“Lighthouse on an Island”

I have had many thoughts over the years about Duke basketball and Mike Krzyzewski. I can not recall any involving  lighthouses or islands. He is an accomplished Hall of Fame coach and I must admit that Duke is one of college basketball’s top programs. But what about this lighthouse stuff ?

Well, as I read in a Virginian-Pilot column today by Bob Molinaro, this is a strongly held opinion held by one Bob  Knight, also a Hall of Fame coach and one time mentor of Duke’s head man. Knight went on to say( after the national championship game) that  Duke carried the” torch of integrity” for college basketball. Presumably, he was referring to how Duke wins with integrity and with players who stay in school for 4 years.

Molinaro commented that perhaps Knight’s comments were  quite possibly  a bit overblown but it sure was fun to think how hs words must have annoyed those  jealous and irrational people who do not count themselves as Duke supporters.

Now, by no means amI a Duke fan, having “bled Carolina blue” for over 50 years. Am I happy that they won? Shucks, no! Do I respect their program and their coach? Yep! But I have never believed that he invented basketball or that what he says about the sport should be received with acclamation.

My gripe with Duke, other than the actual fact of them out doing or beating Carolina, tends to be an attitudinal one. Rightly or wrongly I often think of the words smug and arrogant in regards to Duke and not just as that is often applied to winners in any sport. Perhaps it lies in their perception as being an Ivy League school that just happens to be in North Carolina and thus not just different but better than those around them.

They do a lot things right but I seem to remember a school just 8 miles down the  road from Durham, located in the “village” of Chapel Hill, that does a half way decent job as well. This year, true, not so much as usual.

Same time, next year- we will be back!


April 11, 2010 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ides of Google?

March 15, 44 B.C. marked the assassination of Roman emperor Julius Caesar. The emperor had been warned to beware of that day by  a soothsayer and a fateful day it became. Thanks to Shakespeare, we are quite familiar with the term and have transformed it into  an almost generic term fora sense of foreboding. And yet, for Romans of that era it was a way to refer to the 15th of March, May, July and October.

Perhaps, in a different way, we have another example of somethings that should make us wary. The pervasive one, aka Google, has made quite an interesting offer to virtually any community in these United States. On February 10, the company announced an  unprecendented  offer. Although the offer was scant with detail, it has generated enormous response.

It was described thusly in the News and Observer on March 13 in an article by Sarah Ovaska.  Founded in 1998 (hard to believe) by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the Mountain View,Ca company issued this proposal. “…to rewire an entire community,free, with Internet service more than 100 times faster than what most people experience.Think gravel road meets Autobahn( great analogy, by the way).”

Her article was entitled, “Area Towns preen for Google, ” with an opening line of “The Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC) is getting all googly-eyed.”

No doubt that similar articles have appeared elsewhere. Certainly, cities all across the fruited plain and from sea to shining sea are making their pitch. The deadline for proposals is March 26, so time is short. Google says it has not tallied a number of responses. Don’t believe that for a second. Betcha they are analyzing the dickens out of this stuff already.

Now, why are they doing this? Google spokesman Dan Martin says, ” We want to see more people online, and we want to see the Internet become easier and faster.” I actually believe that statement, but, I also believe that it is by no means their real motivation. With details so sketchy, what will happen and when is as unknown as to whom it will happen. How much is Google willing to spend? Will it require financial participation from local government? How significant is the offer if computer ownership is not significant? Will there be  a corporate partner? Say Dell or Hewlett-Packard?

There are so many intriguing questions. It brings to mind  a line from my favorite tv show, NCIS. When queried about Gibbs past, “Ducky” has this telling response.”With Gibbs, there are always more questions than answers.”

Since our little town is probably not in the running, I will watch with interest to see the winner and what happens next. The whole thing is almost eerily similar to those instances when a federal agency solicits comment about a proposed ruling or decision. Could there be any connection( pun most definitely intended) to the FCC announcement of its 10 year plan to make high-speed Internet the country’s dominant communication network. Yep, that would mean the eclipsing of radio, cable tv and telephone comapnies by  whom?  Talk about ramifications. As Yoda might say, plentiful they would be.

March 14, 2010 Posted by | economy, Media, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Second Careers

As one who against his wishes entered into a second career, I am somewhat familiar with the concept. But in the political  realm, a second career is  a different concept entirely. A case in point is the developing senatorial race in  North Carolina. Republican incumbent  Richard Burr is up for re-election. Apparently, the Democrats must think he is vulnerable since they are lining up to challenge.

The leading candidate for the Democrats is Secretary of State Elaine Marshall with former state senator Cal Cunningham probably her chief rival.  Other candidates are Chapel Hill lawyer Ken Lewis and Lumberton lawyer Marcus Williams. There may be a lot of  interesting things about this contest later. For now, one thing caught my attention.

Ms Marshall, also  a former state senator, was elected Secretary of State in  1996 . She is starting her Senate campaign at the age of 64, which is fine. But what intrigues me is that at an age when many, if not most, people are looking to retire, already have retired or face a forced retirement, she is  launching( potentially) a new and challenging career.

In politics age seems to be no barrier. There is no mandatory retirement age etc. I know , the voters decide, blah,blah. But when one looks at the hallowed roster of Congress, one sees many that have long passed the barrier that exists for most workers. And, once they are there for a bit, they usually stay as long as  they wish.

I reiterate, should Congress have  a maximum age. The Constitution provides a minimum age you know.

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Talking Tar Heels

It’s been a good week for Tar Heel sports, with the exception of  a certain football game last Saturday. But, there is still postseason play to come. Soccer is the subject de jour  today. Although it is mainly aimed at the Lady Tar Heels, the  guys deserve some credit as well.

The #4 ranked men’s team under Coach Elmar Bolowich play at home  on Saturday  against Drake with  a trip to the College Cup on the line for the second  year in a  row and an opportunity for  a 2nd national title.

Coach Anson Dorrance’s women’s team, led by Casey Nogueira plays  Notre Dame on Friday at Aggie Stadium in College Station , Tx. These two  are old rivals but this will be their first  final four match. Any time one can beat Notre Dame is a good time so all the best to  Whitney Engen, Casey Nogueira  and all the Heels as they chase their 20th national championship( out of 28 possible).

Go Heels !!

December 2, 2009 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Vote?

Short question that could generate  a virtually  unlimited number of answers, I guess. Because we are supposed to, I don’t know, it’s the American way, use it or lose it, to get my candidate elected, to defeat the candidate I don’t like, etc. I know there are many more, some very meaningful and others not so much.

I read one yesterday that I don’t think I had seen before, but upon reflection, it may be all too common. But I hope that it isn’t.

There was  a meeting or forum, I guess here in our community a couple of days ago at Elizabeth City State University. The event was hosted by the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus and featured 9  state legislators addressing  and listening to  a packed auditorium of ECSU students. Brief historical reference here. I applaud the legislators for holding the event  and the students for attending in such good numbers. i am not so sure that a similar event held when I was  a college student would have done nearly as well.

So, the meeting was  agood idea and  a good opportunity for give and take between the legislators and the assembled students. One question and its answer intrigued me just a bit. One student asked what was one supposed  to do when the local community did not support his university? His question was apparently based on his statement that the local Wal-Mart stocked apparel and  merchandise from East Carolina University in Greenville (about 2 hours away) and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (about 3 hours away). Ok, a legitimate question for him. But the answer which I might have expected would deal with retail or economic issues, was  a surprise.

The answer came from Rep Alma Adams of Guilford County. This is what she said.”You can control everything that’s going on by making sure that you vote.” She added that “if you sit down, if you don’t vote, people will continue to do what they want to do.”

Perhaps, I mis-interpreted her answer but it seemed to me that she was saying the reason to vote is control. If you want to control what is going on you vote. If you choose not to vote, you relinquish that control.

Very interesting response, I thought.

November 1, 2009 Posted by | Culture, economy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment