Three things

I experienced three things to share with you today:
  1. I saw an old convertible today, but I don't know much about old cars, so I couldn't recognize its make or model. As it passed me, I saw the name "Studebaker" and thought, wow, I don't see many of those. I then noticed it had an old white-on-green Georgia tag with the year 1964. I didn't notice if maybe it had a current tag on the front.
  2. Clothing tags are still in fashion. I saw a boy in hideous plaid baggy pants that stopped below the knees. He had left its two labels hanging on threads and a paper label on the back of the waistband.
  3. Downtown's parallel parking spots are for compact cars only! I tried to parallel park in a space on Jackson Street next to the Georgian, and I did so against my better judgment because I could see that neither car in front or back of the space had pulled over the lines and so I thought there must be room. It took the most ridiculous number of movements forward and backward to get my car into that space, and I got out a couple of times to check behind me. When I was done, the front of my car was up to the painted line (and the car) in front of me. The back of my car overhung the other line. The parking space was shorter than my car! Leaving my car there was a mistake because when I got back from the courthouse there was a different car behind mine, and it had pulled up near my bumper, probably thinking I was an idiot who couldn't park. So I was bumper to bumper in a parallel parking space. I could barely get out, only after a ridiculous number of movements again.


I talked to Adrian recently about reposting some of the crap I wrote for the original athensworld. Here is a quick writeup on a visit to Alewine's junkyard. Ya'll let me know if you want me to stop..


I was a grad student back in the 80s here at UGA. I had an old Ford F-250 truck that needed maintenance on a regular basis, and having no money to speak of, I became very familiar with the local junkyards. That was my source for parts to keep the old truck running. After I got into the private sector, I ended up selling the truck 750 bucks. I was a busy IT professional and didn't have time to fix it any longer. I'd give 5,000 bucks to have it back now.

Anyway, in the 70s and 80s most of the junkyards around here were owned by the Alewine family. There was the Alewine Junkyard out on the Atlanta Highway, across from where Sams is now. Back then, Sams was an empty field and Alewine's was out in the country, or almost so. I went out there one hot summer afternoon to get a part for the truck. I had called and was told that they had several 64 F-250s in the yard, so I went out there to get my fuel gauge. My truck's fuel gauge didn't work and I was tired of running out of gas. Once there, the counter person told me to go out with one of the employees and he'd drive me out to where the trucks were parked. I went out into the compound and was greeted by the sight of three big mean-ass German Shepards. They watched me and growled a little. The person I was with climbed into a Ford Maverick and told me to do the same. The Maverick was hacked on to say the least. There was no roof at all, it had been cut away with a torch. There was no back end either, just some structural steel beams onto which a tool box had been welded. There were no seats in the front of the car, just two folding chairs. The mechanic pressed the hotwire button and I discovered that there was no muffler either, not even a pipe at all, just hot exhaust blowing right out of the exhuast manifold and into our faces. Starting the car up got the dogs fired up, so they started barking like hell and off we went. The dogs were running beside the car, biting at the tires and barking. The car made a tremendous racket as we bounced along narrow dirt paths. I was hanging on for dear life, hoping not to fall off the folding chair or worse yet, fall out of the car. I thought the dogs would then kill me.

Finally, we stopped in front of three old F-250 junkers. The mechanic turned the car off. The dust settled, the dogs calmed down, and the ringing in my ears subsided. He got 'out' of the car (thats a relative term for a car with no top, no doors, and no body past the front quarter panels). It was then that I noticed, on the metal dash, someone had taken a nail or a screwdriver and scratched into the paint, the following words:


That summed it up better than anything I could have come up with. I got my fuel gauge and later that evening when the heat had broken, I installed it in my truck. It didn't work. Shit I reckon. I never did have a fuel gauge that worked in that truck. I wish I had that truck back.


The Local News: Crankypants Edition

1. Ah, L. Morgan. So we meet at last. The Emperor's New Clothes? WTF? Let me distill this for you -- the People of Hope aren't about the tax base. They're about ensuring that a bunch of people who paid for their property can actually live in it.

Now, we probably share the opinion that a new trailer park isn't the best use of undeveloped space. We probably agree that there might be better affordable housing options than a depreciating asset. But it would appear that we disagree in the empathy department.

Now, the question is: would you be irritated if someone evicted you from your land, wouldn't allow you to move your home, and wouldn't pay you for it? Probably. Unfortunately that's what the groundbreaking is about -- a compassionate response to a &^%$#ed up problem. Not our tax base, and not a standard that you or I might find acceptable personally. Just a workable compromise.

Oh, and what "makes it ok" is that individuals have chosen to do it and can do so within the local laws. It's also what makes it ok for a large retailer to, say, mass grade a huge piece of property and pipe the stream running through it or what allows a wing joint to locate in a very nice residential neighborhood. (These are two examples that come up over and over.) We may not like it, but we don't get to disregard the laws because of that.

2. I'm of two minds on this one. Kudos to the landlord for being practive about crime in her 'hood, but I'm still sad for the trees and whatnot.

The only quibble I'll make is this:

"It's a perpetual problem for us, and we'd like to see these people out of the community altogether," Morris said. "We're trying to build a coalition (of landlords) to solve these problems rather than just displacing them from one place to another."

Translation: "We're trying to solve this problem in this location by displacing them from this place to another place altogether. " In other words, we're still not solving any problems on a citywide or regional basis. This isn't a quibble with the affected people -- I know about your prostitute- and drug user-related pain and I know that absent a comprehensive solution one has to seek mere relief -- but we as a city need to think bigger or we'll just continually play whac-a-mole with crime in various neighborhoods to great public cost and consternation until a neighborhood that is poor enough and disenfranchised enough can be located for the crime to move into.

3. Total agreement with you, JMac. But you know , that is the general Republican solution -- earn a lot of money and screw those who can't or don't. Also, people, I like market solutions -- but there are services which cannot and should not be left to the market. Water is one of those.

P.S. I'll explore the recent article on UGA child care at the other blog in the next day or so. It needs a deeper exploration.


Art in DePalmas downtown

So I was at DePalmas for my weekly slice and salad today. I have been in and out of DePalmas for a long time now, but for the first time, I noticed some oil paintings on the wall in the lobby area. I asked the hostess about the pictures and she was kind enough to ask around. It turns out that they were painted in 1999 by a S. Mullins. The painting of an archway over by the inner door (on the left as you face into the restaurant is fantastic. The colors really jumped out at me.
Anyway, aside from my never having noticed them before, (I guess I am generally non-observant in spells) I am posting this to see if anyone knows who S Mullins is and is his/her art displayed elsewhere? The paintings in question have been hanging there for a long time and depict scenes from the Italian countryside.


Surprise! Athens Air Service not Profitable

I can't be the only person in Athens who grows tired of reading about our local airport's woes. Ridership is declining, it's not profitable, and while private planes fly out of Athens plenty very few commercial passengers do.

I am an Athens citizen. I fly a dozen or so times a year, generally for business. And I have never flown out of the Athens airport. I probably never will, and here are a few reasons why.

1. UGA doesn't go there.

UGA, of course, is the county's largest employer, and which has exclusive contracts for services, which employees are supposed to abide by. Yesterday I received a chipper missive from the powers that be informing me that UGA has renewed its Delta contract. Delta does not fly to Athens. So, UGA employees, who compose 1/10th of the town and a significantly higher percentage of its travel, are discouraged from flying out of Athens.

2. Flying out of Athens is expensive.

Generally more expensive than simply driving 60 miles to the airport you're going to fly through anyway. More expensive than Greenville-Spartanburg, which is the least stressful airport drive from Athens. Expensive enough that one can generally pay for a two-way shuttle to Atlanta and come out ahead by going to the further airport. In order for Athens air service to be competitive, pricing must be competitive with the cost of going to an alternate airport.

3. Flying out of Athens is inconvenient.

There are practically no flights, and any trip to anywhere not on the East Coast is greatly prolonged by a flight originating in Athens.

There are a few advantages to flying from Athens/Ben Epps. Namely free parking and the ability to waste less of your time getting to and from the airport. But without resolving all three of the issues above, ridership in Athens will never be sufficient to sustain decent service.

Hi-Fi Buys

Hi-Fi Buys is apparently going out of business. I have noticed people standing around on the side of road on Baxter and the Atlanta Highway holding a wood stick with going out of business signs stapled to the stick. What the hell? I think standing on the side of a road holding a stick would be about the most boring thing possible. Is this an effective form of advertising?

And over on Prince yesterday, I saw a truck with ads on the sides and rear. The ads flipped periodically. It looks like the idea is to run the truck around town so motorists can read the ads. Jesus, is there no escaping the hucksters? I didn't pay attention to the names of the companies that purchased these ads, if I had, I would make sure to buy nothing from them.


Upstairs, Downtown

Today is the day of the "Upstairs, Downtown" tour offered by the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation. "A self-guided tour will provide a seldom seen glimpse of historic places and personal spaces in the architecturally-rich, vibrant and eclectic downtown, accompanied by a vivid historical narrative," says the website of the Foundation. It sounded pretty neat to me and my wife. We appreciate the history and architecture of our town, and we thought about taking this self-guided tour.

But then we see that tickets are $20 each. We weren't sure if we might like dropping all that money just to see a few buildings that we can already see parts of anyway. We considered that we would be glad to support the mission of the Foundation, seeing as how we don't appreciate enterprises like Gator Haters coming downtown and screwing with the scenery. However, we're not sure the tour is worth $40 to us. I now get the feeling that this Foundation is either composed of people just from the affluent segment of the community to which $20 just seems like a normal price for something like lunch, or else the Foundation is aiming this event at a small segment of the community. Either way, I certainly feel excluded. This is a self-guided tour, not a concert or something. Local heritage is something that the wider community should be encouraged to appreciate.

College Avenue


Civil disobedience on bicycles

There has been a little back-and-forth in the letters page of the Athens Banner-Herald about the Critical Mass bicycle rides. Leslie Bacastow said that the latest event was promoting anarchy; Justing Manglitz responded that the writer should have "empathy" with cyclists and that anarchy is misunderstood.

Let's tell it like it is: When cyclists ride through red lights, alone or en masse, they are breaking the law (assuming no parade permit and police escort). If the Critical Mass rides are a response to "rude or aggressive drivers," then they are only a childish tit-for-tat response. They are an act of civil disobedience. The old saying is that two wrongs don't make a right.

The Critical Mass is a different event than the Courteous Mass organized by the Bike Athens group. "These rides are different from Critical Mass in that they follow a planned route and follow state traffic laws," says their web site (emphasis added). Perhaps the Critical Mass should be called the Discourteous Mass. None of these "masses," of course, have anything to do with a celebration of the Eucharist.


Chamber names new President

The Athens Area Chamber of Commerce has named former Mayor and Commissioner of ACC and longtime Athens businessman Doc Eldridge as its new President and CEO. From a Chamber press release:
Athens, GA (May 11, 2007) – The Board of Directors of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce announced today the appointment of Doc Eldridge as its new President & CEO. Eldridge, who has served Athens’ business community for over 25 years, will focus on community development, membership growth and retention, and economic development. “Doc is an excellent choice for our chamber and our community. His background in business and his experience in our community were priorities of the Chamber Board as we tried to match theappropriate leadership with the needs of the chamber,” said Phil Bettendorf, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman.

“I am honored to take the helm of the chamber. There is not a more desirable community or area of our state that can avail themselves to economic growth and quality of life. I look forward to working closely with our members, elected officials, and community to ensure we have an environment conducive to business,” said Eldridge.

Eldridge has a diverse background with many years of business and management experience while owning his own business, Eldridge & Associates, serving as Mayor of Athens-Clarke County from 1999-2003 and as an Athens-Clarke County Commissioner, from 1995-1999. As a leader in the community, Eldridge has served on the Athens Downtown Development Authority, Economic Development Foundation, UGA Foundation Board of Trustees, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and Athens YMCA Board of Directors.
What will this mean for the relationship between the Chamber and the Commission?

The Broadway Bard

The Town and Gown Players are performing a musical revue based on several works of Shakespeare this weekend. "The Broadway Bard" has about 30 Broadway tunes that will be sung by Amy Miller, Drew Doss, Christina La Fontaine, and Brad Blythe. This Second Stage production is brought to you by director Fran Teague and musical director Justin Sanders. All tickets are $5 at the door with no reservations required. The show will be at the Athens Community Playhouse on Grady Avenue behind the Taylor-Grady House. Performances are at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow (May 11 and 12) and 2 p.m. on Sunday (May 13).

Athens hosts NCAA Tennis Tournament

Athens is hosting the NCAA tennis tournaments starting today at 1 p.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex; see this from the ABH.

The UGA men are 26-0 and start off the tourney at 4 p.m. today against Fairleigh Dickinson. The men have five national titles and are obviously a strong contender for their sixth.

The UGA women start Saturday morning against South Carolina State. They have two national titles, and are currently ranked #2 in the country.


Driver's licenses scanned and recorded at Clarke Middle

Clarke Middle School principal Ken Sherman rolled out a new security procedure without consulting the Clarke County School District (article). Parents may no longer pick up their children by simply showing identification; now they must allow the school to scan their driver's license, record its information, and run an electronic background check. According to a teacher, Jenna Thiel, Sherman insisted on scanning her license despite her showing her district ID badge before allowing her to pick up her sick child:
The fact that I would not comply seemed to anger Ken Sherman. He began to verbally assault me by calling me ‘despicable’, ‘disgusting’ and ‘unprofessional’. He ordered me to come into his office and sit in a chair. I did not comply and told him that as an adult, I would not allow him to speak to me that way. This just angered him more. He then threatened to have the officer escort me out of the building. It was at that point I realized I was no longer dealing with a rational human. It was as though I was dealing with a behavior disordered child. I knew that discussion with Ken Sherman would no longer behoove me. So, I decided to direct my comments to the officer in which I explained my rights allowed me to have my son with the I.D. I provided without being treated so disrespectfully. At that point Ken decided to ‘let me have’ my child.
Her statement is posted on Jason Winders' blog. I suppose the procedure is debatable, but if these allegations are true then may be a troublesome attitude behind it.

A Journey Through Athens Music: Starring Jeff Tobias!

Blinded By the Light

Fuzzy Sprouts of Athens Georgia

Self-Centered Alien Ego Head Trip

This video was made hear in Athens, Georgia. Shur Fyne Productions


Photos from the Athens Human Rights Festival

Did you see the Athens Human Rights Festival downtown? If not, then Venn has your photos. I walked around a bit myself. It appeared tribal because there was a whole lot of face painting going on. I heard some horrible folk music, some great rock music, and Ed Vaughan getting angry. I sat around with Xavier from Hot 100 because he was kind enough to offer up a chair. I narrowly avoided appearing in this picture.


Tables and chairs

There are a bunch of shiny new ones on College downtown, on the Ben & Jerry's/Grill side of the street. It seems like some of them belong to the former establishment, which looks like they've got a sidewalk cafe permit now (and a new railing?) but do they all? And why? They're really encroaching on the bench space. Is that the intention? Because I can't see most ice cream places as needing a lot of seating space.

The Jon Bird Show - The time of the yellow light on Alps


UGA web server

The default name of UGA's web server at www.uga.edu is really chickenofthe.cc.uga.edu.

I think we had a discussion here before about what the ".cc" subdomain means, but I forgot what was said.


Athens set for premiere screening of "Oxford American DVD No. 1"

Through the e-mail from the Rural Pen blogger:

The Oxford American magazine--"the Southern magazine of good writing"--is proud to announce the premiere of its first ever "Oxford American DVD No. 1" on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at The 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA.

Inspired by the popularity of the magazine's Southern CD sampler, the first OA film collection is a "visual mix tape" featuring scenes from independent Southern films, avant-garde experiments, early cartoons, musical documentaries, historic footage, and bizarro celluloid fantasies. Special highlights include works by such directors as Craig Brewer (Black Snake Moan, Hustle & Flow), Ross McElwee (Sherman's March), Joey Lauren Adams (Come Early Morning), Ray McKinnon (the Academy Award-winning The Accountant), Phil Chambliss (backwoods Arkansas folk auteur), and Hollywood legend Roger Corman (The Intruder, The Wild Angels).

Come out to an Athens landmark to enjoy all things Southern. Watch an over-sexed Christina Ricci wrap herself in chains, William Shatner ham it up as a Dixie demagogue, the incomparable Peg Leg Sam dance a mean jig, and Beelzebub himself demonstrate an abiding interest in deer hunters. Oh, and don't miss the piney woods Bigfoot!

The Oxford American is the only magazine in the nation whose entire focus is Southern culture. It has been called The New Yorker of the South and was praised most recently by The New York Times as "perhaps the liveliest literary magazine in American." It is also the winner of the ASME National Magazine Award for the 1999 and 2003 Southern Music issues.

The Oxford American magazine is published by The Oxford American Literary Project. Through its quarterly magazine, the nonprofit aspires to study, explore, and elucidate Southern Culture via the best writing, music, photography, and art. The Literary Project itself is intended to promote the literary arts and encourage young minds to pursue literature and literary journalism through fellowships, educational programs, and other unique projects.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., program starts at 8:00. Tickets are $5.00 and serve as tax-deductible donations to the nonprofit OXFORD AMERICAN LITERARY PROJECT.

Athens GA Sanatation Company puts recycle in Garbage trucks!

Next week I'll try to get a better shot!


Skateboard contest

From the e-mail:

May 1, 2007 Athens, GA - The Skate Park Of Athens User Group, in conjuction with Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services and The Friends Of The Southeast Clarke Park, is pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Skate Park Of Athens Contest will be held Saturday, June 9th, 2007. This contest is free to enter for skaters 21 & under. Trophies will be awarded to the winner in each age division (6 & under, 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-21).

Each skater will be given two 60 second runs to display their skills throughout the skatepark. After all skaters have finished competing, the top two skaters from each age division will participate in a 5 minute jam session to determine the 2007 SPOA Overall Champion.

Registration and open practice begins at 9:00 am, contest begins at 10:00 am. All skaters under age 18 must have a parent or guardian present to register. Skaters not following park rules, including but not limited to helmet usage, will be disqualified. In the event of an all day rainout, the contest will be held the following day, Sunday, June 10th, 2007.

The Skate Park Of Athens User Group is a volunteer organization committed to the long term success of the skatepark. Formed in 2003 to facilitate use of SPLOST funds intended for skatepark construction, The SPOA User Group currently operates under the umbrella of The Friends Of The Southeast Clarke Park.