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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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The final tally of movies watched in January was 14. I've already given you the first batch of 6 (including La La Land — have I mentioned La La Land?). So here are the remaining 8.

7. (1066.) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
I really don't understand why people like this movie. Yes, it's patterned after a World War II movie, but few of the "sci-fi" elements (by which I mean fantasy elements with electrical power) or enemy motivations make any sense. Worse, no time is spent on character development. (I swear, some of the characters exist just to sell toys.) Everyone seeing this already knows who wins, so when people start dying, as they must, THERE IS NO REASON TO CARE. If you don't just love all things Star Wars — because, I don't know, nostalgia? — avoid this exercise in fanwankery.

8. (1067.) My Favorite Brunette (1947)
Friend Otto called me an artless heathen because I mentioned that I don't like Bob Hope movies, so he insisted that I watch this. It's cute. I can definitely say that it's the best Bob Hope movie I've ever seen (but that's a pretty low bar).

9. (1068.) American Gigolo (1980)
This film, cut from the same cloth as Basic Instinct, looks and sounds like Miami Vice. No wonder Richard Gere only plays prostitutes or johns. He's good at it.

10. (1069.) Here Comes the Groom (1951)
Bing Crosby stars in a Frank Capra musical! If your idea of romance is hitting a woman over the head with a club and dragging her back to your cave as you whistle Johnny Mercer tunes, this movie is for you!

11. (1070.) Too Hot to Handle (1938)
Another "love" story that shows its age as Myrna Loy's career is destroyed and saved by A Number 1 sleazeball Clark Gable (and B Number 2 sleazeball Walter Pidgeon).

12. (1071.) When Ladies Meet (1933)
Myrna Loy has a heart-to-heart with her lover's wife. The dialog is pretty darn good. I liked it.

13. (1072.) The Barbarian (1933)
Rich fiancee takes a trip to Egypt where she is kidnapped by a prince posing as a peasant. She refuses his love and escapes back to her fiance. Then, at the wedding, she pledges her love to the prince. "Stockholm Syndrome" wouldn't be named for another forty years, but it could have been called "Barbarian Syndrome." Myrna Loy is beautiful, but this is not her best work.

14. (1073.) Midnight Lace (1960)
Doris Day plays a role that should have gone to Grace Kelly in this would-be Hitchcockian thriller. I found it predictable, but the suspense was still top rate.

More to come.

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Auburn was ranked 9. They were favored by 10 points. Yet they haven't won in Athens since 2005. Do I have to tell you what happened next?

Auburn 7, UGA 13

The evening started well, with a rare US flag display in one end zone and an F-16 flyover. Then the fellow who sits next to me showed up drunk. A fight broke out between two UGA fans a few rows in front of me, and then a second scuffle erupted when someone spilled his nacho cheese on someone else's jacket. However, things didn't really get ugly until the teams started playing football.

Auburn began the game with a truly dominant rushing attack. Their first drive was derailed only by a fumble. Their second drive resulted in seven easy points. Georgia, on the other hand, had nothing. They couldn't even get a break on a clear pass interference non-call. Bulldogs fans were not happy. Through halftime, the score remained 7-0. It looked like the sun was setting on what was left of our season.

It might not rain anymore, but at least the skies have been pretty

Then, after halftime, Auburn inexplicably moved away from their run game. Instead, they devoted themselves to a passing attack that was more pass than attack. Auburn eked out only 37 yards in 22 passing attempts for the game and never scored another point. (Next time Auburn fans want to make an argument about firing Gus Malzahn, this should be exhibit A. If quarterback Sean White was nursing an injury, why ask him to do more?)

Meanwhile, UGA intercepted and returned a pass 34 yards to tie the game. Auburn continued to struggle while, in consecutive drives, UGA managed one field goal, missed a second, then made a third. UGA won, 13-7, without ever scoring a single offensive touchdown.

In 2016, we'll take what we can get.

(Special thanks to Friend Randy, an FSU fan who bought me a Coke before the game started and another after the game was over. That's friendship!)

EDIT 2016-11-13: I've been informed that television audiences were informed that Auburn stopped running the ball because they ran out of healthy running backs. All I can say about that is that the running back attrition wasn't obvious to those of us in the stands. I still think Malzahn would have had more success calling running plays for the quarterbacks instead of passes, but I'll have to trust he knows his personnel better than I do.

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My third book is currently out for galley printing. It will be on the market by the first week in November (target release date is Halloween). It's time to start thinking about marketing.

What's the best method? Keyword targeted Internet advertising is always available (Google Ads, Facebook Ads) for CentralKingdomsChronicles.com, but that costs money. I read a lot about networking (establishing a Twitter presence, participating in like-minded communities), but that's never made much of an impact for Boosterrific.com. I'm sure that I should pursue multiple paths, I'm just not sure which are worthwhile.

Obviously, since I wrote a fantasy genre story, it's fantasy genre readers I need to reach. Perhaps I could advertise at local comic book shops. I also plan to give away the Kindle edition of all three books for free over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday. (Readers are more important than profits. Can't have one without the other!)

For the record, I knew going in that book marketing is very, very difficult. So many book, so few readers. For every author I read who has been even moderately successful, the trick seems to have been time: Grind out story after story, book after book until someone takes notice. I'll soon have three. I guess I should get to work on four. Maybe before I get to one hundred, I'll finally make my first buck.

(For the record, as I type this, the first two books have generated exactly $54.41 since release, $49.63 in paperback and $4.78 for Kindle. [Oh, plus Ken bought me a Coke. That counts as profit.] The publisher won't cut me a check until I pass the $100 threshold. Perhaps the release of book three will put me over the top.)

If anyone thinks of anything else I might try, please tell me. In the meantime, if you've read and enjoyed my books, please tell your friends!

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Wisconsin Curds come to Newnan GA

Culver's pulled a sneaky Grand Opening on Monday, August 1. I wouldn't have known about it if not for friend Randy's text notification. That's true friendship. Thanks, Randy.

For future reference, I'll just leave this here. (As a former Boy Scout, I know the value in being prepared. You never can tell when the urgent need for a ButterBurger® may arise.)

I need someone to build a more direct road

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Okay, now that I'm rested, let's continue the vacation!

Day 4 (June 30): National Portrait Gallery

  1. National Portrait Gallery
  2. Smithsonian American Art Museum
  3. National Gallery Sculpture Garden

I loved the portrait and American art museums. Loved 'em. I could have spent the whole week in there.

George Washington

Myrna Loy
America's Sweetheart, Myrna Loy

Day 5 (July 1): Newseum

  1. Newseum
  2. United States Capitol
  3. Library of Congress
  4. Supreme Court

The Newseum is the only museum we paid admission fee for. It was worth it. I must not have been the only person to think so; it was pretty crowded. The one exhibit that was totally empty was the section investigating journalistic ethics. I wish that was a joke.

Berlin Wall

Library of Congress
Library of Congress Great Hall

Day 6 (July 2): Back to Virginia

  1. Arlington National Cemetery
  2. Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center
  3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  4. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
  5. Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  6. George Mason Memorial
  7. National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
  8. Air Force Memorial
  9. US Marine Corps Memorial

Udvar-Hazy is the satellite campus (ha, ha) of the Air and Space Museum located 30 minutes away from DC in Dulles, Virginia. Like all Smithsonian museums, admission is free. Parking will set you back $15. This museum is home to the Enola Gay and the Space Shuttle Discovery. It also has a Concorde and some foreign military aircraft, but otherwise, I didn't find it as impressive as the Warner Robins Museum of Aviation. At least in Warner Robbins, parking is free.

Udvar-Hazy Center

Arlington Cemetery
Remember the Maine

Day 7 (July 3): Lexington, VA

  1. Lee Chapel & Museum
  2. Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery

Lexington is home to Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Academy. No surprise it also has the final resting place of General Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Brian was very excited to stop here because it meant we'd completed our pilgrimage to the graves of all three men on Stone Mountain. (Lee and Jackson's horses, Traveller and Little Sorrel, respectively, are also on Stone Mountain, and both buried in Lexington as well.) Mission accomplished.

Stonewall Jackson Cemetery

We returned home in the wee hours of July 4, and that was all right with me. I enjoyed the trip, but there's no place like home.

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Brian and Falla

Brian said, "Let's go to Washington DC," and I said, "Sure." That means its time for vacation photos! Yay!

Day 1 (June 27): Richmond, Virginia.

  1. Stonewall Jackson Statue
  2. Jefferson Davis Monument
  3. Robert E. Lee Memorial
  4. Hollywood Cemetery
  5. Historic Tredegar
  6. American Civil War Museum
  7. Virginia State Capitol

Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America, and it has a bit of a split personality. On one hand, they worship George Mason and Thomas Jefferson and their Declarations of rights. On the other hand, they've got serious monuments to General Lee and Jefferson Davis. Highlights in Richmond include the capitol building (designed by Jefferson) and Hollywood Cemetery (final resting place of Generals George Picket and J.E.B. Stuart, Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, and, or course, Jefferson Davis).

grave of Jefferson Davis

grave of Walter Stevens and family

Day 2 (June 28): South side of the Washington Mall.

  1. Smithsonian Castle
  2. Smithsonian Sackler Gallery
  3. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  4. Hirshhorn Museum

This happened to be the week the Air and Space Museum celebrated its 40th anniversary. The years are beginning to show. To their credit, they are making an effort at updating their exhibits, including a newly refurbished USS Enterprise model (which I must admit I found way, way cooler than the Apollo 11 control module and the Wright Flyer).

NCC-1701 USS Enterprise

Day 3 (June 29): North and west side of the Washington Mall.

  1. National Archives
  2. National Gallery of Art
  3. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
  4. Smithsonian National Museum of American History
  5. National WWII Memorial
  6. 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence monument
  7. Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  8. Lincoln Memorial

What a disappointment the American History museum was. I remember loving it as a child, but it seems like most of what they have on display now was purchased from flea markets. I might as well have walked through my aunt's attic. On the other hand, the National Archives was even more awesome than I remember from 25 years ago. Its exhibits are truly historical and awe-inspiring.

The endless National Gallery

Saint Lincoln

That's a lot of sightseeing. My feet are tired. This tour will resume the day after tomorrow. Don't be late.

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I've been in Washington, DC for most of the past week. I've seen eleven different museums, two cemeteries, and countless monuments. I'm starting to get the impression that not everyone enjoys learning about things as much as I do.

Take for example the little girl in the National Archives who was angry that George Washington had been left off the portrait of signers of the Declaration of Independence. "I know he signed it," she said. No one in her family corrected her.

Consider also the middle-aged man in the Smithsonian American History Museum who was shocked to discover that George H.W. Bush was elected to only one term as president. When his daughter expressed surprise that Bill Clinton had been elected twice, he said, "We only re-elect people we don't like. This country gets the presidents that we deserve." I have to agree with that.

And then there was teenaged boy who walked up to me in the National Portrait Gallery and asked where the bathroom was. Despite it being the first time I'd been in that building in my life, I was able to point his attention to the sign over his head. I hope he paid more attention to the art than he did to the signs.

To be fair, I'm not exactly open-minded about everything. I rolled my eyes when the docent at the Smithsonian American Art Museum tried to interest me in a throne someone had built over fourteen years from bits of aluminum foil. "See it," she said, "and you'll be impressed." My companion, Brian, gave her the bad news. "He won't be. He's a little stubborn," Brian said. For the record, Brian was right. Thrones made of aluminum foil are not my bag, baby. And they never will be.

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[2016-04-22 1:01PM] Ken: Hey Walter. Did I wake you up? Where's that place near Keith you said had such great hamburgers?

[2016-04-22 1:07PM] Walter: No. I've been awake for at least 30 seconds now. Food is Culver's.

[2016-04-22 1:09PM] Walter: 252 S 400 Center Lane Dawsonville

[2016-04-22 2:11PM] Ken: The burgers better be good! I never expected someplace you liked so much to be a Pepsi thrall.

[2016-04-22 2:11PM] Walter: Heh. I drink the lemonade

[2016-04-22 2:14PM] Ken: Okay damn. This food is really good dude

[2016-04-22 2:14PM] Walter: Ha! A Culver's Convert! Yes!

[2016-04-22 2:15PM] Walter: I'm so green with envy right now

[2016-04-22 2:16PM 2016-04-22] Ken: That wasn't my intent but I can understand why. At least they at building one near you now

[2016-04-22 2:16PM] Walter: Go ahead and gloat, north-sider

[2016-04-22 2:17PM] Ken: Lol

[2016-04-22 2:18PM] Ken: I got a double and now I'm going back for a single

[2016-04-22 2:19PM] Walter: Just keep rubbing it in...

[2016-04-24 12:18PM] Ken:

Welcome to Delicious

[2016-04-24 12:18PM] Ken: You have turned Robin and I on to Culvers in a big way. On our way back home and couldn't help ourselves. This...is not to taunt you by the way.

[2016-04-24 2:43PM] Walter: You're dead to me.

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Friend Cooper proved his worth this week by notifying me that a Culver's is being built in Dawsonville (252 S 400 Center Lane, to be exact). Pay attention Keith: since you live closest to Dawsonville, from now on I will be requiring you to bring me a ButterBurger® whenever we hang out.

Come home to papa

According to the Gainesville Times It will be the first Culver's in the state of Georgia, although the article does state "More restaurants are expected around the state in coming months." Welcome to delicious, Georgia!

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