Wanda Boone presented herself as representing Partners Against Crime. How did that happen?

Here's an email from current PAC district 2 co-facilitator Bill Anderson:
Just returned from the City Wide PAC a couple hours ago, which is a monthly meeting of the 5 PAC Co-Facilitators. Often these meetings are very important, and should, theoretically, tie the five Police Districts together from a Partners Against Crime standpoint. I've never seen another company represented there before, or after, but sure enough...

A couple months ago, the attorney representing Fairway Advertising was there to pitch their case. At the end of the presentation, they requested PAC support. I objected as strongly as possible, mostly on the grounds that none of the PAC leaders could claim to know how their members would vote, and in essence, this would only be the opinion of the five individuals present, and WOULD NOT REPRESENT the PACs they lead.

I forced a vote to create a rule that City Wide PAC should NEVER vote on ANYTHING when the members of each of the individual PACs had not at least voted at their monthly meeting. That vote went south (3/2) and no such rule was created.

With PAC3's Patty Cloninger and I staring dumbfounded at each other across the table, and Melvin Whitley smiling like a Cheshire cat at the end, they took the vote to another predictable 3/2, and Chair Harold Chesnut gave that company permission to claim that City Wide PAC endorses it.

Marion Lamberth, PAC 5, Wanda Boone PAC 1, and Harold Chestnut, PAC 4 ~ IN FAVOR

Patty Coninger, PAC 3 and Bill Anderson, PAC 2 ~ AGAINST

I was powerless to stop this insane vote, cited the DCVB survey, but mostly general process. Mind you, the above folks are community leaders, and City Wide PAC often serves a good purpose, but that evening, in my opinion, it erred dramatically.

So, the company left with permission to claim City Wide PAC support, and I reserve the right to explain to the best of my ability, how they got it.

This is the first I've seen of Wanda's quote, so this is the first time I've explained what I bore witness to that evening.

Are you taking notes? Because this is important. Fairway Outdoor Advertising pitched itself to a meeting of the 5 facilitators of the PACs throughout the city, and asked for their endorsement of Fairway's billboard proposal. They didn't go to the individual PACs, and they didn't ask the facilitators to go back to their groups to obtain their endorsements. They got three people to approve their resolution, and then got those three people to put "City-Wide Partners Against Crime" behind their names.

Still paying attention? Because this is still important. You looked at the Durham TRY website linked above, right? You noticed that big billboard promoting Durham TRY, space donated by Fairway, right in the middle of the page, with a big "Thank You Fairway!" tag below it, right? OK. That's Wanda Boone's group. (And we'll still talk about the irony of a group devoted to keeping alcohol away from underage youth getting in bed with the billboard industry later.)

Let's go back to the videotape again:
The InterNeighborhood Council has gone on record opposing Fairway's request, but Fairway General Manager Paul Hickman said the council is not representative of the county as a whole. The INC lists 31 neighborhoods as members, out of more than 100 registered with the city/county planning department.

Now, you may remember a while back, the Inter-Neighborhood Council was the first group that Fairway and its partners attempted to persuade to get on board its campaign. At the time, Craigie Sanders was the INC president. Craigie, as it happens, is also an attorney at the firm representing Fairway, K&L Gates. One of my favorite of Craigie's moves as INC president was when he invited his fellow Gates attorney Patrick Byker to pay dues for the dormant Rockwood Neighborhood Association and become its representative to the INC, which backfired when other neighbors became aware of this and revitalized their Neighborhood Association as a result.

So - another brief digression. Inter-Neighborhood Council (with or without the hyphen) is another group in Durham that meets monthly, and invites all recognized neighborhood and homeowners associations in Durham to be members. It often takes positions on controversial issues, but in a somewhat more transparent fashion than the "City-Wide PAC" we talked about earlier. A neighborhood may ask for an INC endorsement of a position on, say, changing the billboard ordinance. A resolution will be drafted during a first meeting. At the next meeting, or sometimes even the next two meetings, information will be presented about the impacts of the proposal, and proponents and opponents will be invited to speak. INC delegates go back to their neighborhoods and discuss the various presentations and positions, and other neighborhood residents are welcome to attend INC meetings if they want firsthand information. The resolution may be amended or rewritten. Eventually, a vote is taken and INC's position is established. It may not be the prettiest process, and it may not be the timeliest process, but it would be fair to say that it provides for a significant amount of participation among Durham residents who are interested in the issue at hand.

Unlike, say, getting three industry supporters into a room and having them vote on an issue with no discussion amongst their constituents.

So when Fairway General Manager Paul Hickman says the council is not representative of the county as a whole, while standing next to Wanda Boone, who he knows does not represent the city as a whole, we are safe in describing his tactics as disingenuous, sleazy, underhanded, and reprehensible. At this point it would be reasonable to ask Mr. Hickman what percentage of Durham's billboard advertising revenues are generated by alcohol advertising, and more specifically, by alcohol ads placed in Durham's at-risk communities, specifically along Alston Ave. and US 70 in East Durham? And what percentage and total revenues do they anticipate the new "digital" billboards will generate in those same areas? And then it would be reasonable to ask Wanda Boone why it is that her group is willing to sell itself to the billboard industry, which is one of the prime vectors for alcohol advertising aimed at at-risk young people, the same people her organization claims to be trying to reach, for the price of a few free billboard ads? Could it be that Durham TRY is more interested in establishing its organizational position in the political landscape than in actually getting kids to postpone alcohol consumption? Because if that was their true goal, eliminating outdoor advertising for alcohol would be a much more effective tactic than merely subbing one out of every 4 Crown Royal ads with Durham TRY PSA, wouldn't it?

Noted: Kevin wakes up much earlier than i do.

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Continue reading Sleazeball tactics

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Everybody's talking 'bout Landon Donovan . . .

and rightly so, but meanwhile, over in London:
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut tore up the record books as their epic first-round contest at Wimbledon became the longest in tennis history.

The match was locked at 59-59 in the final set after 10 hours of play when it was suspended because of bad light.

The decision meant that, incredibly, the contest would go into a third day, having been called off at two sets all on Tuesday for the same reason.

It will resume on Court 18 on Thursday after two other singles matches.

The final set, which began shortly after 1400 BST on Wednesday and was still going seven hours later when the sun went down, is already longer than any match ever played.

So, if you had tickets to watch that match when it began on Tuesday, does that mean you get in to see the finish tomorrow?


Continue reading Everybody's talking 'bout Landon Donovan . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Don't tread on me

I'm sure the teabaggers will be rushing to defend the rights of free citizens in this case.
Last week, Drew Wheelan, the conservation coordinator for the American Birding Association, was filming himself across the street from the BP building/Deepwater Horizon response command in Houma, Louisiana. As he explained to me, he was standing in a field that did not belong to the oil company when a police officer approached him and asked him for ID and "strongly suggest[ed]" that he get lost since "BP doesn't want people filming".

Click the link for video.


Continue reading Don't tread on me

Monday, June 21, 2010

So, what exactly was the problem?

The fan who entered the England dressing room after Friday night's World Cup match has been arrested and charged with trespassing. Pavlos Joseph, 32, will appear in court tomorrow morning and was tonight banned from attending any further matches in the tournament.

. . .

Joseph, a life-long England and Manchester United supporter, said he told a stunned Beckham that fans were bitterly disappointed at England's performance.

"I looked David straight in the eye and said: 'David, we've spent a lot of money getting here. This is a disgrace. What are you going to do about it?'"

The mortgage advisor said that when Beckham asked him who he was, he responded: "I'm Pavlos and I actually need the toilet."

. . .

Beckham, who gave a joint interview with Princes William and Harry, said: "Luckily it was after the princes had left – five to 10 minutes after.
So, what? Their royal fucking highnesses might have had to meet one of the small people? Christ on a cracker, the things we accept as normal in this world.


Continue reading So, what exactly was the problem?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stop the presses!

Been pretty remarkable over the past 24 hours or so to watch American journalists discover that not only are there people in the world who are stinkin' rich, but they like to do stinkin' rich people stuff.

Perhaps even more astounding is Republican senators piling on.

Come on. Hayward's little yacht race weekend is bad timing, no doubt. But this is the world we've made. We struck this bargain 30 years ago when we elected Ronald Reagan and embraced trickle-down economics, a system which made explicit our preference for allowing the rich to get as rich as they possibly could in the belief that was the only way for the poor to grab a foothold on the bottom rung of the ladder. The results of this decision, which the US press and Republican Party have embraced so thoroughly that to even raise the question of whether or not it's true is to be dismissed as un-American, are apparent every single day. That childhood poverty, which declined from the 1960s up through Ronald Reagan's election, then declined again during the Clinton administration, is back up to historical highs is no accident. It's the exact price we pay in order to allow the small group of people who consider themselves Tony Hayward's friends to live the lives they have.

If Republican senators and US journalists are going to start complaining about the situation, instead of simply accusing those who point it out of fomenting class warfare, they must be getting scared that the rest of us are going to start getting angry about it.

Wonder if they're right?


Continue reading Stop the presses!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup fashions

Compared to the fashion disaster that was the US - Slovenia match yesterday, Cameroon v Denmark is a joy to look at.


Continue reading World Cup fashions

Friday, June 18, 2010

Coming soon to

Coming up next, an exclusive interview with Matjaž Kek, manager of the Slovenian national team, and author of the upcoming book, "How Not To Play The Second Half of a World Cup Group Match That Your Team Needs To Win To Move To The Next Round When You Have a 2-0 Lead at Halftime."


Continue reading Coming soon to

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm sorry Dave; I'm afraid I can't do that

This is just, well, scary. And pretty exciting, too.

Continue reading I'm sorry Dave; I'm afraid I can't do that

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Deep thought

Looking like those rain barrels may not have been the best investment, after all.


Continue reading Deep thought

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Memo to ESPN

Don't let Jon Miller and Joe Morgan talk about soccer, K?


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Continue reading Memo to ESPN

Saturday, June 12, 2010


For some reason, it never occurred to me that Jacques Cousteau and Howlin' Wolf were born 1 day apart, 100 years ago.


Continue reading Century

Friday, June 11, 2010

Whaddaya know? works.

UPDATE: Well, up to a point.


Continue reading Whaddaya know?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vic Skolnick 1929-2010

For most of you in Durham, Vic's passing yesterday at the age of 81 is not going to mean anything. Vic, along with his partner Charlotte Sky, was the founder of the New Community Cinema in Huntington, New York back in 1973. It was a shoestring operation at first, and for many years after, but Vic and Charlotte had a love of film and radical politics and culture that kept the Cinema going at a time when the overwhelming blandness and commodification of Long Island life was driving much of my generation away.

It's hard to describe someone as a friend who i had maybe half a dozen conversations with, the last a brief one at a mutual friend's 75th birthday a decade or so ago, but i think anyone who ever met Vic considered him a friend.

I have one story about Vic that i want to share. In 1981 or so i was a grad student in Public Policy at SUNY Stony Brook. I was also producing public affairs programming at the radio station there. Vic and Charlotte had managed to book a first-run documentary at the cinema, and it's possible that it was an exclusive showing in the New York area. It was a thing called The Atomic Cafe, and it traced the history of atom bomb through media portrayal from the 40s through the 70s, including, as i recall, the infamous 4 minute Duck and Cover "educational" short that terrorized a generation of US schoolchildren. It also had a killer soundtrack. Vic asked me if i would help produce a PSA for the run that could air on non-commercial stations in the area. It seemed that selling out the Cinema was pretty important. Of course, they couldn't pay, but i wouldn't have taken his money anyway. I spent about 20 hours putting a 60 second spot together. Vic and Charlotte loved it, and as far as i know it got a bit of airplay on a bunch of stations. I got a pair of passes from Vic as a thank you, and a couple of weeks later i took a date to a screening of something that i have no recollection of. Free movies, though, are a pretty nice thing for low paid grad students. Maybe not quite as nice as being on the list with a plus one for a Clash concert, but not bad.

So we went to the show, i gave Vic the passes, and to my surprise he gave them back to me when we walked in. "What's that for?" i asked. "Oh, those are good for a whole year," he replied. "Use them as often as you like."

I probably should have gone more often, but Huntington was a few towns away, and not always the easiest place to get to. But for the half dozen or so times i went, Vic, i was always appreciative of the chance to help you out, and your generosity in return.

Long Island is a better place for your having lived there.

Rest in peace.


Continue reading Vic Skolnick 1929-2010

You know animals are hairy?

They're living on nuts and berries

And a small patch i'm trying to save from the advancing kudzu with a moderate amount of success:

Another quart today. Looks like the harvest will start in earnest next week.

Continue reading You know animals are hairy?

Open letter

Dear Congressman Boehner,

Please make this the centerpiece of House Republican strategy in the November elections.

Mr. Dependable.


Continue reading Open letter

Folk Song and Minstrelsy

Souvenir from the small amount of record store trawling i did on the recent road trip. Picked this up in Minneapolis, at the Electric Fetus.

It's a 4 LP box set released in 1962 and distributed, as far as i can tell, by the Book-of-the-Month club. It's a pretty good sampling of the northeast-midwest school of folk music of the 50s and early 60s, but lacking in any Delta blues or Appalachian folk. Listening to it the first time, nearly 50 years after its release, you can almost feel the dry tinder waiting for the spark of Bob Dylan to arrive to start the fire of the 60s.

There's two whole sides of Odetta, another side of Cisco Houston, a whole disc devoted to performances from the 1961 Newport Folk Festival, including one Joan Baez track, two more from Cisco Houston, including an unexpurgated version of "The Cat Came Back," and Pete Seeger singing "East Virginia Blues," the closest this comp gets to mountain music, a side of the Weavers, and more.

As i'm needledropping these albums to add to my digital library, i can't help but wonder what the BOMC subscribers must have thought when this monster box showed up in the mail in the spring of 1962? Was it mostly urban sophisticates who supported the BOMC back then, or rural folk who didn't have time to go book shopping, but liked to have occasional reading options? Was this seen as an eye-opening glimpse into a foreign and exotic culture, an attempt to make palatable for the mainstream something unique and homegrown, or something else entirely?

Full track listing here.


Continue reading Folk Song and Minstrelsy


To my friend Kevin for hosting the best blog in the Triangle, as voted on by readers of the Independent Weekly.


Continue reading Congrats!

Teh funny

World Cup news:
"That American fan? He's harmless, I guess," bartender and lifelong Tottenham supporter Martin West said. "Though he gets pretty tiresome with all his footy rubbish, and he can really get annoying when we're all just trying to watch in peace. Thank Christ he's the only one."


Continue reading Teh funny

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Don't think i'm giving any secrets away if i say that this seems fair set to be the best blackberry season in over a decade. Picked a quart during lunch today without breaking a sweat, and should be able to score at least 4 or 5 gallons in the next week and a half. Go find some near you.

Continue reading Blackberries

Monday, June 07, 2010


I confess - i love reading the rose-tinted Facebook posts originating from the group calling itself the Durham-Orange Friends of Transit, or DO Transit for short. I wish they'd be a little more specific about who, exactly, they are beyond "an alliance of local organizations, civic leaders and citizens who support regional transit for the Triangle," since no actual individuals or organizations are listed as being members of the group, only signatories of their petitions.

But that's a minor quibble.

Here's their utopian post from this past Saturday:
Through smart land use, the Triangle can give residents the option of driving less -- a direct way to stem the demand for offshore and foreign oil. For example, parking eats up space, reduces walkability, and adds an incentive to drive. In certain areas such as downtown Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro we can plan for ...parking areas to be redeveloped in the future, when other transportation options arrive such as the Bull City Connector.

I love that. We can plan for parking areas to be redeveloped in the future.

Parking areas like this one, which we're building right fucking now with tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money which could be spent on, oh i don't know, rolling stock, or tracks for a future street car system.

Seriously, this is the 4th parking deck being built in the ballpark area in the past 10 years or so. Add another one for West Village, and maybe there's one or two more that i've forgotten or missed. I'm too lazy to do the math, but how much bond money have we committed to downtown parking decks over the past decade? Surely one of our elected officials who is a member of DO Transit can tell us? After all, we're going to be redeveloping them with additional tax dollars in the future, right?


Continue reading Parking

What could possibly go wrong?

GMO Compass:
On approximately 120 hectares across seven U.S. states from Florida to Texas, researchers will plant more than 200,000 GM eucalyptus trees. Developed by the ArborGen Company, the fast-growing trees are intended eventually to provide the raw materials for pulp, paper and bio-fuels and to minimise thereby the industrial use of forest land.

Field trials now should determine their suitability for the entire southern ‘timber belt’ of the USA: cold-sensitive, conventional eucalyptus varieties normally are confined to the state of Florida. However, the trials are controversial. Although site approvals had been issued previously, the new USDA permits allow flowering on all but one of the sites in question, as well as a greater density of trees.

Ah, memories.


Continue reading What could possibly go wrong?

Friday, June 04, 2010

Beaver Queen Pageant!

Beaver up, y'all!

The 6th Annual BQP, Wild Wild Wetlands, happens this Saturday at the Duke Park Meadow, Acadia and Knox Streets. Festivities get under way at 4:00 pm, and at 4:30 or so there will be special event that you won't want to miss.

Late Breaking News: Wool E. Bull is also going to be making an appearance at the BQP. The mainstream is getting wider, it would seem.

A couple of folks asked about my "official blogger" status, so here's the deal. This year, I'm going to be a judge, and with all the traveling i did last month and a couple of other things going on, it didn't seem feasible to blog the pageant.

The official pageant blog is located here, and everything you need to know about the pageant, its history, where to buy BQP swag, etc. is there.

As it has for the past several years, the BQP raises funds for the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, and awareness of Durham's streams, rivers, and wetlands.

Something new this year is that we're taking donations via PayPal. You can cast ballots for your favorite contestant, buy a judge, or be a sponsor of the Pageant here. Of course, i'd be honored beyond belief if you choose to be the buyer of my judgeship, and last i checked i was the most corrupt of the 7 judges, but regardless, be sure to mention Jack Johnson's "All at Once Foundation" in the message portion of your donation. The Foundation will match the first $2500 we receive that includes this note, so let's make sure that all of that money gets donated to ECWA.

See you on Saturday, and Go, Speed Beaver, Go!


Continue reading Beaver Queen Pageant!

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Commissioner Bud Selig has the power to reverse umpire Jim Joyce's missed call that came with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday night in Detroit.

Holy Christ, the last person in the universe you want with that kind of "power" is Bud Selig.

The ump blew the call, Galarraga lost a perfect game, and baseball fans will remember him for at least as long as they remembered Harvey Haddix, who once retired the first 36 batters in a game, only to give up an error, a sac bunt, an intentional walk, and a double, and lose 1-0 in 13 innings almost exactly 51 years ago. Oh, yeah, and both pitchers went the distance in that one.

Quick, name the last three guys to throw perfect games without looking it up.

It's baseball. Bad calls happen. Move on.


Continue reading WTF?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

All you need to know about the state of US politics

Alabama. Not a state, but a metaphor.
Last month, a shadowy GOP group attacked Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bradley Byrne as believing the Bible "is only partially true" and suggested he believed more in evolution than in creationism. Byrne slammed the ad as "utter lies."


Continue reading All you need to know about the state of US politics