Friday, November 27, 2009

No Hallucinogens Required

The same misguided soul who supported the notion that anything but Duke's is real mayonnaise has veered off into Atlanta's pizza landscape hoping to convince us he found the best pizza in Atlanta. Since Dunwoody isn't Atlanta (was that an "Amen, Hallelujah"?) it seems fitting and proper to disclose the source of the best pizza in Dunwoody.

It turns out not to be the usual suspects. Not Pizza Hut, which did at one time have the best pizza in Dunwoody as it was one of the few Pizza Huts in America to offer wine. But that location now hosts Peter's and while pizza may be on the menu, it is hardly the top item. Then there is the litany of the other non-contenders. The game-named delivery giant, the paternalistic purveyor and the latter day Saint John of Pizza, though SJoP, on a good day can be a worthy contender. Nor is it the perennial home town favorite, as psilocybin takes one only so far on the trip to pizza perfection.

No siree, the best pizza in Dunwoody comes from an unlikely source: Fresh Market. Yes, those store-made deli pizzas can be the best around. As is they are they are pretty good, especially the "supreme" and "veggie". Not overdone, not greasy and with a crust that is neither too thin, too thick nor too doughy. But it needs work. Obtaining the very best, even starting with something so good, requires enhancement, but like hacking Ikea you will take something good and make it excellent. And like anything from Ikea, this work goes better with a couple of beers. That's why Fresh Market sells Foster's Bitter in the oil can.

Unlike Ikea RTA (let alone hacking), the instructions are simple. You need the veggie pizza and one (only one, fatso) link of hot italian sausage. Remove the sausage from the casing, cook, drain, add as the final topping, pizza in the oven, beer in the belly, ten minutes of cook and chill time, and VoilĂ --best pizza in Dunwoody.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Healthy Perks

Anybody out there in predominantly Republican, self-made Dunwoody ever have a part-time job? Well did anyone who answered "yes" get health insurance coverage with that part-time job? Probably not.

Did you ever wonder why?

Well the answer is simple. You were not in charge of deciding whether you got those benefits or not. See if you had been in charge, like the Dunwoody City Council is for their benefits, you might have deemed yourself worthy of an unusually generous benefits package and like this council intends,  awarded yourself a full health insurance package for your  part-time job. And remember, you knew this was a part-time job when you took it and you knew the compensation package did not include health care coverage.

Of course this only stands to reason since health costs are the single largest employer payroll-related cost and if you had to pay for it yourself like some other folks, well that would be expensive. Plus it is quite the perk if you can give it to yourself using other people's money, and Dunwoody, in matters large and small, simply  cannot exist without other people's money.

But it gets better. See, adding health coverage to your compensation package is a benefit and technically is not a raise. Of course you could have voted yourself a genuine raise, but it wouldn't take effect until the next term, after you've had to face potential voter outrage. And by conveniently scheduling any mention of this back-door raise until after the deadline for anyone to run against you, you all but eliminate any negative fallout from this outrageous, self-serving behaviour. Observant readers will recall that Dunwoody was founded by a referendum vote conveniently scheduled to virtually assure passage. Same song. Second stanza.

See how clever our politicians can  be? Just like the ones in Decatur.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Great Mayo Brushup

A poor misguided soul over-equipped with access to media published a blasphemous treatise suggesting a mayonnaise taxonomy in which Duke's is not atop the hierarchy. This shameless heretic goes so far as to assemble a team of "taste testers" who declare Hellman's to be the best tasting mayo by a wide margin.

One take on this is the obvious -- it is stab at satire, revealing the all-to-common budding journalist's desire to pose as this generation's Swift. After all some of the comments on Duke's taste include "vinegary kick" and an afertaste--qualities long associated with Hellman's and never with Duke's. Of course this could be mere incompentence--the inability to keep the various samples straight. They did note one of Duke's strong points, a robust texture that results in tomato sandwiches with adequate mayo which will not simply squirt out the tomato slices all over your plate.

And this brings us to another incredible point, this author made his first tomato sandwich with a single slice of tomato. Perhaps this correlates with the erudite affectation associated with heirloom this and that, as if heirloom is something obtained by means other than death of a loved one, and even if that were possible that this so-called heirloom retained any of its original value. Regardless, one who actually makes a tomato sandwich with only one slice, no matter how thick that slice, is suspect as a judge of anything southern, and there is little more southern than the tomato sandwich.

At the end of the day, what was true remains true: if you're not spreading Duke's, you're spreading crap.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Public Schools: Golly How the Truth Will Out

The Department of Education recently published a revealing report on just how well states are doing with setting and achieving academic excellence. You know what academic excellence is right? It's whatever your local school board, principals and teachers say it is. At least this is what was revealed by the DoE report.

Turns out when Georgia says students perform at grade level, they really are well below national performance standards. Often so far below acceptable levels as to be deemed incapable of demonstrating basic understanding of the content. Yet we are told they are not only doing just fine, they in fact are excelling.

How can that be? How can this happen when we have a cadre of well-trained, self-sacrificing teachers educators led by experienced principals and adminstrators who are overseen by some of the best and brightest we can elect to our Boards of Education?

At this point you may be wondering how we can be so sure of their capabilities. You are right to wonder. We, the public, have two critically important sources of information on this matter. Unburdened by modesty, educators will gladly testify to their own amazing work ethic and capabilities. Second, the education machine, those education programs in our colleges and universities represent a multi-billion dollar industry, can supply mountains of data supporting what a great job they, and their graduates, are doing. Of course, with more money it could always improve.

These authoritative sources will tell you that one size does not fit all. That they have a better size chart for the brains of the average Abner and Daisy Mae than some Washington bureaucrat. That these standards are not on a continuum, but are orthogonal. That the dimensionality of the modalities and the dispersion of social paradigms...well, you get the idea.

But perhaps there is a simpler explanation: they are lying. That's right, our "educators" are systematically lying. And this is not a nameless, faceless entity. A "school board". Or the "Department of Education". Or the "administration". Or even the "faculty". No. These organizations exist only because of the people in them. People with faces. People with names. People with paychecks. And apparently people with an agenda. People who will do anything to protect their interest and their agenda. People who lie.

And parents, you see these people everyday in your child's school. It is the principal and she has a name. It is the teacher and he has a name. It is the school superintendent and she has a name. And it is the school board members and they have names. And they are all lying to you.

The lie they tell is both how great they are and, as a secondary consequence of the big lie, how great, how smart, how above average your child is. And every parent wants to hear this---every parent wants to believe this, to believe their child is a budding genius. And these educrats know this. And they use this knowledge to their advantage.

This situation is absolutely incredible. Parents have, with the assistance of tax-supported enablers, deluded themselves into believing their child is magically receiving a world-class education in spite of the fact that they know that Georgia public schools are among the worst in a country falling further behind in world rankings. Then, in any given sample large enough to be statistically valid, most folks are going to be average. MOST. Most students. Most teachers. Most parents. Everyone's child simply cannot be above average.

But it gets worse.  In this case, when you consider a larger population, the whole of the United States rather than just Georgia, our contribution to the whole is below average. We have built an education system that consistently turns out below average results whilst paying people to convince us otherwise. And here is the really good part: these propagandists are the same people who produce the below average results in the first place.

Yet there are parents out there, perhaps even reading this, who persist in thinking "well, yes, that may be true, but MY child is receiving one of the best educations in the world." Even with an embedded culture of systemic prevarication it is these parents who have destroyed public education.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reading the Chicken Entrails

There is much we mere subjects of City Hall can glean from the Great Chicken Debate going on in Warren's World. The superficial topic at hand is whether or not we, the Serfs of Dunwoody, should be allowed more than three live chickens per household as is allowed under current city law.

The debate ostensibly centers around whether the limit should be increased or if this trend towards sustainable poultry will have Dunwoody smelling like a farm instead of just having the image of one on all our signage.

On the "pro" side are council members who lean a bit towards individual freedom and property rights, and who also seem aware of the extensive information and products supporting urban (not just suburban, but URBAN) chicken and egg production for home consumption.

The "con" supporters base their argument on childhood experiences from which they've gleaned that chickens stink and make noise. This isn't the best of arguments but let's give these retired chicken ranchers a good hear.

First we'll ignore the import of the "urban" observation made previously. Then we'll accept the fact that chickens create some stink and hens do indeed cluck. We'll ignore those little nuggets of fertilizer left by the neighbor's dog and we'll consider song birds, well, sonorous. But let's not ignore the fact that everyone in Dunwoody doesn't live in a condo, or a McMansion or a clutter-home. Some folks have yards. Some folks have big yards, some even bigger than their house. Who knew? It would seem obvious to allow those with lots above a certain, reasonable size, say 1/3 acre, a bit of say so regarding their own property and constrain smaller lots to the current restriction with exceptions by way of SLUPs.

Given such a simple solution that protects the individual freedom and property rights on both sides of the issue, on might conclude this is about something other than chickens.  Perhaps what we're seeing is much more important than backyard eggs.

We've been presented with a clear separation between those who support individual rights and those acting like frustrated refugees from a powerless home owners association who can now ram their rules down our throats. Perhaps if some of these folks had mucked out a few stables instead of feeding chickens we would have fewer horse-shit ordinances.