Monday, January 19, 2009

Decatur Blur Spawns Wave of the Future

Publisher Emeritus examines blog's momentous legacy.

Wow. What a difference a year makes. This time last year I was coming clean, sort of. Providing the suspicious few with a little confirming evidence as to who was behind the Decatur Blur and why it had seemingly disappeared.

At the same time, I was putting forth a challenge for budding Decatur satirists to rise from the ashes of obscurity and assume my regretfully vacated throne. To take the seeds planted by the Blur and nurture them into a robust public conversation about all things Decatur. To use every conceivable metaphor in the span of single paragraphs.

And that’s what happened. But not, as with most things in life, the way I expected.

You see, no one was interested in perpetuating my legacy. And, looking back, that makes a lot of sense. Why would anyone want to take over someone else’s blog when it’s so easy to start your own?

Unbeknownst to me in my now-comfy Midwestern climes (Jeeez, it’s cold!), new voices were emerging. At the time I presented my 2008 challenge a year ago, the revolution was already underway. As I now know, two frighteningly prolific Decatur blogs – Decatur Metro and inDecatur – had already launched several months prior and were quietly building their audiences. Just shy of two years after the birth of the Blur (and around four months after its last issue-specific post), my dream of hyper-local scrutiny and discussion was being realized in full. By people who apparently possess the time and commitment necessary to do it right.

Today, everyone’s talking about how newspapers are goin’ down and how citizen journalists are going to fill the void. Fat chance. Blogs may serve as a much-needed upgrade to print’s Op-Eds, but I have little confidence that the average community possesses enough bloggers willing to apply the rigors of journalistic restraint (not to mention the costs of legitimate efforts) to local coverage. Truth? Balance? Maybe some, but please. The average blogger is an opinionated jackass just like I was and their postings, quite rightly, reflect their agendas.

Of course, Decatur’s not your average community so it should come as no surprise that it’s found itself with not one but two bloggers who – for the most part – are assuming the role of Town Crier quite valiantly. So much so that they’ve become my go-to resources when trying to keep tabs on my old stomping grounds.

Decatur Metro seems to be where the bulk of discussions takes place but inDecatur’s got the lock on volume. Together, they possess a sort of old-school Atlanta Constitution vs. Atlanta Journal mojo, with Metro assuming the progressive role while inDecatur reminds everyone that the town still has at least one conservative in residence. In tandem, they provide better coverage of Decatur than I ever experienced during my many years living there, even during the AJC’s heyday.

And now, they’ve spawned disciples of their own, with additional Decaturites filling all kinds of subniches – from local history and flavor to parenting issues to school coverage. It’s really quite amazing.

Having already received ample accolades, Decatur’s current slew of blogs are poised to help redefine how local issues will be communicated and discussed in the future and, in that endeavor, I wish them the best of luck.

However, someday, an investigative journalist or archaeologist or sociologist may come calling. “As best I can tell,” they might ask me, “the genus of this new paradigm seems to lead back to you. There was Decatur as it had existed since its inception, then there was the Decatur Blur, and now we have what we have. Are you willing to assume credit for this? For changing the world as we know it?”

And to this outrageously inflated, hopelessly inaccurate query, I’ve already prepared my response: “Sure.”


Monday, January 07, 2008

Decatur Stunned by Blurmeister’s Absence

Mystery solved as search begins for new contributors.

Following a lengthy absence from the public eye, and spurred by endless tear-soaked emails begging “Where are you?,” The Decatur Blur’s own Blurmeister General ends his silence today, finally going on record and, in the process, perhaps unveiling his long-held identity – a closely guarded secret and subject of countless heated debates from City Hall to the lonely outward settlements north of Scott Blvd.

“For those who have speculated that I left town,” he said, “you would be correct. But it was not under a cloud of shame. It may surprise you, but my role as Publisher and Editor in Chief to the Decatur Blur was not my full time job. In everyday life I am, in fact, in academia, teaching political science. I, my wife, and my two children now live in the Midwest, where I’ve taken on a new position.”

At the suggestion that such generous personal details could blow the lid off one of Decatur’s most intriguing mysteries, the General is unfazed. “Yes, I suppose it’s true,” he notes, “that, reading this, some of my former neighbors will make the connection and figure out who I am, but I have a feeling many of them already knew. Anyone who’s ever had us over for dinner and a few bottles of wine was surely suspicious. Some accused me openly.”

And there the detail stops. But not the story. You see, the machine called the Decatur Blur, and the belief held by many that affection is often best demonstrated through lighthearted nudges and prods, is undeterred by a mere changing of the guard. In fact, through the magic of modern telecommunications, the Blurmeister General will continue to serve in the role of Publisher Emeritus, consulting on content now slated to be generated by remaining stringers closer to home.

That’s where you come in, dear reader. The savvy insight once made possible by the General’s immersion in the thick of local issues is impossible from a thousand miles away. We need material from those who remain. Those with equal affection for Decatur and a yearning, aching desire to point out its occasional blunders and flubs.

Interested? Then don your shiniest armor of civic responsibility and email us today at

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Amnesty International to Monitor
Decatur Trash Amnesty Days

Amidst reports that certain individuals were being denied their rights, Amnesty International announced today that they were dispatching monitors to oversee and, if need be, enforce Decatur’s Trash Amnesty Days.

“The examples are numerous,” said a spokesperson. “We’ve heard from a gentleman trying to dispose of dead car batteries and being denied. We’ve heard from a woman with an old refrigerator being literally stripped of the basic human dignity to which we’re all entitled.

“To think that such abuses are taking place right here in our own country. It’s maddening.”

In the eyes of the city, certain items, such as freon or battery acid, are simply too detrimental to the environment to allow for amnesty – a view not shared by the renowned human rights organization, whose work has delivered safe haven to countless political prisoners suffering at the hands of tyrannical abuses.

Americans are entitled to certain inalienable freedoms, they counter; among them, the right to consume as many worthless material products as desired and, in turn, to subsequently dispose of such items once their innate worthlessness becomes apparent.

”We’re concerned,” continued the spokesman, “that Decatur is obstructing the second half of this sacred equation. Without our ability to offload our waste onto the community at large, the entire system that defines us begins to break down.”

Local resident Edna Pastor was more direct. “My obligation is to get things off my property and to the curb. I just wish the city was as diligent as I am.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Mini-Menne" Unveiled

Pint-sized clone to focus on small-scale infill projects.

Decatur city officials, in conjunction with a rogue team of underground Emory geneticists, announced today that they have successfully cloned Economic Development Director Lyn Menne.

“Lyn’s been instrumental in Decatur’s success,” beamed the Mayor. “We used to jokingly say ‘If only we could clone her.’ Then the folks from Emory called and next thing you know…”

Sporting a diminutive stature described by chief geneticist Dr. Carol Lumpkin as “adorable,” the "Mini-Menne" miniature clone has been created to address the one issue that has eluded the scope of the city’s efforts: small parcel redevelopment.

The problem, it seems, is parking. City regulations require all new construction to absorb parking on site. While this seems perfectly reasonable for a large project like the Artisan, it also ensures that a modest downtown building like the Brick Store Pub cannot be duplicated.

“Even if someone owns a small plot outright,” said Mini-Menne in the cutest little voice you ever heard, “it’s essentially impossible to cover construction costs when half the land must be given over to cars.”

As a result, developers must amass large parcels to make the numbers work.

“Our goal,” she squeaked, “is to look at solutions that allow smaller buildings as an option. Shared parking arrangements, on-street parking, municipal lots, that kind of thing."

“I mean," she concluded in her squeaky-weaky little twitter of a voice, "forcing a small building to provide parking when there’s ample parking next door or out front? I know my brain is proportionately smaller than a normal-sized first generation human but that’s stupid, right?”

Beginning Monday, Mini-Menne will be available in the Development Office at City Hall, occupying a closet that has been reconfigured into a tiny replica of the office occupied by Ms. Menne.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Decatur Living Magazine Revolutionizes
Publishing Paradigm

While newspapers and magazines around the country suffer reduced circulation and revenues at the hands of ever-increasing media choices, local start-up Decatur Living magazine has unveiled what they call “a new publishing paradigm… internet-proof, recession-proof, the whole deal.”

The model is simple: Create flattering editorial content that resembles extended ad copy and the subjects of those profiles will enthusiastically purchase ad space to go along with it.

“Advertisers have become gun-shy,” notes the publisher. “Why would they risk purchasing advertising when there’s always a chance your editorial staff will uncover unflattering details about them or, worse, ignore them completely? In some lofty quest for ethics and credibility – and this is the part that kills me – publications drive this separation between reporting and advertising. It kills their profit-potential.”

Instead, Decatur Living keeps things simple with an intuitive, and fair, adjective-to-ad size policy. Purchase a full-page ad and you’re guaranteed at least 10 fawning adjectives, ranging from “delightful” to “exceptional” to “elegant.” By contrast, an eighth of a page ad will get you “unique.”

The idea is catching on. “It’s the answer to a lot of industry prayers,” she asserts, “and not just in print media. For example, consider this Decatur Blur online thing. Have you seen it? Not too savvy. I mean, who’s going to advertise with them when it’s only a matter of time before they try to make you look like a total jerk?”

“Grow up, kids,” she offered. “You’ll never get rich biting the hand that feeds.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tidbits: News Submitted by Our Readers

One of the things that makes The Decatur Blur work is the faithful comments and submissions from our readers. Sometimes they pitch story ideas. Sometimes they share a different point of view. And sometimes they're downright pissed. But more than anything, they demonstrate one indisputable truth: It takes all kinds to make a community. Here's the latest:

Blur Reader Not Amused
Jokes about foreign accents are unacceptable, declared a Decatur Blur visitor last week. Whores, junkies, NIMBYs, city officials and drug store managers apparently remain fair game.

Emory Village Proponents
Hold Out for Slow Death
Fearing that evolution could lead to long-term viability, passionate members of the Druid Hills Civic Association have stepped up their fight to pretend the past four decades never happened. When informed of the village redevelopment scuffle, a long deceased Frederick Olmsted replied, "Jeeez. If I thought things should stay the same forever, that place would still be a damn forest."

Public/Private Partnership Helps
Expedite Inevitable Death of Tree
In a moving display of cooperation between public and private entities, a developer at 5th and Oakview together with Decatur's impotent residential tree ordinance have successfully expedited Mother Nature’s agonizingly slow aging process, shortening a signature tree's remaining years to as little as two. “When people work together,” said a spokesperson, “it's amazing what you can accomplish.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Beacons of Hope: Lost Fishermen
Find Salvation in New Lighting

Though the formal opening of Decatur’s downtown MARTA plaza is still weeks away, its recently installed decorative lighting has already made a dramatic impact, providing guidance and, ultimately, salvation to a boat full of Taiwanese fishermen lost at sea for 18 days and presumed dead.

“Oh rucky day!” exclaimed crew chief Long Duc Tran. “Those beautiful rights. So big. So blight. They bling us home!”

Undoing the mistakes of the plaza’s original design, conceived at a time when architects drew their inspiration from the movie “Logan’s Run” rather than from civic spaces that people actually enjoy being in, the current six million dollar overhaul has, in large part, been an effort to draw people back to the square. However, from how far away has always been a matter of conjecture.

Until now.

“No one could have suspected just how effective these magnificent lights would be,” beamed Mayor Floyd. “Welcome, fishermen. We’re proud to have you!”

Noting that Taiwan was "the good China,” the Mayor extended the men a heartfelt invitation to stay and make a new life here, though he conceded that there were probably few fishing opportunities to sustain their livelihoods.

“Still,” he continued, “I guarantee you could do quite well for yourselves in landscaping.”

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thieves and Miscreants Decry “Genocide”

Calling it “nothing short of class warfare,” a broad coalition of junkies, vandals, smack-heads, thieves, ten dollar whores, wife beaters, gang bangers, dope fiends and a colorful array of the criminally insane decried today the closing of Decatur’s Relax Inn, a long-cherished haven for their community.

“Decatur wants us out,” said a spokesperson known only as ‘Chalky’. “For a city that prides itself on inclusion, this is just flat out intolerance of the highest order.”

Not so, says the city, pointing out that pending redevelopment is just a sign of the times -- an increasingly valuable piece of property and a developer looking to take advantage of it.

“That’s a prime piece of downtown real estate,” noted the city’s economic development director. “I’m not sure that laying low, hawking rim jobs for pocket change, dancing with Mr. Brownstone or riding the white horse represents its highest and best use.”

There’s no debating that the infamous Inn has had its share of challenges, beginning with its original name, The Relapse Inn. Yet despite them, it's still managed to engender a certain fondness on the part of those who despise it – a phenomenon chronicled in the pages of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Now the question remains: Where are Decatur’s fringe elements going to gather in the future? Will those on the lam have a place to rest their weary heads?

“Consider the loss,” continued Chalky. “No longer will residents have a convenient outlet to participate, for a very competitive price, in certain physical activities that their spouse may be unwilling to oblige. Not to mention having a place to score. Or to kick.”

Further confirming that the Inn’s closing and imminent destruction are a done deal, Mr. Chalky indicated that the group had looked into filing the necessary petitions to be treated as a protected class under anti-discriminatory statutes, but had decided against it. “That would mean dealin' with the man,” he clarified, “and most of our membership would like to avoid that if possible.”

“Where are those ladies who locked arms to save the Old Courthouse?” he asked wearily. “We sure could use ‘em.”

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

City Introduces 'Decatur 401'
Graduate-Level Civics Program

By almost every measure, Decatur’s “Decatur 101” city government civics class has been a tremendous success. Consistently popular and engaging, it routinely fills to capacity and even generates a waiting list of interested attendees.

Its performance statistics are not in dispute. But today, as it enters its eighth year, there’s finally sufficient historical perspective to also consider the depth of its legacy. What, it begs to be asked, have participants really learned?

The answer? Just enough to be dangerous.

“Dear God,” commented the city’s typically positive mayor, “now we’ve got a town full of experts with nothing better to do than tell us how to do our jobs.”

Reports are rampant of Decatur 101 graduates who now spend their days in a series of phone calls to City Hall, offering everything from suggestions for improvement to crime theories to a detailed plan for replacing the city’s commissioner-manager governing system with one based on the communal bonding properties of weed.

“Now they know who to call,” continued the city manager. “I swear, if I get one more complaint that some neighbor’s lawn needs cutting, I’m going to slit my throat.”

In response, the city has unveiled “Decatur 401,” a graduate-level continuation of the program, in hopes it will not only give 101 graduates something to occupy their time but, more importantly, might succeed in giving them something “to really cry about.”

For example, 401 registrants won’t just tour the police station. They’ll raid crack houses with guns drawn, serve as attack dummies in K-9 training exercises, and conduct cavity searches.

“You want a taste of city government?” chuckled the city’s police chief. “Oh, I can’t wait.”

To experience the joys of local leadership, students will participate in mock elections where they’ll be required to campaign for the role – such as Father – they play within their own homes. Should they fail to secure sufficient votes from their families, they’ll be forcibly removed and replaced with a new Dad the city calls “Ted.”

Where they’ll end up is anyone’s guess.

The “Decatur 401” program, which is being promoted with the tagline “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”, begins in March. Interested citizens will need to provide proof of adequate health and sign a liability waiver. Inquiries can be made here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

DBA Announces “Most Fuckable”
Window Display Promotion

Banking on the success of its yearly Terrific Thursdays holiday promotion, the Decatur Business Association recently unveiled what promises to be an equally popular, annual event: Most Fuckable Window Display.

“We’ve taken our downtown shopping experience to the next level,” declared the organization in a prepared statement, “gauging window displays not just for their level of excitement, but for the, uhhh, level of excitement observed in passing window-shoppers.”

Providing a much-needed alternative to mall shopping, where store windows typically focus on lifestyle and seasonal promotions with heavy-handed deference to national brand images, Decatur’s downtown retailers will put their focus on what may be the greatest, and yet rarely acknowledged, driver of retail sales: fuckability.

Of course, not every downtown merchant shares the excitement, fearing women’s apparel shops, especially those featuring contemporary, sexy fashions, will possess an unfair advantage over less provocative merchandising.

“Consider this,” said one storeowner, requesting anonymity. “A lot of people are very enthusiastic about yarn, but would never think of it as ‘fuckable.’ At least not most of them, anyway.”

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Decatur NIMBYs Set Sights on Cemetery

As condo development in Downtown Decatur proves, to the surprise of many, to make a positive contribution to the city’s vitality and local economy, increasingly impotent anti-density activists have now refocused their underutilized concern on a new target: Decatur Cemetery.

“It’s Decatur’s dirty little secret,” said Terry Applebaum, president of local activist group Citizens United Against Other Citizens Nearby, “and it’s been buried for too long.”

This latest NIMBY mobilization falls on the heels of the recent Howard @ Hillyer debacle, where bumbling yokels not only failed to prevent dense development within the downtown core, they effectively stripped the project of the very elements – such as neighborhood-focused retail – that make such densities desirable.

Smarting from their inability to invent a time machine or quantum-powered freeze ray allowing them to deny the inevitability of change, the group is proceeding cautiously into this new fight, remaining hopeful that the deceased will prove to be a less formidable opponent.

At issue now is the perception that Decatur Cemetery residents receive unfair advantages not afforded to others, and that their increasing numbers are a budgetary liability.

“The deceased are the worst population segment there is,” continued Applebaum. “They’re worse than people having children and expecting us to educate them. They bask in pristine surroundings, receiving round-the-clock security and comprehensive landscape maintenance, all on the public’s nickel, and yet they contribute nothing to the local tax digest.”

Still, the group is quick to point out that, rather than being judgmental, they’re simply being practical. “We’re not opposed to the dead, per se,” stresses Applebaum, “just to their dead weight. It’s time the life-deprived started paying their own way.”

Proposals for how this might be accomplished, however, have yet to be forthcoming.

Insiders speculate this may be due to differing opinions within the organization, where some advocate a no-death approach while other, more progressive, members generally favor slow-death.

Meanwhile, with open land still available within the cemetery’s 71 acres, the city’s interred population will undoubtedly continue to rise. A fact that has surrounding neighbors fuming.

“With more than a hundred to the acre in there, it’s like they’re living right on top of each other,” said nearby resident Jill Patterson. “Of course, ‘living’ is probably the wrong word, but you get the idea.”

Friday, December 08, 2006

Clusterfuck! Howard Be Thy Name.

Ask anyone to explain traffic flow in the area directly across South McDonough from Decatur High School and their response will likely range from a dull stupor to a profound sense of befuddlement. In this installment of “Your City Speaks!,” we wrangle up some answers, beginning with what lead to two adjacent one-way streets heading in the same direction.

“It’s not a mystery,” says the city’s Deputy Manager. “The sign on East Maple Street says ‘One Way’ and it flows west. When we decided to make Howard Avenue one-way as well, our hands were tied. You can’t have a second way. It’s one way, and that way is west.”

As a result, and however redundant it might seem, it's now no longer possible to drive around the block when accessing local addresses.

“We found that if we configured our streets to ensure local traffic was forced up an extra block onto Trinity, not only could we make simple endeavors unnecessarily complicated but we’d increase congestion on an already burdened thoroughfare to boot. We even managed to devalue the commercial property along that stretch of Church by making access virtually impossible. It’s just an all around win.”

Perhaps most perplexing is why Howard (or East Maple, for that matter) became one-way to begin with. Even with the new PATH in place, the street remains wide enough for two 11’ travel lanes, one in each direction. Since the city has made no effort to designate and encourage on-street parking, the logical inference is that a single 22’ lane was intentional.

“That’s right,” continued the official. “The adjacent PATH is all about recreation. And what’s the one thing that makes recreation more exciting? Risk. By increasing the street’s width – in essence, engineering for higher speeds – we ensure that biking or walking on the PATH is never dull. When you know a careening vehicle could veer off the road at any minute and flatten you in the midst of your cardio workout, that’s invigorating!”

The ultimate result has been a clusterfuck of such immense proportions that traffic engineers, community planners, gawkers, looky-loos and eccentrics fixated on the very least of human achievement have descended upon the town to experience it first hand.

“See,” concluded the city official, “even tourism’s up. No need to thank me, though. That’s just city government in action. Happy motoring!”

Friday, February 17, 2006

Oakhurst Victory: Commercial Strip’s New Owner
Vows to Maintain Shitty Character

Residents surrounding the intersection of Mead Road and West College Avenue breathed a collective sigh of relief recently upon learning that the new owners of the commercial strip there have made clear their intention to respect the longstanding neighborhood icon by faithfully maintaining — even furthering — its shitty character.

The strip’s fate became a hot button issue about two years ago when an outside development group attempted to purchase the property with the intention of rehabbing it and returning it to active use. Going so far as to circulate a questionnaire to the surrounding community soliciting their thoughts on what type of businesses they wanted to see, the prospective buyers brazenly suggested the possibility of a restaurant or drug store as the primary anchor.

Thankfully, through a well-coordinated defense on the part of the city (who insisted on quibbling over the inclusion of three additional parking spaces) and the immediately adjacent neighbors (who raised a litany of their own self-serving concerns) the buyers came to realize just what a special place this shit-laden, decaying eyesore has come to occupy in the hearts of Oakhurst residents. Wisely, they abruptly withdrew their offer.

Celebration was short-lived, however, as the strip’s ownership eventually changed hands nonetheless. Would the new owners attempt some sort of “improvements” which would undermine the third world ghetto sensibilities that give the property its unique character?

Thankfully, the answer has emerged as a clear and unequivocal “no.”

“Rest easy, Oakhurst,” said one of the new owners. “You have our solemn promise that this property will remain in grievous disrepair so long as we have any say about it.”

“Thank God,” said Kerry Porter, a neighboring mother of two who has expressed “concerns” throughout the process. “Change is something we can do without. That abandoned, rat-infested shit hole has become comfortably predictable as it quietly rots its way into oblivion. I’d hate to see someone come in and destroy that.”

"Just look at what happened down in Oakhurst Village," she added. "Back when it was all boarded up, it was so quiet and peaceful. Now, with all the neighborhood businesses and gathering spots, there's constant activity. It's a real shame."

True to their promise, the new owners have already begun a series of initiatives designed to further the property’s unique appeal. For example, in digging out some underground fuel tanks, they took the task of follow-through work seriously.

“Anyone could have applied great care to filling the holes, sealing them and restoring the curb and sidewalk around the corner,” noted one of the owners. “We simply dumped a bunch of rocks in them and were done with it.”

“That’s the level of detail,” he added, “that you can be sure to expect moving forward.”

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Exuberant Business Consultant Solves
Mystery of the Fairview Building

Despite the ongoing resurgence being experienced on West Ponce de Leon Avenue, from Commerce Avenue to the Post Office, businesses in the classic Fairview Building have continued to struggle, posing a confusing dilemma for the building’s longstanding owner/landlord.

Fearing the inevitable departure of certain key tenants, a decision was made to bring in exuberant local business consultant Glen Watkins to audit the situation, diagnose the problem, and propose a workable solution — all mainstays in the respected business consultant’s toolkit.

After considerable review, Watkins discovered a curious notation on the building’s front and side doors: “These doors always locked.” Red flags went up immediately.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said the 28 year old Watkins, a member of the local YPoDs (Young Professionals of Decatur). “We’re not just talking about some redundant access point tucked away on the backside of the building. This is the front door. The front door! And they’ve got it locked up tighter than a steel drum. Totally old school. I mean, I’ve seen archaic business practices before, but I always figured I’d need a time machine to witness something like this.”

Presented with the findings, property owners expressed surprise. “The street out there has a lot of people walking by and we were concerned that some of those people might be inclined to enter the building. We’re focused on the safety of our tenants. It hadn’t occurred to us that such passers-by might be customers who could help our tenants succeed professionally.”

Under the terms of his engagement contract, Watkins presented his recommendations in the form of a two-point action plan. First, unlock the doors during business hours. Second, remove the stickers.

“It’s up to them now,” said Watkins. “As a business consultant, I’m not empowered to flip the lock myself or scrape the adhesive lettering with a widget. My role extends only so far as advising my clients in their most responsible and advantageous course of action. Whether they ultimately take my advice is anybody’s guess.”

Monday, October 24, 2005

Anthill Rallies Against Proposed Development
at East Howard and Hillyer Street

Though it involves property that has been zoned commercial for nearly 40 years and adheres rigidly to the Decatur Master Plan [a collaborative work of hundreds of citizens investing countless hours of their own time over the span of two decades], George Rohrig’s proposed Hillyer Street mixed-use development has come under fire recently by the insect residents of an adjacent anthill.

“We’ve had it,” said Mr. Ant, spokes-ant for the group. “We’ve been walked on long enough.”

At issue is the project’s proposed height of 80 feet. Though consistent with the property’s zoning, anthill residents feel strongly that it constitutes an inappropriate stature for adjacent development — not an unpopular sentiment. In fact, the controversy has been further intensified by similar discontent from the human residents of the nearby Old Decatur Depot Neighborhood, who have initiated a protest campaign of their own.

Asked if he felt the ants’ cause would be furthered by surrounding homeowners joining the fray, Mr. Ant was blunt. “Frankly,” he grumbled, “they’re undermining our efforts. I mean, 80 feet. What is that, maybe three times the height of your average house? Oh, boo-hoo. Cry me a river. I’m talking about a proposed structure over 15,000 times taller than your average ant. I ask you, who’s got the legitimate complaint here?”

So far, Rohrig has failed to sit down with the ants to hear their grievances. “I wouldn’t know what to say or, more specifically, how to say it,” he offered. “Don’t they speak via telepathy or with high pitched squeals of some kind?”

Ultimately, such a meeting may not come to pass. “I doubt they’ll be taken seriously,” said a city official who has refused to broker a meeting. “You have to remember, regardless of their place of residence, these members of the insect kingdom don’t qualify as citizens.”

“Typical,” said Ant, when asked for comment. “Just typical.”

Monday, October 17, 2005

Local CVS Drug Store Proudly Refuses
to Stock Decatur Blue Trash Bags

While many of Decatur’s local retailers make genuine though, perhaps, unsophisticated efforts to meet the needs of area customers, drug store giant CVS continued today in its proud refusal to stock Decatur’s mandatory blue trash bags.

“Anyone can carry them,” explained store manager Ted Patel. “We distinguish ourselves by *not* carrying them. We’re a national chain. We diminish our brand by concerning ourselves with the inconsequential needs of local patrons. We’ve got a promise to live up to, and that promise is that CVS will do whatever it takes to remove as much money as possible from your community and subsequently transfer it to our corporate headquarters in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.”

“Besides,” continued Patel, “at least we’re honest about it. Try buying Decatur bags at [local business] Smith Ace Hardware. How many times do you need someone to tell you ‘we’re out of them’ before you realize they’re just giving you the same blow-off we are? They just refuse to admit it.”

Many fail to accept that Smith Hardware’s complete ineptitude in managing inventory is sufficient to offset the monumental corporate hubris of CVS.

“Smith’s been telling people things are out of stock long before CVS ever showed up,” said local shopper Edna Pastor, “and they’ll be doing it long after they’re gone. That’s what’s beautiful about local businesses. You can count on them.”