Friday, April 27, 2007


Is it just me or is the Empire Carpet guy’s speech becoming more slurred and incoherent? About the only words I can make out in the ads lately is the catchy phone number. I’m all for keeping stroke victims employed but at least add subtitles. I’ve also noticed he only appears as an animated figure now. And quite an animated figure indeed—leaping about those factory-direct floors and tossing rolls of name-brand Plushes and Berbers like a 20-year old after his first whiff of carpet glue.

Maybe he can voice an animated version of next year’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve:




(Unintelligible)...(Audience Cheers)."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Borne Back Ceaselessly Into the Past

This weekend is the Inman Park festival. My building throws a little party before the parade since we're a block away from the start. Since it's a 1927 building named The Gatsby I like to make mint juleps. Last year I had help with the sugar and mint syrup so this year I may simplify the recipe.

There'll be no parking on Dixie Ave. by then, but if anyone's in the neighborhood somehow, stop by.
We're hoping our neighbor Cynthia Tucker will stop by wearing her new Pulitzer, but she's a quiet one.

"Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ironic Pentameter?

American apparel clerk so young,

unfolding fair trade frocks with nubile hands,

sweet songs of social justice on your tongue

and tofu treats within your midriff tanned.

What barely legal bargain with my soul

avows my leers as mere altruism?

To counter vice with vice seems a loophole.

Can lust make just our capitalism?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

But Who Will Kick Dirt on My Stools?

Returned my brothers dog to her home this weekend. I think she missed a 3-story house with a fenced-in back yard and 3 kids that tend to drop a lot of their food on the floor. Still, she seemed to enjoy her stay in town. Of my 1927 building's 10 units, 3 now have dogs and only 2 have cats. They're not big places but apparently if you can get home to let the dog out at lunch they don't mind feeling cramped. I tried to take the suburban cocker spaniel for a run on the Freedom Park jogging trail but she stopped dead to smell every other dog's markings making for a glacial pace.

I've never owned a pet. I've watched, fed and temporarily housed many but never sought one for myself. Is it the fear of responsibility? The cost of vet bills, food and those annoying little sweaters? Some warped inner voice that thinks I don't even deserve a cocker spaniel's love? Nah. It's just that that "shake hands" trick gets pretty old after 2 weeks.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The End of the Story?

My former employer The Story ended its print edition with last Thursday's issue. It plans to continue in some form online.

Begun five years ago by Creative Loafing's founding publisher and a former managing editor for the Atlanta Constitution, The Story from the Westside was a free weekly covering Atlanta's long-ignored but then revitalizing Northwest side. Later an Eastside edition was added and The Story Group acquired the larger circulation Community Review in Decatur for a chain of Inside the Perimeter neighborhood newspapers. The idea was hard news coverage of Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit meetings and the Dekalb County Commission along with local color features and a listings section. It was all too ambitious at a time when everyone started going online for their news and concert start times. And who wants to read about sewers all the time? Still, the papers did provide extensive coverage of Atlanta's watershed problems, the development of Atlantic Station, Avondale Estates' stop Wal-Mart campaign and the Piedmont Parking Deck.

I was a catch-all office boy (had to teach myself Excel) and helped with the listings. Moreover, I started using neighborhood issues as a source for comedy. It made my humor more organic. Or hopelessly provincial.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Death Show Detritus—Be Careful the Songs You Sing

Some more death-related bits I won’t be doing Friday:

Tupac Shakur was a gangsta rapper. He was gunned down.

Elliott Smith was an indie songwriter who wrote emotionally raw, achingly honest songs. His heart was wrenched.

The Requiem Mass is the Catholic funeral mass or mass for the dead. It’s basically the regular Latin mass with the upbeat parts taken out (…hold for laughs) and some funereal passages added. Lots of composers have set the Requiem. Mozart famously died while writing his. Verdi made a very dramatic, almost opera-like version.

But my favorite is Gabriel Fauré's. An understated craftsman, Fauré wrote mostly songs and chamber music eschewing orchestral bombast for more intimate forms. He eventually completed a full symphonic version of the Requiem, but it’s hardly Gothic. At only a little more than 30 minutes, there’s room for a brief homily and communion and you're still out in less than an hour—that’s how Catholic’s judge a Mass. The music does get loud in spots and it’s suitable to grieve to but it avoids both fire and brimstone and overwrought sentimentality for a more elegant, refined sense of loss. It’s a musical vision of death as merely coming to rest.

Fauré died at nearly 80 of pneumonia. I suppose that fits the premise: nothing violent or sudden, just a charming, well-liked old man catching a bit of a draft.

Dona eis requiem.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hacking Death

I swiped this poster off Dr. Cockroach's MySpace page. He's one of the performer/exhibitors at this show this coming Good Friday. I'll be doing some of my innumerable death-related stand-up bits and appropriate readings from this slowly decomposing blog.

I did take that blurry picture which I believe is of the Flex space in Kirkwood near the abandoned New Georgia Railroad Depot.

This is the new space by the owner/operator of Art Farm Dennis Coburn. Art Farm was an old warehouse on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown. It had studio and gallery space for artists and a small firetrap theatre where some of my first sketch's were performed. (I need a new sketch outlet something fierce.) It became a victim of gentrification and was torn down for more new construction lofts. But that weirdo multi-discipline art-for-fuck's-sake spirit lives on and Dennis--aka Mr. Boom--is giving it a new hangout.

Will my non-poetic, ham-fisted thanatopses go over well? Probably not, but dying at The Death Show would be kinda meta.

For the show, I wanted to write something on the silly side to balance my darker bits but now I fear it's too familiar. Here's the bit:

"I had a dream where I was playing chess with Death. But neither of us could remember the rules so we decided to play Monopoly instead. And of course Death had to be the car. But we couldn’t find the car, it was missing from the box. All that was left was the thimble and a couple bent paper clips. So I said I'd be one of the paper clips but Death said he couldn’t be no wack-ass thimble ‘cause he’s motherfuckin’ Death, yo. We wound up just watching cartoons ‘til the rain let up."

Now, in googling key words I see my arch-
doppelgänger Dane Cook has a monopoly bit and I'm certain others have done this premise before so I don't know. Perhaps I'll let it die here and do my own Death Show death with integrity.