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Mar 31, 2009

Discovered on Main Street?

Main Street Extra App

Guess who wants to be in the movies?

Main Street is casting for extras, so on Saturday I dropped by the Homestead Suites along with dozens of others:

Dreams of Glory

Maxann Crotts runs the company that Main Street hired to cast extras.  I didn't meet Maxann but the woman who took my form asked if I wanted to have head shots taken or to sign up for any acting classes.

"No thanks," I said. 

I worry that if I ever learned how to "act", I'd use those powers for evil.

Maxann's instructions for extras:

  • don't talk anywhere on the set unless the director tells you to.
  • be prepared to sit for a long time doing nothing.
  • don't bring valuables to the set -- if they get stolen, you're out of luck.

I'll bet Elrond Hubbard has yet more.


With luck, I'll get to check off an item on this list.

11:09 PM in Destination Durham, Things I'd Like to See or Do | Permalink | Comments (5)

Mar 29, 2009

Mint and Mimosas -- Indian in Chapel Hill

Mint Indian Chapel Hill

Randy asked, "is that the right proportion?"

I dunno -- isn't 60% sparkling the normal amount for a mimosa?

The kind folks at Mint Indian in Chapel Hill had suggested we start with drinks while we waited for the running-a-little-late buffet to open up.  The ten minute shot-clock differential between free-access-to-drinks and an open buffet line struck me as dangerous.  But we did alright.

Randomalia on Mint, Indian mimosas, and other Indian buffets:

  • I'm no expert but thought that the food at Mint was fine.  I particularly enjoyed their gajar halva (carrot pudding dessert) which I'd never seen before.  I also appreciated the food had less salt than I expect in any buffet.  (Cleverness bonus: they split our change into two equal piles of seven singles, two nickels and two pennies each.)
  • Note that the newly-opened Mint is at 504 W. Franklin Street.  The longstanding India Palace is two doors down at 508.

10:34 PM in Food, Reviews, Triangulations | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mar 27, 2009

An Opinion on Opinions

This week I caught myself thinking ill of someone, then caught myself extending my ill opinion to the larger group that I know him through. 

A few things came to mind:

1.  More than half of the things I was blaming him for weren't necessarily real.  I was unhappy that I hadn't gotten what I wanted, but very little of that could have been blamed on their character or action. Things just didn't happen the way I hoped.

2.  How often do I form opinions based on insufficient or incorrect data?  "FSU's basketball team is probably unethical". (I assume their coach is unethical because much of their athletic department has been proven such.)  "I'll bet Jim and Laine are getting divorced because Jim's an arrogant jerk.  (I assume this because I saw Jim act cocky once, and because he didn't do something I wanted him to.)

3.  And how often do I form negative opinions about things that I don't even need an opinion on, even if they're true?  "Sue has no style."  "I don't like Morrisville."  "That restaurant is horrible.  Ninth Street would be better off without it."

So now I'm making an conscious effort to quit evaluating things unnecessarily or incorrectly.  I'll let you know if anything comes of it.


Update with related quote: "The challenge is to be a light, not a judge; to be a model, not a critic."  Stephen Covey in Principle-Centered Leadership, which I happened to pick up one day after writing the above blog.

06:10 PM in Me | Permalink | Comments (2)

Mar 14, 2009

Matchmaking the Celebrepublicans

Jonathan Krohn to wed Bristol Palin

Alex P. Keaton meets the slightly older woman.  Look out, Washington!

See here for Krohn video. He reminds me of my 8th-grade classmate Scott Brodbeck who took the Republican position while debating Philip Brooks at Valley Springs Middle School, Election 1980.  If I recall, Scott and Philip both did a good job focusing on policy differences between Reagan and Carter.  I would have gone for entertainment over substance, and maybe that's why the teachers didn't pick me.


Image from Yahoo! news feed.

12:34 PM in Editorial | Permalink | Comments (3)

Mar 09, 2009

Tyler Hansbrough = John Travolta?

Tyler hansbrough by mark dolejs herald-sun like john travola

Travolta dance


Great photo by Mark Dolejs at the Herald-Sun, whom I praise for running it along with their article on The (Basketball) Game.

02:05 PM in Misc. 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 08, 2009

Marcus Aurelius II - Does Axe Make Mouthwash?


Do unsavoury armpits and bad breath make you angry?  What good will it do you given the mouth and armpits the man has got, that condition is bound to produce those odours. 'After all, though, the fellow is endowed with reason, and he is perfectly able to understand what is offensive if he gives any thought to it.' Well and good: but you yourself are also endowed with reason; so apply your reasonableness to move him to a like reasonableness; expound, admonish. If he pays attention, you will have worked a cure, and there will be no need for passion; leave that to actors and streetwalkers.

-- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (Penguin Classics, translated by Maxwell Staniforth, 1964

For a less "organic" quote, check out this earlier Marcus Aurelius quote on Begin the Day.

And for a different mental image on how Marcus Aurelius might have inspired a mighty army, check out this Axe commercial.  Bonus points for anyone who can make out the background music lyrics which might have been inspired by the Gladiator soundtrack.

03:10 PM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (1)

Vivek Kundra CIO/BIO fail

Last week the prez named Vivek Kundra as the Federal Chief Information Officer, saying: "Vivek Kundra will bring a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position. I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations. As chief information officer, he will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible."

Cool, eh?

I thought I'd see what Vivek was about:

Vivek bio top

But when I clicked on the number one Google result:

Office of the Chief Technology Officer_1236365433922 D'oh!

12:23 AM in Misc. 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Mar 07, 2009

Saul Alinsky on Means and Ends

Rules-for-radicals"The practical revolutionary will understand Goethe's "conscience is the virtue of observers and not of agents of action"; in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent with one's individual conscience and the good of mankind.  The choice must always be for the latter.  Action is for mass salvation and not for the individual's personal salvation.  He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of "personal salvation"; he doesn't care enough for people to be "corrupted" for them.

"The men who pile up the heaps of discussion and literature on the ethics of means and ends--which with rare exception is conspicuous for its sterility--rarely write about their own experiences in the perpetual struggle of life and change.  They are strangers, moreover, to the burdens and problems of operational responsibility and the unceasing pressure for immediate decisions.  They are passionately committed to a mystical objectivity where passions are suspect.  They assume a nonexistent situation where men dispassionately and with reason draw and devise means and ends as if studying a navigational chart on land.  They can be recognized by one of two verbal brands: "We agree with the ends but not the means," or "This is not the time."  The means-and-end moralists or non-doers always wind up on their ends without any means."

-- Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals -- A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals

I'm a newcomer to Alinsky's work and am shocked that no one forced me to read this book before now.  There's much in there to learn from and much to argue with.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, some right-side bloggers made a point of showing the Obamas' connection to Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation founded in 1940. Left-side bloggers said, yeah, but that's a good thing.

Locally, Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods) began forming as an IAF affiliate in 2000. On their Accomplishments page they "claim victory" for several accomplishments such as the City Council approving $300k in funding for after-school programs in 2003, and the City Council increasing Parks & Rec funding by $350k in 2004. 

Recently, Durham CAN seems to have recently morphed into (or been enveloped by) Triangle CAN, according to this N&O article about director Ivan Parra, in which Parra comments on the difference between Durham County and Orange County:

“The culture of the towns is different,” Parra agrees when I ask him about Durham and the Chapel Hill/Orange County areas.

“The people in Durham act more out of impulse. The heart is at the center of everything they do,” he says. “In Orange County there’s so much education. People act out of intellect.”

I haven't found any links to a Triangle CAN website, but will be glad to hear from anyone with info or other commentary.

11:37 PM in Destination Durham, Quotables, Triangulations | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mar 06, 2009

Human Trafficking 101 -- Durham County Department of Social Services, 1 April 2009

PSA for the Department of Social Services:

Free Workshop: Human Trafficking 101

Baltimore police closed down a brothel that used Mexican women imported into the country through Durham.  We  cannot ignore this issue locally.

Join us on April 1, 2009, from 3‐5 p.m. in the conference room of the Durham County        Department of Social Services for Human Trafficking 101.    

Government agencies, non‐profit, faith‐based organizations, schools, hospitals, and law        enforcement representatives are  encouraged to attend. 

North Carolina has  been identified as  among the eight  most common destination states  for human   trafficking, due in part to its location along I‐85 and I‐95.

Trainer: Donna Bickford, a local expert with the Carolina Women’s Center   

Topics covered will include: • Definitions • Statistics  • How people are trafficked  • How to identify or detect trafficking  • Challenges of working with trafficking survivors   

April 1, 2009  Durham County DSS, 220 East Main Street, Room 609  3pm‐5pm

Space is Limited.  To Register call 560‐8082.  Durham County Department of Social Services   919‐560‐8000 (Bilingual) 


Download Poster: Human Trafficking 101

12:21 AM in Destination Durham, News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Mar 03, 2009

Custom Painter -- Fancy or Plain. Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or Raleigh

Posting for my friend K whom you should hire if you need interior panting.


Beautiful interior wall painting by a professional painter and artist. I'll put my passion for color and detail to work on your walls. I'm fast, clean, accurate, and reliable, with competitive rates. I'm available for color consulting, basic painting, original faux textures, geometric patterns, or special designs. To schedule a visit, please call 919/259.3949 or email.

For a sense of her sensibilities, here is an interior:

K painting

With a closeup of the custom-designed stencils in the hallway:


And some decoupage boxes, why not:

K boxes

10:00 PM in Misc. 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The City at the Straits

Detroit1 Twenty years ago I attended a climate change forum at NC State. Al Gore bored us with his hockey stick, but I still remember the slides from a NOAA guy who showed us possible scenarios for 21st century climate. Every slide said one thing -- buy rural land in Canada, our next Sun Belt. But today's news suggests another option for those who prefer city life:

Detroit's Outlook Falls Along With Home Prices

By Tim Jones, Chicago Tribune correspondent

January 29, 2009

DETROIT — It may be tough to get financing for a new car these days, but in Detroit you can buy a house with a credit card.

The median price of a home sold in Detroit in December was $7,500, according to Realcomp, a listing service.

Not $75,000. Remove a zero—it's seven thousand five hundred dollars, substantially less than the lowest-price car on the new-car market.


If the Obama administration is looking for a city to test new ideas for chronic urban problems, it can look to Detroit, a northern New Orleans without the French Quarter. While bedrock poverty in the Crescent City was violently laid bare by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Detroit has been quietly slipping into social and economic crisis for 40 years. One-third of the population lives in poverty, and almost 50 percent of children are in poverty, according to data from the Detroit-Area Community Indicators System. Median household income has dropped 24 percent since 2000, according to the Census Bureau.


Detroit, which has lost half its population in the past 50 years, is deceptively large, covering 139 square miles. Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston could, as a group, fit inside the city's boundaries. There is no major grocery chain in the city, and only two movie theaters. Much of the neighborhood economy revolves around rib joints, hot dog stands and liquor stores. The candidates travel around this sprawling city, some invoking the nostalgic era of Big Three dominance and vowing that Detroit can be great again.


"Detroit will never be the great industrial center again," said Kevin Boyle, a Detroit native and author of "Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age."

"What will it look like?" Boyle said. "I don't know."

I visited Detroit in 1994 and was amazed at how clean the river was.  How they continue to support a hockey team is beyond me.  Then again, I don't know how the Triangle ever supported one (given the ticket prices and the number of seats) but the Canes are still here.


Hat tip to Brian

Photo yoinked from this interesting blogger.

11:27 AM in Misc. 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Mar 01, 2009

Perfect Mean Snowballs But No One To Throw Them At

Cal4 There's perfect mean snowball snow outside right now -- a quarter-inch of grainy moist stuff that packs into a juicy ball.  I whipped one at my car and it bounced off the windshield and into the woods, but not before making a nice "bomp!" sound* and kicking up a spray of white.

According to someone who likes Watterson* poetry enough to transcribe it, Calvin also likes this stuff:

The following 'prayer' is from "Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat".

Oh lovely snowball, packed with care,
smack a head that's unaware!
Then with freezing ice to spare,
melt and soak through underwear!

Fly straight and true, hit hard and square!
This, oh snowball, is my prayer.

Calvin speaks this, before throwing his snowball. His comment: "I only throw consecrated snowballs".

While searching for a snowball illustration I also ran into this primate with a mean looking wad (and a Shel Silverstein poem).  Said primate then reminded me of this article:

My Monkey, My Self (New York Times, 1 March 2009), excerpt (emphases added):

"Bob, who’s owned wild animals all his life, admits Higgins has not always been a model pet. When Higgins was 3, he slept with the couple, often awakening Bob in the morning by climbing to the bedroom rafters and dropping onto Bob’s stomach. On one occasion, they got in a wrestling match, and Higgins put one of his “steel-like fingernails” through Bob’s scrotum.

...Bob has been bitten several times by Higgins, who now weighs 50 pounds and has large incisors. Once, when Bob was leading him from an outdoor enclosure back to his cage in the house, Higgins exploded and the two got into a battle so ferocious that despite the steel mesh glove Bob was wearing, he screamed for Carlie to get his .22 rifle and put a bullet in Higgins’s head. She got Higgins a slice of raisin bread instead, quickly defusing the fight. But Bob accepts it: a wild animal will never be domesticated, he says. Higgins now lives in a heated building on the property, which includes a 9-by-12-foot cage and a 30-by-12-foot outdoor exercise area with an 8-foot ceiling. One must pass through two locked doors to get inside Higgins’s cage. Even Bob doesn’t get in the cage with Higgins much anymore."

Holy f***.  If Durham wants to add monkeys to the hen provision, I'm lobbying NO.

Bonus linkThe Campeche Monkey Hostel and Jenny's Robot / Monkey Query.


*two of those and I'd have the intro to Law & Order.

**as in Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes.  Not to be confused with Sam Waterston who sometimes stars in Law & Order.

11:31 PM in Quotables | Permalink | Comments (2)