Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Halloween on 9th: Let's start somethin'"

Over on Facebook, a new and interesting Group has started and has nearly 200 members. The group's called Halloween on 9th: Let's start somethin'. Forget Franklin Street, let's have a fun time on our own 9th Street. Put on your costume and let's see what happens. From the group:
"Why drive to the police “state” of Franklin street on Halloween, when over 100,000 youngens are expected to take over the main strip causing: mass chaos, probable looting and overcrowding (at under themed) nightclubs. We get the rep for having a volatile city, while they have had a shooting every year since 2004 at Franklin’s famed Halloween “parade”. I say we start one of our own, a resurgence on 9th street. We don’t have to call it anything… we don’t need an agenda at all. Let’s just plan to wear our costumes, on our blocks, with civil, like-minded ADULTS, who want nothing more than to get dressed up, get drunk and dance wildly.
If you are in agreement, come to 9th street on Halloween in your costume. I say we start the festivities at 8pm.

Dain’s, Charlie’s, George’s Garage, G Loft, Blu Seafood, Sirens and Club 9 will be available to serve your wandering needs."
And, if that's not enough, just a block over, on Broad Street, at the Broad Street Cafe, my pal Jeff Hart has a gig and will be playing and singing and having a big time for his birthday, so come listen to him--the show starts at 9pm--drink a brew, and have a great Halloween on 9th Street and Broad Street.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mary Gauthier at St. Philip's

Attended another great Strings Attached concert tonight at St. Philip's downtown. Singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier gave a benefit concert for UMD. UMD does lots of great work in Durham as you can see if you click on their site.

When I arrived around 6:30pm, Only Burger's rolling hamburger stand was set up outside St. Philip's and the smell of grilled hamburgers was wafting through air. Drool. Only Burger of course had drawn a little crowd. Inside some folks were already enjoying their hamburgers and french fries before the concert started. Wow, it smelled so good. I didn't have an opportunity to try one but I will soon I hope.

Only Burger at dusk in front of St. Philip's

Gauthier came out at 7:00pm and played straight through, ninety minutes of riveting songs. I could certainly tell that a couple of her big influences were Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. I especially liked her song about Karla Faye Tucker, Karla Faye, and another called Camelot Motel. She's charming on stage, and after the show I picked up a couple of her CD's (Mercy Now and Genesis) and got them signed. Looking forward to listening to them. You can hear a few of her songs in full at her Myspace page here.

Mary Gauthier

Another great Strings Attached show at St. Philip's. Hope it raised some nice bucks for UMD and I'm on board for whatever the next good show will be. Props to Rebekah Radisch and Strings Attached.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Durham Arts Council

A random picture from my hard drive I ran across tonight of the Durham Arts Council, as taken from my office in 2007:

It used to be the old City Hall before 1978, and the excellent Durham blog Endangered Durham has some great older photos of the building at this link (scroll down a bit at that link). The glass high-rise behind the Arts Council is the People's Security Building.

I like looking out and being able to see the Arts Council. I enjoy seeing full-of-energy kids taking classes there in the summertime, and their harried parents picking them up, and seeing the Durham Symphony folks lugging their instruments into the building some nights for practice, people taking dance classes and art classes, and various functions and art shows being attended all year long, but especially around the winter holidays. Lots of hustle and bustle there at the Arts Council and that seems like a mighty fine thing to me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

WooHoo! It's like the Durham Bulls made it to The World Series!

As you probably know, the Tampa Bay Rays are headed to The World Series. The Rays are the major league team for the Durham Bulls, which means when one of our Durham Bulls players is "called up to the majors" then that player goes to the Tampa Rays.

Watching the Rays play has been thrilling because so many of the players were playing right here, just down the street at the Bulls ballpark only a few short weeks ago.

In fact 14 of the members on the current World Series bound Rays are former Durham Bulls players. How cool is that?

Wral has a bit more detail here and at the link you can get a list of the Bulls players now on the Rays roster:
If you watched the American League Championship Series and some of those players looked very familiar, there’s a reason for that.

A total of 14 current members of the Tampa Bay Rays played for their Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, en route to the majors.

The list includes the entire Rays starting outfield of B.J. Upton, Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford. Third baseman Evan Longoria, one of the best young players in the game, started the season in Durham.

Pitcher David Price, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, pitched in Durham earlier this season. He came on in relief Sunday night with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and held on for the save.

Two other Rays, pitcher Scott Kazmir and designated hitter Willy Aybar, went to Durham on rehab assignments.
Yes, David Price was cool as a cucumber last night, brought in to pitch at the most intense point in the game, when the Rays were trying to protect their 2 run advantage at the end of the game and make it into the World Series. Price got the job done too and it was thrilling to watch him. He's just 23 years old.

Evan Longoria has wow'd them since being called up, hitting homerun after homerun in the post-season. Everyone now expects a homerun when he steps up to the plate.

I'm looking forward to tuning into the World Series and seeing our Durham Bulls players playing like the champs they are!

The Rays will be playing the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, and the first game is this Wednesday night on Fox. The complete schedule of the upcoming games is here at the MLB site.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yes I did . . . vote early.

I'm thrilled. Lots--and I mean lots--more African American voters at my early voting place than I have ever seen before. Lots more voters, period, too. We were #2133 and 2134 at our site when we fed our ballots through. Now I'm not saying I know how every African American voter is voting because I do not, but let me say this--we almost always vote early and there were many more African American voters voting at that early voting place than I've ever seen. This is at the main early voting site, the Board of Elections, so anyone in any precinct can vote there early. There are 8 other early voting places in the county I understand.

It was awesome! The place was packed, the energy was so high it fairly crackled, the line moved quickly, lots of smiles and camaraderie. The feeling of 'we are doing something monumental here' was in the air more than I've ever felt before.

Beyond the required 60 feet (you can't campaign within 60 feet of the voting place), there was a young woman selling Obama Biden yard signs for $5 a piece. They were going fast.

My shirt with my sticker:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Collard Green Sandwich?

Yes. That's correct. A collard green sandwich. Never heard of them until recently and the only place I've ever seen them is at a stand at the Autumn Leaves Festival in Mt. Airy, NC. (It's a street festival, held on the downtown streets, not in a parking lot, incidentally. All the downtown businesses are opened and packed with customers with money in their pockets. I'm just saying.)

Anyway, this past Saturday I went to the Autumn Leaves Festival, and I already knew the line for the collard green sandwich would be long. It was about a 25 minutes wait in a long snaking line, and as people passed by they would shake their heads and say, "they sure must be good." I think the novelty of it can't be discounted either. They are tasty, however.

What are they? Simple--cake cornbread, sliced in two pieces, a big spoonful of collard greens, and a slice of crispy pork. I snapped a few pictures so you could see too.

And for dessert, a bit of sweet potato cobbler:

Monday, October 13, 2008


I drove up to the mountains late last Thursday night. I was nearly at my destination when I decided my tire was feeling funny (the way it felt on the steering wheel, if that makes sense), but no I didn't have a flat--it didn't feel or sound like a flat. I even looked at the tires once parked in the driveway at the mountain house, but again, no flat tire. It was dark outside though, and only the light of the porch shone on the car.

Friday, in the daylight, before leaving to go do errands, I looked at my tires again. Holy Cow! My driver's side front tire had a huge pre-blowout bulgy spot on it (on the sidewall of the tire). I can't imagine why it didn't blow out on the Interstate while I was driving--doing 65+ barrelling down the highway in the dark at midnight. So scary. If it had blown who knows if I would've been able to keep the car under control. Pretty much scared me to death. I snapped a cell phone picture of it:

The tire still had fairly good tread and wasn't all that old (but it was beyond the warranty period). I guess I was lucky that this was visible on the outside sidewall, and not located on the inside sidewall.
Be careful out there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A great read: The Legal Limit

Once in a long while I'll get so engrossed in a book that I stay up all night reading it. That happened recently with this book so I thought I'd do a quick blog entry about it. Here's the book, The Legal Limit:

The book is based on an actual murder that took place in Stuart, Virginia about 20 years ago, and the events that took place afterwards. The author, Martin Clark (Davidson graduate), is a judge in Virginia, and he wrote a fascinating, fictionalized account of the murder. The story has delicious and absorbing twists and turns in the plot, as well as truly interesting ethical questions.

It may've had an extra appeal to me because I've been in and around Stuart, Virginia--which is near Mt. Airy, NC and Fancy Gap, VA. Everything and everyone seemed so familiar in the book, it seemed like I was reading about something that happened to a friend. The characters and dialog flow like the real thing, like they should.

I long ago got bored with John Grisham's books, no offense to Mr. Grisham. This book stands head and shoulders above any legal 'thriller' books I've read recently. In fact, I'm not sure I've read any in that genre recently. This one is worth picking up and reading, in my opinion, if for nothing but sheer joy of the ride it gives, twisting and turning this way and that, with provocative ethical questions thrown in to mull over during the ride.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fishing at the NC coast

Saturday I went fishing with my dad and nephew at the coast, off Topsail Island. We trolled and also did some bottom fishing. It was a spectacular day. The water was calm, the sky was blue, and the ocean was a beautiful blue-green. We stayed out on the boat for 7 hours and it passed by like 30 minutes it seemed. I took along my camera and here are some pictures (you can click to make them larger):

Sunrise, sound side, Topsail Island. I believe that is a Green Heron on the post:

Headed from the sound side to the ocean at daybreak:

Bottlenose Dolphin in Topsail Bay:

He's got a black sea bass there:

Octopus caught and went back into the water:

Turning bridge at Topsail Island.

Fish fry for dinner! (Thanks Mom & Dad!) Scallops, shrimp, slaw & hushpuppies too: