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Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Gum Story
So, this is how I know I'm my father's son.

This is...the gum story.

One evening I was going to see the Atlanta Hawks play at Philips Arena. As I walked towards the Arena, there was this dude standing the corner, handing out individually wrapped pieces of chewing gum - Doublemint. Promotional stuff. He gave me a heaping handful. Enough to fill both of my back pockets.

So, as I was leaving Arena, dude was still around, only this time he was in a parking lot, instead of on the corner. As I was walking up, I saw this other dude walking away from gum dude, carrying a box. I walked to him and said "I want a box, man." "I can't just give you a box.", he said, "But I'll sell you one."

I just happened to know exactly how much money I had - $27. And I DEFINITELY wasn't about to give this guy $20 for a box of gum. (There is never any change given for streetcorner transactions.) So I offered him $7. The deal was done.

And so, I was the proud owner of a brand new, unopened box of individually wrapped sticks of Doublemint. 2,500 sticks of Doublemint.

Can you imagine? Over two thousand pieces of gum? It was everywhere. It was in my car. It was at my job. My parents had it. My (now) in-laws had some. Everywhere.

That's about the end of the story. It took my collective family quite a while to chew through all that gum. I mean, this had to have been some time in 2003 at the latest, and I found a piece in the Cadillac when they towed it away back in January.

And THAT'S how I know I'm my father's son. I'm 100% sure he would have made the same deal as I, only HE would have gotten it for $5, or maybe even $2, and saved a few bucks.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Know what really grinds my gears? (Episode 2)
And while we're on the subject of laws, let's talk about Police Officers. Cops. Can't stand them.

I'm sure they have their moments, but as a rule, I'd prefer if none of my friends were also Cops (I DO have a friend or two who are Cops. Sigh.)

So, here's the clincher: I got a ticket a couple of weeks ago.
"For what?", you ask?
I'll tell you. Stopping in front of a firestation.
"What?", you say?
I know what comes next. "Did you like, stop your car and get out and walk away? Everyone knows not to do that."
No. I didn't stop my car and walk away. Traffic was a little heavy. Cars were backed up on the street I turned on to. There were some shops on the corner, and the firestation was next to that. I moved up in traffic, and stopped behind the car in front of me. Next thing I know, this police officer was on foot, waving us down. Crazy. A local ordinance. He wasn't nice or polite about it, either. Asshole.

And what really grinds my gears.

Know What I'm Sayin'?? I've been holding on to this one for a few weeks now, because I was so angry I didn't feel like discussing it.
Know what really grinds my gears? (Episode 1)
HOV Lanes. That's High Occupancy Vehicles.

Here in Atlanta, we have HOV lanes - lanes on the left side of the highway that "...are an integral part of the Georgia NAVIGATOR system, designed to help reduce air pollution, improve traffic congestion and ensure a substantial time savings for commuters who rideshare (two or more occupants per vehicle)."

That's fine. I support this. Sometimes I have a passenger in the car with me, more often than that, I don't.

Here's the rub: From the FAQ page,

Q. If my child is riding with me, does he/she count as a second passenger and qualify me to use the HOV lanes?

A. Yes.

Q. But having a child in the car doesn't get another car off the road.

A. True, but the fact of the matter is that the current designation of the lanes is HOV-2, and the number of passengers doesn't specify age.


If the goal of the HOV lane is to promote and encourage ridesharing, then it only makes sense to me that you should need to have at least two licensed drivers in the car. A soccer mom and her little goalie? Hell, the whole little league team. A new Mom and her newborn, on the way to the doctor for that 1-month checkup. Get over here in traffic and wait with the rest of us.

And what really grinds my gears.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
This is why I don't watch the news... addition to the fact that the news only reports negative stuff, and also in addition to the fact that on the important stuff, the news is always a day or two behind the newspaper, this is why I don't watch the news:

Last night, Mrs. Mau had a meeting, so I recorded 24. We watched it together after she got home. I had started the VCR (Yes, I still have a VCR) a little before 9, so it recorded some of the 10:00 news. One of the first stories talked about a shooting that happened at Stonecrest Mall, a few miles East of our home. I don't remember her exact words, and I don't feel like looking back at the tape, but the newslady said something to the effect of "Witnesses, who were here on the patio eating 25-cent shrimp, say blah blah blah..." I don't even know what the witnesses said, because we looked at each other and were like "What the hell do the 25-cent shrimp have to do with anything??" and why did she have to enunciate each syllable? Not "Twenny-Fi cent shrimp", but "Ta-wen-tee Five-a Cen-t Sha-rim-P".

...and THAT'S why I don't watch the news.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007
Turn around, and come back.
Atlanta is a city of pedestrians. This is a city of drivers. We may not have quite as much traffic as some of the heavy hitters like L.A. and D.C., but we're up there.

On top of standard everyday congestion due to pure volume, I'd say the biggest contributor to traffic woes is selfishness. Selfishness, and the resulting refusal to wait.

People here don't like to wait. They think that they are the most important person around, and so the world must revolve around them. Everyone else's comings and goings (and leavings and stayings) must come second in line to their own.

Let me get to the point. My plea to the drivers of Atlanta: Turn around, and come back.'re in the far right lane, and want to make a left? Don't stop in the middle of traffic, and force your way over. Turn around, and come back.

Oh. You saw that the left turning lane was virtually empty, and the lanes going straight were full and thick. You jumped in that turning lane, and rode all the way to the front. Don't try to jump back over to the right lane. I'm here, and I've sat in this lane and waited my turn. That's just plain rude. Make the left, and turn around, and come back.

You're cruising up I-85 in the left lane, at like 70 MPH. Oops. Here's your exit - way over there on the right. DON'T CROSS 4 LANES OF TRAFFIC, IDIOT! GET OFF ON THE NEXT EXIT, TURN AROUND, AND COME BACK. There have been signs for 2 miles telling you the exit was coming, so why didn't you take your time and get over? Never mind why. I don't care. What I do care about is that instead of just turning around and coming back, what do you do? You just stop in the middle of traffic, in the middle of morning rush hour, and...put your blinker on. Fat lot of good that's gonna do now. You can't move laterally across the highway. That's a quick way to cause ME to have a fit of road rage. And what that happens, to quote a famous man..."I will attack, and you don't want that."

For the life of me, I don't understand why I'm the only one that sees this. People are so self-absorbed that they don't care about everyone else. They refuse to "lose" the 3 minutes it would take them to just turn around, and come back. Nobody wants to LOSE. Nobody wants to WAIT. It's only a few minutes.

People...I'm begging here. Get over yourself. Plan a little further ahead in life than 2 feet. Read street signs. If you don't know where you're going, don't slow to 20 MPH while you figure it out. Pull to the side, and get yourself together. Use blinkers. Use mirrors. Adjust your seat so that you can see over the wheel. Better late, than never. You'll get there. Take the time to turn around and come back this time, and I guarantee that next time you'll know that exit or that turn is coming.

Take a breath. Don't waste my time. Turn around, and come back. It's okay.

Know What I'm Sayin'?? No? Then you're the one I'm talking about. It's you. Yup. You.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
People are Crazy
People are Crazy. With a capital "C".

So...17-year-old Crystal Brown spends weeks looking for her dog. After a fashion, someone leaves a giftwrapped package on the front step. According to the article, the package had batteries on top, and a note that said "Congratulations Crystal. This side up. Batteries included."

Inside the her dog's severed head. And some Valentines Day candy.

People are Crazy. Know What I'm Sayin'??
This is Where I Draw the Line
I've made no secret of the fact that I watch Spike TV.

That being said, I lost a little bit of respect for them recently.

They're hosting (and airing) a Major League Eating-endorsed St. Patrick's Day "Chowdown". Its a three-tiered bracket-style elimination eating tournament.

I'm aware that there is a small cadre of individuals in the United States that take competitive eating very seriously, but come on. This is just crappy TV, something that should be seen on ESPN Ocho along with the National Dodgeball Tournament. And I don't like it. Not one bit.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
A Worse Crime
So...I'm angling to pick a copy of Minister Faust's latest book, From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain. I'll share a review when I finally pick it up and get through it. One of the issues is that I'm having trouble finding it. None of the independent bookstores here in Atlanta that I've contacted carry it, and I'm going to have to order it; either through one of the bookstores, or from Amazon.

I hit Amazon, and I scan through the Editorial Reviews, and then I skip down to the Customer Reviews. That's when I see that you can comment on the Customer Reviews. I read the lone comment on one of the reviews and it said:
I just wasted an hour of my life but I was curious how many books she has reviewed from Feb 1 (she actually started on the 3rd) until today the 18th. A total of 167 in 16 days, 97 5s, 70 4's. Wow, I hope she is receiving these books for free!
Hhhhmmmmm...okay. Let me pull up the reviewer's profile. Let's see. It says "#1 Reviewer." I check to see exactly what this means. Turns out that Harriet Klausner, at least for right now, is the #1 Reviewer for ALL OF AMAZON. Not top 1%. Top 1. She has written over 13,000 reviews. That's Thirteen Thousand. For free! Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but Amazon doesn't pay for reviews. She has received over 83,000 "helpful" votes on her reviews. For a moment, forget about how many books she's read. Think about the amount of stuff she's written herself. 13,000 reviews, each about 300 words. This is above and beyond the reviews she gets paid for, because most publications don't like you to give out for free the stuff that they pay you for. That's...that's crazy. Get a life, Woman! Go outside! Take a walk!

Her self-blurb:
I was an acquisitions librarian in Pennsylvania
and wrote a monthy review column of recommended
reads. I found I liked reviewing and went on to
freelance after my son was born.

I have 2 dogs, a cairn and a pom, and four cats. Oh, I have a 21 year old son and a husband who wants to but is nowhere near retiring.

I am a speed reader( a gift I was born with) and read two books a day.

Sometimes, as I go through life, I come across people and I think "I can do that job. Probably better than that person." I think it would be a pretty cool job to be a Freelance Book Reviewer, but there's no way in hell I could read 2 books a day.

But then again, why would I want to? There's no joy in it. Half of the pleasure of reading lies in ruminating on the thoughts of the author. Marveling at the creativity it takes to write a good story.

This is really bothering me the more I think about it. If you're doing all of that speed reading, can you really enjoy what you read? Can you even enjoy reading? The newspaper? Shit, even a billboard? I'm sorry, but after I read two or three thousand books, I'd have to stop and maybe switch to movies for a few YEARS. I'd be tired of using my eyes. I GUARANTEE she wears glasses!

If I was an author, I wouldn't want my book to be one of 40 books you read in a given month, and that's IF you don't work weekends. I'd much rather my book be the only book you read in...a year. That would mean that you took your time with it. Savored it. This woman is...wasting books. I'll have to think about it more, but that may be a worse crime than not reading them at all.

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Monday, March 12, 2007
The Morning Papers - 3/12/2007 (Part 2)
Once again, I was at, and the overall picture of the front page struck me. Check it out:

Looks like a one-two punch of death and destruction. Pain and suffering.

  • A fire guts 4 homes
  • Huge accident halfway closes I-85
  • The whole bus thing with the students from Bluffton
  • An dead infant is found in a gym bag
  • There's an injured Brave
  • George Herbert Bush faints. Anyone else faints, and its not news at all.
  • Regis Philbin to have bypass surgery
  • I didn't even read why Snoop was detained in Sweden. I don't even want to know.
Make me wanna holla. And throw up both my hands.

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The Morning Papers - 3/12/2007
Woman Hospitalized From House Cat Attack - I think bigger than the attack is the underlying story about somebody being able to read the minds of cats.

The article states: "The cat, a black and white domestic male, went on the rampage Wednesday when a neighbor showed up at the door with a different cat, mistakenly thinking it belonged to the woman."
How the hell do YOU know what the cat what thinking?

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Not-So-Peaceful Rest (Part 2)

Well, on Saturday they placed James Brown in a crypt at the home of one his daughters in Beech Island, SC. It's probably not permanent, though.

I'm sorry, Man. I'm sorry.
True story.

So, I once had this dude working for me who I called Boogie. Like Boogie Wonderland? Right.

So one day, Boogie and I get to talking about dogs. Turns out we both want to eventually get dogs. He tells me that he wants to purchase a Boxer puppy, and I tell him that I'm looking into adopting. I ask him how much a Boxer puppy costs.

He tells me some obscene amount of money, and I come with "Naw, man. You don't need to spend all that money on a dog. You should adopt. You can look through the different Humane Societies around the state, and there are even probably Non-Profit Organizations whose missions are to rescue Boxers 'in need' and find them good homes. That's what you should do. Don't spend all that money. This way you'll be getting the dog you want and you'll also actually be saving a life."

Apparently, Boogie took what I said to heart, because one day a couple of weeks later he comes to me and he's like "I found one!" "What?" "I found a Boxer to adopt." It's up in North Georgia somewhere. I'm going pick it up in two weeks."

So, in two weeks, he goes to pick up the dog, and he comes back to work that Monday all excited. Named the dog "Jordan". Life is good, right?

Shortly after that, Boogie gets laid off. They really did him wrong, but that's not the story, here. The point is we keep in touch and we actually ended up having some mutual friends, but we don't communicate nearly as much as we used to.

One day, I see Boogie out in the streets. I ask him about the dog. I get this crazy story. It turns out that he went and got this Boxer puppy. Brought it home. Got attached to it. Jordan starts growing and getting bigger and bigger. Stronger and stronger. Starts coming into his own. Growing into his huge feet and what-not.

Turns out that Jordan wasn't a Boxer at all. Boogie had adopted a Pit Bull! Crazy, right?

Boogie actually lives down the street from a good friend of mine, and I used to see him when I visited. It's been a while, though. I once saw him walking the dog. Or rather, the dog was walking him. Dragging him down the street! Boogie is not a small dude. He's like 6'1'' or 6'2'' or so. At least 220. This Pit Bull dragging him down the street. I felt so bad that I had convinced him to adopt, and he didn't end up with what he wanted!

I've seen him a few times since those days, and I'm sure I've apologized to him, but I'd like to say it again here. In this forum.

I'm sorry, Boogie. I'm sorry.

True story!

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Monday, March 05, 2007
A City of Stick-in-the-Muds
Check out this article.

Short version: There's a city just outside of Atlanta called Lilburn, GA. Apparently the powers that be in Lilburn have come to the conclusion that alcohol causes crime, and the only appropriate time to have alcohol in public is with a proper meal.

According to Mayor of Lilburn Jack Bolton, "We don't want to have dance clubs, party clubs or bars."

  • Liquor licenses are only granted to establishments in which 50% of sales comes from food.
  • The following activities are BANNED in establishments that serve alcohol: card games, pool, video games, trivia games, and...get this...karaoke.
The madness is not restricted to Lilburn. The city of Forest Park, GA gives out tickets for starting your car, and going back inside while it warms up.

This is just plain stupid. Don't these people have anything better to do?

Hello?!?! Is this thing on?!?!

Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm expecting too much of people. Too much of the world around me. I'm worried about how poorly Georgia's students are being trained, and these people are waging war against karaoke and warm cars. This is just disgusting. EVERY DAY there is all this silliness in the news.

Like this. Oh, so instead of insisting that kids express themselves intelligently, let's help the adults take themselves down to their level.

Anna Nicole Smith. A spectacle. A coffin draped with a rhinestone-studded pink blanket?

Y'all remember the last scene in Higher Learning? Larry Fishbourne yelling "Wake Up! Wake Up!" I understand how the brother felt.

This started out as a simple amusing story about Lilburn, GA. Now look. I've sat here and gotten frustrated and gotten my pressure up.
Only in America: The Bobby Brown Edition (Part 2)
This stuff seems more suited for some crazy prime-time drama, or maybe a modern version of a Shakespearian tragicomedy, but "the plot thickens", as it were.

A few facts (At least, I think they are facts):
  • The radio station agreed to put up the money on Wednesday.
  • On Thursday, Bobby Brown's brother actually shows up at the courthouse with the money.
  • The radio station believes that the brother only showed up with the money because he was under the assumption that he would be reimbursed by the radio station.
  • By Friday morning, the deal is apparently off. By the way, Bobby Brown allegedly has no idea where the money came from.
  • Sounds like the Bobby and Hot 99.5 are two star-crossed, jilted lovers.
I'm tired of this. No more about Bobby Brown.

Sunday, March 04, 2007
Not-So-Peaceful Rest
Today is Sunday March 4, 2007.

James Brown passed away on Christmas Morning, 2006.

As of today, the man has STILL not been buried.

Come on, people!!

Know What I'm Sayin'??
So...on the heels of my brother's recent Confession, I offer my own:


I watch Power Rangers. I have been watching Power Rangers for a while now. I think it's a holdover from the days when I actually studied Karate, together with an appreciation for the campiness of it all. You know - campy like, like the "Charlie's Angels" movies. The movie appears to take itself seriously, but it's pretty funny at times to watch.

So...there you have it. I watch Power Rangers. It's quality probably doesn't quite match that of That's So Raven, but it's a cheap way to burn 30 minutes.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007
Only in America: The Bobby Brown Edition
  1. Bobby Brown is arrested in a Massachusetts High School while watching his daughter participate in a cheerleading competition for failure to pay child support and random court fees.
  2. Brown stews in jail for 3 days.
  3. Washington D.C. radio station Hot 99.5 FM ponies up the $19,150 he owes. Brown's art of the deal? "In exchange for the money, he agreed to be an employee of our radio station for one week," where he will discuss what he did wrong and how he could turn his life around, says Kane, host of "The Kane Show". He will be part of the morning radio show for five days, starting Monday, March 5th. He will also make public appearances for the radio station.

Only in America, I say. Only in America.

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How Kordell Stewart and Roy Jones Jr. Get Their Jollies
Repeat readers of mine will know that I watch Spike TV.

Another show on Spike is Pros vs. Joes. I've only watch a few too-long minutes of it, but this show is pretty sad.

Essentially, PvJ is a more sports-focused version of American Gladiators. Instead of Turbo and Nitro and Laser, you actually have professional athletes. The Joes compete against the Pros in their native sport.

The Joes
In the past, I believe the Joes have been...well, just random dudes that sent in their VHS tapes and were deemed TV-worthy. Weekend warriors, and tough guys. Probably police officers and firefighters. From the commercials I've seen this season (Season 2), they have included a few episodes where the Joes are more "themed". I know they've had Sportscasters on, and they've had Coaches on.

The Pros
This is where it gets a bit sad. The Pros are mix of people in their prime, and people wwaaaaaaaayy past their prime who maybe still work out, so they are in decent enough shape. The sad part is that between regular workouts, and the pure experience that the Pros have, they still out-class the Joes. What's more, they're tired of sitting at home and watching the games on TV instead of actually being there, and they feel they have something to prove.

This Season's Pros (yanked from Wikipedia):

Red Team

Purple Team

Green Team

Teal Team

Blue Team

Yellow Team

Unsorted have guys who figure they are "in_shape" and pretty much ready for anything versus guys who have competed on the professional level, and feel like working up a sweat for a change.

Can you imagine?
Sparring with Roy Jones Jr. for 3 minutes?
Getting put in a Leglock by an Ultimate Fighting Champion?
Standing there while a Major League Soccer Star launches soccer balls at your chest?
Challenging Spud Webb to a 3-Point shootout?
Blitzing Kordell Stewart, or keeping tackling Andre Rison?

Not to mention the Peanut Gallery...while Roy Jones Jr. beats on you, Kevin Willis and Eric Dickerson stand there and talk about how fast he is.

It all adds up to a sad, sad opportunity for the Pros to beat up on some scrubs. Meanwhile, the Joes love it! They get to meet their idols! They're so star struck they can barely fight back.

Just sad.

Don't watch it. You'd be better off getting "Best of American Gladiators" on DVD.

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