Showing posts from 2014

Radio Shack hanging on like a loose tooth

File: I confess that I always loved going to Radio Shack. From the days Radio Shack carried the latest in CB radios, portable 8-track tape players, turntables, receivers and smaller televisions, I was fascinated with what the then-electronics leader carried.   Little would I realize just a few years after the CB radio craze, Radio Shack carried one of the first computers that one could purchase for the home. Known as TRS-80, millions were mesmerized by the “invention.” Back in the early 80s, there was no way that my family could afford such an “entertainment” device like the TRS-80 or the then-hot Commodore 64. To me, Radio Shack’s TRS-80 was good for one thing. My friends and I visited a Radio Shack with our Super 8 film camera to include the computer as a prop in one of our films shot in summer 1982. Still, computers were becoming a necessity rather than a luxury as time passed. I was jealous of those who could own a home computer because they had word proc

Texts and e-mails are the way to go

“Hi there Honey. I just wanted to let you know that I’m running over to the grocery store to pick up some items for tonight’s dinner. I should be back around five. Talk with you then,” I dictated into my daughter’s voice mail… about four years ago. Why should I lament about a voice mail that I left four years ago? Well, I write about an old voice mail because I doubt that it was ever retrieved. You see, kids these days don’t care for voice mail. In my case, my daughter went from being a child to an adolescent in that time period, but her steadfast silent opposition to voice mail has remained in place. Evidently my daughter is not alone. Her generation eschews voice mail. Texting is the way to go, the social observers say. Evidently, Coca-Cola received the memo on this “voice-mail-less trend” and are doing away with the now rather-dated technology of leaving vocal messages on a device. Both text and e-mail are the options for future communication and/or correspondence. Abou

An Ode to the Printed Newspaper

When I was growing up on Ohio’s North Coast, we had daily newspapers constantly coming into the house. On certain days, there were three papers arriving on our driveway. In Cleveland, Ohio, it was The Plain Dealer, The Cleveland Press and The Sun Messenger papers that were thrown into our driveway by the neighborhood kid, “Able.” Whether “Able” was on bike or foot, he battled the typically harsh elements so that our household could be informed. The papers were first taken to our kitchen table. Dad would open up The Plain Dealer and immediately go to the obituaries. “Let’s see who died today,” Dad would announce half-jokingly over a toasted bagel and instant coffee at the breakfast table. Next, Dad would read the editorials which piqued my interest. By the time the 80s hit, I was into reading a writer out of Chicago by the name of Mike Royko who was carried by one of the Cleveland papers. Later in the day, the papers made their way over to Mother in the family room. Those papers

Passengers and others behaving badly

A Chinese female passenger scalded an Air Asia flight attendant a few days back. Apparently the passenger was not happy with the airline’s in-flight service so she threw hot water at the employee somewhere in the unfriendly skies between Bangkok and Nanjing. Chinese authorities vowed to punish the woman, but at this moment, there are no details has to how that punishment will be meted out. After reading recent material on the incident, it has been said in some circles in the flying world that Chinese tourists are known for their bad behavior. Some say that through the years, the Chinese have been known for trashing tourist sites and jumping lines in addition to abusing airline employees.   Like a disappointed parent, China is embarrassed by these incidents and this overall so-called characterization. While it looks like China has its work cut out for them, what’s going on here? Some speculate that folks like this woman and her fellow travelers on the recent Air Asia flight are

The year in television and film 2014

The 2015 Golden Globe ® Awards  nominations were announced the other day.  I was pondering how many of the television and film production "contestants" I saw over the course of 2014. Sadly, I viewed a fraction of those productions and I suspect many others around this nation saw even fewer. Indeed the There is still time, but I doubt I could get around to them all before the 72nd Annual Golden Globe ® Awards air on January 11, 2015. I hope to see actor Steve Carell's turn in Foxcatcher , in which Carell plays the eccentric American multimillionaire John du Pont. I caught the 60 Minutes segment on Carell and the film which has been inspiring me to see the movie. Other films including Selma, Pride,  Still Alice, Into the Woods and Whiplash have not been on my radar, but all sound intriguing. In addition those films and Foxcatcher , I still need to see Gone Girl . I enjoyed the riveting Gillian Flynn novel which inspired the David Fincher film. Fincher is up a

Flashback: The song doesn't remain the same

Archived from 1997 The Song Doesn't Remain the Same Comedy troupe Southern Discomfort crafts pop-song satires that poke fun at just about everyone By Bob Nebel WHILE MOST  of us are sequestered in our homes on Thursday nights, indulging in NBC's "Must-See TV" shows such as "Seinfeld," a group of nine talented comics gather in a Dunwoody basement and create a unique brand of humor known as Southern Discomfort. Each week, the group reworks modern pop songs into some of the most ingenious political and social satire on this side of the Chattahoochee River. Few members of popular culture or the political arena can escape being a subject of Southern Discomfort's vast vault of song parodies. One of the group's gems titled "The Shady Bunch" -- set to the theme song of the '70s television sitcom "The Brady Bunch" -- lyrically chronicles some of the recent troubles at the White House. And "Hello (Again) Dolly"

Flashback: Movin' Out feature

Remember the "Movin' Out" show that was staged in Atlanta, GA

Lack of transit options can cost communities business opportunities

Recently, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul wrote an essay about how his fair city lost a business opportunity to Atlanta. What? That’s right, Atlanta snatched employer World Pay from Sandy Springs, one of those communities that was one of the first to incorporate in the recent spate of incorporation. Mayor Paul cites transit - or lack thereof - as the number one reason why his city lost the company World Pay to Atlanta. Some might say, “Why would a lack of public transportation keep a potential employer away from any city?” Paul says that members of the millennial generation utilize public transportation. In others words, “millennials” are preferring to ditch the traditional automobile when it comes to commuting to work and perhaps other activities. Employers like World Pay would like to attract “millennials” to come work for them. World Pay discovered this fact and passed on locating to Sandy Springs, according to the mayor. Mayor Paul is most likely realizing a trend: quality tran

Flashback: The artists of Berkeley Lake

Artist Colony The Berkeley Lake Spring Arts Festival is a community showcase BY Bob Nebel Artisists of Berkely Lake Photo: Jim Stawniak Weekly Art Listings The artists of Berkeley Lake  are a rather close-knit group. For years, the women of this tiny, residential community have looked to each other for support, advice and inspiration. On April 29, they will share the results with the rest of Gwinnett at their 3rd Annual Spring Arts Festival. The women often gather on weekends in the tiny town located off of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard west of Duluth to compare artistic techniques and to socialize. Jo Lackey, a 27-year Berkeley Lake resident who paints bright watercolors, says, "A lot of people come up to me and say, 'Don't you run out of things to paint?' And I say, well gosh no! I have a support group at home!'" Lackey also finds a multitude of ideas in her travels to such far-away locales such as New Zealand and Australia. Anoth

Flashback: Christopher Rude profile (August 1998)

A Rude World WKLS resurrects DJ Christopher Rude in search of a lost edge By Bob Nebel I t is 2:45 on a Wednesday afternoon and Chris Rude is sitting relaxed in a 96Rock production booth hammering out comedy ideas for his upcoming drive-time radio shtick that pounds Atlanta's collective eardrum from 3-7 p.m. weekdays. "Let's see, I love this Lewinsky story. It has everything you need in it! Sex and lies. I love it!" Rude exclaims as he formulates this particular day's "Match Game" question: "I'm no Monica Lewinsky, but I would let the president leave a stain on my _____." Rude gleefully yet professionally explains: "We must have three female contestants match this question with Beth's answer." Beth, Rude's quasi-sidekick who pulls double duty with traffic reports during his program, will call in during the show with her response. Keep your ears peeled, cover the kids' ears and, most of all, stay tuned. It was

Five things to be grateful or non-grateful for this holiday season

At this time of the year, the Web-verse is chock full of those lists with its “10 Best Of…” or “20 Favorites…” lists. Heck, these lists are the hot thing all year, but seem to intensify during the holiday season. Life itself is so complicated, it’s tough to compartmentalize ideas into lists. Some might suggest that these lists are “so trivial,” but I beg to differ. The lists catch my eye, make me synthesize and organize ideas. As of this writing, we’re in the part of the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. For those “keeping track,” Hanukkah starts December 16 while Kwanzaa makes that attempt to lengthen our holiday season by starting on December 26, running through January 1. I have a few things that I’m grateful and not-so-grateful for at the moment. 1.        I’m grateful that I am never hooked on Black Friday. Do not get me wrong, I love a good deal on electronics and clothing just as much as the next guy. The thing is, I have not been dedicated to camp

11 deaths too many

11 deaths. 11 deaths too many. 11 pedestrians have been killed on suburban Atlanta Gwinnett County’s roads so far this year. That number could have gone up since I starting writing this post. Also, at the moment, we have a few days left in 2014. Nevertheless, that 2014 number is up from previous years. It’s no secret that pedestrian safety is an oxymoron in the Atlanta metropolitan area. A number of aggressive, distracted drivers coupled with many non-compliant pedestrians leads to these disturbing numbers in most cases. The Gwinnett County Police Department clearly spells out pedestrian rules and tips. The department says that pedestrians need to stay within crosswalks, obey traffic signals and wear bright and/or reflective clothing. As a runner, cyclist, vehicle operator and passenger, I generally agree with the county police’s tips and rule reiterations. Pedestrians should always use and stay within crosswalks, but throughout much of Gwinnett County’s roads, crosswalks c

Stores' playlists can be torture

The speakers were blaring disc jockey/musician/rapper/producer Fat Boy Slim’s “Funk Soul Brother.” The pulsating sounds of this late 1990s track were so loud, they shook my eardrums and permeated what was left of my brain at that moment. Not only was this a loud presentation of “Funk Soul Brother,” this was the remixed version that seems to go on for eternity with changing speeds… or as long as possible until I find a way to pull the plug on the speakers or hire an Elvis impersonator to shoot the speakers into silence. For those who are not familiar with “Funk Soul Brother,” it’s not exactly “lyric-heavy.” Here’s a sample of “Funk Soul Brother’s” lyrics which pretty much repeat for as long as the film, Titanic (from around that era): “ Right about now, the funk soul brother, check it out now The funk soul brother, right about now The funk soul brother, check it out now The funk soul brother, right about now” Imagine those lyrics combined with the fact that the re-mixed version

The Holiday Exodus

As commercial-strength leaf blowers compete against autumn's cold, cruel winds, colorful leaves fly about and still dot the collective landscape. Despite the efforts of "leaf clean-ups," the ground becomes prettier while the trees transform into nakedness. Winter is on its way indeed. The air is filled with the smells of burnt wood and leaves. Beyond all of that, it becomes quiet in these parts. Scores of people leave town to enjoy Thanksgiving week with family. A certain amount of folks stay in town during these holiday weeks, but many "get out of Dodge" in these times. Welcome to the New South. An amazing amount of progress has taken place over the past 40 years in the Atlanta metro area. Folks mostly from the Northeast and Midwest settle here for great jobs, a place to build families and an excellent quality of life. Admittedly a handful settled in the Atlanta metro area from other parts of the South, Plains and West, but a great deal like myself hai

Autumn, We Hardly Knew Ye

Is it cold enough for you all at the moment? I confess that by mid-September, I was looking forward to a cool-down. I know: Be careful what you wish for… and boy, did I get it. Now, I’m bone chilling cold and incredibly sorry that I dared to “pray to the Weather Gods.” In my case and perhaps thousands of others, one of the Weather Gods is The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore. Mr. Cantore is a notorious cable television weather guru who has no problem traveling to report from a hurricane to getting buried in five feet of snow. Note to those “Hollywood South Producers” working down here, Jim Cantore would make an excellent Weather God in a future film feature. Since I’m into confessions in this post, here is another one: We have been robbed of autumn. Who knows, maybe autumn will return during the next few weeks or even during actual winter? The point here is that autumn was taken from us and is being held hostage without our knowledge. The real salt in the wounds is that autumn was b

The sky is not falling...

It was one of those weeks that kind of slogged along. We all logically know that time moves along at the same pace, but our minds perceive time differently from second to second. The week started off with a gorgeous Veterans Day which was filled with scores of parades and events including some memorable speeches by the U.S. vice president and defense secretary. Locally, there were a number of events honoring those who served this nation. Across the pond in London, there was a gorgeous poppy field event honoring World War I vets. Their Moment of Silence followed by bugles was simply beautiful. The laying of wreaths here in the U.S. and France was beyond moving and emotional. Veterans Day was capped off with the star-studded HBO television event, The Concert for Valor . Of course if one holds such an event with rapper Eminem, that event will be met with controversy. Eminem delivered that promise during his performance with a series of “F-bombs.” Then there’s a debate that will g

Attempting to keep up with the Joneses

I was viewing a very "telling" television car commercial the other day. In this particular TV ad, the husband and wife look out the window querying what luxury SUV their neighbors recently purchased. The couple had to know what awesome vehicle their neighbor just brought back home. The twosome needed the answer, like yesterday. They wonder how the neighbors were able to afford such a luxury. Perhaps the man of the house got a raise at work? The "jealous" husband watching the spectacle pulls out a pair of high -powered binoculars to find that answer. As the jealous husband is watching the successful couple, the luxury SUV owners notice that their neighbors are intrigued with their high-end purchase. So, one of the new luxury SUV owners waves back to the couple knowing full well that they are well ahead of their neighbors in the automobile department. The average Joe out there might say, "What's so 'telling' about this automobile television