This is a repost from a year ago, with an update to follow.
The official portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama was recently released. She is the prettiest First Lady in quite a while. She is, unlike her husband, a full blooded African American. She can trace her heritage back to her father’s great grandfather. Jim Robinson was a slave in South Carolina.
The First Lady is an important person. Laura Bush stayed in the background, which was a welcome change from the mediamania for Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan. It remains to be seen what sort of role Mrs. Obama will play in the next few years.
There is a bit of controversy over the choice of a sleeveless gown for this portrait. The second amendment does say something about the right to bare arms.
HT to transgriot, who has an interesting comment. It seems that looking over MLRO’s shoulder is a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson was a slave owner. He apparently had a romantic relationship with one of his slaves, a lady named Sally Hemmings. Yes, the image is ironic.
There are two parts to the job of President…style and substance. The business of presiding over the US government is messy, and will never be done without criticism. The show business part will have its critics, but is much smoother.
Michelle Obama has been an asset to her husband…and America…in the style department. Having a beautiful wife on your arm is a serious asset in the world image market. So far, Mrs. O has avoided controversy, and looked good. If only the same could be said for her husband.
A year ago, this blog posted about nuclear energy. The Georgia Lesterslature passed a bill allowing Georgia Power to raise rates to pay for a nuclear reactor, before the device went into service.
Ten days ago, the US Government announced a loan guarantee of 8.3 billion dollars for the project. The nuclear industry seems to have a problem with defaults and cost overruns. The help of big government is needed.
The plan is to build two more reactors for Plant Vogtle, in Burke County. The Savannah River presumably would be the water source. The Westinghouse AP100 is said to be the favored model. There are safety concerns about this reactor.
The cost of construction makes government intervention necessary. The volatility of nuclear fuel makes security critical, again making big government bigger. The safety of reactors is a manageable problem. The watchfulness to insure this safety will serve to make big government bigger. The issue of permanent storage of used nuclear fuel has not been resolved.
PG posted a comment earlier today at Obsidian Wings. The thread discusses the compensation of executives, at companies recieving federal bailouts. The outrage fatigue, and cheapness of PR, apply to the issue of two more reactors at Plant Vogtle.
“I guess I’m suffering from outrage fatigue”
I think this is what the “beneficiaries” are hoping for. If they wait it out,and ignore the outrage of the common people ( who they hold in contempt), then they get their big bucks.
You can only be angry at so many things. PR is cheap. You can buy a lot of deflection for what these insurance people are getting.
In red state Georgia, there is little outrage over this. While most conservatives whine over the size of government, they support nuclear energy, which IS big government. The support of BHO for this loan guarantee will not silence the hatred many feel for the President.
Nuclear Power= Big Government. Pictures from ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
There is a sculpture in Spain causing controversy. Created by Eugenio Merino, the work is titled ( in English) “Stairway to Heaven“. No, it does not have Jimmy Page, playing the bane of classic rock radio. It is an image of a Jew, standing on the shoulders of a Catholic, who is kneeling on the back of a Muslim. All three of the men are praying.
After writing the last sentence, PG decides to take another look to insure gender correctness. The Jew on top has a long beard. The Catholic is bald, and is wearing a priest’s outfit. The Muslim has it’s face to the ground, and could, in theory, be a woman. PG is going to take a chance, for the sake of clean writing, and call all three participants men. Like anyone really cares.
There are all sorts of implications and hidden meanings here. The Israeli embassy in Spain issued a statement, saying “The piece contains elements which are offensive for the Jews, the Israelis, and, of course, for others“. Considering the way Palestinians are treated by Israel, to say “others” is gushing with kindness.
Maybe a better word for the piece would be “Tower of Babel”. The three men are praying, presumably to the same G-d. However, they speak three different languages, and the content of their prayers is one of the reasons they fight each other so much. Maybe if they spoke the same tongue, they would understand each other better, and fight less.
PG was raised in the Jesus Worship tradition ( Jesus Worship is represented here by the Catholic priest. The division of Jesus Worship that PG is familiar with is a different one, arguably as different from Catholicism as Judaism is from Islam.) PG has become alienated from Jesus, and Jesus Worship. A casualty from this is the custom of prayer. While PG recognizes that this custom may have benefits for some people, the idea of “talking to G-d” seems silly at best, and like a huge ego trip at worst.
One thing about prayer… it is talking. There is a saying that prayer is talking to G-d, and meditation is listening. Maybe the three men in the tower would be better off if they would shut up, and listen.
Old people like to talk about things that were better back then. PG is going to talk about some things that are better today.
During the Vietnam war, there was talk about “back our boys in Vietnam”. In the current war in Babylon, the troops are an integrated fighting force of men and women. You do not hear these brave people referred to as “boys”.
A person who goes into combat, to kill or be killed, is not a boy. He is a man, or a woman. This is an improvement over the way things used to be. Of course, we still have wars, so mankind has not achieved perfection.
A second way society has improved is the attitude towards cigarettes. In older times, almost everyone smoked, and they lit up wherever and whenever they wanted. No one asked for permission.
Today, people routinely go outside to smoke.
Another way in which our attitudes about cigarettes is changing can be seen in the way two presidents are treated by the press. Franklin Roosevelt was never photographed with his leg braces, or struggling to walk. Many people did not know he was crippled. However, his cigarette holder was a part of his image, and he was photographed with that constantly. By contrast, has ANYONE seen a picture of Barack Obama smoking?
The election of a dark skinned man as POTUS brings us to our final issue of the day, racial ( and other) slurs. It is just not considered polite to use insulting terms that refer to race, religion, national origin, etc. etc. ( PG got an email at work once cautioning about discussing hair color) In many ways, this is like the thing with cigarettes…people have not changed the overall attitudes, they just go outside.
Political correctness can be a nuisance. The excesses are well known. However, the basic concept of having concern for the feelings of others is a good idea. Pictures for this discourse are from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”
This list was found on facebook. Thank you Martin. 1. The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi. 2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian. 3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still. 4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from the algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption. 5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work. 6.. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery. 7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.. 8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart. 9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.. 10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it. 12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization. 13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head..’ 14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me. 15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’ 16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, ‘No change yet.’ 17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion. 19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large. 20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran. 21. A backward poet writes inverse. 22. In democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes. 23. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion. 24. Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects. 25. Why don’t sharks eat comedians? Because they taste funny.
While putting off doing anything useful, PG looked at Gartalker‘s blog. There was one of those lists of “facts”, that is in email rotation at all times. It has been a while since PG recycled chain email, so maybe this is the day.
It did not take long for the ding ding ding, of the BS detector, to be heard. “Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented.. It was ruled ‘Gentlemen Only…Ladies Forbidden’.. .and thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language.”
Something seemed amiss here, and snopes the urban myth buster was called into action. It seems like there were lots of words that could have been used as a starting point for golf. There was a Scottish word “goulf”…a verb, meaning to cuff or strike. Since striking the ball with a club is an essential part of the sport, this is a possibility.
The concept of acronyms becoming words is a 20th century affair. It just wasn’t a popular practice before phrases like “absent without leave” became AWOL. This is one reason to doubt the popular story about “for unlawful carnal knowledge”
The second item on the Gartalker list is more likely to be true… “The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone.” PG is too slack to investigate. The pictures for this feature are from ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”
Little Green Footballs tells the story of a man who claimed to have the “smoking gun” on global warming. The only trouble was, he forgot to read the last line of the report. “Our results provide direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth’s greenhouse effect that is consistent with concerns over radiative forcing of climate.”
Maybe it is rhetoric that is warming the air, not CO2. After the release of the stolen emails at UEA ( aka climategate), a newspaper in England printed this “Until Climategate, we “Sceptics” were considered freaks – almost as bad as Holocaust deniers – beyond the pale of reasonable balanced discussion. Suddenly we’re the norm. Climategate has finally given us the chance to express openly what many of us secretly felt all along:
AGW is about raising taxes; increasing state control; about a few canny hucksters who’ve leapt on the bandwagon fleecing us rotten with their taxpayer subsidised windfarms and their carbon-trading; about the sour, anti-capitalist impulses of sandal-wearing vegans and lapsed Communists who loathe the idea of freedom and a functioning market economy.
We know it’s all a crock and we’re not going to take it. This is our Berlin Wall moment! They can’t stop us now!”
There is a saying that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. This seems to be the case when it comes to climate science. Many people know just enough to make a good sounding argument, which will convince people who want to agree.
A few years ago, there was an academic paper titled “Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments”. The authors were Justin Kruger and David Dunning, who at the time worked at Cornell University. The Dunning-Kruger effect is named for them.
When you learn about a subject, you begin to see how much there is to know. One measure of how much you know, is how much you don’t know. An expert on a subject will be humbled by the amount of information that he has to learn, and rate his capabilities more modestly than someone who is lower on the knowledge scale. On the other hand, many people who watch a tv show or read a magazine article consider themselves experts, and rate their capabilities higher than they should.
In our culture, self esteem is considered a good thing. To express doubt or ask questions is to express weakness. We have lots of people who believe in themselves, and their belief in themselves is based on having belief in themselves. It goes round and round, and the train seldom stops to let true knowledge on. It is a lot easier to listen to some self improvement tapes about believing in yourself, than it is to attend classes and read books.
The dominant religion in our culture is Jesus Worship, a religion of beliefs and not practices. All you have to do to be a Christian is have the right beliefs. You don’t have to do anything, you just have to believe. It is a short step from a beliefs only religion to the cult of believing in yourself when you don’t know very much.
The Dunning Kruger effect is a good fit for modern America, and the debate over carbon pollution. People don’t want to give up the comfort of our high energy use lifestyle. When some psuedo scientist tells them they don’t have to, they are ready to believe. You can fool a lot of people when they want to be fooled. Pictures are from ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”
A lady called Jaimes has a local blog, and today she decided to write something uplifting. She chose as a subject a photo essay by Life magazine about “Life with Mother“. The Life feature she almost wrote about was “Famous Literary Drunks and Addicts“. PG thinks there is too much uplift in the world already, and decided to write about the literary boozers.
Writing can be a lonely affair, with long nights spent wringing words out of the soul. Of course, the more social arts of theatre and music produce a lot of people who cannot control their substances. (Is there anything like the phrase “controlled substances”?) Getting back to the wordsmith, writing and getting high have always gone together, and not always for the better.
There are 43 names on this list. To peruse the Life feature, you have to click once for every new name, which is a lot of work. You get to see a picture of each one, but, with a few exceptions, these guys are fugly. Alcohol, heroin, indoor desk work, and the inevitable cigarettes do not lead to pretty faces. Anne Sexton was a model before a suicide poet, and F.Scott Fitzgerald did photograph well. To some, Charles Bukowski is a sex symbol. If you feel like working the mouse and seeing all the people, that is your choice.
Many of the names on this list are obvious. Ernest Hemingway, Tennesee Williams, and F.Scott Fitzgerald are noted fans of altered consciousness. Dashiell Hammet lived for 30 plus years with Lillian Hellman, which might be a good reason to drink. And Truman Capote, among other things, did not suffer false modesty. “I’m an alcoholic. I’m a drug addict. I’m homosexual. I’m a genius.”
The beatnik/hippie/punk continuum is well represented. William S. Burroughs gave lie to the saying that there are no old junkies. ( A surprising number here lived to a ripe old age.) Richard Brautigan and Hunter S. Thompson just would not be themselves in a twelve step program. And Jack Kerouac was staying with Neal Cassidy, and wife, while working on his early novels. Cassidy thought Kerouac smoked too much marijuana.
The list is weighted heavily towards white males. Only six women made the list, and James Baldwin is the only person of color. Ayn Rand was a bit of a surprise…the lady, who copped her pen name from a typewriter, was a speed fan. Another surprise was Stephen King. The horror meister is a cocaine fan, and is one of the few authors that can afford a hobby like that.
Perhaps the best comment comes from Edna St. Vincent Millay .”My candle burns at both ends / It will not last the night / But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends / It gives a lovely light!”
PG and Uzi like to go walking on sunday afternoon, followed by dinner. With sunshine and warm(er) temperatures, it was legally required to get out on the 21st. After much deliberation, the call was made to go to Little Five Points.
Uzi recently got a book of discount dining coupons. On the ride into town, he was going through the book, considering what the options were. Before the discount book, dinner was a trap of duality, with the S&S cafeteria competing with Piccadilly for culinary attention. When a parking spot appeared, as if by magic, the book was left in the car.
Little five points is getting close to oldie status. The Marietta tourists, the cigarette puffing fifteen year olds, the high hat wearing blacks selling incense…it may as well be preserved in amber. PG noted a store with the melodic name “hookah hook up”, and a retail must see was uncovered. The HHU was another patchouli scented time trap, with signs saying that products were for legal use only. ” Is there anything you want to know about the products? “ “Nothing that I can say out loud”.
Going south on Moreland, past the chubby decker palace and the yards of patio potatoes, there stood the Tijuana Garage. The walkers went inside, looked at the menu, and decided this would be a good move for dinner. Alas, when they got back to the car, the coupon was not good on weekends. The large print giveth and the small print taketh away. The decision was made to go to Buckhead, and eat mexican at the Rio Grande eating facility.
What seemed like three hours later, PG was taking Uzi back to his car to go home. The restaurant had an table waiting inside, and a long wait for service. Doesn’t waiter imply that he is waiting on you, and not the other way around? When the food did appear an eternity later, Uzi’s order was wrong, and PG couldn’t remember what he had ordered. By this time the obnoxious drunks were moving in off the patio, bringing their noise with them. Maybe there is a reason this place has a half off coupon that is honored on weekends.
There was sunny weather for the beltline walk Saturday February 20. After a few weeks of cold and snow, the warmer temperatures were appreciated. Jackets stayed in cars, and sun protection was in force. PG suspects his neck got a bit redder.
The journey started on Monroe, across from Piedmont Park. The Virginia Avenue bridge served as an acoustic arena, for the inevitable announcements. There were piles of railroad ties in abundance, which served as impromptu platforms. Today’s walk was themed for Art on the Beltway. There are plans for static images, as well as performance spaces for the old rail corridor.
PG had done this walk in November, before the majority of the rail ties had been taken up. The walk was a bit smoother then, but taking up the ties is an important step in building a path. The famed magnolia tree at Ponce de Leon Park was still there, as was the notorious bridge over Ponce.
Before getting to Ponce, the beltline goes in back of the shopping center, across from Grady Stadium. There are some great views of Midtown hi rises there, with a foreground of rooftop air conditioning units. Behind the center were a few overgrown weed trees, with a bible resting on a tree stump. It was opened to 2 Chronicles 6:9.
PG wondered how many in the crowd today was around when Richards was in the shopping center space. Richards was in a rambling nightclub building, which had been open under several names before Rock and Roll arrived in 1973. When Richards closed ( after selling tickets to see BB King on New Years Eve, only to greet ticket holders with locked doors) the building was going to open as the Cabaret After Dark. A competing clubowner (allegedly) set fire to the building the night before it opened. The shopping center followed a few years later.
On the other side of North Avenue, Midtown gives way to the Old Fourth Ward. A 14 acre park is under construction between North Avenue and Ralph McGill Boulevard. A designer ( who is not from the south) climbed on some railroad ties to give a talk about the park.
Continuing south, there is a skater park, which was in use today. A skater waved at PG, only using one finger. The Freedom Parkway was next, with a collection of graffiti that changes every time it is seen. The original plan was to stop at a restaurant near there, but there was a live band and a crowd of people. The porto potties were available, though, which was a welcome facility for some of the hikers.
Moving down, past the end of Auburn Avenue, the walk went under the bridge at Edgewood. Railroad riders had been camping under the bridge in November, but were no where to be seen today. Soon, the walk moved onto the sidewalks of Dekalb Avenue, through the Krog tunnel and past Cabbagetown. The last part of the hike was over rail ties, not yet removed. This was the part between Wylie Street and Memorial Drive. It came out by an old rail depot, now a failed restaurant site. There were cars waiting there to take people back to the start of the trail.
Color pictures are by PG. B&W pictures are from ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
Last November, PG went on a beltline walk that ended near Edgewood Avenue. After the walk, a car was parked nearby, for the trip to the start of the walk. The car was parked next to a vacant lot, that was being cleaned up by a group of volunteers. The plan was to make a community garden called “Artichoke Bliss” on the land.
The word at the time was that the land was owned by Ebenezer Baptist Church. The historic church was the home pulpit of Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. The church was supposed to be happy with the work on the vacant lot.
It is now February, and the lot has received a lot of attention. Volunteers have spent lots of time cleaning it up, planting trees, and building paths. And now, an organization called Intergenerational Resource Center has claimed ownership of the land. IRC wants to put a parking lot in the space.
It is too early to see how this will turn out. IRC appears to be politically connected. If push comes to shove, IRC would appear to have the advantage.
A service called “Kudzu” rates businesses and services. This is what they say about IRC.
“This is a multi-racial, multi-generational haven for adults with mental and physical disabilities. The staff really care about the clients, and the clients care about each other. It is a Christian facility, so might not be for those of other persuasions.”
The address of IRC is 444 Edgewood Avenue. This is an office building at the corner of Edgewood and Boulevard.
PG is sad about what is happening, but not surprised.
AB is in the heart of the historic “Sweet Auburn” district. This was the business home of the Atlanta Black community, in the days before integration. A look at the friends box on the AB facebook page shows one African American person, out of 182. People coming in to a neighborhood to do good deeds are not always welcome.