My story is typical. I was born a poor, Black child. I survived the mean streets of the Buffalo suburbs and four straight losses in the Super Bowl, grew into a mature adult and pillar of the community, and made my parents proud. OK, well, part of that is true. I was indeed raised in the Buffalo 'burbs...North Tonawanda, to be exact. The rest? Well, can't a guy dream?
Here's some highlights. I was a big baby. Like, 20 lbs. Maybe a few less. Mom always reminds me of the pain. The guilt ensures she gets great birthday presents. I have a brother two years older, and he used to make my life a living Hell, like any good brother should. That stopped when I turned 12, and was bigger than him. I spent most of my formative years annoying my elders. That includes parents, teachers, and the police. If I wasn't in after-school detention, I was being questioned for the latest neighborhood "incident". Looking back, it a was all pretty harmless. Well, maybe not the thing we did to our Spanish Teacher. But that's a story for another time. Sports helped keep me out of any serious trouble. Get suspended...and you were kicked off the team. So that only happened once. Maybe twice. With hopes and dreams, and a suitcase filled with Molson Canadian Lager, I headed off to college. Less than a year later, and a plea agreement with a reduced sentence (like I said...never convicted), my college experience wasn't exactly going as planned. But, with threats of bodily harm from Mom solidly in my back pocket, I managed to graduate from Gannon University in Erie, PA, and looked forward to a lucrative career in broadcasting. Soooooooo...I've bounced around from station to station in such vacation hot spots as Clearfield, PA, Joplin, MO, Evansville, IN, and Fayetteville, NC. In February of 1999, I took the job that I have now (more or less).
I never did find that pot of gold, but I've had a lot of fun along the way. And moving here was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met my beautiful wife, Stacy, while watching a Bills game at what used to be Damon's on Tunnel Road, and we were married in September of 2001. I lost my wedding ring in a bizarre chicken wing incident (true story), so I really have no proof. But I think she'll vouch for me. We don't have any children, but we do have cats...lots and lots of cats. I'd love to tell you exactly how many, but I lost track. Seriously, I started counting them the other night, but had to stop after I'd used all my fingers and toes. I was plum out of digits.
So that's my story. Of course, some of the sordid details have been left out due to pending legal action. But, Judge...I swear I had no idea that pig was your pet!
Shovels hit the dirt in a public ceremony on Friday, July 5 with infrastructure preparation beginning at the facility on July 8 -- the Monday after the Coke Zero 400. Completion of the new state-of-the art frontstretch grandstands is targeted for January 2016.
“This is the key to our future,’’ Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III told reporters Tuesday, as the track unveiled the project’s new logo and philosophy: “DAYTONA Rising: Reimagining an American Icon.”
“Everything about the race fan’s experience from seating to concessions to merchandise to convenience will be reimagined to create the world’s first true motorsports entertainment complex,’’ Chitwood said, repeatedly promising the work would “harness the power of imagination. Today is day 1 of 927 days that will get us to January 1, 2016,’’ Chitwood said.
The estimated $400 million renovation focuses primarily on the massive frontstretch of the 2.5-mile superspeedway, enhancing the fan experience at the 54-year-old facility, considered the sport’s flagship property. It will include bigger, wider seats, additional vertical transportation in the grandstands, five new massive entryways and perhaps the most innovative part of the project, 11 “neighborhoods” -- each the size of a football field -- where fans can gather and mingle without missing any of the race.
Eventually the back straightaway or “superstretch” grandstands will be removed, rearranging all seating to the front, where Chitwood says every fan will have the opportunity to enjoy all the amenities. And, he stressed, the track is committed to continuing to provide free parking lots, and allowing fans to bring in their own coolers.
“We understand the commitments to the fan and have to readjust our pricing so there are affordable priced seats on the frontstretch,’’ Chitwood said. “We’re not going to leverage our ticket prices. We know fans need some good entry-level pricing. We are committed to this in our redevelopment. ‘’
Attention Deadheads, I got an email from Mickey Hart today that read:
This time we journey into the micro, the hidden worlds of rhythm within us, within our bodies. The brain, Rhythm Central, the place of dreams is explored. My brain wave signals are reimagined in sound using a cap with electrodes that can read the throbs and signals of the brain. I have also sonified the sounds of stem cells, and heart rhythms for this recording.
We will be performing SUPERORGANISM in your town real soon.
Robert Hunter has once again written lyrics.
Reed Mathis from Tea Leaf Green will be joining our little family this tour on bass. Reed will be performing double duties, as the “Tea Leaf Trio” will be opening the majority of the dates on the SUPERORGANISM tour.
We will also have special guests joining us every night of the tour. TBA
A portion of the ticketing fees from the tickets sold on my website go to Music Therapy Research.
We pulse, we throb, and we are a comin your way.
The internet can be really handy. Last week, before his appearance at Bonnaroo in front of 100,000 fans, Paul McCartney performed in a slightly more intimate setting...the studio audience at the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
I'm a huge Sir Paul fan, and heard he was going to be a guest on the show, but then forgot. So, if you missed it like I did...below is the entire episode. He performs six (count 'em, 6!) songs and chats it up. Enjoy! (I know I will).
Southern Living magazine polled its editors and readers to determine the best ribs in the South, and Hubba Hubba Smokehouse in Flat Rock, NC, made the list, as one of the runner-up. The best? Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ in Charleston, SC.
Not making the list is my favorite (and President Obama's), 12 Bones Smokehouse. If I have a day off during the week, it's almost guaranteed that I'm golfing in the morning, and eating a rack of their blueberry chipolte ribs for lunch.
I've never been to Hubba Hubba, but plan to visit soon. And next time in Charleston, you KNOW I'm hitting Fiery Ron's.