Tea Party Time

English: The Supreme Court of the United State...

The Supreme Court of the United States.

The Gadsden flag

The Gadsden flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scratching your head over today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the healthcare law because it is in fact a tax?

Were you kind of looking forward to breathing that big sigh of relief when the healthcare law would be deemed unconstitutional and Congress could go back to the drawing board?

Did you originally like some of the elements you heard about when the law was first passed, but since then decide that our government had way overreached and that maybe you were witnessing the creation of a government behemoth that might just start taking away your liberty under the pretense of helping those less fortunate?

I suspect that a lot of people feel this way, and that we are going to witness the re-awakening of a sleeping giant called the Tea Party that never really went anywhere. For your information here is a list of Tea Party Organizations in our fine cities:

Tampa 

The Tampa Tea Party – website or Facebook

Tampa 9-12 – website or Facebook

Tea Party Express – website

Atlanta

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots – Facebook

Atlanta Tea Party – website

Southern Belle Politics – blog

South Atlanta Tea Party – website or Facebook

Question: Do you think the Tea Party has been effective in creating a positive dialogue that did not previously exist?

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Night Time Soap Opera in Atlanta or Tampa?

Courtesy of TNT

I have a confession! I just watched on demand the pilot and first episode of the new “Dallas” 2012 TV Series airing Wednesday nights on TNT. It picks up the night time soap opera in present day with largely the same cast of characters including Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy as J.R. and Bobby.

Although I was in junior high when the show last aired, I remember being awed by the drama, and the sweeping landscapes showing off the city of Dallas at its finest. But I also remember questioning my parents on how they could be fascinated with such trash.

Well, the new series only enhances the epic that was “Dallas,” and I am now the one fascinated with what is anything but trash! Either I didn’t appreciate it the first time around, or these writers are about twice as good! As someone who rarely watches anything other than news in the evening, and pretty much gave up on watching shows live when 24 stopped airing I have to admit, I think I am hooked.

I suspect that (much appreciated by the original cast) the directors have succeeded where many others have failed in rejuvenating an old series, by maintaining the dignity of the original program, despite the desire to target a new generation. Maybe it’s that they are thoughtfully targeting my generation X and the original audience, rather than simply trying to appeal to the college kids, who I think will inevitably be drawn to the program because of this diligence. But what I most like about “Dallas” is that the real star of the show is…Dallas!

Courtesy of TNT

Never before had a city and its culture been so highlighted, embellished, and glorified as in “Dallas.” Miami Vice was a close second. The special effects and aerial photography in 2012, clearly showing homage to the original “Dallas” series, blow you away and are like watching the Travel Channel or Nat Geo! My question is, when will we get something even coming close in Atlanta or Tampa? Okay, I’ll be realistic, in Atlanta!

Sure Atlanta had Designing Women in the 1980s, which really was a charming sitcom, but that doesn’t cut it. Most of that show was filmed on a sound stage! Atlanta is rich in culture and intrigue and would make the perfect backdrop for a night time soap with a new age twist. If you have any doubt, all you have to do is read “A Man in Full.” Who wouldn’t be interested in the escapades of a former Olympic promoter and Buckhead socialite real estate developer that nearly goes broke during the recession, and having his world turned upside down, struggles to determine what is really important in life as he rebuilds his empire and shapes the future of the ATL? Okay, I’m obviously not a TV producer, but hey TNT just take a look around your hometown for your next big idea!!

English: Atlanta skyline from the Intercontine...

Atlanta skyline from the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead, Wikipedia

Question: What is your favorite show right now, and do you think that Atlanta is worthy of a night time soap?

Next Stop 1842!

1842 Inn Bed & Breakfast – Macon, GA

Macon has always be one of my favorite places for an overnight visit. Only an hour outside of Atlanta, it is still unaffected for better or worse by metropolitan encroachment. The chamber of commerce may encourage you to go there in order to see another up and coming southern city, but I am much happier reveling in days past, enjoying the peaceful historic hamlet that is Macon. I just recently determined my wish-list destination for our next visit!

The 1842 Inn is right down my alley. It appears to be richly infused with antebellum charm and southern hospitality. With 19 guest rooms, a library, and parlors complete with period antiques and tapestries, the hotel listed on the National Registry of Historic Places will hopefully launch me back in a hurry.

The Magnolia Room

What appeals to me most are the names of the guestrooms including the Cotton Merchant’s Room, Jefferson Davis, Lyman Hall, Magnolia, and Sidney Lanier. How do I know they are not just paying lip-service to Georgia history and culture? Each room description on their website (complete with pictures)  includes an historical account of the namesake for that room!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Front Porch at the 1842 Inn

 
 
 

Throw in the seventeen column, wrap around verandah, the garden and courtyard, and it sounds like a recipe for relaxation. If that is not enough, they even have complimentary evening shoe-shine service.

 

That’s what the drive between Tampa and Atlanta does for me, it takes me back in time…before cheerfully being jolted back into the vibrancy and congestion of my favorite big cities! A slower pace gives us a chance to appreciate where we’ve come from and check where we are going.

Transformational Gift – Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business

English: The atrium to the Georgia Tech Colleg...

The atrium to what is now the Scheller College of Business in Technology Square. Seen are glass sculptures by noted artist Dale Chihuly. The building was one of the first LEED certified developments in the country and is home to the Business School at Georgia Tech. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Congratulations to Georgia Tech on its largest gift ever, $50 million to the Business School at Georgia Tech from Ernest Scheller, Jr. This gift allows the college the flexibility to hire even more esteemed faculty, attract top students, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise, more than doubling the college’s endowment. As an alumnus of the MBA program, I’d like to thank Ernie for his gift to the Institute, sincere love for Georgia Tech, and making the business school the best it can be. Your generosity is an inspiration to us all, and the impact of your gift will be felt by generations of Tech students to come.

Read more about Mr. Scheller and his gift, or visit the Scheller College of Business website for more information about its undergraduate programs, full-time MBA program, evening MBA program, or executive education.

Tampa may NOT be a haven for RNC parties!

All we heard in Tampa a year ago was how we needed to either get out of town early or make dinner reservations immediately for the week of Tampa’s Republican National Convention because the rowdy conventioners would attract a host of lobbyists and special interests that love throwing dinners and late night parties. This may still prove to be true, but a recent article by Politico throws some cold water on this idea. You can read the article here that explains that due to Mitt Romney’s bland persona, a poor economy, and a party looking to contrast its responsible image with that of current administration departments like the GSA, most of the lobbying groups will be resorting to professional lunches and other smaller gatherings.

Are you a restaurant or club owner? What are your bookings like for that week?

What’s your favorite pit-stop on I-75?

Ever since I started driving regularly between Tampa and Atlanta, or for that matter hopping a ride in my buddy Dave’s 1984 beamer aka “The Pimp Mobile,” my favorite pit-stop has been the RaceWay gas station at Exit 5 in Lake Park, GA. You’ve just crossed the state-line, you breathe easier at the lower rates in gas, and you are looking for a populated exit with lots of food options. The station used to be one of the largest in south Georgia…I think it was a RaceTrac not that long ago…and consistently has one of the lowest prices on gas in the state. The restrooms are absolutely nothing to write home about, but it is dependable. If you can tell me what is unique about the men’s room, I have a prize for you!

When I stop there with the family it still reminds me of weekend jaunts home to Tampa with my friends from Georgia Tech, and all of the times we had stopped to load up on fountain drinks, candy, and oh yeah Swisher Sweets. With a Chick-Fil-A next door, what more can you ask for? Even though it is no longer a RaceTrac and is nothing like its glory days, I still return just out of convenience, habit, and memories.

What is your favorite place to stop for gas on I-75?

 

Mornings in France, in Atlanta

My recent post about a brand new bakery and cafe in Tampa called Mikey’s and their nicely made Pain au Chocolat reminded me of the most authentic French patisserie that I have been to in the United States. It happens to be in Atlanta! Douceur de France is tucked into the hills north of Atlanta and is famous in those parts for so many reasons.

The owner, Luc Beaudet was born in the Poitou region of France, learned how to cook from his mom, and she inspired him to pursue a formal training in the Art of Patisserie. After earning his degree, Luc enrolled in “Les Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France”, an organization dedicated to touring France and Europe to learn the pastry techniques unique to each region. He helped open La Madeleine French Bakery in Atlanta and then in early 2000 he started Douceur de France.

I could go on and on about how they must use the same ingredients and water from France, because just the scent when you walk in transports you to a cafe in France. Not some ritzy, nose stuck up in the air, you stupid American get out of my restaurant kind of cafe. This is the kind of place you would find in the South of France. (I’m partial to the south because I am a southerner here and have a theory about the north and south of most countries) It’s the kind of place you want to spend all morning with friends, enjoying a scrumptious breakfast or brunch that isn’t limited to just your typical French breakfast of a croissant and coffee, and makes you feel warm all over. The fact that their first location was in a nice little house tucked up in Marietta confirms that they knew how to appeal to down-to-earth Atlantans!

The only care you will have when walking into this emporium of delicacies is choosing which pastry to start with. The fruit tarts, cookies, and petits fours all give the pain au chocolat a run for its money. Or you can just get them all.

Luc, if you ever feel like having a place to perform your magic closer to the beach, Tampa would be ready!

Check out their blog for updates about their menu and other fun Atlanta events.

Soda Fountain meets Patisserie, I meet the Southern Philly

Mikey’s Cafe and Bakery

When we were leaving Velo Champ yesterday, I noticed that a little bakery had popped up next door. Mikey’s had a window-full of wedding cakes that looked like contenders for yet another Food Network reality show. But down in the corner sat a bottle of Cheerwine…and that is what made me stop and go inside.

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We had our 18 month old with us so once we were in the door there was no turning back. Mikey’s is a charming bakery cafe with an elaborate display case and lots of antique accessories that were so appropriately well placed that I might have thought that we stepped back in time for a minute…back to a Seminole Heights soda fountain in the 30’s or 40’s. In actuality, I found out they just opened last Wednesday! Our son walked right up to the case and insisted that he must partake.

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Much to my pleasure, there was a semi-familiar sight. Many of the gourmet concoctions resembled French pastries. After living for a few months in the south of France, I grew an addiction to Pain au Chocolat. Sure enough there on the bottom rack my little son was pointing right at them. Well done my boy!

Of course these did not feign to be authentic…just amazingly good as the ribbons hanging from the case attest to. There was a label announcing that they were chocolate croissants. And that they truly were. Unlike their French twins, they didn’t leave anything to the imagination as they were oozing out the sides with chocolate. In fact, after ordering one (served warm) I determined that it was 50% chocolate at least. Yummy, and the flakiness/tender thickness of the rectangular croissant was almost right on.

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My wife and I determined it was time for lunch and promptly ordered their Southern Philly on Cuban Bread. And watch out Geno’s…this cheesesteak was gooood! What makes it Southern I suppose is the thin spread of delicious peppercorn ranch dressing that compliments the juicy roast beef, green peppers, onion, and provolone melting in your mouth on that fresh soft cuban bread.

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Did I mention that they also had two shelves of pies (including a gooey pecan) which means I am going to have to bypass the chocolate croissant next time? When I return, I’ll try one of their homemade soups too, like Tomato Basil or Chicken n’Dumplings. Their laid back and helpful staff were friendly and professional making me want to find another good excuse to return to the Seminole Heights neighborhood again soon.

Our favorite Tampa Bike Shop

imageToday, we picked up the kids’ trailer for my wife’s bike from our friends at Velo Champ. Doug Miller is a Georgia Tech alum that I met through our local Suncoast Alumni Network. His son Jordan is a master craftsman. It’s nice because we know very little about cycling and he takes the time to walk us through our equipment step-by-step.

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Their shop is all about the sport and culture of cycling, and is located in the historic neighborhood of Seminole Heights, reminiscent of Atlanta’s Virginia Highlands with even more of a grassroots feel to it. The neighborhood may not be there yet, but for those folks like the Millers that are working hard to make the Heights a place all its own, nothing beats it!

Plus, if you are gonna go to a bike shop why not go to one with some flair and personality:

image Velo Champ has some nice seats (seriously) and even has an office dog named Radar that guards the place, welcomes guests, and does the book-keeping.

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Below is the finished product! My wife even took our son for a test ride down to the Seminole Heights Garden Center and back!

Are you a resident of Seminole Heights? Tell us more about your neighborhood and why you love it!

WELCOME TO TAMPATLANTA! Population YOU!

Have you ever felt like you were right where you were meant to be, but yearned to know what life would be like if you still lived somewhere you had previously? Have you been really happy in the city in which you live, but find that a little piece of your heart is still in that someplace else? For me, those two places are Tampa and Atlanta!

English: A collection of photos around Tampa

English: A collection of photos around Tampa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Tampa

I grew up in Tampa, Florida like my dad and grandfather before me, roots dating back to the late 19th century when my great-grandfather moved to nearby Plant City from north Florida. I love everything about Tampa Bay from our climate, to our storied history, our beaches, and our industry.

 

 

 

 

 

Montage of Atlanta images. From top to bottom ...

Montage of Atlanta images. From top to bottom left to right: Atlanta skyline Georgia State Capitol Olympic Centennial Park Old World of Coca-Cola museum Downtown skyline Turner Field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Atlanta

From an early age I began making trips through Atlanta, always en route it seemed to another southern mecca.

Not until I attended Georgia Tech and made the move to Atlanta did I really get to know the city that would teach me that it is completely possible to be intensely Southern, fiercely innovative, and welcomingly international all at the same time.

I lived in Atlanta for 8 years and strived to understand who and what made the city tick, discover how an Olympic Games could change it forever, and soak up all of the constantly evolving dining, culture, and entertainment that I could. I have traveled to many places in this world, and none of them give me that same thrill that I feel, every time the Atlanta skyline comes into view as I travel north into town on I-75.

Interstate 75

List of crossings of the Saint Lawrence River ...

Over those 8 years from 1997 to 2004 and beyond, I have experienced an intimate fondness for that 500 mile stretch of Interstate 75 between Tampa and Atlanta. Hundreds of trips over the years make turns in the road, rural exits with road-side stands, and even some hills and trees feel like family. Anyone who makes the same trip often, knows what I mean!

Florida Clearwater Beach sunset

Clearwater Beach sunset (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to Tampa

After graduate school and work in Atlanta, I found myself moving to Ocala, FL to start a company that quickly expanded the rest of the way down to Tampa. This gave me the excuse I needed to return Home.

Everyone knows what Home feels like, not everyone knows the feeling of or has the same experience in, returning home. For me, it was the perfect fit. I soon met my future wife and established a life right where I left off in the sunny city by the Bay. But Atlanta will always be a part of me, and I look for every excuse to return.

I realize I am not the only one that shares a connection between these two great cities, and I hope that this blog will appeal to residents or visitors of either city and any place in between. I ask that you please share your experiences with me! I love both history and visionary city plans for the future, driving and traveling, and hearing the stories of people of all ages. Our destinations in life are crucial, but I find that the road traveled is often where all the scenery is found. WELCOME TO TAMPATLANTA! Population YOU!

Tampa, Florida

Atlanta Skyline

Atlanta Skyline (Photo credit: k1ng)