Chamblee54

Two By Maupin

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 28, 2009

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A couple of weeks after Al Gore got more votes than George Bush, PG bought a computer. A little while later, he read “Sarah”. PG thought he would send J.T. Leroy a fan email. The very next day, a reply came. PG felt  good about this, until he found out that J.T. Leroy was a hoax.

Moving ahead a few years, PG reads “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “The Night Listener” by Armistead Maupin. “Listener” is semi autobiographical, and deals with a literary hoax. The reader never knows for sure what the score is. After a while, Mr. Reader wonders the same thing about the “real” details that illustrate the story.

It is said that one way an author can tell the truth is to write fiction. Mr. Maupin tells a moving story in both books. “Michael” is admitted fiction, but enough connections to reality that the reader wonders who is a stand in for what. In “Listener”, the story holds up, until the author makes a fateful trip to Wisconsin. Then the slippery slope story hurtles downhill into the bejeweled elephant. While the story may be fake, and about fakery, the emotions it stirs in the reader are genuine

PG read an interview with the “real” Mr. Maupin once, probably around the late eighties. At the time, “Outing”, or telling everyone in earshot that so and so is gay, was the fashion. Mr. Maupin got into it with gusto, especially regarding a TV actor with a big mustache.

PG was put off by the entire affair. Government leaders who make policy could, arguably, have their “dirty laundry” exposed. However, why should anyone worry about a TV performer? If someone wants to let the public connect the dots, so be it.

Reading “The Night Listener” reveals a bit of back story. At the time of the interview, Mr. Maupin’s lover, Terry Anderson, (from Marietta, GA.) had AIDS. He was not expected to make it. Mr. Maupin, a de facto spokesman for planet homo, was in a world of hurt.

The appearance of miracle drugs in the late nineties saved Terry Anderson and Michael Tolliver. They almost did in Armistead Maupin. The good news is that writing is a source of life for Mr. Maupin.

It is his gift to take this pain, and render it into stories that are fun to read. As for the belief issue…the role of fiction if to create questions, not answers. Maybe it is a function of Jesus Worship to cause people to take myths seriously, to confuse mythos for logos.

PG wonders if the difference is important. As with the TV actor, once the reader has been transported by the book, what difference does it make if it is technically true?

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Sandy Springs Festival

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 27, 2009

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PG got the call from Uzi at about 1:30. The power had gone out, and Uzi was ready to go. PG agreed to be over in a few minutes.

Uzi wanted to go to the Sandy Springs Festival. This did not do much for PG, but, seeing as he didn’t have any better ideas, decided to go along. Last year, PG had seen a way to get in without paying the five dollar admission.

The cheapskate method involved walking away from the main entrance, and coming in through a church parking lot. PG saw a staircase that led from the road into the parking lot. About three steps from the asphalt, the front of PG’s brand new walmart sneakers caught on a plank, and PG tumbled to the last step. He was able to pull himself up, declare the injuries minor, and walked into the festival without paying.

The rows of white tents had the usual assortment of politicians, home made barbecue sauce, and wild animals made of old auto parts painted gaudy colors. Almost none of it appealed to PG. The people watching was up to par, and the sunshine..after a mini monsoon season…put the crowd in a cheerful mood.

At one point, a Democratic party tent was ignored, and PG wandered over out of kindness. Uzi saw some papers about debt collectors, and started a cheerful discussion with the democrats. At this point, PG wandered back into the aisle.

There was a tent,full of Jews for Jesus. The lady asked PG if he would like a book. PG said, do I have to read it? The discussion did not last long, with both sides opting not to use heavy artillery.

Before long, the scene was the car in the old target parking lot, and it was time to wonder about dinner. Uzi had a coupon for Folks, formerly known as PoFolks. The Windy Hill location did not have the misspelled menus that had plagued PoFolks. The restroom was clean, and had a paper towel dispenser operated by a motion detector.

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Ham Sandwich

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 25, 2009

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Sometimes, the “legitimate” newspapers make the tabloids look tame. Three stories today make this point. Blogs can cover both “real” news and tabloid trash with equal lack of profits. HT for the first two stories goes to JoemyG-d.

The mayor of East Cleveland ( presumably in Ohio) is a man named Gary Brewer. He is in an election, and somehow pictures of him in drag have been inflicted on the population. The man is too ugly to be seen in public, no matter what gender his clothing was intended for.

The former Miss California, Carrie Prejean, is back in the market. It seems as though she posed for some halloween costumes. The costumes show a lot of skin. The rumors that Miss Prejean will be appearing soon in a Perez Hilton costume were neither confirmed nor denied.

These things seem to work in threes. Mackenzie Phillips was promoting her new book on the Oprah Winfrey show. Miss Phillips opened her mouth, and her lips moved. A sordid tale of incest and drug abuse came forth. One monday night, Papa John said to his little girl, lets think of Mama Cass and make a ham sandwich.

Her ever supportive step mother,Michelle Phillips, said that Mackenzie was probably lying. Michelle Phillips had previously sent a letter to People magazine, where she expressed the hope that Papa John’s attempt at rehab number nine would work better than the previous eight.

If youtube does not have sound, try another browser. Firefox seems to have problems with youtube. This is the one thing Internet Explorer seems to be better at.


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The Racism Scale

Posted in Religion by chamblee54 on September 25, 2009

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PG hears the word “racist” tossed casually so much, he suspects it has lost it’s meaning. Dictionary definitions are of little use. The meaning of the word depends on who is saying it.

The modest suggestion here is for a seven point scale to measure racism. Zero would be totally colorblind, and six would be metaphysical hate. For the sake of simplicity, this scale, in the beginning, will only apply to white-black relations in the United States.

The model for this is the Kinsey scale. In his books on human sexuality, Dr. Kinsey described a seven point scale. Zero was totally heterosexual, and six was totally homosexual.

PG does not have a clue how to write a test for this scale, or how to score this test. White people see racism differently than black people. White people are affected by racism in different ways than black people. Different cultures view racism in different ways.

How would PG score on this scale? He has black friends and black enemies. Certain parts of black culture are enjoyable, and certain parts make him want to turn the radio off.

PG does not like people that do not like PG. When it is us against them, you need to remember which one you are. How does this register on this racism scale? It depends on who does the judging.

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Four More Rules

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 24, 2009

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When PG was a kid, his grandmother lived in a side apartment, in a house on Virginia Avenue. The owner of the house was Mrs. Stuckey. ( PG never learned her “real” name, and assumed that checks were made out to Mrs.) There was a framed piece of paper in Mrs. Stuckey’s hall. The top said “The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do” , and featured the logo of the Rotary Club. The four rules were simple, on the surface.

Is it the TRUTH?//Is it FAIR to all Concerned?//Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?//Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

The four way test was written by Herbert J. Taylor. In 1932, Mr.Taylor took over the bankrupt Club Aluminum Company of Chicago. Trying to revive the company during the depression, Mr. Taylor wrote a code of ethics, that would be the basis for the company’s actions.

Many said that the four way test was not practical for the business world. The balancing of integrity and ambition can be daunting. It was said that
“This emphasis on truth, fairness and consideration provide a moral diet so rich that it gives some people “ethical indigestion.”
PG maintains that fair is a baseball hit between first and third base. Sometimes, the umpire makes the wrong call. In the “real world”, the different points of view in a dispute make rendering a fair judgment a difficult task, if not an impossible one.

There is a story about the revival of Club Aluminum.
” One day, the sales manager announced a possible order for 50,000 utensils. Sales were low and the company was still struggling at the bankruptcy level. The senior managers certainly needed and wanted that sale, but there was a hitch. The sales manager learned that the potential customer intended to sell the products at cut-rate prices. “That wouldn’t be fair to our regular dealers who have been advertising and promoting our product consistently,” he said. In one of the toughest decisions the company made that year, the order was turned down. There was no question this transaction would have made a mockery out of The Four-Way Test the company professed to live by.”
How did the sales manager learn of the intentions of this buyer? Was he tipped off by one of the “regular customers” who feared competition? Was this “regular customer” lying? Many inspirational stories leave out crucial details.

As it turns out, Club Aluminum did sell enough product to emerge from bankruptcy.
“By 1937, Club Aluminum’s indebtedness was paid off and during the next 15 years, the firm distributed more than $1 million in dividends to its stockholders. Its net worth climbed to more than $2 million.”
Club Aluminum cookware was cast, not spun. It is heavy, and is a prized collectors item today. As for the Club Aluminum company
” Standard International Corporation bought it in 1968. Regalware made and marketed Club Aluminum for a while, but went out of business in the mid-1980s. The brand name was eventually obtained by the Mirro Company.”

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Question Mark Abuse

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 23, 2009

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Can you cry under water?//How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?//
Why do you have to ‘put your two cents in’… but it’s only a ‘penny for your thoughts’? Where’s that extra penny going to? (A fool and his money are soon parted)// Once you’re in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?//Why does a round pizza come in a square box?// What disease did cured ham actually have?//How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?// Why is it that people say they ‘slept like a baby’ when babies wake up like every two hours?//If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?// Why are you IN a movie, but you’re ON TV?//Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?// Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They’re going to see you naked anyway.//Why is ‘bra’ singular and ‘panties’ plural?// Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?//If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him?(For an answer to this, go here)// If the professor on Gilligan’s Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can’t he fix a hole in a boat?//Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They’re both dogs!// If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME crap, why didn’t he just buy dinner?//If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what is baby oil made from?or motor oil?// If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?//Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?// Why did you just try singing the two songs above?//Why do they call it an asteroid when it’s outside the hemisphere, but call it a hemorrhoid when it’s in your butt?// Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog’s face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him for a car ride, he sticks his head out the window? (Halitosis)// Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting dead?//Why do banks charge a fee on ‘insufficient funds’ when they know there is not enough money?//Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?// Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?//Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?// Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?//Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?// Whose idea was it to put an ‘S’ in the word ‘lisp’?//If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?// Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?//Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?// Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?//Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?// Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?//How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?// When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, ‘It’s all right?’ Well, it isn’t all right, so why don’t we say, ‘That really hurt, why don’t you watch where you’re going?’// Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that’s falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?// In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?//How come you never hear father-in-law jokes? Or old husband tales?// Why are accused criminals referred to by first, middle, and last names?//Why is oatmeal always sold in a round box?// Did Joseph think it was his kid?//And my FAVORITE…….The statistics on sanity is that one out of every four persons are suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends — if they’re okay, then it’s you. The nucleus of this feature was posted on Facebook by Alex Swan on September 22. The original author is unknown.

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Is BHO Black?

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 22, 2009

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BHO was on Dave Letterman, showing his skills as an entertainer. While the role of governance is open to dispute…always…BHO is showing himself to be the best show biz POTUS since Ronald Reagan. Nancy’s husband had the advantage of being an actor, before entering politics.

The issue of racism was brought up, and deftly addressed by BHO. He knows that many people are tired of whining about race, and would rather deal with the issues. BHO also understands that being the nation’s whipping boy is a part of the job on Pennsylvania Avenue.

PG asks, is BHO really black? Yes, he has dark skin. Yes, he has a “black identity”, nurtured from his days as a community organizer in Chicago, and worshiping with Jeremiah Wright.

The fact also remains that he had a white mother. (If Ann Dunham had been Jewish, BHO would be a Jew) His father was a scholar from Kenya. BHO is not the descendant of slaves. His ancestors did not have to go to the back of the bus. His grandfather did not live with the wretched discrimination of pre civil rights America.

Health care reform and the wars abroad are critical issues that affect the ability of America to survive. When you label those with whom you disagree “racist”, you avoid dealing with their objections. BHO seems to know this, and appears ready to move on. The question is, will his supporters follow?

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FCC Tries Again

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 22, 2009

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The FCC has announced that it is making moves to support something called net neutrality. On the surface it looks like a good move. People are saying that this is evidence that elections matter. PG, meanwhile, is confused by it all.

There has been chicken little talk for years about the end of the wide open internet. It is the techie version of the fairness doctrine. Many worried that regulation of the internet would be used to stifle inconvenient political opinions. Given the history of government regulation, this could still happen, even with net neutrality.

One explanation of this is offered by obsidian wings.
“To be grossly general, just imagine roads. The world today would be much different if the Ford Motor Company owned the interstate highways and could block Hondas from using it. In short, you could imagine a “closed” interstate highway system. But that’s not how the interstates work. They’re “open.” Anyone can use them. Any “device” with wheels will work on them.
The Internet could have very easily evolved into a “closed” network, but it didn’t. Instead, the Internet is open because we adopted policies in the 1960s and 70s that required it to be open (namely, we prevented AT&T from strangling it). The FCC today is merely protecting what has always been.”

Highways have limited capacity, and safety regulation is accepted as necessary. Much of the wrangling about the new order is from telecom companies. They are told to accept all transmissions as equal, even those with much larger bandwidth requirements. Is your cell phone call as important as the guy streaming videos into his i phone? And what if the pipes are full of these high density, and largely recreational services, and the low bandwidth services suffer? Please be patient with PG on this, he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

The government seems to have good intentions here. The next step is for the telecom industry to have its well funded voice heard. Like roads, is the broadband connection to hell transmitted on good intentions?

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What We Don’t Need

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 21, 2009

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PG was writing his four year post when he went to Avitable to copy his url. While there, PG read a list of rules for blogging. PG does not agree with all the Avitable rules, but it did get him to think. Before long, the PG rules for blogging were on the way. A running list was started, and before long there were thirty entries. Many of them were connected.

It occurred to PG that a lot of the general rules for living have a blogging connection. The ten commandments came to mind…in fact, it was a comment about the first commandment that got PG started. While killing or committing adultery might not happen, the admonishments against stealing, lying, and using the name of G-d improperly are highly relevant.

The first time PG heard the word blog, the dead tree publication was talking about Andrew Sullivan. A “Web log” at the time was called, quaintly, a vanity website. Mr. Sullivan is one of the leading players in the blogosphere today. PG suspects Mr. Sullivan gets is it right more than he does wrong, but needs to check the statistics.

If you want to write something, but don’t know what to write about, Andrew’s blog is a good place to look. He produces some original material, and recycles the work of others. There are several others like this, which you can find easily.

The first general group of rules can be summarized as “Just Do It“. You are not ending world hunger or ending war, you are writing for the internet. The more you write, the more you see to write about. If you keep the quantity up, the quality will take care of itself. The formula for writing is ass plus chair. You are doing this because you enjoy it. Don’t be hurt if everyone does not like your precious blog as much as you think they should.

PG had a job once where the management required a one hour clockout lunch every day. Soon, this became a time to write blog posts. Get the idea, and spit out five hundred words in fifteen minutes. It is not that tough to do, and you can edit, format, and add pictures later.

Blogging is a visual medium. The pictures and videos that you add add punch to the presentation. PG decided at some point that black fonts were obsolete, and that everything would be done in color. While this is not for everyone, it does add a touch to Chamblee54.

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Once you have your basic post written, there are a few things you can do. Use short sentences and paragraphs. Look over you text, and eliminate words that don’t need to be there. Assume that the reader is lazy, and make reading your text interesting, easy, and fun.

Use spell check. That is important, and could be said again. Avoid profanity. When you cuss, you shift the readers attention from what you say to the words you use to say it. Use a link to show where you got your information. This is another biggie, for obvious reasons, including respect of other people’s material. And, once again, use spell check.

If you are lucky, people will leave comments at your blog. Comment moderation is a good thing, unless you want people selling generic viagra (in Russian) on your site. A person leaving a comment is doing you a favor. If they ask a tough question or disagree, it means they are paying attention,and taking you seriously.

In general, a blog owner has the right to delete anything not wanted on their blog. When you do this too much, you eliminate the diversity needed for a lively discussion. Of course, you might want nothing but your friends, who say how awesome you are.

When leaving comments, it is good to show courtesy. Do not say anything in a comment that you would not say if the person was standing in front of you. If the person does not use profanity in the blog, you should not use it in the comments. ( Profanity is to be avoided altogether. If you think a bit, you can find a better way to express yourself.)

Andrew Sullivan had a comment about this in “Why I Blog“.
“Rudeness, in any case, isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a blogger. Being ignored is. Perhaps the nastiest thing one can do to a fellow blogger is to rip him apart and fail to provide a link.”
There is more to this blogging thing. The blogspot vs. wordpress issue. The technical aspects of basic html. The way to edit pictures, and how to make them fit the spot on the page. A lot of this the veteran blogger already knows, and the novice will find out soon enough. There is really only one thing that does not find any categories, but greatly upsets PG. This is Auto Start music players.

Some people have music players that start the second the page opens. If you are listening to something else you are out of luck. If you are at work, and a music box starts to play with profanity embedded lyrics…you get the picture. Please, for the sake of simple decency, make your music embed a manual start. Trust us, enough people will want to hear your music to click the start button on their own.

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Four Years Running

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 21, 2009

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The Chamblee54 blog is four years old today. The original device was on blogspot. The blogspot account was created to reply to a post at a blog called Fide-O. Apparently, Fide-O is no longer being published.

The second post has a good quote.
“At this point, “Chamblee54″ is a tabula rasa; a newborn critter with the potential to do anything it wants. There is so much to write about, so many pictures to post, and so many things to learn and to teach. I would hate to get bogged down in semantic quarrels about G-d.” That could be said about life in general.
In the past forty eight months, we have had 459 posts on blogspot, and 538 on wordpress. In the winter of 2008, there was an ice storm in Atlanta, and the phone line went out. When service was restored, google/blogspot was not available to this computer. After spending hours talking to tech reps in India, PG gave up. ( The issue with Google was finally resolved. Thank you Avitable)

Soon, PG had to register with wordpress to make a comment at MostlyMedia. Before long, he decided to try posting there, and never did leave. Setting up a separate Chamblee54 domain is a possibility, though one that keeps getting put off.

By the time of the split with Google, PG had gotten heavily into photo editing, and decided that black fonts were obsolete. While the huge numbers that some blogs achieve has eluded PG, he has continued to push out the *matter*.

What does the future hold? Blogs are sliding downhill on the trendy scale. Twitter is the thing now, unless that has been replaced by something PG has not heard of. As long as blogging is fun, PG will continue to do it. He might even get a few more readers.

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Cursive

Posted in Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 20, 2009

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There was a feature in the NY Daily News about the death of cursive writing. HT to JoemyG-d. It seems like it is no longer being taught. PG says good riddance.

Cursive refers to the flowing style of handwriting, where the letters are joined. It is from the French word cursif. This is derived from Medieval Latin cursivus, literally, running, from Latin cursus, past participle of currere to run

Cursive sounds like curse, or using bad language. Many people trying to read cursive will curse. The synonym for cuss, however, is from the middle english word curs.

At Ashford Park , print writing was taught in the first grade, and cursive in the third grade. PG learned cursive, and then promptly forgot. He prints when he needs to write, except for a signature. Printing is much, much easier to read.

Some say that with the decline of cursive, that old handwritten letters will be impossible to read. With many cursive writers, they already are. Some people have the patience to write beautifully, but many others scrawl. There is a cliche about doctor’s handwriting on prescriptions. One wonders how many lives have been lost because a pharmacist is not a mind reader.

There is a quote, attributed to an ancient Greek, that “When we start to write, we will lose our ability to remember”. There was grumbling when the printing press replaced hand copied scrolls, and when the typewriter came onto the scene. Whenever machinery advances into manual territory, someone is not going to like it.

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ACORN Part Two

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 18, 2009

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The following is a repost. ACORN is back in the news, and PG is too lazy to write a fresh post.

When PG (briefly) worked for an ACORN affiliate in 1980, ACORN was a collection of different groups. The one PG worked for was Georgia Action. A google search for Georgia Action shows nothing about this organization on the first page. It seems like at some point, ACORN went from being an umbrella, to the body under the umbrella. A look at their web page shows no affiliated local organizations.

Rightly or not, ACORN seems to be tagged as a liberal organization. As such, it is fair game for the right wingers. The conservative (bowel) movement is upset at losing the White House and Congress, and is looking for revenge.

An organization called ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been in the news lately. The word is they are registering voters, and not being too choosy who they sign up. Vote early, and vote often. Since a lot of these new voters will presumably vote for BHO, the JSM campaign has made an issue of this. The talking points have gone out, and suddenly ACORN is an issue.

This brought back some memories for PG. He used to work, briefly, for one of those community organizations. In 1980, he answered an ad for “Activists”. The job was for a group called Georgia Action, which was connected to ACORN.

The job was going door to door, getting people to sign a petition. The petition called for the Public Service Commission to take action against Georgia Power Company. When the petition was signed, the signer was asked to make a donation. Checks were preferred, since people seldom make checks out for less than five dollars.

PG trained for a couple of days with a senior operator. The key word is operator. The man had a slick routine down, and did not take no for an answer. One lady said she was on chemotherapy, and was strapped for cash. The operator did not bat an eye, but said she could save money on her power bill if she would help Georgia Action.

Back at the office, PG learned that most of what Georgia Action did was “build a base”. They had meetings for Senior Citizens. The worked with neighborhoods to get garbage picked up. They did almost nothing with Georgia Power. The power company was a handy villain to use in fundraising. PG began to be disillusioned, but decided to stick it out.

The first day on his own, PG was walking from the bus stop to the office. An acorn fell off a tree, and hit him in the head.

PG tried, but never did too well. He called on a Georgia Power employee, who ridiculed what PG was doing. His heart was not there, and the money wasn’t that great either. PG called it off after a couple of days.

Now, this is just one story, about one of many community organizations. It took place 28 years ago. The petition drives against Georgia Power have not been seen in a while. Is ACORN committing voter fraud on behalf of BHO today? Who knows. The charges by JSM have the feel of noise from a losing candidate. There just might be an organization doing the same thing to register voters for JSM.

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