Seeing Berlin, Getting lost in Berlin, Meeting Surry Wood's high school teammate

Wow.... It has definitely been a long 48 hours since I last posted. The good thing is I'm still alive and didn't get mugged. The bad thing is that I didn't get to my hostel last night until 6:30 a.m. But that story comes later.
First, the walking tour. NewEurope is a solid company that offers free walking tours in different cities all around Europe. They have other (not free) tours that they also do that go more in depth, but this was a great intro to all the sights of Berlin, which is exactly what we needed. Our tour guide was a great little Australian girl named Katie and she knew her stuff. We saw everything from the Brandenburg Gate, to the Holocaust Memorial, the sight of Hitler's bunker, what's left of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, various cathedrals, the site of a famous book burning in 1933 and Museum Island. There's so much history in this city and I'm pretty sure we learned a massive chunk of it in the 3 1/2 hours that we walked around with Katie. The Holocaust Memorial was probably the most striking of all the things I saw. It consists of thousands of concrete boxes of varying hights lined up in rows. Sounds simple, but when you get into the middle where the blocks tower above you and the ground starts to become crooked, it's a little disconcerting. You can't see what's coming around the corner and it gets quiet and cold. 
The Berlin Wall was not at all what I expected. The part that's left is a strip right by the old Luftwaffe (air force) building. It's just a concrete wall reinforced with steel bars in the middle of the city. It has tons of holes in it from when it was being torn down. To keep people from messing it up more, they put a fence in front of it to keep people away. Ironic, huh? 
After our tour, we went back to the hostel to relax a little before the pub crawl that New Europe also puts on. The idea is that you pay 12 Euro and the guide takes you around to five different bars where you get in free and get a free Jagermeister shot whenever you buy a drink. And there was free beer at the first bar for 45 minutes. Well, let's just say I heartily enjoyed myself (as did Thomas) until the last club. Matrix is a club basically in some train station. We had to take the train to get to it, and I was so lost by the time we got there. Thomas went in before me, but apparently they didn't let him in. I didn't know this and walked through with no problem. 
I walked around for a while looking for Thomas, but after not finding him I just decided to go dance anyway. Techno does some funny things to me when it gets about 1 a.m. so I had a great time dancing by myself. Finally, about 3 a.m., I decided it was time to go home. I go back to the train station, but couldn't figure out how to get home. Assuming we hadn't gone far on the train, I decide to just walk. Bad idea. I ended up wandering around Berlin for just over three hours until the sun came up. I ended up down in South Berlin where all the factories are. Frustrated, tired and near tears, I finally found someone to help me. 
There was a guy that looked just a little older then me sitting at a bus stop. I asked him if he spoke English in the best German I could muster. He said he did and I told him where I needed to go. He said he was going that way and that I should just follow him. He noticed my UNC jacket and asked if I was from North Carolina. I said I had just graduated. He proceeds to tell me that one of his good friends played basketball there: Surry Wood, a walk-on who graduated last year. Interesting. Random connection one. Then he tells me that he played basketball with him at Cary Academy. I told him I grew up in Cary. Random connection two. Then he says that he went on to play basketball at a Division II school in Hickory, Lenoir-Rhyne. My step-dad lived there for a long time. Random connection three. Talk about a small world. 
He led me the 10 minutes ride back home and got me back to my hostel, which I was so thankful for. And I was glad to see that Thomas was already back and in bed. "Thank God," is all he said when I walked in. I only got a couple hours of sleep before we had to wake up and check out. I felt like I'd been run over by a truck. Not much was going to get done today. I promised myself that nothing like that night would happen again on this trip. After a good lunch and about 25 refills of Coke, we went to the train station to get tickets to Amsterdam on the Sunday night train. Then we went to the big park, Tiergarten, where we laid down for a bit while kids played soccer and dogs ran around. It felt great. 
We started walking down to our next hostel (we had to move so much because there aren't many open beds. Busy weekend here with a festival and the German football final today). It took about two hours walking only to find out we were at the wrong one. But it was just a short train ride to the right one so we made it easily enough. Needless to say, I passed out quickly. Not much got done today. 
Tomorrow we have a full day. We will be getting up and checking out, then heading to the Reichstag (parliament building) to climb up into the glass dome. Then we'll check out some stuff that we didn't have time to see yesterday. Then we'll take a train up to a concentration camp just north of the city that everyone says is worth seeing. We basically just have a lot of time to fill until the train leaves. 
Though free, this internet isn't very good so I can't upload any pictures to the blog. I might can get some on Facebook but I'm not sure. They'll be up as soon as I can. I tried to upload videos but my computer just shut down. They might have to wait until I get home. I'll try again later though. I probably won't update again until we get to Amsterdam.

Until next time, cheers!


Frankfurt, U of F and Karaoke

Wow. My first full night ended up being a lot more exciting than I expected. Everyone said (including my handy little travel book) that Frankfurt really doesn't have a whole lot going on. The nightlife is iffy and there are just a few museums hanging around the city. It's really just a travel hub, the place you pass through. That was are plan. At least until we met the other passer-throughs.

We met Christina from the University of Florida, who is traveling around before she begins teaching English in Italy, her boyfriend, Terry (also from U of F), and his friend Dan. Then there was Andy from Texas, who was in the Army and just got back from Kuwait, Yaz (?) who is from New Jersey and Darko, who is from Canada but is Eastern European. Frankfurt may not have much going on, but we made the most of what was there.

Last night the UEFA cup final was on, which is a pretty big deal in Europe. The match was between Manchester United and Barcelona. We ended up a little sports bar to watch the match. Barcelona won. Yay. I really didn't pay that much attention. But then, right before we left, the U of F boys challenged we Tar Heels to a little chugging match. Now I have always admitted that I can't chug. It's a known fact. But I figured that if Thomas did well we could hold our own. So we got our .5 liters each and settled in.

Now let me take this time to note the fact that UF was recently picked as America's #1 party school. Terry and Dan showed us why. Before Thomas could even get started with his beer, Terry had thrown his down and was done. Dan then picked his up and finished even faster. I guess NC boys like to enjoy their drinks....

We left there and moved to a little Spanish bar, where we were confronted by rowdy Barcelona fans. We quickly moved on. The Irish Bar next door was having Karaoke night. What red-blooded American doesn't like karaoke? We decided to see how the Germans did it.
When we walk in, someone is belting out Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." Not kidding. The next song? "Sweet Home Alabama." I couldn't make this up. I felt right at home. And, of course, we all started belting out the words.

Then it was our turn. Thomas and I started them out with a little Temptations, "My Girl," complete with the Temptation walk I learned in Germany. Christina and Darko rocked out scarily well on "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" by Shania Twain. Then there was this questionable German guy who sang two songs: "Gay Bar" and "I Need a Man After Midnight" (those might not be the actual name, just what the chorus was. I'd never heard them before).

We finished them up with a rousing rendition of "Don't Stop Believing" before we stumbled out the door and started on the long walk back to our hostel. I never thought I would be singing karaoke in an Irish bar in Germany. But it was a great time!

This morning we got up to catch our train, but we ended up catching the wrong one. Ours was late and we ended up jumping on the one before it. Luckily they both had the same first stop, so after riding for an hour we waited and got on the right train. All ended well and we found our first hostel in Berlin. Apparently on Thursday nights you can go to the museums for free for four hours before they close, so we did that quickly just to kill some time. Then we got some amazing Indian food (mmm curry chicken) and came back to the hostel.

We're pretty wiped out so we're making it an easy night, but we should be plenty busy tomorrow! We found a free walking tour we are going to do, then we're going to take our chances on a pub crawl tomorrow night. We'll see how it goes.

Chris was right when he commented on the last post that free internet is not very common here. I'm cramming all I can into this hour. I hope I can find some more free internet soon, but I probably won't update tomorrow. But until then, you can check out more pictures on my Facebook page. We have video, but I haven't gotten a chance yet to put them on YouTube. I'll let you know when I do.

Until then, cheers!!

We made it!!

...two days ago. I apologize for the lack of an update, but the scarcity of free internet along with hectic schedules and running around has kept me from spending a lot of quality time on the blog. I'll do my best to do a full update (complete with pictures and videos) when I get a chance. 

We did make it and are sitting in Frankfurt right now eating some free breakfast. Gotta love that. The plane ride was pretty sweet, but we didn't get any sleep because all the movies were free. I ended up watching "Revolutionary Road" and "Slumdog Millionaire," both of which are amazing movies. But that meant we were also jet lagged as crap when we got here. I couldn't believe the first thing I saw in the airport...a Burger King! Are you kidding me? Then in the train station we saw a KFC. There's just something wrong with that! 

Frankfurt is a nice little town with tons of parks right along the river. It's great to walk around (our legs are killing us) and just see the city. We found a beautiful cathedral on the first day (the Dom). Our first hostel was nice, but a little weird because most of the people were German and the not-free internet terminals were terrible. But we did meet Tony, the self-described hedonist from Australia. (If you don't know what that means, look it up...and all its connotations.) Luckily, they were out of rooms for the next night, so we had to move to the Frankfurt Hostel, which is right by the train station. 

This is more what I was expecting. A lot more Americans and international travelers. We ended up meeting some cool kids from the University of Florida, Texas, Jersey and Canada (via Eastern Europe). We had a great time hanging out and watching the UEFA final with them, which Barcelona won (the Canadian is heading there today). We also sang karaoke, which was great. We walk in and the first two songs  we heard were "Ring of Fire" and "Sweet Home Alabama." Not kidding. So Thomas and I knocked them out with a little "My Girl" and the whole group belted out "Don't Stop Believing." It was all in all a good first night on the town. We just can't be doing that every night. We won't make it. 

Our train leaves here in about an hour to go to Berlin where we are staying at least two nights (because that's all we could book in advance) but maybe more. We'll see where it takes us. If I have internet there I'll upload some videos and pictures for your viewing pleasure. Until then, Cheers!


A/V for the soul

I found some musical gems today over at one of my favorite music blogs, You Ain't No Picasso, that I wanted to share with you guys. I don't want to act like I'm stealing his content, but instead am encouraging you to follow his site. It's like free advertising. 
First up is this new music video from Grizzly Bear for the song "Two Weeks." 

Grizzly Bear is one of those bands that I've never really gotten into but I like their music when I hear it. After listening to this song, I might have to give the band another chance. This video is crazy as hell, but I really like it. It always amazes me what people can do with digital video technology.

Second, here is a clip of Green Day on the Colbert Report last night. 

I definitely went through my Green Day phase when I was younger and though I may not be a huge fan anymore, I can still appreciate their music and their typical punk political tendencies. This interview is great in its awkwardness, especially when Tre Cool goes storming off after a clip of one of Steven Colbert's songs. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, at least. 

Happy Friday!


Birmingham PD...far from America's finest

Today, my roommate pointed me to this video of police brutality that surfaced recently. I never fail to be amazed at how angry, violent and unnecessarily cruel people can be to each other. 

Birmingham police beating video

Now I'm not defending this guy at all. He's an idiot for running from the cops and endangering innocent civilians on the highway. He even tries to run over one of the police officers that is setting the spike strip at the very beginning of the video. This guy deserves some punishment, but not a beating from the cops. I'll defend the initial action of the first police officer. Initially there's no way to tell if the suspect is unconscious or might try to run, so he jumps in to keep the guy on the ground. I can get behind that. Maybe a bit too much force, but he was probably emotional. 
What is inexcusable is that the cop continues to hit the guy with his night stick. Once you get him on the ground, the violence has to stop. Then all the other cops jump in and start punching and kicking him. He obviously isn't going anywhere. He is unconscious and cannot defend himself. This video is disgusting to watch. Even more disgusting is that they knew what they were doing and quickly cut off the video camera. 
According to the article, these officers were veteran cops. They should know better. It's easy to get emotional in that job, but you have to be able to control yourself. These lawmen were out of control. 
But here's the kicker: look at the time stamp at the top of the video. Yep, January 2008. This happened over a year ago and the video is just coming out. Completely inexcusable. I'm glad they got fired, but I want these guys to be charged for what they did. 

They're falling and they can't get up

In case you didn't believe me in the past when I wrote about the real reasons behind the layoffs at newspapers being because of the parent companies being mired in massive debt, here's proof. McClatchy, the paper that owns the Raleigh News & Observer, is desperately trying to get out of millions of dollars of debt that it accrued after buying out Knight-Ridder. It's the companies debt that is forcing the layoffs and closures, not the newspapers themselves. 
From the article: 
McClatchy has implemented several cost-saving measures to try to stay afloat, including cutting its work force by one-third, or more than 4,000 jobs, in the past year while shedding other expenses, including the dividend that it had been paying shareholders.
Experts have worried that the company may still not be able to meet its financial commitments, which could send the publisher into Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection - a method tapped by seven other newspaper publishers since December.
McClatchy's debt comes primarily from its 2006 acquisition of Knight Ridder. The company has already negotiated with lenders for more flexibility, which came at the price of higher interest rates and requirements for more collateral.
In similar news, the Carrboro Citizen is looking to expand operations with a little help from the Town of Carrboro. Also check out the Citizen's take on the situation.


What is my UNC degree really worth?

A degree from UNC-Chapel Hill is prestigious. The school one of the best public universities in the nation. When you graduate from this institution, you feel like you have really accomplished something and worked hard for a valuable degree. 
I was sure that this was all true until I was shown the worst paper I've ever seen in my entire life. 
Chris, on his first day back from Chapel Hill happened to be in Davis Library when he saw a paper sitting beside one of the computers. He brought it back to Eve's apartment with him and we took a look at it. I honestly couldn't believe what I was reading. I just knew it had to be a joke. 
No joke. Janet Cooke overcame all odds and managed to write the worst paper I've ever seen for her Poli150 class. I'm not really sure where to start. First, the font seems well above the standard 12 pt. The spacing looks more like triple rather than double. The margins are questionable. But let's put that all aside right now and focus on the content. 
As far as I can tell, the paper is comparing two articles, one by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the other by  Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations. I say "as far as I can tell" because the introduction might as well have been written by a 10-year-old just learning English. Here's a taste:
Author and politician Condoleezza Rice "The Promise of Democratic Peace" and author Susan Rice "Beyond Democratic Peace" both believe that the platform outlined by democracy is the fundamental aspect to rebuild the US's crumbling economy. Condoleezza Rice thinks the best way to secure democratic nations and to support the democratic institutions within the nations, while Susan Rice critiques Condoleezza of her methods to ensure democratic peace. Although their arguments equally parallel and contrast, could it be possible that there is another way to go about democratic peace.
There is nothing of substance in that entire paragraph. And it just gets worse. Not only does she fail to make any concrete point throughout the entire essay, she has a complete disregard for basic grammatical rules: "On the other hand, a financially and stable economy is willing and able to help falling states does." "This could possibly be considered Susan Rice's strongest point, however, at the same time could room for questioning her judgment." "Condoleezza Rice and Susan RIce emphasized the importance of the democratic foundation, nevertheless, they both contrast each other as to concluding should immediately be done."
I can't make this up. The whole paper is like that. Now it would be one thing if this paper had been given the failing grade it deserved. But no. Despite notes like "What?" and "Did you read the articles?" this joke of a professor professor or -- more likely -- TA gave this paper a 70. Are you serious? Not only is that a passing grade, that's a C-. How can you read this paper and believe that it is worth anything more than a 10? 
Janet Cooke is a sophomore which means that she has passed four semesters of college at UNC with, I assume, that type of work. Unless something changes (or people start giving her the grades she deserves) she is going to graduate with the same Carolina degree that I should be getting soon. That sure seems to take away some of the value, doesn't it? I can't help but be a little upset. 
At first I wasn't sure whether I wanted to post the paper and its author's name on this Web site. But if Janet Cooke is willing to put her name on this garbage, turn it into a professor and then to leave it in a public place, she should face the consequences. In a perfect world, she would see this post or her friends would all make fun of her for it and she would make a change for the better. Either that or drop out of school. 
Either way, you can download and read the entire paper here [pdf]. Please, especially if you graduated from or are attending Carolina, please try not to cry.


Tuesday Guilty Pleasure

Good morning, readers!! You all are looking especially lovely this beautiful spring Tuesday morning! Wait, did I say Tuesday? That means it's time for me to spill my guts on something that I love that I really, really shouldn't.
This week we're going the movie route. I think that everyone has their comfort movie. It may change over the years, but there's always that one movie you can watch and it just makes you feel better. It could be funny, sad, romantic, action-packed, whatever floats your boat. Well I definitely have my comfort movie and I've grown hesitant to tell people how I really feel about it. When I first saw it, it was one of my favorite movies out there, but after more views I've realized that there are a lot of things to be desired of it. But despite this, it's still the movie that I can watch to make me feel better and it even gets me choked up at the end. 
Here is a clip:

Despite all its cheesiness, "Garden State" has some really funny moments and is a solid story overall. This quarry scene is one of my favorites, with the shot flying back when they scream and Simon and Garfunkel's "The Only Living Boy in New York" perfectly fitting the mood of the moment. 
I always loved Zach Braff in "Scrubs," even if he does have a flair for the dramatic. I'm going to miss him on that show. Maybe that means he'll start putting out some more solid movies.

Stayin' Alive

It seems like one of my favorite magazines is facing the same problems that all of the rest of journalism is facing: serious budget issues. Paste magazine, an indie music, movies, books, whatever magazine based out of Atlanta is asking its readers for help through contributions. But from the looks of it, contributors can get some pretty sweet stuff for a donation, like over 70 rare tracks from artists like The Decemberists, She & Him, Of Montreal and the Avett Brothers. 

Paste has already tried to cut down their printing cost by turning the monthly CDs into monthly downloads, but that just hasn't been enough. Please help me keep one of the best music mags out there alive by donating. And if you don't have it already, pick up a subscription. Each issue comes with a 20-song sampler download. Can't beat it. 

Click the banner on the right to donate. You can get more information about this at Mann's World, the music blog by Karen Mann who lives in Raleigh and writes for Paste


Playing the blame game

It seems like media giants are starting to play the blame game now about why their sales are plummeting. Matthew Yglesias over at ThinkProgress put up a post today about an Op-Ed that ran in the Washington Post blaming the internet and search engines for falling revenue and asking Congress to step in and dial down antitrust regulation on newspapers. Like Yglesias, I think this is a terrible idea. 

As I said earlier this week, I believe that one of the biggest problems with journalism is that many of the media outlets are not offering readers any information that they can't get on the television or by browsing around online for just a couple of minutes. For the most part, they're spitting out press releases and relying on wire copy to fill up a newspaper and draw some ads in. But instead of focusing on improving content and looking inward to fix the industry's problems, journalists, like the writer of this Op-Ed, prefer to point fingers and cry foul at the internet and ask the government to come in and help them out. 

Let's take each bullet of this Op-Ed individually. First, the writer says that search engines should be forced to obtain the copyright to all the news articles that they accumulate on the internet. The piece claims that this is in violation of fair-use and is taking away ad revenue from the media Web sites. If this were really completely true, I would agree with it. But unless they are referencing something else, this claim seems off base. Google News does troll around the internet and get stories from all kinds of different sources, but they only publish snippets and provide links to the original articles on the original Web sites. So, if the reader wants to learn more about the article, they can jump over to the Web site and read it. If they don't want to go to the Web site and read more, I guess the content isn't interesting enough. Is that Google's fault?

The writer makes it seem like the search engines are taking this content and claiming it as their own. This is just false. They are sorting the content and making it searchable by readers who are redirected to the publication's Web site. 

The second bullet addresses "hot news," which is the idea of essentially stealing the idea of an story and taking all of the intellectual property -- even if the story is not republished -- without giving credit to the original source (for more information about it, check this out). Again, this is a legitimate concern if it were focused on bloggers or Web sites who steal stories and don't give any credit, but what this writer is focusing on is linking, or "linksploitation." This, as I understand it, is the use links by blogs to post new content. Again, this just sends readers to the original article. Sure, the blogs may sell ad space and make money off of this, but if readers are coming to the blogs first instead of the publications Web site, the blog must be doing something better. 

The last three bullets focus on the business side of newspapers. The writer believes that Congress should cut taxes on newspapers, get rid of ownership regulations and cut back on anti-trust legislation. Cutting taxes on papers would be nice and help in the short term, but if people still aren't reading, or, more importantly, if businesses stop buying advertisements, newspapers and magazine are just going to face this problem again in the future. The other two points are just absurd. Papers being bought out and creating larger media companies is part of what brought the media into this predicament in the first place. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it's the big companies that are in debt from buying so many newspapers that are causing all the staff cuts. Kirk Ross of the Carrboro Citizen said that this is the main problem with newspapers now. The News & Observer in Raleigh is a great newspaper in a great market but is facing tremendous cuts because its parent company is in so much debt. That is why small, independent newspapers are fairing better right now. 

The bottom line is that media companies seem to be missing the point entirely. By pointing fingers and asking for handouts, they are sidestepping the problem. Mass media needs an overhaul and it needs it now. There is a reason that readers are bypassing traditional media and going to blogs and other Web sites: they're doing it better. They have a better model that people like. Now newspapers need to adapt. If Congress were to pass a law diminishing the antitrust regulations on media, and all the publications worked together and set prices it would just further their demise. As Yglesias points out:
"Papers would take advantage of the new cartelization situation to restore profitability based on their existing readership base. But younger people would continue to read non-cartelized media—everything from Think Progress and Talking Points Memo and the Huffington Post and the Center for Independent Media to the BBC and NPR. Newspapers would find themselves even more deeply locked into a business model dependent on a literally dying customer base."
I agree that traditional media holds an important role in American life. But, at the same time, it's on the media companies to fulfill this responsibility to play this role and provide the people with the information, entertainment and analysis that they desire. You can't just get mad at people who are doing it better. Do something about it. 


Questioning the Bible

I've always loved a good conspiracy or the debunking of long-held myths and beliefs. That's why I watch "Mythbusters," read a couple books on the JFK conspiracy, tore through Dan Brown's books "Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons," and why I'm going to see the movie of the latter tonight. So it's awesome to me that someone right here at my own (now former) university is doing work just like the fictional Robert Langdon and digging deeper into the truth of the Bible. 

UNC-Chapel Hill religious studies professor Bart Ehrman is profiled in an article on CNN.com today, where he talks about his new book, "Jesus, Interrupted" and his transition from an evangelical Christian to a "happy agnostic." This guy is a big name in the religious world, appearing on various TV shows, including stuff on the History Channel and Discovery Channel and, if I'm not mistaken, a couple appearances on the "Colbert Report." 

It's an well written article about an interesting guy. Maybe I'll go back to school and get another major.... Ok, maybe not. But I do think I might be picking up one or two of his books over the next few weeks. You know, a little light summer reading about destroying the foundations of the Holy Bible. 

Journalists: put away the worksheet

In my first journalism class at UNC-Chapel Hill -- News Writing with Barbara Friedman -- we would practice writing an article at the end of every class. But since we were just beginners, the professor did all the leg work for us. The students were handed work sheets with all the important information about the story: what happened, where, who was involved, why it mattered, background information and even a few quotes to spice up the story. Not original journalism by any stretch of the imagination. Obviously, almost all of the articles written by the students were pretty much the same: lede, nut graf, snappy quote and on with the inverted pyramid style. 

I assumed that that would be the last time that I would see such banal journalism. I seem to be mistaken.

This class is exactly what I thought of when I read this article about political journalism by Kerry Howley, where he cites a story about journalists following the Michael Dukakis campaign in 1988. Long story short, the Dukakis campaign planned to have a "ball tossing" session with the candidate on the Phoenix airport tarmac. Literally, the candidate and one of his aides threw the baseball. It was a set up event for all the press people that were hanging around. But all the journalists reported it like they had some kind of inside information or caught a personal moment with the candidate. 

In reality, they just stood there and let the campaign force feed them a story and complied by writing exactly what they wanted. That seems to be a big problem with journalism now: the reprinting of press releases as news and a lack of real in depth reporting. As Howley said on his blog:
I don’t know that any of this has much to do with the death of newspapers. But it does say something about the redundancy of most political reporting; we can all just as easily read the press releases online.
This is also why I think community journalism has such a large advantage over the big media outlets. They have more time and more ability to really cover all their stories in depth with original reporting. With a smaller reporting area, the reporters can really focus on their area and the people in it instead of just pasting in press releases.

It's time to put away the worksheets.


Wear Sunscreen

Keeping with the graduation theme this week, I want to share a song I found this week while roaming around on one of my favorite music blogs, i guess i'm floating (whose writers also just graduated). 

I remember this song back when it first came out but I wasn't anywhere near graduation at that point. Now, Baz Luhrmann's spoken-word track "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" has a lot more meaning. 

Now I've mentioned Baz Luhrmann before and didn't have many nice things to say about his movies, but I have to give him credit for this little gem. But only partial credit. 

I just found out that the song was actually taken from a column in the Chicago Tribune back in 1997 written by Mary Schmich (that link only provides a summary of the article. You have to pay for the full thing, but again, it's almost exactly what's in the song). 

I guess Luhrmann just can't do anything original. If, like me, you just walked across the stage, received your diploma and realized that you have no idea what you're going to do, watch the video below and listen to the words. It will help you feel a little better.


Pomp and Uncertain Circumstances

That's it. Dozens of essays, countless exams and quite a few parties later, I'm done with college. Where have the four years gone? It still hasn't really hit me. Even when I was standing in Kenan Stadium at the large commencement ceremony, it just felt like I was just at some random event. But at about 8 p.m. on Sunday, after all my family had gone and I was alone in the apartment again, I had my first minor panic moment. I sat down on the couch and the first thing I thought was, "What now?" 

But I've gotten over that and it's starting to feel like just another summer. A good number of my friends are in town (minus one who I really wish was in town) and the past few days have been spent hanging out, eating and drinking a little. Sure, I should probably start looking at jobs soon, but not yet. I've had an interview and there's another opportunity coming up at the end of the month, but other than that I'm not worried. I'll start looking more, but right now I'm going to enjoy myself. I'll be working the rest of my life, I might as well enjoy my last summer.

That's why I'm going to Europe in just under two weeks. My friend Thomas and I will be flying into Frankfurt, Germany, and traveling to Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Florence, Switzerland and Munich, and probably some other random places in between. We haven't exactly decided if we're bringing my old laptop or not, but I'm going to find someway to keep this blog updated, much like I did during my road trip last summer. And we got a Flip video camera, which means you'll be finding some fun and interesting videos. 

Until then, I'll continue to update the blog, probably more often than I have in the past since I'm nowhere near as busy anymore. 

So this is it. I'm no longer a poor college student but unemployed. Good times....

Speaking of graduation, the large ceremony in Kenan was great. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was better than I ever could have imagined (despite the diss from News 14 Carolina: "One local college has an important speaker at their ceremony today. Oprah will be speaking at Duke"). I was expecting a very somber and serious speech, but instead got one that included jokes, Archbishop Tutu laughing at himself, and the words "orgy" and "scintillating." He had everyone in the stadium laughing. He even fit in a jab at Michigan State and the Tar Heels winning the basketball national championship. Check out the video below for the highlights.  

Bring it on, real world.

Tuesday Guilty Pleasure

Good morning! Well, technically it's morning. I just woke up. And you know what I wanted to do as soon as I rolled out of my comfy bed? Tell you about something I love that I don't really like to admit. This week we're going with music again, but it's not so much the song as the performers that make it my guilty pleasure.

I do love a cappella, but I've never really been a big fan of UNC's Clef Hangers, one of the all male groups. Sure, they're pretty good, but they're also really cocky and extremely preppy. And I've just never been a big fan of groups that are followed around by gaggles of screaming girls and, trust me, these guys are. But they do perform one song that melts my heart and it's especially fitting this week. They performed it on Sunday at commencement (more to come about that in a later post) and it was just as beautiful as the first time I heard it. I consider this UNC's second alma mater. Now, excuse me, because I'm going to Carolina in my mind....

(p.s., watch until the end and you might see someone you recognize...that is if you watch TV at all.)

Yep, that was American Idol finalist Anoop Desai closing out the tune, back when he was just another little Tar Heel. They just grow up so fast!!!


Lafcadio and other stuff journalists like

Vinyl Records folk babies Lafcadio are starting to make some real beautiful noise around the Triangle. In addition to playing quite a few shows in the Chapel Hill area, they rocked out at the Shakori Hills Festival, a grassroots and folk music festival just a few minutes outside of Chapel Hill. The group also recently performed a segment for Sessions At Studio B at music.myNC.com. In addition to their signature jammin' alt-country songs, the 30-minute clip features an interview with the band. Check it out!

I also recently stumbled across a great Web site, which is the reason for the title of this blog post. Stuff Journalists Like is a great blog based on the template that made Stuff White People Like so popular. Their most recent post is, fittingly, pandemics. The other entries are equally hilarious. 

Now, I wish you a happy Cinco de Mayo! I hear a margarita somewhere calling my name....

Tuesday Not-So-Guilty Pleasure

Every exam period it seems like I find some new thing that will waste my time so thoroughly that I don't even think about exams until I have that panic moment about two hours before it starts. This week's thing that I really like and don't quite feel as guilty about is just such a thing: Sporcle.

I'm sure most people reading this right now have heard about it because I've told just about everyone I know. But for those of you who don't know what it is, here is the low-down: it's a website that has just about every type of quiz you can think of. Doing quizzes may not sound like a fun thing to do during exam week, but Sporcle makes it awesome. They have quizzes about everything from NFL rushing leaders, "oo" words and VH1's top 100 songs of the '90s. It's hopelessly addicting but amazingly fun. I promise you, once you Sporcle, you won't be able to stop.

Use this wisely. I don't want to be to blame for you dropping out of college!


It's the flu, people!

That's it. That's all I have to say. Call it what you want: the swine flu, the H1N1 flu, whatever. It's the friggin' flu. Calm down!

I get it. I'm a journalism major. The media likes to take big news and run with it. They assume they're doing the public good when they keep feeding us with information about how many cases there are in the U.S. and how many are "probable," but, frankly, this is getting ridiculous. I can't even turn on the TV, open a newspaper or cut on the radio without hearing something about it. It is even taking over SportsCenter!!

I know we all love a good pandemic, but let's calm down and think this thing out a little bit. First, it's nothing but a different strain of the flu. Yeah, it might be a little more dangerous but nothing a doctor visit, some drugs and staying home from work won't cure. Only several hundred people in the U.S. even have confirmed cases of the strain. That's a minuscule proportion.

You might be saying, "But Corey, someone in the U.S. died!!" No, some little Mexican kid (I don't mean that to be derogatory...he was from Mexico) came across the border and happened to die here. Slightly different. All the other confirmed deaths have happened in Mexico. See a trend?

That's why I was glad to read this article from the New York Times this morning. It tried to take the subject seriously, but it seemed a little tongue in cheek at times, like when the writer talked about people strapping on face masks and whole school systems in Texas being shut down "indefinitely." Here is my favorite part:

In Fort Worth, where three cases have been confirmed and more are suspected, Paula Batts ran errands on Thursday. Few people, she said, seemed to be venturing out at all, and almost no children. In one store, Ms. Batts said, her allergies acted up.

“When I coughed once,” she said, “six people cleared the aisle.”

I even saw a bus driver in Chapel Hill wearing a mask. Seriously?

Let the kids go back to school and let the sports teams continue playing. I promise you, when this is all said and done, people will laugh at us. Besides, being fat and lazy and smoking all the time is killing us faster.... Where's the panic about that?