Showing 11 - 20 of 22 posts found matching keyword: atlanta

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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In the past eight days, I've been to four football games, 1 high school, 2 college, and 1 professional. I sure do enjoy football season. If nothing else, it gets me out of the house.

I accompanied Trey to the Atlanta Falcons' prime-time home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday in a game that ended just before midnight. It was a fantastic game featuring a bunch of turnovers, big plays, and lead changes, and I'm quite pleased that I had the opportunity to go.

Philadelphia 31, Atlanta 35

It was unclear who was better represented among the fan-worn jerseys in the stadium: current Falcons QB Matt Ryan or former Falcons QB Michael Vick. Ryan outplayed Vick in the game, if for no other reason than Vick's 3 turnovers. Vick didn't even finish the game, suffering a concussion late in the 3rd quarter and being booed off the field by the ever-classy Altanta fans.

It would have only been better if the Dolphins hadn't lost their game earlier in the day, making it look increasingly like another terrible season is in the making. True story: waiting to use a urinal at the Georgia Dome, I was the only person wearing a Miami Dolphins t-shirt in a long line of people clad in Eagles and Falcons apparel. Finally, I reached the front of the line and prepared to relieve myself. Immediately the fellow behind me loudly sighed and said, "we're going to be here awhile. The guy in up here is wearing a Dolphins shirt, and we all know they're slow starters." Smart ass.

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As you have probably heard, Coca-Cola has turned their world headquarters at One Coca-Cola Place into a giant animated commercial for Coca-Cola. I watched the show from across I-85 at the Varsity with a Coke in my hand. I think that a Varsity chili dog and a 26-story Coke commercial defines my ideal concept for "dinner and a movie."

The highlight of the presentation was when the projection turned the building into a humongous glass slowly slowly filled with sweet, life-giving Coca-Cola. It looked great, but I couldn't help but wonder how much Coke it would actually take to fill the Coca-Cola Headquarters. So I broke out a calculator.

Public records indicate that the Coca-Cola Headquarters are 403-ft tall. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the projection surface covering all 4 sides of the building is approximately 210,000-ft in surface area. Assuming that the building has as a square footprint, that makes each side about 130.27-ft long, and gives the building a volume of something near 6,839,175 cubic feet. To put that in terms that a Coke drinker like me can understand, to fill up One Coca-Cola Place with Coca-Cola would take:

  • 96,831,935 family-sized 2-liter bottles!
  • 327,425,504 individual serving 20-oz bottles!
  • 545,709,172 aluminum 12-oz cans!
  • 1,007,463,087 classic 6.5-oz glass contour bottles!

I don't know about you, but all that math sure makes me thirsty!

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Sign found at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport:

Of course it's on the floor. You don't think I'm going to pick it up, do you?

What a polite display of Southern manners. No damn Yankee city would have posted a such a warning.

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Apparently, GSU fans are all Weyland-Yutani androids.

The only bleeding done last night at the inaugural Georgia State University football game was by Shorter in a very lopsided 41-7 affair. What college, no matter how small, gets beaten by a commuter school team playing it's first game ever? I've seen high school football teams play better ball than the Shorter Hawks. In the past week!

The first play from scrimmage in GSU history was negated by a penalty, but the Panthers manged to end the drive with the first touchdown in school -- thanks largely to some major penalties committed by Shorter (including illegal participation and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties). Sure Shorter may be able to gripe about Georgia State running up the score a little bit, including scoring a touchdown with 8 seconds remaining in the game. But I'm not sure that you can hold that against the young GSU squad wanting to make a big splash in their first game.

Thirty-thousand people, and none of them know what to do during a TV timeout.

This was the first trip to the Georgia Dome for my mother, a GSU alumnus. Judging by how clearly inexperienced the crowd of 30,327 was, I'd say that there were a lot of first-timers present. No one seemed to know when to cheer (the rowdy crowd caused the GSU Panthers at least 1 false start penalty) or boo (the crowd was especially unruly after Shorter's only touchdown and appeared to be booing the GSU defense). One student sitting behind me nearly went hoarse trying to explain to his neighbors the finer points of football, such as the theory behind Shorter's option offense, what exactly a fair catch was, and how teams change sides between quarters.

However, if the crowd was clueless, they were geniuses compared to the operations crew. I know that GSU has never had a football team before. And no doubt they were intimidated by the Georgia Dome facilities. But the entire affair seemed to be run by someone whose experience with college football was from a pop-up book he checked out of the library.

The school had a marching band that included electric guitar players, but only played songs that were popular prior to the birth of any of its musicians. There were fireworks for player introductions, but only two cones of intermittent sparklers being watched by two students with fire hydrants. They prepared some nifty videos and graphics to play on the "Panter-Vision" during key situations, but had no concept of timing and didn't even remember to warn us to drink responsibly until a quarter after the taps had closed. Key advertising partners had been selected for between-quarters entertainment and highlight replays, but no one seemed to think that it was a bad idea to allow a seafood restaurant to sponsor the "Six Feet Under Fan Cam." And the PA system was much, much too loud.

Gimme a G-S-U!

The highlight of the evening was a second-quarter video of a player who tried leading the crowd in a cheer. After the first pass at the cheer resulting in only half-hearted and murmured participation, in typical cheer-leading fashion, our video-taped ringleader encouraged the crowd to try again:

VIDEO-TAPED PLAYER: I can't hear you! 'G-S'...

CROWD (loudly): 'U'!

VIDEO: 'G-S'...

CROWD (louder): 'U'!

VIDEO: 'G-A'...

CROWD (screaming): 'U'!

In the moment of near total confused silence that followed, I looked at my mother and asked, "what the hell is a 'gau'?" My bemused mother replied, "I think they were supposed to say, 'state'." No one tried to lead the crowd in any cheers for the rest of the game.

Seriously, don't come on the field. All 13 of you. Stop, or we'll call your mothers to come pick you up.

Despite the many, many snafus, I think in the end a good time was had by all. Except maybe Shorter.

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By accident, I just discovered an Atlanta skyline from 1976 at a site I'd never seen before: AtlantaTimeMachine.com. (Their images of the lost World of Sid and Marty Kroft are lacking, but there's a lot of great images in that site otherwise.) I found that link searching UniWatchBlog.com, where earlier last year I found this awesome image of the Atlanta skyline from the 1972 MLB All-Star Game program. Sweet embrace of nostalgia, here I come.

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The Atlanta Falcons played like dogs this Sunday, so it was fitting that Michael Vick returned to town to put them out of their misery.

First quarter: Philadelphia 10, Atlanta 0

Michael Vick had predicted that he would receive a standing ovation on his first return home to the Georgia Dome following his eviction due to federal conviction as a canine killer. He pretty much got what he expected. Never have I attended a sporting event that was quite so much a love letter to a single person, an event where a player was indeed bigger than the game, but that was what happened. Very few, it seemed, came for the game. (This was a good thing, as there wasn't one played, at least not by the Falcons.) Everyone was there for number 7. And to his credit as an athlete and entertainer, he gave us what we came to see. Most Falcons fans had justifiably fled by late in the third quarter, leaving only Eagles and Vick fans, whose chants of "Put in Vick" were answered as Vick drove the Eagles down the field for another touchdown. Then everyone went home.

Fourth quarter: Philadelphia 34, Atlanta 0

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't take some vengeful enjoyment in watching the prodigal Vick return to Atlanta with the Eagles and pull the wings off the injured Falcons, 34-7. (Atlanta's lone touchdown couldn't have been less relevant, scored as time expired in the game against a third-string Eagles defense.) I figure the Falcons deserved the punishment it after the ingracious way that they treated the Dolphins in the season opener. So I ask, Falcons, how did you like them apples, because I thought they tasted pretty sweet.

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This post is a little late, but I've had a busy weekend. Saturday night I attended the first University of Georgia football home game vs South Carolina. I was excited because I love night games, and the game had a 7PM kickoff. If I had known before hand that the game was going to take over 4 hours to play, I'm sure that would have dampened my enthusiasm somewhat.

UGA 41, South Carolina 37

Two things slow down a football game: scoring and penalties. And this game had both in spades. Thirty one points were scored in the first quarter alone. There were 24 penalties called in the game, 11 for us and 13 for them, for a total of 206 yards. Six of those penalties resulted directly in first downs. But we won, so I'd be a fool to complain. Besides, the game had just about everything else you could ask for: special teams touchdowns, long runs, long passes, blocked kicks, goal line stands, shouting matches between the coaches, last second drama. It was a good game.

I would not call Sunday's match up between the Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons a "good game." The Dolphins flat out stunk. Sure, this was the first game of the season for both teams. The Georgia Dome, even when not full to capacity, can be a pretty hostile environment to opposing teams ("loud" is an understatement). But that's no excuse for four (4!) Dolphins turnovers and an anemic... well, everything. Just two years ago I watched an entire season in which the Dolphins won only 1 football game, and even then they couldn't even aspire to this level of ineptitude. I have a name for this level of failure: Pennington.

Miami 7, Atlanta 19

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that I've railed against Chad Pennington before. (On August 11, 2008, and January 4, 2009, to be exact.) While I have grown to admire his never-say-retire-while-they're-still-throwing-money-at-me attitude, his weak arm and failing body have hurt us in the past just as they cost the Dolphins any chance at winning today.

Watching the team warm ups, I noticed that Pennington's longest warm-up pass was exactly 15 yards. Pennington's longest pass of the day was almost exactly 20 yards in the air. My brother was quick to point out that on that pass, Pennington took three big steps forward before heaving the pass, and the ball still wobbled like a lame duck. The Falcons must also have been paying attention, as they didn't bother to cover any Dolphins deep, knowing that the ball would never go that far. As if that wasn't bad enough, every time Pennington dropped back to pass, the Dolphins receivers themselves generally aborted their routes to ensure that Pennington's passes could still reach them despite the fact that this prevented almost any chance of catching the ball past (or in most cases near) the first down marker. Thanks, Chad.

On the upside, on rookie Pat White's first play in a regular season NFL game, he heaved the ball an impressive 40 yards, overthrowing the fastest Dolphin receiver deep down the field. My brother went berserk, amazed that Pennington could launch the ball so far. He was heartbroken when I explained that Pennington had been replaced for that down with another quarterback. Though come to think of it, he may have just been upset that the coaches immediately put Pennington back in and never let White throw again during the game. In any case, at least it's good to know that there's someone on the team who can throw the ball, even if the coaches are determined to keep him off the field.

Tickets, anyone?

I should mention that these football games were the second and third sporting events that I attended this week. I also watched the Gwinnett Braves (AAA affiliate of the MLB Atlanta Braves) lose a playoff game 0-3 on Wednesday night. The Braves would go on to lose the series, and after watching them play in person, I'm not surprised.

The picture below gives a pretty accurate indication of the turnout for the game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barr (Pennsylvania) Yankees (AAA affiliate of the MLB New York Yankees). There were just enough people in attendance that team mascot Chopper the Groundhog was able to annoy everyone in attendance personally, one at a time.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barr Yankees 3, Gwinnett Braves 0

Why a team named the Braves would have a groundhog for a mascot is explained only once you realize that the main thing that Gwinnett County has of any name recognition is a number of large shopping malls, and they make lousy mascots. General Beauregard Lee, the groundhog at Gwinnett's Yellow River Game Ranch is the state of Georgia's "Official" predictor of spring arrival. We don't care for Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil in these parts, especially if we're going to get beaten by Phil's state baseball clubs.

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As you may have heard, Georgia is in the midst of a drought. Yesterday, our Governor, Sonny Perdue, led a public prayer for rain on the grounds of the state capital. Amusingly enough, the prayer was protested.

Sure, I might have problems with state sponsored prayer. But I've really got better things to do than to protest against people praying for rain. I mean, where's the up side in that protest? If you're right, and faith shouldn't be invoked to solve the drought, how do you propose that we force the atmosphere to deliver us precipitation? If you're wrong, and appeasing a higher power is what is required to make it rain, you've doomed us all. In either case, by raining on this parade, you're not helping to make it any more wet around here.

Now that it's raining a day later, clearly proving that prayer works (sorry all you people who lost loved ones to disease, God doesn't love you as much as he loves Sonny Perdue), those same protesters are no doubt worried that solutions to other local problems will be sought with prayer instead of legislation. Maybe God can prevent a recurrence of the perfect storm that led to Genarlow Wilson becoming national news at Georgia's expense. Or maybe God can decide what to do about the pesky problems with Atlanta traffic jams. Or potential construction costs and controversial plans for the Hartsfield-Jackson airport expansion. Or what to do about putting too much salt on a police officer's complementary hamburger. (Or even police officers who arrest people for putting too much salt on their complementary hamburgers.)

Hell, why don't we just go ahead and put God to the ultimate test: see if he can make the Atlanta Falcons football team have two consecutive winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. (That's asking for just 18 wins over two seasons.) Or what if we pray that the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team wins a game in the playoffs? (They were the best team in the regular season last year. How hard can it be to win one post season game?) Or, if we're looking for a real challenge, how about giving the Atlanta Hawks basketball team a .500 or better season. (Not only hasn't this happened this century, the Hawks' playoff record makes the Thrashers appear to be over-achievers.)

I'm not asking for miracles here. I'm just looking for Atlanta professional sports to not suck. That doesn't seem nearly as hard as making it rain, does it?

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To be continued...

 

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