"It's Carrboro"

Thanks again to the great Paul Jones for turning me onto another wonder of the internet. On our Ning site, he posted a great song called "It's Carrboro," the official Carrboro rap. (For any readers who aren't local, which I doubt, Carrboro is a crazy little town right outside of Chapel Hill.)

Carrboro-ans Billy McCormick and Brian Risk wrote the little ditty and even decided to make a video for it. You have to respect a song that has the balls to rhyme "spinach" with "Kucinich." Simply brilliant.

My favorite line:
"Open Eye Cafe, it's Carrboro.
It's cool to be gay, it's Carrboro."

The Noise Bazaar Wordle

This blogging/social networking class is really getting me re-obsessed with the internet and all its wonderful possibilities. I've gotten back into blogging, I read a ton of blogs, I've started messing around with Delicious and I even have a Twitter (although I don't update it much, nor do I have many friends). Just a couple of days ago, our professor set up a Ning -- an online social networking community where you can add your own blog, talk in a discussion board and upload pictures, music and videos.

The latest fun thing he showed us to day was a Wordle. Wordle takes a bunch of text, a blog or Delicious bookmarks and turns them into sophisticated word art. The bigger the word, the more the word is found in the text.

I now present you with the official Noise Bazaar Wordle. (Click to enlarge)

Exciting, huh?

Over at wired.com you can see a Wordle for Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, or a couple of pretty Wordles for the oh-so-bitter but outwardly supportive Mrs. Clinton.

It's highly entertaining. I support wasting a few minutes on it.


Bob Dylan gets The Beatles high

I cannot vouch for the truth, likeliness or possibility of this story, but it's too awesome to ignore. According to Mark Katz, an associate professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill music department and my Intro to Rock professor, you can single-handedly thank Bob Dylan for the psychedelic experimentation that characterized the latter part of The Beatles' catalog.

We were talking the other day in class about common mondegreens (misheard lyrics) in popular music. The three we mentioned were:

"The ants are my friends, they're blowing in the wind." (Wrong)
"The answer my friends is blowing in the wind." (Right)
"Blowin' in the Wind" -- Bob Dylan

"Excuse me while I kiss this guy." (Wrong)
"Excuse me while I kiss the sky." (Right)
"Purple Haze" -- Jimi Hendrix

"I get high." (Wrong)
"I can't hide." (Right)
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" -- The Beatles

Now, this last line is where our story begins. That mondegreen comes from Dylan, who swore that the lyrics were "I get high." He couldn't believe that such a mainstream group was talking about drug use in their hit song, but was glad that they were putting it out there and were proud of it.

Not long after, Dylan got a chance to meet John and company while they were out on tour. He began talking about that song where they sang "I get high," and how great it was, but the Fab Four had no idea what he was talking about. Finally they realized he was talking about "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and proceeded to tell him what the real lyrics were.

Dylan was shocked to find out that The Beatles had never tried marijuana. Not surprisingly, Dylan changed that.

Pot leads to stronger drugs, which lead to the psychedelic glory that is, in my opinion, the best music that The Beatles ever made.

After hearing this, I did a little Google-ing and found that this story has been reported by others.

That doesn't mean that it's true, but, honestly, I don't care, it's a great story no matter what.


The Real Paul Jones

After nearly killing myself last semester with four of the hardest and most work-laden classes in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication, I decided to give myself a little bit of a break this year. I'm a senior, dammit, I deserve it. So here's my schedule: Music Theory (the really easy one -- "Is this note ascending or descending?"), Musical Modernism, Introduction to Rock Music and Blogging, a new undergraduate class in the J-School.

The first day of my blogging class, I was surprised to see a fifty-something guy with glasses and long flowing hair that strangely resembled NASCAR's Kyle Petty standing in front of the twelve-person class. I was even more shocked when after talking intelligently for a minute or two he let out a nervous, geeky machine-gun laugh that sounded something like the Cowardly Lion when he's really nervous. I thought I had found the biggest geek on campus, and I may have. But I figured the class would be entertaining at the least.

Little did I know that I was sitting in front of a living legend of the internet. My professor, Paul Jones, is internationally regarded as one of the leading names of the open-source software and social networking on the internet. He created UNC-CH's ibiblio, which is essentially a website where anyone, anywhere can upload any content they want to and publish it to the web. You can search it like a massive library archive and find any kind of information that you want. It's like some kind of mix of Wikipedia and Blogger, even though it came out before the former and less than a year after the latter. He's done even more than that since, but I won't take the time to list them all here. You can check out his ibiblio bio, or read a great feature that the News and Observer did on him in 2001. It's written by David Menconi, the music writer for the N&O whose blog, On the Beat, is at the top of my bookmarks list.

And I just thought he was a nerd who knew more about Facebook than I did. How wrong I was...

McCain's AP Mouthpiece?

Look up any journalism code of ethics and you will find some common themes: tell the truth, don't libel, identify your sources and, finally, be objective. Just to show you, here is a snippet from the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists:

"Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context."

Let's move onto the American Society of Newspaper Editors and an article they published in 1997 about journalism values:

"Journalists must implement four key values to gain and preserve credibility. These are balance, accuracy, leadership and accessibility."

There is a whole class in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication dedicated to media ethics, and a recurring theme in that class is being objective and unbiased, unless, of course, you sell your soul to Corporate America and become a public relations specialist (read: business' ass cover).

I'm even pretty sure that The Daily Tar Heel, UNC-CH's student newspaper, doesn't allow it's writers or editors to be a member of any partisan organization on campus, work for any student campaigns or even throw some pro-Obama propaganda on Stalkerbook.

Don't worry, this is all leading somewhere.

Today a friend sent me an article from The Washington Monthly about Ron Fournier, the Associated Press' Washington bureau chief and his ability to rise above any the values and ethics of most every other journalist in the country.
Here's the gist of the story, in their own words:

latest piece from Ron Fournier, the AP's Washington bureau chief and the man responsible for directing the wire service's coverage of the presidential campaign, on Joe Biden joining the Democratic ticket, is drawing a fair amount of attention this morning. More importantly, McCain campaign staffers are pushing it fairly aggressively to other reporters, in large part because it mirrors the Republican line with minimal variation.
Fournier's objectivity covering the presidential race continues to look shaky. We are, after all, talking about a journalist who, as recently as last year, considered working for the McCain campaign.
We learned not too long ago that Fournier exchanged emails with Karl Rove about Pat Tillman, in which Fournier wrote, "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight." Fournier was also one of the journalists who, at a gathering of the nation's newspaper editors, extended McCain a box of his favorite donuts ("Oh, yes, with sprinkles!" McCain said).

The article continues to list out even more evidence of good ol' run snuggling up in bed with McCain.

Now it's understandable that everyone has their biases and ideas, that's unavoidable. No writer is truly unbiased, but it's important for non-advocacy journalists to at least try to be objective, especially when he or she is writing for the AP, a wire service that sends articles around the country for thousands of newspapers to use.

It's simply unacceptable that the AP is allowing Fournier to continue spouting what seems to be nothing more than McCain propaganda and passing it off as real news from the campaign. A freshman after his or her first day of "News Writing" could tell you that.


I'm a SENIOR, who the #@#! are you?

I've spent the last three years of college delaying the inevitable. Now there is no more delaying.

Being a senior is awfully bittersweet. On one hand, I'm almost done with school forever and can move on and start my career. On the other hand, I don't have the safety net of school for much longer and I have to move on and start my career.

I feel like I'm finally a real person. By "real" I mean more responsible: not the college student that goes to class, sleeps, drinks and repeats. I have more cares in the world then where the big party is. I used to have so much free time that I didn't even know what to do with myself. I spent a lot of time playing video games, watching Netflix movies and reading books other than those required for class. Now I barely have time to think.

I started an internship at Chapel Hill Magazine this week. It's a great opportunity and I enjoy working there. But combining that with my job at the bookstore, my classes and band, it means that most days I am going from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. I have to consciously think of time management and make sure that I keep up all of my obligations. I'm not used to that.

I know that this is what I have to look forward to when I join the working world, but I'm not yet in the working world. I feel like I should still be able to have a slack semester where my only real concern is where the alcohol is going to come from. College is only (usually) four years of your life, and I want to be sure that I make the most of those years. But I can't. It won't be the same as my earlier college years. And not by choice: I'm not done with that stage yet.

Most college kids are lucky enough to have a stalling mechanism set up for their post-graduation years: graduate school. It's the perfect cop-out when you're not ready to join the real world, just keep on taking some schooling. Unfortunately graduate school is not in the books for me. The Journalism School isn't really interested in students coming straight out of undergraduate and would rather have you go out and get some experience before coming back.

So where does that leave me? That is the question that I have battled with all summer. I want to have some time to travel and be crazy and enjoy myself before I settle into the working life. Ideally, I would have a job where I could travel and be crazy and get paid for it by some ridiculous travel magazine. Whether I do that or not is irrelevant to this point, though. The fact is that I don't have a clue what I will be doing in nine months, but I need to figure it out. It's either that or move back in with the parents, and they've already said that they won't allow that.

I'm not sure that I'm ready to be thrown out into the real world. I think I need some more time to develop. I don't know if I'll ever be ready for the working world. How do you know? I'm not even sure that I know enough about my self and what I want before we try and figure out what we want.

The Senior Marshals pass out the stickers that say "I"m a SENIOR, who the #@#! are you?" I think the more fitting sticker -- at least in my situation -- is "I'm a SENIOR, who the fuck am I?"