Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beltline could become world's longest arboretum

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 10:04 PM

Add to the list of things the Beltline hopes to accomplish — including a loop of light rail, a new system of parks and trails, and a ring of responsible development — yet another perk: a living, breathing museum of indigenous plants and trees.

For over a year, local nonprofit Trees Atlanta has pitched the concept of an arboretum to officials overseeing the city's multibillion-dollar Beltline project. At a meeting this week, Beltline and city officials expressed enthusiasm for the arboretum.

Trees Atlanta plans to finish a concept plan for the 22-mile arboretum within a couple of months and, hopefully, will go to work immediately on what could become the world's longest arboretum.

Arboretums — land dedicated to plants and trees, both for beauty and for study — are common in large cities. There's the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia and the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. But Atlanta — a city with a particularly lush display of trees — doesn't have one. According to Greg Levine, program director for Trees Atlanta, it should.

"We want it to be an attraction for the city, like the Georgia Aquarium or the High Museum," Levine says, "while educating the citizens and making them proud of what Atlanta’s known for, which is its trees."

He says the addition of an arboretum to the Beltline project, particularly in the project's early years, could help foster more environmentally friendly development along the Beltline's path. An arboretum also would present an opportunity to study the growth of trees and plants in a more challenging, urban setting.

"A 22-mile park would be fantastic in itself," Levine says. "But a 22-mile arboretum is going to bring another layer to the cake."

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Today's Best of Atlanta poll question

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 10:01 PM

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Remember to check back at the end of the week for a recap of the answers. Tell us what you think, and vote for Best of Atlanta 2007!

A Grant Park couple wants to build a 45-foot wind turbine in their yard to power their home.

[poll=4]

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SHOCK: Marietta bans apple pie and moms

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 10:00 PM

MARIETTA - Hours after rescinding a rule that would have banned VFW marchers from handing out American flags during the city's Fourth of July parade, Marietta officials are once again courting controversy.

This afternoon, officials from the Marietta Department of Symbolism announced a citywide ban on apple pie and moms. The ban takes effect July 4.

Said a city spokesperson: "We'd love to be on Drudge. We're all big fans."

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YouTube clip of the day

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 5:30 PM

In today's AJC, Hawks beat writer Sekou Smith predicts the team will draft 19-year-old center Yi Jianlian, a 7-footer from China. Under Smith's scenario, Memphis will then draft Al Horford rather than Ohio State point guard Mike Conley, allowing Conley to still be available at the No. 11 spot, where the Hawks will nab him.

One presumes Smith's picks are "informed," since he covers the Hawks. I actually like the way this could shake out. Jianlian has very nice physical skills and Conley has the potential to be an impact player. Plus, the Hawks' two glaring needs are at center and point guard.

If the Hawks do go in this direction — and most mock drafts have them selecting Horford with the No. 3 pick and Memphis selecting Conley at No. 4 — it could well be the draft that finally turns the team around.

Or am I just being overly optimistic?

Here's Jianlian at his NBA workout:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/RO4-Z4BXlP0 " width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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Atlanta blogs today: Craplanta

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 5:01 PM

Now on to Atlanta. Or, Craplanta as it will now be known. Perhaps Asslanta if it doesn't offend too many people. Because if New Jersey is the Armpit of America, At-arsing-lanta is the Butthole.

— Nic Neufeld evidently did not enjoy his recent visit to Atlanta.

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It’s just kinda messed up. I’m sure somewhere, some kid is wondering why his hero just went and killed his family for no apparent reason. I guess we’ll never know...

— Greg at Scam City version 9.0 on the death of wrestler Chris Benoit and his family

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The poll also indicates that, among Georgia voters, Fred Thompson has ripped the lead away from Rudy Giuliani in the Republican race for the White House.

— AJC.com's Political Insider, on a poll showing that Chambliss and Isakson have been hurt by their flip-flopping on immigration, and that Fred Thompson is now the Republican presidential front-runner in Georgia

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Benoit, Cho and anti-Muslim hysteria

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 2:39 PM

According to Fayette County authorities, pro wrestler Chris Benoit placed Bibles next to his wife and child after he murdered them last weekend.

Will American journalists and bloggers use the placement of the Bibles to speculate about Benoit's motives and whip up anti-Christian hysteria?

Of course not.

Only morons and anti-religious bigots would use the mere presence of Bibles to link an apparent murder-suicide to religion or global religious extremism.

Contrast the news coverage of and blogging about the Benoit family deaths with the Virginia Tech shooting.

After reports surfaced that Virginia Tech mass murderer Seung-Hui Cho had the phrase "Ismail Ax" written on his arm when he was found dead by police, right-wing talking heads and assorted cyberbigots immediately tried to connect the massacre to Islam. According to their idiot logic, "Ismail" is the Arabic spelling of Ishmael, therefore Cho was a Muslim extremist (examples: 1, 2, 3).

Among the speculators was Washington Post conservative columnist and Fox News talk-show staple Charles Krauthammer. "I suspect it has some more to do with Islamic terror and the inspiration than it does with the opening line of Moby Dick," said Krauthammer on Fox.

Nevermind that Cho was raised a churchgoing Christian or that he'd suffered from mental illness. And nevermind that "Ismail" isn't the Arabic spelling of anything (Arabic doesn't use the Roman alphabet) or that he actually wrote "Ismael" instead of "Ismail" on the video package he mailed to NBC News.

When you're a bigot, you see what you want to see. Imagine what these idiots would be saying if copies of the Quran were found in Benoit's home.

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Art — or dance — in Freedom Park

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 1:43 PM

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While the drama over the popular — and now defunct — art exhibit Art in Freedom Park continues to play out, drama of a different sort will unfold tomorrow in the city's largest park.

Freedom Park, which Atlanta City Council designated as an official "art park" earlier this year, will host its first public art project of the year — an original dance/performance piece titled 1906/2006/2016 — on Wed., June 27 (today!).

The performance is part of the campaign by the Coalition to Remember the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot to examine — and remedy — a history of oppression. It begins at 7 p.m. in Freedom Park, just north of Little Five Points at 100 Euclid Ave.

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Profile: The Rev. Mark Sargent

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2007 at 12:00 PM

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Senior pastor at Embry Hills United Methodist Church, the Rev. Mark Sargent prides himself on breaking from his denomination’s official position on gay issues. He likes to say, “When you go to church, don’t check your brain at the door.

“If it wants to be a viable presence in the world, the church must recognize cultural shifts that have taken place, and not just say the same old stuff.”

He leads a Sunday morning discussion group called Happy Heretics (whose members includes this writer’s wife). “A lot of times it’s about talking about what’s on people’s minds, but we always get back to our desire to ‘say faith things’ in a way that’s creative, imaginative and not the same old thing.

“My father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather and two great uncles were all Methodist preachers, so I’m really in my family business.”

A father of three, when he’s not leading his church or completing a master’s in psychology, he loves to cook. “I try to keep it healthy. If I want to be really decadent, I have a pretty good recipe for New York-style cheesecake.”

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Question of the Week: 'Mr. Roboto' doesn't count

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 9:00 PM

The big-screen, live action Transformers motion picture opens next week, so many, many people who are slightly younger than me will thrill — and probably complain — over the film's portrayal of the shape-shifting mechanoids. I can't really tell an Autobot from a Decepticon, but I still want to know, Who is your favorite robot?

Let's disqualify ones who look more or less like human beings, such as Mr. Data from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" — although you can count the Terminator without his skin. I'm particularly fond of the giant "Omnidroid" from the finale of The Incredibles, which is probably my favorite giant robot that runs amok (which, of course, is the best kind). I like the voices of the serious-yet-borderline-hysterical "Robot" from the "Lost in Space" TV series and the miserably depressed Marvin the Paranoid Android from the original "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Best of all are, collectively, the mechanical men from Isaac Asimov's original I, Robot and Bicentennial Man stories, which — on the page, if not in the film versions — retain their integrity as thinking machines, and not cutesy guys in metal suits.

Domo arigato.

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Peep Show: Fat man consumes large amount of food

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 8:48 PM

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CHAMPION EATER DALE BOONE AT ZOO ATLANTA: Hot dog, we have a wiener.

Dale Boone won his fourth Southeast regional hot-dog eating title since 2002 at Zoo Atlanta Saturday afternoon. The metro area’s top competitive eater downed 21 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. Second-place finisher Bubba Yarbrough ate 22 hot dogs, but judges hit him with a two-dog penalty after chunks of bun were found floating in the Kool-Aid he used to wash down the dogs. Boone will represent Atlanta in Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York City.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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