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Everything posted by davidals

  1. Thanks for these links - this is the first I'd heard of this. It seems like a great idea; it will be interesting to see how this plays out with the passage of time.
  2. It's great stuff - he was infamous back in the day as Lennon's binge buddy during the Yoko-less "lost weekend," but he also had a 4-octave vocal range and a real knack for what I guess would later be called "power pop." The Nilsson Schmilsson and Son Of Schmilsson discs are both quite good; he also did the theme from Midnight Cowboy...
  3. Harry Nilsson, specifically the very catchy, funny and profane "You're Breaking My Heart." The late great Nilsson is worth checking out if ya don't already know him - fans of Beatles/Kinks/XTC...
  4. Hmmm - what exactly would a "rising star" really be? We are excluding the biggest metropolises, obviously. This would include some "new South" boomtowns, and some traditional older centers (which - regardless of what ups and downs they are currently experiencing, they are still very solidly established) Next up; a number of other places mentioned: Huntsville, Charleston SC, Greenville SC, Columbia, Richmond, Louisville, Lexington KY, Chattanooga, Asheville, Savannah...just from the top of my head. IMO all of those cities are well on their way, all very solidly established at at least regional (if not national) levels as something of substance. Not the "next" rising star; those cities are "current" rising stars, I would guess. Louisville is well-known nationally, Richmond was one of the only Southern cities (alongside Atlanta and Miami) to be mentioned in the "international cities" study recently discussed on U.P. and elsewhere; for various things (tech or tourism), Savannah, Charleston, Asheville and Huntsville have enough name recognition that I would bet any number of other places would envy. If any of those places are "star" cities, such a definition isn't dependent on city (or metro) size alone - Orlando and Santa Fe NM are respectively internationally known as a tourist mecca and an arts center; neither is the biggest city (or metro) in the world, the country, or even the states in which they are found. By such reckoning, Charleston, Asheville or Huntsville, even at the size they currently are, most definitely have the makings for national or international recognition in some fashion or another. So if I were to try to prognosticate some future rising stars, I think - after some thought - I'd probably look at places like Johnson City TN, Ocala FL, Dothan AL, Beckley WV, Florence SC, Blacksburg VA, Rocky Mount NC, or Monroe LA. Those are places no one is counting on in such forcasting - why (or why wouldn't) those kinds of places pop up on a radar 10 or 20 years hence? Some of those are very depressed places - how might that condition be arrested in some of those cities (which will probably happen), while deepening in some of the others (which will also probably happen)? I don't of course have the answers (I just like throwing questions out there); though methinks the answer in reinventing onesself and becoming the next new South hot spot is something more complex than simply getting a new interstate, or building one more of the many many research parks popping up, but is instead something more radical and structural. Maybe we need a "Micropolitan America Think Tank" (headquartered - of course - in one of those small-ish cities).
  5. Oh and there's just a bit of this in the Triangle as well. The naming of Raleigh-Durham airport (pre-international, decades ago) was some sort of convoluted battle between the two (those kinds of dual-names are supposed to be alphabetical), the dust from that particular dust up has only been partially settled; Durham will lay claim to "most of" RTP whenever possible, even though the park isn't annexable by law.
  6. I'd add a devil's advocate cautionary note as well - a look around the country at some of the more successful music/creative "scenes" - Seattle, Portland, San Fran in the 60s, Austin, Athens GA, Chapel Hill 1990s, Greenwich Village folk in the 60s & punk in the 70s, Beale Street, French Qtr - they were all organic developments that evolved over time, and weren't the brainchild of one or two people deciding to create a scene or district. I'd like to see this succeed because Charlotte definitely deserves it, but it will take more than money and condos to make it succeed; for that to happen you'll need to draw in, welcome and appeal to lots of little garage bands (or jazz or blues or whatever...) and weird artists, who may not have money, and whatever following they can generate and add into the scene - that, MUCH more than anything else, is what made Seattle or Beale Street or San Fran what they were.
  7. Maybe yes, but I somewhat agree. My own faves tend to not be quite so highfalutin That Thai place on 54 east in Chapel Hill isn't gonna be on anyone's top 50, but the place still rocks, and the staff remebers their regulars...
  8. This I'll definitely concede; my word choices were a bit poor. I should state that IMO the DOT is open to criticism, but most definitely so are local officials; I remember the planning debates over what evolved into 485 - the projected routes where shifted several times, and no one local kept their word on the planning end of things. I see evidence of the same in the Triangle (that weird 4-lane bottleneck on I-40 in Cary) on a more or less daily basis. Local officials drop the ball again and again with this. I just have serious frustrations with the DOT, which includes things that I know are not their fault; the buck gets passed in the cities, and funding formulas that favor certain areas of the state over others won't be changing anytime soon; population isn't much of a consideration from what I can see, and when I have to drive on highways that are - frankly - hazardous (I-85 from Lexington to Salisbury), I just get mad every time I think about what it's doing to my car. Mass transit of course should be an option, but the financial costs to quickly implement a high-practicality system that would really effectively serve our urban areas, while also linking places around the state are very extreme. DOT is an easy target; I know this isn't all their fault (though those funding formulas - someone who doesn't mind getting voted out of office should agitate for some serious changes there). The DOT has no way of reading the minds of planners, city council officials or developers in the Asheville area, and I can understand the DOT's very adamant wish to not get into another situation like 485 in Charlotte or 40 across south Durham. I am absolutely certain this will occur with the Garden Pkwy in Meck and Gaston Counties... BUT if folks in Asheville swear they are serious about what they are saying, then give them the benefit of the doubt, and if they go back on their end of the bargain, remind people of where the blame sits. If effective transportation planning has gotten that ruthless in the state, given what has happened to costs, then we should face it, and stop Mickey-Mousing around.
  9. Simply - if local officials have better, detailed ideas, that they shouldn't let the DOT shove something down their throat. If local officials demand a 6-lane instead of 8, they have the responsibility to see to it that it happens, and they also have the responsibility to manage growth in that part of Asheville, so the road doesn't get overwhelmed, forcing the DOT into some expensive rebuild project in 5 or 10 years. If the DOT has a record of underplanning urban roads (look at every other metro in the state), Asheville officials should recognize that immediately and see to it that nothing gets overlooked, and if they think they'll need HOV lanes (as an example) mention it now, or do without. Likewise, they also need to set policies and stick to them with future development potential. That land west of the river is some of the more potentially developable land in that area, so if it's going to happen, it should be done wisely, with the road's capacity and design well considered.
  10. Rusk has interesting things to say. What realistically could be done to nudge the process along?
  11. Great points - I live in Chapel Hill, which has plenty of it's own issues (actually, some of the issues mentioned above), but I like the Triangle, or it's potential at least, and the publicity lists like these cast on an area is flattering. But regardless of what Money thinks, any city (or suburb) too infatuated with it's own lack of funk is a no place to settle down in. After all, Washington DC (as an example) has crime and nasty traffic and scandals and blight and a tragic lack of affordability in lots of places, but it remains one of the most interesting cities in the country, problems be damned. There's an interesting 'best cities' list in the current issue of Outdoor magazine, and Asheville is the NC city that makes that particular list. The editorial slant of Outdoor is as different from Money as you'll find, but Outdoor does remember to include downsides in each of their recommendations, like insane median home prices in some of their West Coast selections (a comical and extremely unflattering assessment of Boulder also appears, and given Outdoor's demographic, it will probably get them hate mail), and the over-reliance on service jobs in Asheville... Their insinuation that living in a garage or a yurt (!) is beginning to be viewed as an acceptible alternative living choice if you are unable to afford the $800k-$1,000,000 median home prices in a few spots is chilling.
  12. It's been a while and I don't recall the specifics, but the routing of 73 and 74 through the Triad was in response to a legislative push from those areas. In light of the news about the rail study between Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington, at this point I'd only (now) think that the only way we'll see any action on the entire corridor is if Wilmington, Lumberton, Rockingham, Shelby, Hendersonville or Asheville were to make the push. If it was initiated by anyone in Charlotte, I'd be very, very shocked to not see it shot down immediately. Especially down US74 to Wilmington, I don't know if it's clear to many people just how much tourist money is going straight over the state line and down 77 and 26 to Charleston.
  13. To your last question, out to lunch. There was an 'upgrade 74 to interstate grade' proposal roundabout 1970, which quickly collapsed, and the never-settled eastern route of I-40 was zig-zagged into its' final, constructed alignment around 1979-80. The I-74 and I-73 plans in the early 90s were the final nail in the coffin for a good quality Asheville-Charlotte-Wilmington freeway, with a single route number over what would logically be a single route. I've written legistlators with the idea on a few occasions, but I doubt we'll see anything come of this. An additional hurdle - I think planning for a project like this that would actually materialize (in something less that 50 years) would also require local officials along a corridor from Wilmington to Asheville dialogue and map out a comprehensive, unified vision for such a project. Money is tighter than ever - what with all that "hoped for growth that I-40 was theoretically going to generate in those economically depressed counties between Raleigh and Wilmington largely failed to materialize" inspiring numerous other obscure freeway projects. Thus I think a perhaps better vision for the same Asheville-Charlotte-Wilmington corridor might be high-speed rail - a pipe dream perhaps, but with Charlotte (and much of the southern border area of NC in actuality) walled out of road schemes largely oriented to spread theoretical benefits elsewhere (at the expense of practical and realistic necessities), some other kind of visioning to further integrate the already interconnected economies of the Wilmington, Charlotte and Asheville areas will have to be the focus.
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