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Monday, December 11, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


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  • Writer Login


    Mark Johnson

    Mark Johnson
    Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at www.MarkJohnsonSpeaks.com. He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.
    Number of posts: 63
    Email address: email
    Facebook: Facebook
    Twitter: Twitter
    Skype: Skype
    Youtube: Youtube
    Subscribe to my RSS Feed: http://likethedew.com/author/mejgeorgia/feed/

    By Mark Johnson:


      think, remember, reflect

      Who do you hate?

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Oct 29, 2017
      Exhibit - Center for Civil and Human Rights - Atlanta by Albert Vecerka-Esto

      I grew up in the segregated South. In my seven years of elementary school, four years of high school, and four years of college, there was never a black student in my school.

      I was there on the Sunday morning in 1960 when the leaders of my Methodist church gathered nervously on the front steps fearful that a black family was going to come to worship. When I asked my Dad what everybody was afraid of, he said, “you don’t understand.”

       

      we are so fired

      President Donald J. Trump: the First 100 Days

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 1, 2016
      President Donald J. Trump: the First 100 Days

      Donald Trump’s relentless promise to Make America Great Again carried him through the Republican primaries with surprising efficiency. He beat Marco Rubio in the Midwest, easily carried Florida and the West, and fought off a late entry by Michael Bloomberg. The Republican convention became a pep rally for the dissatisfied, and his surprise choice for his vice presidential running mate was the final blow to any mainstream Republican hopes.

      In a caustic and bombastic general election, Trump’s strength multiplied while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton fought a tight but eventually losing battle…

      racing for cause

      Horses Jumping Over Bushes

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 20, 2015
      Horses Jumping Over Bushes

      My friend Hugh Wilson once described the Atlanta Steeplechase as an event where a large crowd of well-dressed people stand in a pasture and get drunk while horses jump over bushes. The Atlanta Steeplechase celebrated its 50th anniversary this past weekend. A lot of people dressed up in clothes they probably wouldn’t wear to work or church, women wore fancy hats, the good china came out for elaborate tailgating, alcohol was consumed in abundance, and there was some pretty darn exciting horse racing.

      1943-2015

      Jack

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Mar 31, 2015
      Jack deJarnette

      My friend, Jack deJarnette, was a frequent contributor to Like The Dew. He was a retired United Methodist minister who came to the cloth by way of respiratory therapy.

      Jack and I met the first day of the 9th grade at Georgia Military Academy in College Park. (GMA is now Woodward Academy.) I was stone cold alone sitting in study hall when Jack and I started talking. A lifelong friendship was born.

      stretching

      Honey, have you seen my red cape?

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Sep 3, 2013
      Honey, have you seen my red cape?

      It was never my intention for the girls down the street to see me in my Superman suit.

      My mother, a talented and inventive seamstress, had made me the outfit after I had become addicted to the Superman TV series starring George Reeves. It was a harmless diversion for an 8 year old.

      never ending story

      Daphne, Ralph and why they matter

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 31, 2013
      Daphne, Ralph and why they matter

      Daphne is a little brown Carolina wren, and she came to live with us about a month ago. Actually, she lives in the fern by the door to the deck. She was first known as that cute little brown bird who keeps flying out of the fern. Not being experts on the nesting habits of the Carolina wren, it didn’t occur to us she was decorating the nursery.

      Heads Up

      Relax. It’s just an asteroid.

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Feb 12, 2013
      Relax. It's just an asteroid.

      I guess everybody has heard about 2012 DA14 by now. DA14 is an asteroid that’s going to zip by next Friday at a comfortable 17,200 miles above the Earth’s surface.

      “But wait!” you exclaim, “that sounds close!”

      Damn right. It’s closer than some satellites. There are a few troubling things about DA14, other than the fact it’s the size of an office building and could flatten a major city. First, the reason it’s called 2012 DA14 is that we didn’t even know it was there until last year.

      Scream

      Oh, my God!

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Dec 17, 2012
      Oh, my God!

      The Christmas decorations are up, the stockings are hung, Santa has been visited, toys are bought and hidden, cookies baked, and assurances have been made the fireplace will be empty Christmas eve.

      It’s a beautiful winter’s day. She had skipped off to school, turned and waved and gone through the door of the school chattering with her best friend forever.

      And then the phone rings.

      Travel Tips

      Who’s taking care of the chickens?

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Oct 2, 2012
      Who’s taking care of the chickens?

      I like chickens. In fact, my very first story for Like The Dew was about a proposed ordinance in Roswell that would outlaw keeping chickens within the city limits. I never heard how that turned out, but it was a quite heated dispute.

      I have no problem with eating chicken. Southern fried chicken (which means it must be real chicken deep fried in real grease by a real southerner) is in the DNA of anyone raised south of Baltimore. (So are Varsity onion rings but that is a different story.)

      Missing Maple Syrup

      The Sticky Fingers Job

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Sep 4, 2012
      Maple Syrup Running

      According to several news sources, thieves in the Canadian province of Quebec have stolen a significant amount of the 10 million pounds of maple syrup in Canada’s Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve (similar to our Strategic Oil Reserves only sweeter). The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers maintains the Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve which is made up of 10 million pounds in the worth $30.4 million.

      Remembering

      Captain William R. Brewster, Jr.

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 28, 2012
      Captain William R. Brewster, Jr.

      The first time I met William R. Brewster, Jr. was in the fall of 1957. I was a new cadet at Georgia Military Academy in College Park, Georgia, and he was the superintendent. He was Commander Brewster then, a retired Navy officer. When I graduated from GMA, Commander Brewster had become Captain Brewster and he had taken over as president of the school.

      Voice of God

      Greg Oliver

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Aug 1, 2012
      Greg Oliver - Atlanta Actor

      You probably would not have known Greg Oliver by sight. But if you have listened to the radio, watched TV or been through the airport, you know Greg.

      As you step on to the escalator to go to the trains, you heard Greg. It is his deep, authoritative  voice that reminds  you:

      “If you are going down the escalator, you are entering the transportation hall. Smoking, eating and drinking are prohibited in the transportation hall.”

      Memorial Day

      Thank you for what you did for our country

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 27, 2012
      "Iron Mike" memorial at La Fiere Causeway

      In May of 2001 I went to Normandy with a veteran of the 82nd Airborne who had parachuted behind the German lines in the early hours of June 4, 1944.

      His name was Dr. Rufus Broadaway, and he had not been back since the war. His reason? He had “other things to do.” He was a retired vascular surgeon, had practiced in Miami for over 40 years, and was one of the founders of a major hospital.

      Southern Families

      Deadbeat dad

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Apr 3, 2012
      Deadbeat dad

      It was, to say the least, a shock when I found out my daughter thought I was a deadbeat.

      And in the process of being told I was a worthless husband and provider and that if it wasn’t for mom we would be all living in a cardboard box, I learned a valuable lesson about perception.

      In his book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters makes the point “perception is all there is.” It’s an old observation. Around our house when I was getting older (“growing up” is a different concept altogether,) I heard “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Also true.

      Special People

      Tom Wells

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Mar 28, 2012
      Tom Wells

      In 1967 I decided I wanted to produce a series of motivational tapes. I convinced the late Ruth Kent of WSB-TV plus a well-known minister to have a conversation about the meaning of life, success, motivating yourself and the need for a spiritual foundation. There was no script, and I wanted the talk to run no longer than 20 minutes.

      Right. Should be a piece of cake. The cake fell, but in the process I met Tom Wells. He owned a new, little recording studio named Doppler.

      Banksta Art

      The art world’s newest star

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 23, 2012
      The art world's newest star

      The art world is abuzz over the recent discovery of what one veteran critic “in the know” calls “a vibrant re-expression of a post-modern minimalist rejuvenation of the expressive neo-regression of late 18th century impressionistic overthrow of form.” And he is not alone in his praise.

      I can say without any qualification that, in my entire career, I have seen nothing as viscerally exciting as this newly discovered master.

      And who is the cause of the waves of excitement surging through the art world?

      Carpe Diem

      David

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jan 19, 2012
      60 days to live

      The man sitting next to me on the flight to Ft. Lauderdale was named David. He was on the way to Florida to visit his cousin and her children. OK. He was an aircraft mechanic, lived in Clarksville, Tennessee, was divorced and was going to South America from Ft. Lauderdale. OK. He was born in Kentucky, did not like Tennessee, and had moved to Georgia. OK. He was 47 years old, wore jeans, a sport shirt, and an orange cap with a logo on it. He didn’t like cats. OK. I’m not real fond of cats either.

      And then David told me in the same tone of voice he had used when complaining about cats that his body was eaten up with cancer and that his doctor had told him he had 60 days to live.

      Are There Bananas in Heaven?

      The truth about Cheetah

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Dec 29, 2011
      The truth about Cheetah

      A new controversy has emerged that is threatening to overshadow the impending Iowa presidential caucuses.

      It was reported yesterday that Cheetah, Tarzan’s beloved sidekick had passed anyway in Florida. He was 80, enjoyed painting, and occasionally threw feces at people he didn’t like. 

      But Tamara Lush of the Associated Press filed a story yesterday throwing doubt on reports of the death. Several animal parks as well as two individuals have claimed to have the original chimp, but all said that Cheetah had swung on his last vine many years ago.

      An animal expert said that, if the chimp had actually lived to 80, he would be the oldest chimpanzee on record. “Normally they don’t live much past 40 years.“

      Southern Christmas

      Silent nights, traditions and goats

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Dec 22, 2011
      Silent nights, traditions and goats

      It’s Christmas.

      It’s the time of year when retailers try to convince you that every visible structure and open patch of ground must have lights, inflatable snow globes or gaudy trees that pulse to electronic renditions of “Blue Christmas.”

      Sure, Christmas is too commercial. We all know that, and there is nothing we can do about it.

      Rebecca – known this time of year as Mother Christmas – is dedicated to giving thoughtful and appropriate gifts to anyone who even vaguely qualifies as family. As you might expect, my view of “thoughtful and appropriate” often conflicts with hers.

      Southern People

      Inventor Ralph J. Lomma dies at age 87

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Sep 18, 2011
      Inventor Ralph J. Lomma dies at age 87

      Ralph Lomma is not a name you hear bandied about during a discussion of great inventors.

      The cave man who invented the wheel? Sure. Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney, Gutenberg, Ray Kroc, the Earl of Sandwich? They all make the list. But Ralph Lomma is a name lost in the rush to laud Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the Wright Brothers and Harlan Sanders.

      Why should we build a statue of Ralph Lomma in every public square in America? Because it is Ralph Lomma who made miniature golf what it is today.

      Southern Backyards

      The chicken issue

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Aug 8, 2011
      The chicken issue

      Well, chickens are back in the news. With all the attention being paid to the debt ceiling media event, the school mess and the endless stories on CBS Atlanta about the fireman who was smoking dope on the job, it’s easy to understand how you may have missed the chicken crisis in Cobb County.

      To set the record straight, it is perfectly legal to keep chickens in your backyard in Cobb County. But in an unexpected flurry of ordinance muscle flexing, Cobb County decreed that chicken keepers must have 2 acres of land – which includes the home, garage, tool shed, old trampoline, soggy dog toys, and the chickens.

      Southern Politics

      Sail On, Oh Ship Of State

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Aug 4, 2011
      Sail On, Oh Ship Of State

      If someone from the planet Boorah asked me to explain the debt ceiling thing, I would say that it took 2 months for a group of self-serving egomaniacs to do what they were going to do anyway but would have been done quicker if somebody hadn’t invented television.

      I’m not an economist. (For the uninitiated that is roughly the same as me saying I’m not a vascular surgeon.) But I understand this debt ceiling thing well enough to know that the US doesn’t make enough to pay its credit card bill.

      If we don’t pay the interest on the credit card then our credit score will go down and people will start getting nervous about our ability to pay our bills.

      So we have to cut our budget (stop going to movies, less steak, no summer camp, vacation in Panama City instead of Biarritz, send little Molly to a state school and put off painting the house.)

      Southern Politics

      Et tu, Anthony?

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jun 9, 2011
      Et tu, Anthony?

      Albert Einstein said: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”

      Anthony Weiner, the congressperson from the 9th District of New York, proved that point and got bonus points in a stroke of world-class, compounded, Olympic-level stupidity by sending a photograph of a well-known but usually covered male organ to a woman in Seattle. He used Twitter’s private (singular but could be plural in this case) mail feature. Except that, oh my, not all private communications stay private. Someone got ahold of Anthony’s Playgirl audition and it was seen by the object of his … uh … ego.

      Southern Life

      Junk and other treasures

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Mar 23, 2011
      Junk and other treasures

      I’m cleaning up my office

      I am a writer by trade, and many writers are able to concentrate on their craft if they don’t have to worry about filing, having office supplies in the same place, or having a place on your desk to put things like a pencil.

      You could say, charitably, that my office is messy. I think of it as disorganized. The Goddess says it’s gross.

      So in a stunning moment of stupidity, I told Rebecca I would clean up my office.

      “Does that include the stuff poking through the rails along the walkway to your office?”

      Southern Life

      Good Golly Miss Molly

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Mar 16, 2011
      Good Golly Miss Molly

      It’s fashionable to write heart-wrenching obituaries for beloved pets who have crossed over. I’ve written them myself. I refuse to do it this time.

      Today is Molly’s 15th birthday. That’s old for a Scottish terrier, and she’s certainly showing her age. Like a lot of elderly Scotties she’s deaf. She can’t go outside unless I carry her, and she has cataracts. She is also in the advanced stages of Scottie dementia.

      She will stand on shaky legs and just, well, stand there. The Goddess thinks she still recognizes us, but I have pointed out that her flashes of recognition only come when we have food in our hand.

      ‘Of the people, by the people’

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Dec 6, 2010
      ‘Of the people, by the people’

      “Looks like you’re headed for Washington.”

      “You betcha. Another victory for freedom.”

      “How was your freshman orientation?”

      “Gonna cut some spending.”

      “Good idea.”

      “Sure is. I know John thinks so.”

      “John?”

      “The Speaker of the House. We’re tight.”

      How?

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Oct 12, 2010
      How?

      A non-partisan fable.

      “So you’re running for office …”

      “Yep. Going to Washington.”

      “That’s terrific.”

      “It’s time to set things right.”

      “I think all voters agree with that.”

      “Too much waste.”

      “Yep.”

      “Too much bureaucracy.”

      “No doubt.”

      Don’t he look natural?

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 11, 2010
      Don’t he look natural?

      The Goddess and I are at her family reunion in south Georgia.

      “Look, sweetheart, there are just three things people talk about at family reunions.”

      “Let me guess. Global warming, the oil spill, and the economy.”

      “Not even close. They talk about food, health problems and how natural somebody looked in their casket.”

      A Few Rules Of Thumb About Life

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Jul 1, 2010
      A Few Rules Of Thumb About Life

      Many years ago during times of struggle of one kind and another, a friend sent me the following.  It was written by a Baptist minister named Gary Odle.

      I am not usually a fan of pop religion, but I am a fan of good writing and clear thinking no matter what form it takes.

      I’m not a Baptist. My spirituality is a very personal thing for me. In fact, I never saw Gary’s “Rules” as a religious document. My definition of God is no doubt different from yours, as yours is different from others. You could be a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Druid. Doesn’t matter. Just insert your definition of your Higher Power where appropriate. And be at peace.

      Dear Tony

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jun 20, 2010
      Dear Tony

      FROM: The Chairman

      TO: Tony Heyward

      SUBJECT: This oil thing

      Sorry to hear about 4th place in the race yesterday. Damn shame.

      FROM: Tony Heyward

      TO: The Chairman

      SUBJECT: This oil thing

      Thanks. Reggie dropped the ball. Of course, I wasn’t at the helm so it wasn’t my fault.

      Ralph

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jun 3, 2010
      Ralph

      Ralph McGill, Jr. was one of my closest friends, and now he’s dead. Heart attack, the paper his father put on the map said.

      Ralph was, and shall remain, the best copywriter I ever knew. Period. He had a quick mind, a vicious sensed of humor, and an almost psychic sense of what would sell.

      It’s no secret that Ralph had issues with booze, women and money. But he never had issues with being Ralph.

      I worked with Ralph for a time at Braselton Advertising. He and the late Clyde Hogg were buddies, and, along with Don Gill,  some magic stuff came out of that shop.

      I’ll miss him. I didn’t see him enough, and I kept meaning to call him. Now he’s gone, and I didn’t say goodbye.

      Somewhere in that great ad agency in the sky, Ralph, and Clyde, and Tom Little are sitting around coming up with ideas for God’s next campaign. Watch out for thunder and lightning.

      Editor’s note: A “Remembering Ralph McGill” Facebook page has been set up with the following post, “His family needs assistance in his burial and other expenses. Info will be added soon if you’re so inclined.”

      Just when you think you’ve heard it all …

      by | 3, Add your Comment | May 29, 2010
      Just when you think you've heard it all ...

      You simply cannot make this stuff up. You just can’t.

      The following story by Kristi E. Swartz appeared in the Saturday, May 29, 2010, issue of the AJC on page B4.

      Wife indicted in husband’s killing.

      The domestic-violence lobbyist accused of gunning down her husband of five days near the Varsity Restaurant was indicted in court Friday morning.

      The Wonder Dog of Marshall, Missouri

      by | 3, Add your Comment | May 21, 2010
      The Wonder Dog of Marshall, Missouri

      I believe it’s important to establish this is a true story.  I’ve been to Marshall and talked to people who saw Jim, or who had parents who did. My next door neighbor grew up in Kansas City, and her dad told me about seeing Jim when he was traveling through Marshall.

      Yes, there are elements of a fish story here. Bass grow bigger as the story is repeated. That’s why I have tried to stick to verifiable events. (If you would like to read an in-depth story about Jim, check out the August 1985 issue of Outdoor Life.)

      There was an English setter named Jim who lived in Missouri in the late 1920’s who could read minds and predict the future.

      Kill dust mites while dancing naked

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Apr 28, 2010
      Kill dust mites while dancing naked

      It was during breakfast in Seattle that I had to choose between killing dust mites and looking good naked.

      You see, the booths at the hotel café had individual TV monitors. The programming consisted of the major networks, the two cable news channels, endless NCIS reruns, and a veritable goldmine of infomercials.

      A “goldmine” you scoff? Consider:

      As I took the first sip of my double quad skinny mocha with …

      Islands in the stream

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Apr 7, 2010
      Islands in the stream

      Proceedings of the House Sub-Committee on Relocation and Allocation of Personnel Resources Subject to Allocation and Relocation Guidelines …

      GINGKO: You are planning to relocate 250 people to the island of Patmos, correct?

      WINGLE: Yes, we are establishing an agricultural trade center …

      GINGKO: Living on Patmos probably will be scary.

      WINGLE: Scary?

      GINGKO: Yeah. Patmos isn’t very big and if you get too many people on it the whole island will sink.

      WINGLE: Sink?

      Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Mar 26, 2010
      Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition

      “It sure is a beautiful Sunday, Miss Jewel.”

      “Oh, it certainly is, Eddie, it certainly is. A blessed Sunday. You know, I joined this church 65 years ago.”

      “That’s quite a record.”

      ‘Some years were easier than others. Like when that Reverend Pickleton was here back in nineteen and seventy one. Never preached a single sermon out of the Old Testament. Four years and not a word about God’s wrath and eternal damnation of sinners.”

      Hair Follies

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Mar 16, 2010
      Hair Follies

      A little off the sides, add more to the top.”

      (Snort.)

      The disparaging expletive is from my barber, Tommy Thomas.

      Tommy, the owner of Thomas Barber Shop, has been cutting my hair for some time now. He is a barber, not a stylist. He doesn’t shampoo, and you have to ask for hair spray. He does, however, shave your neck with a straight razor and finish with a hot towel.

      So long, Clyde

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Mar 8, 2010
      So long, Clyde

      I got the news yesterday from my friend Ralph McGill that Clyde Hogg had died.

      Clyde, Ralph and I plied our trade in the advertising wars for many years. Ralph is a world-class writer, I, too, am a writer, and Clyde was an art director. But to call Clyde an art director is like calling The Beatles a British rock band.

      Journalism Marches On

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Mar 2, 2010
      Journalism Marches On

      This story makes no sense.”

      “When did that ever stop us before? Run it.”

      “We’re everywhere, ” the lead story in the Arts and Living section of Sunday’s (February 28, 2010) AJC, purports to enlighten us on the producers, actors, locations and local links to some of this year’s films nominated for “Best Picture.” There are 10 films highlighted.

      (The following is all true. You truly can’t make this stuff up.)

      Honey, why is your nose magenta?

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Feb 27, 2010
      Honey, why is your nose magenta?

      I was happy to learn that there is still time for me to go out to Stanford and get painted.

      No, really. There seems to be this annual celebration when  a bunch of students from India (natives or of Indian extraction)  throw paint at each other. (I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that more than a few of the paint-throwing collegians were neither Indian or, for that matter, college students. But, then again, who’s checking student IDs?) “Excuse me, young man, but before you dump that can of Tangerine Musk on the nice police officer, may I see some identification?”

      The event in question is called Holi, and it’s the Festival Of Spring.

      The Tomato Terror

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Feb 26, 2010
      The Tomato Terror

      Now it’s tomatoes.

      Those of us who are consumers of the daily diet of scandal, politicians unable to complete an English sentence, car wrecks, stolen twirling trophies and bank robbers who pass threatening notes to tellers written on the robber’s deposit slip are no strangers to human greed and nefarious behavior. But tomatoes?

      Why did the cricket cross the concourse?

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Feb 19, 2010
      Why did the cricket cross the concourse?

      The fact is, I never thought the cricket would make it to the other side.

      Three of us were on our way back to Atlanta from Las Vegas and were changing planes in Dallas. It was 3 am, and the flight was delayed. The cleaning people had left, and the concourse was deserted.

      That’s when John saw the cricket. The cricket was clearly lost and was probably trying to find an agent so he could get to the right gate. We felt sorry for him, but none of us spoke cricket.

      Free The Lobster!

      by | 20, Add your Comment | Feb 17, 2010
      Free The Lobster!

      This whole thing started when my Aunt Margaret killed that chicken.

      Let me quickly establish that I am a happy carnivore. I’ve eaten everything including roasted musk ox. (Don’t. Just don’t. Promise me.) I am well aware that meat comes from animals, and I am more than a little familiar with the process that moves the musk ox from tundra to table. (Really, take it from a friend, don’t eat musk ox.)

      The now-legendary Aunt Margaret Chicken Experience happened on a Sunday in the Spring in Fairburn, Georgia. The family had gathered for Sunday dinner and was looking forward to the traditional meal

      And Now The News

      by | 8, Add your Comment | Feb 10, 2010
      And Now The News

      “Local Action Uncensored Georgia Highlight news starts now.”

      “Good evening. Large rocks have begun to fall from the sky over North Georgia, and the government reports an asteroid the size of Texas will strike the Eastern Seaboard within the next 12 hours essentially wiping out life on Earth. But, first our top story.”

      “In Clayton County a man driving a pick-up along Riverdale Road swerved to avoid hitting a chicken

      And He Scores!

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Feb 4, 2010
      And He Scores!

      I have pulled a muscle swinging a stick around the living room.

      No, I wasn’t chasing the dog because he had borrowed the car keys without permission. No, there are no flying squirrels in the house. No, I wasn’t defending myself against the little boy from down the street who had come over for a game of “shoot the neighbor with the new bow and arrow.”

      Sometime last year while we were wandering through Costco looking for the special on 64 gallons of cooking oil, The Goddess remarked that the Wii looked like it would be fun.

      Night Of The Living Turkeys

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jan 29, 2010
      Night Of The Living Turkeys

      You’ll be happy to know that marauding turkeys are no longer a problem in the Olde Lexington Gardens subdivision in Athens.

      And thank goodness for that.

      Imagine opening the front door to get the morning paper out of the flower bed next to the rosemary bush and coming face-to-face with a snarling turkey with an evil glint in his eye.

      Let’s Twist Again …

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 22, 2010
      Let's Twist Again ...

      “Hey! Guess what?”

      “You sold your book.”

      “Not yet.”

      “You’ve learned to cut your own hair?”

      “No. Vinyl’s back.”

      Robert B. Parker, 1932-2010

      by | 11, Add your Comment | Jan 20, 2010
      Robert B. Parker, 1932-2010

      Ah dammit, Robert B. Parker died.

      He was 78 years old, lived in Boston, and was the author of the Spenser, Jess Stone and other mystery novels.

      Parker was an efficient storyteller. He let short, crisp dialogue

      The Prudent Man’s Shopping Survival Guide

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 8, 2010
      The Prudent Man's Shopping Survival Guide

      Thanks to my wife Rebecca I know many things. I know she is always right, even when she isn’t. I know that when we’re lost, she has an astute sense of direction that brooks no challenge regardless of where we may be or end up. I know she can identify any spider from an altitude of from three to five feet depending on the size of the spider.

      And I have learned that there is a difference in black shoes for women.

      ‘Okay! Drop It!’

      by | 30, Add your Comment | Dec 26, 2009
      'Okay! Drop It!'

      Your life will remain incomplete until you go to a possum drop on New Year’s Eve. Really.

      You may have seen the Peach Drop in Atlanta, or struggled through the pickpockets to see the big Waterford crystal ball drop in Times Square. (The Waterford ball seems like a decadent waste of Waterford when there are so many people around the world who have no Waterford at all.)

      But it is a singular life-changing moment to count down to midnight while a live possum in a Plexiglas cage is lowered to the ground in front of 2,000+ people gathered at a Citgo gas station in Brasstown, North Carolina.

      Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Dec 17, 2009
      Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

      Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays. It is the time of year for joy, renewing friendships, fumbling with decorations for the tree, trying to figure out why the lights don’t work,  celebrating our families, shopping at Target at 9 pm trying to find the life-sized Mick Jagger wind-up toy, affirming our faith, and eating a lot. For children, it’s also a time for what the playwrights and screenwriters call “the willful suspension of disbelief.” It’s time for the fat man with the goodies. When she was 7 years old, my daughter Joanna appeared before me and said “Daddy, can I ask you a question?” (For the record, 7-year-olds do not walk up; they appear.) “Of course, my angel, you can ask me anything you want.” “Daddy, is there a Santa Claus?” That was not “a question.” “A question” is “How do you make tapioca pudding from scratch?” Or: “What’s the […]

      Wonders In A Turkish Dump

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Dec 7, 2009
      Wonders In A Turkish Dump

      It all started with the can of hairspray in Istanbul.

      Understand that I don’t use a lot of hairspray, being what is politely referred to as  “thin” on top. So a can of spray will last me for quite some time. This particular can had traveled with me to Australia a couple of times, as well as to other exotic places when I was making a film about meat processing plants. (It’s a living.) So, when the hairspray ran out during a cruise with my wife and daughter, I tossed the can into the garbage on the ship which was at the time in Istanbul harbor.

      Happy Otis Day

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Nov 19, 2009
      Happy Otis Day

      The whole Thanksgiving turkey thing got out of hand early on. The Johnsons, you see, like to name things. We didn’t think it was unusual when Joanna called her two identical dolls Martha and The Other Martha. (They were also referred to as “My Marthas” and “The Marthas.”) The big stuffed giraffe was christened Maxine, and Joanna’s treasured stuffed dragon is Warren. The female who gives directions on Rebecca’s GPS is “Lucy.” The little green man on the Walk/Don’t Walk signs in Paris we call “Louie.” One of my most successful ad campaigns (for QuikTrip) featured a large shaggy dog named “Lamar.” (The campaign was the product of a number of talented people, but Wyatt Phillips and I came up with the concept, and I named the dog.) Back in 1975 The Goddess and I started calling our Thanksgiving turkey Otis. None of the insiders thought anything of it. Hell, […]

      Cowboy Bob

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Nov 10, 2009
      Cowboy Bob

      It didn’t seem at all strange to me that there was a cowboy in Terry Robinson’s back yard. This particular cowboy was dressed in black, had a cowboy hat, a six-gun and a lariat. He said his name was Cowboy Bob. It was Terry’s ninth birthday, and the invitation had said something about cake, ice cream and a surprise. What in the world would Terry Robinson have in his backyard that the kids in the neighborhood had not already climbed on, run around, or pretended it was something else? I personally thought it would he a new tire swing. Melanie Ashcroft was holding out for a tree house. But the surprise was Cowboy Bob. Cowboy Bob appeared about half way through the party, precisely at the point where the boys start thinking about starting an ice cream war with the girls. But when Cowboy Bob strolled out of Terry’s back […]

      The Doughnut Chef

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Oct 31, 2009
      The Doughnut Chef

      My mother was a fine cook, sticking mainly to Southern fare … heart-stopping vegetables steeped in pork fat, meat cooked OK except for steaks that would double as floor mats. Her fried chicken to this day remains the standard by which I judge all other fried chicken.

      One day, while I was watching my mother cook, it came to me that I was perfectly capable of cooking too. It couldn’t be that hard. After all, she just flipped open her cookbook to a grease-drenched page and did what the directions said.

      I was ten.

      I should not have been allowed to be within a hundred yards of that cookbook. I had about as much skill in the kitchen as I did with a branding iron, and each was equally painful. I’ve never been branded, but careful observation in western movies clearly showed that there were a lot of things the cow would rather have been doing that have some sweat-infested cowboy slap a hot poker into his butt.

      Dog Smarts

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Oct 21, 2009
      Dog Smarts

      Joanna was six when she announced that she wanted a dog.

      “That’s a great idea,” the parents said. “We’ll go to the Humane Society and pick one out.” The daughter, responding as if we had been speaking Urdu, continued with her announcement: “I want a white Scottish terrier, and I’m going to name her Rose.”

      So let it be written; so let it be done.

      Thus began our long life’s journey in the company of smart, independent dogs. The Scotty, you see, has many admirable qualities: They are loyal to their family, bark only when necessary (usually to warn of the invasion of a UPS courier), and do not shed. Their less than admirable qualities include an unwillingness to respond to requests like “Dammit, Rose, it’s raining. Come here!”

      A Death In The Family

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Oct 17, 2009
      A Death In The Family

      I used to know the seven stages of grief … denial, anger, suspicion, it wasn’t me, etc. My wife, Rebecca, (aka “The Goddess”), reached the “You’re Making This Up, Right?” stage last night when I talked to her in Holland.

      No, Aunt Weezy who lived in a mobile home park south of Midville didn’t take the canoe across the Ogeechee to her final resting place on the other side and leave her butterfly collection to Rebecca’s worthless third cousin. Rebecca’s computer died.

      Had we been more attentive, we would have seen it coming. It moved slower. It was not as eager to open up our favorite websites like www.conspiracytheoriesthathauntSmyrna.com. Or www.groutmadeeasy.com. It found our Excel budgeting program distasteful, and completely rejected any attempt to feed it CD’s.

      Do Your Part To Save The Airlines

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Oct 15, 2009
      Do Your Part To Save The Airlines

      It seems that the airlines are going to tack on an extra fee for trips taken around Christmas and Memorial Day. As someone who travels a lot and whose primary concern has always been airline profitability, I’m glad to see such a move. Many of us were heartened when the carriers wised up and began charging for checked baggage. This falls into that important category for “things passengers have to do anyway so why not charge them?” Many innovative airlines have already instituted necessary charges for pillows and blankets, whose sales will double when the air conditioning is turned down. And did you see where, for a small fee, you can have a window seat? Four kids who all want to sit by the window must be a bonanza. As a concerned traveler who never balks at smaller seats and cheap headsets, I believe there are more areas that are […]

      Do Unto Others

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Oct 1, 2009
      Do Unto Others

      Did you know that $200,000 will buy enough toiletries and other basic necessities to fill 10,000 shoeboxes? You can buy 4,000 sets of school clothes for 200 grand, or roughly 2,500 room nights at an inexpensive motel. For the people who were washed out of their homes by the recent flooding, (the Red Cross estimates over 2,000) toiletries and school clothes and a place to sleep are a Godsend. The Salvation Army and the Red Cross are doing their part, but contributions are down. Just think what the Salvation Army or the Red Cross or local churches could do with $200,000. How many hot meals could they serve to people with no home and no flood insurance? I don’t have $200,000. However, Saxby Chambliss does. He has a Political Action Committee that collects money from corporations and rich people and then distributes it to candidates. A lot of Senators and Representatives […]

      In The Beginning Was The Word

      by | 19, Add your Comment | Sep 21, 2009
      In The Beginning Was The Word

      Why do otherwise supposedly intelligent people insist on using nouns as verbs? It all started many years ago when “partner” slipped over to the dark side, and now everybody is partnering. Right now there are kindergarten students who aren’t asked to choose a partner for the tour of the pig exhibit, but are told to partner with the person sitting next to them. Go into any corporate meeting and you’ll find people shamelessly partnering all over the place. The next victim was “learning.” (In this case, verb to noun.) Before we could recover from partnering, we found that “learnings” and its evil twin “key learnings” had invaded the halls of sanity. I don’t know who started the whole idea of “gifting.” I saw it first on Amazon, then it infested Belk’s, and now everybody is using it. At a client’s office awhile back I was talking to a consultant from […]

      It’s A Dog’s Life.

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Sep 15, 2009
      It's A Dog's Life.

      I’m in love with a Frenchman. Hold it! Rebecca knows all about it and approves. The Frenchman in question is a standard Poodle named Lucas. He manages Antiques On The Square in Marietta and employs two lovely people, Melissa and Jim. To keep peace in the family, Lucas allows Melissa and Jim to think of themselves as his masters. And, I have it on good authority, Lucas even permits the two to live in his house. I met Lucas last winter on my first visit to his marvelous and eclectic store. We bonded (scratching his ears will do that), and he deemed me worthy of being part of his circle of admirers. I have remained in his good graces – the bag of treats brought as tribute didn’t hurt – and am now greeted with an upturned head which, in Poodle speak, means scratch my chin, or I’ll banish you. […]

      Look! Up In The Air!

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 10, 2009
      Look! Up In The Air!

      I saw the International Space Station go over my house the other night. I waved. Of course, it’s highly unlikely any of the astronauts saw me, seeing as the orbit of the space station is not exactly tree-top level. No matter. It’s the thought that counts. Glenn Burns was right: he said I wouldn’t have any trouble seeing it. What I saw was a bright object — bigger than a star but smaller than an asteroid headed for Smyrna – streak across the sky. Well, it didn’t actually streak; it sort of moved briskly and was visible for about 4 minutes. When you see it (check www.Nasa.gov for the schedule) you’ll know it’s the real thing and not Jupiter taking a detour. Another thing Glenn Burns told me was to be on time. The Space Station has a lot going on and is compulsively punctual. When I was a kid […]

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