Friday, October 30, 2009

Where are you going, where have you been?

The blog took a short walk down a path-in-the-making near the main entrance to Wake Forest. It will sensibly connect a Reynolda Village parking lot to the sidewalk down to the admissions building. The day was autumnal but sunny. For inexplicable reasons the photographs reminded Susan of the first short story by Joyce Carol Oates that she ever read (see title of today's post), likely in 9th or 10th grade on a day much like this one.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The near South Side

After a summer of intensive study of what is wrong with modern real estate development (by taking walks in Winston-Salem), Susan was shocked to encounter, unexpectedly, a nearly perfect urban enclave south of the Loop in Chicago. (She stayed in a rented townhouse in this neighborhood while at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.) Note the pedestrian walkways (including a safe way to cross under busy 14th Street). There is easy access to trains and buses, a supermarket within easy walking distance, and of course, Soldier Field. This type of development works: the population of this neighborhood has increased 39% since 1990. Of course, the blog would not be able to sit outside and drink its Friday wine on the charming balcony during the winter...

How did this come to be? Here's an excerpt from an interesting account. Wikipedia is also extremely helpful on this topic.

The decline of passenger trains left the rail yards vacant, while changes in the printing industry had emptied out Printers’ Row (an area of Chicago known for the success of its printing). The 1973 Chicago 21 Plan (a 1970s urban renewal plan for the city of Chicago) called for construction in the South Loop to reflect a more urban atmosphere. The result, after many years of fund-raising, political wrangling, and trips back to the drawing board, was Dearborn Park, a planned community on 51 acres of former rail yards. Bears owner George “Papa Bear” Halas had it earmarked for a new stadium until the Dearborn Park planners wrestled them away. Construction on the development wasn’t complete until the mid-90s, but the first residents moved into town homes and high-rises and terraced mid-rise buildings in 1979.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mystery photo

Susan took this photo on the Wake Forest campus on Wednesday afternoon. Where was it taken? What is the subject? (In most browsers you can click on the photo to enlarge it, which may help.)

To mark the first game of the World Series, a few comments from Pedro Martinez, who will be the starting pitcher of the second game for the Phillies: "For me, the reality is the reality. It's something I didn't imagine although I had the hope in picking the team that had the chance to win. Up to now, thanks to God, I'm looking very intelligent before baseball." (Winston-Salem Journal, Wednesday October 28, p. B6).

The blog has finally found its motto: "The reality is the reality."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where Reynolda Road becomes West End Boulevard...

...we find an imaginative monument to Daniel Boone! The monument was dedicated on October 29, 1927, so it is now almost 82 years old. It still looks great. Why Boone, why here? Boone lived in Colonial North Carolina for 21 years (from 1752 to 1773) and "all of that in the region bounded by today's Winston-Salem, Salisbury and Boone." It is interesting how Boone's memory lingers - the 275th anniversary of his birth was celebrated this past October 22. A recent article in the Winston-Salem Journal pays homage to Boone and the monument, which the blog has long wanted to photograph despite the difficulty of crossing to the little traffic island on which the monument is located. This past sunny Sunday turned out to be just the right day.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last Saturday night in Chicago

Abe and Diana did a police officer a favor and held his horse while he used a public restroom. It was a very sparkly type of night. We were walking to dinner along the lake shore. The Sears Tower (purple top) is visible in the upper right. The horse's name is Buddy, and he turned out to be the same age as Abe. Diana is a fourth year University of Chicago student who is majoring in Fundamentals: Issues and Texts. She is an expert on the question of executive power, and she is also Abe's girlfriend.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Norman it....

Jon took this photo of a beautiful window at a recent workshop at Graylyn, inspiring the blog to read more about this fine example of 20th Norman revival architecture. From the August 2006 Winston-Salem Monthly:"Graylyn’s Norman Revival design suggests the waning popularity of Victorian ornamentation...Designed by the twenty-eight-year-old architect Luther Lashmit, Graylyn rose with a thick, bold aspect. Turrets, used as stair towers, were modeled after Norman silos, and stone chimneys loomed over slate roofs. For all its exterior mass, the interior was kept free and open; rooms flow into one another. J. Barton Benson fashioned extensive wrought-iron designs that contribute to the interior lightness."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The incompatibility of life and blogging

It proved impossible for the blog to post from Chicago, despite Jon generously allowing his camera to take a trip to the heartland. Here neuroscientists are captured heading to another day of sessions at McCormick Place as they enjoy the 40th annual Society for Neuroscience meeting. Susan has been to 27 of the 40...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An answer for a reader, and another obelisk

The blog has amended a previous post to supply more complete information, and apologizes to its readers for a lack of clarity. Please return to the post on the Presidential Ball (October 12) for more information. Today's photo was taken this past summer in the large cemetery adjacent to Old Salem. This photograph needs Jon's skill with Photoshop to adjust the light, but I like the composition with the monument for Bowman Gray, Sr. in the foreground and the pseudo-obelisk of the Wachovia Building in the distance. When the first obelisks were erected in Egypt c. 2575–2465 BCE, they always came in pairs...But don't be fooled by the obelisk into thinking that Winston-Salem is Gray's final resting place. The tobacco salesman who eventually became Chairman of the Board of R.J. Reynolds died on a family vacation off the coast of Norway in 1935 and was buried at sea. His will left a bequest of $750,000 to Wake Forest College to start a medical school, and the Bowman Gray School of Medicine was opened in 1941.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A 5K for the library

Last Saturday Susan and Nate did a 5K to raise money for the Z. Smith Reynolds Library of Wake Forest University. Here are the "official" race photos, taken at the half way point at Reynolda House and at the finish line (Nate finished about 10 minutes before Susan). Why does the library need to raise money? The surprising answer is not to buy books or even DVDs, but mainly to buy snacks to sustain our students through finals week, at which time the library is open 24/7.

Monday, October 12, 2009

At the Wake Forest Presidential Ball

To Jon's delight, both the interior and exterior of the Lawrence Joel Coliseum were illuminated for Friday night's Presidential Ball. The first Wake Forest University Presidential Ball was held in honor of the inauguration of Nathan Hatch as the President of Wake Forest in 2005. The first event was so successful that a new tradition of holding a "Presidential Ball" every two years was established. Students and faculty are both invited. While the blog agrees with one of its thoughtful readers that the adjective "presidential" might best be reserved for Washington, Nathan Hatch is also over 6 feet in height...the photo of President Hatch records an event that the blog attended before it was a blog. Last February Wake Forest hosted the CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi. She was interviewed in Wait Chapel by Maria Bartiromo of CNBC. Hatch is on the left, and the former CEO of PepsiCo (and now Dean of the Wake Forest business schools) Steve Reinemund is on the right.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The blog recognizes that the presence of this truck in Winston-Salem must be an omen, but hasn't yet decoded what it means.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Secrets of real estate

When Jon and I encountered this house on Monday evening, we both instantly knew that it was another contender for the title of "ugliest house in Winston-Salem." What's really remarkable is that Jon's photo IN NO WAY captures the true horror that is this house. This gap between house photo and reality presumably is what allows badly designed homes to stay alive as long as they do. Half of the blog went to the Dixie Classic Fair on Wednesday evening...the fair is celebrating its 127th year, and it has a corndog-free web site that allows on line viewing of albums of vintage fair photos.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Better in theory than in practice...

...a conspicuous neighborhood landmark. From a short walk off Country Club Road on Monday evening.

Monday, October 5, 2009

State troopers at the WFU-NC State game

Susan was AMAZED to learn that at Saturday's game that state troopers are assigned to escort the football coaches of many state universities to both home and away games. A little research on line produced the following account from someone who has provided this service, and a link to a video that shows even state troopers sometimes are less than professional. Here's the quote: Well, being a State Trooper, I know the guys that are on the football detail. Their jurisdiction is limited....They can handcuff someone, should someone attack [the coach], and the home state jurisdiction will effect the arrest. The football detail is there to protect the coach, not make arrests. They will do what is necessary to ensure the safety of the coach, and that includes subduing someone until the local jurisdiction gets there. Here's the link, which was the subject of a fair amount of discussion in the blogosphere, especially in corners that Susan rarely visits (for example, forums for bass fishermen). Georgia State Troopers Celebrate as Steve Spurrier Loses There is, however, a hidden bit of U. S. history here. One of the first college coaches - maybe the very first - to have such an escort was Bear Bryant, who coached the Alabama Crimson Tide from 1958 through 1982. He needed the troopers after the 'bama administrators finally gave in to his pleas to allow him to integrate his team. Which didn't happen until 1971.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oktoberfest at Wake Forest

On Friday evening the Mag Quad at Wake Forest was the place to be to celebrate Oktoberfest, with free beer, games of skill, and oompah music provided by the German Department. The adorable Ian Eastman-Mullins made an appearance. Erin was also thoroughly charming, bedecked in dirndl and braids.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Up lights on the trees

Last week Susan, Nate, and Jon went to Wait Chapel to be part of an audience for an ESPN "this is your life" type of show about Chris Paul, the NBA player who was a local high school star and a Demon Deacon before joining the New Orleans Hornets. This was fun, in no small measure because Chris Paul is the nicest, most resilient human being one can imagine. We noted as we entered that trees outside the chapel windows were being illuminated and Jon asked simply: Why? The answer, of course, was that ESPN had decided that the TV viewers should see trees through the windows, even though the event was filmed at night and the sun had set by the time it started. The photo at the bottom is not a particularly good one because he needed to use the zoom, but I like how Jon captured Chris Paul and the interviewer in a quiet, unguarded moment before the show. Erin was in the audience, too.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back to its old self

The writing part of the blog has completed a few large projects and once again has time to think about some of its favorite obsessions, including the pylons of Winston-Salem. Jon found a newspaper article about slave cemeteries that is not directly relevant to Winston-Salem, but which provides the name of an expert on African-American burial sites who is on the faculty of Sweet Briar College in Virginia. The blog may have some questions for her...

My downsizing dream house...

Presumably the students at Forsyth Technical Community College are building these for practice....