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... odds and ends..and really odd...

Some thoughts on Memorial Day...

CRANE GUY - Finally came down after 50+ hours; "+" being thousands of lost work hours and 10's of thousands of lost work dollars for the Atlantans living and working in Buckhead. All because we had to "save" a guy accused of murder in Florida, a state with the death penalty. Since his loved ones couldn't speak up for him (having been beaten to death by him), I think after 12 hours, the NRA should have sold sniper lottery tickets to bring the guy down and to help cover the financial impact to the neighborhood.

PROBLEM SOLVING, ATLANTA STYLE - So what is it about Atlanta and people trying to run away from their problems in public? Brian Nichols kills people in court (wrong way to enter a "not guilty" plea), Jennifer Wilbanks tries to disappear under cover of a nation-wide manhunt, and this guy "hides-out" on a crane. Is Jerry Springer off the air?

PAGEANTS - We saw the "Miss/Mrs./Miss Teen Georgia International Pageant" Saturday night, having missed the "Mrs. Senior and Junior Miss Georgia International" finals the night before. These were "pay-for-play" competitions that purport to improve women's self-esteem by letting them walk across stage like a hooker and be judged by total strangers based solely on their looks (and 1 pre-pageant speech), fulfilling a life-long dream to be in a beauty pageant. It was completely self-congratulatory and exploitative. These women were painted-up, sprayed-down, stitched-in, decked-out and altogether completely phony (and not feminine) -looking. There could only be one winner that night (going on to the "National Miss/Mrs. International" Pageant - no lie), but I assume we will see them all again, decades from now, still seeking attention, in the "Mrs. Georgia Feeding-Tube International" Pageant (Terri has the national title wrapped up for 2005).

P.S. Big news flash, ladies! If your self-esteem gets a boost by being chosen from a line-up by total strangers that you'll never see again, then go stand out on Ponce in those same outfits with the rest of the working girls; some John will pick you based on your looks and you'll even get paid!

P.P.S Love this footnote from the rules and regulations: "Contestant must be a born female married to a born male. " I really can't believe they would turn down anyone's money; so much for me trying to enter "Miss Transgendered Georgia International" next year.

P.P.P.S. So, bottom line, you win this pageant and you get a crown, a couple of prizes, a free trip to Chi-town, and bragging rights for a year. Say! I've got an idea! Why don't you save a couple of bucks and give this a try - Need gratitude? Go hammer nails on a Habitat for Humanity house - a needy family will be grateful for their entire lives. Need acceptance? Go work a soup kitchen - the homeless are happy to see you and their next meal. Need love? Go hold an AIDS baby at Grady Hospital - he/she will love you instantly and unreservedly and without judgment.

That's "beauty". That's life. And there's no entrance fee.

...the rest of the story...

...a long time ago...

Pics from 2003; relevant in today's "Star Wars Mania"

...kinda looks like the death star, don't it...

R2's tearing up a little, and the Stormtrooper looks a little more menacing now that I cropped out the grandma in the "I (heart) Orlando" T-shirt. D. V.'s kinda looking full of himself (or too many corndogs), and what's not to love about "Jedi's Angels"!

Lots of fun on a trip to MGM in Florida with Don, Shawn, and John...really!

...the rest of the story...

In a shopping mall, far, far away...

Outta my food court!.......Feeling blue........Something in my throat

Stormtrooper Brent (with Citizen Shawn)
Darth Vader (with Darth Jackass)
As "Triumph" would say - "The ritual banging of the plastic toys..."

That was fun!

If you're gonna go see "Star Wars", go see it at midnight (oh-one) on the day it opens - the geeks are out, everyone is psyched, and no one was a critic. And right now, at 9:00 in the morning, after 4 hours of sleep, Star Wars really seems like "a galaxy far, far away..."

...the rest of the story...

Black & White Sunset


Had to work all week-end, so no time for new photos. This one is from my April trip to the on the Florida panhandle. B&W film scanned to digital.

Work, work, work. Wedding this weekend, but looking forward to two self-imposed photo projects over Memorial weekend.

Nothing even to get outraged over, except where my taxpayers' dollars are going.

Federal Taxes - Bankruptcy court allowed United Airlines to dump its pension program payout onto me, the federal taxpayer. The system is an estimated $12 billion in arrears, meaning the "insurance" premiums that companies with pensions pay into it aren't enough to support the system. Guess how they will make up the difference (Social Security, anyone?) Plus, how is this NOT encouraging Delta and the other struggling airlines to declare and dump their pensions, too? If a Delta stockholder might see a profit by letting the government (and the tax payers) pay pensions, why wouldn't he want that?

County Taxes - Oh, yeah, and Brian Nichols? The "accused" in the Fulton County court shootings last March? He pleaded "not guilty". WHAT? I don't even know why he's allowed to plead. How can you get more reliable witnesses than by shooting/killing people IN A COURTROOM?!? I can't even believe my county tax dollars go towards paying for that trial.

...the rest of the story...


Today, someone at work accused me of being a "blog-a-holic". That is soooooooo not...oops.

"Hi, my name is Jeff...and I have a problem."

...the rest of the story...

Al fresco

Pasta and croissants

Flowers and greens

...two more reasons I love living 2 blocks from Atlanta's Piedmont Park - al fresco Market and MacBeth. The Georgia Shakespeare Festival performance on the lake dock that evening, under the stars and the bats, was terrific (what's not to like about a play where the hunky lead - Daniel May - runs around in only a kilt 1/2 the evening? Now that's al fresco!)

"Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble" ...and then add your fresh pasta; boil 3-5 minutes. Perfect!

But, the city's Piedmont Park parking deck task force is getting ready to spoil all that; they voted last week to build the 800 space deck, encouraging more cars in the park.

MY LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The ajc ran a piece today in which SHARON A. GAY's pro-deck opinion stated "...the deck will lessen the parking burden on surrounding neighborhoods..." So the task force determined that people who come to the park to play hacky-sack all day would pay $1.75/hr to park in the deck rather than burden nearby residents by parking in front of their houses - which are on city-owned streets, by the way.

I guess that means on heavy-use days, when the Grady High School PTA opens up their parking area as a pay lot, everyone parks there and the streets are completely car-free?

No way.

Call the deck what it is: convenient pay parking for the tuxedo-wearing folks who rent nearby Day Hall (in the Gardens) or Magnolia Hall (in the Park) for their corporate affair or their daughter's wedding.

Momma don't ride no shuttle bus to a fund-raiser.

...the rest of the story...

The government and my pearl jam...

Despite objections, FDA set to implement new rules rejecting gay men as anonymous sperm donors ---

Sure, the government will take my money, but now they reject my sperm. That sucks - I can't make my own money!

At first, I thought I was going get all up in arms and blog something like "no surprise; why think that this should be any different than discriminating against gay men about blood donation", but then I went to the Red Cross website and couldn't find any guideline against homosexuals donating.

Wow! I got a little excited! This document didn't list "high risk behaviors" (one of which was being homosexual) as being cause for ineligibility for blood donation anymore. I hadn't donated blood since college because of that exclusion. Can I donate again? Has the Red Cross stopped discriminating based on who I like? Is the Red Cross more enlightened than the US government?

Well, no. A follow-up phone call to the Red Cross** confirmed that "high risk" was still grounds for ineligibility and the web document must be incorrect. The girl on the phone tried to be nice - "I think it's a bad rule, and you can still donate if you want and not tell them." You mean I can donate if I don't march into the blood bank with a big, pink triangle pinned to my lapel and scream "who wants this mary's tonsil tadpoles?"

Thanks for the support, you "don't ask, don't tell" blood-sucking fascist - and, by the way, "them" is "you".

So now I'm all up in arms - according to the Red Cross website, they've been testing donated blood for HIV and (presumably) excluding gay men as donors since 1985. No one's been able to change that in 20 years, so no one should have any delusions that this newest FDA ruling can be overturned.

Swingers can donate. People who have sex with African monkeys can donate. Men who have unprotected sex with dirty-needle sharing HIV+ hookers can baby-batter-up.

Congressman Barney Frank can't do it. Sigh.

All I can hope for is that GWB needs a kidney sometime in the near future, and that I'm the one and only match on earth, and I will have to say "sorry Dub-ya, I'd love to give you one of my kidneys, but it's illegal."

Oooo, that feels better...

**The phone number for questions about donating blood is 800 GIVE-LIFE. I guess 800 NO-HOMOS was already taken...

...the rest of the story...

The J's...

Peachtree was a mess in front of the Fox Theater last night for a showing of "Monster-in-Law", starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. It was both the east coast premiere of the flick and a fundraiser for Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention - good for kids; bad for traffic.

Commuters and the PETA protesters alike were none too happy to see J-Lo. It seems she includes "fur-lined items in her Sweet Face clothing line".

No word last night on what she or J-Faux was wearing.

...the rest of the story...

Somebody wants to be me

So, I just heard from my tax accountant that her computers were stolen.


I can't imagine a worse thing to happen financially. She had my social security number, my banking info for direct deposit, all my tax records.


Okay, there's a procedure to follow for this; it'll be fine:

1) ...file a fraud alert...

Easy enough. I called Equifax (800-525-6285) to place a 90-day "Fraud Alert" on my credit file. They will ask me before issuing any new lines of credit.

2) Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Easy enough; that hasn't happened yet.

3) File a police report.

Easy enough. But I don't want to call "911", because it's not an emergency. I'm frantic and pissed and worried, but not in danger. (The computer thieves might want to call "911", however...)

I googled. I browsed. Atlanta non-emergency: (404) 853-3434.

No answer.

But wait! There's a whole list of departmental numbers on the website and some sound kind of interesting:

Vice Unit -
Homeland Security -
Executive Protection -
Pistol Range -
Narcotics Unit -
Pawn Desk Unit -
Office Of Professional Standards -
Weed and Seed -
Cyber Crimes Unit - BINGO! They suggested I call: Central Records Unit (404) 853-7461. WRONG! Call "911"

I called from my office in Clayton Co. WRONG! They directed me to Fulton Co, where I live. WRONG! They directed me to Dekalb Co, there the crime took place. WRONG! They said I needed the address of the crime.

I hung up to look that up.

I called back. Clayton Co. I gave the address of the crime. She said that was in Dekalb Co and HUNG UP!

I called back. Clayton Co. I asked to be directed to Dekalb County. She gave me the direct number [(404) 294-2911] in case we got cut off. Big shocker. She connected me. WRONG! "Report ID please". I don't have a report; I'm trying to file one. This was the wrong department and this operator couldn't hear the first operator. She tried to reconnect me. Dekalb County. BINGO!

The next operator asked me for my address. "Where I am, where I live, or where the crime took place?" The crime. I gave it, she asked for my current phone number and told me they'd call back "sometime" to take the report.

Now here I sit...bored and worried...waiting...and really wanting to call the "weed and seed" department of the Atlanta Police Operations Bureau. Seriously, is that some kind of drug unit or APD's lawn enforcement officials?

They called back within 5 tell me I couldn't file a report because it wasn't my computer that was stolen. "But it's my identity, my information, I'm responsible if someone fraudulently uses it." "Sorry, we can't file before something happens...what type of report did you want to file?" "I don't know, maybe a 'somebody's going to try and fuck up my life very soon' report?"

End of conversation - with her. Her Sergeant - Sgt McCracken - was MUCH more helpful. It's true I can't file my own report, but they can list me as a co-victim on the accountant's report. BINGO!

Now that that's over with, I think I'll call the "Professional Standards" unit and see how this measured up. Or the "Chaplaincy Unit". Maybe they will pray for me.

...the rest of the story...