Monday, September 29, 2014

Review on some of the new ABC lineup

ABC has really come up as a network over the past decade. They still trail CBS as they are the #2 most watched network channel. However, their Wednesday and Thursday lineups are giving CBS a run for their money.

Wednesday nights is an old fashioned night of half hour sitcoms. The Middle and Modern Family headline things. The Goldbergs is in its second season and it is an extremely impressive show. It is based on the real life antics of actor/produced Adam Goldberg's family in the 80s. It has a nostalgic Wonder Years feel to it. I was hooked within the first minute of the show and I will be regularly tuning it.

The new kid on the block is black-ish and it premiered this past Wednesday. Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis-Ross and Lawrence Fishburne all star in this show about a black middle class family. While it seems like a fine sitcom, I was quickly bored as it seemed like another Cosby derivative. Black shows need a medium. They are either too clean and unoriginal or too nasty and ratchet. Perhaps the show will get better. It is surrounded by three top notch proven sitcoms.

Thursday is one hour drama night, or Shonda Rhimes night. Grey's Anatomy at 8pm, Scandal now airs at 9pm (love the earlier time) and the new one How To Get Away With Murder. It seems good, but I have yet to thoroughly review it. However it seems Scandal will continue to be impressive, racy and dramatic minus Columbus Short.

I simply love good entertainment and I am so happy that ABC gets this. Perhaps one day they will nab that #1 spot from CBS. 

What are your two favorite shows on ABC? How do you think the two new ones will do?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Local Fair: Always Good Food, Folks and Fun

Many of you already know Fall is my favorite of all of the four seasons. There are many reasons for this. The leaves are changing, football is back, the weather is comfortable and not unbearably cold.

Last but not least, the fair is in my area!

I grew up on the county fair. My mom took me and my brother every year. We would ride every ride we could, eat all sorts of unhealthy snacks, and even play those crooked games. I was especially good at the dart games.

Now as an adult, I still enjoy the fair but mostly for the unhealthy foods and nostalgia. The fairs now have so much more variety: fried everything (Oreos, candy bars, Twinkies), turkey legs, funnel cakes, Krispy Kreme burgers, and the classics such as candy apples, cotton candy and giant sausages. It is all good to me!

Near me, the more popular fairs are the Cleveland County Fair in Shelby, NC, the Piedmont Interstate Fair in Spartanburg, SC, and the granddaddy of them all, the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia, SC. Due to safety and proximity, I attend the Cleveland County Fair. It is located on the campus of Cleveland Community College, only a 20 minute drive from my home. Also it's free to park if you arrive early enough and park on the campus. Plus it's the fair I grew up going to. Can't wait to go this year!

Do you enjoy going to the fair? What is your favorite ride, snack, and/or game?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Jameis Winston: Just Can't Get Right And May Never Do So

Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is well known and all over the news lately. Unfortunately it's not for all the right reasons.

Any publicity is not always good publicity, especially when you have acted out in the manner that Jameis has in his brief collegiate career. In just one calendar year, he has had a rape charge, walked out of Publix without paying for crab legs, and now he's just missed his first college football game for making lewd and sexist remarks in FSU's student union.

The Seminoles squeaked by the Clemson Tigers on Saturday night in overtime with Winston on the sidelines. But there would have been lots of what ifs and skepticism had Clemson escaped Doak Campbell Stadium with a win and essentially ended FSU's chance of defending their title.

Now here's the bottom line for the young FSU signal caller who shares two things in common with Bo Jackson: the Heisman and the same hometown (Bessemer, AL). He has to turn this thing around and get it together. Can he do so? Absolutely. But it starts from the top. He has to be disciplined more properly and harshly by his head coach Jimbo Fisher.
He should not have been allowed on the sideline with his teammates, let along inside the stadium. This young man has let this fame go to his head and he must be humbled. Also some notable alums such as Chris Weinke and Deion Sanders need to travel to Tallahassee and personally meet with him and have a heart to heart.

Discipline and corporal punishment are once again a hot topic thanks to the Adrian Peterson debacle. The consensus is Jameis must properly pay for his countless string of mistakes and a message needs to be sent to him. He at least should be on a zero tolerance policy with the university and the NCAA. He is representing both, for better and for worse.

His draft stock is already dropped according to NFL experts and especially with all the drama the league is currently undergoing, many owners will not want to take a chance on a project, despite his talents and physical tools. He could only be a detriment to himself and the team that drafts him.

Everyone should be given another chance to rehabilitate and the play on the field is what should matter the most. However, when you're in the public eye and know better, you need to act accordingly. The clock is ticking on Mr. Winston. Should he declare for the 2015 draft, he has but a few months to turn this thing around and get people around him thinking and talking positive again.

Do you think Jameis Winston can turn this around? What do you think would be the best punishment or motivation for him to do so?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rocking The Hill: More To Rock Hill Than You May Know

This is for now my final installment in my series about various towns and cities in South Carolina. This is my second home: Rock Hill, SC. I lived here for six years and find it to be a joyeous, growing place.

Many know it as the medium size city just south of Charlotte. But there's much more to this city than that.

All is takes is a ride down the two most popular roads, Cherry Road and Dave Lyle Boulevard, to see that "The Rock" has a lot to offer for all ages and demographics. It's a town that's positioned for exponential growth but still striving to keep the small community atmosphere. This city has three higher learning institutions: York Technical College, Clinton Jr. College, and Winthrop University. All are gaining more notoriety and use the city of Rock Hill as a selling point for admission.

Need something to do in the Rock? No problem. There are several local bars and lounges, including McHales and Empire Pizza. They have a bowling alley, Manchester Square with a Regal Cinemas movie theater, a $2.50 theater off of Cherry, Cherry Park and Glenclairn Gardens. Winthrop usually has plenty of entertainment on their campus and encourages the city to be involved.

South Carolina is known for its many festivals and Rock Hill is no different. Every April for a week and a half is The Come See Me Festival, welcoming Spring and having the infamous frog mascot.

You will not go hungry in Rock Hill either. Many chain restaurants populate the inner and outer portions of the city. There are great local places as well such as White Horse, Anna J's, Luigi's, Toyo's,
and Charondas.

Many great athletes have come out of Rock Hill including Gerald Dixon Sr., Jeff Burris, Chris Hope, Coradelle Patterson and most recently Jadeveon Clowney, perhaps one of the greatest to ever play football in the state. Sports are a big tradition in the Rock and District 3 Stadium on Cherry has hosted some huge games and events. It is also where Northwestern and Rock Hill High Schools (for a long time, the city's only two high schools) each play their home football games.

The city is simply awesome: plenty of entertainment, top notch schools, close to Charlotte, Columbia and Upstate South Carolina. It is simply a great place to live and raise a family. You feel welcome from the time you drive into the city.

Not to sound too much like a city guide or a real estate agent, but come experience Rock Hill for yourself!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Domestic Violence: The NFL edition

This is my second piece on domestic violence and including rough beatings.

Unless you have lived under a rock this week, you know exactly who Ray Rice is and what he did. The details are clear, but it appears the timing of the video evidence is in doubt.

There is also Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy. Hardy had a CDV case pending from the summer and in the wake of the Rice debacle, was deactivated from this week's game. AP28 was also inactive after pictures of his severely beaten child surfaced.

OK now I am not going to devote much time in this article to AP or to Hardy as the details are still fuzzy and it appears commissioner Roger Goddell is simply trying to make an example out of everyone with his zero tolerance policy on many issues.

Now don't get me wrong. I am very much against any blatant domestic violence. There are differences between discipline, defending yourself and simply beating the brakes off of someone when there are alternate methods. Also, I applaud Goddell and his efforts to keep the league safe and family friendly. He is setting a strict standard.

However, it appears the video was in his hands longer than he admitted. Why he is avoiding that issue (which he has been known to do) is a mystery.

Now in my mind, you cannot justify the Rice situation. He beat his then-fiancee like a man, and then try to drag her out of the elevator. He definitely deserves to be punished, possibly for the entire season. However, another team should give him a second chance if he can show he can control his anger and try and handle things, such as his alcohol intake, more carefully.

Either way, Goddell will still be league commissioner and he will continue to run it in a no-nonsense fashion. The NFL players need to get used to that and realize while they are human, the public eye is always on them.

Do you think Ray Rice should play football again? Do you agree with Goodell's punishments?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Movie Review: No Good Deed

The big movie this week was No Good Deed and for very good reason. Many folks, especially in the black community, flocked out to see this suspense thriller starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson.

It is a quick thriller, only 84 minutes in length, but it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Elba plays Colin, an escaped convict. Henson plays Terri, a suburban mom home alone for the night with her children while her husband is away. Elba crashes a car near Henson's place in the rain, she lets him in to use the phone and from there, the action intensifies.

Elba had to really channel his antagonist/bad guy side, playing this role with ease as Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire. He nailed this one as well. Henson played her role well also, improving her stock as an actress. The movie receives 4 out of 5 stars from me and a A rating.

Despite the positive reviews, specifically on social media, I went into the movie skeptical but open. The same producer that made the 2009 thriller also starring Elba and Beyonce' "Obsessed" also did NGD. This attempt was much much better, with more suspense and less predictability.

I say often it's not just a good black movie, it's a good movie period. If you didn't see No Good Deed this past weekend, do yourself a favor and catch it soon. It is a good start to begin the Fall movie season.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Revenge Of The Nerds: The Big Bang Theory

The series resumes as the Fall television series does. Nerds continue to rule even network television as CBS's The Big Bang Theory is the #1 comedy on all of TV. Chuck Lorre has become the modern day Norman Lear with his string of successful network sitcoms. Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper) has placed himself into elite status as an actor and cultural icon: winning four consecutive Emmy's for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.

This show, entering its eighth season, has evolved so much. It began with three extremely nerdy scientists and one Jewish engineer and the hot neighbor/aspiring actress Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). Originally the show was centered around the sexy and cool Penny character. Over time, Sheldon took that crown with his many quirks: his roommate agreement, his spot on the couch, photographic memory, and a daily routine that rivals the military.

Who would have though a bunch of nerdy stuff would be comedic genius and ratings gold? Well it has. BBT has showcased almost every aspect of a geek's life: extreme love for comic books, Star Wars and Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, trips to Comic Con, social awkwardness (Raj can only speak if he's drunk) , World of Warcraft, and almost no awareness for sports or pop culture.

Now the show has evolved into the new, geekier, sci-fi version of "Friends". Melissa Rauch and Mayim Blalik (more famous as "Blossom" from the 90s) have joined the show as Penny's friends and love interests to Howard and Sheldon respectively.

Quite simply, if you can't relate to everything on the show or understand many of the expensive words Sheldon says, it is still entertaining and funny. It comes on several times/week for a reason, and people cannot stop tuning in. Bazinga!

So now the nerds have even dominated television. What will and may they dominate next? If it's Sheldon Cooper's choice, it will be to recreate the human race.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Clover: Quite Simply The City With "Love" in the middle

Nestled between York, SC and Gastonia, NC and about 30 minutes south of Charlotte, NC, off of SC Hwys 321 and Hwy 55 lies one of the best kept secrets in the Carolinas. It is a small town just shy of 4,000 people called Clover, SC.
Clover is very rich in its history and culture. Like many other small Southern hamlets, it has thrived from the mill and textile culture. Many residents know each other by name and their families and relatives.

During the 1970s and 80s, Clover was a bustling city to spend a night out. You had Howard Johnson's restaurant, the drive in theatre just outside of town, and Henry's Knob. Many, young and old, would drive up to the "Knob". Present day, it is now closed.

Clover is big on its festivals and community spirit. They recently had a BBQ and bluegrass festival and Clover Fest is coming up soon in this month of September.

Many businesses and restaurants have been part of the small city for years such as Boyd's Tire and Furniture, M.L. Ford and Son's Funeral Home, Patti-O's Grill, Victoria's Restaurant, The Eagles' Nest and Courtney's BBQ. Courtney's has brought notoriety to Clover, as the pitmasters that run this joint have won several regional and national BBQ competitions.

Clover has also has its fair share of famous names such as Herb Kirsch, Stan Spears, Poke Cobb, and Lamont Hall.  All of these figureheads still have a lot of pride in their hometown and regularly give back.

Personally, Clover is near and dear to my heart as any city. I have family members from both sides that are from and/or still live there. Many of my earliest memories are of the town with love in the middle and the mascot The Blue Eagle. One of Clover's sports mottos is "It's A Great Day To Be A Blue Eagle!".

Clover is one of those towns one may pass through enroute to Gastonia, Carowinds Amusement Park or to Lake Wylie. However, trust me, it is well worth it to stop and stay a spell. The love and history can truly be felt in this city.