Monday, December 05, 2005

Life During War Time

After several years of freelancing (the best way to stay creatively, if not barely, employed while essentially unemployed) I've returned to the brick 'n mortar workplace. Within hours of sealing the deal and resuming a life of careerism, I was obligated to give-up: cigarettes, blogging, a performance of Christmas carols (sung in French no f-in less) by my child's kindergarten class and a chance to go to Africa with the BBC. No kidding.

Of course I'd made the typical Graham Greene-like pact with God to stop smoking once and for all if suitable employment came my way, so that anticipated sacrifice had to be commenced right away, firmly. And missing kiddie events is a guilt that can eventually be ignored with the general hustle and bustle of daily life in a big city. But who'd have imagined giving-up blogging? Or a lengthy trip to Africa, a place I've dreamed of visiting since I was a child?

All to make money to keep food on the table and an ITP (Inside The Perimeter) condo over our heads. Life is indeed cruel, especially for those of a ludicrously long-suffering and utterly pointless romantic nature. More on the BBC Africa Project later... when I have the strength to blog about it. I'm going to go faint or something now. Take in a Pride and Prejudice show to enhance the drama that lies within. Sigh...

Then again the comforts of steady, office/adult-oriented, stimulating work are so routine at this point in the game that any wisps of inner pity over perceived personal and cultural sacrifice are actually quite well assuaged by such pleasurable familiarity and organizational requirements. However, there is really no burning need to shout from the rooftops about one's closeted (professional only, mind you) tendency to tack Miss Hathaway, n'est ce pas?

In other reports of guilty pleasure, such as the warm and quite satisfying smugness that comes from having one's editorial work appear in a major daily, my charming friend and occasional colleague, Suzan Satterfield, had a seasonal rant in the AJC's back pages yesterday. Here's a bit...

Leave it to the far right to suck all the joy out of the holiday season.

That's right. I said the "H" word. I've said it for years, and now I'm (gasp!) letting my children and guests in my home say it, too. It wasn't until this year that I knew just how radical and militant I was every time I uttered "Happy holidays."

Full editorial here. Happy Holidays!!!! (My Christmas cards say it too.)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

U2 Worship

Last time I saw U2 was over twenty years ago. I was so wasted at the time I can't remember if it was the Boy tour or the War tour, or even what venue it was in. I think it was the Fox, as I vaguely recall seeing stars as Bono climbed a bank of speakers.

Then again, I can find no Googlable record of U2 having played the Fox in the early 80s, only the Agora and the Civic Center. Hmmmm.... pointless now, but I could have sworn it was the Fox. I do vaguely recall that The Alarm opened. The Hair Tour. Things used to be so simple; overly-amplified good hair was reason enough to go to a show and get trashed. Tickets sure seemed a lot more affordable too, even accounting for inflation.

I don't do stadium rock much anymore. I've simply outgrown the hype, unless the tickets are freebies. Even then it would be a rare outing for me to wander downtown to arena-rock. Still, I couldn't help feeling a little left out while listening to U2 all weekend on the radio. Nostalgia is a powerful force.

Instead, I decided to heed the call to sing-along loudly at church. Now, I have a deep and abiding wariness of any guitar-strumming, Accessible Christ kinda church service, where people wear jeans and display sinfully casual modes of worship, so can't say I'd ever been to a service featuring rock 'n roll music.

When I go to church, I want to hear crashing pipe organs and choirs of angels, not some self-absorbed wanker who finds a musically limited and predictably arrogant way to justify dumping his girlfriend.

Then again, now that Bono, in recognition of his relentless faithfulness, many good deeds and sheer loveablility, has ascended into heaven and is seated at the left hand of God The Father Awmighty, who shall come again to judge the living and the former mullet-wearers, my terribly staid, formal church went way outside the latest Book of Prayer and put together a U2 eucharist, this being U2 weekend here in the ATL.

The service was led by the engaging and quite young assistant rector, Noelle York-Simmons, an unabashed U2 fan who rocked out at the alter while preparing the sacraments.

The place was packed. It was standing room only, and families, particularly ones with teens, were out in force singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" all together during communion, loving ever minute of being together in such a genuine display of peace, love, understanding, and call to worship.

I was there by myself, and never for a minute felt alone. Thanks to blaring U2 songs, chiefly the overtly religious ones, there was a warm buzz of fellowship all over the place, something that is often missing in the high-church formality of the Episcopal liturgy, particularly at All Saints'.

When Rev'd York-Simmons worked Bono's current call to end world hunger into a homily admonishing all who were present to understand that God's compassion for us requires that we do all within our power to end the needless, unthinkable death by starvation of 11-million children under the age of five every year on this planet we all take-up space on, the collection plates, the contents of which would be given to a global children's charity, easily filled to overflowing.

As the glorious vaulted ceilings of the gilded All Saints' sanctuary next to the Varsity filled with Bono's urgent, holy voice giving rock and roll thanks to God, so did each heart that walked out of the church last night and on to the week ahead. Not only will we sing a new song... this time we will mean it. Just as God, Jesus and Bono want us to do.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Case The Promised Land

Date up. Date down. Just as long as you date all around. I gotta admit, I love the glorious muck of the gender fuss that's been created in the wake of Sex In The City, simply the best show ever put on (cable) TV. I miss it every Sunday, in the way I miss John-John and Diana. I just do. It's a generational thing. You wouldn't understand.

But I bet plenty of Dear Readers can relate to this article from today's New York Observer. Here's an excerpt:

J. Courtney Sullivan, a 24-year-old assistant editor at Allure magazine, has written a book called Dating Up: The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Man You Deserve, which will be published by Warner in February 2006. “My friend and I couldn’t get over how every great woman we know from college—great, smart, accomplished women—date these total schlubs: guys with no money, no ambition, no redeeming qualities and no clue,” she said. The book, however, is not your standard gold-digging manual. “It’s not like, ‘Run off and marry a banker,’” she said. “At the end of day, the most important thing is to be with someone who treats you well.”

For Ms. Sullivan, dating down, while appealing, has its limits. She referred to her own relationship history, with a series of starving-artist types. “For me, it was almost an escape,” she said. “I could leave the office after a stressful week on Friday and relax with one of those guys, bumming around drinking margaritas at Tres Aztecas, listening to him drone on about the one time his band played CBGB’s or whatever, and basking in his no-pressure lifestyle. It was like a little glimpse down the path not taken or something. Of course, eventually this always became entirely maddening and ended in a screaming ‘Why don’t you grow the fuck up?’ fight.”

Full story here.

"Treat you well" crap. Huh? Women still need to buy into that tired 'ole bill of goods? That's what passes for literature these days? No, that's what passes for life these days: security-ridden bullshit. Something to pass needy, predicatable time with for utter sellouts with not an ounce of passion or romance left in their frozen reality, just PTA-induced rivalries, pasted-on smiles and magazine-induced fantasies all poofed-up and overly worked-out for the benefit of McMansioned friends and mothers once or twice a year at the alledgedly picture-perfect, family values holiday dinner.

Frankly, all this gender stress is Springsteen's fault. He told us thirty years that men were glorious chrome and fire angels just waiting for wild American beauties, as we all are at heart, to "case the promise land" with on an urban wonder fest of passion and desire and mutually-held dreams.

Bruce didn't say nothin' 'bout no mutual funds, and thirty years later I'm still a working girl still listening to Thunder Road still waiting at the house, albeit my own now, for that low rumble along the... driveway.

Goddamn you Bruce. Goddamn rock & roll.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Burn Your Laptop

Not only does the U.N. wish to give every kid in the world a dinky laptop, it is foaming at the mouth for control of the whole enchilada - the Internet as we know it. Hell, every entity under the sun wants control of the Internet, our government included.

Why don't we just give it away to the Junior League, for chrissake? They're the best at making boring lists and marketing 'em as something worthwhile.

So self-anointed information czars of all flavors, Kofi Annan leading the pack, are all gathering in Tunisia (WTF?????) today for the World Summit on the Information Society, or How Best To Wrest The Internet Away (from private, non-profit, USA-oriented control). So far, the internationalists have agreed to do nothing. But rest assured, they'll be back.

In the meantime, I've got relatives (with all their teeth and laptops too) out in the woods of S.C. who can't even get 'em no DSL service! No long-distance wireless networks utilizing microwave dishes, routers... nope, nuttin' honey. Shame shame shame. And wonks at M.I.T. are cashing-in on crafting prototypes of Wal-Martesque laptops to hand-out on a global basis? Excuse me, but didn't somebody 'round here just loose a job over likeminded, albeit smaller-scale, insidery shenanigans?

WTF - again!!!?? They got DSL or massive airports or free router programs all across Africa to power these puppies with? Throughout Algeria? Liberia? Congo? Calcutta? (Well, I bet they got something there.)

My suggestion...once you've torched a vehicle, then flambe your charity case laptop. What else ya gonna do with it? Sprint across Kenya with it strapped to your back until you get to the Starbucks in Mombasa for a look at

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Get Back Loretta

The CMA's annual awards show moves to NYC tonight. Why this has to be is beyond me. I can't think of a single New Yorker who listens to or appreciates country music. Then again, they probably can't get over Brooks and Dunn shouting cliche-ridden jingles from their rooftops. Neither can I.

On the way to a real job interview today, I had a few minutes to spare and picked up an actual hard-copy version of the AJC. Glad I did, otherwise I might have missed the bricks-and-mortar-bashing guest editorial by Atlanta blogger, Leonard Witt, the Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University, a member of Atlanta Media Bloggers and chief blogger at the excellent PJNET.

Witt is trying hard to keep the faith in Ye 'Olde AJC. Why this too really needs to happen is also beyond me, but he goes way out on a limb and says:

Thanks to inexpensive digital publishing tools, the public has found its voice and is demanding to be heard. If the AJC integrates its journalism expertise and vast resources into this new bottom-up model, it will thrive, while improving the reach, depth and quality of journalism it cooperatively produces with its audience.

The movement toward community journalism has begun, and every day the Journal-Constitution waits, the further it falls behind the curve.

Full editorial here.

Such reasoning assumes that the AJC is not quite to the critical, Terry Schiavo/pull-the-plug NOW state of utter vegetation, and can (should?) be resuscitated. The clock is ticking though - loudly. At what point will newspapers/Big Media have to pull-in Congressional assistance in a last-gasp effort to save their own dinosaur-ass? Believe me, droves of droning lawyers are likely hard at work already.

And here's your Moment Of Real Deal, lovies...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monster That Head-Rolling Story

Who is Jean-Claude Dassier?

A.) Bass player in a Montreal punk band.
B.) Maureen Dowd's lover.
C.) An idiot.

The answer is "C." Dassier is, for the time being, head of a French news service called LCI. Recently, he took it upon himself to censor coverage of the riots in French suburbs. As self-appointed chief protector of French mass-sensibility, Dassier decided that he, as big swinging dick of a major news service, would save the citizens of France from themselves.

In a bumbling attempt to do this heroic deed, Dassier kept footage of burning cars off his airwaves (his government-alotted bit of 'em at least) in a move that no doubt has legions of Internet users laughing their asses off at this hysterically fatuous assumption that raw information was something Big Media could still master and command.

From the MediaGuardian:

But he (Dassier) admitted his decision was partly motivated by a desire to avoid encouraging the resurgence of extreme rightwing views in France.

French broadcasters have faced criticism for their lack of coverage of the country's worst civil unrest in decades. Public television station France 3 has stopped broadcasting the numbers of torched cars while other TV stations are considering following suit.

"Do we send teams of journalists because cars are burning, or are the cars burning because we sent teams of journalists?" asked Patrick Lecocq, editor-in-chief of France 2. Rival news organisations today questioned the French broadcasters' decision to temper coverage of the riots.

John Ryley, the executive editor of Sky News, said his channel would have handled a similar story in Britain very differently.

"We would have been all over it like a cheap suit. We would have monstered the story, and I didn't get the impression that happened in France," he said.

Keeping with his mission to seriously overserve the public good, Jeff Jarvis 'storms the media Bastille' over at BuzzMachine, where 'monstering the story' is all just a free market shakeout on any given day.

Does this Dassier dude have a future in the Rove White House or what!?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Something Sicker This Way Comes

How do you solve a problem like... Sarah Silverman? You don't.

YOU don't get to do anything to America's fanged little angel. Except pretend to loathe her when you really want to know her better. You can try praying for her soul.

My advice? You'd be better off tending to your own inner-sickness of a garden instead, 'cause, hon, after what she does to our delicate sensibilities and psyche, that's the only place you got left to go.

Here's an excerpt from Slate:

Her (Silverman's) best jokes are thought experiments in the internal logic of political correctness: "I want to get an abortion, but my boyfriend and I are having trouble conceiving."

A Playboy interviewer, probing for something salacious, once asked Silverman if she had a nickname for her vagina. She answered "Faggot"— a throwaway joke that manages to kink sexual identity into such an ingenious pretzel it could fuel a doctoral dissertation.

Full story here.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Intracoastal Dreamin'

Pluff mud, marsh grass and john boats. Fiddler crabs and creek shrimp. Oyster roasts in winter. The faintest wiff of Coppertone and the incessant mosquito whine hanging in the salt air all through the long, long summertime.

My dear friends, Joey (see above) and Annie Hindman, moved back to their beloved Lowcountry recently, after a professional lifetime working the ATL.

Here's what they see now when they look out the back door. And no, I'm not going to bash my head into the wall with envy. No, not today.

I'z goin in dat john boat up da crik git me some shrumps an fush soon doh. Yep dat I'z gonna do.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rip Yo Bodice, Ladies

Too much, too soon. Woe to the actor who would foolishly follow Colin Firth's Darcy from the 1995 BBC miniseries-adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; or to a director who stumbles into the obvious, clumsily trampling all over the Gothic fragility and self-possessed sexual smoldering Firth absolutely seared into the hearts and minds and assorted other places of the female anatomy.

A needless Darcy re-creation is almost the cinematic suicide that would arise from toying about with Clark Gable's Rhett Butler, as Colin Firth's have-your-way-NOW, poofy-shirt Darcy pretty much slammed the lid on the chest of the Darcy-ideal, for the serious Austen fan.

Women across North America are not happy with this 2005 release of Pride and Prejudice. Not having seen it yet, I'm already feeling their angst. And when American women are not happy, well, heads will... turn away.

From the New York Daily News today:

The trouble started a couple of months ago when University of Colorado English Prof. Joan Klingel Ray, president of the Jane Austen Society, slagged off the movie in an interview with the U.K.'s Telegraph, criticizing everything from Matthew MacFadyen as the male lead, Mr. Darcy, to the movie's in-your-face sexual imagery.

"The Darcy in the film does not have the quality of attractiveness that Colin Firth has," Ray asserted, referring to the star of the acclaimed 1995 miniseries.

She added: "The film is full of sexual imagery, which is totally inappropriate to Austen's novel. In one scene, a wild boar, which I assume is supposed to represent Darcy, wobbles through a farm with its sexual equipment on show."

Full gossip here.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Spend Our Way Outta Trouble

Keep the economy headed in the right, heh heh, direction. Shop online now for all the Anarcho-Capitalists on your list.

Did You Mean TRMPAC

Just as those who voted Georgia and The White House red are now reaping the rewards of what they voted in, those on the other side, who voted Mouth Of The South, Cynthia McKinney, back to the circus for another season of freak-show politics, get what's coming to them too.

From today's Washington Post online: (Don't miss Hot Nadia news while you're there. 44 rules!)

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) has introduced a bill calling for an investigation of the 1996 slaying of rapper Tupac Shakur, reports the online Black Electorate. HR 4210 has been referred to the Committee on Government Reform, where it will likely languish for a very long time.

More McKinney mayhem here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cox & Bush Country

Hi Ho. Hi Ho
It's off to vote we go.
Got no ID. Don't need to read.
Hi Ho. Hi Ho

The Georgia political landscape never ceases to... uh... get me to the polls for the usual fright-fest. See above photo. Although not applicable today, let's start getting this Cox conundrum straight in our pea brains now before somebody gets hurt. So many Coxes in this state running the whole show we should just exchange stadiums with USC.

Cathy Cox is a (D). Kathy Cox is a (R). And neither of either is in any danger of getting even remotely close to the Too Rich and Too Thin stratosphere of our Big Media belle, Anne Cox (Chambers), who remains mostly in NYC and Europe I'd imagine, riots or not.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Don't Bogart That Technology

Wow... if NASA only had a Vlog. Then they sure could've saved us a few trillion dollars by just blue-screening Neil Armstrong onto the moon. They already did that? At a studio in West Hollywood? Area 51? And we're just now able to do it for 50-bucks at home? Dang.

Beyond Borders

Everytime I get set to write about fried chicken or link to an article extolling the virtues of Larry The Cable Guy, I get diverted by diversity. This time I stumbled across an astonishing photo essay of women in Afghanistan, by Lana Slezic. Click the above photo to begin.

Nailed To The Big Media Door

Excerpt below from:
TV News in a Postmodern World: The Jewel of the Elites
by Terry Heaton

By placing the Bible in the hands of commoners, (John) Wycliffe destroyed the secret weapon of the church hierarchy: protected knowledge. His opponents responded with the statement, "The jewel of the clergy has become the toy of the laity."

So it is today as the personal media revolution undercuts the institution of the press, but the energy behind it all is actually much larger. Knowledge is empowering the commoners once again, and the jewel of the elites has become the toy of the masses. It is and will change our culture beyond even that of the Protestant Reformation, because it reaches into every aspect of life.

One of the more ludicrous, unspoken "rules" I broke on a moreorless daily, if not hourly, basis when I once worked in Big Media was that only the chosen few were "allowed" to editorialized. Only the elite amongst the clawed-their-way-to-the-top managers were granted the power to opine on the state of the world at, for instance, daily editorial meetings held by those "entrusted" to cover the news, specifically those, chiefly New Yorkers, "empowered" to decide what was news-worthy that day or not.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as there must be some kind of organizational method to the madness. However, the co-opting of editorial power by a few required the presence of many lowly worker-bee types to go out and prove them, and only them, right on a regular basis.

If a study came out of some "institution," or think tank, typically a DC-based one deemed worthy or reliable by the managers within the Big Media group, then it was my job to go out and validate that study du jour. To do this, I was required to troll for the omnipotent, validating soundbite to bestow a mark of credibility on the study, and, of course, tie it all up in a tidy video package for air that evening.

For instance, if a study came out declaring that Men Under 35 prefer oranges to apples, I'd be dispatched to "the field" (the field being anywhere outside of Manhattan) and required to shove a mic in the face of Men Under 35 and have them testify that, yes indeed, they preferred oranges to apples. Often times however, I would position the mic and get back 10 responses that declared, "I prefer apples." Perhaps only one or two that particular day would say, "I prefer oranges."

Well, I'm sure you can imagine which of the 10 or 12 soundbites actually made it to air that evening. The Chosen Ones needed only one to validate what they thought "real America" was thinking, despite the 10 or so perfectly good, but conflicting responses soon left on the edit room floor.

This was, and still is sadly, how Big Media operates. It should be no wonder then that when I got hip to the Internet, I got the hell outta Dodge, as did a whole lot of others too, most of 'em a hell of a lot more talented than me.

So Dear Reader, the reason I bore you all to tears with the above tale of Big Media woe is that I'd like to now direct your attention to the full article that set me off on this whole rant in the first place, by Terry Heaton, titled:

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Way We Were

Here's an excellent, rather unusual story in the Jackson Free Press on what it was like to live through, and live with, the race war of the 1960's Civil Rights struggle in Mississippi, with POV from a black man and a former Klansman, appropriately titled:

By the suffering of others, some were able to overcome.

Where Do I Begin

Oh dear... words almost fail me here. How many valets and ladies' maids had to be beaten to achieve this look? Crockery smashed? Princesses too? I'm taking to my bed with a Pirin.

Hang On, The Calvary's Coming

Well it's about time! Not only is former President Jimmy Carter defiantly out to wrest piety and good Christian morality away from the GOP and the religious right (virtually one and the same nowadays) and back into the arms of, presumably, the Democratic party, Sarah Michelle Gellar, currently playing a porn star in her latest film, is singlehandedly attempting a revival of honest, righteous feminist values.

So desperate are we for any young woman to stand-up and be counted in regards to our phoney, celebrity-'centric, immoral culture of late, who is going to really mind that an icon of the very same phoney, celebrity-'centric, immoral culture itself is rising to the challenge? Who'd have the heart to discourage such powerful, courageous outspokenness? And please, whatever you do, don't tell Ms. Gellar that Rosa Parks wasn't exactly famous for having been a feminist.

Let the battle begin.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

No Password Now Needed

Forget TimesSelect and its fresh-brewed, maddening need for passwords. At last I can bring you my friend, website designer and neighbor's, Jen Gordon's (Sas) hilarious blog, 9WhiteSt. Her account of a dubious Tanya Tucker show had me falling out of the chair laughing, as did pictures of her daughter, Georgia. (Now that's a fine a name as a girl could hope for.)

Her deep devotion to Dolly Parton, all-things-southern and techy, and her vibrant sense 'o humor make Sas (as she's known unprofessionally) just about the perfect neighbor, albeit one over on White Street. I know she's had a bit of a rough patch this week, sending Georgia off to school for the first time. No need to fret, hon. I know that's moreorless the same as asking the sun not to rise for a new mom, but Georgia seems more than capable of holding her own, with the under-twos or above.

Sas brought up the rather uncomfortable expression "camletoes" in her blog, which I could have sworn was an exclusively southern term. Then I saw The Weatherman this week, a thoroughly (won't say "deeply" right now) poignant movie set almost entirely in Chicago in which coping with the horror of "camletoes" becomes an entire subplot. Check that mirror ladies before heading out the door.

Career Killer

Darn it. Everytime I go fancying a news anchor, it loses its job. This happened before to Frank Sesno and Ron Reagan, although I think Ron Jr. is back on the air somewhere. I predict Anderson will be too strong for my killer elitist-vibe though.

Mr. Brown was awfully arrogant and snotty to his people in the field during the Katrina coverage I admit. Haughtiness doesn't play well in Peoria. Too bad MSM must pretend to give a shit about Peoria.

Bloggers have the luxury of telling 'em all to go screw themselves, if need be. When we win the Great Culture War, Mr. Brown, you can anchor my vlog. Feel better already, now don'tcha?

Jeff Jarvis, at the always-delightful BuzzMachine, finally pops the Big Media question that's been nagging us all, "Now what can they do about Larry King?" Honestly, I think I am almost ready to replace him. Just lemme get my roots touched-up, ok.

Don't forget to stop by Dusty's place. That dude sure can blog.

Skinny Little Hill 'O Beans

Are we all not getting close to burnout on the whole Maureen Dowd/Battle of the Sexes thing? While terribly clever and brilliant, I think Ms. Dowd is acutely bored with her work, and thus suffering from an overly-active imagination that is busy conjuring a gender-war where no gender-gap/war/discomfort level really exists. Or does it?

Maybe MoDo should try writing children's books. That plan worked great for Ms. Rowling; she even ended-up with a #2 marriage and a Gulfstream. Such a fairy tale ending, especially since it's one that reeks havoc on Dowd's assumption that successful women cain't get no man.

As for MoDo, I don't think she's even had a go at mucking-up that critical Starter Marriage. Heck, girl just want somethin' she ain't never had before. Who would fault her for that? Gettin' stuff we ain't never had is the fuel that powers (pronounced "pears" if you're talkin' W) 'Merica - the place for 'Mericans to live and work and be empowering, free too. (That's the W-speak coming out. Repeat most of last sentence in W now. He says "cain't" beddern' me.)

Now if grown men could stop porn-a-tizing themselves into an anesthetized cultural stupor, then maybe we could figure this gender thing out - together. In the meantime, I'm brushing off the ancient S.C.U.M. Manifesto for a good time 'round the McMansion. Hilarious!

Did a drive-by through Atlantic Station in the 'hood this week. Ugghhh. It reminded me of a hastily constructed backlot set for a disaster movie; lots of narrow streets brooding in shadows cast by nondescript buildings looming over them. I expected to see a tsunami come blasting through the constricted corridors. I had no desire to stroll about; just run away.

Then there was the parking horror -- huge, gaping holes like wounds on this cheapo movie set, inviting a look downward into the frightening depth of endless parking levels and rape-a-toriums below, with prison-like fencing wrapped around the ugly concrete gaps up at steet level. I got a similar sensation of dread while touring Ground Zero last year. I drove out of the contrived hell as quickly as I drove in.

CONTEST: Be the first to tell me in a comment who wrote/sung this entry's caption, and the actual song title, and you could very well win something.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bland Atlanta

A.T.L. - say it with me. So we've got our lame branding effort/tax dollar-frittering campaign, incorporating plagiarized rap lyrics, to go along with our fish tank, which opens down the street on Nov. 23rd. "The ATL" -- snort. Like none of the dozen or so people passing through Hartsfield every year ever used that one before. Don'tcha just hate a co-opter?

If Bernie's Bathtub is as hideous as Atlantic Station has turned out to be, then maybe morbidly obese people from surrounding exurbs won't come clog-up our neighborhood with their bald-tires-on-mini-vans and Wal-Mart breath. It's kinda purty though, I bet. I like aquatic things. Who doesn't?

You can get in to World 'O Fish a lot cheaper than the outrageous admission price, and see Jane Fonda get her highlights wet, when the Atlanta Press Club holds its annual (ATL, say it with me) author party on Dec. 1, of this year we are all going through.

Don't forget to overextend the credit card with a stop by the newly re-habbed CNN Center Tour, while you can... before it all gets packed-up and shipped-off to Time-Warner's new digs in NYC. If we lose CNN and Delta, the ATL is T.O.A.S.T.

Rap that, baby doll.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What Would Neil Do

Halloween has turned into the one day I can shine at the Mommy Stuff, as I continue to be sub-par the rest of the year. (Or would you say above-par to be golf correct?) Ava was relieved to have me helping out with her class party yesterday, as she'd recently lamented that I don't do enough kid-centric stuff, meaning I don't feel the slightest bit compelled to organize bi-weekly parties involving a trip on the space shuttle to the last remaining Amazon basin rainforest, with a pony.

But I did cheerfully set-out matching paper plates, cups and even a special table cloth at her school for the important Halloween party. Then plenty of us got dressed-up as a full Harry Potter supporting cast to her Hermoine during trick-or-treating last night. I gave myself a nice big pat on the back for my all-day level of participatory-mommy activities. Good Mommy, Good.

Providing a comforting, nuturing home environment is no longer enough for The Motherhood. No, the modern mom is required to micromanage every detail of a child's life like it was a freakin' career, and that one was going to be getting a fat paycheck every two weeks. WHFO. Whether it's picking a grad school while they're still gestating at 20 wks, or volunteering to raise 50K in two days by selling gift wrap to end world hunger, I'll never be able to compete at the uber-mom level. I just don't have the energy, nor the slightest urge to sacrifice a perfectly compelling adult life on the altar of kiddy activities. Soccer season alone about did me in.

Some clear-thinking Euro once remarked that stupid Americans just stupidly stumbled from one contrived holiday to the next. And this is true, and it's wearing me out -- on the crash from the sugar highs alone. The candy season has begun in earnest, as Ava hauled in about four metric tons with some impressive trick-or-treating last night. The Hideous American Holiday candy phase will last until February, whereby it all comes to a screeching halt since I'm a feminist. (Of course feminists never get any candy on Valentine's Day. See below entry Fear of Feminists.)

I'm so pleased with fulfilling my mommyhood duty-quota for the year, I can now resume normal activity, which today includes googling Neil from The Young Ones. Neil was always my favorite cast member. When I'm feeling blue, I just think of that special way he used to pitifully whine "You guys," and I perk right up.

Turns out the British actor Nigel Planer, who played Neil the Hippy, is also a novelist and playwright, although his latest effort closed after a four-week run in London. Here's a mention:

Nigel Planer's On the Ceiling, starring Ron Cook and Ralf Little, is ending its run at the West End's Garrick Theatre on October 1 after only four weeks.

Set in 1508, On the Ceiling centers on the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The Pope has put a sculptor with next to no experience of painting in charge of the task. The man didn´t want the job in the first place and has never done anything remotely on this scale. He´s all over the place--when he remembers to turn up for work. Who has to put in the hours, teach him his craft, patch up his mistakes, deal with his tantrums and get the job done? Like any big project, it is the little guys (Cook and Little) who are actually going to have to make it happen.

I'd put good money that it's back to being a soccer dad for the rest of the school year for Mr. Planer. Hmmm.... maybe I'll get around to volunteering for rearranging the "Media Center" furniture (they're not called libraries any more) or touring Harvard this spring -- when I've finish googling Vivien that is.

Let Anderson Cooper Plan Your Next Party

Go figure this one: news anchors make swell party planners. Or party poopers. You decide. Here's an excerpt straight from the AC:

I was stuck in Moscow one New Year's, and about the only difference is that in Russia the party starts much earlier and the vodka is much stronger.
By the time the new year actually rolled around, my Russian host had passed out and his friends had taken off to find themselves some prostitutes.

The following year I was in London. Everyone talks about how elegant and refined the British are, but stand outside a London pub on New Year's Eve and those aren't the two words that come to mind. Roman Vomitorium more accurately describes the scene. Chunky lads and lasses standing in gutters spewing chunky bits and pieces, then returning inside to guzzle more Guinness. Cheerio!

Given my lifelong aversion to New Year's Eve, I was reluctant when asked two years ago to host CNN's special coverage of the ball drop in Times Square.

Full unsolicited agony advice column here. Funny, I could've sworn I died and went to heaven last New Year's Eve at the 40 Watt.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Fear of Feminists

Play dumb: get a man for life. Be smart: get healthy, wealthy and wise. Now ladies, you figure out what the real choice is there. I just can't believe that it is as romantically difficult to be an attractive, independent woman as my clever, fiery heroine Ms. Dowd is making it out to be in The NYT Sunday Mag yesterday.

Maybe in NYC, but I can't say I've ever dumbed myself down to get a guy to go out with me. Chances are, that's just because I don't have nearly as much dumbing-down to do as Ms. Dowd. I'm already half-way there on a good day. (And all the way there after two cosmos.) Any achievements, alas, are hardly of an intimidating variety; I can only hope to be of some ground-shaking professional stature one day. Most women can only be so fortunate as to have any chance of putting this scary, semi-elitist theory to the test.

Here's an excerpt:

Men, apparently, learn early to protect their eggshell egos from high-achieving women. The girls said they hid the fact that they went to Harvard from guys they met because it was the kiss of death. "The H-bomb," they dubbed it. "As soon as you say Harvard Business School . . . that's the end of the conversation," Ani Vartanian said. "As soon as the guys say, 'Oh, I go to Harvard Business School,' all the girls start falling into them."

(Lemme tell you ladies, I've trolled for dates on the highest of professional rungs before; never been so bored in my life.)

But wait, there be more:

Many women continue to fear that the more they accomplish, the more they may have to sacrifice. They worry that men still veer away from "challenging" women because of a male atavistic desire to be the superior force in a relationship.

Good grief, this is ludicrous! I don't want to get into some silly bragging realm, but I always thought that by being smart and nicely put together (and what a chore that is (not) in this TV-stupified, Wal-Mart ridden, unhealthy, unattractive, mega-church, semi-literate, drop-dead boring culture) one attracts the best, and weeds out the kind of guy you wouldn't be caught (yawning) with.

Then again, I have the good fortune of living in the South and having been raised "southern," where, fortunately, no one ever told me you had to weed all of the wit and personality out of your life to be a successful, smart, sexy, happy, independent-minded woman. Or feminist.

Maureen hon, if you need a good time to go along with that Dream Job, I invite you to the ATL. Ain't too many good 'ole southern boys going to turn down a chance to see those red pumps fly across the bedroom, unless it's opening day for deer huntin', of course. And if it gets serious, well, you'll always have meat on the table!

Full What's A Modern Girl To Do? story here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Home For Christmas

My dear friend Catherine, who's been a part of my life since we worked summers in the kitchen of Kanuga as teens, side by side in slop and a zealous quest to party-down religiously as soon as the last dinner plate was Hobarted away, left Atlanta a while back to seek her techy, progressive fortune in San Francisco. Talk about brain-drain.

Fortune she seems to have found. Not only did she meet and marry the enigmatic Robert Ach, or "Robbie Virus" when he's working his theremin, she is now head of marketing for Linden Lab, the company behind the wildly popular Second Life virtual community.

Second Life is once again in the NYT. Today in the Travel section. Or take a peek on RocketBoom.

You go, grrrlfriend of grrrlfriends! Even better, the Achs promise to be home for the holidays.

America The Depressive

I can't say I quote conservative columnist Peggy Noonan (WSJ) much, but she drives so honestly and deeply into the nerve of what appears to be a deeply troubling national and cultural malais that I can't help but feel that she is trying desperately to articulate the nervousness we've all been experiencing, particularly as we watch this administration careen off the track.

Here's an excerpt from today's WSJ:

Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere.

I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

Full column here.

Ahhh, Peggy hon, those Bushies promised you a rose garden, and you must have believed 'em. Try getting outta the house more. Or hell, just try a whole new world!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Keep A Window Open

Feeling a little bi-polary today? Well, no wonder. It's Sylvia Plath's birthday. My advice? Stay outdoors and away from dazzling men, at least until the clock strikes midnight.

An Ordeal By Any Other Name

But then who would buy that book? Ahhhh.... Ashley, Inc.: The gift that keeps on giving! I gotta admit I love the Ashley Smith saga like an addict loves the pipe. It's such a gothic American tale of all our inner trash piling up to the point where we walk over the heap and leave it for Our Lord Jesus Christ (OLJC) to deal with. Sometimes that strategy works; other times it's been known to backfire like crazy. Poor OLJC. He's workin' some serious overtime wading through Ashley's lucrative agony.

Now Ashley's ordeal-maker, Brian Nichols, has a buddy who says that Ashley and Brian had some sort of history of some sort of past relationship, of a yet disclosed variety.

I hear ya, I hear ya... all my conspiracy-loving pals just screaming, "I told you so!" Calm down for a sec. Get a holt 'a yourself. There's more. Uh huh, friend-of-Brian Nichols say that the "ordeal," which resulted in Bestsellers For Christ, wasn't quite the "ordeal" Ashley and her media made it out to be. Something more on the order of "one more for the road?" For old time's sake? Can't wait for the tell-all that Friend of Brian has likely wheeling and dealing as we speak. And who will drag us through Interracial Relations Muck first? I put my money on Boortz.

WSB video/story here, in the Video section just a ways down on the page. Those wacky Cox sisters sure make it easy to one-stop media shop here in the ATL. E-mail Dale Cardwell and ask him if he thinks Friend of Brian is working on a book.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

On The Funeral Beat

To the few, whew, remaining southern women who pettily cling to that highly repressive adage Fools Names Fools Faces Always Seen In Public Places as some archaic effort to justify personal inadequecies and a lack of vision, I give you the following:

Yes, I'd love to blog Rosa Parks' funeral, but I doubt I'll be able to make that one.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dear BellSouth

Corporate censorship could be costly, in the PR-related longterm.

When given a choice, I tend to support the home team. That's just what Americans like to do, and that's why I utilize numerous BellSouth services. BellSouth provides my household with Internet access, local phone service, cellular service, various products and, this is very important, even a paycheck or two when the company utilized my copywriting services in the past.

In turn, I give you a portion of my money every month for providing such services. I have even purchased shares of BellSouth stock, hoping that the fruits of your labor will provide me with a (preferably immense) source of income at some point down the road.

I have been quite satisfied with the services BellSouth provides, give or take a few bumps in the road and the maddening lack of sales reps in your Cingular stores. Overall, I'd say I have been a darn good player on the BellSouth team.

However, BellSouth censors my blog (most blogs I'd imagine) by not allowing employees to access it from the BellSouth workplace. (Granted, anyone reading my particular blog while on the job and not on a break is likely a highly unproductive, lazy goof-off and should be fired at once. But even that point could be argued in the blog's slight favor, but I'll refrain from doing so here for brevity's sake.)

That one wee productivity issue aside and the larger one regarding "open media" brought to the front instead, I must say that I am considering moving all my communications services elsewhere -- and selling off my unvast holdings, too. I know such idle banter from a lone blogger will hardly have 'em trembling in the boardroom over on Peachtree, but it is a point to consider - and even respond to.

The issue of corporate censorship isn't just going to go "Poof" away one day. No, and pesky bloggers and journalists will likely keep writing about it for a while to come. See this recent Wired News story.

What if one day my blog reaches an audience of, oh say, 50-100K unique viewers a day? And this is not a far-fetched goal at all. What if I then urge my readership to give up their BellSouth services and products if their services and products in turn (their blogs) are not allowed in to that particular corporate environment?

Think about it. It could happen. We bloggers are many - as are our choices. And we are not likely to go away anytime soon. Heck, some folks seem to think we could even take over All Media As We Know It. Those wacky futurists!

When this happens, can I please be Maureen Dowd? Please, please? Pretty please? I can talk real sexy-like and turn my hair all fiery red too.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Got Drunks?

And what southern family doesn't have more than its fair share! Asians too apparently. I've been wondering why in the world a wizened Chinese lady keeps wandering through the 'hood pulling up.... kudzu. Well, low and behold, turns out consuming kudzu actually reduces the overkill urge for the serious drunk. Dang. If only Junior could just sober up long enough to cut the darn stuff off from around the Ford, then, Praise Jesus, he might get his job back at the mill. Don't tell him they closed 'em all though. Maybe he could get on part-time over to Wal-Mart instead?

Does roasting a pine tree cure meth addiction? Heck if I know. Go ask a yuppie.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Golden Kudzu Of Our Lives

The inadequecy of the human heart to express itself properly never ceases to, uh, embarrass me. Lunching at The Varsity after the memorial service of Charlies Yates, a fine Old Atlantan as there ever could be, I met up with another terribly influential Atlantan, Danny Beard.

Danny and his mother had also attended the memorial at All Saints' church nearby, and were enjoying a hot dog and frosted orange afterwards, as my friend Doug and I were too. The Beards were seated at the next table in the Fox News room (poor Doug), so introductions were made and assorted small talk made, some chatter being about Cynthia McKinney, who's keeping busy as she ever was on The Hill, this time flaming Michael Chertoff with the latest of her conspiracy outbursts.

It's all various degrees of seperation in the this world once you get out and about in it. Consider that The Mouth of The South, McKinney, was on the brain not necessarily for making Race Card News yet again, but because all of us Varisty goers had just been treated to one of the finest eulogies ever at the service just minutes before, when Comer Yates, son of Charlie Yates, gave a beautifully orated, deeply touching and thoroughly entertaining speech about the life and times of his renowned father.

Comer Yates (D) ran against Cynthia McKinney (also D) and lost in a Congressional race (1994 I believe), with all the race-baiting by Cynthia & Co. resulting not only in Comer's loss, but a short-sighted gerrymandering exercise of the state's congressional districts, which had the dubious longterm effect of turning Georgia into a solidly red state. Is there any other force in the world more lacking in vision than a Georgia Democrat?

I can't really speak for Comer Yates' ultimate political vision or planning, but I do know when he spoke from the pulpit yesterday, it was with the fervor and plain-spoken eloquence of an old-school southern political orator, holding the audience utterly still and enthralled with story after long story of his remarkable father, his tale-telling so compelling you could've sat there on a hard pew for another two hours without realizing you were getting really, really thirsty for a Varsity Coke with the specially shaved ice that makes it taste better than a Coke in any other place.

One of the many stories Comer told yesterday morning was how he always wanted to thank his dad for being such a wonderful father, but that he never seemed to be able to do that the way he envisioned; he never could find just that right time or just the right place to express his feelings properly - and believe me, Comer Yates did not strike me in the least as being a man not capable of expressing himself.

Yet, he told a story of how one day he'd been determined to march into his dad's house and tell him "thank you" for everything he'd done for him. But when he got there, he simply ended-up leaving shortly thereafter with a handful of used-car ads from the paper, the appropriate Camry ads all carefully circled by his dad Charlie.

No perfectly chosen words fell that day, as Charlies Yates, "who sure loved the (Toyota) Camry for some reason," launched into a seemingly one-sided discussion on why his grown son, the Congressional candidate, needed a "new" used car that particular day.

It's good to be able to recall that portion of Comer's eulogy now, as to hear such oratory finery is why one gets all dressed-up and makes the effort to attend such an event in the first place. I'm grateful I did, as when I chatted with Danny Beard afterwards and gracelessly mentioned that I don't much get by his store Wax 'N Facts anymore because I tend to download nowadays, I don't feel quite so completely awful that I was unable, conversationally, to come up with anything more than a ludicrously ungrateful, offhanded remark.

That to a person who's had a hand in creating the music that's shaped nothing less than my entire life.

I remain a bumbling human yet again.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday's Tunes

It's Thursday. Time for -- The Week As We Know It, so far. This one was put together with a whole lot of cursing, countered by the sweetly painful Lee Ann Womack CD, There's More Where That Came From. See below. The cursing courtesy of (uuuuuugggghhhhh) pledge week at the hideous WABE, which is ruled over by Classical Music Commandant, Lois Reitzes, who spins more piss-poor selections than a blindfolded chimp.

Please consider NOT donating a cent to WABE this year, and instead pledging to the pitifully struggling WRFG instead. This will make you feel just great, trust me. Jesus will shower you will blessings and an Escalade and successful surgery, shit like that. If He don't, well gimme a call and we'll work something out.

Line DeJour From Aforementioned Disk:
"There's a whole lotta demons in this room. And none of them believe in fighting fair."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Beauty Is As Beauty Reports

This just in from the Seattle Weekly: Good looking people make great journalists. This is quite true, as I've had the pleasure of meeting the maddeningly young, cute, excellent writer Alyssa Abkowitz, at CL. Ava adores her too, who wouldn't, as her favorite Barbie, a cheerleader-themed one, was given to her by Alyssa. Ava doesn't even mind that Cheerleader Barbie is wearing a Dawgs' costume. As long as it's blond and cheering, well that's the important stuff.

The above (male) hottie was so special, even nasty insurgents never harmed a hair on his adorable head. So what does this imply about Judith Miller? Would hate to catch her without her makeup on. She'd wack you over the head with her Prada bag fastern' a NASCAR fan would if you tried to take away his/her Bible, or meth.

Then again, Danny Pearl was adorable; and look where that got him.

Oh BTW, there's an excellent rant going on over in Midtown at Narcissistic Graffiti. Looking forward to the book!

The Irate Landscaper

Boy, do I have to polish my blue-collar communications skills. I recently found myself embroiled in a ludicrous screaming match with the fellow who tends our dirt/condo grounds. At one point the crybaby crew boss resorted to bellowing, "My dad is a lawyer!" This after I threatened to tell The Whole World about his very very bad level of customer service responsiveness to the consumer (me). Woe to those who dare tangle with the well-connected laborer!

Now, I like a good lefty romance movie as much as the next gal, but having just re-viewed Reds for the millionth time, I was only reminded of the glaring political inadequacy of The Constant Gardener. After seeing Reds, where the characters' political passions and commitments are stewed in a brilliantly concocted context of the times in which they lived and worked and made out, I must conclude that The Constant Gardener was merely a heavy-handed propaganda piece, albeit a bit more epic-y and glamorous one to endure than, say, that clumsy Michael Moore maladroit, Fahrenheit 9/11.

I actually saw The Constant Gardener twice, not for the message, but rather for some terribly lovely audio edits (although drug company WASP execs do make for delightful villains in the post-cold war milieu). But when it goes up against a genuine lefty romantic epic like Reds, it falls so short of credibility that I wonder now why I liked it at all.

Reds, which has yet to be released on DVD, but is now playing on HBO, reminded me that if one is to develop convictions and a purpose driven political life, one must be actually challenged and defined by more than whatever circumstance happens to be swirling about, politically tempting as it might be. You must be challenged by the social as well as the political. And the historic and the absurd and the emotional... well, you get the picture.

The poorly developed characters, but fine actors who did their utmost best, in The Constant Gardener were given no societal context in which they could be nurtured and watered and ultimately understood and cheered on with. They were merely plopped down as presumably fully-matured adults, in an almost randomly chosen hell, then required to go out and behave, good or otherwise, in a manner befitting an unsubtle director.

The main characters of The Constant Gardener were so poorly defined in the context of contemporary (British) culture and their own unchallenged personal circumstances that I now find them all terribly forgettable, and instead fondly recall only the bad guys on a perfectly staged golf course encounter/scene.

On the other hand, I will never forget the characters of Reds, played to utter perfection by Beatty, Keaton and Nicholson, all in their acting prime. All were given the space and the context in this delightfully long film to become what they needed to be, to ultimately do what they needed to do. Whether that is what you want them to do or not is irrelevant. They were going to do it regardless because that is what they had become - and we were treated, as the audience, to the process.

One example, and then I'll let you go, consider the moral circumstances of Louise Bryant in Reds. Had she never been allowed, cinematically or otherwise, to fall prey and be weakened by the icy seduction of Eugene O'Neill, so swooningly played to nihilistic perfection by Jack Nicholson, she would never have become the morally strengthened woman and wife who was able to move forward in the manner in which she eventually behaved... trying bravely and desperately to give help where help was desperately needed. Not to the Communists, whom she couldn've given a rat's ass about, but to her husband Jack Reed, portrayed in the role of a lifetime, by Warren Beatty hizseff.

Now that was progressive filmmaking. Given the flattened, one-dimensional nature and circumstances of the characters of The Constant Gardener, that was no progressive film at all, merely high-handed pomposity set in a deceptively complex circumstance perfect for artifically manipulating the characters' emotions and politics for them -- and thus ultimately for us, the audience.

Heavy-handed political filmmaking never allows one thing - a chance to stir things up for ourselves.

As Long As I Don't Have To Touch It

Is it just me or does the new Brand Atlanta campaign, which led me only immediately to Andisheh Nouraee's hilarious send-up, see above, look like a retired NOAA logo? Like we were wishing for another handy hurricane reminder. Reality charges relentlessly on through us all, no matter what idiocy marketeers keep churning out on our pathetic behalf.

My occasionally brilliant baby brother, Christopher, now Libertarian-tacking portfolio manager economist, father of two and still-avid rower, has this to say about all our political flailing about of late in a wee e-xchange we had yesterday:

(All I'm saying is that) The law of unintended consequences can make a twisted mockery of carefully crafted, supposedly enlightened and selfless top-down authoritarian planning, just as the results of untrammeled freedom can make a obscene mockery of carefully crafted bottom-up self-interested motives.

We are all being mocked by reality, only utopians or fascists feel that somehow they can stand in the road and say turn left or right as reality steamrolls on.The problem is that those utopians and fascists can, at least for a time and at least for large chunks of the world population, can screw things up worse than they would have been anyway.

And least we all stray into dangerous territory, pickling our own livers on the pleasures of misguided snark and sensibility, take a moment out of your purpose-driven, hectic-for-Jesus day to ponder the best in overwrought futility here.

Sorry to say, Metroblogging will no longer allow commenting from scuzzy, amateur Blogspot folk. Call Google now and give 'em whatfor. Are they in the phone book?

Mooners, what the f is "Mezzanine Capital?" Is this a financially good thing or the daquiri bar on a cruise ship?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Heart The Internet - Part 2

I admit I might be a touch slow when it comes to understanding the technorati's lastest rants and raves, and Lordy don't it get all fast and furious for my 'lil 'ole head? Or what was left of it after the 80's. And the rest of it... well, The Motherhood took that.

So thank goodness for Jeneane when she links us Special Needs Bloggers (SNB) by the hand and right on over to where we will surely find salvation, if not a timely expose on tampons. Just in time for Halloween, too!