The Dean of Everything

When I saw the news on Twitter last Sunday about the passing of Dean Smith, my feeling of sadness was immediately followed by an urge to text JB and ask him to write something up for Notably Worthless. But after a brief moment, I realized it would mean more coming from me.

You see, I am not a lifelong Dean Smith fan. In fact, having been raised a Wolfpack fan, I was actually quite unimpressed with Dean Smith. But after he retired, the passage of time1 helped soften my hardened heart against Coach Smith. I was able to ignore the idol-worshiping noise a bit and finally absorb all of the stories that truly defined the man.

Sometimes talent, luck, hard work, and timing conspire to bring great fortune to a man. And other times, as in the case of Coach Smith, talent, luck, hard work, and timing conspire to bring great fortune to humanity. For a time, Dean Smith was measured by the players he produced and the wins he amassed. But that time has long since passed. Today, and for many generations to come, we remember Coach Smith for the men he served, the men he saved, and the men he sent out into the world better than he found them.

  1. And perhaps my own maturation.

Romance Killers

When I saw that Second Empire made OpenTable’s 2015 list of the 100 “most romantic” restaurants in America, I cringed a bit. Not because I don’t think the restaurant is worthy, but because I felt bad for anyone who was there this past New Year’s Eve hoping for a romantic evening. I happened to be there with ten or so of my closest friends, and thanks to us, the room we were in wasn’t quite so romantic for anyone who was dining with us. Anyway, sorry folks.

Attack of the Future

National Signing Day for college football came and went this week and along with it came clear indicators of Dave Doeren’s plans for the Wolfpack’s future offensive attack. Highlighted by a pair of in-state, four star running backs, Doeren planted his flag firmly in staking his claim on in-state recruiting and a run-heavy offensive attack. Garner High School’s Nyheim Hines and Princeton High School’s Johnny Frasier highlight an incoming class that also features several solid offensive lineman. Obviously, the recruiting trail was blazed long before the Wolfpack’s late 2014 success; but that success, propelled by a run-first, throw-when-you-must attack, validates the recruiting strategy and should offer Wolfpack fans a mild dose of cautious optimism.

I’ve never been one to get sucked into recruiting season, favoring the dose of reality that comes in the fall over the pie-in-the-sky hope of less-than-perfect recruiting ratings systems. You can throw all the stars that you want at a player, but the player still has to play and the coach still has to coach. That said, I was drawn into this year’s hoopla by the mild national attention that a running back from my former high school received, even going so far as to watch the press conference announcing his commitment.

Taking the long view, I’m excited about the direction of NC State football. We have a young, enthusiastic coach who has tasted success and seems hungry for more. I just hope the university gives him time to grow and develop, just as many patient coaches work so hard to do with their young players.

Photo Credit: “Carter-Finley Stadium 1” by SMaloneyOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Super Locally Focused

We’re about 20 minutes from kick-off and no lie I just got a phone call from JB that goes a little something like this:

Hey, I had to take a break from the Russell Wilson love-fest …

So, it’s that kind of day for him. All Russell, All the Time is good for NC State shirt wearing Seahawks bandwagon fans but it’s a nightmare for anyone else in the Carolinas. And it’s especially tough for Tarheel fans who must have had a heavy dose of night tremors after witnessing the deja vu two yard Hail Mary play from Wilson a couple of weeks ago in the NFC Championship game.

But it’s okay, non-PackOfBadgers North Carolinians1, there’s still plenty of home state pride to be rooting for at Super Bowl XLIX. First of all, this is the first Super Bowl stadium and field to be lit by super awesome, energy efficient, super bright LED lights. And you know who’s lighting it up? That’s right, Durham’s own Cree.

Also over in Durham is SportsMedia Technology, a company that, according to the Triangle Business Journal, “develops and implements the graphics presentations and video enhancement technologies that help you understand the big game.”. The article is a nice, quick read and takes a look at preparation for the big game through the company’s eyes (hint: Sunday is the big day for the teams, but for a company like SMT, Saturday is the most important).

That’s all I’ve got for now. If you happen to know more local connections in this year’s Super Bowl, hit us up @itsworthnoting on Twitter and we’ll update the post.

Go ‘Hawks!

Coaxing Us Into Higher Prices

Google Fiber can’t come soon enough. From Quartz:

All of which helps explain why the price of cable TV is holding steady in the US, while internet bills rise. Take a look at Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable company (behind Comcast, which is attempting to acquire it). For its residential customers, the average monthly cost of TV service is $76.08, just a dollar more than it was two years ago. But internet service prices are up 21% over the same period, to an average of $47.30 a month.

The rising price of internet service could have something to do with more customers eschewing cable TV service in favor of internet-only/streaming (thus, justifying a jump to a more expensive, higher-bandwidth tier). But my own experience demonstrates the cable companies aren’t too motivated to extended the attractive promotional pricing they offer for the first year of service. And with the FCC recently voting to change the definition of broadband, it’s going to be an interesting couple of years on the broadband front.

The Sisterhood of the Burgeoning Restaurants

The Triangle food scene has exploded in recent years and people are taking notice near and far. Andrea Weigl is certainly on top of things. Her recent write-up for the News & Observer formed a narrative around the recent spate of female entrepreneur chefs and blazed a trail for a subsequent piece coming from the New York Times by Kim Severson.

First, a bit of level-setting primer from Weigl:

But the capital has a growing crew of women running successful downtown drinking and eating establishments. Some owned their own places long before Christensen was named best chef in the Southeast last spring by the James Beard Foundation; others, inspired by her success, took the leap.

To, perhaps, a little more depth from Severson:

The North Carolina food sisterhood stretches out beyond restaurants, too, into pig farming, flour milling and pickling. Women run the state’s pre-eminent pasture-raised meat and organic produce distribution businesses and preside over its farmers’ markets. They influence food policy and lead the state’s academic food studies. And each fall, the state hosts the nation’s only retreat for women in the meat business.

I especially love the pork chop analogy that Severson uses to open up her piece to highlight the more-the-merrier atmosphere the permeates all of this growth.

Both articles are short and well worth a read. Weigl does a great job of highlighting some of the new hotspots while giving a little bit of background for the ladies behind them. Severson digs deeper into the complete farm-to-table phenomenon while also highlighting the strong female influence at each stop along the chain. The positive socio-economic impact is significant, but most importantly to me, the food is great and I’m just happy to be around to enjoy the spoils.