My Friday Five: Idol Kickoff, Notes From Dad & A Blog Update

Photo: Chris White
This week's list has some sports talk, American Idol talk and more. Hope you enjoy!

1) Heels Keep On Winning

UNC Basketball is on a roll. The first place Heels are 14-2 (3-0 ACC), fresh off a 106-90 victory at Florida State on Tuesday night. Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige combined for 69 of Carolina's 106 points - 39 and 30, respectively. Johnson had 23 rebounds as well, making it the first 20-20 game for a Tar Heel since Tyler Zeller in 2012. This was also the first time Carolina has scored 100+ points on the road since 2011. Next up for the Heels is another road test at Syracuse on Saturday night.

2) Blog Update

I'm hard at work on a spiffy new theme for my blog. It seems like I change blog themes like I change t-shirts but I feel this new one I'm working on will be sticking around for a while. There are a couple little things I'm adjusting and it should be ready to go soon! I also plan on purchasing a custom domain so I can finally get out of the .blogspot.com world. In the meantime, here's a peak at my new blog header...

Photo: Chris White
3) Idol Kickoff

The 15th and - gulp - final season of American Idol kicked off this week. If you didn't already know, I've been a lifelong fan of the show. I knew that it would end eventually but I thought, perhaps, in another couple years. Instead, FOX chose to end it after this season. In my opinion, FOX handled the whole thing poorly, basically coming up and saying last year mid-season, "Oh, by the way, next season of Idol will be its last." I know that no amount of emails, Facebook posts, tweets, etc. will make FOX execs change their minds but I have a feeling that they will regret this decision in the long run. I know FOX will lose this viewer when Idol is over. Network execs have canceled so many shows that I've liked over the years and Idol was the last straw.

After Idol all I'll have left is America's Got Talent. I'll never watch The Voice for a few reasons: 1) The show continues to be about the "coaches" and their quest to win the show, along with their contestant who quickly slips into obscurity after winning, 2) I'm not a fan of Carson Daly - never have been - nor any of the "coaches" except for Pharrell and 3) The Voice has not produced a single bonafide superstar in the music industry like Idol has done with winners and non-winners alike. It irks me that some people have completely dissed Idol and said The Voice is superior. I bet those very same people were fans of Idol at some point. Sure, Idol is not the show it used to be but it will always be one of my favorites. One of the many reasons why is each of the contestants' stories. Take Tristan McIntosh's for instance.


4) Notes From Dad

I'm not a big fan of Hallmark Movies. Normally, the films are cheesy and not all that exciting to watch, in my opinion, My opinion changed, at least, for one of those films: Notes From Dad. The film is about a gifted trumpeter, Clay Allen (Eddie Cibrian), who becomes a music teacher at a high school that's on the brink of closure. Clay comes up with an idea to revive the school's band and perform at a competition in an effort to gain recognition for the school. The band's overall success depends on whether its star pupil, T.J. Harris (Chris Sheffield), joins. Clay proves to be a mentor to T.J. and guides him and the band to success. This experience also makes Clay realize some missteps he made in his own life.

Hallmark is known for releasing several of its films to DVD but, of course, the only one I actually enjoyed was not. Heck, it's barely been shown on television since its 2013 premiere. I contacted Hallmark on Facebook and received a response - but I may as well not have. The person who responded said that it was the decision of the film's production company as to whether it's released to DVD or not. I then proceeded to research the production company and that turned into companies: Larry Levinson Productions and Nowita Productions. Conveniently, neither company has a website nor any social media so I may go "old school" and send each a letter. The distributor, Red Arrow International, does have a website and social media so I may try that route as well.

It's truly disappointing that Notes From Dad is not available on DVD. I not only enjoyed the film for the music aspect - I'm a musician and music lover in general - but I also enjoyed the great story in it, something many Hallmark films lack, in my opinion. I'll let you know if I have any success contacting the production companies.

5) The U.S. Political "System"

I'ts been a while since I've talked politics on my blog. I used to quite a bit, however, I've been so putout with U.S. politics as of late, I just didn't care to write anything. After seeing this story break by WRAL, I had to speak up. Mark Binker of WRAL @NCCapitol reported this week that North Carolina governor, Pat McCrory, apparently had a private meeting with top Duke Energy executives in June. Why is this important? This meeting took place in the midst of a key legal battle regarding Duke Energy's coal ash spill in North Carolina. What's more, according to Binker, McCrory spent three decades as an employee at Duke Energy and several Duke Energy execs have served in his administration, in return. Additionally, Duke Energy contributed a whopping $3 million to the Republican Governor's Association in 2014. A group that, according to Binker, spends a great deal of cash to elect Republican governors like McCrory.

Enough is enough. I'm sick and tired of politicians and corporate execs meeting together, eating together and having a grand 'ol time all on the taxpayers' dime - and keeping it under wraps. I'm a registered Democrat and I know I'm picking on a Republican here, but I know that this quid pro quo BS is happening in both parties. It infuriates me. There is no question that it's well past time for money and corporate control in politics to be abolished from our country. For good.

Thanks for Reading