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?

How to Turn Off Automatic Sound on Facebook Videos

Did you recently receive this rather helpful message from Facebook’s mobile app?

“We’re always working to make Facebook a better place to watch videos. That’s why videos now play with sound on automatically. Use the volume icon on any video to make the sound right for you.”

Well it popped up on my screen and I sure do wish that I had clicked on that “Learn More” button because it might have spared me from what started happening about 4 days later: every freaking video I scrolled across began Continue reading How to Turn Off Automatic Sound on Facebook Videos

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

The Palmour House in College Park


A few days ago I was headed to lunch in College Park but overshot my destination so I hung a right at the very next street, Hemphill, in order to loop the block and make another pass. As I drew near the end of that side street I was confronted by this big beautiful old lady. This morning I did a bit of searching and learned that this is listed on the Historic Register as The Palmour House, but the majority of search results are MLS listings from real estate companies and the top result rendered this interesting tidbit Continue reading The Palmour House in College Park

Remembering the Great Atlanta Fire of 2017

While the collapse of the elevated portion of Interstate 85 has been a major inconvenience for people traveling through the region around Atlanta, it can hardly compare to the devastation that affected our city 100 years ago this month.

May 21st will mark the 100 year anniversary of the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917 which raged for approximately 10 hours, burned more than 300 acres, destroyed more than 1,900 buildings (mostly wood-frame), wore out firefighters’ horse teams, and was only stopped by dynamiting Continue reading Remembering the Great Atlanta Fire of 2017

Will CBS Repeat the Mistakes of Star Trek: Enterprise?

This spring I ran into an “old friend” on one of those retro cable channels and was so enamored by the encounter that I decided to fire up Netflix and devote some serious binge time to catching up on Star Trek: Enterprise and worrying about the new Star Trek series currently in production.

If you’re not a fan of the Star Trek franchise you’re probably not even reading this sentence so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on a lengthy explanation about a show you probably already know. Put simply for those fans who haven’t seen it, this series documented Earth’s earliest exploration of deep space using our planet’s newly developed Continue reading Will CBS Repeat the Mistakes of Star Trek: Enterprise?

To Thine Own Self

Yesterday morning I was finally compelled to begin cleaning out dad’s office.

A year ago this would have been impossible, as that room reverberated with his passage through life. Every single item inside was something that he had touched and considered. I could feel his presence there. In that room he was still alive, so the door remained closed and the contents undisturbed.

I sometimes go to walk in the cemetery, and I always end those walks at his grave. I study the headstone and the flowers, and while I know his mortal remains lie below my feet I do not feel close to him in that place.

In Hamlet, Polonius’ final bit of advice to his son is “To thine own self be true”.

For me that advice has meant learning to see the world and the things and the people in it without self-deception and to keep the ones that will provide true happiness.

It had been more than six months since I had last ventured into dad’s office, and when I opened the door I could tell that things had changed. It was the same room, with the same smells and the same items, but I could finally separate the treasures from the trash.

The thing that had changed was me.

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.