Commentary from a practical perspective
December 6, 2009
First laid out in the early 1960s, North Shores has a longstanding reputation as a place for the very well-to-do to enjoy the Delaware Beaches.
The Board of Governors for the community also has an equally longstanding reputation of doing what it can to preserve the private property rights of the folks who own a beach place there. These efforts include significant parking restrictions throughout the community, and vigorous efforts to keep their private oceanfront beach free of the footprints of those who do not own North Shores property.
Apparently that exclusionary attitude is not enough for some members of that community.
In Schneiderman et al. v. North Shores Board of Governors, Inc., a group of oceanfront property owners in North Shores are suing to block the use of dune crossings that the rest of the community uses to reach the beach. Among other allegations, they claim that these crossings could not be built without their approval, and they do not approve.
The dune crossings are about ten feet wide. Each one has a small wooden boardwalk to take North Shores owners and their guests across the dune line to the private beach.
These crossings are not that much to look at--here are photos of the crossings at Ocean Drive and Cedar, Holly, and Farview Roads.
According to the complaint filed in this case, however, these crossings are a real nuisance.
People using the crossing "talk to one another" while making the short hike to the beach, and some of these people also "gawk" at the oceanfront homes adjacent to the crossings. Furthermore, on some occasions folks allegedly hurt themselves while walking through these crossings, and then have the effrontery to "request aid" from the plaintiffs.
As noted above, the oceanfront owners alleged that their right to veto any construction on the North Shores beach extended to these dune crossings.
Chancery Court Master Sam Glasscock disagreed:
Therefore, Master Glasscock dismissed the property claim element of this lawsuit. As for the nuisance claims, however, the case is still alive:
If I had to guess, however, I would think that those not very neighborly elements of the Plaintiffs' claims will not be sufficient to meet their goals.
I'd be okay with that.
November 28, 2009
I took advantage of the day off on Friday to finally finish a book I'd been slogging through for the last few months, and which will have an honored place on the Mr. Happy Collection bookshelf.
Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is the second of his books I have read, and it was more interesting from an immediate perspective than his prior work, Guns, Germs, and Steel.
"Collapse" outlines the history of several failed civilizations, including the Maya, Easter Islander, and the Norse Greenland colony. It then draws several potential lessons for today from those eventually bitter experiences.
I might quibble about some of what he argues about how a civilization can cause itself significant troubles, but the following passage seemed remarkably apropos of the current discussion over health care reform:
This risk of committing the sin of exclusion was not lost on James Madison, who wrote this passage about the House of Representatives while arguing for the adoption of the Constitution, in Federalist No. 57:
I put in bold the part of this excerpt that should be kept foremost in mind in thinking about health care reform, or any other massive Federal attempts at change.
Vigilance by the governed is the best possible source
of protection from those doing the governing.
Revamping the home office has been on our schedule of fun things to do for a long while.
It was tops on the list, in fact, except for everything else we could think of doing instead.
Nonetheless, late this summer and early fall, we began the tortuous process of moving hundreds of books, recycling a few reams of no-longer-needed papers, going to furniture stores, and debating the merits of paint chips with names like Romance, or Stone 2.
I didn't see what Stone 1 looked like, but Stone 2 worked out well as the final selection.
During the book-moving part of the makeover, my wife asked me for a recommendation among those on the shelves. She was looking for a book that was different from her usual preferences.
I mentioned something, and she began to look over the shelves that held the books that were mostly mine.
As she studied the options, she became, as they say, a bit animated about the overall scope of the non-fiction, non-golf selections. She re-discovered that my reading interests are a mite bit severe, when viewed from one perspective.
With the office now finished, we put these particular books on a shelf, which we've now named the Mister Happy Collection.
See if you agree:
In my own defense, I should say that several of these books appeal to my conservative communitarian impulses. These include Death in Hamburg, The Great Influenza, Ship Ablaze, Rising Tide, and Isaac's Storm.
Allen Weinstein's Perjury, perhaps not so much. It's just a great history of a particularly nasty piece of treason.
November 10, 2009
Early mornings in the fall around here often include a surprise or two.
I'm up with the dog well before the rest of the occupants, and so I sometimes see stuff that just isn't around later in the day for the others to appreciate.
Or at least, it isn't quite so impressive looking, once the sun has risen past a certain point.
For example, one sunny weekend not long ago, this was the scene outside my home office window:
Somebody had been very, very busy the night before.
It probably ran out of web fluid at some point. Or perhaps the spider was on caffeine or other drugs, which can be impressive in their effects.
October 25, 2009
A new controversy that potentially implicated my writings on this blog and my golf-related website helped spur me to begin posting again here, after a work- and family-related hiatus.
It's about freebies and such.
I made it the subject of the main part of my weekly golf column this week, which is reprinted here below, but with hyperlinks added.
Hope you like it:
October 25, 2009
I took a break from writing for this blog for a while.
Did anything happen while I was gone?
I'm this close to kicking my PC with a size 10 Timberline boot, what with all the fun I'm having trying to make it work with a new wireless printer.
At the moment, I'm attempting an alternate route, in which the software will be installed on Dr. Schranck's notebook computer, which may be less balky.
In the meantime, here are links and the opening lines to the most recent golf columns, which you may enjoy while I continue to test what remains of my self-control:
We saw Sean Penn’s Milk on New Year’s Eve, and were both deeply impressed.
I appreciated the fact that the movie does not seek to canonize San Francisco’s first openly gay city supervisor, but instead presents a well-balanced portrait of the man, his city, and his times.
When the movie was first announced in the general media, my initial impression was to wonder why it hadn’t been made before now, as the story of his rise to prominence and murder is such an obvious choice for a good movie.
Now that I’ve seen it, however, I think the passage of years perhaps helped. If anything, it may have acted as a deterrent against making a two-dimensional movie suggesting this skilled politician was a pure-hearted victim of a vicious homophobe, his assassin Dan White. Both men deserved far more than that, as this movie shows with some empathy.
I would have liked to have seen more in the movie about George Moscone, the Mayor whom White also shot and killed, but there was already so much else to be covered that it probably just couldn’t fit.
Milk well deserves the Oscar buzz it’s now receiving. I wouldn’t be surprised if it picked up one or two little statuettes later this year, for Penn and perhaps the screenwriter/executive producer, Dustin Lance Black.
The current administration is taking several steps to reduce costs and otherwise try to meet a steadily-declining budget target.
These include the recent issuance of a stern edict that all state offices shall have their thermostats set at no more than 68 degrees in winter.
In addition, support services staff are expected to check around for space heaters and similar cheating devices.
All well and good, I suppose, except that the office building in which I work dates back to the late 60s/early 70s, when American architects apparently considered the East German government as their muse. A single large pane of un-insulated glass helps produce a nice cold draft in my office, while the heating unit under the window remains turned off, to help maintain the average 68 throughout the building.
After a few days of this, especially on returning to work on Monday when the heat's been set even lower on the weekend, I had to do something.
The sweater takes the edge off the chill, but it has another effect I hadn't expected.
The new daily ritual of putting on this vest each morning means that I have now become Mr. Rogers.
Isn't that special?
Sure it is.
Thanks to the thousands of film
buffs who attended the
The Movies at Midway
Please donate to these
Tips for site-seeing
Current Table of Essays
Table of Essays for 2008
Table of Essays for 2007
Table of Essays for 2006
Table of Essays for 2005
Table of Essays for 2004
Table of Essays for 2003
Table of Essays for 2002
Links to the Archives --alternative access to each essay in the collection.
Along the Way--a photoblog.
And a web cartoonist, too:
Blue Hen Bloggers
This is a personal web site. Any opinions or comments I express here are my own, and don't necessarily reflect the official position of my work as a government attorney or any of my clients.
That fact may be obvious, but it needs to be said here anyway.
This is a self-portrait by Thomas Frye, an Irish artist (1710-1762). A copy of this print is on our family room wall.
I am reliably informed that Frye's pose, his features, and his apparent attitude as displayed in this drawing are similar to mine--except for the wig.
© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2009