Michelle Hiskey

Atlanta arcade deviants unite to play the silver (pin)ball

As the world prepared to wage war against Adolf Hitler three-quarters of a century ago, the Atlanta City Council took aim at a homegrown evil. “These machines lead to gambling and stealing and killing and eventually to a rope around the neck for someone,” said then-Atlanta city councilman E.A. Minor.

Minor was, of course, talking about pinball. On June 19, 1939, the council voted to ban the machines that he believed “encourage a moral degeneration among our children.” Minor must be somersaulting under the grass.
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Atlanta men, man up for girls. Period.

Without men, you can’t spell menstruation. And that’s as far as most men want to read about this subject. But local men like Nathan Hilkert are manning up to encourage other men to pitch in for Days for Girls, a volunteer effort that targets a big barrier to educating girls in developing countries. When they have their periods, they miss school. Days for Girls prepares and delivers reusable feminine hygiene kits.

Men and boys play an incredibly important role in tackling the taboos around menstruation that isolate and weaken girls and help lead to sexual exploitation and violence.
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Overcoming skeptics, C.S. Lewis lives again on the Atlanta stage

At age 63, C.S. Lewis had written his last book and was facing the end of his life, already one of the most influential writers of his era. Now 63, just as he has for nearly four decades, Atlanta actor Tom Key will bring the renowned British academic, novelist and theologian to life once again next week.

Key will reprise his one-man show, “C.S. Lewis On Stage,” at the Theatrical Outfit starting June 19. The show will run until June 29. Lewis renounced his Christian faith and then reclaimed it. And through his radio broadcasts, writing and speeches, he inspired others to take a look at what they believed and why.
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What to do with a rabid cat

Until you’ve been chased by an animal that’s foaming at the mouth, you haven’t really experienced the terror of rabies. 

Recent reports of potentially rabid animals threatening humans have reminded me of my own encounter with a rabid cat that I trapped with a recycling bin in my DeKalb County backyard just as it leapt to attack me. While it sounds like a freak occurrence, it’s surprisingly common especially during our warmest months, and it’s dead serious.

Last Thursday, a 13-year-old boy strangled a fox that had bit him. He’s receiving precautionary anti-rabies treatment pending the outcome of tests to determine if the animal was rabid.
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Resurrecting history, family legacy at Utoy Cemetery

Stories of heroism, honor, sacrifice on the field of battle—the kind repeated every Memorial Day—are in a peculiar way not only about the people whose lives are remembered through them. They are also about us and where we come from.

This is true for Malcolm McDuffie, who has long championed the preservation of a cemetery that represents great significance to his own family, as it does for the history of Georgia. The Utoy Cemetery is connected to one of Atlanta’s earliest churches and the remains buried there tell stories about his ancestors, the Civil War and our shared history. Continue reading

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With love to Garcia Marquez, one word at a time

On a day that seemed so damp that fish could have come in through the door and floated out the windows, lovers of the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) gathered at Kavarna coffeehouse in Decatur to pay their respects by reading from his timeless stories of families, war, death, and above all, the magic of love.

They came to 100 Readers of Solitude, named in homage to the author’s greatest novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien Anos de Soledad).” One by one they read vigorously, declaratively, and with humor, like Garcia Marquez wrote.
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Heavy loads lifted at truck stop chapel

Jackson, Ga. — When a tractor-trailer is barreling down behind you on I-285, the driver may not seem human at all. Pull over at exit 201 off Interstate 75, and you see the personal side of the men and women who drive the big rigs.

About 40 miles south of Atlanta, the Trucker’s Chapel is a truck trailer converted into a sanctuary. Some of these truckers carry hefty emotional loads and seek pastoral help to go the distance in life, not just behind the wheel.

“When you’re traveling on the road, it’s pretty lonely out there even though you’re in a crowd,” said “Chaplain Joe” Hunter, president of TruckStop Ministries Inc., which maintains 82 similar chapels at travel centers in 29 states and is headquartered next door. “We provide a place where they can come and have fellowship, somebody they can talk to, a shoulder to lean on.”
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Gay marriage in Georgia? Not if, but when, forum participants say

Ten years ago, banning same-sex marriage was so in vogue that 3 of every 4 Georgia voters approved amending the state constitution so only men and women could marry each other. Last weekend, several prominent gays and lesbians spoke of how lives and society will transform when—not if—the marriage ban is overturned.

They spoke the same week that Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta seeking to overturn the state of Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. The promise of “marriage equality” drew more than 100 people to the “Beloved Community Dialogue” Saturday night at The Friends School of Atlanta, a moment that showed how far the issue has moved away from moral debate to a question of timing and expectations. Continue reading

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Why not risk life and kids by traveling around the world?

Adventure and discovery demand we take risk, and we parents measure this all the time when it comes to our kids. One of the greatest adventures is to travel around the world, and the blogosphere is still harshly buzzing about the recent failed attempt (and expensive rescue) by parents Eric and Charlotte Kaufman to sail around the world with daughters Cora, 3, and Lyra, 1.

This saga and debate intrigued me. In a span of five years, I traveled around the world and became a parent. Though separate milestones, my experiences make me one of the quiet supporters of the Kaufmans.
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Tech marching band’s offbeat amazing race

Long before TV’s “The Amazing Race,” an elaborate competition with puzzles and physical challenges already took place each year around Atlanta with little fanfare. On Saturday, the 25th anniversary Get-a-Clue featured 13 teams in a high-tech elaborate scavenger hunt, a modern tradition started by Georgia Tech musicians.

Contestants jumped out of cars in front of eateries in Decatur and Buckhead looking lost and determined at the same time. Carrying cinderblocks, they scampered through Inman Park, scanning QR codes from cryptic notes attached to public art, benches and other things. Continue reading

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