“The set of skills, the talents, and the techniques that you need to run for office successfully are completely different from the set of talents and techniques you need to hold public office. ”

Locally Notable

SportsChannel8’s ‘Blank Bracket’ Taylor Swift parody featured on Rolling Stone

Write and produce a witty Taylor Swift parody when your brackets get busted, catch the eye of Rolling Stone.

Related: Who is Sportschannel8? I’ll let them tell you (from their Who is SportsChannel8? page):

Are you guys like The Onion?

Not at all. We don’t report fake news. Now we may report real news in ways that will make you laugh or see things from an unexpected perspective, but we don’t fabricate stories for the sake of commentary. We tell the same stories that you’ll find from one of our many excellent colleagues in sports media in newspapers, radio, or broadcast TV. We just complement those outlets by telling the story differently, like with our report on the national controversy of Cam Newton’s end zone dancing, or the controversial ending to the 2015 Duke/Miami football game.


Eater: Holler & Dash is Cracker Barrel for Millennials

This is either a very cynical, last gasp attempt at relating to a younger crowd or a slam dunk:

Considering Cracker Barrel is a chain that has long represented the antithesis of youth culture, with its front-porch rocking chairs and old-timey feel, this restaurant is going in a totally new direction. Instead of opening off an interstate exit, Holler & Dash is moving into Homewood’s pedestrian-friendly downtown. The space’s interior is obviously directed at the coveted millennial demographic with a number of hot design elements found in many of today’s trendy eateries. There’s plenty of exposed brick, industrial lighting, and detail on the ceiling.

Evidence that it might end up being more of the latter – Cracker Barrel tapped rising star chef Brandon Frohne, formerly of Nashville’s Mason’s, to be the new venture’s directory of culinary. Color me intrigued.


Spinning The 1975, ‘Hamilton’, Mutemath, and Nathaniel Rateliff

Rather than try to spit out a thousand rambling words about the four albums that I’m currently obsessing over, I thought I might go all linked list on you and just pull out a blurb from my favorite review on each album. Here it is, my co-opted reviews of: the new album from The 1975, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Vitals by MUTEMATH, and Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording).

I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it by The 1975

Wow, what a title. I’m going to go all When the Dawn … on them and just call it I like it … from here on out if you don’t mind. Anyway, I spend a fair amount of time in Apple Music and there was a lot of hype surrounding the release of this album within the app, primarily because there was an exclusive live concert streaming on Apple Music. I wasn’t particularly anxious about the release of this album, only vaguely connecting The 1975 in my foggy memory with one of their breakout hits, ‘Chocolate’, from a couple of years ago.

On a whim, I decided to spin it up one day at work and I was actually quite pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I was immediately struck by the Eighties nostalgia that flows throughout the entire album (much in the same way as Haim’s Days Are Gone and the recent CHVRCHES release, Every Open Eye).

Kitty Empire, writing for The Guardian, sums it up pretty well:

With his mop of Michael Hutchence hair, his semi-ironic leather trousers and slight air of Johnny Borrell, singer Matt Healy makes no apologies for the band’s prettiness, their pop ambitions, their self-aware derivations, or the sheer variety of the 1975’s latest output. People listen across genres, argues Healy, so his band ought to deliver that breadth.

Consequently, I Like It When You Sleep tries to do it all – not just brash 80s funk and pop-house chant-alongs (The Sound, a withering look at a relationship), but shoegazey dream-pop (Lostmyhead), mawkish piano ballads (Nana, about Healy’s departed grandmother and the nonexistence of God) and gospel-tinged slow jams. The genuinely accomplished If I Believe You finds Healy’s loneliness climaxing in an understated sax solo.

The album starts out in hyperactive, but the pace slows a bit once it hits ‘A Change of Heart’ without becoming a complete drag; a shift that appeals to me but be forewarned if that’s not really your thing.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (self-titled)

Ann Powers, where are you taking me right now?

One of the central musical relationships in soul music is between a band’s lead shouter and the other voices supporting her or him. In her glory years, Aretha Franklin musically conversed with her family of backup singers, the Sweet Inspirations; Otis Redding upped his own unbeatable energy in dialogue with the Memphis Horns.

That’s quite a lead in – and I’m not saying Nathaniel Rateliff is in that company, but good lawd that boy can sing. As they often do, NPR Music has you covered for a great raw introduction to an artist. The ACL performance linked above and this Tiny Desk Concert performance should be plenty to help you decide if your in the mood for some Night Sweats.

Vitals by MUTEMATH

According to Wikipedia, Mutemath have been making music together since 2003. Vitals is the first MUTEMATH album that’s ever found its way into my library (thank you, Apple Music). Does this mean I’m totally new to Mutemath’s music? Of course not, it just means I’ve never binged on it like I have the last couple of weeks.

I spend about 25–30% of my time at work writing code and this album sets a great tone for that work. ‘Joy Rides’ is a great lead-off track, ‘Monument’ is a steady hit, and I love ‘Vitals’, ‘Used To’, and ‘Best of Intentions’.

Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

I have a predilection for musicals, particularly those constructed around a modern musical style, so the surprise here is not that I like Hamilton, but rather that it took six months after its release for me to realize the recording was out there. It’s not that I wasn’t at least tangetially aware of the musical’s existence, I just never thought about it at the right time to check into a recording. I’m sure my wife wishes I never had.

This bit from Paste Magazine’s ‘10 Reasons Hamilton Dominated 2015 and Will Own 2016, Too’ doesn’t sum it up perfectly, I don’t know what would:

Famously, composer/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda (who wrote the music and lyrics for In The Heights, which ran on Broadway from 2008–11) was on a beach vacation nearly a decade ago, read Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography of Hamilton, and was shocked that no one had yet turned it into a hip-hop Broadway musical. Many genius ideas look obvious in hindsight, but this is not one of them. Miranda is perhaps the only person in the world that would have reacted that way. And yet, it’s a perfect meeting of subject and form, and a much-needed revival of the greatest American story ever told, of the founding of the nation.

The word ‘genius’ is thrown around a lot1, but the combination of lyrical wordplay, composition, and execution of this is masterful. If you have even a passing interest in musicals or hip-hop or history, just give this a listen. And be patient with it. While I can certainly list my stand-out tracks2, it’s a musical so everything is contextual and best consumed that way.

  1. Almost as much as the phrase ‘[word] is thrown around a lot, but …’.

  2. I marvel at ‘Aaron Burr, Sir’, ‘Right Hand Man’, and ‘Cabinet Battle #1’ every time I hear them; ‘The Story of Tonight’, ‘Wait for It’, ‘That Would Be Enough’, ‘Non-stop’, ‘Hurricane’, and ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ are other favorites.


Fast Co: Two Warby Parker Alums Take On The Luggage Industry

Away, travel luggage from a couple of Warby Parker alums to modernize the way we take our stuff with us when we travel.

The interior is fitted with a compression divider to help users fit more stuff inside. A laundry bag keeps dirty clothes away from clean ones. Mesh compartments keep things organized. If you’d rather have an open interior, you can take all the dividers and organizers out. Size-wise it meets all TSA requirements and has a TSA-approved lock for security.
Best yet? There’s a charger integrated with the suitcase—no more hunting for that lone outlet at the airport. It’s located under the handle and doesn’t impede your ability to move the suitcase when you’re powering up.


Eater: Starbucks Changes Rewards Program

I don’t go to Starbucks that often, but when I do – especially when it’s a multi-drink run – I often shake my head at the somewhat draconian rewards system. Shake no more:

Customers who have been using Starbucks’s rewards program for the past few years have been able to earn a freebie after 12 visits, regardless of what they purchased each time. The system therefore slightly benefited those who purchased a small/tall coffee and opted for a fancier free drink on the 13th visit. Anyone that was spending $5 (or less) per visit will no longer benefit from the new system, as the AP notes. Now, people will have to spend a minimum of $62.50 — or earn 125 stars — before getting their first free item.

Locally Notable

Building a Better Jubala Coffee

The new Hillsborough St location of Jubala is really bringing it with a dual counter setup to help ease delays during high traffic times:

The split-service setup establishes what’s essentially like an indoor, walk-up drive-through counter devoted entirely to customers on the go from the hotel upstairs, the university across the street, offices nearby or anywhere else. That station, marked “Take” in a pointillist design on the front, caters to the hustlers with a three-group La Marzocco Linea PB custom powder-coated in yellow, matte white and black, with gleaming chrome and stainless accents. “We’re using the volumetrics for our to-go drinks,” said Wells.

At the other end of the counter over the pointillist-treated word “Stay,” a La Marzocco Strada EE two-group with see-through side panels is the tool for drinks to be enjoyed in-house. “People come up and they’re lifting their kids up over the counter to look inside, to see that there’s this analog, mechanical art to the thing that we’re making,” said Wells. The Strada is powder-coated in subtly contrasting gloss and matte blue, with matte black accents. Both machines have walnut portafilter handles, and both were customized for Jubala by Espresso Parts.

Short Cuts

“I picked a lane and I started running”

I spent most of the day today catching up with everyone else in the free world that knew ‘Hamilton’ is amazing. That also means I’m realizing how incredible its creator is as well:

Lin-Manuel Miranda: You know, I went to a school where everyone was smarter than me. And I’m not blowin’ smoke, I, my, I was surrounded by genius, genius kids. What’s interesting about growing up in a culture like that is you go, “All right, I gotta figure out what my thing is. Because I’m not smarter than these kids. I’m not funnier than half of them, so I better figure out what it is I wanna do and work really hard at that.” And because intellectually I’m treading water to, to be here.

Charlie Rose: So why do you think I’m sitting here talking to you and not sitting here talking to one of your classmates?

Lin-Manuel Miranda: ‘Cause I picked a lane and I started running ahead of everybody else. So I, that’s the honest answer. It was like, I was like, “All right THIS.”