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UNCLE JACK'S WEBLOG
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Sunrise (almost) in Sonag, Sunday April 30, 2006

     Mother Nature is continuing her relentless assault on the Sonag beach this morning.  Uncle Jack walked up to see what was going on at 6 a.m. and after he found out he went right back home without waiting for official sunrise at 6:11.  If you want to know what it probably looked like he suggests that you take a look at yesterday's pictures. He has suffered enough already.


     It's even colder this morning and the wind is still whistling out of the NNE at 20-30 mph as it has been for the past several days. No Sunday  beachwalk for Uncle Jack today, that's for sure. 


            **************************


     If you, too, have a lot of time on your hands today you might want to read the following history lesson which Uncle Jack wrote during a visit to New Orleans a couple of years ago.  This is strictly optional.


     It has been another terrific week in New Orleans, especially for high school graduates like Uncle Jack and Mrs. UJ.  This year is the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase which he learned about in the fourth grade but he never realized how important it was until this week when he went to a new exhibit at the New Orleans Historical Collection museum on Royal Street.
     They have gathered together a priceless collection of original maps and documents and pictures from all over the world relating to the Louisiana Purchase and he has to say that it is one of the best exhibits of its kind he has ever seen.  Mrs. Stonebreaker would have loved it and he is ashamed of himself for not paying better attention when she was trying to pound it into his skull when he was in fourth grade. (In his defense he will say that it was not his fault that he had to sit right behind Dorothy Magnuson whose pigtails were as distracting to Uncle Jack then as other parts of her anatomy would become a few years later).
      One thing he learned from the exhibit is that Thomas Jefferson could have had a great career in real estate if he hadn't spent so much time writing the Declaration of Independence and fooling around with the help at Monticello. He had a sharp eye for what was going to appreciate, he knew how to drive a hard bargain and he wasn't afraid to stick his neck out.
      At first he just wanted the U.S. to buy the town of New Orleans from France because of its strategic location at the mouth of the Mississippi. He told his representatives in Paris they could offer Napoleon Bonaparte up to $5 million dollars for the  place which was a lot of money to pay for a ramshackle, mosquito-infested town of 8000 people surrounded by what would later be known politely as wetlands. Somehow he must have known that one day New Orleans would become important enough to have both an NFL franchise and a Krispy Kreme outlet.
      When Jefferson found out that Napoleon was really hard up for cash (his wife Josephine had maxed out her credit cards buying furnishings for their new house at Versailles) and was willing to sell all of Louisiana for only $15 million Jefferson jumped on it. (To put this deal into perspective it was roughly equivalent to buying all of Dare County for 62 cents today).
      He had to go way out on a limb because Congress had authorized him to spend only $5 million and grudgingly at that. He ignored the protests, scraped together the money and the rest is history which Uncle Jack now knows something about thanks to the New Orleans Historical Collection. Generations of developers in the 17 states which were carved out of the Louisiana Purchase owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his chutzpah.
      Soon after this mother of all deals Jefferson sent an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the new territory with the hope of finding a water route to the Pacific Ocean which would make it a lot easier for farmers in the midwest to buy Toyota pickup trucks when the time came. They did not find a "Northwest Passage" but their exploits did provide enough material for a terrific Imax movie which Uncle Jack saw this week at the Audubon Aquarium. He recommends it to all.
      It was a little disconcerting to hear how they pronounced "Sacagawea" which was a lot different from how Mrs. Stonebreaker said it and now he is wondering if he can believe anything he learned in the fourth grade.
       
    


 

 

     



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The sun was still ten minutes away at this point but Uncle Jack was not about to risk pneumonia by hanging around until it finally showed up.

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Here today....yesterday actually.

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Gone tomorrow. Another expensive exercise in futility.

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The Sandbag Fairy returned yesterday to add a couple of rows to this cottage's protection, thus guaranteeing an even narrower public beach this summer.

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The roaring noise you are hearing up in Ahia could be coming from here.

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Remember the dilapidated, sagging, picturesque old school up in Jarvisburg? This is what it looks like now after a year of renovation. Uncle Jack kind of wishes they would take up another collection and put it back the way it was.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:15 AM

Comments [2]



Saturday, April 29, 2006
Sonag Sunrise Saturday April 29, 2006

     The penultimate sunrise of April was a bit puny but the same could not be said of the ocean this morning.  Driven by two days of strong winds out of the north the surf is definitely up and wreaking havoc on the faux dunes recently pushed up by the South Nags Head corps of bulldozers.


     After a week of shirtsleeve 90 degree days in New Orleans Uncle Jack is not quite acclimated to the near-January conditions on the beach.  He beat a hasty retreat after making sure the sun was here to stay at 6:12 a.m.  It was 54 F. at sunrise with a high of 58 expected for today---seven degrees cooler than yesterday.  The crews  laying asphalt on Old Oregon Inlet Road should enjoy the abnormally cool weather today but it's not exactly conducive to many other forms of fun in the sun, like beach volleyball.


     Anyway it's very nice to be back home to stay for a while.



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6 a.m. and nary a cloud in the sky.

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6:12 a.m. Right on time.

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Good enough. Uncle Jack is outta here.

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"Something there is that doesn't like a wall". (Robert Frost) Or a sandfence either for that matter.

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The recently bulldozed dune in front of this cottage was replaced by some hastily filled sandbags yesterday.

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Mother Nature has moved a lot of sand in the past couple of days and it doesn't look like she is quite through yet.

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The Sonag beach is foam city this morning.

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More steps have been uncovered which should facilitate passage to the beach when the ocean finally calms down.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:04 AM

Comments [0]



Friday, April 28, 2006
Homeward Bound

Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. got home from the Big Easy at midnight Thursday night and as you might imagine he had a little trouble getting up to photograph the sunrise this morning.  What follows is one last communique from the lost city of New Orleans. 


French Quarter Festival is over and the city is back to normal again, meaning uncrowded streets in the French Quarter, nearly empty restaurants and shops and a pervasive sense of gloom overriding the normally ebullient spirit of the city. Nearly eight months have passed since Katrina wreaked havoc here and in many ways it seems like time has stopped. Vast areas remain devastated and untouched by reclamation efforts as authorities argue about what should be done and who is going to pay for it. Meanwhile the newspapers are full of “business as usual” stories about shady operators who have been awarded huge contracts after making generous contributions to the politicians who dole out the money. It’s déjà vu all over again with a few people profiting obscenely from this tragedy while ordinary people who have lost everything try to put their lives together again with little help from anybody.


We took a cab out to Lakeview hospital in Metairie Monday morning to visit a musician friend who is recuperating from a stroke. Our cab driver is living in a travel trailer parked next to his badly damaged house which he hesitates to spend money on until the politicians decide what will be the fate of his neighborhood. Thousands of people who would like to get on with their lives are in the same boat ---living lives of quiet desperation while their erstwhile leaders dither.


The primary elections last Saturday reflected the deep racial divide of this beleaguered city with current mayor Ray Nagin who is black getting 38% of the votes cast (nearly the entire black vote) while four white candidates got the other 62% among them. What will happen in the run-off election next month is anybody’s guess but there is no doubt that race will be a major factor in the outcome. This is one New Orleans election that will not be fun to watch.


Jazz Fest this week and next will pump some much-needed money into the city’s coffers and bring some life to the streets again briefly, but then the long, hot summer doldrums begin (not to mention hurricane season) and the struggle for survival will intensify. Like our friend in Lakeview hospital the city faces a long uphill battle and the outcome is anything but certain. We leave New Orleans with heavy hearts in spite of all the fun we have had this week.




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This space in the French Market is usually filled with schlockmeisters selling all manner of imported (read China and India)goods. The few tourists around aren't missing anything.

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This section of the market is usually full of fruit and vegetable vendors but it's only open on Saturdays now.

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The great stride piano player "Professor" John Royen holds forth at the only National Park in the U.S. devoted to the preservation of jazz. It ain't the Grand Canyon but it's grand.

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"Uncle Lionel" Batiste and his band entertained a capacity crowd later in the afternoon. The turn-out (many locals were present)was a tribute to his popularity.

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Uncle Lionel's band was led by pianist Lars Edegran of Sweden who has been a fixture in New Orleans for over 25 years.

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The incredible sousaphonist Matt Perrine and the New Orleans Jazz Ambassadors raised the roof at Snug Harbor Wednesday night. It was their first New Orleans performance after touring Europe this winter.

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Old Man River just keeps on rollin' along no matter what.

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Riverwalk is open but most stores in it are not. Mrs. Uncle Jack was the first customer in eight months at the Clark's Shoe outlet and got her picture taken for their newsletter.

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We fueled up for the trip home with beignets and cafe au lait at the Cafe du Monde before heading for the airport.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:27 AM

Comments [5]



Tuesday, April 25, 2006
New Orleans Needs You
    French Quarter Festival ended Sunday night and New Orleans has returned to normal.  This is not good.  Normal these days means that hotels, restaurants and shops of all kinds are ready to serve tourists but the tourists are not here to be served.  Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. have been treated like royalty everywhere they have gone for the past couple of days and there is lots to see and do in spite of the damage Katrina did to the city.  There could be no better time to visit New Orleans than right now when the fate of many businesses hangs in the balance.


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The Cafe du Monde is ready and waiting to clog your arteries with those incredibly delicious little balls of fat swimming in powdered sugar known as beignets. Come and get'em.

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Decatur Street behind Jackson Square where there is normally a line-up of mule-driven sightseeing carriages. Only a few are operating but they are more than enough at the moment.

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Chartres Street in the Quarter at noon on Tuesday. Motorists have no trouble finding parking places anywhere in the Quarter on weekdays.

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Royal Street, the main shopping thoroughfare in the French Quarter, is all but deserted at noon on Tuesday. How long the stores can hold out is problematical.

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Jackson Square in front of St. Louis Cathedral. Even the Tarot card readers are not bothering to set up so you know that things are seriously out of whack.

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The Quarter is still as beautiful as ever, though. Residents still decorate their balconies with lovely flowers.

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Several huge trees in the back garden of St. Louis Cathedral succumbed to Katrina but somehow missed the statue of Jesus when they fell.

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Sidewalk graffiti on Chartres Street. Only in the French Quarter.

posted by Uncle Jack at 10:22 PM

Comments [1]



Monday, April 24, 2006
The Good Times Rolled on Sunday

     You wouldn't have known that New Orleans is a devastated city if you were in the French Quarter yesterday (Sunday). It was a flawless day weatherwise and a huge crowd turned out for the last day of French Quarter Festival.


     We caught the Dukes of Dixieland in the morning,  Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in the early afternoon, the Fire in the Petshop band in the late afternoon and two sessions ending at 1 a.m. at Snug Harbor where the Victor Goines Quartet held forth.  Goines is a New Orleans compatriot of Wynton Marsalis who also made it big in NYC.  He is head of jazz studies at Juilliard and tours the world performing.  A monster talent on clarinet and sax.  An exciting evening to say the least.


   FQF is over but we'll be here for three more days of food and music.  Stay tuned.



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The Dukes of Dixieland's front line harmonize on "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans", a particularly poignant question these days.

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Four of the best 'bone players in town perform in a group called "Trombonisms" which gives a unique sound to traditional New Orleans music. Great group.

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Wynton Marsalis drew a huge crowd to Congo Square for the permiere performance of his new composition called (what else?) "Congo Square". This is as close as we could get for a while.

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Then we got close enough to actually see the band and its sweat-soaked leader. Conducting a big jazz band is hard work on a hot afternoon in the Big Easy.

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The crowd began to thin out as the piece went on and on so we were able to get within fifty yards of the stage toward the end. The whole thing was filmed for television so watch for it on one of the cultural channels soon.

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Victor Goines is one of the reigning giants of modern jazz. He and his group drew capacity crowds to both the 8 and 10 p.m. sessions at Snug Harbor, the city's finest jazz club.

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Some critics say that Herlin Riley is the best living jazz drummer and Uncle Jack could not argue with that assessment. He did things with his drum set that were hard to believe.

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Toward the end of the second set Goines invited several younger players to join him on stage for the last couple of numbers. They were all incredibly talented and will no doubt spend the rest of their lives scuffling to make a living playing jazz.

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Matt Perrine, who could well be the world's greatest jazz tuba player, will be at Snug Harbor Wednesday night with his group. We will be there.

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Eight-year-old Gabby turned up again to wow the crowd with her singing and dancing. They call her "Hurricane Gabby" down here.

posted by Uncle Jack at 9:58 AM

Comments [4]



Sunday, April 23, 2006
Greetings from the Big Easy
     Having a wonderful time.  Wish you were here.


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French Quarter Festival, opening festivities in Jackson Square Friday morning. Music by the Festival All-Stars led by venerable cornetist Connie Jones. Great crowd on hand under sunny skies.

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It's not raining. These are "second liners" carrying parasols as they dance to the music of the band. An old New Orleans parade tradition.

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Colorful costumes are the order of the day during FQF.

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The old French Market is up and running again but the fruit and vegetable vendors have not returned yet. Loretta's famous praline shop has moved to Rampart Street.

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Rick Trolsen is a versatile trombonist who performed with several groups during the first two days. This is his Brazilian-style band "Gringo do Choro" at work in the riverfront pavilion.

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The Storyville Stompers Brass Band held forth on Saturday morning in Jackson Square. The precocious five-year-old daughter of trombonist Craig Klein sang and danced with the band to the great delight of the audience.

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Part of the crowd in Jackson Square Saturday morning with St. Louis Cathedral in the background.

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Another New Orleans tradition---an oyster po-boy dressed and a pint of Abita Amber.

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Interior of the Desire Oyster Bar on Bourbon Street. Our favorite oyster place, Felix's, has apparently gone out of business, another victim of Katrina. The Desire is a more than adequate substitute.

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The hottest band we heard yesterday--trumpeter LeRoy Jones and a great group of sidemen tore up the place.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:29 AM

Comments [6]



Thursday, April 20, 2006
Sunrise in Sonag, Thursday April 20, 2006

    Uncle Jack didn't get up to the beach this morning but he can tell you the sunrise was a carbon copy of yesterday's.  It looks like today is going to be just like yesterday---in other words perfect.  He and Mrs. U.J. are heading for New Orleans this morning where the forecast is for several days of temperatures around 90 so they are taking their summer clothes out of moth balls.


    He went to the regular meeting of the Nags Head  board of commissioners last night and listened to presentations relating to the town's proposal to go ahead with a self-financed beach renourishment program without waiting for the county to get its ducks in a row. 


    The first part was a botched analysis of the relative costs of using Oregon Inlet sand versus sand from offshore by representatives of the company that has been hired by the board to oversee this project.  After several false starts and a five-minute recess to find the correct information the company reps presented data indicating that using Oregon Inlet sand would be far too expensive and the sand would not be as compatible with the existing beach as that from offshore. Uncle Jack was not impressed.


    The second part was a review of four different "scenarios" under which the $30 million estimated cost of the project could be underwritten over a five-year period.  The four proposals involved juggling the amount of the cost that would be borne by taxpayers on the oceanside of  the beach road and the rest of the community.  The committee preparing the report recommended that 50% of the cost should be paid by oceanside property owners, 25% by the rest of the town's property owners. and 25% by the county.


     No action was taken by the commissioners on any of the proposals last night but the matter will top the agenda at the next commissioners' meeting on May 3.  Your reporter will be there.


     The photos below were taken by Ray Midgett back in the year 2000 when the Town of Nags Head undertook to replenish the beach in front of the Comfort Inn South with sand pumped from Roanoke Sound.  This sand, too, was claimed by town officials to be compatible with existing beach sand before the project began but as the pictures show this turned out not to be the case. Fortunately the cruddy stuff  had nearly all washed away within six months.


    Coming soon to  a beach near you?  We'll have to wait and see.


    


    



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The stench from this black, tar-like stuff was unbelievable.

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Looking south from Jennette's pier toward the Comfort Inn South.

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Renters in this neighborhood got their money's worth that summer.

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Yuk. That's part of the Comfort Inn South at the left. The desk clerks must have had a lot of explaining to do.

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Fun in the sun, Nags Head style.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:16 AM

Comments [7]



Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Sunrise in Sonag, Wednesday April 19, 2006

     Sunrise this morning bodes well for the rest of the day.  Warmer than yesterday, no wind to speak of and hardly a cloud in the sky.  The beach is flat as a pancake (although tilted somewhat) and hard as a rock.  A perfect day for walking or even bicycling along the edge of the water.


    Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. are off to New Orleans tomorrow for the French Quarter Festival.  They are flying this time which means they will miss the fun of driving the Mini the 1100 or so miles from here to there.  He ran across a floppy disk full of old columns from the Sentinel, one of which described one of their trips to the Big Easy which he has attached for those readers who have nothing better to do while at work today:


   Uncle Jack is pleased to report that he and Mrs. Uncle Jack have arrived safely in New Orleans after four days and nearly 2000 miles of driving, mostly on President Dwight D. Eisenhower's munificent gift to the American trucking industry, the Interstate Highway System. They allowed some extra time for the trip this year with the aim of getting off the interstates once in a while and exploring the countryside and they are very glad they did.
    For one thing they would have missed the town of Waterproof, Louisiana which occupies a tiny piece of high ground in the swamps about halfway between Lafayette and New Orleans on scenic route 182, the Cajun Highway. The sheer effrontery of the name kept them chuckling all the way through Waterproof which took all of twenty seconds.
    Route 182 was full of surprises, some delightful and some not so. It meanders for perhaps 150 miles through lowlands which for centuries have been the source of most of the sugar consumed in the U.S. By this time of year the crop has been harvested and processed and there is little left to do but burn off the detritus left lying in the fields after cutting.                                                                                         This activity produces enormous clouds of smoke which envelope entire communities (not even Waterproof is smokeproof) and makes driving even more of an adventure than it usually is in the swamps. Fortunately the fires burn out quickly so they are tolerated as necessary nuisances by the populace much as hurricanes are on the Outer Banks.
    Every little town in the sugar country contains an assortment of magnificent mansions, many of them lovingly restored, which date back to the pre-Civil War period when thousands of slaves were gainfully employed (gainfully for their owners anyway) in the  backbreaking work through which sugar cane was converted into money in those days.
    Nowadays sugar cane is converted into money primarily through through the Federal commodity price support system which is fairly lucrative for some of the larger growers but
nothing like the old days of unfettered capitalism. Uncle Jack has read numerous articles about the American sugar industry which suggest that if it were not for the many federal laws which "protect" us against cheaper foreign sugar there would be no American sugar industry and the scenery along scenic highway 182 would be quite different.
    In fact long stretches of it are anything but scenic even now. Many miles of 182 are about as scenic as the Wanchese dump used to be back in the 70's before it got cleaned up, sort of. Many of the logistical support operations for the offshore oil-drilling rigs in the gulf are located along this road and they are not pretty.  Interesting, yes, but definitely not pretty.
     Uncle Jack suggests that anyone who thinks that offshore oil-drilling would bring a bonanza to the Outer Banks should first take a look at what it has brought to coastal Louisiana. Anyway his trip through "Acadiana" as the local real estate companies call it was fascinating and it has encouraged him to abandon the Interstates from time to time on his way home, too. Who knows what adventure he might find in rural Alabama.
     New Orleans seems not to have changed a bit except for a slight upsurge in the blue-collar crime rate brought on by the almost complete collapse of the tourist industry which in many ways is a highly organized form of white-collar crime. (The best evidence of this is the flattened condition of one's wallet after even a brief stay).
 &n



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Any resemblance between this morning's pictures and yesterday's is purely coincidental.

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First glimpse.

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Here to stay.

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Uncle Jack's offer of a free storage shed has a taker. Fortunately he owns a frontloader and a big flatbed trailer to haul it away on. The removal will make way for a new garage for the Mini.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:06 AM

Comments [2]



Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Sonag Sunrise Tuesday April 18, 2006

     Uncle Jack donned his winter coat for his trip to the beach this morning.  It's a clear, cold and windy morning after a wet, cold and windy day yesterday.  The surf was up yesterday leaving a cleanswept beach that is hard enough to ride a bicycle on this morning. 


      Mrs. Uncle Jack cleaned out a closet yesterday and ran across a cache of long-forgotten floppy disks full of pictures of various events going back to the days of Uncle Jack's first computer, a tiny Gateway laptop which was also stashed away in the closet. He tried it out and it still works but it's excruciatingly slow and he recalls that it made three round trips to the Gateway repair center in Texas before before he could get it to work properly. Amazingly that primitive little device cost almost four times as much as his present Hewlett-Packard which has four times as much speed, memory and everything else one could want in a computer including wireless capability.


     One of the floppies contained on-the-scene pictures taken during and after Hurricane Dennis which tore up the place back in 1999. It was after Dennis that Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. prudently decided to relocate to the west side of the beach road . The pictures below suggest how much sand a good blow like Dennis can move in a very short time. 



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6:15 a.m. this morning.

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6:25.

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6:35

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Mother Nature chopped away at the newly bulldozed faux dunes yesterday. One more good northeaster and it will be time to do it all over again.

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Dogs will be dogs. There were seven of them altogether but this is as many as he could get in one picture.

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This little flat top at the end of Uncle Jack's street was gutted by Dennis and its contents distributed around the neighborhood. He still has a coffee table that washed up in his yard.

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Steps to nowhere.

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High but not quite dry.

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This is the house on the east side of Surfside Drive that the town finally tore down last December. Dennis was the beginning of the end for it.

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Dennis left septic tanks strewn up and down the beach along with almost as much debris as Isabel produced a few years later.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:19 AM

Comments [3]



Monday, April 17, 2006
Sunrise (Not!) in Sonag, Monday April 17

     Looks like a good day for driving back home after the long Easter weekend. No sign of the sun this morning, the day's high temperature (61F) was reached at 6:30 a.m. and there's a stiff breeze blowing from the NNE.  Oh yes, and a 60% chance of thunderstorms.  Yuk.


      Uncle Jack filled the capacious tank of his pre-rusted Voyager yesterday and it took $47 to do it, the most he has ever had to spend on a tankful of regular gasoline. At $2.81 a gallon it makes a person think about whether his next trip to the Home Depot or wherever is really necessary.


       Anyway it put him in mind of a column he wrote for the Sentinel six years ago which turned out to be prescient in some ways.  Here it is again in somewhat truncated form:


     


Uncle Jack didn’t know whether to laugh or cry last week when he read about the OPEC meeting in Venezuela. OPEC is short for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is made up largely of small countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia and Libya which don’t have a whole lot going for them except that they are sitting on top of most of the world’s remaining oil supply.


These countries got together and formed OPEC quite a few years ago with the hope that they could push up the price of crude oil by agreeing to limit production which would force the oil-guzzling countries like the U.S. to pay more for it.


They learned this trick from John D. Rockefeller who did the same thing back in the late 1800’s when we were burning up all of our own oil. He created his own home-grown OPEC---called Standard Oil---to control the supply and push prices up. And it really worked.


He made a ton of money for a while before the U.S. government finally broke up his monopoly game and made it possible for other companies to compete with him, which tended to keep the price of oil down---for better or worse. (A good case can be made for “worse” which is what Al Gore was doing before he started running for president.).


OPEC has not been doing too well in the monopoly department. They would get together and agree to production quotas but before you could say “John D. Rockefeller” one or more of the OPEC countries would decide they needed more money to buy guns or jet fighters or vacations on the Riviera or something and they would sell as much oil as they could pump to anyone who would buy it and before long all the others would have to follow suit and price of oil would slide back down to where it would cost less than bottled water, as the president of OPEC pointed out the other day.


Right now, though, they have managed to get the price up a few dollars and the oil-consuming countries are screaming like stuck pigs. All the folks (Americans mostly) who went out and bought big gas-sucking SUV’s with the expectation that fuel would stay cheap are feeling terribly betrayed---at least for the moment.


Needless to say our government has acted swiftly and decisively to show the OPEC countries who is really in charge on this planet by releasing a few million barrels of oil from our “Strategic Petroleum Reserve” which is the stash of oil we keep in storage for when we really need it like in wartime, for instance, when tankers may not always be able to reach us from the far-flung OPEC countries.


It gives Uncle Jack considerable pain to note that George W. Bush, the Republican candidate for president, has pointed out correctly that this action is a ludicrously transparent election-year ploy that will have no effect whatsoever on the price of oil but is aimed precisely at getting those SUV owners to vote for Al Gore in November.


In any case history has shown (so far) how difficult it is for OPEC to control the price of oil for very long. Chances are that one of those OPEC dictators will get greedy (or have his arm or some other portion of his anatomy twisted by the CIA) and the whole cartel thing will fall apart again.


And if that doesn’t work the army can always take our Hummers into some small country and commandeer the oil if that’s what we have to do. After all, that’s what our $300 billion a year military establishment is primarily for, is it not? To keep that oil coming?


Ask the other George Bush if you don’t believe Uncle Jack.”


(Six years later oil prices are at an all-time high without any collusion from OPEC, primarily due to greater demand for oil from China, natural disasters like Katrina, and man-made disasters like the war in Iraq which isn’t playing out at all the way our oilmen in the White House hoped it would. Sigh.)


 


    



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Sorry folks but this is what the Elph saw at 6:30 this morning. Maybe Mother Nature is in mourning on the 100th anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake.

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Two pigeons. The only birds visible on the beach in South Nags Head this morning. They don't seem to mind the Currituck county sand/clay which overlays the natural beach in this area thanks to last year's berm-building exercise.

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There won't be anybody building sandcastles on this lovely beach today. It's downright nasty out here.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:31 AM

Comments [7]



Sunday, April 16, 2006
Easter Sunday Sunrise, April 16, 2006
     Uncle Jack was hoping for a sunrise spectacular this morning but it was not to be. It's slightly cooler than yesterday but all indications are that this will be another lovely beach day on the Outer Banks.  He hopes it will be the same wherever you are.


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6:20 a.m.

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Almost mist it.

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Here to stay.

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Time for breakfast.

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The clay-like sand brought in by truck from Currituck County last year provides a new medium for sand sculptors. Bring your pick-axe if you're coming to the beach.

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Visitors to this part of South Nags Head were entertained by another full day of bulldozing yesterday. A part of life on the Outer Banks that is seldom mentioned in the rental brochures.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:15 AM

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Saturday, April 15, 2006
Sonag Sunrise(s) Saturday April 15, 2006

     Two sunrises for the price of one again this morning.  The sun rose officially at 6:29 only to disappear behind clouds from which it emerged a few minutes later. It's balmy on the beach this morning, 66 F. at sunrise heading for 80 later in the day.  Even the possibility of thunderstorms this afternoon shouldn't spoil this day.


       Have a nice weekend wherever you are.



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Ten minutes before official sunrise. A peachy time of day.

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6:29

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Sunrise with pelican.

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Sunrise with dog (in this case Cady Morris)

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Sunrise without porpoises. They ducked just as Uncle Jack snapped.

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The indefatigable dozers were here yesterday. Sisyphus lives.

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With the arrival of warm weather the beach in South Nags Head has come to resemble Coney Island some mornings.

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The scene exactly one year ago today. What a difference a year makes.

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ditto

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Surfside Drive April 15, 2005.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:16 AM

Comments [2]



Friday, April 14, 2006
Sonag Sunrise, Friday April 14, 2006

      Two sunrises for the price of one this morning; one at official sunrise time and the second when the sun emerged again from a thick cloud bank ten minutes later.  Better than Customer Appreciation Day at the Seamark.


                     UNCLE JACK’S MAILBAG


Dear Uncle Jack,


I have been reading a lot about how the people who own all those big houses up around Corolla want the state to build a bridge across from the Currituck County mainland to the Outer Banks. They say it will help relieve traffic congestion and also help get people out of there in case of a hurricane. Do you think they ought to build a bridge up there, Uncle Jack?


                             Lorna Dune


                              Kitty Hawk


P.S. If they do build a bridge up there can you think of any way an ordinary person like myself could make a buck out of it?


Dear Lorna,


Uncle Jack is glad you asked about this because he has been thinking about traffic a lot lately, mostly while waiting to make left turns on the bypass but other times too, like the day he drove to Norfolk and saw the southbound cars on 158 backed up bumper-to-bumper almost to the Hilltop Market.


If you want to know the truth he was a little surprised to see that traffic jam up in Currituck because he thought it was supposed to be a thing of the past since they widened the highway to five lanes all the way to Norfolk and also doubled the size of the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge.


Back in the 70’s before he moved here for good he would have to crawl the gauntlet of Currituck County pig farms on two-lane highway 58 and creep across Currituck Sound on the old two-lane bridge and he could hardly wait until they widened the road and built the new bridge so he could breeze right down to Nags Head at a steady 55 mph.


In those days there wasn’t even a stoplight at Duck Road because hardly anybody except real estate speculators ever wanted to go up that way because there was nothing up there except huge tracts of empty land from the ocean to the sound.


He knows exactly how those people feel who want a new bridge across the sound up north because it will save them a lot of aggravation, especially on weekends. He can even imagine that for a couple of years after the new bridge opens they will think they have died and gone to heaven before reality sets in again and the southbound traffic to the new bridge starts to back up to somewhere near Williamsburg. Then the clamor will be to four-lane the bridge which will take another ten or twenty years and eventually bring another momentary respite until gridlock sets in again.


The bottom line is that if people keep coming to the Outer Banks in droves they are going to have to learn to put up with most of the same aggravating problems they came here to escape. And those of us who live here will have to do the same.


                                 Fatalistically,


                                 Uncle Jack


P.S. You don’t have to wait for the new bridge to open to make some money. You could go out on highway 158 any Saturday or Sunday afternoon and peddle Prozac car-to-car to the folks who are parked out there waiting to make the left turn up to Duck.



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Sunrise #1.

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Sunrise #1.5

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Sunrise #2

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Sunrise #2.5

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Except for a bit of wind-driven sand it was another perfect beach day yesterday leading to some very ambitious sandcastle projects, of which this is one. (Wisely built comfortably far back from the surf).

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According to the builders, two ninth graders from Northern Virginia, this was an English manor house with outbuildings and moat, inspired by a social studies class in school.

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When we passed by they were waiting for Mother Nature to the fill the moat. Unfortunately she didn't stop there. A couple of hours later it looked like the Vikings had raided the place.

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Rushing the season.

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Jennette's Pier, awaiting elongation.

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Mrs. Uncle Jack's newly planted tomato patch. It won't be long now.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:33 AM

Comments [6]



Thursday, April 13, 2006
Sunrise in Sonag, Thursday April 13

     It looks like another fabulous beach day is in store for the Outer Banks.  Hardly a cloud in the sky and almost shirtsleeve warm at 6:30.  Most of the pictures below were taken yesterday afternoon when the beach suddenly became crowded (by South Nags Head standards) with visitors here for the Easter week-end.  Not bad for the middle of April.


    Folks were sentient in 1970 might remember that on this day the Apollo 13 mission to the moon was aborted when a liquid oxygen tank burst.  The astronauts returned to earth safely.  What a nailbiter that was.



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6:25 a.m.

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Two minutes later.

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Thar she blows.

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Cady Morris cools her heels in the sunrise surf.

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She was not lacking companionship this morning.

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A harbinger of summer. These kids must have icewater in their veins.

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Fun in the sun.

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It's hard to imagine how a few million dollars worth of dredge spoil could improve this beach.

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A rare sight since the berm project covered the South Nags Head beach with Currituck County sand. Shorebirds in the South Nags Head surf. Why do they stand on one leg?

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Another happy extended family hard at work.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:21 AM

Comments [2]



Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Sunrise in Sonag April 12, 2006

     What a lovely morning.  Much warmer than yesterday, little or no wind and scarcely a cloud in the sky. A great day to be on the Outer Banks for sure.


             UNCLE JACK'S MAILBAG


Dear Uncle Jack,


     I read in the paper where the Chevron oil company wants to drill for oil about 40 miles out in the ocean off Hatteras. They say there is hardly any chance they will find anything but they are willing to spend a few million dollars to find out.  Are those people crazy or what, Uncle Jack?           


                            Incredulous in Avon


Dear Incredulous,


     Maybe it's not as crazy as you think. For one thing they found oil way up in the northern part of Alaska by the Arctic Circle and then they had to build a pipeline about a thousand miles long to carry it down to the nearest seaport which was a little fishing village called Valdez which you may remember reading about a few years ago when a tanker ran aground and spilled a zillion gallons of Valdez oil into the ocean up there.


     Drilling a well off Hatteras would be a piece of cake compared to drilling wells on the Arctic Circle and if they did find oil they would need only a 40-mile long pipeline to pump it into the nearest fishing village.  With any luck Avon could be as famous as Valdez some day.


     You have to give the oil companies credit for what they are trying to do which is to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.  It is scary to think that something like 70% of all the oil we burn up in our cars and trucks and airplanes---and most important our 4WD recreational vehicles---comes from unstable places like the Middle East and South America and Africa.


    It is entirely possible that if Chevron brings in a gusher or two out by the Gulf Stream America could reduce its dependence on foreign oil to maybe 69% for a couple of years before it runs out and they have to drill somewhere else---like maybe off the end of Jennette's pier.


     Anyway Uncle Jack is glad that there are selfless, patriotic oil companies like Chevron that are willing to risk millions of dollars in what could turn out to be a futile effort to free us from the specter of oil deprivation at the hands of greedy middle-eastern potentates, some of whom don't even believe in the Bible.


                                   Cheerfully,


                                    Uncle Jack


                                                                    



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6:28 a.m.

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6:30. Colors intensify as the appointed moment approaches.

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6:33. Right on time, as usual.

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Here to stay.

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More dogs than sandpipers this morning. Not a good sign.

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The Comfort Inn South only appears to be on fire.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:28 AM

Comments [3]



Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Sonag sunrise Tuesday April 11, 2006

    Another chilly, cloudless morning on the Outer Banks.  It was 39 F at 6:30 so Uncle Jack had to dig out his winter coat again.  This, too, shall pass according to the weatherman who predicts 60 by noon. Looks like a carbon copy of yesterday but warmer.   Wish you were here?


                      ******************



     Uncle Jack is always thinking about ways he could get rich and famous without working and it occurred to him that maybe he could borrow an idea from the comedian Jeff Foxworthy who got rich and famous by telling jokes about “rednecks” such as “You could be a redneck if you go to family reunions to meet girls” and many others of that ilk.


He was thinking maybe he could write a book called “You could be a native Outer Banker if……” which he could sell in all the better T-shirt and souvenir shops all up and down the Outer Banks and if they each sold one copy Uncle Jack would be rich and famous overnight.


For example,  “You might be a native if you know that Hatteras rhymes with mattress.” Also “You might be a native if you have slept through a dozen hurricane evacuations.” Also “You might be a native if you have never climbed Jockey’s Ridge or swam in the ocean.” Also “You might be a native if there is a recipe for boiled drum on your refrigerator door.” Or “You might be a native if at least six of your relatives work for the county.”


   On second thought maybe this isn't such a great idea.  Some of Uncle Jack's best friends are natives and he would like to keep it that way.





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Remarkable resemblance to yesterday at 6:30 a.m.

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Ditto.

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A little more beach to walk on this morning. No wind at all.

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Mother Nature has swept the decks again during the past couple of days.

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Clouds or no, it's still pretty.

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Berm builders at work almost exactly a year ago. Mother Nature did not take kindly to their work, only a few traces of which remain in South Nags Head.

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Try to imagine how much sand Hurricane Isabel had to remove from the beach to produce this strange sight. Try to imagine how much it would cost to replace that sand, over and over again for the next 100 years.

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This was taken after a storm in the 70's. From the looks of it "retreat" was not a dirty word in those days. All the old historic cottages in this picture are still there around the 13 milepost in Nags Head.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:44 AM

Comments [7]



Monday, April 10, 2006
Sonag Sunrise, Monday April 10, 2006

     The sun rose right on time at 6:36 this morning into a cloudless sky but Uncle Jack did not hang around to admire it.  The temperature is only ten degrees above freezing and a brisk breeze off the ocean is still pushing waves almost to the dune line so walking on the beach was fraught with peril.  After climbing over one mountain of sandbags he decided to return home by way of South Nags Head's splendid Multi-purpose Pedestrian Facility (aka sidewalk) which is only partially under water from the weekend monsoon. 


      Looks like a very nice week in store for the pre-Easter crowd who rolled in over the week-end.  Could be back into the 70's by the middle of the week.  Uncle Jack can live with that.



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6:30 a.m.

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6:33

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6:36

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6:38. Looks like it's here to stay.

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Yesterday was a fish-off-the-deck day in some parts of South Nags Head and it's still a bit rough this morning.

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Houses that have been allowed to encroach on the public beach provide an obstacle course for beach walkers. More fun than going to the gym and cheaper, too.

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Mother Nature chopped away at the berm again yesterday, spreading perhaps a foot of it on the beach. Early renters of these houses will have a drop-off issue to contend with. (One more good northeaster would solve the problem in most cases).

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:21 AM

Comments [3]



Sunday, April 9, 2006
Yuk. Sunday April 10, 2006

Uncle Jack did not have to leave the house this morning to know that there would be no sunrise to photograph.  Raindrops spattering on the skylight in the kitchen, as they had been for hours, suggested that returning to bed would be more sensible than walking up to the beach. This was confirmed by a peek at the weather forecast which indicates a high of 50 today (it was in the mid-70's yesterday) with gradual clearing.


     When the rain does stop he will return to the task of  emptying his 10 x 15 foot storage shed which he continues to offer ABSOLUTELY FREE to anyone who will take it away.  In the process he is realizing that considerably more than half the stuff he has been storing in the storage shed should have been thrown out years ago.  The First Law of Storage Sheds seems to be that if you have one you don't have to throw anything away even when you should.


    In the absence of sunrise pictures this morning he has reached back into the archives for some of his favorite images from days gone by.



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Uncle Jack inspects an old WWII Liberty Ship that broke away from the tug that was hauling it to be scrapped in Louisiana about 30 years ago. Two big tugs pulled it off the beach on Pea Island a few days later.

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The Oasis restaurant on the causeway, home of lace cornbread and barefoot coed waitresses, burned down a few years ago. A 17-unit upscale motel will soon rise in its place.

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The First Colony Gallery, forerunner of Yellowhouse Gallery, as it looked from 1970 to 1976. On the Beach Road in front of the First Colony Inn when the hotel was on the oceanfront at the 13 mile post.

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LeRoy's Sea Side Inn, later known as the First Colony Inn, as it looked in the early 1930's. The First Colony now resides between the highways near the 16 milepost.

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The Midway gas station on Roanoke Island, demolished a few years ago, and (bottom) Daniels Cafe on the causeway which is now the kitchen of Basnight's Lone Cedar Restaurant.

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George Crocker's famed Galleon and Esplanade, now replaced by numerous large houses (bottom). Hardly recognizable at the top is the present location of Don Gato's restaurant on the Beach Road in Nags Head, formerly Bell's store.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:42 AM

Comments [5]



Saturday, April 8, 2006
Sunrise (?) in Sonag, Saturday 4/9/06

     A rather pathetic excuse for a sunrise this morning but according to the weatherman this is the high point of the day.  Thunderstorms are on the way and after the front passes through temperatures will drop 20 degrees with a high of 51 forecast for tomorrow. 


     All of which should provide some interesting riding weather for our visiting horde of  motorcyclists.  Uncle Jack passed through Sturgis, South Dakota last summer just before the annual gathering of tens of thousands of riders from all over the country.  It's beginning to look and sound alarmingly like Sturgis around here this weekend.  Presumably this invasion is good for at least some parts of the economy?  In any case noise lovers are in hog heaven.


     In the absence of sunrise pictures this morning Uncle Jack has pulled a few items out of the archives that might stimulate a few pangs of nostalgia, especially among viewers who are as old as he is and can still remember some of these places. 



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Ten minutes before official sunrise which is getting earlier by a minute or two every day. It happened at 6:39 this morning if you can believe the almanac.

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Shortly after this it disappeared completely into the clouds.

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Remains of last year's FEMA-financed berm. Most of it has been distributed over the beach in a form of reverse beach nourishment. The drop-off will pose a challenge to renters who will be arriving soon.

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Remember the Nags Head Inn (not to be confused with the oceanfront hotel of the same name)? Photo c. 1950 from Outer Banks History Center archives.

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The Pebble Beach has been replaced by a row of cookie-cutter particle board palaces.

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Kessinger's store on the left, Hollowell hotel on the right. The hotel was moved to the beach road from the sound in the 30's and demolished in the 70's. The lot is now occupied by a lovely replica old-style Nags Head cottage.

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The Old Nagsheader burned to the ground in 1977. Pictures 6 and 7 from the Outer Banks History Center archives.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:03 AM

Comments [4]



Friday, April 7, 2006
Sonag Sunrise Friday April 7, 2005

     A somewhat less than thrilling sunrise this morning. Definitely not a potential screensaver. Uncle Jack hopes things are a bit brighter where you are.


      He sincerely hopes that the rain will hold off so the thousands of bikers who are arriving today and tomorrow will be able to cruise up and down the Beach Road and the Bypass to their heart's content without getting their leathers wet.  (Well maybe not sincerely). Too bad that prophet of doom from National Geographic who was here lecturing the Tourist Bureau last week on how the Outer Banks is losing its charm could not have been here for Bike Week.  He would have had to shout to be heard, thus making his point.


     The Coastland Times editorialized yesterday on the price of  gasoline and its possible effects on the Outer Banks economy this summer.  This kind of speculation is traditional at this time of year as one of the pictures below suggests.  It's  a scan of a pic from an April 1999 issue of the Sentinel illustrating a feature story about how gas prices seem to shoot up on the Outer Banks every year at this time. 


    



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This is nowhere near where the sun was supposed to come up but it was the only opening in the cloud cover.

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Ditto, but with a soupcon of color.

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This was as good as it got.

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The avant garde began to arrive on Thursday. By this afternoon every square foot of the Surfside Plaza parking lot will be filled with hogs. Part of the family atmosphere we have strived to achieve here in Nags Head.

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These were the exorbitant new gas prices on the Outer Banks after the usual spring price gouging went into effect in April 1999.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:34 AM

Comments [4]



Thursday, April 6, 2006
Sunrise Thursday April 6, 2006

     Except for a jet contrail the sky was almost completely cloudless again this morning.  It was chilly at 6:30 but the weatherman says we are in a warming trend so it could be shirtsleeve time by noon today.


     Uncle Jack did a little poking around at building sites yesterday (pictures below).  The new shopping center behind Eckerd's drugstore on the KDH-Nags Head line looks to be a colossus in the making.  It is swarming with workers and construction machinery and it looks like a push is on to get it up and running in time to catch at least some summer business.  It is rumored that a Harris-Teeter grocery store will be the anchor.  That is definitely not good news for the Food Lion which is a short stone's throw away.


     He and Mrs. U.J. watched an interesting DVD last evening,  namely "Good Night and Good Luck" which dealt with part of the career of the courageous CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow.  It was a walk down memory lane for Uncle Jack who not only remembers Murrow's radio broadcasts from London during WWII but later watched his tangles with the late Senator Joseph McCarthy on TV when he was in the navy in 1954. 


      The movie was most valuable for its behind-the-scenes accounts of what went on in the upper floors of "Black Rock", the CBS headquarters in NYC.  Senator McCarthy, one of the most despicable men ever to occupy a chair in the U.S. Senate, terrorized the CBS management but in the end Murrow was reluctantly allowed to continue his battle to expose him for the dangerous bully he was.  In retrospect it was CBS's finest hour.


      The so-called "Army-McCarthy" hearings which followed were some of the most gripping television Uncle Jack has ever watched and Murrow's steadfastness and courage in the face of McCarthy's vicious attacks on him were inspiring.  The movie did serve to demonstrate the long, slow slide of television news coverage from the glory days of Ed Murrow to the pathetic travesty it has become today.


     It is also a timely film in that it serves to remind us that internal threats to freedom in America are never far away. McCarthy's fear-mongering was not so different from the present administration's in many respects. Substitute "terrorists" for "communists" and it's deja vu all over again. 


   Good morning and good luck, especially if you're planning to buy a lottery ticket today.



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A man-made cloud. Weird but pretty.

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By the time the sun came up it had drifted quite a way.

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And it kept on drifting.

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And drifting. It's probably down around Hatteras by this time.

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Neighbor Jim Morris and his faithful companion Kady joined Uncle Jack on the beach this morning. Both are dressed to ward off the morning chill.

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The beach looked good again this morning. That's the Outer Banks pier in the distance.

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Meanwhile back on the bypass the furious pace of construction continues. Uncle Jack risked his life in the Mini to take this picture of the new shopping center in KDH.

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Not even the neighbors seem to know what this is going to be. Best guess is another desperately needed strip shopping center. It's just south of "The Pit" in KDH.

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This handsome 10' x 15' storage shed in Uncle Jack's back yard is available FREE to the first person who can take it away. Call him at 252-441-6928 (Yellowhouse) if you're interested. Time is of the essence.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:10 AM

Comments [7]



Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Sonag Sunrise Wednesday April 5

   Not a cloud in the sky this morning, hence a set of pictures Uncle Jack could have pulled out of the files.  There is something ineffable about watching that big orange ball rise out of the sea that draws him back to the beach every morning even though he often knows exactly what it is going to look like before he leaves the house. 


    He finished doing his taxes yesterday (it takes about five minutes when Social Security is your major source of income) so he is going to go forth in the Mini this afternoon  and take  pictures of  some of the new commercial developments that are underway in the greater Nags Head metropolitan area.  


     He has heard there is a new Harris-Teeter supermarket under construction over by the ABC store which should be very handy when the Food Lion next door is crowded.  Also there is a new pizzeria going up across from the Outer Banks Mall which will fill a great void in the local fast food scene.  At the present time there is not one single pizza joint within 50 feet of the new one.   


     Rumors are flying that a Target big box is coming to a vacant lot near Kelly's restaurant and a Staples will replace Mrs. T's wonderful deli.  "Let them eat staples" Marie Antoinette would probably say if she walked among us today.


     Myrtle Beach anyone?


     


                                                                                 



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Morning twilight they call this.

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Each morning a minute or so earlier until Uncle Jack's birthday, June 21, when it starts back in the other direction.

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Picture 3 Up she comes.

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Looks like a winner.

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Uncle Jack's only companions on the beach this morning.They looked like they might be plotting something.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:33 AM

Comments [4]



Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Sunrise (Ha!) April 4, 2005

      Weatherwise it has been an exciting 12 hours on the Outer Banks.  A series of humongous thunderstorms with strong winds and monsoon rains interspersed with hail passed through Nags Head last night around dinner time. Thunder and lightning continued off and on for a couple of hours along with more rain and it is still heavily overcast this morning. Uncle Jack is fairly sure the sun came up on time but he couldn't see it.


     His morning has been brightened considerably, however, by the two fresh loaves of Aunt Esther's Swedish rye bread pictured below which Mrs. Uncle Jack baked during the storm last evening. Who needs sunshine when he can have Swedish rye bread for breakfast?


     While Uncle Jack cannot provide a glorious sunrise picture this morning he can offer a movie recommendation.  He and Mrs. U.J. watched "March of the Penguins" on DVD last night and now they know why it is the most talked about documentary in years. Beautiful, moving, thought-provoking. If you haven't seen it yet you can look forward to a truly extraordinary experience.


      Weatherman says it's going to be a nice day on the Outer Banks.  Uncle Jack has adopted a wait-and-see attitude.  Cheers.


         



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The sun is back behind these clouds somewhere. Actually the picture makes things look brighter than they really were this morning. Uncle Jack eschewed his usual walk on the beach in favor of a slice of Swedish rye.

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These perfect loaves, when properly juxtaposed, could have modeled for Michelangelo when he did his "Creation of the Sun and Moon" fresco in the Sistine Chapel.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:33 AM

Comments [4]



Monday, April 3, 2006
Sunrise in Sonag-Monday April 3

The weatherman says thundershowers likely today but the morning at least promises to be quite tolerable on the Outer Banks. Not exactly balmy at 6:30 a.m. but far from cold. Once again this morning the beach looked like it had been swept by some cosmic broom and the sand was packed almost hard enough to ride a bike on----or a horse. The young ladies pictured below with their equine companions were riding happily down the beach yesterday afternoon when Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. encountered them. Fortunately Mother Nature has already removed all traces of their unintentional efforts to renourish the beach.


     Uncle Jack was looking through some old newspapers from 2002 yesterday.  The main story in one of them was about President Bush's meeting with President Vicente Fox of Mexico to discuss the illegal immigration problem.  Four years and several million more illegal immigrants later the main story this week was President Bush's meeting with President Vicente Fox of Mexico to discuss the illegal immigration problem. As they say in France, plus ca change, plus la meme chose.


     Ciao.



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Five minutes before official sunrise at 6:45

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Ditto but in a different part of the sky.

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It's official.

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The whole thing.

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Does this look like fun or what?

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The Bodie Island Beach Club time share has survived another winter. Plans for it are unknown, at least by Uncle Jack.

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Imagine this with thousands of tons of dredge spoil dumped on it. Not a pretty thought.

posted by Uncle Jack at 7:52 AM

Comments [3]



Sunday, April 2, 2006
Sunrise in Sonag April 2, 2006

     Yesterday's cloudy, drizzly beginning gave way to sunshine and balmy breezes by noon.  It turned out to be a glorious day to be alive and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Uncle Jack spent most of it waiting for a repairman to come and fix his brand new heating system which was installed on Friday but he is pleased to report that the problem was corrected and all is well, at least for the moment.


     Sunday has dawned bright and beautiful with nary a cloud in the sky.  Thanks to Daylight Savings Time which kicked in last night the sun peeked over the horizon an hour later this morning.  The folks in Indiana may be of two minds about DST but Uncle Jack knows where he stands.


     He and Mrs. U.J. were pleased to join the huge throng who turned out last night to hear the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans play in the impressive auditorium at First Flight High School in KDH.  The concert was the last event in this year's Outer Banks Forum series and it turned out to be a rousing finale. The unseasonably warm weather apparently caught the school officials by surprise because the air-conditioning system did not seem to be working. Between the hot music pouring off the stage and the near capacity audience the temperature in the auditorium reached near-stupefying levels even before the intermission. (Uncle Jack knows a very competent repairman who could fix things if they don't mind waiting all day for him to show up).


     Anyway the concert was a good warm-up for Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. who will be in New Orleans three weeks from this weekend for the annual French Quarter Festival. They wondered if the organizers would be able to pull FQF off this year given the parlous state of the city and the diaspora of musicians after Katrina but it looks like they have performed a small miracle. Stay tuned.


    And do have a nice day, please.


 


   


     


 


 



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The scene at 6:40 EDT.

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And ten minutes later.

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The usual northbound sunrise jet did not appear this morning, perhaps because it's Sunday. This one was heading south at 6:45.

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The beach was fantastic again this morning. Mother Nature must have been reading Martha Stewart or something because she surely deserves some kind of tidiness award this week.

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Uncle Jack didn't see any shore birds this morning but he had these two crows to keep him company.

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Pretty as a picture.

posted by Uncle Jack at 8:13 AM

Comments [2]



Saturday, April 1, 2006
Sonag Sunrise (Not!) April 1

     Mother Nature decided to play a little April Fool joke this morning.  Uncle Jack strolled up to the beach at the appointed time only to find a thick bank of dark clouds between him and the sun.  Hence no uplifting pictures to brighten your day.  Perhaps the sun is shining where you are in which case April Fool's Day could be even more enjoyable than if you were here on the Outer Banks. (Naahh).


      A propos of yesterday's lament about ugly sandbags Uncle Jack herewith provides the URL of a website that provides some insight into what desperate homeowners along the storm-battered Florida panhandle are up to while officials look the other way.  Click on this link for a look at what could happen here one day if we let it. This is really scary.


http://content.gannettonline.com/gns/seawalls/walls.html



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That's all she wrote this morning.

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Uncle Jack walked a half mile down the beach toward the Sonag pier and this is the only bird he saw. This is one more bird than he saw yesterday, however, so perhaps he should be encouraged.

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This was taken on April 15 last year, which suggests that maybe we are not quite out of the woods stormwise.

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Same day, same storm.

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Ditto. This was at the north end of Surfside Drive where a new row of sandbags will direct future storm waves right at the remaining undamaged part of that unfortunate street.

posted by Uncle Jack at 6:43 AM

Comments [2]




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Uncle Jack lived in Nags Head for 35 years before he moved to Baltimore a couple of years ago. He still has a house in South Nags Head which he and Mrs. U.J. visit every chance they get.
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