Ryan Adams is following me

This story is a little dated, but I think it's important that you know about my situation should anything happen to me.

It all started a couple of weeks ago with a conversation in my blogging class. Professor Jones was talking about how singer/songwriter Ryan Adams started "stalking" him after he wrote something negative about the former Raleigh-ite. Another kid in the class mentioned that Adams had called a writer drunk in the middle of the night and cussed him out. Now I can't vouch for the truth of these stories, but I've heard similar ones before.

The next day I was sitting at work looking for something interesting to listen to while I was editing and found this, a recording of Adams at KCRW. The music is great, no doubt.

Now for the fun part.

While listening to his performance, I sent out this message on Twitter: "i wish ryan adams wasn't a big bag of crazy because his music is so good..."

Not 10 minutes later, I get an e-mail telling me that @cardinology, aka Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, is following me.

Is he really stalking me? Or does he just follow anyone that mentions him? I guess only time will tell.... Maybe he'll respond to this.


What is wrong with the NFL?

Dear readers, I'm at a loss. I need your help. Maybe together we can figure out what the hell is wrong with the NFL.

Football on Thanksgiving day is about as American as apple pie and over eating. It's a tradition that I look forward to every year, especially this year when my Tennessee Titans were playing the Detroit Lions. The game was a blowout, and that was fine with me. But at halftime something went horribly wrong: Jesse McCartney walked out onto the stage.

Jesse-friggin'-McCartney. Are you kidding me? Then, just to add insult to injury, the halftime performance at the next game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys was the Jonas Brothers. THE JONAS BROTHERS!!

Let's break this down. On Thanksgiving, one of these situations is probably happening in every household in America: Thanksgiving lunch is over and while the women are socializing and the kids are playing, the men are watching football -- or -- The ladies are putting together the meal while the guys sit on the couch and watch football. Now before I get hate mail from all the feminists out there let me explain myself. I'm not saying this is how it should be or that this is totally universal. Guys could be (and should be) cooking and I'm sure some women are watching football. I'm just trying to make a point that most of the people watching football on Thanksgiving are men ages 18 and up.

So why in the hell are these hairless little boys parading around at halftime with a handful of screaming girls are adoring them right in front of the stage. Most of the viewing audience is probably looking around and going "Who are these guys??" Why is the NFL trying to appeal to 13-year-old girls with their halftime shows?? It makes no sense.

To give them some credit, the last few Superbowl halftime performers have been great: Tom Petty, Prince, the Rolling Stones. But I don't like this trend and where it could lead. Don't try to be something you're not, NFL. Know your core audience and stick to it.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!! I'm back home for a few days and enjoying some much needed relaxation. In a perfect world, this would mean more blog posts, but with my laptop not having the greatest internet connection, I'm not sure if this will happen or not. I'll do my best.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you something I found on one of my favorite music blogs, i guess i'm floating. A couple of days ago, they put up a list of the best TV theme songs of the past 20 years. It's a sweet list and even has free downloads (I always wanted a copy of the Daily Show theme!).

Here are my favorites out of the list:
The Office (I especially love that the name of the band is The Scrantones)
Big Bang Theory (I hate to admit it, but I have a weakness for the Barenaked Ladies)
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (I love old-school Will Smith and his flashy clothes)
and, of course, The Daily Show (Stewart/Colbert 2016?)

I'm really not sure how the Friends theme made it on there. I mean, I love the show, but c'mon....

What are your favorites on the list? Any that they missed? Any you would add? Let me know in the comments.

And no Thanksgiving is complete without our favorite Alaskan talking while a turkey is being mauled. No, thank you, Mrs. Palin.

Now go eat!!


Give Pearl Jam a Chance

Eighteen years later, it's easy to lump Pearl Jam into the grunge movement and compare them to bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney. Sure, they came out of Seattle, had a penchant for flannel and long hair and were banging out some dirty rock and roll, but I think they're overlooked as "just another grunge band." I'm guilty of this: Ten, Binaural, and Yield were left to collect dust on my shelf for quite a while.

Recently I've given them a second chance, and I implore you to do the same.

Now let me preface this next statement: I don't mean to belittle Nirvana. I am a huge fan of Kurt and the boys and think their influence on modern alternative rock is invaluable. But Pearl Jam is the real gem that came out of the Seattle grunge scene. Nirvana may have had the real big hit ("Smells Like Teen Spirit") and been the poster boys of the movement, but let's be honest, Kurt Cobain was a little off and some of their songs are pretty banal. Teenage angst is awesome, but there's a point when you have to move on.

Pearl Jam took grunge music in a different direction. Instead of dwelling on the problems of adolesence, lead singer Eddie Vedder commented on social and political issues that mattered to people. "Jeremy" is about the weird kid in school that everyone makes fun of who ended up killing himself in front of class (based on a real event). "Alive" is about a boy finding out that who he thought was his father is not and that his real father is dead. "Better Man" is about an abusive relationship and a woman in denial.

More recently he's gotten more political, touring with the "Vote for Change" tour in 2004 and writing songs like "World Wide Suicide" that are blatantly critical of the George W. Bush administration.

Most importantly, Pearl Jam has staying power. Ten sounds just as fresh when I listen to it now as it did when it was released 17 years ago. Vedder's haunting voice sticks with you and you feel his passion. Sure, it's easy to make fun of his vocal delivery (just watch his face in the "Jeremy" video), but you can't deny the richness of his voice.

Vedder's soundtrack for the movie "Into the Wild" is what got me listening to the band again. He wrote and performed the entire soundtrack, which was the perfect compliment to the coming of age story. I thought the acoustic songs were a deviation from his standard grunge style with Pearl Jam, but after going back and listening I realize that it is part of a natural progression. He has grown up, but he haven't lost their touch.

Maybe they were more mature than Nirvana to begin with: Vedder did write "Better Man" in high school. They understood that there was more to life than teenage angst and sought to draw attention to it. Almost 20 years later they are still trying. And succeeding.

Take a look at their episode "Storytellers." You'll see a thoughtful and intelligent side of Vedder. Then give them another listen. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

But this is just my opinion. You can disagree with me. That's what I love about music.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs off of the "Into the Wild" soundtrack: "Hard Sun."

Photo by Danny Clinch: Pearl Jam Official


Corey Went Down to Georgia

...and he was looking for a soul to steal. OK, maybe not, but that Charlie Daniels song has been stuck in my head since I crossed the state line. My wonderful girlfriend and I just got back from our weekend trip to Atlanta, and I will now give you a synopsis using pictures.

Georgia might put a peach on its license plate and call it's girls "Georgia peaches," but who has the balls to paint a water tower like a peach with the crack and nub facing the road?? That would be Gaffney, S.C. Take that, Georgia. I also love the well-placed "Fatz Grill" sign. Classy.

If you didn't believe that I was actually going to Atlanta for the Jeopardy! audition (and I wouldn't have believed me either, so don't worry) here's the proof!! Now that I say that, I realize that I could have totally just taken that picture without auditioning. But I got a pen! So there....

This is the ridiculous Westin Hotel in downtown Atlanta where the Jeopardy Audition was held. It is massive and circular. I just found out (after I left, of course) that there is a revolving restaurant at the top. That would have been awesome.

This is the gate statue (or something like that) from France in celebration of the 1996 Olympic Games that were held in Atlanta. And that's me being dwarfed by that guy, but still trying to look regal. I'm pretty sure I fail.

As a journalism geek, I had to get pictures of the CNN Studio in Atlanta and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution building. The latter was rather empty....

And now for the fun part of the trip: The World of Coca-Cola!!! If you didn't know, Coke was invented in Atlanta and they have a little museum/attraction all about how it was made right by Centennial Olympic Park downtown. Fifteen bucks may seem like a lot to walk around a Coke museum, but just look at all that it had:

You could take pictures with the Coca-Cola polar bear (this thing was awesome).

Go to a "4-D" movie.

And, finally, go to the tasting room and sample over 60 different types of Coke products from around the world. My advice to you: stay away from the Latin America ones.

It was a great weekend and I definitely would like to go back and see what else it has to offer (UNC in the Peach Bowl, maybe?). Oh, and the Jeopardy! thing?? It went well. It was a fun interview and mock game. There was a UNC student and a dookie there. But I'm really not keeping my hopes up: they only take 15 out of 600 people that make the second round. I'll know by March, though.

I took all these pictures, so I'm not stealing from anyone for once. So glad to have a decent camera that doesn't destroy batteries.

Andy Rooney on Newspapers

Andy Rooney may consider himself a newspaper man, but I would love to be the kind of newspaper man that he is: one that writes a highly syndicated column a couple of times a week and has a recurring spot on "60 Minutes" where he just rants about whatever happens to be bothering him from his own office. As cushy as his job is, Rooney is hilarious and I love listening to his commentary.

This rant is especially interesting to me since I seem to be moving into a dying industry with a collapsing economy. Awesome.

Rooney has a great point that you can't "cut out" and save a clipping from broadcast news. This was especially noticeable in the high demand of newspapers after Barack Obama's election. I just don't know if that will be enough to save the newspaper industry as we know it.


Georgia On My Mind

So this weekend I will be missing the first Carolina basketball game and the extremely important football game against Maryland so that I can go down to Georgia.

"Why would you -- being such a huge sports fan -- miss all those games just to go to Georgia?" you might be asking.

Well, I promise I have a legitimate excuse, but I won't tell you what it is because I don't want to seem cocky. Actually, that's a lie, I'm damn proud of myself for getting this so I'm going to brag. Modesty be damned!
Congratulations We are happy to confirm your appointment to participate in the full audition for the Jeopardy! College Championship. It will consist of playing a “mock version” of Jeopardy! to assess your game-playing skills, a short personality interview, and being re-tested with a new 50-question test.

If you pass all the requirements, you will be put in our files to be considered for Jeopardy!’s Season 25, College Championship. However even though you pass the test, we cannot guarantee that you will be invited to do the show. In fact, even though you are invited to the studio, there is no guarantee that you will appear on the show. There is no charge for taking the test, but you will be responsible for all expenses such as parking and travel to and from the testing center. If you are invited to participate in our College Championship we will pay your airfare and hotel, room and tax only (College student only).
That's right, your lowly college student/blogger apparently knows enough random crap that he qualified for the second round of the College Jeopardy auditions. It must have been all those ours spent in random bars around the country playing Buzztime trivia. Thanks, Mom and Tony!

I don't really expect to go any further (I thought I bombed the first test), but I figure I should take a shot at it and if nothing else I will have a nice weekend in Atlanta, a city I haven't been to since I saw the Atlanta Braves play when I was in sixth grade.

I got a nicer hand-me-down camera from Jeremy and I hope to break it in some this weekend and get some pictures up on this site.

Until then, wish me luck!


"It's A New Day"

Will.i.am -- the real person, not CNN hologram -- put out a new song and video this week celebrating Barack Obama's victory. The song is called "It's a New Day" and mixes clips of the singer with shots of Grant Park in Chicago during the acceptance speech, and what I assume are user submitted videos of people singing the song.

I have never been the biggest fan of will.i.am, but this song and it's predecessor, "Yes We Can," are great tributes to a powerful campaign and a landmark election. Maybe he should stick to writing uplifting political songs.

"Stop and cherish this moment. Stop and cherish this time."

For the record, this isn't a political post, because that would mean that I went back on my word. It's totally a music post....



Just under a week after the historic election, I've decided it's time for me to move on to other things. That's not to say that you won't see the occasional post about politics or government, but I'm going to try to mix it up a little bit. I hope that there will be more about music (what this site was originally created for) and local issues. We'll see how long it lasts.

That said, please allow me to introduce you to Lafcadio.

This Chapel Hill trio was one of the first three artists signed on UNC's Vinyl Records after finishing tied for second in the September Showcase battle of the bands. The crazy thing is that they have only been together for a couple of months.

They have a great folksy sound and singer Liz Ross has a voice that will melt your heart, I promise. You can check out some of their music at their Myspace page, the live recordings from their September Showcase here, and a new demo recorded by Ross at their website, here.

Beautiful stuff. They're in the studio now working on their debut EP which should be out on Vinyl Records in January.



It looks like President-Elect Barack Obama prepared for this week a while back, and with good reason. A mere two days after his landslide victory over John McCain, Obama has already chosen his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel and has set up his new website fittingly named Change.gov.

The website is dedicated to the transition process and includes a blog, an agenda for the new president, press information and even a place to share your story about the campaign and what it meant to you. There is even a place where you can turn in an application to get a job in the new government.

Part of the reason that Obama led such a successful campaign was his able to foster grassroots support and fundraising using the internet. This idea was pioneered by Howard Dean in 2004, but was really perfected by Obama this year. BarackObama.com allowed volunteers to mobilize from their own home and without the help of a community organizer. Phone number lists were posted online for people to use to canvass their community. There were also links to local Obama groups that organized around the country.

On top of all this, you could sign up to the Obama e-mail list, get text messages from the campaign, or even get the Barack Obama application for your fancy-shmancy iPhone. The future of politics is the internet and the Obama campaign wholeheartedly embraced it. There were Obama Facebook groups and even a way to sign up as a supporter of the Democrat on Facebook in order to get all of his updates.

Using social media in this way, Obama made each person that supported him feel like they were individually important and involved with the campaign. They would get personalized e-mails or texts and could easily log in and pick up the phone to volunteer. Or give a campaign contribution online.

Fortunately this has not stopped since the end of the election, as seen by Change.gov. This website adds transparency to an important part of the presidency and allows people to interact with the new administration. I really hope to see this continue after the inauguration.

If nothing else, we'll be seeing this a lot more over in the next elections.


It's All Over -- It's Only Just Begun

On January 3 of this year I was in some little apartment in New Rochelle, NY fresh off a hearty celebration of the new year. That night we cut on the TV to CNN to check out the results of the first Democratic primary in Iowa. At this point I couldn't tell you anything about the candidates: there was a black guy, a woman and the local guy. I was supporting John Edwards simply because he lived in Chapel Hill (and we see how that ended up).

As the returns come in, it becomes clear that Barack Obama, some senator from Illinois, had won Iowa. "Wow," I thought, "that's awesome that he won that primary. I never would have guessed."

But I didn't put any more weight on it than that. I still figured Hilary Clinton and Edwards were the real players. My thoughts were confirmed when Clinton won the next primary in New Hampshire.

Fast forward to April 28: Obama holds a rally at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill. By this point Obama and Clinton were for all intents and purposes alone in this race. I was swept into the sea of change and was giddy at the thought of seeing him speak. I got there two hours early, settled into my seat and enjoyed the Liquid Pleasure band that provided entertainment before he spoke. His speech was electrifying as always. I was hooked.

But realism tugged at my brain: there is no way that the country is going to pick a black man over a white woman for the Democratic party. Why risk alienating moderate or more conservative voters with that pick? Then the country proved me wrong.

Wily old veteran John McCain stepped up on the Republican side and seemed to be a formidible opponent to the young Obama. Then after a series of mishaps and self-destructive moves from the right, it suddenly seemed like Obama was the favored candidate.

Until this point I believed in Obama's message of change and hope and love, but I just knew that it was too good to be true. I didn't think that Democrats would pick him as their candidate, why would conservatives and moderates lean toward a black man over a veteran and prisoner of war with more experience? Fortunately, the rest of the country was swept up in Obama's hopeful message. They realized that a change is exactly what we needed, and it was time to get a fresh perspective in Washington.

Even with most of the pundits predicting an Obama victory (landslide victory, according to some), I couldn't help but be nervous on Tuesday. Polls could be wrong or minds could change suddenly.

As the results started pouring in and CNN talked to holograms, I got goosebumps. Pennsylvania goes to Obama. Ohio goes to Obama. While these were not total surprises, they were two key wins that almost cemented Obama's victory. Then it got even more exciting. Traditional Republican states started to fall: Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, Florida. Even blood-red North Carolina is still split with Obama leading by less than one percentage point.

The nation spoke. Actually, it yelled. The world celebrated with us. It's a new day in America and the excitement is electric. Sure, it won't be easy. The economy is in the tank and we have to deal with Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. But I'm excited about where Obama will take this country, and I hope that we will unite behind him. McCain impressed and moved me with a beautiful concession speech about coming together as Americans.

It was a historic night with Obama being the first ever African-American to be elected to the presidency. It's something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, much less in my first 25 years on this Earth. I've never been more proud to be an American.

Unfortunately, there was a dark side to the election last night. Proposition 8 in California, a proposition banning gay marriage, was passed. For a state that was so one-sided for Obama it's unsettling to see them set homosexuals back in such a fashion.

But in the end, we have taken a large step forward in this country and this is an event that I will always remember.

As Obama said, "Change has come to America." I think it's about time.


"The Great Schlep"

Comedian Sarah Silverman has always been known for her raunchy and over-the-top comedy -- just watch one episode of her show and you'll see what I mean -- but at least she's got her head on her shoulders politically...kinda.

In what she calls "The Great Schlep" she asks young Jewish people to go down to Florida and get their grandparents to vote for Barack Obama so they don't screw the Democrats over like they did in 2000 (she uses a slightly different wording, but I'm trying to keep this sorta PC). She takes the time to show how a black man and an old Jewish woman are the same and says that she will "blame the Jews" if Barack Obama doesn't win the next election.

This video is by no means suitable for work, unless you work at Chapel Hill Magazine where we had this video playing in the conference room last week.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

And to keep with the theme of hilarious political videos on the next to last day that I'm allowing myself to be sucked into the political machine, here is a great clip of John McCain on Saturday Night Live.

This is why I really can't hate him. I can hate Karl Rove, I can think Sarah Palin is an idiot and I can hate all the "God-loving Americans" that scream "Terrorist!" and racial slurs at Republican rallies, but I just can't hate McCain. Deep down he's a good guy and would make a good president if it wasn't for the hundreds of incompetent people around him.

Anyway -- stepping down from my soapbox -- I love that he can make fun of his campaign at this point in the election. Everyone should be able to. The political game is such a joke and anyone that takes it too seriously will end up in a mental hospital before the age of 40.

Two more days and it will all be over....


Is it Tuesday yet?

If you asked me two years ago about politics, I couldn't have told you anything except that Bush is a terrible president, and that opinion would have come largely from what other people have told me. But for some reason this election season, politics has taken over my brain and my life and, sometimes, my dreams.

I'm not really sure exactly what started it. Actually, that's not true. I can blame it on two people: Barack Obama and Chris.

Obama, with his message of change and hope and love, has excited a whole generation of young people. The voter age group that is known for being apathetic and looked over is now energized and excited about politics. Obama represents the ideals and dreams of many young people around the country and I was not immune to his charm. I was already excited about getting to vote for the first time, but having a candidate who represented exactly what I thought the country needed made me even more passionate about filling out my first ballot.

Obama laid the seed, but Chris nurtured it. Before last year, I didn't even know that political blogs were that popular. The only blogs that I ever read were music blogs just to get free MP3s of new songs that were coming out. It was Chris who turned me on to DailyKos, and from there I found BlueNC, OrangePolitics, the CNN Political Ticker, Real Clear Politics and countless other political sites. Now I find myself checking each of these at least five times a day. I gobble up their polls and predictions and spit them back out at anyone that will listen. Wanna know how Obama is polling in N.C.?? I can tell you, don't worry.

I even got to the point where I stopped lurking and posted on BlueNC. I ended up getting front paged and put into the header of their website for a few days. I feel like almost every conversation I have ends up in the realm of politics somehow. Lucky for me, most of my friends are into it also so they're not quite ready to kill me yet. If you look at the list of tags on the right side of this page, you'll see how much I have politics on the brain. I even had my mom watching the last presidential debate and talking bad about McCain.

It was fun for a while, but I don't know if I can take it anymore. But I don't have to wait long. In two short days, all the speculation will be put aside and we will know who the next president will be. I remember watching the election specials four years ago and not really caring about who one. It won't be that way this year. I'm emotionally committed now and it's too late to go back. I just have to hope that things will go my way.

But I do know one thing, I'll have a lot more free time after Tuesday. Maybe I'll get back into reading my music blogs more often, or read some news that doesn't involve Republicans or Democrats. I can't just cut off politics cold turkey, but I can lower the dosage to a safer amount. I'm also going to have to find some other stuff to write about on this blog, but I don't think that will be as big of a problem.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I have a couple of great things that I would like to share with you on yet another beautiful Sunday that gave me a much needed one extra hour of sleep.

First, a great prank call on Mrs. Sarah Palin, who was in Raleigh this weekend.

From Boing Boing:
The popular Montreal comedy duo Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, aka "The Masked Avengers" ( Les Justiciers Masqués ) are notorious for prank-calling heads of state and celebrities who take themselves a little too seriously. Surely none take themselves so seriously as Sarah Palin. She was pranked by the pair today when they social-hacked their way past security and convinced her she was speaking to Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France.

Oh those crazy Canadians...

Now a couple of fun things from the local News and Observer. I loved this opening line from an article called "Parties marshal troops for E-day" about presidential campaign volunteers in N.C.
At their national convention, Republicans scoffed at an early line on Barack Obama's resume.

"He worked as a community organizer," former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani told the crowd, to rising laughter. "What?"

Now the GOP is discovering the value of that experience. In the closing hours of a national election, Republican nominee John McCain faces an Obama get-out-the-vote push that is exceptionally well organized at the community level. The Democrat's campaign is culminating in an enormous door-by-door effort. North Carolina is one of its key targets.

Oh, buuuurrnn. Then they also had a great article about the Cary High School alumni band that marched in the Cary Band Day parade this weekend. I wanted to go, Halloween and a busy Saturday kept me from joining. I love that all those alumni came out and marched again. Maybe next year...

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!