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Eraserhead II

Plus, Wadesboro rocks and Moore draws a crowd

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Ever since the team first came into existence in December 2002, people have been waiting for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Waiting to be wooed. Waiting to see the direction the franchise was going to take. But more than that, they were waiting on some players. (It's pretty hard, after all, to pull for a team when you're not even sure who's on it.)

Folks even lined up early to check out the Bobcats' first-ever draft pick Thursday evening at the Charlotte Coliseum, probably because they were promised that attendees would not only get a T-shirt but also a chance to find out who the Bobcats were drafting with their number two pick -- entire minutes before those watching at home! (italics mine)

Of course, as soon as the Orlando Magic used their first pick to draft high school center Dwight Howard, the whole thing was moot. The Bobcats brass had been salivating over Omeka Okafor ever since they were awarded a franchise. And why not? He's won a national championship at Connecticut, been an All-American, kept a sparkling GPA all through school, and ferociously blocks shots and rebounds like no one since the Detroit Pistons' Ben Wallace.

At the appointed time, team owner Robert Johnson came to the stage, smiled and announced the pick. Fireworks exploded, and confetti covered the crowd. All was great in Bobcatsland. The team finally had a star to call its own, a 6-foot-10-inch "eraser," in basketball parlance.

This crowd -- some 10,000 strong, which is about 3,000 people more than the Hornets were drawing before they relocated -- roared their approval. And why not? After our bout with Shinn & Co., an eraser's just what this town needed.

Sometimes you go to a show and the band's not the most interesting thing. Hell, most of the time you go to a show, the band's not the most interesting thing. Friday night at the Steeple, the band was the most important thing. Wadesboro's The Sammies aren't the biggest name in area rock circles -- they're from Wadesboro, where the music scene likely consists of them and two Staind rip-off bands -- but they're a band to watch, even if your concert-going usually consists of cover bands providing a flesh jukebox to dollar beer night at the local watering hole.

One concertgoer excitedly described The Sammies as sounding like they could have strolled straight out of the kudzu-covered fields of Athens, Georgia, circa 1981. It was an apt description, I thought. There's something for everybody in the band's mix, provided you like to have some fun: a little garage, a little post-punk, and a little un-ironic Southern Rock, all tied up with Malcolm McLaren's bondage straps.

Word has it they're going to record with NYC wonderboys The Walkmen later this year, the very same Walkmen that author David Eggers recently called the "American Radiohead." Call The Sammies the Charlotte Walkmen, then. They may not ever make the radio, but damned if they don't stick in your head.

An admission to those folks who constantly gripe about the great left-wing media conspiracy: it's true. There is a great left-wing media conspiracy. We meet Wednesdays at countless Jack-in-the-Box locations all across the US (the better to go undetected), and it is here we plan the coverage that you read in your newspapers every week. More chicken bones than Skull and Bones, it's the greatest secret society you've never heard of. Our president is Michael Moore.Segue: Moore's new Fahrenheit 9/11 came in number-one at the box office this past weekend, despite showing on only a fraction of the screens that the predicted frontrunners -- White Chicks and Dodgeball -- appeared on. The film had the biggest opening for a documentary in the history of cinema, and also holds the record for highest gross ever for a film opening in less than 1,000 sites.

I showed up to see the film on Sunday at Regal Cinemas at Stonecrest, a theater probably more known more for its parking lot full of SUVs than for any liberal leanings. To my surprise, the film was sold out. (To my greater surprise, I didn't hear so much as a peep from anyone throughout the entire film, leading me to believe that it must be Republicans who always talk in movies.)

Granted, the film was probably "preaching to the choir." However, one Republican I attended with found the film both "interesting" and "thought-provoking," and liked the fact that Moore also sticks it to the Dems on a number of occasions.

The Stonecrest crowd broke into spontaneous applause as the movie ended, and I overheard two folks say that the movie had inspired them to take up activist causes "as soon as they could." Moore might not grab too many Republicans with his film, but he need only stir up the sometimes-staid Democrats for his work to have been a rousing success.

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