Dependable Erection

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thank you, Becky

Saddened to see Becky Heron stepping down from the BoCC mid-term, as much for what it says about her personal health issues as it means for Durham. Anything that gives Joe Bowser even more influence over the future of Durham County is troublesome.


Continue reading Thank you, Becky

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Still dealing with ongoing medical issues, so the blog is just not on my priority list these days.

But here's something that makes me feel good.

Continue reading Solstice

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Demolition by neglect?

So, let's see if i understand this:
DURHAM, N.C. - The Durham City/County Planning Department has received a written request to suspend the Demolition by Neglect investigation and determination process regarding the condition of the Liberty Warehouse.

Paragraph 3.19.2B of the Unified Development Ordinance stipulates that the Demolition by Neglect process may be suspended if the property owner agrees in writing to rectify the alleged conditions of neglect within a reasonable timeframe.

The property owner, Durham Liberty, LLC, has committed to rectify the Liberty Warehouse’s deficiencies within a timeframe determined as reasonable by the Durham City/County Planning Department. Therefore, the pending Demolition by Neglect investigation has been suspended, and the public meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 16, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. is cancelled in recognition of that suspension.

Failure to make the necessary repairs to the structure within an approved timeframe will be cause to reinstate the investigation in accordance with UDO paragraph 3.19.2B.

So, apparently, the city attempted to invoke a provision of its zoning ordinance (an occurrence so rare that it ought to be circled in red on the calendar lest we forget that it actually happened) prohibiting "demolition by neglect," in the case of Greenfire's Liberty Warehouse building, which sustained serious damage during a rainstorm last month and had to be condemned, forcing all tenants to scramble to find new digs. Greenfire responded by agreeing, in writing, to make all necessary repairs within a "reasonable time frame." I don't know what's "reasonable" in this case, do you? Six months? 18 months? 18 years?

What action would the city take if Greenfire left this historically significant building vacant and unmaintained for 18 years, right in the heart of a thriving downtown district?

One need look no further afield than a mile north, where the Duke Park bathhouse has sat, idle, vacant, and decaying, since it closed just after Labor Day, 1993. Despite earnest and repeated efforts by several community organizations to take the building on as a project and turn it into a community use center, the landlord has not only failed to negotiate in good faith with those tenants, but has used the building to store out of date paperwork and other fire hazards, while completely neglecting any maintenance issues.

Of course, since the landlord is the city of Durham itself, one hardly imagines that the neglect by demolition portion of our development ordinance will be invoked here.

If i was someone who gave a shit, i'd probably let City Manager Tom Bonfield know just how bad something like this makes the city look.

But i'm pretty much done with that part of my life. I figure i'll check in on the bathhouse in another 18 years, and see if any progress has been made.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011


Cancer, to be blunt about it, is one of those things that Happens to Other People. My extended family is quite small (just one uncle, who married late and had no children, so no first cousins) and not very close. So those second and third cousins, or the once and twice removed members of my family tree who've been affected by this disease are no closer to me than, say, Harmon Killebrew, whose recent passing was noted in these pages. So i really had no gage to measure my reaction against when, 6 weeks ago, Mrs. Dependable called me in the middle of my baseball roadtrip to DC and Baltimore to say "the doctors didn't like something they saw on my mammogram, and they've asked me to come back for a followup."

These past 6 weeks have been pretty stressful. At any number of points when the really smart people have said "this is probably nothing, but we need to look at this," it's turned out to be something. Which led, inevitably, to a day at Duke surgery yesterday.

As a friend of mine said recently, "the good news is that this is pretty routine. The bad news is that this is pretty routine." And i'm certain for the doctors, nurses,and support staff, it is just another day on the job. For the rest of us, if we're lucky, it's a once in a lifetime experience. For the professionalism extended to us by every member of the Duke medical staff, we are eternally grateful.

It's a cliché to say "i feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders." But clichés, as Jimmy Buffett once noted, are good ways to say what you mean, and mean what you say. And i can think of no other way to describe what i felt when the surgeon met with me yesterday afternoon and said, "her lymph nodes are clean." Yes, there's a one in fifteen chance that this will return within the next ten years or so. But we'll take those odds, and see what comes.

As it turns out, we're extremely lucky. I earn a decent salary. I have decent health insurance through my employer, and the ability to pay my deductibles and co-insurance with pre-tax dollars. But even with all that, we're looking at out of pocket expenses that would break many people in this country. It's absurd to consider just how many people think this is normal, or worse, desirable.

The Susan G Komen Race for the Cure is this weekend. If you can afford it, donate. If you can't, remind those around you that early detection saves lives. It really does.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Dear Democrats

You may think that "distancing" yourselves from Anthony Weiner and hoping he will quickly and quietly resign from Congress makes you look strong to the American people, but you would be wrong. It only makes you look like a bunch of spineless pussies who would run up to Andrew Breitbart and give him your lunch money the minute he steps foot on the schoolyard.

For the record, the correct response to this scandal is, "Yes, Congressman Weiner engaged in some questionable behavior, but as far as anyone can tell, it was a private act between consenting adults that somehow became public knowledge. There are several other members of Congress who have also engaged in similar, and perhaps more reprehensible acts who not only continue to serve, but who have been re-elected to their positions. We believe the decision on whether Congressman Weiner should continue to represent his district is one that is best made by his constituents. We will have no further comments to make, and consider this matter closed."


Continue reading Dear Democrats

Thursday, June 02, 2011

By the slice, dammit

Jon Stewart gets to the heart of why pizza is so important.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Me Lover's Pizza With Crazy Broad
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Bialystock and Bloom

I can't quite put my finger on why, but this story in the Herald-Sun reminds me of this.

The original, and far superior version.

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