Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Greensboro Blogs Have Arrived

The blogging activity in Greensboro has been exploding over the past few months. In response, Roch Smith, Jr. has opened the doors on his blog aggregator, Greensboro 101, to the public.

This will make it easy to track the new postings on Greensboro area bloggers, so give Roch's site a try. If you are a blogger, get registered.

Roch seems to be very open to constructive feedback about the aggregator, so let him know what you think, and be sure to thank him for all his hard work.

Monday, November 29, 2004

You Go Jinni

The first installment of Jinni Hoggard's journal appeared in the News & Record today, and only one word comes to mind - Inspiring!

Jinni is approaching her battle against breast cancer with the right combination of realism and optimism. And in an act of public service, she is removing some of the stigma of breast cancer and the side effects of its treatments by sharing her experiences in detail.

Not only does Jinni write well, but she conveys her emotions with a candor that is refreshing. I have no doubt that Jinni will be beat the big C, and help countless others along the way.


Wolfpack On The Prowl

NC State got its first victory over a decent Purdue team this evening. Watching the game, I had the sense that State outplayed Purdue by more than the final margin of seven points, but State has a history of not putting teams away when it should.

Julius Hodge played up to the hype with solid shooting, defense, and ball handling. He must play that well for the Wolfpack to succeed in ACC league play.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Perfect Evening

Kristen and I had our traditional Sunday evening: two beef filets hot off the grill, assorted veggies, and a bottle of red wine. Tonight we reached into the cellar for a 1996 Cain Cuvee, which was quite nice.

As is our routine, we watched Inside the Actors Studio while polishing off the steaks. I was surprised to learn that Jamie Foxx was tonight's featured guest. I knew that he got rave reviews for his portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray, but he did not seem like a typical guest on this show.

I was surprised at the depth of talent and character he possesses. The man can play the piano so well, even Ray Charles would be proud.


A Courageous Decision

News & Record Editor John Robinson addresses workplace diversity at the N&R today in his weekly column. He acknowledges that minorities are underrepresented at the newspaper when compared to the local community. To address this problem, one third of new hires at the N&R will be persons of color.

Issues of race, particularly as they affect hiring practices, are almost always touchy. It takes honest self awareness as a manager to recognize the need to change hiring practice. It takes guts to write about it publicly.

Some will feel that this hiring practice amounts to a quota system. I say this is an honest effort to improve the newspaper's ability to report on, and therefore reflect, the community is serves.

Bravo to John and the News & Record for making a courageous decision to improve its product!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

A Long Day

I had a long day in the yard today. I finally got in rhythm with the shifting breeze, and alternated between the leaf blower and rake effectively. Then I wrapped up what I hope will be the last time I mow the yard for a few months. Since I followed with a fertilizer, maybe I should not store the mower too deeply in the garage.

I have a pork tenderloin and garlic potatoes in the oven. Creamed spinach and my wife's favorite bread will follow. A bottle of 2002 Cain Musque and a DVD should complete a nice evening.

I earned it.

Friday, November 26, 2004

New Kid In Town

If you love ACC basketball, it is worth your time to visit ACC Hoops. Spearheaded by local bloggers Sam Hieb and Ed Cone, the early posts and comments have been thorough and well written.


Why Didn't I Think Of That?

It was only a matter of time until this blog appeared.


20 Questions

Not much conversation at the house today. Betty the Beagle has been recharging her batteries lying on the stairs all day, and baby Sarah only speaks fluent gibberish to date.

However, I found a way to play 20 Questions, albeit with a computer. Still, the computer is pretty good at figuring out your secret. Give it a try.


Wine Pairing

I consider turkey one of the hardest foods to pair wine with. The meat is mild and light, so most wines will overpower the flavor of the bird.

At my sister's at noon, we tried a 2002 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay and a 2002 Justin Syrah. Both were tasty, fairly light, and did okay with the turkey (and ham).

At my inlaw's at dinner, we uncorked a 2002 Saintsbury Pinot Noir Carneros and a 2001 Louis Latour Pouilly Fuisse. The Pouilly Fuisse was probably the best match of the day.

Hmmm...thinking ahead to next year, I wonder how a pinot blanc might do with turkey?


The Day After

I am home today with a sick baby. Maybe it was too much food yesterday, or maybe she picked up a bug from one of her cousins. Even though she has tossed her turkey three times today, I still would not trade being her dad for anything.


A New Man

The lead story in today's News & Record is about Corporal Nick Sowers, who got to call his father Brian yesterday for Thanksgiving. Brian is a close friend and sponsored me into Crescent Rotary Club. Nick is also a friend of mine.

Before joining the Marines, Nick was hell on wheels. He raced motorcycles competitively, played ice hockey, and kayaked some of our country's toughest rivers. I used to worry that he was not only a thrill seeker, but might also be self destructive. I saw Nick before he shipped out to Iraq for his second tour, and he is now a solid, disciplined adult.

There has been plenty of analysis about the US invasion of Iraq on a macro level, but much less on a micro level. Like many others, Nick Sowers has developed into a fine young man, and the Marine Corps has been his finishing school.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

One Down, One To Go

Our noon Thanksgiving dinner is complete. It was a bit of a zoo with four kids aged five or younger, and a dozen other kids dressed as adults.

Now, we nap/rest for an hour, then head to the in-laws. That dinner will include as much wine and food as the first one, but only four people. Maybe I will loosen my belt before we get there.


Giving Thanks

I am thankful for a family that remains close. My parents taught me the value of hard work, integrity, and service to others. By simply being themselves, both of my sisters taught me to appreciate smart, strong women.

I was lucky to meet my Kristen, and luckier that she married me. Like my sisters, she is smart and strong, and she is a wonderful wife and even better mother. Her beauty is icing on the cake. Our baby Sarah took over our lives 16 months ago, and we surrendered joyfully. Nothing turns around a bad day faster than her laughter.

Kristen's parents and her sister accepted me early and have treated me like family for the last 14 years. Seeing their joy as grandparents and aunt helps me understand the love and fun they provided to Kristen.

I have a small custom metal manufacturing business of six employees. My five coworkers are a never ending source of practical jokes and smack talk. Despite this, they are a mature bunch that only need me to point the way, and they do the rest with minimal supervision.

I have always been thankful for the opportunity to serve others. As a Rotarian, I volunteer 10-15 hours a week in a variety of ways that serve people in our local community and around the world. I am thankful that Rotary was founded 100 years ago.

I have many other reasons to be thankful, including good health and a large circle of friends. I hope that you have many blessing for which you are thankful, too.


Happy Birthday, Emily

My sister Emily is 37 today (insert your own turkey joke here). Although my mother still thinks I am 14 months older (it's 15, mom), most friends think Emily is older than I am. This could be because she was taller than me for a period growing up, but more likely it has to do with our maturity levels.

The last year has been difficult for Emily. She spent two weeks in ICU with an extremely rare dermatological disorder that acted like second and third degree burns over her entire body. The condition is often fatal, and the only treatment is comfort care, but Emily made it through and continues to recover.

Happy Birthday, Emily! I am glad you are here to celebrate.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Doubting Doubtfire II

From the exactly what we don't need department comes the sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire. We get maybe three or four decent comedies on screen a year, so Fox is going to add to the celluloid scrap heap with a retread of a movie that was tired at its premier.

When will Robin Williams figure out that we like him acting (Good Morning, Vietnam, Awakenings, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, Insomnia), not acting goofy (Mrs. Doubtfire, Cadillac Man)?


Wolfpack Basketball

Some columnists and bloggers are predicting a surprisingly good season for the NC State men's basketball team. This topic is covered at our new local blog, ACC Hoops.

While I think NC State will be competitive this year, I do not see great team in its immediate future. State has a deeper bench this year, but there are also some glaring problems.

Team leader Julius Hodge is not an offensive force night in and night out. Compounding the problem with his inconsistent play is his inability to move the game to another player when his shot is cold. Randolph Childress kept his Wake Forest teams from greatness with this trait, even with Tim Duncan on the squad.

Coach Herb Sendek is committed to playing hard defense, which is essential to success in college hoops. However, his motion offense will never produce a great team. The Wolfpack will not be a significant offensive threat to a capable and disciplined defense. Rebounding will also be an issue with no significant experience among the Pack's big men.

The bottom line is this State team will be pretty good, and it might have a nice upset or two, but I look for it to be fourth or fifth in the ACC's regular season. I do not see this team advancing past the sweet 16 team in the NCAA tournament.


The Best Of Times

Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday.

There are plenty of other holidays that are important for their religious, historical, or social significance. But, Thanksgiving offers a time gather with those you love simply to enjoy each other and reflect on our many blessings, without the heavy commercialism and gift exchanges.

Enjoy tomorrow and the people with whom you share Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Joel Fleishman

Tonight I had the pleasure to catch up with Joel Fleishman. For those of you who did not grow up in Greensboro, Joel was proprietor of Fleishman's, a fine men's clothing store located originally on Summit Avenue, but predominantly in Friendly Shopping Center.

Everytime I walked in his store, I felt like he had been waiting all day for me to drop in. Tonight was no different. He is a master salesman and even better person.

And, by the way...I bought two suits and two blazers from him tonight. He's still got it!


Rather Resigns

CBS news anchor and managing editor Dan Rather will resign on his 24th anniversary as anchor. Rather's tenure is the longest of any network news anchor, and he says stepping down from those positions is unrelated to his 60 Minutes story on George W. Bush's National Guard service.

He will have a hard time convincing me that the network's inability to authenticate documents that portrayed Bush's service negatively is not the primary reason for his decision. Let's hope that all of us (traditional media, bloggers, and citizens) are reminded that we should be steadfast in checking information before presenting it as fact.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Back In The Saddle

I am back from an unplugged weekend golf trip to Pinehurst. Lots of great weather, golf, beer, and telling lies - all in all a great weekend. My team won our Ryder Cup style competition 8-7, and yours truly produced the winning point for our team.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Off To Play Golf

I am leaving early on Friday to play golf with 11 other knuckleheads in the Pinehurst area this weekend. I have been busy catching up at work and taking care of a sick baby this week, so my blogging activity has been light, but I will leave you with these thoughts:

1) I thought we just established that the GOP is the party of morals and values. If so, how can its caucus justify changing its own rule to allow about-to-be-indicted Tom DeLay to remain House majority leader?

2) Does Condi Rice seem an odd choice to be Secretary of State? She has no diplomatic credentials, and she was a pure academic until four years ago. And, I hate to tell her that expertise in Soviet matters will not help her in her new job.

3) What the hell was John Kerry thinking? He saved $15 million in campaign funds for what? A Geico commercial?

4) Basketball season has arrived, and local bloggers Ed Cone and Sam Hieb have a new joint venture, the ACC Hoops Blog. With half of the ACC ranked, including all Big Four, this should be a fun season in these parts.

5) It appears that Steve Spurrier will succeed Lou Holtz as football coach at South Carolina. giving the school a chance to exchange windbags. In Spurrier's last season at Duke, he led them to a bowl game, but he was so busy playing footsie with Florida that he forgot to prepare the team for the game. At the end of the first period, Duke only trailed Texas Tech by 28.

Let's hope the rain stays away, because we are only taking one keg of Red Oak with us this weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

WZTK Review

I was pretty excited when I learned that WZTK would not only switch to a talk format, but would bring Brad Krantz back to Triad radio. I enjoyed Brad's stint at Rock 92 years ago, and he deserves a lot of credit for our ability to buy groceries and gas on Sunday morning and to enjoy non-smoking sections in restaurants.

Brad and Britt Whitmire have found their rhythm in the morning, and they have had some top-notch guests. I suspect that in the post-election period, they will have to reestablish their identity, which has been mostly political to date.

I met Mitch Albom once, and he is just as affable in person as on air. And while Clark Howard has the worst voice in the history of radio, his show is substantive and helpful to many.

I try to treat idiots like Neal Boortz and Michael Savage as examples of the fact that intelligent people can argue either side of a point. I just wish they would acknowledge that there are other valid sides to the points. But these guys are happy to simply throw meat to their conservative lions.

WZTK get points for its exceptional weekend jazz, so overall I give them a B-.


I'm Back

I have been away for a bit, and I know both of my readers missed me. Besides my wife having emergency surgery, me having a two-week head cold that took my voice, and our baby being sick, there really isn't much going on in my world.

But I am back now, so you can expect your normal daily dose of riveting reading.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Criticism From The Right

President Bush has withstood several attacks from the political left and a few from the political center. Now comes criticism from a place that the GOP might not expect - retired high-ranking military officers.

Gen. "Tony" McPeak: "The people in control in the Pentagon and the White House live in a fantasy world." and "Iraq is a diversion to the war on terror in exactly the same way Vietnam was a diversion to the Cold War."

Adm. Stansfield Turner: "All in all, Iraq is a failure of monumental proportions."

Gen. Anthony Zinni: "I saw the intelligence right up to the day of the war, and I did not see any imminent threat there. If anything, Saddam was coming apart."

I could go on and on, and these and other distinguished former high ranking military officers do in this article.


Welcome Aboard

Please welcome the Lenslinger to our blogging community. You can visit him at Viewfinder Blues.


The Deer Hunter

Tony Plutonium describes the way deer hunting ought to be. Let's make hunting a fair fight.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Ding, Dong, Arafat Is Dead

The father of modern terrorism, Yasser Arafat, is dead. This is a critical fork in the road for middle east stability, as the new leadership will face great challenges. If Palestinian poverty continues, suicide missions and other forms of terrorism are viable alternatives.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The More Things Change...

I find it interesting that the presidential red and blue states this year are almost identical to the 2000 presidential election. You would think with the big changes our country saw over the last four years, there would be some redistribution of party stongholds.

Economy-----------------> record surplus vs. record deficit
Foreign Affairs----------> peace vs. war in Iraq plus operations in Afghanistan
Security------------------> seven years without an attack on US soil vs. 9/11

Voters say each of these issues is important to them, but given the similarity of the last two presidential election results, I have my do not think these issues are driving the boat. Long-term branding by the parties is the key to election success.

Okay, I am about done with the election.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

What An Idiot

Charles Davenport's weekly column in today's News & Record includes this pearl: "...the political 'moderate' who, by definition, believes deeply in nothing."

Excuse me? Moderates believe deeply in nothing?

Have we really stooped to the point that we automatically invalidate those who think differently than we do? It seems to me like Davenport is guilty of exactly the holier than thou thinking that the political right assigns to the left.

For the record, Chas:

I believe deeply that discourse between those with opposing views is useful.
I believe deeply that not only can opposing views be valid, but they are necessary.
I believe deeply that most conservatives, liberals, and moderates love their country.
I believe deeply that your style of closed-minded thinking is a weak excuse for the well-reasoned arguments that you claim.


Off To War

A close friend of mine was activated by the Army yesterday. His unit assembled in Butner, NC, and he will train with them over the next few weeks at Fort Bragg. Then his unit will deploy to Iraq.

I am sad that he is leaving his wife and three sons, one of whom is only three weeks old. I am sad that he has to leave his parents, who lost their other son 18 months ago. But mostly, I am angry that he is being sent to fight an unnecessary war with no firm goals and no apparent end.

My friend has shown no sadness or anger, only a sense of duty to the soldiers in his unit. He knows they depend on him, and he would not send them to Iraq alone.

He is a hero.

My friend will be blogging while in Iraq. I will add the link to his blog after he starts posting, and I hope you will take time to visit his blog.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Hollow Victory

I was the only blogger to predict the electoral vote totals correctly in Mathew Gross' challenge. I mentioned this fact to Kristen, and she asked me what I won. I told her "Four more years of Bush."

Can I have my entry fee back?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Modest Proposal

Backwards City has a modest proposal for your consideration.


Challenges Ahead

Yesterday, local blogger David Hoggard bravely shared that his Jinni was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Now we learn that Elizabeth Edwards was also diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday. Jinni's prognosis is good, and we hope the same will be true for Elizabeth.

We are only four days removed from national breast cancer awareness month, but let's keep these special women and the thousands of others who have been diagnosed at the top of our minds and in our prayers.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Short Lines At The Polls

I just got back from a 90 minute shift helping with Kids Voting at Christ United Methodist Church. This is a major precinct with about ten voting machines. Business was extremely slow for the precinct during my shift, although I understand it was quite busy when they opened earlier today.

I wonder if some potential voters stayed away from precincts today fearing long lines.


Go Vote!

Those who oppose the US invasion of Iraq have plenty of reason to vote. Those who support toppling the Iraqi regime, so their citizens have the right to elect their leaders should set an example for them by voting themselves.

Everyone has a reason to vote. Now get out there and do it.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Election Predictions

I have already discussed my votes in key national and NC races. Here are my predictions for the outcomes tomorrow.

President: I predicted three weeks ago that Bush would win the presidency by a margin of 36 electoral votes. Several swing states have tightened, but I still think that Bush will win by 20-35 electoral votes. I think that enough undecided voters will want to vote for the winner,and polls show that most Americans think Bush will win. Also, no incumbent president has ever lost while the country was at war.

Governor: Mike Easley should be reelected with a margin of 15-20%. Enough said.

US Senator: This is the hardest race to predict, as voter turn out and the strength of Bush's coattails will make the difference. My gut tells me that Bowles will win by a slim margin.

Feel free to post your predictions in the comments.


Welcome Back, Mr. Sun

Just when I feared that Mr. Sun had gone on sabbatical, he returns with helpful voting instructions. Please read carefully before going to your precinct.

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010