Friday, February 24, 2006

Just Too Damn Sad to Contemplate

From the Raleigh News and Observer:
Chapel Hill -- One UNC-Chapel Hill student is dead and another in critical condition after falling from a third-floor dormitory window early this morning.

Keith Shawn Smith, 20, and Tyler Joseph Ely Downey, 19, were "horsing around" and running down the third-floor hallway of Stacy Residence Hall when they crashed through the window at the end of the building, said university spokeswoman Karen Moon.

Smith, a sophomore resident adviser from Greensboro, died during the early morning hours, Moon said.

What a sorry, tragic waste. And what a frickin' miracle that it doesn't happen more often. After getting over the shock of hearing about it and the tragedy of lives cut short, I couldn't help but think of how incredibly, wonderfully stupid and careless most of us were at that age. And I'm not just talking about when we were looped (and there's absolutely NO indication that alcohol or drugs had ANYTHING to do with the accident last night) - it didn't take being beer-soaked to just not think about the consequences of what we were doing. Or to think about them and convince ourselves that we didn't care. We were bright, funny, witty, smart (I was MUCH smarter about so many things then than I am now), brilliant and dumb. Oh, so horribly dumb. I've known very, very few 20-year-olds that weren't absolutely convinced that they were immortal, except for a couple that were so depressed and so convinced that they were not that they tried to hasten that end. It was a glorious age to be. It wasn't that we didn't know what was going on (hell, the Reagan Revolution was ushered in a month after my 20th birthday) - we just knew that we were bright enough and had enough energy to go fix all the broken stuff. And in many ways, some large and some small, I like to think that we've done some good. Many of the people that I most respected in school are now lawyers, teachers, professors, parents, business people, web designers, musicians and I believe they're all doing things to make the world a better place. Maybe not in the way we envisioned when we were sitting in an open window on the 3rd floor of Dey Hall or walking together across McCorkle Place at 3am on a warm spring night trying not to think about having finals in a couple of weeks, but I know we're doing our part. It's just too fucking sad to think about at least one of these guys not being able to look back 25 years from now on a life well-lived with another half to look forward to.

I'm going to go have a cry now.


Yeah, I should be working but I need a break - it's been a rough couple of weeks. I realized I hadn't posted any photos in awhile, mostly because I haven't TAKEN any photos in awhile, but I got out Sunday and snapped a few just before sunset and rather liked this view of the United Methodist Church steeple backlit by the setting sun, glimpsed between the Battle/Vance/Pettigrew building and the new Hyde Hall. That steeple is one of the defining parts of the Chapel Hill skyline (such as it is) and it's always looked to me the way I think the Old North Church in Boston ("one if by land...") should look but doesn't really.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I said before the season started that this Tar Heel team would be fun to watch. I did NOT envision them being half a game out of second place in the conference and with 18 wins under their belts with a couple of weeks of the season to go. This class was supposed to be like the Jawad Williams-Jackie Manuel-Melvin Scott class - keeping things going for a year until the really big recruiting class came in, then becoming the complimentary players surrounding those guys. I'm glad Hansbrough, Frasor, Green and Ginyard decided not to wait.

But for all the stellar play from the freshmen, it has been the emergence of former role players (or non-players) like Wes Miller, Reyshaun Terry and Byron Sanders that has really been fun to watch. I've always been a fan of Miller and was convinced that he was capable of a lot. What has been surprising has been his ball defense, which has kept Ginyard out of a starting role for now. I NEVER thought Terry would be more than a touch-and-shoot player and to see him become a damn fine rebounder and to actually pass the ball is one of the great stories of the season. And I no longer cringe every time Sanders is in the game - his emergence as a steady defender and occasional scorer from the paint has allowed Hansbrough to get a little rest in even tight games.

Three games to go - UVa and Maryland at home and Duke at Cameron. While we're capable of beating anyone, I wouldn't put money on the Pistons beating Duke on Senior Day at Cameron in Redick and Sheldon Williams' last home game. Maryland and Virginia are both at our place, but our road record is better than home this season and Virginia's already beaten us once. We SHOULD win both, but even just picking up one would give us a 10-6 conference record and almost definitely a 1st round bye in the ACC tournament. Not bad for a rebuilding year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Port Security

One of the commenters on TPMCafe sums up my general view of the possibility of Dubai Ports World taking over the running of a number of US ports. brooksfoe writes:
A major multinational shipping conglomerate owned by the Dubai royal family is not "the Arab world". It's a part of the elite US-Arab oil/transport/ financial nexus which also includes the bin Ladens and the Bushes. The furor over the DPW takeover sends a message not to the Arab world, but to the members of that elite business clique, be they WASP or sheikh: you can't continue to play fecklessly at security issues, whip up anti-Arab prejudice (on this side of the pond) and anti-American/ Zionist fury (on that side of the pond), and still cut your little business deals with each other as if everything was just hunky-dory. Bush has never understood before that xenophobic militarism has consequences, because it's never hit him in his class interests. Now, maybe, he's finally starting to get the picture.
I don't know whether the security risk is higher with a UAE company running the ports than with a British company (although given what we do know about al-Qaeda's ability to infiltrate Middle-Eastern organizations I suspect it is) but this action by the preznit does fly in the face of his "post 9/11" world view and begs the question of why the man who has yet to veto anything in over 5 years would pick THIS issue to feel that strongly about. Might want to look a little more closely at TreasSec John Snow, whose agency approved the deal (and who one suspects made a tidy sum of money prior to this role in a deal with the same UAE company).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Focus on (a very narrow definition of) the Family

From USAToday: Drives to ban gay adoption heat up in 16 states

So the same people that are happy to force women to carry babies to term regardless of any health risk to them or whether they conceived from consensual sex and want to prevent them from even having the tools and techniques to prevent that pregnancy in the first place want to deny those same babies many of the chances they might have for a loving parental relationship.

Iraq, budget deficits, Republican ethics scandals, crazy-eyed Veeps shooting lawyers in the face... Oooh look over there! Gay adoption!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Never Let It Go

I haven't posted on Darth Cheney's attempted avicide since everyone else has. But after unfortunately catching the end of Meet the Press Sunday (hey, I was looking for curling, dammit!) and seeing that wretched Mary Matalin woman calling for the end of the Cheney-bashing, I've decided it's time to start. Tell you what, when the wingnuts stop saying 'Chappaquidick' every time Senator Kennedy's name comes up and when they stop talking about stained dresses and implying that Hil had something to do with Vince Foster's death, I'll stop talking about Big-Time's lousy aim and attempted cover-up.

I was not the only one that saw the horror that was Mary Sunday morning - Arianna Huffington has a rundown of the fellow blogger reaction, including James Wolcott (who was apparently looking for curling too cuz he only saw the last few minutes as well) supplying one of his patented putdowns. JennySlash takes exception to the portrayals by Arianna of Matalin as Maleficent, but only because she is the world's biggest Maleficent fan.

Meme of Fours

mapgirl at Midwest Confidential tagged me with the meme of fours, so here goes:

Four jobs I've had:
Construction worker
Worker at a laminated top company (I may have made your countertop)
Movie theater usher and concessionaire (Eastland Mall Cinemas in Charlotte)
Doorman, booker, co-owner of a night club

Four movies I can watch over and over:
Monty Python and The Holy Grail (seems to be a common answer!)
The Blues Brothers
The Big Sleep (the Bogie version of course)

Four television shows I love to watch:
(I'll take this to be current shows)
My Name is Earl

Four favorite dishes:
Pizza in all of its wonderful varieties
Enchilada-style tempeh burritos from Margaret's Cantina
Anything from Chilli Pepper's in Kill Devil Hills
The veggie quesadilla from the long-gone Papagayo's in Chapel Hill

Four websites I visit daily:
I won't count Google since it's my startpage
Blue Ridge Blog
Durham Morning Herald
Talking Points Memo
(there are many, many more)

Four places I've been on vacation:
Walt Disney World in Orlando
The Outer Banks of NC
Blowing Rock, NC
Washington, DC

Four places I'd rather be:
Tough since I'm living in my favorite place in the world
On a boat in the marina at Shallowbag Bay in Manteo, NC
Riding the Tower of Terror at Disney-MGM Studios
Sitting in the big outdoor hottub at the spa at Grove Park Inn
Key West (never been, but I can't help but think I'd love it)

Four bloggers I'm tagging (not sure who's already done it, so fuggitaboutit if you've already been tagged):
Cindy Lee