"I would not like nights so bright you could not see the stars." -- Akira Kurosawa

About Me

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Atlanta
I grew up in a family of Southern storytellers. Back in 2004, I started Whole Bean to continue the tradition in a new medium. Over the years, I've written about families and friends, peculiar situations, extended road trips, recalcitrant home appliances, and many things for which I'm truly grateful. I hope you enjoy your time here.
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Coincidences? I wonder...


Back in 1979 was when I think it started. My wife and I had gone to the movies to see The China Syndrome, a movie about a near-catastrophic "meltdown" at a nuclear power plant. The plot was unheard of and honestly, sounded a little far-fetched, but I awoke the next morning to the news that a similar incident had actually occurred at the now-infamous Three Mile Island complex.

One Sunday afternoon in 1981, I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune about brewing coffee. The article said that people generally make many mistakes when brewing coffee, and it described how to get that "restaurant taste" when brewing your own coffee, how you should grind your own beans, make coffee stronger, etc. In those days, there were basically three or four decent store brands of coffee, and we worked our way through all of them in search of the perfect cup. We became known as the "coffee people" to our friends. One day years later (at least in Atlanta), this thing called Starbucks appeared, and you know the rest.

In the mid-1990's, I became very interested in the Arts and Crafts style of architecture. The only problem was that there were no builders constructing this style of house anywhere. I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up books on Craftsman bungalows, visited Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Chicago, and checked out tons of web sites describing this appealing style of architecture in communites such as Pasadena, California, and Oak Park, Illinois. Then suddenly a few years ago, Atlanta builders began constructing new homes in a unique Arts and Crafts style. Now, they're all over town.

For years, I thought that a handheld computer-like device that could play music selected from menus would be a great idea. Hmmm...maybe I should have told someone!

About a month ago, again out of the blue, I decided that I'd like to see some of the old Miami Vice shows on DVD. I did, and a few days later, I found out that the Miami Vice movie was being released and along with that, we now had Miami Vice marathons on TV.

Finally, a week ago, totally out of the blue, we rented Krakatoa: East of Java from Netflix and watched it one evening. In this 1969 movie, the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano causes a tsunami that hits the island of Java. The next morning, I awoke to the news that a tsunami had hit Java.

So what does all this mean? Friends are telling me that I need to become some kind of "cultural forecaster". The incidents I've mentioned above are only a few...there have been many more, too many to count. It's gotten to the point where this is spooky.

Welcome to John(')s Creek


The residents of my community yesterday voted 2:1 in favor of incorporating ourselves into a new city to be named Johns Creek. Johns Creek wishes to pull itself out of the "clutches" of Fulton County, Georgia, home to the city of Atlanta and a few other sizeable towns. On the surface, this might appear to be a good idea. However, I do not and did not support this change. Here's why:

1. The name is messed up already. Why is there no apostrophe in Johns Creek? Was the creek named after someone named "Johns"? Shouldn't it be John's Creek?

2. Most of the people who supported this are wildly and unquestioningly conservative. I am not.

3. Fire and police protection, among other municipal services, must be started FROM SCRATCH. Yet, there will be no new taxes, at least for two years. Where have we heard this before? I can't wait to see what the taxes will be like in the third year.

4. Our area had the opportunity to vote for inclusion into the city of Roswell, which was recently rated the #3 place in the United States in which to live by Frommer's.

But who am I to judge? I'm in John(')s Creek for now. No new taxes. Yeah, right.

ITP/OTP


If you've been to Atlanta, you know that our city is encircled by the busy I-285 expressway, affectionately known to us locals as "The Perimeter". As you approach Atlanta from I-75, you'll see signs referring to it as "Atlanta Bypass", which is really quite humorous, since it goes through some very heavily traveled areas..."bypass" is a true misnomer!

Anyway, as of late, we have new terms describing where one lives, i. e. "ITP" or inside the Perimeter, or "OTP", outside the Perimeter. Think of it as Atlanta's version of Washington's Beltway. If you're ITP, you have trendy restaurants, charming neighborhoods, and high real estate prices. If you're OTP, you have mega-shopping, mega-neighborhoods, and more reasonable real estate prices (although they're still up there). We live OTP, but we do lots of stuff ITP, and there's a truly different mindset to each TP. It's fun to see where you end up.

This past weekend, from Friday night until Sunday night, I calculated that I had made no less than six trips ITP:

1. Dinner at La Tavola in Virginia-Highland with cousins.
2. Walking in Chastain Park, coffee at Caribou on Roswell Road.
3. Trip to water garden store on Cheshire Bridge Road to buy plants.
4. Evening cruise on Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Peachtree Street.
5. Crosstown cruise from Chastain Park to Avondale Estates.
6. Picnic and hiking at Murphey Candler Park.

Hmmm...perhaps this says something. Yes, it does! It says that I'm using lots of gasoline. But I'm also having fun. And note that at least two of the above activities involved exercise. There...now I feel better. Ciao!