Scene & Herd - Neal Boortz does good


August is a difficult month for local entertainment writers. It's not impossible to find good events, but there are fewer of them during August than any other month. I suppose I could have tried to cover Wallet, Thou Art Loosed (better known as MegaFest), but I figured that the event wouldn't have me back after what I wrote last year.

I did manage to spend some time near MegaFest on Saturday. I was on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive taking pictures of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition's Voting Rights Act-themed march. I heard that Stevie Wonder was participating in the event and I was really hoping to get a picture of him walking at the front of the march so that I could use the caption "Follow me, everybody," or "I think it's this way." Sadly, no such photo op materialized.

After the march, I headed to Duluth for a promotional appearance by former Creative Loafing columnist Neal Boortz (it's true, he wrote a column for CL when I moved to Atlanta in 1997). Boortz and co-author Congressman John Linder were at Chapter 11 autographing their new book, The Fair Tax Book.

I'm not a fan of Boortz's radio show on WSB-AM (750). I think he uses his undeniable talent as a broadcaster to misinform and mislead people. Nevertheless, with The Fair Tax Book, I think Boortz has managed to become the first conservative radio talk show host to write a book that's actually worth reading.

The book advocates replacing the income tax — and more importantly, the country's complex and corrupt tax code — with a 23 percent national retail sales tax. It's not this columnist's ideal solution (I'd prefer a simplified income tax that's still progressively indexed), but their solution would be superior to the current tax system. (If you dig Boortz's book, also check out David Cay Johnston's book, Perfectly Legal, which describes how the super-rich have manipulated the complexities of the current tax code to shift the bulk of the tax burden onto the rest of us.)

Wow, Scene & Herd discusses the U.S. tax code. August really is a slow month.

Neither Boortz nor Linder spent much time talking about the book. The line was really long, so they just uncapped their Sharpies and signed away. Boortz did manage to get in a dig at one of his competitors, though. He announced to the crowd that The Fair Tax Book would soon be available in audio form for WGST-AM (640) listeners who can't read.

Craft crafts: On the way home from Boortz-a-palooza, I stopped at the North Atlanta Trade Center in lovely Norcross for the Great Southern Boat Show. Attendance was pretty sparse. I suppose that a lot of people who are into boats actually spent Saturday in one.

Low attendance didn't bother me, though. It just gave me more time to spend with the show's friendly vendors like Kevin Miller. Miller is an account specialist with a local company called Cellulounger. Cellulounger makes tiny folding chairs designed as stylish resting places for your mobile phone. My telephone now has a more comfortable chair than I do.

I also had a great chat with a nice man named Dean Whitmire. Whitmire was at the show promoting a mold-fighting cleanser spray called Hold the Mold. Our conversation went something like this:

Whitmire: Hold the Mold takes the mold off of almost anything.

Me: How about bread?

Whitmire: It will.

Me: But you wouldn't want to eat it afterward.

Whitmire: Because Hold the Mold is made without bleach or other harmful ingredients, you could eat it afterward.

Oh, and there were boats there, too. I don't know the first thing about boats or boating (although I now possess a U.S. Coast Guard pamphlet that asks me to help Homeland Security by calling the cops every time I see someone photographing the underside of a bridge), but I did walk around some rather nice watercraft. My favorites were the Cobalts (slogan: "Compromise nothing."), the Chaparrals (slogan: "The ultimate advantage"), and the Bajas (slogan: "Speed changes everything," which I already knew since I read CL staff writer Alyssa Abkowitz's story a few weeks ago).

Go Smyrna: After Norcross, I two-eight-fived it over to Smyrna for a party. The city that gave us the sister of La Cucaracha and Hitman's Run star Eric Roberts was celebrating its 133rd birthday.

Don't worry, I signed your name on the card.

The birthday party consisted of a street fair-type gathering in the plaza adjacent to Smyrna City Hall. There was one of those inflatable playgrounds for the kids and picnicking grown-ups enjoyed live and recorded country and pop music.

Authentic Smyrna foods were also available, including alcohol-free daiquiris and bloomin' onions.

Peaches and Sushi: After a quick stop at home to wash off the smell of Smyrna's bloomin' onions, I capped off my day's adventures with a trip to Joe's coffee shop in East Atlanta for the Losing Atlanta art show.

The show's theme is lament and anger at the people in the city who are allowing "big boxes and vanilla condos to infiltrate Atlanta's character-rich neighborhoods."

The show's most compelling work (in my not-so-humble opinion) was its postcard-style advertisement. It looked like an old-timey Atlanta, but if you looked (not so) carefully at the letters in Atlanta, you'd see a montage of chain stores. Also, do you remember those parody banners from a year or two ago advertising a loft complex called "Yuppie Ghetto"? The show had those as well.

Take a peek at Scene & Herd online for more of Andisheh's antics: atlanta.creativeloafing.com.

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