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The Tentacle


July 29, 2005

A Quiet Family Nags Head Vacation – Part 3

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Today, the treasure to be found on the Outer Banks is in the form of real estate. The place in which we are staying is on the market. The fiscal conservative in me naively wanted to inquire, thinking perhaps, that if we are going to keep coming down here, year after year, for many years in the future, we may as well own the place and rent it out the balance of the year, and get our vacation free.

I got a copy of sales brochure. Good news, it has recently been reduced in price. I’m excited and I have my checkbook at the ready. I can just about afford a meager strip of oceanfront property for $30, somewhat like Dr. W. G. Pool in 1855.

Real estate is a great investment these days. I’m recently gainfully unemployed and I have some free time on my hands to beat the bushes for some good investments.

The sales brochure reports that the “immaculately maintained eight bedroom, 5 bath, ocean front home … located in a quiet residential neighborhood… boasts of a sweeping ocean view, bright and open ‘great room,’ fireplace, cathedral ceilings, private pool and hot tub….” And the price, a mere $1.74 million dollars, reduced from $1.8M.

Okay Sparky. Next idea!

Well, darn if it didn’t sell before the week was over. Trust me, I was not the buyer.

* * * * * * * * * *

Much of the TV time spent by my wife at the beach this year is centered on “Le Tour de France.” I think that the truth of the matter is that my wife stays married to me because (with me she is never bored and) she hasn’t figured out a way to run away with Lance Armstrong.

I have become fascinated with the bicycle race myself. It has much to find engrossing: athleticism, charismatic protagonists, history and tradition, intrigue, tactics and strategy. I overlook the part in which it is a French event. In spite of the fact that Le Tour de France has been around since 1903, I never really heard about it until this American started winning seven of the events in a row.

* * * * * * * * * *

At the beginning of the week, much of the family was also much interested in the world’s oldest golf tournament (since 1860), The British Open. This year’s event took place at golf’s birthplace, St. Andrews in Scotland. Tiger Woods won the event for the second time, dominating the game throughout all four days. What I really found to be compelling TV during this year’s event was the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus.

While the continually rising star, Tiger Woods, turned the Open into a rout, Jack Nicklaus faded into retirement on a stirring, emotion filled performance, making birdie on the final hole of his competitive career, after stopping on the famous Swilcan Bridge in the middle of the 18th fairway, and saying farewell to the game.

I hope that we will have many more athletes in the future who understand one of his farewell remarks in which he said that he understood that golf is a game, but his family is his life.

* * * * * * * * * *

Of course, the best sporting event of the week was the homerun President George W. Bush hit with the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., in the blood contact sport we call Washington politics.

Already the “No Plan, No Vision, politics of personal destruction and obstructionism” Democratic Team led by Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and chief sycophant cheerleaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, have already begun their voodoo dance.

Judge Roberts is eminently qualified and was confirmed by voice vote of the Senate; there were three no votes in his 2003 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee for appointment to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It will take great imagination, high synthetic drama and great fiction to deny him the nod to the United States Supreme Court.

"This is not a game of 'gotcha,"' Senator Schumer said. Yes, it is Senator! Judge Roberts is quintessentially qualified and – Senator Schumer – the President gotcha at your own game.

* * * * * * * * * *

I do enjoy spending as much time as possible with the family and especially my nieces and nephews. I’m not much on spending time idly. I enjoy hours of uninterrupted time reading.

The book I have started this week is Thomas L. Friedman’s “The World Is Flat – A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.” I whole-heartedly recommend it.

Mr. Friedman is almost exactly my age. He started working for The New York Times in 1981 and has been, since 1995, The Times’ foreign affairs columnist. As much as I dislike the leftist liberal leanings of The Times, I have come to appreciate Mr. Friedman. He won his third Pulitzer Prize in 2002. Give him a try, if you haven’t already. Start with his column, “If It's a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution,” which he wrote on July 8, 2005.

In “The World is Flat,” Mr. Friedman explains how the Internet, globalization and the fall of communism has come together in creating an economic democratization of different, previously unequally disparate counties and cultures, absent much of the Middle East, where in some Samuel P. Huntington tribal conflict retro-medieval world, the terrorists want to bomb themselves back into the stone ages.

The other book I brought along to the beach is “Freakonomics,” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephan J. Dubner. On the inside cover sleeve it explains that this unusual book “establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we should like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work.”

* * * * * * * * * *

We came home, from a great week, to enough mail at the post office that we needed a truck to carry it home; used the car anyway. Funny thing about vacations, all the work that one leaves piled upon one’s desk is still there when you return. I vote for two weeks in Nags Head next year. That ought to do the trick.

Pass me the sunscreen, a good book; turn on Fox News and get out the tuna.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org



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