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Feb 28, 2009

If A Picture Paints a Thousand Words...

China Mosaic 1024

Then what would paint a thousand blogposts?

This is a milestone season at the Archer Pelican: 1,000 posts as of today; 3,000 comments as of last week; five years as of two months ago; and 300,000 page views as of next week.

To mark the moment: a mosaic of one of my weekend lunches at the China Palace in Durham. The tiles are from the pool of ~550 that I've posted at the Archer Pelican over the last five years and two months, with the image created by Andrea Mosaic.

It was such a treat to explore the high-resolution file after Andrea Mosaic did its stuff. Friends, meals, travels... pictures of things pulled off the 'net to illustrate some story... and maybe even pictures of you!  As I zoomed and panned through the detail, I enjoyed each picture twice -- first to recall the picture-taking, and second to recall the blog-writing. I could not help but sigh. For as much as the Archer Pelican has been my own little magazine of and for myself... well, let's just say it was nice to reminisce.

At this sentimental marker, I want to say "thank you" for dropping by.  I thank you for being my friends on-line and in-person, and I thank you for being you.  Come back soon, okay?




Also FYI: I used a free utility to pull every photo posted at the Archer Pelican.  I'd recommend it, except for (a) I can't remember which program I used and (b) it dropped them into waaaay too many folders (though that was probably because TypePad uses so many folders.).  I'll bet you can find better.

I will not link to any videos of Bread playing "If".  This post is sentimental enough :-)

01:27 AM in Me | Permalink | Comments (2)

Feb 26, 2009

He Who Smelt It

Smelt4 Tonight my place smells awful not because of "that"  but because I fried up a mess of smelt.  So very good, just coated in seasoned flour and sizzling while I watched Wake's defense stay one step ahead of State's offense.

I've never cooked smelt before (and maybe fried fish fewer than a half-dozen times in my life) but boy it was easy. What's Cooking America has a fascinating history of smelt in the Pacific Northwest, including this excerpt of an article on smelt potlatch:

"David Lewis and Scott Byram in their article Ourigan - Wealth of the Northwest Coast talks about the ooligan oil:

The Indians of the Northwest were known for their great wealth, and nutritious ooligan oil was one of their most valued trade goods. Some of the greatest potlatch ceremonies were ooligan 'grease feasts,' and ooligan also was a medicine.

Tribal chiefs would hold "grease feast . . . in order to destroy the prestige of the rival" chiefs. The ooligan grease feast was the most expensive of all the feast, "at which erormous quantities of fish oil (made of the oulachon) are consumed and burnt . . . "During a grease feast, the central fire is built up to the point of scorching the guests in order for the host to conquer them, and "grease is poured into the fire so that the blankets of guests get scorched." This serves to raise the prestige of the host who can afford to give such a feast, expending enormous quantities of the valued resource. If the rival chief is not able to respond with a similar potlatch and destroy an equal amount of property, then his name is "broken" and he suffers a loss of prestige"

Conspicious Consumerism, anyone?


Photo from whatscookingamerica.com

11:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feb 22, 2009

Two Good Reasons I Should Manage my ADHD Better

Wake vs. duke Depending on which doctor you talk with, I have moderate ADHD and moderate GAD.  And yes -- they interfere with my ability to get work done.  When I have a lot of work to do, I can pretty much count on needing to work nights as well as days to finish what "normal" people can do during a regular nine to five.

Now please don't think I'm whining about my situation*.  I know that overall I got dealt a much better hand in life than most.  That said -- in the last five days I have had to turn down last-minute tickets to:

(1) UNC vs. State at the Dean Dome (nice seats that included a reception with the Chancellor at halftime),


(2) Duke vs. Wake at Cameron.

So anyway -- I'm going to make sure I use tonight well and get some good work done.  It will make me feel better about starting the week strong, and less badly about missing these great games with fun and generous friends.


*especially a certain person I met in November who began our conversation by speaking critically about how my wimpy American society puts "oh, I have this clinical dysfunction" labels on everything.  You know who you are! :-)

Photo: Faniq.com

08:02 PM in Me | Permalink | Comments (4)

Feb 19, 2009

Hayti Heritage Film Festival -- Thursday to Sunday, Feb 19 - 22

Hayti Heritage Film Festival "Formerly known as the Black Diaspora Film Festival, the Hayti Heritage Film Festival (HHFF) is proud to be celebrating its 15th year by showcasing the diverse works of and about people of African descent.  In honoring this 15 year legacy, HHFF will expand into new territory.  In addition to adding competition categories, the festival is stepping up efforts to recognize and hone the talents of established and up and coming filmmakers by adding competitive awards, a financial short film challenge, and an all day student workshop, celebrity panel discussions and much more." -- from the press release


I'm curious whether the name change has made a difference in attendance/press.  Does anyone have an official count of the number of ongoing film festivals hosted in the Triangle, and their attendance?  Jazz at the KNOW on Friday the 20th had plenty of musicians but only a modest crowd at 9 p.m.  KNOW folks thought they might get a surge when the Film Festival let out for the evening (unless everyone went to the festival's party at Golden Belt).



02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Carpe Durham


Congratulations to Carpe Durham on their first birthday!  At tonight's celebration at Pinhook, it was great to meet many of their contributors -- who are younger, slimmer, and better looking than you might have guessed for people who write so well and eat as much as they do.

In a September 2008 interview with Claire Cusick at the Independent, Carpe's Andrew Prins said:

"People in Durham seem to spend a lot of time discussing how we can build a closer community, yet often what it seems like they need to do is stop thinking about it and actually just live in it like a community. There are so many fantastic places and parts of Durham that most residents have probably never seen, and that we certainly wouldn't have seen without the blog."

Right said, Andrew.  The saddest thing about Carpe Durham is that their writers are graduating from Duke Law in May and will move on to far flung places for federal clerkships and more.  One writer said that friends may take on the mantle after May -- but I will not dare hope until I see it.  For now, I'll just be glad we've got the original team for as long as we do.

Above is the Sabor Latino truck they got to park outside Pinhook for their birthday party.  When the west-stretching queue reached around twenty people long, the MarVell Club folks next door politely asked if we could shift the line's direction so it wouldn't block their entrance.  But soon enough, the line grew beyond thirty and started threatening the entrance to Revolution several doors to the east.

The truck people looked pretty happy with the 3 tacos for $5 crowd, despite occasional struggles with language* and despite the early so-many-customers-we're-out-of-cheese (or some other important ingredient) crisis.  Still, downtown Durham has never smelled so good.  And that's counting the weekdays when Ninth Street Bakery is cooking up the cinnamon rolls, and the olden days when Liggett and Myers was processing their sweetest of leaves.  Carpe's SPL interviewed many diners on video.  All had greasy smiles and talked with their mouths full; some expressed their joy via dance.  I burned my fingers on food and did not care.


*near as I can tell from the line: one person in seven spoke Spanish but one person in five had trouble placing an order.  Everybody pitched in.

Photo yoinked from Carpe Durham, of course.  If you're very very clever, you can recognize the boxes of Premium Saltine Crackers on the front dash.  My fellow blogging Carpe-fans did not know what recipe those go into.  Do you?

12:08 AM in Destination Durham, Food, Links of Note | Permalink | Comments (4)

Feb 13, 2009

Greg Cox, Triangle Food Critic -- on the radio next Wed (18 Feb)

Cox_greg Local eaters take note:

Restaurant critic spills the beans on the radio

Tune your radio to 100.7 The River next Wednesday, February 18 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., when I’ll be the guest on the Mornings with Kitty Kinnin Show. Excerpts of my recorded conversation with Kitty about the local food scene will be scattered throughout the program. For a more complete sampling (or if you miss the broadast), you can catch the podcast at www.river1007.com/cc-common/podcast.html whenever you like.

posted by Greg Cox at the N&O blog.

Hey, why didn't Shooting the Bull get him first?! :-)


Image yoinked from N&O, duh.

12:22 PM in Destination Durham, Food, News, Triangulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

John Gorka Tonight -- Benefit for Urban Ministries of Durham (Friday, 13 Feb)


Date: Friday, February 13, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Parish Hall, St. Philip's Episcopal Church
Address: 403 E Main St (enter on Queen St.)
City: Durham, NC

$20 at the door; $8 children 8-12; childcare available; refreshments available, including local brews from Triangle Brewing Company; free, monitored parking.

All ticket proceeds to Urban Ministries of Durham.

12:26 AM in Music, News, Urban Ministries of Durham | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feb 12, 2009

Rock Camp for Corporate Team Building -- Free Test Slots This Sunday

Posting for cool friends:

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS to help test out our new team building curriculum
on February 15 from 10 - 6 at Mansion 462 on Franklin St. in Chapel

Team Built Music provides team building to corporations, large
institutions, and other medium to large businesses.   We do this
through music, specifically taking groups of 20-30, breaking them into
small teams, with each team led by a professional
multi-instrumentalist musician who guides them in writing music and
lyrics for a song.  They then either perform live at a small local
venue or record it in a professional sound studio.

During this test run, you will get the chance to learn some drums,
bass and guitar as well as learn basic songwriting skills.  If you
know how to play, you are given permission to play all day without
interruption…. try that at home!  Local professional musicians will be
leading the groups.   Lunch and snacks provided.

Please email lbeavers@gmail.com. or nancyjanefrancis@gmail.com with any
questions and/or to volunteer.  It will be a blast!!!

09:12 AM in News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feb 10, 2009

Office Condo -- Amazing Sunlight, in town in Durham




Make your office home in a bright and airy two story suite with six offices.

Second floor offices feature 14-foot ceilings with high windows. The first floor reception has an 18-foot ceiling and two floors of windows. Offices like these will make a difference for you and your professional colleagues.

This office condo is at Duke Forest Place Office Park, 3326 Chapel Hill Durham Boulevard (also known as Highway 15-501 Business) near the intersection with Highway 751. This is a convenient location for access to all parts of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill via I-40 and I-85. You're just five minutes to Duke; ten minutes to downtown Durham, twenty-five minutes to the Airport or Chapel Hill. Dozens of restaurants are nearby, including Foster's Market, Guglhopf, Nana's and many more. Sam's Club and Super Target are just blocks away.

With high second-floor ceilings, windows and skylights, the space is bright enough to avoid artificial lighting during the day. The suite includes six private offices, a large reception area with an 18-foot ceiling and two floors of windows, kitchen, two restrooms, and a 2nd floor balcony that faces west for warm afternoons. Ample and safe parking for employees and visitors.

The office suite is approximately 1,500 square feet for lease at $1,750/month. Landlord pays taxes, property insurance and condominium fee. Tenant pays water, sewer, utilities and janitorial services.

Contact David at 919-384-5820 or E-mail to set up a visit.

More photos at www.bullcityoffices.com


Note from Phil: I'm posting this for a friend and would appreciate anyone passing it along.

03:29 PM in Destination Durham, News | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feb 09, 2009

Bertrand Russell on the Certain and the Doubtful

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. - Bertrand Russell

This topic has been on my mind for the last few years, particularly with regard to Quaker faith practices in comparison to others (particularly the Episcopalians, but maybe that's because I hang around with so many).  One of my regular "waitamminit, Phil" moments comes when I definitively criticize others for being so g**damned certain.

Quaker Friends (and yes, that's a capital "F") encourage me to judge less.  While I think I'm more than ready to judge people less, I really want to judge actions more. Lots more.


Gracias a enrevanche for the quote.

06:00 PM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (4)

If All Republicans Were as Civic-Minded, Decent and Generous as You...

"If all Republicans were as civic-minded, decent and generous as you are, I'd vote for them.  But since they're not, I'll stick with the wasteful Dems who do a lot of stupid things but also try to make sure everyone's covered."

I said this to my friend Christian just before the 1992 Clinton/Bush race.*

Today's headline in the Washington Post: If Spending Is Swift, Oversight May Suffer -- Plan's Pace Could Leave Billions Wasted reminded me of that conversation.

Do I still feel the same in 2009 as I did in 1992?  Sadly, I do.  At least in terms of my evaluation of the each party's approach to domestic policy.  I hope the next four years will allow both parties to change and for my opinions to follow suit.  But that's hope talking, not optimism.**


*Christian and I happened to be work colleagues and MBA classmates at the same time.  One of our executive MBA classmates circulated a poll just before the election, and it came out something like: Clinton 41%, Bush 38%, Perot 19%, Mickey Mouse 2%.  Christian said, "Crap -- if we can't win in this room, we don't have a chance."  And he was right.  Our room's tally was within one or two percentage points of the national count.

**See Cornel West and Peter Gomes on Hope vs. Optimism in the Archer Archives.  See also Getting to Peace.

12:28 PM in Editorial | Permalink | Comments (1)

Feb 03, 2009

Name That Number One!


Last September, Billboard published its number one hits from 1958 to 2008.  Riffing on the 80s-song quiz you've seen before, here's my quiz for the Billboard list. Hotlinked lyrics go to some fantastic videos.

Name That Number One!

(all songs in chronological order)


I can make you mine, taste your lips of wine
Any time, night or day

The night was clear, and the moon was yellow
And the leaves came tumblin' down…

Please let me hear
You say that you will

1961 to 1970

All the stars will tell the story
Of our love and all its glory
I've made up my mind

Clap your hands just a little bit louder

And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one

When I'm drivin' in my car
And a man comes on the radio

ooo WEE oooooo OOO… OOOooo

I don't know why you say goodbye

I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same

Different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on 

Don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression 


To have a girl like her
Is truly a dream come true.

Loving you forever
Is what I need

We're all sensitive people
With so much to give

Cause I'm right here, right here, right here, right here at home

She's black as coal but she burn like a fire

"The problem is all inside your head", she said to me

Warm smell of colitas 

I'm a dancin’ man and I just can’t lose

Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass

"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"


It's been too long since we took the time
No-one's to blame, I know time flies so quickly 

Let the Bible Belt come and save my soul

They Told Him Don't You Ever Come Around Here

Dream if u can a courtyard

There's a room where the light won’t find you

This can be my testimony

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait

Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Let the choir sing

Still I believed
Somehow the one that I needed
Would find me eventually


Marionette strings are dangerous things,
I thought of all the trouble they bring.

So Cosmo says you're fat
Well I ain't down with that!

If I
Should stay
I would only be in your way 

My mind is telling me no but my body -- my body's telling me yes

Cause he can't seem to keep his self out of trouble

From Oakland to Sacktown
The Bay Area and back down

I'm Bigger than the city lights down in Times Square

Girls you know you better watch out

Gimme your heart, make it real
Or else forget about it 

I'm so in love with you
It just keeps getting better


So you do what you gonna do
Come on and talk to me 

Gucci collar for dollar, got out and walked it

Alright, alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright, alright

..got me thinking that it might good idea to take her with me,

You will see him on TV any given Sunday
Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai

Come let me make up for the things you lack

You must not know 'bout me
I can have another you by tomorrow

Anytime you want to, pick up the telephone, you
know it ain't nothin', drop a couple stacks on you



1.  Here's an answer key. Please advise of any errors.

2.  Videos -- some are covers, and some (like 1978) are from movies.  One (like 1967) is from a commercial -- so don't click that if you're a purist (or if you hate sellouts).  I'll try to add more in the future.  I'm almost begging you to click on 1983.  And I really like 1976 and 1985, but for different reasons.

3.  Here's a blog with extensive notes on the 2000-2008 songs. If you can find links to the earlier decades, please let me know.

4.  Here's a fill-in-the-blank version of the 80s lyrics quiz.

5.  Oh, here's a Wickedly Difficult 80s lyrics quiz with COOLER ARTISTS and 262 songs. Holy crap. Celeste, do this one at home, not work :-)

10:34 PM in Music | Permalink | Comments (4)

Feb 02, 2009

Book Exchange

Book Exchange

If you're local, you already know: The Book Exchange is closing after 75 years. 

For decades, The Book Exchange was like the pre-Amazon.com for academics, before Amazon.com came along to help put it out of business.  As an undergrad at Brown, I remember my schoolmate David -- a fellow-Durhamite -- calling his dad with a list of ~15 books that he'd need for two courses in Classics and English Lit.  His dad would buy them at The Book Exchange for a fraction of what the new reprints would cost at Brown. And David would look extra-cool because he'd be reading something old and yellowed instead of the same new Penguin editions that the rest of us carted around. 

A walk through the Book Exchange is like a physical tour of the 20th century's humanities canon.  For that, alone, it's worth the trip.

The N&O and Herald-Sun mention a long list of factors that pushed the owners to sale: internet bookstores, an extended downtown street construction that reduced access for months, and no one in the family that was really itching to run the place.  But one thing I heard in the stacks that wasn't mentioned in the press: the credit crunch.  Textbook buys require several hundred thousand in credit, and this year the credit just wasn't there.  That's what I heard.

Books are going for $10 a bag (excepting current textbooks) and with three floors of everything from Teri Hatcher's Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life (one copy only, thank goodness) to Vera Micheles Dean's The Nature of the Non-Western World (1957 paperback edition, ~40 copies), you will find something interesting. Go -- even if you worry that the choices and nostalgia will be so overwhelming that you buy not a thing. 

At checkout, dropping my hefty bag of books by the register, I noticed some boxes of Paper Mate pens nearby.  "Twenty-five cents" said the label.

I asked the clerk, "is that per pen, or per box?"

"Ah, just throw them in your bag," he said.  "They're pretty old.  I don't know if they'll even write."

"Thanks," I said. Then I asked him how he and his colleagues were doing with the transition. 

"I guess we're doing OK," he said.  "Thanks for asking."

I could see that he meant it.


Photo orientation:  you're looking north up one of the third-floor stacks.  The people in the distance are more or less right where the big The Book Exchange sign is mounted on the store's outside wall.

12:07 AM in Destination Durham | Permalink | Comments (5)