Columnist: Bob Ashley

May. 31, 2014 @ 10:11 AM

Barely 5 years old, food trucks now mainstream

This is hardly a new development, but it struck me last week that food trucks have truly gone mainstream in Durham.

The latest sign? Since late March, the Research Triangle Foundation and Fidelity Investments have partnered to sponsor weekly food truck rodeos in the park. 


May. 25, 2014 @ 10:32 AM

Apartment building boom latest downtown revival chapter

An item in a recent emailed newsletter from the Durham Rotary Club grabbed my attention.

Scott Selig, Duke University’s vice president for real estate, gave the club an enthusiastic report on the downtown revival in which he and Duke have been major players.


May. 17, 2014 @ 05:40 PM

Proximity underscores tornado’s potential for harm

What’s with this weather, anyway?

This area is no stranger to tornadoes, and we’ve seen the destruction that it could bring.


May. 10, 2014 @ 05:34 PM

Baby boomers will now bloat ranks of elderly

I know all of you who are younger than the baby boomers are beyond tired of listening to us talk about how politics, protest, movies, sex, drugs and rock and roll will never be what they were in the 1960s and ’70s.

Well, take heart. The inexorable march of time is at work.


May. 03, 2014 @ 06:48 PM

Building community, home by home, block by block

A couple of sentences in an article last Sunday by Blake Strayhorn, executive director for Habitat for Humanity, stuck with me.

Strayhorn wrote about a Habitat success, citing a story from a young man, Adriel “AJ” Holland, who described the apartment where he lived as a youngster.

“In 17-D, AJ learned to tell gunshots from fireworks,” Strayhorn wrote. “Before he was 10, AJ saw a man shot as he took out the trash.”


Apr. 26, 2014 @ 07:25 PM

WUNC, NPR – voices of civility in broadcast news

Public radio listeners – and there are lots of us in this area – are suffering through the price we pay for our passion last week and this. It is the fund drive, that much lampooned staple of listener-financed radio.


Apr. 19, 2014 @ 05:56 PM

A better world for movement Steinem, others led

At 80, Gloria Steinem is still a powerful voice for equal rights and opportunities for women, causes for which she has championed since being one of the founders of the feminism movement in the 1960s.


Apr. 12, 2014 @ 03:57 PM

Are we skimming through life on digital brains?

As the “Here and Now” transcript puts it, “With digital devices, we are constantly consuming information, from short tweets and text messages to online articles and blog posts. We jump around, skimming and scanning.”

These are not just quirks. Our brains may, neuroscientists are finding, be adopting new processes. The change may be making it more difficult for us to read closely and absorb lengthy or complex material closely.


Apr. 05, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

NCPedia becomes an even richer -- and tempting -- resource

If you wanted to know how Lizard Lick got that name – one of my favorites on the North Carolina map – you could, of course, Google it.

 

Mar. 29, 2014 @ 06:07 PM

Bull City’s news better than Queen City’s

Charlotte, where I spent a decade from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, has long been the envy of many cities as it has emerged as a booming financial center, the very epitome of the latest iteration of the New South.


Mar. 22, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

Time to enjoy our marvelous madness

You probably saw UNC sports beat reporter Harold Gutmann's wonderful front-page story Thursday on our area's representation in the NCAA's men's basketball tournament.

"College basketball is king on Tobacco Road, and the NCAA Tournament is the pinnacle of the sport," Gutmann wrote.  "This week, it comes together in unprecedented fashion.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 10:37 PM

How to keep them down on the farm

Someone who is determined to disbelieve something can manage to disregard an Everest of evidence for it. So Barack Obama will not temper his enthusiasm for increased equality with lucidity about the government's role in exacerbating inequality.


Mar. 15, 2014 @ 01:32 PM

Dynamic local business scene a Durham hallmark

The other day, waiting to pick up a lunch order at a quintessentially Durham establishment – a taqueria adorned with a large cow atop its roof, legacy of its days as dairy bar – it occurred to me how during my time in Durham the lure of buying local has grown year by year.


Mar. 08, 2014 @ 01:31 PM

Face it – it’s just daylight ‘shifting’ time

A polling firm, Rasmussen Reports, has asked folks in national telephone surveys if they agree or disagree with this statement about Daylight Saving Time: “Don’t think the time change is worth the hassle.”

Forty-seven percent agree with that statement. Only 40 percent disagreed.


Mar. 01, 2014 @ 10:19 PM

Crusading to honor, preserve ‘real barbecue’

John Shelton Reed knows a thing or two about barbecue. As the saying goes, he wrote the book on it.

“Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue,” written with his wife, Dale Volberg Reed and published in 2008, is very much the bible of our state’s barbecue.  Reed, one of the most distinguished sociologists of his generation, retired in 2000 after many years as the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. Among many other legacies at UNC, he helped to found the Center for the Study of the American South.