Friday, July 29, 2005

I'm Confused

Column header in today's N&R (page B2, unposted): "Man dies in hospital being pulled from pool in Greensboro"

Does Moses Cone Hospital have a swimming facility?


Weekend Golf

I am off to the coast to play golf for the weekend with eleven friends. Starting at lunchtime today, we will play four rounds in 48 hours in a Ryder Cup format. Our first course, The Heritage Club, is shown at the left.

It is challenging, watery course with a number of alligators. Once when I was crossing a lake, I flipped the lettuce and tomato off a sandwich and over the bridge. A gator came out of the water and caught the food on the fly. I have taken their gators seriously ever since.

After today's round, we will retire to a feast at our condos. One of our regular golfing buddies owns a restaurant in town. Even though he cannot make it on this trip, he is sending along a six pound prime rib, six pounds of shrimp, two pork tenderloins, perhaps a token vegetable, and two mini kegs of Red Oak. Hmmmmmm. Red Oak.

Saturday morning we will play the Moorland course at the Legends complex (see above). It might be the toughest of our four courses, and we will be moving a little slower after the feast.

Rest assured, I will be back in a few days with a full report of our matches, since I know you are on the edge of your seat.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Clinton Gravely And The Civil Rights Museum

The News & Record reports that the International Civil Rights Center and Museum is involved in arbitration with local architect Clinton Gravely.

Gravely's reputation is quite poor in the local construction industry. Some general contractors I know refuse to bid anything Gravely designed. Others apply a "Gravely factor" to their bids, additional money to offset unnecessary heartache from the architect.

My company does work for dozens of local general contractors and subcontractors. With very few exceptions, we will not quote work that has been designed by Gravely or his firm.

Without knowing the specifics of this case, I feel better knowing the ICRCM has a new architect in place for the rest of the project.


New Wristbands?

"Live wrong. Party on. Pay later."

Ed Cone channels Tom Friedman

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

JibJab and Bud

The good folks at JibJab who brought us the only fun moment of last year's presidential election have entered the consumer products market with this Budweiser video.


Klan Coverage

Over the last week, there have been multiple threads about the Ku Klux Klan and blog coverage of the group.

Daniel F. Barrett issued a press release claiming he leads a non-violent faction of the KKK. Roch Smith called Barrett to verify the authenticity of the release, the existence of this supposed faction, and to learn any other details Barrett would share. Roch reported his conversation, and I think his decision to do so was a good one.

Mr. Sun has argued that we should collectively deny the Klan any chance of publicity by refusing to discuss press releases or other information about the Klan. Some of Mr. Sun's comments make me think he believes some bloggers have bought in to Barrett's philosophy, but I have not read anything to make me believe that.

Roch offered no endorsement of Barrett or the Klan, and neither did Chewie. I think they believe that we can discuss the Klan without being sucked into their vortex.

The Klan operated and flourished in secrecy for a long time. People did not talk about the Klan publicly for fear of reprisals. And apparently, that allowed some people to believe the Klan had gone away. Chip Atkinson wrote "The KKK in 1979 was barely alive." Uh, no, Chip - that is just flat wrong. The Klan was not at its peak in 1979, but it was still active and at times very visible in Guilford County.

I have absolutely no use for the KKK in any form. They stand for hate, and they stand for violence (until they demonstrate otherwise for a long time). But I believe ignoring the Klan is not a good strategy all the time. Sometimes, you have to shine a light on a roach colony to scatter them.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

JR's Blog Rules

The News & Record has its new web site up and running, and now they plan to add more blogs to their line up. John Robinson announces these new blogs and a list of standards and practices for their bloggers.

Most of the list is common sense. But as we all know, common sense can be all too uncommon. His list is worth reading and keeping in mind as we post and comment.


A Cult In The Triad

Chris Short sent an email to several Triad bloggers with a link to a brave post about his time spent in a cult as a child. That cult, known at various times as Human Service Alliance, University for Human Goodness, and Center for Purposeful Living, is based near the Forsyth-Guilford county line.

Chris has followed up his initial post with additional information about the cult. Most of the second post is sourced from a "Quincy", who has first-hand experience with the cult, too.

I recall either the IRS or the NC Department of Revenue investigating this group's not-for-profit status a few years ago. They operate the California Fresh Buffet restaurant in Winston-Salem with almost exclusively volunteer labor, and I think there was a question about how the profits were being applied.

I suggest we all steer clear of this group and its restaurant.


Shakespeare In The Park(ing) Lot

Shortly after our visit to MoMA, we met up with good friends to see Richard III. But this was no ordinary performance of the famous Shakespeare history. This was Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot.

The lighting director was a couple of utility lights. The props were minimal. Cars drove behind the play, and trash blew around to the side of the performance. We sat on carpet squares from the dollar store. And you know what? The free performance of one of Shakespeare's most difficult plays was pretty damn good.

I am a little disappointed that I won't see Taming of the Shrew in the Park(ing) Lot.



When Kristen and I were in New York two weeks ago, we spent most of a day at MoMA. During our last two trips to NY, the museum was under renovation and had been temporarily relocated to Queens. Since we stayed within walking distance, a visit was a no-brainer.

MoMA has a Lee Friedlander exhibition through late August. Friedlander frequently injects humor into his photography by juxtaposing dissimilar items into a funny combination or taking odd self-portraits. As we viewed the exhibition, I thought of Chewie, Lenslinger, and TVPhotogBlog. I think they would have a particular appreciation for Friedlander's work.

MoMA also has an interesting exhibition on Cézanne and Pissarro. The two were close friends in the late 19th century. Their free exchange of subjects and methods created a series of paintings and drawings allowing even the most casual observer to compare their works. The exhibition runs through the middle of September.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bark Blog

We already have one blogging dog, Bailey's Daily, in the Triad, but now BARk magazine has launched a blog, too. BARk is a great magazine for dog lovers, so I have high hopes for their new blog.


Hellish Marriage For The Knicks

It appears that Larry Brown will be the next head coach of the New York Knicks, which should be fun to watch. It is hard to imagine a marriage of two bigger losers than Larry Brown and GM Isiah Thomas.

Brown has been a coaching wizard, often improving mediocre teams almost instantly, but he lacks class. He took UCLA and Kansas to the NCAA title game (Kansas won) in 1980's, but left both programs abruptly before they went on probation for rules violations.

Three times he accepted college coaching positions, then resigned or backed out before coaching a single game. When his Olympic team did not perform as well as expected last year, he openly whined about the team and escaped criticism himself. More than once, Brown prodded a GM into firing a coach to make room for him.

And Brown may be a good guy compared to Thomas.

Thomas attempted to organize a boycott against Michael Jordan at the NBA All-Star game when Jordan was a rookie, denying Jordan the ball on multiple fast breaks. Of Larry Bird, Thomas said "If Bird was black, he'd be just another good guy." Thomas bought and ruined the CBA, leaving the original investors holding the bag for his poor management.

I could go on about both losers, but I won't. Let's just say they deserve each other.


My Dog Is Tom Cruise

That article is funny. Thanks, Herb, for making me laugh out loud.


Hollywood In The Toilet

I made the mistake of watching Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy last night. The film is a bad reminder that Hollywood is producing almost exclusively bad movies pitched at teenagers these days.


Big Link

This week's Big Link is What's On Mikey's Mind. I met Mikey at this week's Meetup and have been enjoying his blog ever since. Give him a try.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet

Oh boy oh boy oh boy! A Finnish company expects to be able to supply 100 megabits per second broadband over existing cables starting in 2006.


120 Degrees In The Shade

"Today I saw a temperature gauge that was hanging in the shade. The gauge only measured up to 120 degrees and the mercury had pegged out at the top."

The Soldier describes the unbelievable heat at LSA Anaconda in Iraq. Now I understand why he lost over 20 pounds in his first six months in Iraq.

The encouraging news is that the unit that will replace his group has been identified, which gives him more reason to hope he will depart Iraq near the scheduled end of his tour in late December.


British Open Review

The recently completed British Open will be remembered for two things: the retirement of Jack Nicklaus from major championship golf and Tiger Woods' dominance at St. Andrews.

When a major championship course has a few par fours that can be driven, par fives that can be reached in two, and tons of room to drive the ball, Tiger Woods will win most of the time. Add in great weather, a rarity at British Opens, and Woods is virtually unstoppable. He will be a prohibitive favorite to win the 2010 Open when it returns to St. Andrews.

Let's see how my predictions turned out. Actual finishes are in parenthesis.

Tim Clark: predicted top 30 (T23)
Fred Couples: predicted top 20 (T3)
Darren Clarke: predicted top 10 (T15)
Sergio Garcia: predicted top 10 (T5)
Vijay Singh: predicted top 20 (T5)
Retief Goosen: predicted top 20 (T5)
Phil Mickelson: predicted top 15 (T60)
Ernie Els: predicted top 10 (T34)
Tiger Woods: predicted win (won)

Overall, I did very well with my predictions with six of nine in the range I predicted, plus one slight miss, one moderate miss, and one bad miss. After my results with the OSCARS, the US Open, and the British Open, perhaps I should start doing this for money again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Timing Is Everything

Sister Lauren and her husband Phil went to Cancun last week. They flew across the Gulf of Mexico right after Cindy cleared out, and only hours before Dennis came through. They wrapped up their trip on Thursday and flew home, just before Emily came crashing through that area.

They scheduled the trip months in advance. How in hell did they get that lucky in the middle of three tropical events?



This month's blogger meetup is tomorrow night at Panera Bread on Lawndale Drive. Hope you can make it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

To Link Or Not To Link

The News & Record ran a feature on the Willow Oaks community in yesterday's edition that was familiar. Local blogger David Wharton points out that he is relatively sure that the N&R did the piece as a direct result of reading a similar post at his blog about a month ago. He notes that the N&R article did not acknowledge his post nor link to it, and he asks what the proper linking etiquette is between MSM and blogs.

Over at Gate City, the Gate Keeper is peeved that part of one his posts was reprinted in the News & Record without his permission. The N&R used the excerpt in a feature on local voices. When I saw the excerpt, I thought GK would be pleased for the exposure, but he is not. While I doubt the N&R had a legal obligation to seek permission, editor John Robinson writes in GK's comments that they should have gotten permission.

In January, the N&R printed an email (free link has rotted) from a friend who had survived a harrowing attack in Iraq. The story ran above the fold on the front page. I had posted the same email at my blog ten days earlier.

Editor John Robinson called me the day before they published the email to let me know they were running it and to ask permission to link to my blog and to another blog I maintain for a different friend stationed in Iraq. I was surprised that John called me since their story, while identical, was independently sourced. I was impressed and thankful for the links, which helped my site traffic.

John even blogged about the story behind the story. Ed Cone posed some interesting questions about MSM and blogs at his blog and at the web site for a blog conference held a few days later. Ed's questions are still worth pondering now, and I wonder if the topic was discussed at the conference.

A month later, I posted about a friend whose company produces half the dog shows in the country, including the Westminster Kennel Club Show. The N&R ran a feature story about the company two weeks later. This time there was no link to or mention of my blog. I am pretty sure the idea for the story came from my blog, since that is what the reporter told my friend.

Like David Wharton, I wondered if it would have been appropriate for the N&R to give some credit to my blog for the Westminster story. Ultimately, I decided that my goal was to get the information about my friend into the public, and the N&R had advanced that cause in a way I never could. They also fleshed out the story, adding much more information than my initial post had provided.

Many of my posts are based on something I read or hear, often from the N&R. When I am able to link to a source that sparked the idea for my post, I do so. But that has always been an indigenous part of blogging.

I think there are times when it is appropriate for the N&R and other MSM to give credit to a blog or other source that might have sparked the idea for a story. And it is probably always an appropriate courtesy to get permission and give credit when using a post or excerpt.

But these actions are not necessarily ingrained yet in MSM. Information dissemination is changing rapidly, so we should cut them some slack as they come up to speed. The N&R has demonstrated repeatedly that they value the local blog community, and they have worked hard to be part of that community, rather than dominating it.

Only a year ago, it would have been almost ludicrous to suggest that the N&R would have sourced anything from a blog. Now they do, and they have brought our blog community national exposure that might or might have not occurred otherwise.

Let's give them time to adapt to the changing tides of information gathering. I am confident they will give credit when credit is due as normal SOP when all this blog/MSM interaction becomes more customary.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Champion Golfer Of The Year

Tiger Woods won the British Open today by five shots, the largest margin of victory in a major championship since he won the same tournament five years ago. Tiger now has 13 major championship titles, only seven fewer than his idol Jack Nicklaus.

Nicklaus played his final Open this weekend and had an emotional conclusion to his competitive career. He has now played a farewell tournament at each of the four professional majors, and Woods won all four of those tournaments.

In the first three professional majors of this year, Tiger placed first, second, and first. He will go after the final professional major of the year next month. A win would make him the first golfer to win at least three major titles in a single season twice.

Jack Nicklaus is still the greatest golfer in history based on his number of major championship victories, but I expect a healthy Tiger Woods to surpass Nicklaus' 20 majors in about five years.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Michelle Wie Eliminated

Michelle Wie lost her quarterfinal match at the US Amateur Public Links Championship. Clay Ogden, who beat Wie, was red hot in their match and continued his fine play through the tournament, winning the championship today.


Big Link

This week's Big Link is a new one to me, but not to the blogosphere. Check out proof of my existence, Greensboro's longest continuously active blog.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Our Favorite Day

Two years ago tonight, Kristen was trying hard to get our little Sarah into the world. Sarah was small (born 4lb, 15oz) and she was in an asynclitic position (head tilted to the side). This caused Kristen a lot of discomfort and pinched Sarah's umbilical cord with every contraction.

Kristen's doc, Dr. Taavon, is a cool customer. That was reassuring as we moved quickly to the operating room at Women's Hospital. Even more reassuring was my mom, who pulled double duty as grandmother-to-be and our labor and delivery nurse.

At 10:33pm, little miss Sarah came out screaming, kicking, and peeing. All systems were in order right out of the gate. Come to think of it, she is still pretty good in all of those areas.

Everyone told us our lives would never be the same, and they were right. We now understand the joy she brings us with the smallest things she does - hugging our beagle, splashing around in the tub. learning to say Wolfpack.

July 14 may be known to some as Bastille Day. For Kristen and me, July 14 is the day our lives took a dramatic turn for the better.


Sue's (New) Place

Sue has a new site where she can rant. Pay her a visit and note her links appear in random order - very slick.


Michelle Wie Marches On

Michelle Wie advanced to the quarter-finals of the US Amateur Public Links golf tournament today, beating C.D. Hockersmith and Jim Renner rather handily. 148 of the original 156 players who qualified for the tournament have gone home, but Michelle Wie is still alive in her quest for a Masters invitation.

It is time to acknowledge that Michelle Wie is the most talented 15 year old golfer in history.


Finally, The Yankees

Kristen and I have not had the best luck attempting to see a game at Yankee Stadium, but we were determined to give it a try Friday night in New York. We knew it might be an interesting evening as our plane bounced into New York around lunchtime amid the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy.

We walked three blocks from grand central to our hotel, so we were soaked to the bone by the time we got there. I was reminded of the very funny Jake Johannsen, who once said the best thing about New York is that when it rains, it makes its own gravy.

The weather radar looked promising two hours before the game, so we left in light drizzle for Yankee Stadium. We emerged from the subway a half hour later to considerably heavier precipitation, but we trudged on to the stadium anyway. After buying the obligatory jersey for our daughter, we climbed and climbed and climbed to our seats, which were at the rough elevation of Mount Mitchell.

As we neared game time, it was still raining hard and there were no signs of activity on the field. We figured it would be another rain out. About the time of the scheduled start, the field crew removed the tarp from the infield, and players emerged to warm up. Hooray! We would finally get to see the Yankees play.

Our bodies and spirits were considerably dampened after sitting in the rain for two hours. You would be surprised how quickly you can forget it is the middle July when it is 64 degrees with a 16 mph wind and you are soaking wet. After we stood up for the seventh inning stretch and realized we were each carrying about 50 pounds of water in our clothes, we called it a night and returned to the hotel.

Note to self for next time: unlike in the south, you are allowed to take umbrellas into the stadium.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dave Koz And Friends

I am tardy posting this item, but I wanted to mention a good concert I saw about three weeks ago, Dave Koz and Friends.

It was unusual show, as Dave, Marc Antoine, Praful, and Jeffrey Osborne each had a few songs on his own, then they played several songs with different combinations of the four. It was also an unusual crowd, made up of fans of standard jazz, fusion jazz, and Osborne's ballads.

The show turned out to be a pretty cool jam session from guys I did not know could play that hard.


British Open Preview

The British Open golf championship begins tomorrow at the famed St. Andrews Old Course. This course hosts the Open championship for the 27th time, and it is the acknowledged home of golf.

The fairways are extremely generous, the greens are large, and the fairways are faster than any greens you can find around here. And then there are the bunkers. With names like The Principal's Nose, Hell Bunker, and The Beardies, you know these hazards have a lot of history and will play a role in the championship.

Traditionally, Opens played at St. Andrews have been one by hall of fame caliber players - Jones, Snead, Nicklaus, Faldo, and Woods. There is every reason to believe that will happen again this year.

Here is my analysis of the four contenders, the top five players in the world, and my pick to win:

Tim Clark: Coming into his own as pro with several good finishes on tough courses. Probably needs the wind to blow to make course harder, so his short stature would be an asset - top 30 finish.

Fred Couples: He does not play a lot of competitive golf these days, but he still plays very well when he does. He has a solid history in Opens (eight top tens), and I think this will be a good week for him - top 20 finish.

Darren Clarke: Long hitter with deft touch. Grew up in UK and can handle wind. It's time for Clarke to start contending in majors - top 10 finish.

Sergio Garcia: One of the best drivers in the world and knows how to play the bump and run. Won earlier this year at US Open rota course, Congressional. His marginal putting is less of an issue on slower greens - top 10 finish.

Vijay Singh: #2 player in the world, and the slower greens will mitigate his relatively weak putting. His exceptional ball striking gets him a top 20 finish.

Retief Goosen: Had his first meltdown in a major one month ago in US Open. Usually has an unflappable demeanor, but probably needs the weather and course conditions to be difficult to contend. Top 20 finish.

Phil Mickelson: Phil never played well at the Open until last year's third place finish, when he finally stopped playing flop shots and committed to low chips instead, a must at Open courses. He could break through to win, but I suspect he will finish in the top 15.

Ernie Els: Past champion with seven top-6 finishes in Open. He has had a down year, but I think he will rise to the occasion at one of his favorite courses. A definite threat to win if he gets it going, I predict a top 10 finish.

Tiger Woods: Won the last Open at St. Andrews in record fashion. His weakness is driving accuracy, but the fairways at St. Andrews are twice the width of normal courses. Jack Nicklaus says goodbye to the Open this weekend, and Tiger has won at Jack's farewell to the other three majors. He is my pick to win.


Michelle Wie Advances

Teenage phenom Michelle Wie won her opening match over Will Claxton at the US Amateur Public Links golf tournament. Wie (#55 seed) beat Claxton (#10 seed) with a birdie on the final hole. Claxton was a quarter-finalist last year, so this was a big win for Wie.

The original field of 156 golfers was cut to 64 for match play, and now 32 golfers are still alive after the first round of matches. Wie needs to win five more matches to win the championship, which traditionally brings an invitation to The Masters.


Boo Hoo, Paris

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe has accused London of not playing fairly in its successful bid for the 2012 summer Olympics. Going further, Delanoe said Paris would not be a candidate for the 2016 summer games.

Perhaps Delanoe was in over his head if he thought the IOC's decision would be made purely on the merits of each city.


Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

In 1988, I had the opportunity to meet Roger Boisjoly, the Morton Thiokol engineer who tried to stop the launch of Challenger on January 28, 1986. I was in engineering graduate school at NC State at the time, and Roger spoke to an engineering group in Raleigh.

Roger told me he had been in a video conference the night before the launch. He argued passionately to delay the launch, as the forecasted low temperatures would make the O-rings in the solid rocket booster too brittle to handle launch stresses safely. NASA management and government officials finally agreed to delay the launch.

When Roger arrived at work the next morning to find coworkers watching the pending launch on television, he walked to his office, put his head on his desk and cried. He was not positive that Challenger would explode, but he knew NASA was taking an unacceptable risk with seven lives and a billion dollar piece of machinery.

After the explosion, Morton Thiokol attempted to silence Roger by transferring him to a position with no duties and an empty office. There was not sufficient whistle blower protection for him to speak out. After a year of boredom and internal strife, he resigned from Morton Thiokol. He has spoken publicly about Challenger, lessons learned, and ethics in general ever since then.

I was fortunate to know many of our country's pioneering aerospace engineers when I was at NC State. These men were instrumental in our country's development of rockets, orbiters, and the space shuttle. They also believed in honesty, humility, and protection of citizens' safety. I can only hope that today's aerospace engineering leaders feel the same way.


Space Shuttle Launch

A good friend from Jacksonville, FL was in town two weeks ago. He is an executive with a major NASA contractor, so we talked about today's space shuttle launch over breakfast. He had visited the shuttle two days before we got together, so we had a pretty interesting conversation.

He was able to enter the orbiter during his visit, and he confirms it is a very tight space. He also said that there are seven baskets on zip lines right beside the shuttle, so the astronauts can escape to the ground in case of serious trouble right before a scheduled launch.

His company developed a system to pump one million gallons of water into the shuttle just before lift off. As the solid rocket booster fires, the water removes much of the heat by converting to steam, then their system evacuates all that steam just before the shuttle lifts off the launching pad. That is the white plume you see coming from the bottom of the shuttle. His company is also responsible for the launching pad and elevator/bridge that allows the astronauts to get in the shuttle.

He mentioned that the government's internal safety review was less than stellar, as NASA continues to allow many items deemed non-critical to vary from design. As I recall, NASA also previously deemed low temperatures in 1986 and a loss of foam insulation in 2003 non-critical.

I hope that today's scheduled launch sends these astronauts safely into space and that there return is just as smooth.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Greensboro Service Clubs

The Summary Judgment (unposted) in today's News & Record has a curious note about traditional service clubs. They cite Rotary and the Jaycees as examples of clubs whose participation is dropping. That is true of the Jaycees, but not of Rotary.

Over the past two decades, Greensboro has added five new Rotary clubs, and two of those have chartered in the past four years. Even more positive is that the average age of Rotarians in Greensboro has dropped during that time, ensuring a strong future for area Rotary clubs.

Blogging angle: There are at least a half dozen blogging Rotarians in Greensboro.


Eric Collins On Weekend Edition

The News & Record's Eric Collins appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition on Saturday to discuss the issue of what constitutes holy scriptures for the purpose of courtroom oaths. He acquitted himself well talking about an issue that could become more national in scope.


New York Trip

Kristen and I went to New York for a quick trip over the weekend. We did all of our moving about by foot, subway, and bus. Since the security threat was elevated for mass transit systems after the London bombing, I thought we might notice something different on NY's subways and buses, but that was not the case.

The only new measures I noticed were a few extra police in major subway stations and a recording on the subway advising people not to mess with unattended bags. I did see a canine unit and a police officer with a shotgun over his soldier yesterday at LaGuardia. That could have been a response to a specific situation or a new defensive measure.

NY seemed pretty much business as usual to me.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Men In Coats

Men In Coats - Click over and see a funny, if hard to describe video (via my uncle Marshall).


Big Link

This week's Big Link is Ramblin' Prose. Herb and Susan have been blogging for three years, covering everything from insights about their family to podcasting. Give them a click, and I bet you will keep going back for more.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Off To New York

The first time Kristen and I went to New York together was the day after TWA 800 went down. At that point, it was suspected that a bomb brought that plane down, and security at LaGuardia was very tight. I ripped a tag off a checked bag and was immediately confronted by an officer. Things had changed there overnight.

We are flying to New York in the morning, so I wonder if we will notice any differences only one day after the London bombings. The threat level for mass transit systems has been raised to orange (high), but we still plan to take a bus or sub/bus combo from LaGuardia to Midtown. We are tired of bickering with cabbies trying to screw us as soon as they hear southern accents.

We will also see our good friend Paola, who is a longtime NYC resident. She will be able to lend some perspective to what we see. I will report my observations when we get back.


London Explosion Map

Sue has posted a detailed map of the explosion sites in London. For those of you who have spent time in that great city, you will understand exactly where the terrorists made their hits today.


Damn Yankees - Part 2

Kristen and I had tickets for a game at Yankee Stadium last September. A week before the game was to be played, the Yankees decided to play the game three days earlier than scheduled, well before we would be in New York. They told me we could use our tickets for that game played earlier - a big help sitting in Greensboro.

After some begging by telephone and three more service charges (that is a total of six for those of you keeping score at home), we were able to exchange those useless tickets for the Yankees game against Cleveland tomorrow night.

So, we should be in good shape to see the game, right? Perhaps not.

The storm formerly known as Cindy is due to arrive in New York around the same timer we are. That should wash out the game and since we are flying with USAirways on a plane that resembles a tube sock with wings, the flight should be a delight, too.

Do you think it is possible the Yankees organization knows my heart really belongs to these guys?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Talking Flag

Yesterday Ed Cone found himself called out in the News & Record by a talking flag, of all things. Ed provided a thoughtful and measured response that I thought would end that particular discussion. Instead, he has over 50 comments (none from the flag) on the topic.

It turns out that Ed and the flag's owner, Ed Crothers, have a history that dates back to childhood. Maybe while Ed Crothers was busy getting worked up about his lunch box, he should have attended a few classes with Ed Cone, perhaps one like critical thinking.


Judith Miller Jailed

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. ordered New York Times reporter Judith Miller jailed today after Miller refused to divulge her sources in her investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's name. At the same hearing, Time reporter Matthew Cooper today agreed to testify before the federal grand jury looking into the leaks, after previously declining to do so.

Jailing Miller is bound to have a chilling effect on journalists across the country, some of whom rely on confidential sources routinely. My guess is that chilling effect is exactly what the judge wants.

The most curious part of this whole ordeal is that Robert Novak has been exempted from all court proceedings so far, despite the fact he named the operative in a column, citing two senior Bush administration officials. It seems that a few questions for Novak in front of the grand jury would be in order.

As the judge and prosecutor spread their love to Time, The New York Times, and its reporters, it is hard not to notice that Novak is getting a free pass. It is also hard not to deduce that his strong support of President Bush plays a role in that free pass.


London in 2012

London has been awarded the Summer Olympic games in 2012. I am a bit surprised, as I expected Paris to be the successful city.

Selection of host Olympic is one of the more distasteful, political contests in the world. After five finalist cities are selected, a prolonged period of wining and dining, plus lots of begging and bribing, takes place.

This morning there were four rounds of voting, with the low vote getter eliminated after each round. After Moscow and New York were quickly eliminated in the first two rounds, with Madrid the leading city after the second round. New York was never seriously considered, as they had difficulty gaining approval for a new stadium and the Bush campaign refused to pull campaign ads that used unauthorized images of the Iraqi soccer team.

Paris and London supporters were able to convert supporters of Moscow and New York to their view, and Madrid was eliminated in a surprise third round vote. Then London edged Paris 54-50 in the final vote. I can not imagine the number of IOU's issued and called during the last two rounds of voting.

What I keep wondering is how London, a city so steeped in preservation of its history, will integrate all the Olympic venues into its landscape without them looking out of place.


Jack Nicklaus Is In The Money

Jack Nicklaus' face will appear on a new 5-pound Scottish note that the Royal Bank of Scotland will issue next week. He will be only the third living person, and first non-Royal, to receive this honor.

Like Bobby Jones before him, Nicklaus connected with the Scottish people by approaching golf with humility and reverence for the game that started in their country.

Three of Nicklaus' 20 major championships were British Open titles won in Scotland. The debut of the new currency will coincide with Nicklaus' final appearance at the Open championship next weekend.


Rhino Blues

Last week's YES! Weekly covered the exodus of employees from the Rhinoceros Club about three weeks ago. The former employees claim they left after their repeated requests for back pay were ignored.

The Rhino was a great club for a long time, and I enjoyed a membership there for many years. Members were issued keys to unlock the bar's front door, and they were almost always greeted warmly by owner John Rudy (now the owner of Cafe Europa).

I still recall a January night over a decade ago when I entered the club with my key, only to be accosted by the new owner or manager. He demanded proof I was a member, as if opening a locked door with a member-issued key was not a big enough clue.

After a couple more bad experiences at the Rhino, I turned in my key and never returned. It was clear things that a great bar was in decline, and the new sheriff in town was an asshole.


WZTK's Birthday

WZTK is one year old today.

The station has been a nice addition to Triad radio, and the strong FM signal distinguishes it from most of its talk radio competition. I am a longtime fan of Brad Krantz, and I have come to appreciate Britt Whitmire, too. Now if we could just get WZTK to upgrade from that moron Michael Savage...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Das Barbecü

Triad Stage is wrapping up its fourth season with a unique comedy-musical called Das Barbecü. With only five actors playing over a two dozen roles, this is a lively and entertaining show.

Das Barbecü is loosely adapted from Wagner's Ring Cycle, but this show turns Wagner on his head, employing a narcoleptic dwarf among other unusual characters to tell the story. The show only runs through the end of this week.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Kristen and I rarely see movies during their initial run, as we have a two year old daughter. We wait and watch films when they become available on DVD. Last night we saw the fine film Hotel Rwanda.

The movie documents the extraordinary and true story of one man's resourcefulness and bravery during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. This man personally saved over 1,000 citizens who were about to be slaughtered. Time had faded some of my memory of this massacre, but the movie walked a did a good job of portraying the horrors of that time without getting too gory to watch.

The United Nations and United States for the most part sat on the sidelines and watched this genocide take place. My recollection is that the US had just withdrawn from Somalia, and the citizens and leadership had little desire to initiate another peace establishing invasion. In retrospect, I think most citizens would agree it was a mistake not to intervene while one million Rwandans were murdered.

Don Cheadle is one of the best actors working, and he gave a stunning performance in this film as Paul Rusesabagina. So did Sophie Okonedo as Paul's wife Tatiana. Both were worthy Oscar nominees.

If you have not seen the film, please consider watching it. There are important lessons to be learned by our past mistakes.



Golfers are notorious for talking about what they could have scored instead of what they did shoot. It is sort of like the big one that got away for fishermen.

Last week I indulged myself a bit and described a round where my ball striking was great, but I made literally no putts and shot 71. Today was different.

My ball striking was fine, but not as great as last week. However, my putter was hot and I made five birdies from 2', 14', 25', 30', and 20'. Even though I hit four fewer greens than last week, I shot 69 (-2). It was my first round in the 60's in four years, and it sure felt good.

This is exactly why the PGA tour is largely a putting contest. No matter how well the pros hit the ball, they have to putt well go low.


Jinni's Journal

Jinni Hoggard's latest installment of her journal appears in today's News & Record. Jinni continues to write about her cancer and its treatment honestly and bravely. She is helping to demystify the process of treating cancer and is doing a real service for current and future patients.


The New York Times On Greensboro Blogging

The New York Times finally ran its story about blogging in Greensboro this morning. You can read it here.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


NASA will attempt to create a crash in space on July 4. They will send a probe carrying a 300 pound copper slug into the projected path of the comet Tempel 1.

If all goes well, the crash will take place just before 2 am EST on Monday, July 4. The aim of this project is to take the top layer of the comet off, revealing material that dates back to the time of planet formations.


Home Fireworks

Maybe you do not want to go downtown Monday night for the fireworks display. That's okay - you can enjoy a display at your desktop by clicking here.


Big Link

This week's Big Link is The Artful Fantasies of Mary Layton. Her blog is new to me, but I see that we share a love of wine. Click on over and say hi to Mary.

Friday, July 01, 2005

One Supreme Down

US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement from the bench. At age 75 and with an ailing husband, this announcement is hardly a surprise.

O'Connor's retirement will set off a storm of Congressional and public debate about her replacement. Her seat represents one of two relatively moderate votes on the Court, so President Bush will have to consider the nominee to replace her very carefully.

In his second term, President Bush has catered to the far right even more than in his first term. He has watched his public support drop, and he has recently been called out by Congressional Republicans on a variety of issues. Does he have the political strength to push a staunch conservative into O'Connor's seat.

I suspect that Congressional Democrats would be more likely to confirm a staunch conservative to replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist, should he retire, than O'Connor. That would be perceived as more of a swap that would not alter the current court's philosophical make up.

Just as it was starting to settle down, the issue of judicial nominee filibusters is going to emerge again, and this confirmation process will dominate the news once it gets into high gear.


Number Nine

Nine years ago today, I formed C.P. Eakes Company. We were lucky to start the company in a boom economy and luckier to survive the down economy of the last four to five years.

As a manufacturing company in the triad, we are part of a dying breed, but we make custom metal items in relatively short time frames. Perhaps that has insulated us a small bit against foreign competitors.

Hopefully, we will be around to celebrate a decade one year from now.

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010