Thursday, July 14, 2005

Scary, Scary Sh*t

Short version of this story is that between 5:30 and 6:00pm Sunday, some poor dude got beaten up and sodomized "with a plastic object" in an alley behind the main drag of Franklin Street by what he descrived as "five men ... black, about 19 or 20 years old, and all of them were wearing white T-shirts and red scarves". So far as of yet, the police don't have any suspects or motives. Poor guy crawled up to Franklin Street and called 911 at 6:00pm.

Uh, I walked out of Woody's on Franklin Street about 6:10pm, less than a block away, after JennySlash called my cell because her church service let out early (yeah
, she goes to Sunday evening services and I "worship" a couple of pints at the sports bar). She was looking down my way when she called and asked me what all the police cars and EMS vehicles were doing behind me - I hadn't even noticed them when I walked out to meet her.

Besides obviously feeling bad for the guy this happened to (he's still in the hospital) this whole thing feels really weird to me. It's not like Franklin Street is deserted on Sunday evenings in the summer, but it's also not so crowded that 5 young men all wearing white t's and identical do-rags wouldn't get noticed, particularly with all the press coverage of how that's supposedly a Durham gang uniform. I can see how the act itself might have gone unwitnessed given the location of the attack, but I'm having trouble with no one saying that they saw these guys either before or after. Something happened to this guy - there's no doubt about that. And it may have gone down exactly the way he said. But I gotta think that there's more to the story than we've heard so far.

Regardless, I'm gonna watch my back. I've never bought into the Chamber of Commerce/UNC smokescreen they used for years to make everyone think that crime just didn't happen in Chapel Hill. I think the townies have even stopped trying now after some of the high-profile shit that's gone down around here over the last ten years or so (and as much as we'd like to joke about all the bad stuff driving over from Durham, a lot of it has been homegrown). This is bad stuff and you'd better bet that the police department is under ALL kinds of pressure to put this one to bed in a damn hurry. In the meantime, like I said, I'm watching my back.

Potterlypse Now

I try not to reprint other people's stuff in total and link to them instead. However this one is short, it's a blog comment and it struck me very funny, so I'm appropriating (but not without proper cites). In Brad DeLong's blog entry titled "Airlifting Harry Potter Copies in by Chopper..." about a NYTimes article on the problem with this Harry Potter book being released during the height of summer camp season, ajay had this to say:

The title of this post, combined with a recent viewing of the USO bunny show scene in 'Apocalypse Now', produced a very strange image in my head...

Scene 253. EXT. NIGHT.
The Huey is mobbed by screaming nine-to-thirteen-year-olds desperate for signed first editions. Order breaks down; the camp counselors beat them back with clubs while the Huey takes off. Two children hang on to the skids before dropping off into the river.

WILLARD: (v/o) There weren't too many high-profile book launch parties for Charlie. He was dug in too deep or moving too fast. The only literary benefit he got was a secondhand Penguin copy of 'Oliver Twist' with the covers missing...

Perfect visuals - I'm still chuckling...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

President Clinton II

There's a semi-interesting discussion on the Political Animal blog about whether Hil could be elected in 2008. I say semi-interesting partly because there's a lot of silliness there but also because in reading some of the comments that echo my thoughts of a few months ago, I'm starting to realize that they are, and I was, wrong. At least so I think today.

The gist is that if she wants it, Hillary can get the Democratic nomination without a lot of struggle. What happens next is what is in debate. Now I like the theory that the mere fact of a Hil nomination would prompt sudden heart attacks from apoplexy from enough Rush-heads that the election would shift to the left. But I somehow doubt that would happen (a boy can dream, can't he?). On the other hand, the notion that Hil is despised so deeply and by so many people on the right that she doesn't stand a chance is, I think, missing a major point. Her hubby was probably the most reviled major political figure that I can remember with the possible exception of Nixon. Yet he was elected twice (despite a smear campaign waged by the media even before his election - don't think that the MSM as right-wing spin machine started in 2000) and had popularity numbers that put Chimpy McSmirksalot's to shame - they actually went UP towards the end of his term AFTER the right-wing impeachment circus. I see no reason why Hil couldn't do the same - and man-o-man, I would love to see the Big Man back out on the campaign trail again!

So despite my misgivings back at the end of last year, I'm starting to think that lining up behind Ms. Clinton is not a bad move. We're a long, long, LONG way away from picking a candidate but don't discount her.

Parents May Be Smarter Than You Think

When I was 5 years old, I was convinced that my parents knew all that there was to know in the world. By the time I was 15, I was sure that due to my vast intellect and superior education I was quickly catching up and that within a few years, say after a couple of years at UNC, I would leave them far behind. At 25 (when they were around the age I am now), I realized what an insufferable punk I must have been at 15. Closing in on 45, I'm quite comfortable with knowing that I know a bunch of stuff that my folks don't, but they know a bunch of stuff that I don't and never will and they continue to add to that knowledge by leaps and bounds.

I know far more movie, television and modern-era music trivia than both of my parents put together (except for stuff like Jerry Springer and Montel Williams, which Dad knows far more about than I) and I rather surprised Mom a few weeks ago with being able to tell her within +/- 500 feet or so the heights of Mts. Everest, McKinley, Rainier and Shasta without looking them up (okay, I was off by closer to 1000 feet with McKinley). On the other hand, Dad was able to identify the Common Chokecherry in our backyard from a grainy photo I posted (I was really hoping it was a Crunchberry instead) and Mom was able to ID the Slippery Elm in the yard as well as tell me that the damn birds making a racket in our backyard every morning like that of a hundred demented beagle puppies destroying their squeaky toys were in fact Black and White Warblers. And on our trip to Duke Gardens my question about what kind of sickly-sounding duck that was that we were hearing was met with a look of mild disbelief at my ignorance before Mom pointed out that it was in fact a Fish Crow. Who knew there was more than one kind of crow? And what idiot named it a Fish Crow instead of say... a Sickly-sounding Duck Crow? But I digress.

Actually, I'm not sure I'm digressing because I'm not really sure that I had a point other than I think I realized that it's cool that I'm never going to be as smart as my parents and it's equally cool that they're never going to be as smart as me.

Outward Bound

PC has posted his journal notes from his recent experience at Outward Bound in western NC and I'm green with envy. That's one of those things that "I've always wanted to do" (at least if 'always' goes back as far as when my buddies from Governor's School that won Morehead Scholarships went to OB during their first summer in college). Depending on your own prejudices, you'll read PC's tale and either understand exactly why I'm jealous or you'll think me nutty for wanting to go and him nuttier for actually having done it.

But now at least you know what to get me for my birthday - a session at Outward Bound. Oh, and an I Was Touched By His Noodly Appendage t-shirt. More pirates = lower global temperatures... arrggh!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Minor-League Mascots

I love minor league baseball and I love minor league baseball mascots most of all. The Savannah Sand Gnats! The Greensboro Grasshoppers! The Augusta Greenjackets (get it?)! But my all-time favorite mascot now is "Slugger", the mascot of the Coastal Plain League's Wilson Tobs. Tobs, as in Tobacco. Yes, Slugger is in fact a large green pantomime Tobacco Worm.

Somehow you just know they've got to find a way to do a promotion where kids get to bite his head off.

The New GnR

The new Greensboro News and Record on-line presence that Lex has been laboring over for so long is finally up! First impression - looks good, reasonably easy to navigate, felt a little slow this afternoon but much more responsive tonight. Unfortunately some of the interactive features haven't been turned on quite yet, but it sounds like that's coming soon. I say "unfortunately" but I gotta say that the online responses to the "Letters to the Editor" do make me sometimes long for the old days when I knew that the letters were eliciting idiotic backlash in the privacy of people's homes but for the most part they didn't display their dumbassity for all to see. On the other hand, the more they rant, maybe the more they will be shown as the asshats that they are.

I'd give it a B+ for now and I'll be happy to revise that once some of the features like user comments to stories are turned on. And a big ole A for effort!

More good Cat's Cradle shows!

I just printed out two tickets for the Knitters show August 16!!!!! Can you believe the Knitters are coming to Chapel Hill?

What do you mean you've never heard of the Knitters!?!? 1985? X offshoot? Poor Little Critter in the Road? Exene Cervenka? John Doe? Dave Alvin?

Okay so either you know about the Knitters and are as excited as I am or you don't have any idea what I'm talking about, which I suppose is cool too. If you fall into the latter category, the Knitters were an alter-ego for X, with Dave Alvin replacing X's Billy Zoom on guitar (which he later did with X too). Country, twangy covers, including some countrified covers of X and Blasters material - it was awesome! They only did one single solitary album call Poor Little Critter in the Road. At least until now. I found out just a few days ago that after 20 years, there's a new Knitters disk coming out (tomorrow, to be exact) and then yesterday saw the update to the Cradle calendar. I'm pumped. JennySlash is pumped. You should be too.

I had the opportunity to see X at the Pier in Raleigh in the early 80's (with Lex, as a matter of fact) and it remains one of the top 5 club shows I've ever seen. This is going to freaking kill!