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This product, if used correctly...

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that the developers of software used to "fileshare" copyrighted material can be held liable because their product is instrumental in committing a crime.

So why can't the manufacturers of guns and cigarettes be sued when their products are used to kill people?

Does this also mean that if someone uses Internet Explorer to browse my website and download one of my photographs without permission, I can sue Bill Gates?

I think the Supreme Court is just looking to create more work for fellow judges and lawyers; they are the only real winners in this case.

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This is the 5th Amendment (and I miss it)

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Wow! I just can't believe that 5 people (on the Supreme Court) have decided for the remaining 295,734,134 of us, that increased tax revenue is a just rationale/definition of "public use". That clears the way for personal property to be "taken" by local governments "with just compensation" for something as "public use" as a high-rise condo development with higher tax-revenue-generating potential than its current, private use.

How can anyone define "just compensation" for a women evicted from the house she has lived in since 1918? They are not taking away property; they are taking away everything she has ever known!!! What exactly is "just compensation" for someone's entire life?

Fortunately (and I can't believe I'm about to say this), I am protected where I live by my state's Supreme Court and Constitution; the Georgia Supreme Court has already ruled that the Georgia Constitution can not be interpreted to define property development as "for public use" just because it generates more tax dollars. In my state, I can lose my house to make way for a school or freeway, but not for a higher tax-revenue-generating house or shopping mall.

This local protection could become even stronger next year. SB 86 has already passed the State Senate and is waiting a House vote. Contact your representative! This law will "provide for the limitation of public purposes for which eminent domain may be exercised", further protecting our personal property. This has already been done in 8 other states, neighbors Florida and South Carolina among them.

Georgia may be screwed up in many ways, but I am proud (though surprised) that its government is protecting this most basic of rights on my behalf; and beyond angry about the helplessness of property "owners" in other states.

Now, if only they would stop pulling "eminent domain" on my sex life...

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Wine, wine, wine

Many corks, three ways

"The Globe" - New-ish restaurant on 5th street in ATL. The food is light, yummy, American bistro; good, but the 2 best reasons to go are:

1) Wine tastings on Tuesdays - $10 for 4 wines plus appetizers
2) I look good sitting there - Fabulous, light, airy, euro decor

So T and I were there last night, tasting the wines. The vintner was "Sofia", as in "Coppola", as in "Lost in Translation", as in "a perfect description for what happens to the fun and effervescence inherent in sparkling white wine when you move it from 'mise en bouteille' to an aluminum can".

When the rep asked me what I thought, I truthfully said, "I haven't gotten past the pop-top".

Fortunately, that was only the 1st of 4 wines to taste. That "Blanc de Blanc" was followed by a pretty good pinot grigio, followed by a pretty darn good "rose" pinot noir, finished with a "diamond" blended red which led to a discussion of wine blended with multiple varieties of grapes.

I pontificated that the world of wine was so vast and complicated and confusing and over my head that I'd rather (sort of arbitrarily) limit myself to single-grape wines. That way my imagination can fill-in any subtleties that my completely unsophisticated palate - which is entirely incapable of detecting most flavor nuances in a wine - missed.

Blindfold me and just tell me that that it's a pinot noir from a vineyard on the coast near San Francisco, and I can picture the rocky soil, persistant sunlight, morning dew, caressing breeze, and bobbing vines that nurtured the grapes that now swirled in the glass before me.

Tell me it's a blend and I don't know what to think. To me it's coloring outside the lines, mixing crayons, mashing different Play-doh colors together. I barely grasp that yellow and blue make green, forget trying to teach me what "pinot noir" and "pinot grigio" make ("pinot charcoal"?).

I know it's mostly in my head, but it's my head and I spend most of my time there, so single grapes it is.

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While still trapped in the liquid mixing facility of a "major U.S. soft drink manufacturer" and unable to upload photos to my blog, I will instead respond to my one reader's request to put my spin on the whole Michael Jackson "thing".

1) The sentence - Some say he got off lightly; I say we did. The jury found him innocent and it's all over. If I had been sentenced to view any more court (or prison) coverage of this guy, I would have insisted on the death penalty...for me.

2) Missed evidence - Some of this has already been covered, but it bears repeating; why wasn't his music catalog entered as evidence? 1979 - "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" and "She's Out of My Life" (he shoulda stopped after he paid off the first kid and divorce can not have surprised Lisa Marie or Debbie Rowe). 1982 - "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" (the "girl is not [his] lover" and I'm not touching "Beat It"). 1987 - "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (really, he shoulda stopped).

3) Got no sense - Unless his big comeback is going to be playing the lead in "Phantom of the Opera", he's just gotta stop going to the plastic surgeon. Why isn't that guy guilty of something?

4) Big, tall fence - Put him back in Neverland, lock the gate, and throw away the key. Some people just don't know how to get along in society; don't fault them, but don't let them out, either.

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Movies, movies, movies (and NPR)

If you love movies and you live in Atlanta, this is a great week! There are no fewer than 4 seasonal venues this week, 3 of which continue through the summer:

The Atlanta Film Festival

Saw "The Dying Gaul" (offbeat, empathetic look at Hollywood, bisexuality, chat room sex with dead lovers - the usual) and "Cote d'Azur" (looney family antics during a summer on the riviera - who's gay, who's not, who used all the hot water - those wacky french!)

The Coca Cola Summer Film Festival at the Fox Theater

"The Aviator" on the big screen in a 4500-seat theater ought to be a kick!

Flicks on Fifth (website coming soon!)

It catered mostly to Tech students (some of whom brought their own sofas to the paved courtyard!) The adjacent restaurant "The Globe" looks very promising.

Wed., June 22 - Robots
Wed., June 29 - Office Space
Wed., July 6 - Independence Day
Wed., July 13 - The Grudge
Wed., July 20 - Beauty Shop
Wed., July 27 - Bourne Identity or Hostage

Screen on the Green

What's not to love about watching a movie in park with 5,000 of your closest friends?

NPR - I'm an info junkie (duh) and this is the place for an addict like me! 90.1 on your FM dial in the ATL. I mention it this morning because of one of the little music bites they play after news reports - you know, the type of thing you hear and immediately want to call and tell someone. This morning, immediately following a report on the newly opened King Tut exhibit in LA, they play the theme song from "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Fabulous!

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Kim's Wedding


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One of the nice things about living in town is being able to walk to free events in nearby Piedmont Park. Having our "grammy-winning" symphony play outdoors for free is certainly reason enough to get outside on a muggy, southern, Sunday evening, but on top of that, they blew stuff up!

This was my first attempt at photographing fireworks; they suffer somewhat from "the shakes" (the shutter was open for 1/2 second at ISO 400 without a tripod), but they are still kinda cool! Can't wait for the 4th!


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Stone Mountain (it was no picnic)

Okay, it was a picnic. This time, anyway.

The higher ups at my "real" job were generous enough to host a company picnic at Stone Mountain; a nice little suburban Atlanta park surrounding the "world's largest piece of exposed granite". It's quite the regional icon (for reasons that I'll get to), but it also has personal significance for me.

When I was a kid, having just moved to Atlanta from Oregon, I was feeling terribly "homesick" for the mountains and coastline of my old Boy Scout stomping grounds. Mom and Pop saw this and did their best to help.

When the pictoral Grand Teton wallpaper in my bedroom didn't do the trick, they decided a family outing was in order.

"We're going to Stone Mountain!"

"Hooray! We're going to Stone Mountain!" I was excited. "Where's Stone Mountain?"

"About 50 miles east of here". Now I was confused. We were in Atlanta, but we used to live in Portland, where 50 miles to the east stood Mt. Hood and its glaciers, very prominent on the horizon (on the 2 days a year that it wasn't raining).

"How come ya can't see it?"

Because it's not 11,239 feet high.

Needless to say, I was a little disappointed and no less homesick.

Don't get me wrong; Stone "Mountain" has its charms (even in 1982, before they "Six Flags"-ed it by adding a faux turn-of-some-century village "experience"), but at 1624 feet above sea level, height isn't one of them. Plus - having just come from the Left Coast and still incorrectly thinking that "The War of Northern Aggression" was a thing of the past and the environment was something to be protected - I was not enthralled by the fact that some "fergit, hell!" yahoos had taken it upon themselves to vandalize the side of the "world's largest piece of exposed granite" with a bas-relief carving of 3 Confederate icons.**

Add in its notorious connection to the KKK, the flags of the confederate states, and the Scarlett O'Hara look-a-likes and this big hunk of rock just screams "Land of Cotton" to die-hard southerners. For me, it's a symbol of everything that was a shock about moving to the South.

Well, in spite of our shared history, the mountain and I have made up - the picnic was fun, the candy was sweet, the glass-blowing was interesting, and the gondola ride 825 feet to the top of the mountain was kinda fun.

But it's still really short.

Ye Olde Fashioned Candy Shoppe
Blowing Glass
Stained Glass
The Mountain

**The Confederate Memorial Carving depicts three Southern heroes of the Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The figures measure 90 by 190 feet, surrounded by a carved surface that covers three acres, it is larger than a football field – the largest relief sculpture in the world. The carving is recessed 42 feet into the mountain. Work on the carving began in 1915 and was finally complete in 1972.

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Just another manic Monday


My "real" job has me stuck on the outskirts of Atlanta, working for a "major American soft drink manufacturer", where I can't upload the fabulous pics we took this weekend of fireworks in Piedmont Park and of my company picnic in Stone Mountain.

I say "fabulous" about the St. Mt. pics because I actually like them! It's not as hard as I thought to photoshop out people in "Git 'er done!" T-shirts.

I promise my loyal reader that I will have them up by Thursday.

Other than crawling through the Castleberry Hill Galleries(anyone need a 4,000 square ft home/work/gallery space for only $1.175 mil?), working out, running 5 miles in preparation for the Peachtree Road Race, tripping off to the auto parts store, library, farmer's market, and Macy's, plus hosting a brunch and seeing the symphony in Piedmont Park, me and pumpkin weren't up to anything much this past weekend.


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