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My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Haiku Monday Winner: Southeast


After announcing the theme of "southeast," I remembered an I-don’t-think-entirely-apocryphal story from Atlanta back in the 1970s. Chickory may be familiar with this incident. It happened soon enough before I arrived in Atlanta that I don’t think it emerged out of whole cloth. Fleur may know it, too.

In a long-demolished shopping center known as Broadview Plaza near Piedmont and Lindbergh and Buford Highway was an intimate concert venue known as the great southeast music hall. They served buckets of beer -- about the equivalent of four and a half cans — and a glass. And you sat on the floor, as they had padded backstops you could lean up or pass out against. I saw a few very good concerts there. I think.

Back in the mid-70s, before he broke through on Saturday Night Live and elsewhere, Steve Martin did a show at the Great Southeast Music Hall. So few people showed up that he did only a quick set . . . and then took the audience bowling at the lanes nearby. Talk about a brush with fame.

Times have changed. Broadview Plaza is long, long gone. Atlanta has been torn down and rebuilt three times since Sherman finished his own mode of urban renewal. Steve Martin is now very self-consciously high culture.

Times have changed in Southeast Asia, too. With the CIA in the news lately, I wonder what’s going on in the parts of the world we don’t hear about so much anymore. As with any relationship gone south(east), in our national collective mind — and in the national subconscious — do we ever really walk away? In other generation or two, will we be back for another round? The words “Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos” mean little if anything to my children, who are not uninformed yutes. Will those names mean something again to their children?

Consider this little ditty, from 1974 (I hope the author/compiler, who previously checked in on the blog, doesn’t mind): “I took the rock [from Laos] to Lausch Test Labs in Seattle. They assayed this material, and it assayed out at 1.1 ounces of gold per ton. Oh my, that’s a high gold content! More than double anything in Alaska or the rest of the U.S.! Also there was 0.58 ounces of silver, and the rest was iron. When I got that assay report I called Bethlehem Steel and I talked to their exploration department. I said, ‘Would you guys be interested in something like this?’ They said, ‘My God! Where is it?’ I said, ‘I’m sorry but you won’t be able to get to it at this time. Not for at least a quarter of a century.’” Bethlehem Steel might still be waiting. Maybe not. We don’t know.

But your neighbor might. And that’s OK. I wish I had a marketable skill to lead me to a life of intrigue.

Where was I?

Fishy: Nice pieces evoking Florida beach culture. We lived at the beach in FL for two years -- although not a spring break destination. What I used to love in those years was going inland to I-95 to eat at the Waffle House during Bike Week. Great clientele. And Waffle House would issue special Waffle House Bike Week uniforms.

I like “Tops down flirty girls,” on a number of levels. I remember one year when I was still not yet old enough to drive legally (it might even have been right after I fell asleep at the wheel) and Dad Czar rented me a Camaro convertible for use for a week in Miami; I think it was to keep me out of his hair. So, sure, I had a Camaro convertible when I was 16 years old for a week in Miami. Unfortunately it was still me behind the wheel. No get lucky. Wouldn’t even know how to try.

Serendipity one (Alaska): Interesting story. You live a life with which I am unfamiliar. I also have tried to make the point that in these grand disasters that happen in life, not every person who dies is necessarily a saint or didn’t have it coming — although maybe they didn’t go in exactly the way someone imagined.

Moi: That’s just hilarious, as was the video. I must admit that I still get the occasional “pin”/“pen” thing wrong with the czarina. Dad czar says my vowels are all wrong since moving down here. “Rurnt”!

Becca: Great entries. Florida is an odd amalgam — if I might stretch your second one there, too. As a two-year Florida resident, I remember the excitement of receiving in the mail our first fall there an offer for a Florida residents’ pass to all the Disney properties — something like unlimited usage for three months for $99/person. At the time, we had a nine- and a six-year-old. I’m not sure we ever would have gone to Disney otherwise. And there is nothing like an ocean. As Mark Twain said upon his first view of the Atlantic, “It appears to be a success.”

Serendipity two (sunset over your shoulder): Sublime and witty. I see those colors often around here. Quite nicely done.

BlazngScarlet: A lot of past and present Floridians checking in. My heart doesn’t really yearn for anywhere, but there are certain state borders I cross over and think, “Back home.” Two are in the Southeast. I don’t see myself returning north in this lifetime, but I think at this point I’d feel out of place. On the ’Bama thing . . . the czarina grew up in Alabama, and her whole family went there. I need to be careful. Although she’ll pull for Georgia, her alma mater, over Alabama. And I think at this point she’d pull for Virginia over either of them.

Karl: Ever the man who can make as much sense in seventeen syllables as anybody, and with a lilting rhythm, yet.

Chickory: I need a lifeline. I know the Mason-Dixon line, and I know the gnat line. What’s above the gnat line and it’s not so important that it’s below the Mason-Dixon line? What am I missing? Arrggh! Thankfully, for me, we have syllable issues that add to the mystery. But I’m sitting here messing with Venn diagrams.

This week’s winner grabbed me right off, and while I might discount eating up five syllables with one’s own name, when one’s own name captures the moment and the haiku as it does here, I’m not one to quibble.

And you need the visual and the story:

http://serendipitouswildmoments.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/sunset-in-the-southeast/

A southeast sunset?
Serendipity reflects;
surprise from behind!

It was a delightful surprise for me, too — with an interesting and multifaceted twist to the theme, and a timeless look at a theme that's ever in flux. The win goes to Serendipity. Thanks, all, for another grand time.


12 comments:

moi said...

Great stories to accompany your judging and a most excellent decision. Congrats to Serendipity, who has become quite the haiku master.

And I'm looking forward to Chickory's explanation as well . . .

I often have to remind myself that you've spent the bulk of your adult life in the Southeast. Your accent always rings "back east" to me.

fishy said...

Congratulations Serendipity!
That was a wonderful SE sunset photo.

Czar,
You are on the money with the " tops down flirty girls". One does not flirt the same in a hardtop as a convertible with the top down. You might not have been "lucky" but I'd bet money you flirted that Camaro up and down Collins.

NO!NO!95! No awful house either.
It might actually be a punishable sin to mention the awful and the super slab in the same sentence with the beloved, historic and oh so fabulous A1A. Maybe we should consult Aunty on this?

czar said...

@Moi: When I hear my own voice, I hear the subway, too. But most people who haven't spent time around New Yorkers rarely think I'm from there. Even when I began attending college in the South, fresh out of a childhood in Gotham, people were surprised. My brother and father and late mother, though . . . all clearly New Yorkers talking.

I've officially spent my entire adult life in the Southeast. Came to Atlanta for college at age 17. Longest ever returned north was the summer after freshman year. Czarina's never lived anywhere else. Present location is the farthest north for her, but she'd love to live a year in Manhattan, or a few months anyway.

@Fishy: I'll give you I-95, but Waffle House these days is clearly tied up with the Southeast, and I'd say that's a very good deal for both.

There's a great picture in a book I work on of the cars racing on the original beach track at Daytona. Now that looked like some fun.

chickory said...

What an entertaining host you are. you should try and win more often. I did not arrive on the atl until 1981. So i missed the padded beer hall and apparently the disco kroger with a white tiger trapped under its plexiglass floor.

I cant defend my haiku. I have no idea what the hell i was talking about.

Congratulations, Sere, you turn in a lovely haiku every week, each time sharing your extraordinary life.

http://serendipitouswildmoments.wordpress.com/ said...

Wow. I won a haiku contest hosted by Czar! Czar the word man? This is quite an honor.

I am glad you did not give me demerits for using my namesake, but the word was needed for the haiku. Yipee.

I'll put up a proper post for a theme a little later at http://serendipitouswildmoments.wordpress.com/, but start thinking of a rock edifice you know. I know I can't do as fun a writeup as Czar's writup through space and time along the east coast!!

Thanks, Czar! And thanks everyone for the kind words. This is a fun group with which to engage in wordplay.

Chickory, no interpretation? Is a gnat line kind like where they all hit a sleeve cuff and line up and bite? I never heard the term, but seems like I have had a line. Chiggers do that too.

czar said...

@Chickory: I was there for the era of the disco Kroger, but I had closer grocery stores. And I know how you feel on the haiku. I've had some weeks like that myself.

@Serendipity: My pleasure. The gnat line, which I think is sorta the same as the fall line, is the psychological and geological and entomological dividing line between upland and lowlying Georgia. Think of a line cutting across the state from southwest to northeast generally in the upper half of the state. Being below the gnat line in summer is where the screen porches and ceiling fans come in. Chickory is safely above the gnat line.

czar said...

I have answered the riddle. Going back to my original question:

Q. What’s above the gnat line and it’s not so important that it’s below the Mason-Dixon line?

A. Chickory.

moi said...

D'oh! Of course!

BlazngScarlet said...

Excellent choice Czar!
Thank you for being such a gracious host.

Serendipity, congratulations on your win! =)

Have a wonderful weekend y'all!

Karl said...

Good evening Czar,

Thank you for hosting. A most entertaining read with both your original post and your winners post. Additionally a fine job by everyone. I wish I'd had more time to play.

With regard as to whether, their children will know those names. Let us hope that it's from the products that come from the country's. Rather than their defense, from an expanding China.

My children know the names and the history. They have met some of the faces. And heard a few of the stories. Yet mostly it's disjointed. The nice old guy with the little dog, bears little resemblance to the black face emptying 100 round belt from his Stoner across a rice paddy. Or the nice fellow with white hair than remembers everyone's name and asks their health, whenever they see him. And who spent his entire time over there, handling cargo for Air America.

Congratulations Serendipity! An interesting topic. I hope to make a good show it this week.

becca said...

one of the perks of living in Fl is discounted rates to Disney if not for those we would never go. congrats to Serendipity as always brilliant.

Leslie said...

Csar, after your mention of the "Southeast Music Hall" I am feeling homesick for Atlanta @ 1975: when Lenox Square still had a drugstore with a (non-ironic) 4-strip photo booth and the Orange Julius at Perimeter Mall still used raw eggs to make its orange drinks fluffy. (Can you tell I spent a lot of time in malls?) Congrats, Serendipity, and to all of you for such evocative entries. And to Csar, who is the most entertaining host.