Peter Pan (Robin Williams) fights his demons in the morality play “Hook” (1991)

Robin Williams struggles with his demons in the movie – Hook (1991). I watched it again last night. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a great morality play. In his various movies, Williams characters often struggle with dark issues armed with a sense of humor and intellect.

Some noteworthy quotes from Hook:

Captain James Hook: Prepare to die, Peter Pan!
Peter: To die would be a grand adventure!
Captain James Hook: Death is the only adventure you have left!

Peter Pan (Robin Williams) fighting Captain Hook.

Peter Pan (Robin Williams) fighting Captain Hook.

[last lines]
Granny Wendy: So… your adventures are over.
Peter Banning: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

Moira Banning: I hated the deal, but I’m sorry you feel so badly about it. Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? Soon Jack may not even want you to come to his games. We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast Peter. It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.

Captain James Hook: [holding a pistol to his head] No stopping me this time, Smee. This is it. Don’t make a move Smee, not a step. My finger’s on the trigger. Don’t try to stop me, Smee.
Smee: Oh, not again.
Captain James Hook: This is it. Don’t try to stop me this time, Smee. Don’t try to stop me this time, Smee. Don’t you dare try to stop me this time, Smee, try to stop me. Smee, you’d better get up off your ass. Get over here, Smee!
Smee: I’m coming. I’m coming.
Captain James Hook: Stop me! This is not a joke! I’m committing suicide!
[Smee triggers the gun away from Hook’s head, sinking the model ship in the pool]
Captain James Hook: Don’t ever frighten me like that again.
Smee: I’m sorry.
Captain James Hook: What are you, some kind of a sadist?
Smee: I’m sorry, I’m sorry. How do you feel now?
Captain James Hook: [sighs] I want to die.
Smee: Oh, now, now.
Captain James Hook: There’s no adventure here.
Smee: [hold out Hook’s gun] You call this no adventure?
Captain James Hook: Death is the only adventure I have left, Smee.

Captain James Hook: [to Peter as he traps him and grinds his hook near his face] You know you’re not really Peter Pan, don’t you? This is only a dream. When you wake up, you’ll just be Peter Banning – a cold, selfish man who drinks too much, is obsessed with success, and runs and hides from his wife and children!

Wendy Darling: So, Peter, you’ve become a pirate.

Captain James Hook: [watching Peter try – and fail – to rescue his children] Smee, I don’t understand. Why doesn’t he fly? Is he not Peter Pan?
Smee: He’s Peter Pan, all right, Captain. He’s just been away from Neverland so long, his mind’s been junk-tified. He’s forgotten everything.

Wendy Darling: Boy, why are you crying?
Peter Banning: I don’t know. A tear for every happy thought.

Robin Williams will be missed. I’ll remember him as Peter Pan finally thinking happy thoughts.

Here’s an online version of the book Peter Pan (Peter and Wendy) the movie Hook is available on Netflix.

Government, Social Media

Everyone Celebrating NC’s Low Unemployment Rate Except News & Record

NC Unemployment Rate Drops Below National Average to 6.2%.  “April unemployment rate falls to 6.2 percent in NC” is the headline most papers used.  N&R’s headline reads “Still ‘some room to go’ for North Carolina’s economy.”

Why do hundreds of headlines celebrate the unemployment rate drop, but the N&R takes a glass half-empty approach.  Would the headline be the same if Democrats were in power in NC?

Some of the other headlines for that AP story from around the country:

Unemployment Declines in Carolinas Far Outpace US – Wall Street Journal

State unemployment rate falls to new low

Unemployment continues to drop, state added jobs

April unemployment numbers show more people at work


News & Record's Headline  About Unemployment Rate Drop in NC

News & Record’s Headline About Unemployment Rate Drop in NC


U.S. Congressman Howard Coble officially endorses Phil Berger, Jr. for his NC 6th District Seat

United States Congressman Howard Coble officially endorsed Phil Berger, Jr. for his NC 6th District Seat this morning at Berger’s Greensboro headquarters.


Congressman Coble and Phil Berger, Jr. after the Endorsement

Congressman Coble and Phil Berger, Jr. after the Endorsement

Phil talked about Howard’s hard work, dedication to the people of NC, honesty, and friendship.  He laughed with Howard about having to learn all the school mascots to carry on that tradition.

“It is a personal and professional honor to have our Congressman, Howard Coble, offer such kind words on my behalf.  He has become a mentor to me, and I cherish his friendship and his wise counsel” Berger said.

Phil hopes to fill Howard’s big shoes by providing the same level of constituent services from his office as they have received from Howard’s.  He also hopes to retain his staff so that they can continue to serve the 6th district.

“The name on the stationary may change, but Howard’s legacy of constituent services will remain as long as I am your congressman” said Berger.  “As the primary point of contact with the federal government for many Americans, a congressional office can be a lifeline, providing answers and solutions for veterans, business owners, families, and concerned citizens.”

“This election provides the people of the 6th district with a choice. I would ask all of Howard’s supporters to join our positive, conservative campaign. I am proud that Howard Coble has chosen to support a proven conservative to replace him in Congress. Howard, thank you.”

“Thank you all for coming and may God continue to bless this great nation.”

@HowardCoble @PhilBergerJr

Congressman Coble with Phil Berger, Jr. and his sons

Congressman Coble with Phil Berger, Jr. and his sons

Media setting up at Coble Endorsement

Government, UNC

Do Students Want a Degree or a Career?

“You shouldn’t measure success by how many students are coming in and even graduating. We should measure success by how many students are getting jobs. Especially, jobs that they study for.”

Said Governor McCrory, Tuesday night at Methodist University’s Spring Entrepreneurial Leadership Summit to a group that included Fayetteville State University Chancellor Anderson and the President of Methodist University.

The Fayetteville Observer has the full story.

Governor McCrory at Methodist University Spring Entrepreneurial Leadership Summit

Governor McCrory at Methodist University Spring Entrepreneurial Leadership Summit

I believe that people go to school to learn skills that will enable them to be successful in their careers.  They’re also choosing to invest a significant amount of money for that education.  The schools need to deliver a solid Return on Investment to the students (and anyone else that’s helping to pay for that education).

A rewarding career in a chosen field is a primary metric.

Government, UNC

Is the News & Record on Drugs?

The Greensboro News & Record speculates that UNCG police helping arrest drug dealers in the Glenwood neighborhood may be viewed as a bad thing by area residents.  Really?  Are they on drugs?

Residents of the area may see UNCG police operations as yet another infringement on their neighborhood.” – Greensboro News & Record Article.

Yes! Weekly provides more coverage including photos of the suspects and the full police release.

UPDATE 4/28/14 – Britton St House is Next to Elementary School:

Britton House Near Elementary School

Britton House Near Elementary School


UPDATE 2/29/14:  News & Record writes a new story in today’s paper – much more on point – discussing positives of campus police working to improve a neighborhood.

Charity, Social Media

Little Mention of Easter in News & Record on Easter Sunday

Why is there so little mention of Easter in Easter Sunday’s News & Record? It’s mentioned in the body of Beth McKee-Huger’s piece, but not in a single headline. In a couple of other pieces, it’s used as a date reference. Can anyone explain the editorial decision-making behind this?

The Newseum in Washington, DC has a neat feature with front pages of newspapers from all over the world  – but view them quickly as they are only available for that day.  An interesting study would compare the coverage of Easter in various media outlets including social media.

North Carolina’s Newspapers’ Front Pages:

Asheville Citizen-Times     Easter mentioned in bottom right footer

Charlotte Observer     Easter prominent photo mid-page and article and advertisement in footer

The Daily Courier – Rutherford    Walk to Calvary with cross being carried, prominent with photos

The Daily Dispatch – Henderson    No mention of Easter on front page

The Daily Herald – Roanoke Rapids    Prominent story with cross and photo

The Enquirer Journal – Monroe    No mention of Easter, not even in their Today in History list with various events from today’s date

The Fayetteville Observer    No mention of Easter

Gaston Gazette    No mention of Easter

Herald-Sun   No mention of Easter

Hickory Daily Record   Prominent story titled “He is Risen” (top story and just below it is an even larger article titled Got Beer?), plus Easter ad in footer.  **This is my favorite front page

High Point Enterprise    Header and main prominent story about Easter, only other article on front page is about church pianist/organist world record holder, it is the only front page with all faith stories

Independent Tribune – Cabarrus    Prominent Easter story with multiple photos

The McDowell News – Marion    Header mention of Easter, story on a church mid-page

Mooresville Tribune    Header mention of Easter, Christian music story

News & Observer         Prominent story on Easter food

News & Record     Story on right side about a church – passing Easter reference in article

News Topic – Lenoir    Prominent Easter photo with cross, also header mention

The Star – Shelby     Prominent Easter story with multiple photos including Christ on Cross re-enactment

Star News – Wilmington     Brief mention of Easter’s Holy Fire celebration in Greece in bottom right

Times-News – Hendersonville     Header saying Happy Easter with flower photo

Winston Salem Journal     No mention of Easter

Are the papers responding to consumer preference in their markets?  Are these editorial decisions?  Will you see churches having to hire PR firms to promote Easter stories in the future?





Social Media

Blogging Advice from the Greensboro’s Blog Bosses

People blog for a lot of reasons.  I reached out to the local blogging community and received lots of great advice.  The following is a jumble of those thoughts.  I played 52 pickup with their sentences and my own.

The contributors include Billy Jones, Ed Cone, Lex Alexander, Jeff Martin, George Hartzman, and Roch Smith.

Why Do You Blog?  What Advice Do You Have?

To understand the medium

First, to understand the medium itself in its early days.

Creating the new media/journalism landscape

Helping to create a new local journalism landscape was my primary focus for the longest time, and the thing with the most lasting value. Much remains left to do on that front.

Have something to say about a topic

That quickly led to a focus on areas that interested me, in which what we now call social media was having an impact: politics, journalism, and pop culture.

Write about what you know, and write about what you care about. Ideally these will be identical, but if they’re not, go with what you care about and use part of that caring to learn more about the subject as you go.

Write about things you know about and care about. Take some time, experiment and find what appeals to you is good advice.  Add value, not volume.  Get things right the first time.

Eventually the love affair ended and I was ready to quit. Then a subject came up that I was passionate about.

To build a record on a topic.

To pay attention.
Writing in a way that builds a body of work on specific topics allows one to understand certain aspects of those topics better over time.  The frequency, origin and consequences of events pertaining to those topics becomes clearer when observed over time— when one pays attention — giving a better understanding of their true nature. Over time, one starts to see patterns and connections that reveal more than the occasional observation.

To put it out there

Sometimes, blogging is a way for me to “put it out there,” — for the “record.” To say, “I’m watching.” “I see this.” “This is questionable.” “This is praise-worthy.” That may not influence public opinion en mass, but it contributes to the slow-drip and, often enough, is noticed by those who are involved with the topics of my commentary.

Some things need to be said.  Some things need to be repeated.  My fave are those things which probably should never be said at all.  I enjoy the right and the ability to comment on injustice wherever I find it.  As a result, I have many enemies and few friends.

Resource of information

Become a resource of information for other Internet users.  A few of those readers would explore the rest of my site and become regular readers.  Others read the free lists of not so widely known search engines. Any time I went looking for something and couldn’t find it all in one place or what I found came up short I published a list on one of the pages in the background of my site. Then I wrote a short blog post linking to it not so much to tell people about it but to direct the search engines to more easily find it. In other words, I made myself necessary.

Organize my thoughts

To practice organizing my thoughts; to research and think through topics; to test my assumptions and conclusions. Writing with some seriousness of purpose makes me a better thinker and, therefore, a better communicator elsewhere as well.

Tied into my day job

Along the way, I found blogging to be a natural and useful adjunct to my jobs as a writer and editor.

I started out blogging in an attempt to sell a product. (Not a good reason) That failed but for a short while before the economy crashed I managed to earn my living at it. Unfortunately my reader demographic was largely under $35,000 a year so they fell quickly and so did my blogging for a living. By that point I was in love with doing it and continued.

For Me

Make me think, expand my viewpoint.

I write because I can’t NOT write, and the blog is one convenient outlet among many. If anyone enjoys it, great, but I do it for me — not to market myself, but because doing it makes me feel good.

I think blogging made me a better writer, thinker, and listener. I hope it made me a better person. I’ve told my kids many times that when I look back at my life I almost never think, man, I wish I’d been more of a dick. Blogging reinforced that lesson for me.

Time intensive

I quit because I loved it and I had other stuff I wanted and needed to do.

I started again because once I’d broken the habit of being a multiple-times-a-day, constantly-engaged blogger (and be warned that it is a powerful habit) I felt I still had something to say about my community, and still wanted a place to write.

And try not to allow it to become an obsession.

Better way to communicate than FB, Twitter

And I found that with FB siphoning off the old flow of link-blogging and cat pics, the longer pieces I want to write were a natural fit for a blog.

But then you’ve experienced the failings of Facebook or you wouldn’t be starting a blog.

Building Traffic

Driving online traffic is a multifaceted endeavor. But if you blog just for the sake of traffic, the blog won’t do well.

Don’t chase traffic, chase good ideas.

When you drive significant enough amounts of readers to the other website to get their attention. Some being stat whores like myself will simply look to see what others are saying about them but sometimes they will respond with links in-kind. Sadly, blogging etiquette isn’t as closely followed as it once was.

You’ll want to be selective in who you link to in blog posts.  That said, outbound links can drive inbound traffic when your link sends traffic to other blogs.

Participate in discussions on other blogs.

Be transparent

Be transparent in your blog postings, by which I mean be clear on what each post is about, and write only about that, explaining, among other things, why you’re writing about it (i.e., why you care about it and think other people might, too).

Continuing on the transparency theme, if you’re writing about something that you care about and that you have a financial or personal interest in, say so — that honesty builds trust. But you’re not obliged to go into detail. If you want to blog about something in which you have a financial interest you don’t believe you can safely disclose at the time you want to blog about it, then find something else to blog about it.

Engage and treat others nicely but be careful

If you get commenters, engage with them, particularly the ones who ask questions. You can ignore trolls unless they threaten to drive off other, legitimate commenters, in which case just ban them.

Treat people online the way you would treat them in the physical world.

Your blog, your rules. And in close to 25 years of participating in online communities, I’ve never been in one that didn’t eventually require a moderator.

Also,be careful. You have something to lose, and there are folks out there who don’t, and relish the idea of taking a scalp — any scalp. Hope your skin is thick.

Why are you blogging?

Why are you blogging? Answer that and you’ll go a long way towards knowing what you should be doing. No one size fits all.

Complicated answer – part to learn a new technology/skill, a more comprehensive outlet than FB, creative writing outlet, alternative to friending people on FB, marketing my companies, learning what others think about issues – broadening my viewpoint, thinking aloud on certain issues and making the system more transparent, and blowing off steam.

Welcome to the party.

Beer/Wine/Mixology, Travel, UNC

Pigs, UNC Alumni and Beer

There’s an interesting connection between UNC system grads from the US and UK, beer and local pigs.  We’ve been working with North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University (NC A&T) to donate our spent grain from our new Pig Pounder Brewery to the NC A&T University Farm.  The spent grains (malt that has been used in the brewing process) would be used in the farm’s Swine Unit for feed.


The NC A&T Swine Farm Hog Statue

The NC A&T Swine Farm Hog Statue

NC A&T Swine Farm Pasture Pigs

NC A&T Swine Farm Pasture Pigs

Sam with the Pasture Pigs - talking Spent Grain at NC A&T Farm

Sam with the Pasture Pigs – talking Spent Grain at NC A&T Farm

“The swine industry is North Carolina’s second most important agricultural industry, worth close to $2 billion annually. The Swine Research Unit includes a 250-sow indoor commercial hog-rearing environment, as well as a hoop barn, and a pastured hog operation for small-scale or limited-resource farmers making the transition to hog farming from tobacco or other crops.” – from University Farm website.

There are lots of discussions of sustainable uses of spent grain a byproduct of brewing – but the primary use is animal feed on farms.  The grain starts out as dry malt then is used as the primary ingredient in the brewing process.  NC has a rapidly growing brewing industry.

Pig Pounder Brewery - Brew House

Pig Pounder Brewery – Brew House


NC A&T spends $50,000-$60,000 per year on feed in their Swine Program.  In some rough calculations in a meeting with the University, we determined that this could save the farm up to $15,000-20,000 per year.  Pig Pounder would provide the spent grain free of charge to the University.

That grain has an interesting story including a UNC connection as well.  We purchase our malt from Thomas Fawcett & Sons in the UK.  They’ve been malting grain since the late 1700s.

Thomas Fawcett & Sons

Thomas Fawcett & Sons

Floor Malting at Thomas Fawcett & Sons

Floor Malting at Thomas Fawcett & Sons

On a trip to the UK to do research for the Pig Pounder Brewery and our Marshall Free House gastropub – we had the opportunity to meet the owner James Fawcett.  We were surprised to learn that James is a UNC alum having graduated in 1988.

Marty Kotis (brewery owner and UNC class '91) and James Fawcett (Thomas Fawcett & Sons Malts owner and UNC class '88) at Thomas Fawcett & Sons

Marty Kotis (brewery owner and UNC class ’91) and James Fawcett (Thomas Fawcett & Sons Malts owner and UNC class ’88) at Thomas Fawcett & Sons

So the farm raised pigs at the UNC System NC A&T University Farm may eat feed that originates as grain in the UK malted by Fawcett (UNC class of ’88), then used in making beer at a brewery owned by Kotis (UNC ’91), brewed by Director of Operations Sam Rose (UNC-Asheville ’07) and marketed by Jenna Lumtscher (ECU  ’07).

So UNC pigs may get fat and alums might get slaughtered! (UK slang for drunk)


Pig Pounder Logo

Pig Pounder Logo