June 2006 Archives

The Ongoing Saga Of Long Beach Pier

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Back in January, I discussed the sad demise of Long Beach Pier, one of the three fishing piers on Oak Island. At the time, they were planning on subdividing the beachfront property into eight lots for single-family homes:

The business sits on nine oceanfront lots and, at this point, there are eight residences planned, [real estate agent Libba] Motsinger said. One of the lots doesn’t perk, so three lots may be used to build two homes on part of the property, she explained.

Interesting thing: if you pick up a flier from the information box in front of the lots, you will find nine lots listed for sale (at prices from $1.1M to $1.5M).

Gee, I wonder what happened?

And incidentally, there's still nothing stopping one developer from buying all eight nine lots and building condos there.


VeloNews' Patrick O'Grady had a column today bemoaning the state of cycling in general after today's breaking doping scandal. The whole thing is worth a read, but this excerpt evokes Hunter S. Thompson at his best:

Same goes for cycling. It's not enough that Joe Pro be able to climb La Toussuire faster than we mere mortals - he has to do it in the big ring, after the Col du Galibier, the Col de la Croix de Fer and the Col du Mollard, with three broken bones, a cerebral aneurysm and a bunch of fellow medical mutants chasing him like he stole their stashes.


And speaking of my nephews, they quickly developed a code scheme for discussing women like boats, prompting statements like

Quite a set of pontoons on that boat there.
and (for hot jailbait)
Excellent superstructure, but I don't think she's seen enough seasons on the water yet.
but I claimed first prize with
That is one fine stern - I bet it would stand up to hours of pounding in heavy surf.

My wife's two nephews and the younger nephew's wife shared the house with us the first week (yes, my wife has adult nephews; her two brothers are (I think) 15 and 17 years older than she is). Anyway, Jeff took a deep-sea fishing trip on a headboat, going about 16 miles out. The water, though it looked pretty smooth from shore, featured 8-to-10-foot swells, and some people reacted worse to it than others. For instance, the 60ish guy who spent the entire two hour trip out puking into a bucket thoughtfully provided by one of the ship's mates.

That would have been bad enough, but it seemed that he insisted on a very vocal warmup for each spasm, and of course after the first fifteen minutes it's all dry heaves anyway, so it ended up sounding like "HuuuuuAAAAAAACKKKKKKKchk" about every thirty seconds. Lovely trip, and Jeff didn't even catch anything worth keeping.

So as he's explaining this to us upon his return, his brother Jim pointed out

Hey, you were outside the 12-mile limit. International waters - anything goes! You should have dumped the guy over the side!
and I added
'Ding! The captain has turned off the "U.S. Jurisdiction" light. You may move freely about the cabin and do whatever the hell you want, as long as it doesn't piss off the captain.'

After some more discussion, we came to the conclusion that dumping Sir Pukes-a-lot into the ocean would have been a bad move under the "don't piss off the captain" clause. Something about witnesses and lawsuits.

Update: Ehhhhhh, I guess not.

You're Not Cleared For That

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The following events took place on Thursday, June 14.

I saw the local Coast Guard station's Defender-class boat go flying by the house several times - and the Water Rescue folks too - but I was never able to learn anything about what they were doing (hint: if you want to know what's really going on in a tourist island town, talk to the people who work at the fishing piers - they know everything).

Maybe it's all evil Government/space alien/corporate conspiracy crap, and Surface is really a documentary, and the alien/ancient/cloned/genetically engineered whateverthehellitis just ate somebody else.


Fundamentalist Islamic society has a completely different operating definition of 'freedom' than Western society does, and I think it can be summed up as 'freedom from' as opposed to 'freedom to.' I came to this conclusion after hearing the umpteenth Muslim woman say that wearing the veil/hijab/burkha was liberating because it gave them the ability to go out in public without unwanted male attention. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that Islam frees its practitioners from having to make a lot of decisions in general, given the large number of specifically prescribed/forbidden actions in the Koran and ahadith.

In fact, their interpretation of 'freedom' is so different from mine that it bothers me they use the same word. I think I'll go riot and demand some beheadings.

Hahhy Fwithay, Eryothy!

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I gave blood yesterday. I forgot my water bottle for my workout this morning.

These two seemingly unrelated facts probably explain why, no matter how much water I drink now, I can't get my tongue to unstick from the roof of my mouth.

Hola Alberto, Madrechinga

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The following post was written on Wednesday, June 14.

At this moment (11:15 AM), we're getting sun showers. Of course, with the wind from the southwest at 45MPH, that sprinkle feels like a thousand hot needles.

Naturally, we're out walking on the beach.

flower_goddess found an honest-to-God sand dollar, virtually unknown outside of its normal habitat of souvenir stands and t-shirt shops. Getting wind-driven sand embedded behind her ears was a small price to pay for such an exquisite find.

The Ocean Always Has The Last Word

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I'll be posting things I wrote - in actual pencil, on actual paper - on vacation. Until they perfect the brain-to-Internet-ultra-WiFi interface, there's really no way around it.

The following post was written on Monday, June 12.

I'm not going to say the ocean kicked my ass while bodyboarding yesterday, but...

  • ...I had one run where I started out riding my board and finished with my board riding me.
  • ...I did my best impersonation of a dredge with my face.
  • ...I did my second-best impersonation with my suit.
  • ...I learned that the ocean does not like it when you give a victory whoop after catching a wave just right, and that it has ways of punishing you immediately (hint: it involves your mouth, still open with the whooping).

I rarely bothered to look at the weather forecast while on vacation (except when Alberto came through) since I was fairly certain it would be

  • Sun: hot
  • Water: warm
  • Breeze: cool
  • Beer: cold
with a chance of afternoon thundershowers.

Can I Get A 'Hallelujah?'

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Also courtesy of yesterday's Bob & Tom: a story about a ministry that takes Jesus' message of 'go to where the sinners are' pretty dang seriously:

One of the hottest items at this weekend's Erotica L-A pornography show is a Bible with a cover that says "Jesus Loves Porn Stars."

The Reverend J.R. Mahon (man) of Triple-X Church-dot-com says his anti-porn ministry handed out its entire stock of 33-hundred Bibles on the first day of the three-day show.
Well, of course they did - that way they could close up the booth early and enjoy the other two days like everybody else!

One of the weirdnesses about the whole Barry Bonds saga is that BALCO founder Victor Conte used to be the bassist for soul band Tower of Power.

On Bob & Tom yesterday, Bill Scheft (head writer for Letterman) said

...but when he first joined the group, they were known as 'Tower of Singles Hitters.'


I am now 0-for-11 on Pepsi Smash caps.

"1 in 3 gets a ringtone," my ass.


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Also seen on the drive home yesterday, especially in the first two hours: about fifty minivans with cartop carriers. Of course, they're all headed for my island (in my mind, with apologies to James Taylor), so I have this Public Service Announcement for them:


Seen on the 13-plus-hour drive home yesterday: a car sporting a Jesus fish...

...and a Dead Head sticker.

Cliches Come To Life, NASCAR Style

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Back in one piece, much more later. Right now I'm watching the NASCAR road race, which featured a first-lap crash that took out four cars. There's a joke here about forcing NASCAR drivers to make right turns, but I'll let somebody else make it.

Update that I swear I'm not making up: one of the drivers just told his pit crew that his car doesn't want to turn right.

On vacation until June 25th. I might post in the meantime, but probably not. Comments and trackbacks are off, even though it looks like they're still on.

Feel free to follow along and rage at my good weather (or mock me if it's crappy):

Click for Oak Island, North Carolina Forecast

False Dichotomy

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I read in several places that Brian Bilbray's narrow victory over Francine Busby in a special election to replace ousted Congressional scumbag Duke Cunningham was a bullet dodged by the GOP, and that the closeness of the election in a thought-to-be-solidly-Republican district was a bad sign for Republicans in general in November.

Did it occur to anybody that there was an additional factor at play in this election that won't be in effect in November - that there might be some resistance in this particular district to replace this particular disgraced Congresschmuck with somebody else from the same party?


I don't know which was more surprising - the fact that we finally got al-Zarqawi or the fact that al-Guardian actually used the t-word in reference to him:

The most wanted terrorist in Iraq, blamed for personally beheading British hostage Ken Bigley, was killed in a US air strike after weeks of surveillance, coalition forces have revealed. [emphasis added]

There are ways to suppress the sound of a pistol shot. However, none of them involve a potato:

Experts say using a spud as a silencer is urban myth -- but that didn't deter Shane Thompson.

During a domestic dispute, Thompson carved a hole in a potato with a spoon, stuck the barrel of his gun inside and threatened to shoot the mother of his child, Miami-Dade police said Friday.

. . .

The vegetable, while rich in carbs, does not make an effective silencer, police say.

The myth dates back to mob murders of the 1920s and has persisted through movies and word of mouth.

''It was fine in Dick Tracy, but in real life, it's not true,'' said Miami-Dade Sgt. Bob Hoelscher, a longtime firearms technician who is not involved in the case.
Too bad this didn't happen in Pennsylvania - maybe Thompson could get a cell next to McArthur 'Juice' Wheeler (from my favorite psychological study):
In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o'clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. "But I wore the juice," he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one's face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras ( Fuocco, 1996 ).

Today's White Trash Public Service Announcement

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White Trash Wednesday

A well-established trait of White Trashers is the belief that safety warnings are for other people. Sure, they can go a bit overcautious sometimes and be a bit nonsensical at other times (not to mention that making them is hard goddam work), but most of us can tell the difference between warnings we can ignore and warnings we need to pay attention to.

But some folks have difficulty with a warning such as DO NOT REACH UNDER MOWER WHILE RUNNING:

A Plantation man who was mowing his lawn this morning accidentally cut off his hand in the process, officials said.

The man, who lives behind the Jacaranda Golf Club in the 9600 block of Conch Shell Manor, was taken to Broward General Medical Center on trauma alert, said Joel Gordon, spokesman for the Plantation Fire Department.

It's White Trash Wednesday! Take the whole tour:


Just what we need - more stupidity in Fort Wayne. This guy needs to decide whether he's a con man or a purse-snatcher, because he apparently lacks the multitasking skills necessary to do both at once:

With her generosity, a Fort Wayne woman saved her wallet and money from a robber Sunday night.

Ammie Betchtold was walking to a grocery store on Bluffton Road on Sunday night when a man approached her and asked for money for gasoline, according to a police report.

Betchtold pulled her wallet out of her purse to give the man a dollar. At that point, the man swore at her, told her not to move and grabbed her purse. The man then got into his black minivan and drove away, leaving Betchtold standing in the parking lot, wallet in hand, according to the report.

She told police her money, credit card, bank cards and identification were all in her wallet, according to the report. The only things stolen were her house keys and paperwork.
So now the question is whether the robber will recognize that he now has the keys to the victim's house before she changes the locks. I'm betting on the victim.

Life Mirrors "First Baptist Bar And Grill"

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Tim Wilson's First Baptist Bar And Grill is about a church that holds services in a bar while its burnt-down edifice is being rebuilt. This Ananova story is about a church converted into a bar - and how the former pastor got thrown out of it:

A minister has been ejected from a nightclub in a former church where he used to preach.

The Rev Bob Brown thought he would be on safe ground collecting for charity in Aberdeen's Soul Bar, reports the Scotsman.

But minutes after getting permission to enter from one member of staff, he was thrown out by a manager who had not been consulted.

Mr Brown, the brother of the former Scotland manager Craig Brown, said: "I thought it was quite ironic that we were asked to leave.

"The old pulpit is still in the building and I used to stand behind it and preach when the building was a church.

And These Are My Brothers, Quasar And Pulsar

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Where do I start? OK, these two Einsteins started out as shoplifters. Then they became vehicular homicide-ers. But no matter what, they can't escape their moronic names:

The driver of the SUV, Tiara Maria Smith, 20, faces two counts of first-degree vehicular homicide, a charge of feticide, running a red light, speeding, riding with an unrestrained child and other traffic offenses, Whitaker said.

Shoplifting charges were also pending, Whitaker said. A store security tape needed to be viewed, he said.

The SUV overturned in the crash, ejecting Nebula McNeely, 42, who was airlifted to a hospital, where she and the 7-year-old were treated, Whitaker said. [emphasis added]

'Nebula McNeely, 42?' Who names their kid that? I didn't think LSD was that widely available in 1964.

And Now We Enter The Sports Wasteland


With the elimination of the Pistons last night, and the Freedom's season dead and buried (now 3-7 after a 52-23 pimp-slapping from Ohio Valley), I now have precisely squat to watch sportswise until NFL camps open. Not that flower_goddess is too torn up about that - she wasn't terribly pleased last year or the year before when I was watching the Pistons in the NBA Finals during our vacation.

A couple of asides:

  • The city that, six weeks ago, had a very strong shot at two pro titles in the same year has come up empty.
  • In my limited NBA-watching opinion, Dwyane Wade is the best player in the league. I'd actually respect him if he didn't whine like a two-year-old every time somebody almost touched him. He must figure he's earned access to the Superstar Rulebook...
  • ...which is one of the reasons I don't watch much NBA. When Shaq can bulldoze guys out of the low post with his ginormous ass, then drop the ball in while his defender is trying to get back onto the court from his second-row seat, and no foul is called, it's clear that Shaq is covered by a different set of rules than Regular Players are.

It appears that my viewing choices are baseball (yawn), the WNBA (double yawn for all that below-the-rim action), the Tour de France (triple yawn without Lance), NASCAR (yawn once per left turn), or the World Cup (non-stop yawning until someone scores).

I guess I'll be able to catch up on my 30-episode backlog of Good Eats.

Super. Fort Wayne (kind of) makes the front page of The Multicolor, with this follow-up to this story:

INDIANAPOLIS — The VanRyn family learned Wednesday that the patient they cared for and prayed for the past five weeks is not their Laura.

Laura, it turns out, is dead.

The young woman in the hospital bed, who suffered head injuries in an April 26 highway accident that killed five people, is Whitney Cerak.

Whitney's family thought they buried her weeks ago.

"We have some hard news to share with you today," the VanRyn family said in a blog at lauravanryn.blogspot.com, where it had been posting updates.

"Our hearts are aching as we have learned that the young woman we have been taking care of over the past five weeks has not been our dear Laura, but instead a fellow Taylor (University) student of hers, Whitney Cerak."
I'm doomed to hell just for what I'm thinking about this case (far far worse than, for example, what I contemplated saying about this accident), so I'll show a modicum of class - just this once, I promise - and limit my comments thusly.

When no family member will identify a body...

Whitney's family never looked at the body recovered from the accident. One sister came to the hospital with the intention of doing so, but ultimately decided against it.
...why the holy Hell didn't the coroner request dental records, do a DNA test, ANYTHING to remove any doubt?

Remember, all it takes to become a county coroner in Indiana is to win an election (and have lived in your county for a year or more). You don't even need to be a doctor. In this case, the coroner wasn't even elected (from the first link):

Mowery, a politician who has been a county sheriff and mayor of the city of Marion, is completing the term of an elected coroner who moved to a different office. Mowery had signed up for a training course offered by the state Coroners Training Board but had not taken it.
You'd certainly think that if you were picking someone to fill out the term of an elected coroner, you'd at least want to get somebody qualified for the job.

But that would be brandishing dangerous logic, wouldn't it?

France: 0wnz0red By Lance AGAIN!


And speaking of pimp-slapping the French, we now learn that not only was certified France-owner Lance Armstrong clean when he first won the Tour de Lance in 1999, the French national doping lab was up to something fishy when it 'leaked' documents and urine samples allegedly implicating Armstrong to the French sports newspaper L'Equipe (in English: "The Eunuch"):

Dutch investigators cleared Lance Armstrong of doping in the 1999 Tour de France yesterday and blamed the World Anti-Doping Agency for misconduct in dealing with him.

A 132-page report recommended convening a tribunal to discuss possible legal and ethical violations by WADA and to consider "appropriate sanctions to remedy the violations."


You Can't Handle The Ted!

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Last year, I wrote about Ted Nugent's appearance on Bob & Tom, where he discussed his USO trip to Fallujah with Toby Keith. Well, Uncle Ted's back in the news again; this time, he did an interview for (London's) The Independent. Why is this significant? Here's one reason:

He rarely gives interviews to the British press; the last time he did, some years ago, he managed what is possibly the most extraordinary achievement of his remarkable career - proving too right-wing for the Daily Telegraph.

Ted is quotable as always, as evidenced by

"And I visited Saddam Hussein's master war room. It was a glorious moment. It looked like something out of Star Wars. I saw his gold toilet. I shit in his bidet."
This was the night, Nugent recalls, when he received "the pivotal confirmation of my musical touch and my life overall. The mighty funk brother God of Thunder [Benny Benjamin, drummer for Motown house band The Funk Brothers] told me: 'Boy, keep playing like that and you'z gonna be a [deleted - starts with 'n'] when ya grows up.'"
He mounts an interesting defence of English foxhunting. "So, they're pompous little prima donnas. So what? I say, go wild. Fox hunting may not be weird enough. Get the kings and the princes. Abolish royalty, rather than criticise some broker from Surrey who likes dressing up like a prick."
"You wrote a song called 'Dog Eat Dog'. You see the world like that. But we're not dogs - that's the trouble."

"Remember the movie Old Yeller? Everybody loved him. He brought us our slippers. We gave him cookies. But when Old Yeller gets rabies, you shoot him in the fucking head. It's that simple."
but the remark that caused me to snarf on my beer was this one:
"What do these deer think when they see you coming?" I ask him. "Here comes the nice guy who puts out our dinner? Or, there's the man that shot my brother?"

"I don't think they're capable of either of those thoughts, you Limey asshole. They're only interested in three things: the best place to eat, having sex and how quickly they can run away. Much like the French."

[H/T LGF who was tipped off by Memefirst]



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