Sunday, August 31, 2008

Atlanta Rising From the Phoenix

Yesterday we went to Atlanta.

Years, ago, BK, we went to Atlanta often – as a matter fact, daily, we both worked in Atlanta.

Now, many years later Atlanta has changed and we have to. I think there is a movie, and if not, there should have been, called “MA & PA KETTLE GO TO NEW YORK”. That could be us.

Or, when Tarzan went to London; or think of King Kong in New York tearing down subways and letting out mighty growls at the things he didn’t understand. That’s us!

Seriously one of the things I would have let out a mighty growl at if it concerned me and that was parking. We rode down Northside Drive, near the Georgia Dome, which was about to host a football game between Clemson and Alabama…and up and down the street for blocks were people holding up signs saying PARKING $50 and PARKING $60. That is a high price to rent a 5 by 12 piece of land or pavement for a few hours. Outrageous! Greed!

It seemed the graffiti art was coving old buildings, some houses, and a lot around MARTA (rapid transit) structures.

Many things were covered in graffiti. Although, I thought most of the graffiti pieces were artistically good – still the bottom line is that it is damaging or defacing somebody else’s property.

We had lunch at Fox Brothers Barbecue on Dekalb Avenue, which is known for their quality cooked pulled pork. I thought the meat was delicious. And I thought the Brunswick stew was delicious. They boast on their website about their mouth watering homemade tater tots. They were a disappointment. The many signs hanging were interesting as well as the many types of people hanging out with one thing in common: Good BBQ.

They piled so much meat on our plates we had enough left over to carry home for dinner.

We told the waitress “No.” when she asked what I think is the most common question asked by waitresses at barbecue eateries: “Did you save enough room for some banana pudding?”

No Lights for Al Hibbler

On the radio the other day was a song by Al Hibbler. Anna said, “Who is Al Hibbler?”

Al Hibbler (1915 – 2001) was a mellow singing back in the 50s. Al was black and a crooner. He had a smooth voice. He sung romantic songs, of course. He was born blind in Mississippi.

My older sister had an Al Hibbler album. She also had some Perry Como records. She enjoyed crooning music.

The name of her Al Hibbler album was “After The Lights Go Down Low”… and there was a song on the album by the same name, “Ahen the Light Go Down Low.” I remember the song and some of the words… or one sentence of them anyway:

Baby after the lights go down low…
Baby you will know,
After the lights go down low…

And that is about all I remember of it, which may or may not be word for word, but close.

Remember, Al Hibbler was blind. So, I doubt if he would know when the lights go down low. Maybe the song lyrics should be:

Baby After the lights go down low,
Please let me know,
Oh Baby After the lights go down low
We will get Loco
With our MoJo

check out the original song at YouTube:

Which brings up another interesting point. You Tube said Al put out the song in 1956. I remember listening to that song in the house we lived in that we moved from in 1955. What gives?

Also on Google I found the same album cover my sister owned. You males want to click to enlarge for the details. Remember she bought this in the 50s. Visually, it was ahead of its time.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Little Train Car That Won't

See the red Pullman car? Next to it is the Marietta Visitors’ Center – it was the train depot; and next to it is the Kennesaw House, which used to four stories high until Sherman’s men burned it to the ground. It was the hotel that Andrews’ Raiders stayed in overnight before they stole The General locomotive engine the next morning in Big Shanty (Kennesaw), Georgia. Now, it is the Marietta History Center.

Lets rotate back left and look at the red Pullman car again. Did your eyes hurt when on focused on it? They should have, Marietta officials say it is an eye sore.

I remember 30 years or so ago it used to be a neat little upscale restaurant. We only ate their one time. We walked in and the hostess was an old high school chum of mine, Wanda B. I think her husband may have owned the resaurant. As I remember, the food was delicious. The owner of the car also owns the building the next to it, so that is probably where the food was cooked.

The restaurant didn’t last very long, maybe a year at the most. If only we had went back - we blame ourselves for many of the failing of local restaurants because we did not support them.

But the only type of eatery it is today is what the homeless had begged for. They have found a way to come and go. It is a roof over their heads.

I am sure the homeless is the reason the leaders of Marietta decided it is an eyesore and must go. Not only is the homeless an eyesore to them, they are also a pain in the ass.

They told the owner of the car it must go… now!! (them clapping their hands quickly twice).

The owner, a female dentist in a neighboring exclusive community said it is not that easy. It would cost thousands upon thousands for the railroad company to move it, but first it would have to be repaired and movable, would take more thousands of dollars. Even more expensive is to dismantle it move it in pieces.

The owner also owns the building next do it, which she has several rentals: a coffee shop, a dog supply store, and I forgot what the other store, maybe a little beauty shop.

I don’t see anything wrong with a red Pullman car parked near what used to be the train depot. It tosses in a small hometown favor.. and the fact that the homeless benefit is a perk in my opinion…. And maybe even Biblical.

I remember once just a couple of weeks ago I saw a man take a picture of his family standing in front of the car. It was making news and people were treating it as a tourist thing.

Wait! While I was typing the third paragraph up, it occurred to me the solution: Put up a sign on or near the car saying DO NOT TAKE PARTS FOR SOUVINERES OFF THIS CAR. It will seem to dissipate before your very eyes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Brownie Did a Heck of a Job

Three years ago today Hurricane Katrina hit the our Gulf coast.

And later Michael D."Brownie" Brown, head of FEMA, was credited with “doing a heck of a job!” cleaning it up.


Sharyn McCrumb’s latest book Once Around the Track is a book about – you would never guess – NASCAR Racing.

It is about a humble good looking auto racer named Badger from a small town in north Georgia and his comeback – sort of. How did he make a comeback? He was affordable.

It is also about an all girl pit-crew team.

Sharyn McCrumb did a lot of research on NASCAR racing on this book and her previous book St. Dale. All through both books she pumps the reader full of NASCAR statistics and facts.

Also in both books she throws in believable characters, mostly of southern heritage, like herself.

Once Around the Track is a good book…. It has one long term romance in it that is mostly in the background and took a backseat to an old fashion teenage-style love-crush.
The book tells how organized the racers are – not so much them, but their backers, the pit crew, the owners, the sponsors

It also explains that owners and sponsors are heartless when it comes to business… like “nothing personal” … but it also tells the value of fans with big hearts. Sharyn did an excellent job creating a group of people to interact. I got emotional more than once.
But I get emotional watching reruns of Beverly Hillbillies, so take that for what it is worth.

During her writing career Sharyn McCrumb has been on several kicks. First a female murder mystery solver, who seemed to always fall innocently into a murder plot, the second kick, was the female detective went to England. The next kick was a sheriff in a low populated Tennessee county with a staff of two, sometimes three. And now she is on the NASCAR kick.

Good book.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Democratic Convention and Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton gave a speech last night. At first he had to wait until people quit cheering and clapping. Each time he started to speak, they would go into a roar again.. I think he had rather for them to shut up so he could get on with his speech. He has a way of speaking in a candid manner which comes off as candidly honest and sincere.

Last night at the Democratic Convention Bill Clinton said that John McCain, the Republican soon-to-be nominee, is an honorable man. He is. Clinton said McCain loved his country as much as the Democrats. I believe he does. He reminded us that John McCain had to go through a long painful endurance ordeal as a POW in Vietnam. My hat is off to McCain. I cannot even imagine what he went through.

He also pointed out that John McCain wants to stay on the same path with Iraq and our economy as Bush. That is the difference.

Clinton said in so many words you can respect a man and praise him for his service to his country, but if his “leading a country” philosophy has been proven wrong by the present president - then you have a choice to make.

I think Clinton was also saying in so many words, “lets not throw mud at our opponent”.

I think Obama can win with a positive campaign.

I wonder who is going to throw the most mud and make whom the butt of their forwarding slanderous e-mail jokes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Adam Ready to Race

I am still pulling out negatives and scanning and cataloging (or indexing). Here are a couple of my son Adam just before the Peachtree Junior Race at Piedmont Park in Atlanta that he ran in about 20 years ago.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Democratic Convention Started Full Steam

Democratic Convention Security

I used to love to watch the coverage of Democratic Conventions on TV. They were so dramatic.

The speeches were mostly patting themselves on the back – which I guess what you should do – shovel positivism and not negativism…. Positivism is more positive (as Mammy Yokum might had said).

Now, everything is planned and spelled out what to do. There are no surprises. It is almost as boring as the Republican Conventions, like a convention of elderly tired bankers in town.

As far as I know there were no southern caucuses, black caucuses, New England caucuses, big money caucuses – all meeting in smoke filled rooms to decided their next step. Their next step had already been written and planned for them.

Why? Is it because smoking is politically incorrect?

How many times did the a camera zoom in on a roving interviewer talking to a delegate that was about to blow the lid off something big? None! Unless it happened before I dozed off.

The Democratic Convention, so far, just didn’t seem as emotional charged as it to be – it was more polite smiles and polite clapping. No foot stomping, no police dragging a defector away, no adrenalin…… bor-ring!

There is something to say about a convention that covers Chicago riot cops of clubbing the shit out of defenseless protesters with people shouting “The Whole World is Watching!”

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sister's Birthday Party Group Picture

I wonder what story is behind the scenes here.

It is my sister’s birthday party in the Clay Homes, which I estimate to be about 1946. She is on the far right of the first row. In the middle of the first row in the plaid shirt or dress is her friend Helen. Behind Helen on the second row is Helen’s sister Jean – their grandfather Pete owned the corner neighborhood store.

The 3rd row on the far right is our first cousin Jimmy, who died in 2001. The boy with dark hair on the far left of the same row I think is my cousin Bobby who is Jimmy’s older brother. Bobby and his wife Evelyn stay on the road in their camper a lot I think.

The boy in the middle I think is named Billy. If I am not mistaken he moved to either Gramling Street or West Dixie Avenue in Marietta. Once we visited after he moved and in his back yard was a merry-go-round. The playground type of merry-go-round that you pushed around manually… I was deeply impressed anyway, I wanted one.

I don’t recognize any one else in the picture.

I am missing from the picture. My parents probably wisely kept me away. I was only about 4 or 5 years old and could be disruptive when I wanted to.

I am curious about the two girls that lived two doors down. They are not in the picture. They always seemed to around, but not at this party. Hmmm.

Thoughts on the History of World Peace

We (the World) have been at peace only 8% of the time over the last 3500 years.*

That is an average of 8 years of every century. Of course, an average is the overall number, in this case 3500 divided by the number of year the human race went without war – or is it the other way around? I get confused.

The bottom line is that to stay with the average every century would need to have 8 years of peace. Do you think the 20th Century has a total of 8 years of no wars? I doubt it.

What about the 19th Century with our Civil War and the War of 1812 plus England and France at each other’s throats, which was sort of a carry over from the previous century. Highly doubtful.

And the 17th Century was no better – there were new lands and worlds to fight to gain control of.

With the average of 8 peace years of every century and it looks like the most recent centuries were chocked full of wars, then the much earlier centuries, in keeping with the overall average, each century would have much more than 8 years of peace.

What did those earlier centuries have to keep peace than the latter centuries do not have?
Nothing. That is it! Nothing! They had no technology! They had fewer projectile things designed to kill people; no TV to keep citizens tempers pumped up; and no electronic communications.


But there may be hope. The whole world has been looking at China for the past two weeks and the Chinese welcomed us with opened arms and fireworks.

International Capitalism and lead painted toys might be the world peace savior of this century.

*Uncle John’s Page-a-Day Almanac, Thursday, July 24, 2008.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Morning Inspirational Talk

Have you ever noticed in management when a new manager is assigned a team he feels he must do something pretty quickly to impress upper management. He has to make a big visual change.

I have noticed while working in the Postal Service we would change something drastically in the operation or the physical structure about every 6 to 24 months, that seems to be the life span of a line supervisor.

The bad thing, whatever is changed usually just change back to the way it was with a newer supervisor making his mark. And the cycle goes on and on.

One new supervisor thought he would give us cause to work harder if we knew more about mail operations. He would give herd us all together and educate us on the flow of mail – the only thing, he was fairly new and did not know much about the flow of mail. He said it was simple, our job was to get the mail from Point A (us) to Point B, the person receiving the mail. Somebody said, technically Point A would be the person mailing it and we would be Point B, and the carriers would be Point C and the postal patron would be Point D – then you have other points as well, such as primary – sorting the incoming mail, but first sometimes you have to unload airplanes or railroad boxcars, or 18 wheelers… us explaining all that to our new supervisor cost less mail to be sorted, so we had to work at the end, to make up for the unproductive time talking about points a, b, and so on, which was at the overtime rate.

One bright supervisor got the idea of not having scheme knowledge – when the mail came into the deliver facility, the first group would sort the mail aphetically and the next group would be divided into groups by the letters, that would look the name of the streets in the scheme books and sort to the carrier that way. It was very costly, paying much overtime and delaying the mail weeks – there were so much mail backed up, people could not move around to work. Then they decided to go back the way it was… that was a smart decision.

And all these noble experiments are costly, which are passed on to the consumer. Tch tch.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rock n Roll Concert and Porto-Johns

These pictures were taken behind the stage on North Park Square, not in front in Glover Park

We went to the concert on the Square at Glover Park in downtown Marietta yesterday evening.

It was a rock and roll band. Although the band had a good beat, the band’s music smothered out the singer’s voice most the time. I think the two should complement each other.

It is enjoyable to watch old people to stand up from where they were sitting and bounce with the rhythm. A lot of people were doing that last night, mostly middle age and elderly women… to show they still had the beat. And it was engrained in their bones.

I don’t recall seeing young people bounce to the beat like the older ones do. I think the older ones’ minds were in a developing stage when rock and roll music was in a developing stage too – they grew together and it is more part of them.

I with to my old friend Monty’s table and got my monthly beer. He told me a couple of eye-brow raisers plus he said he and Arnold G. are planning a Varner’s Drive-In Appreciation Day. Varner’s was a drive in that was a teenage hang-out for Marietta teenagers…. I told many blog postings about our fast times at Varner’s. (remember, you first heard it here).

While Anna and I were sitting near the fountain in our spot an old high school friend James walked by and said, “Hi! Rock and Mrs. Rock!” James has been in the papers lately. He is over the cemetery committee of the church he and his family has belonged to for generations. The highway people want to widen the road, which would take some graves. He and the planners worked out a compromising solution that no graves would be taken. As a witty ending punch line he said, “If they got any closer I was going to have give my daddy a set of blinkers (for his grave).”

We sat near another old class mate Evelyn Carol. In high school I don’t remember speaking to her once. But, in the past couple of years I have ran into her more than once and we have politely spoken to each other. I think her parents owned a service station and tire company across form my uncle Herbert Hunter’s barber shop. I also remember her mother always drove a hog type of automobile, maybe a Cadillac. *

I one point I had to urinate in the worse way. I went to the portable Johns, about 6 or 8 lined up and people standing in line waiting. Next to me was a young lady, who I think was unaccompanied, twisting and bopping to the music in the air... I wondered did she really feel like moving with the music or she just had to pee as much as I did.

I noticed some of the johns had a man symbol and some of the johns had the female symbol (wearing a dress). Since not many women wear dresses these days I was thought maybe a more easily understood symbol would be a person squatting. I was also wondering if all rules were thrown out the window as far as male and female going to the right symbol, as it should be, or was I going to have to wait until a male came out of a male symbol john. Then, a woman stepped out of male symbol john and my question was answered. When it was my time I stepped into a female symbol outhouse.

On the stage one man was mostly singing who tried to combined the body movements of Prince (formerly) and Chuck Berry. He sung good when the band music wasn’t drowning him out, so I guess he had to make it up in body movements.

After him a female singer came on. A light went off! I remembered her signing with a band several years ago on that same stage, but I think with a different band. I told Anna that and she agreed, it was her. Then, I told Anna not only that, but remember, we first saw her the time before her first singing at a concert where her and her boyfriend or husband watched, in a quiet reserved manner. I was on a roll! (as in rock ‘n roll).

*but it is possible, but unlikely, I have her confused with someone else.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Future Looks Bad for the Yard

This was our grandparents' front yard. My older sister and three of my girl cousins and me. We don't look too happy do we?

Maybe I looked into the future and told them that very land we were standing on, would be over 60 years later a paved lot for impounded or repossessed cars behind a high fence. It is not a pleasant site.

The 7th Sense: “I see Invisible People!”

The Invisible Man strikes again!

This week Willow gets two workouts. She gets one with me about daylight, and within 30 minutes after we return she is off again with our neighbor’s daughter, while the daughter is visiting.

The other morning I passed a mother and son, about 8 years old, waiting on the bus. The boy is red headed. I met the mother at the previous neighborhood New Years Eve party. She was very nice. And a few times, she has waved as she passed us when she was leaving for work.

When I saw her and her red headed son I thought to wave good naturally. We were on waving terms, so I thought.

She looked right through me. But the red headed boy waved.

I thought that maybe she just didn’t notice me, I am easily to not to notice. I waved again, again, she just didn’t notice me – and this time the red headed boy only raised his hand about half way, I guess, because he mother wasn’t waving.

I thought I would look like an idiot if I waved again and again until I forced her to wave. It was time for Willow and I to move on down the street.

The next morning the lady again was standing with her red headed son waiting on the bus. This time she gave me big joyful wave…. Her wave was wide enough to wash a car window… she should take up car window washing down on the side streets in Atlanta.

But, she made sure I saw her wave. I think after we walked on her red headed son told her that man with the dog waved at her and why didn’t she wave back. Then she probably saw me and remembered me. Then she felt bad.

So, her wave was something like saying, “See? I am not snubbing you!!!”

Another thing I noticed on my walk before daybreak is one house that has a bug zapper outside in their back yard. I read recently that an electronic bug zapper kills off more good insects that are good for the human race, such as spreading pollen and whatever else they can do good for us… while only about one in a hundred zaps kills a female mosquito – the female likes human blood.. the male mosquito prefers tree sap.

At least the humans feel better about themselves when they hear the popping sound that tells them their machine fried another one of those tiny creatures.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bow-Wow! Is That So?

(you will probably have to click on each strip to be able to read the words)

The above strips are part of a lampoon story in TRUMP magazine in the 50s, which later was reprinted in HUMBUG magazine, illustrated by Jack Davis.

We at times have a hard time communicating with dogs. We have a hard time. The dogs don’t. They know exactly what we are up to. We just don’t understand them or what they are trying to tell us. Sometimes I think they know us better than we know ourselves by reading our body language.

Willow sometimes has to just about stand on her head, or run around in circles with her hind legs crossed for us to figure out she has to go out for a couple of minutes.

This is a true dog story:

Our neighbor’s daughter that lives in Virginia came down to visit for a couple of weeks. As always, she dropped by to visit us. She and Willow hit it off. Willow seems to always be spellbound by female humans. When Anna comes home from work every evening she dances and tries and tries to jump up on her. And she does the same with a lady that walks her little dog that we sometimes see in the morning. She won’t be still until her target woman talks to her and pets her.

The neighbor’s daughter asked if she could take her on a run every morning she was here and we said sure.

The next morning she came and she and Willow went off for a 30 minute run. Willow came back happy as a lark.

The next day, the daughter her mother left early in the morning to go to north Georgia to visit relatives. About the same time of the morning that she came the day before, Willow got restless and whined.

I think she thought she had a standing date. I think she knew by our body language what was discussed and she was ready.

The next day the daughter came by and picked her up at about the same time and off they ran again.

Girls morning out!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Cave Almost Forgotten

These are pictures of the inside of a cave in north Georgia. I have been to this cave a few times long ago. the pictures reminded me of some its traits that I thought was out of my memory forever. I think it is amazing from seeing a pile of rocks or a dip or a slope and I know exactly what is just outside the picture... or was, anyway.

I want to thank Kevin Glenn, who took the pictures and sharing them. Kevin is one of the resource managers of the cave which is managed by the National Speleological Society.

The whole rural area surrounding the cave was not much more than a garbage dump where people dumped their old cars and garbage. And inside the gave vandals and graffiti artists did their damage as well. Thanks to Kevin and his group the place is looking much better now. Which to quote Mammy Yokum, "Better is Gooder".

But the down side is that the cave is no longer opened to the public. We proved we are too abusive to get near the place.

Above: The main entrance on the outside.

(remember, click on the pictures to make them more breath taking)

The main entrance a few steps in.

Another shot a few feet in the main entrance looking down.

Deep inside the main entrance. See the little fellow almost in the center of picture? That give you an idea how big the room in.

The Big Room.


Broken Formations, probably souvenirs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marietta Station Walk

Marietta Station Walk looks like a nice pleasant walk, and many times it is. Other times might find you face to face with a panhandler with his hand out.

It is next to the rail road tracks. I know in yesteryear hobos used the boxcars as a mode of transportation, I don't know about today, probably some.

I never will forget a time in the 1940s that my sister and I was visiting our grandmother and aunt in Cohutta, Georgia, a saw a hobo.

A road was in front of my grandmother and aunt's house which was on a small hill, then an open field on the other side of the road.*

And a track was on the other side of the field.

It was just a short walk to downtown Cohutta. When the train stopped downtown the boxcars lined up in our view as we sat in the front yard. One time a man with a large sick was walking to each boxcar and opening the door, looking around and then slamming the door and going to the next one. One door he opened, out sprang a man and once he hit the ground he took off running. The man with the club chased him for a while but I think he gave up. I was glad the poor man got away.

*The open field belonged to Marla Maples' family and so did house my grandmother and aunt rented.

Movies Lately Again

This is how we used our Blockbuster-by-mail membership lately:

BELLA is a movie that takes place in the restaurant and Latino community of the Big Apple. It is about an ex-pro-soccer player, who works for his adopted brother in an upscale restaurant. He is the head chef. One day he observed his step brother fire a pregnant employee and he felt sorry for her. He walked off the job to give her comfort and their romance budded. You stay busy reading the subtitles. It was pretty good.

ELIZABETHTOWN with Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. It was directed by Cameron Crowe. A young man who just made a terrible boo boo in the shoe industry goes to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to claim his father’s body on behalf of his mother. The hometown folk were, well, hometown. Some very funny and eccentric people were portrayed. And as an added bonus Food Channel star Paula Dean was a character. She spent most of her time in the kitchen, of course. The last part Orlando drives from Elizabeth town towards the west coast with his father’s ashes, scattering at different places for different reasons…. The trip alone is worth the price of the movie. He makes some of the eateries in Memphis look very eccentric and good…. Which they are. I thought it was very good.

MARGOT AT THE WEDDING with Nicole Kidman. I tell you what would make a good move – a dysfunctional family preparing for a wedding. That is almost as good as a dysfunctional family on a road trip. It was good, but I have seen Nichole Kidman in many movies I thought was better.

SUPERHERO MOVIE with Leslie Nielsen. If SUPERHERO MOVIE was the first movie I saw with Leslie Nielsen where anything for a laugh, I would claim it was great. It essentially lampoons the SPIDERMAN movie series, with a lot of laughs. But how many movie has Leslie Nielsen slapped somebody in a wheelchair on the back which gets the wheelchair moving, then coasting down a deep hill or down a flight of stairs? Sadly, there were no surprises – and that is what tickles the funny bone – is the surprise.

TUDORS 1-3 is one DVD with three segments of King Henry the V - actually, I am not sure which King Henry it is. But it was very educational and not only that but entertaining but also plenty of sex and nudity. Looks like a great movie to make a report on, right students?

VANTAGE POINT with Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, and William Hurt. It was a very high energy action packed movie. The movie tries a new concept. It takes a single incident of someone making an assignation attempt on the President and looks at the about 5 minutes before and after the 0 time from several different view points. I thought it was much like playing chess using diversion tactics and just plain dumb luck fumbles. I thought it was a good movie.

Monday, August 18, 2008

50s Trivia

Were you alive in the '50s?

as I mentioned just a few days ago the opening splash (I think it is called) of the article lampooning "This Is Your Life" drawn by Will Elder just about covers the whole headliners who's who of that time time period, was in Mad Magazine.

My old friend El Postino numbered almost everybody in that splash and identified them and more times than not, gave a quick run down on his bog Paranoia Runs Deep.

Check it out, you may learn something or if you can figure out who the two unknown people are, you might teach something.

Charge Your Tax to your Gov’t CC?

It is not acceptable for a civilian Federal Employee, to be to cheat on his expense report. It is a sure way to go straight to Hell, just ask any anti-Federal Bureaucrat person. But with the Military personnel, it may be acceptable – or maybe ignored.

In 2002 the Congressional General Accounting Office found that at least 200 Army personnel spent $38,000 on personal expenses using Defense Department-issued credit cards, well, the news just sort faded.*

According to the report many of the charges were made at strip clubs near military installations, also mortgage payments, race track betting, Internet gambling, racetrack betting, and even memorabilia from Graceland were at tax payers’ expense.*

Well, I often said, we can’t thank our military enough. Apparently, at least 200 of them agree.

*source – Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Page-A-Day Calendar, July 12, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Houdon Kept His Head & Made Some More

Speaking of art, Friday, we went to the High Art Museum in Atlanta.

We have been several times before over the past two or three years checking out the Louvre Exhibit. The Louvre has been lending the High segments of it art collection for Atlanta to view. Each exhibit stays several months and then is replaced by another segment.

This time the treat was sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828). Remember the famous bust of Benjamin Franklin made by a sculpture while he was in France trying to get support for the Revolutionary War? That was done by Jean-Antoine Houdon.

They probably had 20, give or take, sculptures by Houdon. We learned quiet a bit about his art. He developed a technique of accentuating eye pupils and irises… and one full length sculpture of a nude woman we could see he was pretty good at accentuation asses too.

He seemed to have perfected the facial body language in his sculptures: Some radiate intelligence; some their sincere warm nature; one looked like it just said something very clever and witty and is looking at you waiting for you to “get it”; some show a wise understanding; and it goes on.

If the Mr. and Mrs. Potato kit had half as many emotional lips and eyes to stick in the potato, I wouldn’t have hesitated asking Santa for one.

Also how many sculptured portraits have you seen that show their teeth? Not many I bet. There is one bust of his wife with her mouth partly opened exposing nice natural not-so-straight teeth, she looked very real.

When you check in the High and tell them you are going to the Louvre Exhibit they lend you an electronic gadget with headphones attached. When you stand in front of an art piece there will be a number along with a brief description on a small sign. If you want to hear a more elaborate detail and background information key in the number provided.

Now, here is the drawback: what if you went to great pains writing, producing, and paid a speaker to give the talk for the gizmo and you copy the audio in hundreds of the gizmos and then somebody else decides to rearrange things? The solution, was probably just a typical management decision: Ignore the problem, maybe it will go away.

Several times the voice was describing the statue or bust in front of us, then it said look to your left to see how he did his wife, and the wife is plainly to your right, and visa versa on another duo set of busts. And once it said to proceed to the 3rd floor to see Houdon’s bust of Napoleon. We went up to the 3rd floor, but they had the Egyptian exhibit on loaned from the Louvre, which we had already seen. The security man told us all of Houdon’s sculptures are on the 2nd floor. So, Napoleon did not get looked upon by us.

As I mentioned, he did Benjamin Franklin’s while he was in Paris, and I assumed he did Thomas Jefferson’s about the same time.

He traveled to the United States and did George Washington’s bust between the time he was General of the Continental Army and the first President.

He rubbed elbows with the rich and famous of Paris and also the philosophers responsible for the French Revolution, such as Voltaire (top picture) I guess he was in a position well known to both sides, so when the working class revolted and took charge, his head was pretty safe sitting on top of his torso.

I could not take pictures of the visiting exhibit but I had a camera permit to photograph the art in the permanent exhibit, which most of these are. The others are sculptures that by Houdon that I did not actually take – but I did find and copy them with Google’s help.

We only spent about two hours at the High, and our parking bill was $8.00. Can you believe that? Outrageous!!


Then we went to a barbecue restaurant we read about named Blues & BBQ on 5th near Spring Street. It was very hard finding a parking place. On one of our circles around a few one way blocks to go by the place again we got very near the Varsity on North Avenue and almost decided to go there instead, but on our next loop we found a parking lot, where I had to parallel park.

Also, I believe where the restaurant sits is about the same spot The Wits End* (*bring money) used to be over 30 years ago. Then, the street was a dead-end and you could see expressway traffic just through the trees. Now, there is a bridge going over the I75/I85 and onto the Georgia Tech campus. We went onto the campus, still looking for a place to turn around and saw a sign saying something about it was “Rush Week” – a lot of the “Joe College” type were standing around trying to look well dressed and suave. When we finally got inside the Blues & BBQ I saw a sign saying “Use Buzz Cards here” with a picture of a GT yellow jacket. That must we a meal card for students who pay for their meal tickets.

The place was covered with Tech students. One thing has changed – no orange caps “The Hell With GA” written on the top or bill. Used to freshmen at Tech had to wear those caps. They seemed to be all over the place on campus and at the restaurants nearby such as places like this and The Varsity.

Another thing that changed is while we were trying to park a Georgia Tech Orange and White trolley came by and not too long the same colors on a bus. Evidently Tech furnishes shuttle services to places off campus.

The lady in front of us was ordering for a whole office and numerous times she would say “center cut sandwich”. We finally broke her train of thought and keeping up with the money and change to ask her what center cuts was. She said it was the best, and was a 3 rib sandwich. I ordered the center cut. Anna ordered the regular chopped pork. Neither of us complained.

And that was our wild and crazy time in the big city Friday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Will Elder and Pieter the Elder and De tails

(of course any fool knows to click on the pictures to make the details larger - right?)

Above are two comic art illustration by Will Elder in MAD. The top on is from MAD comic book #16 and the bottom one is from MAD magazine #24, which is the first issue MAD used a magazine format.

Look at the many many little details. Some you will have to think about. In the case of the black and white the newsy happenings of the time is reflected in the audience – for instance, Arthur Godfrey fired Julius LaRosa… if you didn’t know that, the two here may not strike you as funny.

And here is a self-portrait of Will.

Bhob Stewart on his blog Potrzebie Potrzebie has a bit and a link to an excellent article for AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) about Will Elder by Michael Dooley.

In the article Dooley tells how masterly Will has lampooned and led the lampooning field. He mentioned that Will appreciated the art of Dutch artist Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c1525-1569).

In this case the title The Elder is not the official rank in a church, but to do with family standings. He had a son named Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Below are a few paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Not all is paintings had small details, but these are examples of the ones that did – were they an inspiration to Will?

And here is self-portrait of Pieter Brueghel, the Elder.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps is something isn’t he?

I think I read that Michael has won more Gold Olympic Medals than any one in modern times. I was wondering what his secret was and did a little mini-research on him. He grew up in Baltimore, has father worked for the State Police, and Michael was diagnosed as ADHD (Attention Disorder Hyperactivity Disorder) and he has two sisters.

I was wondering what his driving force was. What made him tick, so to speak… after studying his wikipedia rap sheet I see now. it is obvious:

He is trying to be like me.*

Well, my father worked for Police organizations and I have two sisters, and people didn’t know of such things when I was young, but if they did, I bet I would have been diagnosed with ADHD too. And hey! we both consume a lot of calories daily.

I wonder how Michael discovered me. Maybe he visited somebody in this area a couple and dropped by the East Cobb County Indoor Aquatic Center and saw me swim with such determination…. And again, maybe not.

*If you are wondering how such a wild idea came to me I’ll tell you. I stole it. Not too long ago a family I know cut down a tree in their yard. The people who live behind them has two tennis courts, a pond, and a swimming pool (however the first family has a pool also), and own several acres of land. Not long after the first people cut down their tree the wealthy people behind them cut down a tree. They said in all sincerity, “They are trying to be like us.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

No you can’t!
Yes I can!

I believe that song came from the musical “Annie, Get Your Gun!”

Markswoman Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was born yesterday’s date in 1860. Annie was known for her sharp shooting instinct, and unlike other female markswomen, she played up her feminine traits. This is belated announcement.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Marietta Magical Mystery Tour

As I mentioned we went on the Marietta Trolley History Tour last week. It was an excellent tour. We enjoyed it all. The accommodations on the trolley were comfortable, the driver was good, and Brad the narrator knew his stuff and told it with enthusiasm.

HOWEVER!!! This is roughly the same route, told mostly from what I witnessed during my time of life on that part of earth.

We are heading south on one-way Church Street folks.

Behind us a few stores, the brick building with the big glass front for years was the W.P. Stephens Lumber Company, which when I was a teenager was ran by the Tomlin family. A Tomlin family ran the lumber company on South Cobb Drive at the Underpass (Atlanta Road)… the same family? Sorry, I am not privy to that.

To the right we where the candy striped barber pole is used to be my uncle Herbert Hunter’s barber shop.

Across the street, where the First Baptist Church stands – the upper portion was occupied by McKinney Tire and Service Station. The lower portion was an old house that Doctor Mussaura’s office, I think he specialized in sports medicine. One time he told on me and some others that he saw leave a pool hall during school hours.

Now, see that alley on the right? On the left of the alley was Hunt’s Economy Ice Cream Parlor, which had delicious chili burgers and hotdogs. On the right of the alley was a leather and shoe repair shop which I think was about the longest opened store in the downtown area with the same business operating that I know of.

Now, we are at the corners of Church Street, North Park Square, West Park Square, and Mill Street. On the left is Shillings Restaurant. In my youth it was Shillings Hardware. As you walked in the store the first thing you saw was a free scale to step on get your weight, which we always did and behind the scale was a glass display case showing some very fine knives – the kind of all chrome knives that had fancy cases or handles – the practical kind and the kind that would be a must to have if you liked to stab people regularly.

On the West Park Square end, the first store was Miller’s, I think the name of it was. It was a clothing and material store. I liked for my parents to do business there to see the clerk write up a ticket, put the cash and ticket in a little container, put it in a pneumatic tube and ZAP! It would go through the tubes to a little office up top someplace, the in a few minutes you could here it the containing coming back at full speed with your change. Now it is a Dance and Ballet school.

The store on the corner of Mill Street and Church Street when I was young was the A&P. I think it is now the same as most other stores on Church Street, an antique store.

On down near the railroad tracks is a Thailand restaurant. It was for many years Veach’s Wholesale Grocery. My father-in-law was the manager of Veach’s. When he retired the business closed down.

See the coffee shop and dog shop across the street? That used to be B & N Auto Parts that was owned by the Northcutt Family. The head of the family when I was growing up was Ben Northcutt. I think Ben was the B and of course the N too. One of their teenage family members was a friend of mine.

(crossing the tracks) See the locomotive engine painted black? That engine was built by Glover Machine Works, south of Marietta. It used to be within Glover’s complex – behind the main building, with a high brick wall that separated it and woods. Then it was covered with red rust. As a boy I lived just a few blocks away and on Sundays sometimes I would climb over the wall and get in the locomotive and pretend it was a space ship and I would shoot at imaginary space ships attacking me from all sides – that was before STAR WARS, but after Buck Rogers.

My father’s first paying job was at Glover Machine Works. His father, my grandfather, worked at Glover’s for many years, and is the reason the Hunter family moved to Marietta.

See the little block house on the right? The vitamin store. That used to be the headquarters for a taxi company. As a boy, one time after a movie I walked inside to get out of the rain and to get a taxi home and saw that their dispatcher was Blind Charley.

Blind Charley would be a good dispatcher back then. He knew everybody, every business, and every street. He was an old man and very poor. He lived with his sister. Sometimes as a boy I used to visit him in his old unpainted shack and he would tell me stories of the Hunter brothers. I wished I had good retention back then.

I remember in the back of their shack was a line hooked on to the back porch that led to the outhouse. Not only was it a guide for Blind Charley to get to the outhouse but it was also a good clothes line.

When Charlie died he was buried in the pauper’s cemetery in an unmarked grave. Then the potter’s field of Marietta was near Barnes Mill Road. The I-75 went through the area the old cemetery was at and the poor people’s bodies are gone. Poof!

(Turning left on the Marietta Parkway). On the right is the First Methodist Church. It is just TOO big in my opinion. See the little drive by the playground that goes through the parking lot? That is Haley Street. That is where my family lived before I was born.

On the left is a carwash or whatever that is. Years ago it was Kirk’s Supermarket. I worked there as a sack carry out boy.

Now, just about across from the old Kirk’s Supermarket we are turning right on Trammell Street. The building on the right was Hole Proof Hosiery. I think my mother worked there for a while when she first came to Marietta. Across the street from Hole Proof – was at one time Kennesaw Cigar Company. The Kennesaw Cigar Company was a small house, slightly bigger than a shed, attached to a larger house of what might have been a mill house for workers at Hole Proof one time. The little shed/house had a sign that said Kennesaw Cigar Company. Before we were old enough to drive we sometimes walked by there on the way home from school. Usually and elderly gentleman and two elderly ladies were sitting out on the porch, if the weather was nice. One day we walked up and asked the man about the Cigar Company. He said it was still in operation and he still got orders from time to time.

He pulled out his keys and walked down the steps, unlocked the door of the shed/house, which was probably about the size of a small bedroom. There was a large bench and a press-like machine that rolled the tobacco leaves into cigars. Some big leaves were hanging from the ceiling. Over in one corner was a box full of empty Kennesaw Cigar Boxes. He gave us each one and we went on our way.

Up Trammell Street further on the left is the Trammell House. The Trammell House was built by my first cousin, 4 times removed, Col. Leander Newton Trammell (1830-1900). Cousin Trammell was a lawyer, state representative, and was the head of the Georgia Railway Commission. He was well known politician of his day and had a great deal of influence.

Leander N. Trammell’s grandson, Niles Trammell (1894-?) who mostly grew up on Trammell Street, became president of NBC Radio Network. Before Niles was president of NBC, as a budding executive, he signed up the radio comedy series Amos & Andy. If you have listened to or watched some Amos & Andy episodes you probably heard one of the cast say their hometown is Marietta, Georgia. I don’t know, but I suspect Marietta, Georgia, was Niles Trammell’s input.

Niles was at the stern of NBC when they started the new form of broadcasting Television.

The present owners, Rachel and Douglas, have worked very hard researching and renovating the house back to when Leander Trammell owned it.

The next house on Trammell Street was for many years Irene Jones Foster’s house, Anna’s grandmother.

Now, we turn left on Wright Street, go down one block and turn left onto Reynolds Street. As we approach Powder Springs Street we see almost directing across is the Marietta Parkway.

To the right, a slope of hill with a fence around it is the Confederate Cemetery. Back in about 1947 when I was in the first grade our school system was a segregated system. The whites and blacks went to separate schools. On Confederate Memorial Day all the white kids would march with their schools and classes to this Confederate Cemetery. And each kid was given a little Confederate Flag to stick in the grave of a soldier. I guess we did that each all seven years of grammar school.

On National Memorial Day the black kids were marched to the National Cemetery and each put a small U.S. with 49 stars Flag with into a grave.

What I was building up to was that when I was in the first grade I think my older sister was in the 5th or 6th grade. Our Mama gave her strict orders to keep an eye on me and not let me got out of her sight and to walk me home afterwards. We lived about 4 blocks away in the Clay Homes.

There were hundreds of little white kids running around. My sister lost me or I lost her. She looked all over for me and I was nowhere to be found. She walked home very upset thinking how upset our parents would be. She dreaded telling them I was lost. But, when she got home, there I was. Evidently, I knew my own way home.

(Now we are on a small segment of the Marietta Parkway approaching a RR bridge). A green sign near the sidewalk going under the bridge states it is the “Richard Hunter Memorial Bridge”. Folks, This bridge is the Dick Hunter Memorial Bridge. It was named after my uncle who was mayor of Marietta back in the ‘60s. In my opinion, it is truly a Hunter Bridge. See that grassy bank on the northeast side? There was a house there years ago, in 1941. I was born in that house. And from the point I was born, you could see the house on Waterman Street that my father was born in – or you could see it, if it was still there. They bulldozed it away, the same as they did the house I was born in.

And another fact is that my cousin, once removed, also with the last name of Hunter, while he was in high school hung a big banner across the under part of the bridge, stating something like “WELCOME TO HELL!!!” – I think it was meant to greet the opposing football team coming in town by bus. But I think instead, it greeted the Marietta Police and the officials of the Southern Railway Company – which they in turn, greeted him.

(Turning right on Atlanta Street). The part of Marietta Parkway we just spent a block on used to be two streets there. One was Reynolds Street, which Anna’s mother’s family lived and the other was Goss Street. Goss Street had two businesses on it, Crain Garage, which one time was owned by my uncle Spencer Crain, and the other business was Romeo Hudgins Welding. Romeo was a my Little League coach for two years. He and Pepper Martin were the coaches. Pepper had announced the Marietta football games over WFOM-AM and had a radio show some evenings where he would spin relaxing music to dine by. Pepper Martin’s son was my son’s music director of Sprayberry High School Band.

Across the tracks from Goss Street were West Atlanta Street and a railroad water tower.

Back on Atlanta Street, going up a slight slope there were a few houses, which has been bulldozed away long ago.

One of the houses had a family of WWII Poland refugees living in it. They had a boy and girl that went to Waterman Street School. One day, I remember it was raining; the principal, Miss Whitehead came to our class room, and called me out. I probably thought, “What did I do this time?” She asked me if I knew where the new boy and girl from Poland lived on Atlanta Street. I told her I did. I knew where a lot of people lived. I am by nature a nosey person. She told me they haven’t been to school in a couple of days and did I know why? I told her no, I never spoken to them.

She asked me would I mind walking to their house and knock on the door and see if they are still living there. I did. I don’t know why she picked me for that job. I was probably between eight and ten years old. Did she not want to get wet?

Nobody came to the door. I walked back in the rain and reported it to Miss Whitehead.

Incidentally, another Polish refugee family lived on the corner of Atlanta and Goss Streets.

On up the slight grade beside the railroad tracks were some big red and rocky drops off that was fun to play climb on.

The grade starts going down. It passed Clay Street and a couple of houses. You passed a house with a goldfish pond out front – that belong to a Marietta postman, I found out his name but forgot. And next door to the postman was Crestview Baptist Church which I belonged to and I think still do. I still get their letters.

Next to Crestview Church, was a little grocery on the corner of Atlanta Street and East Dixie Avenue. The little store was named Hicks Grocery. It was owned and operated by a little hyper woman by the name of Regina Hicks. Her brother Dudley was the butcher – I’m not sure if he was part owner or not.

(crossing over the RR tracks and turning north on West Atlanta Street). This is the Marietta City Cemetery. (Turning in). It is here that Mary Phagan is buried. She was the one murdered in Atlanta at a pencil factory and Leo Frank was hung by vigilantes. He was already convicted and serving time in a prison in Milledgeville when the men broke into prison and carried him to Marietta and hung him… many books have been written about this ugly episode in our history.

The men who organized and orchestrated the lynch mob were the elite leaders of Marietta. One of the Clay family members was involved. I mentioned that because his grave is just a stone’s throw from Mary’s grave.

Look around the cemetery. You will see many names that streets are named after. A lot of history is in this cemetery.

When we were young “The Lady in Black” would come to the cemetery every day and sit by her sister’s grave. She lived in Atlanta. When she died the officials found a lot of cash in her apartment and also a lot of cats.

A friend of mine lived on Hedges Street, which is a street with mostly duplexes that borders the south side of the cemetery. He and I spent many hours sitting in the cemetery talking about life, girls, books, etc. We sat not far from Mary Phagan’s grave. Many tourists coming to see Mary’s grave would walk by us and not see us, or see us and be startled.

(going back up Atlanta Street).

On that sidewalk, about there folks, one time I was riding my bike home from school in the rain and slipped in a mud that slid into my path and lights out. The next thing I remember I woke up and was over a man’s shoulder and he was toting me up the steps of our house on Manget Street and my mother screaming. I found out later that a taxi cab driver for Vickery Taxi Company seen my lying there out cold. He recognized me and knew here I lived and picked me up and my bike and carried me home.

That would not happen today.

Over to the right, on the corner of Frazier Street is the Clay home. Did you know it has the same floor plan as the Trammell House? When we used to walk home from school, one of my friends Tony H. use to delight in taking a dump in their front yard behind a bushy tree.

(at Waverly Way and Atlanta Street). The building to the right was Marietta Lighting and years before that it was Sears Roebuck. When it was Sears I lived in the Clay Homes, just about a block behind the building. One day my mother was ironing and listening to WFOM-AM radio, to kids tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Then she heard my voice talking to Santa.. It was unmistakably my voice. I was about 3 or 4 years old. She thought I was in front yard playing with Carol Joe Clayton.

The alley that ran between the old Sears/Marietta Lighting building and the next building, which I think was a Western Auto, led down to Waddell Street in front of Steele Grocery Store. I discovered gravity. I discovered on my tricycle, if I was going down a hill, if I raised both feet I would go faster because the of gravity…. Well, I don’t remember if I actually understood Newton’s laws on gravity, but I did understand the implication. One time I was going speeding down the hill on the tricycle and WHAM! I was hit by a car. A lady in her car hit me – no fault of her own. It knocked me out. The first knock out of several in my formative years.

I survived. And of course the lady broke no law. So, alls well that ends well.

The next building was the Marietta provision Company, which was a butcher company owned by my future uncle-in-law's family. One time after a football game we went through their garbage cans on the side and found some cow bones. Jimmy Pat Presley pretended to be ran over, lying on the side of the road with the big cow bone sticking out of his pants. It caused quiet a ruckus.

To the left most of the building is gone, but it used to be City Hall. Upstairs was the T.A.C (Teenage Canteen) and the rear side of the building was Marietta Fire Station #1.

In our preteen years after school sometimes we would go to the T.A.C. and try to play pool – most times the lady and her husband who ran it would run us out for not being teenagers. Then, sometimes, we would walk around to the back to look at the giant majestic red fire engines.

My senior year in high school the T.A.C. was moved to Henderson Street, next to the YWCA. I think it had a octagon shape. Somehow it just wasn’t the same. The creaky old wooden floors of the old T.A.C. was just more homey than the plastic looking new T.AC.

(At the corner of Anderson Street and Atlanta Street) See the big building with the big high columns. That is now Marietta’s Art Museum. It was in my youth the Post Office. Anna’s uncle worked there. Many days after school we would go there and go through the garbage cans out behind the building on the Marietta Journal side, looking for envelopes with other-than-normal stamps on envelopes.

Across the street is the Roy Barnes law offices. Kind of tacky - right. The law office was at one time the First Methodist Church Annex. As a kid, under 6, my playmates and I played in the building as they were building it in the evening when the workers left for the day. Roy Barnes was Governor of Georgia.

Where the parking lot is was the First Methodist Church.

(crossing Anderson Street) the first little building on the right used to be the Greyhound Bus Station.. A couple store fronts down, up stairs was WBIE Radio, which was a new radio in town. I don’t think it came until I was in high school. It was owned and controlled by James Wilder who drove a white and blue 54 Ford. The Ford had emergency lights on it – every crime, every major wreck, was covered by the James Wilder. Future rock and roll star Billy Joe Royal and his band would play live about 5pm on certain weekdays.

Across the street on the left side was up until the early 50s the Marietta Police Station with my Daddy as the chief.

Then the next block was the Cobb County Courthouse – which has been torn down many years. I have heard a lot of people say they miss seeing the old courthouse, but none saying they were glad to see it go.


This is all of the Marietta Magical Mystery Tour I can handle today.

This could go on and on. I might pick up where I left off someday.