How do I become an epidemiological statistic?

Update: “Officials at the state and county level declined to comment on the Cape town that has reported a salmonella case, or the individual who was affected, citing privacy laws. The only detail provided was that the sickened individual is a 49-year-old man from Barnstable County.”

I was sitting at a picnic table near Gay Head Light in the town of Aquinnah, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, when I did the oh-so-romantic move of checking my Blackberry for messages while my poor wife tried to find something endearing about me to behold.

The voice mail icon begged to be acknowledged, so I listened to messages and heard the on-call doctor at my internist’s group tell me the results were in from my lab tests from last week, the ones ordered up after I returned from India with a hellacious case of Montezuma’s Delhi Belly.

I paged the doc and she told me I was positive for salmonella — basic garden variety food poisoning. She also told me I was part of a national epidemic, brought on by the consumption of infected tomatos (mostly Romas, or Italian Plum). When I got home I did the hypochondriac move and googled the bug. I found this newslink (up yours, Associated Press) about the spread of salmonella in Massachusetts.

County – Age – Sex

Middlesex – 33 years – Female
Middlesex – 39 years – Female
Middlesex – 5 years – Female
Middlesex – 29 years – Female
Worcester – 38 years – Male
Plymouth – 23 years – Female
Norfolk – 36 years – Male
Norfolk – 26 years – Female
Norfolk – 18 years – Female
Norfolk – 23 years – Male
Suffolk – 19 years – Male
Suffolk – 20 years – Male

I was disappointed not to see anyone from Barnstable County — and that led me to wonder why there isn’t a social network for people with gastic distress brought upon by tomatos. I want a badge to put on my blog, dammit.

Vineyard Interlude


Originally uploaded by dchurbuck

It was my friend Woody’s 50th surprise party this weekend on Chappaquidick, so the wife and I popped across Vineyard Sound on the Pied Piper ferry for a night in Edgartown. We arrived early Saturday morning, rented a convertible Mini Cooper, and headed directly for Aquinnah and Gay Head. A quick tour of my favorite village — Menemsha —

then up to Oak Bluffs for a burger and a beer before checking into our room at the Charlotte Inn in Edgartown. If there are better things than driving Middle Road in Chilmark in late June in a convertible, I would like to know (okay, pedaling down Middle Road in Chilmark in late June on a vintage Italian steel bicycle).

At the Inn I did not read anything into the presence of a painting of a woodcock over the bed, nor did I feel the Victorian lithograph of a lady lanquidly leaning on her suitor’s big brass machine gun was out of place. But I digress. The Inn was total Interior Designer Porn, so my wife was occupied analyzing the subspecies of wall paper and window treatments while I wished I had packed a fly rod and some Deceivers.


The party was literally a luau. Wife and I had to leave early as I am still recovering from what the doctor told is an official case of salmonella (which has also swept my wife and two eldest, leading us to believe we may be victims of the evil tomato plague sweeping the Nation).

Finished the trip this morning on the town pier in Edgartown, where we were treated to a most excellent re-enactment of the Rodney Dangerfield yachting scene when a gentleman in a large power catamaran blocked the Chappy ferry in order to board his guests and two pugs despite the vigorous complaints of the harbormaster and ferry captain. Unfortunately I was not quick enough on the ol’ FlipCam to get the better parts.

Hang ’em high


Originally uploaded by dchurbuck

Today was varnish day — one coat of Epifanes on everything that needed varnishing.

Fisher helped me with the skiff, then we moved onto a new coat for the Shaw & Tenney oars, the boom crutch, the tiller ….

That big rhomboid thing is the centerboard. It needs its bottom half coated with anti-fouling paint.

A few more days and I should have the skiff ready for the water and the first race on Friday the 4th. Short week ahead, I’ll be on the Cape. Tempted to declare the whole thing a vacation week but I’ve got too many things on my schedule to churn things around.

All Things Cahill The Shine is off Social Networking

All Things Cahill » Blog Archive » The Shine is off Social Networking
Very smart post by Mark Cahill that echoes my current irritation as the hype pendulum swings waay too far toward hyperbole over social media. Very much worth the read.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe! Over the past few weeks, it’s begun to look like Social Networking, the current darling of the conference and consultant set, might have jumped the shark. I personally would peg the exact point where it went careening off track as the day that Waste Management (the guys that probably run your local honey truck) opened their own social networking site.”

Reel-Time changes hands joins the NameMedia Inc. family of niche community sites – Reel-Time Forums

I won’t get all weepy and sentimental, but my first web project — Reel-Time: The Internet Journal of Saltwater Fly Fishing, has been sold after 13 years of private operation by myself , my co-founder Thorne Sparkman, and editor/webmaster, Mark Cahill.

The site goes to Name Media, the Waltham, MA domain company founded by IDG’s former CEO, Kelly Conlin.

I was a founder-emeritus for the past five years, backing out of the partnership with Thorne as my interest in the site waned and my ability to fund it declined along with my interest. I came up with the concept and name in 1994 when Chris Locke (co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto) asked me to write a series of columns on the impact of the Internet on journalism for Internet-MCI, one of the first major portal plays. In that column I basically made a version of the Long Tail argument, saying the infinite scalability of the net would lead to the dominance of niches. The syllogism was that a website about fishing would not be as successful as one about fly fishing, which in turn would be less valuable than one about saltwater fly fishing, etc.

So, as a strawman, I discussed the theoretical business plan of a site called “Reel-Time” as a play on “Real Time” — another business plan I had kicked around with Mitch Kapor in 94 when we thought there would be an interesting place on the net for a 24 hour, real-time news site.

So, over sushi one night in NYC, my fishing buddy Thorne Sparkman (who worked in digital at Time Warner Electronic Publishing) and I agreed to launch an actual site called Reel-Time. We registered the domain, spent a week at my place on Cape Cod coding the first HTML, hacked an email archive tool into a crude discussion/community forum, and launched via word of mouth on the USENET fishing forums.

Was it a success?

Sure. Here’s what I got out of Reel-Time:

  1. I never got paid a dime. Seriously. 13 years. Not a penny. I suck as an entrepreneur.
  2. I met a ton of great people.
  3. I was given the challenge to launch on the basis of my experience launching
  4. Everything I know about dealing with online dickheads, flamers, lusers, and the tinfoil turban club I learned at Reel-Time
  5. The knowledge that if you want to ruin something fun, make a business out of.

Mark Cahill, the man who kept Reel-Time ticking, helped broker the sale with Name Media and will continue to drive the site. Me? I watch on, glad that something that started in my bedroom in 1995 will continue to live on past my inept management.

“When, the Internet Journal of Saltwater Fly Fishing was started in 1995 by Thorne Sparkman and David Churbuck, the internet was still in its infancy. Over the years, has grown to become the premier destination on the web for Saltwater Fly Fishermen, offering vibrant forums, up to the minute fishing reports, and informative articles.

“That success came at the expense of a lot of work and investment by Thorne. Indeed, over the years there were a great many people who put in a lot of hard work, from David and I spending many a sleepless morning in front of the computer cranking out Fishwire reports, to the Forum Moderators, whose selfless efforts are one of the prime reasons for our success.

“I’m pleased to announce that today begins yet another stage in the journey. The site has been acquired by NameMedia, Inc. of Waltham, MA, a major player in the emerging field of niche community media.

So, what’s it all mean to you”

Whereabouts week of 6.23.08

On the Cape — for the most part — this week. Got some more medical stuff to do late in the week related to the Crash de Velo of ’06, was supposed to be in Stamford this morning, but don’t feel up to it.

So ….

Monday – Cotuit

Tuesday – day off

Wednesday-Friday – Cotuit

Weekend – Vineyard

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