Monday, February 16, 2009


For Valentines, the wife and I went into the city, Little 5 Points to be exact. We had dinner at Front Page News. Front Page News is a little bit of authentic New Orleans cooking right in Atlanta. The dining area is gorgeously decorated with New Orleans style metal railing around a balcony. The food was quite delicious. The wife had shrimp and grits which were topped with a corn relish that she raved about. The service was great and the atmosphere was enjoyable and relaxing.

Please excuse the quality of this photo, it was the best the cellphone could render, but there was this series of abbreviations over the bar that caught my attention...


I was curious, but did not inquire with the wait staff. I googled it instead :)

"If I tell you what it means, will you buy me a drink?"

I wonder how many folks have collected a free drink (or how many drinks) from that sign.

But the main reason we were in Little 5 for Valentines Day, was to hear a Texas musician that I have enjoyed for over 10 years...

Robert Earl Keen, Jr.

Robert attended Texas A&M University, where he majored in English. He rented a house from landlord Jack Boyett, where his neighbor was a then-unknown Lyle Lovett. The two became fast friends and performed together on the front porch many evenings and according to Robert, on Sundays after the Church across the street let out. He and Lyle Lovett found it amusing to sit on the front porch in their underwear, strap on a guitar and a banjo and sing and play gospel songs as the old folks walked by to their cars to give them something to talk about on their way to Lubies.

Robert moved to Nashville, but wasn't warmly embraced by the music establishment. He moved back to Austin and began recording and touring. He acquired a dedicated following and has continued to enjoy the "off chart" success. His CDs sell on his website and he packs the house at the smaller venues that he regularly plays.

REK was performing at the Variety Playhouse this night and sold out the 1,050 capacity hall. The crowd was a mix of college kids, older folks, and cowboys. Dedicated followers brought props to wave during songs and the environment was a sing-a-long party.

The first REK song I ever heard was about 10-12 years ago on the Johnboy and Billy Show (syndicated from Charlotte) during the holiday season. The song, Merry Christmas from the Family, left me saying "I need to find out who this guy is."

We both enjoyed the show. A small brawl broke out in front of the stage area as soon as the lights came up after the show was over. The Variety Playhouse serves beer in longneck glass bottles for some stroke of wisdom, so there were about 200 bottles rolling around on the floor while the two rufkins wailed on each other and one ended up with the classic bloody face. The Variety Playhouse employs a handful of guys as security who were unable to intervene. The security staff didn't have anything other than their white t-shirts. So, since they didn't have radios, one had to run out the front door to summons the police. We eased out the side door while they processed a scene made for COPS on FOX. As we crossed the parking lot I saw REK's shiny Prevost Motorcoach. He may not have a gold record and his music might not be sold at the large record store in the mall, but he seems to be enjoying a comfortable life.

"The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends" is a tune he penned several years back and was later recorded by the Highway Men (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson). Indeed, the Party Never ends.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We Interrupt this Winter to Give You Some Riding Weather

God smiled down on the Metro area this past weekend and this week. Lows were in the 40F's and that spells really wonderful riding weather. When I came out of the office for lunch Monday, I quickly noticed that Rosie wasn't sitting all alone in the parking lot. There were 4 other bikes sitting quitely to keep her company. I'm betting they were swapping stories about their riders dumb moves and the road rash they've taken because of them. But at least they're polite. I haven't heard Rosie grumbling at me, and I'm pretty sure she was smiling when I let her have a romp off the light Tuesday morning when the aggressive lil turbo Mitsubishi cage was next to us.

Here is hoping everyone has gotten a lil warmer weather, glimpses of sunshine and blue skies, and opportunities to ride.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
- e.e.cummings (1894-1962)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Life Dedicated to Others

From a humble upbringing in Alabama, Millard Fuller graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and then graduated from the University of Alabama Law School at Tuscaloosa. With partnership from a college friend, Fuller launched a marketing firm before graduating.

By the age of 29, Fuller had earned his first million dollars. But as he was enjoying success in business, his marriage and health were suffering. Things became severe enough that Fuller put his career on hold and re-evaluated his priorities. After reconciling with his wife, Fuller elected to launch into a new direction. Fuller and his wife sold everything they owned and gave the money to the poor. They moved to a Christian community near Americus, Georgia called "Koinonia Farm".

With the founder of Koinonia Farm and small group of others, Fuller created a housing ministry building houses on a no-interest and non-profit basis for low income families. Homeowners were required to invest "sweat quity" into their homes and in homes of others. The belief that the homeowner would develop pride in the home by being part of the construction and would strike positive relationships with the other families they assisted.

Fuller, his wife, and four children moved to Africa in 1973 and began building homes on this principle in Zaire. The success they witnessed in Zaire convinced the family that this model could be applied world wide improving the living conditions of humanity around the planet.

Fuller and family returned to the United States in 1976 and launched Habitat for Humantity International. In 1994 he and his wife were awarded the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award. He also received the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from both the state of Georgia and the King Center. “Professional Builder” magazine named Fuller Builder of the Year in 1995. In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded Fuller the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, calling Habitat “…the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States.” He received the 1999 Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Public Service for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation honored Fuller with the Frank Annunzio award in 2000 for his lifetime achievement in public service. In 2002, Fuller and his wife were awarded the Bronze Medallion from the Points of Light Foundation in Washington, D.C., honoring their pioneering work in service. Fuller was also awarded the Overcoming Obstacles award from the Community for Education Foundation in New York. He was named Georgian of the Year and received the Auburn University Lifetime Achievement Award as well. In 2003, “The NonProfit Times” named Fuller its Executive of the Year. Fuller also received the T.B. Maston Christian Ethics Award that year. Also in 2003, “Professional Builder” magazine presented Fuller with its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004, Fuller and Habitat for Humanity International received the World Methodist Peace Award from the World Methodist Council. Additionally, Fuller received more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees in fields such as law and public service for his leadership toward meeting the goal of eliminating poverty housing worldwide.

Fuller continued to serve in executive roles in the leadership of Habitat for Humanity through 2005 when he lost control of Habitat in a clash with its board members.

Millard Fuller died Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at the age of 74 while traveling to an area hospital in Albany, Georgia after experiencing chest pains.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Miserable Week for Motorcycles

I dressed warmly for the ride in on Monday. Temp was bobbling around 28-40F when I left the house but the 40 minute ride was enjoyable. When I left work to make the ride home it was raining. My check of the weather guessers website had said 10 percent chance the night before, so they let me down, silly weather guessers. I retrieved my frogtops (rain suit) pulled em on over my riding leathers and headed for the highway. I kept myself focused on the 5pm bumper to bumper commuter traffic on the way home and threw in a few extra hondapottimus counts between myself and the cars ahead of me in my lane. I arrived home and still dry thanks to the fullface helmet and frogtogs.

Tuesday I awoke to 20F weather and strong winds. Sorry folks, I opted out of riding. I just couldn't talk myself into it. The weather guessers had predicted wintry mix, and I gave consideration for some of the remaining moisture from Monday's rain would be frozen in unexpected locations on the ride in. Couple the odds of unexpected ice patches and bumper to bumper traffic and freaking cold and I opted out.

Today wasn't much of an improvement. When I awoke it was 16F and 20mph winds. Although I was not concerned with ice, I just couldn't talk myself into riding in weather this cold. Tomorrow is supposed to more of the same if the weather guessers are close. So, I guess the truck is going to get driven another day. Maybe it could use a little more drive time to charge up the battery. I'm about tired of the winter weather below 20F, but I guess we all have to deal with the effects of Global Warming where ever we are.

Here's to looking forward to the temps climbing above 30F and sunshine!