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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Something new every day 

Doesn't it feel like something new and potentially cool is opening in Durham every day? Now! In the middle of the Great Recession! Durham is vibrantly alive, bursting with energy and creative enthusiasm.

Three new(-ish) things opening in Durham that we heard about today.

First: Runaway Clothing, their website says they are a Southern lifestyle brand, created to answer the call for Southern style with urban appeal. They literally recommend that you run from convention and confinement. It is thus a little ironic that their shirts are available at the tony Morgan Imports on Gregson Street. But hey, the shirts are tight. Check them out here.

Second: The Bar, at #711 Rigsbee Street, whose soft opening is already underway. The grand opening is this Saturday, August 6th. Part of a Durham Central Park neighborhood renaissance that is already well underway, the bar is advertising weekly dance parties on its site and billing itself as the Triangle's neighborhood LGBTQ bar. Their self-declared goal, a place that melds a "corner bar" feel during the week, with a popular club attitude on Friday and Saturday nights. We say: Rock on! Check them out here.

Third: The Chirba Chirba Dumpling truck, apparently a canary yellow color and hitting the road next month according to the Durham-Herald Sun. The truck is a co-venture between four UNC-Chapel Hill alumni, note they are coming to Durham to make it happen. DHS says that chirba chirba" means "eat eat" in Mandarin, and is a common phrase that a host might say to a guest before a meal. Read the whole story here.


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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cute, Creative Airline Safety 

Talk about four words not often seen together: cute, creative, airline and safety are an atypical set.

Here is where they meet up, in a video from Thomson Airways of the United Kingdom.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Debt notes 

The Washington Post, certainly no more of an unbiased source than most media outlets, published these notes on how the United States government debt was accumulated.

*Projected federal government surplus in 2001 $2 trillion.

*Projected federal government debt in 2011 $10 trillion.

*50% of this swing is caused by tax revenue decreases (tax cuts) of $6.3 trillion.

*Federal tax collection is at its lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years.

*The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have added $1.3 trillion in new debt.

*Obama's economic stimulus package added $719 billion in new debt.

*The TARP bailout program added only $16 billion in new debt.

*Overall King George the II and his follies added over $7 trillion to the government's debt.

*Obama has added $1.7 trillion to the government's debt.

They didn't note, but we read elsewhere, the debt ceiling was raised by Congress seven times during the eight year reign of Bush II.

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A dose of Poetry 

Sometimes the internet kicks up a beauty. Scouring YouTube for something else entirely, we found this gem.

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Evel Knievel's mantle 

There was only one Evel Knievel. He did things that will not be done again. People won't even try them.

But like they say in Star Wars, there is another. Not a clone, not a copy, but an aspirant with mad skills.

Have you heard of Robbie Maddison?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Playboy fluffs it 

What, you thought we hadn't already seen her naked?

The Clarion Content's editor is a long time Playboy subscriber, and as anyone who reads our Pop Culture columns knows, fascinated with the cult of celebrity. For many years we have had to defend Playboy's journalistic chops to various people in our world. We have always been willing to stand by Playboy, who's pages have been graced in our lifetimes by such literary luminaries as Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut and Gabriel García Márquez. It has been our experience, generally, that Playboy, has chuztpah, guts, and the instinct for a good story, monthly Playboy interviews some of the biggest names and most controversial figures; and asks tough questions.

So when this month's issue arrived with Charlie Sheen goddess, Bree Olsen, aka, Rachel Oberlin, astride the cover, it wasn't about the photos. Bree Olsen is naked all over the internet, for free. We were jonesing to read the interview. Don't tell us there was no journalistic merit to this story. More Americans know who Bree Olsen is than Tim Pawlenty. Porn is a multibillion dollar industry. Playboy had the opportunity to ask her anything. Delve deep, effort to understand her pysche, the American male, our society...

And they fluffed it. All softball questions.

What did Playboy ask? Did she and Charlie and Natalie really have threesomes? Did Charlie use as many drugs as it seemed like he did?

This was a piece that screamed out for Hunter S. Thompson-esque questions!!

Bree, what do you think it says about America that a superstar, who doubles as the alter-ego most American males would like to have, Charlie Sheen, chose to pick a couple of porn starlets to be his goddesses?

Do you think part of why Charlie chose you was your Adult Video News (AVN) awards, including Best Anal Sex Scene of 2008 in Big Wet Asses with Brandon Iron?

Or do you think it was more about your youthful, baby doll appearance? Was it your good looks that gave you an in? Your personality? Or was it your performance that Charlie was into? Both? Your sex drive? Your lack of inhibition?

Were you paid? If so, how much? Would you have done it unpaid? (Legendary porn star Christy Cannon has had some fascinating podcast conversations with Adam Carrolla about this very topic, and how she and Ron Jeremy used to plump [read: pimp] for each other.)

What do you think about the sense that Charlie Sheen, an allegedly, drug abusing, white, guy was glamorized for his association with porn stars, while Tiger Woods, a drug free, black, man was demonized for his similar associations?

Do you think this was because of their profession or their race?

And while we are at it, what do you, Bree, think about interracial marriage? And interracial sex? We are especially interested as porn is one of the last bastions of American society that still feels quite comfortable classifying its material by race.1

Why does America love porn so much, but make it so hard for porn actresses to cross over to mainstream film as you hope to do?

Has you ever talked to the next most famous women to try this route successfully, Traci Lords aka Nora Kuzma and Sasha Grey aka Marina Hantzis?

Do you ever talk with [the much more fascinating---sotto voce] ex-Charlie Sheen goddess Kacey Jordan aka Courtney Roskop?

These were the kind of questions that we wanted, that America wanted.

In fact, why didn't Playboy talk to Roskop? She appears to be the far more interesting of the two goddesses. Roskop's twitter feed and public autobiographical videos could be [are] a reality series unto themselves.

Playboy, what happened? Where was the good interview? With Bree or Courtney? The journalistic chops? We know Hunter is dead, but you could have handed Stephen Marche the mantle.


1Typical porn site categories might read something like Anal, Oral, Straight, Interracial, Asian, Fetish (Interracial for some reason always means black/white in a porn context.)


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interesting Pujols theory 

While the Clarion Content's Sports Editor was catching a game in PNC Park in Pittsburgh this month we heard an interesting theory on Albert Pujols impending free agency. The common line has been that he is going to resign with the Cardinals. Baseball's biggest spenders, the Yanks, Red Sox and Phillies are all set at first base, all have big name guys with long term contracts, Teixeira, Gonzales and Howard, respectively.

Two other big name franchises are in financial purgatory, the Mets have the Madoff mess and the Dodgers are lost in the Frank McCourt nightmare. Hence the conventional wisdom, Pujols stays in St. Louis, unless the Cubs, who have been burned badly by big time free agents, (Alfonso Soriano, anyone?) hop in from nowhere, despite new ownership and a rebuilding mindset.

But, while we were in Pittsburgh, we heard a new theory from a Pirates fan name Wish. No, it was not the Buccos themselves. Pirates fans are dreaming of the playoffs, but they haven't completely lost their minds.

How about the San Francisco Giants? The defending World Series champs could surely use some more pop in the line-up to go with all that pitching. With their beautiful China Basin ballpark and stable ownership, they have the financial resources. Having dealt with Barry Bonds, they are prepared and aware of what it is like to have a megastar in the locker room. And, as a bonus, Pujols is not known for the kind of charming personality that made Bonds so widely beloved by the media and opposing fans.

Could Albert lose his heart to San Francisco? Ever been there? Would you rather have $300 million in flyover country (St. Louis) or $270 million in the pearl of California? Interesting.

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Pithy F*rging Sayings (19th edit.) 

Welcome to our latest edition of Pithy F*rging Sayings gathered from the singularity.

As always, the citation herein of these quotes and dialogues does not necessarily imply endorsement, the goal is to provoke thought.

"You can only fuck up if you look yourself in the eye the morning after you've done something and you know in your heart the reason you did it was completely against your gut instinct and principles."---Piers Morgan

"G-d loves irony."---staff

"Power, in Case's world, meant corporate power. The zaibatsus, the multinationals that shaped the course of human history, had transcended old barriers. Viewed as organisms, they had attained a kind of immortality. You couldn't kill a zaibatsu by assassinating a dozen key executives; there were others waiting to step up the ladder, assume the vacated position, access the vast banks of corporate memory...Case had always taken it for granted that the real bosses, the kingpins in any given industry, would be both more and less than people."---William Gibson, from his award winning novel Neuromancer

"Good fiction is like holding your head under water. You can hear nothing of what is going on above the surface."---staff


Monday, July 25, 2011

Smurfette? On no she didn't... 

Uh, yes. Yes, actually, she did.

Ahhhh Katy Perry, is there any childhood meme that she can't make hot?

You will recall her plunging neckline Elmo t-shirt on Saturday Night Live.

Read more about Katy as Smurfette here.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

How long? 

As in, she laid there, how long?

Although calls to the Los Angeles County Coroners office went unreturned Reuters is reporting Playboy's Miss July 1959 was found dead at her Beverly Hills home after evidently being undiscovered for up to a year. Neighbors grew suspicious when they noticed cobwebs on the mailbox. She was in her bed, dead of what was said to be natural causes, the space heater in the room was still running, a year later, alongside her dry, mummified corpse.

Yvette Vickers,would have been eighty-two when her body was found April 27th, 2011. In the 1950's her film credits included "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" and "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

Her last role was twenty-one long years ago in a 1990 horror flick called "Evil Spirits."


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As yet, there is no reason, far as we can see here at the Clarion Content, to believe things are getting more rational. Have you heard about planking?

The Wikipedia entry for planking reads in part, "The planking game is an activity consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body and a photograph of the participant [must be] taken and posted on the Internet...Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play."

It came to our attention, in a manner which perhaps says more about the morbid, gruesome conception in our news media about what stories sell, than it says about the planking fad. A twenty year-old Australian named Acton Beale rolled to his death off of the seventh story balcony of a hotel, planking. Naturally, that made CNN and we saw it on Google the News. CNN reports, "Photos posted on the "Planking Australia" page show people lying across bookshelves, in front of the Eiffel Tower and on top of fences...and has even spread to Australia's rugby field, where popular player David "Wolfman" Williams appeared to "plank" after scoring during a game in March."

Read more here.



Wondering what a job at Google might look like? Well, here is what it looks like when the interns organize a flash mob while you are eating lunch outside.

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Found him 

Got their man...

Life as a fugitive is always looking over your shoulder. Or so they tell ya. You know, dear readers, how the Clarion Content feels about the reverberation, between truth and fiction, reality and Art; constant high speed turbulent bi-directional flow.

Do they stop looking for you? Arthur G. Jones disappeared from Chicago in 1979 amidst allegations of gambling debts and ties to organized crime. His silver Buick was found at O’Hare International Airport, but Jones wasn't. Authorities suspected foul play. Even though there was no body ever found, Jones was declared legally dead in 1986, and his wife collected his Social Security benefits.

But the government doesn't quit. It functions like a Leviathan glacier, slowly inching across all the terrain, aka, all the data, within its purview, grinding down all, gulping down the unruly and unwary. And the interconnections between the computers at the nodes of information are getting better all the time. Mr. Jones was arrested Tuesday in Las Vegas and charged with four felonies including identity theft and fraud.

How? Started after the man who's Social Security number had been printed on Jones's fake Nevada driver's license in 1988 kept complaining and fighting the Social Security Administration over requests to pay taxes on money he swore hadn’t earned. So that guy, no shit, named Clifton Goodenough, has a story too.

The government kept coming after him for money, demanding he pay taxes on his earnings in Nevada. Wages which Jones was collecting working for a legal bookmaking operation under the name he put on that license back in 1988, Richard Sandelli. According to Fox News, Jones says he purchased a fake Illinois driver's license, birth certificate and Social Security card for $800 in Chicago in 1979, then moved to Florida, before eventually obtaining a Nevada driver's license.

Goodenough is telling the government man, 'I never earned any money in Nevada..." Social Security Administration is saying somebody is cashing a paycheck with that Social in Nevada.

Thirty-two years after he skipped town, cross-checking between the Social Security Administration's and Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles's computers caught up with Arthur G. Jones. The Leviathan glacier of government sweeps up a man... gulp.

No telling what the guilt, complicity, life story, twists and turns composite, the man, sum total, life laid out as narrative, looks like. The Clarion Content is not defending his innocence. Nor are we prima facie indicting the government for picking him up and charging him.

The vector, the arc, the tale and its place within the archetypal tales they will tell about our era, that is what interests us. Surely the story of Mr. Arthur Gerald Jones, is at least as strange as any we might make up.

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Norway grapples: Mitt lille land 

Mitt lille land---My little country

Domestic terrorism is crime, do not give it legitimacy by politicizing it.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two rights 

If two wrongs don't make a right, what to do two rights make? In a practical sense, try to imagine a world where President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner enact a compromise that both cuts entitlement spending and eliminates the Bush II tax cuts for the super rich. Heck, they could even eliminate the alternative minimum tax as part of the same compromise. At that point, all Obama would have to do would be ease off the crackdown against job seeking immigrants, and bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and it would be 1995 all over again economically.

A dream? More than likely, knowing Washington, D.C., it is a mirage. The devil is in the details. The Clarion Content favors cuts in entitlement benefits (especially for prescription drugs), gradually raising the minimum age for Social Security benefits, reinstating the estate tax on estates worth more than $5 million, higher marginal tax rates on the highest income brackets, lowering and simplifying corporate taxes, along with a libertarian immigration policy.

In backwards order, no one in Washington D.C. has the guts or the political capital to address immigration policy. Obama would have been far better served to start there rather than with health care policy. Bush II was going to produce a benevolent immigration policy towards Latinos before 9/11. His failure to do so afterward is one of the great tragedies of his administration.

Lowering and simplifying corporate taxes, lots of folks in D.C. claim to support this one, yet somehow it never happens. This is the second biggest factor, after structural adjustment, for the current unemployment malaise. Lowering corporate taxes incentivizes job creation.

Higher marginal taxes on the richest of Richie Rich's and bringing back the estate tax for the very wealthy. Somehow the upper crust and their lobbyists always manage to turn this into a populist issue. At first amazing, the narrative of American capitalism has now absorbed this myth so completely and seen it defended so assiduously that to tax the rich is to attack the very basis of freedom.

Social Security is the 3rd rail and entitlement benefits are the next-door neighbors. Is anyone in D.C., even President Obama, brave enough to touch the 3rd rail of American politics? Has anyone heard from Representative Paul Ryan since he mentioned cutting Social Security and other entitlement benefits?

We know that no politician who falls anywhere on the political spectrum between Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich has the guts to say that Bush II's wars of choice have been colossal wastes that have devoured American blood and treasure, but now are sunk costs. Osama is dead. No one can force Afghanistan to cohere without a totalitarian government.1 Withdraw already.

But much like the "big" budget deal itself, that is probably just a dream that will disappear into the daily grind of realpolitik.

1 In Iraq, America has fucked up so badly that the best play now may be to be to keep the troops there lest Iran station its tank divisions on the border of Saudi Arabia. So even though the Clarion has long advocated withdrawal from Iraq, and three, separate, new, nation-states, we may be beginning to lose faith in the viability of that option.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Replacing the Down Under 

What is replacing the legendary Durham dive bar, the Down Under, or as it was more commonly known along Main Street, the Dunder?

Sandwiched between Toreros Mexican restaurant and Fishmonger's will be The Roxy. The Roxy is slated to be a private club with a decor and theme that harkens back to Prohibition Era of speakeasies, glamour, and gangsters. We like the look from the outside. We hope to meet the ownership and follow-up with a longer piece soon.

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Reyes decision 

A lot of style, minimal substance...

The Clarion Content is unclear on why it is so hard for the New York Mets to part ways with Jose Reyes. Reyes is a dynamic talent for sure. However, this side of Carlos Beltran no player is more closely associated with the Mets epic collapses, choke jobs and chronic underachievement. Reyes was a leader of the "Only plays hard sometimes" pack under Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya.

In the last 2½ years, he has missed 170 games, had two hamstring injuries, a separate calf injury, surgery on a torn hamstring tendon, a hyperactive thyroid and a strained oblique. He has failed to play 150 games in four out of his seven major league seasons. He is just the kind of guy who would have a spectacular contract year, like he is this year, and go in the tank as soon as he signs for big bucks.

The Mets should part ways with Reyes, Beltran, and the core of the Minaya flops. David Wright is a piece to build around, Jose Reyes is fool's gold.

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20 years late to the party 

How did we never see the whole video to U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name?" How did we miss the story behind it? The band performed an eight song set on the roof of a Los Angeles liquor store before the LAPD came in and shut things down?!? What? Wow!

U2 and the video's director Meiert Avis had stashed a back-up generator on the roof in case cops cut the power to the main generator powering the filming and sound crews. The conceit was to reference The Beatles final live performance, which was on a rooftop in a public place.

Check out the marvelous music video here, with the audio of the cops and a couple of local radio DJ's who were on-air in that day in LA dubbed in over the song. The video won Grammy Award for Best Performance Music Video in 1989. So welcome the Clarion Content to the party two decades late...

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Borders to close 

Not long ago it was America's second largest bookstore chain behind Barnes and Noble, but the times they are a changing, Borders is closing its doors. In proceeding into liquidation Borders is shuttering 399 stores and laying off 10,700 people. Read more here.

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Mystery Magnet Maze Magic: A competition 

This piece special to the Clarion Content from local artist, intellectual and bon vivant, Jeff Israel.

Mystery Magnet Maze Magic: A competition
By: Jeff Israel

What a great title, right? Who would not be intrigued by those four words? I certainly was more than curious and overly enthusiastic when my friend called me and asked me to be on his team. I love puzzles, games and competition. This event has it all.

How does it work? The Mystery Magnet Maze is based around teams of four people selected at random to compete by one of the organizers of the event. There were thirteen teams interested in participating, through a bingo type selection only eight were chosen to compete. My team was lucky enough to be involved in the festivities. The event was free and it was televised at 2am on some network I cannot remember.

What and where is this event? The games where held at King’s Barcade in Raleigh on Martin Street in the heart of downtown. They have an eccentric MC, to narrate and keep the event moving, as well as, a small crew to make the event logistics happen. The idea of the competition is thus: each team of four players has 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the round) to build a labyrinth style maze out of thin wooden pieces. Each piece has an individual magnet to secure it to the metal game board. The board is slightly larger than your average Monopoly board and has walls. You can determine a start and end point at your discretion, and each team is given a small wooden ball to test their maze. Our team tried to create pitfalls and dead-ends to spoil our opponent’s chances of victory.

Once the team has built the maze and the allotted time is up, two teams compete on stage to see whose maze is superior. The mazes are placed on platforms that tilt and swivel. The platform has handles in which the competitors maneuver the wooden ball through the maze. We were taken back stage where each team chooses one representative to challenge the other team’s maze. First, each representative has to go through their own maze to make sure it is solvable and they are timed. Once these baselines are established then the participants tackle their opponent's maze. At this point you are allowed one other member of your team on stage to act as a guide. The audience stands silent as they watch the teams on two opposing flat screens that show the maze with camera mounted on the ceiling.

What are the prizes? For a free event the prizes are quite generous. $500 bucks for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third. Our team did not place, but we had a lot of fun. The group, Mystery Build, has a larger nationwide competition where you pay thirty dollars to get a mystery box where you have to build a sculpture solely out of the items in that box. I am guessing the popularity of the Mystery Build is why they can afford to have such nice prizes for the Mystery Magnet Maze Magic winners.

Participatory games of this ilk are increasing popular. Two of our teammates who played in the previous Raleigh tournament and told us that the number of teams doubled from the last time. It was scads of fun, a unique and different night. I will be back for another round next time they are held and I hope you will be there too.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Durham City Hall construction 

Durham's City Hall is not exactly putting its best foot forward. Amid renovation, its sign hidden by shrubs, the site strewn with dumpsters and construction debris, it is not much to look at right now.

Photo courtesy of BWPW.

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Tiger, it is like that... 

For Tiger Woods, has it gotten to that point?

Word is Tiger is doing commercials in Japan. Entourage fans will know how low that likely means the cashflow is. Tiger is selling back rub, some kind of Japanese Ben Gay. He has lost endorsement deals from Gillette, Accenture, Tag Heuer, and Gatorade in the last two years.

Tiger reportedly had to dole out approximate $100 million for his divorce settlement. Who knows how liquid that left him? Yahoo estimates his endorsement deals have dropped from in the neighborhood of $75 million a year to more like $20 million. His golf earnings have also dipped from the low eight figures annually to under a million dollars year to date.

Read more here.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pretty much Amazing 

We must admit, here at the Clarion Content, the idea of a Palin/Bachmann super ladies ticket has crossed our mind. Our only question is, who's on top?

So when we heard there was Sarah Palin documentary coming out in theaters, we were like, "Do tell!"

Here is the scoop.

The biopic, about former governor Palin, modestly titled, "The Undefeated," premiered this weekend in ten select U.S. cities. We were unable to determine the full list. It did include Dallas, Texas, Pella, Iowa and an unnamed town in the sprawl that is Orange County, California. While struggling to find the full list of cities, we did did uncover this enlightening side-by-side comparison in The Guardian of the UK.
Quoting a New York Post critic, "Its tone is an excruciating combination of bombast and whining, it's so outlandishly partisan that it makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln and its febrile rush of images – not excluding earthquakes, car wrecks, volcanic eruption and attacking Rottweilers – reminded me of the brainwash movie Alex is forced to sit through in "A Clockwork Orange." Except no one came along to refresh my pupils with eyedrops."
Quoting former governor Palin, "It will blow you away. It was awesome. It's all about American values.

To be fair, as the Post notes, Palin did not participate in the making of this film. She was its subject, but it was made by a fan not connected to her campaign.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Kelly Oxford, not pictured 

Canadian Kelly Oxford is a droll, biting observer of the life and the world around her. Hilarious tweet she posted recently, "Sometimes it feels people who love Jesus forget he was a liberal Jew who hung out with a bunch of bros and a whore and gave people wine."

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90210 and 90's fashion rules again 

The Clarion Content is delighted to introduce and welcome aboard a new columnist this week. Cady (pronounced K-T) Childs writes her own feisty, witty, effervescent blog at Fashionably Tactless. Here at the Clarion Content she is going to be sharing her style and pop culture opinions du jour on the hip, the chic, and the disastrous. Proudly striding the streets of Durham, Cady will have her eye out and ear to the ground for what's hot and what's not. Don't be afraid to gawk, we encourage it. Today, Cady breaks down the revival of the 1990's fashion of the (in)famous Beverly Hills, 90210.

There’s nothing like being six years old, and learning your first rules of fashion from the cast of 90210. Watching Shannen Doherty pick out a home pregnancy test in a sky blue, menswear blazer, high-waist taper jeans, and a great neutral cross-body bag. Or Jenny Garth hosting the coolest high school party I’d ever seen (this would later come to effect my expectations for college social scenes and result in over all disappointment with real house parties) wearing a green button front sleeveless shirt dress just like the one seen on every other girl at the Motorco on Friday nights (right down to the accidental, at-leisure hair down and somewhat messy look). Or Brandon looking like a new James Dean in a Members Only and crew neck. Or Shannen getting the news that Kelly got a callback for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof too (!!) while wearing paperbag top pants, and a latched, ribbed blouse. And please don’t start me on the frequency of wedges in every hallway scene (and at Whiskey).

Unless you’ve been walking around Main Street with a blind-fold over your eyes, it’s clear that the nineties are back. Cut off jeans, those overdone, overplayed Wayfarers that were already an old trend in the nineties (and still are today), cropped tops, cross-body bags, guys going sleeveless, and even flannel.

In an interview with Glamour magazine, Tori Spelling suggested that most of the trends from this classic series should be left in the past, despite their boldness. Yet hip designers, such as Alexander Wang and Herve Leger, have been channeling Donna Martin’s sassiest hours in their runway looks since 2009. Like it or not, the nineties are back. This era’s is at the headwaters of it’s first revival, and 90210’s California preppy dreamer is a major part of the overall theme coming downstream.

The show’s stylists brought a certain level of charm to their characters’ wardrobes, one that made them a quintessential piece of fashion history for their decade. Of course, the locale and assumed income of their families had a piece in this, and also Donna’s interest in fashion design (that doesn’t stop her Betsey Johnson tight daisy dress from being something of legend). But, unlike shows of today, where young high schoolers are dressed in whatever is new and trendy (and most of the time way out of their budget), each character developed their own sense of style, and each of these personalities are driving the nineties renaissance forward. Before you start searching Hulu for past episodes, try out these key pieces to channel your inner valley girl (or boy).

See the full sized image here

Tori Spelling/ Donna Martin Graphic:

a. Libby Floral Dress by Motel, $88

b. Fuschia Silk Crop Top by Nasty Gal, $38

c. Urban Renewl Cut-off shorts

d. Silk Creamsicle Skirt by Aryn K, $75

e. The Barbie Necklace by Vanessa Mooney, $17.50

f. Sparkle and Fade Bustier Cut-Out Back Top, $54

g. Celestial Sphere White Dress, $52

h. OPI Hong-Kong Collection in Hot & Spicy, $4.99

i. Davine’s Sea Salt Primer, available at Rock Paper Scissors, Durham

j. Benefit ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara, $22

k. Tough Love Shorts by Nasty Gal, $38

See the full sized image here

Jason Priestley/ Brandon Walsh Graphic:

a. Mandate Tee by Won Hundred, Need Supply $39

b. French Riviera Slip-on in Red, from Need Supply, $49

c. Hargrove Denim Ranglin, from Need Supply in Richmond, VA

d. Marc by Marc Jacobs Rock Chronograph Watch in White, $200

e. Loose Tank, $22 American Apparel

f. Boating Windbreaker, Life After Denim, Need Supply, $99

g. Hawkin’s McGill Finished Short, $44 Urban Outfitters

h. Levi Ghost Trucker Denim Jacket, $59

i. Cotton Stripe Jersey short-sleeve tab t shirt, $32

j. Frankie Sunglasses, $35, American Apparel

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Bush II's failures 

Bush and Rummy alone in the Oval Office

The litany of King George the II's failures is colossal. However, as the brilliant policy analysts over at George Friedman's Stratfor point out, any list of the impacts of Bush II's disastrous blunders would be incomplete without mentioning how his pointless, self-indulgent, avenge my father's failures, war in Iraq led America to ignore developments in Russia.

During the reign of King George the II, as American blood and treasure were being thrown overboard directly into the Persian Gulf, when Saddam was being replaced with civil war and instability, and the price of oil (read: unleaded gasoline) was shooting into the stratosphere, Russia took a turn for the worse. Bush the II, clown prince that he was, rather than being focused on global political stability or the global economy, wanted an easy triumph, thus, an offensive war against what was perceived to be the most topple-able of his ludicrous axis of evil.1

What did that cost strategically in Russia and its sphere of influence?

Statfor says, "This gave Russia a window of opportunity with which to accelerate its crackdown inside (and later outside) Russia without fear of a Western response. During this time, the Kremlin ejected foreign firms, nationalized strategic economic assets, shut down nongovernmental organizations, purged anti-Kremlin journalists, banned many anti-Kremlin political parties and launched a second intense war in Chechnya."

This loss of focus on the big geostrategic picture cost reformers and potential democrats behind former Iron Curtain dearly. While King George the II was making Faustian bargains with the dictators of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, to support his was war of choice, Putin was able to claim he was doing the same with the vile dictator of Belarus and a range of puppets in the Ukraine, Georgia and Chechnya.2 The loss of United States credibility made it tremendously difficult for America to have any leverage to resist Putin's Machiavellian scheming.

Ahhhh, King George the II... Will America ever recover from your reign? Sadly, it is debatable.

1Grouping Iraq, Iran and North Korea demonstrated Bush II and his policymakers had the foreign policy vision of a five year-old on the playground. "We are the good guys. You are the bad guys. Now it's war..."

2The United States's resources and credibility to support political reformers in Ukraine and Georgia was badly hampered by war in Iraq. In Chechnya, Bush the II's lumping of all nominally Muslim freedom fighters under the label of terrorist, put America on the side of the dictator against the freedom of the people.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Durham developments 

2829 and 2831 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, 27707, the addresses probably don't mean much to you. Maybe it would help if we told you that they back up to Rogers-Herr Middle School and are adjacent to Yates Baptist Church.

Full disclosure, one of the Clarion Content's editors owns a house in the area.

It is a three minute walk from Foster's Market and Guglhupf Bakery. It is south of Lakewood, not far from Rockwood, Forest Hills or Hope Valley. It is an area that is already home to several high density apartment complexes.

As of this week, it is an area that is no longer home to two more old houses, 2829 and 2831 Chapel Hill Road. Disorienting destruction. What one day previously had been two homes with history, their own unique legacies, stories, and character was now piles of lumber surrounded by dumpsters and bulldozers.

Only the doors

and columns had been preserved.

A big old tree, looked lost surrounded by an ocean of debris.

Did the neighbors know it was coming to this?

The Clarion Content did not know it was coming to this here. But we do know it is coming to this here situation, all over Durham, private property owners making decisions that writ small effect only them, and writ large effect their neighborhoods and our entire community.

We don't know what will be 2829 and 2831 Old Chapel Hill Road. We do know what is gone, two big old houses that we never took a picture of while they were just fine. Even Google Maps does not have a street view of these properties; consigned to memory only.

Read an interesting mediation on endless growth here.

See more pictures here.

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One more reason to love Mila 

As if we need another reason to love the gorgeous and charming Mila Kunis...

Nonetheless she found one, in the process probably making some Marine's month or year.

What happened? Marine Sergeant Scott Moore took the advice we frequently proffer around here at the Clarion Content. Don't be afraid to ask out the prettiest girl in the room! She is a person like everybody else, and because she is such a hottie, many dudes are too intimidated to say, boo. Missing out, in Mila's case, on a kind, sweet, caring person, who when Sgt. Moore posted a video on YouTube asking Mila go to the Marine Corps Ball with him next month, said, what else, YES.

Gentleman, it never hurts to ask.

Sgt. Moore who is serving with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines in Afghanistan, posted a plea titled "Go With Me Mila" last week. Word spread and before long, Justin Timberlake was asking Mila about it.

In his video, filmed outside a bunker in Afghanistan, Sgt. Moore says, "Hey Mila, Sgt. Moore, but you can call me Scotty. I just want to take a moment out of my day to invite you to the Marine Corps Ball with yours truly. So take a second to think about it and get back to me. All right, bye now."

Mila will be there showing her support for the troops November 18 in Greensville, North Carolina.

You go, girl!

Read more here.

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Spotted in Durham (2) 

One of our crack staff spotted another sweet car in Durham.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Bachmann confuses John Wayne's 

Perhaps you have already heard this story. Ultimately, we are not all that interested in its substance. It happens, candidates make verbal missteps and this one wasn't policy related. It was a doozy. Presidential candidate, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, got her John Wayne's confused the other day in Iowa.

While speaking in the hometown of notorious clown serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Waterloo, Iowa, Representative Bachmann was clearly thinking of the other John Wayne from Iowa. John Wayne, the movie star, who was born 140 miles southwest in Winterset, Iowa. Unless one of her staffers is a saboteur because speaking in Waterloo, Bachmann came out with, "What I want them to know is that, just like John Wayne is from Waterloo, Iowa, that's the kind of spirit that I have too."

Whoops, wrong John Wayne, wrong small Iowa town that starts with W.

It happens.

The reason we posted this note about it is, you have to see the unbelievable Bachmann photoshop attached to this article about the story in New York magazine. Terrifyingly superb.

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Durham expansion 

Sometimes revitalizing old buildings is better than making new ones.

King's Sandwich shop was a nearly hollow, open to the elements, un-air conditioned shell until less than two years ago...
Now it is gorgeous and busy.

The News & Observer has a story about big plans for expansion in downtown Durham, courtesy of Measurement Inc. and founder Henry Scherich. The company owns huge chunks of the Morris Street blocks between Geer Street and the downtown loop. According to the N&O the first project will be a 74,000 square foot office building on a half-acre lot just southwest of the Historic Durham Athletic Park, less than two blocks from the recently condemned Liberty Warehouse in Durham's thriving Central Park district.

The initial proposal had included condos, but the sliding housing market put the kibosh on that idea. In fact, as things stand the project only has one tenant beyond Measurement Inc. However, that tenant is a nifty little tech start-up, Urban Planet Mobile. They specialize in distance learning via text message, as we all know the best way to reach America's youth. Urban Planet Mobile has programs for S.A.T. vocabulary and foreign language learning among other things. It is an idea that we believe has great potential.

As for the Measurement Inc. development project? Time will tell. We do not root for growth for growth's sake alone. The N&O quotes Durham's Mayor Bill Bill, "...new buildings is good news for the area..." It may be a little more nuanced than that, Mr. Mayor, we hope you have your eye on the long view. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for this July.

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