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Showing posts from 2016

Ode to Star Wars

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With the recent passing of actress/writer Carrie Fisher, I'm reminded how the entire 'Star Wars' franchise impacted those of us in Generation X. Back in December 1979, Dan Freed and I were well into our film-making hobby. On a lark, we filmed our first Sci-fi send-up titled The Star Lords
Here is that clip

Rabbi Arnold Goodman interview 2002

From Atlanta Jewish Life magazine
March-April 2002
As rabbi of the second largest Conservative congregation in the nation for 20 years, Rabbi Arnold Goodman has made quite an impact on Atlanta. As he retires from the rabbinate, congregants and community members alike reflect.

By Robert J. Nebel

The glass front doors to Ahavath Achim (AA) Synagogue in Northwest Atlanta have been pulled open countless times since the building was constructed off Peachtree Battle Avenue in 1958. Many different people – Jews and gentiles alike – have passed through the doors: rambunctious youngsters, troubled adolescents, young couples, divorcees, widows and widowers, and the elderly have come seeking faith, guidance, reassurance and community.

For the past 20 years, they have also come for Rabbi Arnold Goodman, the Conservative 2,100-member family congregation’s senior rabbi. In August, Goodman will be exiting the synagogue’s glass doors for the last time, as he retires and moves to Israel with his wife Ra…

Enough of the '2016 was awful' meme

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Just like some on this planet, I'm a tad tired about the "2016 was s*it" meme. Enough already! It's a coincidence that a collection of uber-talented famous folks passed away this year with both George Michael and actor Carrie Fisher during the last week of the year. One Facebook Friend observed that with the smattering of media outlets these days, we're going to see more humans become famous. Thus, we will probably always see multiple famous people pass away in any given year. Certainly we had an unprecedented U.S. presidential year and tragedies in Orlando, Paris and Berlin. Those are stories that could happen at any time, anywhere and any year. It almost sounds somewhat childish and paranoid to scream about how terrible a given year has been. Let's not be so superstitious. Do not get me wrong because I feel that so much of my adolescents and early adulthood 'heroes' are all going away and yes, it's depressing, but in the end, what can any of us…

Should there be more development on Sea Island?

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The late comedian George Carlin had a bit in his act about the environment. It went along the lines of that it’s not the planet that is screwed up, but rather, its people. Nothing could be more true than what has happened in the ruling to allow movers and shakers in Sea Island to develop homes on and near an environmentally sensitive area.
On December 22, a Fulton County, Georgia judge ruled that the Sea Island Co. can build a sea wall to protect its beach and build eight highly expensive homes to be built on what is known as a “spit” of land that runs below the Cloister Hotel on the island.
The project that we’re talking about in this blog post is a site where the Atlantic Ocean continually ate away at its beach during this past autumn’s Hurricane Matthew. So why build such expensive structures when ultimately it will all be washed away at some point in the future?
One could argue that a man-made sea wall could be beneficial to save and preserve the area. Certainly the Sea Island Co. …

Monday Memory

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Remembering at this time of the year when this 1999 profile on me was produced:


2016 Buzzword Salad: The Top Five Overused Buzzwords and Terms of 2016

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Whenever we get towards the end of any given year, I’m amused by some of the buzzwords/terms that have cropped up in pop culture. I’ve done this before, but for some reason, I’m more intrigued with these buzzwords than ever before as 2016 comes to a close. I know that I’m missing a lot of buzzwords/terms here so that is why I inter-wove other terms within some of these listed items. Still, I’m missing a lot because this was a “yuge” year in pop culture.
1.“Alt-right” Even syndicated talk radio host Sean Hannity is befuddled over this term to describe those who hold uber-arch conservative political and cultural views. The term permeated the American lexicon during the latter stages of the United States 2016 presidential election. Okay, I always make the disclaimer that I take no position on the issue. What I will say is that combining computer keys with labeling certain folks in society seems to be a fresh trend, but I must confess that it almost seems lazy. I cannot tell you why, but u…

Were we well ahead of our time with Russia?

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With so much talk about Russia these days, I’m reminded of our 1982 film ‘re-make’ of Comrade: X. In our version, hero Stephen Norman Harlow stumbles upon Russian plans to take over the White House. The question that comes to mind these days is, “Were we then-15-year-olds well ahead of our time?” Makes one wonder.



Donald Trump 'Tweets' about "Westworld"

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Wow, it looks like U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump has some words about HBO's "Westworld"



The wet weather arrived and conquered

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After participating in my second half marathon (and eighth race overall in the past 16 months) on Thanksgiving Day, I was thankful that the wet weather was holding off on that day, but knowing that we needed the wet stuff.
Me and millions were even more thankful that we finally received some rain during the last few days  of November! As the North Georgia wildfires were burning while getting some containment, the weather gurus were filled with anticipation of the impending moisture. It was party time in one sense as we put a slight dent in our drought. The downside of the recent system featured four tornadoes on November 30. At least three of those twisters were EF1 tornadoes leaving damage, but thankfully no one was hurt. In fact, Cobb County's tornado siren got a workout.
The tornadoes' aftermath left us with true December temperatures with lows in the 30s - which is something that we haven't experienced in a long time. Didn't we just have some days in the 70s? It'…

Cyber Monday Travel Lodging Hacks

Folks, there are some awesome travel deals to be had on Cyber Monday, November 28, 2016. It's mind-boggling with the many deals out there, but here are a few stand-outs that you must view! From Italy to Florida and back over to Panama, folks, you cannot beat these AMAZING DEALS ON CYBER MONDAY. So get your mobile devices, PCs, MACs or "what have you" and BOOK ON NOVEMBER 28!!!!!!!!

Check this out:


Hotel: The Westin Playa Bonita, Panama Offer: 50% off best available rates, starting at $110/night Valid for Travel: December 1st 2016 – June 30th 2017 How to Book:www.westin.com/playabonita with promo code LBPKG1
Hotel: Casa Palopo Offer: 35% off nightly rates, starting at $120/night Valid for travel: May 01 - July 02, 2017 and August 27 - October 29, 2017. How to Book: Visit www.casapalopo.com


Hotel:
 St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino
Offer: 15% off nightly rates, starting at$152/night
Valid for travel:  December 9, 2016 – January 16, 2017 (advance deposit required, b…

Happy Thanksgiving and drought season

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The crispy crunch of the leaves. The smell of smoke permeates the air. Plants are drooping and trees are thirsty. It happened again: another Georgia drought. This time in autumn 2016 it's obvious that the drought is hitting us later in the year. Is there a silver lining? I can tell you that weeds and grass aren't growing on these more mild days in mid-late November.
For a short look back again: in 2007 when he had a serious drought, we were in summer with certain days reaching near triple digit figures. The drought revisited again in 2011 when we reached one of the longest string of 90-degree or above days that summer.
Stiff watering restrictions are mandated throughout  the entire Peach State. With very little moisture in sight, restricting water use needs to happen like yesterday. When I write "yesterday," I honestly mean these mandates should have been in place probably before Labor Day.
Monday Morning Quarterbacking on the water restrictions gets all of us nowhere…

They built “The Monster” and they didn’t come

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“Build it and they will come” is the famous line and theme of the 1989 film Field of Dreams. In the film, Kevin Costner playsthe part of an Iowa farmer who wished to build a baseball park in “No Man’s Land.” That same philosophy applied to the creation of Gwinnett County’s Coolray field. Coolray Field is the “Atlanta” Braves’ minor league ballpark that was built in the less populated part of Gwinnett County almost one decade ago. Similar to the Braves’ Major League park set to open in Cobb County in spring 2017, Coolray Field was a deal that led to its supporters promising that the complex would bring unprecedented prosperity to the area surrounding the structure. Flash forward to today and those promises fell way short. Today, many of Coolray Field’s supporters blame its shortcomings on the recession and/or business risk. A recession and risk are beyond anyone’s control so let’s take those excuses out of the discussion because there are far bigger questions with Coolray Field’s existen…

A November to remember in 2016

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What a way to begin November. During this month's first week, we were still experiencing record highs in the 80s. Those temps are set to end as the bottom will drop out leading us to feel highs in the high 60s/low 70s with more intense dry conditions. It's no secret that the drought has and is going full force. While this drought rages on in Georgia, we are reminded that more burning bans are set in place.
As we have been dealing with these balmy temperatures, one would have thought Halloween's trick or treat events would have been huge. These days in my neck of the woods, trick or treating has become quiet. It's been a long time since I recall even a moderate turnout on Halloween. Times have certainly changed.
As we eat the leftover candy, every minute sweeps towards Tuesday's Election Day.  The political ads have been plentiful along with the back-and-forth attacks. The good news is that early voting has been a success throughout much of the nation and more import…

Drought awareness ramped up in the Peach State, but should we be more concerned?

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On the surface, the weather outside isn't frightening. After all, we're experiencing temps in the mid 80s going into the last October weekend of 2016 and about zero chances of rain. This seems like it will be one of the warmest Halloweens on record. Trick or treat participants might wish to consider swimsuits while on their hunt for candy.
That part about the forecast no rain has meteorologists, climatologists, environmentalists and water supply experts concerned. Here we go again with yet another exceptional drought. The is the number one problem that has been blanketing the Atlanta metro area and quite honestly, most of Georgia for many years.
I could be completely off-base here, but it seems that there isn't much concern out there about the drought at the moment. I must point out that there were measure put in place by the state Environmental Protection Division - so I'm not saying that anyone has been falling down on the job. Public awareness by the EPD about this …

It looks like there are more who are on board with The Donald

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As of this writing, we are less than two weeks away from Election Day in the U.S. Pictured here is presidential nominee Donald J. Trump with a whole bunch of new supporters in Florida.

Interview with Dwayne Johnson 2006

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Here's a flashback - my interview with Dwayne Johnson who was promoting the 2006 film, Gridiron Gang. Click on the article to enlarge and read:

British man plans to swim the Atlantic!

Can you believe there is someone out there who plans to swim the Atlantic Ocean? Check out this video which was enjoyable to work on with the uber-talented Christian Duchateau:


Matthew left his mark, could have been worse

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Hurricane Matthew passed leaving coastal Florida, Georgia and Carolina streets flooded, trees uprooted and lives turned upside down. As we all know at this point, things could have been much worse. When the hurricane was reaching category four status, local, state and national leaders called for action by ordering evacuations. For the most part, many listened to the orders, but many stayed behind. Certainly I can hardly blame one for staying in his or her own home since there is such an attachment to property, but life is far more precious than possessions. Sure, easy for anyone like myself to write that out, but it's true, one needs to evacuate with a massive storm like that on the radar.
While hurricane prediction technology has come a long way over the years, the experts are far from perfect. There is still too much of a margin for error as to where a storm will exactly hit. One need not look further than 2005's Hurricane Katrina. As history shows, Katrina turned out beyond …

The Donald and 'Bushy' compilation

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The October Surprise brouhaha inspired the folks at HBO's "Last Week Tonight" to produce this awesome Donald J. Trump and Billy ('Bushy') Bush compilation:



Autumn has arrived in the Southeast U.S.

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I believe that fall has finally arrived. To say “it’s about time” would be an understatement. It doesn’t take a weather expert for anyone to proclaim the summer of 2016 to be one of the hottest in the Southeastern United States. In essence, many of us could vouch that we certainly deserve autumn at this point which is early October. While there has been an absence of humidity over the past few weeks in the metro Atlanta region, the heat has been more than “on” well past summer’s expiration date. The lower humidity numbers helped during late September, but still, the sun is strong and well, “heat is heat even if it’s a so-called dry heat.” What transpired in September’s final days and October 2016’s early days has been the chilly mornings. Now, that was a game changer!
I would hate to burst the bubble on this good news, but as of this writing, we are still a tad too warm in the afternoons plus we are deeper into yet another drought. As folks wish to wash those houses and water the lawns…

Panic and angst should come to an end at the pump...for now

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Either you were out of the country visiting a place like Tierra del Fuego or you were living under a rock if you haven't heard about this past week's fuel shortages. Most of us living in metro Atlanta more than depend on a steady supply of petroleum to function in this world.  

Many of us already know that we have been short of gas due to a pipeline leak in Alabama on a line that supplies metro Atlanta and several other markets. Just like a set of dominoes, one part of the supply chain obviously affects the next. Therein lies the problem with this set-up. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that there's pretty much only one way for the fuel to get to us in metro Atlanta and yes, points north of this area. Certainly it's easier said that done, but it would be nice to have a back-up system in place. 
The local news outlets - and to a lesser extent , their national counterparts - were all over this story. Reporters have been camped out in front of gas stations catchin…

City of Norcross feature

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City of Norcross feature, Gwinnett Loaf, January 1999
Please click on article and zoom in to read
I had the pleasure to produce this feature for the Gwinnett Loaf in early 1999. It was an honor to speak with Mayor Lillian Webb for this article. 



Outrage is bursting out all over at Wells Fargo

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Imagine a horrific moment when you discover that someone opened up a traditional credit card under your name. You immediately enter panic mode. Your heart is racing as you phone all three credit reporting agencies to freeze your accounts so that the bloodletting ceases. You file fraud reports. Your mind races to moments that perhaps your identity was stolen. After all that, you open up the morning newspaper to find out that your own banking institution opened up the credit card under your name without your consent. You then say to yourself, "Now I've seen it all!"

Maybe no one went through a scenario that I just described, but certainly some folks out there experienced some of that drama as Wells Fargo bank customers. Apparently thousands of WF employees opened up credit cards and other financial products under customers' names without their consent. Why would a bank do such a thing? From what some describe, there was an incentive culture over at WF that rewarded em…