Thursday, August 23, 2007

Look at me... I can be... centerfield...

Instead of talking about 27-run losses, how about some happy sports news?

Kickball season is underway!

Yes, Team Hayduke had our first (and only) practice last night, and judging by what I saw, I think it's time to put the other teams on notice: We're ready to ball.

But I'm not really here to share all the details of my kickball team (yet). Rather, I'm writing because David Wissing made me do it.

He has perfected the art of throwaway digs -- using an offhand word or two to take a swipe at things like global warming, Democrats, or the Redskins.

So, the other day when he called my blog "dormant," I took umbrage: "Hey, I'm posting at least once a week," I said to myself.

Which is a pretty lame response.

My trouble accepting the obvious -- that my blog is what's really lame -- was probably a result of the fact that for the first time since I took my new job, I missed blogging. This isn't to say I'd trade my job for the blog -- let's not get crazy -- it's just that I missed being part of all fun everyone's been having these past couple weeks. A few examples:

Our own local Carmen Sandiego, Jessie, has popped up in various places with play-at-home questions and tangible examples of community planning principles. Her most recent visit was to a couple impromptu paths in Oakland Mills, which reminded me of a story I heard in one of my first urban studies classes.

During the early days of Disney Land, people were eschewing the carefully laid out walkways in favor of shortcuts across grassy areas. Park management approach Walt Disney about the problem and recommended installing fences around the grass. Disney, apparently, rebuffed them, saying that's where new sidewalks should go.

There's more to that than just sidewalks, I think.

Bill Santos has also been sharing a bunch of Columbia and general planning insights, including this post linking to the "Neighbor Manifesto," a great, thoughtful read on where.

Meanwhile, with tons of pictures and frequent updates, David Wissing's coverage of that thing that I don't really want to mention has been great; he even created a separate category for it.

Of course, there's politics, too. See David Keelan and Freemarket.

Even Wordbones, after taking a slew vacations this summer, is rested up and back in the saddle.

Actually, it seems to me that, like my kickball team, our local blogs have covered all the bases, and also like kickball, I should just stay out in centerfield and catch the occasional lazy fly ball, such as:

I'm reading a new book about the development of a subdivision in rural Pennsylvania called Last Harvest: How a Cornfield Became New Daleville: Real Estate Development in America from George Washington to the Builders of the Twenty-first Century, and Why We Live In Houses Anyway (kind of a mouthful). At times reminiscent of our own situation in Howard County, it offers a comprehensive look residential development, from theories and planning to public hearings and approvals, some of which is, naturally, common knowledge to people like us. Nonetheless, there are many insights within the book that, I think, provide valuable to our local dialogue (which is a way of saying I think you should read the book).

Here are a couple quotes worth sharing:

The modest single-family house is the glory of the suburban tradition. It offers its inhabitants a comprehensible image of independence and privacy while also accepting the responsibilities of community.

If you've been to my house (or neighborhood) you'll probably know why that one resonates with me.

Then, there's this, from a town meeting:
We've been doing conventional development and we hate it. Why don't we try something new, and if we don't like it we won't do it anymore.

OK, that's enough for now. Back to dormancy, at least until somebody pokes me again.


Dave Wissing said...

I prod because we all (well at least I do) miss your wit and snarky take on the local news...

I don't blame you for putting the job ahead of the I am fully aware, with my own - one pays the bills and one doesn't....

David W. Keelan said...

Good Howard County Carnival.

Jessie N said...

Ditto on Dave Wissing's comments, above.

wordbones said...

...and I'll raise Jessie's one ditto.

Anonymous said...

You appreciate suburbanization and the modest SFD? One would never guess it based on your push for ultra high density in Town Center and your general condemnation of lateral development as opposed to vertical maximization of every parcel of land. You really do like to have things both ways don't you? I thought you might be in the market to sell your casa and buy a unit in the WCI Tower since you support it so much.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Hayduke. If you love the WCI Tower so much, why don't you marry it.

Anonymous said...

Hayduke and the tower - sitting in a tree - k-i-s-s-i-n-g

Anonymous said...

Yeah - your offspring could be called "mini-tower" (like mini-Me).

Austin Danger Powers said...

Anon, what the hell are you doing? There are no fewer than five other local blogs to discuss the Tower on, but you prefer to taunt Hayduke with nursery rhymes and stupid jokes? Are you bored, just feel the need to boost your shallow ego, or are you too simple minded to carry on a conversation elsewhere? For the record, my vote is all of the above.

Anonymous said...

There's more than one ANON making the comments. I can only control my anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Powers - don't you have a sense of humor? I thought the other ANON comment about sitting in a tree was funny. It wasn't malicious in any way. Lighten up Francis!

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