Dependable Erection

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just wondering

In light of the just received press release from the city that garbage collection is suspended on Monday, and bulky item collection suspended for Tuesday (a decision has not been made regarding regular garbage pickup for Tuesday), surely someone from the city or county has run numbers to determine the lost sales tax revenue from not being able to clear roads for a minimum of three days after a minor snow event. More broadly, is there an analysis of lost productivity due to working parents having to stay home with their school age kids because schools and day care centers are closed?

UPDATE: Duke & Gregson were in pretty good shape tonight. Roxboro was patchy but acceptable. Foster Street? You've got to be kidding me. That's the north/south streets in my neck of the woods. Markham and Trinity? Gonna be a bitch in the morning after 10 hours of sub-20 degree cold.


Continue reading Just wondering

Snow plow fail

Leave aside for the moment the neighborhood streets that will never see a plow during this storm. Let's also ignore, while we can, the three walks past untrafficked major thoroughfares like Roxboro Street in the past 24 hours without seeing a single plow. Overtime for plow drivers probably isn't in the city's budget this year.

What i'd like to know is how hard is it to train the plow drivers not to drop loads of rock salt & sand like big brown turds in the road, and spread them out over the ice where they can actually do some good?

And let's not mention the use of plowed snow to block access to southbound Mangum Street from Markham Ave., shall we? It's one thing to block in someone's driveway or street parked car. That's the price you pay for a cleared street. But seriously, blocking access to one street with snow plowed from another? Come on Mr. Bonfield and Mr. Bell. Do we take any time at all to train the guys who are responsible for keeping our streets clean?
UPDATE: Pic of Mangum Ave. from Saturday:

photo by Summer Puente

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Continue reading Snow plow fail

Friday, January 29, 2010


The president acknowledged that Republicans have joined Democrats in some efforts, such as sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. But he said he was disappointed and perplexed by virtually unanimous GOP opposition to other programs, such as the $787 billion economic stimulus bill enacted a year ago.

He also noted overwhelming Republican opposition to his proposed overhaul of the nation's health care, which now is in legislative peril. Obama said he would gladly look at better ideas, but he urged Republicans to acknowledge the difficulties that many Americans face in obtaining good health care.

How about something like "Hey, you assholes had 8 fucking years to run the country and you fucked it up so badly that Americans elected me and a Democratic Congress by majorities we haven't seen in decades to fix it.

"Now if you can't be useful, shut the fuck up and get out of the way, because i was elected to bring hope and change to the American people."


: Politico sez Obama was a bit more forceful than that AP extract portrayed. I sure hope so.

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Continue reading W.T.F?

A little touch of sanity

Scott Roeder's lawyers failed to show that Dr. George Tiller posed an imminent threat and therefore will not be allowed to ask jurors to consider a voluntary manslaughter charge, District Judge Warren Wilbert ruled Thursday.

Makes sense to me. As plenty of people have pointed out, the alternative is to start pre-emptively saving medical professionals from their would-be murderers. Wouldn't that be fun?
UPDATE: Guilty.


Continue reading A little touch of sanity

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jon Stewart on Democrats

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Blues Clueless
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

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Howard Zinn on "The Greatest Generation"

They tell me I am a member of the greatest generation. That's because I saw combat duty as a bombardier in World War II, and we (I almost said "I") won the war against fascism. I am told this by Tom Brokaw, who wrote a book called The Greatest Generation, which is all about us. He is an anchorman for a big television network, meaning that he is anchored to orthodoxy, and there is no greater orthodoxy than to ascribe greatness to military valor.

. . .

The crews who flew those planes died in great numbers. We who flew the more graceful-looking B-17s sardonically called those other planes Bdash2crash4. I wrote from my air base in England to my friend Joe Perry, who was flying B-24s out of Italy, kidding him about his big clunk of a plane, but the humor was extinguished when my last letter to him came back with the notation "Deceased."

Read the rest.

Continue reading Howard Zinn on "The Greatest Generation"

Not a logician

I think it's been about 33 years since i took a logic class, but it seems to me that the falsity of the statement "both sides hate it, so there must be something good about it," is pretty easily demonstrated. And that's without even deconstructing the concept mistake of "both sides."

Continue reading Not a logician

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Howard Zinn

1922 - 2010

I met Howard Zinn once, briefly, at a memorial service for Dave Dellinger in NYC, about 5 years or so ago.
I only had time to say how much his work had meant to me. He could have, by himself, been the subject of Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation. Instead, i doubt he was even mentioned.

Now, who will write the People's History of the 21st Century?

UPDATE: You know what? Fuck NPR.

Continue reading Howard Zinn


I'm holding out for the iPud.


Continue reading iPad?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I thought that was the whole point

Isn't this the ultimate goal of the anti-choice movement:
The judge ruled the best interests of the fetus overrode Burton's privacy rights, but Abrams disputes that. He notes the Florida Constitution, unlike its federal counterpart, has an explicit and strong privacy right, which the state Supreme Court has said guarantees a competent person the right to "choose or refuse medical treatment."

"If you apply the best interest of the child standard, the woman becomes nothing more than a fetal incubator owned by the state of Florida," Abrams said.

Continue reading I thought that was the whole point


January 7:

January 25:


Continue reading Growth

Monday, January 25, 2010

New traffic circle art

First installation since the new plantings.


Continue reading New traffic circle art

Saturday, January 23, 2010


By popular demand.


Continue reading Puppy!


Tottenham vs Leeds on FSC, or Mega-Shark Vs. Giant Octopus on SyFy?


Continue reading Dilemma

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shooting the Bull

Tonight on StB, we'll be talking about the effects of the Haiti earthquake on the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and reviewing the various relief projects and fundraising efforts that the Durham and Duke University communities are undertaking.

7:30 PM on WXDU - 88.7 FM, or online here


Continue reading Shooting the Bull

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I hear Scott Brown is going to challenge Harry Reid for Senate majority leader.

: Interesting read at TPM:
But the more interesting finding may come from Obama voters who simply decided to stay home yesterday. They were asked, "do you think Democrats in Washington, DC are fighting hard enough to challenge the Republican policies of the Bush years, aren't fighting hard enough to change those policies, or are fighting about right?"

A plurality, 39 percent, said "not enough," 25 percent said "about right," while only 12 percent believe Democrats have been too ambitious.


Continue reading Rumors

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tea & Tempests upcoming shows

My daughter's band has a couple of gigs before the end of the month.

Tuesday night (tonight) at Fuse in Chapel Hill, opening for Humble Tripe. Show starts at 9 or so.

Friday January 29th at the Trotter Building on Geer St. in Durham. Benefit for Central Park School, with Midtown Dickens, Hammer, and Megafaun. Doors at 6, or something like that.

Samples here.


Continue reading Tea & Tempests upcoming shows

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cool cat

Always something happening to make you realize the world is just a little weirder than you thought.


Continue reading Cool cat


Does anybody seriously believe that Democrats are in danger of losing Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat for the first time in 2 generations because they're on the verge of passing a health care reform package that's too liberal?

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Continue reading Massachusetts

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday afternoon puppy blogging


Continue reading Friday afternoon puppy blogging

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Mrs D and i went out to see Terry Gilliam's new movie, "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," last night at the Carolina. It's one of those movies that i really want to see, "you have to go see this," but it's really not. Can't quite say why, either. There are several scenes (the monastery, the shoe fantasy) that are among the most visually stunning of all time, and Lily Cole as Valentina, the soon-to-be-sixteen year old daughter of the title character, is an eye magnet of the first rank. Throw in Christopher Plummer as the 1000 year old Dr. Parnassus, and Tom Waits, who some believe was born to play the part, as the Devil whose sole joy, it seems, comes from his ongoing wagers with the Doctor, and you have the makings of a stone classic.

Or not. Somehow the whole adds up to much less than the sum of its parts.

I'm not going to try to tease out why in the confines of a blog post. That's a conversation best had over a couple of beers with a few people who've seen the movie. I do want to wonder out loud, though, how much of this reaction can be tied to the nearly unintelligible sound in Cinema One at the Carolina. Hard to say, with just one viewing in one location, whether the problem is with the film, with the sound system in the theater, or whether it's just a mismatch in technology (maybe the movie's sound is mixed in 7.1 surround, and the theater was only carrying center channel information?) but the amount of concentration it took to follow any extended dialog in this film was straining. And it's not like there were competing sounds from adjacent theaters (no Avatar playing next door!) or from a disruptive audience (when the lights when down we were the only ones in the theater; two other couples arrived before the opening credits were finished). Whatever the cause, the effect was insurmountable. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this, and if there's a solution at hand?


Continue reading Imaginarium

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Doctors Without Borders is accepting donations here.

Continue reading Haiti

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Being cute:


Continue reading Puppy

Starkey's coming to town!

Ringo Starr All-Star Band at the DPAC on July 11.

You heard it here first.

Damn, i hope half the Triangle is out of town that weekend!


Continue reading Starkey's coming to town!


I don't get it. What did Vinny del Negro ever do to you?


Continue reading Racist?

Monday, January 11, 2010

He didn't need no stinkin' steroids

I was lucky enough to grab this classic Harmon Killebrew shot off the TV screen during tonight's ESPN Classic broadcast of a 1960 episode of Home Run Derby. That guy could hit.

One thing i didn't know is that Mark Scott, the host/announcer of the show, died of a heart attack in the summer of 1960, and the producers decided not to replace him, and the show never made it to a second season.

Gotta say that the "W" logo on the Washington Senators cap from 1960 is a stone classic.


Continue reading He didn't need no stinkin' steroids

Friday, January 08, 2010

Big lie

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Good Morning America, earlier today:
"What [Obama] should be doing is following the right things Bush did. One of the right things he did was treat this as a war on terror. We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama," Giuliani said.

Good Morning America co-host George "Snuffleupagus" Stephanopolous, writing about the incident in his blog later:
Giuliani seems to have forgotten about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and shoe bomber Richard Reid.

Two things. First, Snuffleupagus somehow couldn't bring himself to raise the issue with Giuliani when they were on the air. Second, Rudy is no wht second prominent Republican (following former Bush administration spokesperson Dana Perino) to make the claim that there were no terrorist attacks under Bush's watch. Not a coincidence.


Continue reading Big lie

Bad blogger. No bacon.

So, you may have noticed from a post earlier this week that there's a new puppy at the Dependable Ranch. If i were a good blogger, you'd be getting daily cuteness updates about stair climbing, stair descending, tail chasing, cat nuzzling, whimpering, ball chasing, and the hundred other impossibly cute things that puppies do when they're still small enough to hold in one hand. Which this one will not be for much longer as he's already gone from 7 to 9 pounds in just under a week.

Oh, and pictures to illustrate how much cuter he is than any other puppy you've ever owned. So there.

But, alas, i'm not a very good blogger. And i'd rather spend my free time playing with the little guy than writing about him.

UPDATE: OK, just one. Since you asked so nicely.

One more. Mrs. D took this one earlier in the week.


Continue reading Bad blogger. No bacon.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The only logical inference

From an NPR story on how a recent UC Davis study showed that autism diagnoses are significantly higher in upper income, well educated, white communities:
The California results also show how widely autism diagnosis rates can vary from place to place, Novella says. In some areas of the state, children were four times as likely to be diagnosed as in other areas.

That suggests that in many areas there are still a huge number of children with autism spectrum disorders who are slipping through the cracks, Novella says.

I can think of at least one other possibility that the data suggests.


Continue reading The only logical inference

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Venison carpaccio - $8

Signature cocktail - $10
All being served up by Durham Mayor Bill Bell at Revolution - priceless

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Continue reading Priceless

Didn't see that coming

The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned.

Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to "virtual strip-searching" and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved.

Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws.

They also face demands from civil liberties groups for safeguards to ensure that images from the £80,000 scanners, including those of celebrities, do not end up on the internet.

It's a wonder that there is still an airline industry.

Continue reading Didn't see that coming

Twenty pounds of cute

Stuffed into a 10 pound sack.


Continue reading Twenty pounds of cute

Monday, January 04, 2010


Beats me.


Continue reading Metaphors

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Good start to the new year

See page 86 of the current issue (Jan '10) of Our State magazine to see what i mean.


Continue reading Good start to the new year