Sunday, December 31, 2006

The fancy cankerworm traps done by professionals are catching the wingless moths that crawl into the trees and lay cankerworm eggs.
If you don't have fancy traps already, drag out something sticky -- holiday packing tape, duct tape, whatever -- and please wrap your trees. There's still time to catch more of these lovely bugs.
The moths are climbing wild cherry trees in addition to willow oaks. No sign of them climbing dogwoods or a maple. How about your trees? And has anyone heard official counts of the number of bugs this year compared to prior years?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Try this new toy for local information here . It was featured in the new Time issue about the person of the year being you.
I think it still has some issues, beyond bugs. Mainly, any aggregator is only as good as the information it aggregates, and Charlotte's bloggers haven't reached critical mass yet when it comes to information. You can get plenty of opinions everywhere, but actual news and information are hard to come by, except from
And if the Observer doesn't cover it, did it really happen? Of course it did, but only if someone reports it, and someone "tags" it so it can be found. And will people really do that well, for free?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Merry Oaks residents on their Google group are sharing sitings of blue herons and even a deer!
Two people spotted a deer with antlers near the 2600 block of Arnold Drive the morning of Dec. 13.
From Tom Poston: "It skittered across Arnold down to the wild area along
the tributary running into the country club and off into the woods.
In fifteen years of living here I've never seen a deer in the
neighborhood, although I could see how one or more could survive in
the woods along the edge of the school and in the country club
The heron or herons are visiting Briar Creek Greenway and Covington Oaks. One was hunting in my front yard about a month ago.
Drive, walk or bike with eyes wide open. Tell your neighbors -- even those in Country Club, Plaza Midwood and Commonwealth Park -- to do the same.

Photo credits: little blue heron courtesy of William Klos via with Creative Commons licensing.
deer courtesy of Aileen via with Creative Commons licensing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A link to a long post of inspiration on how to be creative, at any age, from a cartoonist and advertising industry worker: carve out some thinking time before clicking this. And yes, there may be some offensive language, and some British slang.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

If you just don't have enough to do this season, check out this site for information and shopping "inside the four."
Route 4 is Charlotte's old "inner belt," including Eastway, Wendover and I think Woodlawn on the south side, though I'm a bit fuzzy on that. The website has links to neighborhood information and blogs about events and shopping in the center city. Save gas, plan your trips, or just make virtual connections with Charlotte's best neighborhoods.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Reminder: band your trees to fight cankerworms. Advice varies whether you should do trees other than willow oaks. This picture shows what the worms can do to a dogwood, though, if the worms manage to reproduce on your oaks and then move to other food sources.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nearby North Carolina at Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Merry Oaks Elementary School principal Stan Frazier has been promoted to principal of E.E. Waddell High School. No word on who will replace him. More here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm by no means an expert on this, but here are the headlines and those interested can dig deeper. In my neighborhood, Tom Poston's the expert on stuff involving streetcars:

"Citizens are encouraged to share their opinions on the future of all of the remaining rapid transit projects during the public hearing that will be held on Wednesday, November 15 at 5 pm in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center (600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte). If you would like to address the Metropolitan Transit Commission during the public hearing, please call 704-432-0490."

Here's a link to the CATS web site, to find the agenda for the meeting.

And for more information, visit here or call 704.336.RIDE.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What future voters care about, from KidsVoting, 2006 early results:

Questions for Grades 6-12
If your vote could direct excess funding to one national priority, what would it be?
Medical Research 30%
NASA 16%
Homeland Security 4%
Education 25%
Environment 25%

Political issues within which of the following will be most important to your future?
Iran 2%
Iraq 25%
Israel and Lebanon 15%
North Korea 10%
United States 48%

Which of the following would most benefit the Charlotte regional economy?
Light rail system 50%
Urban baseball stadium 5%
Center City arts 30%
NASCAR Museum 15%

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pumpkin wall video here
Found link originally at Under The Water Tower, which credits Snaps.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

To see pictures of the public art by Jim Gallucci that will go in at the bridge on Central Avenue at Briar Creek, go here.
It's a place for visuals for the Merry Oaks neighborhood, for when Google Groups or Neighborhood Link just won't do.

The traditional pumpkin wall, in Elizabeth.
And another sign of the times: a small resident of the southern N.C. mountains.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lots of news about a possible streetcar in my 'hood in Charlotte.
For more details, read here (warning: registration required) and here (go to the posting called "Streetcar Meeting" and view comments).
The map shown here is just a piece of it. Map credit goes to the folks at CATS. For more details and a .pdf of the full map, go here.
The story by Rich Rubin confuses me when it talks about lefthand turns at Clement and Central, and the map doesn't clarify the confusion for me. Maybe further meetings and other people will clear that up.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Rosslyn Metro

Originally uploaded by underoak.
We got great photos during a trip to Washington, D.C. Sarah gets credit for many of the best ones. You can see some of them by going to

Friday, June 30, 2006

Observations from a vsit to Washington, D.C. during the big rains:
1. Mass transit should be built with emergency service in mind. If a community is subject to floods, earthquakes, whatever, designers of light rail and trains should take that into account. Don't put electrical junctions and switches and light rail stations too low, where they may flood. If they do flood, always have backup systems. Sending every available bus and bus driver to saturate an area will clog roads more. Count on quality private-enterprise cab drivers as backup too. Where ARE all the good cab drivers in my town?
2. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is above ground and does not flood. Ditto the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. Why are we storing our National Archives in a building that floods? ("Sorry, folks, the Declaration of Independence got washed away in the last big rain...")
3. Alexandria is a jewel as beautiful as Charleston. M Street in Georgetown is like going to SouthPark mall in Charlotte, but with decent restaurants. Get off the main roads if you want to see unique stuff. That "Blue Highways" book was right.
4. My daughter and I walked the same halls at Georgetown University where researchers developed the HPV vaccine. That's inspiring.
5. Public transportation must be accessible to the handicapped and elderly, including those temporarily handicapped. Those folks often depend on it.
6. If you plug in to your Ipod while on the Metro, you miss all the interesting conversations everyone else is having on their cellphones. They do manage to talk on their cellphones, despite the tunnels.
7. One cab driver said they were changing the White House into an Ark, but they weren't going to allow any donkeys in.
8. World Cup soccer breaks the ice with any cab driver.
9. My hometown newspaper stacks up well against "The Washington Post" in providing useful information quickly, especially in emergency situations.
10. It's good to be home, and dry.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy solstice. Walk in the sun.
Search for a sun image here. Or use Flickr. If I'm going to walk, I've no time to play on the computer. Go find your own sun.
If you MUST stay staring at the screen, read what Charlotte area residents are saying about cars versus public transportation here.
Then read how it feels to age out of the mainstream media's target demographic here.
But really, you should go walk in the sun.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Spamku II:

Always Google before you post, or when you think you have an original idea.

Horribly disappointing and scary to find many people have the same original idea.

So Spamku is taken. The word is even trademarked, as a movie.

One Spamku site

And another

And the movie, reviewed

what if we had a new poetry form using the words in subject fields in spam?


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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Don't let the green days of high summer fool you.
Remember how our neighborhood and surrounding hoods looked in late spring, when canker worms had eaten our willow oaks and dogwood flowers.
This picture is of a dogwood tree in my front yard in May, after the worms were gone and new leaves sprouted. You can still see the damage done to the old leaves.
Resolve now to start saving money to band your trees -- and your neighbor's trees if they don't have the money to do so.
It's for the next generation in Charlotte and for our property values.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Here are some photos of the flowers under the oaks.

Well, technically this would be overoak.