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ATL 12/10/07 - Xanadu

Christmas in Hawaii, 1980. We had just lost mom's parents that year, so we went to Hawaii with her sister for a fresh start on the holidays. My hair is so styling that you can barely see my eyes, but I've ditched the eyeglasses upon starting my Junior year in High School. I also seem to be at least 75% leg. (Next week - Junior/Senior Prom, 1981).
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge - Manhattan Bridge / The towers / The view midway
Eco/Green windows at Barney's - Xmas icons from recycled materials
Rockefeller Center Rink / Tree / Friends
Bryant Park - The weather gave everyone a runny nose / Tree / Kid's tables
Grand Central
NYC tree stand / Our entire room (really!) at Night Hotel / "Did we like the New Museum?"
Cheyenne Jackson - mega-super-rollerskate-a-licious star of Xanadu - hearts us!


MOVIE NEWS - "I Am Legend" & "The Kite Runner" are opening this week. In the battle of the tag lines, it's "The last man on earth is not alone" vs. "There is a way to be good again."

I have read both books.

(According to Imdb, this is Will Smith's 3rd movie beginning with "I", after "I, Robot" and "Independence Day". Eight of his other films have "I" in them.
"Ali" is his only movie ending in "I". There are two "I"s in Will Smith.)

There are no "I"s in Jeffrey Keesee.

ART NEWS -There is an advanced screening of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" at the High tonight. Buzz is that it's the front-runner forBest Foreign Film Oscar.

NYC NEWS - What they wanted us to know about NYC - We met 2 types of New Yorkers; the ones who pleaded 'Don't vote for Rudy' and those who implored 'Don't vote for Hillary'.

What they wanted to know about ATL - 'What's the drought like?'

Celebrity Sighting - We sat right behind Miss Angela Landsbury at "Xanadu". T first recognized her, passing the word onto S, then to me, and on to D. As D. started typing into his cellphone to activate the camera feature, he said "OMG, what should we do?" S. sensibly replied, "Nothing. We are going to leave her in peace and she's going to enjoy a nice evening of live theater with her husband." Good answer.

Headlines - Air travel is an issue; the story headlined 'U.S to limit air traffic at JFK' in Tuesday's paper accompanied a 2nd story on a near collision there on Sunday.

Local celebrities - Friends nicknamed a certain national morning news program's weatherman 'Sam Trampoline'.

Overheard - Diner - Yes, I know I'm a control freak & yes I've been called a dictater. 'Me, too, except for the tater part.'

Overheard 2 - Bartender - I'm starting to lose my patience. 'So's Kervorkian.'

Toilets 1 - An article in New Yorker announced the imminent arrival of new pay public toilets. The were contracted out along with new bus shelters and newsstands - the newsstands are in place, but the commodes were late arriving, as it seems the Italians were still tweeking them.

Toilets 2 - At least one company has turned the lack of public accommodation into an advertising opportunity. Who better than Charmin to sponsor free public restrooms in Times Square?

Eco-shopping in NYC - Environmentally friendly canvas shopping tote from Barney's - $295.00. Pigment dyed canvas shoes from Daffy's - $23.99. (Didn't get a lot of shopping done at B's...)

3 day tour of NYC - Toured B'lyn Hts, walked the bridge, saw the 5th Ave windows, "Xanadu" w/ Cheyenne Jackson, show tunes at a piano bar, "The Ritz" w/ Rosie Perez (& Ryan Idol), Italian food with 'Mama' & a former 'Cat', skating in Bryant Park, shopping lower B'way, fabulous party, Lips, and more piano bar. Whew!

LOCAL NEWS -Cool photos of Downtown Decatur.

MARTA stopped running the closest thing we have to a "trolley", the Tourist Loop Bus. What distinguished that bus from any other MARTA bus you'd see on the street? Not a damn thing. It didn't have a distinctive look (like San Francisco's open-sided cable car), it didn't have an easy way to identify its destinations (like the big, graphic map on the side of each Parisian autobus), and it didn't seem readily available (running only every 30 minutes).

Hopefully the proposed Atlanta Streetcar could overcome those obstacles. MARTA claims they just didn't have the demand for the dedicated route, but I have to wonder - which came first, the rider or the bus?

NATIONAL NEWS -Mudslides in Oregon, ice storms across the entire Midwest, heat wave in the all means, Mr. President, let's send a non-cabinet member delegate to the enviro-talks in Bali...

FRENCH NEWS -The french used to dominate the cultural world...under Sarkozy they are trying to play a little "catch-up". Many French believe the country and its culture have been in decline since — pick a date: 1940 and the humiliating German occupation; 1954, the start of the divisive Algerian conflict; or 1968, the revolutionary year...former French cultural attaché Frédéric Martel marvels at how the U.S. can produce so much "high" culture of lofty quality with hardly any government support..

WEB NEWS -I can't help thinking I should be looking for a job like this guy is - "One Week Job". Week #31 is the Georgia Aquarium!

Go vote for your favorite Christmas photo! Atlanta Insider.

...and view your favorite local volunteer group in action (starring my sweetie!)

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ATL 12/03/07 - Gingerbread

Hanging with the cousins in 1974 (Topanga Canyon) and again in 1979 (Motor-homing from California to Oregon). In the intervening 5 years, Cousin G's hair hasn't moved, my new, superbad, tinted avaitor-style eyeglasses haven't done a thing to downplay my gawky height, and Cousin T's do has gone from Pippy Longstocking to Charlie's Angels. My brother's still just cute.
Annual Gingerbread Party - I've made Gingerbread Houses every year since I can remember, missing only last year because of work (in Oh-Hell-Hole). For this year's revival, we narrowed the construction crews down to just the kids (with a little help from engineering and physiology-minded dads and uncles). I'll be taking our little subdivision (3 whole houses) to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where they sit at the nurses' stations and smell good all winter long.


MOVIE NEWS - 'Golden Compass' and 'Grace is Gone' are out this weekend.

Daniel Craig and Eva Green are both in "Golden Compass" and "Casino Royale".

Daniel Craig & Nicole Kidman are both in "Golden Compass" & "The Invasion".

Eva Green was in "Kingdom of Heaven" with Orlando Bloom who was in "Lord of the Rings" with Ian McKellan who is in "Golden Compass" with Eva Green.

I'm in neither.

ART NEWS -Dad's Garage, "Ask Dr. Frapples", Improv Psychiatry, 12/7-2/22 and

Dad's Garage is also challenging us with "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant", described as a "...pageant-style look at Scientology is truly outrageous and educational. Come along on the suprise-filled journey of L. Ron Hubbard's transformation from mildly eccentric science fiction writer to extremely fanatical celebrity cult leader."

Horizon Theater, "Santaland Diaries", David Sedaris' island of misfit elves, now playing.

Theatre Decatur is putting on (or are they putting us on?) "Queer Carol" until 12/23.

The National 9/11 Memorial tour will be in Piedmont Park Dec 8 & 9 "in a grassroots effort to help build a lasting tribute to honor the lives lost in the attacks of September 11". Ironically, S & I will be in NYC on those dates...

The Center for Puppetry Arts is doing "The Shoemaker & The Elves", now through 1/6/08.

...and then there's just a ton of stuff going on downtown.

LOCAL NEWS -Vision Nightclub wants to come back...the linked document has details on a 12/4 meeting for community members to express their opinions. Go if you have an opinion!

Here's a land use proposal by Lord/Aeck/Sargent that I stumbled across for developing the block between Juniper/Piedmont and Ponce/North (across from the development around the old "Mansion"). Existing on that block are "The Abbey" restaurant (now St. Paul's Presbyterian, since April, 2006) and the "Gulf Oil Building", I.M. Pei's first official design - modernism in Atlanta. Let's hope those two buildings will only be positively affected by this construction.

In the midst of the mortgage "crisis", here comes another condo project south of the Midtown border: Marquis Vista at Piedmont and Ralph McGill.

And in the dealing-with-drought arena, we have Californians drinking pee.

NATIONAL NEWS asked the question "Will Dick Cheney need a heart transplant?" I counter with 'why? he's not using the one he has now...'

FRENCH NEWS -Australia ratifying the Kyoto Treaty is headline news, leaving the U.S. as the only industrialized nation not doing so.

WEB NEWS -My new fav online Christmas shopping spot: CB2. It's like Crate and Barrel doing IKEA.

...but if shopping isn't your thing, try noodling this little website. Real? Fake? Movie tie-in? hmmmmmmmmmm...BNL

(Here's a clue...I think.)

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ATL 11/26/07 - New Orleans

Christmas 1979 - We all pitched in stringing popcorn, but it was Mom's job to put the tinsel on the tree - piece-by-piece (which she removed, piece-by-piece, to save for the next Christmas). For good or bad, that bathrobe (and those light-sensitive eyeglasses) have met their maker, but we still have the same stockings! (...and I wish we still had that ceramic cat!)
The Pat O's pic is for Mom...the place she had her first sip of alcohol...on her Honeymoon! And look at those rockstars crossing in front of "Cafe du Monde"!


Had a terrific Thanksgiving with S's family in New Orleans - from happy wanderings through the French Quarter to a sad tour of the neighborhood nearest the 17th Street Canal levee breach.

The last pic is the most poignant; it is in front of Aunt S' elementary school, announcing the beginning of the school year that never happened. More than two years later, the letters are still there and the school is still boarded up; no one ever came back.

NEW ORLEANS NEWS - Fashion - It's not T-day in N.O. without someone wearing a Saints baseball cap to the table.

Disaster tour - Every city has its blighted areas; in some of the less Katrina-affected neighborhoods, I was afraid to say anything like 'oh, how awful', only to be told 'that house wasn't flooded...'

Renovation - There is one bathroom in Aunt S's post-Katrina, rebuilt home that hasn't been renovated; it still has a pre-fabricated plastic shower/tub with seashell shelves molded into it. Climbing in was like being in the Little Mermaid's FEMA trailer...

Cajun Food - We ate shrimp-stuffed mirliton for Thanksgiving. They kept making fun of me for calling it "melatonin", but it's really a "Vegetable Pear." The insides are cooked like squash, mixed with shrimp and spices, and stuffed back into the vegetable.

Weather Report - The newspaper reported Miss. River level changes along with the temperature. The river was up .64" at St Louis, up 1.0" in Memphis, & up .38" in N.O.

The "K" Word - Everyone spoke of events on a timeline of before or after 'the storm'.

Exercise - We went running on top of the levee around Lake Pochartrain.

Nightlife - Question: 'When do bars close?' Matter-of-fact answer: 'After everyone goes home...'

Family videos - We watched the most recent wedding & the video of the first day back at the house after Katrina. (The house we stayed in was flooded with 2 ft of water; they weren't allowed back in the neighborhood until 6 weeks after "the storm").

Local thinking - In a Letter to the Editor re: sending a thank you to Congress for relief funding - '...we're supposed to thank the people who work for us for sending us our money to fix something they caused?'

Side affects - Uncle J described having 'Katrina Cough' for a year following the mold clean-up.

MOVIE NEWS - Not much new coming out in theaters this weekend following the big Thanksgiving releases of "Enchanted", "This Christmas", and "The Mist". I'll be heading out to catch up and see "No Country for Old Men".

ART NEWS - "Curvy Widow" - Cybill Shepherd stars in comedy about love, sex and online dating thru 12/16 at the Alliance Theater.

LOCAL NEWS - For those folks who think nothing goes better with drinking than "Toys", the annual "Toy Party" folks throw a great fundraiser for anyone donating a new toy or $15. All joking aside, they are expecting 4,000 eager Santa-wanna-bes at this annual Atlanta event.

The 'New Oxford America Dictionary's word of 2007 is 'locavore'. In honor of trying to eat only food grown within 100 miles of where you live, here are some tips:

Here is an online listing of where to pick your own vegetables.

Your Dekalb Farmer's Market labels bins of fruits and vegetables with their country or state of origin. Last week, I found collards, yellow squash, and habinero peppers from Georgia.

The State Farmer's Market has fewer local growers represented than I thought; the stalls were mostly reselling a mix of local and wholesale produce. I got a personalized tour of the whole market from Martin, who told me that the local farmer's drive their truckloads in at 3:00 AM on Fridays and sell to restaurants and the resellers (and Martin).

NATIONAL NEWS - NPR reports that the CDC figures $1 of every 10 spent on health care in the U.S. is to combat the effects of obesity. I don't care if you are going to sit there on your fat ass and eat doughnuts all day - in fact, I'll just go by Krispy Kreme stock - but when I have to pay for your coronary bypass because of it, that really pisses me off!

FRENCH NEWS - Because of the weakness of the dollar against the Euro, part of Airbus' aircraft
production could be moved to those parts of the world using the dollar as the currency standard. The worldwide airplane market is based on the dollar.

DROUGHT NEWS - Local businesses have different reactions to the drought. Home Depot sells rain barrels. Pike Family Nursery declares bankruptcy.

WEB NEWS -This show must have been terrible, cuz I don't remember it at all...and I loved the live action show...Partridge Family AD 2200

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ATL 11/19/07 - Interiors

Ma, bro and me in front of the Empress Hotel, Victoria, circa 1979. Seeing myself in this (hideous) jacket gives me a warm, glowing feeling; I really loved it and remembering my (apparently misguided) enthusiasm for it seems sweet.
Interior shoot of an incredible Va-Hi house...


MOVIE NEWS - "August Rush" looks super sweet, especially when compared with "Stephen King's The Mist", also being released on 11/21. Of course, compared to Stephen King, even I look sweet.

ART NEWS -The "Vaknin Gallery" across the street in 905 Juniper has a well-reviewed exhibition of Brett Smith's first show of "Sophisticated abstraction".

In the "food is art" category, everyone appreciates the aesthetic value of a good Thanksgiving Dinner - even us Flexitarians! Don't underestimate the charm and yummy-ness of a good lentil loaf on T-Day.

DROUGHT NEWS - Update on plans for Midtown's newest reservoir -ajc-

NATIONAL NEWS - A report on subprime lending in the New York Times restates what many many media outlets have written about - that minority neighborhoods have a higher concentration of subprime loans, even when comparing white and minority neighborhoods composed of homes with virtually identical incomes.

The obvious correlating factor in this comparison seems to be race, but what NYT goes on to report is that additional correlating factors are lower credit scores and lower savings rates.

Lower savings rates = fewer local banks = fewer lenders = higher loan interest rates.

I live next to Wachovia and 8 blocks from Bank of America - how low should my loan rate be?

FRENCH NEWS - Sarkozy came to town. I heard a nice commentary on the visit (first by a french official since 2001 - before the U.S. invaded Iraq) - "the French were in America when the British were driven out, and the Americans were here when the Germans were driven out. We will always have history together."

WEB NEWS - How magazines make body type even more unrealistic... (link)

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ATL 11/12/07

I remember dad taking this photo; I know that he loves us, but this time, this pic was all about the car - a brand new, 1978, camel-colored Chevy 'vette. I specifically remember the "camel-colored" part because we got a labeled tube of touch-up paint - a glorified auto body chapstick, really. I was actually kind of looking forward to the first ding in the paint and the opportunity to use it.
Railyards in the "Gulch"& Southern Railway
Centennial Olympic Park
Midtown Towers

MOVIE NEWS - "What Would Jesus Buy?" is "Super Size Me" for religion and mass consumerism...and appears to be just as easy to swallow.

ART NEWS -It's Friday Jazz at the High this Friday - my favorite ongoing event in Atlanta.

LOCAL NEWS - We biked into the bowels of Atlanta to take "The Gulch" photo above; everyone knows about Underground Atlanta (I personally think they need to finish burying it), but we explored an extension of that. U.A. exists because streets in downtown were raised to the second story of some buildings to allow car traffic to pass over train traffic. This pic encompasses many elements of the development of Atlanta - three car overpasses (from the Castleberry Hill area), several rail lines, a warehouse serviced by rail, an old train depot, and kudzu.
DROUGHT NEWS - S. and I have been trying to cut back on our water use - turn off the water while soaping up i n the shower, only run giganta-laundry loads, be extra careful when running water in the sink. I looked at our bills from the last 12 months - they vary from a low of 1400 gallons (when I'm out of town), to 2200 gallons in August (more sweat = more laundry!) This month, we are averaging 53 gallons per day (1590 for the month). Seriously, Madam Mayor and Governor Sunshine, without a yard to stop watering, do you expect us to use less than 26.5 gallons per person per day?

Developers in Midtown are working to solve the drought crisis - here is an update on the status of our new 10th Street Reservoir -ajc-

NATIONAL NEWS - While Mukasky can't decide whether or not water-boarding is torture, I know exactly how I feel about protracted Senate confirmation hearings...thank goodness that's over...for now.

FRENCH NEWS - Sarkozy came to town. I heard a nice commentary on the visit (the first official visit by a French President since 2001 - before the U.S. invaded Iraq) - "the French were in America when the British were driven out, and the Americans were here when the Germans were driven out. We will always have history together."

RETAIL NEWS - Thanks to all the participants of Metropolis' first Market Day - we successfully closed off 8th Street at Peachtree and held a sidewalk sale, hopefully the first of many. And thanks especially to Super Chairwoman Ashley!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's Midtown Dine and Shop Week and a great opportunity to try that fancy restaurant. Since you can no longer qualify for a subprime loan to pay for an expensive night out, $25 prix fixe is terrific! We may try "Room" at Twelve Centennial Park.

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