Typically I live a life blissfully unaware of what NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has to say about anything. Last week though, not only did I hear what he said, I agreed. He canceled the weekend's NFL games in order to give people time to pause, mourn and reflect. Honestly, that's all I've wanted to do since Tuesday. An accurate column about my week's social activities would be four pictures of Peter Jennings and a transcript of all of the things I yelled at the TV. The last place that I wanted to be was at a party, concert or gallery opening. Ultimately, it didn't matter because most of what I was going to cover was canceled or postponed anyway.
I did manage to get out of the house a little bit though. If this week's column bores the pants off you, I apologize. Unless, of course, you're exceptionally attractive.
On Saturday afternoon in Woodruff Park downtown, an impromptu coalition calling itself Georgians for Peace gathered for some open-mic speechifying in order to voice their opposition to a U.S. military response to Tuesday's attacks. The gist of it was that violent retaliation to Tuesday's attacks will only spur more terrorist attacks and that the U.S. should undermine terrorism by using our financial and political influence to change the social situations in the Mideast that breed terrorists. Fair enough, but they totally obscured their point by allowing some guy to ramble for an eternity in defense of accused Atlanta cop-killer Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.
Opposition to U.S. military action is an extreme minority viewpoint right now. Nevertheless, the event still managed to attract counter-demonstrators, mostly of the "let's turn the Middle East into a parking lot variety. Among the counter-protestors was Atlanta goth/fetish party promoter and filmmaker Joe Christ, who complained aloud that the Georgians for Peace were not representative of real American values. Coming from a man who, in his latest film, portrays an allegorical Hitler figure who sells pipebombs to children for cocaine money, that's quite an accusation.
On Sunday evening, Rep. John Lewis hosted a heavily religious-themed rally in Piedmont Park that stressed unity and tolerance. Lewis solemnly stood by the podium with an American flag in his hand as a small parade of speakers -- a rabbi, an Arab-American Presbyterian minister, a Muslim and so on -- spoke about religious and ethnic tolerance and their belief in the importance of faith. One of the more enjoyable moments at the rally was when Rabbi Alvin Sugarman admonished bigoted morons Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for their absurd remarks about pagans, feminists, gays and lesbians helping make Tuesday's attacks possible. Just to be clear, Sugarman only admonished them for their comments. Unlike me, he doesn't stoop to name calling, even in the case of bigoted morons like Falwell and Robertson.
Leaving the rally, I walked across the field where a dozen people, none of whom paid any attention to the Lewis rally, were letting their dogs play. A Great Dane, German Shepherd, French poodle and even an Afghan hound all shared the space peacefully and playfully. As I passed, a woman declared that her dog could "sniff all the ass she wants, because "it's a free yard. I suppose that's what some people mean when they refer to the sweet smell of freedom.
Chakra Con: Eager for a little relaxation and positivity, I decided to go the Body Mind Spirit Expo at Cobb Galleria Centre Sunday. The Expo, which took place Saturday and Sunday, was a sort of New Age trade show and I enjoyed it immensely. One of the first things I saw was the booth for a Norcross company called Awakening Spirits that manufactures a vast line of aromatherapy products designed to relieve undesirable emotional states such as apathy, bitterness, fretfulness, gloom, listlessness, rage, sulkiness and worry. Clearly, I didn't use any of them before writing this column.
Lots of people were offering free samples or demonstrations. If you sampled every massage therapist in the place you probably could have gotten two hours worth for free. Among the interesting things to sample were a pressurized oxygen chamber which apparently energizes you when you lie in it and a nifty gizmo called a Soft-Bounce Rebounder (aka trampoline) on which you bounce up and down in order to stimulate cellular activity in your body. Thankfully, the booth promoting colonic irrigation was not among those offering demonstrations.
Speaking of colons, the only items at the Expo that made my bullshit alarm go off were the people offering overpriced "aura photography and paintings. For $20, you could pay a woman to photograph you with her Aura Spectraphotometer, which is apparently means "Polaroid in Latin. The photos depict a purplish tint around the subject's head, which is supposed to indicate an aura. To me, it indicates a smudged lens. Worse were the $30-plus aura paintings in which everyone's aura bears a striking resemblance to the elementary school art decorating America's refrigerator doors.
Awakening Spirits also sells essential oils that relieve cynicism and over-criticalness. I didn't use those either.