Notes From Atlanta

Friday, August 29, 2003

Chris Rock just says things other comics won't.

Not that I watched the MTV Awards or anything. I read the quip in the NY Daily News. I couldn't be bothered to watch that crap, but I wouldn't mind seeing a highlight reel of Chris Rock.

"It wasn't a good year for fat black singers," Rock quipped.

"Barry White died, Luther Vandross had a stroke. I hope Ruben is eating a salad right now," he said of hefty "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard. "The brother's named after a sandwich, he don't stand a chance."


Front page of AJC website this morning

I have no problem with that- the act or the photo. Of course it is a performance to boost both of the artists falling careers. Still, the photo has its appeal. 

Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Army decided.

Slate: The Worst of Howard Dean.

Dean told Russert, "I was given an examination. I had a previous back problem, which is evidently congenital, which prevented me from doing any sustained running, a problem that I've had since then, since that time, which requires that when I get out of the car I often have some pains up and down my leg and back and so forth. But I have been able to exercise [and have] a vigorous athletic life except for some things. One of those is long-distance running, which is how the problem came to my attention in the first place. I noticed the pain when I was in high school running track. … After the physical, I received a 1-Y deferment, [which] means you can only be called in times of national emergency. I didn't have anything to do with choosing any draft deferment. … The United States government said this is your classification. I'm not responsible for that."

In the late '80's I tried to enlist in the Army. I was hoping to use the GI Bill to help finish college. I scored an unbelievable score on the ASVAB, and the recruiter was all excited. I was in good shape when I showed up for my physical. I made it through everything with no problems, until the last exercise we did. We were told to kneel on the tile floor, pick up our feet so that only our knees were touching, and walk ten "steps," turn around, and walk ten "steps" back. I had very low body fat, and my kneecaps were actually crushing the skin on my knees. I just could not do it no matter how hard I tried. The Army told me I had bad knees and could not enlist. They had an orthopedic surgeon look at my knees, and take x-rays. He said they were fine, but the Army would not let me enlist. Since that time I have become a very competitive triathlete and Ironman. I have no problem with my knees. So I am not surprised that the Army classified Dean as a 1-Y for a congenital defect. Just because he could ski, does not mean he could run, which unlike "knee walking" would be required. I mean it is not like Dean got his daddy to get him enlisted in the National Guard flying an obsolete plane or anything. 


The softer side of the south.

AJC: Justice steps onto well-worn Southern soapbox.

Everyone who spoke to me about the drama that was playing out at the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery last week shook their head, rolled their eyes and muttered: "Those people down there are crazy!"


Over the years I learned that Southerners consumed alcohol in greater quantities, were more violent and were more likely to commit incest than residents of other regions. Last year Alabama's murder rate was the third highest in the nation, behind Louisiana and Mississippi. The South has looser gun laws than other regions, and in recent years casino gambling has caught on in a big way.

Yet religion, so muscular when denouncing human foibles, has been timid about disturbing the status quo. In the Baptist church where I grew up, premarital sex and homosexuality were loudly denounced from the pulpit. But, when a church deacon tried to kill his wife, the other board members rebuffed her family's entreaties to kick him off. They didn't want to rock the boat.

Just go read the whole column. It is an amusing piece of writing, and sadly very truthful.


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Hey Chum.

SFGate: Day in Pictures.

"Why is that guys waving to me? They sure are friendly around here!" 

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

We suck! We suck!

AJC: Georgia ranks 50th in SAT scores for second straight year.

Only Washington DC was lower, and that is only because Bush brought the average down.

The College Board released the 2002-2003 SAT scores this morning and Georgia, for the second year in a row, has the lowest score among all states. Georgia's average score was 984 out of a possible 1600. Only Washington D.C. scored lower than Georgia at 958.

And man did he bring it down. They are really stupid up there!

Georgia students on average scored 493 out of 800 on the verbal part of the test -- up 4 points from 2001-2002. On the math portion of the test, Georgia seniors scored 491, the same as the previous year. Both scores are well below the national average of 507 verbal, 519 math.

That's 23 points below average on the Math. No wait, that is 18 points below average on the Math. that is 28 points below...... That math score is really low!

In Georgia's defense, we do have the highest participation rate in the nation, which does have an effect on the rankings. In 27 states the ACT is used primarily by colleges, so only seniors hoping to go to an out of state college will even take the SAT. How else could North Dakota end up with an average teast score of 1215? 

Monday, August 25, 2003

Cyclists fighting to keep Dick Lane Velodrome Open.

Dick Lane Velodrome: City to close Velodrome!
(Warning: Annoying refreshing ad.)

We need your support to save the DLV!

On Wednesday August 6th, the East Point Parks and Recreation Department officially notified us that due to safety concerns the Dick Lane Velodrome will be closed after the September 6 th Grand Prix. The East Point Velodrome Association (A Georgia Nonprofit) is working on a plan that will address the city's safety concerns. The city's concern is the slow settlement of the wall supporting turns 3 and 4 into the stream. EPVA's current plan is to stop/slow the erosion behind the wall, provide additional support, drill relief holes to relieve the water pressure, and resurface sections of the turn. Rough construction estimates to accomplish these essential tasks is $15,000 to 25,000 dollars.

If the repairs cannot be made then the track will not be able to re-open. Needless to say this will require the help of corporate donors to fund the costs. We would also like to solicit anyone with contacts to civil engineers and structure construction firms that could donate time, equipment and material to this effort. The EPVA is asking that anyone who can help, please email us. A 501c3 fund has been established for this purpose.

The Velodrome, now more than ever, needs your financial support for this effort. We also ask that you show your support by attending our final race of the year on September 6th at 7:30 pm.

Over the years, the DLV has been the home and starting point for many Olympic athletes. Through our successful new, community-based kids "Bicycle Little League", we look forward to developing even more future Olympians. With your support the track can continue this tradition. Please help us make 2004 a successful year too.

The City of East Point always seems to be on the verge of closing the velodrome for some reason. They don't seem to realize what a rare sports venue they have, and they do not support any of the programs going on there. Last year they wanted to turn it into a retention pond. This is the only velodrome in Georgia, and one of the few in the southeast. Not only does the track support elite cyclists, they also have a cool children's program. The cyclists who are involved in running the velodrome are highly motivated, and should manage to keep it open until next year when East Point decides they want to close it again. 


Dean's Sleepless Summer Tour!

Better than the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour!

Go watch


But, but, but... the GOP says marriage is for procreation!

AJC: Married without children.

The Schums are part of a growing number of couples across the country for whom kids don't factor in the marriage equation. Last year, the nation's birth rate fell to a historic low of 66.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 -- a decline of 43 percent since 1960. Many childless couples revel in their decision, despite badgering from baffled mothers and friends. Others struggle with the choice before keeping the house kid-free.

They see marriage as a union to fulfill emotional and material needs, said Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. They delight in a world without soccer practice, PTA meetings or Elmo songs. They travel on a whim and enjoy nights out without finding a baby sitter. Careers become paramount.


The increase in childless couples has spawned network groups. In metro Atlanta, there's No Kidding, a group that formed four years ago and provides a social outlet for its members. Couples with kids often find kinship from other parents at school or soccer matches.

Traci Swartz, a 34-year-old occupational therapist, joined No Kidding to help make friends after moving to Atlanta three years ago with her husband, Jeremy, a 32-year-old computer analyst. For the Swartzes, the urge to have children simply never sparked. "When you don't have children, you are not involved in any activities like a lot of other people, like soccer and ballet," said Traci. No Kidding members talk about pets, travel and other common interests but rarely kids.

"People think we sit around and talk about how we hate kids, but we almost never mention kids," she said.

Damn, you mean couples can get along and have a nice fulfilling life without kids? Better not tell the GOP. Without kids these couples are no better than gay couples, are they? 

Friday, August 22, 2003

Hey, a rocket scientist!

AJC: Model exposes Gordon's love life in Playboy.

Merryman, who also poses nude in the magazine, said she at first declined Gordon's invitations to lunch, but a year later they began an 11-month affair. She said Gordon, who previously had a straight-laced image, "became a wild man."


Merryman, who once worked as an exotic dancer and had small roles on "Baywatch" and "Veronica's Closet," said Gordon left her for another model.

"Right before my birthday, I found out he was meeting her at the beach," she said.


Merryman said she'd learned one lesson from the relationship.

"I'll never get involved with a married man again," she said.

No shit? You think that is a good idea? How can a relationship built upon a foundation trust end so badly?

Update: I just saw this woman in Playboy, er..... which I ran across at the dentist's office. Jeff could have done better. I think he committed the terrible sin of sleeping with a woman who is not as good looking as his wife. I would like to know how many times they slept together, and use that to divide the amount of money Jeff is losing in his divorce. That could be one of the most expensive trysts in history. 

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Remember the swimming holes of your youth?

AJC: Finding the perfect swimming hole.

Clayton, GA -- If this isn't a perfect swimming hole, it's awfully darn close.

This broad, deep pool nestles in an elbow of the Chattooga River where the rushing water parts and slows down, hindered by islands of ancient, lichen-speckled stone. Pine trees, stunted to bonsai size, grow out of the rocks, and tiger swallowtail butterflies cluster on the sandy shore like animated flowers.

A few yards upstream is Woodall Shoals, a top-of-the-scale Class VI rapid that crushes canoes and swallows paddlers. But here in this gentle, circling eddy, all is calm.

Some of the best swimming is done in out of the way swimming holes. I have had fun in swimming holes in creeks in Atlanta, streams in Athens, and flooded quarries in Pensacola. They sure beat pools for a sense of adventure with a hint of danger.

Swimming holes throughout the country, and swimming holes throughout Georgia. Those concerned about bacteria in the Chattahoochie, you can check daily here


Why the hell would they do that?

AJC: Retriever tossed from car awaits kinder owner.

The fluffy blond pup was tossed out of a moving car in North Georgia last month. Nugget's jaw was broken when she hit the pavement, but she waddled out of the way as the car's driver backed up and tried to run over her. A nearby family witnessed the scene and rushed to her aid.

What a shame they didn't catch this piece of garbage who did this. If he didn't want the dog, why not drop it off at a pound, or just dump it. What could a Golden Retriever puppy have done to piss somebody off so bad that they toss it from a moving car and then try to run over it? The good news? The puppy will heal up just fine, and will soon be adopted out to a loving home.

Despite the trauma, Nugget seems to have moved on. Wednesday afternoon, she pounced around the clinic's waiting room with a stuffed toy, her tongue excitedly licking through an elastic muzzle.

Richardson said Nugget probably will face no lasting physical or psychological effects from her ordeal. "It happened so fast, and she's so young, I don't think she'll even remember it," he said.

Also of Note: In another horrible story, a Shepard-Sheltie mix was dragged behind a car and then left tied to tree in front of a Clayton County Vet's office recently. He will survive and heal up, but his vet bills will be much higher. They are taking contributions should you have a few dollars extra this week. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Big kids think they are so tough.

Slate: Little League Bullies.

.....The problem is the beefy Alvey, who measured in for last year's tournament at 5-foot-7, 175 pounds. Every year, the big kids beat the ever-loving crap out of the little ones.

A tour of the Little League record books shows that, for an American team, success is found by riding on the coattails of a hypertrophic hulk-child. Cody Webster, the hero of the Kirkland, Wash., team that ended Taiwan's 31-game Williamsport winning streak in 1982, is a dead ringer for Alvey: He also stood 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds at the age of 12 and hit a home run and threw a shutout in the championship game. The next year, 6-foot-2 Marc Pisciotta—yes, he was 6-foot-2 at 12—who pitched for the Cubs and Royals during a brief major league career, used his overpowering fastball to lead East Marietta, Ga., to the title. San Diego Padre third-baseman Sean Burroughs, who as a 5-foot-5, 170-pound 11-year-old looked eerily similar to the inflated baby from that year's Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, took his Long Beach, Calif., team to back-to-back titles in 1992 (when a team from the Philippines was disqualified) and 1993, when he hit .600 and threw two no-hitters.


When the next hulk-child comes along, a Little League official needs to stand up, on a chair if necessary, look him in the eye, and tell him to go play somewhere else. By knuckling under to a few dominant players, Little League implants a lasting lesson in the heads of the millions of youngsters that play in its leagues worldwide: The big kids always get their way. It's only fair that, for a year or two, normal-sized kids should get a chance to feel big. That is, before they get cut from the high-school team.

These big kids grow up always using their size advantage for sports excellence. They dominate in the sports of baseball, football, and basketball to get scholarships and popularity. They just brush away the smaller guys. Then they grow up, get jobs and head out to the real world. Eventually they look for a sport to stay in shape and to cut back on some of the accumulated fat. Many become triathletes like I am. Only no 200 plus pounds of former high school super athlete can compete with 150 pounds of lithe swimmer, cyclist, and runner. As a buddy of mine used to say about big guy's extra weight, sometimes you can float it and sometimes you can roll it, but you can't ever run with it. So what do these guys say now that their size is a disadvantage? Do they just accept it, as they tell the smaller guys to in school? No! Why they whine and carry on like Bill O'Reilly and start demanding their own divisions. They want to be called "clydesdales," and compete only with bigger guys. They don't want to compete with guys whose natural size gives them an advantage. All of a sudden size difference is no longer fair if they are on the losing end. Poor babies!

As to Little League, I can see pros and cons to any size limit they may impose. I think the bottom line is what do these kids learn from beating up on littler kids? They don't become better athletes and they don't learn how to compete against superior opponents. They only learn how to dominate little guys. What good life lessons are involved in that? When I work out swimming, biking and running, I seek people who are better than me. They make me push myself and help make me better. Maybe it would be best for these "giant" 12-year-olds to do the same. 


Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

SFGate: Shark kills woman in Central Coast attack.

Witnesses told investigators that Franzman, clad in a wetsuit and fins, was swimming among a pod of sea lions when the mammals suddenly vanished ......

Oooh, very bad sign.

As a triathlete who frequently races in the ocean, this is the type of stuff I hate to hear. Probably why I swim with dark tinted googles- I don't want to be able to see anything under ther water's surface. I think I would avoid swimming with sea lions, as many sharks attacks are mistaken identity, humans for sea lions. I also avoid peeing in my wetsuit like many triathletes do. At that point, not only do you look like a sea lion but you also smell like one. And if you do get attacked and taken to the hospital, I think the staff would find the urine smell offensive. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Where the hell did that Bush doll disappear to now?

Kansas City Star: Bush toy was not much fun.

With great disappointment, I am returning the George W. Bush “action figure,” which you will find enclosed in this package......


All last week, during the grueling sandbox battles in my backyard between my GI Joes and the hideous armies of Grog, the GW Bush doll was missing. I thought it was lost for good. But then, after my GI Joes won the day and made the sandbox safe again, there the Bush doll was, front and center, looking splendid and unruffled in pristine army fatigues. Evidently it'd been playing dress-up all week with my sister's Ken doll but was right there to take the credit for the GI Joe's victory.

A very funny piece. 

Monday, August 18, 2003

Joe Conason on conservative lies.

Salon: Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth.

If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. The country we know and love today was built by those victories for liberalism -- with the support of the American people.


Whether the right-wingers who create and disseminate this vicious propaganda actually believe it is unimportant, although I suspect that the smarter conservatives know very well when they are lying. What matters is that their lies have spread unchallenged by facts for so many years.

Are liberals unpatriotic, a favorite conservative canard? No. The record of loyalty (and military service) among liberals equals that of conservatives. Do liberals despise the work ethic? No. Liberals defend the interests of working Americans against the fake populism of corporate conservatism. Don't liberals always tax and spend the economy into ruin? No. The numbers prove that liberal Democrats have been the most competent, fiscally trustworthy stewards of the economy for the past seven decades. Aren't liberals determined to restrict freedom in the name of political correctness? No. In fact, liberals have been the most consistent defenders of the Bill of Rights for the past century. Is "liberal" a synonym for "immoral"? No. Liberals do preach less about "family values," but they're just as likely as conservatives to honor those values.

The book comes out this week. Buy a copy, and then buy another copy and send it to somebody. 

Saturday, August 16, 2003

I would hope there is a special place in hell for this burglar.

AJC: Intruder steals blind man's only treasure: dog companionship.

Chattanooga -- A burglar who crept into a public housing apartment didn't steal anything, but he took something priceless from 84-year-old Frank Owen.

Owen, a widower blinded by glaucoma, was forced to euthanize his guide dog and companion, Blackie, after the intruder broke the Labrador retriever's back in an apparent effort to silence his protective barks.

"I miss him," Owen said, sitting in his apartment. "He was more than smart. Same as another person. Better in so many ways. He didn't give me no problems."

Blackie was attacked last weekend when Owen went out for his weekly dinner with a group of blind friends. He left the dog behind in the locked apartment because there wasn't enough room in a van. It was one of the few times over the last 12 years the dog wasn't at Owen's side.

Hopefully some fund can be set up for another companion dog. It won't be able to replace this one, but it will help the old man keep some mobility. 


I had forgotten all about that theatened lawsuit.

AJC: Letters.

Copycat lawsuits have a precedent

Fox News Network's lawsuit against comedian Al Franken's use of the term "fair and balanced" calls to mind the story of Warner Bros. threatening to sue the Marx Brothers for the use of the word "Casablanca" in their film titled "A Night in Casablanca." Groucho finessed the situation by threatening, on behalf of himself and his siblings, to countersue the studio for its use of the word "Brothers."

Sean Penn should sue Sean Hannity for having established himself as a celebrity named Sean long before anyone ever heard of Hannity.

Sunland, Calif.


Friday, August 15, 2003

A true biker.

Creative Loafing: Two-wheeled salvation.

Some funny stuff!

Personally, I'll hold myself up against Lance Armstrong any day. Sure Lance is a multi Tour de France winner and a one-testicle cancer survivor. But until he rides his bike home from the Virginia-Highland at 1:37 a.m. on a Saturday after a night of drinking PBR that has left him fucked up as a lab rat, he ain't jack.


Still, as with everything else in life, there are good days and there are bad days in the saddle. There was the day this past winter that the temperature did not rise above 20 degrees. Just as I realized that my face was frozen, I rode up beside a Jetta. Driving was a woman of astounding beauty. I gave her my outdoorsy come hither smile. She gave me a look of complete and total disgust. Like a true player, I shrugged it off. That is I shrugged it off until I got home and happened to glance in the mirror beside my door. It was then that I saw the frozen snot-sicle running down the length of my face.

That was a bad day.

But then there was the day that I was waiting for a light to change at Ponce when a green Range Rover pulled up beside me. The first thing I noticed was that the dealer's sticker was still in the window as if the vehicle had just been driven off the lot. Then, I looked inside. Driving was a father, obviously a lawyer. In the passenger seat was a mother, obviously a trophy wife. Strapped into the car seat in the back was a daughter with a pink bow in her white blond hair.

Suddenly, I noticed that the atmosphere in the SUV had changed drastically. There was a look of sheer terror on the face of both parents. Just then the cute as a button daughter began projectile vomiting directly into the back of dad's headrest. It was like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

That was a good day.

Go read the whole thing. 

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Dogjacking incident.

AJC: Doggone car theft in Buckhead ends well on Boulevard.

Make all the bad jokes and puns you want, the dog is now at home. That is just great news. Now for the tough question: Who in the blue blazes told you that leaving a dog in a car with the car running was okay? Why would you even take the dog to begin with if you knew you were going to see an exhibit? Did it never cross your mind that a thief may see a car with the motor running and think, "Gee, I could steal that car very easily." Again, I am glad the dog is home, but will somebody now slap the owners. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Bennie and Hilda are going to get some serious playtime in this weekend.

AJC:Dogs have their day at off-leash park.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy, a private, nonprofit organization, has been the driving force behind the dog park. While dog parks are a growing trend across the country, there still are only a few in metro Atlanta.

Atlanta City Councilwoman Anne Fauver, who introduced legislation for the park, said her 8-year-old miniature schnauzer, Annie, had been off her leash outside only six times in her life before the park opened.

"Now, she can come here and wander around and be her own person," Fauver said Sunday. "She doesn't think she's a dog."

For more info and a mad go here. For info on Piedmont Park go here


A gay guy on Queer Eye.

AJC: 'Queer Eye,' my eye! We can't all accessorize.

Hey Guys:

Don't get me wrong. I love the show. Really. The whole "Fab 5" thing, with the glamour homos swooping in on the hapless straight guy and rendering him fit for society, love, career ... It's all a great big 10-gallon hoot and a half. Love the bitchy quips. Love the grooming tips. Love it when the style queens gather in the closing minutes like beer swillers at a sports bar to cheer their boy into the end zone.

But your show is placing enormous pressure on me and on the great silent majority of gay men who (I'm extrapolating here) really aren't that fab. Think -- please think! -- about the message you are conveying to straight America. They come away believing that every homosexual is a hairstylist, runway model, interior designer, oenophile, chef and cultural commissar wrapped up in a form-fitting ribbed tee. It just ain't so.


Oh, and you know that tip "Grooming Guru" Kyan gave on a recent episode, about applying hair product from back to front? Tried it. I looked like Speed Racer after he takes off his helmet.

As for this clothes sense that we gay men are alleged to have ... well, I guess you just haven't smelled my sandals lately. You weren't there the other night when I was rifling through my dresser drawer for a single pair of hole-free socks -- I'm still looking. You didn't see the Gap shirt I threw on yesterday, the one so tessellated by wrinkles it seemed to be made of foil. You didn't see me trying to match a red tee to a pair of blue-and-white glen-plaid shorts. Or the look on my partner's face when he stopped me just in time. "The horror," said that look. "The horror."

There is more. Go read it.

And then go see Luckovich on Queer Eye and the Gay Bishop


Doesn't Compute.

AJC: SI Report- Ted Williams' body stored headless.

After Williams died July 5, 2002, his body was taken by private jet to the company in Scottsdale, Ariz. There, Williams' body was separated from his head in a procedure called neuroseparation, according to the magazine.

The operation was completed and Williams' head and body were preserved separately. The head is stored in a steel can filled with liquid nitrogen. It has been shaved, drilled with holes and accidentally cracked 10 times, the magazine said. Williams' body stands upright in a 9-foot tall cylindrical steel tank, also filled with liquid nitrogen.

If they were going to freeze botht he head and the body, why seperate. I thought freezing the head alone was done because it was cheaper to only it and not the entire body.

SI has some articles on it here and here


I did not need to see that.

I think Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is just fantastic television. I mean where else can 5 guys help a needy person to become better while making fun of the size of the condoms he uses? Where else can you see a straight guy at a spa or getting his nails done? Where can you see a gay male help a straight guy out with his girlfriend. Cool and fun, the show is just a riot.

I do have a problem with last night's episode. I do not ever need to see a fat man getting his back waxed. Even if the person doing the waxing is wearing a leather teddy, which was not the case on last nights QE. Granted, the facial expressions the guy made, while patches of his thick pelt were forcibly ripped from his skin, were funny as hell. Carson hanging a used cloth strip, covered with black back wax, on his necklace so that it looked like a dickey, was hysterical. Still, seeing the pale white skin, freshly devoid of hair, jumping around left a very bad image in my mind. No more back waxing please.

The commercials for West Wing that air during the show were a bonus. Rob Lowe's character telling everybody that he "accidentally" slept with a hooker was priceless. Making it even better was the other character asking "What did you slip and fall?" I wonder if he has video? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Herb Brooks, heroic Olympic coach, dies.

AJC: Former Olympic hockey coach Brooks dies.

Way back in the days before millionaire crybabies invaded, the Olympics were great. Sure, some of the Eastern block essentially had pro athletes, but Americans had heroic kids who would raise their level of competition in David vs. Goliath type proportions. The excitement was intense as unknowns from all over the United States would peak at Olympic Qualifying, and then again at the Olympics. These were not pros who were chosen to go, nor members of athletic federations who got to go because of a season of competition. These were kids who were America's best on the day that counted. By being that they were granted the right to compete on the world's stage, and to try to be the best on that one day. The only politic involved in the selection was who got their ass over the finish line first. It was great. Seeing some kid beat an Eastern block pro was the pinnacle. Of all the times that happened, the hockey team in 1980 was probably the greatest. This was not one kid, but a group of underachieving kids who raised their level of competition to beat the unbeatable hockey team from the Soviet Union. The teamwork and emotion of all these kids together was huge. America loved them. The world loved them. They were truly giant killers. Herb Brooks was the man who melded them together, and them achieve what nobody thought was possible. He made them believe. He was the architect of the Miracle on Ice.

With all the pros now competing we may win more gold medals. However, we will never achieve what the 1980 hockey team did. No pro team from the US can ever make us feel like they did.

Herb Brooks, RIP. 


"This is the flag we used when they said we had to start eating and schooling with coloreds."

AJC: Historians to run flag up pole.

The Georgia Historical Society is sponsoring a pair of seminars this week on the many -- even yearly -- designs and permutations of the Georgia state flag.

"There has been so much controversy, we felt it was appropriate for us to step in -- and to do it in a historical setting rather than a political setting," said Todd Groce, executive director of the 164-year-old society, which has its headquarters in Savannah.

The first lecture is at 7 o'clock this evening at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in Athens. The second, in Savannah, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Coastal Georgia Center.

Actually, you can see the full history here


Good Delta Execs are just figuring this out?

AJC: More cuts for Delta execs.

Delta Air Lines executives are giving up more pieces of a controversial compensation package that has caused lingering resentment among many workers.

The move comes as the ailing Atlanta-based airline seeks deep pay cuts from pilots and takes other steps to pare costs -- efforts that management admits are made more difficult by anger over bonuses and pension trust funds for top brass.

Delta said three additional top executives will get no 2003 performance bonuses -- bringing the total to five -- and that they will either forgo or delay retention bonuses that were to be paid early next year.

The airline also said it will make no further payments to special bankruptcy-proof pension trusts set up to protect from creditors the enhanced pension benefits of 35 top executives should the airline enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Chief Executive Leo Mullin, in a memo to employees Monday, said Delta's goal of cutting costs 15 percent "has been affected by a divisive debate regarding executive compensation."

Now that the officers at Delta have raided the piggy bank and pissed off all their employess who have been taking paycuts, they decide that their strategy might not have been real smart? What kind of idiots are running that airline? Somebody should probably go up to their boardroom and hang some old Eastern advertising posters. Then maybe distribute some copies of Southwest's financials.  

Monday, August 11, 2003

Cellphone for homeless.

AJC: Heard on the street- Homeless on phones.

Many people, myself included, were quick to point out and make fun of the homeless guy with a cellphone in an AJC story and photo. Today the AJC follows up on the story with an article about how cellphones are needed by the homeless to stay connected, receive calls from prospective employers, help find day work, and stay in touch with family. Even if the easily aquired phones run out of minutes, they can be used to call 911. Some people may just carry a dead one because "They want you to think they got something going on, when they got nothing going on." A good article and a nice follow up by the AJC concerning an issue they could have just as easily forgotten, even though local conservatives will use it to tar the paper as liberal.

Next topic for the AJC: Where do these people charge their phones? 

Friday, August 08, 2003

Make that three happy dog stories today. Injured Dog Amazes By Taking Self To Vet. Miracle dog survives gas chamber.

AJC: Dogs reunited with owner after 1,400-mile odyssey.

The second one is really cool.

Cast into a city gas chamber to be euthanized with other unwanted or unclaimed dogs, it appeared the roughly year-old Basenji mix had simply run out of luck -- and time.

But this canine had other ideas.

When the death chamber's door swung open Monday, the dog now dubbed Quentin -- for California's forbidding San Quentin State Prison -- stood very much alive, his tail and tongue wagging.

Animal-control supervisor Rosemary Ficken had never seen such a survivor, and she didn't have the nerve to slam the door shut again.

This 30-pound animal, she believed, beat the odds and should live on.

What would be even cooler is if we no longer had to put down any dogs or cats. Please, spay and neuter your pet. Visit for more info on making this happen. 


Harsh. A family feels the cruelty of war.

The young woman screams, a banshee howl, and other people at the garage sale look at her, not knowing that at that very moment a family's world is coming undone.

The cost of war that Bush and the GOP finds reasonable. 


The little guy is back.

Salon: Perot gears up.

The article raises some some serious points against Perot but for his ideas. The money paragraph would have to be:

Perot and Champy's take on the current scene is quite pungent: The United States loses 100,000 jobs a month. The recession won't go away. The stock market tanks. Great companies cook their books. Airlines fail. Foreign investors pull out. Healthcare doesn't work. Social Security is a mess. The space program is grounded. Homeland security is a jumble. Congress can't agree on a budget. And just as federal tax revenues plunge, leaving states in the lurch, the United States takes on huge new military costs across the planet, swelling an already soaring federal deficit and creating the biggest national debt in world history. They argue that the great American superpower is in danger of becoming "superpowerless" because Americans have stopped being thrifty and self-reliant and given up on insisting that government effectively manage our common safety and prosperity. It's an argument that some Republicans and political moderates, like Concord Coalition head Pete Peterson and pundit Andrew Sullivan, have been raising as well of late, and may signal the same kind of fissure in the dominant Republican coalition that helped doom the first President Bush in 1992.

There is really so much wrong with the government now, it is really hard to keep track of it all. Hell, I had forgotten that the space program is effectively grounded. It is a sobering paragraph. 

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Fianlly, somebody has brought this up about Lance.

ProCycling: The Waiting Game — but was Lance unchivalrous to Ullrich and Beloki?

Everybody talks about how Ullrich should have waited on Lance Armstrong after his wreck, which he did. However, when Beloki wrecked while in second, during a critical descent, Lance did not wait or even attempt to see if the attacking rival would be getting up. Lance just continued on. Add that to Lance's attack on Ullrich immediately after rejoining the waiting rival, and the picture looks pretty clear. Lance is not the sportsman he makes himself out to be. Please note, when Lance waited on Ullrich in a previous Tour, there was a time difference that Ullrich was not going to be able to make up. Lance was in no danger of losing the race by waiting. Ullrich probably lost any chance by doing the same.

Do you think Michael Jordan would stop from dunking because his defender slipped on the court? Would Tiger miss a put because the guy in second hit a bad patch in the fairway? Do linebackers allow runningbacks to get back up and start running again if they slip and fall? 


They write letters.

AJC: Reader opinions.

Letter #1

I am, or was, a senior leader in the Episcopal Church of the Atlanta diocese. I am the junior warden (slated to be the senior warden) on the vestry and my husband is a significant leader in other areas of our parish. We were also involved in teaching Sunday school.

Last night, my husband and I resigned from the Episcopal faith and consequently, our leadership positions in the church.

Let me be the first to say good-bye!

Letter #2

Jesus did not push "family values;" he made the outcasts of society his companions and saved those society would stone. Most of the New Testament is in fact liberal and progressive for its time. By elevating Rev. V. Gene Robinson to bishop, the Episcopal Church has shown it is more in touch with the Bible than all the pompous evangelists still trying to judge and condemn those who do not follow their arrogant orders.

He gets it!

Last Letter

The issue, however, is not what method of birth control is more effective but what method of sexual education is more effective in preventing STDs and pregnancy. Teenagers who have a comprehensive education program that teaches them about their bodies and all birth control options have lower rates of STDs and unwanted pregnancies than teenagers from abstinence-only programs, which are rarely medically accurate.

If Anderson truly wants to help these girls, he should give them a complete and honest education, allowing them to use their minds instead of their faith to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies.

Teaching birth control and sex education will also prevent more abortions than protesting at clinics.  


What is biggest driving distraction?

AJC: Study reveals top distractions for drivers.

Watching idiots try to dial or talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time?  


Bill Maher on election of gay bishop.

Bill Maher Weblog: Church Makeovers.
(May need to scroll.)

It’s official – the Rev. Gene Robinson has become the first openly-gay Episcopal bishop, although most of the others will admit to it after a couple snorts of communion wine. At this rate, we can expect to see the first openly-gay Baptist minister in about, oh, never. Which is a shame, because when it comes to personal grooming, Baptist ministers make those Queer Eye for a Straight Guy dudes look like slobs. Three very different groups of men get manicures on a regular basis: gays, Mafiosi, and televangelists. Why that is, I have no idea. As my gay Episcopalian friends like to say, God works it in mysterious ways.


August J. Pollak on election of a gay bishop. Hot Episcopalian Action update!

I have just returned from a good five minutes staring at the street from the front door of my house. As of the time of this posting, the earth has not opened up and there are no visible signs of the gaping maw of the Host of Hell materializing as Sorrow-Made-Flesh beckons to us, the Fallen race of God's image, having turned for all eternity from the arms of the Lamb in favor of what is obviously, irrefutably, the end of civilization as we know it.

A good blog to check out daily. 

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Great Jon Stewart interview.

MSNBC: Jon Stewart searches for absurdity.

Money quote:

"I do believe we need to go to a 24-hour fake news channel," [Stewart] said. "Fox can't be the only fake news channel out there!"



Look at the homeless man's belt.

AJC: Homeless decry city's bid to end handouts in park.

Look at the photo. How often do you see homeless people picking up a free meal with a cell phone dangling from their belt?



Just because I like seeing it in full color. Perdue and Diebold voting machines.

And the smaller version

My favorite ad.

Be sure to visit Larry Flynt's ad gallery. Some pretty funny stuff. 


Huge crowds for Hillary! Throngs swamp S.F. bookstore to see Hillary Clinton.

Those who got in to see her seemed astounded on the way out of the store with their signed books in hand.

"I just met the future first female President of the United States," said Phyllis Cascade of Mountain View Holding up her book, Cascade said "I'm going to treasure it, after I finish reading it."

I just like printing that last paragraph. Imagine a wingnut seeing that. Heads would be exploding. Hmmm... funny how the Freppers are pretty quiet about Hillary and her book after it showed some serious staying power on the NY Times Bestseller's List.

Update: Edited to correct spelling, "showed" replacing "should." Thanks Eugene. I'm going for more coffee. 


Spay or neuter please.

AJC: Fulton shelter deaths up.

As many as 500 dogs and cats are being killed each month at the Fulton County animal shelter, an increase the new management blames on a seasonal spike in abandoned and stray pets.

Animals are being taken to the west Atlanta shelter at a rate of 1,200 a month this summer, an increase of 25 percent to 30 percent from the cooler months, said Marc Paulhus, the director. More than a third of them must be killed in the crowded facility.

The summer spike is under full swing. Please spay or neuter, keep your pets confined or on a leash, and place them in a safe home or kennel if you go on vacation. That we put down any adoptable animals is ridiculous. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Chubby Bear Queer Eye for the Effeminate Guy.

Salon: I am bear, hear me roar!

The newest television coming to Bravo! Andrew Sullivan and four other "Bears" take an effeminate gay male and make him over. I have some transcripts leaked from the first episode. Lets see what is happening.

- "Tweezers?! Out these go. A little tip for you, if you keep plucking you eyebrows, they will never grow together."

- "Soloflex is out of here! How do you ever expect to develop a sexy beer gut if you work out? Running shoes out also."

- "Lets talk about these cheap razors. Don't use one. Hell, don't use an expensive one either. The more hair the better. And don't shave those neck hairs. You want a nice continuous coat of hair from your bald spot to you back."

- "About your kitchen. All these spices take up way too much room. So lets get rid of them. What you need is beer in the fridge, some TV dinners in the freezer with the vodka, and the pizza delivery number on the fridge. Everything else is taking up space."

- "What are these show tunes CDs doing here?"

- "Time to go out and make you over."

- "We want the hair done with a number 4. Just buzz it all!"

- "Clothes- jeans make the man. You need 5 pairs of Levis, 5 flannel shirts, and two pairs of boots. Now mix and match all you want!"

- "What is with the BMW convertible? You need a pickup truck."

At the end the bears all rub their sweaty bellies together and then shotgun a beer. 

Monday, August 04, 2003

Cixie Chick's Concert.

AJC: Dixie Chicks at Philips.
(Scroll down)

My favorite parts:

Lead singer Natalie Maines, replete in biker-rally chic and massive hair, didn't let a few catcalls at Philips Arena on Sunday night shut her up.

"While you boo, remember: I have your $65!" Maines quipped to the sold-out, heavily emale crowd.


A lone protester marched outside Philips with a sign reading, "Chicks: Closet New York Liberals." He said his name was Gary Edens and that he'd driven up from Jacksonville.


On Saturday night at Wild Bill's country dance hall in Duluth, even a cover of a Dixie Chicks song (singer Crystal Leigh began her set with the humorous getting-even number "Goodbye Earl") drew wrath.

"Why is she singing that?" asked Kym Perry, 38, a Lawrenceville real estate agent, shaking her head in disgust. "Sure Natalie is entitled to her opinion, but we're entitled not to have to listen to her."

No, you don't have to listen to a Dixie Chicks' song. You can leave the fucking club instead! Of course if she is at Wild Bill's, she might not be smart enough to figure that out. 


What good Catholics say:

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute . . ."

- John F. Kennedy, 1960

I had heard this quote before, But I pulled it from a very good letter to the editor at

A few by Twain for the hell of it:

In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

- Autobiography of Mark Twain

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.

- Mark Twain in Eruption



He speaks the truth.

Salon: The war according to David Hackworth.
(Subscription or daypass required.)

Last paragraph of a very interesting and informative interview:

In mid April, I wrote a piece that asks for Rumsfeld to be fired, to be relieved. I took enormous heat for that. He went in light, on the cheap, he has misunderstood the whole war, he should go ... Rumsfeld is an arrogant asshole. That's a quote, by the way.

Who is David Hackworth? Probably the man who has seen the most combat and taken more bullets than any other man alive. He started at age 15 in WWII by lying about his age. He fought and lived through Vietnam. Go read the interview, and check out his websites Soldiers for the Truth and I doubt he ever backs down from anybody. 


At the mall.

Saturday I was out doing some shopping and hit the mall. It was fairly crowded due to the tax-free holiday for back to school items, so I did get to see a mix of people. Tons of teenagers floating around the mall, parents with checkbooks in tow. I was checking out the sales at American Outfitters, The GAP, and similar stores, but I also looked at the specialty stores for teenagers. I saw a rave type store, one selling clothes for the surf and skateboard punks (I do not use the term "punks " as a derogatory term), and stores for other sub-categories of teenagers. There was also Abercrombie & Fitch.

I was truly stunned by A&F's selection of clothes. Now if you check out their website you might get the idea that there are selling faded, distressed, wrinkled, and slightly abused clothing. If you do think this, I suggest you check out their store in your local mall. The clothing was not faded, distressed, wrinkled, and slightly abused. Their clothing was FUBAR- fucked up beyond all recognition. Not only was it faded, stressed, and unpressed, it was also ripped and torn, had shredded seams, and was tinted- I assume so it would always look dirty. I have no idea how they got the clothes so wrinkled. If Pigpen had left his clothes in the bottom of his family hamper for two months, it would not have looked this bad. Amusingly, many of these clothes were carefully hung up for display. The rest was piled on tables in tilting piles. The store was packed and people were fighting over these stylish threads!

Now, back in the day (which means so many years ago I don't want to use a number), I liked distressed jeans. We bleached, rubbed them on the sidewalk, and if old enough, dragged them around behind our cars. Nobody wore jeans that looked new. We were proud of our jeans. The jeans and clothes at A&F were just ridiculous, however. I guess that is style now. I am officially an old fogy. *Sigh* 

Saturday, August 02, 2003

The lure of the highway.

AJC: Georgia's Mainstreet.

Funny, I am currently read Larry McMurtry's Roads, which is a book about the author's travels along the US's major interstates. Then along comes this story and photo essay in the AJC about Interstate 75 through Georgia.

Twenty-five years ago this summer, vacationers were able to do something they could never do before: drive America from top to bottom on a superhighway.

I-75, the first interstate completed from border to border, had opened the previous December with a barbecue and ribbon-cutting hoo-ha in Cobb County. The only gap between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico had been 16 miles north of Atlanta. When the missing link was finally joined, Gov. George Busbee pronounced it "the most historic day in the history of transportation for our state" and a group of Marietta boosters heralded the occasion by commissioning a song, "The Ballad of Interstate 75."

It may have been the last time anyone has tried to summon poetry for the hardworking road that has become Georgia's main street.

I recommend both the story and the McMurtry's book for descriptions and comments of America's interstate system. They really are fascinating when you think that 30 years ago they did not exist and travel was done on little two lane highways. 

Friday, August 01, 2003

I don't even know what to say.

AJC: Pay for pray- Baptist bishop offers cash to attract white worshippers.

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Hoping to expand the diversity of his congregation, a Baptist bishop is offering white people money to attend his sermons.

Bishop Fred Caldwell said he will pay $5 per hour for Sunday services at Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church and $10 an hour for the Thursday service. The idea came to him during his sermon Sunday.

"Our churches are too segregated, and the Lord never intended for that to happen. It's time for something radical," he said.


What does the "F" stand for?


Lisa Marie F______ Presley?

The AJC gave her an decent review. She had a good vocal range, but seemed to be nervous onstage.

News and notes from Atlanta, and a touch of national stuff, as seen by gttim.

Georgia for Dean

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