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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

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Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Montgomery, AL

One of the great benefits of being on the road all the time is being near odd little bits of history or cool little things to visit. For a day, I was sent to Montgomery, AL and found myself near the burial site of Hank Williams, Sr.

Williams died very young, but is considered a legend in country music. I have to be honest though, until I visited his gravesite I could not name a single song of his. I have since learned that he sung "Your Cheating Heart", which is a song that reminds me of some of my ex-girlfriends.

It is little things like this that keep me going on the road. The little treasures around the United States that one would not neccessarily fly to see, but are great to take advantage of while in town.

I have to say my familiarity with Williams has more to do with his son, and that song "Family Tradition". But that my friends, is another story...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Peachtree Presbyterian Church

With a friend of mine from my home church, I went to Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA.

It is a huge church, larger than many in New York City. The sprawling complex is quite ornate, and the parking lots are large enough that they have a shuttle service in them. This particular shuttle took us from the far part of the lot to a street curb, and from there we walked across the street to get to the church.

The church seems so popular that congregants take busses to go to service there. I could tell that I was far away from New York City while seeing this.

The sanctuary is beautiful and the sermon was powerful. With Peachtree attracting some of the city's high rollers, the sermon was titled "Seeking God in an Affluent Society" and talked about the role of money in a Christian's life.

Senior Pastor Victor Pentz discussed the seeming contradiction of the instructions of Jesus when it comes to the subject of money by highlighting two nearby texts, Luke 18:18-30 and Luke 19:1-10.

The first test states:

Luke 18:18-30

18 A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 19Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20You know the commandments: “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 21He replied, ‘I have kept all these since my youth.’ 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money* to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 23But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. 24Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’

26 Those who heard it said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27He replied, ‘What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.’

28 Then Peter said, ‘Look, we have left our homes and followed you.’ 29And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.’

Pentz told his congregation that in this example, Jesus tells the rich and righteous man to "get rid of it."

Yet not to far later on, there is another story on the similar subject where Jesus gives a different kind of advice:

Luke 19:1-10

19He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax-collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.’ 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ 9Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’

The pastor asks, "who is the real Jesus?"

The first man, according to Pentz, is arrogant and shallow, but Jesus still loved him. Jesus asks him how hard it is for a rich man to enter heaven because being rich is the identity he has chosen for himself.

He adds that "there is a dress code for entering Heaven: it's naked as the day you were born. You can't bring luggage with you."

Zacchaeus, the man of the second story, was hated. He ran to Jesus, "shedding his dignity doing so." "Why doesn't Jesus tell him to give away all of his money?", Pentz asked is congregation. "Jesus asks him to stay in place and be a role model tax collector. 'That's how you will serve me.'"

The pastor's point is one of mindset. It is not the focus on net worth that is the standard, nor is money an equation to get into Heaven. "When you're filled you flow," said Pastor Pentz. "Salvation comes to the house."

It's a good thing for the Peachtree folks, because this church clearly has some serious financial backers. The church was impressive and the sermon very well thought out and powerful.

This church is so cool that they even have their own seal.

If you're in Atlanta and are looking for an extremely well researched, polished, and impressive sermon, you really should check out this church.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


While staying in not the best suburb of Atlanta, I saw a house burn to the ground a couple of blocks from my hotel.

One could see the dark black smoke from great distances. This photo, taken from my camera phone, does not do the damage justice.

The house must have been completely destroyed.

Is this the end of the world? Oh my.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Enjoy The World of Coke

Today I visited an Atlanta trademark, the Coca Cola Bottling Company. The tour, called the "World of Coca Cola," explores the history of the world's most "favorite soft drink."

It is located in downtown Atlanta, right by the underground, a shopping center.

The tour is designed to look at the "magical story" of Coca Cola. Oddly enough, Coke containing cocaine was not mentioned in the tour.

The Coke brand image is shown in many different languages.

Coke was the invention of John Pemberton, and was first sold in drug stores. He died two years later, and in a true American success story, hardly benefited from the Coca Cola Bottling Company's expanding fortunes.

The tour is really an example of the history of marketing, as various ads are on display in chronological order.

Bottles and other delivery mechanisms are on display all over the center. Coke's efforts to standardize their bottles became an important techniqe in marketing and sales.

The museum also shows the history of American ideals and beauty. This is what a hot person in the 1930s, actress Joan Blondell, looks like. She's blonde, with white teeth, and a Coke.

Jesse Owens did ads for Coke too...but not around white people.

In the 1940s, all the hot redheads smiled, drank Cokes, and supported the troops.

Who would have thought that Pemberton, a Confederate officer, would have created a drink that would have served millions of people all over the world? It's served in at least 195 contries worldwide.

Trillions of drinks have been served. The number grows, as does the world's consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

But Sugar Ray Robinson thinks that's cool, so it's alright.

Pandas like it too.

Coca Cola is responsible for the worst drink ever made: Tab. My mother used to drink this awful sugar-free concotion. I remember being on the beach one time and really thirsty. I wanted a Coke but all she had was this. She said, "it's the same thing." So I tried it. It was awful. It had a nasty aftertaste.

I learned two things from this experience. 1) I would rather die than drink Tab, and 2) my mother was a liar.

Drugs and Coke...a combo that can't be beat.

Some of the coolest parts of the exhibit are the old soda machines. I'm old enough to remember these models.

I'm also old enough to remember Max Headroom.

Of course, there is a tasting room. I had various forms of Coke products, including Tab for one last time. It still sucks.

You can get Coke in all different sizes!

You can also get it in all different kinds of ways around the world. There are various Coke products sold in different countries that vary with ours.

The fun part of the tour was trying them all.

OK, now I'm going to burp for a while and get off my High Fructose Corn Syrup sugar high.

Coca Cola critcisms

Monday, March 13, 2006

Back In Hot Lanta

We were back in Atlanta and saw a Burger King sign that gives me faith in the area's education system. Apparently, Burger King now sells "staekburge". I'm tempted to try it.

Fort Pulaski

Just outside of Savannah, GA is the Fort Pulaski National Monument, which is strangely appears to be run by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security (the website states that it is indeed run by the National Parks Service). This confusion is clearly part of the Northern aggression that plagues the South today. I'm not sure how they survive it.

When walking around the placid grounds, you would never suspect that savage battles took place here. Many Americans died to protect and win this fort.

As you walk towards the main entrance, you find evidence of a much less peaceful time.

Union troops bombarded the fort prior to taking it from Confederate hands. The wall was breached on April 10-11, 1862. The United States government describes the event this way:
The defining events of Fort Pulaski occurred during the American Civil War. In April of 1862, Union troops directed rifled cannon fire at the fort breaching the southeast angle. The quick success of this experimental cannon surprised military strategists. The accuracy and range of the rifled cannon rendered brick fortifications obsolete. Immediately after capturing the fort, Union Major General David Hunter, an ardent abolitionist, ordered the release of area slaves. Many were recruited into the Union army comprising the First South Carolina Colored Regiment.
Now, Yankees and Confederates alike may easily walk into the structure.

The fort would make a fine hotel.

Underground, weapons of war like gunpowder were stored.

On display at the fort are various different cannons. This was high technology for its time.

The technology of war for the time is quite impressive. These particular cannons, located inside the perimeter of the fort, were at a low angle, seemingly used to shoot at opposing soldiers walking near it.

While the cannons were heavy, they worked on a turret and were balanced so that one or two people could move them. This made aiming possible with little effort.

Cannons were all over the place. There's a photo of me protecting the fort. I'm quite busy.

This is a 4.5 inch Blakely rifle, part of the original Confederate armament of Fort Pulaski.

Cannons are strategically placed all over the top floor of the fort. It must have been a very difficult place to take.

Some of the guns are damaged from the Civil War, likely during the same bombardment that took down one of the exterior walls. Like all forms of weapons of war, it was eventually defeated by superior technology and tactics.

Ft. Pulaski is a great place to walk around and a fun way to learn about American history.

The history of Ft. Pulaski