Monday, October 28, 2013

Get Over It



First heard this song when I was a freshman at Concord. Thought it was awesome then. I guess you could say OK Go is one of my favorite bands from the last decade. I haven't heard a bad song from them yet.

In addition to being fun to listen to, it's also full of good advice. Don't worry about your problems. Just get over it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

AJ Styles leaves #TNA with the title. Seem familiar?

TNA Impact Wrestling held their biggest pay-per-view of the year last week, Bound for Glory 2013. AJ Styles won the world heavyweight championship in the main event. One of the more popular wrestlers, and only one of three people to be with TNA since their first event in 2002 (along with Jeff Jarrett and James Storm), the fans went home happy.

One person was not happy: the evil promoter Dixie Carter. Oh yeah, and AJ Styles contract is running out so he just won the world title and will be leaving the promotion soon. Dixie ordered a rematch between Styles and former champ Bully Ray for last Thursday night. AJ won. Dixie tried to get him to sign a contract. It is below: 



TNA was already receiving some criticism from online commentators for seemingly copying the "evil promoter angle" with Dixie Carter and WWE's Stephanie McMahon. Now, AJ Styles is the world champion without a contract who has left the promotion.

Seems similar to something that happened in 2011... 



To make the storyline even more similar, AJ Styles even dropped his "pipebomb" promo on Dixie Carter and TNA a few weeks ago. It's okay. The problem, not to harp, would be AJ's voice and speaking style. This is arguably the greatest promo that AJ Styles has ever done, and I wouldn't classify it as a home run.  



Even if he had knocked it out of the park, it still doesn't compare to the best promo in recent years, the original WWE "pipebomb." 



AJ Styles, as good as he is in the ring, is no CM Punk on the microphone. Especially in his younger days, AJ Styles really was his nickname - "phenomenal." At 35, he can still break out some amazing moves and show that he is one of the best wrestlers out there. But, AJ just doesn't have that explosive verbiage and ability to convey his feelings via a microphone. And, as mean as it sounds, that accent of his really doesn't do him any favors.

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is original. TNA is copying a WWE storyline. WWE copied a Ring of Honor storyline (which, admittedly also featured CM Punk). Ric Flair did a similar storyline in the early 90s. Hopefully it will work for TNA. They need all the help they can get.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hard Times, 30 years later

One of the most famous wrestling promos of all times is a 1985 interview by "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes where he describes the "Hard Times" that have been put on him by Ric Flair.

Last week, TNA wrestling champion Bully Ray (the TNA-ized moniker of "Bubba Ray Dudley" which WWE owns the rights to) met in the ring with AJ Styles, the challenger to his championship. He noted that at the upcoming "Bound For Glory" pay-per-view, the biggest event of TNA's year, their version of WrestleMania, that he was going to bring "Hard Times" upon AJ Styles and his family.

Below is Dusty Rhodes' original 1985 promo and after that is Bully Ray mentioning it in 2013. The biggest thing to note here is that Bully Ray is delivering such a great promo for such a sub par storyline. The biggest event on the TNA calendar was a letdown. It almost feels like Ray has been wasting away in TNA when he should be rewarded for reinventing himself so thoroughly by having a great WWE run.

AJ Styles, for better or worse, is the biggest homegrown TNA star. He has never wrestled for WWE and is the guy most people associate with when they hear the initials T-N-A. Could he be a big star in WWE? I honestly don't know, and would lean toward "no." But, he's "Mr. TNA" and their go-to guy for the last 11 years.

Dusty Rhodes promo

Bully Ray - AJ Styles promo



The worst thing about TNA right now is that they're doing a "evil president" angle with Dixie Carter, the woman featured in the video. She put up a $50,000 bounty on anybody who could take out AJ Styles before the BFG pay-per-view. Hopefully that storyline ends soon.

AJ Styles won the World Title from Bully Ray on Sunday night at Bound For Glory 2013. Hopefully something good comes from that. AJ is a great wrestler, but I just don't know about him as a personality. Bully Ray is the total package; he's just had to deal with being in TNA when he could be doing so much more.

Nothing can touch the original Dusty promo, but it was a nice homage from Bully Ray, one of the best promo men going today. The best thing from this is when I went to look up the original Dusy promo on YouTube and I saw a few comments along the lines of "Bully Ray's promo brought me here to check this out." That's nice to see.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Episode 04: Celia Laverty



Last semester, I noticed a new girl had started attending meetings of the Student Government Association at Concord. And, you know, it was a very basic "Hey, look, a pretty girl" type of thing. As the weeks progressed, Celia Laverty began taking a more active role in the SGA and I realized that she had interesting things to say. The main thing was that she was taking her role seriously. It really seems like only a handful of SGA members do that anymore, which is why they don't seem to get a lot done.

Celia Laverty was the Beckley Senator last semester. She was a student at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center, which is the shared facility between Concord University, Bluefield State College, and Marshall University. Her role in the SGA was to help foster a more positive relationship between the Athens and Beckley campuses.

We had a nice conversation about the Beckley campus. We talked about what she did as Beckley Senator last semester and we segued that into what she's doing in the SGA now. You should check it out. You won't be disappointed.

I read The Concordian today. I'll leave it at that. One thing that would be really cool for them to do, if anybody from the staff is reading/listening, is to do a story about this. It's just something fun for people to learn about.

Like we mention a few times in the interview, if you'd like any more information about the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center, find Celia on Facebook or check out an SGA meeting, Wednesdays at 4 p.m. in the State Room at Concord.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Norm Macdonald Clip of the Week



The video is titled "norm saves the interview" and that is very true. Courtney Thorne-Smith, best known from "Melrose Place," is being interviewed by Conan O'Brien. Norm was the first guest of the night, so he's still sitting out there. It's really just a dull interview about the big season finale of "Melrose Place." Nothing too interesting is going on until she brings up that she recently finished a movie with infamous prop comic Carrot Top.

Conan makes a couple jokes at Carrot Top's expense and it's cute, but the interview is dying a slow death until Norm takes over, making fun of Carrot Top, calling him "box-office poison" and referring to Thorne-Smith as a "beautiful, talented talk-show guest."

The biggest laugh of the video comes at the end when the movie title, "Chairman of the Board," is revealed. Norm hits the joke out of the park and even Conan can't hide the fact that he thinks it's hilarious.

If you want to see the trailer for "Chairman of the Board," click here. I would recommend not watching the trailer, because it's probably the dumbest movie ever made.

At the end of the video, Conan mentions that Collective Soul will be performing next. I tried to see if I could find the actual performance on the show but I couldn't. They probably played "December."

Monday, October 14, 2013

One of the biggest mistakes WWE ever made



One of the biggest mistakes WWE ever made was destroying the creative talent that is in this ring, circa August 2008. The problem that Brian Kendrick and Scotty Goldman (aka Colt Cabana) had was that they were featured in the wrong era of WWE programming.

Brian Kendrick was trained by Shawn Michaels in 1999. Who else was in Kendrick's training class? A young kid named Bryan Danielson, who became multiple-time world champion Daniel Bryan.

Colt Cabana began training to become a wrestler in 2000 in Chicago. Who did he meet in his class that was also training to become a wrestler? A young kid named Phil Brooks, who became the "Best in the World" years later as CM Punk.

Kendrick had been with WWE off-and-on in various capacities since 2003. At this point in 2008, he was in the middle of the biggest push he had ever had. He was being positioned as an upper-mid-card heel. He beat a lot of people and was entertaining on the microphone - all the things you need to be a star.

He had one mark against him, though - his size. WWE still wasn't ready to push a smaller (but charismatic) star, despite the fact that every time they did it in the past it worked (Shawn Michaels, anybody?).

Kendrick was paired with Ezekiel Jackson, a newcomer to WWE. He was seen as the "muscle" that Kendrick lacked. They made a good pair. Similar to the Shawn Michaels and Diesel combo from the mid 90s, they complimented each other.

They could have been stars together. Instead, they broke them up way too soon and tried to push Ezekiel, while getting rid of Kendrick. What happened to Kendrick? Nobody is 100 percent sure why he was released, but rumors abound that it was Wellness Policy related. When the Wellness Policy was enacted in 2005, it tested for illegal drugs and steroids. A big loophole that was quickly discovered was that nothing happened if you tested positive for marijuana. A while later, WWE amended the policy to make testing positive a $1000 fine. Other drugs prompted a 30-day suspension, but marijuana was simply a $1000 fine, and that was only after facing scrutiny from the media.

Rumor has it that in the summer of 2008 WWE was telling people to stop smoking marijuana and that if you continued breaking those rules you would be de-emphasized in WWE programming as a result. Kendrick is a well-known pot smoker, open about his lifestyle. Who knows? But that's what it looks like.

Sidenote: Kendrick's theme music from that era is one of my favorites of all time.

# # #

Colt Cabana is just one of the oddest stories in wrestling from the last decade. Why he is not a major star in WWE is one of the biggest questions everybody who knows enough is asking. He trained alongside CM Punk and they wrestled their first matches against each other around the country before both got noticed by Ring of Honor (where Kendrick also had a couple stints).

Punk took things in a different direction, becoming a talented heel known for his impassioned promos. Cabana became a throwback to a cartoon-style of wrestling, mixing comedy into his routine.

What made Cabana stand out is that he was able to be taken seriously as a wrestler while still incorporating his comedy. And I think that's where WWE dropped the ball. They have trouble booking comedy acts as being serious. In an interview, Cabana has mentioned that he has been told that "funny does not equal money."

Had Colt Cabana stayed in WWE, he would probably either have Santino Marella's spot or he would have ditched the comedy and been repackaged as something different. And, that's a shame, because Cabana could have been a star in WWE with his style. When CM Punk, one of the biggest stars in wrestling, is actively promoting you and saying WWE dropped the ball with Cabana, you tend to listen.

Cabana is making his own name outside of WWE. He has a popular podcast, The Art of Wrestling, that has a sizable following. He interviews wrestlers, several of them WWE wrestlers, and it's an entertaining look into what makes these people tick.

Inside the ring, Cabana will likely be best remembered for his 2010-2012 feud with Adam Pierce over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Their "7 Levels of Hate" series of matches over those two years were especially brutal. A documentary looking at the matches and politics involved was recently released. Click here and click here for previews.

# # #

I'm guessing that WWE has learned from their mistakes, as evidenced by the success of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk in recent years. It's a shame that Kendrick and Cabana never made it huge on a national stage. Both obviously had the talent to become something special.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Norm Macdonald Clip of the Week



Here's a clip of Norm Macdonald being interviewed by David Letterman. He talks about being an opening comedian for Bill Cosby and breaks out a pretty funny impression of Cosby. It all culminates in an awkward moment for Norm.

Monday, October 7, 2013

SGA Meeting Notes [10-02-13]

Cheap plug that is actually relevant: in my latest podcast, I interviewed Jeff Harvey, Princeton Times reporter. He said something about it being frustrating when he would attend a board meeting or something where nothing much happened and then he would have to try and find something to write about.

I was at the 10-02-13 meeting of Concord University's Student Government Association. Not a whole lot happened. But that'll happen from time to time. As long as they're working on making things happen then everything should be fine.



Notes from the meeting:

Homecoming King Attorney General Andrew Miller took away the voting rights of BSU, CU Honors, and Senator Adam Gellios. The college Scouts group, PATH, the PR club, and the Reading Council will all receive voting rights at the 10-09-13 SGA meeting. An organization or Senator loses voting rights after accumulating three absences. The last time I checked, a senate meeting was one absence and a committee meeting counted as half an absence. If that's changed at any point let me know.

Genevieve Hatcher, Business Manager, noted that some organizations still need to get proper paperwork filed in order to receive reimbursements from the previous academic year. If you are one of those groups, get in touch with her before you can receive your money.

In budget news, the Film Society asked for $1000 to purchase new movies. And the Student Activities Committee asked for $1500, for entertainment purposes as well as to help fix some issues in the State Room (where the SGA meetings are held). Both allocations passed.

The chair of the combined housing/dining committee gave a rundown of her report. If a student needs room repairs, talk to your RA. There is a new stove in Wooddell Hall. The housing department is looking into getting new ice machines in Wilson Hall. The contracts for washing machines will be up in a year. The housing/dining committee chair said that the next washing machines purchased would have an option for a credit or debit card.

Moving to dining issues, the committee chair said that the "pasta day" in the cafeteria didn't work due to ventilation issues. She didn't elaborate. Maybe a reporter from The Concordian will look into this for me. There are new glasses in the cafeteria. She also said that it would cost too much to keep the cafeteria open longer on the weekends without something major like raising tuition. There is also a nutritional app for your phone that has the cafeteria menu on it. A handy box in The Concordian with instructions on how to download that app would be handy. Maybe in the Student Life Section.

She concluded her report by saying "If there are any issues, go to the ombudsman or come to me." I wrote in my notes at the time "Who is she?" If anybody needs to talk to the ombudsman, his email is ombudsman[at]concord.edu. The ombudsman is the person you're supposed to go to if you have problems. Probably one of the most underutilized positions in the SGA. There's a lot of potential there for the person holding that title to do some good.

In "New Business" Monica Rahall and Richard Babich were finally sworn in as members of the judicial branch [story idea for The Concordian: what is a justice?]. James Miller was sworn in as the Beckley Senator. His job is to help foster a positive relationship between the main Athens campus and Concord's Beckley campus. If you don't know much about Concord's Beckley campus, perhaps The Concordian should do a feature about that as well.

An investigatory committee was created to look into whether or not they could impeach a senator. An odd note about this was that nobody mentioned who the Senator was. They just kept mentioning that "a senator" needs to be investigated. Go read the beginning of this blog and see which senator lost his voting rights.

They had to suspend a portion of the SGA bylaws to create the investigatory committee. That took a little while as they needed to get the wording right. The committee is chaired by Attorney General Miller and included "Senator Huminez" (They didn't say his/her first name and after looking at my notes I'm not sure if I wrote "Huminez" or "Humirez"), Celia Lavery, and the organizational rep for the Yearbook. I didn't catch her name, but it was some girl with a lip ring, which I thought was cool.*

*hot

They are constitutionally bound to have a finding before the senate within two weeks. So, they will have made a decision no later than the 10-16-13 meeting.

That's pretty much it for the meeting. If I missed anything or got anything wrong (like somebody's name), feel free to correct me or add anything to the discussion. As always, below is the end to every SGA blog: 

Here's my disclaimer: I import these blogs into Facebook. 

That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know. 

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Episode 03: Jeff Harvey



Episode 03 of the podcast is up and running. In this week's edition, I speak with Princeton Times reporter Jeff Harvey. He is an Athens resident and Concord alum. Jeff is a pretty interesting guy; we've been Facebook friends for a few years and it was cool to interact with him via podcast interview.

Jeff graduated from Concord in 1986 (the year I was born). During his time at Concord he was a writer for The Concordian and also a member of the Student Government Association. We talk about the differences in those two organizations in the 1980s and today. 

We also talk about small-town journalism and its importance. I bring up the article I wrote for Muckrack, "Why small towns need advocacy journalism" and I ask Jeff if the Princeton Times is a strong advocate for important issues.

It's a nice conversation, check it out. There's a little bit of background noise, but it's hopefully not too distracting.

Links:

Princeton Times website

Princeton Times Facebook page

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October

We're officially in October. Most people like October for the stereotypical reasons: fall weather, leggings, pumpkin-flavors, dead leaves, etc... My reason for liking October is kind of weird. I have an OCD thing about writing out the date. Take my birthday this year for instance, I can't write it as 8/18/13. It's not even. I have to write it as 08/18/13. I like October because it's the 10th month and it's naturally even.

I'm weird. A funny October story:

When I worked at Outback they would sell seasonal beers. Samuel Adams Octoberfest was a popular item. Since it's seasonal, there is no Octoberfest button. You would ring in a regular Sam Adams and and type "Octoberfest" into the special instruction area so the bartender would get you the proper beer. It was a really slow Monday evening one day last year and was kind of dull and boring. I went to ring in a beer and got the idea to have some fun: I typed "Cocktoberfest." I do dumb things to entertain myself. People there seemed to think it was funny.

* * *

In a weird conundrum of sorts, I'm both more motivated than I've been in years and not motivated to do anything at all. I'm motivated to do things that I don't necessarily have to do. Recording a podcast at this point in life helps me in no way. It's just an extra hassle I'm putting on myself. But I like it and where it can take me. So, that's a new priority for myself.

I've been doing some more writing. I've established a relationship with Muckrack, a journalism networking site. They posted an article I wrote about why advocacy journalism is important for small towns. It's about how small-town newspapers need to report on important issues and not just fun "fluff" pieces. I wonder where I got the inspiration for that?

For those who don't get my snark: The Princeton Times. But, Chris, don't ruin a potential networking opportunity with an ill-timed comment. They haven't responded to my emails in nearly 2 years; I'd say the networking is done there.

Their loss. I was once told I was too cocky for my own good. That was years ago, back when I had a reason to be cocky; back when I was on my way to becoming somebody. I've just sort of been a shell of myself for a couple years now. My life was on the downswing for way too long. For the last couple days at least I've started feeling better about myself. Will this good feeling last? Honestly, I'd say not. For the moment now I've back to my old self. I'd call it "mentally healthy." I'm that right now.

* * *

Months ago I expressed my interest in getting a Nintendo 64 and reliving my childhood through video games. I wrote at the time that I couldn't jump into modern-day gaming because I'd get too immersed into it and become a "gamer" again. I did get my N64 about a month ago. It's a nice trip down memory lane.

* * *

My hair's long enough to put in a ponytail now. It might be time for a haircut. I don't know. We'll see.

* * *

Unfriended a girl on Facebook for the way she asked about the government shutdown. I can't stand people sometimes. Another girl wrote "Is the government shutdown for real? lol" I don't even know how to express my frustration with the inability of people to keep up with the news.

And not even to become experts. I'm not a political expert. I can't go into in-depth detail about what's going on in Washington right now. But, I know why there is a government shutdown and how that affects me. That's all I want people to know.

You're posting on Facebook. That means you're on a computer or smartphone. The news is right there. You don't even have to put quarters into a newspaper dispenser. 

I'm not endorsing Jon Stewart; he at times has become a parody of himself and it's turned me off of him. But his take on what caused this from a couple days ago is a pretty fair assessment. Click here to check that out.

* * *

That's it for now. I'll come back with something more meaningful (or not) in the future. Podcast 03 should be up in a couple days. I went to the 10-02-13 meeting of the SGA, so I'll have a summary of that written soon.