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The prequel of The Passion

of the Christ


On Friday night, I stopped by Sardis Methodist Church on Powers Ferry Road in Buckhead to have a look at its live nativity scene. I wasn't raised Christian, so I really don't know what to look for in a nativity scene. I'll tell you what I found, though.

On the church's front lawn, I found a handsome, though oddly dressed couple named Joseph and Mary. They didn't actually talk, but according to a disembodied voice wafting through the air, they traveled all the way from Nazareth, which I think is in Pennsylvania, so that Mary could give birth to a child. Apparently, it's tradition in Nazareth to travel back to your hometown to have babies. I guess Joseph and Mary are from Buckhead. I wonder if that tradition has anything to do with the country's rural health care crisis. I've heard that it's hitting Pennsylvania particularly hard.

The same disembodied voice explained that the reason they were camped out on the front lawn of the church, in an improvised barn, is that area hotels were all booked. It's the weekend before Christmas, and I guess a lot of people come to the city to shop at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. Their difficulty getting a room was probably compounded by the fact they were dressed in robes and that neither Joseph nor Mary appear to have surnames. You know how snooty those fancy Buckhead hotels can be about stuff like that.

So everybody's standing around staring at them and petting the animals in the barn when, out of nowhere, that disembodied voice casually mentions that Mary isn't even pregnant with Joseph's child. Hello? T.M.I., people! We don't need to know that. To his credit, Joseph didn't get mad or freak out or anything. He just sat there quietly. Poor guy.

After several minutes of me and everyone else standing and staring at Joseph and Mary, three older gentlemen walked up and handed them gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. I guess they can use the gold to get money, but what the hell are you supposed to do with myrrh and frankincense? Joseph, Mary, if you're reading this, make sure you save the gift receipt.

Pistols, please: On Saturday afternoon, everybody's favorite soon-to-be-ex-Sen. Zell Miller, D, but really R, took time away from preparing to become a Fox News talking head and high-paid lobbyist to sign copies of his book, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat, at Chapter 11 in Norcross.

Miller appears to have gotten a handle on the rabies that he's been showing symptoms of for much of the past year. There were no hysterical references to spitballs, he didn't call anyone a hussy, and he didn't challenge anyone to a duel. What he did do was sign autographs for and shake hands with several dozen fans who lined up to see him. Among those fans was a handsome man whom Miller did not deny being sexually attracted to, a child whom Miller did not deny touching inappropriately, and a sassy older woman with whom Miller may or may not be having an extramarital affair.

Boy, Zell, trashing people with true but incomplete and misleading statements sure is fun. I can see why you enjoy it so much.

Like the USO: Of all places, who'd have thunk that Little Five Points, the city's longtime unofficial headquarters of all things weird and offbeat, would be home to not one, but two versions of the most old-school, showbizzy, schlocky, cheesy forms of entertainment ever invented -- the variety show.

Granted, both variety shows would likely have been extraordinarily offensive to anyone whose idea of top-notch entertainment includes Bob Hope or a Mandrell sister, but they were variety shows nonetheless.

Show 1: Did you notice Marines in the Star Bar Saturday night? Me, too. In addition to protecting the bar's Gracevault from freedom-hating, Elvis-loathing terrorists, they were also on hand to collect Toys for Tots. On Friday and Saturday, the bar's $10 Christmas show cover was waived with a toy donation.

Saturday night's Christmas show was a disorienting, jolly mix of hard rock and Christmas weirdness. I walked in as noise-rock duo Brass Castle was winding up its set. The band was immediately followed by Peanut the Elf, who smiled and played accordion. Next up was Elliott Michaels, who wished the audience a "happy Hanukwanistmas" before strumming some Christmas carols. After Michaels and more Peanut came the full-on boozy, boogie rock of Rock City Dropouts. All you need to know about them is that they have a song called "Camaro," another song called "Corvette," and their lead singer looks like the charismatic offspring of Ronnie VanZant and Cousin It. The show's headliner was the local all-star band Yule Log. Fronted by Jim Stacy, the band featured two Santas, a wrestler, a Luftwaffe officer wearing a monocle, a leprechaun, and an elf on drums. Their rendition of "Silver Bells" was reason enough to have stopped by.

Show 2: On Sunday afternoon, I caught the final performance of Chick & Boozy's Holiday On Ice at Dad's Garage. Like Chick & Boozy shows of the past, this year's was a musical and star-studded extravaganza. It opened with a tune called "Happiest Politically Correct Season That I Know," that, with the help of cameos by Corey Feldman (Hanukkah), William "the Refrigerator" Perry (Kwanzaa), Ronnie James Dio (Satan Worship), Sharon Osbourne (Boxing Day), and Abba's Agnetha Fältskog (Santa Lucia Day), paid homage to the full spectrum of holidays celebrated this time of year.

The opener was just one of the several head-achingly funny Christmas songs in the show. "Don't Run with that Wreath," and the show's finale, "Liquor in the Front, Spirit in the Rear," are all honest-to-goodness future Christmas comedy classics, provided someone takes the time to actually record them.

For more on Chick & Boozy and pictures of Zell Miller eating children, check out

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