My Friday Five: More Sports, Thanksgiving Stories & Music

Photo: Chris White It's Friday! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Here's this week's list... 1) Heels, Pack and Pa...

Photo: Chris White
It's Friday! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Here's this week's list...

1) Heels, Pack and Panthers

What can I say? UNC, N.C. State and the Carolina Panthers continue to perform well on the gridiron. The Heels showed so much determination and grit to pull out a win in overtime against Virginia Tech, clinching the ACC Coastal Division and a trip to Charlotte to play Clemson for the ACC Championship. The Wolfpack also got a nice win against Syracuse, further improving its bowl resume heading into the final week of the regular season.

The Heels and Pack will meet in Raleigh on Saturday in a huge game, mainly because of the rivalry between the two teams. On UNC's side, the team knows the sting of getting embarrassed at home 35-7 by the Pack last season. Coach Larry Fedora said that one of the team's goals is to win the state championship by defeating Duke, Wake Forest and N.C. State in one season - and the team can accomplish that goal on Saturday. For N.C. State, beating a hated rival and earning bragging rights is top-priority. However, the Pack can improve its bowl standing with a win against the Heels, so you know that'll be a big goal for the team as well. People ask me which team I'll be pulling for. Why? Well, in case you didn't know for some odd reason, I've been a UNC fan my entire life but I'm an alumnus of N.C. State. It's always hard when the two teams play each other, but I'll take the same stance of a buddy of mine that's in the same position I'm in: I'll pull for whichever team wins. How's that?

While I'm talking about the Heels and Pack, both teams will be playing in a bowl game irregardless of the goings on at Carter-Finley Stadium this Saturday. I know there's still a lot of football to be played, but I always like to look at bowl projections. For the Pack, I've seen three bowls as possibilities: the Belk Bowl, the Hyundai Sun Bowl or the Music City Bowl. It gets a bit more interesting for the Heels as there could be a few possibilities. Some of the college football talking heads have made a case that, if UNC can win out, defeating current No. 1 Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, there's a chance for a College Football Playoff berth. If the Heels win the ACC title and don't make the playoff, then the Heels would most likely play in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. If UNC loses to Clemson, the Russell Athletic Bowl would be the probable destination - which has been the general consensus with several sports media outlets as of late.

Shifting gears to the NFL, the Carolina Panthers are on a roll. The team is sitting at 11-0 after another dominant win, 33-14 over the Dallas Cowboys, and is now winner of 15 straight regular season games dating back to last season. The Cowboys may be called "America's Team" by many, but it's not for this American. I'm glad the Panthers gave 'em a shellacking. I think the Panthers are the best team in the NFL right now, excelling in all three facets of the game and playing as a collective. This team has been fun to watch there's no question about that.

2) Thanks...GETTING?

Now onto the first of a few Thanksgiving-themed stories. I was browsing my Twitter feed and I happened to see a hashtag being promoted by Verizon: #ThanksGetting. I looked into this and it's a campaign where people can get some free stuff like a $5 iTunes gift card or an extra 1GB of data just for claiming it on a special website that Verizon created. You know, in this season when we should reflect on what we're thankful for, I'm disgusted that Verizon came up with a cockamamie promotion like this. I've been a Verizon customer for years, but this - combined with a couple other factors - is really making me want to switch. Consumerism and corporate greed run rampant during the holidays and it's disgusting.

3) Hats Off

From corporate greed to the not-so greedy, I'd like to give a shout out to Publix, REI and many other stores for valuing employees and being closed on Thanksgiving. People who work in sales/retail already have to deal with low wages, crazy shoppers and - oftentimes - long hours. It's not going to hurt the store to be closed on Thanksgiving either.  I mean, didn't stores closing on the holidays used to be a thing long ago? Pretty sure those stores were fine then. Heck, Publix is even closed on Christmas as well and has been doing so for years. It seems like, whenever I fuss about stores being open on the holidays, others will ask about firefighters, ER workers, police officers, etc. Totally different. Those are necessary personnel for our own safety. You're not going to die if you don't get that flat screen television, which you may not be getting that much of a deal on anyway. So, hats off to Publix, REI and all the other stores out there that don't participate in the silliness of being open on Thanskgiving.

4) Lip Sync Bonanza

It's no secret - although I finally realized myself a few years ago - that all of the singing performances at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are lip synced. It's a real shame, too, because I used to wake up every Thanksgiving morning and sit with my eyes glued to the television screen to see the parade. Now, I couldn't care less about it. I've seen some people give an excuse that no one can sing live on moving floats but the singers always stop to do their big numbers for the parade. Another excuse is the performers are not able to hear themselves sing - to make sure they're on beat and in tune - with a crowd the size of the Macy's Parade. I call BS on that as well since many of those that perform have done so in huge crowds before.

I think what gets me even more than the blatant lip syncing at the Macy's Parade is that some of these "artists" seem to either be okay with it or say that everyone did it anyway. Case in point below...


There's no excuse for lip syncing. Ever.

5) "And Down the Stretch They Come"

About a month ago, the Top 10 finalists for the Nash Next contest were announced. Since then, each finalist has been working on the final challenge in this long contest: a music video featuring one of his or hers' original songs. Tyler Barham was at the top of the leaderboard heading into the last challenge. Barham chose to shoot a music video for his song "17 & Young" which he said is a tune that has a lot of meaning to both himself and his fans. For me, that was the first song of Tyler's that I heard, thanks to a post on Facebook from mutual friend Katie Basden - who is an extremely talented artist in her own right. I knew I had to feature Barham on my "New Music Monday" series the moment I heard "17 & Young" and did just that in 2013. The following summer, Barham played a show in Mayodan, N.C. and I was able to go. Not knowing me from Adam, Barham came over to my table, thanked me for writing the feature and we carried on a conversation. We've been friends ever since.

It's been a fun ride on the Barhammer Train and now this journey is about to take a huge next step. If Barham wins the Nash Next contest, he will not only go on tour with his fellow Top 10, he will win a recording deal with Nash Icon Records. Landing a record deal has been a goal for Barham and now he's just steps away from it. He needs your help to get him there, however, and it's so easy to do it. There is a fan voting period going on right now and lasting until next Monday, Nov. 30.

The process to vote is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Go to Barham's Nash Next artist profile here
  2. Sign-up for a fan account. All you need for this is your name and a valid email address. You will not be bombarded with emails by signing up either.
  3. Once logged in, you can vote by clicking the blue circle with a white up arrow on his profile picture. After clicking it, the button will turn grey and you'll see a green box pop up alerting you that your vote has been counted. You can vote only once per 24 hours up to the voting deadline on Monday.
Thanks for Reading 

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