Monday, February 28, 2005

What's Up With All The Jumping?

Is it just me? I've noticed lately that all the band photos in the paper always seem to include someone jumping. Take Omnisoul, for example:

This photo appeared in the February 26 News Journal in a story on the band (Local band lands sweet record deal).

Jumping. There's always someone jumping.

I blame Love Seed Momma Jump, who made it big with a promo picture some years back in which the band members were ... jumping.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Book Tag

Here's one of those viral blogger games. I found it on Becky's Extreme Dating blog.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

OK. From A Pictorial History of Lewes, Delaware (1609 - 1985), from the Lewes Historical Society:
Matthew Wilson was no exception. During the struggle for independence, Wilson refused to drink tea and advocated a list of 17 plants and herbs that he advised using as tea substitutes.
Matthew Wilson's Presbyterian church was three blocks away from the center of town. (Figure 1) Several private schools in Lewes attracted students from as far as Philadelphia, only one day away by a fast sailing ship.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Day After A Snowfall...

...when the sky dawns clear and blue, showing the white of the snow to its best advantage.

A residential street in Dover. Softened by an almost-spring snowfall.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Another Snow Day

What may be the last coastal snow storm of the season is blanketing Delaware today. Snow started falling this morning and is expected to keep coming down through this evening.

The kids had the whole day off. They let state employees go at noon. It's seemed odd to be home; the snow is wet and heavy but hasn't been sticking on the roads.

My guess is that the school folks wanted to not take any chances and the government shut down early to get the afternoon rush hour cleared out early.

As the sun sets and it gets colder the roads will probably get icy, and if there are not many cars out and about the plows and slat trucks will have an easier time.

Heavy snow, sticking in the trees.

About 1:30 this afternoon.

Slate Magazine Looks at Blogs. Will Blogs Look Back?

Slate Magazine now offers Today's Blogs, a daily column that aims to find the best of he world of weblogs each day. That's an ambitious goal. It involves working through blogs each day to find out what "the bloggers" are talking about.

I can't help wondering whether, at least for a day or so, the bloggers will be talking about Slate's Today's Blogs? So, I thought I'd talk about it myself. Why not?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

DelaVoice Returns

DelaVoice is back. It disappeared earlier this month. According to the unidentified Mr. or Ms. Voice, the site host decamped in the wee hours one night, taking the site along as well. Now, the site is back. It looks like at GeoCities, but at least its back. I wonder what the level of discussion will be in this incarnation?

Jack Markell Enters the Blogosphere

Delaware Treasurer Jack Markell has started a blog -- Blog for Delaware -- that looks interesting. Fritz, over at Sneaking Suspicions, pointed to this site, and offers an accurate read on the promise this site shows.

State Treasurer is an elected post in Delaware, and for some it's been a stepping stone to higher office. Jack Markell may be headed that way, but if so he's been pretty cool about it. It'll be interesting to read his blog for a while and see where he's headed.

We had Jack Markell as keynote speaker at the 2000 State GIS Conference. He spoke well and showed great aplomb when someone in the kitchens next to the ballroom he spoke in dropped what must have been 537,002 china plates. Just a brief pause, and he carried right on.

Monday, February 21, 2005

R.I.P., Hunter S. Thompson

Bad news this morning.

Hunter S. Thompson, exemplar of a certain style of writing has committed suicide. I wasn't a huge fan, but reading his work as a young man was part of what makes me who I am.

I have to wonder "why?" I'm also interested to watch the reactions.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

In My Little Town

Winter days can be very quiet. Even at noon on a Friday I can stand in the middle of the main street and take photos. In February, anyway.

Second Street, Lewes, Delaware. 12:01 p.m., Friday, February 18, 2005

I had just visited the Bakery and Coffee Roastery (out of frame on the left), to treat myself to the only sustenance available after a morning of dental work. Having half of your face numb means anything involving chewing is probably a bad idea. A cafe mocha, however, is fairly safe and an appropriate reward for my dental-chair bravery.

Out of frame on the right is the ATM machine where I had just transferred funds to cover the costs of a crown and a filling.

After taking this photo, it was back to the office. For this round at the dentist's office, I only took the morning off.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Thursday, February 17, 2005

When Hippies and Punks Were One

The item about a locomotive being named for Joe Strummer of the Clash got me thinking about Strummer and the Clash, and listening to the Clash, this week.

I keep the two-disc The Essential Clash in my car. It's great therapy for the ride home after a difficult day at work. Line up London's Burning, English Civil War, and I Fought The Law, for example, and highway driving is blissful. I also found a web site (StrummerSite.Com) with a two-part MP3 of a 2003 BBC Radio profile of Strummer. It was interesting to hear about the process of forming the Clash, their rise, and the break-up. It was also neat to get some details about the music Strummer was starting to make when he passed away, at 50, a few years back.

I was struck by the extent to which Strummer, and the Clash, were influenced by a wide variety of music -- country, ska, reggae, world music. I have the posthumous Strummer album, Streetcore, and it has a very nice reading of a folk tune -- Long Shadow -- and a remarkable version of Bob Marley's Redemption Song.

Of course, I also keep a copy of the great live Dead album The Grateful Dead (Live) -- as opposed to the equally wonderful Live/Dead -- in my car and I've been listening to that a lot lately. I prefer a line-up of Bertha,
Me & My Uncle, and the marvelous Not Fade Away/Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad.

The Dead also had a wide variety of influences, combining rock, jazz, folk, blues and country. And there are similarities between Joe Strummer and Jerry Garcia. Both men were central to the sound of their bands. Both were striking musicians; Strummer in his jagged intensity and Garcia in his fluid, soaring melodic lyricism. Both were at their best as centers of music, providing a base for other players and making possible some of the better moments of Rock music over the years. Both died too soon.

I used to wonder at my equal love for both the Clash an the Dead. There was a time when as a fan of punk rock I would have disdained the hippy-ness of the Dead. As a Deadhead, I should have found the Clash simply noise. But the two bands work well together and they were the music of my youngest adulthood; the Reagan years.

Two forms of musical rebellion. They worked for me. They still do. It's been a good week -- and a loud week - in my car.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Good Advice

"Snake Habitat
Be Careful Where You Step"

This sign is outside a building in Dover where I had a meeting this afternoon. I understand from a colleague who used to work here that a woman who works here one day freaked out about a large black snake that slithered across the sidewalk as she approached the building. The helpful 4-H folks erected these signs to warn people.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A New Reason to Visit the UK: A Ride on the Joe Strummer

I'm a fan of the Clash. I was saddened when Joe Strummer passed away a few years ago. It was nice to see this item (IOL: Locomotive named after Clash legend) about the naming of a locomotive for Joe Strummer yesterday.

New Jersey Ends... Where?

We Delawareans have made New Jersey, or at least some folks in New Jersey, pretty mad (Courier-Post: Line war taken to the banks).

Earlier this month, DNREC Secretary John Hughes ruled that a pier proposed for the Delaware River, and intended for offloading Liquid Natural Gas, is prohibited by the Delaware Coastal Zone Act (DNREC News: DNREC Denies BP's Crown Landing Proposed LNG Pier).

The proposed pier, though it would start from the shore of New Jersey, would extend out into Delaware (PDF site map). The boundary between New Jersey and Delaware, at least at the northern end of Delaware, was established by the US Supreme Court in 1934 as being the mean low water line on the New Jersey side of the river, as it existed in 1934.

The Delaware Coastal Zone Act was passed and signed in 1971 to stop major industrial development in the coastal zone of Delaware (PDF map), which includes Delaware's portion of the River and Bay.

So now some politicians in southern New Jersey are pretty mad. South Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli, for example, wants to stop Jersey from using our banks and credit card companies. He's trying to get our attention and convince us to be "more flexible."
"For Delaware to think they have to protect New Jersey from itself . . . is unnecessary and condescending," Burzichelli said Friday. "Our track record on environmental laws is a national model."
Let's set the huge irony of the second part of that statement aside for just a moment. I think what he's missing is that the Delaware Coastal Zone Act is set up to protect Delaware's Coastal Zone. From, in this case, New Jersey.

There is also talk of trying to re-draw the state boundaries. That should be an easy task; the 1934 Court Decision ended something like a quarter century of dispute last time we opened that can of worms.

More troubling, perhaps, is the talk of Congress acting to over-ride state land use controls such as the Coastal Zone Act in the name of National Security. That's the arena we should be watching.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I Wonder....

What's going on with DelaVoice? I know I've been down on the site of late, but I wasn't expecting it to dissappear. The last day or so the link has not been working. Anyone hear anything?

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Some Books

I finished Bob Dylan's book the other day. Chronicles, Vol. 1 is an interesting book. It is not a rock-star memoir. Dylan seems to not want to be a rock star, though he writes fascinating details about wanting to sing and play the music.

What struck me about this book is that it holds up as a book whether its author is a famous rock star or not. This is a literate look at the early folk music scene when Dylan was young, his mid-life as a celebrity, and his re-discovery of the joy of performing late in life.

I also took a day or two to read 21, the unfinished few chapters of what would have been the next Aubrey/Maturin novel from Patrick O'Brian. I had been looking forward to this read, and I will say I enjoyed it. It also made me sad, though. I miss O'Brian's writing.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Bethany in Mid-Winter

I had a chance to visit Bethany Beach today. I walked the boardwalk and gazed into windows of shut-down stores.

It was a blue-sky day with some haze.

Winter at the beach.

When only the birds and fish swim in the ocean.

The beach is now deserted, lacking the scores of vacationers, young and old; many in the delightful dream of first love.

It's been just over seven months. Does this person still love Bubick?

I took a few moments to visit North Bethany, where we often swim in the summer. The houses there have been getting bigger and bigger.

I think this is the current size champion.

Friday, February 4, 2005

I Suppose I Should Add A Blogroll

I've been meaning to put together a list of Delaware blogs. I've been collecting links to blogs by Delawareans and Delaware ex-pats and thought I'd offer a few that I've found.

These are in no particular order. I'm limiting myself to those I've found myself reading lately and that I've found to be active. I know there are other Delaware Blogs, and I'll check them out as I have time.

The Delawarean is by a gent I know through work. He's active and curious and kind, and those are attributes I value in folks in general. He also keeps his blog up-to-date, and attribute to value in a blogger. He's in spatial data as well, so we share a professional affinity.

TLJ's Thoughts of the Day is by Tara. She's a journalist and writes in full. Her blog is usually sunny and nice. She may, in fact, be a Pennsylvanian, but Delaware used to be part of Pennsylvania, so I'll let that slide.

Scrink, by Tink, is a little too focused lately on The OC (for me), but interesting none-the-less. Tink is a Mom. She's from Bear, Delaware, which we all know really doesn't exist.

Becky, of Extreme Dating, describes herself as a "redneck hippie NPR-junkie." How can you not like someone who covers all those bases? Of course, when Karen walks by, and the laptop is open to "Extreme Dating," I have to be a fast-talking hubby.

Little Caesar's Daily R & R is by Brenda, a former U of Delaware student now in law school out in the middle of things. She's a thoughtful democrat. Little Caesar? Her dog.

I found her through comments on Mark's blog To Seek A Newer World. He's also a law student and former Blue Hen. He's been inactive lately, but hey, he is in law school.

Beast's World comes out of Claymont, a place with a bit more "definition" than Bear.

Delaware Law Office is the blog of attorney Larry Sullivan.

Matt Hearn writes at length on a variety of topics and has added fiction lately, or so he claims. I find myself returning in part because I can't help but wonder if he's related to Jack and Dara Hearn, here in Lewes.

Sneaking Suspicions is Fritz Schranck's blog. I've actually known Fritz for some time. He's an attorney for DelDOT and we've worked together; we share a commute and pass each other (to be honest, he usually passes me) on the road every once in a while; and I read his golf column in the Cape Gazette. He earned my great respect though, for his ambitious proposal some time back to establish new city of Brighton, Delaware.

The Bunker
claims to come from deep beneath Wilmington's Trolley Square. Maybe. But I like his (I think it's a he?) take on things.

And let's wrap things up for the evening with a mention of DelaVoice, which purports to have taken over for DelaTacit. I miss DelaTacit. The Voice site seems a little one-note. I was participating on there for a while, trying to offer a left-side perspective on what is an un relievedly right-wing blog, but the level of debate was low. I backed away when I noticed I was only one of a very few actually using my own name.

I have more on my list, I'll try to post them soon and will undertake to add a blogroll to the sidebar soon.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Sunrise, 7:38 a.m. (EST), February 2, 2005. Just north of Barratt's Chapel, on Delaware Route 1.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

An Update: Ouch

Okay. So this crown stuff is not as pain-free as I thought earlier in the day. This is like a lowgrade tooth-ache. On the plus side, I won't have to worry about why I have this toothache. I know why.

In Which I Visit The Dentist To Get My First Crown

This morning I arrived bright and early at the offices of my dentist for the first part of a two-round installation of a crown. My rear-most upper-left molar had simply worn out, if not down, to the point where it had cracks and a bothersome tendency to flex when I chew. That hurt and did not bode well for the long term structural integrity of the tooth.

I see this as a sign of aging and a right of passage, though not a sign of the end of life. I'm 43; this sort of thing is to be expected. I blame years of chewing ice cubes. Mom told me not to. Did I listen? No, I did not.

After about six months of denial, I steeled my courage and went in for the work this morning. Younger readers should understand that, when I was a lad, we didn't have the same level of dental care that you young whipper-snappers enjoy. I learned to dread dental work. It makes no sense now, of course; Drs. Barnhard and Jones, whom I see most often, are as painless as they can be. Even the novacaine shots are painless now.

I know these facts intellectually; on a sub-intellectual level, however, I still harbor some dread. So I was not happy about the prospect.

Of course, the actual hour of work by Dr. B. wasn't too bad. There's a lack of dignity involved; laying back, mouth agape, muscles tensed. It is odd to hear grinding and scraping in the center of your head and see splashes of water and occasional wisps of smoke just visible beyond your nose. Two grown people have both hands deep into your face; wielding drills and mirrors and spray nozzles and vacuum hoses and who knows what else.

So, there is a lack of comfort, but not really any pain.

After the excavation work, Dr. B. built a rudimentary molar to serve as a temporary cover while highly skilled craftsmen sculpt a replica of my former molar. I go back in a few weeks to have that work of art installed in my permanent collection.

I'm left with an odd feeling in my mouth. As the novacaine wears off, there's a slight discomfort (that's a medical term, many of us use the old fashioned "pain"). It is not unlike the sensation that follows a thorough cleaning when you haven't flossed as well as you should have for several months. Certainly not unbearable.

More interesting is that odd sensation of something foreign in my mouth; I remember this from having braces so long ago. It will take some getting used to the new shape of that sector of my mouth. By the time I do, of course, the new crown should be in place and I'll be back to something close to the original layout.

Now I'm back home. I've treated myself to a day off from work. I'll surf the web, Watch some old Monty Python, try to install a WiFi system in the house, visit the library, and enjoy meeting Colleen at the bus this afternoon.

I guess I'll take any excuse to spoil myself.