At 11 foot 8 inches [sic], the Norfolk Southern-Gregson Street Overpass, located in Durham, [NC] […], is a bit too short. The federal government recommends that bridges on public roads should have a clearance of at least 14 feet [but], when this railroad trestle was built in the 1940s, there were no standards for minimum clearance. As a result, trucks would frequently hit the bridge and get its roof scrapped [sic] off.
Durhan resident Jürgen Henn has been witnessing these crashes for years from across the street where he worked. Wishing to share these hilarious mishaps with the rest of the world, Henn set up a video camera in April 2008 and began recording them for his ever popular website 11foot8.com. By the end of 2015, more than one hundred trucks had their tops violently ripped off. These scalping videos, which are also available on his YouTube Channel, have racked up millions of views bringing this particular bridge, nicknamed “the can opener”, a fair amount of international fame.
As Jürgen Henn explains in his website [sic], the bridge cannot be raised because doing so would require the tracks to be raised for several miles to adjust the incline. North Carolina Railroad doesn’t want to pay for the enormous expense it would entail. The bridge cannot be lowered either because there is a major sewer line running only four feet under the street.
Instead, the city authorities installed an alert system that detects when an over-height truck tries to pass under and flashes yellow warning lights several feet ahead of the bridge. [However], many drivers either do not pay attention or fail to heed the warning and crash into the bridge. The railroad department, who owns the bridge, installed a heavy steel crash beam in front of the bridge that takes most of the impact, protecting the actual structure of the train trestle. This crash beam is hit so often that it had to be replaced at least once.
As far as both parties are concerned, the city of Durham and North Carolina Railroad, adequate steps have been taken to solve the problem. The railroad authorities’ concern is with the bridge and the rails above, not the trucks, [hence], the beam. The city, on the other hand, has posted prominent “low clearance” signs from [three] blocks away, leading up to the trestle, over and above the automatic warning system that is triggered by vehicles that are too tall. Apparently, these measures are not enough to prevent accidents. On average there is one crash every month.
When Henn interviewed a few drivers as they deflated their tires to lower their vehicles enough to free them, some told him that they didn’t know their trucks’ heights, while others insisted they didn’t see the signs. Durham officials are now trying out a new tactic. A few months ago, they installed a traffic signal at the intersection before the bridge and hooked up the height sensor to it. When an over-height truck approaches the intersection, the light turns red and stays red for a long time. The light eventually turns green but, the city hopes that the long delay will give the drivers enough time to realize their truck will not fit under the bridge. Unfortunately for the drivers, and to the delight of the rest, the bridge continues to shave the tops of over-height vehicles.
The Infamous Can Opener Bridge
December 17, 2016
I can attest to this bridge, personally. I lived in Durham for two years in the middle 90s. Why those folks don’t turn off onto Peabody Street or Pettigrew Street, coming from the other side, I don’t know. They just plow right under it. It is right behind Brightleaf Square. ~Vic
♦ 11 Feet, 8 Inches… (99% Invisible/Kurt Kohlstedt/08-29-2016)
♦ Durham’s Bridge of Death Will Decapitate Any Tall Truck (Bloomberg/John Metcalfe/10-25-2012)
♦ Trucks Have Hit This Low Bridge More Than 100 Times… (Vox/Timothy B. Lee/01-06-2016)
♦ A Little Off The Top… (Indy Week/Danny Hooley/01-06-2016)
♦ Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass (Wikipedia)
Compilation of Crashes
One of the greatest disasters in Japanese history began in the Japanese capital city of Edo (original name of Tokyo) on March 2, 1657, 365 years ago, today. Legend has it that the fire was accidentally started by a priest who was supposedly trying to cremate a cursed kimono. The kimono had been owned in succession by three teenage girls who all died before ever being able to wear it. When the garment was being burned, a large gust of wind fanned the flames causing the wooden temple to ignite.
The fire spread quickly through the city, due to hurricane force winds, which were blowing from the northwest. Edo, like most Japanese cities, […] the buildings were especially dry due to a drought the previous year. [The] roads and other open spaces between buildings were small and narrow, allowing the fire to spread and grow particularly quickly.
The Great Fire of Meireki
February 21, 2016
[The] city of Tokyo, Japan, then known as Edo, suffered a catastrophic fire that lasted three days, and killed 100,000 Japanese people, a death toll greater than either of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The carnage caused by the Great Fire of Meireki (or sometimes known as the Furisode Fire) combined to destroy about 60% to 70% of the buildings in Edo.
[The] wind spread the flames across a city that was built almost entirely of wood and paper buildings [and], firefighters [were] unable to keep up with the rapid spread of flames caused by the wind. The fire brigade established in Edo was a novel idea but, the force was nowhere near large enough to deal with a conflagration of this magnitude.
Reconstruction of the city lasted the next 2 years.
Great Fire Kills More Japanese Than Atom Bomb
History & Headlines
March 2, 2017
Japanese Tales: The Fire of the Furisode (Elle Of A Kind Blog/01-07-2022)
The Great Fire Of Meireki/Destruction of Tokyo
Five years ago, today, the film Casual Encounters was released. Directed by Zachary Adler, it was written by Sebastian J. Michael and Erik Steinmetz. Filmed in Los Angeles, it starred Taran Killam, Brooklyn Decker, David Krumholtz, Mark Boone Junior, David Arquette, Sienna Farall and Aimee-Lynn Chadwick.
When Justin’s girlfriend of five years leaves him heartbroken and embarrassed after a public breakup, his “trying to be helpful” but, somewhat misguided friends talk him into the strange world of on-line dating.
With easy access to HD equipment, aspiring filmmakers can now make low-budget movies which look very slick. However, there’s not much [that] can be done for bad acting. Most every movie genre is difficult to master but, the raunchy sex comedy may be one of the most difficult. [They] struggle to find a balance between lewd jokes which often involve bodily fluids and anything remotely clever or interesting. Sadly, [this movie] doesn’t come close to finding this balance or presenting anything which is remotely humorous. The line between cringe-worth and funny is very thin but, this movie isn’t even close enough to the line…
June 1, 2016
Hmmm…sounds like a dog of a movie, even with David Krumholtz (Numb3rs TV Series). ~Vic
Five years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 was Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake. Released on May 6, 2016, it is the second track from the Trolls motion picture soundtrack album. It debuted at #1 on the chart and was the best selling digital song of 2016.
Written by Timberlake, Max Martin and Shellback, Timberlake was also executive producer of the album. It was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Original Song), a Golden Globe (Best Original Song) and won a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
The sunny song, which arrived a few minutes after midnight, has the potential to be a contender for the song of the summer. He was tapped to pen and perform new songs for the animated movie, and he will also voice the character Branch.
Can’t Stop the Feeling is a straight-up pop hit that is funky and fun, with a solid disco feel that will inspire you to get up and dance, as the lyrics instruct us all to do. The song gives off a feeling of pure joy that only a talent as great as Timberlake could bring to the table.
Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.
Film: The Breakfast Club
“So, Ahab, can I have all my doobage?”
“Chicks cannot hold dey smoke, dat’s what it is.”
“Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062 (fictional town). […] You see us as you want to see us… […] You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. […] That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.”
This is my graduating class…the class of 1984 (despite the age of some of the actors). Released February 15, 1985, I was in my freshman year of college and it was a bittersweet revisit. I knew these characters…every single one of them. My high school even had a library that resembled that set. This movie was made with only a one million budget but, brought in $51 million and, in 2016, was selected for preservation with the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. There is no CGI or special effects. There are no sweeping views of beautiful locations. There are no “shoot-em-up-bang-bang” sequences. There is some action with the cast running through the hallways, dancing while high and Judd Nelson (John Bender/The Criminal) falling through the ceiling tiles. This is, primarily, a study of human nature, parental influence, peer influence, subtle & overt abuse and the struggle to understand. It’s heartbreaking, it’s hilarious and it is so Generation X. ~Vic
Written, produced and directed by John Hughes, it also stars Emilio Estevez (Andrew Clark/The Athlete), Molly Ringwald (Claire Standish/The Princess), Ally Sheedy (Allison Reynolds/The Basket Case), Paul Gleason (Asst. Principal Richard Vernon) and John Kapelos (Carl Reed/The Janitor).
♦ The scene in which all characters sit in a circle on the floor in the library and tell stories about why they were in detention was not scripted. Writer and director John Hughes told them all to ad-lib.
♦ There is a deleted scene of Claire and Allison in the bathroom that didn’t show up until the Blu-Ray edition was released.
♦ Sixteen year old Hall hit a growth spurt during shooting and outgrew 24 year old Nelson, prompting Nelson to joke about writing letters to geneticists.
♦ Bender’s joke about the blonde, the poodle and the six foot salami has no punchline as it was never in the script.
♦ Nelson was nearly fired for method-acting harassment.
♦ Hall’s mother & sister play themselves in the movie.
♦ Keith Forsey wrote the lyrics to Don’t You (Forget About Me) and Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was approached to sing it. Billy Idol was also approached and recorded his own version, later. An offer to Chrissie Hynde lead to her, then, husband Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.
♦ Nelson improvised the part at the closing of the film where Bender raises his fist in defiance. Everyone loved it and it has also become an iconic symbol of the 1980s as well as cinema history.
This was going to be a post on the highest recorded heat level, listed in the Guinness (Book) of World Records. Supposedly, one-hundred and seven years ago, today, Death Valley got up to 134.4℉. I read Wikipedia, I read Guinness and I read History & Headlines. If it made it into Guinness, someone must have thought it was legitimate. Well, after taking a dive into Weather Underground‘s investigation of this record (this is a very long read), posted by weather historian Christopher Burt on October 24, 2016, I’m not so sure this event ever happened.
I have contacted Guinness for a challenge. We shall see how this plays out. ~Vic
The structure known today as the Colonial Inn was built on Lot 15 in 1838 as a hotel and was locally called Spencer’s Tavern […] but, was advertised as the Orange Hotel (a name which lasted into the 1880s). The structure was built for Isaac (Isaiah) Spencer (from Hyde County) who had purchased the property in late 1837. In 1841, Richardson Nichols purchased the property from Spencer and expanded the main structure. In 1856, Nichols sold the structure to the “Hillsborough Improvement Company” which consisted of Alfred, Henry and Cave Stroud.
Stroud family history has it that Henry’s wife (Sarah) saved the Inn from looting by Union troops by displaying her husband’s Masonic apron. Upon seeing the apron, a sympathetic Union officer, [whom] was a fellow Mason, protected the site from destruction.
William F. Strayhorn may have purchased or, at least, managed the business beginning in 1868 and, the property was purchased by local businessmen Henry N. Brown and Charles M. Latimer (who was also the county treasurer) in 1870. Brown and Latimer apparently lost the property through bankruptcy in 1872, with Strayhorn managing or operating the hotel until at least then. Perhaps related is that Strayhorn had been living in Twin Chimneys across the street from the hotel but, lost it due to financial problems in January 1869. [It] was purchased by David C. Parks in December 1872. In 1885, Parks sold the property to neighboring property owner Emily Pogue, who sold it back to Parks in 1888. [At] this time, it became known as the Occoneechee Hotel.
In 1908, Thomas A. Corbin purchased the property and renamed the complex the Corbinton Inn. In 1921, W. L. Foushee […] purchased the property from a H. L. Akers and by 1924, renamed the hotel the Colonial Inn. In 1946, Paul Henderson purchased the property from Foushee […].
During Henderson’s ownership, a “fine-dining” restaurant was added within the hotel structure. In December 1952, Charles and Ann Crawford purchased the property and business and, expanded the structure. They operated the business successfully until they, in turn, sold it to James and Maxine Freeland in 1969. The Freelands also expanded the structure and, continued the hotel and restaurant business at the location.
It fell into disrepair for many years. When I moved to this town in 2011, it looked bad.
The good news is, new owners are re-building. ~Vic
The Colonial Inn Hillsborough (Facebook)
Old Town Cemetery (Hillsborough Government Site PDF)
Colonial Inn (Open Orange)
The Colonial Inn 1838-1969 (Rootsweb)
The Colonial Inn: It’s History & Significance (World Now PDF)
A storm rolled into town in July of 2016. I came out of the Food Lion and was just awestruck. It was scary looking and I kept waiting for the lightening, thunder and rain but, nothing happened except a gorgeous sunset.
All photos are my personal collection. © ~Vic
I posted a couple of pictures from my Examiner days back in May. I found another one. I took several pix while working but, I have them scattered. There may be more. I don’t remember why she had the Service Dog. She certainly wasn’t blind and didn’t have any disabilities. I think she may have been a trainer. What an adorable baby. ~Vic
Picture of the Day
Hurricane Matthew in 2016 made four landfalls, hitting Haiti, Cuba, The Bahamas and, then, finally, the area of McClellanville, SC. It dumped a lot of rain on us and our river across the street flooded quite a bit.
As with any storm, supplies are always needed as no one really knows how bad BAD can get. Growing up, it was usually the snow & ice storms that would send folks to the stores for the “bread & milk” run. These days, any storm brings on the shelf-wiping. Standing in line at one of my local Food Lions, I couldn’t help myself. I had to snap this shot. There were people walking by, stopping, looking, shaking their heads and walking away. I started to giggle. This was the caption that popped into my head…