What I’m Doing

Posts have been few and far between lately, which should indicate that I’ve been rather busy over the past two months or so.

So what’s been going on?


Driving, mostly. I’ve been spending a  lot of time in my car, not just going back and forth to Pittsburgh dealing with the new house, but also to Greensboro, where I’ve been working and interning up a storm. I’m putting in one day a week at UNCG, working on a big digitization project to which I’ll introduce you shortly. I’m also working three days a week at a local museum processing an archival collection centered around a major local historical figure. The latter gig is a grant-funded named internship, which makes it more impressive, right? Either way, I’m enjoying it. It’s a good internship — one where I’m actually learning things rather than just occupying space, making coffee, or otherwise providing slave labor.

What scares me, though, is that I’m starting to think nothing of a daily commute that’s thirty miles each way. Unfortunately, Winston-Salem is not the cultural heritage epicenter of the Piedmont Triad. Given that and all the nasty budget cuts about now, my optimism about local job prospects upon graduation is somewhat lacking.

I assume Borders and Barnes & Noble will be going belly-up soon, though. Maybe my education will at least qualify me for a job at one of their liquidation sales.

A Trivial Little Road Geek Post


While I appreciate the sentiment behind an article like this one, and while the author tries really hard to be a good road geek, I have to point out a couple of things:

  1. I-279 through Pittsburgh, once truncated at the Point, will still fit the definition of a three-digit interstate with an even first digit, which is to say that it will both start and end at other interstate highways (in this case, I-79 to the north, and I-376 to the south).
  2. I-376, once fully extended to the airport, will actually fit the definition of a three-digit interstate with an odd first digit even better than it now does, because it will start at one interstate highway (I-76) but will no longer end at another one. Of course, all bets will be off if plans to further extend it back to I-76 on the west side or to I-80 are ever realized.

Note that even numbers at the beginning usually indicate loops or bypasses, and that odd numbers usually indicate spurs into a city, but the real definition is based on the start and end points.

Sorry. It’s been a rough week. That’s all I’ve got tonight…

Broadcast News

According to some reports I’ve read, as many as one million Americans may have been caught completely unaware by yesterday’s switch from analog to digital television broadcasting.

I think each and every one of them should write a nice, long letter to President Carter to complain about it.

Swindler’s List

Let’s see:

  1. Bilk taxpayers out of $12 million to tear down a neighborhood and build an unneeded baseball stadium downtown? Check.
  2. Rename the team in honor of a punctuation mark (and not even the correct punctuation mark) and create a logo that looks like an angry purple penis? Check.
  3. Mismanage your business to the point where all construction on the stadium stops and contractors are owed almost half a million dollars in back pay? Check.
  4. Use this stellar track record to blackmail the taxpayers into lending you another $16 million so the bulldozed neighborhood, half-built stadium, and surrounding blight don’t hang around for another ten years or so attracting vermin? Check.
  5. Provide actual new stadium and revenue for the city while paying back the loan? Probably not anytime soon.

Who didn’t see this coming? Apparently not our esteemed mayor. But it’s amazing he can see much of anything, what with his head stuffed so far up Billy Prim’s ass and all…

Stadium as Panacea

Watching the city council meeting a few minutes ago, I found Evelyn Terry’s comment that Winston-Salem’s new stadium will somehow bring nothing less than total “social justice” to Winston-Salem very interesting.

And by “interesting,” I mean “idiotic.”

Also amusing were Dan Besse’s line of questioning — essentially nothing but a pointed attempt to have the city manager restate “for the record” all the very comforting assurances he’d just made in his report about how no tax money would be involved, how backing out would ultimately be “more expensive”, etc. — and Vivian Burke’s self-righteous scolding of all dissenters for “speaking negatively.” It was lovely the way they all managed to congratulate themsleves for their handling of the issue, though.

Of course, the bailout passed unanimously. As the mayor, entire council, the Journal, and damned near everyone else in the city’s power structure had been calling it “inevitable” since it was first announced, I had no illusion that there would be any actual deliberation.

Father’s Day 2009


It’s a minor miracle. For the first time in recent memory, I was able to find my dad a father’s day present that he not only liked, but actually got sort of excited about. You see, my dad is not just difficult to shop for; he’s damned near impossible. He has almost no hobbies, and when he says “don’t get me anything,” I think he really means it.


This year, though, I came up with something really unusual. Since I’m working temporarily in a museum where many city archives have landed, I was able — OK, my boss was able — to find a large photo of the entire 1950 Greensboro Fire Department, with captions identifying everyone in the department, including my dad, who was in his second (and final) year there at the time. He really liked it and was really excited about it, and is planning to take it to show all his friends, etc. It was one of those rare moments when I actually felt like I’d done something kind of cool for my dad. It was nice.

Don’t forget to call your own dad today, if he’s still around.


The new Pittsburgh Magazine has a blurb about an upcoming Kid Rock show where he’s described as an “Alternative/Southern rocker”. Ahem. I’ll ignore the fact that he’s actually from Michigan, but using the term “alternative” to describe Kid Rock is a little like calling Wal-Mart an exclusive boutique. Kid Rock is about as mainstream (not to mention talentless, irritating, boring…) as it gets.

But I guess that’s pretty much true of just about everything that labels itself “alternative” nowadays. I’m a middle-aged guy who doesn’t really even follow new music all that closely anymore. If someone like me has heard of every act in Billboard’s “Top Ten Alternative” chart, there is absolutely nothing alternative about it. Yes, I understand that there are actual alternatives to “alternative” but I’m talking about the genre which is now little more than a marketing term and pretty much consists of three types of music:

  1. Over-aggressive metal-inspired schlock that is more or less the same crap Korn was doing badly more than a decade ago,
  2. White trash rap-funk-metal that pales in comparison to what the Red Hot Chili Peppers were doing two decades ago, and,
  3. Bland rehashes of the Foo Fighters (and I include the actual Foo Fighters in this group as well, since they now sound pretty much like a bland rehash of themselves).

Anyway, as long as I’m ranting on pop culture, here are three more thoughts:

  • If your radio station plays a jingle that goes “cool songs in the morning on K-104.7” and then follows it with, say, “Faith” by George Michael, people are bound to ask “What’s wrong with this picture?”
  • There is no such thing as a “gas saving SUV” and no radio commercial will ever convince me otherwise.
  • Unless they go on a shooting spree, Jon and Kate will never be newsworthy*. Neither will Perez Hilton. And that’s good.

*Yes, I’m admitting here that about two weeks ago, until we both read Leonard Pitts’ column on the subject**, neither the hubby nor I had a clue who the fuck Jon and Kate were as they glared at us from tabloids in the supermarket.

**I’m also admitting here that Leonard Pitts is kind of my favorite newspaper columnist these days. But that’s off-topic.