Archive for the ‘Etc.’ Category

Free meals on Thanksgiving

November 25, 2009

Since this story ran Tuesday, I’ve learned of a few more places that will be serving free Thanksgiving meals tomorrow. I’m posting the entire list here. If you know of others, please post them or let me know. I’ll add them. Note: The linked story also lists volunteer opportunities for Thanksgiving Day and restaurants that will be open.

Look here to see a map showing all of these locations.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

thanksgiving-meal5.jpeg*Vick’s Drive-In parking lot at 506 West Rowan St. The Caring 7 will start serving at 11 a.m. and end by about 2:30 p.m.

*The City Rescue Mission at 331 Adams St. Thanksgiving dinner will be served from noon to 4 p.m.

thanksgiving-meal3.jpeg*The Salvation Army at 245 Alexander St. It expects to serve Thanksgiving dinner to several hundred people between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

thanksgiving-meal1.jpeg*Highland Presbyterian Church at 111 Highland Ave. will be serving meals during the day as well as packing them up to send to other places.

*Parks Chapel Free Will Baptist Church at 2503 Murchison Road will be serving, presumably at lunch, but I haven’t been able to confirm the hours.

*College Heights Presbyterian Church at 1809 Seabrook Road. Meals will be served in the fellowship hall from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

*Kingdom Builder Ministry, a new church, will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to any and all from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Alger B. Wilkins Elementary School at 1429 Skibo Road. That’s according to Pastor Angela Walker. She said she is planning to feed at least 300.

*Smith Temple Church of God In Christ at 2296 Slater Ave. TCL Ministries will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to the needy from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

*True Vine Temple Reasoning Center at 910 McNeill St., Spring Lake. Meals will be served to all comers from 11 a.m. until the food runs out. They served 75 to 100 last year.


Going to the inauguration?

January 8, 2009


Meanwhile, here are some logistical things you might want to know before you go:

metrorushhour.jpg*Transportation: In what’s probably a massive understatement, this site notes that it’s going to be “challenging” to get around the DC area from about Jan. 17 through Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. That period includes the weekend of Jan. 17-19.

As such, you’ll want to be well aware of what transportation options are available, what you need to do to take advantage of them, and what the restrictions are. Here, you can find out info for taking the metro or a commuter train, riding a bike or walking to Inaugural events. Lots of streets will be closed so driving would be migraine-worthy at best.

Note: The city’s public transportation system expects to run at “crush capacity.” So be careful if you plan to use it, especially if you’re with young children or elderly people.

inauguration_obama-dcpm101.JPG*Parade route: Figure on snagging a good spot to watch the inaugural parade? So are millions of other people. Study a map of the parade route to develop your plan.

*Whether the weather will cooperate: Wellll… it probably depends on your definition of “cooperate.” Unsurprisingly, Washington weather usually ranges from the mid to upper 20s to the low to mid 40s on Jan. 20. Sometimes it rains or snows.

Here‘s a look at what the weather has done on previous Inauguration Days.

dc-weather-forecast.JPGAnd here‘s the latest 10-day forecast for D.C. That goes through Jan. 17, three days before the inauguration. They’re calling for snow showers in the city on Jan. 15 and Jan. 16 and cloudy skies with a high of 40 degrees on Jan. 17.

Speaking from previous experience in standing around for long periods in freezing weather in D.C. (last spring break, we waited in line outside for a couple of really cold, early morning hours to tour the U.S. Capitol), you might want to consider taking along some of those hand- and body-warmer things that hunters use. I realized this too late and while I could stand the cold, my youngest son was miserable.

I assume those things would be allowed. But that brings me to my next subject:

*Are there things you won’t be allowed to have in the area of the inauguration? Well, guns — duh. Knives — likewise. Explosives — this is news? But they’re also prohibiting bunches of more mundane items that you might have been figuring on taking to ease the wait and the cold, including umbrellas, strollers, backpacks, coolers, thermoses and alcohol. For the full list, go here.

My stars!

December 18, 2008

Well, our stars… or the stars. And galaxies. And nebulae. And interstellar gas. And universe.

As anyone who reads the Live Wire column or this blog or my occasional stints covering Fay to Z when Greg Phillips is otherwise engaged, I ramble around.

Today, I’ve rambled back to a place that I mentioned in that Dec. 3 stint doing Fay to Z: the Boston Globe’s really cool Big Picture feature and particularly one current feature there — an online Big Picture Advent calendar using photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. They’re just amazing. The creator of the calendar adds a new photo to the site every day.

Below is the photo from Day 1 of the calendar. Click here to see the rest — in huge, screen-spanning glory.


If you’re so inspired, check out some of the hundreds of other photos taken by the Hubble, which are posted at its site.

Maybe you’re wondering about the colors in these photos. Yeah, they were added in — but with a scientific purpose in mind. The colors are used to enhance detail as well as to show types of light that aren’t visible to the naked eye. There’s a much better and more detailed explanation here.

Meanwhile, for real knowledge about what’s going on in the sky, stay tuned to Johnny Horne’s Backyard Universe.

If your trash, recycling or yard waste is picked up on Thursdays…

December 16, 2008

trash-pickup.jpeg…or, in the case of yard waste, on Fridays, too, here are some schedules for city residents to be aware of as we head toward the last Thursday and Friday before Christmas and New Year’s Day (which fall on consecutive Thursdays).

Each type of pickup will be following a different schedule over the holidays so clear out what you can this week if it could be problematic.

Trash: It’s the least of your worries. If your regular pickup is Thursday, it’ll be picked up on the Fridays after Christmas and New Year’s Day.

blue-bin.jpgRecycling: This caused a lot of confusion at Thanksgiving because the people with regular Thursday pickup assumed it would be picked up on Friday, just like trash. Nope. It wasn’t picked up ’til the following Thursday.

And, in fact, that’ll be the case at Christmas, too — Thursday pickup people will lose their recycling pickup Christmas week, but, if they have their bins out the following Thursday, it’ll be picked up. Yes, on New Year’s Day. Trash won’t be picked up that day, but recycling will be. The recycling is picked up by Waste Management, a private contractor.

raking-leaves1.jpegYard waste: If your yard waste is regularly picked up on Thursdays or Fridays, and it’s not out by the curb in a bin or bags by this Thursday (Dec. 18) or Friday (Dec. 19), don’t bother taking it there ’til the week after New Year’s Day. They won’t be servicing the regular Thursday or Friday pickup routes during the two holiday weeks.

For general information about the city’s sanitation programs, go here.

Eagle eye

October 30, 2008

Fay to Z’s post about the world’s best wildlife photos reminded me of the good fun I had last summer watching the young bald eagles on the wildlife cam at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

The eagle cam closed down soon after that because the eagles had progressed past the point of spending much time at the nest.

But, after reading the Fay to Z post, I remembered the Web master of the Blackwater site had told me the eagle action would move to the site’s osprey cam in the fall. The ospreys abandon their riverside nest for warmer climes for the winter and the eagles — and other birds — drop by to set a spell or knock back some fish they’ve caught.

1030-eagles-at-the-osprey-cam2.JPG1030-eagles-at-the-osprey-cam.JPGSo I took a look earlier today and… an eagle was there waiting for me.

Then, though, he (she?) left and a different bird arrived. That’s a golden eagle below, right?


And then there were three birds there — or almost there.


Anyway, it’s an always changing scene — and clearly pretty active now, too.

If your TV screen looks like this tomorrow…

September 16, 2008


…you will probably want to start considering your options for dealing with the rapidly approaching digital age (as it regards TV).

More than a dozen of the state’s TV stations, including WRAL, WTVD, WNCN and WUVC, plan to turn off their analog signals for a minute tomorrow night between 6 and 6:30 so people can check to see if their TVs can handle an only-digital signal.

Those who have no picture then on those channels will need to do one of these things to continue watching TV after the broadcasters permanently switch to digital signals-only on Feb. 17:

1) Get a converter box for their current TV. (Coupons are available.)


2) Sign up for satellite or cable service (which would convert the signal for them, thus no box necessary).


3) Get a digital TV.

More info on the subject:

*Not all converter boxes are alike. Some include an “analog pass-through” feature.


*Wilmington-area stations have already gone all-digital — to the displeased surprise of many unprepared viewers. See —–>

*More explanations right here.

More hurricania

September 5, 2008

Hurricane-info hotline: If you have questions about how to prepare for the storm(s), what resources are available to you and so forth — and if you can’t find the answer in the Observer or at our Web site — Gov. Mike Easley’s office is operating a 24-hour hotline to offer such info.

Help is available in both English and Spanish. The number is (888) 835-9966. The TTY number for the deaf and hard of hearing is (877) 877-1765.


Rule on price-gouging: When the governor declared a state of emergency yesterday, that put North Carolina’s price-gouging law into effect.

It prohibits people from charging unreasonably excessive prices for critical goods and services during a time of crisis.


If you need to make repairs afterward: Watch out for scammers. N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office has tips on how to avoid trouble if you need to hire someone to repair your property after a storm (or, really, anytime).


Prescriptions: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina says it’s allowing customers to refill prescriptions early in advance of the storm.

This is cool

September 5, 2008

And potentially a bit seasick-making.

Weather or not…

August 27, 2008

When the sky went dark this morning and the thunder kept pounding overhead, I posted an update on my Facebook account saying I heard the Balrog coming. (I watched some LOTR last weekend for the billionth time.)

weather-radar.JPGNow, after a spate of bright sun and scorching temps, it’s gray and pouring rain again. I don’t hear the Balrog this time — but I am checking the weather radar. If you’re in the mind for all kinds of weather update links (not to steal any… thunder from Chick Jacobs), check this post I made back in June. It includes links to local weather radars — and the Balrog. OK, not really on the Balrog. That’s below \/.

Torch song 30

August 10, 2008

I’m going to let y’all enjoy the current games. But first here’s a rundown of the Olympic moments I’ve posted:

A look at bits of past opening ceremonies.


Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia and Elana Meyer of South Africa display the true Olympic spirit in 1992. —>

williams.jpg<—Percy Williams, the surprising winner of the 100m and 200m fujimoto1.jpgdashes in 1928

Shun Fujimoto, the Japanese gymnast who continued competing in 1976 even after breaking his kneecap —>


<— Dick Fosbury, father of the Flop and winner of the high jump in 1968


Larry Lemieux puts sportsmanship and humanity above his chance at a medal in his sailing race in 1988 —>


<—South Korea’s boxing team suffers a self-inflected black eye in 1988


Steve Redgrave of the U.K. bags a gold medal in rowing in 2000 — his fifth in five different Olympics —>


<— Diving great Greg Louganis of the U.S. hits his head on the board during competition in 1988 — then goes on to win


A story of weight-lifting at the 1980 games —>


<— U.S. gymnast Keri Strug behaves magnificently under pressure — and in pain — at the 1996 games in Atlanta


Takeichi Nishi of Japan wins gold in equestrian jumping in 1932 — but that’s not the whole of his story —>


<— Discus hurler supreme Al Oerter of the U.S. wins and wins and wins again (and again)

cathy-freeman.jpgAussie sprinter Cathy Freeman stares down — and runs down — the pressure in 2000 —>


<— The real Chariots of Fire guys at the 1928 games

spitz11.jpgMark Spitz swims into the history books in 1972 —>

Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner topples Goliath in 2000

nadia-1.jpg<— Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci introduces the world to perfection in 1976dave-wottle.jpg

I still can’t believe Dave Wottle won this race in 1972 —>

In 1956, cold war tensions between Hungary and the Soviet Union boil over during water polowilma-rudolph.jpg

Wilma Rudolph overcomes all kinds of odds to win gold three times in 1960 —>

johnson.jpgSally Robbins of Australia rows into a scandal in 2004

<— U.S. sprinter Michael Johnson actually appears to breeze past his opponents on his way to gold — and new records — in 1996

There actually were summer games in 1980, even though the U.S. didn’t go

olga-korbut.jpg<— Russian gymnast Olga Korbut wows the judges and charms the masses in 1972moussambani.jpg

The agonizing and perhaps heroic swim of Eric Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea in 2000 —>

A worldwide icon who won a gold medal in 1960 lights the Olympic flame in 1996

owens-medal.jpg<— Jesse Owens blows that whole idea about Aryan supremacy out of the water — and off the track — in 1936redmond.jpg

Runner Derek Redmond — and his dad — in a race we won’t ever easily forget (and not just because Visa won’t let us) —>