Chamblee54

Two Stories

Posted in Georgia History, Music by chamblee54 on August 18, 2019








Today’s production is two stories from 2008. PG walked down New Peachtree Road. This is Atlanta, where there are a couple of hundred roads named Peachtree. No one seems to mind that most of the peach farms are south of Macon. The peaches grow a lot better there. They fuzz comes in heavier, and the pits are pittier. One time Dagwood Bumstead asked why peaches have fuzz. Blondie said, if they has arms they could shave. PG was walking down the road in the rain, with a freight train going down the tracks. This is forty percent of the ingredients for the perfect country and western song.

When PG was younger and drunker, there was a place on Clairmont Road called the Watering Hole. He would go there, drink beer, play pool, and have a good old time. As was the custom in such facilities, there was a jukebox. The patrons put money in the box and played the songs that they wanted to hear. A favorite was “you never even called me by my name” There is a little spoken part, where David Allan Coe talks about the perfect country and western song. This song must talk about rain, Momma, trains, trucks, prison, and gettin’ drunk.

New Peachtree Road has this gravel yard where the eighteen wheelers come and go. There was a big rig backing into place when PG walked by, and he may have heard the truck bump into a trailer. PG walked in the rain, between the train, and a big rig going bump against the trailer. The problem was, Mommas gone, PG doesn’t get drunk, and prison is way too much work. So much for the perfect country and western song.

The songwriter is Steve Goodman. He gave a show at the Last Resort in Athens GA, that a friend of PG attended. Mr. Goodman tells a story about performing on a train, during a series of concerts supporting Hubert Humphrey. It seems like Mr. Goodman had to use the restroom on the train. Now, in those days, the trains did not use holding tanks, but just ejected the matter by the tracks as they rode by. Mr. Goodman was told, do not flush the commode while the train is in the station. Mr. Goodman forgot the instructions. Mr. Humphrey said ”I am going to give the people of this country what they deserve”, Mr. Goodman flushed the commode, and sprayed the crowd.

PG told the Steve Goodman story another time. There was a comment.

Great to see your blog post that invokes Arlo Guthrie’s version of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans.” Goodman often doesn’t get his due. You might be interested in my 800-page biography, “Steve Goodman: Facing the Music.” The book delves deeply into the genesis and effects of “City of New Orleans,” and Arlo Guthrie is a key source among my 1,080 interviewees.

The book also delves deeply into “You Never Even Call Me by My Name.” John Prine and David Allan Coe were key interviewees, and the book debunks the notion, promulgated by Coe, that Coe had anything to do with triggering the famous last verse of the song.

Finally, the Humphrey story actually stems from Goodman campaigning for Sen. Edmund Muskie in Florida in early 1972.

You can find out more at my Internet site . Amazingly, the book’s first printing sold out in just eight months, all 5,000 copies, and a second printing of 5,000 is available now. It won a 2008 IPPY (Independent Publishers Association) silver medal for biography. If you’re not already familiar with the book, I hope you find it of interest. ‘Nuff said!








Back to empathy for a minute. The word always takes PG back to an auditorium in Clarkston GA in 1971. PG was in his first quarter at Dekalb College. Today,the institution is known as Georgia Perimeter College. One of the selling points of college has always been the outside speakers that were brought to campus. This day, the subject was abortion.

A note on set and setting is appropriate. In 1971, New York state had legalized the abortion procedure. Roe vs. Wade was in the pipeline that would lead to the Supreme Court. That ruling would not be issued for another fifteen months. In the meantime, abortion was illegal in 49 states, including Georgia. The debate about abortions was not as politicized as today. The nomenclature of choice and life had not entered the vocabulary.

The Vietnam war was still being fought, although with fewer Americans in combat. The withdrawal of US forces took most of the steam out of the anti war movement. The modern spectacle of a person supporting a war, while claiming to be pro life, did not happen.

PG walked into the auditorium and found a seat. The lady began her presentation. After a few minutes of talk… she said something about a woman who was artificially inseminated with masturbated semen. The house lights were dimmed. A black and white film, of an abortion, was shown. It was noted when the fetus went into the vacuum cleaner attachment. The house lights were brought back up. They should have remained dim, as the woman was not kind on the eyes.

The closing part of her presentation was a song she wrote. She sang acapella. The song was written out of empathy with the not-to-be-born baby. The song was titled ” My mother My grave”. PG left the auditorium, and went to world history class.








Racism Double Feature

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Library of Congress, Quotes, Race by chamblee54 on August 17, 2019


There was a comment thread on facebook. Here is the comment that started it. “I have a Facebook friend, who is a black Trump supporter, who says he doesn’t care “if he’s racist or not.” I don’t know what to think about that. Maybe there are a few of my black friends who can help me with that?” There were a lot of comments, which is not surprising. Race, and not liking Donald Trump, are two popular topics of conversation.

The conversation started with a link to When Someone Says They Still Support Trump, I Instantly Know 6 Things About Them. The six items, with a parenthetical summary, are: 1. You want to be ruled, not governed (authoritarianism,) 2. You are not someone I would trust to do business with (business ethics,) 3. You’re either a racist or an enabler of racists (racism,) 4. You have issues with women (misogyny,) 5. You aren’t quite as “Christian” as you claim to be (religious exploitation,) 6. You are anti-constitution (respect for rule of law,)

While those six items are more or less true about Mr. Trump, it is a stretch to say they apply to anyone who supports the man. (Many of these character traits are present in people who don’t like Mr. Trump, especially authoritarianism.) What is disturbing to PG is the way that racial attitudes dominates the conversation. This is a problem in a lot of ways. The obsession with screaming racist helped Mr. Trump get elected. Insulting potential voters is not a good campaign strategy.

There seems to be a national verdict that Donald J. Trump is a racist. A non compliant racial attitude is worse than authoritarianism, crookedness, and mental instability. If you are white, and you question this orthodoxy, then you are a racist. If you are black, and don’t believe without question, then you are asking to be insulted.

The Trump-is-racist meme follows a cynical decision to make Mr. Trump’s racial attitudes a campaign issue. The best evidence cited is a 1973 complaint, involving discrimination in renting apartments. Other evidence… attacks on nationalities, attacks on religious groups, support of unseemly white people … utilize an elastic definition of racism. Others disagree.

There was a comment: Martin C Ezeonu “Lol… I don’t like Trump cuz he is an asshole. On the other hand we know exactly where there country stands now because of him. This country is still racist as hell. these past years nobody addressed is just politicians smartly covering it up. But now to move forward something has to give. And I like that. Let people stop being deceived. Don’t care if he is racist or not I like the fact that he is not a politician and couldn’t play the game. That’s why both parties want him out.”

Mr. Ezeonu is from Nigeria. He might have little in common with most African Americans, other that his skin tone. That is all many people see. People fail to appreciate the amazing diversity in today’s African America. In the comments, Mr. Exeonu was called an idiot, mentally ill, and many other things. Not agreeing with a national consensus is dangerous.

Mr. Trump has numerous problems. In the list of six things, we see authoritarian tendencies, and ethical shortcomings. Many feel the Democrats made a mistake by screaming racist, instead of focusing on his shady business practices. Many white people were alienated by this campaign tactic. After the Trump victory, many black people feel alienated by his election. The race situation gets worse and worse. Saying that Donald Trump is a racist does not help.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

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One of the touted TED talks in the weekly email is Color blind or color brave? It is by Mellody Hobson, a POC in the investment business. It is the standard call to talk more about race. Talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. The word listen is not used.

At the 3:13 mark, Mrs. Hobson makes a remarkable statement. “Now I know there are people out there who will say that the election of Barack Obama meant that it was the end of racial discrimination for all eternity, right?” (Yes, this is a TED talk.) It is possible that someone has said that. There are also people who say the earth is flat.

PG asked Mr. Google about this. The top two results are about the TED talk. The third result is an article in Forbes magazine, Racism In America Is Over. It is written by John McWhorter, one of the “black guys at Bloggingheads.tv.” Dr. McWhorter does say racism is over, sort of. The problems that remain are a lot worse. Too much food for thought, for a population with intellectual bulimia.

There is a quote in the Forbes article that is pure gold.
“When decrying racism opens no door and teaches no skill, it becomes a schoolroom tattletale affair. It is unworthy of all of us: “He’s just a racist” intoned like “nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!””
There are a lot more results. PG is getting tired of looking. If you want to see for yourself, google “the election of Barack Obama meant that it was the end of racial discrimination for all eternity.” Except for a rogue title editor at Forbes, almost nobody has said that. This is a repost. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Cross Keys

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on August 15, 2019


Mr. Bear “Speaking of obscure, do you remember the location of a restaurant downtown called the “Crosskeys”. There’s a photo of it in the Georgia State Library archives, but no notation of its location other than it appears to be near a big Gulf Oil lighted sign.” chamblee54 “I have seen that picture. There is a historic brass marker near Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry. Apparently there was some kind of trail crossing there called Cross Keys. Full disclosure: I went to Cross Keys High School. Nobody ever talked about what Cross Keys was. Google is not much help, except for an 1862 Battle of Cross Keys in Virginia.”

Some helpful person sent a couple of links, and soon PG was learning about Cross Keys… the militia district, not the school. Apparently, Cross Keys was centered around the intersection of Ashford Dunwoody and Johnson Ferry. The crossroads is a doozy… the two major thoroughfare are combined into a hundred yard stretch of asphalt, only to be separated again at an overworked red light. Both roads run between Peachtree and I285. One goes through pill hill, and the other leads to Perimeter Mall. None of this was going on when the Post Office was built in 1846.

“Historical records provide that the militia district of “Cross Keys” was established in 1827 and continued to be referenced as such at least as late as 1951. Prior to 1827 the only Federal post in the region was known as “Cross Keys,” and subsequently, “Old Cross Keys,” when the post moved to near current City of Chamblee just prior to Sherman’s March. … The area was increasingly settled by farming families during the first quarter of the 19th century. As land concessions were signed with the Creek (Muscogee) Nation between 1818 and 1821 more land was made available via grants to European settlers. While the mascots and symbols of “Indians” at Cross Keys High School are culturally inaccurate and reflect garb and headdresses of nomadic tribes of the mid and far west, it is a fitting and ironic tribute to the Muscogee Native Americans who long thrived on the same land…. The area remained primarily an agricultural community until the acquisition by the United States Army of a large tract of land in heart of the district in July of 1917. This tract became Camp Gordon, an infantry training and artillery cantonment. Part of that original 2,400 acres later became a Naval Air Station at the current site of Peachtree-DeKalb Airport.”

“There was a Cross Keys post office as early as 1846, when the postmaster was James A. Reeve.” A marker at Johnson Ferry and Ashford Dunwoody Road in Brookhaven gives this history for Old Cross Keys: “Ante-bellum crossroads settlement & post office, James Reeve (1792-1852) Post Master & merchant. Prior to 1864 the Post Office was removed to a point between Chamblee and Doraville where, name unchanged it was known as Cross Keys Post Office. To distinguish the one from the other, this place was called Old Cross Keys & was cited in Federal dispatches, maps & reports of military operations here in 1864. At this point, a brief contact was made between the marching columns of Dodge’s 16th and Schofield’s 23rd A.C. July 18, both enroute to Decatur from Chattahoochee River crossings.”

“Samuel House was one of the early settlers of this area, arriving in 1830. In 1850, he built a brick home that is now part of the Peachtree Golf Club. General Sherman spent the night at the home on July 18, 1864 and described it as “a brick house well known and near old Cross Keys.” … The name Cross Keys is referenced in Civil War records. Special orders from General James McPherson on July 16, 1864 instructs “The fifteenth Army Corps, Major General John A. Logan commanding, will move out from its present position at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow on the road leading to Cross Keys, following this road to a point near Providence Church, where he will take a left hand road (sometimes called the upper Decatur road, and proceed on this until he reaches Nancy’s creek, where he will take up a good position on each side of the road and go into bivouac.”

Major General William T. Sherman also issued orders on July 18. At the 15:00 mark of this lecture, the speaker quotes a dispatch to Gen. James Birdseye McPherson. “I am at Sam House’s, a brick house well known, and near old Cross Keys … a sick negro is the only human being left on the premises … we are eleven miles from Atlanta, five from Buckhead, and the signboard says ten miles to McCaffrey’s bridge and eleven to Roswell.” Four days later, Gen. McPherson was killed, in what is now East Atlanta Village.

There is little indication about why this area was called Cross Keys. In 1827, this was the middle on nowhere. “The symbol of the “crossed keys” itself traces to early Christian representations of the “keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth” famously offered by Jesus to Peter according to Matthew 16:19.” The phrase Cross Keys does not appear in the verse.

No one seems to know much about the Cross Keys restaurant. The GSU picture is dated November 8, 1951. A postcard gives the address as 237 Peachtree Street, and has the address of a CKR in Nashville. The Nashville restaurant is mentioned in a WSB-TV film from May 13, 1963. “… African American students protest segregation at two restaurants in town. … a white doorman outside the Cross Keys Restaurant. African American students march on the sidewalk … where police forcefully push the demonstrators away and let white people through the crowds.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Two articles were quoted in this post: Going way back to Cross Keys. Every few years I tell story of name, ‘Cross Keys,’ so our community doesn’t forget. The second story has a comment by Mr. Bear.

She Always Carries Jonquils

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on August 14, 2019






PG found Archival Atlanta: Electric Street Dummies, the Great Stonehenge Explosion, Nerve Tonics, and Bovine Laws : Forgotten Facts and Well-Kept Secrets from Our City’s Past at the Chamblee library. There are always more stories to be heard. This repost has pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. It is written like Margaret Mitchell.

In the 1840s, the Western and Atlantic railroad wanted to hook up with the Central of Georgia railroad. The spot for the meeting was called Terminus. One idea was to name the town for William Lumpkin, a former Georgia Governor and a railroad executive. Lumpkinville sounded bad in the mouth, and the new town was named “Marthasville”, after the daughter of the Governor. (Martha is buried in Oakland Cemetery.) Few people liked this name, and someone decided that the feminine form of Atlantic was Atlanta. Unlike the state flag, this is unlikely to change.

The new town prospered, and recovered from the unpleasantness of 1864. In 1875, there was a problem with stray cows. The answer was the “1875 Cow Ordinance”. The law required that cows be kept in a pen at night. A fine of two dollars was assessed for every stray cow that was caught.

About this time, there were a few very busy railroad tracks going through downtown. People were getting tired of waiting for the trains to go through. One by one, viaducts were built over the tracks, creating a forgotten ground floor. This was built up into Underground Atlanta in the sixties, which was red hot for a while, then cooled off, and is now so so.

In 1897, J.W. Alexander was the first person in town to own a “horseless carriage”. One day, he decided to take a ride to East Point. A mule objected, and kicked man and machine into a ditch.

It is a rule that all history books about Atlanta have to discuss Coca Cola and Gone With The Wind. There are only so many stories to go around. This book tells of an Alpharetta farmer who bought the Tara set from MGM. He stored in a barn, the location of which was a secret. Betty Talmadge wanted to buy it, and the price went from $375k to $5k. After a while, the sale was finalized. There was only one problem…the farmer died, and never told anyone where the barn was. Mrs. Talmadge got the money from her husband’s overcoat, went to Alpharetta, and found the barn. The set was moved into another secret location, where it was in 1996, when Archival Atlanta was published, at an undisclosed local location.

Sam and William Venable owned Stone Mountain, and had a quarry there. (The Ku Klux Klan held meetings on the mountain.) (The spell check suggestion for Ku Klux is Kook Klutz.) Sam built a large granite house at 1410 Ponce de Leon Avenue, and stocked it with ammunition. He thought a race war was on the way, and wanted to be prepared. One night, a chimney overheated. The roof caught on fire. The explosives in the attic exploded, and took the roof off. The house was repaired, Mr. Venable died, and the house became part of a Lutheran church.

One of the few ante bellum houses in Atlanta is near Grant Park. It was once owned by Lemuel Grant, who donated the land for the park. He stays in a large marble house in Oakland Cemetery now. The Grant Park house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John Marsh, in partnership with Boyd Eugene Taylor. After the death of Mrs. Marsh (also known as Margaret Mitchell), she was known to visit the house.
“Margaret just wanders through the house, looking things over. She never talks, and she always carries jonquils. The first night she came I was very shocked. I went out to her grave at Oakland Cemetery the next day. I’d never been to the house before. But I was almost certain of what I’d find. The plot is covered by a bed of jonquils.”






August 4

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on August 4, 2019


August 4 is just another day. Summer is roughly halfway over, if you talk about the time between the solstice and the equinox. Schools are starting, and football teams are tackling, so autumn is not far away. One advertising medium says August 4 is National Friendship Day, National Sisters Day, National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, National Family Day, and National Coast Guard Day.

A few interesting people were born on August 4. 1792 – Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1821 – Louis Vuitton, 1901 – Louis Armstrong, 1961 – Barack Obama, 1971 – Jeff Gordon.

Important events took place on August 4. Wikipedia will be quoted, with a few tasteful edits. 1693 – “Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention of champagne.” 1892 – “The father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden are found murdered in their Fall River, MA, home.” 1914 – “In response to the German invasion of Belgium, the British Empire declares war on Germany.” 1944 – “A tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to an area in Amsterdam, where they arrest Anne Frank.” 1964 – “Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are found dead in Mississippi after disappearing on June 21.” 1964 – “U.S. destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy report coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.”

On August 4, 1964, I spent the day with my Grandmother. Her favorite soap opera, “As The World Turns,” was interrupted by a news bulletin announcing the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Later that day, we walked to the clubhouse of the Piedmont Park golf course. A friend of Gran’s worked there. The golf course lady could not wait to tell me that she did not like the Beatles. “If the Beatles were playing, for free, across the street, I would not waste the energy to walk over there and see them.”

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

Richards

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Music by chamblee54 on August 2, 2019

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A comment at a recent post mentioned “Jenning’s Rose Room, a classic poor white juke and dance hall … where Trader Joes now sits.” PG had been in that building when it was called Richards. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

There is no telling what the original use of the building at 931 Monroe Drive was. It was across the street from Grady Stadium, and adjacent to Piedmont Park. The railroad tracks that became the beltline ran behind it. The parking lot was primitive, with a marquee sign built at some point. (PG drove by that sign several nights and saw that Lynyrd Skynyrd was playing.)

There was another nightclub building on the hill behind JRR. One night, PG went to see a jazz band there, accompanied by someone who lived in a nearby house. After seeing the band, PG was led to a horse stable behind the bar. The horses were not well maintained … you could see the ribs sticking out. There is a story of a goat getting loose from the stable, and being chased out of the jazz bar during happy hour.

Jennings Rose Room was before PG’s time. There is a story that some men had lunch there, and made a bet. The idea was to hit a golf ball from the JRR parking lot, and putt it into a hole at Piedmont Park. A biscuit was used as a tee. The first shot went across the street, onto the field at the stadium. Eventually, the ball was hit across Tenth Street, onto a green, and into the cup.

At some point, Jennings Rose Room closed. A gay club called Chuck’s Rathskeller was opened in that location. A rock and roll club or two did business there. Then Richards opened.

The first time PG was in the house was after a Johnny Winter concert at the Fox. There were rumors of visiting musicians dropping by Richards to play after their shows. Mr. Winter was only onstage for a couple of minutes after PG got there.

The most memorable trip to Richards was during the summer of 1973. The headliner was Rory Gallagher, who was ok but not spectacular. The opening act was Sopwith Camel, one of the forgotten bands of the seventies. They performed a novelty hit, “Hello Hello”. Someone in the audience liked it, and paid them to do it again. The band wound up doing “Hello Hello” five times, and said that was the most money they made in a long time.

Average White Band was making the rounds that fall, and had a show at Richards. A lot of the audience was black, and they hit the dance floor in unison when “Pick up the Pieces” was played. Fellow Scotsman Alex Harvey was in town, and joined AWB to sing “I heard it through the grapevine”.

Muddy Waters played at Richards one night. The band did most of the playing, with Mr. Waters tossing in a few licks on bottleneck guitar. He might have sang a couple of times.

About this time, Iggy Pop played a few shows at Richards. One night, someone snuck up on him, and gave him a hug. It was Elton John, wearing a gorilla suit.

PG saw three more shows (that he can remember) at Richards. Richie Havens was worth the two dollar admission. Soft Machine played in the winter of 1974. Larry Coryell played a show that summer, with the Mike Greene Band opening. PG got to talk to Mike Greene that night. The National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (who do the Grammy Awards) had a President named C. Michael Greene at one time. PG thinks this is the person he talked to that night.

Two friends of PG went, as their first date, to see Spirit at Richards. They were married a few years later. Towards the end of 1974, Richards was running out of steam. They advertised a New Years Eve show starring B.B. King, and sold high priced tickets. When the crowd showed up for the show, they found the doors locked. Richards had closed.

The next tenant for 931 Monroe Drive was going to be Cabaret After Dark, a gay club. There was a fire the night before the grand opening. The building was never used again. Eventually, a shopping center was built on the site.
UPDATE: Here is an article, from the Great Speckled Bird, about Richards. The 010975 edition of the Bird had an article about Richards closing. This is a repost.

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The B-52s

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on July 23, 2019








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There used to be a chinese restaurant, on the Atlanta Highway, called Hunan House. One night, a few people shared a flaming volcano, and formed a band. The b52s played their first show at a valentines day party in 1977. They were named for a bouffant hairstyle.

The b52’s were Ricky Wilson, his sister Cindy, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider III, and Keith Strickland. The Wilsons and Mr. Strickland were from Athens. Miss Pierson and Mr. Schneider were from New Jersey. Planet Claire was the ancestral home.

Fred had lived in Atlanta before he moved to Athens. He stayed in an apartment on Monroe Drive, across from S&M clutch and brake company. PG knew some of his neighbors, and once rested his feet on a rug, formerly owned by Fred Schneider.

Somebody had connections, and The b52’s were playing shows in New York before long. They released a 45 on db records, “Rock Lobster” and “52 girls”. The first of the girls mentioned…there are only 23 named…is Effie. There was a famous whorehouse in Athens named Effies.

One night, they played a show at the Big Dipper, on Ponce de Leon Avenue. The Big Dipper was a former Maryland Fried Chicken, and is now something else. After the show, either Kate or Cindy was in the parking lot, talking to a local character named Beulah. As was his way, Beulah was talking about Mick Jagger this, Mick Jagger that. Finally, Kate had enough. “Fuck Mick Jagger. One day Mick Jagger will come see me, me, me.”

The b52’s were a fun band. Ricky had an unusual style on guitar, and Kate played a farfisa organ. The girls always wore big hair wigs. Fred was somewhere up front singing.

On Labor Day, 1978, PG saw the b52’s in Piedmont Park. There was a third girl that day, Wendy, who wore an inflatable beach float, and danced. The only songs PG is sure they did were “Downtown” and “Rock Lobster”. A few months later, PG saw the b52’s at the Agora ballroom. The Brains opened.

Sometime in late 1979, the eponymous first album came out. It became a hit, with dance clubs all over playing “Planet Claire”, “Dance this mess around”, and “6060-842”. In the summer of 1980, PG talked with a former Athenian in a hostel in Cannon Beach, Oregon. He mentioned that Cindy was the only heterosexual in the band.

The years went by, and more albums were released. On October 12, 1985, Ricky Wilson died of AIDS. He is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery, behind Sanford Stadium in Athens. He sold bus tickets at the Greyhound station in downtown Athens before he hit the bigtime.

The band continues to this day. At some point, “Love Shack” was released, and became a hit. It is probably the best known b52’s song today. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Blue Tail Fly

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Music by chamblee54 on July 20, 2019

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Q: What does “Jimmy crack corn” mean, and why does he not care?—Matt, Columbus, Ohio

PG was trolling stupidquestion.net when there was a convergence of stupidity. (The site does not exist in 2012.) All his life he had heard “Blue Tail Fly”, and been embarrassed. And there, in (pardon the expression) black and white, was someone who wondered the same thing.

It seems as though “Blue Tail Fly” started out as a minstrel song. For those who don’t know, minstrel shows were white people putting on black makeup, and imitating African Americans. Minstrel shows are not well thought of these days.

The story of BTF involves a man named Jimmy. A fly bit the pony the old massa was riding, the pony was offended, and threw the old massa off. He was hurt landing, and died. Jimmy still has to crack corn, but he doesn’t care, because old massa has gone away.

Dave Barry took a poll once to find out the stupidest song of all time. The overwhelming winner/loser was “MacArthur Park”. The combination of over the top show stopping, while singing about a cake left out in the rain, makes this ditty a duh classic.

In the spirit of corny convergence, the video is a karaoke version featuring Donna Summer. Miss Summer is a talented singer, who happened to connect with Giorgio Moroder. Lots of singers could have hit the big time by fronting those records. Donna Summer hit the jackpot.

For a proper post, there needs to be a third stupid song. This is not about stupid bands, singing about being D U M B. Even though they totally don’t belong, there is a video of the Ramones included. PG saw the Ramones at the Agora Ballroom in 1983. This was after their prime, and before a homeless man caught the Ballroom on fire.

We still need a third stupid song, and PG wants to get this posted with as little research as possible. Just like some writer was once given twenty minutes to write a song, and he decided to do the worst song he could think of. The result was “Wild Thing”. PG used to have a 45 of someone who sounded like Bobby Kennedy singing “Wild Thing”. This video (of the Troggs performing “Wild Thing”) has the late Casey Kasem, and Portuguese subtitles. Let the good times roll.

These four hundred and twenty hastily chosen words are a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. This was downtown Atlanta in 1941.


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Monroe Drive Or Boulevard

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive by chamblee54 on July 18, 2019

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It is an Atlanta cliche. Boulevard turns into Monroe Drive because one was black, and the other white. The white people did not want to live on a street with the same name as the black neighborhood. You hear this all the time, with very little explanation. It is plausible. At one time, Ponce de Leon Avenue was a dividing line between the white, and black, neighborhoods. There are, however, a few questions about this name change business. This is a repost.

In the space between I-85 and Dekalb County, there are four streets that change names when they cross Ponce De Leon Avenue. These are Juniper/Courtland, Charles Allen/Parkway, Monroe/Boulevard, and Briarcliff/Moreland. Several streets cross Ponce without changing names, including Spring Street, Peachtree Street, Piedmont Avenue, and North Highland Avenue.

Four thoroughfares are affected by the Ponce rebranding. Juniper/Courtland is mostly commercial, at least south of Ponce. Briarcliff/Moreland is mostly white until you get to the railroad tracks south of Little Five Points. When Moreland Avenue goes under the MARTA line, the neighborhood is Reynoldstown….which was not named for Burt Reynolds.

Charles Allen/Parkway does change from white to black at Ponce. The street name then changes to Jackson Street, the original name, at Highland Avenue. Monroe/Boulevard, one block east of Charles Allen/Parkway, also goes from white to black at Ponce. However, when you cross the railroad tracks, Boulevard goes through Cabbagetown, a white neighborhood. Boulevard residents change color several times before the road dead ends at the Federal Prison. Oakland Cemetery, and Zoo Atlanta, do not play a role in this drama.

If this litany of street names is boring, it is all right to skip over the text. The pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
Roads change names all over the metro area, for a variety of reasons. In the area between Ponce De Leon Avenue and I 20, there are roads that change at railroad tracks (North Highland/Highland, Krog/Estoria.) Others change at Highland Avenue (Parkway/Jackson, Glen Iris/Randolph) or Decatur Street (Hilliard/Grant, Bell/Hill.) Some of these changes are racially motivated, while others are not. Some make sense, while most do not.

No one seems to know when this Monroe/Boulevard thing happened. An 1892 “Bird’s eye view” shows Boulevard sailing off into the horizon, past a racetrack in today’s Piedmont Park. A 1911 map shows Boulevard starting near “L.P. Grant Park,” and sailing past Ponce up to Piedmont Park. A 1940 map shows Boulevard going past Park Drive, only to turn into Monroe Drive at Montgomery Ferry Road. Finally, a 1969 map of “Negro Residential Areas” shows Monroe Drive changing into Boulevard at Ponce De Leon Avenue, like it is today. Boulevard is a stand alone street name at all times.

If anyone knows about this name change business, please leave a comment. It would be interesting to know when these changes were made, and what government agency made them. Google has not been helpful, except for pointing the way to several map collections.

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Babe, Hank, Barry, And Joe

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on July 16, 2019







In 2007, Barry Bonds was about to break the lifetime record for home runs. Folks said the record was tainted because of steroid use, and because Mr. Bonds was not a nice man. There were calls for an asterisk in the record book. This was odd to PG, who was in Georgia when Hank Aaron broke the home run record in 1974. Back then, the line was that Babe Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron. A lot of hateful things were said about Mr. Aaron before home run 714.

PG decided to take a look at the metrics. This post is the result. As a bonus to the reader(s), Joe Torre and Hank Aaron gets a summer rerun. It is based on a column by Furman Bisher, who went to the press box in the sky March 18, 2012. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

There is a certain controversy these days about the eminent breaking of the lifetime home run record. Currently held by Hank Aaron, the record is threatened by Barry Bonds. Before Mr. Aaron held the title, Babe Ruth was the owner.

Controversy about the lifetime home run record is nothing new. In 1974, when Hank Aaron was about to break the record, the admirers of Babe Ruth said that Mr. Ruth had fewer at bats than Mr. Aaron did. Many attributed this criticism to racism, with a black man besting a white man’s record. The current controversy is two fold. There are allegations that Mr. Bonds took steroids to make him stronger, and that he “cheated”. There are also concerns about the personality of Mr. Bonds.

PG does not think steroid use is a big deal. Ballplayers are abusing their bodies to perform, and if they take the risk of using steroids, that is their business. Many people disagree.

A good question to ask is, would Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have used steroids if they had the chance? Mr. Ruth was a wildman, who drank during prohibition, and was known for undisciplined behavior. Mr. Aaron played in an era where steroid use was not as common as it is today. The answer to the first question is (Mr. Ruth) probably and (Mr. Aaron) who knows.

While you are keeping hypocrisy statistics, Mr. Aaron and Mr. Bonds played on television, where beer commercials were constant. While alcohol is *now* legal, it is a very damaging drug. Any ballplayer who plays on television promotes its use. This is both steroid users, and non users.

As for personalities, there is the widely circulated story about the college team that Mr. Bonds played on voting 22-3 to kick him off the team. At the very least, he does not charm sportswriters.

In 1917, Babe Ruth was suspended for hitting an umpire. He was known for his outlandish behavior throughout his career. It should also be noted that he played in an era when the press did not scrutinize the behavior of players. How would today’s media treat Babe Ruth?

PG once heard a radio show caller say that Hank Aaron was a mean racist, who would just as soon cut your throat as look at you. He had never heard this said out loud before, but had heard hints about Mr. Aaron’s personality over the years. People who achieve great things are not always friendly.

Mr. Aaron is the only one of the three that PG met, however briefly. In July of 1965, the Milwaukee Braves came to Atlanta to play an exhibition game in Atlanta Stadium. After the game, PG was allowed to wait outside the clubhouse, to get autographs from the players as they left. Joe Torre saw the crowd, hid behind a truck, and made a quick getaway. Hank Aaron came out, patiently signing every autograph, while smoking a cigarette.

The fact is, all three men played in different eras. Babe Ruth never played at night, never flew to California, and only played against white players…many of the most talented players of his era were in the Negro League. Hank Aaron played before free agency, interleague play, the DH, and widespread use of steroids. The only way to determine who is the home run champion is to count how many homers are hit, and award the prize to the man who hits the most.

Which of the three made the most money? Barry Bonds, by a wide margin. He played in the free agent era. Babe Ruth had the best line about his salary. In 1930 Ruth was asked by a reporter what he thought of his yearly salary of $80,000 being more than President Hoover’s $75,000. He replied “yea, but I had a better year than he did.”

Who played on the most teams to win a World Series? Babe Ruth 7, Hank Aaron 1, Barry Bonds 0.

The career of Babe Ruth was a long time ago. He made a greater impact on America that the other two combined. He was one of the first sports superstars, as America emerged from the carnage of World War One. Mr. Ruth broke the single season home run record, he hit 29 homers. The next year, he hit 54. There is a possibility of a livelier baseball.

Babe Ruth captured the imagination of America like few personalities ever have. Playing in New York (which dominated the press) did not hurt. He was a man of his times…it is unlikely than anyone could have that kind of impact on today’s superstar saturated America. While his record has been broken, his place in the history of baseball is the same.

UPDATE: As of July, 2016, the lifetime home run leaders were: Barry Bonds, 762, Hank Aaron, 755, Babe Ruth, 714, Alex Rodriguez, 696. Mr. Rodriguez is said to have used steroids.







Furman Bisher has a piece at the fishwrapper site about Joe Torre. (The link no longer works.) The punch line is that Mr. Torre “grew up” when the Braves traded him to St. Louis. PG was a kid when this was going on, and did not hear a lot of what went on.

In 1965, the Braves played a lame duck year in Milwaukee before moving to Atlanta. One night, there was an exhibition game at Atlanta Stadium, the Braves against the Yankees. PG got his oh so patient dad to take him to the clubhouse after the game, to get autographs. In those days, you could go into the bowels of the stadium and wait outside the locker room. Hank Aaron signed dozens of autographs while smoking a cigarette. Joe Torre came out, hid behind a truck, and took off running.

Mr. Torre was a raccoon eyed catcher for the Braves. In the first regular season game in 1966, he hit two home runs, in a thirteen inning loss. Soon, the novelty of big league baseball in a toilet shaped stadium wore off. Mr. Torre got at least one DUI, and a reputation as a barroom brawler. He was traded to St. Louis in 1968. Mr. Torre hit .373, and won the national league MVP in 1971.

The comments to the feature by Furman Bisher were interesting. Cecil 34 contributes
“The reason that Torre was traded is because on the team’s charter flight back to Atlanta back in 68, a drunken Torre got into a fistfight with Aaron. Aaron popped off to Torre, and thus the fight was on, broken up by the other players. Since Aaron was the face of the franchise at the time, Torre was traded. There had been bad blood between them for years before this incident anyway. Reasons vary. But the final nail in the coffin was this fistfight. I was told Torre could pack a punch and Aaron came out on the worse end of it.”
There has been whispering for years about Hank Aaron and his attitude. Furman Bisher made hints once or twice, but there was never anything of substance. It seems that Mr. Aaron does not lack for self confidence. Mr. Aaron was the subject of much racially based abuse while chasing the home run record in 1973, and some anger is justified.

Hank Aaron was known to not get along with Rico Carty. Mr. Carty is a dark skinned man from the Dominican Republic, who was popular with fans. Mr. Carty was eventually traded. Rico Carty had a barbecue restaurant on Peachtree Road in Chamblee, next door to the Park and Shop.

Joe Torre was the manager of the Braves in the early eighties. The team won a divisional title in 1982, but lost the NLCS. This was after Ted Turner bought the team. Mr. Turner fired Mr. Torre in 1984.

Getting back to the comment thread, Misterwax contributes
“Turner cut Joe Torre loose because Ted was in love with Henry Aaron and Aaron thought Joe Torre was a white supremacist….A hangover from the clubhouse days when they were teammates…still does today. And THAT is the only reason he was cut…because Hank Aaron said so.”
Hank Aaron was recently quoted on Barry Bonds and Steroids. Joe Torre retired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. He won four World Series as manager of the New York Yankees. Furman Bisher outlived Bear Bryant by 26 years, passing away March 18, 2012. Selah.






Paula Deen Six Years Later

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 29, 2019

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Six years ago, the media racism carnival centered around Paula Deen. A disgruntled former employee was shaking down the celebrity. The DFE, who was white, claimed racial discrimination. Many say the DFE was exploiting the oppression of black people for personal gain.

A few things have happened since this story was published. These three links tell part of the story. Race-based claims thrown out in Paula Deen lawsuit, Paula Deen lawsuit appears to be over; settlement a possibility, Paula Deen closes restaurant at center of harassment lawsuit.

This story is a repost. Some of the links in this story no longer work. The link to Deposition of plaintiff Lisa T. Jackson vs. Paula Deen Enterprises, etc. does work. Pages 15 and 153 are interesting. On page 267, Lisa Jackson says that Jim Crow is a singer.

The New York Times did it’s liberal media duty Saturday with a story about Savannah, and the Paula Deen controversy. There were three curious words in paragraph four. “The predicament that Ms. Deen finds herself in began when a former employee — a white woman who is now managing restaurants in Atlanta — filed a discrimination lawsuit in March 2012.”

This thing has seemed, er, fishy from the get go. The restaurant industry is full of disgruntled former employees, few of whom are paragons of virtue. DFE worked in a restaurant partially owned by a famous person. It is uncertain how active the famous person was in the day to day operation of the restaurant. DFE has a lawyer, who gets famous person to say embarrassing things in a deposition. Somehow, this deposition is leaked to National Enquirer. And now we learn that DFE is white.

Confirmation of the ethnicity of DFE is tough to come by. Few pictures are available. You have to ask Mr. Google repeated questions. A law industry blog called Huseby (spell check suggestion:Houseboy) has a good story on the matter, with a couple of links.

The attorney for the plaintiff, Matthew Billips, has a few issues.
“The case began with an “inflammatory letter seeking over a million dollars for forgo filing a lawsuit and allow Deen ‘a chance to salvage a brand that can continue to have value,’ ” Withers’ document said. (Tom Withers, attorney for Bubba Hiers, the brother of Paula Deen) In the motion to dismiss Billips, Withers quoted a tweet by Billips in which he said “suing Paula Deen is a hoot.” Withers also referred to a sexually laced tweet Billips directed at Deen “even more concerning.” In it, “Billips promises to symbolically undress and have sex with” Deen, Withers said. “Billips has posted sexually explicit tweets using extremely graphic and profane language and imagery. He has used the “N” word,” Withers’ motion said.”
Huseby links to an article in the ABA Journal that is downright fascinating. This feature confirms that Lisa Jackson, the DFE/plaintiff, is melanin deficient. The Deen-Hiers legal team has filed a motion, that is highly entertaining. Unfortunately, the pdf is not copy friendly, so the ABA summary will have to do. If you have the time to read the legal motion, you will enjoy it.

“The motion by lawyer Tom Withers says the plaintiff pursuing race-based claims has no standing to assert them because she is white, the Savannah Morning News reports. The plaintiff, Lisa Jackson, had claimed she was sexually harassed and worked in a racially hostile environment at a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother. Withers represents Deen’s brother and the restaurant.

According to the motion, Jackson claimed she was offended because her nieces “are bi-racial with an African-American father.” But the motion says there is just one niece, and she is related to Jackson’s partner, who said in a deposition that the niece’s father is Hispanic and she hasn’t seen the girl in years…. “Jackson cannot enforce someone else’s right, and she has no actionable claim for feeling ‘uncomfortable’ around discriminatory conduct directed at others … Jackson must show that any harassment was directed toward her because she was white, but at her deposition she alleged she was treated more favorably than African American employees at the restaurant.” (p.153)

Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Family Barber Shop

Posted in Book Reports, Georgia History, Library of Congress, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 27, 2019


PG was reveling in the slack glory of Georgia June, when his brother said he was ready to go to the Family Barber Shop, in downtown Chamblee. FBS in the basement, downstairs from the former Post Office. PG got dragged to FBS when he was a kid. It was always Saturday afternoon. The wait time was never under an hour. Everybody in the room was smoking. The only entertainment was a black and white TV, tuned in to “Wide World of Sports.”

When PG got to FBS, he dropped GP off, and went looking for a parking spot. GP made his way down the stairs, into the basement facility. There was a spot, under a shade tree, at the end of the driveway. There was a no parking sign in front of the space to the left, but not the one that PG occupied. Behind a fence, there were was about 4% of an acre, full of whatever weeds happened to be growing. A black cat appears, walks across a pile of wood chips, and vanishes in the weeds.

With a shady parking spot secured, the next order of business a book. PG was up to part 3, chapter 2, of On The Road. Sal drops in on Dean at 2 am. Dean’s wife, Camille, throws him out. Dean is confused. He is standing on a street, reading Eugene Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris.

The next day, Roy Johnson is driving Sal and Dean around. S&D go to Mill City, looking for an old friend. “A beautiful colored girl opened the door instead; Dean and I talked to her a great deal. Roy Johnson waited in the car, Eugene Sue’s Mysteries Of Paris.”

MOP turns up twice in four pages in the beat generation classic. Google has the standard amazon/goodreads chatter. The text is on gutenberg. MOP begins: “It was on a cold and rainy night, towards the end of October, 1838, that a tall and powerful man, with an old broad-brimmed straw hat upon his head, and clad in a blue cotton carter’s frock, which hung loosely over trousers of the same material, crossed the Pont au Change, and darted with a hasty step into the Cité, that labyrinth of obscure, narrow, and winding streets which extends from the Palais de Justice to Notre Dame.”

Before long, GP is coming back to the car, bringing with him the news that the Family Barber Shop was closing. It had been in business for over eighty years. The parking lot was a problem, and the rent was going up. The owners decided to take their clippers, and go elsewhere.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Russel Lee was the photographer, in July 1941. Baseball players and spectators stand at attention while Chief Justice Stone gives the oath of allegiance over the radio. Vale, Oregon Father with his two daughters on the merry-go-round, one of the carnival attractions at the Fourth of July celebrations The On The Road series is now complete. part one part two part three part four part five part six part seven