Bienvenido a Miami

If you know anything about Deerfield Beach, Fla., you know it's about 45 minutes north of Miami. Obviously I don't know anything.

I got off of our plane at the Ft. Lauderdale airport Friday afternoon fully expecting to be headed to our hotel in Miami. Visions of South Beach nightclubs and Cubans danced in my head.

My first inclination that something was amiss was our bus: an old, rusted and smelly thing complete with a "For Sale" sign in the front window. Perfect. But I figured the budget had to be cut somewhere since we had this awesome beach front hotel in Miami.

My second clue was when we came to a Miami exit off of Interstate 95 and didn't take it. Instead we took a Deerfield Beach exit. The bus driver must have his own way to get there, no worries.

Of course I was terribly wrong, but I didn't find this out for another few hours. I was still convinced that we were a mere few miles from South Beach in our quaint hotel (read: ridiculously nice suites with two flat-screen TVs and two bathrooms) until one of my fellow band members was trying to organize a trip to the city.

Me: "Oh cool. How far is it?"
Informed Friend: "Oh about 45 minutes."
Me: "..."
IF: "Yeah, we're thinking about getting a cab. It should only be like $100."
Me: "..."

So I never go to see Miami, but Deerfield Beach was pretty cool. It was your typical little beach town that is totally dead when it's not the summer. About a mile down the beach from our hotel there were some nice restaurants and little bars. It made for decent entertainment both nights.

Deerfield Beach is apparently also Couples, U.S.A., the hook-up capital of the world. Saturday night I was walking down the beach and saw countless couples making out in every possible way: on benches, standing on the sidewalk and -- the most popular option -- under a couple of blankets on the beach. I'm not kidding. I saw at least 10 couples under blankets. I can only guess at what they were doing. And the best part is that no one cared!!

Well I figured I would get to at least see part of Miami when we went to the game on Saturday. Not to be. Dolphin Stadium, the stadium where the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami Hurricanes play football, isn't in Miami. It's in Miami Gardens. Not the same thing.

But whatever. That game Saturday made up for everything. The first half was abysmal. I was ready to leave at half. Then something happened. Cam Sexton, yes, the same Cam Sexton that couldn't make a pass in 2006, led the Heels to a comeback victory that I still can't believe. I was caught by ESPN praying that Sexton wouldn't screw it up and throw an interception at the end of the game. The next play he threw the game winning touchdown.

But the last play of the game made my heart stop for a good minute. From our angle it was hard to see the end zone that the pass was thrown to. All I can see is a Miami player jump in the air, the ball hit his hands and him starting to fall. I just knew he caught it and it was all over. It took my friend turning to me and saying "Corey, he intercepted it!!" for me to realize what happened. It was like a movie: everything went into slow motion and sappy inspirational music came on. Awesomeness.

As we were leaving the stadium one Miami fan said "Just wait until basketball season. We'll beat you then."

Seriously? Let's talk about basketball. This was your chance to beat us.

Anyway, the weekend was good and I can't complain too much about being far from Miami. I didn't pay for a damn thing.

My favorite quote of the weekend from a man in the airport:

"Are y'all a ping pong team?"

Yessir, we're headed out to China to play in the world championship! Wish us luck!

"Way to Normal" released today!

Ben Folds latest release, Way To Normal, hits stores today! Unfortunately I have to be at work until 2pm, but as soon as I leave the office I'm heading over to CD Alley and picking up a copy. From everything I've heard, it should be a good buy. Check these reviews by Triangle Music and Paste Magazine.

To hold you (and me) over until you get your hands on the album, here is "Hiroshima (BBB Benny Hit His Head," a song that he played when I saw him in Cary and I can't believe is actually a cut of the album. Enjoy.



Just plain beautiful.

I'll post more about the game later, but right now I'm sitting in the airport waiting for our flight home. (Thanks free wireless at the Ft. Lauderdale airport.)

What a game, Go Heels!!


Gag Reflex

I meant to post about this a while back, but of course I got behind and forgot about it. Silly school.

Anyway, a girl in my blogging class has started a blog (go figure) where she eats a weird food everyday for a year. The series is fittingly called "Gag Reflex," and it's an awful, awful idea, but entertaining as hell to read about. Head on over to her website, www.notomatoesplease.com to read about the deliciousness that she has been eating, like this delicacy:


I will be heading out to Miami with the marching band tomorrow morning for the UNC vs. Miami football game on Saturday. I probably won't end up posting unless I just get really bored in the hotel room or something, but look forward to some pictures and stories from South Beach when I get back. Go Heels!


UNC Homecoming Concerts Announced

And I'm excited. About one of the shows at least.

It seems that CUAB took a cue from our friends in Raleigh and booked alternative bluegrass trio The Avett Brothers as one of the two homecoming concerts this year. I've been meaning to see these guys for a while now and it seems like I'll finally get my chance. Even better -- for me at least -- it looks like they will only be selling student tickets and no general admission.

This is after one-off reunion Ben Folds Five show last week, the filming of Good Morning America in Chapel Hill on Saturday and the announcement Monday that Desmond Tutu will be the May '09 commencement speaker. UNC is doing work this semester.

Oh yeah...the other homecoming concert is the Gym Class Heroes. Woo.

A Dying Breed

It's no secret that the print newspaper is dying a slow and painful death. It has been discussed or mentioned in just about every journalism class I've taken at UNC-Chapel Hill. With the internet comes easier, cheaper and more convenient publishing methods. Hell, this blog is free. With the increased ease in publication and proliferation of news aggregators and blogs on the internet, print newspapers are becoming industry dinosaurs.

Case-in-point: the Raleigh News & Observer has cut 9% of it's newsroom staff over the last couple of days, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Pat Stith, who accepted a buyout offer and retired. I don't blame him.

Cartoonist Grey Blackwell will also be leaving the N&O staff, according to WUNC's Laura Leslie, while nationally-syndicated political cartoonist Duane Powell and public editor Ted Vaden are being knocked back to part-time.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The paper has already reduced the number of pages in each issue and will start combining sections and cut the Sunday "Q" section entirely.

So what does that mean for our local paper? Well, don't expect it to be that local. The N&O and the Charlotte Observer are already sharing stories like crazy and half of the stories in the paper come from wire sources. Yeah, it's cheaper, but is it better? No.

Now I can't sit here and blame the paper or it's parent company. It makes sense that they need to cut costs. As I said earlier, the newspaper as we know it is dying. But more needs to be done. They can't just sit there and keep cutting, hoping something would eventually change. They need to adapt.

Clay Shirky in his book Here Comes Everybody sums up newspapers' mistakes pretty well:

"Many people in the newspaper business, the same people who worried about the effects of competition like USA Today, missed the significance of the internet....There was a kind of narcissistic bias in the profession; the only threats they tended to take seriously were from other professional media outlets.... This bias had them defending against the wrong thing when the amateurs began producing material on their own."

Eventually journalism will fully embrace the internet and thrive, I have no doubt. And I even believe that print newspapers will exist in some form (most likely small community papers) for years to come. But right now the industry looks bad, and there will be some serious growing pains.

What a time to graduate with a journalism degree...


Who's elitist?

This image speaks for itself, but if you need a little background, check this out.

Source: Daily Kos

Eat Through the Pain

Every year, when that crisp autumn air sends a pleasant chill up the spine and the wind rustles the early falling leaves, the time comes to enjoy one of America's favorite events: Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster.

Tonight was the second annual ShrimpFest in all it's gluttonous glory. Last year I put up a measly showing of only 60 shrimp and I was determined to improve that number this year.

When all was said and done, and shrimp tails and cocktail sauce littered the table like a crustacean combat zone, I had devoured 103 shrimp. Take that, Bubba.

Chris, the current record holder with 125 last year, finished with a mediocre 90 and Eve put up an impressive number of 100, though there are questions about her counting skills.

So what did ShrimpFest 2008 teach me? Well...nothing. Except too much shrimp can give you one killer headache and a couple of glasses of wine can take that headache away.


Ben Folds Five: Simply Magical

At the end of "Song for the Dumped," Ben Folds stood up from the piano with piano stool in hand, shrugged at the crowd and chucked the stool at the keyboard. Robert Sledge took off his bass, waved to the crowd and walked off the stage. Darren Jessee stepped off the drum riser and left the stage. The hall lights came back on and recorded music started coming out of the speakers, the universal symbol that the concert is over.

Then something happened that I have never seen before: no one left. Everyone in there was on their feet, clapping, cheering and even chanting "Ben Folds Five!" They didn't care about the lights or the music, they wanted the band to come back out. This went on for almost 10 minutes until the stage work lights came on and workers started taking down the equipment.

The spell was instantly broken and people started filing out of the auditorium. But everyone left smiling.

For a good hour-and-a-half, the Ben Folds Five mesmerized everybody in UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall during their one-off reunion show for MySpace's Front to Back series. The first part of the show featured the trio playing their final album, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. Myspace was filming the show for their website, which kept Folds from interacting more with the audience, but there still seemed to be a great connection between the group and the crowd. Crowd-favorite "Army," which Folds later said was the "beginning of the end of the commercial success" of the band, had everyone dancing around and singing at the top of their lungs. This time, though, he didn't need the audience to help with the horn part during the bridge, he had his own horn quartet to back him up. But that didn't stop the crowd from joining in.

But nothing compared to when Dean Folds, Ben Folds dad, walked out on stage to recite "Your Most Valuable Possession," a track on the album that features an answering machine message from Dean put to lounge-style music. As soon as Dean said the first like -- "Good morning, Mr. Ben" -- the crowd went nuts. I was wondering how they would approach this track or if they would even play it at all. I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out.

After the album's final track, "Lullaby," Ben Folds Five walked off the stage to thunderous cheers. But everyone knew they would come back.

And comeback they did. They launched into "Jackson Cannery," a song off their self-titled debut and proceeded to play a mix of songs from that album and their most popular album, Whatever and Ever Amen. They even played their first ever single, "Eddie Walker," and talked about recording that track: "I think we all had to take off work to drive out to Hillsborough one night."

After almost 10 years, the band looked really tight. Other than a few synth slipups from Sledge and Folds forgetting about his grandma in "Regrets," the performance was flawless. But a few mistakes are to be expected: Unauthorized Biography is by far the most complex album the trio released. Folds even admitted that if he'd "known about this show 10 years ago, I would have sequenced the album differently."

All in all, it was a magical experience that I feel honored to have been a part of. I couldn't have imagined anything better.

And I even got a free T-shirt.


The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
Don't Change Your Plans
Hospital Song
Your Redneck Past
Your Most Valuable Possession (w/ Dean Folds)

Jackson Cannery
Eddie Walker
Selfless, Cold and Composed
Battle of Who Could Care Less
Where's Summer B.?
Song For the Dumped


Hello? Is there anybody out there?

This blog is largely for my own benefit to keep myself writing on a regular basis and rant every now and then, but I'm really curious who actually reads this. I know of two definite people, and if they're the only ones, cool. If not, even better.

So do me quick favor: drop a quick comment and let me know that you're out there. It doesn't have to say anything great, it could just be "hi," or "what up?" or any other combination of letters you would prefer.


Now, to keep from this post being totally useless, check out this new Avett Brothers tune called "Standing With You." Sounds just as great as every other thing they've put out. Except for the people talking over the beginning of the song...man I hate that.

Man I need to see them live.

The Digital Revolution

Some time last week, I posted a quick blurb about Clive Thompson's article "Brave New World of Digital Intimacy." I thought it was a great article showing how social networking and the internet are becoming an important asset to our social interactions, but still not taking the place of or normal relationships. I think the relationship between social networking sites and real human relationships is positive and beneficial.

Chris thinks differently:
Not that I think Thompson is on anybody's payroll, or that he's extolling the virtues of these social networking sites for undignified reasons. However, what is notably absent from the long New York Times piece is any mention of a downside. In fact, these new digital connectors can be so beneficial, apparently, that this one woman with an unreal amount of "Twitter friends" doesn't make many decisions without first opening up the question to her Twitter community.

I'm about to buy this car. Is it a good one?

I don't know what to eat tonight, Sushi or Pizza. What do you think?

I can't help but wonder that if she's camping and finds a fork in a trail, her head might just explode.

OK, if someone used their Twitter or Facebook to make every decision in their life, sure, there's a downside, but that's not the reality. I don't see anything wrong with consulting Twitter friends on buying a car. Maybe they know information about the car that you don't, or maybe they know a place that you can get a really good deal. This isn't relying on other people to make decisions for you, it's using the tools that you have to make the most informed decision possible. It's quick and easy to send this question to a large group of people and possibly glean important information. Why not?

Now Facebook is an entirely different story. Let's be honest, much of it is totally useless. Bumper Stickers and the late Scrabulous, though extremely fun, are inherently a waste of time. The Mini-Feed shoots up stories on your home page that you probably don't care about: "Brian changed his relationship status from 'In a relationship' to 'It's complicated." Oh no! All these facets of Facebook are just time wasters. I can accept that. But let's look at the positive social networking component of it.

There is a theory that humans can only keep a limited number of social interactions at one time called the Dunbar number. That number is estimated to be around 150. Now look at your Facebook. I'm sure you have a lot more friends than that. That's not saying that you've beaten Dunbar's number by having 600 Facebook friends, but you have kept connections via the internet that you probably wouldn't have kept otherwise. While these relationships are not as strong as the 150-ish real personal relationships you have, they are not totally lost forever and could foster stronger relationships in the future.

Here's an example: you're going to Memphis alone for a conference soon and don't really know what you're going to do there. You happen to be browsing around Facebook and see that one of your old high school buddies is going to school in Memphis. You send him a Facebook message and you meet up for drinks while you're there. Chances are this wouldn't happen in a Facebook-less world. You wouldn't have known that he was going to be there and you wouldn't have known how to get in contact with him.

Facebook doesn't move us away from real, personal relationships to strictly digital ones. It allows us to keep more personal relationships than we can normally. There are the few close friends that you'll call up every now and then to see how they're doing, but if you tried doing that to all of your buddies you'd be on the phone all day. Social networking sites allow you to keep up with your friends more easily.

We like this because it gives us this feeling of "ambient awareness," according to Thompson.
It is, they say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye. Facebook is no longer alone in offering this sort of interaction online. In the last year, there has been a boom in tools for “microblogging”: posting frequent tiny updates on what you’re doing.

Enter Twitter.

The day that the internet takes over all of our personal relationships will be a sad day indeed, but I don't think we're anywhere close to that. We're simply using the tools that we have available to us to supplement and improve our personal relationships.

Maybe I'll Twitter my buddies and see what they think...


Straight Double Talk Express

Regardless of what your politics are, it's disgusting how the McCain campaign has gotten away with flat out lies, double standards and -- to use a word I absolutely hate -- flip-flopping. I'm not saying that Obama is perfect. Sure, he may have changed his stance on a few issues, but not like this. Karl Rove is running a campaign of lies, hoping that if he keeps repeating them as truth everyone will start to believe him and ignore the obvious facts.

Example: A key part of Palin's stump speech is her line "I said thanks, but no thanks to Congress and that Bridge to Nowhere." Anyone with half a brain and a internet connection can find out that it's a flat out lie. She was before it before she was ever against it. If you've noticed in the news, that line is absent from her speeches when she was in Alaska. Maybe because they know first-hand what she really thought about that little bridge.

The Republicans have been railing for months about the inexperience of Obama and some of the people on his short-list of VP candidates, then praise Palin for her wonderful job running a 6,000-person town and being the governor of Alaska for a couple of years. Are you serious?

I know I'm dwelling on Palin because of the recent media storm around her, but it's everyone. McCain switches back and forth about whether he thinks the economy is better off or worse off than it was eight years ago. (Sidenote: there's a interesting article in the Washinton Post about the economy and how it's not as bad as the media and politicians want you to think. Worth the read.)

You know it's bad when bullshitter extraodinaire Rove admits that the recent McCain ads haven't passed the "100 percent truth test."

BlueNC blogger jlgolden hits the nail on the head when he says that the McCain campaign is running on two fundamental principles, the "Politics of Deception," and the "Politics of Distraction." He hammers the point home with this quote by Joseph Goebbels:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

If you don't believe me, check out the videos below. Yeah, one of them is from The Daily Show, but, if you ask me, Jon Stewart is one of the best political news anchors out there.

And if you haven't seen it yet, Tina Fey did a picture perfect impersonation of Palin on this weeks Saturday Night Live.

UPDATE: Apparently Palin thought SNL was pretty funny: “She (Palin) thought it was quite funny particularly because she dressed as Tina Fey for Halloween once.”

Tell Me!!

It's way too late and I'm sitting here watching Babel (that Asian girl is really screwed up) and I just remembered one of the coolest things I found out about this weekend.

Want to know the score of any sports game? Or get directions around the city? Or want to find the closest Starbucks? Call 1-800-555-TELL and you'll get the answer. Tellme is a free, voice-activated information phone service that can get you anything from stock quotes to weather information to horoscopes.

There are also free applications that you can download for your phone to get even more information.

Who needs 411?


Git 'er, Matt Damon!

I've always been a fan of Matt Damon, but now I have more reason to love the guy. Check out a clip from this interview he had with CBS News where he "rips" America's favorite hockey mom, Sarah Palin, comparing her quest for the vice presidency to a "bad Disney movie."

Yes, Matt, it is absurd. He lays out how most every rational American is feeling right now pretty well. Maybe he has a future career at CNN...



People love to panic. It's just in our genes. So what better time to have a good full out panic than when Hurricane Ike is bearing down on the Gulf and all our pretty little oil refineries.

On Friday the price of gas jumped almost a dollar in a lot of areas and people freaked out thinking that we might run out of gas. There were lines at gas pumps all around the state while the price-gougers were limiting the number of gallons you could get. In a few hours, some stations were out of gas. In their glorious panic, our lovely fellow citizens assumed that it must follow that the whole area is going to run out of gas.

"Get out and buy gas now!!" "Have you gotten gas yet?"

Everyone thought it was their civil duty to warn their friends and tell them to get some gas.

"It's going to get worse and we're going to run out!!"

Alright, let's look at this logically. I know it's hard, but let's try. At most the refineries might be closed for a week, maybe a bit more. Yeah, that will affect supply, but do you really believe that we don't have enough gas stored that we couldn't push through that? If everyone just kept their gas consumption the same, there would have been no issues. But when people think gas is going to run out and start buying it up, the fears become a reality: total self-fulfilling prophecy.

So everyone relax. Gas is going to be there tomorrow, I promise. And the next day, too. Don't let the gas companies take advantage of us more than they already do.


New Ben Folds!

A little over a week before his landmark reunion concert, Mr. Folds has released a video for "You Don't Know Me," a song off his upcoming album Way To Normal. Songstress Regina Spektor helps out on the vocals of this song, but she doesn't make an appearance in the video. But check out who does at the end. I wouldn't have expected that one.

You Dont Know Me (featuring Regina Spektor)

In other Ben Folds news, apparently they will be checking UNC One Cards for student tickets at the door on Thursday. Sucks for the people who bought way overpriced student tickets off Cragslist...

Final note, I got to see Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers for the first time in a while at the Cradle the other day and they were amazing as always. And there was a decent crowd there, a lot more than there were the first time I saw them three years ago. The Gabe Dixon Band opened for them and weren't to bad either. Full post about the show to come...

Happy Friday.

P.S. How about them Heels??


A Little Bit of Everything

For the past hour I've been in the Undergraduate Library supposedly getting some work done on my Intro to Rock music paper due tomorrow. In reality, I've spent that hour browsing the internet. Here is what I found.

  • "I got a fever, and the only perscription is more cowbell!" You got a fever, too? Head over to More Cowbell, where you can upload any song and add as much cowbell and Christopher Walken as your heart desires. (Thanks to On the Beat.)
  • New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd takes a witty look at the upcoming first unscripted interview with Sarah Palin, and has a few questions she wants answered:

    When the phone rings at 3 a.m., will she call the Wasilla Assembly of God congregation and ask them to pray on a response, as she asked them to pray for a natural gas pipeline?

    Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago?

    Does she talk in tongues or just eat caribou tongues?

    What does she have against polar bears?

  • Services like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace have revolutionized the way we use the internet and, more importantly, how we interact with the people around us. New York Times Magazine writer Clive Thompson takes a closer look at how online social networking has changed our personal relationships in his piece "I'm So Totally, Digitally Close to You." (This is basically what we talk about every day in my blogging class.)

Enjoy. I'll let you know how that paper goes...


"UNC has a football team?"

So I know that Carolina isn't exactly known for their football team -- OK, since the '90s it's been pretty awful -- but I wouldn't quite take it this far:

This, after all, is one of the chief responsibilities of being a North Carolina graduate: Pretending you care about the football team. It isn't always easy.

UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Steve Politi wrote this and much more in a column for the Star Ledger from Newark, N.J., about his alma mater and their upcoming match-up with his new hometown team, Rutgers University. A lot of UNC fans and alumni have little affection for the football team, but I don't get why he's so negative. He was in school here during the heyday of UNC football in the '90s with current Texas coach Mack Brown.

The Tar Heels won the Peach Bowl when I was a junior in 1993, and that seemed like a big deal when it happened. Then the basketball team won the national championship that spring, with about thousands and thousands of people jamming Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, with classes canceled and parties lasting well into the next day and Dean Smith elevated from deity to full-fledged God status.

And, sorry, but what bowl game was that again?


I look forward to basketball as much as the next Tar Heel, but some respect should be given to the football team, too. I mean, it could be worse: we could be dook.


Local Celebrity? Oh, and Ben Folds Five

Updating an earlier post, it seems as if the Inscoe story is spreading beyond the pages of the Cary News. WRAL anchor Bill Leslie mentioned and linked to us in his travel blog on WRAL.com. It generated some interest in the blog, netting us a grand total of 1,011 views on September 4 alone. This is more views than I got on any point during our actual trip. It's pretty exciting that the blog is getting this much attention, even this long after the trip is over.

I hope to work on editing and pulling together the blog into a story form. (I know I've said this multiple times, but I promise it will happen.) If nothing else it will be good practice for the future. When I look at the job ahead, I have a lot more respect for Jack Kerouac.

In other news, I got lower level tickets to the Ben Folds Five reunion show!! All it took was going out there last night at midnight, trying to sleep on a brick sidewalk with a small blanket and waiting in line for an hour after the tickets went on sale at 10 to get to the box office. Even after getting out there that early, I was still behind about 140 people.

It was worth it, though, since the general admission tickets sold out in three minutes online.

This will be my second time seeing them in Memorial. The first time was amazing and I can't see this one being any different.


Put a leash on the "pitbull"

I've held off on writing extensively about the Republican VP pick for a while now so that I could fully digest it, watch her speak and decide what I really thought about her. I think I've come to that realization.

To get it out of the way, let me just say that it's impossible for me to like her because our politics are as far from each other on the spectrum as they could possibly be. Sarah Palin wants to teach Creationism in school, teach abstinence only education and kill the polar bears by drilling for oil in Alaska. OK, that last one is a bit extreme, but we don't need to put anymore holes up there. She is pro-life and all about small government: a small government that keeps their hands out of your purse, but has no problem tapping your phone or reading your e-mail.

That aside, I still think Palin was a terrible choice. Sure, it seems perfect, and when I first heard about it I got a little worried. She is a young intelligent woman and mother of a soldier going to Iraq and a young special needs child. The last point shouldn't matter, but in reality it will help her get sympathy votes from other parents or people that work with special needs kids. But as I learned more about her, the more desperate the pick seemed.

First, the obvious point, her pregnant daughter. Bristol Palin is now five months pregnant at the age of 17. For such a huge proponent of abstinence-only education, this is a pretty huge blow. How can you promote this idea when it doesn't even work for your own kid?

Second, her experience. One of the major attacks on Obama from the McCain campaign is how he's inexperienced. Then they pull up a woman whose only political experience is as the mayor of a 6,000-person town in Alaska and as the governor of Alaska for a grand total of a year and a half. Oh yeah, and she's totally ready to be commander and chief because she was the head of the Alaskan National Guard. Oh yeah, and she has foriegn policy experience because she is from Alaska, which is sorta near Russia...and Canada for that matter.

But she also wanted Alaska to secede from the Union. That doesn't seem very American.

Finally -- and this is not a joke on McCain by any means -- there is a chance that McCain could die during his presidency. We have to face that, he's an old man and it's definitely possible. The last thing I want is to see him fall ill and have the crazy conservative from Alaska take over Washington. I just can't let that happen.

So why did the Republican's pick Palin? To solidify the conservative Republican base and hopefully draw some miffed Hillary supporters/girl-power feminists over to the right. Seems logical. But with scandals flying left and right in the days after the VP pick, the GOP is forced play defense and make people keep their faith in this campaign. They start building up her "resume," and hope that American's will forget about the little things that have been flying around the blogosphere recently.

Jay Rosen on his PressThink blog had some pretty good ideas on how the McCain campaign should be moving forward after this pick:

Journalists watching all this keep saying to themselves: wait until she gets out on the campaign trail. Wait until she sits for those interviews with experienced reporters and faces a real press conference.

  • Strategy: double down on defiance by never letting her answer questions, except from friendly media figures who have joined your narrative; like Cheney with Fox. No meet the press at all. No interviews of Palin with the DC media elite— at all. De-legitimate the ask. Break with all “access” expectations. Use surrogates and spokesmen, let them get mauled, then whip up resentment at their mistreatment. Answer questions at town halls and call that adequate enough.

So far McCain has been using this strategy. (Be sure to check out Rosen's full article.)

Now here is the scary part. While all the Democrats are sitting over here laughing and saying "What was he thinking?" Republican National Convention seems to be hanging on her every last word. Sure, she had a good speech, delivery-wise, but I don't see how you can sit there and listen to what she says and say "Man, I can't wait until she gets to Washington!" But they were. They were cheering and chanting and holding signs with slogans like "Palin Power" and "Hockey Moms 4 Palin." They were bent over with laughter when Palin made this little joke: "You know what the difference is between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick."

What bothered me most about her speech was the fact that it was essentially an Obama bash-fest. Tell me what you're going to do, not what is wrong with Obama. But it's what the RNC wanted to hear. They ate it up.

But did the rest of the voters? I don't think so. It even seems like it's helped Obama raise a record-breaking $10 million in one day.

To bring this crazy rant to a close, I think McCain would have been much better off if he had gone more moderate. I believe the conservative base of the Republican party was going to go for McCain no matter what and the amount of women they would "steal" from Clinton is not significant enough to make a difference. As my buddy Chris said a long time ago, a pick like Joe Lieberman would have made for a formidable ticket. So strong that I even would have had to look harder at who I wanted to support. I think it would draw a lot of independents to the Republican side, which could be the difference in the election. But I guess McCain had other ideas.

There's no way to predict what will happen come November, but as far as I can tell Palin might be a "Hail Mary" that falls innocently to the ground in the endzone. Especially after seeing McCain's less than inspirational acceptance speech while writing this.

Everyone at the RNC sure seems excited, but is America?


The Inscoes made the news!

After a few e-mails from my mom, the Cary News decided to write a short article about my summer road trip with my granddad and sister. Vickie Jean Dehamer talked to all three of us and used my trip blog to craft a nice little article that was published on September 3.

I was very impressed and excited to read someone else’s take on our summer. She also mentioned the trip blog at the end of her article, which is probably the reason the blog got 420 hits yesterday.

Here are some snippets:

Ask most kids if they would spend a month in a car with family, and they’d probably need a minute to think about it.

Corey Inscoe of Cary didn’t even hesitate.

“This might be the only opportunity to see the country with Paw-Paw,” he recalled in his blog, an electronic diary he published on the Internet chronicling the 32-day trip he took this summer with his grandfather Walter Inscoe and sister Madison — one that covered over 10,000 miles from June 10 through July 12.


Walter, 81, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant, was the mastermind behind the impromptu expedition, coming up with the idea after losing his wife Mildred in December after more than 60 years of marriage.

“So I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself and I called my son and said, ‘what do you think if I ask my two grandchildren to go on this trip?’” Walter said. “They said yes, and I started making plans.”


In the end, Corey may have benefited more from his cross-country adventure than from any journalism internship, because it got him back into the habit of writing every day. He hopes to segue his blog into an article for a local travel magazine.

Walter knew what he was doing the whole time.

“I spent more time with them in those 32 days than I have their whole lives,” he said. “I wouldn’t take a million dollars in exchange for it.”

Click here to read the full article.

The truth about "Tutti Frutti"

If nothing else, my Intro to Rock class is going to provide me with some great stories from the annals of rock history. Yesterday we were talking about the main figures in early rock 'n' roll: Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino and, of course, Little Richard. Before he went all "born again Christian" on us in the '50s, Little Richard was a flamboyant and energetic piano player with a distinctive falsetto.

We might have learned a lot more about him if he had been allowed to record the original lyrics to "Tutti Frutti." If you've ever listened to the song, it seems like it's just gibberish: "A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-whop-bam-boom!/Tutti frutti, all rooty..." Well there's a pretty good reason.

Here are the original lyrics:

"A wop bop a loo mop, a good goddamn!
Tutti frutti, loose booty
If it don’t fit, don’t force it
You can grease it, make it easy."

Those make a little more sense. Except I don't think 1950s America was ready for a song explicitly about sex...especially between two men.

Producer Robert Blackwell
loved the song, but knew that he would have to change the lyrics before he could record and sell it. He hires local songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie to "rework" them. Suddenly the song becomes about a couple of girls, Sue and Daisy. Funny how that works.

RNC: Republican National Chaos

Let's be honest: it's been a pretty fun week to be a Democrat. Every political blog and newspaper has been swamped in the morass of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin news and scandal.

Well, according to actor-turned-politician Fred Thompson thinks we left-wingers are tearing up Palin because of our intense "panic."

From CNN.com:

Fred Thompson led the charge, berating "Washington pundits and media big shots" who have questioned her experience as a first-term governor of Alaska.

"She is from a small town, with small-town values, but that's not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family," he said to cheers.

"Let's be clear ... the selection of Gov. Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful reformer who is not afraid to take on the establishment," he added.

I can't really speak for anyone else, but I'm pretty sure the feeling that has been growing since John McCain threw his "Hail Mary" VP pick has not been panic. More like elation. Or disbelief. Not panic.

On another note, some photographer friends of You Ain't No Picasso, one of my main music blogs, were maced and arrested for taking pictures of the rioting outside of the RNC. Are you serious?? This is getting a little absurd.


Ben Folds Five is back!!

For serious. This is the most exciting news I've heard in a while. The original band, including bassist Robert Sledge and drummer Darren Jessee, will be performing one show at UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall on September 18.

I'm an obsessive Ben Folds fan -- I camped outside for his show two years ago in Chapel Hill with nothing but a sleeping bag and a backpack as a pillow -- and started listening to him long after the Five had broken up, so I am unbelievably pumped for this rare opportunity. The group hasn't played together in 10 years.

According to the website, the band will be playing their album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner in its entirety, which means they'll be playing "Army" and "Narcolepsy," two of my favorite Ben Folds Five songs. And to add icing to the cake, Jessee's new band, Hotel Lights, will be opening the show. Can it get much better?

I hope students get a first shot at these tickets, otherwise I will be all over etix.com next week.


Palin, P. Diddy and Politics

I try to keep from harping on politics too often on this blog, but I saw a few articles today that I just had to mention.

First, the 17-year-old daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is definitely preggers. How did that abstinence-only education work out for ya Mrs. Palin?

Then, while browsing around CNN.com, I found this little gem about Palin's husband getting a DWI. So what if it's 24 years ago? The religious right isn't going to be very happy about that.

Finally, some sad news from the Diddy camp. The rapper and name-change enthusiast is being forced to -- brace yourself -- fly a commercial jet!! No more private jets for Mr. Combs. What is the world coming too?

"I'm actually flying commercial," Diddy said before walking onto an airplane, sitting in a first-class seat and flashing his boarding pass to the camera. "That's how high gas prices are. I'm at the gate right now. This is really happening, proof gas prices are too high. Tell whoever the next president is we need to bring gas prices down."

I guess Making the Band just isn't making the dough. Maybe the Cadillac advertising on his website will help him out some.

He claims the video is a joke and says that all "media and hate bloggers" need to "loosen up." Uh-huh, sure Diddy. Here's the video if you're interested.

UNC Football and Slight Confusion

On Thursday, the Marching Tar Heels stayed 30 minutes after practice to work on a plan for how to make room for the aerial team that was supposed to land in Kenan Stadium with the game ball. It's happened many times before, no big deal, right?


When the band got to the point in pregame where they were supposed to split and make room for the parachutes, the band directors started scurrying around and yelling "Don't move!! We're not splitting apart!!" Everyone was confused and probably a little miffed that we had stayed after to work on this and it wouldn't even happen. It must just be bad weather in the area that kept them from dropping in.

Wrong again. They were just a little confused.

From The News & Observer:

Duke officials were a bit surprised when, at 6 p.m. Saturday, about an hour before the scheduled kickoff of their game against James Madison, two men parachuted into Wallace Wade Stadium and landed with a game ball.

Problem was, the Blue Devils -- who were warming up on the field along with their guests from Virginia -- weren't expecting it.


North Carolina was scheduled to receive the game ball for its contest against McNeese State via an aerial team at about that time in Chapel Hill.

According to UNC assistant athletic director for promotions Michael Beale, the plane was in the air but the jumpers from Virginia-based Aerial Adventures opted to cancel the leap into Kenan Stadium because of weather.

Evidently, when the clouds eventually opened, the pilot thought they were over the correct stadium, and the skydivers jumped -- realizing only when they landed in Wallace Wade that they were in the wrong place.

The two men immediately scrambled off the field with the game ball, and when UNC associate athletic director Rick Steinbacher was informed by a reporter of what had happened, he immediately called Duke officials to confirm the miscue and offer his apologies.

"In about five years, maybe this will be funny," Steinbacher said. "Right now, I'm just glad no one was hurt."

Classic. You just can't script things like that. But here's my problem. These guys are rigorously trained to do what they do and you're telling me they couldn't tell the difference between Wallace Wade -- a glorified high school stadium -- and the 60,000 seat Kenan. Let's have a look, shall we?

Here is Wallace Wade Stadium from the air:

Now for Kenan Stadium (sorry for the small size, Google images let me down):

See what I mean? Slightly bigger.

Too bad it seems like Duke was the better team in the ACC this week, winning handily over FCS school James Madison University, while the Tar Heels struggled through a two-hour lightning delay and a 35-27 win over FCS school McNeese State. The first quarter was great: Brandon Tate had some great returns, including one punt return for a touchdown. He also had a great 50+ yard reception that led to a second Carolina touchdown.

Then, after the rain and lightning subsided, the "new and improved" Tar Heels started to look a hell of a lot like last year's team. The same things that plagued them throughout the 2007 season were very present two nights ago: inconsistent and bonehead play from quarterback T.J. Yates, slow defense that didn't put any pressure on the quarterback and allowed him to pick apart the secondary, and sub-par running by Greg Little behind an offensive line that struggled against a defensive line they should have dominated. He's not going to get 1,000 yards that way.

The Heels have something to prove in two weeks against Rutgers. Right now, I'm not impressed.