Monday, October 31, 2005

Cone On New Media

Ed Cone gave the program at Crescent Rotary today. He talked about blogging and new media, and he was on his game as usual. Even with a few technophobes in the room, Ed connected with the audience about how blogging and the new face of media are changing our world and the way we perceive it.

Crescent is hipper than a lot of Rotary clubs. The members mix a lot of laughter and fun with a serious commitment to service. There are also dozens of community leaders in the club, and they got Ed's ending point that Greensboro's creative culture is revealing itself partially through the evolution of the local blogosphere.


Carve The Old Pumpkin

If you have not carved your jack-o-lantern yet, it's not too late.


Carl Petterson Wins

Carl Petterson, a Grimsley High School and NC State alum, won the Chrysler Classic in Tampa yesterday. Petterson survived charges by more established stars to record his first victory on the PGA TOUR.

Petterson has been building momentum over the past few weeks, including a good finish in Greensboro and a career low 61 last week. This win guarantees him full playing privileges on the PGA TOUR for next year and puts him position to play in the Masters.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

GTRC Community Dialogue

The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission is sponsoring a Community Dialogue next Saturday (11/05/05). This is an important event, and the community's input on that day will be incorporated into the GTRC's final report.

You are welcome to attend participate even if you have not attended the three previous public hearings. Participants will be shown video summaries of those hearings, and trained facilitators will lead discussion groups.

The results of these discussions will be shared with concerned community groups and will influence how the important issues of 1979 and today will be addressed. This is an unusual opportunity to be a part of shaping Greensboro's future.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Big Link

This week's Big Link is Slowly She Turned, one of the area's underrated blogs.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Bank Robbing For Dummies

If you are going to rob a bank, here are some helpful hints:

1) Don't rob the bank where you regularly cash your checks
2) If you're Australian, don't give away your identity by talking
3) Take off your work ID tags before robbing the bank
4) Don't count out 2,000 $5 bills to make a $10,000 purchase
5) Don't take pictures of yourself posing with the stolen money


Elmo Arrested

It's a very bad day in cartoon land when Elmo is arrested.


Van De Velde Proves Himself A Loser Again

Perhaps the biggest melt down in major championship golf occurred at the 1999 British Open. Jean Van de Velde had tamed the beastly Carnoustie Golf Links for four rounds and held a three shot lead with one hole to play. He barely made a triple bogey on the hole, then lost a playoff.

So dude is no stranger to public blunders. And it's a good thing, because he has done it again.

Van de Velde has announced that he will attempt to play in the 2006 Women's British Open. He thinks if women are allowed to play in events traditionally played by only men, the reverse should be true. He is dead wrong.

Van de Velde is eligible to play in the (British) Open. It's not the Men's Open. It's not the Choker Open. It's just The Open. Anyone good enough to play gets to play - men, women, and minors included.

The Women's (British) Open is just that - a championship for women. It is run by the Ladies Golf Union, and being a female is a requirement to enter. Van de Velde demeaned other women players by offering to shave his legs and wear a kilt, confirming this is a stunt rather than a principled position.

No woman has ever contended in a significant men's tournament, so I do not understand why even the most insecure male pro would be concerned about this issue. Unfortunately, the major men's golf tours have many of most miserable people on the planet as members. They are pampered and coddled, and they don't like anyone crashing the party.

They need to get over it.


Bad News For Scooter Libby

It appears Scooter Libby will be indicted.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Do You Measure Up?

Jon Lowder has a funny post up that tests a man's ability to measure up to impossible standards.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Soldier Returns

I am home from greeting The Soldier at the airport on his return from Iraq, and I am so thankful he and his unit are home safe.

The entire event was a bit of an emotional blur for me - I am a softie for these types of things. I watched as families were reunited, and it was easy to see the love and camaraderie in the soldier's unit.

The last soldier to emerge from the secured area was my friend. It was just like him to allow all the others to come out first. When I saw him, he was carrying his youngest son, who turned one last week, but his wife and two other sons were close by his side. That image alone made the trip worthwhile.

As the returning soldiers hugged loved ones, they completely blocked an area of normally heavy pedestrian traffic. No one would have said a word, but the commanding officer sized things up and quickly moved the group to a larger area. Even after traveling for more than 24 hours, military discipline reigned.

Having the opportunity to watch each soldier be awarded the combat patch was an honor. Each of these soldiers gave up a year that he/she will never get back, and each did so at great risk. The patch was a simple piece of cloth, but the smiles it brought revealed a greater value.

My most lasting image of today was seeing my friend place his one year old son at arm's length, then watching the little guy walk back to him. It was the first time the soldier had seen his youngest son walk, and I cannot imagine seeing him happier than at that moment - home with his unit, his friends, and most of all his family.


The Soldier Comes Home

There is a lively debate over at Cone's about the appropriateness of today's N&R front page. I thought it was an appropriate time to note the number of lost lives and to honor those who have fallen. The nickname story had a particular resonance with me.

I am happy to report that I am leaving for the airport right now to greet my friend, The Soldier. He has been gone almost a year, and now he is in the air on the final leg of his trip home.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Even Swap

David Lee Roth was announced as the primary replacement for Howard Stern.

Yep. That seems about right. One really ugly dude with oversized and ego and libido for another.


Encouraging News

The Business Journal reports on an employee meeting with Lincoln Financial CEO Jon Boscia and JP CEO Dennis Glass. Says Boscia:

"It's unfortunate, but all too often a company's charitable budget tends to become the personal (fund) of the CEO to help endear that CEO to his or her community. Lincoln many years ago said that doesn't make sense. ... As a result, moneys we give are highly related to the number of employees we have in a community."

Many people have been concerned that Lincoln Financial's acquisition of Jefferson-Pilot might have a dramatic and negative impact on the not-for-profits in Greensboro. While it seems clear that we will not have the same level of executive talent from the combined companies in Greensboro, there is hope for continuing or increasing corporate donations.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

ConvergeSouth Reflections

It has been two weeks since ConvergeSouth, and I want to offer my thanks to those who worked hard to make the conference a raving success. The sessions have been covered very well by a number of attendees, so I will focus my reflections on other items.

NCA&T was an inspired choice to host the conference. Their facilities are new and spacious, and the students who attended enriched the sessions and social events. I hope that next year's conference will return to the campus.

Meeting several bloggers for the first time was a highlight. I shared a delightful lunch with Joe Guarino. I also got to talk with Mickey McLean briefly a few times. He and my wife work together, and I hope I get to see him again at a company function. Mickey's faith blogging session was interesting and lively. I only spent a small amount of time with Sam Wharton, but he is an impressively bright, articulate, and mature 16-year old.

Christy Seals and I have corresponded via email, so it was a real treat to meet her at the military blogging session she led with Allison Perkins. At that session I also got to meet Jon Lowder, a funny and insightful blogger. Jay Rosen contributed some key points in the one session we attended together, and I enjoyed talking to him on the Hoggard's front porch, too.

And speaking of the Hoggards, they hosted one of their famous cue parties with David Wharton and Mathew Gross. Before arriving, I had been at an outdoor fund raiser in the pouring rain, so hot pig, cold beer, and intelligent conversation was just the medicine I needed.

The Saturday evening meal at 223 South Elm was delicious, as was my conversation with News & Record Editor John Robinson. We knew each other a bit from previous blogging events and our involvement in Rotary, but I found him to be warm, funny, thoughtful, and certainly intelligent. I dominated his attention that evening, and I hope he has recovered.

I have two final thoughts about ConvergeSouth. The first is that it was a pleasure that there was so much more diversity among attendees - age, race, gender, political, geographical. The second thought is that it seems we have gotten past the journalism vs. blogging discussion that never seemed to add much at previous conferences. That allowed us to talk about more interesting topics.

I am already looking for to ConvergeSouth in 2006.


Ministering To The Sick

I heard an amazing commentary on NPR's All Things Considered on Friday. Debra Jarvis, a chaplain in Seattle, discovered she had breast cancer earlier this year. As she was wrapping up her treatments, she discovered a new way to minister to cancer patients. Listen to her story here.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Nothing But Net For CostasNOW

The current CostasNOW reminds us why Bob Costas is the top journalist in sports television.

In just this episode, Costas has a revealing interview with Yankees skipper Joe Torre, an interesting panel discussion including Pete Rose, and a great story on David Robinson, son of legend Jackie Robinson. Even though I don't care much for major league baseball anymore, I found all three parts of the show interesting.

Torre, who just renewed his contact with the Yankees, reveals several interesting tidbits about the most petulant owner in pro sports, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Jim Palmer, serving on the panel with Pete Rose, answered questions about whether Rose should be allowed in baseball's hall of fame while sitting next to the man banned from baseball.

Costas' interview with David Robinson highlights Robinson's efforts to bring more prosperity to a village in Tanzania that produces some of the finest coffee beans in the world. Despite the excellence of their product, the farmers live in poverty, and Robinson has assimilated into their culture for two decades and is working for economic justice on their behalf.

Costas is still at the top of his game, and HBO is still the network that allows its stars the freedom to excel.


Big Link

This week's Big Link is Plead The First. The Pleader is a new blogger and sometime cartoonist who is attracting a strong following quickly. Check out this week's Big Link.


Supreme Court TV

Conan O'Brien has assembled his proposed cast for a Harriet Miers TV movie.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Head Too Large For Ireland

"I'm sick of Bono. And I am Bono. It's like, oh, man, shut up." -- BONO

I have never read more true words. I wish he had realized this 15 years ago.


Double Shot In The Paper

Congrats to Hogg's Blog, a deserving winner of GoTriad's Readers' Choice award this year. With the number of high quality bloggers in the Triad, you should feel good about that award, Hogg. I was surprised and a bit perplexed to have gotten a nod in that category.

John Batchelor also mentioned me in his restaurant review column. I wish the mention had been for my culinary skills, but it was only for noting a misspelling of chef and friend Mark Freedman's name.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hope For Jamie Valvano Howard

I can still recall a dying Jim Valvano's farewell speech on ESPN. He said of his newly formed V Foundation "It may not save my life. It may save my children's life."

Now Jim Valvano's middle daughter, Jamie, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Let's hope that the work of organizations like the V Foundation and Greensboro-based Friends will make the difference for Jamie and the other 1.3 million people who will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Father Gaetano Catanoso

The Biz Journal's Justin Catanoso will be on NPR's Morning Edition tomorrow around 6:20am and on the repeat show around 8:20am. He will be speaking about Father Gaetano Catanoso, his cousin, who will be canonized on Sunday.

Besides being an exceptional reporter, Justin is one of the nicest people I have met in the last year.

(via Ed Cone)


Audio of Justin's commentary is up at

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sign Of The Times

Carlos Tejada, VF Corporation's VP of manufacturing for the Americas, spoke to Crescent Rotary Club yesterday. Most of his talk centered on the apparel industry's move to offshore production.

An interesting tidbit he revealed was that VF made its last pair of blue jeans in the US last Friday, October 14. That made me a bit sad as a lifelong resident of Greensboro, who was built in part on the denim industry.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Big Link

This week's Big Link is Jonathan Davis. I missed getting to meet Jonathan at ConvergeSouth, but I hope to see him at a monthly meetup. Check out this week's Big Link.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Jefferson Pilot Was Sold

In interviews in the News & Record and Business Journal (unposted), Jefferson-Pilot's CEO Dennis Glass contends that Lincoln Financial's acquisition of JP is actually a "merger of equals."

I understand why Glass and perhaps Lincoln might think this acquisition will play better in Greensboro if marketed as a merger, but the facts make it clear it is an acquisition:

Lincoln is buying JP's stock with cash and Lincoln stock
Headquarters of the combined companies will be in Philadelphia
Lincoln will have a slight majority of board seats
Glass will take the #2 executive position to Lincoln CEO Jon Boscia

Each of those facts points to an acquisition rather than a merger of equals. I hope that Glass is pitching the deal as a merger simply to make JP's sale more palatable for JP employees and Greensboro residents.


I finally read last Friday's N&R, and the top story written by Dick Barron argues the same point as this post.


Ray Parrish Teacher Of The Year

Northwest Guilford High School teacher Ray Parrish was honored this week as the NC History Teacher of the Year. Ray has taught at NW for 13 years, and he has coached NW's We The People team, which focuses on the US Constitution, to nine straight state titles.

Ray and I graduated from NW together in 1983, and he was just as distinguished as a person and student then. I can't say his success is a surprise, since he was one of the nicest and smartest people in our class.

At a time when there are lots of problem areas in our local schools, it is reassuring that one of our homegrown teachers is at the top of his profession.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Barbara MacKay Is A Dynamo

Barbara MacKay and her efforts to raise money for cancer research are featured in the current YES!Weekly.

Barbara lost her husband to leukemia in 1993. She immediately decided to convert her grief into positive energy. She organized a golf tournament in 1994 that has become an annual event. So far, those tournaments have raised over $500,000.

Last year she added Sports Night! to her efforts and convinced Ricky Proehl to be roasted by his teammates in public. This year Sports Night! featured Herb Sendek, Skip Prosser, and Bobby Cremins.

Maybe this energetic dynamo needed something else to do, because this year she added Starlight, Star Bright to her event schedule. She organized and successfully hosted all three events between late May and early October. And she managed to squeeze in her own wedding in between.

She one great lady, and I am glad to call her a close friend.


Chip In The New York Times

Give Chip Atkinson credit for his moxie. One of his recent blog posts was run as a letter to the editor in the New York Times (registration required) on Sunday.

I will not rehash my criticisms of that post, but I noted that Chip has not corrected the factual errors in his original post or in the letter that ran in the NYT (assuming he submitted the letter and they did not take it straight from his blog).

Most bloggers make mistakes in posts every now and then. Correcting and acknowledging those errors at the post where they happened is an essential part of responsible blogging and building credibility.

Chip get props from me for getting his letter in the NYT. When he starts correcting errors in posts, I think he will get props from lots of other bloggers, too.


The Saddest Election Result

I voted last night at 6:30pm, one hour before polls closed. It took all of five minutes, including the drive time out of my way to the precinct.

Of course, the time I spent voting was limited by the fact I was the only voter in the precinct. They even told me I was the first "E" name to vote all day. I was #54 overall in a large precinct.

It is sad that most people are quick to share political opinions but can't take the time to make the opinion count for something by voting.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Alston Loses NAACP Presidency

I planned to write tonight about Skip Alston's unsuccessful run for NC NAACP president. It turns out two of the best bloggers in Greensboro have already addressed this topic.

A good friend of mine who has found himself in opposition to Skip more than once (and who has the juice to have stopped Skip in his tracks more than once) describes Skip as a hustler. I think that description sums up Skip pretty well.

Skip Alston is undeniably bright, but he has consistently failed to use his smarts and influence to the benefit of his constituents or his city. The sad part is that if he were the leader he could be, he would have more power than he could ever dream and make a lasting positive difference in Greensboro.


Rainy Days And Mondays

I was in my car four times today over eleven hours. On each occasion, the car's thermostat read 61 degrees. Continuous clouds and drizzle will do that.

Even the pseudo-radar machine on the Vandalia Road median gave out. It takes very little sunshine to power its solar-fed batteries for a day, but it was dead.

I thought I would like a few days of rain after six weeks of none. I think I have had enough for a while.


Jefferson-Pilot Being Acquired By Lincoln National

It appears likely that Lincoln National is acquiring Jefferson-Pilot, the largest company based in Greensboro.

My thoughts turn immediately to my sister Emily, who is an attorney at JP. Lincoln no doubt has a full legal staff, and I assume some or all of JP's legal staff might be let go.

On a larger scale, it is hard to imagine that this deal is going to be good for Greensboro in any respect. These mergers are often designed to increase efficiency, and the elimination of hundreds of jobs is usually in that equation.

The downtown JP tower already has multiple vacant floors. And of course, the JP property in the Sedgefield area has been vacant for over a decade. I do not see a rising service industry to fill that space.

This leaves VF Corporation as the only company based in Greensboro with a market cap over $ 1 billion.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mini Me

... or a close approximation (via Ed Cone)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Light The Night

ConvergeSouth is only hours away, and I am really looking forward to it.

But I am also looking forward to Light The Night, a fund raiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which will be held at Country Park Friday night. So come out and walk two miles to raise money and awareness for LLS' work, then head over to Aycock for the cue.

If you can't make it to Light The Night and want to donate to the cause, click here.


The Next Girl's Golf Phenom?

Nine year old golfer Charley Hull won a ladies golf tournament at Turnberry, one of the world's most storied golf courses. She played in typically miserable Scottish weather and outlasted her primary opponent, a 44-year old, in a playoff.

Now that 15-year old Michelle Wie has turned pro, perhaps Charley will take her place as the next phenom in girl's golf.


Ed Williams On Wine

The News & Record dedicated three fourths of their Life cover page to wine yesterday. Wine guru Ed Williams provided a funny and informative glossary of wine terms in addition to his regular column. Reading his glossary made me think that some of his guests have made unwelcome advances on his reserve wines in the past.

That happened at my place one Christmas Eve. My (now ex) brother-in-law Rich ventured to our wine rack and over the course of the evening, opened five or six bottles that were the last of their particular lot. That experience is the primary reason I paid for a lock and key when I bought a wine cellar a few years later.

I hope that Ed will start a wine blog. It seems like a natural niche for a blogger to explore. He might be surprised at the number of wine enthusiasts that would appreciate his insights.

One minor quibble with the funny illustrations: the guy in the wine bottle should not be holding a martini glass.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ahead Of The Curve

Tom Lassiter has put together a short video about the Greensboro blogosphere and features short interviews with several local bloggers. Very cool work, Tom.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Wrinkled News

This morning when I picked up my newspaper from the yard, I immediately noticed it was damp. Then I realized it was not in a plastic bag, as has been the custom for many years. Given the lack of rain for the past few months, it makes sense not to waste effort on bagging the paper, but perhaps that effort could be applied to throwing the paper on the driveway rather than a dewey lawn.


The Soldier Prepares to Wrap Up In Iraq

"My wife and I are already making plans for my return: parties, reunions, Thanksgiving, Christmas.... what a blessing to be making plans for events back home."

The Soldier's replacements are due in the next week. We are hopeful that he will be home in a few more weeks. Find out what else is going on with him here.


Everybody Wins

The news that Erskine Bowles has been elected president of the University of North Carolina is encouraging for our state. Bowles has been a distinguished business man, administrator, and politician. Each of those experiences will make him a better university system president.

I cannot imagine a person better suited or qualified to lead a group of 16 diverse universities.


Time To End Payday Lending In NC

There appears to be some possibility that the legal loan sharks who operate payday lending offices may be on their way out of North Carolina, according to a story in today's N&R. It is about time.

What is baffling is the position taken by state representative Earl Jones, who says "If they're shut down, there will be no mechanism that will develop to meet that need." We can only hope there will be no replacement for an industry that charges as much as 500% annual interest.

Payday lenders hurt minority families at a disproportionate rate. Jones, who is black himself, has turned his back on many of the people in his district. Why would Jones do that? Money, of course.

In the past, Jones has claimed he receives no money from the payday lending industry. But it turns out payday lending companies and their executives have contributed to Jones' campaigns. Given his track record of dishonesty on this subject, I reject his views as tainted.

North Carolinians will have reason to be glad when payday lenders clear out of our state.

***DISCLOSURE*** My uncle Martin Eakes is one of the leaders of the Center for Responsible Lending, the group most responsible for fighting these loan sharks.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It Just Doesn't Matter

As a kid, I listened to Atlanta Braves games on the radio every night. Since they played in the national league west, that meant many games did not start until 10pm in the east. It didn't matter - I was a diehard fan.

The Braves were terrible then, usually last in their division. I suffered through many years when the Braves were essentially a triple A team pretending to play major league ball. Adults used to tell me that being a Braves fan meant loving the team, because you sure couldn't be in love with winning and be a Braves fan.

There were a few highlights along the way. Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth as the all-time home run king in 1974. Gene Garber struck out Pete Rose to end Rose's hitting streak at 44 in 1978. Bob Horner, fresh from college, hit a dong in his first major league game. But mostly the Braves were terrible.

So you would think I would be jumping for joy over the Braves winning a professional sports record 14th (or 11th, depending on what you do with 1994) consecutive division title. Or that having the best manager and GM in baseball would make me feel great after years of suffering. It doesn't.

After player strikes, management lock outs, and threats of even more work stoppages, my loyalty was worn down to the nub. It was also obvious almost a decade ago that baseball had been infiltrated by steroid puppies.

So I don't love the Braves or major league baseball, for that matter. I don't really hate MLB either. I just don't care anymore.


Double Eagle

During a golf match yesterday afternoon, one of my playing partners announced midway through the back nine that he was going to play the rest of the way in seven under par. That would be a bold statement anywhere, but it was particularly so playing the back tees at Sedgefield.

Dude birdied the next two holes, which got my attention. Then on #15 he knocked a five iron in the jar from 205 yards for a double eagle, the rarest of all feats in golf (a one in six million occurrence). He birdied two of his last three holes after that to finish in guessed it... seven under par. It was incredible golf and better than anything you could have seen at Forest Oaks yesterday.

Although still an amateur, this young man is playing his first professional event during the next three days at Sedgefield. He should have all the confidence in the world.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

More Than Football

Last week's Sports Illustrated listed its top five college sports programs based on performance to that point this fall. Surprisingly, Wake Forest, Duke, and Carolina all made the top five, along with Notre Dame and Texas. Since all three local schools were winless in football at that point, their high rankings are a tribute to their strength in non-revenue sports, such as field hockey, soccer, and cross country.


Greensboro Tourism Award

On Friday's The Good Morning Show, Rosemary Plybon was reading a story about Amtrak service restarting at Greensboro's Galyon Depot on October 1. It was a simple enough piece that lasted no more than a minute.

The fun part is while she read the copy, producers showed footage of a derailed Amtrak train deep in the woods as shot from a helicopter. Perhaps someone in production needed another cup of coffee.

I nominate The Good Morning Show for a Greensboro Tourism Award.

© Copyright Patrick Eakes 2004-2010