Thursday, May 29, 2014

The French Connection

By now you've probably heard that we is gonna be gittin' ourselves one gawdalmightygorgeous tree fort on down to the Brook Run. And just how did we git so lucky? Well Daisy Mae, it's a sweet deal that just fell right outa da sky like that thar coke bottle in that silly movie you dragged me to.

Did this deal just fall from heaven? Is it a sweet deal or a sweetheart deal? Well it turns out there really is a French Connection and in this case the drug is money. And what would this fair city NOT do for a bit of coin, eh?

Seems there is a company out there with most operations in France (as in YOU-ROPE, France as shown in their very own brochure) which is now expanding to...wait for it...Georgia!!!!

How absolutely fortuitous for us! Who knew that the French were visiting our fair city's web site searching for the odd RFP or RFI leading to this wonderful, splendiferous pas de deux? NO ONE! And you want to know why? Because there NEVER WAS AN RFP, that's why. And there never was any group of citizens who ever requested these kinds of services. This came from somewhere else.

Apparently folks as far away as France know the otherwise secret phone number and email address of Ms. Dunwoody Staff who is the gatekeeper to all Unsolicited Opportunities (occasion non sollicit├ęs) for as we all know solicitation is illegal in this fair city.

In all fairness (and seriousness) these arboreal obstacle courses may be wonderful things. One can only imagine how beautiful they are in the alpine locations chosen in France. But what makes this whole affair as odious as the backside of a truffle-sniffing pig is how it came about and how it will be operated not to mention what it really says about Dunwoody.

Do you really think the Directing Managers of some French company did some market research and decided that Georgia and the Atlanta 'burbs in particular was the absolute best spot on the planet to establish a beachhead for global expansion? it more likely that some Georgia politicians got hooked up with these executives in a meeting brokered by the French Consulate and these new besties shared a ballon de vin rouge and then cooked up a plan (in all their best interests) to bring this French Delight to our little burgs? Want to bet these were state level politicians who have not so subtle ties to wannabees at the more local level?

But it is pretty putrid at the local level as well. Transparent? Not unless you have X-Ray vision. Who exactly is "Staff"? You'll never know so unless you like being deflected or lied to, don't ask. Clearly there is a black market network where those few who parlez-vous know exactly how to get their business into Dunwoody, what they'll pay and what they'll get in return. How much tit for what kind of tat.

And the company's behaviour is a bit odd as well. They have taken down the brochures on their US sites (the ones with the map of locations in France) replacing the link with a "Coming Soon" notice. Why do you suppose they did that? Did someone drop a dime and suggest they do a little "tree-top-flying?"

Then there is the money. Not just the now unavoidable fact that Dunwoody has shown to the world that it will spread 'em wide at the drop of a coin but the (ab)use of "fee based services" hiding behind public-private-partnerships (three pee uh-oh).

What are these fees really for?

Looking at the projected price of admission one has to wonder (and some have) who exactly can afford this? But if you pull this thread the whole mystery unravels, because the next question you have to ask is who exactly cannot afford this? It's less about who we're letting in than who we're keeping out and that would be families and kids who aren't from around here--you know, from South DeKalb or even those nearby undesirables living in apartments at PIB. Fellow citizens of Dunwoody.

This isn't about the ill-conceived privatization of a fundamental City benefit/service, this is about using economics to enforce segregation of those benefits effectively denying access to those we find unworthy. Wonder how egalitarian our French allies think that is?

When this economic segregation works (and it always has) at least we can go to Brook Run and watch kids swinging from the trees, chattering and squealing and not overhear any Dunwoody Soccer Moms telling off-colour jokes about how those kids look like monkeys.

And since it's all about the kiddies that's OK, right? Laissez les bons temps roulez!
Hey sister! Go sister
soul sister
go sister

Hey sister! Go sister
soul sister
go sister.

He met Marmalade down in Old New Orleans
Struttin' her stuff on the street
She say
Hello, hey Joe, you wanna give it a go?
Getcha getcha ya ya da da
getcha getcha ya ya here
Mocha chocolata ya ya creole Lady Marmalade.
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

He sat in her boudoir while she freshened up
The boy drank all that magnolia wine
Upon her black satin sheet where he started to freak
Getcha getcha ya ya da da
getcha getcha ya ya here
. . .
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? . . .

Touchin' her skin feelin' silky smooth
colour of cafe au lait
Made the savage beast inside roar until it cried
More - more - more

Now he's back home doin' nine to five
livin' his grey flannel life
But when he turns off to sleep
old mem'ries creep
More - more - more
Getcha getcha ya ya da da
getcha getcha ya ya here
. . .
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?

Oui, il me fera plaisir. Combien?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Guest Post

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this special announcement.

I am a woman in academia. More specifically, I am a woman in an historically (and even still) male-dominated field. For years I was the only woman in my graduate-level courses, or at my weekly area-specific seminars. I was a member of a department where every single female professor "happened" to be married to a male professor of the same department--and since I attended a public university, I was also able to see the distinction in pay and title of the couples.

I have dealt with my share of misogyny in the work place. I have been asked by (male) professors if I chose my particular specialty because my boyfriend at the time also happened to be in that area. I have wondered if a (male) professor asked me and not any of the other (male) students in the class to take notes because of some (subliminal?) connection of women to secretaries. I have had (male) professors tell me that I should have an easier time on the job market simply because I'm a woman in an increasingly PC-conscious world--screw any other qualifications I may or may not possess. I have had (male) graduate students tell me they don't believe in calling a woman by her last name until she's married, because until she's married it's not actually her last name.

To say these moments have been insulting is an understatement. And I know that compared to women of previous generations, these instances are mild. I should stress that most of the misogyny I encountered has come from tenured professors who earned their PhDs prior to the year of my birth. With few exceptions (most of which come from openly religious people--a whole different matter) the newer generation of academians is some combination of "refreshingly accepting" and "cautious of litigation".

Over the years I've felt these experiences have made me become somewhat of a feminist. I have attended, and very much support, "women in (fill-in-subject-area)" conferences and grants. I have participated in educational outreach programs for elementary-school and middle-school aged girls. I vehemently believe gender does not prevent a person from succeeding in or contributing to my field.

At the same time…I've noticed that I've become very tough on my own gender. Whenever I see a female academian who adds fuel for or support to the "misogynistic fire", who provides an example for the men who believe women cannot cut it, I become livid. These females include, but are not restricted to:
  • Those who male-bash or who exclude males, ESPECIALLY if it's in the name of feminism. In doing this, they become that which they want to fight. Men should not be excluded from "women in (fill-in-subject-area)" conferences, for example. The purpose of those conferences primarily is to encourage women to enter the field. Having men who support the cause is natural and--one could argue--meets a long-term goal! It is illogical and hypocritical to exclude men or to male-bash in the name of gender-equality.
  • Those who pull the gender card. Those who subtlety or blatantly exploit others who want to appear (or who actually are) pro-feminist…or even just not anti-feminist. I'm talking about the female grad students who tell their professor that they're just swamped this semester and could they please only turn in half of the assignments. It's true they may be swamped; it's also true that the boys aren't gonna pull that crap if they were swamped. The ones who beg successfully for extra time to pass qualifying exams or oral exams (this happens rarely. However, EVERY SINGLE TIME I have seen it happen, it was a female student. Similarly I've seen many males asked to leave for failing these same exams.). Do these women not understand what "gender EQUALITY" means?
  • Those who appear as the misogynists' stereotype. First are the action-related stereotypes. Whenever I see a female graduate student crying or acting "hysterically" in a department lounge or (drunkenly at times) at an office event I want to slap her silly. We all cry in grad school; but do it in the privacy of your home or door-closed office--don't appear weak. It's OK to drink too. Just show some respect for your coworkers--don't go on angry rants or all Girls Gone Wild. These women are an embarrassment to themselves, their department, their profession and their gender. Trust me, the boys don't act like that.

  • There are also the visual stereotypes. This is a more delicate issue. On the one hand…as long as it's professional, wear whatever you want. But there are many in my field who believe that the more "presented" one looks (regardless of gender), the less time you spend working. This seems insane, but even I have wondered about a few female colleagues. How is it that they can change their hair color every month, and always match their nail colors to their outfits? How is it that they never wear the same pair of shoes twice? Where are their priorities? Is it coincidence that I never see these well-dressed females in the department or in local coffee shops on weekends? Is it coincidence I never see them pulling late nights in the office?
The way to beat misogyny, the way to equalize genders, is by earning RESPECT. Keep up with the boys and beat them at their own game. Do all the assigned work, as well as the extra (secretarial) work. Do it well and without complaint. Work at odd hours and on weekends like every other graduate student EVER [worst-case, it's a way to get study buddies]. Be as big of a hard-ass and tough-cookie as any of the men. In short, grow a pair.

This post is presented without alteration or editorial comment and represents the opinion of the original author whose credentials have been verified by the editorial staff of The Other Dunwoody. It is released under the same license (see "TOD: Taking It") as any other post on The Other Dunwoody. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Who And What They Are Afraid Of

The short answers are:
  1. you and 
  2. ceding power. 
What brings this to the fore is the chazerai over the City Charter re-write in particular the part regarding establishment of a fire department or taking over any service provided by the county and assuming the associated costs with a simple majority of votes on council. To be clear it would be a simple majority of a voting quorum of council. 

Proponents of the re-write including some architects of the original charter argue that the Council already has this authority and have consulted legal counsel under the gold dome to bolster that claim. Opponents respectfully (or maybe not so respectfully) disagree and do not hold in high regard distant lawyers in the ATL offering rulings on the promises of a responsive local government.

But the proponents' argument is a deflective obfuscation. The real issue is (or should be) "is this the best we can do?" Why did they not take this opportunity to add to the charter a referendum requirement to cover these extraordinary commitments on behalf of the citizens? Why instead have they chosen to deny citizens a meaningful say? Is this really their idea of "responsive local government?"

That none of this has been openly debated is at the very heart of the current disagreements. This City was sold by our newage touchy feely "we're your neighbor" politicians on the promise of a "local government that is more responsive". This has turned out to be little more than typical political PR based on an incomplete comparison (more responsive than what? A VA hospital?) and further begs the question of to whom this government responds.

Consequently we have absolutely no hope of ever hearing a coherent explanation as to why it is so bad that citizens weigh in with a meaningful vote before the City moves forward on expensive endeavors that directly affect our lives in Dunwoody. After all if these proposals are such good ideas then surely the voters in this Smart City will be all in. When the idea is bad, as with the Parks Bonds, citizens' collective smarts can keep this City from making horrific mistakes. 

In the absence of intelligent discourse we are left to assume that politicians don't see it that way. Rather they see their authority and power being usurped by the ballot box and act as if the only intelligent thing the voters ever did or ever will do is elect them. Our current crop of politicians include those who (over) sold us on citihood with the promise that we'd have local control with a government "just down the street." They lied. They broke their promises and when given the chance to repair the damage by adding to the city charter a referendum  requirement they chose instead to slap citizens in the face by saying "it's always been this way we're just making it official so you morons can 'get it'."

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dunwoody Prostitution Enterprise Exposed

A recent satirical piece in the Dunwoody Crier speaks to an ongoing prostitution enterprise in our fair city and to give the devils their due it is an extremely well written bit of satire. When you read between the lines, as one must do with all satire, one finds a lurid tale describing the underbelly of a City that cannot shake a shady cast of characters including a powerful pimp, his harem of whores and a seemingly limitless supply of johns.

The brothel operates from a shady location signified in time honored fashion with the lighting of a red lamp signaling to johns the availability of worldly delights without casting sufficient light for innocent, or even curious passersby to discern the true nature of the transaction.

The whores are caked in excessive makeup and reek of cheap perfume in an effort to cover the traces left by the uses and abuses of johns who have come before. They gather in a parlor resonating with raucous music making themselves available for casual consortation before getting down to the business of the house. The pimp looks on, directing favored johns to the whore most suitable to his tastes.

The whores offer only a feigned resistance that serves as a requisite foreplay, a feeble attempt to disguise a faded and damaged flower as a fresh bud ready to be plucked. Deep down they know the john knows yet they both spare the time for the courtesy of this small but unnecessary formality. The dirty ceilings serve as a constant reminder that this is a filthy business. That johns are never satisfied. Pimps never handle enough money. And that whores are one bump or one bad blood test away from what little they do have.

As is so often the case this story demands much of the reader and is best absorbed on a hot summer's night with a scotch at hand and the soundtrack to Body Heat playing in the background. And on some certain Monday night, if you listen carefully you will hear in the distance the music to which these pitiful souls dance their tragic pas de trois and you'll know just where that red light dimly glows.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Father's Day

Mother's Day is just past and Father's Day is a ways away yet (ever notice how Father's Day comes nine months before Mother's Day?) but we may well have identified the winner of a "Father of the Year" award: Calvin Days. You see Mr. Days has a son at Georgia Tech who happens to be a pretty darn good athlete. Good enough for a football scholarship. Good enough to start.

Until recently. Turns out Mr. Days' son is as big an academic screw-off as he is an outstanding athlete and has earned a spot on academic probation--out for the 2014 season. No real surprises here. It happens all the time in college athletics.

And what is Mr. Days' reaction to this sad state of affairs? Well, he's not interested in perpetuating "football scholarship" as some twisted oxymoron. Instead he wants his son to learn a lesson saying that it is his and his wife's wish that his son be released from his scholarship until he proves he is serious about his schoolwork. Wow. Parents that understand the key element of "scholarship" is "scholar."

Observing that his son failed the class because he skipped classes and didn't turn in assignments Days is quoted as saying "Your job is to go to class. What you're doing (by not going to class) is you're stealing." Brains and integrity.

And to cap it off?  "We're talking about the rest of his life, not will this hurt his chances for pro football?" Days said. "I would rather him not play football and grow up and assume responsibility for the things that are important."

But it is not as if this man is some heartless "Tiger Dad". He is a father and a human. "I know he's hurting," Days said. "I want to hug and make it better. I want (to say), 'We're going to make it work.' But that's probably the worst thing I can do right now. That's the difficult piece."

The world would be a far better place if it had more parents like the Days. While we and the Georgia Tech community are fortunate for the likes of Calvin Days there are two even more blessed: Jabari and his older brother Synjyn.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gun Nuts

Fans of the Brady Bunch just cannot get past the recently signed gun bill and with the help of local mainstream media continues to wage a war of dis-and-mis-information. For those who would like to administratively repeal portions of  the U.S. Constitution there are some inconvenient truths:

  • The law did not take effect the day Governor Deal signed it, it takes effect on July 1st.
  • The law, current and new, has no impact on the sale and possession of firearms. 
  • The law does not affect the requirements (including fingerprinting and FBI background check) or legal limits on probate court foot-dragging associated with acquiring a Georgia Weapons Carry License.
  • It is a Georgia WEAPONS Carry License and weapons includes more than guns.
  • You must be 21 or older to obtain a Georgia Weapons Carry License or 18 to 21 with proper military training and these restrictions apply to all college students in this state.
  • Georgia does not license or register firearms (it is explicitly prohibited by this law) but does require a license to carry weapons that are identified in State code and unlike other states does not allow open carry without a license.
  • Allows does not mean Must. Not in the vernacular and certainly not in legal language.
  • The law allows churches to decide whether or not to allow their congregants to legally carry-with a valid license-on church property.
  • The law allows a legally licensed citizen to carry in some government facilities IF AND ONLY IF that government chooses NOT to provide security measures to ensure that no one, licensed or not, cannot carry into that facility.
  • The law allows certain school officials to allow specific persons to carry a specified weapon for a specified period on school property and at school functions.
  • The law allows teachers and other school personnel to possess a weapon on school property but only if that person holds a Georgia Weapons Carry License and then only if the weapon is stored locked in a vehicle.
  • Hunting with silencers or suppressors is allowed only on private property and only with verifiable permission of the property owner. 
  • Excepting specially loaded cartridges a vast majority of bullets exit the barrel at supersonic speeds with the inevitable sonic boom that no silencer can suppress. 
  • Licensed citizens can carry into a bar, but cannot consume alcohol-the weapons version of a designated driver.
  • Applicants are not eligible for Carry License if within the last five years they have received in-patient treatment for mental disorders or alcoholism.
  • That someone is carrying a weapon is not adequate legal justification to presume such possession is in violation of the law and they cannot be detained without such probable cause as necessary to pass court muster if no weapon was involved. 
  • The government cannot suspend constitutional rights by declaring a state of emergency.
And perhaps most importantly:
These laws and any restrictions or relaxation of restrictions apply only to law abiding citizens and those with a valid carry license who have been finger-printed and subjected to an FBI background check.
Mainstream media needs to quit pontificating on "guns and religion" and "guns and alcohol" being bad ideas--most folks agree and most legally licensed gun owners have no intention of doing these things just because it is now allowed. If the media want to engage with facts (often kept at quite a distance when it suits their agenda) then perhaps alongside their daily handwringing over the latest shooting in the ATL they can identify all the participants that were in possession of a valid Georgia Weapons Carry License. Then we'd all have ammunition for a much more meaningful conversation.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Linear Park Thrives

Though the lack of grant money has all but stopped work on Dunwoody's first Linear Park nature has taken over where OPM has fallen short. With spring in full swing we now see our park's flora flourishing. Hopefully the City will be able to pry loose some funding to allow all areas of daVille to enjoy their own linear park. Until then you'll be forced to visit the area Where Nobody Important Lives to see what you're missing.

Monday, May 5, 2014