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!
We've grown accustomed to Asheville receiving national attention, mostly positive. The beer community, in particular, has been showered with praise, and rightfully so. But it never gets old hearing how great the beer scene has become in such a short period of time.
The latest comes via CNN, who named Asheville one of the eight "best beer towns" in the country.
What they said:
8. Asheville, NC
Yes, Asheville. It's relatively new to the beer scene, but with 11 breweries yielding the highest per-capita total in the country, it's already building a global rep. A day trip to Asheville offers a chance to try roughly 50 local beers, almost all of which can be tasted at The Thirsty Monk, a must-see on any Ashevillian beer pilgrimage.
But it's less the number of breweries or bars here than it is the culture that earns Asheville its cred. There is serious pride in the local craft, and its small-town appeal means all you have to do is roll over and you'll find yourself in one of the city's renowned breweries, like Wedge, Green Man and Wicked Weed.
The city also pumps beer into mustards, shampoos, ice creams, cakes, dog biscuits, and soaps. And with at least five major beer events, Asheville keeps the party going all year round with its own Oktoberfest, Beer Week and Winter Warmer, Best Firkin, Beer City and Brewgrass Festivals.
Top Draws: Asheville Shiva IPA, French Broad Ryehopper
It should be noted that some of the other cities listed include Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Denver, and Philidelphia...cities MUCH larger.
You can read the whole article HERE.
But wait, that's not all (as the infomercial says)...Pisgah Brewery in Black Mountain was named as one of the "best brewery tours", by Fox News. They said this:
Located near Asheville, N.C., or the reigning "Beer City USA" for several years running, Pisgah is a certified organic brewery. With more than 15 brews (both seasonal and year-round) on tap, a fire pit, pool tables, and a stage for live music, their warehouse brewery is an ideal hangout during any time of year. Brewery tours are free and on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. There are no age limits for the tour, but you will have to show an ID if you wish to sample these delicious pints.
You can read the full article HERE.
WNC has many great breweries and I highly recommend that if you love beer, meeting great people, and generally exploring, you plan a trip to each one, as they all have their own unique vibe. From Wicked Weed's amazing beer and funky classy atmosphere to The Wedge's rustic awesomeness to Frog Level's peaceful creekside locale, they all deserve a visit.
Maybe you've heard of ComicCon, or perhaps ZombieCon. Con is short for convention, and usually means an assembly of like-thinking nerds at the theme in question. So, are you a Rush nerd? Then grab your passport and pack your bags!
RushCon is July 5th-7th in Toronto, Canada (which, by the way, is a beautiful city). What can you expect at RushCon? According to the official website:
RushCon is the largest North American gathering of fans celebrating the music of Canadian rock band, Rush.
Once a year, fans from all over the world gather for several days of activities such as games, a charity auction featuring rare and collectible band memorabilia, a tribute band concert, important guest speakers from inside the band's inner circle and much, much more!
RushCon is a by-the-fans, for-the-fans event where folks have an opportunity to raise money for an important charity whilst having an amazing time learning more about the band, getting to know each other and connecting with other fans from around the world. Over the past 11 years, RushCon members have formed life-long friendships and bonded over their fondness of this band.
It's a tremendously fun, informative and exciting series of events where fans are able to spend a weekend experiencing all the sites and sounds of Rush and simultaneously catch up with old friends who'll make you feel like you're not the only kid in the room who can recognize an odd time signature.
In celebration of Willie Nelson's 80th birthday Tuesday, U2 posted a video on their website of them performing "Slow Dancing" with Nelson. Bono wrote the song for Nelson and the clip they posted is never before seen footage made by filmmaker Lian Lunson. And they posted a note to Willie that reads, "Happy Birthday, Willie! 80 and still a pilgrim. All the best… Bono, The Edge, Adam & Larry."
With the arrival of Iron Man 3 as summer’s first must-see movie, North Carolina becomes summer’s must-see state. Why? Because much of the on-location filming was done right here in NC.
Filmmakers transformed coastal Wilmington, small-town Rose Hill and suburban Cary into California, Tennessee, Florida and even Afghanistan in the high-tech adventure, which opened overseas to rave reviews and record-smashing box office receipts. And as the movie was being shot, the stars found their way to first-rate restaurants and other attractions that boost the state’s appeal.
To help travelers find the scenery where fast-paced action unfolds, the North Carolina Division of Tourism has created a trip planner that identifies key locations and places visited by Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce. You can find it at VisitNC.com/ironman3.
Iron Man 3 joins a list of more than 800 movies and TV series to be shot in North Carolina, a top choice for filmmakers for three decades. A flurry of recent projects heightens interest in travel destinations across the state, among them Charlotte (Homeland, Banshee), Wilmington (Revolution, We’re the Millers, Under the Dome), Southport (Safe Haven) and the Asheville area (The Hunger Games). Those titles become part of the tapestry of credits that includes Blue Velvet, Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, Matlock, Last of the Mohicans, The Fugitive and Bull Durham, which celebrates its 25th anniversary on June 15.
Listen all day Monday to win tickets to a special 3D showing on Tuesday night, at Carolina Cinemas, courtesy of Harmony Motors and Rock 104.9!