Thursday, March 31, 2011

Improv Charlotte hosts April Fools' Day show

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 4:21 PM


No foolin'! The first Friday of every month Improv Charlotte hosts an unscripted comedy show to entertain and impact the community. In the spirit of April Fools' Day, this Friday will feature some new faces. For five weeks, the team has been training seven newcomers for their grand comedic debut — and out of those seven someone is sure to come up with something to make you laugh — or bomb. The plots, characters and environment are all up to you, the audience. Proceeds from tomorrow night will benefit A Child’s Place, an organization dedicated to reaching out to homeless children in the Charlotte Area. $5. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show at 7 p.m. Wine Up, 3306 N. Davidson St. 704-372-2633.

— Morgan Jones

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Opening Friday

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 4:00 PM

  • Hop

Cat Run - Paz Vega, Christopher McDonald

Hop - Russell Brand, James Marsden

Insidious - Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne

Jane Eyre - Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbinder

The Music Never Stopped - J.K. Simmons, Lou Taylor Pucci

Source Code - Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan

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Photos: Bobcats vs. Cavaliers, 3/30/11

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 2:06 PM

The Charlotte Bobcats remain one game out of the final playoff spot after knocking off the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on March 30. The game came down to a missed last-second shot by the Cavs that gave the 98-97 win to Charlotte and kept them in the postseason hunt. The Bobcats next home game is on Sunday, April 3, at 6 p.m. against Washington.

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Photos by Jeff Hahne.

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Mayor Foxx sells Duke Energy's 'green' myths

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:59 AM

If Mayor Foxx doesn’t want to be seen as a shill for Duke Energy, he needs to get his facts straight. Foxx was in D.C. yesterday, along with some other mayors, to promote President Obama’s energy policy. At one point, a reporter asked Foxx about Duke Energy, and the mayor delivered a very good facsimile of the current Duke “green” spiel.

Duke Energy, said Foxx, has been "outspoken" about the importance of using renewable domestic energy sources like wind and solar power. That part of Foxx’s reply was true: Duke has indeed been “outspoken” about wind and solar, no matter how piddling their steps toward those energy sources have been. The problem is with Foxx’s follow-up about Duke: "And they're vigorously working to incorporate those types of sources in what they use to generate energy." Sorry, Mr. Mayor, but No. No, they’re not. Being “outspoken” is one thing, but follow-through is what counts, and that’s where Duke Energy’s “green” image falls apart.

As we reported in last week’s column, “The Wizard of Green,” Duke Energy execs, including honcho Jim Rogers, recently let the cat out of the bag when they testified before the N.C. Utilities Commission. Duke revealed that it plans to build more than 7,000 megawatts in new nuclear, coal and gas generation by 2030, but only plans 56 megawatts of solar, and practically no new wind power. Rogers went so far as to say — twice — that "North Carolina doesn't have any wind [energy potential]," despite authoritative studies showing that N.C. leads the East Coast in wind power capacity. (Duke Energy has spent $1.7 billion buying existing wind farms, primarily in western states with competitive power markets.)

So, no, Mayor Foxx. Duke Energy is not “vigorously working” to incorporate green energy alternatives, unless by “vigorously working” you mean “hardly working.” What it actually does is to be “outspoken” about how great wind and solar are, and then turn around and wink to its friends in the nuclear power industry. Mr. Mayor, if you need to be buds with Rogers and Duke Energy, I understand — that’s the reality of running a corporate-heavy city. But for crying out loud, don’t lie for them. What are you now — Pat McCrory?

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Weekender, April 1-3

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Check out these events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area this weekend— as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Friday, April 1

Inhabitants & Happenstance

Lark & Key Gallery

Local artist and co-owner of Lark & Key Gallery, Duy Huynh never ceases to capture my attention with his dreamy paintings loaded with clever captions. In the gallery’s latest exhibit Inhabitants & Happenstance, you’ll find new acrylic paintings by Huynh (like the one pictured, which is titled “Metamorphosis of a Metaphor” — see what I mean?).

Dance Reaching 40 is a milestone, but Garth Fagan Dance had no trouble hurtling over the hill. The dance troupe based out of New York — and founded/choreographed by Jamaican native Garth Fagan — draws inspiration from Afro-Caribbean, ballet and post-modern dance techniques. Mid-air splits and flowing moves combine with body language and music for a deeper construct that goes beyond footwork by venturing into contemplative territory. more...

Music Trance/electronic enthusiasts visit Phoenix tonight as Brit DJ/musician/producer Matt Darey invades. When he’s not busy with his weekly podcast or recording in a studio, he’s hitting the clubs to spin up a mix of pulsating sounds. With Kevin Focus. more...

Continue reading »

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Get your hair tested for mercury Friday at CPCC

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Duke Energy's 81-year-old Riverbend coal plant on Charlotte's Mountain Island Lake.
  • Duke Energy's 81-year-old Riverbend coal plant on Charlotte's Mountain Island Lake.

Yep. Mercury. It's in our air, our water and our fish. Gravity pulls it to earth after it escapes smoke stacks, often at coal plants like Duke Energy's 81-year-old Riverbend plant on Mountain Island Lake — just a few miles from the center of Uptown.

Have you ever wondered how much mercury you've ingested? If so, now you can find out.

CPCC's Center for Sustainability and the Sierra Club have partnered to offer the public mercury testing which will require a tiny haircut — about 15 strands, then your hair will be shipped to the University of Georgia for testing. The test would normally cost you up to $80, but this Friday it's free for the first 40 people who show up.

From the Sierra Club, the organization sponsoring the testing:

Free Mercury hair testings Event:

Did you know that according to an EPA study, 1 in 6 women have enough mercury in their body to put their unborn child at risk of impaired verbal and motor skills, and a lower IQ? North Carolina ranks as 8th in the nation for mercury pollution from coal fired power plants, according to a recent report from Environment America.

The Sierra Club and CPCC Center for Sustainability are working together on a FREE mercury hair testing Project to help you find out how much mercury is in your body. This event is open to anyone interested and is FREE to the first 40 people.

When: Friday April 1, 2011 10 am to 1 pm

Where: CPCC Central Campus, in the Lobby of the Levine IT building

Contact: Erica Geppi 704.374.1125


*If you are thinking about having kids

*If you eat a lot of fish caught by your friends and family

*If you eat a lot of Tuna, Sushi, Swordfish, king mackerel, shark, sea bass or grouper.

* If you are just curious about your mercury levels!

Why test hair?

Mercury is excreted through hair, so a hair sample shows the amount of mercury that has been in a person's body over a few months. The UGA lab we are working with on this testing tests the top 1 cm of each hair sample to provide the most recent mercury level.Hair testing is a valid method of exposing levels of mercury in the body. According the National Research Council, mercury concentration in human hair is the preferred biomarker for evaluating mercury exposure for extended periods of time such as periods of weeks or months.

What if you have high levels of mercury in your hair?

If your test results show that the mercury level in your hair is above 1.2 ppm, do not panic. Mercury cycles out of your body naturally in 3-4 months, so you can lower the mercury levels in your body by reducing the amount of high-mercury fish that you eat.

People who received initial test results with high levels of mercury and made changes to their diet and been re-tested a few months later, have shown significantly lower levels of mercury. Choose more salmon, herring, sardines, canned mackerel and rainbow trout, which are the lowest in mercury and highest in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, an especially important nutrient for pregnant women. Local shrimp is also a great choice with barely any mercury. As a rule of thumb, smaller species with shorter life-spans accumulate less mercury; top predators like sharks and long-lived species like grouper have the most mercury.

Why should we want to know how much mercury is in our body?

Mercury is one example of a particularly harmful air toxic. Mercury builds up in the environment, and human exposure is most commonly through consumption of contaminated fish. A potent neurotoxin especially dangerous to children and fetuses, mercury exposure affects the ability to walk, talk, read, write and learn. The mercury contamination problem in the U.S. is so widespread that one in six women has mercury levels in her blood high enough to put her baby at risk, according to the EPA. One-gram of mercury deposited from the atmosphere per year, over time, is enough to contaminate a 20-acre lake, such that fish that are unsafe to consume on a regular basis. Yet 48 tons are being pumped into our air each year from coal fired power plants alone, which are the largest domestic source of unregulated mercury emissions in the United States.

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Source Code trailer

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

What would you do if you knew you had less than eight minutes to live? For Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), there's only one option: Find out who's about to blow up the commuter train he's on, or be blown to pieces only to repeat the eight minutes all over again. This science fiction thriller also stars Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga. Opens this Friday, April 1.

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'Beauty is the Promise of Happiness'

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:58 AM

This Fugly Whoa-man is probably not happy, according to the study. (Thanks to BayLee's 8 Legged Art for the photo.)
  • This Fugly Whoa-man is probably not happy, according to the study. (Thanks to BayLee's 8 Legged Art for the photo.)

I doubt the fugly people need us to tell them this, but here goes ...

From The Daily Beast:

If self-conscious young women didn't have enough to worry about, here's an awful new stereotype to add to the mix: Ugly people are sad. Not innately, of course—but over time, the curse of unattractiveness will affect them in so many ways that it's actually quantifiable. Ugly people make less money. They have trouble finding a mate. And in a culture that places insurmountable pressure on appearance, they don't feel as good about themselves when they walk down the street.

These are the findings of a new report out of the University of Texas at Austin, called "Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness". Compiling data from more than 25,000 people surveyed across four countries, economists Daniel Hamermesh and Jason Abrevaya compared respondents' happiness levels with how attractive they were (as judged by interviewers). Their finding? Those ranked in the top 15 percent of hotness were 10 percent happier than those ranked in the bottom tier of good looks. (In other words, not all ugly people are sad, but pretty people are statistically happier than their less attractive counterparts.) "Personal beauty raises happiness," says Hamermesh simply. "I know it's not terribly surprising, but what's neat is that nobody's ever documented this."

Read the rest of this article, by Jessica Bennett, here.

Yeah, "neat." WTF? Dude, your study is telling us that if we're not hot we're not happy? Fuck you and your "neat" revelations.

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Living in a county with a big city is healthier?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Thanks to Smabs Sputzer for the photo.
  • Thanks to Smabs Sputzer for the photo.

Welp, that's what this report from MSNBC and the Associated Press points to (see snippet below). What's not a surprise is that the more educated and wealthy you are, the better your health is likely to be.

"Affluent suburbs tend to have higher paying jobs, often in the cities, whereas rural communities often are dealing with loss of businesses" and declining populations of young people, who tend to be healthier, said Dr. Patrick Remington, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute. The institute produced the rankings with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and their second annual rankings report was being released online Wednesday.

Residents of rural communities also tend to have less education, less access to health care, and higher rates of substance abuse and smoking — all factors that contribute to the rankings.

Read the entire article, by Lindsey Tanner, here and find out how North Carolina's counties rank here. Don't worry, our big-city-havin' county is perty healthy compared to the rest.

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Latest GOP genius: 'After Libya, do we go in to Africa next?'

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:32 AM

It’s bad enough that many Americans know so little about the rest of the world, but you kind of expect someone on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington to be a teensy bit more informed on the subject. Unfortunately, that ain’t happenin’ in the case of freshman congressman Tom Marino (R-PA), who apparently landed a seat on the prestigious committee despite not even having access to a map. In an interview with the Scranton Times-Tribune, Marino criticized Obama’s Libya policy, asking, "Where does it stop? Do we go into Africa next?" (our emphasis). Rep. Marino, here is a map of Africa. Looks like you’ll need it. Note the brownish country near the top of the map. Hope this helps.

  • Africa

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