Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Manchester

I'm not quite sure how to voice how upset I was to hear about the bombing Manchester.

It maybe that the modern day terrorism we've experienced so far has hardened us, numbed us a bit to the reality that there are people out there who want to perform acts of violence and cause chaos to further their own ends. So when I first saw this on my twitter feed, I was like "damn, now what?"

But then I got the facts, starting watching the feeds, and to be honest something about this bothers me deeply. I'm no expert on Islam, but I think that even where it authorizes/directs/suggests(?) the use of force, it specifically prohibits its use against the innocent. So when young girls...children...are attacked, it feels over the already dim line we like to imagine is still there. Maybe this was an effort to push us back into a state of shock. A mental state where dangerous things happen. That part of the argument where we say things we regret later, even though we meant them at the time. A mental state someone hopes will trigger something.

The sad part is we've been down this road as well.

I'm not sure what to say here. Had it been an office or a subway I would still be angry, upset, outraged. But this has a special quality of anger about it.


 
Note: What's interesting is that this happened the day before hearings in the US Congress that are demonstrating that the Presidential Transition Team may have been in deeper with the Russians than we know AND the new budget is released which slashes Medicaid. And I don't hear a single peep out of the "conspiracy mad right wing" about a false flag operation. Because this wasn't. Some asshole with a holier than thou cause did this. Sometimes things we wish wouldn't happen just do. And they happen all around the same time.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Feels like 1973 All Over again

This is a political post. 

So, that happened.

I keep trying to figure out when this precariously balanced house of fraud is going fall apart. For a while I was upset the Democratic Party wasn't metaphorically setting fire to the place in protest, save Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Shumer and a few others. But surveying the situation at this point, by the time to the rest of the party gets it's shit together all of the groundwork needed to save democracy will have been done for them. Oddly enough, by the people who to the untrained eye look like they're trying to destroy democracy.

Let's review.

There is increasingly clear evidence that a foreign power "meddled" with our fair democratic election process.

The President seems miffed that the inquiry into this whole "meddling" situation just can't be over. 

If I remember correctly, we just spent a little over three years looking into an incident on the Northern Coast of Africa. Three whole years! And that inquiry uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing or treasonous activity at all, despite every effort, but was continually renewed and revisited. By contrast this new inquiry into the election shenanigans continually turns up questionable practices and actions as well as artful forgetfulness on the part of those being investigated. And it has been ongoing for less than six months!

Then the Head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations is fired by the President. This occurs in the midst of the Head of the FBI's investigation into the aforementioned claims of "meddling."

The method for the termination stunk of stagecraft and the reasons behind it are murky at best. Shortly after it was announced the White House Press Secretary literally hid in the bushes rather than talk to reporters. (Note: I'm sorry, that's since been corrected to "among the bushes," whatever that means.) First the official explanation was that the firing was on the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General, who balked at that accusation. Then the story became that the President wanted to fire the Head of the FBI since taking office. A rumor floated that the President only became angry after the Head of the FBI testified about his feelings concerning his actions during the election process, actions which at the time were completely out of sorts for a person in that position. Later still, the White House spokespeople claimed it was because the man had lost the respect of the rank and file under his command, a charge immediately refuted by the new Acting Head of the FBI. 

Then, and not joke, within 36 hours of the firing, the President meets with a representative from that same foreign power accused of meddling in the election in the White House, specifically the Oval Office. But because the President apparently hates anything but lackey media, the only press allowed in accompanies the guest. That particular press also just happens to work for the same foreign power suspected of the "meddling." Of the election.

This could very seriously mean that the Oval Office, one of the most secure rooms in the world, now might be bugged by a foreign power.

One would almost think this a synopsis of a an episode of the trashy night time soap Empire and not the goings on of the leadership of the most powerful nation in the world.

I am aware that a lot of people who voted for him did so because he was, and still is, an outsider. That he'd shake up the system. The problem is that we're not talking about the family hardware store, we're talking about the United States of America. And it turns out we've got a guy in office who doesn't understand the basics of life, much less the basics of government. And that bodes ill for us all.

I'm not sure where I want to go with this....

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Quick Restaurant Review - Little Trouble

I don't hang out much anymore for various reasons, the vast majority of which seem to always be in flux and so a return to that swinging nightlife could be just around the corner. But right this second, I'm bingeing on a bit of law in an effort to get this "ranching" career off the ground and video games I may have purchased as long a four years ago. For the uninformed I have a habit of purchasing games when I have a few spare coins and then playing then much later. It's not like they go bad. This time the game is only two years old, but I waited like a year after release to purchase it, so I've really only had it for like a year, but I digress.

When I do go out now it's in short bursts, meaning a few hours after work or to a single event. Atlanta's night life has changed so much in the few years I've been out of rotation that I'm no longer certain of anything, and the spots I used to frequent are either gone or just not hot anymore. And with the city bisected by the highway collapse, I'm either locked into to staying near home or have to pack an overnight bag just go get drinks. Yeesh. Which is how I ended up at Little Trouble on a Friday night.

I'm not quite sure how the spot operates, as it seems a little like a out of the way bar that shows in NY movies where the protagonist is in the basement of a building that looks condemned from the outside and then suddenly bam! - trendy nightclub. Little Trouble is kinda like that only the building is like a high end shopping destination by day that has one of the busiest Uber drop offs I've ever seen. After taking a risk that Serve, the taller of the hangout duo Spanky and Serve who I sometimes hang out when I do go out, was actually going to show up this time, we met around the corner at one my fav little spots, Ormsby's which is in what I guess is Westside Plaza(?). We had a drink, had some hummus and she learned to play Bocce on the bar's indoor court downstairs. But that stop was just a social amuse-bouche before we sauntered over to Little Trouble.

The spot is at the other end of the plaza from Ormsby's, which itself is a bit of beast to find, and then down a long dark tunnel where we were greeted with a neon logo that made me think of Blade Runner for some reason. This opened into cozy little bar with low seats and lots of mood lighting on one side of the room and more formal dining tables on the other. There is a quieter smaller space in the back but I only glimpsed it. The spot has a very hip vibe to it, which may be why the people with backpacks looking like they just got off the bus from Mississippi left a just a few moments. Full Disclosure: The second we walked in I thought that Sporty would have loved it.

The wall is like from a shipping container
Serve and I posted up at the bar, which in retrospect is set much lower than I realized, and perused the menu, a take on street food from Southeastern Asia - buns, bowls and meat on sticks. I should mention for those who like to imbibe that Little Trouble is really more a craft bar - in that they really seem to excel at crafted drinks. While I pursued the food stuffs offered, I got a Crane Kick (Japanese whiskey, rum, spice and lemon - the spice apparently ginger) and Serve ordered something I forget. But it looked really fruity. The bartenders take their time too, pouring a touch of this and a little of that to get it just right. More than once I saw him assemble something that made me want to order it too. That's a sign of a good, or at least entertaining, bartender.

Crane Kick and whatever it was Serve had....
Now, my original intention was to mix and match a few of the buns to see what it was all about and started with the Pork Belly, hoping to try some of the other items like the meat on a stick, Pork Rinds or Panda Cotta later. Serve got the Salmon Bowl and split it with me, since the sauce was too spicy for her (note - it's not spicy, she just sensitive). The bun is a soft white crust-less bread shell, think really cool Slider, topped with stuff I usually don't eat and a pretty fair size piece of grilled pork. It was a very good combination. And if they didn't melt the Gruyere on the French Dip bun I would have stuck to my 'try a little of everything' plan. Instead, having found something I really liked, I got a second Pork Belly Bun which was just as good as the first, so no drop off here.  The food is good, and the portions are just the right size for someone out trying to have a good time, not too small but not too big.   

We got there relatively early, around eight or so, but the place doesn't really pick up until nine or so. This is a change from back when I used to run the circuit, when there were days I'd leave the job on Friday at 5pm and be pulling up to the spot 20 minutes later...and still not be the first one out. Maybe we were just more desperate to have a good time back then. Be aware, the crowd is a mixed bag, but mostly younger folks and people who have jobs that let them afford the ridiculous ass rent in the surrounding apartment buildings.

If you're trying to get into a little trouble, I can suggest Little Trouble. Maybe it's easier to find at night, as it might be the only thing that has foot traffic that time of the evening over there. I do intend to go back though and find out.


Side Note : While it was still early we walked across the railroad bridge and ran into a line outside Jeni's Ice Cream. We had to get some because there was a long  line, at least according to Serve. I'm not sure about the logic, but who can turn down ice cream?  The selection was a little...esoteric, with flavors along to lines of Riesling Poached Pear and Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso, but it's good ice cream. And the place smelled like they were making the waffle cones fresh. I can say with authority, it was worth the wait.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Life comes at you fast

Ramblings Post #333
I'm not sure when I stopped really watching TV. In the past few years my time in front of the tube has dwindled, and I'm not talking about it merely being replaced with another digital access port. I read more now, and study the news more. Okay, some gaming, but nothing to obsess over. But as time passes, and I get more into the news, I'm starting to understand the appeal of the information bubble. Because it's scary out here ya'll. And it's coming at us wide open.  

I used to have time to craft something. After figuring out what I wanted to comment on and determining if I even had a point, I'd sketch out an outline with a few points I'd hope to hit early during the day. Then do a little research throughout the day between other things like working or going to the bathroom. At the end of the day when I got home I would write it up, but then let it marinate a day before I'd go back over it, teasing out threads of ideas and smoothing over rough prose. Some of those posts were almost little works of art if you broaden the definition of art far enough and squint real, real hard.

But things seem to be happening so much faster as of late, and my artful style doesn't seem to be up the challenge. From Facebook shooters to the latest airline mugging to Cheeto itching to start World War III to there being a fire under every bridge in Atlanta  and the imminent return to some kind of lawless wasteland due to a lack of roads, my snark has been muted for lack of time to develop anything good. The seemingly constant barrage of notable happenings is threatening to turn this into a continuous "Things I meant to comment on" series, which is a kind of less animated less funny not  on television "Last Week Tonight." This I would not be satisfied with.

I may have to move to a smaller blurb format, a kind of micro blogging to amounts to little more than possibly unfunny meme's and one liners that fail to capture the nuance of why I think XYZ topic might so absurd. I may have to switch to a kind of monthly, or bi-weekly, which leaves a lot to be desired in that so much of it will be past tense in a world just trying to hold it in the road. Maybe templates, where I just plug in each outrage? I'm not sure but I know that I have a lot to say about a lot of shit and not getting a chance to say it. Ugh.

So, in the interest of fair play, good cooking, sportsmanship and properly aged cheese, I will simply have to try my best. How this is gonna work out I have no idea because I've got several other things I'm trying to get done, but trying i better than standing still.

Barkeep, let me get a...no, that try thing starts tomorrow. And sleep better after a drink or five.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Charlie Murphy RIP

Death comes too quick.


We almost shouldn't know who Charlie Murphy is. In the game of Hollywood unlike the music industry, it's rare that family catches on, excluding of course the Wayans conglomerate. But there was something authentic about Charlie, a real person in an unreal situation. Although he'd been around for a while because his brother was mega-star Eddie Murphy, he didn't really catch on until he started sharing his stories of what went on when nobody was looking. True stories of stars being themselves. The kind of stories that us non-famous people would tell each other about each other when we sit down with a few drinks and reminisce.

Lately, he'd started to carve out his own little space. Better acting roles, some standup comedy, and becoming famous in his own right. I think he'd figured out a way to be more than just himself, and was actually acting. And he wasn't bad. 

I bet he's in heaven right now, challenging Prince to a rematch. And afterwards, they'll have pancakes.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hey Atlanta, how about mass transit now, eh?

Ramblings Post #332
Atlanta is a car city. We have a mass transit system that people have fought tooth and nail against since its inception and now, well, here we are. It's gonna be a long hot summer. And the city is for the most part gonna be divided in half. The days of the floating party, the caravan of fun and the city wide club hopping might just be on hold for a minute. I'm not even going to talk about how the Metro Area Rail and Transportation Authority is going to have to bring it, and bring it hard. Since after all, ....nobody saw this coming.  *snicker*

Thursday evening, a bridge section of I-85, a major artery for the city of Atlanta, collapsed after the structure gave way during what could only be properly described as a conflagration. A big, roaring flame. Apparently just plain old fire can melt steel beams, who knew? Even worse it feel over a section right by another major artery, Piedmont Road. This will only compound the problem, as I'll explain later. This whole process will take months, at minimum four or five, to repair and should shut down not one but two major thoroughfares that connect the Northern suburbs and the rest of Atlanta. We might not be a car city much longer. 

This is the year Marta finally gets properly funded folks! Marta card sales are already up 80% and it's only the first day! Mark your calendar because if a catastrophe that will split the metro region in half won't do it, nothing will. Nothing.

The city of Atlanta is funny. On a map it looks roughly like the Vitruvian Man, with two major highways meeting, running together through the bulk of the city and then splitting again just above the airport. But in reality, only the northern part of the city (above I-20) means anything, as it is the focus of pretty much all development. Coincidentally, most of the black people live below I-20. Not that the two are connected, I'm just saying. A close look at the map however reveals that the city is not exactly a grid, but more a collection of paved cattle trails and footpaths that seemed like a good idea in 1820. As such, the metro area is really more a collection of roads that only incidentally connect to one another in some places, and not at all in others. This quirk of design is why the single collapsing highway section is such a problem.

Photo by Redditor - nico6426
I-85 where it runs through Atlanta is regularly used by roughly...um, EVERYBODY IN THE METRO AREA. It connects Midtown (with over 35 construction projects underway or announced) with Buckhead - the center of all things trendy in the New South. When it gets the middle of the city and meets 75 we call it the Downtown Connector.  So, kinda important. The other two main roads in the city are Peachtree Road...no, not that Peachtree, the other one, no the other other one, the one in the middle, sheesh, and Piedmont Road on the East side of town. Strangely, all three of these intersect in Buckhead. There is no counterpart on the west side of Atlanta, because there really isn't. Because that's why. And now that I-85 has fallen onto Piedmont, there is only Peachtree Road a four lane red-light riddled strip that remains.

Although some will claim it will not be that bad, because although the section of I-85 that fell is actually just north of Piedmont Road, the truth is the fire damage is extensive. Although only the one section fell, the flames touched everything around it, and even money says several other sections of the road surface above and below the area will have to be collapsed and rebuilt just to be on the safe side. More than likely one of the sections directly over Piedmont Road. And even if they don't have to bring that section down on purpose as a safety concern, the fastest way rebuild the section that did fall would involve...blocking Piedmont Road. 


Where I work, going forward referred to as the Ranch, the parking deck was half empty the day after and I had my pick of just off prime spots. The spot where I grab lunch was sparse as well. Because we had no off highway traffic a whole section of my home commute normally a pain was light and easy. But, I live INTOWN, and the highway that goes all the way around the perimeter of the city was bumper to bumper for nearly half its circumference, backing up the designated alternate routes for hours. And that's with the county in a State of Emergency and half the city told to work from home or just take the day off. I shudder to think of what's going to happen on Monday when the flood gates open. I may go to work way early. Or I mean, leave for work. When I make it is anyone's guess. 

It's gonna be a strange summer in Atlanta.

Barkeep, let me get a cold beer, some of that hot fish and some white bread.

What? You thought I was gonna make a bar-b-que joke? For shame....