So many Chewies, so little time, (Part 2).

All I'm ready to do is have some fu-u-u-u-n

Girlfriend... we hear you.

“It turns out that Miss Wilbanks basically felt the pressure of this large wedding and could not handle it,” said Randy Belcher, the police chief in Duluth, Ga., the Atlanta suburb where Wilbanks lives with her fiance. He said there would be no criminal charges.


Their flying machines

I happened to be in Reidsville on Wednesday, which happened to be Practice Day at Rolling Hills Cycle Park.

If the sound of an angry bee swarm of two-strokes and the throaty growl of thumpers hammering the whoops makes your heart sing, this is your shangri-la.

There were peewees and big dogs, all sharing the dirt. No matter their age, size, or cc, they all pegged it in the straightaway, where I was standing.

My heart sang.

The Northwest Observer
profiled four young riders who did well in the Qualifiers at Rolling Hills a few weeks ago.

Playing in the dirt has taken on a whole new meaning for several youth from northwest Guilford County and their families. From April to October you can find these boys riding dirt bikes at the Rolling Hills Cycle Park in Reidsville. During the week you'll find them practicing, and every other Saturday night they race in the "Hot Summer Nights" series, where as many as 200 racers compete.

It's true. Take a look at any race results, and you'll find "these boys riding dirt bikes."

But, as I breathed in the big air at Rolling Hills, something stirred at the corner of my vision. It was a little someone, checking her pads and helmet, looking over her bike.

It was a little girl getting ready to go feed her brothers some roost.

My heart sang.

Think girls can't ride? Tell that to Sheryl Crow.

Yeah. That Sheryl Crow. On an KTM.

Wednesday might be my new favorite day.


Magic 8-Ball for Dogs

So many Chewies, so little time...


Things I've been watching, listening to, and reading this week (instead of blogging):

Bleep! Censoring Hollywood, produced by ABC News Productions, reveals how a controversial movement is rocking the boardrooms at Hollywood studios, the Directors Guild, and home entertainment companies. In today's DVD/home video marketplace, several small businesses are buying copies of Hollywood's most popular movies to edit out sex, violence, and foul language. Once "cleansed," they are sold again as so-called "family friendly" versions -- without the consent of the films' directors or film studios.

A cut here, an edit there -- it's driving Hollywood crazy.

The New American Caste System: Forty-million Americans have no health insurance. Millions more are one pink slip away from losing coverage. The reasons are as diverse as the people themselves. But what is clear is that the current healthcare system leaves everyone at risk and it doesn't take much to be pushed over the edge.

The Razor's Edge:
"The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over;
thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard."

The Razor's Edge was published in 1944 in a very different world from that of today. Yet some human yearnings and questions are eternal: We want to know that our existence has meaning and purpose, not just know it, but feel it in every part of our beings.

Oh yeah, and I want one of these to wear when the rodeo comes to town.


Print Paparazzi

If today's News & Record Editorial section, both the paper and online versions, were an accurate reflection of our community, then I would be ready to say that we are hopelessly, permanently divided by race.

Luckily, I don't think today's News & Record's editorial section, neither the paper nor the online version, is an accurate reflection of anything except the tendency of MSM to eschew intelligent commentary in favor of shouting matches.

I fail to understand why Allen Johnson writes with such considered insight, then lets vultures swoop in and unload excrement all over his pages. This doesn't serve the community, and it wouldn't seem to serve the newspaper's interests, either.

Note to the rest of the world who may read the Greensboro News & Record today: Most of us in Greensboro aren't mad at anybody, and we're not fighting. A few of our elected officials and some die-hard redneck racists would like things to stay as they have always been, with wealthy white people in charge, and the rest cowed in submission. They represent between 2-5% of the people who live here.

The rest of us would like to join the real world, and we're determined to get there, dragging Greensboro with us.

And by the way, we have a really nice new baseball stadium that was totally unnecessary. It's a nice symbol of the warped priorities and incredible arrogance of our white leaders.


The Society Pages

I've been trying to catch up with what I've missed in Greensboro -- tried the paper, the free weeklies, and asking people "what happened?" -- but I was just being silly. I should have gone straight to the blogs. Here's some of what I gleaned.

Inkslinger offers up some perspective on how much a billion really is. I'm betting this turns up in all sorts of PowerPoints and motivational speeches this year.

From Lenslinger and FTOJRLST, we already know that people in broadcast news make great bloggers. Kent Bates of WFMY entertains with his AFV-like image of a man, his bicycle, an intersection, and pedal cleats that won't let go.

Not to be outdone, McCall Pera of WUPN fills us in on a little secret: A soccer mom hath no fury like a doggie mom scorned.

The Shu is an Egyptian god? Gate is really Mr. Sun AND Patrick Eakes? Is this what they're teaching you all at these liberal-lovin' Meet-Ups? Yeesh.

Somebody's gotta do it -- so Mark Childrey steps up, continuing his excellent coverage of hate-monger Fred Phelps' visit to Danville. Too close for comfort.

Ann learned that she may soon have to figure out how to feed and clothe three children on $700-$1000 a month.

Looks like Michael attended the Center for Creative Leadership school with the Commanding Officer of the USS Kitty Hawk. Not bad for a guy with the best looking blogger template I've ever seen.

JW never ceases to find ways to make me laugh out loud, even if I'm grumpy. Thanks, JW.

Jinni Hoggard seems to have come through surgery like a trooper, thank God. Ed Cone calls her "a heroic freelance health educator and a kicker of cancer's ass." Amen.

Ed bumped up against some silly limitations at MSNBC. Don't they have enough "he said/he said" on their other programming? Let the bloggies run free!

David Wharton gives us hope for what might happen to MBNA when it dies, if Dante is to be believed.

Mark Binker moved to Raleigh, but didn't forget to bid us adieu.

Nice job at the News & Record for turning out audio files from the City Council meeting, and nice coverage by Matt Williams and Allen Johnson (with more to come, I hope, in Sunday's paper). I can't comment on this yet, for reasons stated below. But I'll be using those audio files, I ga-ron-tee, so please keep them online, John.

Related: the comments thread at Allen Johnson's blog continues to grow, 5 days later.

As if Roch Smith, Jr. wasn't busy enough -- he took the time to author a proposed resolution for the City Council. Now that's community service.

Lex always comes through and says things I meant to say but forgot or was too chicken. He rightly lambasts TIME for its cover story on Ann Coulter. I bought the rag in the airport, due to gross curiosity and a long layover. The cashier in the sundries shop tsked at "how bad they made [Ann] look" on the cover. I clearly did not want to engage in political debate in Salt Lake City, of all places, so I held my tongue and meekly accepted my change. Thanks Lex for carrying the ball.

Lex had his three year blogiversary, too, and I didn't even bring him so much as a toy totem pole. Sorry man. On your fifth, maybe.

In that same vein, Patrick Eakes calls out Charles Davenport, Jr., and I, upon reading it, do a little happy dance. (It's very similar to the Oreo ice cream dance - but less sugar-enhanced.)

I sure hope Lenslinger got enough entries for the Tarheel Tavern. One wants something to read with one's morning Folgers -- a few hours from now. That's if my friends don't come through with a much-anticipated "Biscuits 'n Gravy Meet-Up" at Bob Evans.

And yes, I did watch the April 19th City Council meeting on TV today. I am going to have to let the adrenaline subside before I post on that. My mother reads this blog, you know.

Keep up the remarkable work, everybody. I'm proud to be a Greensblogger.


Keeping Quiet

A day of rest, laundry, and hopefully a good night's sleep in preparation for the Saturday a.m. screening of Tuesday's City Council meeting on Channel 13. I am not looking forward to it, but must see it for myself.

More to come. I promise.

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still

For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language;
let's stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead in winter
and later proves to be alive.

Now I'll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

-- Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), "Keeping Quiet"
Extravagaria (translated by Alastair Reid)


Goodbye, my pretties

I know this is rather sudden, but Chewie has to go away for a while.

My friend in Alaska has been sending tantalizing pictures for months, and finally, my will has been broken. I'm getting on a plane in the morning to see it for myself.

I'm doing this for you. This little trek is intended to restore and refresh, so that I may continue my work here in bringing about a Chewie World Order. I hope that you can find it in your hearts to understand, while missing me ferociously.

But I am not leaving you to dangle in the wind, dear ones. The picture above is my avatar for the next 10 days. It was taken from the back deck of my friend's house in Juneau. See the mountains? See the water? I'm right here. Talk to the picture. Something bothering you? Stressed out? Can't cope? Somebody make you mad? Is Roch acting up again? Talk to the picture. Say it with me: "I'm riiiiiight there. With a frosty muuuug. I'm with Chewieeee..."

I will return on April 22nd, with lots and lots of pictures.

Play nice and share.

Prayers, Hope, Faith, Community - and then, Reconciliation

"It's just what we need right now."
"What a powerful message."
"A magnificent program."
"Filled with hope."
"Some real magic. And the crowd...wow!"

These are some of the rave reviews coming in for the "Faith and Community - A Call to Prayer, A Celebration of Hope" program at First Baptist Church this past Sunday evening.

In his talk, Dr. Peter Storey, of South Africa, framed the work of reconciliation as something that is "not optional" for people of faith.

He also quoted Bishop Desmond Tutu, who once said, "It is hard to reconcile with you when your foot is on my neck."

The (mostly white) audience laughed -- for two reasons. One, Storey's delivery of the line had a humorous inflection.

And two, because it's never happened to them.

We have a long way to go in Greensboro. But Sunday night was an excellent start.


Finally got around to watching "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" last night. I've had the disc from Netflix forever. And by the way, the entire movie was just one chapter, meaning if you hit the wrong button you had to start from the beginning and fast forward. Fast forward!!! Like we used to do in the olden days. Is this a Netflix thing, or an indie movie/no DVD budget thing? Me no like.

War on journalism is right. "Outfoxed" details the Fox News Channel's masquerade as a legitimate news outlet, and why we must actively call it out, and call it what it is. I won't go into all the secret memos revealed, the fear-mongering, the manipulative graphics, the "some people say" technique -- you will want to see all that for yourself. What I will say is that the death of journalism, should we allow that to happen, will be the death of democracy. Already threatened by the arrival of blogging and alternative media, journalism, and journalists, must find a new toehold without the traditional "newspaper as bible" and "ol' reliable" network anchors to carry them.

I don't have enough time to write a term paper here, as I'm packing for a trip. I'll just leave with you these quotes from "Outfoxed", and hope that you will have a look at the film. It starts slow, but stay with it. You'll be glad you did.

"It's influencing its competitors. That's why MSNBC hired Joe Scarborough. That's why CNN in recent weeks has taken to reporting pretty much anything the Bush White House tells it to report. There is the sense now that there is money in the flag. And Fox knows that, and its competitors know that Fox is on to something."
-- Alexander Kippen, Former Fox News reporter, Washington DC

"For any self-respecting journalist, if you're told that the more people consume your media, the less they'll know about the subject and the more they'll support government policy - that's exactly the worst thing any journalist wants to hear or should want to hear."
-- Bob McChesney, founder of Free Press, author of "The Problem of the Media"

"The real revolutionary breakthrough of Fox is that it's eliminated journalism. There is no journalism at the Fox News Channel."
-- ibid.

"My criticism of Fox News isn't that it's a conservative channel. It's the consumer fraud of 'Fair and Balanced.' It's nothing of the sort."
-- Jeff Cohen, former MSNBC/Fox News Contributor

"What makes Murdoch particularly dangerous is that he's foremost a politician, and he will use his immense media power to shape the content, especially the news, that furthers his interests and those of his allies."
-- Jeff Chester, Executive Director, Center for Digital Democracy

"When you have one network that is so powerful, and so intent on warping the dialogue, it limits that discourse. It actually limits it to being a narrower discourse."
-- John Nichols, author, "Dick: The Man Who is President"

"The administration and its footsoldiers at Fox News did create a climate of fear and of self-censorship [at CNN] in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did [during the invasion of Baghdad]."
-- Christiane Amanpour, CNN Reporter

"It is not an issue of the Right or the Left. It is a populist issue, about people finally saying it's their democracy, and they're not going to let five companies control the airwaves for corporate convenience at the expense of public necessity."
-- Len Hill, independent producer

Learn More:

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Public Integrity

Citizens for Media Literacy

Common Cause

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

Free Press

Media Matters for America

Meanwhile, on Endor

Run for your life, Asimo! It's the Land Walker!


The beasts of the field

Have you ever seen a cow dance? I did, this week, in Caswell County.

I spent all day Tuesday on a farm outside of Yanceyville. It was the most beautiful day. Slight breeze, warm sun, blue sky, rolling green pastures, birds singing - a scene one might recall when one needs to go to their "happy place."

The farm is owned by one Mr. Fawcett, a 72-year old black man who pooled his $500, with some of his father's money, to purchase the land when he was just 13 years old. He and his wife built a home there, based on a design he had seen in a magazine. They have 9 cows, some hogs, and grow a little hay, corn, tobacco, and whatever else they feel like.

The cows showed inordinate interest in whatever we did, often taking up a position about 10 feet away and staring directly at us, occasionally snorting, for what seemed like a half an hour. As the shadows got longer, Mr. Fawcett said, "well, I'm going to feed my hogs," and a few minutes later I caught sight of him trundling over the green hills on his tractor.

He was saying something. At first I wasn't sure if he was talking to us, or to another person who was just out of sight. It sounded like he was saying, "Hey bull!" I watched and waited for his friend to come into view.

His friend was a cow. As his tractor drew near, she froze in place, tensed as if she would break into a run. But she didn't run, and she wasn't scared. As Mr. Fawcett drew up beside her, this cow broke into a dance.

It was the kind of dance your dog does when you come home after being away at work all day. He is so overjoyed to see you that he literally wags his entire body. He hops, skips, leaps, does the shuffle-step, and shakes his head in all directions. He can't seem to find enough ways to physically express how much he missed you, and how he is the happiest doggy on the planet now that you are home. That's how this cow greeted the sight of Mr. Fawcett on his tractor.

Soon he came back, and we all stood around outside the smokehouse where some meat was curing. We talked about the weather, and the farm. One of my colleagues asked Mr. Fawcett if the road running along his property, Fawcett Road, was named for his family.

"Naw," he said, and paused. I couldn't fathom the coincidence, and waited for his explanation. "That there road is named for the slaveowners that owned my family."

The air changed; not in a bad way, but the moment seemed to crystallize around a new awareness. The sun was setting, our work was done, and it was nearly dinnertime. There wasn't any good response that came to mind, other than a few moments of respectful silence, listening to the cows snorting and the birds chirping excitedly at the approaching darkness.

I had asked Mr. Fawcett about the cow, and he chuckled and said he guessed she was his pet. He told me that he always tosses her some of the bread crumbs he's taking to the hogs. To a cynic, that would explain the dance. But I prefer my initial interpretation: that was one happy cow, and one contented farmer, in a display of mutual affection on a beautiful, hard-won piece of farmland in Caswell County, North Carolina.

On her blog last Thursday, News & Record Religion Reporter Nancy McLaughlin asked, "Do we really want to talk about race?"

I do. You bet I do. Even more so after meeting Mr. Fawcett. Not because it's easy, but because it's not.

For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.

-- Psalms 50:10-11

Faith & Community

A large, community wide interfaith event: Faith & Community - A Call to Prayer, A Celebration of Hope will be held at the First Baptist Church at 1000 West Friendly Ave. on Sunday April 10th at 6:00 pm.

Featured Key Speaker is Dr. Peter Storey

* Dr. Peter Storey is the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University. Peter Storey is a South African Methodist preacher, pastor and church leader. After ordination in the 1960s, he developed innovative down-town ministries in Cape Town and Johannesburg. While in Cape Town he was Nelson Mandela's prison chaplain on Robben Island. He is a former Bishop of the Johannesburg/Soweto area and national leader of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. In these positions, and as president of the South African Council of Churches, working closely with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he helped give leadership to the church's anti-apartheid struggle. He has played key roles in peacemaking structures in South Africa and was appointed by President Mandela to help select the nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Join with people of many faiths for a unique gathering of information, music, dance and prayers on healing and reconciliation from the traditions of Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

Jane Wellford and her troupe will perform a Liturgical Dance. Music from the Tapestry Chorus and others. Wiley Sykes and John Heitzenrater will perform Hindu music from Northern India.

Learn what is being done to foster reconciliation and how you can be involved.

Hear from leaders of these key projects on racism and healing: Mayor Holliday for the Mosaic Project, Commissioner Cynthia Brown for the Greensboro Truth & Reconciliation Commission and Monica Walker and Kay Doost for the Partnership Project.

Reception and dialogue with project leaders and Commissioners will follow.


Ken the Baptist

While we are all frustrated, exhausted and disgusted by the public circus that surrounded the Terri Schiavo tragedy, we must not put this story to rest without some theological reflection. We dare not miss or dismiss such a poignant teachable moment.

Dr. Ken Massey, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Greensboro reflects in the "First Baptist News" newsletter.

This story is also a sad saga of hubris and humility. Plaintiffs, pundits, preachers and politicians rushed to moral high ground like crazed Carolina fans rushing the court after a national championship. All carried the flag of God and certainty to their lofty real estate. Given the number of people who have claimed this high and holy perch, it must be either very large or very crowded. What heights of hubris.

I didn’t see much humility in this story. Each side accused the other of “playing God.” Yet I never heard anyone question the modern medical techniques that “brought Terri back” from her initial heart failure. For most of human history, that event would have ended her life. Don’t we “play God” in a thousand different ways…calling it choice…healthcare…war…capital punishment?

But we aren’t God. Even humanity saved by grace is capable of great moral blindness and failure. A good dose of humility is what we need.

I am quite sure that Greensboro is unaware of how fortunate we are to have Massey installed as the spiritual leader of our First Baptist Church. Given the current state of conservative Christianity, we may well be one of the luckiest spiritual communities in America right now.

Massey isn't afraid of a diverse religious community. In fact, he embraces it. This improves life in our city in countless ways that go unnoticed.

If you don't believe me, ask your pastor/priest/rabbi/imam. I'll bet you $10 they know him. Think that holds true for the Baptist preacher in Greensboro, Georgia? Think again.


Keys to Blogger City

From Blogger Support:

"This would be funny if it weren't frustrating some users. We've discovered a problem with the page people use to report problems. Just letting you know that we're fixing it now..."

It took me the better part of an hour to successfully publish three posts last night. I wasn't going to pile on in the litany of recent complaints about Blogger, because until I find a suitable back-up strategy, they could hold for ransom six months of my writing on their servers.

The nice thing about the much-maligned Blogger community is that users are very clever and generous in coming up with, and sharing, hacks and workarounds. Can someone please get to work on an easy way to back up your Blogger blog to a local disk?

The other reason I'm not complaining about Blogger is that I've selected an Eastern Religions coping mechanism.

Heaven and earth have their own offices,
The Yin and Yang their own treasuries.
Take care to abide in your own self,
And other things will flourish of themselves.

-- from "Chuang-Tzu, The Inner Chapters" by A.C. Graham

In other words, I choose to believe that Blogger has embarked on an ambitious, fantastic project to upgrade their servers and services, and that is the reason for the current inconveniences. I await mine own faith's reward.

Leggo my Moho

Plans are underway for the 7-person Discovery space shuttle crew to seek refuge on the International Space Station, should something catastrophic happen during their mission.

"I think conditions won’t be good on the station, but they’ll be better than the alternative," said ISS program manager Bill Gerstenmaier.


The origin of Earth's moon is still the subject of scientific debate. The "giant impact" theory isn't universally accepted. One thing scientists can agree on is that the moon's "bombardment history" is a treasure trove of information.

"Ask not what astrobiology can do for the Moon... ask rather what the Moon can do for astrobiology," says Paul Lucey, a professor at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai'i in Honolulu.


But what to do about that pesky moon dust? With jagged edges, small enough to lodge in lung tissue, made of glass shards created in meteorite impacts, dust is everywhere on the moon, and - except for the allergic reaction of one astronaut - its effects on humans aren't really known.

"How much of a problem this is, we don't know," says Russell Kerschmann, life sciences chief at NASA's Ames Research Center. "And that's a problem."


Not that we're done exploring our own planet. We've only scratched the surface - but are working our way to the core.

Scientists said this week they had drilled into the lower section of Earth's crust for the first time and were poised to break through to the mantle in coming years.

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) seeks the elusive "Moho," a boundary formally known as the Mohorovicic discontinuity. It marks the division between Earth's brittle outer crust and the hotter, softer mantle.


Sure, it looks great dangling on the "buy me" hook at the grocery store. You take it home, use it 'til it gets funky, then slip on the replacement pad that comes with it. For a while it takes care of everything: spaghetti sauce, ring around the meatloaf pan, muffin debris, coffee slime. Then one day you take a whiff, and find that you need another replacement pad. You make a point of going back to the store where you bought it, because obviously they service and support this particular brand.

Know what? No they don't. You will never, ever find a replacement pad for this particular dishwand ever again. In fact, the moment you purchased this dishwand several months ago, a message was transmitted along a fiber-optic network between the store and Scotch-Brite corporate headquarters, alerting them that this particular model must be immediately discontinued.

But you can start all over with the O-Cello dishwand, and believe.

Consumer Dishwand Alert Level: Orange (elevated)

Friday? No way

I'm a baaad blogger. Several days have come and gone, and I haven't blogged a single thing about them. To make it up to you, I'm going to link you to some good writing elsewhere. Read this essay, pretend you're an English teacher, and give it the "A" it deserves.

Also, check out Bluffton, South Carolina's experiment in citizen journalism:

With your help, we will provide a friendly, safe, easy to use place on the Web for everyone in Bluffton to post news items, create a unified community calendar, and share photos, recipes, opinions.

This is a place where you take the lead in telling your own story. As a registered BlufftonToday.com user, you get your own weblog, your own photo gallery, and the ability to post entries in special databases such as events and recipes.

In return, we ask that you meet this character challenge: be a good citizen and exhibit community leadership qualities. It's a simple and golden rule. Act as you would like your neighbors to act.

Some of the content you post on BlufftonToday.com may find its way into the Bluffton Today newspaper, the revolutionary new, colorful free daily that is delivered to homes throughout the Bluffton area. By posting here, you grant us permission to do so.



While you're at Hans Nyberg's website of Panoramic photos, don't miss the one of the Eyes Wide Open exhibit at Greensboro's own Depot - especially if you missed the actual exhibit while it was here.

The photo was taken by Greensboro's own Tom Lassiter. You can see more of Lassiter's work here and here.


Last week the poignant and the political occupied every available pixel on cable TV. I am still writing my last Terri Schiavo post. It's stale now; perhaps it will seem fresh again by the time it's published. Despite all the coverage -- all the arguing, crying, and midnight legislating -- it is still a story that hasn't been told. With a little time and the buffer of other big stories, some good students of America - journalists, sociologists, priests - will come forth and help us understand what it is we just went through, and why.

I look forward to listening to them, just as I have listened intently to those who would help explain the significance of the life and death of the Pope. It's a rare, worldwide conversation. There have been beautiful photographs of the Pope with children, with doves, with people of all races and religions. I've learned much about the story of his life that I wish I had known before. People have responded with sincerity, and in numbers that astonish, even jaded as we are by big turnouts for big events.

Tonight a friend sent me a link to this QTVR panoramic picture of people paying their respects to the Pope in St. Peter's Square yesterday. I think it tells a nice story.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity, a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

- William Blake, "The Divine Image"


I applied as a high school senior, hoping to while away my undergraduate hours on Franklin Street. They said no.

I applied to their graduate program in Journalism, hoping to hone my skills and start a career under their wise tutelage. They said no.

I applied to their law school, hoping to, well, get in. They said no.

And yet, I am, and ever will be, a TARHEEL.

Nicely played, a classy win; and great heart from Illinois. A worthy few hours on earth. Thanks guys.


Tarheel Tavern #6

The way I see it, North Carolinians have three things to be thankful for this Sunday. The Tarheels are going to beat Illinois in the NCAA title game; it's a beautiful Carolina blue sky day, with the Bradford pears in bloom; and the sixth edition of the Tarheel Tavern has arrived.

It's the kind of day when a Chewie's heart soars, grateful that she lives here rather than, oh I don't know, Texas. Or Nebraska. Or New Jersey.

Sprinkled liberally (!) throughout our state are talented men and women who share their thoughts via blogs. It's my personal privilege to present some of their best work of the week here at Chewie World Order. Enjoy.

Rusty Sheridan gives us an amusing - and infuriating - glimpse at what happens when you take the time to contact your elected officials. Rusty, a filmmaker, is opposed to the North Carolina legislature granting special incentives to the film industry -- a fact which so befuddled some legislators that they thanked him for taking exactly the opposite view.

Al Redman of Satori In Stereo takes on the film Secret Window (based on a Stephen King novella, directed by David Koepp, starring Johnny Depp), and immediately takes it to task for doing something The Shining already did - and not doing it nearly as well.

The US Soldier is stationed in Iraq, and posts to Diary of a Soldier with the administrative help of his friend, blogger Patrick Eakes. This week the Soldier's attention is divided between the inexperienced soldiers who are learning about combat "on the job"; a memorial service - military style - for a fallen soldier who was killed while escorting his unit; and life back home, where a different kind of memorial, this one for a family member, is underway.

Bora Zivkovic of Science and Politics makes a comparison I bet you haven't thought of -- Bush and Milosevic -- in "Comparative Wingnuttery." Can politics trump science? It happened in Yugoslavia, says Bora, and it can happen here.

Jon Lowder's week started in the crappiest of ways, and perhaps moods. But witness the power of a few simple ingredients: kids, Kool-Aid, and hysterical laughter, and you have the makings for some of the greatest moments of your life.

Through the lens of his TV camera, Lenslinger bears witness to the funny, the tragic, the inane, the incomprehensible. On a good day, it must be like being a rock star. On bad days, it must be like being the tax collector. On days like this, I am glad that he's there. Not because he's acquiring the footage, but because he reminds me that there is still such a thing as journalistic ethics, and for that, I'm really grateful.

The Dirty Greek says that we should be afraid - very afraid - of capitulating to those who would like the "theory" of evolution to just go away - this time, from our IMAX screens.

Ron Hudson of 2sides2ron recounts the hot, humid day he was just doing his job, and got dragged into the middle of a decades-old score that had never been settled in "Have You Got the Time?" It's a story of a pocket watch, a bet, and race relations in eastern North Carolina.

Lance McCord sees Greensboro, day and night, through his camera lens. No matter how long you've lived here, you've never seen it from this perspective.

Pratie Place is always a nice place to visit, pull up a chair, and set a while. This week Melinama speaks with Gene Medler about the origins of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble, and uncovers an amazing story of how life sometimes just happens to you, despite your plans otherwise, and leads you to somewhere you are needed, appreciated, and meant to be.

Over at Nearest Distant Shore, April 1st triggers memories, both near and distant, of a child who is anxious to grow up, but who has inherited his family's love of reminiscing; and of the great-grandmother he never got to meet, but whose love and presence seems especially evident in the spring, the "season for growing things."

Phin's father taught him that "there's no need to get into a pissing contest with a skunk" -- yet there's no way that he can let the skunk have the last word on this one. Proving that you don't have to sink to the skunk's level by spraying back, Phin instead chooses the weapon of rational language to point out that blaming others for your problems, and generalizing about half the population of the planet, isn't likely to win converts to your argument.

[Smack!] If you're hungry, you'd better avoid the pictures and the descriptions offered up over at Pirate's Cove. If you're a recently transplanted Yankee, you'd better go there, now, and learn about the proper preparation and grammatical usage of the sacred noun, "barbecue". Pork shoulder. Fork. Bun. Hush puppies. Slaw. Brunswick stew. Sweet tea. PIGGIE. I'm hungry. See what you did, William?

Mark Childrey and Ken Echols host a live program every Monday night at 9pm on WGSR-TV in Reidsville. This week, on the show's official blog, Mark gets the word out about a Ponzi scheme (translation: scam) involving a Reidsville insurance agent and a company called Mobile Billboards of America. Nationwide, this scam has cost its victims $60.5 million - including $28,500 from the pocket of a Reidsville retiree. The purpose of Mark's post is "to keep others from getting into the same situation," and it includes a link to the Reidsville Review's coverage of the same story. Thanks Mark.

Ogre, of Ogre's Politics and Views, must be smiling today. The sun is shining, the sky is a beautiful Carolina blue, and the temperature is in the balmy 60's. It's exactly as he describes it: the weather in North Carolina can't be beat. For those unfortunate enough to live elsewhere, he even provides the meteorological data to back up his assertion. Me, I just opened my window and let in some beautiful Carolina air. Who could argue with that?

Over at Suspended Reality, Scott has grown just a wee bit tired of the "food police" who would like to control his food choices - say, by eliminating items such as the new Enormous Omelet Sandwich from Burger King. What's wrong with all things in moderation, Scott asks, even the EOS? And besides -- railing against food porn just gives fast food outlets what they really crave the most -- publicity.


Butt Out

I think I can say I'm a fan of reality shows, including some of A&E's fare, such as Airline, Caesars 24/7, Growing Up Gotti, and even, on a rainy Saturday, Lord help me, Sell This House. These shows are often funny, sometimes informative, usually entertaining glimpses into the lives of our fellow travellers.

But if you are watching A&E's new show "Intervention", then I am seriously hoping that you are one of the following:

a) an awkward adolescent who feels that no one understands you;
b) a college psych major, or
c) a member of Al-Anon.

This show is the equivalent of pulling up a chair in the E.R. waiting room on a Saturday night to see what's going on. It's like inviting that grating friend who's always borrowing money to go on vacation with you and your family. It's a false religion, the worship of melodrama; it's wallowing in the deepest pits of human hell with people who lack critical survival instincts, and their families and friends who are desperate to save them from themselves. It's no place you want to go unless you absolutely have to - because it happens to you.

If you are watching this show, then I am very, very worried about you. I think that you should turn off the T.V., call some friends, and go drink 7 or 8 beers in a rowdy Irish bar. Or rent "Bambi", cry your eyes out when the mother gets shot, and get it overwith. Or turn the channel to "America's Funniest Home Videos." It's better you should try to connect with your fellow humans by watching them fall out of boats, faint during weddings, and ride their sleds into trees.

You shouldn't be inviting meth and crack addicts into your living room so that you can sit through their awful, horrible, stressful, doomed lives, and grieve along with their families. That's simply not required of you. Don't let this show make you feel like it is. Just because it's on TV and it's somebody's life doesn't mean that you need to become fully informed and engrossed by it. Let's at least try to learn something from the Terri Schiavo circus.

No, I've never watched "Intervention." I never will. Sitting through the commercials introduces more human suffering into my day than I believe is called for.

You have to draw the line somewhere.