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Saturday, November 26, 2005

More Tourism Pie In The Sky

Perhaps folks over in Farmville should drive to Pulaski and have a talk with town leaders there about chasing tourist dollars. If they did, they'd find out how futile such an effort is (see related post here).

But no. They have a better idea in Farmville. Golf courses.

Jesus ...
Southside leaders bet on tourism
Public golf courses, conference centers could boost business
BY Jamie C. Ruff, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

FARMVILLE Harlan Horton doesn't play golf very often, but he expects that to change with the opening of Poplar Hill Golf Club in Farmville next year.

Horton, an attorney, has worked on the project for six years and has watched it go from a dream to a sprawling public course expected to open by June 1.

"I can honestly tell you that the product -- the course and its features -- far exceed my wildest dreams," he said recently in an e-mail. "We are more than optimistic that this course will be a serious player in the world of destination golf courses on the East Coast."(link)
The man is trying; give him credit for that.

Before everyone gets all giddy with excitement - again - take into account the words "... could boost business ... " Meaning Harlan's golf course could just as easily not boost business. Just as Pulaski's attempt at boosting tourism by having the townsfolk wear native Polish costume didn't boost tourism. And just as the many tourism centers and hiking trails constructed in the area by Governor Warner and Congressman Boucher haven't drawn one tourist to the area or created one job (okay, there are two persons working at each tourist center so we've had a net increase of ten jobs, at a cost of millions). Some say Boucher's horseback riding trail has boosted business over in Scott County but I hear it has only contributed to the quantity of horse shit that he brought to the area with such a goofy notion.

With that having been said, there's this troubling bit of news to ponder in the article:
Even golf enthusiasts and supporters admit that nationally there has been a glut of new courses.
Uh oh.

Do you think for a minute though that such negativism is going to prevent this tourist mecca in Farmville from being launched? Or cloud the thinking of those who insist that the thousands of manufacturing jobs that are leaving the area can be replaced by others that pay just as well since those tourists who are going to flock here to play golf, hike the trails, and caress our rocks, will all need their drive-through Big Macs? Hell no.
In a region where the golden tobacco leaf was once king, state and local leaders are looking to tourism to be the next major employer and are hoping that the greens of varied golf courses will propel the growth.

"Certainly tourism is a strategy to replace tobacco manufacturing and golf can be a big part of tourism," said Melinda Moran, Clarksville town manager.
It's a strategy all right. Captain Smith had a strategy too for evacuating the Titanic.

For the love of God.

To borrow a quote: "What folly can be ranker. Like our shadows, our wishes lengthen as our sun declines."

This Is Illuminating

I am a student of statistics. I learned long ago that they can assist me in my work when I need budget consideration from the guys at the top and they provide me with all the information I need in order to measure levels of success. I've also learned to be circumspect when it comes to numbers thrown out by others. As the saying goes, "Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital."

Take for example this bit of information I read this morning in the Roanoke Times:
Preserving the past and future
Disconcerted by commercial development all around them at Smith Mountain Lake, Jim and Jacquelyn Dinwiddie make sure that won't happen to their family plot.
Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times

WESTLAKE -- The Dinwiddies own 127 acres of prime real estate on Smith Mountain Lake.

The south side of the property fronts Virginia 122, a major road artery; the north side includes about a mile of shoreline. (
Statistically speaking, I'd guess only 0.023% of the people who read that in the morning paper noticed that last sentence. Or cared about it.

But I couldn't help but think: The Dinwiddies own a plot of land 127 acres in area, one side of which is a mile long. What an odd shape it must be.

Let's assume the Dinwiddies' land is rectangular. If one side of it is "about a mile" in length, it is then 1,760 yards long - about.

If there are 4,840 square yards in an acre (trust me), and the Dinwiddies own 127 acres, they possess a total of 614,680 square yards of land. If their land is 1,760 yards in length, it is 349.25 yards in width. So the Dinwiddies' land is approximately five times longer than it is wide.

So what does this prove?

That I've had way too much coffee this morning.

A Troubling Campus Trend

This is disturbing:
Colleges see anti-Semitism rise
By Brian DeBose, The Washington Times

A panel of Jewish academics recently presented evidence to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that anti-Semitic programs on college campuses are increasing.

"We would argue that anti-Semitism in the form of anti-Israelism are not a Jewish problem but an American problem, and both are thriving on college campuses," said [Gary A.] Tobin, who recently wrote a book based on findings procured through polls and on-site inquiries at the Institute for Jewish and Community

Mr. Tobin said the recent rise in anti-Semitic literature and program speaking engagements is related to the war in the Middle East and the "political discourse" that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the cause of it.

He said the source is leftist ideologues masking their anti-Jewish views through both Israeli policy critiques and race politics. (link)

I can't believe this is happening here in the USA in 2005.