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atlantalarry



I write about anything which interests me, including Atlanta's neighborhoods, cycling, politics, social media, music, history, technology, journalism, media, and food. Things I don't write about would probably be a much shorter list.



Updated: 2015-07-20T16:40:49-04:00

 



Expanding my journalistic horizons -- an old guy tackles video games

2015-07-20T16:40:49-04:00

As a freelance writer I write about whatever interests me, with special attention to the subset of my interests known as "what editors want to publish." One thing I've started writing about is video games. I'm not a "gamer" in...     Related StoriesI've never had writer's block in my lifeWhy I'm taking on the insane project of changing my career to journalism late in lifeEthics and Blogging  As a freelance writer I write about whatever interests me,  with special attention to the subset of my interests known as "what editors want to publish." One thing I've started writing about is video games.  I'm not a "gamer" in the popular sense of the word.  I don't have a console.  I don't follow the latest AAA video game titles.  In fact, I've never touched a modern game controller. Yet I've been playing video games since a couple I rented from in the late 1970s hooked a Pong console to their television.  I then logged hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours in coin operated video machines such as Pacman, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Galaga.  Since then I've played a lot of online games, ranging from web-based versions of ancient board games like Go and Chess, to Facebook and Android games. I've begun submitting articles to a somewhat soft-landing gaming website called GameSkinny.  The pay is minimal (nonexistent if you don't meet a threshold of clicks on the articles) but the editors are helpful, and the editing advice I've gotten from them so far seems on-target. So far I've had two articles published: Has anyone developed a video game as elegant as Go? and 10 Reasons Aspiring Game Devs and Game Journalists Should Explore the Internet Archive Check them out, and let me know what you think.          Related StoriesI've never had writer's block in my lifeWhy I'm taking on the insane project of changing my career to journalism late in lifeEthics and Blogging  [...]



Gallons of Peppermint Tea

2015-06-01T11:41:34-04:00

Peppermint invading the lamb's ear I drink an unbelievable amount of peppermint tea, gallons per week, hot in the winter, cold in the summer. Part of the reason I do this is out of love for mint tea. But it's...       Peppermint invading the lamb's ear I drink an unbelievable amount of peppermint tea, gallons per week, hot in the winter, cold in the summer.  Part of the reason I do this is out of love for mint tea.  But it's also a necessity.  Peppermint is invasive.  I never water it, or make any special effort to cultivate it, because it's indestructible once it finds a patch of ground it likes.  The peppermint in my herb garden is on a relentless campaign to displace the lamb's ear, thyme, and oregano. It even tries to do battle with the ancient and equally indestructible rosemary on the periphery of the garden. As a consequence of this unyielding territorial grab, my choices are:  weed it out and discard it, use it, or let it overrun my entire yard.  I don't like waste, particularly the waste of useful plants, so I use it. I keep eight 32 ounce glass fruit juice jars for herb tea.  When I'm down to five jars of the prepared tea, I harvest the peppermint that has encroached on other plants in the herb garden, wash it, quickly strip off the leaves, and stuff the leaves and small stems into the clean, empty jars, then add boiling water. When the jars cool to room temperature, I refrigerate them, submerged leaves and all.  I drink the tea quickly enough that I don't worry about the soggy leaves becoming a bacteria farm, and the used leaves go into my compost pile as I finish the tea.  Peppermint is a wonderful and productive garden plant, as long as you have the time and inclination to keep it under control, and a thirst for tea.        [...]



Atlanta's Railroads -- TV show with footage of Franklin Garrett

2015-05-31T08:09:21-04:00

Photo from Find-a-Grave and the East Point Historical Society Franklin Garrett (September 25, 1906 – March 5, 2000) was the official historian of Atlanta, and wrote the first two volumes of Atlanta and Environs. Those volumes are often a good...     Related StoriesMore photos of the demolition of John B. Gordon Elementary School in East AtlantaMelted pavement, Miss Boo, and granite monkey pens -- growing up in Atlanta in the 1950sBestoink Dooley and George Ellis  Photo from Find-a-Grave and the East Point Historical Society Franklin Garrett (September 25, 1906 – March 5, 2000) was the official historian of Atlanta, and wrote the first two volumes of Atlanta and Environs.  Those volumes are often a good starting point when researching people and events in Atlanta prior to 1950.  He was a fixture on the Atlanta history scene, and I remember in particular his talks at Oakland Cemetery celebrations in the years before his death. While browsing the Internet Archive I found this video, from a series on railroading called All Aboard, that was at one time hosted by bliptv.com. The episode is about Atlanta's railroads.  It's interesting in its own right, but the most unique feature of the video  is a series of segments in which Franklin Garrett talks about the role of the railroads in the founding of Atlanta.   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/bliptv-20131104-223424-Black5video-AllAboardAtlantasRailroads521" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640">        Related StoriesMore photos of the demolition of John B. Gordon Elementary School in East AtlantaMelted pavement, Miss Boo, and granite monkey pens -- growing up in Atlanta in the 1950sBestoink Dooley and George Ellis  [...]



Best no-budget costuming ever in a terrible drive-in horror movie: 1964's The Creeping Terror

2015-01-24T15:31:23-05:00

I love terrible movies. The more awful the better. Bad acting, editing, set design, and special effects fascinate me. This morning I was browsing the Internet Archive, as I often do on Saturday mornings, and found The Creeping Terror among...     Related StoriesExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in videoExploring the Internet Archive -- Newsreel of FDR's first inaugural speechCharlie Chaplin and John Rand's great sustained slapstick fight in "The Pawnshop"  I love terrible movies.  The more awful the better.  Bad acting, editing, set design, and special effects fascinate me. This morning I was browsing the Internet Archive, as I often do on Saturday mornings, and found The Creeping Terror among their video offerings.  It's a 1964 movie featuring no actor you've ever heard of.  In fact, browsing the cast's credits on the Internet Movie Database reveals that a large percentage of the actors reached the pinnacle of their two to three movie careers with The Creeping Terror. Although it's only an hour and sixteen minutes long, the movie is nearly impossible to watch in its entirety in one sitting.  But luckily, the highlight of the movie takes place at the 4 minute 30 second mark, when the monster emerges from a space ship. The best description I can think of is one of the dragon puppets from a Chinese New Year's parade, except made out of shag carpet.  The front of the costume is in the shape of the waddling human front operator.  The trailing end of the costume seems to be at least one person walking on all fours.  Another comparison might be to a very primitive two-person horse costume. The sound track is another notable feature.  I particularly like the klezmer-influenced organ music played when the police car is racing to the rescue at the one hour and seven minute mark.  There are so many wacky elements to this movie that it makes me wonder why "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is considered notably bad. My very favorite thing about the movie is a characteristic  I've also noticed in Mummy movies.  How could the creature really catch anyone?  It's moving so slowly that you could escape from it at a leisurely pace, periodically turning to thumb your nose at the hairy slug-like thing. My goal is to attempt a complete viewing of the movie in one sitting.  So far I've watched it in five minute chunks, periodically skipping around finding cinematic gems. I've embedded it here for your edification.  Enjoy. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/TheCreepingTerror" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640">        Related StoriesExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in videoExploring the Internet Archive -- Newsreel of FDR's first inaugural speechCharlie Chaplin and John Rand's great sustained slapstick fight in "The Pawnshop"  [...]



Exploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in video

2015-01-24T07:51:21-05:00

This morning I decided to do a search on the word "Atlanta" in the Internet Archive, that massive, glorious repository of assorted stuff. The first thing that caught my eye was a video called simply "Atlanta Traffic". It was part...     Related StoriesAtlanta's Railroads -- TV show with footage of Franklin GarrettMore photos of the demolition of John B. Gordon Elementary School in East AtlantaExploring the Internet Archive -- Newsreel of FDR's first inaugural speech  This morning I decided to do a search on the word "Atlanta" in the Internet Archive, that massive, glorious repository of assorted stuff.  The first thing that caught my eye was a video called simply "Atlanta Traffic".  It was part of the OurMedia series on the Archive,  described as "an initiative devoted to creating and sharing works of personal media." I couldn't find out who had uploaded the video, but it is a 3 minute 26 second scene of a drive approaching the Tom Moreland interchange, also known as spaghetti junction.  Spaghetti Junction is the interchange of I-85 and I-285 in north Dekalb County, near its border with Gwinnett County.  It was created to solve congestion problems associated with an earlier cloverleaf road design. I'm not  fond of Atlanta's automobile culture, and I view the very existence of that interchange as evidence of how insane our dependence on automobiles has become.   It is a hideously ugly structure.  There are many roadways, including interstate highways, that could be retrofitted and given design elements to make them seem as though they were built by a culture that values beauty and dignity.  It is hard to image any makeover of spaghetti junction that would be anything more than the proverbial activity of "putting lipstick on a pig." It's a short, clever video, and I hope you enjoy it.   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/Atlanta_Traffic" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640">        Related StoriesAtlanta's Railroads -- TV show with footage of Franklin GarrettMore photos of the demolition of John B. Gordon Elementary School in East AtlantaExploring the Internet Archive -- Newsreel of FDR's first inaugural speech  [...]



More photos of the demolition of John B. Gordon Elementary School in East Atlanta

2015-01-23T14:55:20-05:00

I recently created a blog post, and a photo album, about the demolition of the John B. Gordon elementary school in the East Atlanta neighborhood. I revisited the site on January 14th, and took a few more shots of the...     Related StoriesMelted pavement, Miss Boo, and granite monkey pens -- growing up in Atlanta in the 1950sAtlanta's Railroads -- TV show with footage of Franklin GarrettExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in video  I recently created  a blog post, and a photo album, about the demolition of the John B. Gordon elementary school in the East Atlanta neighborhood.  I revisited the site on January 14th, and took a few more shots of the progress.  The demolition does not seem to be moving very quickly.  The machine being used to knock down the walls was sitting idle, and only a few more chunks of the west wall (the one closest to Moreland Avenue) seems to have been disturbed. The lighting conditions were not idea when I took the shots, but they should be clear enough to mark the progress of the demolition at the time I took them. I'll continue to post updates and photos as things change.  I have yet to actually see anyone involved in the demolition, so it is evidently not a priority project for the company doing the teardown. Since there are only 13 photos, I'm going to include them all in the body of this post, but I've also provided an album, available in the sidebar, so you'll be able to easily locate the album later. All my photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International.  That means you can do anything you want with them, without asking my permission, as long as you attribute them to me. UPDATE:  I drove by the site today, and the contractor has made considerable progress on the demolition.  Most of the main building seems to be down.  It was too rainy and overcast for me to take photos, but I'll return on the first clear day.                                  Related StoriesMelted pavement, Miss Boo, and granite monkey pens -- growing up in Atlanta in the 1950sAtlanta's Railroads -- TV show with footage of Franklin GarrettExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in video  [...]



Why I think progressives should stay away from the misogynistic attacks on Holly Fisher

2015-01-21T20:05:22-05:00

I've taken a bit of blow-back today from progressives for writing that the articles about Holly Fisher's sex life are unethical tabloid misogyny. I'm no fan of Ms. Fisher. I think she is solidly in the right wing lunatic fringe,...     Related StoriesMy sympathy for the person who monitors the @intel twitter account todayMy own experience being targeted and harassed on the internet and what I think it means for "free speech"Leigh Alexander's article on online sexism  I've taken a bit of blow-back today from progressives for writing that the articles about Holly Fisher's sex life are unethical tabloid misogyny.  I'm no fan of Ms. Fisher.  I think she is solidly in the right wing lunatic fringe, and that her views on gay rights are bigoted. However, I'm opposed to the slut-shaming that she has been going through, for three reasons. First, the attacks on her are against the backdrop of similar attacks against women in the course of the loose and leaderless movement known as gamergate.  Charles C. Johnson, the notorious internet troll who initiated the attack on Ms. Fisher, has been a vocal supporter of gamergate.  Johnson launched this immediately after a hit piece by Milo Yiannopoulos  about  Shanley Kane was published.  This is no coincidence.  The sustained slut-shaming attacks on Zoe Quinn, one of the targets of gamergate, demonstrated to ethically challenged writers that publicly attacking the sex lives of women could get them a lot of traction in the current conditions on the internet. Second, Ms Fisher's indiscretions have nothing to do with her politics.  I've been told that the issue is her hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy is a large and unfortunate aspect of the human condition.  Presumably people on the left are in favor of fidelity in marriage.  I certainly am.  But people on both ends of the political spectrum, particularly young people, do unwise things.  Attack Ms. Fisher for her bigotry.  Not for being human. Lastly, the internet is in a very precarious position with respect to free and open speech.  Harassment, the worst of it directed at women, has become a large and organized activity.  It won't take many more of these sustained harassment campaigns for the public to begin calling for a crackdown.  It's not likely to be directly because of the attacks on Holly Fisher.  But the focus on her has to be put in the context of the harassment of Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn,  Shanley Kane, Brianna Wu, and a half dozen other women.  The people carrying out these campaigns, primarily from the chan boards and reddit, are a coordinated but largely mindless mob.  So if you want to attack Ms. Fisher's political views or activities, fine.  But stay away from this tabloid noise about her sex life.      Related StoriesMy sympathy for the person who monitors the @intel twitter account todayMy own experience being targeted and harassed on the internet and what I think it means for "free speech"Leigh Alexander's article on online sexism  [...]



My one month experiment in civility and positivity

2015-01-20T08:38:46-05:00

This is a personal essay, with its attendant overuse of first person pronouns and possessives, so if you don't like that sort of thing, now is the time to stop reading. If you decide to continue reading, I hope you...     Related StoriesMy own experience being targeted and harassed on the internet and what I think it means for "free speech"Ethics and BloggingAnonymity and social media interaction (twitter in particular)  This is a personal essay, with its attendant overuse of first person pronouns and possessives, so if you don't like that sort of thing, now is the time to stop reading.  If you decide to continue reading, I hope you will learn a bit about me, and that you'll consider trying my experiment in civility yourself. I have a contradictory nature.  On the one hand, people who interact with me, both in person and on the web, find me to be a likeable guy.  I can be a bit sarcastic at times, but I don't have a go-for-the-throat attitude in conflict, and I prefer that people leave conversations with me feeling good about themselves. On the other hand I have strong opinions on a number of topics, and often get involved in contentious issues, both in one on one conversations, and on the internet.  In personal conversations in the "real world" it's easy to make criticism seem softer with use of body language and facial expression.  On the internet sharply and clearly worded argument can often come off as angry and harsh. Culture warriors and political crusaders are often derisive toward civility, and put forward the notion that we should be in a perpetual state of warfare with our opponents.  Indeed, there are high stakes in a number of political and social issues.  But does a sustained flow of angry rants really accomplish anything toward whatever goal we are seeking to acheive?  On social media in particular, millions of hours are wasted flinging insults across a digital barricade. I am not suggesting that we all become amiable centrists, pretending that all political and social issues we face can be solved by outlining opposing positions, and then finding some center point compromise.  There are a lot of goals worth fighting for, and some political stances are morally indefensible or bad practical policy. I am suggesting that the venomous and shallow one-liners that pass for open political discussion do next to nothing in advancing the purported goals of either side of a polarized issue. So until the end of February,  I'm going to stay out of mindless flame wars.  This doesn't mean that I won't enter contentious discussions, or that I won't call out inaccurate or dishonest assertions.  It means I'll be much more careful about what exchanges I get into to begin with, and that I'll focus on presenting accurate and logically sound argument, rather than on "winning" with funny dialogue or clever rhetorical tricks. I got the idea for this from a controversial statement in which Linus Torvalds, the developer of the Linux operating system kernel, defended his abrasiveness.  He also indicated that he didn't care much about diversity in tech, but that's a subject for another essay. Civility does matter, in politics, in technology, and elsewhere.  It's impossible to really focus societal resources on problem-solving if the people who berate and bully the loudest tend to win. Positivity is a separate but related issue.  I'm going to articulate things in a manner that points to solutions, rather than just repeatedly focusing on the problem.  It's often necessary to point out the injustices and horrors in the world in order to provide an incentive to end them.  But people often spend their time sitting at keyboards digitally ranting about the latest infraction of their enemy-of-the-day[...]



Exploring the Internet Archive -- Newsreel of FDR's first inaugural speech

2015-01-17T08:38:24-05:00

Public Domain image -- downloaded from Wikimedia Commons I've been foraging the Internet Archive daily for the past several weeks now. The archive is a bottomless respository of fascinating material. Below is a Universal newsreel of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first...     Related StoriesExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in videoAtlanta's Railroads -- TV show with footage of Franklin GarrettBest no-budget costuming ever in a terrible drive-in horror movie: 1964's The Creeping Terror        Public Domain image -- downloaded from Wikimedia Commons I've been foraging the Internet Archive daily for the past several weeks now.  The archive is a bottomless respository of fascinating material. Below is a Universal newsreel of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inauguration in 1933.  The nation was in the depths of the depression and talking film was still a novelty when it was produced. The 7 minute and 44 second film opens with a narrated action sequence of the film cannister of the event being loaded onto an airplane, flown to New York, and taken to the studio in a car with policemen perched on the running board.  The scene was included to emphasize the speed with which the newsreel was being distributed to the public. To put this opening into context, ponder the fact that many of the older people in the audience had experienced childhood with no automobiles, no airplanes, and no movie theaters.  Talking film had just become widespread a few years previously.  The novelty of seeing and listening to a presidential inauguration within a week or two of the event, in the depths of the Great Depression,  must have seemed like a futuristic technological marvel. This newsreel includes the opening sequence boasting about the speediness of the film transport, the swearing-in, an excerpt from Roosevelt's inaugural address, and closing praise of the new president.  It's a fascinating glimpse into the way news was distributed before television and the internet.   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/1933-03-05_Extra_Special_Roosevelt_Inaugurated" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640">          Related StoriesExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in videoAtlanta's Railroads -- TV show with footage of Franklin GarrettBest no-budget costuming ever in a terrible drive-in horror movie: 1964's The Creeping Terror  [...]



Charlie Chaplin and John Rand's great sustained slapstick fight in "The Pawnshop"

2015-01-16T06:54:49-05:00

Chaplin and Rand -- still shot from "The Pawnshop", Public Domain John Rand (1871-1940), who was a clown early in his career, is not as well known as Charlie Chaplin. But he was one of the great acrobatic slapstick comics...     Related StoriesBest no-budget costuming ever in a terrible drive-in horror movie: 1964's The Creeping TerrorExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in videoExploring the Internet Archive -- Newsreel of FDR's first inaugural speech    Chaplin and Rand -- still shot from "The Pawnshop", Public Domain   John Rand (1871-1940), who was a clown early in his career, is not as well known as Charlie Chaplin.  But he was one of the great acrobatic slapstick comics of the silent era, and supported Chaplin in 20 films.  The movie below is "The Pawnshop", in which Chaplin and Rand have a fantastic slapstick fight, that periodically subsides, only to reignite, throughout the movie.  The thumbnail photo above is taken from a scene in which Rand fights Chaplin while constrained by a ladder. Rand used the skills he had developed in the circus to good effect.  This 1916 movie is worth watching for the great ensemble work between all members of the cast, but especially between Chaplin and Rand. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/CC_1916_10_02_ThePawnshop" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640">      Related StoriesBest no-budget costuming ever in a terrible drive-in horror movie: 1964's The Creeping TerrorExploring the Internet Archive -- Atlanta's own Spaghetti Junction in videoExploring the Internet Archive -- Newsreel of FDR's first inaugural speech  [...]



Exploring the Internet Archive -- San Francisco Earthquake film from 1906

2015-01-15T18:10:04-05:00

The Internet Archive has a phenomenal collection of digitized early film. This one is of the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It consists of 5 minutes and 13 seconds of of people traveling through the rubble and...       The Internet Archive has a phenomenal collection of digitized early film.  This one is of the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.  It consists of 5 minutes and 13 seconds of of people traveling through the rubble and viewing the devastation.  One of the most interesting things from my perspective is that 1906 was in the decade in which the automobile began making inroads into American cities.  There are shots of people walking, cycling, riding in horse drawn carriages, and in automobiles, often in the same shot.   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/chi_000029" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640">   Related articles Exploring the Internet Archive -- Gunsmoke: the radio series and comic book        [...]



NCR moving its world headquarters to Atlanta's Midtown

2015-01-14T13:15:28-05:00

photo by James Emery -- Creative Commons 2.0 General Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/62126383@N00/2249173832 NCR Corporation (formerly National Cash Register), is moving its headquarters from a suburban Gwinnett County location, to Technology Square in Midtown. The reasons are to be closer to...         photo by James Emery -- Creative Commons 2.0 General Attribution License https://www.flickr.com/photos/62126383@N00/2249173832   NCR Corporation (formerly National Cash Register), is moving its headquarters from a suburban Gwinnett County location, to Technology Square in Midtown.  The reasons are to be closer to Georgia Tech, the center of science and technology in Atlanta, and to attract young technology professionals, who prefer a vibrant urban environment. Technology Square is a wonderful location, near the Midtown MARTA station, Georgia Tech, Atlantic Station, and the center of the Midtown community.  More information can be found at the following sites NCR's Press Release on the move NCR to Midtown from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Moving NCR's Midtown Atlanta HQ relo underscores a corporate culture shift from the Atlanta Business Chronicle              [...]



I've never had writer's block in my life

2015-01-13T14:05:22-05:00

This may seem like a throwaway post, one of those things written just to fill a gap in my schedule. But it is about a question I've often pondered. Just what is writer's block, and why does it seem to...       This may seem like a throwaway post, one of those things written just to fill a gap in my schedule.  But it is about a question I've often pondered.  Just what is writer's block, and why does it seem to be an affliction that, thankfully, passed me over? I've never had writer's block.  When I've failed to write, it has invariably been because I was too lazy to start typing, or because I had taken on a topic requiring more research than I was willing to do at the time. There are an infinite number of subjects to write about.  At the moment I'm at a table in a university library, so I could stand up, pick a book randomly, and start writing about the topic of the book.  That may seem like cheating, but it applies to the world outside this building, too. I could walk across the university plaza and get dozens of ideas for topics just by observing and eavesdropping on student conversations.  I could walk a few blocks to city hall, wander the corridors, and come up with subjects just by reading the department names off doors. There is probably no subject, however mundane, that could not be made interesting with the proper approach. Writer's block?  I think it's really typing procrastination.        [...]



The World's Oldest Journalism Undergraduate plays the class availability lottery

2015-01-12T06:48:25-05:00

I'm getting my degree under what is called the GSU 62 program. As long as I'm willing to sign up for classes on the first day of a semester, during late registration, tuition is waived. It's a program available to...       I'm getting my degree under what is called the GSU 62 program.  As long as I'm willing to sign up for classes on the first day of a semester, during late registration, tuition is waived.  It's a program available to people age 62 and older, and fills classes which would otherwise not be filled to capacity. It's a great program, except for a couple of related Catch-22s.  The first is that classes tend to fill up before the first day of a given semester, leaving you with slim pickings.  This isn't a problem when you're starting the program, because the pool of classes you have remaining in your degree program is larger.  But when you only have 10 classes left before graduation, it narrows your options considerably.  I call it the "class availability lottery". The second challenge is that it creates a very frantic first day of the semester.  At 7 AM (approximately a half hour from now), I'll sign up for classes online.  Depending on what classes I get, I may have to immediately drive downtown and attend a class I didn't even know I would be taking an hour or two previously. That said, it's a fantastic program for older people who are at the end of one career, but not interested in settling into a life of fishing or golf (neither of which I do).  For the fee waiver I can live with uncertainty.  I don't have any complaints with the program itself.  It's mutually beneficial to the people in the program and the university.  We get a tuition waiver, and the university fills classes which otherwise would not be filled.   So in fifteen minutes I'll get to discover what I'll be doing for the next few months.        [...]



Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards -- the voice of Jiminy Cricket

2015-01-11T07:58:28-05:00

Cliff Edwards in 1947 -- photo by William P. Gottlieb, Library of Congress, Public Domain Last night I was peripherally involved in a conversation on twitter. One of the participants mentioned Jiminy Cricket, and I chimed in that I remember...         Cliff Edwards in 1947 -- photo by William P. Gottlieb, Library of Congress, Public Domain   Last night I was peripherally involved in a conversation on twitter.  One of the participants mentioned Jiminy Cricket, and I chimed in that I remember the animated cricket's song beginning with the line  "I'm no fool, nosiree, I wanna live to be 103", from cartoons I watched as a child in the 1950s.   I was wrong about the first line of the song. In the youtube video I later watched, his aspiration was actually to reach 93.  But one of the people in the twitter conversation mentioned that Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards had been the voice of Jiminy Cricket. I love old novelty songs, and have everything from "With her head tucked underneath her arm (the Anne Boleyn song)" to "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" in my repertoire.  As I browsed through youtube videos of Edwards,  I discovered that he had recorded the first hit version of "Singing in the Rain" (over 20 years before the movie made the song even more famous),  the great Yip Harburg / Harold Arlen song "It's Only a Paper Moon",  and dozens of other popular songs of the 1920s and 1930s. His most recognizable work for people of my generation was the voice of Jiminy Cricket, from the 1940 Disney animated feature Pinocchio, and the hit song from that movie, "When You Wish Upon a Star". Edwards had a tragic personal life, with poor money management and alcohol and drug addiction.  His career declined, and he died in 1971, leaving behind an impressive body of work. I'm going to conclude with a few selections from that work, foraged from youtube.   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/cQHOe9JP2tw" width="420"> allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0skeHLeebRM" width="420">   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BEH4fHM4dCc" width="420">   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/aafpos35u-s" width="420">        [...]



Exploring the Internet Archive -- Gunsmoke: the radio series and comic book

2015-01-10T14:23:46-05:00

Gunsmoke was one of the best radio dramas ever made. Further, it holds up well today. The show was created by Norman Macdonnell and John Meston, and ran from 1952 to 1961, overlapping with the television series. The radio series...       Gunsmoke was one of the best radio dramas ever made.  Further, it holds up well today.  The show was created by Norman Macdonnell and  John Meston, and ran from 1952 to 1961, overlapping with the television series.  The radio series dealt with a number of topics too edgy for the television series, including drug addiction and prostitution.  Another notable difference about the radio series is that the good guys did not always win. William S. Paley, chairman of CBS, was a fan of Raymond Chandler's detective works, and came up with the basic idea.  His concept was a hard-boiled adult western, similar to Chandler's hard-boiled detective works.  The project was partially developed, then shelved, and came back to life a few years later when Macdonnell and Meston discovered it, and decided to run with the idea. It starred William Conrad as Matt Dillon Here is an audio file of the first show, "Billy the Kid".  It aired on June 26th, 1952 (when, incidentally, I was about to celebrate my first birthday). allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="30" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/OTRR_Gunsmoke_Singles" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="500">  Here is a link to the entire radio series. Another treat for Gunsmoke fans in the Internet Archive is a series of comic books based on the television version of the series.  The comics available available here are from a series run by Dell from 1958 to 1962.  Be sure to click on "full screen" to make the comics large enough to read. Here is the link to the comic books. The Internet Archive contains an overwhelming number of treasures like this.  I hope you enjoy them.        [...]



The Demolition of John B. Gordon Elementary School

2015-05-31T08:22:52-04:00

Two days ago Wayne Waldrip, a friend of mine who, like me, grew up in southeast Atlanta, phoned me with the news that the John B. Gordon elementary school in East Atlanta was being demolished. The next day, after visiting...       Two days ago Wayne Waldrip, a friend of mine who, like me, grew up in southeast Atlanta, phoned me with the news that the John B. Gordon elementary school in East Atlanta was being demolished.  The next day, after visiting my mother, who lives nearby, I took photos of the partially demolished building and the equipment they are using to tear down the walls. I plan on doing a more extensive article on the school after interviewing various people who attended the school over the last few decades of its active life a school, but in the meantime you can  click here to view the the photos.  At this point they've knocked down the northwest corner of the building, near the front entrance, and don't seem to have done any work on the demolition for the past two days. A handwritten sign indicates that the school was built in 1909, although I haven't confirmed this.  Franklin Garrett , in his book Atlanta and Environs , states that the  school was built with the 1920s bond issue that resulted in most of the older elementary school buildings in the City of Atlanta.   But if the 1909 date is correct, it was constructed when East Atlanta was annexed into the City of Atlanta.  It was named for John B. Gordon, a Confederate general, Ku Klux Klan leader and postwar governor and U.S. senator. The sign also states that the school was closed down in 1995.  I lived a few blocks from the school from the early 1980s to around 2009.  After the school closed I watched the building, neglected by the real estate firm that bought it from the school board, slowly deteriorate into an unusable state. It's sad.  Many historic buildings throughout Atlanta have been renovated and put to good use.  John B. Gordon elementary was deteriorating at the same time that its neighborhood was undergoing a dramatic rejuvenation.  By the time the real estate company that had owned it went out of business, the building was beyond realistic possibility of restoration. The Gordon building was an unnecessary loss for a fantastic neighborhood. I've put together a photo album of the current state of the Gordon building.  If you're interested in the photos, visit every day or two.  I'll be adding more as the demolition continues.          [...]



Exploring the Internet Archive -- The Grateful Dead Collection

2015-01-09T18:41:31-05:00

The Internet Archive has a fantastic collection of recordings of Grateful Dead live concerts, mostly from the 1970s and 1980s, free for the listening. Here's a link to the entire collection. And here's a 1972 live concert at Winterland Arena:       The Internet Archive has a fantastic collection of recordings of Grateful Dead live concerts, mostly from the 1970s and 1980s, free for the listening. Here's a link to the entire collection. And here's a 1972 live concert at Winterland Arena: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="30" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/gd72-01-02.sbd.eD.8709.sbeok.shnf" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="500">        [...]



My sympathy for the person who monitors the @intel twitter account today

2015-01-08T13:05:39-05:00

Gamergate, the Wile E. Coyote of internet attack groups, has been busy dogpiling Intel via their twitter account. Intel has announced that it's providing $300 million to increase diversity in the technology industry. In and of itself this probably wouldn't...       Gamergate, the Wile E. Coyote of internet attack groups, has been busy dogpiling Intel via their twitter account.  Intel has announced that it's providing $300 million to increase diversity in the technology industry.   In and of itself this probably wouldn't have drawn much attention from gamergate, but Intel, in it's list of partners in the project, included Feminist Frequency, the project of Anita Sarkeesian, an Arch-Demon in gamergate's pantheon of demons. Any sane, mature, movement, with a modicum of self control would have just kept quiet, especially since previous attacks on Sarkeesian had resulted in an enormous increase in contributions to her crowd-funding account.  But gamergate is not just any movement.  It immediately ran in three different directions, careened around in circles, and converged on Intel's twitter account, colliding like the Three Stooges. While some of the tweets seem as though they are written by sane adults, many of them have that special gamergate enraged-fourteen-year-old-male spirit we've all come to know and love. This is no different from other gamergate craziness.  But I want to express my sympathy for one particular person: the poor soul who is monitoring the Intel twitter account.  Can you imagine having to spend all day reading angry rants, impotent threats, wild and elaborate conspiracy theories unfolding in multiple tweets, not to mention "sealioning"? So, beleaguered  Intel social media person, keep your spirits up.  It will blow over, and the gamergaters, like a chaotic swarm of angry hornets, will lose interest and move on to another target soon.  My suggestion to you is that you put on earphones, and listen to the Looney Tunes theme.  Then the crazy tweets will make you smile.   allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/F9S7yhD5M9A" width="420">          [...]



Exploring the Internet Archive -- A Liberace Video from 1954

2015-01-07T22:50:47-05:00

I love the Internet Archive. It's a bottomless pit of movies, classic TV shows, radio drama, Grateful Dead concerts, books, audio materials, comics, and thousands of other things that are hard to categorize. The materials on the site are for...       I love the Internet Archive.  It's a bottomless pit of movies, classic TV shows, radio drama, Grateful Dead concerts, books, audio materials, comics, and thousands of other things that are hard to categorize.  The materials on the site are for the most part either public domain or under various types of free license.  I've embedded a video I found in the archive this evening.  It's a 1954 television show hosted by Liberace, that leads off with his piano rendition of "Turkey in the Straw".  The thing that fascinated me about it is my realization that it aired when I was three years old.     The Internet Archive is a treasure trove of cultural artifacts like this.  You should dive in and explore it. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://archive.org/embed/Liberace_Thanksgiving" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640">        [...]