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Friday, December 13, 2013
Dear Uncle Jack
       Back in 1980 Uncle Jack finally figured out a way to get out of his miserable job as a full professor with tenure at Carnegie Mellon University in smoky Pittsburgh so he could move to the Outer Banks which is all he ever wanted to do after he spent two weeks in Nags Head ten years earlier. All he had to do was take a 50% pay cut to join the staff of a brand new weekly newspaper called the Outer Banks Current where his main job was to cover all the town council meetings so readers could keep up on all the latest news about drainage and septic tank requirements and other hot topics of the day.
       Noticing that he seemed to have a lot of spare time between meetings the editor asked him to try
writing a weekly column to fill up some space on the editorial page which he did under the nom de plume "Uncle Jack" and which he dutifully continued to do for what seemed an eternity---long after he left the newspaper and went into the slightly more remunerative picture-framing business.
Over those many years he probably wrote close to a thousand columns, a few of which he thought were pretty funny and possibly worth preserving for posterity so his great grandchildren (of which he already has four)could read them someday and wonder what kind of a strange person their great grandfather must have been.
       Several years ago he gathered up a bunch of what he thought were his best columns and self-published them in a paperback book called "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks". Unfortunately he printed only a few thousand copies and it sold out rather quickly. He thought about printing more copies but it's a big hassle and he procrastinated until eBooks came along---Amazon Kindle books in particular. Amazon makes it easy for anybody to publish books on line so that is what he did.
       Now anybody who has a Kindle reader (or a computer or tablet) can download and read "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks" for the ridiculously low price of only $4.99 which is less than five cents each for 100 funny pieces about the Outer Banks at least some of which have been known make a person laugh out loud and slap his or her thighs. He should also mention the dozens of interesting and unusual pictures he threw in at no extra charge.
       Anyway with Christmas coming on he thought it would be a good idea to use his next few blog entries to offer a few free samples of the goodies in his book and also to inform the reading public how they might obtain it for themselves or give it as a gift to friends who love the Outer Banks. He will confess that his motivation is not completely eelymosynary; as an old age pensioner living from one Social Security check to the next he could use the money.
       To find out more about how to order the book or send a copy to a friend simply Google "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks Kindle Edition" and Amazon will do the rest. http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Jacks-Outer-Banks-Sandberg-ebook/dp/B005VGOKKO


Over the years Uncle Jack received many heartfelt letters from readers asking him to help them find a way to move to the Outer Banks to live happily ever after. This was one of them:

Dear Uncle Jack,
I spent two weeks on the Outer Banks last summer and now I spend most of my time trying to figure out how I could make a living down there. I have a terrific job running a shredding machine for the C.I.A. and I'm really good at it so I was wondering if you knew anybody down there who is looking for an experienced shredder. I could be there tomorrow if they need me and if the hours were right I would even consider working for less than the $75,000 I'm making now. I won't sleep until I hear from you, Uncle Jack, so please hurry.

McLean, Virginia

Dear Anxious,
Uncle Jack is certainly glad to hear that you would be willing to take a modest pay cut because that will help you a lot when you go looking for a job down here. He is not sure what they are paying paper shredders over at the county office building but he doubts if it's anywhere near $75,000. They have surprised him before, though, so you might want to check it out when you get down here.
The big problem you face, though, is that there just aren't that many openings for paper shredders down here due to the general lack of large scale covert activity. There is probably a little hanky panky from time to time in some of the lawyers' offices but most of it usually gets torn up by hand and flushed down the toilet.
What it boils down to if you ask Uncle Jack, and you did, is that you might have to go into some other line of work, or at least you might have to adapt your highly developed shredding skills to something other than paper.
Have you thought about cabbage? There is hardly a restaurant on the Outer Banks that doesn't have to make a ton of coleslaw every day and that means shredding a lot of cabbage. You might think about picking up a government surplus high performance shredder and setting yourself up in the wholesale coleslaw business.
If you want to know the truth that is about the only business he can think of that there is not at least two of already on the Outer Banks. For example if you are thinking about opening a discount department store forget it. There is already a Wal-Mart and a K-Mart down here and that's at least one too many if you ask Uncle Jack.
He knows how you feel about wanting to move to the Outer Banks, though, because he had the same problem once, a long time ago. All he can say is that if you want to live here badly enough you will find a way.

Uncle Jack

P.S. How do you feel about selling real estate?


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Beach in South Nags Head after Hurricane Isabel, September 2003. One of many pictures of storm damage included in "Uncle Jack's Outer Banks", all taken by him.

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FEMA to the rescue. Building an artificial dune to replace the sand washed away by Isabel. Ten miles long, most of it washed away within a year.

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First Colony Gallery, 1970-76, predecessor of Yellowhouse Gallery. As of 2013 the building survives in the collection of historic structures gathered by the late Carolista Baum just south of Surfside Plaza in Nags Head.

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Winter sunrise in South Nags Head, February 2007.

posted by Uncle Jack at 5:57 AM

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After retiring in 2005 after 35 years as owner/operator of Yellowhouse Gallery and Annex on the Beach Road in Nags Head, Uncle Jack, accompanied by Mrs. Uncle Jack (a.k.a. Susan), commenced to travel extensively. This blog is a chronicle of their ramblings around the U.S. (in their redoubtable Mini Cooper convertible) as well as visits to England, Ireland, France, Italy, and Malta, interspersed with lengthy stays in South Nags Head and Baltimore between trips. He took a lot of pictures along the way, many of which are posted along with each blog entry.
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