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I Was Starstruck By 

A Dead President

President's Day weekend isn't just about excellent department store sales and Rutherford B. Hayes-themed drug orgies. It's also about honoring the men, some great, some not, who've led the nation.

Here's an area fun-fact: Warm Springs is the site of the only home that Franklin D. "32" Roosevelt ever owned. The New York-born Roosevelt first visited Warm Springs in 1924 because he'd heard that the warm mineral water from the town's spring could help soothe the symptoms of his polio. He built a house there while running for president in 1932. It became known as FDR's Little White House. After he croaked there in April 1945, it became a state park.

That little history lesson is my way of telling you that I visited the L'il White House early Saturday afternoon. I started in the gift shop. I resisted the temptation to buy a presidential hacky-sack or a "Nothing to fear but fear itself" coffee mug and instead bought an FDR magnetic notepad. If you ever come to my house, you'll see it on the fridge.

Before getting to the actual house, visitors are funneled through a nice museum of FDR-themed memorabilia. Some of it, such as FDR's canes and his swimsuit (the man wore a unitard!) are authentic and his. Some of it, such as a giant wooden key labeled "Key to Prosperity" and "the world's smallest pen and ink picture of FDR and the White House" are merely FDR-themed. My favorite part of the museum was the short film about FDR's life and the time he spent in Warm Springs. It included footage of FDR getting dunked in the spring water by a throng of children and fond remembrances from the children such as "We tried to drown him."

After the museum, I walked up a path lined with state flags and stones (New York's is dolomite and Nevada's is wonderrock) to the Mustian Hall building to check out FDR impersonator Tom Wentland. Dressed as FDR and seated in a wheelchair, Wentland gave a sort of reverse campaign stump speech. Instead of talking about what he was gonna do, he talked about what he did. His tone was easygoing throughout. The only time he got loud was when he called Dec. 7, 1941, a day that "will live in infamy." He really seemed to enjoy delivering it.

After his speech, he posed for pictures. I wanted to talk with him about FDR impersonation, but because he stayed in character, I got kinda starstruck around him. At one point, I even called him "Mr. President." He was so good, in fact, that visiting the actual Little White House afterward was a musty-smelling letdown. The only thing I learned there was that FDR slept on a twin-sized bed. I figured that a president would at least have a full. He was truly a man of the people.

Poker night:Because the bout of poker fever currently gripping the nation shows no sign of letting up, I decided to cover yet another illegal underground poker tournament. Unlike last time I wrote about poker, this time I actually played. It was a low-stakes tournament at a secret poker club (translation: someone's house) called BouPoMo, so named because of its proximity to the intersection of Boulevard, Ponce and Monroe.What did I learn playing in my first poker tournament? Lesson 1: It's a math game. It takes luck to win a hand, however, it takes a basic understanding of statistical probabilities to win a tournament. Lesson 2: Sobriety does not guarantee quick-wittedness. Within a couple of hours, everyone at the table was hammered but me. Nevertheless, every one of them bet and played hands more skillfully than I. Lesson 3: Poker face is important. Don't pick up your cards, grimace, then expect anyone to believe you when you bluff.

Hammit!:On Saturday night, I stopped by Mulligan's in Oakhurst for a dance party soundtracked by DJ Dookie Platters and the Noot d'Noot Crew. The party's flier featured Japanese letters that phonetically spell "shaka thata assa." My goal, other than drinking, was to photograph the Mulligan's famed Hamdog - the deep-fried chili-cheese dog recently featured on CNN. Sadly, the bar's fryer was broken, so no Hamdogs were available. Happily, the bar was not broken, so I drank, chatted and played pool with a large, revolving group of people, including Homestar Runner's Matt Chapman, Dad's Garage's Matt Stanton, and "Sealab 2021's" Christian Danley. Strangely, for a dance party, nobody actually danced.

No lye:Atlanta's premier televangelical/hair care product manufacturing family, the Bronners, held its massive annual Bronner Brothers Hair Show at the Georgia World Congress Center last weekend. It's a trade show for stylists and salon owners featuring the latest in hair products and hair tools. The event also featured a multitude of classes such as "Natural Hair Workshop," "Locks With No Commitment," "The World of Wigs, Weaves and Extensions," and "When Cutting Hair Just Isn't Enough." I sat in on a class called "Clipper Control" because every now and then, I cut my dad's hair with clippers. The techniques were a little beyond my skill level, though. After the class, I walked down to the main convention floor. It was packed with thousands of people and at least a mile of booths devoted to hair care. The booths that drew the biggest crowds were the ones with showbiz flair. A stylist named Mr. Little, whose logo featured an airbrushed image of himself wielding lightning-struck scissors, had a small mob packed around his booth. The mob was watching his underlings cut hair. The stylists at the King BBD stage, whose marquee featured a man wearing a "Mississippi Pimps" basketball jersey, had a crowd large enough to please most rock bands.

The nicest stage belonged, not surprisingly, to the shows hosts, the Bronner Brothers. They also had one of the smoothest sales pitches - two stylists who "casually" bantered with one another about hair products while cutting someone's hair. The Home Shopping Network-quality conversations started with lines like, "Keisha, tell me about the foam wrapping lotion and spritz you just used."

andisheh@creativeloafing.comFor more hairy tales, visit Scene & Herd at atlanta.creativeloafing.com.

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