This must be the place: ‘Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on’

I couldn’t believe she gave me a ticket.

Thanksgiving 2001. I was 16 years old. Having just ate a quick meal with my family up on the Canadian Border of Upstate New York, I jumped into my rusty 1989 Toyota Camry and bolted down the road towards Vermontville, a tiny hamlet in the heart of the desolate Adirondack Mountains. 

This must be the place: ‘The air was just electric. The air was quivering.’

I was handed a telephone number and told good luck.

In the fall of 2007, I was 22 years old. Once graduate school didn’t pan out, I found myself scrambling to find a gig in the journalism world. Based out of Upstate New York at the time, I applied for a position at The Williston Observer, a small newspaper just across Lake Champlain in Vermont. 

This must be the place: Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good

Let’s go Sox. 

Standing and shouting at the large television at a pub around the corner from my apartment in Waynesville this past Sunday evening, I kept pounding the wooden bar counter in hopes it would echo through the bright, high-definition screen and rattle the Dodgers out in Los Angeles, in hopes of another Boston Red Sox World Series Championship. 

Drifting back down to earth at the peak of beauty

With brightly colored leaves falling from nearby trees in my front yard, the mountains appearing in the morning fog, and the whirlwind that is summer in the rearview mirror, I began to slow down and slide into the serenity only found in this magical time of the year. 

Blue collar dreams: Balsam Range wins big at IBMAs

Sitting on a bench in the lobby of the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium last Thursday evening, Marc Pruett waits quietly for the rest of his band, Balsam Range, to arrive for the International Bluegrass Music Association award show. 

In my life, I’ve loved them all

With the massive rainfall from Tropical Storm Florence on Sunday, my truck carefully navigated its way through deep puddles and down slick backroads, the windshield wipers barely able to keep up. 

The church was just off the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, tucked above Barber Orchards in Balsam. It’s had been awhile since I stepped foot in a church. Raised in a Catholic family, I’d go to church sometimes twice a week (Thursday for school, Sunday for family). Though a deeply spiritual person, I hadn’t crossed the threshold of a house of worship in some time. 

This must be the place: I wanna be an American cowboy, and I ain’t never moving away

Every-so-often, I’d look around the crowd and wonder if I’d have known any of these folks, perhaps called them dear friends, if I had stayed all those years ago.

Standing in the middle of Teton Village, in the shadow of the Grand Teton Mountains, just outside Jackson, Wyoming, this past Sunday, I immersed myself in the raucous sounds of rock act Futurebirds. I thought of who I was and what I wanted out of life when I was 23 years old and living in this part of the country. 

This must be the place: Tomorrow’s gonna be a brighter day

Back to square one.

Dammit. You’d think that after existing on this earth for 33 years, and being a legal adult for the last 15, that I’d get this relationship and/or love thing correct, eh? Somewhere on I-40 West right now is my now ex-girlfriend, bolting across the Mississippi River toward the next, new chapter of her life in New Mexico. 

A rapid series of comical noises: A conversation with comedy genius David Cross

If there was a single voice of reason amid the bombardment of deafening noise in the digital age — of mass media, of used car salesman politicians, of everyday informed/misinformed folks rambling on (and on) — David Cross might be that single voice.

Whether through his iconic stand-up routines, his groundbreaking sketch comedy series “Mr. Show” or his immortal role as Tobias Funke in the sitcom “Arrested Development,” Cross is a bonafide comedy legend. For him, it isn’t about taking cheap shots or reaching for the low-hanging fruit of material. Cross comes from a more cerebral approach, an analytical mind that knows no bounds, and uses his intelligence to reach the masses with his wit and wisdom through the wide-open channels of entertainment. 

This must be the place: With a little help from my friends

Bolting up Interstate 95, just outside of Portland, Maine, this past Monday, I finally could smell that smell that conjures innumerable cherished memories, genuine emotions and deep thoughts in my mind — the ocean. 

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