Archive for March, 2005

Fishing for Ideas

This weekend, the wife and I are hosting a visitor from Oregon who has never been to Georgia before. She arrives at 5:00pm on Friday and leaves at 3pm on Sunday. We’d like to give her a nice, balanced Atlanta experience without too much cheese, and without rushing around like maniacs.

Since we’re picking her up at 5pm on Friday, we’re strongly considering hitting Turner field for the Braves exhibition game against the Indians. Since there’s no baseball in Portland, this might be fun, and it will get us out of the peachy Friday gridlock. Other than that, we’ve got a short list of restaurants that might possibly be nice, but that’s about it.

My question is this: Given a little less than 48 hours, how would you show a first-timer a good time in Atlanta? World of Coke? Stone Mountain? The Cheetah?

Huh?

Okay, so I agree that Atlanta has very bad traffic and long commute times, but something isn’t quite adding up in this story:

Harried commuters, file this bombshell away to stun your neighbors: Metro Atlanta’s counties have some of the worst commuting times among the nation’s major metropolitan areas…

In a survey of 68 cities, Atlanta ranked No. 27, with an average commute of 24.2 minutes.

New York led all categories ó state, county and city ó with the longest commuting times. The national commuting average was 24.3 minutes.

So, essentially, metro Atlanta’s commute time is less than the national average. Wouldn’t that contradict the headline (and first line) claim of the article that “Metro driving times [are] among [the] longest?” Doesn’t that, in fact, put us on the complete other side of the equation – just barely in company with the shorter commute times? (Unless we are looking at the median value – at No. 27 of 68 we are on the longer side of the median – but hardly “among the longest”).

I think that it is just a case of missing information. What I suspect happens in Atlanta is that while there are plenty of people (like me – nyah!) that have 3-5 minute commutes to work, there are also the Gwinnetters and such that have hours upon hours of a commute. And poor Gwinnett. At 31 minutes, they are 18th in the country out of 233 counties. So, what we would want to look at is the standard deviation around the average in order to make claims about long commute times, etc. But the article doesn’t give us that. And by leaving out that sort of information, we are left with hard data (an average) that implies the opposite of what the article is attempting to imply.

Or, we are at least confused. The article, giving it the benefit of the doubt, is saying that some people in Atlanta have really long commute times. But it also tells us that Atlanta as a whole is under the national average. So, on average, Atlantans have a smaller commute time than average.

I don’t know… it’s all very confusing. Maybe they just need to hurry up and build those lanes on 400. Or, even better, fix our public transit system.

thoughts on our local redheaded stepchild

By which I mean MARTA. Y’all know I can go on and on about public transit, so settle in. (The short version: what should be done with MARTA? Comment below.)

The first thing you know is that MARTA is contemplating a simultaneous fare hike and set of layoffs. Now, trust me, even if you never take MARTA, bringing a one-way fare up to $2 is not a good thing. New York’s system, which is far more comprehensive (and established as a part of the city’s fabric; it’s much easier to imagine Atlanta without MARTA than New York without its subways), just went to a $2 fare last year, and that was only after some court battles and much bitterness.

There is some controversy over how much MARTA can dip into the sales tax pool, which you can contact your state legislator about; Robert at Bloglanta has more.
(more…)

The Big Cat

Andres Galarraga, former Brave and fan favorite, is retiring.

A five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove in a 19-year career, Galarraga was hitting just .235 in 17 games for the Mets this spring, with three home runs and seven RBIs. The Big Cat would have likely been left off New York’s 25-man roster when the team broke camp.

“This is a sad day for me, but I honestly felt it was the right time to step away,” Galarraga said in a statement. “I just wasn’t playing up to the expectations that I have set for myself throughout my entire career, and I wanted to walk away on my own terms.

The Big Cat was always one of the classiest guys on the field and had a great 2000 season with Atlanta – .302, 28 HR, 100 RBIs. He retires with 399 career HRs.

Do It For the Dogs (and Cats)

On Saturday, April 16, 2005, A Walk for Animals will take place in Candler Park. This will be the Atlanta Humane Society’s 15th annual Pet Parade.

Hundreds of pets and their owners will be expected to walk for pledges and all proceeds will go to support the Atlanta Humane Society’s efforts to help the animals in our community who don’t have people to call their own.

In addition to the walk, fun activities will include free Krispy Kremes (yum!), games, on-site microchipping, face painting, pet/owner look-a-like and best trick contests, and live music.

So come out and bring the family (including Fido!) for this fun and worthy cause. Registration for the walk can be done online at: www.atlantahumane.org.

in like a soggy mess, out like a soggy mess

Yeah. No lambs and lions here. Unless they’re soggy, muddy, and smelly. Is this weather wearing on anyone else?

It’s supposed to go up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow. With any luck, it will still be nice on Saturday for the 29th Annual Peachblossom Festival in Forest Park. No guarantees, though.

Return of the best appetizer

I’m not sure how many people are going to care about this, but I do.

I was at Fox and Hound (a Derek Lawford pub) yesterday for their free pool on Sundays (a nice perk). I hadn’t been there in a while. Actually, ever since they change their menu at all the locations (Hand in Hand, Fox and Hound, Angel, and Prince of Wales) and took away the Bleu Cheese Chips. I write this today to inform everyone that the Bleu Cheese Chips are back and have apparently been back for about a month. According to my waiter, it was popular demand that caused the return of this delicious appetizer.

I recommend that when you order them, you get a bottle of Tabasco sauce as well and put some Tabasco on the chips – it gives it a great kick. I may be going a little too far here, but it makes it one of the best appetizers in Atlanta.

The New Ted


There was an open house today at The Ted so they could show off the new screen that Tony was talking about a couple of days ago. Yeah, of course it’s being done for commercial reasons, but after seeing it first hand, I can honestly say that it was very impressive.

You can see pictures of my trip here. They’ve done more than just redesign the “Bravesvision” there. The entry patio has been completely revamped (it isn’t quite done yet, actually)
. And they’ve removed the ‘D’ from the ‘Fly Delta’ sign (I’m 99.9% sure that it’ll be back up before opening day).

They were giving away free tomahawks, tours in the dugout, and the parking was free also! Now, if they could only do that during the regular season…

ridin’ that train, high on cocaine activism

Citizens for Progressive Transit — a.k.a. the people who do a better job making a case for MARTA than MARTA itself does — have a whole bunch of events starting next week, including a screening of the documentary Taken for a Ride Tuesday night. (This information brought to you by my friend Joe Winter, of Joeventures and Bloglanta fame, who also happens to be the Georgia State CfPT chapter head.)

Going, going … oh look! Sonic has Coke-flavored milkshakes!

So, apparently Turner field is set to reveal [login] its $10 million, 71-foot-tall HD video screen.

While I do think there exists the potential in this toy to enhance the entire Braves game experience, my heart sinks thinking about the amount of advertising sure to errupt from this behemoth. Why else would they install it? So attendees can see the game better? Yeah. Right.

They spent $10 million on the biggest TV on earth and they have, on a good night, a voluntarily captive audience of 50,000 who will be unable to look away. You better believe they are going to be cranking out the commercials. Between every inning, between every batter, and possibly between every pitch.

I bet they recoup their investment before the all-star break, and then it will become the profit center it is intended to be. [sigh]

Regardless, I’m still looking forward to going to Braves games.

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