Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fun Times

The holiday weekend was certainly boatloads of fun for this weary traveler. It is always a pleasure to spend time with friends, and this was no exception. I hope to be staying off the highways for at least a few days so I can catch up on some paperwork and phone calls. I can already ehar the golf course calling my name for this weekend, so I need to get some things off my desk so I can hit the links.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Memorial Day

I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day weekend. Be sure to take the time to remember the reason for this holiday. On Monday, try to take the time to observe the day and honor the men and women it serves to remember. I will be at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina to spend some time with longtime friends this weekend. Be safe if you travel. God bless.

Clearly Over

Years ago, I was a huge fan of the band Far Too Jones. It happened by happenstance when they opened for my favorite band, Cravin' Melon. I have every CD Far Too Jones ever made and went to more shows than I could count. It was a sad day when they dissolved. Some of them forged a new band about two years ago, The Clear. I was never a real fan of that effort though. I didn't like the sound. It sounded like a continuation of the progression FTJ had made musically. Over time, FTJ's musical direction went away from what had made the band so good. The Clear kept driving down that hill. Now, The Clear has decided to pack it in as well. I wish the guys all the best. It is sad to see Christopher Spruill's music career come to an end - he had one of the best voices for a rock band's lead singer that I can recall.

Unnecessary Noonan

As I repeatedly say, I have great respect for Peggy Noonan. Occasionally, maybe even just rarely, I disagree with something she says. Today, I don't disagree with the premise behind her column, but I disagree with her tactics in making her point.

Yes, I agree that there is entirely too much egotism and grandstanding in politics in this country. These men and women are supposedly public servants, and servants should do there job without fanfare and patting themselves on the back. When people ask me the type of person that would be my ideal Congressional, Senatorial, Gubernatorial, or Presidential candidate, I talk about the way they carry themselves and treat people before I talk about their ideological position. I want to see that rarity in American politics - a statesman.

In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan seems to be longing for such a leader as well. Once you get beyond the opening paragraphs of her column, you get into the meat of her concerns with today's politicians. However, you have to force your way through those first paragraphs.

She uses the grandstanding of the "Group of 14" who created the compromise on the filibuster issue as her starting point. I understand her position. It did seem like some of these Senators were giving themselves more credit than was necessary. What they did was a good thing, but it was not something that prevents a war, or death, or genocide - it delays what may be inevitable anyway.

I have two observations that I must make that will be unpopular in the eyes of some of my colleagues. First (the more popular comment), I note that Ms. Noonan did not make any reference to Senator Warner of Virginia. Senator Warner is as close to a statesman as you get with this "Group of 14" or the Senate in general. When he speaks, he commands a level of respect that other members of that deliberative body do not. I saw Senator Warner on Brit Hume the other day, and he is very clear in his reasoning for the compromise and his willingness to break the compromise if necessary. As a member of the Senate for 27 years, he has immense respect for his position and his chamber. He was protecting the history of the Senate, which in turn shows a deep respect for our country. It is hard to disapprove of his decision or his motives, and I applaud Ms. Noonan for recognizing that.

Second, I wholly disapprove of the way Ms. Noonan speaks of Senator Graham of South Carolina. The picture she paints of him is character assassination, and it shows a lack of respect. I complain often about how I see people treat others, and this is another of those cases. Ms. Noonan's point would have been just as clear without making such disparaging comments as she did in her over-the-top hyperbole in her column's opening. As much respect as she appeared to show to Senator Warner, she showed the opposite of that respect to Senator Graham. If I was the Senator I would be looking for an apology. Ms. Noonan does not owe an apology for her criticism of him being a grandstander, that was fair. She does owe one for this:

"But my favorite was Lindsey Graham, who said, 'I know there will be folks 'back home' who will be angry, but that's only because they're not as sophisticated and high-minded as I am. Actually they're rather stupid, which is why they're not in the Senate and I am. But I have 3 1/2 years to charm them out of their narrow-minded resentments, and watch me, baby.'"
Criticizing our representatives is part of being an American, and it is certainly part of being a commentator. However, the way we treat people and the way we speak of those we criticize says much about the people we, as commentators, are. Ms. Noonan is a good person and I am certain she did not mean to show such disrespect. Sometimes, what we write doesn't come across the way we would intend. I imagine this is such an occasion for Ms. Noonan. It simply shows how important it is to use careful word choice, mean what you say, and always show respect for everyone even if, or especially if, you disagree with them.

Southport Story

In this morning's Raleigh News & Observer, there is a good story about Southport Boat Works. As mentioned several times, I am a huge fan of these boats. As also mentioned, I am somewhat biased as Managing Partner Alton Herndon is like a second father to me. Let me say one more time, you have not lived...you have not really been on a great boat...until you ride on a Southport. These guys know the business better than any group of owners and boatbuilders you can find.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

REK Reunion

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. I was able to catch Robert Earl Keen in concert in Raleigh and catch up with some fraternity brothers from college in one night. Now, if you have ever been to a Robert Earl Keen show, you know it was a night of great music and big fun. Add in seeing three of your fraternity brothers, one of which you haven't seen in at least a year, well you know it was big fun.

If you like REK, like country music, like Texas music, or just like to try new things...pick up the new CD What I Really Mean. It's the best effort from REK in awhile. I wasn't impressed with Gravitational Forces or Farm Fresh Onions (his last two CDs), but this new one harkens back to the REK of old.

Adams Honored

Congratulations to Alfred Adams for being honored on the "2005 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business" list. Mr. Adams is a well-respected real estate lawyer in Winston-Salem and a gifted professor at Wake Forest University School of Law.

Fall Lineups

As the networks wind up their season finales, they have already unveiled their new fall lineups. Some good shows are gone, some are back. Some bad shows are gone, some are back. Today I will deposit my two cents in the debate bank.

Let me begin by looking at the new FOX lineup. Looking at the shows which are returning, I see “The O.C.” and “Stacked” will be back in the fall and “24” will return in January. “Family Guy” is funny, but I’m tired of the cartoons. Otherwise, I’m not a fan of the other returning shows. “That ‘70s Show” has outlived its day. This past year, Fox’s “North Shore” was good until they killed it by adding Shannen Doherty. Doherty is death on a TV series. I didn’t like her on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Charmed” improved when Aaron Spelling chose to keep Alyssa Milano over Doherty. Another good Fox show was “Point Pleasant” which replaced “North Shore” on Thursday nights following “The O.C.” However, that show was killed, and the final episodes of the season were only aired in the U.K.

The NBC lineup seems better than that of Fox. On Mondays, “Las Vegas” will be back. Tuesday will have “The Office” and “Law & Order: SVU.” On Wednesday, I’ll watch Martha Stewart’s show once and “E-Ring” sounds promising. “Law & Order” will return again. “The West Wing” moves to Sundays to be followed by “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” The season finale of “Las Vegas” on Monday wasn’t exciting, but the cliffhangers were impressive. I like NBC’s decision not to panic simply because of a “down” year in terms of ratings.

The CBS lineup shows that it is now Cops Broadcasting Station. The three CSI shows return. “Without a Trace” and “Cold Case” are good cop shows as well. I’m not a fan of “Numb3rs”, “NCIS”, or the reality shows. The only CBS comedy I care for is “Two and a Half Men.” If it wasn’t for the “CSI” franchise though, CBS would be in trouble.

On ABC’s new lineup, I like “Boston Legal” and “According to Jim” on Tuesdays. “Lost” will be fine on Wednesday, but I am surprised to see ABC break apart their pairing of “Lost” and “Alias.” “Alias” will move to Thursdays and “Hope & Faith” returns on Fridays. On Sundays, “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” return. “Grey’s” may be my favorite new show of this past season.

My biggest complaint this past season was that the networks loaded the good programming on the same nights. Tuesdays were awful. ABC seems to have noticed this and has made an effort to take Tuesdays by putting “According to Jim” with the new show “Commander-in-Chief” (which I doubt I will like) and “Boston Legal.”

Mondays are open. I watch “Las Vegas” and “CSI:Miami” and will watch some Monday Night Football and then switch to “24” in January.

Wednesdays have been loaded all year, and that will continue. “Lost”, “E-Ring”, and “Stacked” will all be on at 9:00. “CSI:NY” and “Law & Order” will continue to fight it out for the legal viewers at 10.

“Alias” will be in the same time slot at “The O.C.” on Thursdays. This means I will finally have to stop watching “Alias.” CBS will handle the 9 and 10 time slots.

Fridays and Saturdays are bad all around.

Sundays are loaded. “Cold Case” will be up against “West Wing.” I imagine I will have to DVR the “Cold Case” episodes. ABC has my attention for the “Housewives” and “Grey’s.”

It will be interesting to see how it all sorts out. I would rank the networks preseason as follows: ABC, CBS, NBC, and then FOX. Much will depend on the new shows the networks roll out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

WWJS?

Something tells me Jesus would not say, "The Koran needs to be flushed." It is amazing what a difference can be made when we choose how to say things. If the pastor was trying to get the point across that only the Bible teaches the Word of God, then maybe he should have just said, "Only the Bible." To say something, it is not necessary to belittle others or disparage others. Remember Matthew 7:12.

Allen Benefits

Senator Allen (R-VA) may be a winner for losing on this filibuster deal. While McCain gets credit for the compromise, McCain hurts himself in the eyes of the conservative Republicans with this move. While Frist helped himself among those conservatives by pushing to break the filibuster, he lost when he couldn't hold the GOP delegation together. But Allen benefits from being more forceful than Frist with his conservatism and doesn't take the hit of failure since he isn't the Majority Leader.

Hat tip: Beltway Buzz.

Southern day at the Washington Times

On ednesday of last week, The Washington Times ran not one, but two stories about aspects of life in the South. One story dealt with the "seventh wonder of Roadside America." Yes, South of the Border. I imagine South of the Border may have made its first ever appearance in a DC newspaper with that story. Another story dealt with the unofficial national plant of the Confederacy, kudzu. Who knew kudzu could have legitimate uses, to reduce alcohol intake.

As I drove to Myrtle Beach on Thursday, I decided I needed to investigate whether these stories could overlap. So, as I drove south on US 501 and neared I-95, I prepared for a Rhodenhiser rarity - a stop at South of the Border. Now, why would I choose to make this visit? For a Pedro doll? No. For food? No. To shop for a souvernir of any kind? No. I was on a fact-finding mission. Is there kudzu at South of the Border?

You won't believe the answer - there was no kudzu to be found. But, how can you have "South" of the Border with no kudzu?

Marsh on Sunday

Jimmy Marsh's return to Wesley Memorial was something special. His sermon was a perfect medley of nostalgia and purpose. He mentioned things from his time growing up in the church that struck chords with everyone, whether they were friends of his parents or younger than me. He has a strong and distinctive voice from the pulpit which makes it very easy to listen to what he has to say - reminds me of listening to Barry Osborne. Jimmy is doing wonderful things for kids in Washington, DC. I pray that God continues to bless Rev. Marsh so he can continue his work for all of God's children.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Marsh to Wesley Memorial

This Sunday, Jimmy Marsh will make his return to Wesley Memorial and preach at all three Sunday morning services. Marsh may be the craziest person I ever met when I was a kid in the Wesley Memorial youth program. Marsh kept the kids entertained so they would be interested in hearing the Word. He continues to work with kids in DC. When he was in High Point, the combo of the crazy Marsh and the hilarious Barry Osborne made ever youth event something to behold. Lucky fo all of us Barry is still at Wesley Memorial. And lucky for the kids in DC, Jimmy learned alot from Barry. It will be nice to see Jimmy there again this weekend. If you're anywhere near High Point, you should come.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Payne Stewart Trial Update

The Payne Stewart trial is continuing in Orlando. His daughter Chelsea, his good friend Peter Jacobsen, and PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem testified yesterday. Good friend Paul Azinger testified today. The trial is still expected to last until mid-June, around the week of the U.S. Open's return to Pinehurst #2.

HPU Construction

With the commencement ceremony behind them, the folks at High Point University have moved their focus to the major construction projects for which HPU President Qubein's fundraising efforts have keyed upon. Things are really improving quickly at HPU, and it will be fun to se the changes over the next two years.

Robinson-Blount

I agree with Ogre's thoughts here - I would love to hear Ferrell Blount's answers to the questions John Plecnik posed to Vernon Robinson. Robinson has some good ideas, and I am sure Blount has some as well. This weekend may be interesting. Early handicapping seems to be favoring change.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Puddin'

"I can't think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog -- completely exhausted after a full and hard day in the field -- limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I'm sitting and puts her head in my lap, a paw over my knee and closes her eyes and goes back to sleep. I don't know what I've done to deserve that kind of friend, but I'm humble enough not to ask any questions."

-Gene Hill

Over the course of history, people have commented on a constant love that has been present. In this case, I am not speaking of the love of God. Here, I am speaking of the love between man and his dog.

“‘Dogs,’ the Old Man used to say, ‘are a cut better than people, and should be treated according to their station and their worth.’”

- Robert Ruark

Theodorus Gaza said, “The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind.” Having owned two dogs in my life, I agree that nothing is more precious. Black Jack was my first dog. He adopted my family by showing up at our door. He was a Flat-coated Retriever, and we had him for a few years until he disappeared one New Year’s Day never to be seen again. We’ve always believed he was stolen.

My second dog was Puddin’. She was the sweetest Springer Spaniel (and maybe the biggest) to ever live. She was born in August 1992, and my parents bought her for me when I turned 14 that November. I will never forget that night. I had been in Greensboro, speaking at a Guilford County Schools board meeting. My principal drove me home after the meeting, and the puppy was waiting for me in the kitchen. That instantaneous and magical connection between a boy and his dog started that night.

Overnight on Sunday night into Monday morning, Puddin’ died in her sleep. This was the end of her suffering. Puddin’ had a stroke some three summers ago, losing the ability to use her back legs. But, we loved her and cared for her for those three years. I believe she had another stroke over the weekend, bringing an end to her life – which lasted about half of mine.

“‘Never knew a man not to be improved by a dog.’”

- Robert Ruark

They say that the bond between a boy and his dog is something to behold, and I agree. However, I believe that the bond between a boy who happens to be an only child and his dog is even more special.

"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”

-Robert Benchley

Puddin’ was there for me whenever I needed a pick-me-up from the day I turned 14 until yesterday, and I am now 26. When I came home from school, she was there. When I went to play golf, she came with me. When I played basketball, she played defense. She was there when I came home from college. She was there when I came home from law school. And now, she will be there whenever I come home to see my parents – under her tree by the hammock. God bless you, Puddin’. Thank you for some of my best memories and for teaching me so much.

"When the Man waked up he said, 'What is Wild Dog doing here?' And the Woman said, 'His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'"

-Rudyard Kipling

"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us."

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, May 16, 2005

Nicklaus to Say Goodbye

When Jack Nicklaus plays in this year's British Open at St. Andrews, it will be his final competitive tournament. We all knew this day would come, but it is sad nonetheless.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Eastbound

I will be unable to post for a few days, so let me leave you with some thoughts. Be wary on Friday the 13th, I know some folks get real weird about superstitious stuff. Remember to wear red on Sunday for Pentecost. The NASCAR race this week is another Saturday night special, in Richmond. Watch the big guns play at the Byron Nelson. Singh and Els will play together on Thursday and Friday.

I will return sometime this weekend. Until then, enjoy the beautiful Carolina weather.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Hurricane Poll Downgraded

The other day, news outlets reported a new Mason-Dixon poll. In my mind, the reporting is unnecessarily sensationalizing a poorly conducted poll. Look at that Washington Post headline – “Gulf Coast Not Ready for Hurricanes.” The news reports suggested that people who have faced storms in the past have not learned form their experiences. So, I decided to look at the numbers.

First of all, if a poll is being conducted concerning tropical storms and hurricanes, the people being polled should be predominantly from Virginia to Texas. It turns out, however, that 28% of the people polled live in the Northeast – defined as New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Another 19% were from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. So, nearly half of the respondents live north of Cape Hatteras. Only on seven questions did a higher percentage of people from north of Cape Hatteras answer correctly than from south of Cape Hatteras. The Washington Post headline about the Gulf Coast is off base too, considering only 26% of respondents were from the Gulf Coast (excluding Florida which was grouped with the Georgia and the Carolinas).

Second, only 62% of respondents had experienced a tropical storm. Are you kidding me? And the majority felt their home was “not too vulnerable” or “not at all vulnerable” to hurricane-related issues such as tornadoes and flooding. Well, considering nearly half of the respondents are from well north of the vast majority of landfalls, these numbers should come as no surprise. The poll should not have been broken down so evenly geographically. It should have polled more people who live in hurricane-prone states and fewer people in the Northeast. That would have given us a better idea of preparedness in the key geographic locales. How can a poll tell us about preparation in the Southeast and Gulf Coast if only 585 people were polled in those two regions combined?

Wachovia Wrap-up

Last weekend, the PGA Tour stopped in Charlotte for the third annual Wachovia Championship. I was fortunate enough to make it to Quail Hollow for the Final Round on Sunday. I did not anticipate the excitement that came late in the day, but I was sure glad to be there to see it.

Sergio Garcia started the day with what seemed to be an insurmountable advantage of six strokes. But, it was easy to see that the course was set up for scoring, so the folks further down the leader board were going to make a run. Lo, and behold, Phil Mickelson was the first to show the field how it could be done.

As Mickelson made birdie after birdie, the crowds began whispering his name. When Mickelson got it to -7 for the day (-6 for the event), I was on the 3rd fairway watching Garcia’s approach. After the final pairing left the third hole, more people walked towards the back nine to see Mickelson than continued to follow Garcia to the fourth tee.

I decided to stake out a position behind the 15th green and watch the action there until Mickelson, who was now on 13, arrived. Mickelson hit a wonderful chip in tight to make birdie at 15 to get to -8 for the tournament. We then followed Mickelson for the rest of his round – watched him just miss the birdie putt at 16 after barely carrying the front bunker, watched him hit in the water again at 17 to end his chances of victory, and watched him bogey the last hole.

Then, it was back to the perch behind the 15th green. I only saw Tiger Woods play one hole, 15, and that was perfect. He hit an incredible second shot to about 15-20 feet and drained the eagle putt. You could tell by his reaction that he thought, “Where has that been all week.” He had an embarrassed smile on his face as he walked past me towards the 16th tee.

When Vijay Singh hit his second shot at 15 over the green, I was about 10 feet from the ball. My father and I agreed that Singh needed to realize that the upcoming chip was downhill and he’d be better off going 10 feet by the hole to leave himself an uphill birdie putt than leave it short. Well, Singh left it short…didn’t even get on the green. Now, our position was directly behind the ball. We had been watching players with this slick putt much of the afternoon. As Singh stood over the ball, we looked at each other in disbelief. We knew the putt would break about 12-15 inches left to right and Singh was lining it up to break 12-15 inches right to left. Sure enough, he misread it and failed o get his birdie effort close. This led to a tough par putt, which he missed, so he took a bogey 6 after being over the green in 2. Advantage Sergio.

Garcia’s second shot at 15 is the best shot I have ever seen in person. I agree with Brandel Chamblee on that. He hit it 248 from a downhill lie and putt it within about 5 feet. Of course, he missed that putt, but the shot was amazing. As Garcia and Jim Furyk left the 15th green, I had left Furyk for dead. It had to be Garcia or Singh now, right?

Furyk hit a great approach at 16 and made birdie. Garcia inexplicably putts his tee shot in the lake at 17. Why in the world is that ball anywhere near the flag? Even Singh, who was trailing Garcia when as he prepared to tee off at 17, hit his tee ball long and right so as to avoid disaster. That decision likely won the tournament for Singh. Then, Furyk hits a remarkable approach and solid putt at 18 to force a three-man playoff.

At this point, it was obvious by his body language that Garcia was discouraged. Singh and Furyk had the momentum and the swagger. Not surprisingly, Garcia was eliminated on the first hole of the playoff. The tee shots Singh and Furyk sent to 17 were remarkable, but the putts were too difficult back down the slope. At 18, Furyk ran into a case of terrible luck. His drive hit the bank of the “creek” and went into the hazard. His drop gave him a terrible lie. He had to lay up. Then, he takes dead aim at the flag, hits the flag, and caroms into the rough left of the green. If his ball misses the flag, it likely stops by the hole to give him a remarkable bogey 5. Instead, Singh has a pressure-free bunker shot – which enabled him to put it close – and pars to win.

Atmosphere

The crowd at the Wachovia on Sunday was electric. The crowds were big, but could be bigger if the event organizers wanted to increase the number of tickets. Of course, the exclusivity is a big deal, so I don’t think they will make that change. As Mickelson made a late charge, the place was abuzz, even among the crowd following Garcia some ten holes back.

The best players in the world gave great effort and built great drama. If you told any tournament organizer or CBS Sports that you would have Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, and Jim Furyk in a playoff, they would be ecstatic. That seventeenth hole is a bear. I have never stood at the tee box of 17 at Sawgrass, but I cannot imagine it being more intimidating than 17 at Quail Hollow.

Conditions

The course was in immaculate shape. The fairways looked like new carpets. The rough was pretty short by any standard you use, but weather has played a part in that. The wind swirled at times and stopped at times, making the best players in the world have to think a lot. Thus, the very slow play on Saturday. The skies were cloudless and the temperature was perfect for springtime in North Carolina.

Mother’s Day

I went to the Wachovia with my parents. It was a mutual gift I suppose. Mom had a few observations as we stood by the 15th green and watched the players walk within 2 or 3 feet of us going to the next tee. She says that Mickelson really does look like Hugh Grant. She says she likes Chris DiMarco – I think that refers to his attractiveness more than his golf. She was impressed with Adam Scott’s composure. She liked the way Tiger carried himself.

Final Thoughts

The PGA Tour slogan is right. These guys are good. Sergio will be fine. Mickelson will be ready for Pinehurst, but he needs to come back to Quail Hollow before next year’s Wachovia and play 16, 17, and 18 a few times if he wants to win in Charlotte. Tiger’s driver isn’t quite where it needs to be. Singh is the best player in the world, in my mind. DiMarco really is becoming one of the elite players in the world. He’s been in the top five of his last three events, and he moved up this week to #6 in the world golf rankings. I’m a fan. Furyk is back. The facilities at Quail Hollow are as good as they get – the concessions stands are large enough to accommodate the throngs of people and the air conditioned trailers as restrooms are quite nice. The course is fairly compact, 15, 16, 17, and 18 are all right together so it is easy to see a lot of action. And, lastly, this great Wachovia Championship in Charlotte will kill the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro unless some major changes are made. Quail Hollow is a better course, the spring is a better season for golf, the purse is larger, the facilities are nicer, the field is stronger, and I could go on and on. This was an A+ event in all respects.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Charlotte Miscue?

It appears that Charlotte may be on the outside looking in when it comes to hosting ACC basketball tournaments in the future. Charlotte has been a mainstay among the cities who rotate hosting the event, but with the construction of the new downtown coliseum in Charlotte and the growth of the ACC, the times are a changin'.

Knowing that Charlotte would want to hold on to the tourism dollars of hosting such events as the ACC Tournament and opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, why would they choose to build a new coliseum that is not only smaller than the existing one but is also smaller than other colisems in the region, such as the Greensboro Coliseum? That seems like poor planning, plain and simple.

I would imagine Greensboro will hold on to its spot in the rotation since the league is based in that city, so the other cities in the rotation will likely be those with domed arenas that can hold more spectators now that the league has expanded to twelve members.

America's Mayor in the Furniture Capital

Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke about leadership at commencement exercises for High Point University over the weekend. Some men have a knack for leadering people to perform in ways they never thought possible, and Mayor Giuliani is such a person. If you have some free time and don't mind reading about the some of the minutiae of the workings of the city government of New York, read Giuliani's book entitled Leadership. I read it last summer and gained valuable insight into how to work with and lead people for bigger causes.

Driving Experience

This is the second time Governor Mike Easley has lost control of a Nextel Cup car during a publicity stunt. Someone sign him up for the Richard Petty Driving Experience so it doesn't happen again.

Bi-Lo's Southern...Southern's Not

Bi-Lo is selling 104 of its grocery stores, including all the Triad locations, to Southern Family Markets. The funny part is Southern Family Markets is from New Hampshire...not much "southern" about New Hampshire.

Rubbin's Racin'

Rusty Wallace was on the Tony Danza Show on Monday (which is bizarre enough), and the driver and talkshow host raced go-karts. During the last lap, Wallace bumped Danza from behind and Danza lost control, flipping his go-kart. This fits Rusty's m.o., but I've always found it difficult to flip go-karts like the ones driven on the talkshow. For video of the incident, get ESPN Motion and go here or just go here.

Chesney-Zellweger

Kenny Chesney and Renee Zellweger were married recently in a service on St. John. They met in January - just four months ago. What is it with country music stars marrying their favorite actresses? Chesney's favorite actress was Zellweger (he wrote "You Had Me From Hello" after he saw her in Jerry Maguire) much like Brad Paisley's was Kimberly Williams.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Reece Holbrook

In March, I mentioned the story of Reece Holbrook, a young boy who was about to turn 3 and is fighting cancer. The UNC family did, in fact, rally around little Reece. The Reece Holbrook Golf Classic was held this week and was a rousing success. God bless all who participated and gave to this effort.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Uncertainty

At present, my life is filled with uncertainty. I am in the process of looking for a new job, and everyday I wonder where I will be in a week, a month, or a year. In years past, this "not knowing" would have been of incredible frustration to me. But, that is not the case today. I know that there is a plan for me, and I will be able to handle any trials that may come my way now and in the future. As the new Brooks & Dunn song says, "God won't make a mountain I can't climb." (See also Philippians 4:13) As Oswald Chambers said, "... gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life." I hope that you too welcome uncertainty in your life and keep listening for God's will.

President Bush on the National Day of Prayer

The President spoke this morning, commemmorating the National Day of Prayer.

Cinco de Mayo Stuff

Today is Cinco de Mayo, so go here for a short piece on the history behind this day of celebration. Yes, it's about more than margarita specials at the local Mexican restaurants. President Bush honored our Mexican neighbors today. On a related note, the Cato Institute has published a bilingual edition of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States of America so Spanish-speaking members of our communities can learn more about their new home.

Will on faith

George Will celebrated a birthday yesterday, so in honor of that I recommend you read his column on "The Christian Complex." There is some good advice in that short piece.

Banking News

This isn't a groundbreaking story, but it is interesting nonetheless. I saw the first SunTrust commercials on local television here the other day. SunTrust has merged with CCB, so the CCBs are now SunTrusts. Good TV spot though - patron walks through the front door when the door says "CCB" and sees the SunTrust signs inside and all the new services being offered. Very good concept for an ad. I saw this article about SunTrust hiring and expanding here in the Triad and thought some of you might want to hear more about the new big bank in our midst.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Stewart Trial

Finally, the civil trial has begun. The families of Payne Stewart and Robert Fraley are suing Learjet. The trial is expected to last six weeks - which means it would end around June 15. That would be the week of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst #2. That would be of supreme coincidence. Stewart's last victory was the last U.S. Open played on that course. I will continuously provide trial updates as I receive them over the coming weeks.

Judicial Nominations and Going Nuclear

Norman J. Ornstein at AEI has clearly asserted his position against the nuclear option in seeking Senate confirmation of judicial nominees. Take a look. Interesting tidbit about Senator Domenici.

Senator Burr told Davidson County Republicans to get involved in this issue and write letters and such. He did not say whether he agrees with the nuclear option.

National Day of Prayer

Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. Go to the official website for more information. Anytime we can bring attnetion to the need for and power of prayer, it is a good thing. In High Point there are two events listed on the website - a Community Prayer Breakfast at First Baptist Church at 7:30 and "God Shed His Grace On Thee" at Showplace at Noon.

Wachovia Pairings

For Thursday's opening round of the Wachovia, the "big drama" begins on the 10th tee at 12:42 when Tiger Woods tees it up. The 10th tee has four big groups in a row - Tiger Woods and Mike Weir at 12:42, Vijay Singh at 12:51, Sergio Garcia at 1:00, and Phil Mickelson at 1:09. It'll be easy for these guys to keep tabs on one another. Other tee times of note: Neal Lancaster of Smithfield on #1 at 7:24, Chris DiMarco on #1 at 7:42, last week's winner Tim Petrovic, defending champ Joey Sindelar, and THE Jay Haas on #1 at 8:09, David Love III on #1 at 12:42, and a nice foreign pairing of Padraig Harrington, Adam Scott, and Nick Price on #10 at 8:09.

Back on Track

We're going to try to get things back on track here at the Brief over the next few days. I've spent a great deal of time on the road lately with job interviews. I imagine I've seen every corner of the Old North State over the past two weeks. It has been an honor to meet so many fine people. As fara s this site goes, you can look forward to commentary this week on the furniture market, the Wachovia Championship, Mayor Giuliani's trip to High Point, and more.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Third Time Is The Charm?

After The Masters, I wrote that Chris DiMarco is the new Mickelson. After watching this past weekend's Zurich Classic of New Orleans, I feel more strongly about it. Apparently, Kraig Kann agrees that DiMarco is destined for big things in the near future, and Damon Hack sees DiMarco's promise. Sadly, DiMarco was unable to make magic happen in the Big Easy this past weekend (isn't it ironic that Ernie "Big Easy" Els won on the weekend of the event held in "The Big Easy?"). But, DiMarco did help solidify his position as the new Mickelson. How? Mickelson always held this title, but now DiMarco is quickly becoming the lovable loser.

This weekend, DiMarco will be in the field in Charlotte for the Wachovia Championship. It will be his first event since The Masters where Tiger Woods is also in the field. More importantly, if you include The Masters with the Zurich Classic, the Wachovia would be DiMarco's third try at a win after finishing second at Augusta and T3 at New Orleans. Maybe Chris can win this event, which is quickly becoming one of the biggest and best on Tour.

(As a golf-related aside, congratulations to Roxboro, NC native Jim Thorpe for winning the FedEx Kinko's Classic on the Champions Tour.)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Thrill of the Chase

Congratulations to Chase Wilson of High Point who won the Bud Kivett Memorial Tournament over the weekend.

Waffle House

Last week, I read a column from BobLee Swagger about Waffle House (a personal favorite of mine). He dubs the chain the Rednecks Starbucks, and I wholeheartedly agree.

If I'm being honest with myself, I suppose I'm somewhat of a food snob. Growing up in a house with gourmet foods on the table all the time will do that to a young man. (I was fortunate to have a mother who owned her own catering business for better than 10 years before agreeing to handle special events and catering for the Noble's folks here in North Carolina.) That said, there is no place I'd rather stop on the highway than Waffle House for an anytime breakfast.

This past weekend I was down at Lake Norman enjoying a birthday weekend for a friend from law school. On Friday night, I learned that my friend from Rhode Island (gasp, yes that IS north of the Mason-Dixon) had never eaten at a Waffle House! This would soon be fixed as I recalled seeing one at exit 36 off I-77 near Mooresville. Lo and behold, we were in that Waffle House gorging on vittles around lunchtime on Saturday - and this may have been one of the finest Waffle Houses (I'd prefer to say Hice as the plural but I get yelled at by the Grammar Nazis) in which I have eaten.

Next time you hit the highway on your travels, stop by a Waffle House for a goo anytime breakfast. You won't be sorry. (Though to be fair I note the exception from Clemson, SC in today's news.)