Scene & Herd - Lotsa different folks

And a single tomato

Last Friday, President Bush took time away from his busy vacation and exercise schedules to stop by the Chick-fil-A® Jones, oops, I mean Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center to talk about Medicare and Social Security. In attendance was a who's who of Georgia Republican office holders, including Gov. Sonny Perdue, U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, and several Republican House members.</
Speaking of Chick-fil-A®, the restaurant chain's poultry-pushin' founder, S. Truett Cathy, was seated right behind our Republican congresspeople. He was far away, but I think he may have been eating a No. 1 Value Size meal with a Diet Dr. Pepper. He was seated in front of someone who was dressed exactly like Queen Elizabeth II. I'm not kidding.</
Ralph Reed was there, too. He wasn't on stage. He was grippin' and grinnin' his way through the audience, promoting his effort to move from his current job as God's lieutenant-on-Earth to the less powerful post of lieutenant governor of Georgia.

The White House billed the event as a "Conversation on Senior Security." It wasn't much of a conversation, though. All the speakers on stage agreed with the president's policies. And opponents of his policies were invariably characterized as political cowards. There wasn't even anyone in the audience who needed convincing. They were all Bush die-hards, as evidenced by the hearty laughter at stale jokes and the loud applause that followed Republican catchphrases like "strict constructionist" and "will not legislate from the bench." Calling the event a "Conversation on Senior Security" is like billing a pre-homecoming high school pep rally as a "Conversation on Secondary School Competitive Athletics."</
Speech-wise, the president was in pretty good form. He got through his remarks without much language-mangling. He did note that Georgia's budget surplus is "a sign of leadership" by Perdue, a remark that raises the question, "Then what does last year's $400 billion, and this year's $333 billion federal deficit say about your leadership, Mr. President?" Like I said, though, since it wasn't actually a conversation, the opportunity to ask that never arose.</
Other than the fun I had watching a middle-aged photographer from a local Christian magazine awkwardly (and unsuccessfully) hit on any attractive young woman who happened to be within leering-distance of the camera pit, the thing that sticks out in my memory of the event is how much it annoys me that the president refers to anyone and everyone as "folks." He used the word at least 10 times. The people from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce were "Chamber folks." People who volunteer to help seniors were "good folks." Islamic fundamentalist terrorists were "these folks who believe in a dark vision of the world." People who oppose his economic policies were described obliquely and negatively as "certain folks." Instead of Truett Cathy, he should have invited the guy who runs Folk's.

Bathroom Humor: Until Aug. 21, Fernbank Museum of Natural History is hosting a traveling exhibition on the ABCs of No. 1 and No. 2. The exhibition is called Grossology. It's a kid-tested, mother-approved show about all the exciting gasses, liquids and solids that human beings create. There are interactive displays for all of humanity's major expressions, including boogers, burps, ear wax, pee, farts and poop. There's a machine that makes farting noises, a burping machine, and a digestive-system "habitrail" that kids enter via the mouth and exit via the anus onto a poo-shaped brown mat.</
If forced to pick a favorite bodily function (from the Grossology exhibit, that is), I'd have to say urine. That's because the urine display includes my favorite Grossology fact (that "fresh urine" is, in fact, cleaner than your face) and because of the great computerized display of "Urine: The Game." My only criticism is that if museums are going to encourage people to play urine games, they should also encourage people to pick safe words before they start.</
America's Favorite Fruit: Those of who you didn't visit Stone Mountain Park's website on Saturday probably don't know that it was an important holiday. Sat., July 23, was in fact Tomato Day. I couldn't resist the opportunity to witness it, whatever it was, so I drove out there during the afternoon.

Tomato Day festivities were held on the grounds of the park's Antebellum Plantation (made up of buildings built before the Civil War and placed near Stone Mountain just prior to the Vietnam War). I expected to see information tables covered with different species of tomatoes and booth after booth of vendors selling tomato-based food. Instead, there was one small stand with a nearly empty basket of cherry tomatoes and a table nearby with, I kid you not, a single unripe heirloom tomato on it next to a stack of books. I was gonna complain, but decided against it. After all, they didn't call it Tomatoes Day. Instead, I just went and petted the goats on the plantation farm.</
Wacky Waikiki: On Saturday night, I stopped by Tiki Torch Night at Trader Vic's downtown. My intention was to celebrate my friend Pete's birthday. I did celebrate. But four years of writing this column has permanently altered my brain so that I can hardly leave the house for fun without trying to turn my activities into column-fodder. So I did that, too.</
Entertainment at Tiki Torch Night is directed at all the senses. For the nose, there's the all-pervasive smell of smoke from the restaurant's pig smoker (drive by with your car window open and you can smell it). For the eyes, there was the Dames Aflame burlesque troupe featuring the Southeast's top Simian-American performer, MonkeyZuma. For the ears, there was Tongo Hiti, a Polynesian-flavored pop band featuring Kingsized's Mike Geier. If you haven't heard their tiki-fied versions of Madonna's "Live to Tell" or Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," you're really missing out. Seriously, is there a better musical entertainer in this city than Geier? I jotted that question in my notes under the influence of strong Mai Tais (thank you, Bartender Joel). Even today, under sobriety's bright light, I still think there isn't.</
For more on Andisheh's adventures, visit Scene & Herd at andy2000.org.

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