(from left: Stephanie Frasier, Will Pollock, Jill Camper & (seated) Nick Cooper)
(ATLANTA :: 23 March 2012) Us writer-types are notorious cocooners. We isolate and analyze, hewing to thought lines, parsing sentences, stretching syntax and linking semi-coherent thoughts to tell a story with which folks might identify.
We scare ourselves within the private confines of a looming deadline or project weight - with a screaming, nagging, fearful voice that only we hear. Yes, like a dog whistle, and it’s as loud as a police siren sometimes. We’re also taught to question conventional wisdom and turn over details for accuracy and truth.
Improv comedy, I’m delighted to say, is the polar opposite of the writer experience. (read the whole post)
I wonder if “kind of” is a box you check on the ticket? Whatever. As a huge Law & Order fan, I welcome the chance to go down and check out the freakshow that is invariably there every week. Basically, this is me:
I welcome jury duty, too, but I don’t take it upon myself to call in for cases.
Some fun things that happened today:
• The judge was absent, playing golf probably, so I have to go back a second and third time.
• Officer Polk, the bailiff, was AWESOME - just like the wise-cracking one on Judge Judy.
• I was trolled by a Chatty Cathy dude, who was cited for selling cookies at Five Points. Yes, really. He had the most disgusting sneeze involving fluids and screeching that it made me mentally gag. Officer Polk, to his credit, kept telling him to stifle. Cathy just kept talking - even to people like me who for sure weren’t listening.
• About half of the names called were absent, which triggers a bench warrant. I wonder how much that costs the city - keeping track of city deadbeats.
• Those of us with minor citations were given the option to pay a reduced fine - about half. 99% of people eligible to do this (called “PTIT” or pre-trial intervention traffic) accepted and went to pay - I declined so I could have my judge time.
• I took MARTA, which is relatively easy since I don’t have to change trains. Much easier than parking downtown - ably pointed out by my Tweep, @Kategram1.
Stay tuned. I’ll update this post in a month when I go back to the City Circus. - WP
Yes, that’s me mugging in the middle.
The attacks were ghastly and altering, changing our country’s composition down to its DNA. But what we did in response trumps even those dastardly deeds: we gave ourselves over to the very “evil” that attacked us in the first place.
“Pride” (Provincetown, Mass.), by Will Pollock
Please allow a bit of a parallel: If electing Kennedy allowed us to successfully avert nuclear war during the Cuban Missing Crisis, then how would a President Gore have handled the country before, during and after this assault? How would we have been led as a country in response to 9/11? Would we have sunk trillions of dollars in nation-building in Iraq, or perhaps used it as a rally cry to show attackers that we can survive and thrive, even in the aftermath of death and misery? “A lot of other people behaved badly” after that day, as Paul Krugman put it today. “The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”
Recent events show that we have been on a sad, downward spiral ever since the attacks. Our financial system has collapsed and is still limping; profiteers have bounced back with an assault on commonsense regulation; our previous administration is so demonized elsewhere that they risk arrest if they travel abroad; we tortured people in custody and are still protecting those responsible today; and, most recently, we’ve seen a culture emerge where folks who hate government are the very ones making policy. What’s our response?
I say, enough. Let’s remember today in a factual way, without embellishment or agendas. Let’s return our country to the very compassionate, understanding, engaged folks who make this country great: the people. Let’s elect representatives who reflect that value system, not those who want, need and manipulate for profitability or glory. When a politician fails us, as Bush and his team did - and still do, thumbing their noses at truth and fact - we only have ourselves to blame. And that includes the voters who didn’t punch the ballot for the offending party. We are all complicit if we are all Americans.
But if it’s about all of us, it’s still cannot be “us vs. them.” Peace and ambassadorship have been reframed, inexplicably, as weak and useless when juxtaposed against our lionized, “boot in the ass” politicians. I say, loudly, no more. No matter whom you vote for, make sure it doesn’t reflect the mistakes we made when slammed with the calamity on this day 10 years ago.
Today, I take pride in my country, and want to go forward with a people-first agenda. Where we come first, and yet all the while knowing that we are still the global leader that can think outside ourselves, and never take the world around us for granted. Superior actions, not superiority.
After this day of remembrance, returning this country to the people is the best step forward over the next decade.
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UPDATE: Jack Lessenberry imagines a fictitious United States response with Al Gore as president. Money quote: “Yet it would be nice if, a century from now, we remembered it as a sad milestone that started the process of greater understanding.”
At Studioplex, the historic former cotton mill in Atlanta’s Old 4th Ward district, first- and second-floor lofts and common-area spaces have been transformed to house artists, chefs, musicians, jewelers, glass blowers, photographers, painters and so much more. Here’s just a slice of what you’ll see:
- Shondra Leigh’s “Stained” line of socially conscious jewelry. These stunning pieces have been crafted from balls of tar that washed up on the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill. (Visit Loft #201)
- Scott Serpas, famed chef and owner of Studioplex-located Serpas restaurant, will be treating visitors to a cooking demo at 3:30
- ARTvision Atlanta, benefiting Positive Impact, will hold its final round of sales, featuring discounted pieces from Delia Cochran, Sean Mansfield, Kimber Herndon and much more. (Visit Loft #131)
- Lorikay Photography will be snapping free Facebook profile pictures with a red, chalkboard background to give you the customized look you want! (Visit Loft #205)
- ABV Gallery is hosting “Save the Day, Kill the Night” is a collection of original works inspired by superheroes.
This is just a small selection of what’s on tap for this Saturday, 14 May 2011, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more, please visit our website, RSVP to our Facebook event invite and follow ArtWalkFest on Twitter. See you then!
This past July, Mary Grabar - somehow, inexplicably, professor at Clayton State University and conservative speaker and author - wrote a piece for the AJC entitled, “Freedom to Hate in College Shrinks.” With apologies for the dated material, it seems appropriate given recent events. In her piece, she led her pedestrian swat of ironic prose with this gem: “I tell my college students to feel free to hate.”
In the piece she gets busy demonizing groups - the Anti-Defamation League, Gay & Lesbian Straight Education Network, among others - that fight for the rights of marginalized youth and espouse understanding in schools, including use of emotional intelligence, for the advancement of society. Grabar bemoans that her students’ rights to youthful, exuberant, unencumbered hate have been systematically denied. They are “enjoined from hating” the people and behavior around them, and are, in her mind, neutered from expressing their opinions by evil feeling circles:
“Their teachers act as “guides on the side” for their little groups in which they are forced to expose their feelings and discuss historical examples of ‘hate.’ Creepy ‘emotional intelligence’ consultants make them show all the other kids how they react when they get angry or sad. They are made sissies in front of everyone when a big bearded guy asks them, “What was it doing to your heart?”
Some of them are even graded in a new subject called “Social and Emotional Learning.”
But I declare to my students, “Now that you are legal adults you may hate whomever you please!”
They look at me like prisoners who have forgotten what freedom is like.”
What’s “creepy,” Ms. Grabar, is you. Not you, specifically - your ideas. Do you see what’s happening in this country as it pertains to unchecked hate? In the past two weeks, we’ve had no fewer than five suicides related to bullying of gay teens. Is this a form of the hate you want your students to freely express? Why not teach them the perils of hate along with responsible self expression - rather than couch it in some form of social martyrdom where folks are let out of a metaphorical prison that simply, absolutely, doesn’t exist?
We had the situation in New York City where three men were allegedly sodomized, burned and whipped simply for being gay - at the hands of nine youth who, I think it’s fair to say, expressed their prejudice as free thought. We’ve had myriad other examples of hate run amok in this country - I, too, was bullied in school when I was a kid. It makes you feel small; like you want to die. Have you ever felt that, Ms. Grabar? I can tell you with 100% certainty, kids all around this country ARE feeling that. And your ideas put them in greater peril.
This weekend was Gay Pride in Atlanta. It’s one of the nation’s most festive celebrations of free expression and togetherness and non-hate you can find; this year brought a bit more poignancy because of recent events. I invite you to come visit and see for yourself what understanding an anti-hate looks like, and what good it can do.
I drove down a Midtown Atlanta street on Saturday and saw a religious protestor’s sign that read, “I now pronounce you Pervert & Pervert.” Perhaps one of the sign holders is a former student of yours, Ms. Grabar? Why should you condone such speech when you have the opportunity to persuade otherwise? Not control, not imprison, as you suggest - persuade. That’s your job as a teacher. Do it.
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This is a multifaceted political trainwreck in that, since this charge, Handel has renounced any and all progressive values as she seeks the GOP state of Georgia gubernatorial nomination - and the conservative Deal appears to think he can score points with voters here in our state by calling her on it. (He trails in the polls.) John Oxendine, also a GOP candidate in Georgia, tried to outdo Deal by associating himself with a mailer that basically used the same message.
Seriously? You’re so married to your conservatism - and so desperate to win at all costs - that you’d blatantly ignore and foment disgust within a segment of your constituency by maligning support of it?
My problem is that there are NO issues discussed in these mailers - NONE. Zip. Just a fraudulent indictment of someone who bucked her party on progressive issues in the past.
I am an independent voter who can at least appreciate when Roy Barnes, Democratic state candidate, calls out the GOP for its state shenanigans about succession and rejection of stem-cell research.
Get real, Mr. Deal, et. al. If you are to be considered for governor of this state, you must realize that you ALSO are asking to preside over the city of Atlanta, its people and its surrounding environs. The city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia’s relationship has only gotten more adversarial under the leadership of Sonny Perdue, who has thwarted key city funding and development, and even disturbingly lead a prayer in front of the statehouse for rain. I object to those and other of his policies, although there is evidence of a thawing in relations of late.
If I am to swallow your bitter advertising pill, Mr. Deal - and if you make it into office, or even if Handel does - YOU are also required to accept, acknowledge and nurture the moral, civil, cultural and commercial center of this great southern state.
Here’s a hint: it’s NOT the statehouse, nor does it live under the Gold Dome. It’s Atlanta. And we will be voting this season.
Atlanta - cited as the “gayest city in the nation” by the Advocate (a story picked up by the AJC, NPR, and our own ProjectQ Atlanta) - is a national treasure that includes gays and lesbians, Mr. Deal (Miss Karen, I’d pay attention to this, too). Your advertisement is disgusting and offensive, and will hopefully be ineffective as a dual-discriminatation, negative-attack ad.
I’d like to remind you that Atlantans - gay or straight, black or white, liberal or conservative - will continue to speak up and seek the gay-partner spousal rights and gay-adoption benefits you malign in your ad. We will ALWAYS try and speak truth to your pursuit of power, and keep you honest at every point in the process. In other words, the more the state of Georgia tries to marginalize and diminish this great city and its people, the taller we will stand in reminding you not to mess with us.
Handel now says that Gay parents are "not in the best interest of the child." I happen to know gay parents, many of them. And you are completely and utterly full of shit.
As an intended gay parent myself, I represent the opinions mentioned in Deal’s ridiculous ad or in Handel’s comments or in Oxendine’s direct-bigot mailer campaign - and I object to all methods AND the content of the argument. They are all, down to their very core, false promises intended to scare people into voting for you. And it’s utter nonsense.
Mr. Deal, Ms. Handel, Mr. Oxendine: I invite you to take 10 minutes to speak to a candidate like Graham Balch - he has a mature and open worldview and an understanding of urban life that seems to be lost on you (and he’s in a tough race of his own). He rejects the status quo. He sees a city and state where EVERYONE thrives, where all people are accepted and encouraged to enter into partnerships and parenthood if they so choose. He is fiercely protective of our environment and wants us to pay teachers fairly and create superb learning environments. He is the Democrat for Georgia State Senate District 39, so feel free to look him up.
This Atlantan will be in the voting booth tomorrow, and I will select those candidates who understand me, my friends and my family, and whomever can celebrate diversity - not use it to malign your opponents.
(This post was sent to both the offices of Mr. Deal and Ms. Handel; I will update if I receive any official comment.)
(Photo courtesy of 11Alive.com, Atlanta.)
Rest in peace, oh soda jerk: Coke Freestyle elevates individuals to instant mixologists by using a zesty touch-screen system to mix selections from over 100 choices into a custom beverage, all while delivering a geeky high-tech thrill.
It's been called "the fountain of the future," "the most advanced soda fountain ever" and (in a backhanded-compliment kind of way) a path "leading to social ruin." Even Warren Buffett is a fan. But can this thing really deliver?
Coke spokesperson Helen Tarleton certainly thinks so, calling it a "complete departure from a traditional fountain machine." (She even reports that a gal was caught on security camera fondly embracing and kissing the machine.)
Tarleton expects 500 new Freestyle machines to pop up soon in Southern California, Atlanta, Dallas and Salt Lake City
We decided to take Coke Freestyle for a test drive at a local McDonald's in Atlanta, where we came up with some crazy combinations using the machine's 100-plus flavor options.
While Freestyle's club soda can help cut the sweetness of some of the machine's more intense flavors, you are likely to go crazier with the combinations than you think -- and you're virtually guaranteed to forget whatever it is you put in your cup.
But we were able to document a few of our greatest hits for posterity:
"Doogie Fanta, M.D." (Combination: Dr. Pepper, Vault Peach, Cherry Fanta)
"The Red Wolf Blitzer" (Vault Red Blitz, vanilla Diet Coke)
"Barqing Berry" (Barq root beer, raspberry Dasani Sensation)
"Looney Tunes" (Minute Maid strawberry, vanilla Coke, grape Fanta, club soda)
"Lima-berry" (Grape Fanta, Lime Dasani Sensations, Club Soda)
"Customers love them," says Stephen Cordell, McDonald's on Cheshire Bridge's first assistant manager, who seems like a proud father reporting that his two Freestyle machines connect via Wi-Fi to the Coke mothership every morning at 2 a.m. for software updates.
Freestyle feedback was largely positive. "Wow, this is cool" and "How neat" were thrown around McDonald's by customers while we were testing it out.
So go forth, soda geeks, but make sure to keep track of your mix for next time -- and keep some Tums handy for the inevitable sugar-stomachache.
And check out our video from our Coke Freestyle recon mission:
And take a look at our photo album, too.
Thanks to Michael Baker of Positive Impact and Edmund Thornton of Georgia Pride for helping make this event so memorable.
Here's a look at the pictures:
And for those of you who missed Triscuit's Sarah Palin hissy fit, here you go:
She was sitting across from me when I spotted a note that had obviously not found its intended recipient. The note was next to her left shoulder, and like the obnoxious photog that I am... I took out my camera and shot the sad little scrap right then and there. I handed her my business card and we both went on our way.
Later, I did a post about it - and I was actually quite happy with one of the photos. Just today I received an e-mail from the gal, Marina. who found my site and made a comment on the blog post. We both agreed that finding the note livened up an otherwise boring subway ride.
"It's nice to see my brush with Internet fame," she wrote today. "Finding that note certainly made my Marta trip to the airport a lot more fun."
Thanks to Marina for being my partner in crime that day.
There was a nice gal seated to the left of the note, across from me, who thought I was nuts taking this picture -- but I wanted to capture it. All the Marta riders around me cocked their heads to figure out what I was doing.
In the spirit of "Postsecret," a collection of secrets from anonymous sources (thanks to Wayne and Ed for showing it to me), I've helped give Byron one last chance to reach the girl of his dreams.
This made riding Marta that day totally worth it.
I also gave the gal who tolerated me shooting this picture my info, so I hope she gets back. If so, give me a shout! Thanks to her for putting up with me.
So... Here is an example of honest and spontaneous affection that seems to have not found its recipient... So I'm putting this out there to keep his hopes alive.
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Update: I did hear from my gal pal on Marta! Thanks to Marina for dropping me a line. See the comments section for more.
And that's the nice language. Here's a classic from the MySpace TV vault that can be watched over and over for its honesty and spot-on message.
Dixie Chicks: Not Ready to Make Nice-ACL 2007
Back in 2003, Maines expressed regret that our president hailed from Texas. Back then, in my mind, the whole thing won Best in Show in the "Who Gives A Shit" competition of offensive remarks. But whatever.
As it turns out, since then, we've come to know the Bush Administration for playing fast and loose with our freedoms, our military and foreign-policy decisions, and his choices to head up key leadership roles. And that's just for starters.
"Doin' a heckuva job Brownie."
From self-aggrandizing executive signing orders to consolidating executive-branch power, he's not only a failure but a danger to our nation as long as he's in office. I'm counting the days.
I'd be ashamed if he were from Atlanta (or New York, or Virginia -- even West Virginia). The good news? We got that great CD out of the whole affair, and they were rewarded for it at the Grammys.
As you watch the above beautiful video, remember how much shit Maines and the Chicks got (remember the radio station-sponsored bulldozers running over their CDs?) and how she transmuted it into something truly amazing.
Turns out, I'm very often not ready to make nice, either.
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This speech was back in January, but it underscores the depth of talent from which he can draw.
What do you think?
Thanks to Frank at WicksteadWorks for making this happen, and for being my adaptive re-use partner in crime.
Here's a link to the photo gallery, and then also, a jump to the full story by Helen Caulley.
Operational coal returns, recycled antique doors, a Japanese Zen garden. Who woulda thought?? All I can say is that I had a lot of help and that there is everything to be said for collaboration.
Of course, this post would be incomplete without a photo show of my own. ARTvision 2008 has an official new home for artwork display!
I suppose I played right into their hands by attending the concert, but at least I kept my protest clean by not patronizing Ticketwhore, oh sorry, I mean Ticketmaster. I bought directly from Variety Playhouse's box office.
Enjoy the clip below. More to follow on my YouTube channel.
Overall, Colbie Caillat's vocals were strong and the audience seemed chill and engaged. A rare combination. Kudos to her for sticking with small venues.
The company obviously believes that being purveyors of creative property translates into being proprietary assholes.
So, instead of posting her video -- in fact, as a protest to NBC Universal's refusal to play in the sandbox like the rest of us -- here's a montage from a stalwart YouTuber.
This little nugget has about 800K views... Hits that the greedy bastards at the record company would have benefited from.
He donated proceeds from his speeches and advocated for youth advancement all the time -- many qualities people didn't know about him.
The piece concluded with one of Russert's favorite sayings:
"No exercise is better for the human heart than reaching down to lift up another person."
His op-ed, in the plainest terms yet, details why our sorry president deserves a failing grade in energy policy.
I was reporting and writing for MarketWatch.com when Bush took office - and when Cheney was crafting energy policy with a board that consisted of a who's who in Corporate Oil.
Since that time, his failure to act has been widely reported by MSM and blogs, Web sites, focus groups - you name it. The corporatization of energy policy had begun.
Today, Bush is heckling Congress that if they don't act before recess, they've got the blood of $4 per gallon gas on their hands without domestic drilling. Without a formal plan for alternative energy, he's just trying to make his fat-cat buddies even fatter than they were before.
Bush is incompetent. He's an elitist scumbag who thinks he's God's gift (literally, figuratively...), which, as evidenced by the below video, is definitely not true.
It's sad that impeachment is summarily off the table basically because we're so close to him leaving. Just on energy policy alone, his grade is "F".
Of course that's just one reason for our fatigue... Embodied brilliantly by Skeeter and Jimmy Bob, watching from the sidelines, who could give a rat's ass about Bush's arrival:
As you check your local listings, watch out for the "Renovation Nation" that focuses on the Atlanta area.
Here's a preview of the channel itself:
And a preview of the show:
In addition to green products, Charley's deserts and my big gut will be featured. Don't miss it.
I'm gonna go eat my celery sticks now...
The film was uproarious, vivid, full of couture, acted and written exceedingly well, and all expectations were surpassed... save for the hideous exception of a visible boom mic.
And not just in one scene - multiple times, and in such an overt way that you think some local loon is standing over the screen on a ladder, holding the long-arm mic, taunting you, teasing you for no apparent reason.
In an otherwise stellar display of cinematic joy, this was perplexing to say the least. The boards are abuzz about this "gaff"; even Perez Hilton has posted about it. There is even an early YouTube review that pokes fun:
Please, New Line & WB, do us all a favor and fix this in post production somehow. Blame for this error stretches across multiple roles in this film, resting not only with the boom operator... but with the production crew, as well as the actors and director, for not catching it in the film's dailies.
Despite the rarity of this type of mistake, it appears to have precedent in the TV-series run.
Even so, this movie is so good that it'll wipe out this weekend's competition despite "the long arm of the sound" stepping in front of its cast. The film stays so true to the original series - in fact, elevates it so elegantly - that the mistakes turn out to be just, quite literally, blips on the screen.
And believe me when I tell you - this boom-mic story is intended as fair warning, not as spoiler. I wish I had been warned ahead of time myself.
Here's the trailer!
New York magazine reports that an "ascendant breed of grown-ups" are reshaping perceptions of today's adulthood. Click through the link for the cool image and story.
Am I in denial? Clinging to days past by always giggling and staying in touch with youthful exuberance? Or am I really onto something here?
I will *always* prefer to wear vintage t-shirts, ripped shorts, trucker hats... all the while listening to my iPod and blogging on my laptop.
I'll probably be doing the same thing into the next decade, too.
Also, more importantly, I needed a lift today... and was combing the Internet for relief. I found this:
I don't feel much like dancing today, so I'll let this guy do it for me.
Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishes. Let this be a lesson to everyone turning 40 this year or any year - be proud, live strong, be young.
I've been having this hideous exchange with a Bible chucker and it's clearly time for someone else to weigh in.
Background: Thom and I took to the streets during Pride last year and gave the protestors more than just a little bit of hell. We stumbled upon and interviewed Rev. Paul as he stood outside of Piedmont Park welcoming people in. He was the lone person amongst about 25 protestors carrying hideous signs.
Make sure to add your comments to the YouTube page, and in the meantime, here's the short video. (The video was picked up by Rev. Paul's congregation and played at First MCC the following Sunday.)