Monday, November 24, 2008

Wolfpack: State football champs

(Sorry for the tardiness of posts; a newborn baby will do this to ya.)

With NC State's 41-10 whipping of UNC on Saturday (a win that has State fans, well, excited), the Wolfpack has laid claim to being the best program in the state. At least, that's Coach Tom O'Brien's theory.

But is he correct?

WRAL's Dane Huffman says ... maybe. If you're counting recent success, you gotta give the edge to Wake Forest. National prominence this year? UNC. A chance at a conference title? ECU.

The Pack did go undefeated against everyone from the state that they played. And State beat App State in recent seasons -- seasons that saw the 'Neers win consecutive national titles.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UNCC WILL get football

UNC Charlotte will field a football team. The school's board of trustees voted 8-0, with one abstention, today to adopt a Chancellor Phil Dubois plan that could add a football program at the school, according to the Charlotte Observer.

In September, Dubois recommended the school suit up a team by 2013, if boosters and football fans demonstrated support by raising $5 million in six months to help build a $45.3 million stadium complex.

"The cold stark financial reality we face is that those who say they want football are going to have to help pay for football," Dubois told trustees in Spetember. "We need to see support demonstrated now."

He suggested selling 5,000 personal seat licenses - or "Forty-Niner Seat Licenses" - for $1,000 each, just for the right to buy tickets, within six months of the BOT's vote.

That vote, of the 13-member BOT, came Thursday. There were nine members voting, and eight voted in favor with one abstention. There were no votes against. The other four members didn't vote. Three had previously expressed support for the initiative.

At the close of business on Wednesday, the Charlotte 49ers had received reservations for 4,167 of those FSLs. At a price of $1,000 each, that could translate into more than $4.1 million for the creation of a football program.

No money has yet been accepted by the ticket office, which was awaiting today's vote. ...

Interested fans and corporations can add their names to the reservation list by calling the 49ers ticket office at (704) 687-4949 or the 49ers Athletic Foundation at (704) 687-4950.

The biggest obstacle to football is a place to play. Dubois recommended building an expandable 12,000-seat stadium on campus, or playing at a renovated Memorial Stadium in uptown Charlotte.

School officials are talking to Mecklenburg County officials about Memorial Stadium. If the school invests significant money in renovating that facility, it would play there for several seasons, Dubois said.

Revisit the golden days of N.C. rock with Comboland Radio

Been humming an old dBs song but can't think of where to hear it? Or perhaps you've been discussing how great the Pressure Boys were and waxing nostalgiac? Or maybe you just really are in the mood for some Arrogance.

Comboland Radio is the place for you.

"Comboland" was a phrase used to describe the music "coming out of the Carolinas in the middle ‘80’s,"writes Comboland creator Michael Smith on his website. "There were so many great bands that should have got the big record deal and lots of radio airplay. I can’t do much about those big record deals but with Comboland Radio I can give those artists and the ones that followed an entire radio station! Here it is…. Comboland Radio! All day every day you can listen to this great music, much of it out of print and unavailable anywhere else!!"

Comboland offers R.E.M., The Connells, Dillon Fence, Corrosion of Conformity, Cry of Love, Mitch Easter, Johnny Quest and so many more.

"The idea to create Comboland is an example of something good coming from something bad," wrote Metro Magazine.

“The genesis of the idea is the death of David Enloe,” Smith explained during our phone chat. “He was the lead guitarist and one of the founding members of The Fabulous Knobs, along with Terry Anderson, Debra DeMilo and Jack Cornell. David and Terry met, I think, in junior high school. Terry may correct me on this, but I do know they’d been together for a long, long time. I didn’t know them well back in the day. I knew them a little. I did a lot of road case pushing for local bands so I could go see them without paying a cover.

Enloe passed away in November 2007. David Menconi wrote a fine obituary for Enloe, which is available online: There’s also a great tribute to Enloe on MySpace: .cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid

Smith was not aware of Enloe’s illness, however, so when the news of his death reached him, it set him to thinking.

“When I heard about David’s passing, I moped around for a while thinking how horrible it was, and then I went to the storage facility where I keep all my vinyl records and packed up all my Triangle-area bands and brought it home,” he recalled. “I started listening to it, just sort of reminiscing, and it hit me that this stuff was still really good. It was a shame that these bands didn’t make it big-time.

“I decided it was time to start digitizing all this music,” he said. “Once I’d digitized it, then I had to play it around the house a little bit, so I made the play list and stuck it in Winamp and played it through the stereo system. I have a little program that will actually seg the songs, similar to what you have on a radio station. “Well, the songs sounded great, so I thought I’d stick in some newer stuff by Don Dixon. Then I downloaded some newer stuff and started experimenting. All this music sounded really good together, so I decided to make a radio station out of it.”

(CD images from Comboland's website)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

MacGruber loves him some Wilmington

Will Forte, of "MacGruber" fame on "SNL," recently shot a movie in the Port City. And he then lauded the city's praises on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

Forte "made an ecstatic face, proclaimed Wilmington a 'beautiful' and 'wonderful' place and said he was at a loss for to words to describe how much he enjoyed his time here," writes the Star-News.

Forte worked in Wilmington on "A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy." He described the movie and then began to praise Wilmington.

Forte also talked about an obsession with the video game "Donkey Kong" that blossomed in Wilmington. He said he had several days of downtime during shooting when he would frequent a bar (he didn't mention it by name, but it's downtown hot spot The Blue Post) early in the afternoon while few people were there to brush up on his "Donkey Kong" skills for hours at a time. The arcade-style game was introduced in the 1980s and retains a cult popularity, epitomized in the 2007 documentary "King of Kong," about two men vying for the highest "Donkey Kong" score of all time.

The story played out on a smaller scale here in Wilmington, and it became his mission in life, Forte said, to knock the initials "LMK" out of the high score rankings, which he eventually did with his own, "WIL." Forte praised as a "really nice guy" the University of North Carolina Wilmington professor whose initials he replaced.

"He got my initials wrong," said Jim Kreul, the UNCW professor in question, whose initials are actually JLK. "That's understandable, though. At least he was in the ballpark."

Friday, November 07, 2008

Happy 90th, Rev. Graham!

Today is the Rev. Billy Graham's 90th birthday. The "nation's reverend" will spend the big day with family members -- and some North Carolina barbecue, according to the Associated Press.

"The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has gathered messages, greetings and stories from supporters to present to Graham as he celebrates.

"Graham's health has declined in recent years, and he spends much of his time secluded at his mountainside home in Montreat. The past adviser to several presidents and globe-trotting evangelist was hospitalized last month after tripping over his dog and at other times has been treated for fluid on the brain, prostate cancer and macular degeneration."

Graham's health may be declining, but his mind still appears sharp.

Graham "spends his days in his mountaintop home in Montreat, relying on a walker to navigate the trek from bedroom to study," says the Charlotte Observer. "His voice is now soft, his hair snow-white. He's watched over around the clock by a nurse and a trusty golden retriever named Sam.

"Like so many others battling old age, the Charlotte-born Graham tires easily, naps often, is sometimes lonely and has great difficulty hearing. In conversation, his responses aren't as quick as they once were. Macular degeneration is slowly stealing his sight, denying him one of the chief pleasures of his life: reading the Bible. ...

"But for all the loss, those around Graham say his mind remains sharp, his memory strong. And like the young preacher whose calendar was ever-full, the elderly Graham still prefers to focus on the future: on that day he'll see Ruth again in heaven and finally get to gaze on the face of Jesus, who he has served faithfully since his conversion at a Charlotte revival in 1934.

" 'I've discovered that just because we'll inevitably grow weaker physically as we get older, it doesn't mean we must grow weaker spiritually,' Graham, still the evangelist, said in response to questions e-mailed by the Observer. 'Our eyes ought to be on eternity and heaven – on the things that really matter.' ..."

Happy birthday, Rev. Graham. Here's to many, many more.

Quick hits: A fisherman's memorial and a passenger train ... in eastern N.C.?

Fisherman's memorial unveiled in Morehead City
"His boat was the Carolina Princess. And those who knew the late James B. 'Woo Woo' Harker say he was the Carolina Prince.

" 'He taught by example and you never wanted to let him down,' said Leonard Rigsbee, a Carteret County resident who worked as a mate on the Carolina Princess just before it made its home on the Morehead City waterfront.

"Rigsbee, a former charter boat captain who now works as a boat builder, described Harker as a 'true mariner' and said it is Harker who inspired his interest in fishing and boating," says the Jacksonville Daily News. ...

"Rigsbee was just one of many whose life was touched by Harker's influence, and it was apparent in the crowd of friends and family that gathered on the Morehead City waterfront Friday evening for the unveiling of a fishermen's memorial in his honor. ..."

Local commuter rail service proposed for Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune
"Instead of driving to work, some Marines could take the train," says the Havelock News.

"A transportation committee of the Military Growth Task Force is suggesting the idea of commuter rail service between Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune.

"Danny Walsh, a Havelock commissioner and member of the task force, said a train would run in the morning and the evening along the 26-mile rail spur between the two bases.

"He said a commuter train would decrease the number of cars on the road and would also offer military members a chance to get some work done on the train.

" 'A lieutenant colonel that's going to Camp Lejeune every day could work on his laptop for the 35 minutes that he's riding down that railroad track,' Walsh said. 'He can talk on the telephone. He can rest. He can do everything except hang on to the steering wheel.' ..."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Preseason is premature

The injured Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina and Stephen Curry of Davidson were named to the Associated Press preseason All-America team Monday, earning this response from “bsee65” at

“Preseason All-America? You’re kidding, right? Let’s let these guys earn it on the court.”

The rest of the team: Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, Darren Collison of UCLA and Blake Griffin of Oklahoma.

For an informed opinion on the preseason Associated Press poll, go to Patrick Stevens’ D1SCOURSE blog. He’s an AP voter.

Quick hits: Good news and bad news about the economy

N.C. keeps 'Top Business Climate' award for fourth year
"North Carolina’s 'business climate' is best in the U.S. for the fourth consecutive year, says Site Selection Magazine.

"The magazine praised Tar Heel policy leaders for the state’s use of incentives, taxes, economic development and work force development in securing new or expanded business opportunities and jobs," says

"North Carolina has finished first in seven of the past eight years. ..."

Cherokee casino suffers in sour economy
"Brenda Wentz recently made the 2 1/2-hour drive from her home in Lincolnton to try her luck at the machines inside Harrah's Cherokee Casino.

"She brought her 84-year-old mother — who cares nothing about gambling — to see the fall colors and dine at a restaurant in the casino's hotel," writes the Citizen-Times.

"The economy and gas prices didn't keep them away. Instead, it pushed them toward a gambling trip.

" 'It gets our minds off things,' Wentz said.

"Harrah's Cherokee Casino, one of the largest private employers in Western North Carolina, is betting on people like Wentz as it braces for potential losses this year for the first time in its 10-year history. ..."