Friday, December 27, 2013

The 'Perfect Bacon Bowl' Is Calling My Name

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/27/2013 No comments
Hopefully you've had at least a few days off this week because of the holidays. If so, you've likely watched more TV than usual. And if that's the case, you probably have seen the commercial for the Perfect Bacon Bowl. It's been airing a lot this week. And now it's haunting me.

See, the Perfect Bacon Bowl is just what it sounds like, in terms of what it promises. You wrap uncooked bacon around the pan, stick it into the oven, and when it's done, the bacon has formed the shape of a bowl, which you can then fill with even more mouth-watering goodness.

I saw the commercial on TV all day on Tuesday. So I decided to tweet about it and include the YouTube video of the commercial. After posting my tweet, I clicked on the video's link to make sure it was working properly and I realized that I recognized one of the guys chomping on bacon in the commercial as someone who works for Edison Nation here in Charlotte. It would make perfect sense because Edison Nation has become astute in bringing clever, why-didn't-I-think-of-that kind of products to the market. I soon confirmed that it is indeed Edison Nation who's behind this cool, new thingamajig.

But I must resist buying it. See, I love bacon too much. I'm talking about the real stuff too: pork. No, turkey bacon is not an adequate substitute. I love bacon because of its taste, crunch, smell (but not to the extent of wanting bacon cologne)... er'ything. If I'm ordering at a restaurant I haven't eaten at before and it has an item on the menu that has bacon on it, I'm likely to order that. If I was to have a Perfect Bacon Bowl in my possession, there would be no end to the number of makeshift recipes I would create. I would probably try to eat cereal out of it.

But I'm not the only one. We're in the midst of a bacon craze--from cocktails to chocolate. Even if it is "Why the rest of the world hates us," as David Letterman proclaimed recently in response to the Perfect Bacon Bowl. This kitchsy kitchen device has also become food for fodder on Twitter (search "Perfect Bacon Bowl"), likely propelled by the prominence the TV commercial has been getting as of late.

Visit if you'd like to order the Perfect Bacon Bowl.

UPDATE: 1/26/14
I was given a Perfect Bacon Bowl, and I used it for the first time today. I whipped up a couple of bacon, egg, and cheese bowls for Sunday brunch. It was as easy to use as demonstrated in the ads, but it took longer than I expected for the bacon to cook to a crisp in the oven--about an hour in my gas oven because the directions say not to exceed 375 degrees. My suggestion is to cook your bacon bowls in a toaster oven for faster results. Of course, the microwave would be the absolute fastest way but I don't like to cook food in a microwave.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kriss Kross, circa 1992. Credit: The Internets

#Bobcats x #CharlotteHornets = #BuzzCity.

Charlotte Hornets, 2014-15. Credit:

Explanation of headline: Rap Genius.

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Life City of Praise church, led by pastor and famed gospel recording artist John P. Kee, is holding their annual Gifts for Guns Exchange. It's simple: you bring in a gun (remove the ammo first), there are no questions asked, and in return you'll receive a gift card ranging from $25-$100. It's the church's admirable efforts to reduce crime by taking illegal guns off the streets.

New Life holds this gun drive each year during the Christmas season. The 2013 drive began yesterday and runs until noon tomorrow (December 21). All guns turned in will be given to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to be destroyed. New Life is located at 1337 Samuel St. in the historic Double Oaks community. I wrote about the neighborhood a few years ago before it was revitalized into what's now called Brightwalk.

Pastor Kee tweeted a photo this afternoon of the pile of guns he said had been collected in less than six hours.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Christmas season is a festive time in the Charlotte area. Decorations and Christmas trees adorn many of the public spaces like parks, streets, malls and shopping centers, and there are plenty of holiday-themed attractions to visit. I would imagine that Charlotteans and visitors are sharing some of these experiences on social media, but there didn't seem to be a prevalent hashtag being used to unite this effort. So I've suggested one: #ChristmasInCLT.

It spawned from last Monday night when I was making a quick trip to Northlake Mall. As I was walking up to the entrance at the food court wing, I was met by the mall's towering Christmas tree. I took a few photos of it and decided I would post it on Twitter. But before doing so, I did a quick search on my phone's Twitter app to see what Charlotte Christmas-related hashtags that might be out there. None of the variations I searched for had more than one or two tweets posted with them, and for a couple of those the tweets were from last Christmas. So, I decided on #ChristmasInCLT and a few of my friends have joined in.

Up to this point, I've only been using #ChristmasInCLT on Twitter, but I encourage you to use it there as well as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and wherever else hashtags are used. Wouldn't it be great to be able to look at the experiences people are having in Charlotte during Christmastime? This would be especially fun to peruse, say, one evening while you're home--or away from home--on vacation for the holidays. So go for it! Share photos and messages from the holiday events you attend, places you go, Christmas stuff you spot, and more.

And in case you aren't in the know, here are a few of the great Christmas attractions currently underway in the Charlotte area:

Holiday on Ice
Go ice skating outdoors in Uptown. NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,

Speedway Christmas
Drive through displays of more than 3 million lights, including on the racetrack. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy. South, Concord,

Christmas at the Library
Oh yeah, Christ is the reason for the season. Billy Graham Library, 4330 Westmont Dr.,

McAdenville Christmas Lights
See why this small town is known as Christmas Town U.S.A. McAdenville,

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Cowfish, Charlotte's one-of-a-kind "sushi burger bar," has been one of the city's most popular restaurants since opening three years ago in SouthPark. Well, technically it's not one of a kind anymore after it expanded to Raleigh in April--garnering more than a hundred rave reviews on Yelp since then (see photos of the Raleigh location). And now the owners are taking their talents--and signature burgushi--to Orlando. Universal Studios announced yesterday that The Cowfish will open at Universal CityWalk in 2014.

Rendering of the Universal CityWalk planned expansion. Credit:

CityWalk is embarking on a major expansion that will include the destination's largest hotel, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and the attraction The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. It will also bring eight new dining venues, which is where The Cowfish comes in, and also including Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, and Bread Box, among others. The expansion "comes after a nationwide search for culinary concepts," according to the press release.

Speculation about The Cowfish expanding to Universal CityWalk began last month after a "rumor round-up" article by, which has now proved to be true. I learned of it back then when Wilson of WCCB Charlotte shared the article on Twitter.

Menu items like these are why there's often a line of people waiting to be seated at The Cowfish in SouthPark. Credit:

Below is video of an interview did with two of The Cowfish's co-owners about the planned Orlando location, and they give insight into what makes the restaurant so unique.

It's always great to see Charlotte-based companies take their brands and concepts across the country. A few months ago, I wrote on my Dusk Till Dawn nightlife blog about bars and nightclubs that started in Charlotte and have since expanded to other places: "Experience Charlotte Nightlife … In Other Cities."

Keep up with The Cowfish at, as well at their newly created Twitter account for the Orlando location: @CowfishOrlando.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I stumbled upon an ecoATM a few weeks ago while at Northlake Mall. I decided to pay it a visit this evening, with old cell phone in tow.

If you aren't familiar with ecoATM, it's an automated kiosk that allows you to sell your old mobile phones, tablets, and MP3 players and get cash instantly. That is, if it's determined there's a value for it. There are, reportedly, about 650 ecoATMs around the country, including eight in the Charlotte area: two each at Northlake, Carolina Place, Concord Mills, and Eastridge (Gastonia) malls. At Northlake Mall, there's one on level two just off the food court, near the path to AMC Theatres; and the other is on level one near the entrance to Dillard's.

The ecoATM on level two at Northlake Mall. Photos credit: Jarvis Holliday

The ecoATM on level one.

According to ecoATM, it is able to assess more than 4,000 devices. I experienced firsthand just how easy it is to use. The kiosk makes it clear that the company wants you to be able to get money quick and easy, but that it wants to deter criminal activity, i.e. if someone tries to sell a stolen iPhone they will probably be tracked down. You're required to scan your driver's license or some other form of state-issued ID early on in the process. (If you get to the end where you're about to complete the sale, you'll also have to scan your thumbprint and your photo is taken).

The machine spits out a small tracking sticker, which looks like a QR code, for you to place on the back of the device. Then, you place your device inside a box on the machine, where it works its magic. After about a minute or less, it determined that there was "not a market for my device." So, the (stingy, LOL) ecoATM wouldn't offer me any cash for it, but it did offer to recycle the phone for me. I decided to hold onto it (even though it's practically useless to me).

That's the other advantage to using this machine. If devices taken in by ecoATM can't be resold, they're recycled, which helps the environment by keeping the old electronics from ending up in landfills. In April, the company announced that it had recycled its one-millionth device; it's now approaching two million. There's a large market out there for this service, considering it's estimated that Americans have as many as half a billion old mobile devices lying around that they are no longer using. That happens because the average shelf life of those devices, the majority of which are phones, is less than two years. Because, you know, you usually upgrade to a new phone or it breaks. And the old phones likely pile up in a drawer or box somewhere in your house.

I think a lot of us hold onto them because of all of the data, particularly photos and videos, that we've accumulated on them (ecoATM advises you to delete all of your info from the phone before selling it). I went through my old phone last night and it was like scrolling down memory lane as I looked at photos I took on it between 2009 and 2011. I got my current phone in November 2011, and I plan to replace it in about a month or so (I know, I use a phone longer than most of you; that's probably because I'm not #TeamiPhone). This one has a ridiculous amount of personal data stored on it.

Here's a tip. The two ecoATMs at Northlake Mall are slightly different. The one on level one requires you to stick your driver's license in a reader/slot similar to a cash dispensing ATM, whereas the one on level two requires you to place it against a small glass surface that acts as a scanner. The latter will probably work better for you if your license is old and/or has a crack in it, which could prevent it from successfully sliding through the reader.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Last night, I saw Bojangles' "Tailgate Everything: Curfew" television commercial for the first time. I thought it was at-once funny, clever, a bit silly, but somehow seemingly realistic; and as a result: effective. In the 30-second spot, a teenage girl comes tiptoeing into her house after curfew, only to be startled by her parents who are waiting for her in the kitchen, flanked by Bojangles’ food and having a "little tailgate party."

Today, I visited the address that appears at the end of the commercial. I was curious to see what else was there (I also assumed that Charlotte-based advertising agency BooneOakley was behind this marketing campaign, and it is). The Tailgate Everything website features several folksy, witty, tongue-in-cheek ideas on how to incorporate tailgating into multiple aspects of your life, such as work, school, and even your romance. The latter offers such suggestions as how to include Bojangles' on your wedding registry and smell your sweetest with tea perfume.


Also, according to BooneOakley, the Tailgate Everything radio ads feature a character named Gail Tate (clever play on words), who "explains how to tailgate anything and everything with Bojangles' Big Bo Box."

You might want to poke around the Tailgate Everything website because you can enter to win tailgate prizes. You can also submit your own comical photos or videos for a chance to be crowned a Tailgate All Star. And there are other practical and useful things on the site such as (real) recipes for great tailgating meal items.

Friday, December 6, 2013

William Wilson, CEO of William Wilson Clothing, has opened a new showroom for his custom clothing line. The Charlotte-based designer makes custom men's suits, shirts, and neckties for his namesake brand, which he launched in 2008. I met William about two years ago and have seen his brand and notoriety grow tremendously during that time. I attended the private grand opening event he held on Monday.

William Wilson shows merchandise at his new showroom. Photos by Marissa Carter. See more.

His new showroom, located in a great storefront space in the Coffey & Thompson building (near the corner of West Morehead and South Tryon streets, where Uptown meets South End), represents the growth of his company. It's not easy getting a clothing line off the ground--all of his custom label suits are handmade--but William has managed to make suits for several professional athletes, including Carolina Panthers players and NASCAR drivers. In fact, he now designs the jackets for the winners of three NASCAR Sprint Cup series races--the Coca-Cola 600, Bank of America 500, and Sprint All-Star Race--as well as the Chiquita Classic golf tournament, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the best college football defensive player in the nation; 2013 award is being given out December 9).

At the showroom grand opening, I learned that William has recently launched William Everette, his first ready-to-wear collection of business suits. As he explained, this allows him to serve clients who can't afford to pay thousands of dollars for a custom suit, but he can still make quality suits they can buy off the rack for a few hundred dollars.

Another thing I'm impressed by is the humbleness that comes across from William when you're talking to him. At Monday's event, he repeatedly thanked and gave credit to the people he says have helped him along the way and have been instrumental to his success. He also talked a lot about the role God plays in his life.

I never hear Donald Trump talking like that!

William Wilson Clothing, 109 W. Morehead St., Follow William on Twitter @TheClothier.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I don't remember if I heard of GivingTuesday last year when it launched. But now in it's second year, this national day of giving's message is all over the place--as it should be. Founded by a NYC-based nonprofit organization, GivingTuesday is intended to remind us that it is important to give during this holiday season, and it strategically takes place following what has become national shopping days (and oftentimes acts of greed): Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So today, Tuesday, December 3, is GivingTuesday.


This charitable campaign got a big boost this year when the United Nations Foundation joined as an official partner. Nonprofit organizations--big and small--are participating all around the country. Below I've listed a few Charlotte-based groups that would be deserving of your support, should you decide to give today. For each of these, I've either been involved with the organizations and/or know some of the key people behind them. And they run the gamut, from helping the homeless and impoverished to working with youth, education, and improving health. Donations can be given online at each of the organizations' websites.

Organizations listed in alphabetical order.

Charlotte Rescue Mission
Founded in 1938 (celebrating 75th anniversary), this organization has a long history of reaching out to the homeless and those battling addictions. Its mission is to minister the good news of Christianity to individuals caught in the crisis of poverty, hopelessness, or addictions by meeting their spiritual, physical, and emotional needs.

Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
An affiliate of the national Communities In Schools network, the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, its mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. As a result, our youth will be better equipped to find meaningful employment, lead productive, gratifying lives, and become contributing members of society.

Crisis Assistance Ministry
An independent nonprofit agency, it focuses on preventing homelessness and preserving dignity for Charlotte-Mecklenburg's working poor by providing assistance with rent, utilities, clothing, and furniture.

EmpowHERment, Inc.
Provides mentorship, talent development, and advocacy programs for girls and women throughout the Charlotte region. It started a few years ago as an annual summit, then last year became a fully developed nonprofit organization. You can support its efforts and have an enjoyable evening at EmpowHERment's First Birthday Celebration on Thursday, December 12 at UNC Charlotte Center City. Click here to buy tickets.

Freedom School Partners
FSP's mission is to engage, educate, and empower children to succeed in school and in life through quality, year-round educational enrichment programs. Provides quality summer Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools programs for students in grades K-12 throughout Charlotte’s communities.

Queen City Mobile Market
Working to improve food access one neighborhood at a time. The mobile market will roll out on a mission to make sure everyone enjoys fresh produce regardless of their zip code in Charlotte and the surrounding area.

The Red Pump Project
A nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls through education, and open dialogue about the issues that surround sexual and reproductive health. The Fifth Annual Red Pump/Red Tie Affair takes place this Saturday, December 7 at The Hart Witzen Gallery in Charlotte. Click here to buy tickets.

Learn more about GivingTuesday by visiting, at, and Twitter @GivingTues | #GivingTuesday. You're also encouraged to post an #UNselfie--a photo showing where and why you gave to a charity.

UNselfies. Credit: @UTAFoundation

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Supermodel-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker shared a photo on Instagram late last night of herself wearing a Charlotte Hornets hat, adding some buzz to the Buzz City movement.

After starring in two major movies in 2012--What to Expect When You're Expecting and Battleship--the Matthews native is set to star in her first recurring role on a television series, a comedy called Friends with Better Lives that is expected to debut midseason on CBS. According to tweets and Instagram posts from cast and crew members, the show wrapped the taping of its first season this past Wednesday. In addition to Brooklyn, the FWBL cast includes Kevin Connolly, James Van Der Beek, Majandra Delfino, and Zoe Lister-Jones.

Back to the Hornets hat, if you'll notice, Brooklyn keeps it G by posing with the tag still on, reminiscent of this hilarious "Dueling Hats" skit from Key & Peele.

The Hornets name and mascot makes its return to Charlotte's NBA team, replacing the Bobcats, beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

While most of the world knows Sonya Curry as Stephen and Seth's mom, the lady we enjoyed watching on television in the stands at college basketball games, she has an important day job. Aside from being the matriarch of Charlotte's First Family of sports, which also includes husband Dell and daughter Sydel, Sonya is the founder and head of school of the Christian Montessori School at Lake Norman. Because the school is a member of the American Montessori Society, we're treated to a video the society produced, featuring the Curry family discussing how receiving a Montessori education positively impacted their lives.

Photo of a young Curry family, shown in the Montessori video. 

I first became familiar with Montessori schools several years ago, shortly after moving to Charlotte. I was working on a magazine article that led me to learn that Montessori schools, for the most part, allow students to learn at their own pace and there are usually multiple ages placed in a classroom to foster peer learning. In the video, all five of the Currys talk about what they like about Montessori education. But what I think you'll enjoy most is getting a rare glimpse into the personal lives of a family that has been in the public eye for much of the last 20 years, but does their best to keep a relatively low profile outside of their professions.

In describing each of her kids' personalities, Sonya says Steph is really task oriented, Seth is quiet, shy, and reserved, and Sydel is a social butterfly. If you've ever come across Sydel's Twitter, then you know the Elon University freshman volleyball player is social. And I know that the Sonya Curry stans will be happy to see that the hot mom gets a lot of face time in the video.

I learned of this video from a tweet Steph posted yesterday.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I've seen a beautiful photo of Charlotte's skyline making the rounds on Twitter recently. It's from a vantage point you don't often see depicted in skyline photos of the city--from Marshall Park. Taken at night, and as great as the photo is, it doesn't show what has long been Uptown Charlotte's crowning achievement, as far as skyscrapers go: the Bank of America Corporate Center. Instead, it's highlighted (literally) by what in recent years has become the darling of the cityscape: the Duke Energy Center.

As someone who creates original content and is a fan of great photography, it bothered me that whenever I saw this photo posted, there was never a mention of the photographer. Who shot this? I believe in giving people, especially creatives, the credit they deserve. Thanks to a Google Images search, in which you can drag a photo into the search box to find where it has appeared on the 'net (and I, like many of you, discovered was possible from watching the MTV show Catfish), I was able to track down where I believe the photo was originally posted.

The photo was posted in April on Flickr by a Brooklyn, New York photographer named Mauricio Fernandez. And what's interesting is that he describes himself as "a Passionate Amateur Photographer." His work, which includes several cityscapes from around the country, is impressive for an amateur.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Robin Emmons, the Charlotte woman who is founder and executive director of Sow Much Good, not only was selected as a 2013 CNN Hero in September, but a month later she was announced as one of the 10 finalists for CNN Hero of the Year. As a finalist, she gets $50,000 to continue the great efforts of her nonprofit organization, Sow Much Good, which works to eliminate urban food deserts in the Charlotte area by providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables (72,000 people in Charlotte lack access to fresh produce), and educating people about healthy lifestyles.

If Robin is chosen as the CNN Hero of the Year, she'll win an additional $250,000 to support her cause. This is the final weekend to vote, which you can do once each day--voting ends this Sunday, November 17 at 11:59 p.m. Visit and you'll find details on all of the finalists as well as the "Vote Now" tab (or click here to vote).

Click here to see more photos of Robin in the CNN Heroes Facebook album. 

The 10 finalists will appear on the internationally televised Seventh Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, premiering Sunday, December 1, 8 p.m. on the CNN networks. The Hero of the Year will be announced at that time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The 2013 SHAPE Charlotte Business Idea Competition concludes this Tuesday, November 12. Presented by the Charlotte Shapers hub of the World Economic Forum of Global Shapers, the evening will feature a networking reception followed by presentations from five finalists who were selected after going through a competitive process over the last several weeks.

SHAPE Charlotte is an innovative business model competition created for, and by, the next generation of leaders. The organization encourages entrepreneurship within people 35 years of age or younger "by empowering participants to act as agents of change through innovation and ultimately job creation." The finalists, all Charlotte-based startups, were selected based on their ability to demonstrate the viability, innovation, and impact of their business concept, and they are:

  • FreshBrains - an online matchmaking platform that pairs student skill sets with local small businesses and nonprofits in need of web design services.
  • FundNC - an online crowdfunding portal that helps facilitate and market new intrastate security offerings for North Carolina-based businesses.
  • Gameplan - software that applies the results from a Holland Code Assessment (career cluster / personality quiz) tailored to high school students and formulates a "gameplan" for each student.
  • PlateShare - a charitable micro-giving platform that creatively crowdsources donations from restaurant spending and redirects the money to hunger relief efforts.
  • The Bridge, PR for Social Good - teaches organizations how to become better corporate citizens.

Tomorrow evening, one of the teams will be awarded the Judge's Prize worth $10,000, and one will win the Audience Choice Award worth $2,500.

The event is free and open to the public. An optional networking reception will be held 6-6:45 p.m. at Wake Forest University's Center City Campus (200 N. College St., Suite 150). And the main event will take place across the street at 7 p.m. at the One Bank of America Center Auditorium (150 N. College St.). RSVP is required; click here.

Mayor-Elect Patrick Cannon will present opening remarks, and Kirk Hawkins, news anchor at WCCB Charlotte, will host the event. The co-founder and CEO of Tykoon Nation, Mark Bruinooge, will deliver the keynote speech.

The SHAPE Charlotte Business Idea Competition started in 2012 and awarded more than $12,000 last year to Queen City Mobile Market and $2,500 to iMedicare.

Follow Charlotte Shapers on Twitter @CLTShapers#SHAPECLT; on, and at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I strolled around Northlake Mall a few weeks ago and I literally thought to myself: this mall can almost give SouthPark mall a run for its money. Opened since 2005, Northlake is Charlotte's youngest mall and it's always been well-managed from what I can tell. But it's the addition of many elite stores that's taking it to another level. And not the least of which is H&M, which holds its grand opening at Northlake on November 14.

H&M is occupying the space that formerly housed Borders bookstore (located near the food court entrance). For the last several months, the building has undergone massive renovations to take on the H&M brand, and making it look almost like a stand-alone store. This will be the retail giant's first Charlotte store, while a second location is scheduled to open less than a month later at Carolina Place. H&M has about 3,000 stores worldwide, with more than 230 of those located in the U.S. I'm not sure what took it so long to come to Charlotte--it opened in Raleigh and Winston-Salem prior to the Queen City, and there's also a location opening soon in Greensboro.

Chicks love H&M. Credit:

If you're not familiar with H&M, it sells ladies, men, and kids' clothing as well as home goods, and it's most known for carrying items and brands that reflect international trends. It also regularly presents special collections from celebrities such as Beyonce and David Beckham.

The H&M Northlake Grand Opening will take place Thursday, November 14 at 12 p.m. The celebration will feature fashion, music by a DJ, and giveaways. And according to the Facebook invite for the event, the first 200 shoppers in line will receive an all-access fashion pass valued up to $300 off your entire purchase. Obviously the store is opening just in time for the start of the holiday shopping season.

Rendering of H&M at Northlake Mall. Credit:

Other stores that have opened at Northlake within the past year include Forever 21, which was already at the mall but moved to a much larger space--the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that line the entire front of the store are eye-catching; White House | Black Market and Chico's also opened earlier this year. And then there's the Apple Store that opened a couple of years ago that attracts shoppers from around the state.

There's also a lot of new development going on around the mall, particularly on Harris Boulevard near the I-485 exit.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Legendary Christian evangelist Billy Graham turns 95 years old on November 7. And on that night the country will get a televised special from the man who, in his heyday, was referred to as America's pastor. The reason I say in his heyday is because, obviously, he hasn't been as active, vocal, or even made many public appearances over the last several years due to his age and frequent health issues. However, that hasn't stopped U.S. presidents and presidential candidates, as well as many of the country's other most influential people from seeking his counsel.


But are young people today interested in what Rev. Graham has to say? We'll find out when "The Cross" airs Thursday, November 7. It's part of the "My Hope America with Billy Graham" initiative that culminates this month. "My Hope America" is Rev. Graham and his Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's (BGEA) "effort to reach people across the United States with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Following a simple biblical model, [it] combines the impact of video programs with the power of personal relationships. Christians across America will open their homes this November to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors using one of several new evangelistic programs featuring life-changing testimonies and powerful messages from Billy Graham," according to its website.

"The Cross" television special will feature scenes from an evening event with Rev. Graham that took place last week at The Billy Graham Library. In this minute-long trailer for the special, it's clear that they want their message to reach young people. It, for example, features Christian hip hop artist Lecrae (did you know there was such a thing?) and rocker-turned-Christian-singer Lacey Sturm.

An article published by Reuters yesterday gives an insightful look into what the Grahams, including the elder's son Franklin, are seeking to accomplish with "My Hope America." The article briefly describes the impact Rev. Graham and BGEA have had over the last seven decades but also cites studies such as a 2005 Gallup Poll that "revealed that 45 percent of young adults were not familiar with Billy Graham. And one third of adults under 30 consider themselves religiously unaffiliated, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center report."

Also as a part of "My Hope America," as the article points out, Christian believers from more than 24,000 U.S. churches will invite people into their homes and congregations to learn about their faith from Rev. Graham.

Visit for more details, and for TV listings for the special. "The Cross" is scheduled to air nationwide on FOX News on November 7 at 10 p.m. It will also be broadcast on several faith-based networks as well as local TV stations around the country over a four-day period, including November 8, 7:30 p.m. on WBTV, Charlotte's CBS station.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say. But nothing comes out when they move their lips. Just a bunch of gibberish. And [mofos] act like they forgot about Dre." That's the chorus Eminem rapped with venom in Dr. Dre's 1999 hit song "Forgot About Dre." Dre, who'd experienced a resurgence in the music industry after signing Eminem and executive producing Em's massive-selling debut album released earlier that year, wanted to remind us that he's still one of the best in the game. I wouldn't be surprised if Cam Newton played "Forgot About Dre" on repeat throughout last spring and summer. I'm almost certain that he had the same attitude coming into this season: to remind us that he's still one of the best in the game.

Cam amazed the sports world during his rookie season in 2011 for the Carolina Panthers, in which he broke several NFL records on his way to passing for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns along with rushing for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns, and making the Pro Bowl. While the Panthers still finished with a losing record at 6-10, it was a great improvement from the 2-14 season the year before Mr. Yes We Cam arrived. And it was fun and exciting to watch the Panthers play again (it used to be agonizing). Expectations were high for Cam and the Panthers for the 2012 season.

Because of Cam's rookie year performance, many NFL teams now believed they should take a chance on drafting college quarterbacks who were both a threat passing and running the ball. And instead of 2012 being a season that saw Cam's career continue to rise, it ended up being the year of the young quarterback--for other guys. Rookie QBs Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts), Robert Griffin III (Washington _________), and Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks), plus second-year player Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers), who barely played and only attempted five passes his rookie season, all put up stellar numbers.

Cam's second-year stats were actually close to his first-year numbers, and on par with the numbers for the 2012 rookies except in the most important category: Wins. He led the Panthers to a 7-9 record, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season--second in a row under his tutelage. Meanwhile, the 2012 young QB class of Andrew, RGIII, Russell, and Colin each led their teams to winning records and the playoffs, including the 49ers making it to the Super Bowl.

After just one year, mofos had forgotten about Cam. Coming into the 2013 season, most of the (non-Peyton Manning) quarterback buzz was about those four new guys. Cam's name was only mentioned in passing, but not mentioned for passing and rushing. (Get it?)

People in the sports world, just like in the real world, can be extremely fickle. Praise you one day; forget about you the next. Starting off the 2013 season, Cam didn't help his plight for relevancy again, though. The team lost its first two games, and three out of the first four. Things were looking bad, fast. But since then, the Panthers have won three in a row, by an average margin of victory of 19 points. Not only has the defense been playing incredible, but Cam has played great by, most importantly, eliminating the mistakes that would often cost them the game.

At 4-3, by no means is it time to celebrate the Panthers' season. It will still be a battle to make the playoffs. The Panthers' remaining schedule includes games against the 49ers, Patriots, and Saints (twice), each of which have only one or two losses so far. But as we approach the midway point of this season, I thought I'd compare where Cam is statistically against the four quarterbacks who took all of the attention away from him. Of the five of these age-25-and-younger star QBs, only Russell has a higher passer rating than Cam (the two of them rank seventh and eight among all NFL quarterbacks). The number of yards and touchdowns for each of the five guys are pretty much within the same range.

It should be noted that the Seahawks and 49ers have played eight games at this point, while the Panthers, Colts, and Washington have each played seven (because they've had bye weeks already).

Through week eight of the 2013 NFL season
Statistics according to

Russell Wilson Age: 24 (turns 25 on Nov. 29)
Eight games played.
Passing yards: 1,628
Touchdowns (passing): 13
Interceptions: 4
Passer rating: 99.0
Rushing yards: 339
Touchdowns (rushing): 0

Cam Newton Age: 24
Seven games played.
Passing yards: 1,552
Touchdowns (passing): 12
Interceptions: 5
Passer rating: 97.6
Rushing yards: 229
Touchdowns (rushing): 3

Andrew Luck Age: 24
Seven games played.
Passing yards: 1,574
Touchdowns (passing): 10
Interceptions: 3
Passer rating: 91.3
Rushing yards: 183
Touchdowns (rushing): 3

Colin Kaepernick Age: 25 (turns 26 on Nov. 3)
Eight games played.
Passing yards: 1,584
Touchdowns (passing): 9
Interceptions: 5
Passer rating: 87.6
Rushing yards: 294
Touchdowns (rushing): 3

Robert Griffin III Age: 23
Seven games played.
Passing yards: 1,878
Touchdowns (passing): 9
Interceptions: 8
Passer rating: 79.2
Rushing yards: 240
Touchdowns (rushing): 0

Thursday, October 24, 2013

If you follow the Charlotte Knights on Twitter, and happened to see the team's feed today, you were probably asking: What's in the box? (Though you likely didn't drop the F-bomb.)

The Charlotte Knights promotions department came up with a clever, social media-powered strategy to generate interest leading up to the team's big announcement this evening, as well as to tie-in with the Triple-A club's move from Fort Mill to the new Uptown Charlotte baseball stadium. Below are several of the photos the team posted to its Twitter account today, beginning around noon and continuing until tonight.

Photos credit: @KnightsBaseball

So as you see, the Knights have debuted a new team logo and colors. The new designs and merchandise were formally unveiled during an event this evening at the Charlotte Convention Center. Here's how the look is described in the announcement on the team's website:

"In keeping with a medieval theme, the Knights new image showcases gold and silver, colors synonymous with royalty. The team's four on-field caps feature a base color of black with white accents, creating a classic combination of colors unique within Minor League Baseball. The font-style in the team's word emblem "Knights" has an Olde English look similar to professional baseball's Charlotte Hornets circa 1950."

Below is a look at the old logo against the new logo (in case you're wondering, it's already been updated on Wikipedia).

I must say, I like the new look. It looks fiercer, which is what I prefer in sports teams' branding. The Knights hired Brandiose, a San Diego-based design firm to create the new look. Brandiose has designed new identities for minor league and major league teams.

This new look will certainly add to the excitement for what's already an exciting time for the team (don't forget they added their first-ever cheerleader squad, The KnightinGals, last spring), led by its move to the under-construction BB&T Ballpark in Uptown. The stadium is scheduled to be completed in time for the Knights to begin playing there at the start of the 2014 season. Their home opener is Friday, April 11, at 7:05 p.m.

BB&T Ballpark rendering. Credit:

Keep up with all things Charlotte Knights by visiting

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If you work in technology, for a startup, in the arts, media, investments, marketing, or computer fields--ranging from a freelancer to an entrepreneur, an executive to a college student, you're encouraged to attend BarCamp Charlotte 8 this Saturday, October 26. Seeing as how this list of professions and career fields runs the gamut, if you're not familiar with BarCamp Charlotte you should get the impression that it's open to just about anyone. So what is it?

As the local version of BarCamp, which began in 2005 in Palo Alto, California, BarCamp Charlotte is a community-organized democratic event that's filled with a day's worth of sessions in which the topics and ideas are pitched, voted on, and determined that morning (and again in the afternoon). That's why this type of event is often categorized as being an "un-conference." The topics typically deal with technology and innovation, and it should be a great way for you to network, build relationships, and maybe even come away with a new idea or two that you want to apply to your endeavors.

A BarCamp Charlotte event at its former home, Area 15. Credit:

Since beginning eight years ago, BarCamps have taken place in more than 350 cities around the world. Charlotte got in on it in 2009 and has held seven events thus far, attracting more than 250 attendees. Area 15 in NoDa had served as the home to BarCamp Charlotte since its inception, but this year the un-conference has moved to a much larger venue, Pease Auditorium at Central Piedmont Community College.

BarCamp Charlotte 8 is free and open to the public. If you plan to attend, you're asked to register in advance. The event, which includes lunch, goes from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, followed by an after-party 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Kickstand Burgers-N-Bar.

Visit for complete details. You can also follow the group on Twitter @BarCampCLT and the hashtag is #barcampCLT.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Earlier this month, began its 2013-14 NBA Preview, including providing a "5-On-5" outlook on teams from a group of sports analysts. The website has published previews on a pair of teams each day, beginning with the two teams that met in last season's NBA Championship, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Today, it's time for the Charlotte Bobcats to be placed under the microscope.

The 5-On-5 coverage on the Bobcats--5 sports experts answering 5 questions--is provided by ESPN Insiders Larry Coon and Tom Haberstroh, D.J. Foster of ClipperBlog, Danny Nowell of TrueHoop Network, and Spencer Percy of Queen City Hoops blog. They grade the Bobcats' offseason moves (average grade given is a C), give their suggestions for the biggest question facing the team this season, pick the most intriguing player, make a bold prediction, and predict how far they think the team will go during the 2013-14 season.

The preview provides some pretty good critiquing of the Bobcats. There's plenty of scrutiny--pros and cons--of MJ and company's decision to sign free agent Al Jefferson to a three-year $40.5 million contract over the summer. Jefferson, a 28-year-old, 6'10" power forward/center, averaged 17.8 points and 9.2 rebounds last season for the Utah Jazz. If you're a Bobcats fan, you won't be happy that none of the analysts expect Charlotte's team to come close to making the playoffs this season (do you?). But they offer a little optimism for what could lie ahead in the 2014 NBA Draft, which is expected to be one of the best draft classes in years and is when the Bobcats could potentially have three first-round picks. Click here to read the Bobcats preview.

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