This World Clock site I ran into is pretty cool. It's a running tally on the world population (factoring in births and deaths), barrels of oil pumped, and more.
And the Global Incident site keeps track of the crazy crap going on in the world, like terrorist attacks, wars, and various ugly "incidents".
Wanna know how many people in the U.S. share your first and last name? CLICK HERE. There's 89 folks out there with mine.
Swat that pesky fly (and kill some time waiting for the whistle to blow). CLICK HERE.
Waste some time at work waiting for the whistle to blow with some great reads. I like this one, about how Rock Stars have died, from Blender .
Hey, they're not exactly U.S. News & World Report, but don't think for a second that Blender doesn't tackle hard-hitting news. This one should've won a Pulitzer...
10 Songs You May Have Been Conceived To . (If you're between the ages of 25-35).
They do love their lists at Blender. Like, "The Craziest Pop Stars Ever" (Miley Cyrus has skyrocketed up that list the last few weeks). Or, "Rock Stars Who've Caught Fire On Stage"...a surprisingly long list. And there's many, many, more. Go ahead...the boss isn't looking. Click here...you know you want to.
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!
The first cold snap of the season has skiers and snowboarders thinking about hitting the slopes! And there's plenty of choices.
North Carolina is home to six full-service ski areas with 89 slopes for all abilities, from beginner to Double Black Diamond, as well as freestyle terrain parks, ice skating, tubing and more. With the coldest climates and highest elevations in the South, the western mountains have become a regional destination for winter sports. Temperatures drop 3 to 4 degrees for every 1,000-foot rise in elevation, so ski areas can often support snowmaking even when it’s sweater weather at lower elevations.
photo credit: Bill Russ - NC Pix
Here’s a rundown on what awaits this season at North Carolina’s ski areas and other winter sports resorts.
APPALACHIAN SKI MTN. Blowing Rock At a glance: 27 acres of skiable terrain with 12 slopes and trails (three beginner, three intermediate, three advanced, three freestyle terrain areas). Peak elevation: 4,000 feet. Vertical drop: 365 feet. Longest run: 2,640 feet. Lifts includes a double and two quads. Resort also features a Zamboni-maintained ice rink. New this year: • Additional snowmaking on two slopes. • Expanded schedule for Midnight Blast, the region’s only late-night skiing and riding. Mark the calendar: • 52nd anniversary weekend, Dec. 7-8. $5 Day Ski tickets. • Skiing with Santa, Dec. 24. • Family Day, Feb. 17. • Winter Meltdown Games, March 22-23. Connect: www.appskimtn.com, www.appterrainpark.com; 828-295-7828.
BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT Beech Mountain At a glance: 95 acres of skiable terrain with 15 slopes and trails (three beginner, six intermediate, four advanced, two freestyle terrain areas). Peak elevation: 5,506 feet — higher than any slope east of the Rockies. Vertical drop: 830 feet. Longest run: 1 mile. Lifts include four doubles, a quad and a high-speed quad with a panoramic vista. With a village ice rink and the Beech Mountain Adaptive Snowsports Center for kids and adults with disabilities. New this year: • A glass-walled sky bar at the summit with food and beverage service. • “Learn to Ski Month” offer with $45 lesson/rental/lift ticket package. • Continuous hours without session breaks: 9 am-9p m Sunday-Thursday; 9 am-10 pm Friday-Saturday and holidays. • 12 new SMI Super PoleCat guns, upping the total to 40 added in the last four years. Mark the calendar: • New Year's Eve Bash, Dec. 31. • WinterFest Weekend, Jan. 10-12. • Totally ’80s Retro Ski Weekend, Feb. 21-23. Connect: www.beechmountainresort.com; 800-438-2093
CATALOOCHEE SKI AREA Maggie Valley At a glance: 50 acres of skiable terrain with 17 slopes and trails (eight beginner, six intermediate, three advanced) and one freestyle terrain park. Peak elevation: 5,400 feet. Vertical drop: 740 feet. Longest run: 3,500 feet (Upper and Lower Snowbird). Lifts include a double, a triple and a quad. Area offers interscholastic and NASTAR recreational race programs. Nearby Tube World features a six-run tubing park and a Wee Bowl Snowplay Area. The Cataloochee Snow School includes an adaptive ski program for adults and children with disabilities. New this year: • New tubing hill lane shaper. • Large outdoor deck addition for increased seating capacity slopeside of lodge. • New PistenBully groomer. • $10 off a regular lift ticket with current season pass from any other area. Mark the calendar: • Ski and Ride with Santa, Dec. 25. • Can-U-Ski Food and Coat Drive, Dec. 1 (bring 24 cans of food or two winter coats and get a free lift ticket for that day). • Military Appreciation Days, Jan. 23-24; Law Enforcement Appreciation Days, Feb. 6-7; Fire and Rescue Appreciation Days, Feb. 20-21. Connect: www.cataloochee.com; 828-926-0285.
SAPPHIRE VALLEY SKI AREA Sapphire At a glance: 8 acres of skiable terrain with two trails (one beginner, one intermediate). Peak elevation: 3,780 feet. Vertical drop: 200 feet. Longest run: 1,600 feet. Quad lift for the main run.. New this year: • The Frozen Falls Tube Park, a 500-foot run with a 60-foot vertical drop, is newly rebuilt with multiple personal lanes and a more efficient carpet lift. Mark the calendar: • Great Sapphire Outhouse Races, Feb. 15. Connect: skisapphirevalley.com, 828-743-7663.
SUGAR MOUNTAIN RESORT Sugar Mountain At a glance: 115 acres of skiable area with 20 slopes and trails (seven beginner, nine intermediate, three advanced, one freestyle terrain area). Peak elevation: 5,300 feet. Vertical drop: 1,200 feet. Longest run: 1.5 miles. Lifts include four doubles and one triple. With a 700-foot, multilane tube run; ice skating; guided snowshoe tour; and public racing program. New this year: • Newly replaced snowmaking pipes on the Big Red slope and added hydrants to cover the Big Red slope quicker. Sugar Mountain Resort is in the process of cutting a new slope that will be ready for the 2014-15 season. Mark the calendar: • Santa at Sugar, on the slopes Dec. 14-24. • SugarFest 2013, with Olympic Figure Skating Silver Medalist Paul Wylie and friends, Olympic Alpine Skiing Gold Medalist, Diann Roffe Dec. 13-15. Connect: www.skisugar.com; 828- 898-4521.
WOLF RIDGE SKI RESORT Mars Hill At a glance: 72 acres of skiable terrain with 22 slopes and trails (11 beginner, eight intermediate, three advanced) and a terrain park. Peak elevation: 4,700 feet. Vertical drop: 700 feet. Longest run: 3,700 feet. Lifts include two quads, two doubles and a magic carpet. With a tube run just outside the resort. Connect: www.skiwolfridgenc.com, 828-689-4111.
photo credit: Bill Russ - NC Pix
More Winter Play
MOONSHINE MOUNTAIN SNOW TUBING PARK Hendersonville Moonshine Mountain features 500 feet of fun and allows trains of up to eight people, which other places forbid. moonshinemountain.com, 828-696-0333.
SCALY MOUNTAIN OUTDOOR CENTER Scaly Mountain Scaly Mountain offers year-round tubing with snow in the winter and artificial turf in the summer. The resort offers a separate slope for young tubers and also has a skating rink. www.scalymountain.com, 828-526-3737.
BEECH MOUNTAIN SLEDDING HILL Beech Mountain The town of Beech Mountain maintains a free sledding hill for children 12 and younger (parents can ride with smaller children), next to Town Hall. A combination of natural and man-made snow keeps the conditions right. Plastic sleds are required. www.beechmtn.com, 828-387-9283.
What are the "most miserable cities in America?"
Gallup is out with its latest batch of "well-being" data, and a new city has fallen to the lowest spot in the rankings. This year, Charleston, W.Va. ranked lowest on the pollster's index of well-being in metropolitan areas. It displaced Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio, which came in last place the previous two years. The index ranks well-being by averaging scores in six categories: Life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities.
Two cities within a short drive of Asheville, sadly, made the list. Spartanburg, SC, and Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC, both earned the dubious distinction.
Thanksgiving is a holiday when we spend an entire day locked in a house with family members. Naturally, we're going to need a drink or two-dozen. So you might as well make a game of it. Here is the ultimate Thanksgiving drinking game to not only help pass the time, but to make the time more tolerable.
Take a drink anytime someone ...
• Refers to the turkey as "moist"
• Refers to the turkey as "dry"
• Says the word "Tryptophan"
• Discusses the process of turkey brining
• Argues that the turkey isn't done
• Delays dinner time by 30 minutes or more
• Has to make an emergency run to the store
• Asks for an unreasonably large or unreasonably small piece of pie
• Falls asleep right after dinner
• Unbuttons their pants
• Asks you to explain what your job is
• Wants to play Christmas music
• Says, "I'm going on a diet tomorrow"
• Tries to get others to toss around a football
• Eats five or more dinner rolls
• Gives you an awkward hug
• Talks about the Macy's parade.
Chug your whole drink anytime someone ...
• Eats the canned cranberry sauce
• Brings a healthy side dish
• Asks you a personal question
• Falls asleep before dinner
• Brings up ObamaCare (almost guaranteed)
Chug two drinks anytime someone ...
• Says "gobble gobble"
• Takes off their pants or makes you say what you're thankful for
When it comes to good beer, WNC's cup runneth over. So many good breweries making so much great beer. One of the biggest producers is also one of the newest to the region. Based on Longmont, Colorado, Oskar Blues Brewery began making suds in Brevard, NC, less than one year ago, on 12/12/12. 45,000 barrels of beer have been brewed so far, and with the arrival of five more fermentation tanks landing in the next month (bringing the TANK count to 27), that number is going to continue to climb. Oskar Blues distributes CANs and draft to 16 East Coast states from NC and plans to open a handful of new states in 2014.
We gladly accepted the invitation to the brewery to celebrate, took a bunch of pictures, and shot out latest Behind The Tap video. Check it out!
No plans for New Year's? It's the 2nd Annual New Year's Eve Hootenanny, with Americana rockers The Hackensaw Boys and bluegrass vocalists The Packway Handle Band. Free trolley rides all night to and from downtown Brevard & Brevard hotels. Special brews, food trucks, and a special midnight beer drop. Tickets are $25--get em at the above link. Also, mention Oskar Blues at the Brevard Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn and get a sweeeet discount for the night. CLICK HERE for more.