Month: September 2008

Big Mike Geier and the rest of Kingsized played a heck of a show at the Wren’s Nest on Saturday.

Mike Geier of Kingsized, Putting on a Show

I’m still recovering.  But I did manage to post a few pictures of the party.  Check ’em out here.

Did you take any pictures?  Seriously, I’d love to see ’em since I was so busy running around all night. Just upload your pictures to the Wren’s Nest Facebook Page.

Big thanks to our volunteers (Laura, Nicole, Greg and Christina, Lauren and Catherine, my mom, my sister), our staff, and the folks who had a great time, which was everyone.  Thank you, everyone.

Yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured an article about Six Flags updating their darkwater ride, “Monster Plantation.”

Monster Plantation, Soon to be Monster Mansion

Come 2009, the ride will be known as “Monster Mansion.”

Before Monster Plantation, however, there was “Tales from the Okefenokee.”  The ride was based on Joel Chandler Harris’ critter stories.  Here’s what it looked like when it debuted in 1967–

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I do not know what is up with the child is that explains the ride, but it did scare me the first time I heard it.

Six Flags updated the ride in 1968 to something much, much trippier–

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What just happened!?!

Of note:

1.  This article will give you more information than you ever needed about Tales from the Okefenokee.

2.  The first time I kissed a girl was on Monster Plantation.  I was 24.

3.  Since we’ve worked so hard to put on our concert fundraiser tonight, Amelia and I are skipping work on Tuesday to go to Six Flags.  We’ll return with a full report, annotated and footnoted.

4.  No really, #2 is true.  Mostly.

This tribute to Joel Chandler Harris aired on the television show “Disneyland” on January 18, 1956 to coincide with the theatrical re-release of Song of the South.  Walt Disney himself hosted the program.

The video concludes with the Song of the South version of “The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story” (37:45).

Items of note–

1.  Young Joel Chandler Harris is played by David Stollery, who went on to design the Toyota Celica A40 series in 1978.  Thank you, David.

Toyota Celica A40 1978

2.  Joseph Addison Turner is depicted as Colonel Sanders himself.  In reality he was probably 35 or so when he hired Harris.

Joseph Addison Tuner NOT Colonel Sanders

See what I mean?

Colonel Sanders NOT Joseph Addison Turner

3.  My apologies if this video gets taken down.  If I go to jail for posting this, please call my mom.

Yesterday I stumbled across some Olympic propaganda from 1995 — a few boxes of bumper stickers and books suggesting that Brer Rabbit should be Atlanta’s Olympic Mascot.

These were published well after the actual mascot was chosen.  Izzy (né WhatIzIt) was, let’s say, not the most popular choice.

Here’s the bumper sticker–

Brer Rabbit for Atlanta's 1996 Olympic Mascot

And the book–

The Return of Brer Rabbit: The Rabbit is Back

To be fair, anything would have been better than Izzy.  Even I knew that as a nine year-old, and trust me — I was not a very bright nine year-old.

The book does make a pretty good case for Brer Rabbit–

“I mighta known you’d have a fit about the blue fuzzball,” said Brer Buzzard.  “So have most of the rest of the folks.  But it seems like what happened is that, when it came to the pickin’ of the mascot, the big guys in charge didn’t do their homework.”

“Don’t they know that we come from a proud tradition?” Brer Rabbit said.  “Why, I can trace my own line back to Anansi and the great trickster heroes of Africa!  Brer Fox ‘n Brer Bear ‘n the other critters, they go ‘way back too!  Why, there’s trickster stories told about critters like us in just about every country in the world!”

The Return of Brer Rabbit to the Fox Theatre

“…don’t they know that the ordinary folks around here are proud of us?  We kinda remind the people of Atlanta of themselves ’cause we’ve got the local sassy spirit ‘n quick wits!  Whoever it was that decided to choose that blue thing, it was folks that don’t event know us!”

“They thought they knew who you were,” said Brer Buzzard.  “They thought you and the other critters were stereotypes.”

“Whaddya mean stereotypes?” said Brer Rabbit.  “We come from the real history of Atlanta.  What’s that dumb lookin’ blue gizmo got for a history?”

Not much!  Though given the reputation of the Atlanta Games, Izzy was perhaps the most appropriate mascot.

The final image in the book is particularly inspiring–
Let's go Atlanta!

We’re totally going to start selling the book and the bumper sticker in the gift shop.  Believe it or not, the campaign for nothing left us with a few extras.

This weekend Lain and I attended one of the most fun, creative, and altruistic birthday parties ever.  For a nine-year-old we had never met.  Would you like some background?

Tote Bags Comin' Atcha!!!

Several weeks ago, Lain and I received the following email:

Lain and Amelia,

My name is Jeff, long-time blog reader, first time writer, as well as 19th century folk-tale enthusiast (who isn’t?) and fan of house museums.  I write to you with a proposal/request/announcement/heads-up.  My 8, soon to be 9 year-old daughter Matilda has for the last several years hosted birthday parties at our home in which, instead of children bringing gifts for her, she raised money for some worthy cause.  A car wash for the Humane Society at age 5, hit the dads with pies in the face for the Red Cross and Katrina Victims at age 6, a backyard Hawaiian fair for bookshelves for her school at age 7, and last year’s American Shoe-Kicking Association (ASKA) National Championships for the Red Cross.  I’m proud and a little nonplussed to write that this was her own initiative, though I’m sure taken from some TV show.

I write you now to let you know that this year you are on the docket as planned beneficiaries of the first (and perhaps last) Iverson Park Literary Festival!  Mathilda visited the Wren’s Nest with her class this past year and was impressed by he experience and wants to join in the fun.  Possible events include a short-story telling contest and for those less inclined to prose, a book throwing contest.

Within about two minutes we told Jeff we were in.  Playing it cool is not our strong suit.

The Iverson Park Literary Festival wildly exceeded any expectations we could have had.  I mean, they had tote bags.  And a mascot!

Haiku the Bookworm, the Iverson Park Literary Festival Mascot

(Haiku the bookworm)

There was a lot of literary fun going on.  You could guess the number of pages in the book.

Page Guessing Contest

(Waiting has never been so exciting!)

You could throw books at William Shakespeare, Louisa May Alcott, or Edgar Allen Poe.

Iverson Park Literary Festival Book Throwing Contest

(This activity made Lain nervous thanks to the children shouting “KILL SHAKESPEARE!”)

You could even tell your own story.  Curtis warmed up the crowd, and then the kids competed to see who was the best storyteller.  Lain and I served as Celebrity Judges.

Curtis Richardson telling stories

Unfortunately, we did not get any pictures of the amateur storytellers, as we took our judging jobs VERY seriously.

Jeff, author of the above email, played the part of our host — Dr. Armstrong, PhD, MA, RN, NASA, from Valdosta State Technical Community College and State University A & M.

Dr. Armstrong, Iverson Park Literary Festival organizer

We even wore our most literary duds.  A Kenyon shirt and tweed for Lain, and my “I’m a Bibliophile” shirt from age 5 for me.  Still “fits”!

Curtis and Amelia

Curtis played it cool, as always.

We especially felt at home because some of the kids tried to bribe the Celebrity Judges by wearing their Wren’s Nest t-shirts.

Wren's Nest fan participating in Book Throwing Contest

The children really wailed on the authors.  So much so that they broke and had to be fixed with a nail gun.

Nail Gun, Snacks

We would have left the nail gun by the snacks, too.

By the end of the Festival we had totally forgotten about how we benefited monetarily, being too busy making exclamations like “This is the best thing ever!” and “I love tote bags!” and “Too bad I will never produce a child as awesome as Matilda.”

So thanks to Jeff, Marisa, Matilda, and everyone at the first (and possibly last) Iverson Park Literary Festival.  Did we mention we had a great time?

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