Waffle House Persona Non Grata

I was born in the back seat of a 1949 Ford convertible on the way to Emory Hospital. By the time we arrived my Mother and I were “we”. I am a Southerner from the Great State of Georgia. I am from Georgia in the same way General Robert E. Lee


was from Virginia. When push came to shove, General Lee went with his state because at that time the states may have been “United” but the state was still paramount. This changed after the War of Northern Aggression. The states became “united.” In order for US to become united the northern people came south, devastating the Southern region, laying waste to any and everything in their path, while perpetuating war crimes against Southern civilians.


I am proud to hail from the South. An article years ago detailed a survey which found that out of all the regions of the United States, people from the South most identified with their region. The survey made no distinction between the skin color. Some years ago I was waiting for an order at Captain D’s. It was Senior day and the music playing was from the era of my youth. The tunes happened to be  Motown music. Before rock & roll we listened to the sounds emanating from Motown. I noticed an older gentleman with dark skin, also waiting for his order, tapping his feet. Thing is, I, too, was tapping my feet. The song was:

I said something to the man about the song just as this song, which means more than a little to me, because Otis Redding

is from Macon, Georgia, which we discussed. It was also the song playing in the car as I “made out” for the first time,with the daughter of the Band leader at our high school. Since we were about the same age there was much to discuss, so we sat together and ate our lunch while conversing. We talked about the things we had in common, such as listening to the same music and eating the same food, etc. When finished he said, “Sir, you have made my day.” The reply was, “Back at ‘cha!”

Waffle House is one of the restaurants founded in Georgia. The original Waffle House museum is within a short drive from where I sit. Another restaurant originating in Georgia is Chik-Fil-A. I came of age within a short drive from the original Dwarf House,

located in Hapeville, the home of Delta Air Lines. It would be impossible to count the number of times I ate at that particular restaurant. Favorites were the Steak Plate and the Hot Brown.


At one time or another I have been seated at each and every one of those seats.

Moe’s Southwest Grill originated here, too. The original location on Peachtree Street in Buckhead

Photo of Moe's Southwest Grill - Atlanta, GA, United States

was within a very short walk from an apartment shared with the love of my life. There is a Moe’s within walking distance of the apartment in which I currently reside. At the end of Ken Burns



series, The Civil War, for PBS, the author Shelby Foote


Shelby Foote’s War Story

mentions something a young invading soldier asked a boy far too young to be fighting, holding a piece of wood cut in the shape of a rifle, a question. “Why are you fighting?” The reply was, ’cause ya’ll down he’ar.” I am writing this because I’m “down he’ar.”

The article which follows is being printed in it’s entirety, without comment, so you will understand why I will never, ever, set foot in a Waffle House. The ‘thinking’ demonstrated by Joe Rogers Jr., the 73-year-old sole board member of the nearly 2,000 restaurant chain is the reason our United States will be devastated in the days to come. I am willing to wager my life that this Fool In Power is a Republican.

Waffle House chairman criticizes coronavirus limits on businesses


The chairman of Waffle House, a chain known for getting its restaurants back up and running after natural disasters, is worried that many political leaders are headed down the wrong path as they battle the coronavirus outbreak.

Recent mandates, such as banning in-restaurant dining and closing some businesses, are “totally out of proportion,” said Joe Rogers Jr., the 73-year-old sole board member of the nearly 2,000 restaurant chain based in Norcross.

“American leaders have to lead people through ruinous times, but leaders don’t lead people to ruin,” he said later, warning that many large and small businesses might not survive.

Rogers has urged elected officials in Georgia to not adopt tough restrictions similar to those imposed on businesses in other states. His remarks came before a Thursday announcement by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms


 Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

60th Mayor of the City of Atlanta

that she had signed an executive order temporarily barring in-restaurant dining and closing down nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters, live music venues and bowling alleys in the city.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rogers also bemoaned “doom and gloom” talk from the White House. “Any leader in the world that was dealt this hand might not have played it any better,” Rogers said of the president, “but we have to play it better going forward.”

Federal, state and local political leaders “are trying to do the right thing,” he said.

The Waffle House chairman said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has shown appropriate restraint.

The governor has asked people to remain home as much as possible and avoid public gatherings. But Kemp hasn’t ordered statewide shutdowns of businesses and events, saying in an interview with radio station Q99.7, “I don’t know that our citizens would buy into that.”

Waffle House, which operates in 25 states, saw sales drop 25% last week, Rogers said. Now, as more states limit restaurants to drive through or to-go business, sales in some areas have fallen 60%. He said the chain will survive, though “we are going to lose money like crazy in this.”

The important thing, he said, is to remain open and keep pay flowing to the chain’s 40,000 workers, most of whom are hourly employees. If Waffle Houses are forced to close across broad areas, the company wouldn’t continue to pay employees who don’t work, Rogers said.

The company has increased sanitization efforts. It also is encouraging social distancing though “we haven’t taken out a tape measure,” he said. “We have let everybody eyeball their own reality.”

Waffle House doesn’t have the flexibility of some other chains, particularly fast food restaurants, such as Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A. Some of those already generate most of their sales via drive throughs. Waffle House has just one drive-through, near Stone Mountain.


My father worked at the AJC before moving to the much more conservative, ill-fated Atlanta Times. I delivered the AJC before moving to the Times. Delivering the Sunday paper was a bitch.

Chess Has Been Fukushimaed

Decades ago I worked at the Oxford bookstore on Peachtree Street in the part of Atlanta called Buckhead. Although I did not make much money- no one does working at a bookstore-it was a wonderful job because of the people with whom I associated. Book lovers are special people. The first book on computers to appear was special. It was brought from the back room and passed around. A discussion about the section in which it should be placed ensued. Soon there were so many books on computers the owner, Rupert LeCraw, had carpenters come in to build an upstairs to contain the technology section, along with a coffee shop, making our bookstore the first in the South with one. The books were catalogued by index card until Rupert purchased a computer system. He obtained a low price because part of the deal was to allow the company to use his system to sell other systems to prospective buyers. It was named “Duet” but we came to call it the “Mongrel.” It was down at least as much as it was up, and seemed to go down before it was to be shown, as if it knew people were coming. “That thing has a mind of its own,” manager Mike would say. Rupert had signed an agreement whereby the only people who could repair the Mongrel were from the company from whom he bought the thing. Mike and I began to read the computer books arriving daily on our off time. We both had thoughts of going into the computer field. One of the books I read was, “Computer Power and Human Reason,” by Joseph Weizenbaum, a professor emeritus at MIT. It was an extremely influential book in which a man who had devoted his life to computers basically said the advent of computers would be the demise of freedom and we should take sledgehammers to all computers. Ok, I am paraphrasing somewhat. Actually, he said computers should not be allowed to make decisions because they lacked human qualities such as compassion and wisdom. For that reason I find the move toward allowing drones to make decisions frightening. Every day there are articles concerning a program making decisions that earlier were made by a human. For example, check this out: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-10-11/machines-gauging-your-star-potential-automate-hr-hiring.html After reading the book Mike and I would have stimulating arguments. Mike did go into the computer field while I stayed away from computers until this century.
While reading the article by Irina Krush on the USCF website, “Water From a Stone,” (http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12378/729/) something she wrote caused me to stop and reflect on the above. Irina wrote, “This put me in the leaders group, and I was paired with the top seed, Evgeni Alekseev in round three. I played rather naively in the opening, took a dangerous pawn, ran into his computer-assisted knowledge of the line, and was crushed very aesthetically.”
How does she know her opponent’s knowledge was “computer-assisted?” She does not say. Could it be Irina assumes his knowledge was obtained through the use of a computer? It could be her opponent had spent the previous evening acquiring the knowledge used against her in something as antiquated as a, dare I say, book!
Back in the day there was a player, IM Bernard Zukerman, known as “Zuke the Book.” It was always said, and written, in derogatory terms, as if being a “book” player meant one’s understanding came from being “booked-up,” not from having talent. Many players were known for being a “book” player then, but poor Bernard had the misfortune of having a name that could be made to rhyme with the dreaded word, “book.” Nowadays everyone is a ’puted-up player. I recall an interview with GM Vladimir Kramnik in which he posited chess was much more difficult at the top level now because one had to spend so much time using a computer for analysis because the opponent was doing the same, whereas in the past one could rely on things like judgment and intuition. Now every player has to be a “Pete the ‘Pute” to survive.
I read an interview with IM Elizabeth Paehtz on the Kingpin website. (http://www.kingpinchess.net/2013/10/elisabeth-paehtz-20-questions/)
Her answer to the question, “Which single thing would most improve the global chess scene?” is interesting:
“Probably to abandon all engines and chess software and play chess like in former times, when real strength and understanding counted and not who did the most precise home preparation with the help of engines. These engines are even more destructive nowadays as the problem of cheating has increased drastically. In Germany there have been two recent cases involving rather young players and that’s quite sad.”
This is usually the kind of answer given by a player from the previous generation, not someone as young as Elizabeth. For example, in answer to the question posed in New in Chess 2009/3, “If you could change one thing in the chess world, what would it be?” GM Vlastimil Hort answered, “I would strictly expel and forbid all computers. Using them is a surrender of the human brain.”
Unfortunately, now that the genie known as computer is out of the bottle, it can never be put back. Chess programs can be regarded in the same way I view nuclear power. They both come at a cost, and the price is far too high. Another book I read over a quarter of a century ago has a profound influence, “Forevermore: Nuclear Waste in America”, by Donald Bartlett and James Steele. There was no way to dispose of the byproduct of the so-called “cheap” energy produced then, and there is no way to dispose of it now. The fools who brought it online in the 1950’s, without giving We the People a choice in the matter told us that although there was no way of disposing of the waste, they were so brilliant they would eventually figure out a way to get rid of the dangerous stuff. It turns out we have been “Fukushimaed.” “Nobody really knows how to solve the problems at Fukushima.
There is nobody who has solutions. The problems at Fukushima are unprecedented.
…There is no solution that other countries have to come in and fix the
reactors, or rather, shut down the contamination, shut down the leaks.” – Robert Jacobs, Historian, Hiroshima Peace Institute
Fukushima Farmers Protest Growing Food
in “Decontaminated” Soil That’s Still Radioactive.
“We won’t eat it ourselves, but we sell it.”
Earthfiles Gulf Resident’s Email September 9, 2013: “I just watched the video you posted (above) about the Fukushima farmers selling contaminated food. This is exactly what has happened to the Gulf Coast fishermen after the BP oil spill, who are still having to sell contaminated seafood in order to make a living. Seafood coming out of the Gulf is still unhealthy. Shrimp is … hideous with mutations, but no public officials want to admit it for fear of ruining the seafood trade in the Gulf. Most of the crab fishermen have gone out of business because there are NO CRABS to fish. Don’t hear anything about that, do you? It is being suppressed in the news media. … I just wanted to say that the Fukushima farmer in the video could easily be a Southeast Louisiana fisherman – same words, same anger, same grief.”-The above is taken from Linda Moulton Howe’s excellent website: http://www.earthfiles.com/
In a sense one could say chess has been Fukushimaed by the advent of the chess program. Like it or not it is a fact that the nuclear waste created over the last half century plus must be dealt with, and the brilliant minds that foisted the devil upon us still have absolutely no idea how to dispose of the agent of death. The waste at Fukushima will be the demise of We the People. If those holding the reins of power in the chess world do not find a way to deal with the byproduct of what has come to be called “engines,” the game of chess will be destroyed before human beings are destroyed by nuclear waste.

The Dream Castle For Rent

It is not every day one sees a sign proclaiming a castle is for rent, but such was the case as I traveled my favorite Peachtree Street, a street I have spent much of my life on, whether living or driving. Almost everyone who has lived in Atlanta has seen what has become known as The Castle on Peachtree Street, and many of those have been in it at one time or another. Most know it as Rhodes Hall, but the official name on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places is Rhodes Memorial Hall, and it is located at 1516 Peachtree Street. It was added to the Register of Historic Places March 1, 1974.
“Built in 1904, Rhodes Hall has been an Atlanta landmark for generations. While it was originally the residence of Rhodes Furniture founder Amos Rhodes, today it is a house museum and one of the most unique venues in Atlanta for social and corporate events. The upper floors of the “castle on Peachtree” are also headquarters for The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.” (From: http://www.georgiatrust.org/historic_sites/rhodeshall/)
The one night of the year it is always in use is Halloween, a night when it comes alive. It has been, and continues to be, used for many weddings.
“Rhodes Hall is a 2012 and 2013 winner of the Bride’s Choice Awards™. This prestigious award is determined by reviews from past clients and recognizes the top 5 percent of local Wedding Professionals from the WeddingWire Network.” (From: http://www.georgiatrust.org/historic_sites/rhodeshall/weddings.php )“Rhodes Hall, one of Atlanta’s few remaining mansions on Peachtree Street, is located just north of Pershing Point. Built in 1904, prior to the development of Ansley Park, Rhodes Hall was designed by one of Atlanta’s most celebrated young architects for one of the city’s wealthiest men. Constructed of Stone Mountain granite in the Romanesque Revival style, it holds state-wide significance for both the quality and style of its architecture.
Between 1901 and 1906, Amos Giles Rhodes assembled an estate of 114 acres on Peachtree Street at Brookwood, stretching across Tanyard Creek and including most of the present-day Brookwood Interchange at I-75/85. In early 1902, construction commenced on Rhodes’ great granite castle which he and his wife, Amanda, called “Le Reve” or “the Dream.” The home is believed to be inspired by Amos and Amanda’s travels through the German Rhineland in the 1890s. Costing nearly $50,000, the structure was finally completed in 1904 and was one of the most opulent of the large mansions overlooking Atlanta’s famous thoroughfare.” (From: http://www.georgiatrust.org/historic_sites/rhodeshall/history.php )
There has not been a time I have passed it without dreaming about one day participating in a chess tournament inside the “Rook.” It would seem to have been built for chess. At my age if that ever happens it will have to be a Senior tournament.