« January 2007 | Main | March 2007 »

Feb 28, 2007


Panama tells his story for the Urban Ministries of Durham camera.

Panama has been stayiang at the UMD shelter since late 2005.  A former truck driver, he's been on disability for injuries to his lower back. 

Most recently, he's found a job as a truck dispatcher, and hopes to have enough money to be back on his own in a few months.  No alcohol or drug problems.  No mental illness.  No criminal background.  Just disability.  Likes the new job but couldn't go to work today because he was sick.  Sickness travels quickly and persists when you've got ~100 people all living under one roof.  "Kennel cough", one person called it.

01:00 AM in Urban Ministries of Durham | Permalink | Comments (2)

Feb 27, 2007

Sarah Meets the Camera

Sarah hates having her picture taken.  But sometimes she'll take the hit -- like last Friday when she volunteered to tell her story to a film crew that was producing a new public relations piece for Urban Ministries of Durham.

Parts of Sarah's story:

  • Born into a well-to-do New England family
  • Finishing drinks at her parents' parties by age 9
  • Working to get beyond the alcohol and into a truly healthy life at 47
  • Dreaming of a degree and career in library science.

12:53 AM in Urban Ministries of Durham | Permalink | Comments (2)

Feb 26, 2007

The Girls are Playing Bas-ket Ball

Above, sportswriter Rob Clough gives a 100-minute Q&A (90 minutes regulation plus 10 minutes OT) on Women's Basketball: How it Works and How to Watch, at the Broad Street Cafe.

I've always been impressed by good teachers and good referees.  So you can imagine how psyched I was to hear Rob talk about college ball referees and how they work.

In other related things, the weekend's seminar and Duke vs. UNC women's ball game gave me an opportunity to watch and think a bit about women's college basketball and sports in general. 

Here are the two biggest things that came to mind:

First, I am now cheering for the Duke women instead of Carolina. In watching the two teams play throughout the season, it seems that the Duke players and coaches a finer sense of joy, sport, and heart.  Of course I could be wrong, but for now I’ll go with my gut.

Second, and sadly, I’ve also come to realize that I have a greater and greater dislike of the way so many fans connect with the game and their teams.  Whenever I see someone cheer against (or otherwise put down or express ill will toward) an opposing team or individual, it just hurts. 

The Quaker in me wants us to think first and always of each other as fellow people to love, even when we're competing.  To my ears, the smallest insult shouted at a player (or anybody else on the TV set) seems to be a symptom of (or first step toward) the absence of that caring and connection.

In fact, one of the other great things about watching Rob's seminar (given that Rob is very much a Duke basketball fan) was how he delivered all his comments with respect for each of the players, coaches, and refs.  In sporting lingo, I think that's called "class".

Call me naïve, but I still hope that athletics pursued with a commitment to that kind of “class” might add up to all of us getting some more playing time in the better part of the world.  Let's hope.  I do hope.

02:25 AM in Misc.Blog 2007, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (4)

Feb 22, 2007

Dog -- by Manal Grant

Reminder: Women's Basketball Spectator's Clinic this Saturday, 11:30 a.m. at the Broad St. Cafe!


"dog" by Manal Grant.  Felt marker on the backside of a newsprint worksheet for Japanese students learning English.  ~8.5 x 11.  Click image for a bigger slobbery lick.

Damn, my girl Manal can draw.  This is one of several animal pix (drawn while teaching in Japan a few years ago, I believe) that ended up framed at the home of our friends Jeanie and Tom.

I won't talk about the "chiaroscura effects" or anything else in this drawing.  But I really really like how she's portrayed the animal's movement and personality with a few quick penstrokes.

02:24 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 19, 2007

Dork Fest 2 at the Broad Street Cafe, 3 Marh


3 March 2007
Broad Street Cafe
1116 Broad Street
Durham NC 27705

Véronique Diabolique
Gates of Beauty
& at least two or three more bands TBA.
All Ages.

01:54 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feb 15, 2007

Linguist Needed -- Measurement, Inc.

Linguist Needed - full time

Reply to: job-278780622@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-02-14,  4:48PM EST

Measurement Incorporated (MI) would like to employ a linguist who will contribute to the development of automated essay scoring systems. The work is conducted in a collegial environment, with ample opportunity for creative contribution.

We are looking for a person with a college degree, preferably advanced, in linguistics or English. If you have experience or training in corpus linguistics, statistical methods, or computer programming, those are plusses.

MI is an educational assessment technology leader, constantly pursuing innovation, product differentiation, and a high level of quality. The Software Products team is developing award-winning online assessment and multimedia student/teacher resource solutions (Macromedia eLearning Innovation Award).

This is a full-time position, located at MI's home office in Durham, NC. You will enjoy all company benefits, including holidays, vacation, sick leave, health insurance, profit sharing, 401(k), and ESOP. Salary will be commensurate with experience. Company information can be found at www.measinc.com.


Gee, it's too bad this blog readership's only known degreed linguist just got a job elsewhere :-)

05:37 PM in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Clinic: (Women's) Basketball -- How it Works, How to Watch

Bvmygultxnhmyte20070209074711 How to Watch Women's Basketball
An Encore Clinic with Rob Clough
Broad Street Cafe, Durham
Saturday, 24 February, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Back by popular demand -- and this time for a full 90 minutes of any question you want to ask!  Last time was a blast.  Our instructor, Rob Clough, made it easy to ask questions from the basic ("what's a rebound?" to the profound ("what's the difference between women's basketball and men's basketball?")  Come to this one, even if you came to the last one.  Note that this clinic is one day ahead of the Duke vs. UNC women's rematch.

About the Clinic

In a season when Duke's men's basketball team is struggling because of its youth, the women have been ranked in the top five all year long.  The regular season is winding down with the big rematch between Duke and UNC looming on February 25th. Come out to the Broad Street Cafe on February 24th at 11:30 am to hear Rob Clough break down both teams, talk about the history of the Duke program, answer questions on women's basketball and basketball in general, and even go over some video.

Instructor Bio

Rob Clough has been writing about Duke women's basketball for the past twelve seasons and has seen them rise from obscurity to one of the top programs in the country.  He writes about ACC women's basketball for Full Court Press and collaborates with long-time friend & photographer Orin Day on dwhoops.com, the first and only website devoted only to full coverage of Duke women's basketball.


pic from Duke University Sports

02:44 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feb 14, 2007

"Six Songs of Loneliness and Despair, Perfect for Valentine's Day"


Beautiful -- Dark.
Painful, French

I have heard the message and now should you on Café Solitude, new from Véronique Diabolique.


"Sentiment is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."

12:01 AM in Reviews | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 08, 2007

Job Openings at Urban Ministries of Durham

Umdlogo_2 Two job openings at Urban Ministries of Durham.  Please check their website for details.

Grant Writer (20 hrs. per week)

Will research grant programs, write funding applications, and coordinate activities of a grant program. Should have college degree and several years experience in fundraising.

Development Associate (20 hrs. per week)

The Development Associate is UMD’s first line of contact for individual donors seeking to donate by phone, or to get information about their giving history. The Development Associate administers all ongoing correspondence with individual donors, and has primary responsibility for maintaining the donor and mailing databases, inputting and retrieving donation data and ensuring the accuracy of the database.  Prefer applicants with 1 or 2 years clerical experience.

06:15 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 07, 2007

Musical Time Signatures

Papa01g_2 It was the 3rd of September -- that day I'll always remember (yes I will).

-- opening lyrics to Papa Was a Rolling Stone, written by Whitfield and Strong for the band The Undisputed Truth, made famous by The Tempations, and performed by a host of others including Was (Not Was), George Michael, the Backstreet Boys.  Check out the song's Wikipedia entry which has an interesting story about the opening line, and a sample of The Undisputed Truth's version.

Songs with dates in them have always caught my attention because it seems weird to me that song lyrics (which usually have general application and meaning) would include calendar dates (which often imply unique meaning or at the very least a fixed context*).

Consider also Sheryl Crow's Run Baby Run with its opening line:

He was born in November 1963 -- the day Alduous Huxley died.

I first heard the song in a 1994 NPR review, and damn was I impressed.  Since them, I've always wondered about the reference to Huxley.  Then I recently read that Huxley died on the same day as John F. Kennedy's assassination, also coincident with the death of Clive Staples Lewis. Though I still have no clue as to Sheryl Crow's intentions, at least I now know why it's interesting.  Someone has written a play that discusses this death trifecta


*I sometimes get the same feeling about lyrics that name some specified (but unknown to me) individual, like Bruce Springsteen singing, "Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend; I want to guard your dreams and visions" in one of the greatest rock songs ever.  How much of my soul would I sell to write like him?

Strings and bass line from Patrick Daily who has written an extensive analysis of Papa's musical and social heritage.  Click on the image to see the full thing.  Sing along with the bass line.  Even if you can't read music, I'll bet you can do it.

12:01 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 06, 2007

Kaspar Gutman on Trust

Maltesef3 I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking's something you can't do judiciously, unless you keep in practice. Now, sir, we'll talk if you like. I'll tell you right out, I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.

-- Kaspar Gutman in The Maltese Falcon

Until recently, I'd never seen more than two or three minutes of The Maltese Falcon, but yesterday I got to see the whole second half.  Damned fine writing, and that's only the start.  No wonder people talk about this movie all the time. And I begin to learn something more about why I so impressed with Brick.


image of Sydney Greenstreet as Kaspar Gutman from the Greatest Film Entrances page at filmsite.org

01:47 PM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (3)

Feb 05, 2007

Jakarta Floods and Family

Ongki600 Kukuhshouse600

My cousins Kukuh and Ongki had to swim out of their houses on Saturday when the flood waters got to chest height.  Returning on Sunday (by boat, I'm guessing), they were shocked to find that the waters had crested high up in the second floor of both houses where they had put their valuables for safekeeping.

Excerpt of report from Kukuh:

This is a picture of my flooded house taken Sunday afternoon, when the water level had dropped some 2 meters. The picture was taken from the roof of my neighbour.

This is the worst flood ever known in Jakarta.

The flood hit Jakarta on Saturday. innundating some 75 percent of the capital city. The water level in my house reached 5 to 6 meters, innundating the second floor of my two story house.

I managed to enter the second floor, sunday afternoon, climbing over the roof and balcony, through the window by force. Inside everything was upside down, wet and muddy (15 cm thick). Books, files, documents, laptop, clothes, sound system, TV, DVD Player, and other important items, which were placed there earlier for safety -anticipating the flood- were all destroyed.

Previously, this "five year cycle" flooding usually reaches up to knee level (50 cm) in the ground floor of the house. Forecasts predict that heavy rainfalls will continue over the next two days.


03:31 PM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Feb 01, 2007

Joe Queenan on Michael Bolton

Joe_queenan "For years, I'd been vaguely aware of Michael Bolton's existence, just as I'd been vaguely aware that there was an ebola virus plague in Africa. Horrible tragedies, yes, but they had nothing to do with me.

"All that changed when I purchased a copy of The Classics. When you work up the gumption to put a record like The Classics on your CD player, it's not much different from deliberately inoculating yourself with rabies. With his heart-on-my-sleeve appeals to every emotion no decent human being should even dream of possessing, Michael Bolton is the only person in history who has figured out a way to make "Yesterday" sound worse than the original. He's Mandy Patinkin squared. His sacrilegious version of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me" is a premeditated act of cultural ghoulism, a crime of musical genocide tantamount to a Jerry Vale rerecording of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK" And having to sit there, and listen while this Kmart Joe Cocker mutilates "You Send Me" is like sitting through a performance of King Lear with Don Knotts in the title role. Which leads to the inevitable question: If it's a crime to deface the Statue of Liberty or to spraypaint swastikas on Mount Rushmore or to burn the American flag, why isn't it a crime for Michael Bolton to butcher Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"?"

-- Joe Queenan in Red Lobster, White Trash and the Blue Lagoon.  Longer excerpt here at the NYTimes.

I've been wanting to read this book ever since I heard Joe Queenan on the radio during what I guess was his 1998 book tour.  Ahhh, finally.

02:11 AM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (4)