Tag Archives: food

Lessons from the Street

When the guy approached in the strip center parking lot early one Saturday morning and told me his story, I fell for it. He said he had driven all night from Ohio with his family, had no money and ran out of gas. We walked to his car, saw his family and the cynic in me, checked his license tag. He just needed $20 and he’d be able to buy gas and get home. I gave it to him. So did my wife later that day when she came to return what I’d bought. When we shared the stories, we felt like chumps.

Then there was that day when the visibly upset women approached my wife in another strip center early one evening. The woman told the story of leaving her husband who beat her. My wife walked with her to the old car and was introduced to the precious, poorly dressed children. She fell for it and gave her money. When she saw the same woman the next day and was approached again, she felt deeply betrayed.

Then there was that time when a homeless man came to our door and asked for help. We gave him money and food under the condition he never come to our house again. He returned the next day. And the next. He said he wanted to work for the money and food and offered to wash our car. My wife, in a moment of tough love and generosity, told him she’d give him $10 to wash our daughter’s car that had been parked for months and desperately needed it. He, of course, washed our car – the clean car. When he came back the next day, he said he was cold and I gave him one of my coats. The next morning he was at our doorstep again. This time, he said, “I really don’t like this coat. Do you have anything else?” He went on to say that he was ready to go to the shelter we had suggested and if we’d give him a ride to where the bus would take him, he’d go. Half way there, he said, “Damn. I left my cigarettes in your coat.” So, of course, we drove back to our home, retrieved the smokes that he could afford even though he couldn’t afford food and took him to the bus stop. As he was getting out, the man, well, passed gas. I said to my wife, “at least he left us a little something to remember him by.”

We all have stories. When someone needs help, and we can, most of us do. But are we really helping?

A few years ago, a friend had cards printed with addresses and phone numbers of shelters and organizations who help the homeless. He’d tape a MARTA token on it (MARTA no longer uses tokens and MARTA cards are expensive).

Another friend, Clay, kept a box of energy bars in his trunk to give to people who were hungry. He explained to me that helping the homeless should be left to professionals. That it was way too complicated, and potentially dangerous, for individuals to get involved.

When I first moved near Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, being the liberal do-gooder that I am, or pretend to be, I’d stop and engage each person that I thought was homeless. I got to know dozens of men (women don’t do well living in Piedmont Park). I began as a naïve missionary. Each day I’d go for my walks with a budgeted amount of money to hand out if asked and cards or literature on shelters and programs that teach men how to get off the street. One by one, I saw that these men who had asked for my money for transportation shelter or food, instead, spent it on beer. Each would eventually get arrested for public drinking or drunkenness. I don’t give money anymore.

For a while, I’d tell homeless men, if they were hungry, I’d feed them. My wife and I quickly turned into a short order cooks. I also stopped that idea – it was impossible to sustain. Though, and as result of the leftovers from LikeTheDew.com’s Deviled Egg Recipe Contest judging, they did ask me, “why did all those deviled eggs taste so different?” They also offered their votes, which were not included in the contest judging.

Over the years, some of the homeless men would come and never be seen again, but others seem to live in the park permanently. I gave them clothes when they needed them, until they started asking too often and I had to stop. Ditto on razors, soap, and dental supplies. Ditto sleeping bags, tarps, blankets, phone cards, MARTA cards and the like. And then, I met Donnie.

Donnie painting Tee ShirtsDonnie was special. He didn’t belong in the park. He was in his late twenties. He had worked as an artist and animator and lost his job. Got depressed and started drinking or doing drugs and lost his family. He was clean now and you could see it in his face. The guy had more charisma and charm than almost anyone I’d ever met. He didn’t ask for it, but one day I bought him a business: paints, brushes, a portable easel, a few dozen blank tee-shirts and a backpack to carry them. Donnie was like a kid at Christmas. He went to work painting the most incredible original art on shirts. He sold them in the park. I told him that when he ran out of shirts, I’d re-stock him and I did. Donnie sustained his life and saved some of the money he made to start over. Then one night, the inevitable happened. He was robbed. When I next saw Donnie, he didn’t ask me to buy him another art kit. He told me, instead that he had called his mother in Alabama and asked if he could come home. She wired him the money for bus fare. He just wanted to say thank you and good-bye. I still hear from him from time to time through his cousin. He now has a job, a place of his own and is still close to his mom and family.

Then there was Terrell. Terrell was also special. When I met him, he was living with a girlfriend and was working in the kitchen of a nearby restaurant. Every few days, he’d prepare a meal, with ingredients donated by his restaurant, and serve it picnic style in the park to some of those, less fortunate. We admired his sharing nature and also contributed. I don’t know if was drugs or booze, but Terrell had a dramatic falling out with the restaurant. He also had one with his girlfriend and started calling the park his home.

Terrell was in his early thirties. Healthy. Smart. And motivated. The park was just temporary. He approached people who lived in the neighborhoods around the park and asked to do odd-jobs – yard work and the like. It worked for a while, but wasn’t enough to get him on his own. My wife and I befriended Terrell. We even broke the cardinal rule and invited him and his new girlfriend into our home. We got him a cell phone from the federal program. We helped him get an apartment with an organization that helped couples get off the street. The apartment deal was pretty straightforward: he was expected to work and pay $100 a month. He also was required to have regular drug testing. He made it on his own the first month. His girlfriend left him the second month and we helped out with the money he needed for rent. The third month he was back in the park. Terrell, we learned, couldn’t – and didn’t want to – pass the drug test. That was almost two years ago. Terrell has been arrested five or six times since then – three times in one month alone – stupid stuff – drinking on the bench near 10th Street and jaywalking. He’s lost about 50 pounds and his eyes are always glazed over.

We don’t have much to do with Terrell, but some months back, he approached me and told me a story. He said that he’d heard about a doctor who would diagnose him as bipolar and about a lawyer who could then get him disability. Disability, plus food stamps were his plan to get his life together. In exchange for a couple of hundred dollars a month, he would never be able to get a real job again – the price of disability. I begged him to reconsider and get help. I saw Terrell last week. He has been approved for disability.

Then there was last week. I met this kid standing near our little midtown grocery store. He was hungry and I walked him inside and bought him a sandwich. I’m sure you have seen him, too. Early twenties. Hair long and unkept. Sad and lonely expression on his face. Layers of dirty clothes with his shirts out. His pants were so low that at least six inches of his underwear was showing. I’m no snob. I’m all for individual expression – in fact, I am sure that many would suggest I have my own unique “style.” But I couldn’t help thinking while I was talking to this young man, “no one will ever get a good job with underwear showing.” (Note: I know that for some of you, this is straight line and there’s some joke that might suggest that is not true for the opposite gender – not PC.)

As strange as it sounds, I sometime fantasize about how to solve the homeless problem. I daydream of getting donated land and building a new form of inexpensive and efficient housing. I consider little things, like lockers to protect what they have. More public bathrooms. Utilizing some of the empty and bankrupt condo buildings. But each time my daydream comes around to one problem that I cannot figure out how to overcome: drugs and booze, which is connected to crime, which is connected to violence. How can it be solved?

Leave it to the professionals. Leave it and support those organizations that help large numbers of people survive, while each night having a zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol. Leave it and support those organizations that help one person at a time learn how to believe in themselves and society again. Google or Bing it, search terms: (your city) and homeless shelters. If you are in the Atlanta area, contact the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. They also have a 24-hour help line. Or the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency.

Or, at the very minimum, follow our friend Clay’s example and give them an energy bar.

Boiled Frogs

A recipe for a very rich stew. Serves fewer than 1%.

Cooking Directions:
In a very large melting pot, add 200+or- million domestic and imported frogs, toads, tadpoles, pollywogs and porwigles. Do not preheat. Slowly, ever so slowly, raise the heat over 50 or 60 years.

While constantly stirring, gradually add

  • 4.5+or- % average annual inflation – make sure as much of the increase as possible comes from food, health care, prescriptions, insurance and energy costs, and as little as possible comes from wages;
  • 1+or- % average annual reduction in top marginal tax rates while flattening all tax rates;
  • Easy access to cheap credit – IMPORTANT: gradually reduce access while increasing rates and fees over cooking time – whenever possible, connect credit to home ownership and inflated appraisals;
  • Deregulated banking and securities industries;
  • Offshoring of industrial jobs – IMPORTANT: gradually reduce all anti-trust protection – for the best taste, remove all regulations and protections;
  • Heaping amounts of fear, race and class baiting, nationalism, chauvinism, religious intolerance, ignorance, scandal, distortion, misinformation, spin and Republicans.

During cooking, strain off any frogs that have grown large enough to feed Wall Street.

Just prior to serving, burst any bubbles, which might have formed in housing, stock market or pensions and remove any remaining safety net.

Season to taste with extended patent protection, subverting public utilities, tort “reform”, additional sales and sin taxes, lotto, industrial waste, carbon emissions, special tax breaks for business and the wealthy, criminalization of street drugs, and high fructose corn syrup.

Bon Appétit.

If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death. – Wikipedia

New on the Dew: News & Opinion Feeds

feed screen shotRecently we have added an exclusive new feature on the LikeTheDew.com site that you may not have noticed – News & Opinion Feeds. One page where you can view headlines and excerpts of almost 2,000 (and growing) of the most popular places on the internet – updated every few minutes with the latest posts. You get to it by clicking the “News & Opinion Feeds” link at the top of any page.

More than just world or US news, you can select to view the type of news you want. Want it local? Just click your state on the map. Want it more specific? Just click on the link at the top of the page for Arts or Business/Economic or Cause or Food or Green or Health or Places or Politics or Science/Tech or Sports or Writing or Every Block (a beta feature).

close up

This is a screen shot of the page showing what happens when you mouseover a headline and an excerpt appears. Click the headline and you'll go to full story.

Then, just mouseover a headline and you’ll see an excerpt of the story. Click on it and you’ll be taken to the site to read more. Want to see more feeds from that source? Just click “More Story Feeds” link at the bottom of each section.

A few words of warning – some of the feeds load a little slowly – 10-20 seconds with an average connection, but some pages may take up to a minute. Be patient, it will be worth it. Also, you are likely to see some broken feeds from time to time – many sites have their feeds go down for one reason or another and we’ll try and keep up with problems you find.

Now you might be thinking that we are stealing content – we are not. This page is generated automatically from RSS feeds provided by each site. This page acts as a gateway for the original site with complete attribution and links. These sites love that we are promoting their content (hear any complaints and we will immediately remove it and say we are sorry). We just wish they’d do the same for us.

In the coming months, we plan to offer more bells and whistles to the feeds – weather, editorial cartoons, photos, videos and more. We’d love your feedback and ideas sites (look for RSS, XML or Atom feeds – regrettably, many sites do not provide a feed) or sections to be added. Please email your suggestions and comments to: [email protected].

Atlanta Dogwood Festival This Weekend

lapelpinThe 73rd Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival returns to Piedmont Park this weekend, April 17, 18 & 19.

Join the fun at Piedmont Park during this annual weekend celebration of Spring. Usually scheduled for the first or second week in April, this event features a spectacular children’s parade along with an International Village of artists and performers. Art shows are held both days. Activities include arts and crafts exhibits, concerts, competitions, dance demonstrations, and lots of goodies to munch on. After the festival, jump on a bike and take a scenic tour through beautiful Midtown, one of Atlanta’s most diverse neighborhoods. Admission is free.

Special Events

Preview Party
Thursday, April 16: 6:30 – 8:30 PM
For Dogwood lovers who just can’t wait for the festival to start, the Thursday night Preview Party will grant them early access. On Thursday, April 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., guests can get an artist preview, sip cocktails and enjoy the delightful crooning of Michel Innocent. The Preview Party takes place in the Pavilion and are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Open Air Comedy Club – Lake Clara Meer Dock Stage
Friday, April 17: 8:00 PM
Friday is comedy night at the Dogwood Festival’s Open Air Comedy Club at the dock stage on Lake Clara Meer. The fun begins at 8:03 p.m. with a half-hour stand-up comedy show by Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshoppe Graduates, followed by a full hour of improv from Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. Guests can enjoy cocktails in the ZonePerfect Art Bar before the show. A limited amount of tickets for comedy night are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Friends of Dogwood – Pavilion
Saturday, April 18 & Sunday, April 19: 1-5 PM
It’s a new tradition at a 73-year-old festival, and the “Friends of Dogwood Pavilion” could be the best way to enjoy the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. This ticketed event that became part of the Dogwood Festival in 2008 will offer a special area on Saturday and Sunday featuring some of the neighborhood’s favorite restaurants combined with specialty beverages. Participating restaurants include South City Kitchen, Babette’s Cafe, 4th & Swift, Genki, Metrotainment Bakery, Fritti, Twisted Taco and others to be announced soon! This ticket includes FREE ADMISSION to the Thursday Night Preview Party!

Saturday Restaurants
Metrotainment Bakery
Babette’s Cafe
Twisted Taco
South City Kitchen Midtown
Wildfire
Eclipse de Luna
Dolce
Geisha
The Nook
Six Feet Under

Wine Companies-
International Society of Africans in WIne (ISAW)
Total WInes
Catamarca Imports
Bacco Fine Wine
Sunday Restaurants-
Metrotainment Bakery
4th and Swift
Twisted Taco
Genki
Nickiemoto’s
Gordon Biersch
Roy’s
Chow Baby

Wine Companies-
International Society of Africans in WIne (ISAW)
Total WInes
Bacco Fine Wine

The Midtown Neighbors’ Association Tour of Homes
This year’s tour features ten homes in eight locations. The Midtown Neighbors’ Association will showcase homes featured on HGTV as well as in home improvement magazines. The homes are located from Myrtle to Peachtree, 5th to 9th streets.

2009 ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE (subject to change)

MAIN STAGE
Friday, April 17, 2009
5:00 – 6:00 pm    Lindsay Rakers Band
6:30 – 7:30 pm    Golden
8:00 – 9:00 pm    Yacht Rock Revue

Saturday, April 18, 2009
10:45am – 12:00pm    Atlanta Freedom Band
12:30 – 1:15 pm    Daysahead
1:45 – 2:30 pm    4th Ward Afro Klezmer Orchestra
2:45 – 3:30 pm    Stratogeezer  
4:00 – 4:45 pm    Black Top Rockets  
5:15 – 6:00 pm    Young Antiques  
6:30 – 7:15 pm    Connor Christian & Southern Gothic  
7:45 – 9:00 pm    Heather Luttrell

Sunday, April 19, 2009
12:00pm – 3:00pm    National Black Arts Festival presents Gospel
3:30 – 4:15pm    Batata Doce   
4:45 – 5:30pm    Hoots & Hellmouth  
5:45 – 6:30pm    Breeze Kings 

Community and International Stage at Lake Clara Meer Dock
Friday,  April 17th:  start time 8:03 pm  Open Air Comedy Club featuring the Jeff justice Comedy Workshoppe Grads and Dad’s Garage Theater!  Limited tickets may be purchased on the special events page of this website

Saturday, April 18
10:00am – 11:45am    After School All Star Kids – school group
12:00pm – 12:45pm    Ryuku Arts – Festival of Drum dance, Karate Dance
1:00pm – 1:45pm    Royal Scottish Country Dancers
2:00pm – 2:45pm    Village Theatre – Improv Comedy
3:00pm – 3:20pm    Rajen Raval and Nritya Natya Kala Bharti Academy
3:20pm – 3:45pm    Chinese-American Cultural Performing Group; Shufang Zither Studio – GuZheng Music; Lion Dance, Kung Fu Dance, Chinese Violin
4:00pm – 4:45pm    Arjho C. Turner – Blaan Tribe Dance; Faith Ward – Philippine Traditional Songs; Galing Pinoy – Philippine Traditional Songs; Soli Nicolson & Chris Rockett- Philippine songs
5:00pm – 5:45pm    Richard Omar & the Prodigal Sun Band – Caribbean
6:00pm – 6:45pm   SALSAtlanta – Salsa Dancers
7:00pm – 8:30pm    Rouzbeh Hoshmondy, Flamenco Guitar

Sunday, April 19
1:00pm – 1:45pm   Our Kids Atlanta – School Group
2:00pm – 2:20pm    The King O’Sullivan School of Irish Dance
2:30pm – 2:55pm    Atlanta International School Choir
3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m    Okinawa Kengin Kai, Taiko group; International Mai no Kai; Drum Dance; Japanese Traditional Dance; Okinawa Sahshin
4:15pm – 4:45pm   Turkish Folk Dance Troupe of Atlanta
5:00pm – 5:15pm    Taiwanese School of Georgia
5:30pm – 6:15pm    Festival de las Americas presents: 24 Horas & Fernada Cornejo
Visit the Drum Tent Saturday and Sunday near the Community Center for Interactive Drumming Sessions