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Apr 30, 2006

A Modest List of Things We'd Like To Do

Saturnprojbw_1 Last week, K and I were talking about those little things we'd like to do:  not the kind that require a lot of money, time, investment, or risk.  Not the kind of stuff that's "important." Just things that take a little bit of effort to put the pieces together.

Most of the things on my "list" are buried in the back of my mind -- appearing only when something reminds me.  Here are some I've recently thought of:

  • See Saturn and its rings through a regular (non-electronically enhanced) telescope. DONE Feb 2008.
  • Ride in a helicopter.
  • Shoot and clean a deer.
  • Print a series of photographs (on notecards or postcards) and have them sold through stores.
  • Weld something.
  • Be a film extra.
  • Play accordion as a backup musician in a band (one or two performances).
  • Cook a lobster.

Naturally, I also have a budding wishlist of bigger things I'd like to experience.  Among them:

  • Compose a piece for string quartet (or other small ensemble) and have it performed for an audience.
  • Sky surf.
  • Patent something.
  • Design and build a house.
  • Throw a mattress in the back of the van and drive around the country for a few months. DONE! July to Nov 2008.

What about you?  Got anything?  Crossed anything off?


Image from ArizonaUSA.com

10:45 PM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (16)

Apr 28, 2006

Durham Voters - Re-Elect Judge Ann McCown, District Court

An endorsement from my trusted friend Susan Olive of Durham:



Please join me in supporting Judge Ann McKown for re-election as a District Court Judge in Durham County. The election for her seat will largely be determined on May 2nd. No matter what your party, as long as you are registered to vote in Durham County, you can vote in this election--and your vote is important.

I have known Ann McKown for almost thirty years, and know that she has earned your support. If you think that judicial races aren't important, or that you don't know enough to vote--think again, and read on.

District Court judges are the “face” of the judicial system. Most of the people who have business with the courts, conduct that business in District Court. These judges decide who gets custody of a child, what happens to a juvenile who has run afoul of the law, and how property--even multi-million dollar estates--is divided when there is a divorce. Most criminal and traffic charges are disposed of in this court. These are judges who can make a difference in our community, and Ann McKown is one of the judges who DO make a big, positive, difference.

Ann was nominated by the lawyers of Durham and appointed to the bench in 1997 after practicing law in Durham for more than twenty years. She has twice been re-elected for four-year terms, first in 1998 and again in 2002. She has earned a reputation for listening closely and patiently to those who appear before her, ensuring that all sides are heard, and then applying both her knowledge of the law and her common sense to reach an appropriate decision.

Tough but fair, she has placed a big emphasis on reducing truancy and working to rehabilitate children whenever possible, initiating programs that have been described as “compassionate compulsion” to keep kids in school, off the streets, and out of gangs. She has a long record of community service in Durham, including chairing the family selection committee of Habitat for Humanity and as a founder of the Durham/Orange Coalition for Battered Women and the Durham Rape Crisis Center. Ann’s supporters span all sectors of the community, all races, all genders, all ages, and all incomes.

It was Ann McKown who brought Truancy Court to Durham—the program that gets judges, parents, and schools involved as soon as kids start skipping school, so that these children don’t move on to violent crime. That program won a national award for Durham and its Family Court. It is Ann who is working with the County Commissioners as chair of the Substance Abuse Committee of the Durham County Criminal Justice Partnership Board to get appropriate treatment for addicted offenders so that they don’t continue committing crimes in order to support their habits.

Even those who oppose her call her record "exemplary." They only question whether she is the most "efficient" possible judge. But that's not the point. Ann McKown understands, when she sits in Family Court, that nothing is more important in a person's life than the welfare of his or her child. She understands, in every case that she hears, that her decisions have lifelong impact. She invests the time that each case requires, to ensure that cases are decided right the first time. She is punctual, and stays late when necessary to make sure that everyone has had a full and fair hearing. As a result, she has decided over 50,000 cases, has reduced her court's backlog to under three cases, and has an enviable record on appeal. That's true efficiency. Shaving a few minutes from the court day so that lawyers and the judge could leave at 4:30 instead of at 5 isn't a valuable goal, and isn't worth compromising justice.

The election for this judge’s position will largely be determined during the non-partisan primary election, which is May 2nd. Ann is the kind of District Court judge we need! Ann is in her ninth year on the bench and has decided more than 50,000 cases as a judge. Her experience and expertise make her the best candidate in this race.


Call me with any questions. And for even more information, visit the campaign website at www.JudgeAnnMcKown.com.


Susan Olive

12:16 AM in Editorial | Permalink | Comments (2)

Apr 26, 2006

The Key to Success Is...

10115_1 Sure, Woody Allen had it right when he said that "Eighty percent of success is showing up."

But don't forget the other twenty percent, which sometimes involves having the housekey.

Tonight while housesitting:  I brought the dog outside for a pee and shut the door behind me.  Oops.  After a while I found an unlocked window and let myself and the dog in, and all was well up until I remembered that I had forgotten the dog's leather leash outside in the rain. 

Went back to get it.  Shut the door behind me.  Oops.

Fortunately, I hadn't locked the window.

Unfortunately, the dog (did I mention the part about the dog?) is extremely territorial and didn't like the idea of some semi-stranger climbing into the house through a window (right above her dog bed, by coincidence).  Did I mention the part about the dog being a German Shepherd?

OKOK.  I'm just kidding about the last part (the territorial part, not the German Shepherd part).  All's well.  And tomorrow I think I'm going to get a dupe key made in case I do something stupid like this again.*


Image yoinked from here where you can find out why the pictured keyring costs $50.

*Doesn't the story sound like something that the Dick van Dyke Show could have done well?

12:01 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (7)

Apr 25, 2006

Touch My Monkey

"Mama, look -- the monkey is shrinking!"

At Apple Chill this weekend -- an ~6 year old girl noticed that the balloon-twisted monkey was smaller than when originally presented.

The mom and her friend cracked up.  Apparently the mom has seen some monkeys shrink, too.

01:32 AM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apr 24, 2006

Road Home Band at Apple Chill


The excellent Nancy Maeder of the excellent Road Home Band of Durham NC.

12:48 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apr 21, 2006

The Early Bird...


Wild turkey season is on, and these three hunters bagged these three turkeys while I was still getting my lazy restaurant-fed ass out of bed.

I snapped this photo in downtown Hillsborough last week before wandering into the Blue Bayou Club for lunch and WiFi. 

I'm enjoying how Hillsborough's downtown still has room to mix guys like these with gawking guys like me.  I wonder how that will change in coming years.  (For that matter, I wonder how that's changed over the last dozen years.)

12:51 AM in Triangulations | Permalink | Comments (3)

Apr 20, 2006

There's More Than One Way to...


Most people, upon discovering that their artistic rendering of an animal was less than exact, would adjust the rendering.  Pal Dave is not "most people".

12:49 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Apr 19, 2006

China Palace -- Saturday noon

This Saturday, April 21 -- 11:30 a.m. at China Palace in Durham (corner of Garrett Rd. and Old Chapel Hill / Durham Rd.).  Traditional Chinese.  Lots of yum.  Come join me and whomever!

Please call me (919/491.4530) or email so we can reserve an appropriate-sized table.


Other info on China Palace here.

12:06 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apr 17, 2006

April's Taxing Sleepiness

Gb01_1 Every April it comes.  The clouds of allergy-induced sleepiness that make for a few weeks of low-energy nothingness.  Fortunately, I've gotten used to it so that (a) it comes as no surprise and (b) I plan for it.

Want something from me in April?  You're probably not going to get it.  (e.g., regular daily blogs.)  Although the tax men are getting their part this year, mailed out on April 17 (aka "today" for those of you following along in your government calendars).

Two things about sleepiness -- the allergy kind and the sickness kind.

Recent research shows that the allergy-related sleepiness is, in fact, part of the body dealing with allergies -- not just the body dealing with allergy medicines.  I could have told them this years ago, had they only asked.  Right now I'm in the midst of the maximum sleep impact -- 12 hours of sleep per night, a two-hour nap in the afternoon, and maybe another short nap or two in between those sessions.  Fortunately, again, I'm self-employed (aka "self-unemployed" this time of year).  Also fortunately, I'm sufficiently type B to have come to enjoy these sleeps -- much as modest drunks enjoy a little afternoon buzz.

Burkinafaso_07_tsetsefly_524 The other thing to mention -- I'm glad that I don't have African Trypanosomiasis aka "sleeping sickness".  That stuff will kill you.  Which makes me wonder, by the way, why both Gabon and Tanzania have issued postage stamps featuring the sickness's vector: the tsetse fly.  A similar stamp from Burkina Faso seems to commemorate the scientist who discovered the connection.  Poland has a tsetse fly stamp related to an international parasitology conference held in Warsaw in 1978.  (Why not a photo of the communist government sucking the life out of its citizens?  I dunno.)

Trypano1 What if we had similar stamps for the US.  What would show?  I mean, we can't claim the water pump for cholera, unprotected sex for AIDS, or anything of the sort.  And no, I'm not willing to accept a stamp showing dangling chads as the source of current problems in Iraq or the Gulf of Mexico.  I'm just confused.  And rambling.  And in need of a nap.  And maybe a commemorative stamp.

12:28 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (5)

Apr 11, 2006

Filipino Dinner Field Trip - Thursday

Canton_pansThis Thursday Night -- 7:30 at Kainan Filipino Restaurant
3438 Hillsborough Rd. Durham 27705.

Komusta ho!  Me and people are going for Filipino dinner in Durham this Thursday night.  Would love to have you, seeing how (a) Filipino culture subscribes to "the more, the merrier" and (b) more people equals more dishes to sample.

Kainan is at the far end of a strip mall on Hillsborough Rd., near and northeast of the intersection with I-85, with an AutoZone store readily visible from Hillsborough Rd.

There's no signage above the eaves, but there is some neon signage by the window.  If you're next to the Italian restaurant, you're where you need to be!

Dinner, soda, and tip for should be ~$20 per person.

Afterward, we'll run over to LocoPops to catch the yummies before their 9 p.m. closing time.

No need to tell me in advance if you want to come, but feel free if you just want to say "hey" :-)

Picture, above right, from ebuyphils.com

12:09 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Apr 10, 2006

Patience -- Ambrose Bierce

Patience: a minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.

-- Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary

12:01 AM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (1)

Apr 07, 2006


Chapeldurham Do you, like me, consider Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Durham a contiguous body distinct from Raleigh?

Well, the federal government does -- they split our MSAs a few years ago.

All I know is that I'll make a 25 minute drive from Durham to Carrboro without hesitation.  But the same 25 minute drive to Raleigh seems much more laborious.

Jenny, Jerry, Barbara and I were talking about this last Sunday over lunch at Pancho Lopez.

We came up with a couple of names for the CCHD lump, but I can't remember exactly what. Something like "CarrElHillAm" and a few others.

How about you - got any ideas?


image from MapQuest.com

12:36 AM in Destination Durham, Triangulations, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (21)

Apr 06, 2006

Non-Intuitive Jeff Hawkins

"Intuition leads scientists astray every time.  Your intuition about the nature of reality is very likely to be wrong.  Instead, take a careful look at what you know.  The answer is hidden there."

-- Jeff Hawkins, quoted in Wired Magazine (Mar 2006)

This quote reminds me of some lines from the Gospel of Thomas:

-- Jesus said: He who knows the All but fails (to know) him-self lacks everything.

-- Jesus said: I am the light that is over them all. I am the All; the All has come forth from me, and the All has attained unto me. Cleave a (piece of) wood: I am there. Raise up the stone, an ye shall find me there.


Translation from The Gospel of Thomas, Elucidation...

09:29 PM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (1)

Apr 05, 2006

The Sustaining and Sustainable Starlu

Starluravioli600_1 Restaurant Starlu's Potion of the day -- cheese ravioli in a tomato and cream sauce.  My, my, my -- so fine and just what I needed for a complete lunch.

Will it someday move to the main menu?  I hope so.

If K. had been with me, someone would have licked the plate, but I just used a bit of bread.  Either way, I'm keeping the faith because, as we all know:

Every smidg-en's sacred.
Every smidg-en's great.
For every smidg-en wasted.
God gets quite irate*

I would go on about the dish, but better yet to tell you that a new chef has joined Starlu and this dish was her creation.  I can't recall her name but I'm pretty sure she knows I like her.

Regarding sustainability: I'll mention that of the four items pictured above, only three of them stayed good news for more than today.

1.  Excellent food from excellent new chef at Starlu?  Yep.  Here today and here tomorrow.

2.  Tom DeLay quits race and leaves Congress?  Yep again.  Happy today and happy tomorrow.

3.  Diet Coke with no ice and a slice of lemon?  Oh mais oui.  Always.

4.  Smiling Duke basketball coach?  Mm.... not so much.  Basketball not been berry berry good today for the hometown squad.  Unless you live in College Park.

Hours update: as of Summer '06, Starlu is now seven days a week, dinner only.


*Sorry.  Couldn't resist.  Right -- eyes forward.  Move along.

12:01 AM in Destination Durham, Reviews, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Apr 04, 2006


Punchset On my mind for some time: a blog with nothing but punchlines.  You, dear reader, should feel free to (a) identify the joke and (b) provide your own un-preceded lines for laffs.

  • Got any grapes?
  • Shame on you both.  I threw in a check for the full amount.
  • Not being retarded.
  • The Aristocrats!
  • Not screaming and panicking like all the passengers in his car.
  • When it turns into a carport.
  • Oy vey!  A Catholic priest!
  • Well at State they teach us not to piss on our hands.
  • Some people just don't know how to tell a joke.
  • That's OK, Reverend.  At my age, all I can do is suck the chocolate off, anyway.
  • Don't be ridiculous.  If there were a $20 bill on the ground, someone would have picked it up already.

Your turn.


In other things: I just found out that Punchlines! (pictured above) was a British game show based on a similar premise, but with more larfs.

12:10 AM in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (13)

Apr 03, 2006

Broad Street Cafe

Dsc01103_1 Broad Street Cafe, Durham -- near the corner of W. Club Blvd. and Broad St., home of the former Ooh-La-Latte, home of the former (waaaay former) Revco with the the Talking Diet Coke machine.

Among the many things to like:

  • Free wi-fi
  • Good coffee from Larry's Beans
  • Baked treats
  • Hot dogs
  • Hummus sandwiches
  • Art that you can buy (and display)
  • Stitching clubs
  • Yarn swap basket
  • Staff who will love you
  • Beer
  • A nice countertop
  • Rockin' music
  • A rocking chair
  • Playstation and a large-screen TV
  • Art cards
  • Open mic nights
  • Traction event hosting
  • Ample parking
  • Two doors down from the Green Room for pool

Hang out all day.  Make new friends.

12:52 AM in Destination Durham | Permalink | Comments (2)