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Talk of the Town

Thursday October 7, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Shakespeare wrote, 'Falce face must hide what the false heart doth know.' So basically, be cautious near the cosmetics counter at your local department store. Those people smile too much. And watch out for the perfume spritzer ladies, too. | more...
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Talk of the Town

Thursday September 30, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Airplane seats are designed to be uncomfortable. The airlines have a deal with the painkiller industry. Conspiracy! | more...
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  string(2415) "-?It's hard remaining a relevant player in any game year after year. It's even harder when your chosen sport is often tainted with performance-enhancing supplements as a means to get to the top. Yet Walter Victor, 87,  has been in the major leagues for 38 seasons as the Atlanta Braves photographer — and he's never once corked his camera.

A decorated WWII veteran, Victor is used to life on the move and still commutes from his  four-acre property in Dawsonville to every Braves home game. At his home, two wraparound porches and a multitude of wicker chairs show off nearby Lake Rainbow. The doorbell, which rings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," typically falls on the deaf, plastic ears of Victor's Braves bobble-head collection. He spends most of his time chasing fish on his dock, but maintains that he's never chased women — except for Ruth, his wife, whom he caught 62 years ago.

Creative Loafing: How long were you in the Army?

Victor: Four years, and I spent 33 months in combat. I was in the infantry outfit. I made the landing in Africa, in Sicily and in Normandy on D-Day. I have eight combat stars and two bronze stars.

When did you start  taking pictures?

Well, I was in Germany waiting for the Russians and we had nothing to do, so there was a soldier who showed me how to take pictures. I kept a camera in my gas mask when we were burying bodies in Dachau, Germany.

What specifically do you do at Braves games?

I do anything I want to. I spend most of the game walking around taking pictures in the stands, but not action shots. If I see something interesting, I just take a picture.

You have nine photo-graphs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Where else are your photographs?

Different magazines. I used to shoot the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. My wife came to the shoot with me and ruined it all.

What's your favorite part of the house?

Walter: That we don't owe any money on it!

Ruth: Everything here is memories, really. I didn't realize it was so decorated, I just think it's all piled in. It's things that people have given or sent us and if I find a place for it, I put it there.

How often do you still  go fishing?

Walter: Whenever I want!

Ruth: Every morning, almost, he's down at the dock. He spends his time going up and down, doing his thing. I have been a widow all these years — between the war and his baseball!

cityhomes@creativeloafing.com


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A decorated WWII veteran, Victor is used to life on the move and still commutes from his  four-acre property in Dawsonville to every Braves home game. At his home, two wraparound porches and a multitude of wicker chairs show off nearby Lake Rainbow. The doorbell, which rings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," typically falls on the deaf, plastic ears of Victor's Braves bobble-head collection. He spends most of his time chasing fish on his dock, but maintains that he's never chased women -- except for Ruth, his wife, whom he caught 62 years ago.

__''Creative Loafing:'' How long were you in the Army?__

__Victor:__ Four years, and I spent 33 months in combat. I was in the infantry outfit. I made the landing in Africa, in Sicily and in Normandy on D-Day. I have eight combat stars and two bronze stars.

__When did you start  taking pictures?__

Well, I was in Germany waiting for the Russians and we had nothing to do, so there was a soldier who showed me how to take pictures. I kept a camera in my gas mask when we were burying bodies in Dachau, Germany.

__What specifically do you do at Braves games?__

I do anything I want to. I spend most of the game walking around taking pictures in the stands, but not action shots. If I see something interesting, I just take a picture.

__You have nine photo-graphs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Where else are your photographs?__

Different magazines. I used to shoot the ''Sports Illustrated'' swimsuit edition. My wife came to the shoot with me and ruined it all.

__What's your favorite part of the house?__

__Walter:__ That we don't owe any money on it!

__Ruth:__ Everything here is memories, really. I didn't realize it was so decorated, I just think it's all piled in. It's things that people have given or sent us and if I find a place for it, I put it there.

__How often do you still  go fishing?__

__Walter:__ Whenever I want!

__Ruth:__ Every morning, almost, he's down at the dock. He spends his time going up and down, doing his thing. I have been a widow all these years -- between the war and his baseball!

__[mailto:cityhomes@creativeloafing.com|cityhomes@creativeloafing.com]__
____
____
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A decorated WWII veteran, Victor is used to life on the move and still commutes from his  four-acre property in Dawsonville to every Braves home game. At his home, two wraparound porches and a multitude of wicker chairs show off nearby Lake Rainbow. The doorbell, which rings "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," typically falls on the deaf, plastic ears of Victor's Braves bobble-head collection. He spends most of his time chasing fish on his dock, but maintains that he's never chased women — except for Ruth, his wife, whom he caught 62 years ago.

Creative Loafing: How long were you in the Army?

Victor: Four years, and I spent 33 months in combat. I was in the infantry outfit. I made the landing in Africa, in Sicily and in Normandy on D-Day. I have eight combat stars and two bronze stars.

When did you start  taking pictures?

Well, I was in Germany waiting for the Russians and we had nothing to do, so there was a soldier who showed me how to take pictures. I kept a camera in my gas mask when we were burying bodies in Dachau, Germany.

What specifically do you do at Braves games?

I do anything I want to. I spend most of the game walking around taking pictures in the stands, but not action shots. If I see something interesting, I just take a picture.

You have nine photo-graphs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Where else are your photographs?

Different magazines. I used to shoot the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. My wife came to the shoot with me and ruined it all.

What's your favorite part of the house?

Walter: That we don't owe any money on it!

Ruth: Everything here is memories, really. I didn't realize it was so decorated, I just think it's all piled in. It's things that people have given or sent us and if I find a place for it, I put it there.

How often do you still  go fishing?

Walter: Whenever I want!

Ruth: Every morning, almost, he's down at the dock. He spends his time going up and down, doing his thing. I have been a widow all these years — between the war and his baseball!

cityhomes@creativeloafing.com


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Talk of the Town

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In the eye of the folks | more...
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Talk of the Town

Thursday September 9, 2004 12:04 am EDT
A construction site is a poor place for a polo match. Everyone would get their nice clothes dirty and the horses might step on a nail or something. Plus, you'd probably get heckled by construction workers. | more...
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I write, of course, about Rutherford B. Hayes (also known as "Rutherfraud" or  "His Fraudulency") and the election of 1876. Rivulets of ink compare this chicanery-laden contest with the no less odiferous 2000  election that snuck G.W. Bush into the White House.

Most commentary barely gets past a first mention of Hayes, or pays but passing notice of him as a massively bearded nonentity. He's from an age — the long dry spell between Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt — when most American leaders were inept, weak, hirsute or a fine varietal blend of all three, with  subsequent obscurity only relieved by  occasional service as the "U.S. Presidents for $500" answer on "Jeopardy."

But in this season of political hubris, I am nostalgic for old Hayes. He did something no one does today. Use a privy? Well, yes. But there's something else, too.

Hayes promised to only serve one term. And he kept his word. He didn't run for re-election. Can you imagine any extant American politician doing the same?

This happened at a time when the country was virtually polarized — sound familiar? — between North and South (we call it Red States vs. Blue now) in the wake of that difference of opinion known as the Civil War.

The hot conflict might have ceased by '76, the nation's centennial year, but battle for control of American government — and the attendant patronage that went with it, raged across the barely reunited land.

It was the wide-open era known as the Gilded Age, an era begun, really, during the easy economic pickings to be had up North during the war. An era summed up by the story of a Cabinet member said to be so corrupt that, in the memorable words of Pennsylvania Rep. Thad Stevens, "the only thing he wouldn't steal is a red-hot stove."

When the inevitable demand for an apology came from the aggrieved magnifico, a retraction was issued. On second thought, Stevens said, the Cabinet secretary would steal a red-hot stove.

Amid this economic grab bag, enter the George Baileyish figure of Hayes, wanting to be "an executive under no temptation to use the patronage of his office to promote his own re-election" and who stated that his "inflexible purpose" was "not to be a candidate for re-election to a second term."

What modesty! What moral introspection! What's more, on gaining the White House, Hayes behaved as a man acutely aware that as many Americans voted against him as for him.

And I think of that, of him, with a little wonder amid the  convention gasconading of his Republican heirs. Listening to today's GOP, you'd be hard pressed to know they gained power with no mandate at all. An anti-mandate  if you're churlish enough — and I am  nothing if not churlish — to count the 539,947 popular votes their ticket lost by  in 2000.

Ever since, Bush has governed like he was FDR in '36 or LBJ in '64, as if there was some groundswell of public opinion backing him up. And with the next election upon us, nothing has changed. Except that the  traditional arrogance of power is now accompanied by an even more profound deafness — and a corresponding desire to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in as many states as possible.

But it's part of a depressingly long and less-than-noble history. American politicians, the few R.B. Hayes types excepted, never go gentle into that good night.

That's why I like the Brits. Yes, I know, we blew off the whole king thing during the Revolution. But you have to admit that their politicians are a lot better than ours when it comes to giving up office.

If a British politician's integrity is in  disrepute, if their mandate is in question, if a public officeholder is found face down in a pool of Guinness Stout after a long pub crawl, out they go. They leave office. No one has to tell them, or force them. They have a natural, innate understanding of when it's time to take a powder.

It's called introspection. And a sense of shame. Neither of which are to be found in the "Jeopardy" category "Qualities Associated with U.S Politicians." For any amount of money.

I don't have George W. Bush's inaugural address in front of me, but I'm pretty  damn sure that at no time did he say, "I  am acutely aware that a plurality of you,  my fellow citizens, did not elect me with your votes. And I will serve as your  president, as president of all the people, mindful of that fact."

Meantime, lock up the red-hot stoves.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery of Alpharetta will not seek a second column."
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  string(4774) "__The Republican candidate __for  president, he lost the popular vote but gained office through quasi-judicial feats of prestidigitation involving Supreme Court justices, bitter partisan bickering, and a  disputed electoral vote.

I write, of course, about Rutherford B. Hayes (also known as "Rutherfraud" or  "His Fraudulency") and the election of 1876. Rivulets of ink compare this chicanery-laden contest with the no less odiferous 2000  election that snuck G.W. Bush into the White House.

Most commentary barely gets past a first mention of Hayes, or pays but passing notice of him as a massively bearded nonentity. He's from an age -- the long dry spell between Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt -- when most American leaders were inept, weak, hirsute or a fine varietal blend of all three, with  subsequent obscurity only relieved by  occasional service as the "U.S. Presidents for $500" answer on "Jeopardy."

But in this season of political hubris, I am nostalgic for old Hayes. He did something no one does today. Use a privy? Well, yes. But there's something else, too.

Hayes promised to only serve one term. And he kept his word. He didn't run for re-election. Can you imagine any extant American politician doing the same?

This happened at a time when the country was virtually polarized -- sound familiar? -- between North and South (we call it Red States vs. Blue now) in the wake of that difference of opinion known as the Civil War.

The hot conflict might have ceased by '76, the nation's centennial year, but battle for control of American government -- and the attendant patronage that went with it, raged across the barely reunited land.

It was the wide-open era known as the Gilded Age, an era begun, really, during the easy economic pickings to be had up North during the war. An era summed up by the story of a Cabinet member said to be so corrupt that, in the memorable words of Pennsylvania Rep. Thad Stevens, "the only thing he wouldn't steal is a red-hot stove."

When the inevitable demand for an apology came from the aggrieved magnifico, a retraction was issued. On second thought, Stevens said, the Cabinet secretary would steal a red-hot stove.

Amid this economic grab bag, enter the George Baileyish figure of Hayes, wanting to be "an executive under no temptation to use the patronage of his office to promote his own re-election" and who stated that his "inflexible purpose" was "not to be a candidate for re-election to a second term."

What modesty! What moral introspection! What's more, on gaining the White House, Hayes behaved as a man acutely aware that as many Americans voted against him as for him.

And I think of that, of him, with a little wonder amid the  convention gasconading of his Republican heirs. Listening to today's GOP, you'd be hard pressed to know they gained power with no mandate at all. An anti-mandate  if you're churlish enough -- and I am  nothing if not churlish -- to count the 539,947 popular votes their ticket lost by  in 2000.

Ever since, Bush has governed like he was FDR in '36 or LBJ in '64, as if there was some groundswell of public opinion backing him up. And with the next election upon us, nothing has changed. Except that the  traditional arrogance of power is now accompanied by an even more profound deafness -- and a corresponding desire to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in as many states as possible.

But it's part of a depressingly long and less-than-noble history. American politicians, the few R.B. Hayes types excepted, never go gentle into that good night.

That's why I like the Brits. Yes, I know, we blew off the whole king thing during the Revolution. But you have to admit that their politicians are a lot better than ours when it comes to giving up office.

If a British politician's integrity is in  disrepute, if their mandate is in question, if a public officeholder is found face down in a pool of Guinness Stout after a long pub crawl, out they go. They leave office. No one has to tell them, or force them. They have a natural, innate understanding of when it's time to take a powder.

It's called introspection. And a sense of shame. Neither of which are to be found in the "Jeopardy" category "Qualities Associated with U.S Politicians." For any amount of money.

I don't have George W. Bush's inaugural address in front of me, but I'm pretty  damn sure that at no time did he say, "I  am acutely aware that a plurality of you,  my fellow citizens, did not elect me with your votes. And I will serve as your  president, as president of all the people, mindful of that fact."

Meantime, lock up the red-hot stoves.

__[mailto:glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com|glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com]__
____
____
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  string(5041) "    (But only one term)   2004-09-09T04:04:00+00:00 Talk of the Town - Three cheers for Rutherfraud September 09 2004   Glen Slattery 1223649 2004-09-09T04:04:00+00:00  The Republican candidate for  president, he lost the popular vote but gained office through quasi-judicial feats of prestidigitation involving Supreme Court justices, bitter partisan bickering, and a  disputed electoral vote.

I write, of course, about Rutherford B. Hayes (also known as "Rutherfraud" or  "His Fraudulency") and the election of 1876. Rivulets of ink compare this chicanery-laden contest with the no less odiferous 2000  election that snuck G.W. Bush into the White House.

Most commentary barely gets past a first mention of Hayes, or pays but passing notice of him as a massively bearded nonentity. He's from an age — the long dry spell between Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt — when most American leaders were inept, weak, hirsute or a fine varietal blend of all three, with  subsequent obscurity only relieved by  occasional service as the "U.S. Presidents for $500" answer on "Jeopardy."

But in this season of political hubris, I am nostalgic for old Hayes. He did something no one does today. Use a privy? Well, yes. But there's something else, too.

Hayes promised to only serve one term. And he kept his word. He didn't run for re-election. Can you imagine any extant American politician doing the same?

This happened at a time when the country was virtually polarized — sound familiar? — between North and South (we call it Red States vs. Blue now) in the wake of that difference of opinion known as the Civil War.

The hot conflict might have ceased by '76, the nation's centennial year, but battle for control of American government — and the attendant patronage that went with it, raged across the barely reunited land.

It was the wide-open era known as the Gilded Age, an era begun, really, during the easy economic pickings to be had up North during the war. An era summed up by the story of a Cabinet member said to be so corrupt that, in the memorable words of Pennsylvania Rep. Thad Stevens, "the only thing he wouldn't steal is a red-hot stove."

When the inevitable demand for an apology came from the aggrieved magnifico, a retraction was issued. On second thought, Stevens said, the Cabinet secretary would steal a red-hot stove.

Amid this economic grab bag, enter the George Baileyish figure of Hayes, wanting to be "an executive under no temptation to use the patronage of his office to promote his own re-election" and who stated that his "inflexible purpose" was "not to be a candidate for re-election to a second term."

What modesty! What moral introspection! What's more, on gaining the White House, Hayes behaved as a man acutely aware that as many Americans voted against him as for him.

And I think of that, of him, with a little wonder amid the  convention gasconading of his Republican heirs. Listening to today's GOP, you'd be hard pressed to know they gained power with no mandate at all. An anti-mandate  if you're churlish enough — and I am  nothing if not churlish — to count the 539,947 popular votes their ticket lost by  in 2000.

Ever since, Bush has governed like he was FDR in '36 or LBJ in '64, as if there was some groundswell of public opinion backing him up. And with the next election upon us, nothing has changed. Except that the  traditional arrogance of power is now accompanied by an even more profound deafness — and a corresponding desire to get Ralph Nader on the ballot in as many states as possible.

But it's part of a depressingly long and less-than-noble history. American politicians, the few R.B. Hayes types excepted, never go gentle into that good night.

That's why I like the Brits. Yes, I know, we blew off the whole king thing during the Revolution. But you have to admit that their politicians are a lot better than ours when it comes to giving up office.

If a British politician's integrity is in  disrepute, if their mandate is in question, if a public officeholder is found face down in a pool of Guinness Stout after a long pub crawl, out they go. They leave office. No one has to tell them, or force them. They have a natural, innate understanding of when it's time to take a powder.

It's called introspection. And a sense of shame. Neither of which are to be found in the "Jeopardy" category "Qualities Associated with U.S Politicians." For any amount of money.

I don't have George W. Bush's inaugural address in front of me, but I'm pretty  damn sure that at no time did he say, "I  am acutely aware that a plurality of you,  my fellow citizens, did not elect me with your votes. And I will serve as your  president, as president of all the people, mindful of that fact."

Meantime, lock up the red-hot stoves.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery of Alpharetta will not seek a second column.             13015651 1249707                          Talk of the Town - Three cheers for Rutherfraud September 09 2004 "
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Talk of the Town

Thursday September 9, 2004 12:04 am EDT
(But only one term) | more...
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  string(4552) "The new television season is a lot like banking, with fewer and worse choices merged into bigger, not-so-better monoliths. Sitcoms are out. Reality is king. The dancing cigarette pack of yore is starting to look like Masterpiece Theater. But air one unexpected bizzaro runaway hit and it could all change in the blink of a Nielsen family.

The only sure thing? My cable bill will go up another couple of bucks next month — and every month thereafter. Deregulation, 'tis a grand notion. Anyway, here's a pseudo-preview of what you might expect in prime time.


br>?SUNDAY
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Meet Joe Sociopath" (new contestant each week)

8:30 (DICTATOR) "My So-Called Reich." Goering enters a blutwurst-eating contest without telling the Gestapo.

9 (UNNATURAL) "Cockroach Racing"

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Lug Nuts of the Crimean War"

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "This Old Crack House." Fixing troublesome pipes.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Beach Beanbag Finals"

11 (GRADE Z) "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mensheviks" ** (1936) The boys get mixed up with Leon Trotsky and a plan to collectivize the Dust Bowl. Dig that Woody Guthrie score.


br>?MONDAY
8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) "Trading Louses"

8:30 (DICTATOR) "Everybody Loves Stalin." Joe gets a cold reception when he attacks the Finnish neighbors.

9 (BADHISTORY) "Ancient Geeks"

9:30 (REALITY TV) "Deer Factor." Combination first-day-of-hunting/season finale.

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Iraqi Makeover." This week: remodeling with rocket-propelled grenades.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Soccer Mom: SUV." Housewife catches crooks by unintentionally running them over with a gigantic gas-guzzler.

11 (GRADE Z) "Nightmare on Orthopedic Street." (2004) * Freddy Krueger gets so old he forgets to kill people.


br>?TUESDAY
8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) "Winnie-the-Dust Mite"

8:30 (BIMBO) "World's Wildest Botox Videos"

9 (REALITY TV) "Outside the Jury Room." 3 Musketeers vs. O'Henry.

9:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Sinkhole Appeal"

10 (BADHISTORY) "Celebrity Poker Genocide"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "Castro & Colmes." Liberal commentator sentenced to five years in prison. (repeat)

11 (GRADE Z) "Gold Diggers of 2004." (unregulated) Lobbyists sing and dance their way through Congress. Pharmaceutical finale has great special psychotropic effects.


br>?WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) "Extreme Ethnic Cleansing"

8:30 (REALITY TV) "Big Brother XXVIII." Company monitors every e-mail written by employees. Wait, it's already been done.

9 (UNNATURAL) "The Weakest Mink"

9:30 (DICTATOR) "Kaddafi Duck"

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Divine Doublewides." Your host: Bubba Flotsam.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Merdur, She Almost Wrote"

11 (GRADE Z) "Carnival of Blood Red Tape." (2002/horror) Normal taxpayer trapped in DMV office for 48 hours. No one will be admitted during the eye-test sequence!


br>?THURSDAY
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Things I Hate About Mimes." Highest-rated show on television.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Decoupage with Lint." From the dryer to your desk.

9 (BIMBO) "World Series of Stiletto Heels." Brought to you by the National Association of Chiropodists.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Awesomely Bad Air Strikes." U.S. Air Force vs. Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

10 (UNNATURAL) "Weird, Wonderful Wombats"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "Who's the Fuehrer?" German foreign policy loses altitude when Rudolf Hess flies to England.

11 (GRADE Z) "Willie Wonka and the Deficit Factory." (2000: sequel in preparation) Eccentric chocolate factory magnate becomes right-wing president, manufactures gigantic budget shortfall in no time at all. Your move.


br>?FRIDAY
8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) "Modern Morons"

8:30 (REALITY TV) "CEO Perp Walks"

9 (DICTATOR) "Mr. Himmler's Neighborhood"

9:30 (UNNATURAL) "The Incredible, Edible Slug"

10 (BIMBO) "Butter Me Up!"

10:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Hovel Hunters"

11 (GRADE Z) "Tarzan the Ape CPA." (1940) Jane makes him get a white-collar job with benefits and a clothing allowance.


br>?SATURDAY
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Who'll Deport My Dad?" First-generation Americans punk the foreign-born paterfamilias.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Weekend Arsonist"

9 (UNNATURAL) "Parrot Makeovers." When feathers go out of fashion.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Fascist Feud"

10 (BIMBO) "The Thong Show"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "That's So Franco"

11 (GRADE Z) "He Wore a Yellow Ribbon." (1969) Recently discovered John Ford film — last of his classic Westerns — with a cross-dressing John Wayne who fights Apaches and a plunging neckline.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery is remote behind the control in Alpharetta."
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  string(4635) "__The new television season __is a lot like banking, with fewer and worse choices merged into bigger, not-so-better monoliths. Sitcoms are out. Reality is king. The dancing cigarette pack of yore is starting to look like Masterpiece Theater. But air one unexpected bizzaro runaway hit and it could all change in the blink of a Nielsen family.

The only sure thing? My cable bill will go up another couple of bucks next month -- and every month thereafter. Deregulation, 'tis a grand notion. Anyway, here's a pseudo-preview of what you might expect in prime time.


br>?____SUNDAY____
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Meet Joe Sociopath" (new contestant each week)

8:30 (DICTATOR) "My So-Called Reich." Goering enters a blutwurst-eating contest without telling the Gestapo.

9 (UNNATURAL) "Cockroach Racing"

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Lug Nuts of the Crimean War"

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "This Old Crack House." Fixing troublesome pipes.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Beach Beanbag Finals"

11 (GRADE Z) "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mensheviks" ** (1936) The boys get mixed up with Leon Trotsky and a plan to collectivize the Dust Bowl. Dig that Woody Guthrie score.


br>?____MONDAY____
8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) "Trading Louses"

8:30 (DICTATOR) "Everybody Loves Stalin." Joe gets a cold reception when he attacks the Finnish neighbors.

9 (BADHISTORY) "Ancient Geeks"

9:30 (REALITY TV) "Deer Factor." Combination first-day-of-hunting/season finale.

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Iraqi Makeover." This week: remodeling with rocket-propelled grenades.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Soccer Mom: SUV." Housewife catches crooks by unintentionally running them over with a gigantic gas-guzzler.

11 (GRADE Z) "Nightmare on Orthopedic Street." (2004) * Freddy Krueger gets so old he forgets to kill people.


br>?____TUESDAY____
8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) "Winnie-the-Dust Mite"

8:30 (BIMBO) "World's Wildest Botox Videos"

9 (REALITY TV) "Outside the Jury Room." 3 Musketeers vs. O'Henry.

9:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Sinkhole Appeal"

10 (BADHISTORY) "Celebrity Poker Genocide"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "Castro & Colmes." Liberal commentator sentenced to five years in prison. (repeat)

11 (GRADE Z) "Gold Diggers of 2004." (unregulated) Lobbyists sing and dance their way through Congress. Pharmaceutical finale has great special psychotropic effects.


br>?____WEDNESDAY____
8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) "Extreme Ethnic Cleansing"

8:30 (REALITY TV) "Big Brother XXVIII." Company monitors every e-mail written by employees. Wait, it's already been done.

9 (UNNATURAL) "The Weakest Mink"

9:30 (DICTATOR) "Kaddafi Duck"

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Divine Doublewides." Your host: Bubba Flotsam.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Merdur, She Almost Wrote"

11 (GRADE Z) "Carnival of Blood Red Tape." (2002/horror) Normal taxpayer trapped in DMV office for 48 hours. No one will be admitted during the eye-test sequence!


br>?____THURSDAY____
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Things I Hate About Mimes." Highest-rated show on television.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Decoupage with Lint." From the dryer to your desk.

9 (BIMBO) "World Series of Stiletto Heels." Brought to you by the National Association of Chiropodists.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Awesomely Bad Air Strikes." U.S. Air Force vs. Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

10 (UNNATURAL) "Weird, Wonderful Wombats"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "Who's the Fuehrer?" German foreign policy loses altitude when Rudolf Hess flies to England.

11 (GRADE Z) "Willie Wonka and the Deficit Factory." (2000: sequel in preparation) Eccentric chocolate factory magnate becomes right-wing president, manufactures gigantic budget shortfall in no time at all. Your move.


br>?____FRIDAY____
8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) "Modern Morons"

8:30 (REALITY TV) "CEO Perp Walks"

9 (DICTATOR) "Mr. Himmler's Neighborhood"

9:30 (UNNATURAL) "The Incredible, Edible Slug"

10 (BIMBO) "Butter Me Up!"

10:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Hovel Hunters"

11 (GRADE Z) "Tarzan the Ape CPA." (1940) Jane makes him get a white-collar job with benefits and a clothing allowance.


br>?____SATURDAY____
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Who'll Deport My Dad?" First-generation Americans punk the foreign-born paterfamilias.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Weekend Arsonist"

9 (UNNATURAL) "Parrot Makeovers." When feathers go out of fashion.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Fascist Feud"

10 (BIMBO) "The Thong Show"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "That's So Franco"

11 (GRADE Z) "He Wore a Yellow Ribbon." (1969) Recently discovered John Ford film -- last of his classic Westerns -- with a cross-dressing John Wayne who fights Apaches and a plunging neckline.

__[mailto:glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com|glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com]__
____
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The only sure thing? My cable bill will go up another couple of bucks next month — and every month thereafter. Deregulation, 'tis a grand notion. Anyway, here's a pseudo-preview of what you might expect in prime time.


br>?SUNDAY
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Meet Joe Sociopath" (new contestant each week)

8:30 (DICTATOR) "My So-Called Reich." Goering enters a blutwurst-eating contest without telling the Gestapo.

9 (UNNATURAL) "Cockroach Racing"

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Lug Nuts of the Crimean War"

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "This Old Crack House." Fixing troublesome pipes.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Beach Beanbag Finals"

11 (GRADE Z) "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mensheviks" ** (1936) The boys get mixed up with Leon Trotsky and a plan to collectivize the Dust Bowl. Dig that Woody Guthrie score.


br>?MONDAY
8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) "Trading Louses"

8:30 (DICTATOR) "Everybody Loves Stalin." Joe gets a cold reception when he attacks the Finnish neighbors.

9 (BADHISTORY) "Ancient Geeks"

9:30 (REALITY TV) "Deer Factor." Combination first-day-of-hunting/season finale.

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Iraqi Makeover." This week: remodeling with rocket-propelled grenades.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Soccer Mom: SUV." Housewife catches crooks by unintentionally running them over with a gigantic gas-guzzler.

11 (GRADE Z) "Nightmare on Orthopedic Street." (2004) * Freddy Krueger gets so old he forgets to kill people.


br>?TUESDAY
8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) "Winnie-the-Dust Mite"

8:30 (BIMBO) "World's Wildest Botox Videos"

9 (REALITY TV) "Outside the Jury Room." 3 Musketeers vs. O'Henry.

9:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Sinkhole Appeal"

10 (BADHISTORY) "Celebrity Poker Genocide"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "Castro & Colmes." Liberal commentator sentenced to five years in prison. (repeat)

11 (GRADE Z) "Gold Diggers of 2004." (unregulated) Lobbyists sing and dance their way through Congress. Pharmaceutical finale has great special psychotropic effects.


br>?WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) "Extreme Ethnic Cleansing"

8:30 (REALITY TV) "Big Brother XXVIII." Company monitors every e-mail written by employees. Wait, it's already been done.

9 (UNNATURAL) "The Weakest Mink"

9:30 (DICTATOR) "Kaddafi Duck"

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Divine Doublewides." Your host: Bubba Flotsam.

10:30 (BIMBO) "Merdur, She Almost Wrote"

11 (GRADE Z) "Carnival of Blood Red Tape." (2002/horror) Normal taxpayer trapped in DMV office for 48 hours. No one will be admitted during the eye-test sequence!


br>?THURSDAY
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Things I Hate About Mimes." Highest-rated show on television.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Decoupage with Lint." From the dryer to your desk.

9 (BIMBO) "World Series of Stiletto Heels." Brought to you by the National Association of Chiropodists.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Awesomely Bad Air Strikes." U.S. Air Force vs. Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

10 (UNNATURAL) "Weird, Wonderful Wombats"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "Who's the Fuehrer?" German foreign policy loses altitude when Rudolf Hess flies to England.

11 (GRADE Z) "Willie Wonka and the Deficit Factory." (2000: sequel in preparation) Eccentric chocolate factory magnate becomes right-wing president, manufactures gigantic budget shortfall in no time at all. Your move.


br>?FRIDAY
8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) "Modern Morons"

8:30 (REALITY TV) "CEO Perp Walks"

9 (DICTATOR) "Mr. Himmler's Neighborhood"

9:30 (UNNATURAL) "The Incredible, Edible Slug"

10 (BIMBO) "Butter Me Up!"

10:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Hovel Hunters"

11 (GRADE Z) "Tarzan the Ape CPA." (1940) Jane makes him get a white-collar job with benefits and a clothing allowance.


br>?SATURDAY
8 p.m. (REALITY TV) "Who'll Deport My Dad?" First-generation Americans punk the foreign-born paterfamilias.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) "Weekend Arsonist"

9 (UNNATURAL) "Parrot Makeovers." When feathers go out of fashion.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) "Fascist Feud"

10 (BIMBO) "The Thong Show"

10:30 (DICTATOR) "That's So Franco"

11 (GRADE Z) "He Wore a Yellow Ribbon." (1969) Recently discovered John Ford film — last of his classic Westerns — with a cross-dressing John Wayne who fights Apaches and a plunging neckline.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


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Listen carefully: Waterproof sunblock is a lie. Don't fall for it. The only thing that waterproof sunblock gets you is nice and burned. In these waning days of summer, you should reapply ... you reapply like your life depends on it. | more...
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The last bastion of geekdom is under siege. Stamp collecting, that nerdiest of pastimes, is being enlivened by modern technology.

The Postal Service has permitted an outside company to produce customized postage stamps. Place an order, provide a photo, and your mug — or that of your pet iguana — can decorate the next mortgage payment. Before you warm up the digital camera, know the caveats. For one, these stamps are double the cost of the 37-cent variety — plus shipping. For another, this breakthrough in philately is hemmed in by a variety of restrictions.

Specifically, you cannot use material deemed "obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, unlawful, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy or publicity rights, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, illegal or otherwise objectionable."

In other words, no nudity. Or anything like the movie you'll rent tonight.

But one can appreciate the need for  caution. Because without restrictions in this new postal world, there'd be a stamp  commemorating someone's butt faster than you can say "sesquicentennial."

Do you know what a sesquicentennial is? It's the 150th anniversary of something, and American postage has faithfully celebrated obscure anniversaries for, well, do the math. The sesquicentennial of U.S. stamps occurred in 1997. And you didn't even send a lousy 23-cent postcard.

How obscure are the anniversaries thus honored? A 1957 stamp marked 150 years of the Coast and Geodetic Survey — talk about federal overtime. A 1951 issue honored the 250th anniversary of explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac's landing at Detroit, presumably in a birchbark Coupe de Ville.

My personal favorite is the 1948 commemorative celebrating the centennial of the American poultry industry. It bears the portrait of a heroic rooster, its comb pointed toward the sunrise — and perhaps the henhouse.

By now you may have deduced that I am — or was — a philatelist. The admission is reluctant. Stamp collecting is considered passe, trivial and — worst of all — a lifetime passport to the Peoples Republic of Dweebia.

What happened? Philately used to be the pastime of world leaders: Franklin D. Roosevelt puttered with stamp albums to relax after a day spent fighting the Great Depression or the Axis.

Major cities boasted department stores with philatelic counters, and any decent-sized town had a stamp shop. As a kid I spent entire Saturdays in those creaky emporiums, poring over shoeboxes stuffed with envelopes from all over the planet. Stamp stock books were crammed with squares  and triangles depicting kings, dictators and  sesquicentennials aplenty.

The store proprietor was inevitably a cantankerous septuagenarian from Central Europe. The customers were stogie-chomping regulars who came in to shoot the breeze, complain that a stamp priced at 30 cents was only worth a quarter, and to spend three bucks in as many hours.

Women did not figure in this scenario. I know there are female philatelists out there, but they are rarer than the inverted biplane 24-cent airmail error of 1918. In the main, philately is passed along the male line, like pattern baldness. Stamp collecting may be the last vestige of the hunter-gatherer trait inherited from our male cave forebears.

My interest in philately was inherited from Uncle Bernie, the scent of whose black cherry pipe tobacco has forever scented the hobby in my mind's nose; and Uncle Fred, who used his duplicates to cover cigar boxes. Fred's piece de resistance philatelique was a three-panel screen wallpapered with thousands of stamps, European old masters on one side, entire sheets of 5-cent American commemoratives on the other.

All this was fine for me as a boy, but as a teenager, I realized that stamp collecting would be detrimental to my social life. Girls in high school were uniformly uninterested in seeing my well-centered, mint condition 1-cent deep blue from the Columbian Exposition series of 1893.

Such misgivings were echoed in society at large. Those dusty stamp shops were obliterated by high-rent mega-malls and kids raised on GameBoys. There are now purple neon-lit smoothie boutiques where men from Mittteleuropa once reigned with a pair of iron stamp tongs.

Stamps changed, too — until about 1950 they were monochromatic — with your choice of dull green, dull purple or dull yellow. By God, they were supposed to be boring, in color and content. That's how we kept the riff-raff out.

Stamps are now issued in plastic, gold foil and fruit-flavored holograms. You need a pair of Ray-Bans to even look at them. And now this deal where you can put Aunt Edna on a stamp, just to butter up the old gal and earn a place in her will.

It makes one yearn for the dweeby days of yore, a simpler time when the entire nation could and did pay its gas bill by licking the back of poultry.

Tastefully dressed, of course.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery is being canceled in Alpharetta."
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__The last bastion __of geekdom is under siege. Stamp collecting, that nerdiest of pastimes, is being enlivened by modern technology.

The Postal Service has permitted an outside company to produce customized postage stamps. Place an order, provide a photo, and your mug -- or that of your pet iguana -- can decorate the next mortgage payment. Before you warm up the digital camera, know the caveats. For one, these stamps are double the cost of the 37-cent variety -- plus shipping. For another, this breakthrough in philately is hemmed in by a variety of restrictions.

Specifically, you cannot use material deemed "obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, unlawful, deceptive, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy or publicity rights, supportive of unlawful action, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, illegal or otherwise objectionable."

In other words, no nudity. Or anything like the movie you'll rent tonight.

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How obscure are the anniversaries thus honored? A 1957 stamp marked 150 years of the Coast and Geodetic Survey -- talk about federal overtime. A 1951 issue honored the 250th anniversary of explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac's landing at Detroit, presumably in a birchbark Coupe de Ville.

My personal favorite is the 1948 commemorative celebrating the centennial of the American poultry industry. It bears the portrait of a heroic rooster, its comb pointed toward the sunrise -- and perhaps the henhouse.

By now you may have deduced that I am -- or was -- a philatelist. The admission is reluctant. Stamp collecting is considered passe, trivial and -- worst of all -- a lifetime passport to the Peoples Republic of Dweebia.

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Major cities boasted department stores with philatelic counters, and any decent-sized town had a stamp shop. As a kid I spent entire Saturdays in those creaky emporiums, poring over shoeboxes stuffed with envelopes from all over the planet. Stamp stock books were crammed with squares  and triangles depicting kings, dictators and  sesquicentennials aplenty.

The store proprietor was inevitably a cantankerous septuagenarian from Central Europe. The customers were stogie-chomping regulars who came in to shoot the breeze, complain that a stamp priced at 30 cents was only worth a quarter, and to spend three bucks in as many hours.

Women did not figure in this scenario. I know there are female philatelists out there, but they are rarer than the inverted biplane 24-cent airmail error of 1918. In the main, philately is passed along the male line, like pattern baldness. Stamp collecting may be the last vestige of the hunter-gatherer trait inherited from our male cave forebears.

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All this was fine for me as a boy, but as a teenager, I realized that stamp collecting would be detrimental to my social life. Girls in high school were uniformly uninterested in seeing my well-centered, mint condition 1-cent deep blue from the Columbian Exposition series of 1893.

Such misgivings were echoed in society at large. Those dusty stamp shops were obliterated by high-rent mega-malls and kids raised on GameBoys. There are now purple neon-lit smoothie boutiques where men from Mittteleuropa once reigned with a pair of iron stamp tongs.

Stamps changed, too -- until about 1950 they were monochromatic -- with your choice of dull green, dull purple or dull yellow. By God, they were supposed to be boring, in color and content. That's how we kept the riff-raff out.

Stamps are now issued in plastic, gold foil and fruit-flavored holograms. You need a pair of Ray-Bans to even look at them. And now this deal where you can put Aunt Edna on a stamp, just to butter up the old gal and earn a place in her will.

It makes one yearn for the dweeby days of yore, a simpler time when the entire nation could and did pay its gas bill by licking the back of poultry.

Tastefully dressed, of course.

__[mailto:glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com|glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com]__
____
____
''Glen Slattery is being canceled in Alpharetta.''"
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The last bastion of geekdom is under siege. Stamp collecting, that nerdiest of pastimes, is being enlivened by modern technology.

The Postal Service has permitted an outside company to produce customized postage stamps. Place an order, provide a photo, and your mug — or that of your pet iguana — can decorate the next mortgage payment. Before you warm up the digital camera, know the caveats. For one, these stamps are double the cost of the 37-cent variety — plus shipping. For another, this breakthrough in philately is hemmed in by a variety of restrictions.

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In other words, no nudity. Or anything like the movie you'll rent tonight.

But one can appreciate the need for  caution. Because without restrictions in this new postal world, there'd be a stamp  commemorating someone's butt faster than you can say "sesquicentennial."

Do you know what a sesquicentennial is? It's the 150th anniversary of something, and American postage has faithfully celebrated obscure anniversaries for, well, do the math. The sesquicentennial of U.S. stamps occurred in 1997. And you didn't even send a lousy 23-cent postcard.

How obscure are the anniversaries thus honored? A 1957 stamp marked 150 years of the Coast and Geodetic Survey — talk about federal overtime. A 1951 issue honored the 250th anniversary of explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac's landing at Detroit, presumably in a birchbark Coupe de Ville.

My personal favorite is the 1948 commemorative celebrating the centennial of the American poultry industry. It bears the portrait of a heroic rooster, its comb pointed toward the sunrise — and perhaps the henhouse.

By now you may have deduced that I am — or was — a philatelist. The admission is reluctant. Stamp collecting is considered passe, trivial and — worst of all — a lifetime passport to the Peoples Republic of Dweebia.

What happened? Philately used to be the pastime of world leaders: Franklin D. Roosevelt puttered with stamp albums to relax after a day spent fighting the Great Depression or the Axis.

Major cities boasted department stores with philatelic counters, and any decent-sized town had a stamp shop. As a kid I spent entire Saturdays in those creaky emporiums, poring over shoeboxes stuffed with envelopes from all over the planet. Stamp stock books were crammed with squares  and triangles depicting kings, dictators and  sesquicentennials aplenty.

The store proprietor was inevitably a cantankerous septuagenarian from Central Europe. The customers were stogie-chomping regulars who came in to shoot the breeze, complain that a stamp priced at 30 cents was only worth a quarter, and to spend three bucks in as many hours.

Women did not figure in this scenario. I know there are female philatelists out there, but they are rarer than the inverted biplane 24-cent airmail error of 1918. In the main, philately is passed along the male line, like pattern baldness. Stamp collecting may be the last vestige of the hunter-gatherer trait inherited from our male cave forebears.

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All this was fine for me as a boy, but as a teenager, I realized that stamp collecting would be detrimental to my social life. Girls in high school were uniformly uninterested in seeing my well-centered, mint condition 1-cent deep blue from the Columbian Exposition series of 1893.

Such misgivings were echoed in society at large. Those dusty stamp shops were obliterated by high-rent mega-malls and kids raised on GameBoys. There are now purple neon-lit smoothie boutiques where men from Mittteleuropa once reigned with a pair of iron stamp tongs.

Stamps changed, too — until about 1950 they were monochromatic — with your choice of dull green, dull purple or dull yellow. By God, they were supposed to be boring, in color and content. That's how we kept the riff-raff out.

Stamps are now issued in plastic, gold foil and fruit-flavored holograms. You need a pair of Ray-Bans to even look at them. And now this deal where you can put Aunt Edna on a stamp, just to butter up the old gal and earn a place in her will.

It makes one yearn for the dweeby days of yore, a simpler time when the entire nation could and did pay its gas bill by licking the back of poultry.

Tastefully dressed, of course.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery is being canceled in Alpharetta.             13015539 1249486                          Talk of the Town - Lick your face August 25 2004 "
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And pay the gas bill | more...
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“In the 2004 Olympic Games, gymnastics has not been very popular with ticket buyers. This means resources are being directed elsewhere. So if you get hit in the face by an off-course tumbling routine, it might take awhile for the ambulance to arrive. Best to sit further back.” | more...

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  string(4874) "Every year, literary cognoscenti get moist in the metaphor observing June 16 — Bloomsday — the date in 1904 when fictional characters tour Dublin in that paean to modernist obscurity, James Joyce's Ulysses. One was the immortal Leopold Bloom, not to be confused with that timid bookkeeper in The Producers.

I never got over my exposure to the novel in college. It was foisted on us by a dipsomaniacal literature professor who, while thirstily waiting for the sun to touch the yardarm, or at least reach high noon, lugged two books to the podium — Ulysses and the Longwinded Lit Professor's Explanation of What's Really Going on in Ulysses.

The latter, brimming with footnoted alliteration, allusion and unadulterated academic horse offal, was twice as thick as the porky Irish masterwork. In tandem, these volumes did more to foster a youthful hatred of reading than an entire semester of post-frat party hangovers.

But you can't eliminate any holiday, even a literary one, without reciprocity. So I propose replacing June 16 with another observance — Gatzday — honoring an American hero, the Great Gatsby, romantic lead in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel of the same name.

The observance would occur right about now, on one of those late-summer days when an ominous trickle of dead foliage — precursor of the endless drone from gas-powered leaf blowers — lets us know that lush 'n' green is but a seasonal decorator quirk on the part of Mother Nature.

It was late summer when Jay Gatsby of Long Island, N.Y. (nee James Gatz of North Dakota) saw his search for lost love punctured by poolside gunplay. It's always a shock when mad mechanic George Wilson, erroneously convinced that Gatsby has both romanced and killed Mrs. W, shoots our protagonist before turning the gun on himself.

I hadn't read Fitzgerald's magnum opus in many a year, having ploughed through most of his stuff during a glorious stretch of unemployment that heralded my post-collegiate entry into the real world. It was a time when wealth and glamour still seemed an entirely reasonable proposition and I wasn't going to accept anything else.

And at an age when one should read Fitzgerald. For by the time we get older, plumper and prone to catnaps, there's not much point to roistering with Fitz. Most of his characters are vain, narcissistic and snobbish — a Coolidge-era version of the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association.

And that's what struck me with recent re-reading of his best book, its curious way of vibrating to the local zeitgeist. For there is something Gatsbyesque in the air here — and you thought it was ozone — something about the massive palazzos and garish lifestyle wrought forth upon recently defiled pastureland — and about the strangely rich people who have come to inhabit it.

Because you can reinvent yourself Down South. Ethnic Catholics become devout Episcopalians. Redneck Riviera Baptists morph into Anglicans — just like Prince Charles! And ex-denizens of the Bronx turn their backs on the Yankees — in more ways than one — to become diehard Braves fans.

For many, moving here is like putting yourself through an Etch-A-Sketch. One shake of the frame and the slate is clean to start over. Cash frequently fuels the change, and there are vast quantities of it to be made when a nail-and-mail mall civilization is being raised up out of thin air.

The process always amazes me: Good ol' boy cashes in selling property. Developer makes bundle liquidating 20 acres of wildlife. Construction company scoops up backhoe full of dough. I know of one guy who made his fortune selling that droopy plasticine fencing which holds the dirt back at construction sites.

And at day's end what do we have? A commercial conga line to nowhere featuring a lousy Chinese restaurant, a dry cleaner and a storefront chance to turn your kids into tiny karate machines of flying fury.

People on the sunny side of this equation buy all sorts of adult toys. The local Ferrari dealership has managed to prosper, despite having to do without my business. Even Gatsby never imagined dropping $200K on a car.

And you can pull the Ferrari into a new house befitting your status as a plastic fencing baron. I recently saw a 12,000-square-foot private schloss under construction, a place so big it had its own reception hall. A reception hall, for God's sake. A governor's mansion needs a reception hall, not a private residence.

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Because there's no way I'm using the pool.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


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Because there's no way I'm using the pool.

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I hadn't read Fitzgerald's magnum opus in many a year, having ploughed through most of his stuff during a glorious stretch of unemployment that heralded my post-collegiate entry into the real world. It was a time when wealth and glamour still seemed an entirely reasonable proposition and I wasn't going to accept anything else.

And at an age when one should read Fitzgerald. For by the time we get older, plumper and prone to catnaps, there's not much point to roistering with Fitz. Most of his characters are vain, narcissistic and snobbish — a Coolidge-era version of the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association.

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The process always amazes me: Good ol' boy cashes in selling property. Developer makes bundle liquidating 20 acres of wildlife. Construction company scoops up backhoe full of dough. I know of one guy who made his fortune selling that droopy plasticine fencing which holds the dirt back at construction sites.

And at day's end what do we have? A commercial conga line to nowhere featuring a lousy Chinese restaurant, a dry cleaner and a storefront chance to turn your kids into tiny karate machines of flying fury.

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Nouveaux richesse has its price, of course, including one of the highest bankruptcy rates this side of a dot-bomb stockholders reunion. This is my best chance at the Ferrari, if someone happens to unload one at 10 cents on the dollar. And my leisure preference, too.

Because there's no way I'm using the pool.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


The Great Slatsby lives in Alpharetta.             13015475 1249368                          Talk of the Town - Gatsby goes South August 19 2004 "
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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 19, 2004 12:04 am EDT
No nouveaux is good nouveaux | more...
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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 19, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Music, games and business with Fuzzy Breakfast Productions | more...
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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 19, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Lightning strikes the tallest person in a group. So you should always be friends with at least one basketball player or supermodel. But not too good of friends, since you're basically using them as a lightning decoy. And that could be awkward if it ever came up. | more...
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Gender hasn't bent this much since The Crying Game.

In case your movie memories don't predate Shrek 2, permit me to elucidate: The former film featured a comely lass who, two-thirds into the picture, turned out to be a guy. This shocking denouement caused me to drop my tub of popcorn and send a half-liter of Coke gushing down the aisle.

That was a decade ago. Since then, this correspondent's comprehension of sexual characteristics hasn't improved any.

Recently in this space, I paid tribute to Aflac, the brave, bumptious waterfowl — and ringer for the insurance spokesduck — who resides in our neighborhood pond, outwitting sundry large and mean geese.

And I grandly assumed, supported by timeworn prejudice, gender stereotyping and sheer squeamishness — after all, who wants to check under a duck? — that Aflac was male.

Boy, was I wrong.

The first clue arrived via Liveducks.com (no puns, please), which is devoted to the breed. It turns out that duck characteristics, broken down by gender, aren't that different from the humanoid behavior you'd see at the local Dew Drop Inn on a Saturday night.

For instance, the common male mallard (or Anas platyrhynchos — and you thought he was running the Olympic Games in Athens) cruises quietly about, making "soft, muffled sounds," not unlike guys in bars muttering, "Hey, baby," to some piña colada princess. What's more, male ducks under observation were seen to preen 6 percent more than females. Probably busy combing that D.A.

On the other beak, loud quacking — and Aflac can wail — is primarily a female characteristic, aimed at keeping duck families together. But since quacking sounds perilously like "nagging," I hesitated to ascribe such negative stereotyping as female, no matter the species.

The second clue involved the once-united duck flotilla, the Magnificent Seven. Since their arrival at the pond (no one is quite sure how they got there, and don't drag another bird into this by telling me it was the stork), the ducks were inseparable. Lately, however, they seem to be pairing off.

The third and decidedly final inkling occurred the other night, as I fed the ducks. In between volleys of bread pellets, one of the group got hold of Aflac, engaging in an activity that, among humans at least, is often preceded by dinner, a movie and consumption of at least three alcoholic beverages. This shocking denouement caused me to drop my loaf of Sunbeam and send a half-liter of Dasani bottled water (don't worry, it's sold by Coca-Cola) gushing into the pond.

Whole-wheat must be some kind of aphrodisiac.

It's also an early ticket to duck Valhalla. According to Liveducks.com, plying our beaked buddies with an entree of baked goods will short-circuit their natural inclination to bob for healthy greenery, i.e., pond scum.

Distributing bread to waterfowl may make you feel like a cross between Dr. Doolittle and Saint Francis of Assisi, but its effect on John Q. Duck's lifespan has its Homo sapiens equivalent in a two-pack-a-day unfiltered Camel habit.

Plus, it transforms a once-docile gaggle of waddling dweebs into an aggressive societal menace. People in my neighborhood hand out so much free bread that the ducks have turned into a downy version of Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang a la The Wild Ones.

When I drive home at night, it's not unusual to find Aflac and his stoned wheat pals blocking the road, strung out on all the processed food and loitering beneath apartment balconies — feathered junkies in search of another fix.

Duck management specialists — hey, it beats telemarketing for a living — recommend that in such instances, long-term changes should be made by a community, starting with a strategy that disrupts the daily travel path of freeloading ducks.

Around here that would mean routing them onto Ga. 400, where they would sit stalled in traffic reading The Daily Duck, doing their feathers with a curling iron plugged into the dashboard, and flipping other duck drivers the web.

It has been proven that overfeeding by humans causes ducks to lose their natural reticence around man. This makes them gain weight and undergo obnoxious behavior changes that could result in their wearing loud polyester pants, playing golf and/or running for public office.

I'm already sick of political commercials. Imagine seeing a 30-second TV spot that proclaims: "Aflac the Duck: Preserving Our Georgia Conservative Pond Scum Values."

The message here? You can't be sure of anything. I thought the guy in Crying Game was a dame. I thought there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Hey, I even thought getting 539,947 more votes meant Gore won the 2000 election.

And now, I think Aflac is pregnant. It's a crazy world.

You quack, girl.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery has a whole-wheat dependency problem in Alpharetta."
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____
__Gender hasn't bent __this much since ''The Crying Game''.

In case your movie memories don't predate ''Shrek 2'', permit me to elucidate: The former film featured a comely lass who, two-thirds into the picture, turned out to be a guy. This shocking denouement caused me to drop my tub of popcorn and send a half-liter of Coke gushing down the aisle.

That was a decade ago. Since then, this correspondent's comprehension of sexual characteristics hasn't improved any.

Recently in this space, I paid tribute to Aflac, the brave, bumptious waterfowl -- and ringer for the insurance spokesduck -- who resides in our neighborhood pond, outwitting sundry large and mean geese.

And I grandly assumed, supported by timeworn prejudice, gender stereotyping and sheer squeamishness -- after all, who wants to check under a duck? -- that Aflac was male.

Boy, was I wrong.

The first clue arrived via [http://Liveducks.com/|Liveducks.com] (no puns, please), which is devoted to the breed. It turns out that duck characteristics, broken down by gender, aren't that different from the humanoid behavior you'd see at the local Dew Drop Inn on a Saturday night.

For instance, the common male mallard (or ''Anas platyrhynchos'' -- and you thought he was running the Olympic Games in Athens) cruises quietly about, making "soft, muffled sounds," not unlike guys in bars muttering, "Hey, baby," to some piña colada princess. What's more, male ducks under observation were seen to preen 6 percent more than females. Probably busy combing that D.A.

On the other beak, loud quacking -- and Aflac can wail -- is primarily a female characteristic, aimed at keeping duck families together. But since quacking sounds perilously like "nagging," I hesitated to ascribe such negative stereotyping as female, no matter the species.

The second clue involved the once-united duck flotilla, the Magnificent Seven. Since their arrival at the pond (no one is quite sure how they got there, and don't drag another bird into this by telling me it was the stork), the ducks were inseparable. Lately, however, they seem to be pairing off.

The third and decidedly final inkling occurred the other night, as I fed the ducks. In between volleys of bread pellets, one of the group got hold of Aflac, engaging in an activity that, among humans at least, is often preceded by dinner, a movie and consumption of at least three alcoholic beverages. This shocking denouement caused me to drop my loaf of Sunbeam and send a half-liter of Dasani bottled water (don't worry, it's sold by Coca-Cola) gushing into the pond.

Whole-wheat must be some kind of aphrodisiac.

It's also an early ticket to duck Valhalla. According to Liveducks.com, plying our beaked buddies with an entree of baked goods will short-circuit their natural inclination to bob for healthy greenery, i.e., pond scum.

Distributing bread to waterfowl may make you feel like a cross between Dr. Doolittle and Saint Francis of Assisi, but its effect on John Q. Duck's lifespan has its ''Homo sapiens'' equivalent in a two-pack-a-day unfiltered Camel habit.

Plus, it transforms a once-docile gaggle of waddling dweebs into an aggressive societal menace. People in my neighborhood hand out so much free bread that the ducks have turned into a downy version of Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang a la ''The Wild Ones''.

When I drive home at night, it's not unusual to find Aflac and his stoned wheat pals blocking the road, strung out on all the processed food and loitering beneath apartment balconies -- feathered junkies in search of another fix.

Duck management specialists -- hey, it beats telemarketing for a living -- recommend that in such instances, long-term changes should be made by a community, starting with a strategy that disrupts the daily travel path of freeloading ducks.

Around here that would mean routing them onto Ga. 400, where they would sit stalled in traffic reading ''The Daily Duck'', doing their feathers with a curling iron plugged into the dashboard, and flipping other duck drivers the web.

It has been proven that overfeeding by humans causes ducks to lose their natural reticence around man. This makes them gain weight and undergo obnoxious behavior changes that could result in their wearing loud polyester pants, playing golf and/or running for public office.

I'm already sick of political commercials. Imagine seeing a 30-second TV spot that proclaims: "Aflac the Duck: Preserving Our Georgia Conservative Pond Scum Values."

The message here? You can't be sure of anything. I thought the guy in ''Crying Game'' was a dame. I thought there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Hey, I even thought getting 539,947 more votes meant Gore won the 2000 election.

And now, I think Aflac is pregnant. It's a crazy world.

You quack, girl.

__[mailto:glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com|glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com]__
____
____
''Glen Slattery has a whole-wheat dependency problem in Alpharetta.''"
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Gender hasn't bent this much since The Crying Game.

In case your movie memories don't predate Shrek 2, permit me to elucidate: The former film featured a comely lass who, two-thirds into the picture, turned out to be a guy. This shocking denouement caused me to drop my tub of popcorn and send a half-liter of Coke gushing down the aisle.

That was a decade ago. Since then, this correspondent's comprehension of sexual characteristics hasn't improved any.

Recently in this space, I paid tribute to Aflac, the brave, bumptious waterfowl — and ringer for the insurance spokesduck — who resides in our neighborhood pond, outwitting sundry large and mean geese.

And I grandly assumed, supported by timeworn prejudice, gender stereotyping and sheer squeamishness — after all, who wants to check under a duck? — that Aflac was male.

Boy, was I wrong.

The first clue arrived via Liveducks.com (no puns, please), which is devoted to the breed. It turns out that duck characteristics, broken down by gender, aren't that different from the humanoid behavior you'd see at the local Dew Drop Inn on a Saturday night.

For instance, the common male mallard (or Anas platyrhynchos — and you thought he was running the Olympic Games in Athens) cruises quietly about, making "soft, muffled sounds," not unlike guys in bars muttering, "Hey, baby," to some piña colada princess. What's more, male ducks under observation were seen to preen 6 percent more than females. Probably busy combing that D.A.

On the other beak, loud quacking — and Aflac can wail — is primarily a female characteristic, aimed at keeping duck families together. But since quacking sounds perilously like "nagging," I hesitated to ascribe such negative stereotyping as female, no matter the species.

The second clue involved the once-united duck flotilla, the Magnificent Seven. Since their arrival at the pond (no one is quite sure how they got there, and don't drag another bird into this by telling me it was the stork), the ducks were inseparable. Lately, however, they seem to be pairing off.

The third and decidedly final inkling occurred the other night, as I fed the ducks. In between volleys of bread pellets, one of the group got hold of Aflac, engaging in an activity that, among humans at least, is often preceded by dinner, a movie and consumption of at least three alcoholic beverages. This shocking denouement caused me to drop my loaf of Sunbeam and send a half-liter of Dasani bottled water (don't worry, it's sold by Coca-Cola) gushing into the pond.

Whole-wheat must be some kind of aphrodisiac.

It's also an early ticket to duck Valhalla. According to Liveducks.com, plying our beaked buddies with an entree of baked goods will short-circuit their natural inclination to bob for healthy greenery, i.e., pond scum.

Distributing bread to waterfowl may make you feel like a cross between Dr. Doolittle and Saint Francis of Assisi, but its effect on John Q. Duck's lifespan has its Homo sapiens equivalent in a two-pack-a-day unfiltered Camel habit.

Plus, it transforms a once-docile gaggle of waddling dweebs into an aggressive societal menace. People in my neighborhood hand out so much free bread that the ducks have turned into a downy version of Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang a la The Wild Ones.

When I drive home at night, it's not unusual to find Aflac and his stoned wheat pals blocking the road, strung out on all the processed food and loitering beneath apartment balconies — feathered junkies in search of another fix.

Duck management specialists — hey, it beats telemarketing for a living — recommend that in such instances, long-term changes should be made by a community, starting with a strategy that disrupts the daily travel path of freeloading ducks.

Around here that would mean routing them onto Ga. 400, where they would sit stalled in traffic reading The Daily Duck, doing their feathers with a curling iron plugged into the dashboard, and flipping other duck drivers the web.

It has been proven that overfeeding by humans causes ducks to lose their natural reticence around man. This makes them gain weight and undergo obnoxious behavior changes that could result in their wearing loud polyester pants, playing golf and/or running for public office.

I'm already sick of political commercials. Imagine seeing a 30-second TV spot that proclaims: "Aflac the Duck: Preserving Our Georgia Conservative Pond Scum Values."

The message here? You can't be sure of anything. I thought the guy in Crying Game was a dame. I thought there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Hey, I even thought getting 539,947 more votes meant Gore won the 2000 election.

And now, I think Aflac is pregnant. It's a crazy world.

You quack, girl.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery has a whole-wheat dependency problem in Alpharetta.             13015413 1249253                          Talk of the Town - Return to gender August 12 2004 "
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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 12, 2004 12:04 am EDT
This duck is a woman now | more...
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From nine to five, Leigh Tyson is a corporate lawyer for a Buckhead firm. While her days are filled with lengthy legal  briefs and court cases, the twentysomething passes her nights cross-stitching, snuggling with her four dachshunds and dining with S&M photos. Tyson recently took pity on a Sandy Springs house and has since gone all "Queer Eye" on its ass. By putting in a few distinctly naughty, Fab-Five-approved decor twists, and lighting a funeral pyre for the previous owners' decorating missteps,  she has added a bit of taste to  the OTP 'hood, even if it is a smidge off-color.

Creative Loafing: So, what's with all the porno  pin-ups peppered about?

Tyson: It's not really porn. Most of my pictures are of  people with their clothes on, I  just have a few who seem to have misplaced theirs.

She points to a photo of a woman covering herself with only a hand mirror revealing the reflection of her suitor.

While I like the contrast of these pieces compared to my other art, I really have the photos hanging around exclusively for horrifying my mother. Well, her and my republican friends.

It took you a year to revamp this house — why  did you choose it in the  first place?

I don't know why — it was the ugliest one I saw. There was wallpaper on every possible surface, a hateful teal trim  and it was where pink carpet came to die. But it had good bones, so I figured it could be  a cool house.

How did you turn such a train wreck of a house into your home?

We knocked out a bunch of unnecessary walls to open the space up, laid new floors and extended the staircase — now that was a bitch. Three different teams had to come in for that one. And of course we repainted the inside. The place has come an exceedingly long way.

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I wanted to keep things minimal and clean. The idea behind the house was to create a backdrop for all of the art I've been collecting. I chose neutral wall colors so the art could be the focal point of each room.

Do you have a favorite piece?

Probably Robert Hekes'  web-banner painting hanging over the fireplace in my family room. I like how unusual it is  and it adds to the contemporary feel of the room.

Which room is your favorite?

The family room is the most comfortable but I like the dining room the best. It fits the theme of the house perfectly — neutral walls and tons of art. It's where I keep most of my black and whites. And yeah, there's porn in there too.

She alludes to the bondage photo that proudly hangs in the room. Nothing says good eatin' like S&M."
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__''Creative Loafing:''__ __So, what's with all the porno  pin-ups peppered about?__

__Tyson:__ It's not really porn. Most of my pictures are of  people with their clothes on, I  just have a few who seem to have misplaced theirs.

''She points to a photo of a woman covering herself with only a hand mirror revealing the reflection of her suitor.''

While I like the contrast of these pieces compared to my other art, I really have the photos hanging around exclusively for horrifying my mother. Well, her and my republican friends.

__It took you a year to revamp this house -- why  did you choose it in the  first place?__

I don't know why -- it was the ugliest one I saw. There was wallpaper on every possible surface, a hateful teal trim  and it was where pink carpet came to die. But it had good bones, so I figured it could be  a cool house.

__How did you turn such a train wreck of a house into your home?__

We knocked out a bunch of unnecessary walls to open the space up, laid new floors and extended the staircase -- now that was a bitch. Three different teams had to come in for that one. And of course we repainted the inside. The place has come an exceedingly long way.

__What was your motive behind the decor?__

I wanted to keep things minimal and clean. The idea behind the house was to create a backdrop for all of the art I've been collecting. I chose neutral wall colors so the art could be the focal point of each room.

__Do you have a favorite piece?__

Probably Robert Hekes'  web-banner painting hanging over the fireplace in my family room. I like how unusual it is  and it adds to the contemporary feel of the room.

__Which room is your favorite?__

The family room is the most comfortable but I like the dining room the best. It fits the theme of the house perfectly -- neutral walls and tons of art. It's where I keep most of my black and whites. And yeah, there's porn in there too.

''She alludes to the bondage photo that proudly hangs in the room. Nothing says good eatin' like S&M.''"
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She points to a photo of a woman covering herself with only a hand mirror revealing the reflection of her suitor.

While I like the contrast of these pieces compared to my other art, I really have the photos hanging around exclusively for horrifying my mother. Well, her and my republican friends.

It took you a year to revamp this house — why  did you choose it in the  first place?

I don't know why — it was the ugliest one I saw. There was wallpaper on every possible surface, a hateful teal trim  and it was where pink carpet came to die. But it had good bones, so I figured it could be  a cool house.

How did you turn such a train wreck of a house into your home?

We knocked out a bunch of unnecessary walls to open the space up, laid new floors and extended the staircase — now that was a bitch. Three different teams had to come in for that one. And of course we repainted the inside. The place has come an exceedingly long way.

What was your motive behind the decor?

I wanted to keep things minimal and clean. The idea behind the house was to create a backdrop for all of the art I've been collecting. I chose neutral wall colors so the art could be the focal point of each room.

Do you have a favorite piece?

Probably Robert Hekes'  web-banner painting hanging over the fireplace in my family room. I like how unusual it is  and it adds to the contemporary feel of the room.

Which room is your favorite?

The family room is the most comfortable but I like the dining room the best. It fits the theme of the house perfectly — neutral walls and tons of art. It's where I keep most of my black and whites. And yeah, there's porn in there too.

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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 12, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Vamp replaces camp in Sandy Springs | more...
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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 12, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Remember: It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. And ... also whether or not it's on a leash. And whether you have a bone or some doggie treats. Or some tranquilizers. | more...
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Call it an hommage to Brando. Theater in the cul-de sac. The summer stock production of Tennessee Williams.

A suburban Stanley Kowalski bursts out his front door one night. Backlit by the electric eye of an automatic garage door opener, he stands on the front lawn.

To yell at a beautiful, fragrant shrub.

"Myrtle!"

Lights go on in nearby houses.

"MYRTLE!"

Neighbors peer from darkened windows.

"Hey, MYRRR-TLE!"

It could come to this. My crape myrtle is making me crazy. If I find anything else eating it, anything not an essential, integral part of said bush, they'll have to clap me into a rest home for deranged gardeners.

Botanists know it as "Lagerstroemia indica, a shrub of the loosestrife family." Myrtle Loosestrife. A country singer. Civilians know crape myrtle as a pink, purple or white-flowered ornamental plant, decorating traffic medians outside every nail-and-mail mall in the late Confederate States of America.

The people who built my house put a crape myrtle in the front yard. Because myrtles are cheap and attractive. Mine certainly looks splendid right now. Its long, graceful boughs are heavy with delicate, snowy blossoms. Its dulcet scent fills the air. I think I'm in love.

But Lagerstroemia has a price. It is an irresistible free lunch counter for every struggling horticulturist's hard-shelled nemesis, Popillia japonica, the Japanese beetle. These voracious, metallic green-and-brown buggers perform two activities with great gusto. The first is eating. The second requires two Japanese beetles.

To head off this Bugapallooza party, my neighbors put out "Beetle Bags." These traps contain a strong sex lure — probably a Japanese beetle resembling Marlene Dietrich who sings, "See What the Beetles in the Back Room Will Have."

The Beetle Bag is the dopiest invention since Chia Pets. Thousands of beetles devouring some other yard are now receiving a chemical message that whispers, "For a good time, visit Slattery's subdivision."

There are so many beetles waiting to get bagged that a long line stretches all the way to — that's right — my crape myrtle. En route to the erotic house of doom, nothing beats a last meal of Lagerstroemia. At the height of beetle season, right about now, its leaves look like a police chalk outline of a murdered crape myrtle. All the chlorophyll is gone.

On my side of the battlefield, I have become acquainted with every insecticide not outlawed by the Geneva Convention: Diazinon, Sevin, Orthenex. I would prefer something with a no-nonsense name, say, "Land O' Dead Bugs."

As toxic brewmeister, I pump up the sprayer and wade into the enemy. Beginner's note: In doing this, check which way the wind is blowing. A drenching mist of bug poison should not be confused with Jean Nate after-bath lotion.

Even as I rain death upon them (and me — there was a stiff breeze from the west last weekend), the beetles remain fixated on the myrtle — and on each other. Only after a decent dousing do they clatter to the ground. After a shell count, I go into the house. Next day, the crape myrtle is covered in beetles again.

I think these beetles have seen The Sting. They pretend to die and wait for me to leave. Then the Paul Newman beetle pays off the other beetles, and they fly on to the next con job.

If this seems the product of an addled mind, please remember: I've been spritzing myself with a lot of insecticide.

On top of all this, there's an ongoing feud among gardeners about the annual pruning of crape myrtles. Fussier horticulturists, promoters of the "specimen" quality myrtle, believe one should cut back the plant's woody growth cautiously. (That could be the subject line in a spam e-mail: "woody growth cautiously." Those damn spammers are producing some of the best poetry in America.)

Others wade into their myrtles with a vengeance to chop off multiple linear yardage, committing what's called "crape murder" by the cognoscenti. Let me tell you something, you couldn't kill a crape myrtle if you fired an arsenic-tipped silver bullet into its root system, followed up by an air strike. The species may be more annoying than a used car ad on the radio, but it is indestructible.

This story does have a happy ending. The Japanese beetles on my crape myrtle will eventually make room for the aphids, which nibble on the myrtle until early fall. Then some weird fungus blackens all the leaves, until Lagerstroemia could pass for the floral piece at an Addams family wedding.

Come autumn, the crape myrtle sheds its remaining foliage. For six months it is a barren bundle of sticks, without any sign of leaves, beetles, aphids or fungus. No spraying, pruning or watering to be done. Nothing.

Nature at its finest.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery (suburbanitae anxietosa) has his habitat in Alpharetta."
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Neighbors peer from darkened windows.

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Come autumn, the crape myrtle sheds its remaining foliage. For six months it is a barren bundle of sticks, without any sign of leaves, beetles, aphids or fungus. No spraying, pruning or watering to be done. Nothing.

Nature at its finest.

__[mailto:glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com|glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com]__
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Call it an hommage to Brando. Theater in the cul-de sac. The summer stock production of Tennessee Williams.

A suburban Stanley Kowalski bursts out his front door one night. Backlit by the electric eye of an automatic garage door opener, he stands on the front lawn.

To yell at a beautiful, fragrant shrub.

"Myrtle!"

Lights go on in nearby houses.

"MYRTLE!"

Neighbors peer from darkened windows.

"Hey, MYRRR-TLE!"

It could come to this. My crape myrtle is making me crazy. If I find anything else eating it, anything not an essential, integral part of said bush, they'll have to clap me into a rest home for deranged gardeners.

Botanists know it as "Lagerstroemia indica, a shrub of the loosestrife family." Myrtle Loosestrife. A country singer. Civilians know crape myrtle as a pink, purple or white-flowered ornamental plant, decorating traffic medians outside every nail-and-mail mall in the late Confederate States of America.

The people who built my house put a crape myrtle in the front yard. Because myrtles are cheap and attractive. Mine certainly looks splendid right now. Its long, graceful boughs are heavy with delicate, snowy blossoms. Its dulcet scent fills the air. I think I'm in love.

But Lagerstroemia has a price. It is an irresistible free lunch counter for every struggling horticulturist's hard-shelled nemesis, Popillia japonica, the Japanese beetle. These voracious, metallic green-and-brown buggers perform two activities with great gusto. The first is eating. The second requires two Japanese beetles.

To head off this Bugapallooza party, my neighbors put out "Beetle Bags." These traps contain a strong sex lure — probably a Japanese beetle resembling Marlene Dietrich who sings, "See What the Beetles in the Back Room Will Have."

The Beetle Bag is the dopiest invention since Chia Pets. Thousands of beetles devouring some other yard are now receiving a chemical message that whispers, "For a good time, visit Slattery's subdivision."

There are so many beetles waiting to get bagged that a long line stretches all the way to — that's right — my crape myrtle. En route to the erotic house of doom, nothing beats a last meal of Lagerstroemia. At the height of beetle season, right about now, its leaves look like a police chalk outline of a murdered crape myrtle. All the chlorophyll is gone.

On my side of the battlefield, I have become acquainted with every insecticide not outlawed by the Geneva Convention: Diazinon, Sevin, Orthenex. I would prefer something with a no-nonsense name, say, "Land O' Dead Bugs."

As toxic brewmeister, I pump up the sprayer and wade into the enemy. Beginner's note: In doing this, check which way the wind is blowing. A drenching mist of bug poison should not be confused with Jean Nate after-bath lotion.

Even as I rain death upon them (and me — there was a stiff breeze from the west last weekend), the beetles remain fixated on the myrtle — and on each other. Only after a decent dousing do they clatter to the ground. After a shell count, I go into the house. Next day, the crape myrtle is covered in beetles again.

I think these beetles have seen The Sting. They pretend to die and wait for me to leave. Then the Paul Newman beetle pays off the other beetles, and they fly on to the next con job.

If this seems the product of an addled mind, please remember: I've been spritzing myself with a lot of insecticide.

On top of all this, there's an ongoing feud among gardeners about the annual pruning of crape myrtles. Fussier horticulturists, promoters of the "specimen" quality myrtle, believe one should cut back the plant's woody growth cautiously. (That could be the subject line in a spam e-mail: "woody growth cautiously." Those damn spammers are producing some of the best poetry in America.)

Others wade into their myrtles with a vengeance to chop off multiple linear yardage, committing what's called "crape murder" by the cognoscenti. Let me tell you something, you couldn't kill a crape myrtle if you fired an arsenic-tipped silver bullet into its root system, followed up by an air strike. The species may be more annoying than a used car ad on the radio, but it is indestructible.

This story does have a happy ending. The Japanese beetles on my crape myrtle will eventually make room for the aphids, which nibble on the myrtle until early fall. Then some weird fungus blackens all the leaves, until Lagerstroemia could pass for the floral piece at an Addams family wedding.

Come autumn, the crape myrtle sheds its remaining foliage. For six months it is a barren bundle of sticks, without any sign of leaves, beetles, aphids or fungus. No spraying, pruning or watering to be done. Nothing.

Nature at its finest.

glen.slattery@creativeloafing.com


Glen Slattery (suburbanitae anxietosa) has his habitat in Alpharetta.             13015357 1249150                          Talk of the Town - A streetcar named Diazinon August 05 2004 "
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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 5, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Hey, Myrrr-tle! | more...
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  string(2324) "Joyce Turner and her family should get a high five — or, more appropriately, paw — for their work with animals. As part of the Georgia Heartland Humane Society, they have spent years operating a dog shelter from their home and taken in hundreds of abandoned dogs. Eight lovable, four-legged friends currently reside in Fayetteville with them, providing the Turner family with extra love and affection — and not simply because of the sheer number of dogs. In addition to being abandoned, these rescued pups are also handicapped.Although her canines are every bit as happy and affectionate as dogs without disabilities, finding homes for them can be difficult, Turner explains. Sometimes animals that enter her home as temporary residents stay as permanent pets. The result is a diverse group of animals ranging from poodles to chows.Creative Loafing: Do these dogs get along?Turner: Laughs. Yeah, they all get along. Occasionally one will snip or something, but they're very happy.How has owning eight dogs affected your decorating decisions? You probably own more than one dog bowl.We bought leather couches so they wouldn't accumulate hair — it can't get stuck in the cloth. We also have these ramps to help the animals get up onto the sofa. There's one in the bedroom, too. They're mainly for Peppy, a Chihuahua who was severely malnourished as a puppy. As a result, his bones did not develop properly and are very brittle. If he tried to jump off the bed or sofa, he might break his leg.You seem to put a lot of effort into making your  dogs comfortable: ramps, toys and a plethora of  doggy treats. These are not luxuries you have to provide. Is it expensive?It can get very expensive, but I enjoy what I'm doing and the dogs give so much love in return.I've heard you all have  a local celebrity living  with you.Yes, Jack. We take him to the Renaissance Festival every year. Jack was abused and in bad shape when people found him. They took him to the vet but his eye couldn't be saved. You know, some people say Jack is ugly, but I think he's a beautiful dog. What do you think?I peer into Jack's one eye and glance at his underbite. It was an awkward half-second, but Turner's love for Jack prompted a realization.Yes, he's a beautiful dog — very handsome.cityhomes@creativeloafing.com
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  string(2613) "    Humane accommodations at a Fayetteville home   2004-08-05T04:04:00+00:00 Talk of the Town - Handicapable pups August 05 2004   Scott Christian 1223977 2004-08-05T04:04:00+00:00  Joyce Turner and her family should get a high five — or, more appropriately, paw — for their work with animals. As part of the Georgia Heartland Humane Society, they have spent years operating a dog shelter from their home and taken in hundreds of abandoned dogs. Eight lovable, four-legged friends currently reside in Fayetteville with them, providing the Turner family with extra love and affection — and not simply because of the sheer number of dogs. In addition to being abandoned, these rescued pups are also handicapped.Although her canines are every bit as happy and affectionate as dogs without disabilities, finding homes for them can be difficult, Turner explains. Sometimes animals that enter her home as temporary residents stay as permanent pets. The result is a diverse group of animals ranging from poodles to chows.Creative Loafing: Do these dogs get along?Turner: Laughs. Yeah, they all get along. Occasionally one will snip or something, but they're very happy.How has owning eight dogs affected your decorating decisions? You probably own more than one dog bowl.We bought leather couches so they wouldn't accumulate hair — it can't get stuck in the cloth. We also have these ramps to help the animals get up onto the sofa. There's one in the bedroom, too. They're mainly for Peppy, a Chihuahua who was severely malnourished as a puppy. As a result, his bones did not develop properly and are very brittle. If he tried to jump off the bed or sofa, he might break his leg.You seem to put a lot of effort into making your  dogs comfortable: ramps, toys and a plethora of  doggy treats. These are not luxuries you have to provide. Is it expensive?It can get very expensive, but I enjoy what I'm doing and the dogs give so much love in return.I've heard you all have  a local celebrity living  with you.Yes, Jack. We take him to the Renaissance Festival every year. Jack was abused and in bad shape when people found him. They took him to the vet but his eye couldn't be saved. You know, some people say Jack is ugly, but I think he's a beautiful dog. What do you think?I peer into Jack's one eye and glance at his underbite. It was an awkward half-second, but Turner's love for Jack prompted a realization.Yes, he's a beautiful dog — very handsome.cityhomes@creativeloafing.com
             13015361 1249155                          Talk of the Town - Handicapable pups August 05 2004 "
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Talk of the Town

Thursday August 5, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Humane accommodations at a Fayetteville home | more...