"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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
.....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.
Witnesses told investigators that Franzman, clad in a wetsuit and fins, was swimming among a pod of sea lions when the mammals suddenly vanished ......
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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!"
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."
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.
- "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."
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."
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute . . ."
- John F. Kennedy, 1960
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
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.
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.
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.