Dependable Erection

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Moving up the chain of command

My email to the Shat:
Dear Bill,

I am so disappointed. I trusted you.

When you karate kicked the living hell out of inflated hotel prices on those commercials, I believed in you.

I believed in you so much that I actually went to and negotiated a sweet hotel deal for a quick beach getaway with my wife.

Alas, Priceline booked me into a city 6 miles inland from the beach area that I requested, and refuses to discuss rebooking or giving me a refund. I can't get behind that kind of bait and switch, can you?

I've been trying to reach you for the last 12 hours to discuss this with you personally, but your hailing frequencies do not appear to be open this weekend. I'm sharing my experiences with all of my friends and online acquaintances. Obviously I don't have the phaser power that you do, but I'll bet I'm not the only one whose getaway plans have been warped by Priceline. So I thought I'd share this with you, and maybe you can bring it up before the High Command on my behalf.

Live long and prosper (with the money Priceline obtains via false advertising practices)
Mr. Dependable


Continue reading Moving up the chain of command

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, fuck Priceline

Any of you thinking about using the Shat's website to book a room somewhere?

Think again.

Dear Barry,

Thank you for taking the time to send us an e-mail. e understand that you would like us to cancel your reservation at the Courtyard By Marriott Wilmington and refund the full amount or make a reservation foryour in Wrightsville Beach and charge you $25.00.

As advised earlier, per our records, you have chosen Wilmington area at the time of placing your hotel request and our system has booked your reservation accordingly.

Prior to submitting your request, you were asked to review and initial acontract. This contract contained the travel information you entered during the request process and outlined the terms of the offer, including the restriction that your reservation would not be changed or canceled.

For your reference, a copy of your contract page has been sent in a separate e-mail.

We apologize, but we are unable to make reservations on customer's behalf.

We are able to make an exception, and cancel your reservation for a fee,with your approval to cancel your reservation. It is very important that you contact us before your current check-in date, which is 08/02/2010. We are not able to refund or make changes after this time.

Upon receipt of your approval via e-mail, we will cancel your reservation minus a cancellation fee of $110.70. We will send a separatee-mail with instructions outlining how to submit a new request on our website with the correct information. If you follow the instructions and are successful in booking a new reservation, we will refund the cancel fee minus a flat change fee of $25.00.

Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope you find this information helpful.


Kutubuddin K.
Customer Service Specialist

Click through the photo below, and you'll see that Priceline's website clearly shows that Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach are two distinct areas. I know how much rooms go for in Wilmington, and how much they go for in Wrightsville this time of year. I don't need Priceline to book a room for 100 bucks in downtown Wilmington.

And from now on, i don't need Priceline to do anything for me. And i hope you don't either.


Continue reading Oh, fuck Priceline

96 hours

96 hours or so ago, Durham County was notified by the NCDOT that Southern Durham Development's attempted gift of 41 feet of right of way along NC 751 was being rejected. The gift, as SDD pres Alex Mitchell was quoted as saying, was an explicit attempt to invalidate a protest petition against a rezoning application that SDD has pending before the Board of County Commissioners. AT Monday night's BoCC hearing on the rezoning app, County Attorney Lowell Siler stated that he would need 48 hours to determine whether or not the rejection was valid.

That was 96 hours ago.

Unless he meant 48 working hours.

Who knows?

Maybe Siler can go to work for when he decides to leave the sphere of public service.


Continue reading 96 hours

Even more Priceline

Screenshot from showing that they do pretend to understand the difference between Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington.

Maybe i need to hire an attorney to deal with this? Wonder if Lowell Siler has any free time on his hands? Or maybe Patrick Byker isn't too busy next week.


Continue reading Even more Priceline

More Priceline responds:

Thank you for taking the time to send us an e-mail. We understand that you would like to cancel your hotel reservation at the Courtyard By Marriott Wilmington because you belive that you have chosen Wrightsville Beach area while placing your request but you got hotel reservation in wrong area.

Per our records, you have chosen Wilmington area at the time of placing your hotel request and our system has booked your reservation accordingly.

However, we are able to make an exception, and cancel your reservation for a fee. Please respond to this e-mail as soon as possible with your approval to cancel your reservation. It is very important that you contact us before your current check-in date, which is August 2, 2010. We are not able to refund or make changes after this time.

Upon receipt of your approval via e-mail, we will cancel your reservation minus a cancellation fee of $110.70. We will send a separate e-mail with instructions outlining how to submit a new request on our website with the correct information. If you follow the instructions and are successful in booking a new reservation, we will refund the cancel fee minus a flat change fee of $25.00.

We thank you for the opportunity to assist you and hope you find this information helpful.


Santosh S.
Customer Service Specialist


I respond to Priceline:

Am I reading this correctly?

For $110.70, a fee equal to the amount which i am being charged for a room in a city other than that which i asked to booked, you will cancel my reservation?

Then, I can try again, and risk being booked into Wilmington a second time, when the first time I explicitly selected Wrightsville Beach, and made sure the Wilmington option was not selected?

You're joking, right?

Here's what I'm thinking. You cancel my reservation at the Courtyard by Marriot in Wilmington, and you refund my money. Or, you cancel my reservation at the Courtyard by Marriott in Wilmington, and you book me into a similar hotel in Wrightsville Beach. I will pay up to an additional $25.00 for the Wrightsville Beach hotel reservation if necessary.


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Continue reading More Priceline


So, Mrs. D and i were talking about a last minute getaway to Wrightsville Beach next week. Maybe Monday and Tuesday. Not too crowded, you know. Work is just slow enough that maybe nobody will miss us.

Perfect time, i'm thinking, to put Bill Shatner to the test and see if he can find me a room on the beach for a reasonable price.

I go through the whole Priceline registration and negotiation page, making sure the box for Wrightsville is checked, and the box for Wilmington is not checked, because i want to go to the beach, not to a city near the beach.

I submit my offer, and boom, 30 seconds later, the Shat tells me he's found me a room.

At the Courtyard by Marriott.

In fucking downtown Wilmington.

And of course Priceline's terms are that once you place your bid, you've got to accept what comes out.

We'll see how good their negotiating skills are this time.

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Continue reading Priceline

Paging Lowell Siler

Now approaching 86 hours since County Attorney Lowell Siler said his office needed 48 hours to review NCDOT's rejection of the Southern Durham Development's easement.

Yesterday, SDD president Alex Mithcell was quoted in the N&O as saying that the reason he went ahead with the easement was to disenfranchise opponents of his project by invalidating their protest petition.

NCDOT and the state Attorney General's office continue to maintain that the revocation is legally binding.

What could County Attorney Siler possibly be looking for that is taking so long to find?

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Continue reading Paging Lowell Siler

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Congratulations, it's a beer!

Fullsteam ales are now on tap at Tyler's, and who knows where else in and around town.

Congratulations to Sean, Chris, Brooks, and everyone who's put so much into this new Durham brewery.

Plow to pint, baby.


Continue reading Congratulations, it's a beer!

Truth outs

Herald Sun, yesterday:
Hopkins told Ruffin the original discussion lapsed after the first meeting, resuming only on or about July 12 -- after the window for neighbors to file a protest petition had closed. At that point, lawyer Patrick Byker contacted DOT officials to move the donation through.

Byker was "in a hurry" to complete it, and when asked why the rush, told DOT officials his clients wanted to show "good faith" by making the deal before the hearing, Hopkins said.

But such a showing was unnecessary, as the developers already had formally promised city/county planners they would give DOT an easement along the N.C. 751 frontage of the site in return for the rezoning.

N&O, today:
The widening is not in DOT's near-future plan, said (Southern Durham President Alex) Mitchell and DOT engineer Joey Hopkins, but Mitchell said he went ahead when he realized that donating the right of way would invalidate the protest petition.

"I have a group of opponents who wake up every day trying to think of ways to block this plan," he said. "I'll do everything within my power, legally, to move it forward."

So, Patrick Byker lied to state officials in his capacity as the attorney representing Southern Durham Development, Inc.

And people wonder why opponents of this plan don't trust the developers to make good on their promises.

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Continue reading Truth outs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paging Lowell Siler

It's been over 48 hours since the NCDOT filed its papers rejecting Southern Durham Development's gift of 41 feet of right of way along highway 751, a gift which coincidentally happened to disenfranchise a good chunk of citizens who had added their names to a protest petition against rezoning that company's land.

Herald Sun reporter Ray Gronberg has managed to suss this out:
A DOT official, Deputy Division 5 Engineer Joey Hopkins, said the document, drafted with help from N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper's staff, was modeled on instruments the agency uses to give up temporary easements.

State law, meanwhile, clearly suggests that DOT has the General Assembly's permission to walk away from a donation.

The statute establishing its power to accept one, G.S. 136-19, says that if the department "later determines that the property acquired for transportation infrastructure, including highway right of way, or a part of that property, is no longer needed," it should give "first consideration" to a repurchase offer from its former owner.

Such an offer in this case would appear superfluous because no money ever changed hands between DOT and the developer. The easement also didn't convey anything beyond usage rights to the agency.

The law also makes it clear DOT is the sole judge of its own property needs.

Siler's inability to come to a conclusion in this case leads one to wonder, can he find his ass with both hands, or does he need a map and a flashlight?

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Continue reading Paging Lowell Siler

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Deep thought

If you structure the zoning laws so that only those people who live within 100 feet of a project have the right to make a legal objection, isn't it a bit disingenuous to describe a project's opponents as NIMBYs?

Just sayin'.


Continue reading Deep thought

Well played, Byker

In all the hubbub last night about Transportation Secretary Conti's apparent revocation of a deed of easement given by SDD to the state i neglected to pay my compliments to Patrick Byker, from K&L Gates, attorney for the developers.

Gotta admit, the idea of disenfranchising a whole group of homeowners from participating in the rezoning process by giving away a 41 foot strip of land and thereby pushing them out of the 100 foot proximity zone in which petitioners must own property was genius. Topping that off by waiting 10 days, until the close of business on the Friday afternoon just prior to the big vote on the project was the sour cherry on top of a very large sundae.

This is the kind of legal maneuvering that keeps people who write lawyer jokes for a living employed, and given today's economy, any job kept is a good one, right?

So keep it up, Mr. Byker. I'm sure that County Attorney Lowell Siler will also be appreciative of your assistance as he searches desperately for a way to find that Secretary Conti's action yesterday is somehow not legally binding. If anyone can do that, it's you.

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Continue reading Well played, Byker

Monday, July 26, 2010

I've got an idea

To handle the growth issue in Durham.

Simply require all prospective residents of Durham County to watch the video of tonight's meeting. No one will want to move here.

Thank you Joe Bowser!

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Continue reading I've got an idea

He's really gotta go

Joe Bowser thinks it's OK for the developers of the 751 project to notify the county that they've deeded an easement to the state on a Friday afternoon at 5:00 in order to invalidate a protest petition, but if the state attempts to revoke that easement, that's a last minute bit of outside interference?

Holy christ.

Does North Carolina have a recall process?

: alas, no.


Continue reading He's really gotta go

They've gotta go

So, everybody and their brother at the county commissioners meeting tonight knows how the vote is going to turn out. The only issue is whether or not the 3-2 vote will be sufficient to grant the rezoning approval. And that, apparently, will depend on a ruling from the county attorney.

So why are Chair Michael Page and Commissioner Joe Bowser willing to spend 15 minutes arguing about whether or not we need to take the time before the public speaks to learn what Lowell Siler has to say about the document received today from NCDOT referenced below? It's a cut and dried, yes it is or no it isn't statement that would take all of 15 seconds to read and process. Is NCDOT's rejection of SDD's easement legally valid or isn't it?

We won't know until the kabuki theater runs its course.

Those men cannot be re-elected to the BoCC in 2012.

UPDATE: Put Lowell Siler on the list of people who should be looking for new jobs too. Oh, and Joe Bowser? Last i checked, the North Carolina Attorney General is elected by the people of North Carolina. Civics 101, it shouldn't be over your head.


Continue reading They've gotta go

A victory for common sense

Email just received from NCDOT revoking the easement from Southern Durham Development. This means the protest petition is still valid, and the developers will need 4 votes to get their rezoning request approved.

Good luck with that.


RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) learned last weekend that by accepting the donation of right of way along N.C. 751 in Durham, the Department had inadvertently interfered in an active public participation process.

In order to rectify this and restore the public voice in a local zoning issue, NCDOT has issued an immediate “Revocation of Acceptance.” This legally-binding action restores the local public process to its original state.

NCDOT accepted the Right-of-Way in good faith, having not been notified of the “100-foot rule” in Durham County or how accepting this donation would impact the public process. Had NCDOT staff known in advance that this would interfere in that process, we would not have accepted the donation at that time.

Copies of this statement and the “Revocation of Acceptance” are being faxed to the Durham County manager’s office and the attorney for the property owner at this time.

i just need to add that this is the first time in a very long time that i feel as though my contact with a public official has resulted in some sort of positive change. Thanks to everyone who emailed Transportation Secretary Conti today to make this request. And thanks to the Secretary for recognizing the importance of the local process, and the nature of the game that SSD and K&L Gates attempted to play with the process.

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Continue reading A victory for common sense

I'll be there

At the county commissioners meeting tonight to rubber stamp vote on the rezoning application for the 751 Assemblage. Not that i have any conviction that our current crop of County Commissioners is capable of comprehending any argument more complex than "jobs," but it'll be an interesting civics lesson nonetheless.

Inter-Neighborhood Council's current president Tom Miller makes the case in an email being circulated today:
The developer’s fancy tricks and the abysmal handling of this matter by the BOCC have continued unabated. The developer has now granted an easement to the NC DOT to defeat the protest petition declared valid by the planning department. The easement ostensibly makes the road too wide for the property owners on the other side to participate in the protest petition. The problem is, NC DOT has no plans to widen the road and while the easement sits unused by the DOT, the developer may use it as rezoned (if the BOCC goes along with this ploy). The development plan submitted to the county is entirely silent on the easement since it was never part of the developer’s intention to grant right of way to the DOT until the protest petition was declared to be valid. ‘Seems that so significant a change to the plan ought to require a resubmittal of the rezoning application with an appropriately modified development plan. Will the county government require this? Under its current leadership, I doubt it. From the beginning, this developer has wanted to have its cake and to eat it too and at least a majority of the commissioners has shown themselves willing to let them have it. Never mind that the Planning Commission voted overwhelmingly against the project. Never mind that the project violates the County’s own stated policies on growth in the area. And never mind that Durham is facing a financial burden to clean up the pollution of area lakes that will drive property tax rates out of sight.

And what about the DOT? How did they allow themselves to get mixed up in this mess without any notice to the public? Whose side are they on anyway? Who watches over them?

Please turn out for the Board of County Commissioner’s meeting and join the opponents to this rezoning. As ordinary citizens, we are the people the zoning code is supposed to protect, not he people who twist and turn it to their financial advantage. Let the Commissioners know we are watching and that we care!

This may not be in your neighborhood, but the next big planning issue may be. When your neighborhood is facing a planning issue, don’t you want a fair and open process, true to the express policies of the zoning code, and free of tricks? So turn out. We have to stick together when the credibility and value of the planning process is under assault.

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Continue reading I'll be there

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eye opening

While checking out a post on TAPPED, i came across this claim:
That equates to offsetting the emissions of roughly 300 million cars, all the cars in the world, for 20 years.

figuring that there's close to 300 million cars in the US, i didn't see how that number could possibly be accurate.

Turns out it's not, but it's not that far off, either. Obviously some of the numbers have changed in the past few years, but around 45% of the world's automobiles live in the US.


Continue reading Eye opening

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Go beaver!

Hey - check it out:

The Indy hearts the Beaver Queen Pageant.


Continue reading Go beaver!

Deep thought

I'd be willing to reconsider Tom Vilsack's appointment in the first place.

Seriously, if the Obama administration doesn't wake itself from its misreading of the American people and take this opportunity to call out paranoid right-wing racism, how can it possibly expect to lead the nation anywhere? The cat isn't going to get any further out of the bag the next two years, and this is Obama's opportunity.

Tom Vilsack has to resign.

Shirley Sherrod has to be offered her job back.

Andrew Breitbart and Fox News have to be disgraced. No one should pay attention to anything originating there ever again.

Carpe diem and all that.


Continue reading Deep thought

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Old Man's Song

Nothing like a rainy day to clean up a couple of years of detritus. Came across a scrap of paper on which i'd scribbled this poem a decade or more ago. I laughed even harder this time. It's from the book Songs are Thoughts: Poems of the Inuit.

I have grown old
I have lived much
Many things I understand
But four riddles I cannot solve

The sun's origin
The moon's nature
The minds of women
And why people have so many lice


Continue reading The Old Man's Song

Friday, July 16, 2010

Shameless buzz building

Younger daughter has some new tunes up on ReverbNation. Go listen.


Continue reading Shameless buzz building

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Da Bulls

Well, i had a great time at the game tonight. Ended up sitting next to a multi-generational family, with one of whom i had a very casual acquaintance some years back. And thanks to Eli, a rising freshman at Chapel Hill High, i now have a much better understanding of the rules and tactics of lacrosse, the explanations of which occupied us during pretty much every between inning shenanigans the Bulls tried to distract us with.

All i know is that my friend Tony's suggestion for a free beer inning did not, apparently, make the cut.


Continue reading Da Bulls

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dear Rob Sneed

If supporters of the proposed 751 Assemblage rezoning are the majority, why are they so fucking silent?

Your friend,
Mr. Dependable

update: So i hear that the Durham News editor doesn't think that any part of Mr. Sneed's editorial contains "unbased facts or fallacious" material.

Such as this:
I am disappointed in much of the opposition to 751 South. It is rooted in a relatively small group of people who have a history of fighting progressive ideas, including the much-praised Southpoint.

Or this:
These people often attract disproportionate attention with blogs, e-mail blasts and various efforts to attract media support, usually without much connection to the real facts of a matter.

Or this:
Meanwhile, the huge majority of people who encourage the development of an innovative mixed-used development like this one (go to, stay mostly quiet on the subject.

Why? Because we assume governmental bodies are capable of making good decisions. Furthermore, we are too busy working hard at our jobs and actually helping with the progress of Durham County.

Christ on a cracker, is it still 1968 where all you need do is accuse people of being dirty fucking hippies and suddenly you've won the argument?

For the record, Mr. Sneed, i've been continually and gainfully employed in the same industry for damn near 30 consecutive years. There are plenty of people out there who are busy "working hard at our jobs and actually helping with the progress of Durham County," who disagree with you on this case, and probably even more people who are hard at work who haven't even given the matter 30 seconds of thought because their jobs are demanding, stressful, time consuming, or whatever, and getting on with their lives is a much higher priority than arcane development issues. You don't get to make shit up, publish it in a newspaper, and claim it as fact unless you can back it up.

And check your calendar.

Nixon resigned almost 36 years ago.

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Continue reading Dear Rob Sneed

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Maybe you've noticed that the old Howard Johnson's Inn at Hillandale Road and I-85 has been closed and abandoned for the past few months. Most likely it wasn't able to recover from the extended shutdown during the highway widening, or maybe it was just the recession taking its toll on travelers, or maybe it's that those good things that are happening in Durham are happening in other parts of Durham.

Either way, it's been turned into quite the art gallery recently. Been meaning to get there myself and document it, but my friend Libby beat me to it.

See her photos here and here.

Image © 2010 Libby Lynn


Continue reading HoJo's

Good news, bad news

The 751 Assemblage protest petition has been ruled valid, which means that in order for the land to rezoned to accommodate the development, 4 of our 5 county commissioners must vote in favor of it.

That ain't gonna happen.

The bad news?

According to the N&O

"There is one caveat," Medlin said: No signatures may be added to the petition, but people who signed it can change their minds and have their signatures withdrawn. If enough do so, it would invalidate the petition.

I'm too stupid to understand why the petioning process should work that way. If there's a deadline for submission, and further signatures can't be added, why is there not a deadline for removing names?

I know of at least one instance where K&L Gates, the developers' attorney, has successfully lobbied signers of a protest petition to remove their names, clearing the way for a simple majority vote on a rezoning hearing. I'm betting there's a few people in South Durham who will be getting up close and personal with Patrick Byker real soon now.

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Continue reading Good news, bad news

Monday, July 12, 2010


Thanks, Tuli. Rest in peace.


Continue reading Fugs

Yep, i'm stupid

Colorado Republican Ken Buck wants to be perfectly clear: He does not think President Obama poses a bigger threat to the country than Al Qaeda. That's an honor he reserves for the "progressive liberal movement." Got it?

. . .

"But I think the largest threat we really have is the progressive liberal movement. I think if Barack Obama stepped down tomorrow, we would still have that threat."

So, we've spent a trillion dollars fighting enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan who aren't even as big a threat to the US as the progressive wing of the Democratic Party?

I guess i'm too stupid to comprehend that.

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Continue reading Yep, i'm stupid

I guess i am stupid

Bennett also suggested that Republicans may not have a clear plan to govern even if they do take control of the Senate this year.

I totally forgot that whoever controls the Senate governs the country, regardless of who is in the White House, or who is in the majority of the House of Representatives.

How could i be so stupid?

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Continue reading I guess i am stupid

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bob Sheppard

I once heard it said of Bob Sheppard, that his diction was so precise, you could hear both "g's" when he introduced Wade Boggs.

That's what a ball park should sound like.

Fare well.

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Continue reading Bob Sheppard


Kudos to the N&O for calling out the NC Pork Council (and the NRA) for their role in killing puppy mill legislation this year. And shame on our legislators for being such a bunch of fearful chickenshits that, after writing a bill that met any objection those two powerful lobbying groups could possible have, couldn't find a way to actually pass it.

What's that old saying? Extremism in defense of the liberty to abuse puppies is no vice, i think it was.



Continue reading Porkers

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Well, i'll be

No rain, but a federal judge has just used the fundies' second favorite amendment to declare the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Heads must be exploding from Virginia to Texas.


Continue reading Well, i'll be

I'm hoping . . .


Continue reading I'm hoping . . .


I have my theories about why Drinking Liberally never really took off here in Durham, but that's not the point of this post.

DL founder Justin Krebs is in town tonight, reading from his new book 538 Ways to Live, Work, and Play Like a Liberal at the Regulator at 7pm.. Our friends at Traction are hosting before and after events, which you can read about on FaceBook, or find out more at the Traction site. (Note - Dain's is, i believe, closed this week. So the post-reading festivities will be up Broad Street at the Green Room.)


Continue reading Liberally

That's a long way to walk

One of Steven Wright's jokes is that anyplace is walking distance if you have enough time. Timothy Scott's got 4 months, and he's walking from Virginia Beach to California.

I saw him yesterday evening in Durham, wearing a green safety vest and pulling a small, homemade trailer, but i didn't think too much of it. When i saw him again this morning on Highway 70 outside of Hillsborough, i had to learn his story.

Turns out, through a series of unfortunate happenstances, that his wife and kids are stuck in Mexico, he's lost his job, and there's little chance of everyone getting back together for a happy ending. So he's doing what anyone else would do under the circumstances, and that's walk to California, and then into Mexico, to try to raise enough money to reunite his family.

Yes, it's a bit Quixotic. But there's a reason why, 400 years after its publication, we still read about Don Quixote de la Mancha's adventures.

Timothy's got a FaceBook page, and he's working on getting a PayPal account set up so he doesn't have to carry everything around in cash. I wish him the best and hope he runs into some more bloggers and reporters on the way so we can keep track of him. He's figuring on hitting the California-Mexico border sometime in November. I don't know if there are any windmills between here and there.


Continue reading That's a long way to walk

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Da Bulls

I like that over on their Facebook Page the Durham Bulls are asking for suggestions for a new between innings promotion.

Leading the pack is "quiet time" - glad to see i'm not alone in thinking that the multi-media sensory overload that accompanies baseball games in our town detracts from the experience.


Continue reading Da Bulls

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Lakes of Pontchartrain


Continue reading Lakes of Pontchartrain

Warm Tuesday morning

I got nothing.

Except blackberries.

I've got a lot of blackberries.


Continue reading Warm Tuesday morning

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Hey, Durham?

There are a lot more people watching your fireworks display than can fit in the DBAP.

Maybe it's time to think about them for a change?

Just sayin'.


Continue reading Anti-climax

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Perhaps the stupidest argument ever

Fairway Outdoor Advertising executive Paul Hickman, who tried to pull a fast one last week by representing the views of three Durham citizens as those of the city's Partners Against Crime community, returns this week with a piece in the Herald-Sun that attempts to argue that new billboards in Durham will do just about everything except cure male pattern baldness and erectile dysfunction, although we can assume that the new billboards tell us how to cure those problems (well, those of us who need help, anyway.)

My life is too short to spend the time necessary to pick apart Hickman's arguments point by point, although if any of you want to in the comments, feel free.

Here's my favorite, though:
Other public service messages would include a community calendar announcing all of the festivals and events in the area, which would in turn benefit Durham's economy.

Right, Paul.

Because in a community like Durham, where over a thousand people turn out to an undavertised event like a food truck rodeo in a quickie mart parking lot on a Sunday morning, the way to find out what's going on in town is by 8 second messages flashed up on digital billboards along our highways.

Hey, anything that will keep people from posting to and reading their local neighborhood listservs, where much of the discussion these days centers around defeating Fairway's billboard proposal, right?

Here's a clue, Paul. All those festivals and shit you're gonna promote on your digital billboards in 8 second chunks? Guess what? We're the ones who make them happen, we're the ones who tell our friends about them on the listservs, on our blogs, on Facebook, and yes, when we meet each other at the bar, at the grocery store, at a potluck, at church, just about every place where people in the community meet.

Except when we're driving in our cars. Don't meet too many people that way.

Perhaps if you hung out with other folks in Durham besides your attorney you'd understand that.

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Continue reading Perhaps the stupidest argument ever

Your best entertainment value

NPR commenters.


Continue reading Your best entertainment value

Festival for the Eno

I'm sure y'all know about the Eno River Association's annual fundraising concert/craft fair/minglefest at West Point Park on North Duke Street this holiday weekend.

Weather is supposed to be mild for a change, and if you're going on Sunday afternoon, stop by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association booth to say hi.

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Continue reading Festival for the Eno