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Showing posts from 2015

Vladimir Putin 2016 calendar is in!

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We are about to enter into 2016 as I write this and for the first time in a while, I do not have an old-school calendar for the upcoming year. I this moment, I am pondering the purchase of a Vladimir Putin 2016 calendar to hang on the kitchen refrigerator. Of course I’m jesting because I doubt anyone in my household would be thrilled with seeing Vlad shirtless every morning. Still, there are Vlad fans out there like businessman/presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump so it’s more than certain that there are plenty of folks out there who are clamoring to order the new Putin 2016 calendar. Check out this story right here.

From weather to the movies, 2015 was quite a ‘douzy’

December 2015 has been a wild weather month. Who knew that we would be wearing shorts on a warm, muggy Christmas Day? El Nino has been visiting the continental U.S. wreaking strange weather in our neck of the woods and tragedy in Texas with powerful twisters. Of course being in winter means that what goes up must come down. We experienced temps in the mid-to-high 70s on Christmas Day and by New Year’s Day, a 30 degree difference – that’s enough to mess with anyone’s system making them sick.
With a crazy December, will we see a January, February or March to be the opposite? I cannot help but think back to the winter of 1993 when one week folks were out in the parks and the next week, we were under nearly a foot of snow in some places. Of course, the March 1993 Storm of the Century quickly thawed ushering in a warm spring and stifling hot summer. After this ‘spring preview,’ there’s no doubt that we all need to be prepared for the temperature drop and possibly wintry weather in the ne…

Why are things so symbolic to me at the end of the year?

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Photo from Fox 5 Atlanta's Twitter page
As I was heading to the train station on a rainy morning, I came upon a scene where a fuel tanker truck ran off the road. The scene was quite a brouhaha for the small town of Doraville, Georgia. City police cars lined both sides of the road with their flashing blue lights penetrating the morning darkness. Cars with those deep red brake lights were starting to back up on the roadway. Even the local FOX television affiliate was on the scene complete with the reporter explaining the accident to viewers over the hum of the TV trucks’ running idle motor while the light rain pelted his station overcoat.
Of course, the authorities were waving us through the tanker accident area with the ole, “move along, nothing to see here folks” on their minds. Since it was dark and rainy, I kept my eyes on the guys and gals ushering us through because, A. I just wished to get to the train station and B. I didn’t want to run them over or heaven forbid, end up in …

Traffic happens

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It's true, I don't get out much. It's been a while since I hopped in the car to drive to another booming metropolis. After six hours on the truck-infested interstates to get up to the Greater Louisville, Kentucky area, I was met with Atlanta-like traffic. What shocked me was that I was not shocked. After all, isn't mind-boggling traffic supposed to happen only in places like Atlanta, LA and Miami? Apparently I'm quite wrong because traffic is everywhere in the big city and guess what, beautiful Louisville is no exception.
Obviously there are a lot of folks in vibrant Louisville, KY - which by the way is nestled on the Ohio River . I am simply blown away by the area's beauty. So yes, "traffic happens so get over it!" I say to myself. I'm trying to tell myself that more these days as I deal with traffic in the ATL which gets worse by the second. On one hand, I'm angry with how much time I spend in my car and on the other, I cannot do anything …

Will a penny or a ha' penny do? That's the question going into 2016 and beyond

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It's well-worn knowledge that the Atlanta metro area is chock full of 'Peachtrees,' but it's Peachtree Road that's been grabbing the attention lately. The congested corridor that runs through the heart of Atlanta's Buckhead community is a nightmare. Scores of serious accidents occur on this road due to poor traffic planning. Throughout much of this year, there have been many folks who proposed to do something about re-designing Peachtree Road to help with congestion and reduce accidents.
The Peachtree Road plan seemed to contain a great deal of common sense, but it was defeated mainly for the fact that bike lanes would be installed along portions of the road. Those who resisted this plan felt that the road is narrow enough and taking away space from cars would add to Peachtree Road's traffic headaches.
Bicycle lanes on Peachtree Road were just one small part of the project. A two-way turn lane in the center of the road along with resurfacing/repainting th…

Moving away from our 'car-centric culture' could happen with millennials

In my previous post, I discussed the suburb of Johns Creek’s rejection of public transit expansion. That rejection is a representation of the thinking that got the metro area into the place where it is these days. Today, cities like Johns Creek are part of a car-centric culture that produces massive traffic jams, lack of transportation choices and poor air quality.
There’s been much talk about attracting businesses of all stripes to the metro area over the past few years. It’s no secret that attracting businesses to the Atlanta metro area means attracting young talent. According to scores of surveys, that young talent wishes to utilize public transportation. The communities that already have MARTA rail service are in a good position to attract companies and young people to move there thus expanding their already-growing tax bases.
At the moment, Johns Creek is going in the opposite direction by operating on antiquated thinking. One needs to look at Kimball Bridge Road, State Bridge Road…

2015 Cyber Monday deals

It's been a while since I posted travel information, so here goes. The following are deals that can only be booked on Cyber Monday 2015.

2015 CYBER MONDAY TRAVEL OFFERS The following deals can be booked ONLY on CYBER MONDAY, November 30, 2015.  All deals are subject to blackout dates and based on availability.  Additional restrictions and room category limitations may apply. CONTINENTAL U.S.  FLORIDA
Hotel: The Palms Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach
Offer: 25% off best available rates guaranteed, rates start at $225
Valid for Travel: Nov 27, 2015 – October 31, 2016. No Friday or Saturday arrivals, blackout dates apply.
How to Book:www.thepalmshotel.com with promo code PROCYBER

Hotel: Circa 39 Hotel, Miami Beach
Offer: 25% off best available rates guaranteed, rates start at $149
Valid for Travel: Nov 27, 2015 – October 31, 2016. No Friday or Saturday arrivals, blackout dates apply.
How to Book:www.circa39.com with promo code PROCYBER

Hotel: W Fort Lauderdale
Offer: 20% off rates with bonus additiona…

Much ado about not wanting MARTA in Johns Creek

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There's been much brouhaha last week up in Johns Creek about that city's opposition to MARTA rail expansion. On Monday, November 16, they city produced Resolution 2015-11-19 which essentially states that the city opposes a 1/2 % tax increase for MARTA expansion.  In other words, NO to MARTA in Johns Creek. Well, we've "seen this movie before."
In the aftermath of Resolution 2015-11-19,  proponents and opponents came out of the woodwork to conduct an attempt at conversation.  Those conversations show that this relatively new city has a long way to go in order to deal with its ongoing traffic congestion issues.
The bottom line is that something needs to be done about this city's horrific traffic. One of the city's thoroughfares, Medlock Bridge Road (Georgia 141) is a north-south congestion nightmare. At peak times, Medlock Bridge backs up well in Gwinnett County where the road is known as Peachtree Parkway. On heavier days, the congestion goes into DeKalb…

After cleaning up from these mid-November storms, get ready for a wet winter

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With the recent time change, wet and violent weather, it's no surprise that most of us who drive in the metro Atlanta area have been white-knuckling it more than usual these days and nights. Certainly driving is a challenge on the dry, sunny days, but motorists' problems have been compounded by these recent events.
While the wet weather has been on the increase, GDOT (the Georgia Department of Transportation) recommends to slow down, leave plenty of distance from other vehicles, turn on the lights, put the phone down and my favorite piece of advice: stay awake. Anyone who has lived in this region knows that these recommendations are no joke, but all too often that advice is forgotten in many folks' hectic lives. 
Not terribly long ago, I was hit from behind on the Downtown Connector. The kid who hit me from behind apologized yet blamed his mistake on "taking too many people to work and having to go across too many lanes." Also, the light rain didn't help mat…

It's a two-way street for pedestrians, motorists

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In early October of this year, a woman was killed while attempting to cross against the "don't walk" sign in a crosswalk. A few weeks later a person was struck and killed going across a road without using a crosswalk. A few days after that tragedy, a person was struck by three cars while attempting to cross a rather busy road. All three incidents happened in Georgia's Gwinnett County.
That same scenario was once again carried out in unincorporated Lawrenceville (Gwinnett County's county seat) in early November when a 76 year old woman was struck and killed. In that accident, the woman was walking in a crosswalk near an elementary school at 6 p.m. on a Monday night. It turned out that the woman was walking while the "don't walk" signal was flashing.
Four pedestrian fatalities took place in Gwinnett County in less than one month during autumn 2015. In each of those cases, the pedestrians failed to obey the rules. Either the pedestrians didn't us…

Should we declare a 'War on Bacon?'

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While participating in the recent Atlanta 10-miler run, me and I’m sure hundreds if not thousands of participants were surprised by the smell of bacon wafting from a home on the rather challenging course. That wasn’t fair. While I’m not a bacon eater/lover, it was a cruel joke. The smell made me hungry - and I am sure others in the race. I don’t have proof, but I think the ‘food tease instigator’ fried up bacon outside during that event on purpose. Methinks this same person did this during previous 10-miler races in his or her neighborhood. The day after that race, it was announced that processed meats like bacon are worse than cigarettes. Ha! Score one for the runners who worked incredibly hard through that race, right? Seriously, what is the real story behind this “War on Bacon” news? As most of us know by now, the World Health Organization released a report saying that bacon, sausages, salami, bologna, hot dogs and generally red meat may cause cancer. The brouhaha with the meat pro…

Are you ready for some rough winter?

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The weather experts are at it again. This time it’s all about El Nino. According to forecasters, this super-sized-up version of El Nino is going to bring much-needed rain to California. I’m still not sure how those folks have been weathering that exceptional drought all this time. They must be incredible people. Trucking in water certainly helps, but to me, that sounds like an unreasonable, expensive Band-Aid on a massive problem.
While I’m noting massive problems, how about those fires that have been ravaging California and parts of the western part of this nation during these past few months? It’s beyond obvious that they events are uber-devastating to thousands upon thousands of innocent citizens. Yes, overall victims bounce back, but those scars remain in so many ways. The problem with making up for such a deep drought is that the rains come fast and furious causing mudslides. Those folks need more than a break.
Speaking of folks who cannot catch a break, the northern portion of th…

This is not your father's 'all-day breakfast'

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McDonald's
By now you've heard that fast-food giant McDonald's is offering up all-day breakfasts. Certainly 'Mickey D's' didn't come up with the 'Breakfast for Dinner' concept. That idea has been around for ages with the ever-reliable International House of Pancakes, the incredibly greasy spoon Denny's and plenty of other haunts that are committed to serving up pancakes and eggs anytime you crave them. It's obvious that our society went 24/7 years ago so it's no surprise that our days and nights became mixed up as a result of this culinary shift.
Still, what's  the huge deal with McDonald's getting in on the 'Breakfast for Dinner' act (really, they want to call it the 'all-day menu)? Apparently with so much competition out there, McDonald's is doing what it takes to be at the top of their game. The company even admitted that they lost their 'mojo' in recent years. So, will McDonald's new idea work? In…

Thoughts on man-buns, jogger pants and more

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Jared Leto from US Magazine
Fall time typically ushers in a number of trends as we are supposedly told to ditch the white after Labor Day. While I'm not sure about ditching white after Labor Day, I'm thinking that the fashion world ought to ditch a few things.
Lately there's been much talk about the man-bun so I suppose that simply "talk" makes it a trend. Actually, I hope that it's not a trend, but methinks it's happening. I say if the man-bun works for you, then that's great. Personally I think the man-bun works for a select few guys out there like eccentric college professors, software professionals, auto techs or any creative professional. For the rest of us guys, I'm not so sure. Unless an actor is taking on a role where a man-bun is part of the performance, then wear the man bun, but in everyday life, the man-bun is just not working - note to actor Jared Leto.  I have to say the fashion world  ought to ditch the man-bun and leave it as perso…

Fall time, 2015-style

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Hooray! We're finally in autumn mode once again. Lately wet leaves have been littering lawns, gutters and most all, sidewalks and roads. It can get quite slippery on those outdoor runs, walks, cycling and skating. College and pro football fans alike are back to tailgating and attending games. I cannot believe that's all back in full swing already after such a long, hot summer.
Now that we're in autumn, television is heating up again with the return of some great shows includingScandal.After viewingScandal's season premiere, I'm still into the show. I'm sure there are plenty out there who think that the plug ought to be pulled on the show, but I thinkScandalhas some life to it, but doubt it will run as long asGrey's Anatomy.
While I'm on TV, I enjoyed this year's Emmys for the most part due to host Andy Samberg's brilliant comedy. I think the academy fell a bit too much in live withOlive Kitteridge,but I'm quite happy for actor Bill Murray who …

We're wasting too much food

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While  the recent run-up to the presidential debate took place this past week, something else occurred well under the radar. This type of thing happens when something as big as a massive debate steals the headlines. After all, that second Republican Presidential Debate contained a number of fiery exchanges so who could resist not paying attention? It's easy to be distracted from news that is off the grid. Apparently the United States' Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack came out with a staggering report on food waste. It's not pretty, folks. Vilsack said that an estimated 133 billion pounds of food is wasted each year, enough to fill Chicago's Willis Tower.
How did we get here? Well, we're all the blame. Let's face it, no matter how hard we try, it's tough not to throw food out to the landfills where it creates an undue amount of methane. I wonder who wastes more. For large families, obviously more food is purchased and consumed, but is all the food gobbled …

Justin Bieber out on the plaza

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Somehow, some way, Justin Bieber's appearance on the NBC Today Show plaza caught my eye. Apparently Justin has another album coming out that he's excited about. I'm more excited that Justin looks like he is already honoring the High Holidays. Yes, Rosh Hashanah being at sundown this Sunday.

For those still not "getting it," it looks like Justin is sporting something similar to a tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl. 

Credit: NBC Today Show

Credit: NBC Today Show
Later, Justin joined Matt, Al, Savannah et al to show off his new swoop-over 'do that is hiding under that hat. I will not provide the photo because you need to head on over to your DVR or On-Demand to watch this spectacle in real time.