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Moogin’ out, Baby

I really like Mike Adams. He’s the CEO of Moog Music, the guy who showed Bob Moog he was sitting on a goldmine, but he just didn’t know how to leverage/capitalize it all. It is like Adams possesses this shrewd business sense that always outsmarts me. For instance, I’m not sure that his request for city and county funding for Moogfest wasn’t about the want of subsidy so much as free publicity. Now, I’m not so sure Moogfest’s inviting, disinviting, and surprise appearance of Governor Pat McCrory wasn’t another ingeniously-calculated tactic to use politically-active egos to garner more publicity. Adams is now taking responsibility, which, amazingly, gets more press; which I’m happy to provide in my own demented way.

Mike Adams, CEO of Moog Music, said the goal of the [inviting and disinviting] panel was to “get people thinking about economic development” in ways that are outside of the box. “It doesn’t have to be just the traditional economic development approach… We’re transforming from an industrial age to an information age.”

Now, that could just be a bunch of random mumbo-jumbo, as pretentious as a lot of the noise-makers masquerading as musicians at Moogfest. It could also be interpreted to mean something like, emulating the vernacular of Mooger C FreddIE, “We can restart the economy with genius, creativity, technology, and art [stuff]. Know’m sayin’?”

While I’m on the subject, I felt a strange euphoria yesterday at the Ableton workshops. I was curious, excited, standing up to get a better view, thinking in terms of questions again. Then, I flashed back to the real world and thought how much nicer it was learning about concrete, constructive things. The presenters shared some geek philosophy, too, about how life should be creative and if you get bogged down in the medium it’s time to move on and do something fun, and limitations are invitations to find workarounds.

I leave it to you to decide, as always, if I am really mesmerized by all the Moog hype, or if I am kissing up to Adams and his hipster minions to make sure I get a press pass again next year.

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Asheville Passes New Graffiti Ordinance

Last night, Asheville City Council approved a new graffiti ordinance. It was modeled after ordinances in other cities that had seriously reduced their graffiti problems. The program is three-phased. The first step is to fine graffitists with stiffer penalties, beginning at $200 for the first offense. The second is to have a ninety-day blitz to remove all graffiti. Property owners who cannot afford to remove their own may apply for public assistance. Right before the meeting, an extra-nice, super-duper, upstanding citizen of an anonymous donor offered to pay all 10% charges that would have been billed to the property owners. That made the project a lot more palatable.

Business owners seemed happy with the third step that requires them to remove it from their buildings within seven days of receipt of a notice from the city. Persons objecting to the program argued it did not reach out enough to the children whose voices would be suppressed. Leadership struggled to define the difference between graffiti and art because it would have been political suicide to mention “property rights.” Try it: Graffiti is wrong because instead of buying your own canvas, you use your own wall that some curmudgeon thinks he owns just because he paid for it, maintains it, and pays taxes on it. What’s wrong with that? One regular at the meetings commented he was not certain all the gray paint spots, created because the contractors would only carry one shade of gray, was going to look any better.

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From the Hush-Hush Side

The City of Asheville buried the hatchet over 137 acres that had been a bone of contention in the long, drawn-out water disagreement. The staff report was sketchy, and Mayor Esther Manheimer gave the matter a hi-bye treatment. In the end, the city forfeited its right to have property it availed to Henderson County for a water treatment plant that was never built revert to its ownership, and promised to split the proceeds of the sale with Henderson County and give its half to Buncombe County for a law enforcement training center. Asheville’s mayor donned a pin from Henderson County Manager Steve Wyatt as a symbol of smoking the peace pipe.

Whatever that was all about, there was not so much as a peep in the Asheville media, but it’s all over the Henderson papers. See 1 & 2.

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Once in Office

Yesterday, as I was reading the headlines, I thought the candidates for Henderson County Commissioners were being asked better questions than they would face behind the dais. I won’t link you to the interviews, because you might read the responses, and that could be political enough to compromise the JLF’s 501(c)(3).

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Green Your Prom

I like to walk, but I know people who are handicapped, who like me to drive me them places. It is not my place to tell them to be green and crawl. But, if our government thinks it is so terrible for us to drive around, why are they telling drunk teens that they need to “Drive to Live.” How many fatalities would there be if all kids had to walk or ride the bus to the prom?

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Child Hunger in Headlines Again

What I want is for somebody to introduce me to a child who is starving in Buncombe County. I have not seen a single one, and it isn’t like I hang around in an ivory tower. In the headlines again is news about Map the Meal Gap. The web site tells us that one in six Americans face hunger. By ConAgra’s definition, which is based on the USDA’s; food insecurity means people do not always have the best of nutritional choices, and may have to choose between groceries and other needs. Oddly, I thought this was a part of life, and I can’t name a single one of my acquaintances who hasn’t been there. But I have never seen a starving child here, and, furthermore, I don’t know anybody so callous that they would pass a starving child without connecting him with food. I contrast that to the obese, spoiled child who, by government standards is living in poverty, but refuses to eat the lunch prepared, choosing instead to throw a tantrum demanding a trip to McDonald’s. I’ve had two kids do that to me on separate occasions.

Anyway, Map the Meal Gap tells us 15-19 percent of people in Western North Carolina are food-insecure. That’s kind of middle-of-the-pack for the country. But then when you look at child food insecurity, WNC is running above 20 percent, and even over 30 percent in some areas. I have only heard stories from literature about mothers who eat their children’s food – and I’ve known one cat who did that.

So, again, my questions are: (1) Where are the starving children in this land of plenty? (2) If they exist, why are they not connected to all the people who would help them if they only knew? And, finally, since I believe that the earth produces enough and to share and that all famines are caused by governments preventing the flow of charity, (3) What is our government doing to fail its people so badly?

P.S. I could link you to the article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, but I must choose between buying food or a paid subscription for this computer, and I consider that perfectly normal.

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Contract with Designers, Let the Children Drop

Now, if it indeed be true that children are starving all around us – Why the blank are we redrawing plans for a streetscape. Do people really believe it is a good idea to have children dropping dead all around so long as we pay architects to design environments that are supposed to draw millions in investment – except the millions never come?

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We’re Third-World, Might We Try for Fourth?

Now, we’ve really done it. Romanians are reaching out to Western North Carolina’s poor. As an act of corporate gifting, Only Fruit Bar donated $2500 to help dozens more children in Transylvania County public schools receive food from the state. This is but the second step in my Master Plan to get the kwashiorkor-stricken children of Sub-Saharan Africa to donate until all our children have eight cell phones, forty pairs of the latest sneaker designs, nine big screen TV’s, and enough obesity to roll around on our synergistic sidewalks instead of having to walk on them.

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Cogent Molton Cartoon

I commend Mr. Molton for his cartoon about Asheville’s proposed graffiti ordinance.

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The Macon County Board of Elections is still missing $51,845.81. The funds were supposedly spent on contracting with four women. While the investigation of embezzlement continues, the board’s director has been put on paid leave. Said director is known to have been the only person in the organization to authorize, or even be aware of, checks written for the missing money. To date, said person has collected $17,669.94 on said leave while an interim director fills in. Last week, the commissioners transferred $41,000 to the board to help with its budget shortfall. Now, they trying to eliminate that paid part about said person’s said leave (1, 2).

But they can’t. General statutes require the approval of the state board of elections.

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