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

Skidmark

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I remember when the Marriott Marquis was still shiny and new, back in the 1980s. Somewhere in my stack of sketchbooks I have a little student study I made of the hotel while I was in the architecture program at Tech. In that write-up I compared the elevator cabs to blood cells pulsing through heart of the hotel, mostly because back then the elevators were painted bright red! Somewhere along the line an interiors person must have been paid good money to come in and inform hotel management that rocketship red was Continue reading Skidmark

The Time We Saved Georgia’s Film Industry

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This is my 20th year as a member of an international film union best known as IATSE, which is an acronym for a 4-mile long run-on sentence describing what its members do and the incredibly specific places where they do them. It’s my theory that nobody actually knows all the words in the actual title of the organization and instead just make up something, hoping that nobody calls them out on Continue reading The Time We Saved Georgia’s Film Industry

Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios VIP Experience Disappoints

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A performance by the Cirque du Soleil is almost always a life-altering experience for someone in the audience, and it’s little wonder that fans tend to nominate their very first show as their favorite. My first cirque was Alegria, back in the mid-1990s when the Grand Chapiteau was set up across the street from the Cheetah 3 strip club, and to this day the soundtrack from Alegria is the first thing I think of when I hear the word ‘Cirque’.

For my second show (I think it might have been Dralion) I bought tickets for my parents, treating them to the Tapis Rouge experience – a magical tent overflowing with music, food, and drink. You couldn’t turn around without bumping into a server carrying a tray laden with some incredible work of edible art, and to this day my mom remains convinced that the Cirque du Soleil is the only place where you can order “that drink made with grapefruit and vodka” (she’s not much of a drinker).

The Tapis Rouge wasn’t just about the food though, it truly was an “experience” in its own right – an expression of everything that is unique about Cirque, from the fabric lining the tent to the stage lighting and the festive decor of the space, to the playlist of songs from current and previous traveling shows. There was a Cirque store where you could purchase clothing, knickknacks, umbrellas, celebrated Venetian masks, and of course Continue reading Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios VIP Experience Disappoints

AT&T U-verse Cancels Popular Showcase Channel

U-Verse Showcase Controversy

March has been really tough and tonight I thought that I would let my soul relax for a while by tuning into Channel 800 on our cable provider, AT&T U-Verse. Officially known as “U-Verse Showcase”, the channel featured gorgeous nature cinematography set to pleasant instrumentals – anything from herds of kangaroo sweeping majestically over whatever the heck it is the Aussies call “the plain”, to the painted American desert from dusk to dawn. Our family would sit watching it for an hour, mesmerized by the calming effect it gave us. Better yet, if you were paying for the HD package you could dial up Channel 1800 where you’d see the same videos, but in high definition (best seen on one of those enormous televisions, which we do not have). Now, if you haven’t noticed, I’m referring to these channels in the past tense because at the beginning of the March 2016, AT&T discontinued both  Continue reading AT&T U-verse Cancels Popular Showcase Channel

Should Hollis Gillespie Apologize for Comedygate?

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Hollis, Hollis, Hollis. I’m just now hearing about Comedygate. My friend, you are constantly getting into trouble. How many misadventures does this make since I’ve known you? Seventeen? My favorite is still the time that you were chased by a love struck garbage truck driver while you were glued to a purse filled with bees, but I guess this one’s pretty good too.

The message I received about Comedygate was excited and garbled and confusing as hell, so I clicked over to Paste Magazine and tracked down your article “A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Stand-up Comedian”.

Your article was nice and short. Pithy, like everything on the Internet these days. Remember when magazines expected writers to produce really long pieces so they could Continue reading Should Hollis Gillespie Apologize for Comedygate?