Thursday, May 25, 2017

What If?

If Only Ted had...


If Only Hillary had...

If Hillary used ProtonMail, she'd be President today.

And If Only Sheriff Mann had...

If Mann let the dog out at Brook Run he'd not be in trouble.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Friends In Low Places

Looks like our "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" City Council member is well on the way to helping a friend in need of a Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) ordinance custom tailored just for them. Perhaps written by them.



Combined with that Council member's stated view that any ordinance she doesn't like should be ignored as a matter of policy then mere citizens should not be surprised by, well, anything.  In fact, by now we should be numb. Nonexistent sign ordinance enforcement in the Village Overlay. Refusal to inspect school buildings and issue COs. No interest in curbing speeding in school zones. Has it really been that long since that kid was hit on Chamblee-Dunwoody? Do you think the kid would give the same answer? Illegal truck traffic thru a no-truck-zone? Merely a waste of signage and another rule to ignore at will. But when a business wants an ordinance just for them? Well that's a horse of a different color.

We are all but guaranteed that the BYOB will not actually happen. Instead, the "retail establishment" will provide the alcohol with full knowledge that no one will ever check up on them. That is what they want and what those elected officials who do their bidding have given them. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In Vino Veritas

My wife was hosting the weekly bridge club and I was trying to be helpful. Really, I was. The phone rings and I answer.

Janis asks me who it is thinking it might be someone cancelling. Cancellations are apparently a big problem with bridge parties. "It's Dave. Kowalskis."

"Go."

"OK, Dave. Be right there."

Dave and Kathy have lived on the street forever and gave us a warm welcome when we moved in. The rest of the neighbors, not so much. Kathy says that she is the nice one--Dave just couldn't see past the car.

In '69 my dad put in an order for a new car, sight unseen, partly to get the color he wanted: British Racing Green. He had the first 240Z in town. It was his weekend pleasure drive and I was proud to inherit it. Dave could relate. His dad's best friend ran a car dealership who got his dad into a brand new '68 GT6+ in Laurel Green, Tan interior and overdrive. Since getting his dad's car Dave has restored it to showroom condition and he's helped me with the Z, particularly the interior. He couldn't sort the carbs with a bubble sync and I can do it by ear so we get together when the weather is nice to tinker, talk cars and inevitably, fathers. Kathy may be the nicer one in the relationship, but Dave has the better car.

Kathy is a minivan aficianado and she's driving the bus to Detroit with her sister riding shotgun to see their Aunt on the occasion of her 95th birthday. They will bring back a new supply of Kowalskis and this evening the last dogs of 2016 go to the rainbow bridge. Dave loves his Kowalskis--almost an unhealthy obsession. And wrapped in ritual. He'll get the dogs, unlink them and simmer in a huge pot of beer. "Blanching" he calls it. After cooling they are portioned, four to six together into a ziplock then covered with the now-cooled beer and into the freezer. He usually ends up with 40-50 bags of dogs. Pretty much an annual supply.

Cooking is no less of a ritual. A grill is involved but the dogs are on indirect heat. Dave hates it when they split. Onion wedges go directly over the coals and he does the chips-in-foil smoking trick. He calls it his smoke bomb. Coming off the grill the dogs go back into the beer along with the nearly burnt onions after they are sliced into ribbons. Dave keeps this on a low simmer until final assembly.

And assembly is no less complicated. Dave refuses to use buns, only French baguette will do. Cut to length, sliced thru and slits cut into the exposed white bread inside. "Makes it hold more goodness." Then the stack. Bottom bread. Onions. Roasted tomato--he roasts his own just for the dogs. Then the dogs, sliced, inside up. Then on the top bread goes blue cheese. Dave likes Maytag but will use Stilton in a pinch. "I'm from the midwest but I'm OK with the Brits." Somebody has to be.

This goes under a broiler until the cheese melts and the dogs get a bit of char. Takes it out, puts it together, slices it in half cross wise. "Presentation is important. After all you eat first with your eyes." Right Dave.

The weather is mild and Dave will have all the doors open to the patio. I walk around back and park myself beside the fire pit.

"Hi Sam, no Janis?"

"Bridge party."

"You're welcome."

"Thanks." He thinks he has saved me from a horrible evening. He's probably right.

Dave has the grilling done and is in the kitchen slicing the cooked onions. It's a hot mess. He finishes, washes his hands and calls out "wine?"

"Sure."

"Kathy pour?"

"Regular." His wife abhors waste and none more than the waste of space between the wine and rim of the glass. Somehow this aversion to waste has translated into an amazing ability to never spill a drop. That glass going from table to lips is poetry in motion. Dave comes out with a glass for me and puts the bottle on the table. The oven dings and he rushes back to play with his tomatoes. "Need help?"

"I got it. Only a few minutes."

I settle in by the fire. Dave is a man of his word. It isn't long before I hear "Dogs walking" and Dave arrives with a platter of Michigan's finest and a very full glass. He takes a seat and grabs the first dog, "to see if it is poison." Dave encountered a brief moment of silence as a child and it so terrified him that has never abided it since.

He starts. Neither dog nor wine can stop him. "So I was at Publix this morning to get the baguette."

"Best bakery in town." I'm not convinced this is true but I know Dave is and I said it just to slow him down.

"Right. So I get out of the car and this guy gets all up in my face. He's canvassing for Ossoff."

"The kid who's running for Price's seat?"

"Yeah, that guy. He starts with his script and I stop him."

"Of course." Dave is passionately apolitical. Never votes. Has never even registered to vote. He says that way no one can blame him for all the dysfunction. He might be on to something.

"I say 'look kid, there is only one thing you can tell me about Ossoff that will influence my vote. You tell me which candidate, including none-of-the-above, that Ossoff is going to vote for and that is who gets my vote.' The kid just looked at me with that vacant stare that starry eyed political staffers get when conversations go off script. I looked him dead in the eye, said 'exactly' and walked on by."

"Why do you do things like that? Why didn't you just tell him you're not even registered to vote?"

"Then he would want to drag me off to register."

"You could have told him you're a convicted felon. That's actually pretty believable."

Dave's had his last dog. "Dogs are like oysters. Can always tell which is the last one." He filled his glass emptying the bottle. "Wanna share?"

"No." He knows I brought my own, he just doesn't know if it is one bottle or two. I pull a bottle of Zin out of my purse. "Screw please." He slides the corkscrew across the table.

He gets up to clear. "Carrying?"

"Always. Unload?"

"Please." He heads inside. I'm doing the wine first. Dave is one of those gun nuts that hates guns and had a no-guns-allowed policy that died with Kathy's uncle. He had quite the gun collection and she inherited it. Hunting rifles. Upland shotguns. A couple of beautiful Italian clays. But the bulk of the collection was over two dozen S&W Victory models repatriated from the lend-lease program. These are stamped with details of the repatriating location and processing supply officer. It's like a postmark and they are collected like stamps. So now Dave has about forty guns in his house, not a single round of ammo and a new no-LOADED-guns-allowed policy. While the wine is breathing its last breaths I drop the magazine and rack the slide snatching the cartridge out of the air.

"Catch it?" Dave is still putzing around inside but I'm pretty sure he was watching. He usually does. He comes out, parking himself by the fire and then I hear the music. Big Brother and the Holding Company. I now know the price of a hot dog--the Woodstock story.

"Did I ever tell you about going to Woodstock?"

"Only about a thousand times."

"Good. You can tell me if I leave anything out."

And it starts. It is a story he finds halfway thru his third Kathy pour and always when Kathy isn't around. It starts with a young, rebellious man who on the spur of the moment tanks up his old Chevy pickup and heads off to some concert in the country. He meets the most beautiful girl he'll ever see. Long blond hair. Piercing, Steve McQueen steely blue eyes. The quick wit and even quicker smile. The deep philosophical conversations lasting thru the night, never forgotten but not fully remembered. She is a perfect jewel in the finest of settings-an older man's memory.

It's going to be a long night. Dave drones on. But the air is cool, the fire is warm, I've got a fine Zin and that bluesy voice is telling me "a woman can be tough." It's a small price considering we did just finish the last of the Kowalskis and that beautiful girl is bringing a new supply all the way from Detroit.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Home Wine Delivery

Hot on the heals of City Hall working aggressively to ensure that a Friend of the Family exercise emporium can likker up exhausted electrolyte depleted patrons we now find they are leveraging their "don't ask, don't tell" policy in support of home delivery of fine wines.

See Truck. See Sign. See Truck Go.
After all this IS Dunwoody, founded on the Three P's: Parks, Paving and most importantly POLICE. Certainly our ever-growing Police force would be enforcing a no-truck zone as those trucks also tear up the Pavement. Stopping in, between international trips, our chief concluded "the speeding and/or truck problem appears to be sporadic" so they're just not going to enforce in that area. Sadly that may mean that wine is not being delivered in DaVille and this is just another "sporadic" thru-truck. Just another "hear no evil, see no evil, fix no evil" from a City Hall that puts any business before every citizen. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Common To Whom?

Governor Deal has signed the so-called Campus Carry Bill. Now the fun begins.

Though still aligned with the Permission Society World View, supporters of the bill are celebrating this as "common sense" legislation, co-opting Obama's bumper-sticker phrase on the issue. Hopefully this causes the phrase and the idiocy behind it to fall into disuse as it has never been about common anything let alone just the loudest current social norms. That is, if you believe this country was founded on the precept of personal liberty. Then the Bill of Rights is little more than an enumeration of the liberties of the people that shall not be infringed by the government. The view of individual liberty does not sit well with those who long for the days of monarchies, of those bestowed with power, in particular the power to grant and withdraw at their discretion liberties to the little people.

Those nostalgists include the Left-Wing-Nuts who are now going nutzy-cuckoo. They see this as an attack on their breeding ground, an attempt to poison the fount of their life. Their histrionics cannot be contained.

Being the well educated grammarians that they are they fear the loss of their kingdom for the want of a comma. They invoke the "let's eat, grandma" vs "let's eat grandma" to make their case that a missing comma in the legislation actually allows a Weapon's Carry License holder to make it into "their" building. Being arrogant know-it-alls they have anointed themselves the sole arbiter of legislative intent concluding that this missing comma goes against that intent and therefore invalidates the entire law. In their world this missing comma can't be right (or could it?) so they intend to sue. HASHTAG: CommasMatter HASHTAG: WordsNotSoMuch

Academia is up in [un-]arms with UGA's Franklin College faculty resolving:
“If this legislation is enacted, and students and faculty are hesitant to discuss sensitive or controversial topics because of the presence of guns on campus and in our classrooms, the academic integrity of UGA will be greatly compromised."
Now THAT is gobstopping. This faculty seems so ensconced in their ivory tower that they are unaware that college campuses banned the liberty of free speech, especially on topics they deem "sensitive or controversial" long ago. The campus newspaper, the Red & Black, reported on limits the  University has placed upon those meeting their disapproval to Free Speech Zones where they will not offend sensitive sensibilities because they won't be heard. But trust them, it isn't censorship, it's free speech in a safe place. They live in an echo chamber and banish any dissenting speech to a small soundproof room.

This is why the term "common sense" has no place in any discussion about what happens on any college campus in America.

Monday, May 8, 2017

She's Baaaack!

The game is afoot. A new proposal will be put forth tonight to sneak booze into local retail establishments. Sounds like yet another attempt to cater to a local business wanting alcohol in their service offering. You gotta admire the persistence of their cronies down at Smart City Hall. Mere citizens just wish the City were half as pro-active enforcing ordinances as they are in creating ones that cater to their bidness buddies. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May The Fourth Be With You

Certainly you've heard folks running around chanting "may the fourth be with you." Some who hear this, distracted by a text message, involuntarily mumble "and also with you." Your employer may somehow think this is an opportunity for "team building" and if that's your company you will probably bump into Wally in the break room.

But there is a serious, dark side to all this--it is very hurtful to a group so often the butt of jokes,  snide remarks and mocking imitations: lispers. Not the AI programmers. The folk with the speech impediment--nay--speech distinction.

Suffering from a condition over which you have no control, one with which you were born, should not be a subject of public ridicule but an opportunity for the broader community to learn, to demonstrate understanding, to empower those with this speech-distinction to fully participate--to achieve their potential. Instead we have a society celebrating a comic's ridicule of Marlee Maitlin as if he is some Lenny Bruce of speech diversity. Far from it. Were he making fun of a Latina's accent the outrage would be palpable and direct action would be taken. Social media would be swift, forceful and complete with not a single YouTube video remaining. That this same indignation is not leveled at the oppressors of those with speech distinction tells us we, Speech Diversity Warriors, have much work ahead of us.

Let us not forget that speech diversity is more than dialect, colloquialisms and accents. Speech diversity is a large tent covering all manner of speech distinction from the eloquence of Tourettes to stammerers, stutterers, and yes, lispers. Embracing diversity does require stepping out of your comfort zone but remember this: you are the guilty party should you fail in taking this small step to break out of your self imposed cocoon.

So next time someone has the audacity to ignorantly say "may the fourth be with you" let the Force be strong in you. Stand up for speech distinction by embracing--celebrating speech diversity.

HASHTAG: LispthLivesMatter

BYOB

Under Council's Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Policy Cyclebar is expanding its outreach program to young adults. It isn't clear if this is a BYOB event or the bar is open but no one should be surprised if someone spikes the kiddy's punch.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Squeaky Wheels

Code enforcement has been run "on complaint" since day one and folks at City Hall have been very open about it. Of course this should be like honey attracting flies* but it turns out it is just a honeypot.  It serves little purpose other than getting whiners and complainers to self-identify with the shakers and movers with increasingly little done with regards to actually enforcing our local codes. Ironically this seems to be as bad in the Village, with its much ballyhooed Village Overlay District as it is in other areas in Dunwoody.

Apparently some on Council like it that way.

One, most noted for undermining rule of law by publicly stating that the City will not enforce certain ordinances by employing a don't-ask-don't-tell policy seems opposed to enforcement of sign ordinances in the Village. This individual admits to confusion but seems unaware that others are not so afflicted. All the more unbelievable as the Blue Bag Rag tells us that the soon-departing head of code enforcement saw the job as education and not just for citizens but "code enforcement program educated city leaders" as well. Seems to have skipped the business community. But as it turns out the DVO ordinances are not only written in plain english but for the less than literate there are pictures. Finding "confusion" in Subsection (f) is baffling to the point that one must consider that the pretense of confusion is a deflective ruse. Perhaps Dunwoody has too many folk on Staff and Council who see local business as their primary constituents and are more beholden to them than the citizens and voters. On this point there is no doubt serious, potentially harmful "confusion" that needs to be addressed.






*Studies show that vinegar is a better fly attractant than honey as vinegar is associated with rotting fruit. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Charter Schools

In an article on the closing of a Cobb charter school the AJC offers this definition:
"Charter schools are public schools that operate independently and are held accountable for academic results, finances and governance."
It should be noted that DeKalb County public schools do not meet these criteria.