The Funeral Service of JL Parker

Miss Cindy's famous Blue Truck.

This past Saturday morning we met down near Forsyth, Georgia, to celebrate the life of JL Parker, who passed on September 27th, 2017. I have written down my memories of the funeral services for those who could not be there, and for posterity.

 

An Unexpected Surprise

As I exited the highway I noticed that my car’s low fuel indicator had come on during the drive down to the funeral. I couldn’t help but think back to a time when JL’s crew had kindly filled my tank on one of those occasions when I was young and dumb and had coasted on fumes to set.

As I coasted down the final quarter mile to the church on Saturday I was surprised to see a big tractor trailer rig emblazoned with the TEAMSTERS logo. It was an impressive honor from the union that JL had belonged to for so much of his career in the motion picture industry.

And then, as I began to turn into the driveway, I saw the Blue Truck. Continue reading The Funeral Service of JL Parker

A Middle-Ager’s Guide to Riding Rollercoasters at Six Flags

The rollercoaster Goliath towering over the trees at the entrance to Six Flags Over Georgia

This weekend our movie industry union picked up the tab for a “family day” at Six Flags and several thousand members took advantage of the opportunity. We got to have the park to ourselves before regular park hours began, which meant that lines were practically Continue reading A Middle-Ager’s Guide to Riding Rollercoasters at Six Flags

Dragon Con Turns 31 – Is It Too Big Now?

This aging dragon has certainly grown!

Just look at that graph!

It’s based on data I found on a Dragon Con wiki, which explains that its data was collected from snapshots of the Dragon Con website as preserved on the Internet Archives. I also used numbers from the Wikipedia article on Dragon Con to fill in the graph. Attendance figures for some years differ from those listed in the history section of the current version of the Dragon Con website, but I believe these numbers are close enough to deliver a good approximation of the growth this convention has experienced over the past 31 years. Continue reading Dragon Con Turns 31 – Is It Too Big Now?

Protecting Your Cat from a Solar Eclipse

I don’t know about your part of the country, but in Atlanta everyone has eclipse fever and people (like me) have been racing all over the city in last minute bids to score a pair of highly sought after solar eclipse glasses, designed to allow the user to stare directly at the sun when the blessed event finally arrives. In my case I was lucky enough to get some from J.D. Taylor, one of the directors of the popular MTV series ‘Teen Wolf’ and a huge space exploration nerd.

This morning I realized that while we’ve been in the midst of a fervor to protect human eyeballs from the nuclear furnace raging at the center of our solar system, but what about Earth’s other precious treasures? When the total solar eclipse begins carving an enormous slice across highly populated areas of the United States how will we protect our nation’s feline population from having their tiny little eyeballs burned to a crisp??

I don’t know about your Atlanta-based cats, but mine will be entirely unprepared when our moon obscures the sun, and chances are high that they will stare directly at the curious event for the duration of the event since they have a lot of time on their hands, having given up on Days of Our Lives weeks ago. Of course I can’t really blame them since Continue reading Protecting Your Cat from a Solar Eclipse

The Betrayal of Steve Sansweet

Today one of the people in my circle of friends became infamous for the systematic theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Star Wars collectibles. I cannot believe that it was his goal to become reviled by the fans of one of his most beloved fictional universes or to be publicly castigated on Twitter by the actor who played Luke Skywalker.

Steve Sansweet, who many of us early Star Wars fans looked up to for guidance when he began publishing an annual Star Wars collectibles price guide, confessed that his sense of trust had been badly damaged after discovering numerous thefts of rare items from Continue reading The Betrayal of Steve Sansweet

Designated Auditor: Ben Carson Discovers Secret $500 Billion! Not.

This past September a friend told me about a new ABC action series she’d started watching called “Designated Survivor” starring Jack Bauer. I mean, she didn’t say that it starred Jack Bauer, she said that it starred Kiefer Sutherland, but since I can never remember the character’s name from this new show it’s just easier for me to call him Jack Bauer.

In the first episode we find out that Jack has been serving as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and is an expert on a wide range of complex policy matters that most Americans can’t be bothered to understand because we’re way too busy blogging about television shows.

So anyway.

In the first episode some mysterious bad guys blow up Continue reading Designated Auditor: Ben Carson Discovers Secret $500 Billion! Not.

Basil Eleby’s Fabulous Weaponized Love Seat (That Destroyed Atlanta)

Like most Atlantans I am fascinated by the story of Basil Eleby, a man whose life might have come and gone without leaving a mark in Atlanta’s history books if it were not for his (alleged) creation of a “couch bomb” following an (alleged) nip of crack cocaine. Most of us native Atlantans were not surprised that all it took to bring our hometown grinding to a halt was a piece of discarded furniture placed on top of a shopping cart and Continue reading Basil Eleby’s Fabulous Weaponized Love Seat (That Destroyed Atlanta)

The Making of “You Wouldn’t Believe Our World”

Back in my college years the talk show Late Night with David Letterman was a delightfully subversive, highly imaginative way to end the day. The writers were whip smart and the bits they did would have become viral sensations if today’s socially networks had existed back then. The other night I was out having a few beers with a friend ten years my junior who had missed out on the imaginative era of David Letterman and I mentioned a mock commercial that I often think about, whose title eluded Continue reading The Making of “You Wouldn’t Believe Our World”

Getting Smart About Smoke Detectors

When is the last time you thought about your home’s smoke detectors? I typically change the batteries in our home’s smoke detectors around this time every year, usually on the same weekend when we “spring” our clocks forward an hour for Daylight Saving Time. Last March we lost my dad and all of my normal routines fell away for quite a long time, and so it came as no surprise a week ago when I discovered that my smoke detectors were a year past due for having their batteries replaced.

Like me, a lot of people lose track of their normal routines and some are unfortunate enough to experience a fire in their homes.  According to the National Fire Protection Agency: “In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.”

Keeping the batteries in your smoke detectors up to date cannot be stressed enough, but there’s one additional detail about these devices that I only Continue reading Getting Smart About Smoke Detectors

The Adventures of Captain Rumpot

Captain Rumpot with a bottle of Deadhead Rum

This past Saturday I was treated to one of the craziest history lessons I have ever witnessed, anywhere. It took place at Anachrocon, a 9 year old science fiction convention with a heavy focus on history.  The panel was titled “Captain Rumpot and the Drunken Pirates of the Caribbean”, led by my friend Continue reading The Adventures of Captain Rumpot