My Friday Five: Idol Recap & An Interesting Business Deal

Photo: Chris White
Hey there! Sorry I've been M.I.A. this week but it's been a busy one. That being said, here's this week's list...

1. Idol Recap

It's crazy to think that American Idol is down to its final five episodes, with yet another double elimination this week. I, for one, have not been impressed with the rushing of the farewell season. Seriously, why even bother if you're just going to rush the season? It's a huge disservice to loyal, longtime fans.

Moving on, here's what impressed me this week. Dalton Rappatoni really stepped up his solo performance this week after a meh performance last week. As you recall, I called it a big disappointment. For the second week in a row, Trent Harmon was incredible. His performance of "Stand By Me" this week was magical. I tell ya, I'd buy a ticket in a heartbeat to see him in concert. And, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Tistan McIntosh. She gave yet another strong performance, singing the Martina McBride classic "Broken Wing." Check out those three performances below.




The biggest disappointment of the night for me was the aforementioned Rappatoni and Mackenzie Bourg's duet of "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. It was a lackluster performance for me. I felt like neither connected very well with the audience. It was blah to the max.

2. AMC Entertainment Acquires Carmike Cinemas

I woke up one day earlier this week and saw this as the top trend on Facebook. Carmike Cinemas - my favorite movie theater chain - has made a deal to be acquired by AMC Entertainment. The transaction, according to The New York Times, is valued at $1.1 billion and would create the largest movie theater chain in the world. The deal must still pass antitrust hearings and be approved by Carmike shareholders, according to NYT.

Carmike has always been a "down home" theater chain to me and AMC more highfalutin. I'm fortunate to have a choice of theaters here where I live, including a Carmike and AMC, and I choose Carmike 90 percent of the time. In addition to being clean and having nice staff, Carmike offers some great deals as opposed to AMC, which offers just about nothing. Check out this post I wrote back in 2015 about that. Much has yet to be seen with this deal but I'm not all that excited about it. I guess time will tell.

3. Tourney Thoughts

The 63rd ACC Tournament commenced in Washington, D.C.. this week. I'm never happy when the tournament is away from Greensboro (a.k.a. "Tournament Town" to us NC folk). I've been fortunate to share some memories with my family at the tournament in past years, including my now 89-year-old grandmother - whom I've talked about frequently on here. It's strange for me not to attend any tournament games this year and I'll have to get use to it as the tournament will not return to Greensboro until 2020. ACC Comissioner, John Swofford, and crew decided that the tournament should travel around the ACC's newly expanded footprint, with stops this year in D.C. and the next two years in Brooklyn, N.Y. Yea, Brooklyn. Have fun going up there in March. In the end, it's all about the glitz, glamor and money. I hope the select few who can actually afford a week-long trip up to Brooklyn next year enjoy it. I, for one, will be sitting at home.

Back to this year's tournament action, my Tar Heels are the only team left standing in the Triangle. Carolina got a big 88-71 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon to secure a spot in the semifinals. The No. 1 seeded Heels will play Notre Dame in one semifinal game after the Irish came back from a double-digit deficit to beat Duke in overtime. Now, you know me, as a UNC and N.C. State fan I absolutely despise Duke. Needless to say I was happy!

4. My Endorsement

As I type this, I had a unique opportunity. I woke to news on Thursday that Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, would be making a stop at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh today. Although I'm pretty intrigued by politics in our country, I usually don't attend political rallies held by candidates. The only other political event I attended was to hear President Obama speak at N.C. State.

The rally was awesome! Sanders spoke in front of a capacity crowd and his speech was excellent. But, what I loved most about the event was something that happened before Sanders even came to the podium to speak. After a brief lull in the festivities, we were told that Sanders was running a bit behind. Why? It wasn't because his flight was delayed, he got stuck in traffic or he was eating lunch. He was speaking to an overflow crowd outside of Memorial Auditorium that couldn't make it inside with the rest of us. You can dislike the guy all you want but that's special right there. Below is a picture I took at the rally.

Photo: Chris White
Which leads me to my endorsement. If you know me, you probably know that I'm a born and raised Democrat. That doesn't mean I blindly follow the party. I don't agree with everything Democrats put forth and I'm willing to listen, accept and agree with some things Republicans put forth. Some. However, I'm a Democrat at my core and I intend to stay that way. That being said, I'm tired of Bush's and Clinton's. It's time for something new. Sanders is the only candidate I've seen that vows to work for the "little guy" as opposed to the corporate conglomerates. And he's not just saying it, either. He has concrete plans for every major policy that's pertinent to our country. But I won't bore you with all the policy talk. I'll just say that I'm fed up. I'm fed up with seeing my mom, who's worked her butt off for more than 30 years, struggle to make ends meet. I'm fed up with seeing my fellow college grads begin their professional careers thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. I'm fed up with Wall Street, the big banks and the top one percent reaping almost all the wealth while the rest of us suffer. I'm fed up with the partisan BS in Washington. It's just not right and something must be done about it.

That's why Reflections is officially endorsing Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. I hope you'll stand with me and say enough is enough!

5. Sun Rays Excuse?

Okay, I'll just go ahead and say it: I'm not, nor will I ever be, a fan of Time Warner Cable. The cable conglomerate has created a virtual monopoly in several markets throughout the country, including here in North Carolina. Alternatives are slowly coming to fruition, however - Google Fiber is setting up shop in North Carolina, for example - but it's remained primarily either TWC, satellite or nothing at all. TWC, in my opinion, charges astronomically too high for subpar cable service. I could go on about my disdain for TWC but I'll leave it at that.

Much to my chagrin, my mom told me about this notice she received after logging into her TWC account. The notice said something to the effect that solar radiation could cause some service issues in the coming days. Do what, now? In all the years I've been acquainted with TWC, I've never heard of such reasoning to explain service issues. Apparently, solar radiation can disrupt cable and satellite service, as outlined in this 2015 New York Daily News article, but what does TWC explain its countless other service issues on? At least once a month, something in my household doesn't work correctly and has to be rebooted. It's frustrating to experience service issues while dishing out $200+ a month to this company - and I don't even have HBO or Showtime. I'm working on cutting cable altogether and going with a digital antenna and streaming instead. It'd be a whole heck of a lot cheaper and, as far as service goes, it can't get any worse than TWC.

Thanks for Reading