Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Too Little, Too Late for Andersen

The US Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdict against Arthur Andersen for its alleged role in obstructing the investigation into the collapse of Enron. The firm had served as Enron's auditor and primary business consultant, and the justice department claimed that Andersen employees had shredded documents that would have been central to their case against Enron.

The Supreme Court agreed with Andersen's contention that the lower court's judge provided overly vague instructions to the jury. Since the high court's ruling was unanimous and took only one month to prepare after arguments, it is safe to deduce this case was as much of a no-brainer as the Supreme Court ever gets. The Justice Department has not announced if it will retry the case.

The guilty verdict cost Andersen its accounting license, which in turn caused the firm to implode. There is no way to reconstitute the firm into a viable company now, as the employees have scattered to other firms, and Andersen's credibility is forever tarnished.

I shed no tears for Andersen three years ago when the verdict was announced, as I had always found the firm to be arrogant. However, I hate to see procedural errors in a case that literally held the viability of a 28,000 employee company in the balance.


Deep Throat

Ex-FBI #2 official Mark Felt has been named as the infamous Deep Throat, the primary source of reporters Bob Woodward's and Carl Bernstein's coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to president Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. Felt's attorney released the admission, although Woodward and Bernstein have neither confirmed nor denied the claim.

Felt has been high on the list of Deep Throat suspects for a long time. If Felt is truly the Throat, he should be able to reveal details that will confirm that fact easily enough. If he is in fact the Throat, I will be most curious to know why he went public after more than 30 years of anonymity.


True Love?

Tom Cruise has finally found true love (again), and Katie Holmes has grown up to love the man of her dreams. How sweet........and convenient. Sorry to be cynical, but did anyone notice that

Both actors have major films opening soon.


Say Yes! To Blogging

Yes! Weekly has joined the local blogging scene. Click here to visit their brand new blog.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Tarheel Tavern

Honorary local blogger iddybud is hosting this week's Tarheel Tavern. Jude is a cool lady who went way out of her way to join our most recent meetup. Click here for a visit to her tavern.


The China Syndrome

We saw The China Syndrome a couple of nights ago. I bet that film shook up viewers, since the accident at Three Mile Island occurred just three weeks after the movie debuted.

With exploding worldwide demand for oil and the distinct possibility that the supply cannot keep up with that demand, even at the recently elevated prices, we are likely headed toward the need for more nuclear power. I hope we will learn from past mistakes should we expand our nuclear power production.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I Don't Think So

Lawyer Bobby Crumley has announced that he will run for North Carolina Attorney General in 2008. He is an accomplished business man and has proven he can build an business organization. But, I think that fair or not, all the tv ads phone book back covers celebrating his law firm will undermine his credibility.


HoggFest Is Rocking

HoggFest is well underway, but you still have plenty of time to get there and enjoy the festivities. When I left a short time ago, there was still enough food to feed an army. Plus, the children are being entertained by a balloon artist, face painting, and an inflatable moon walk.

The band that just took the stage is rocking. They do Aretha Franklin's Respect better than Aretha herself. Amazing!

Tomorrow is not a work day for most of you, so head on down to the Flatiron and enjoy several bands and a large plate of food for $10, all while supporting Jinni Hoggard and her family.



Come on out to HoggFest today. David has been cooking the pork since 6:30am, and Ed will be serving it up early this afternoon. A dozen bands are playing, and there are lots of activities for kids, too. The event lasts from 1pm until at least midnight at The Flatiron. Surely you can afford to get off the couch and miss some of the 1,100 miles of racing today.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Rob, Jay, and David passed the musical baton to me this week, so here goes.

Total volume of music files on my computer: 700MB, all from CD's I own.

The last CD I bought was: Feels Like Home - Norah Jones.

Song Playing Right Now: It All Went Down the Drain (Boz Scaggs version)

Five Songs I Listen To A Lot Lately(In no particular order) :

1) #41 - Dave Matthews Band
2) Under Pressure - David Bowie and Queen
3) One - U2
4) Fragile - Sting
5) Heart of Mine - Boz Scaggs (live version only)

Ten Favorite Albums of All Time: (In no particular order)

1) Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses
2) Vivid - Living Colour
3) The Beatles - The Beatles
4) Ghost In The Machine - The Police
5) Crash - Dave Matthews Band
6) Room For Squares - John Mayer
7) The Dance - Dave Koz
8) Strong Persuader - Robert Cray
9) Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
10) My Aim Is True - Elvis Costello

The baton has been around the horn a bit, but I am passing it to anonyMoses, Chewie, Gate City, and Ed Cone.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Big Link 11

This week's Big Link is Yes! Weekly. This weekly paper has been very kind to bloggers since its start, so please click over and say Yes!


Tiger Woods Has Arrived

Golfer Tiger Woods will join at elite group that includes Jesus Christ, John Wayne, and Elvis. Each of these men is considered an immortal, some literally and some figuratively, but this group is about so much more than that. This group of men have been recreated in a life-sized butter sculpture at the Iowa State Fair.


Thanks, Governor

The New Orleans Hornets, formerly of Charlotte, are having a tough time in their new host city. This season's 18-64 record was dismal, and they had the lowest average paid attendance in the NBA at 14,221 (their actual average attendance was around 9,000). They were also unable to secure a naming rights sponsor for their arena.

The low attendance and lack of sponsor triggers a clause in the contract the state of Louisiana used to lure the Hornets to New Orleans, so the state has to pay the franchise $2.3 million. I bet that tastes good to the tax payers.

Let's see, Govenor. You brought the worst team in the NBA to a city that does not want to watch them and to an arena no one wants to sponsor, and we have to pay the team for that privilege. Gee, thanks.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hammer Time

The treasurer of a PAC formed by US House Majority Leader Tom Delay has been fined $200,000 for failure to report $600,000 of corporate contributions. Even FOX news says so.

The stink continues to build around DeLay, who has done a masterful job of surviving the exposure of many ethical breaches.


Stomp Out These Weeds

I had hoped we were past cross burnings, but it appears last night's occurrences in Durham might be part of a rising tide of hatred. Ten days ago, a wave of German-based hate spam was unleashed across the world, and I understand that Nazi flyers showed up in Adams Farm at the same time.

I don't think that ignoring these latest events will be enough. Law enforcement needs to track down the guilty and see them punished. Citizens need to confront expressions of hate whenever it is witnessed. Otherwise, this twisted thinking might just grow like the weed it is.


The Recruiting Edge

"Wayne Ellington grew up with Michael Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and Vince Carter. Well, sort of. Those former North Carolina basketball stars did spend a lot of time in his living room, flashing to and fro across the TV screen while Ellington ogled. And dreamed. For Connecticut and nearby Villanova, Ellington's longtime Tar Heels bias was too much to overcome when it came time to decide where he would play college basketball."

Jeff Carlton' s article in today's N&R describes one of the primary advantages UNC-CH has in recruiting top high school basketball players. It is also is a reminder of why NC State does not have a chance at the same caliber of players as nearby Duke and Carolina.

Talented basketball players watch the game on tv. When they watch hoops, they see the best teams, such as Carolina, Duke, and Kentucky. Except for regional action, they rarely see NC State.

And these prospects cannot remember a nationally competitive NC State team. They were either unborn or in diapers the last time the Wolfpack was a nationally respected team. These prospects probably are not even familiar with the ACC's best player ever, David Thompson.

So the result is that the NC State is not even on the radar of the best college prospects in the country. They have never dreamed of wearing Wolfpack red or making a big shot to beat Carolina. They dream about playing for Carolina.

NC State's basketball tradition was as strong as Duke's or Carolina's at one time. Even as recently as 15 years ago, State's basketball heritage was just one notch below top tier teams such as Carolina and Kentucky. Now State is not even part of the conversation.

Herb Sendek is capable of producing teams that finish in the middle of the ACC, but he has given no indication he can restore the program to anywhere near its past greatness. And while I am not generally against a coach with a low-key style, our program needs some energy and enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, NC State cannot recruit on the basis of its heritage anymore. It is time to hire a coach who can attract top players, so we can start building that heritage again.


The Old Homeplace

I have fond memories of visits to my paternal grandparents as a child. They had what seemed like a mansion on about 30 acres on Vandalia Road. The house had all kinds of secret doors, hidden corridors, and more than ample room for the best game of hide and seek you can imagine.

On there land was a fishing pond, a manicured field suitable for golf practice, and a gymnasium with a basketball court, punching bags, and a trampoline. At one point, they also had at least one horse. It was very cool.

When I was a teenager, they donated some of their land to the city to help build Oka T. Hester Park. The horse barn and the fishing pond went with that land, but I played tennis and basketball at Hester park, so it felt like a good trade.

When my grandparents died (separately) about nine years ago, the house was still grand but was also showing its age in a few places. One of my uncles and his family put considerable effort into renovating and updating the house, then moved in. The house was much better for their efforts.

They donated some of their property to a local church that needed additional parking, and later they sold an outlying acre or two to an infamous local politician who built a rather large home on the land. Now, Greensboro's urban loop is cutting through the backside of the property.

The first three property dispositions did not bother me so much (not that it was my land anyway), but I hate to see the highway take more land. I fear the property will lose some of its natural beauty and traffic noise might eliminate the ever-present serenity in the rear part of the property.

None of us can reasonably expect the places in our childhood memories to remain intact forever, but I still wish it could be so.


Be There

HoggFest is just three days away. If you are traveling this weekend, we will give you an excused absence from this event. Otherwise, be there. There will be lots of fun, food, BEvERages, music, and activities for kids. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Blue Cross Blues

Blue Cross Blue Shield calls me once a month and offers to rescue my company from high insurance rates that other carriers charge. I hold BCBSNC in pretty low regard, so it is not too hard to give them reasons they will not be getting our business. Today I went with reasons #1 and #2.

1) We have a recent cancer case within our group, so after BCBSNC wastes our time collecting data, they will tell us they cannot provide insurance to us.

2) In 1992, I had to have minor oral surgery. BCBSNC had no oral surgeons in their network in Guilford or Forsyth counties, so I had the surgery in Greensboro. They deemed my service out of network and covered only $17.50 of a $250.00 bill.

I gave them the opportunity to reconsider how they handled my case, considering they were risking a 75 employee account. They fumbled the ball a second time, and we moved the business to another carrier at the next renewal.

3) Blue Cross has always been a not-for-profit entity exempt from almost all income tax. They have accumulated over $1 billion in assets. Some of their greedy executives attempted to convert to for-profit status a few years ago, which would have allowed them to own the company and take a large slice of those assets.

Part of being a not-for-profit is a trust with the public that your entity exists for the common good. The proposed conversion would have amounted to the executives stealing past unpaid taxes from the public coffers. Martin Eakes led the fight to block the conversion. As usual, he represented the greater public interest well.

It's pretty easy not to do business with Blue Cross.


Golf Quiz

So, you think you know something about golf and its history?. Try this quiz and let me know how you did.

I scored 10, or 12 under par.


Coming Home

"I've stated before that I underestimated how much I would miss the day to day events of my three sons, and even though I can never get that time back, I plan on making up for a lot during my two weeks at home."

Our Soldier is coming home soon for a two week leave. Read about his preparations to return here.


Grasshoppers Review

Kristen and I went to our first Greensboro Grasshoppers game on Monday night. We had perfect weather and noted the stadium is a beautiful as advertised. Several design elements in the stadium are pleasing, particularly the wide concourse in the concession area above the seats. The Rotary Playpark was full of kids having a great time and parents thankful to have their kids occupied, too. There are a couple of areas that need improvement, though.

Holding auditions for the national anthem performers would be a good idea. Monday night's rendition rated only a little better than Roseanne Barr's attempt. A lot of season ticket holders did not attend Monday's game, so the paid attendance figures were bound to be higher than the actual attendance. Announcing a crowd of 4,200 to a stadium that is a third or a fourth full sounded silly. It also makes me wonder how many current season ticket holders will still be around in two years if they are not using their tickets now.


Blog Takeover?

Gate City reports that he claimed two spots on this week's Yes! top ten list. Gate was referring, of course, to the Gate City blog and this one. Just to clarify, Patrick Eakes' blog is not a wholly owned subsidiary of the Gate City blog, although I am always open to offers.


Club News

As Gate City first reported yesterday, the Greensboro City Club is closing next week. I was never a member, but I attended several events there over the years. Near the conclusion of a wedding reception a few years ago, I heard the bell captain say to a coworker of the remaining guests "All right, we've got your money. Now get the f*** out of here." The club never seemed like an exclusive, classy place to me again.

Now I have learned that the Cardinal Golf and Country Club likely will be sold to a few existing members. My parents joined the Cardinal in the early 1970's, a year before it opened. I grew up playing the course and enjoyed the club for many years, but the club has always struggled financially. It failed under multiple corporate owners, and it apparently the current member equity plan has not done well either.

The poor overall economy has made it a tough time to operate private clubs. With textiles, tobacco, and furniture having particularly difficulty, Triad private clubs have experienced a different type of trickle down economics - the one where nothing trickles down. I hope that our local economy improves for lots of reasons, including the health of private clubs, many of which are local landmarks.

*** UPDATE ***

Note that the word likely has been added to this post since it was originally posted. I had two well-placed sources for this post, and the original information I received was overstated. I apologize for this error.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Yes! Weekly Goes Bloggy

Yes! Weekly sends out some serious bloggy love in its current edition. Between its cover shot and its feature story, Yes! and editor Brian Clarey bring the local blogging scene into focus.

The feature story includes interviews with Ed Cone and Roch Smith, Jr. as well as coverage of last week's Meetup and the News & Record's participation in the blogosphere. Clarey does an excellent job of covering a lot of blog ground coherently in his article, so click on over and give it a read.

Yes! also devotes this week's top ten list to local bloggers. You will see several obvious choices....and then me. I don't think of myself as one of the best in our area. Yes! describes me as an average Joe, but I appreciate them noting my blog - it's hard to feel too average on a list of otherwise impressive bloggers.

*** UPDATE ***

I had a chance to read Brian Clarey's article again tonight, this time without all the normal distractions of my office.

Clarey did an excellent job of capturing bloggers' sense of community and the fact that blogs mean different things to different people. It is hard to describe blogs to the uninitiated, but Clarey did a very good job of just that.

Luna Cone is going to be pissed about being called a brown poodle. I am pretty sure she is a Portuguese water dog.

I have already received email telling me not to let my wife see the picture of me in Yes! Maybe the picture does not show my best side, but I am not sure I have a best side. She already knows that.


Hackers Beware

Hogg's Blog had a virtual intruder over the weekend. The culprit broke into his home computer network and blocked his access to certain web sites. I hope David asks the police and our local geeks to pursue the guilty party, then nails their ass to the wall for the invasion.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Jeopardy Ultimate Championship

Jeopardy starts the finals of its Ultimate Tournament of Champions tonight. The three day event pits wonderboy Ken Jennings against two others who worked their way through a field of 144 former champions. The winner among the final three gets $2,000,000.

It's too bad that Eric Newhouse did not make it through to the finals. He is the best Jeopardy player I have ever seen - he won the teen championship and teen tournament reunion, and finished second in the million dollar masters championship.


High IQ Bowl

The Greensboro Youth Council coordinates a Jeopardy-style competition among area high schools called High IQ Bowl. Crescent Rotary Club has sponsored the scholarships for the runner-up team for about a decade.

To promote the event, the GYC sponsors mock competitions between Crescent Rotary and either local high school teams or Greensboro Rotary each year. Crescent fields a pretty decent team, good enough to beat teams from Greensboro Day School and Grimsley High School, both past High IQ Bowl champs.

We won the initial match against Greensboro Rotary, then lost the next two. One of the fun parts of the mock High IQ is that Ed Cone and I have always been opposing team captains. This is how I first met Ed and what ultimately led to me blogging.

Our annual mock competition against Greensboro Rotary is at lunch today, but Ed will not be there. He is no longer in Greensboro Rotary, so they will probably send some weenie as a captain this year. I will miss challenging the blogfather in a game of wits.

*** UPDATE ***

Crescent Rotary prevailed with ease today to even the record with Greensboro Rotary at 2-2.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Big Link 10

This week's Big Link is Living Out Loud. Ann has had a tough time lately, including surprise back surgery two days ago. Go by for a visit and leave her a get well note. She is a cool chick who deserves some bloggy love.


Charleston Dining

Through the years, Kristen and I have had the chance to dine at most of the top restaurants in Charleston, SC. We have found several great establishments that we to return to periodically.

Last week we made our first visit to McCrady's, and we were blown away. These guys know seafood. I had the miso marinated black seabass, and Kristen had the spice grilled tuna. Both were exceptional, and a bottle of 2002 Chateau Carbonnieux (sauvignon blanc) proved to be a perfect match for those dishes.

McCrady's does not advertise heavily, and it is located on an alley off of East Bay Street. As a result, many tourists do not know about it. However, I encourage you to discover this restaurant on your next trip to the low country. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Doing A Dance

President Bush is concerned that recent pictures of imprisoned Saddam Hussein have been published. Apparently, that is a no-no now, but it was okay 18 months ago when the US released pictures of Hussein immediately after his capture.

It must suck to be this guy, always having to do a dance to make sense of his master's actions.



We are only nine days away from HoggFest, a fund raiser for the benefit of Jinni Hoggard. It's not to late to volunteer your time, donate food and/or drink, or secure a prize for the silent auction and raffle. Please consider getting involved and attending this community event.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Phony Frist

In a very competitive field, Senator Bill Frist has established himself as the leading phony in the Senate. I understand he wants to be President, and that requires that he cater to the righteous right, but that can be done without selling his soul. Ask Ronald Reagan. Ask George H.W. Bush.

Senator Frist has cast the judicial filibuster issue as one of principle. According to Frist, the President, any President, deserves to have all of his judicial nominees get an up or down vote.

When confronted with the fact that Frist voted to filibuster one of Clinton's judicial nominees, he tried to recast the issue as one of the quantity of filibusters. He probably learned the shifting principles method watching President Bush do the Iraq shuffle - they could attack us in 45 minutes...they have weapons of mass destruction...they were behind the 9/11 attacks...I am a Christian and am therefore righteous, leave me alone.

Senator Frist, what you are doing is not leadership. It's pandering.


The Ocean Course

We went on a great vacation to Kiawah Island last week with my wife's extended family. You will never hear me complain about my inlaw family. They have always treated me better than I deserved.

My father-in-law paid for the house where we stayed. As a small thank you, I treated him (and me ) to a round at the world famous Ocean Course.

The course is - you guessed it - on the Atlantic Ocean. Since there are hardly any trees, the wind blows constantly. Although they cut a golf course into wilderness, everything even slightly off the course is in its natural state. We found lots of wiry grasses, prickly bushes, and native sand. Golf Digest calls it "America's toughest resort course."

Caddies are required at the Ocean Course. I am not sure if this is to help players around the course or simply to avoid lawsuits from the families of lost golfers. Either way, Paul was an able and friendly guide. It was a great experience, and I look forward to a return visit to the Ocean Course. See the photos below for a taste of our experience.

Several early tee shots are like this one, where the best line requires a carry of about 230-240 yards (that is all marsh in front of me). Luckily, we had the wind with us on most of these holes.

I played well most of the day, keeping the ball in play and out of the ever-present sand. I shot 85, which is high for me, but it was a good score on this difficult course.

This hole is a 194 yard par three with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. The pin was tucked in the rear left part of the green, but I hit a solid four iron to 25 feet.

My playing partners occasionally hit their balls in tough spots. Before he played his shot, I suggested that emerging from the bunker uninjured should be his primary goal.

We saw a couple of 12' long alligators, a black snake, a water moccasin, and this little guy. He seemed to enjoy his surroundings and managed to find a spot safe from errant golf balls.


Time For A Meetup

All the cool kids....and I...... will be at the meetup tonight. Come on out and meet the people behind these blogs you keep reading.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Jack's Farewell

Jack Nicklaus announced that this year's British Open will be his final competitive tournament. The Open will be played at the Old Course at St. Andrews, the home of golf and two of Nicklaus' three Open titles.

Nicklaus will retire as the greatest golfer in history with 20 major titles to his credit. That is seven more than the next closest golfer, Bobby Jones, who won 13 majors.

I hope that Nicklaus continues contributing to golf as an ambassador and course designer for many more years.

Bonus fact: Most golfers believe Nicklaus was nicknamed the Golden Bear because of his blonde hair. The nickname had more to do with his high school's mascot, the Golden Bears.


Victory For Wine Consumers

In an important decision for wine consumers yesterday, the US Supreme Court struck down the laws of 24 states that prohibit the interstate shipment of wine while allowing intrastate shipment of wine. It is worth noting that North Carolina and Virginia had similar laws until a US district court ruled them unconstitutional in 2003.

This case is a victory for all consumers, as it will be a precedent for future commercial commerce litigation. Wine distributors lobbied hard to establish the current laws to protect their profits. Their logic was bogus, and the Supremes saw through it...barely.

Interesting note - Justice Thomas did not vote with Justice Scalia in this case. I bet Nino will ground Clarence for that.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Tarheel Tavern

The Tarheel Tavern is open again, and Pam is tending bar. Go by for a visit, and don't forget to tip your waitresses.


Mixed Emotions

We just returned from my grandmother's 85th birthday party. It was mostly fun, and she enjoyed seeing her three daughters, two of three grandchildren and three of four great grandchildren (the others are on vacation).

I am lucky to have known all of my grandparents well, since the first one died when I was 28. In fact, I have memories of five great grandparents and was in graduate school when the last one of them died.

Seeing this remaining grandparent always produces mixed emotions. We are connected by blood and many shared moments, but those connections are negated by her consistently childish behavior.

She and my grandfather were married for more than 55 years until his death, and she criticized him constatnly during the time I was around. It pissed me off then, and it still bothers me that she took so much joy from his life with her comments.

He was Methodist preacher when that job not only included ministerial duties, but also groundskeeping and handyman work at the church and parsonage. He had no associate ministers, and he even printed the bulletins for the services on a manual printing press. He did all this with a quiet dignity that I still find inspiring. He was as close to a saint as I have ever known.

I know the day is quickly approaching when I will have no grandparents remaining, and I regret that my feelings about my remaining grandparent are so mixed.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Local Golfers Are Champs

Guilford College won the NCAA Division III men's championship by 25 shots. Guilford golfers Colin Clark and Dave Patterson tied for individual honors, with Clark winning in a playoff.

Northwest Guilford won the 4A state championship. Viking golfer Drew Younts also took the individual state title.

Maybe Tiger should consult our local contingents for a lesson.


Tiger Falls Short

Tiger Woods missed the cut today at the Byron Nelson Classic, ending his streak of made cuts that goes back to 1998. The mass media are misreporting that Tiger now holds the record for consecutive made cuts at 142. However, Tiger only made 111 cuts in a row, since 31 of the tournaments during his streak had no cut.

The PGA Tour has had ample opportunity to set the record straight, but they have chosen hype over integrity by allowing this misinformation to become fact in most people's minds. The true holder of the consecutive cuts streak is this weekend's namesake, Byron Nelson, with 113 in a row.

The mass media also regularly misreport Tiger's total major championship victories, but I will save that rant for another post in the future. By the way, I have been a big fan of Tiger since I first saw him play as a 14 year old, several years before he became a celebrity.


Big Link 9

This week's Big Link is one cool cat, Mr. Jay Ovittore. Jay is a thoughtful guy, and he plies his blogging trade on important subjects. Click on over to Jay's blog, this week's Big Link.


What Are You Thinking, Shavlik?

In the worst early departure decision since Carolina's King Rice, Duke's Shavlik Randolph has declared for the NBA draft. This is perhaps Randolph's worst decision since he selected Duke as his college choice.

Uh, Shav, now would be a good time to start learning Italian.

***UPDATE*** A report this morning indicates that Randolph plans to return to Duke, but he is simply taking advantage of the opportunity to work out with pro teams. That process will confirm to both the teams and the player that he has not future in that league.


Good To Be Home

I have been at Kiawah Island for a few days without web access, and I am a little backed up with mental blog posts. I will be unloading my blog repository during the weekend, so stay tuned for lots of rambling.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Off To Kiawah

I will be gone for a few days to Kiawah Island with my wife's extended family. This clan includes her parents, sister and her husband, and aunt and uncle from Los Angeles. I am lucky that I married into this family, and we always have a blast together.

Unfortunately, others needed to plan the vacation this second week of May, a week full of commitments for me. That means I will miss Hogg's Derby Party today and will have to return home late on Tuesday, leaving the rest of the family in Kiawah for the rest of the week.

However, my loss is you gain, my faithful readers. So, I will be back with stories from vacation on Wednesday. See you then.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Big Link 8

Thanks for visiting me this week while I was the Big Link. I hope you enjoyed yourself and will visit again. Before you leave, be sure to tip your waitresses and turn the lights off.

This week we have a brand new Big Link. Be sure to visit the mighty Inkslinger.


An Instant Classic

The ever-helpful Mr. Sun has some tips for those of you preparing to go to the prom.

Mr. Sun, you are bad. Very, very bad.


Jon Stewart Rules

In case you missed the link at Blog on the Run, here is a can't miss video of Jon Stewart calling bullshit on CNN, yet again fumbling the ball.


An American Hero

***Disclosure - this hero is a relative***

He has an unsurpassed intellect that is directed toward helping others rather than accumulating riches and fame. He has improved hundreds of thousands of lives but has humility to spare.

His academic preparation includes philosophy and physics degrees from Davidson College, a masters in public policy from Princeton, and a law degree from Yale. His wife also graduated from Davidson and Yale, and both were awarded honorary doctors of laws for their lives of good deeds.

Martin Eakes and his wife Bonnie Wright had a vision to narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots. They were not interested in giving handouts. Instead, they believed that low-wealth families could get a leg up only by getting the opportunity to own a home or small business.

In 1980, Martin and Bonnie started the Center for Community Self Help with $77 of seed money generated from a bake sale. Their first office was the back seat of their car. Since those modest beginnings, Self-Help has provided almost $4 billion in financing primarily to people who would not interest a traditional lending institution.

Along the way, Martin has been recognized as a MacArthur Fellow (genius grant) and one of the 100 Most Influential North Carolinians of the 20th Century by the News and Observer.

Has he rested on his many accomplishments and awards? Of course, not. In addition to running Self-Help, Martin has turned his attention to eliminating predatory lending over the past few years. I will write about that another time.

For now, you can read more about Martin Eakes here, here, and here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Absent Link

Sorry to abdicate my Big Link duties today, but I traveled to the southeastern corner of the state and back for a funeral. That was a lot of miles for a sad event.

Tomorrow I will share the story of one of our state's coolest citizens, who also happens to be a relative. Tune in for more on Thursday.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bailey's Daily

We have a brand new (less than an hour) blog in Burlington, Bailey's Daily.

This blogger is a long-time friend, and I think she will be a natural. She's smart, sassy, and opinionated.

Go over and give her some bloggy love at Bailey's Daily.


Buckley Report

I enjoyed the Buckley Report on blogging last night on Fox 8. Lenslinger worked hard to compile a concise and pretty comprehensive report on the local scene. One minor quibble: I was surprised there was no mention of the blogging initiative at the News & Record. Perhaps Fox 8 did not want to draw attention to another local media outlet.

Lenslinger included the Blogfather on air. I wonder if he had to kiss his ring?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Counting The Days

"Not that I’m counting, but I have about 34 days before I get to go home on leave. That’s about 840 hours."

Our local blogging soldier is about a month away from a two-week leave from Iraq to North Carolina. Find out what he is doing in Iraq by clicking here.


Blog TV

Tune into Fox 8 WGHP tonight at 10pm. There will be a Buckley Report on the local blogosphere during the broadcast. The footage was shot and edited by our own local blogging photog, Lenslinger.

Lenslinger has been a distinguished blogger since his earliest posts. It should be fun to see how he marries his day job as a shooter with his night hobby of blogging.


This Just In

Not really, but I have been away a few days and am catching up...

In her fight against breast cancer, Jinni Hoggard faces another round of chemo and an additional surgery. We know cancer is a tough opponent, but it is no match for Team Hoggard.

Jinni and her family are strong. They have educated themselves about this disease and its treatments, and they have a tremendous support group. Breast cancer is no match for this clan.

And another thing - this is one more good reason to help organize and attend HoggFest on May 29.


Double Tragedy

I returned to work today after being out of state the second half of last week. I knew that one of my employees lost his father while I was gone, and I felt really bad for him. I felt worse that I could not attend his father's funeral.

When I arrived at the office this morning, I learned that another employee lost his mother on Saturday. That was bad enough until the other shoe dropped. His daughter, en route to his mother's home, died in an auto accident. This is the second time I have known something like this to happen.

About 15 years ago, one of my best friends took her own life on New Year's Eve. Her mother found her body the following morning and went to tell her father (the young woman's grandfather) what had happened. Upon learning of his granddaughter's death, the father fell dead of a heart attack.

As sad I was about losing a very close friend, I felt terrible for her mother, who lost two people she loved. Her sadness was almost unbearable, as I am sure is the case with my employee and his family.

I feel sure that a person never fully gets over losing a child, but I pray he will find the skills to cope with his losses.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bad News For NC Students

Dr. Charlie Abourjilie, North Carolina's state coordinator of character education programs, has announced he will leave that position on June 30. The requirements of the position have changed and would take Abourjilie out of classrooms and require a daily 200 mile round trip to a Raleigh office instead.

Abourjilie has been our state's leading advocate for character education for a decade, and we were lucky to have Abourjilie in the Guilford County School system until 2002. Unfortunately, local school superintendent Terry Grier quashed Abourjilie's local character education efforts.

Abourjilie's energy and passion for nurturing top-notch young people allowed him to touch thousands of young lives. I wish him the best, as he determines how best to continue being a positive influence on our students.


Thank Goodness

Johnnetta Cole, president of Bennett College, has rescinded her offer to resign from the college. This is outstanding news for the local college that serves black women.

Cole arrived at Bennett three years ago when the school was near financial collapse. Since has then she has established financial stability, and the school has been reaccredited.

Part of establishing that stability has been tightening the school's fiscal belt. Some faculty members had become critics of Cole during that process.

Cole has the business skills to manage the school and the charisma to raise Bennett's visibility. She is an asset to our community. Thank goodness she is staying at Bennett.


Big Link 7

Even though I have been told most of my life that size doesn't matter, it sure is nice to be this week's Big Link :)

I have been away at a conference for several days, so bear with me as I catch up on my posts. I promise to provide my typically riveting mix of commentary, opinion, and humor.

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010