Saturday, April 28, 2012

Escaping "dehumanizing" North Carolina.

The Avenyn in Gothenburg, Sweden.
With my impending move to Brussels in a few short months, I sometimes think I'm alone in my views of the world. Then comes a story of another North Carolinian who is moving abroad, though his intent is a more permanent one (at least as of now) in Sweden, it brings up some frightening realities about health-care, and culture in this state:
"I had to get out. This is not how my life, or anyone else’s for that matter, should be lived. " -Kevin Zelnio
Zelnio on his newly manifested "Sweden Journal", on Scientific America, writes how he felt "lost" teaching at Duke and that the mandated university health-care, with its large-co-pay, failed to cover the necessary expenses of his family and his sick child.
" I’m not letting a dehumanizing and devaluing society take me down with it. I quit, moved back into my house and put it on the market."

Considering, that through UNCG's mandated health-care, I've spent tons of money this semester with considerable intimidation (by Pearson [the HMO]) and little or no success in actual care, I understand his sentiment.
"I was working three jobs [...and...] I couldn’t cover mortgage, rent, bills, and finally, with worthless university-mandated family health coverage that wouldn’t cover anything they said they covered on paper (seriously guys, nearly $2000 worth of shot and routine check-ups for 2 kids??)."
Ultimately Zelnio decided for the health of his children, he had to get out, he had to escape. I suspect as more young-adult reach maturity, and recognize the failures of our health-care system, they too, may be enticed to take their graduate degrees abroad. Having educated human-capital is necessary in this country, and if a better health-care system would retain this talent, perhaps North Carolina should consider a nationalized health-care system, such that is common in Europe, here.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Top 13 (most embarrassing) things I've seen or heard in North Carolina

13. Limo rentals and Twizzlers from Dollar General
  1. Gun shops that offer free Bibles with any purchase.
  2. Gas stations that give you free popcorn with a purchase of any 6-pack
  3. Car dealers offering free guns with a purchase of a car. (seems to be a theme here: guns, cars, and beer.)
  4. Wind chimes made out of compact discs.
  5. The phrase "cop a squat" to tell your children to sit down.
  6. Motorcyclists wearing football helmets.
  7. Children kicking dogs, yelling "Don't make me give you another lashing bitch."
  8. Using coleslaw for baby food.
  9. Lawn-chairs and watching the satellite installer on the neighbor's roof for entertainment.
  10. Mustangs with aggressive license plates such as "BRANG IT"
  11. Assassinating snakes by dragging them into the road and backing over them with a Ford truck.
  12. Buying your town cemetery plot early in life, because it doubles as a reservation for the fire-works on the 4th of July- EVERY YEAR!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Chris Daughtry - No Going Home.

Entrance to Daugtry's former Oak Ridge Estate.
So I hear that the former band members are suing Chris Daughtry. No big surprise there, despite confessions to aimicable partings back then, (post American Idol,) rumors persisted as Chris secured a near $700,000 home on the other side of the Triad from everyone he knew. As of last year, Daughtry had moved out of the house and was attempting to sell it, due to friends, family, and locals who supported him in gaining fame, now pestering him. Apparently he even took my advice to add a gate, but alas that wasn't enough. His British manager, Stirling Mcilwaine had this to say about the people of Greensboro, and me in particularly:
"On a separate and more human note, thanks to people like you, my client has stalkers in his yard as well as has received threats from various individuals.  His wife and two kids go to sleep at night fearful of their safety. "
Daughtry's Trash Truck. Ooh la, la!
That was 2006, by 2011 "we" (locals) had driven him out, and now he's being served on arrival at city limits for infringing on his band member's intellectual rights. If indeed this proves to be true, perhaps Daughtry should listen to his manager's words (transcribed exactly as he wrote them) once more:
 "However you do not have the right to post chris daughtry’s intellectual property and therefore are in violation of his rights.  Statutory damages for these types of infractions are $150,000 per infraction plus legal fees. "
Apparently you can't go home again, and Daughtry was right when he sung "Careful what you wish for, cause you might just get it all." I suppose he was talking about fame.

The question in this lawsuit of course, is how much did his former band influence his success, and by his own words, it appears to be a lot:

I was never pushed until I was in a rock band. Therefore it took years to develop the strength and range it takes to deliver Absent Elements' screaming sound.
-Chris Daughtry
But even then Daughtry disclaims his lyrics are entirely his own:

I write about my relationship with God, my wife (who inspires most of my lyrics) and other life experiences. If it didn't happen to me, I can't effectively and honestly write about it. - Chris Daughtry (via

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Billy Bob & Captain Perry | WGGT

Dana Lowell, "Billy Bob" of Channel 48.

No offence to Julie Luck, or Cindy Farmer, but local television personalities were better back when they wore moustaches and t-shirts that read "too funny".  (I'm open to the idea of either of them growing one personally.)

For those who have no clue who I'm talking about, Dana Lowell was winner of Showtime's Funniest Person in North Carolina, and host of Kung-fu Theatre, and was so loved and adored by children in the Triad that he was given a show called The 48 Fun Club, hosting cartoons with his side-kick puppet: Junior Prankster.

Today, Dana, Billy Bob, is the theatre technical director at Greensboro Day School and operates his own hobbyist radio controlled tank website called H*E*A*T Armor. In addition he blogs occasionally at  We Are Dana Lowell. 

Of course we still have yet to find what happened to Captain Perry and his magical hot-air balloon.

More great nostalgic pictures here.