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Atlanta. 20 years.


The few weeks leading up to my move to Atlanta were some of the coldest days I can remember in Massachusetts. There was a three week span in January of 1994 where the temperature in Boston didn’t get much above 15 degrees. I was ready to leave. 

There were some odd things going on in my life before I moved to Atlanta and new, odd things waiting for me when I got here. I moved here for a woman - or at least the hopes of being with this woman. I knew within a few weeks, ok, hours, actually minutes, that it wasn’t going to work out. I was disappointed but didn’t want to run back home with my tail between my legs. I stayed and stuck it out. 

I hated it somewhat at first, mainly because I was all alone in a new, big city. But I made friends and learned to like it. The Olympics were coming. Remember the countdown clock on the Spring Street bridge over 75/85? It was exciting. 

In 1995, I flat-out begged for a job at a radio station and got it. I worked for that place for almost 10 years, learning as much as I could about the radio industry. I got married. I got divorced. (I’m skipping over a lot here) I got the coolest job I’ve ever had in my life working on-air at 92.9 dave fm and somehow managed to hang on to it for 6 years. 

And now I’m here, excited about the things that are to come and grateful for the chances and opportunities I have each day. 

There you have it. I’ve been in Atlanta twenty years. Milestone? Yeah. Worthy of a blog post? Not really, but thank you for reading this. 

Goodnight, everybody. 

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Money for snow plows? I have an idea.

Where are we going to get the money needed to buy the equipment to deal with snow/ice storms in the future? My idea would be to tap into the State of Georgia’s Georgia Lottery Corporation.

The GLC basically prints money and has done so since day one. Did you know that the Georgia Lottery paid back its start-up line of credit within two weeks of operation? The Georgia Lottery also reached its first-year annual sales goals in five months.

Some of the money which the GLC is effectively - and very efficiently manufacturing, could be used to purchase a reasonable amount of equipment/machinery to deal with clearing interstates and state roads in weather emergencies. Were I a member of the General Assembly, I’d be presenting sensible legislation that would make this a reality.

If the GLC belongs to the people, then it’s time we have some say in how the enormous amounts of money it generates is spent. Education is important, but our state has other needs as well. This is clearly one of them. 

Common sense: today could be the day. 

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Richard Sherman Day


After the dud that was the Patriots/Broncos game, the NFL should be very thankful not only that the San Francisco/Seattle game was close, but that it included the wonderful post-game tirade from the Seahawks’ corner Richard Sherman. 

(If you haven’t yet seen it, here it is http://youtu.be/SFYuwWCqmeU ) 

Sherman played a big part in securing the win for Seattle. But does this give him the right to go crazy on live tv?  Whatever.  Seriously.  Who cares?  If you don’t like it, don’t watch. 

Dignity and grace aren’t in short supply in professional sports but sadly, those qualities don’t make for very good tv. We crave controversy. When Peyton Manning is interviewed, we know what we’re going to get. Unpredictable characters, however, are the ones who make great tv and get people talking. If you checked your Facebook last night (and don’t act like you didn’t), you surely saw many comments about Richard Sherman’s postgame meltdown - even from people who don’t care about football. This can only be classified as a complete success. 

The NFL should thank their lucky stars for Sherman’s outburst. All the criticism Sherman will get over the next two weeks will translate into more coverage of the Superbowl and make people forget about the poor AFC game and the San Fran/Seattle game that was pretty lame except for the fourth quarter. 

If I were Commissioner of the NFL, I’d declare today Richard Sherman Day. 

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Inside Llewyn Davis

I’m a fan of the Coen brothers. Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Big Lebowski and Raising Arizona are among my favorite movies. This affinity along with an invite from my mom, who is also enthusiastic about the Coens, led us to the Kendall Cinema to see ‘Inside Llewyn Davis.’ 

We watch a slowly told story of Llewyn Davis, (Oscar Isaac) a broke folk singer in 1960s Greenwich Village. Does that interest you even remotely? Me either. Llewyn Davis doesn’t have a winter jacket. He makes bad choices. He’s a good singer but his music isn’t marketable, as he’s told on a trip to Chicago. He knocked up a woman and is arranging an abortion. There will be no charge for this abortion though. He’s told the last one he’d arranged never happened and that he now has a two-year old child. He’s a couch surfer with no money and no passion. But he plays guitar and he’s concerned about a cat, making him a role model of sorts. 

In the middle of this dark, depressing, slow-moving saga, Justin Timberlake appears. That’s right, Justin freaking Timberlake. Dressed like a GAP model, JT temporarily gets this movie out of its coma with his presence alone, but he quickly departs and the movie returns to its stagnant pace. John Goodman shows up and almost dies. The plot-less (pointless) movie comes to its underwhelming conclusion with the most recent of Llewyn’s conquests talking with him in a park about how he needs to get a life. And that’s how I felt too, after watching this movie.

Hipsters are going to love it because it’s dark, mysterious and complex; all the things they wish they were. If there’s a lesson buried in this movie somewhere, I’ve missed it. Maybe it’s that you should wear a condom, perhaps more than one. 

I am not a big movie watcher. I’m not a writer. I simply felt compelled to let you know that you should avoid this useless film as well as anyone extolling its virtues; because there are none. Rotten Tomatoes wrote of it: “Smart, funny, and profoundly melancholy, Inside Llewyn Davis finds the Coen brothers in fine form.” This movie is clearly some joke that I don’t get. 

If you must see a movie over Christmas break, see American Hustle. It’s good and Amy Adams is delightful. 

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Thanksgiving 2013

Many of us find time over Thanksgiving to reflect on our lives. Perhaps through intimate conversations with family and friends, maybe through well-wishes to and from people who we haven’t been in touch with much, or simple pause in a quiet moment, giving serious thought to where we are in our lives and all that we have to be grateful for. I like to think these moments should reveal something grand, uncovering truths about my life, giving me a deeper understanding of who I am and why I’m here. This hasn’t happened for me yet but I am holding out hope. 

Compared to all the other years of my adult life, this one’s been rough. I have learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. In that respect it’s not too unlike years passed. As I look around my life, taking inventory like it might be taken at a grocery store, I see a few things that are in short supply. There are a few shelves that are bare. But the essentials are all there. I have everything I need and the supply has been replenished many times without my knowledge. 

I’m surrounded by friends and family and I have not gone without. The fact that I am even writing this absurd composition is quite the snapshot of where I stand. No, it is not perfect, this life of mine, but it is filled with wonderful people, decent meals and a warm place to sleep each night. If I am lucky to have those three things everyday, I have no complaints. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

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Audience, not political correctness, matters

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted something really dumb yesterday. And I mean really dumb. Right there to bask in the glow of the AJC’s gaffe was Creative Loafing, who wasted little time in presenting this on its website: http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2013/10/23/ajc-ga-lottery-winner-can-can-get-40-acres-and-a-whole-lotta-mules

The incident did garner some “water cooler” talk at the office yesterday, I guess. I wouldn’t know. I don’t work in an office. I saw several tweets about it and a few people were talking about it at Mellow Mushroom last night. While the AJC backpedals and reevaluates its procedures to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again, it’s worthy to point out that this task is theirs alone.

No one is forcing the AJC to apologize. There’s no law stating that what they did is wrong. It’s the responsibility of the AJC itself to be accountable to its audience. When a very poorly conceived tweet or story is published by a company, they don’t have to grovel to some regulatory agency - they only need to make amends to their readers, viewers, listeners or consumers. This is all laid out in the First Amendment of the Constitution where we’re guaranteed that our speech and freedom of press will not be abridged.

Will anyone at the AJC be fired over this? I certainly hope not. I hate hearing about people losing their jobs. As the AJC works to atone for its wrongdoing here, just know that there are places in the world where were something similar to happen, a government may be within its right to come in and shut the entire organization down and perhaps send some employees to prison. I’m grateful I don’t live in one of those places. I’m glad I live in the United States.

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"Give PARKatlanta the boot?" We can only hope.


For some reason, the Mayor of Atlanta is talking about PARKatlanta all of a sudden. http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/mayor-reed-leaning-toward-not-renewing-contract-pa/nbTZj/ The timing of all of this is quite suspect though. 

This is not at all “giving PARKatlanta the boot”, as I heard it described on the radio yesterday morning. This is Mayor Reed trying to get reelected. He’s making these comments hoping that we’ll see him as some champion against PARKatlanta. If that were really the case, they’d be long gone already. But they’re not. Reed is simply hoping to energize people to vote for him - nothing more. I still haven’t figured out the connection between COA and Duncan Solutions, PARKatlanta’s parent company, but there’s clearly a relationship there that has allowed this contract to remain. 

This Mayor has worked hard, but on things like the new stadium; not practical things that most Atlantans feel must be addressed, i.e. road repairs, more police/fire fighters and better equipment for them, raises for our first responders and that massive ‘Do Not Move Your Company Here’ sign we have on our city; Atlanta Public Schools. 

This story is 100% talk and no action on the Mayor’s part. It’s summed up adequately in the piece’s final sentence: “The mayor thinks the city will be in a better financial position to take over parking enforcement when the contract is up in three years.”
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Learning To Drive

We get all sorts of advice from people when we’re learning to drive. We’re told about merging traffic and 4-way stops. We learn about using our turn signals, following the speed limit and that you don’t have to slam on the brakes to slow down. The things we learn about driving are great analogies to many of the lessons we learn throughout our lives. 

When I was learning to drive, one thing I remember being told was that I should always expect the unexpected from other drivers. Just because a vehicle is approaching a red light or a stop sign doesn’t mean they’re going to stop for it. It’s likely they will, but there is a chance they won’t. As drivers we must be ready for that. In life too, we have to know that not everything will happen as planned or as we imagine it playing out. 

Life throws all of us a few things that make us hit the brakes hard or swerve out of the way. Sometimes we crash. I have found that, for me, being prepared is the best way to deal with these situations. But even better than preparation is having the right attitude. Just like when you get in your car and think you’re going to hit every traffic light, in life too, a negative attitude can not only bring bad things, but derail us from focusing on our goals. 

Even people giving you the most sound and rational advice have themselves been in situations where they have not exercised caution. There are no perfect drivers on the road and no perfect people in life. We have no control over that. What we have control over though, is our attitude. 

Slow down. Keep a good distance between you and the car in front of you. If someone’s behind you flashing their high-beams, pull over and let them pass - it’ll probably be them getting the speeding ticket and not you. So much of these things can apply to our personal and professional lives. 

For more, follow @ richsullivan on Twitter 

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To Employers

Ever been on a job interview where you’re asked to complete an assignment of some sort? I’ve encountered this after times in my job search. I’m generally very willing to put in some extra work to demonstrate specific things in my work experience. Potential employers can either have candidates do short exercises in an interview or ask for homework assignments to be returned later. I’m even willing to share some of my expertise as it relates to the company I’m interviewing with. But I’m looking for work - not to provide someone with complimentary consulting services. 

Looking for work can be humbling. We’re in need, after all. But just because we’re in need of a job doesn’t mean we need to give our work away for free. I recently interviewed with a company for a part-time position and was asked to give a comprehensive written analysis of their product and social media. You read that correctly: a part-time position. Welcome to the job search in 2013. 

We must be willing to jump through some hoops in our quest for gainful employment, but we’re not to be taken advantage of. Your work has value. If you’re a finalist for a position you really want and are asked to provide further materials, do it but don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. 

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. 

For more follow me on Twitter @ richsullivan

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