Showing 1 - 10 of 20 posts found matching keyword: atlanta

The Atlanta Falcons were up 28-3 over the New England Patriots late in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. No team had ever come back from such a deficit in the big game, and the Patriots didn't look like they were going to be the ones to do it. All Atlanta had to do was keep doing what they had been doing for the better part of 2 hours, and they would be NFL champions.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you who won.

The Falcons were good enough this year; they should have been able to beat the Patriots. But the one thing holding back, the lead weight around their necks, was their own history. The 1999 Super Bowl. The 2011 Divisional game. Now the 2017 Super Bowl. When a few plays late in the game went wrong, you could see the Falcons lose confidence that they could win. If you think you're going to lose, you're right.

I'm not a Falcons fan, but I do consider myself an Atlantan. This loss hurt. It hurt bad. Like a second betrayal by an unfaithful lover, it's the sort of pain you never get over. You can forgive, but you'll never forget. You can only blame yourself for believing she wouldn't do it to you again. A loss like this, in a city seemingly incapable of escaping it's terrible luck at team sports (1 MLB title, 0 NFL titles, 0 NBA titles, 0 NHL franchises), this loss leaves a permanent scar on our soul.

As my friend Keith, a Falcons fan since birth, said at the start of the postseason, "I'll believe the Falcons can win a Super Bowl the day after they win a Super Bowl." After this game, I don't think either of us will live that long.

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Ten years ago, tickets to the season-opening Monday Night Football game between the Philadelphia Eagles vs the Atlanta Falcons, went on sale in the wee hours of the morning on My brother, an avid Eagles fan, wanted tickets desperately, so despite being awake for nearly 24 hours, I sat at my computer and tried to get him some.

For hours, I tried. TicketMaster has never been very good at anything, and that morning they were particularly bad. Time out after time out — until finally! The tickets it offered me were expensive, $150 seats, but they would be worth it. Only after I put in my credit card info and committed to buy did I realize that the tickets TicketMaster had offered weren't to the Monday Night Falcons/Eagles. Somehow, in my sleep-deprived state, I had purchased tickets to the preseason Falcons/Ravens game instead.

Of course TicketMaster refused to offer a refund. And by then, they insisted they were sold out of Eagles tickets. So I was stuck with tickets to a watching a team I don't like in seats I couldn't afford at a glorified practice scrimmage. Fan-fucking-tastic.

I tried selling my Ravens tickets on eBay at a loss, but there were no takers. I ended up giving them away to a friend who didn't even go.

Fast forward a decade, and the Eagles were back in town for a Monday Night Football season opener. I had't planned on attending, but while watching games on Sunday, I figured what the hell. I went online to — I never buy anything on TicketMaster anymore — and bought two tickets for $50 each. Since my brother no longer speaks to me, I gave a ticket to friend Brian. We met at the Georgia Dome and had a great time.

Eagles 24, Falcons 26

Philadelphia Eagles 24, Atlanta Falcons 26. I'm really going to miss the Georgia Dome when they tear it down next year.

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I'm not a big music person. Most of my cd collection is soundtracks, and I don't really care for live music. I can count the bands I've seen in person on one hand — Pink Floyd, Drivin' N Cryin', Living Colour, and They Might Be Giants. Now I have one for the thumb: last night I went to Atlanta's Aaron's Lakewood Ampitheatre to see Pentatonix.

Ticketmaster described our seats as 'partially obstructed'

I've enjoyed Pentatonix since they won NBC's The Sing-Off in 2011. I can't believe that a five-member a capella group can generate so much sound. Now I've seen them in person, and I still can't believe it.

Technically, Kelly Clarkston was the headliner. It's a testament to Clarkston's talent that a big crowd turned out to see her performance despite the terrible weather. I'd like to say that her set blew me away, but I didn't stick around to hear it. As I said, I'm not really a big music person.

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Look at the present I received this week:

They don't make 'em like this anymore

Of course, 96 Rock has been off the air for nearly a decade. The channel that became Project 9-6-1 is now Power 96.1, a "top 40" format. It is no longer programmed into my car radio, but it will soon appear on my car bumper again.

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The Miami Dolphins are replacing every seat in whatever the hell it is they call their stadium these days. Gone are the orange seats that looked so empty on television (and real life). They are set to be replaced by aqua colored seats the same color as found on Dolphins uniforms. I'm sure a sea of empty aqua seats will look much better as Joe Philbin leads the 'Fins to another not-quite-winning season in 2015.

These seats very much represent the state of the franchise

I find this particularly amusing because the Georgia Dome used to have aqua seats. They were replaced in 2008 with red seats that made the Dome feel much smaller. The red seats sure have been visible in recent years as the Falcons reverted to form. (The Dome got new seats in 2008 and a new field in 2011, and now it's too old to use. That sure seems like money well spent. Glad the taxpayers aren't on the hook for any of it.)

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I woke up on Friday to a voicemail message asking if I wanted to attend the Dolphins/Falcons preseason opener that night. I had turned down the opportunity when Mom asked months ago, but in the pressure of the moment, I gave in and accepted fate.

This was all I saw of Stephen Jackson

The tickets had come to friend Brian through connections at his job, and he says he had a hard time finding someone to accompany him at the last minute. ("I said to myself, 'I'll call Walter. He'd never pass up football tickets!'," Brian explained.) Judging by the thousands of empty seats at the Georgia Dome, most people passed on the opportunity to pay $59.00 to watch a glorified practice.

The last time I attended a preseason game, it was to see Dan Marino take about 5 snaps. Not quite a decade back, I tried to get Eagles/Falcons Monday Night tickets, and ended up buying four Ravens/Falcons preseason tickets. (I blame that snafu partly on TicketMaster and partly on sleep deprivation.) I couldn't give those tickets away! The way I see it, going to this game for free is cosmic compensation for that wasted $300 all those years ago.

Preseason games in Atlanta draw about as many fans as reals game in Miami

I got my money's worth as the first-team Dolphins and first-team Falcons looked great last night on their opening drives. That wasn't too surprising. Offsenses always perform better than defenses at the beginning of the year. I considered it a better sign that the Dolphins' rebuilt O-line was able to protect Tannehill for a few plays. (The Dolphins didn't start giving up sacks until late in the game.) Maybe we'll be able to score some points this year.

Others were even more optimistic. "I think we could win the AFC East this year," said the Dolphins' fan behind me. "It's either us or the Bills." Given that the Bills haven't made finished better than .500 since 2004, I'd say those are pretty good odds. I wonder what the Patriots — division winner for nine of the last ten seasons — will have to say about that?

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After Coach Mike Smith's Atlanta Falcons finally won a playoff game last week, the city has gone nuts for the Falcons. Literally. Falcons apparel has sold out throughout the region. Pep rallies have been held at city government buildings. Everyone, it seems, is suddenly an Atlanta Falcons fan. All this excitement points to one thing: the Falcons are going to lose in the NFC Championship tomorrow.

Atlanta has earned its "Loserville" reputation. Our sports teams rarely make it to the big games, and when they do, they lose. Because we know that our teams aren't going anywhere, we don't get easily excited about their performance. It takes something rare, like an NFC Championship Game, to get the masses motivated. Unfortunately, once our "fans" get involved, we turn the pressure on the athletes from 1 ("nonexistent") to 11 ("debilitating"). It's a vicious cycle.

I don't know if the Atlanta players have been listening to the hype this week, but I don't know how they could avoid it. Shunning newspapers, radio, and television is one thing, but now there are banners, billboards, and bumper stickers everywhere! If the Georgia Dome wasn't already red and black, I'd expect to see painting crews hard at work right now.

Despite having the better record, the Falcons are underdogs against the visiting 49ers, who lost last year's Championship thanks to a single bad punt return in overtime. Underdogs should have less pressure to perform, not more. How can the players handle the sudden weight of new fan expectations? Are they to believe that they are suddenly as great as the new fans say? Hopefully the players remember that the only place to prove that is on the field on Sunday.

Maybe the Falcons will find a way to win. Even if they do, we'll just double down on the pressure over the next two weeks as the Super Bowl nears. I'd like to see the team win out, but I expect that there are going to be a lot of barely-worn Tony Gonzales jerseys on eBay next month. We're not known as Loserville for nothing.

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For months, Mom has been bugging me to schedule a time to accompany her to the Picasso to Warhol exhibit at the Atlanta High Museum of Art. Since the exhibit finally closes this week, I at last acquiesced, and we went to the exhibit on Wednesday.

Mom hated it.

The exhibit included some very famous works by Romare Bearden, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Giorgio De Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol. I admit, I'm no fan of the early 20th-century abstractionists either. I personally cannot related to the cold aesthetic of Miró, Mondrian, or Picasso. I can't respect Matisse or Pollock, neither of whom could paint any better than kindergartners. I consider so much of the work of Brancusi, Calder, and Johns to be little more than decoration (which I don't disparage but also don't find worship worthy). Fortunately, the exhibition did include works by Duchamp and Warhol, who I admire for their shared "anything you can get away with is art" moxie.

Mom spent her brief time in the exhibition hall pushing politely past the headset-wearing crowd of audio-tourists. Even a casual observer would have noticed that she was determined to spend as little time among these "masterpieces" as possible. I finally caught up to her in the gift shop, where she spent more time looking at MOMA-branded furniture and postcards of Atlanta landmarks than at any work by those so-called 20th-century masters.

Beauty, it seems, is in the eye of the shopper.

Their heating bills must be astronomical!

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I just picked Mom up at the overly-named Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. I spent an hour in the busiest airport on the planet, and my mother was the only person with whom I actually interacted. I took my parking ticket from a polite dispenser; traveled effortlessly from the top of the parking deck on a moving staircase; entered a door that opened automatically as I approached; found the arrival time on a digital display; urinated into a toilet that flushed itself; wetted, soaped, and dried my hands without touching any knobs; and paid my parking fee at a talking atm-like kiosk. The airport employs 58,000 people, and yet the whole place is run by machines. It felt like Westworld.

Shouldn't that be terrifying? I've read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies that tell me that the coming automaton revolution will be the end of humanity. Personally, I found it quite pleasant. The future is now, and I, for one, would like to welcome our new robot overlords.

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One month ago today, my mother sprung into my room at the crack of noon and announced, "wake up! we're going someplace I've wanted to visit for years: Oakland Cemetery!" You can only imagine my delight.

I can see my house from here!

An hour later we were standing in Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery, surrounded by dead people. The woman working the welcome center was wearing a sea foam green, Victorian-era crinoline dress as she discussed Civil War battlefields with a uniformed Atlanta police officer. It was a little surreal, like walking through a Tim Burton movie. I wasn't entirely sure I wasn't still dreaming.

The South will rise again just after a little nap.

Mom and I entertained ourselves with the $4 self-guided walking tour map. I initially made an effort to seek out all of the numbered "points of interest" on the map, but I soon discovered that the highlights on the map were easily noticeable without referencing the pamphlet. For example, the Confederate Obelisk, once the highest structure in the city, hardly needs to be on a map for it to be noticed.

Here be dead people.

The cemetery is chock full of interesting monuments in a stunningly diverse mixture of styles. I've been in a lot of cemeteries, but few are populated with so many distinctly unique monuments. Below is the Jewish section of the cemetery, where to no one's surprise, they don't waste much space. That's my mother, pondering whether the oldest graves are near the middle. We both hope so.

Jews. Am I right?

In some ways the cemetery feels more like a sculpture garden than a field full of corpses. These dead people had great taste, and I doubt that many people alive today would design such good looking final resting places. Certainly none of these statues were wearing wife-beaters and flip flops.

Neal before Zod!

I should mention that shortly after we entered the cemetery, mother and I were passing the plot of former Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown when we encountered an aged, well-dressed mourner. The polite man had traveled from Scotland to lay flowers at the grave of his wife who had passed away a year earlier. He and my mother struck up a conversation about her family's Scottish ancestry (clan Napier) and accidentally discovered that one of my mother's relatives from Newnan had delivered the eulogy at the woman's funeral. Even without the internet, it's a small world after all.

If you become a Georgia Governor, a Georgia Superior Court Judge, and a United States Senator, you, too, can have an impressive monument.

Besides Governor Brown, the cemetery holds the remains of many notables, including Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, and Maynard Jackson, among many others. But you don't have to have been famous to be buried here. In the South, we're so gracious we'll let in whoever wants in....

Can you take me high enough?

Even those damn Yankeys.

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To be continued...