Snow in Atlanta

Yes, there is. You just have to know where to look, and despite waking up the last several mornings to temperatures in the low teens, the snow isn't on my lawn--it's at Snow Mountain located in Stone Mountain Park (aka "Redneck Mount Rushmore").

We visited a week ago Sunday, and the girls and I had a great time. Surprisingly, the place wasn't overcrowded, and our 5 hour visit was the perfect amount of time for the kids to play, sled, build a snow fort, throw a few snowballs, enjoy smores, and even take the Summit Skyride to the top of Stone Mountain (free with cost of admission to Snow Mountain). Tickets were $25 each, but pick up a coupon good for $2 off each ticket from Kroger.


Country First?

Yes, that was one of the many tag lines of the McCain campaign. For those who voted for the losing ticket, this clip below (from the only news station you trust) should both give you pause and make you question your own judgement...


Never thought I would see the day...

I'm 39, and in my lifetime I never thought I would live to see this day. It is a day in which I had the privilege of voting for a man who was raised by a single mother from Wichita, Kansas, and whose father was from Kenya, as a candidate for President of the United States. I have faith our next President will end the war in Iraq, invest in American infrastructure, and restore America's standing in the world. My selection of Barack Obama for President gives me hope that my daughters will grow up in a renewed, openly diverse country with opportunities I never imagined.

Regardless who you voted for, here is a bit of levity:


McCain/Palin ticket and ethics

Lawmakers in Alaska released a 263-page report on Friday which concluded that Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, abused the power of her office and violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.

As highlighted by the Washington Monthly:

Our nation has had 102 major-party tickets covering 51 presidential elections over more than two centuries. And we've never had a ticket in which both candidates on the same ticket were responsible for ethics violations before a national election. McCain/Palin is the first.

In 1991, John McCain was rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising "poor judgement" over his involvement in the Keating Five scandal. McCain later wrote that his attendance at two meetings with banking regulators was "the worst mistake of my life."


Biden vs. Palin

And to think this folksy "hockey Mom" could actually be a heartbeat away from the Presidency...


McCain and Obama's tax plans compared


Free 10-year Term Life Insurance

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance is giving away $1 billion worth of life insurance coverage in 2008. Through a program called LifeBridge, MassMutual is offering a free $50,000 term life insurance policy (10-year term) for those individuals who are:

- age 19-42
- parent or legal guardian of a dependent child under the age of 18
- permanent, legal resident of the U.S.
- employed full or part time with annual family income between $10,000 and $40,000 per year
- in good health (as determined by their underwriting guidelines)

Only one policy per household is allowed. Death benefits are paid into a trust for the educational benefit of the insured's children.

A FAQ on this program is available by clicking here, and the LifeBridge eligibility form is here.

For those living in metro Atlanta, MassMutual will be taking applications in person on September 28 between 10am and 2pm at the Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta.


Green lodging in Georgia

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Arthur Frommer
has nothing on me. There are few destinations where people can travel, stay at a beautiful mountain retreat, enjoy a hearty family-style dinner and breakfast, and do so for less than $90. The Len Foote Hike Inn is an hour and a half drive from downtown Atlanta and located in the Amicalola Falls State Park. There is also a 5-mile hike to get to the Hike Inn--there are no roads leading to this property. And they ask that guests bring no cell phones, pagers, or radios... so I'm guessing that also excludes my Blackberry and iPod.

The Hike Inn is the first lodging property in the country to receive the Gold Level Certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for an Existing Building (Gold LEED - EB) by the United States Green Building Council. Given its remote location, the Hike Inn is all about conservation, from the composting toilets and solar panels to its policy of "pack it in, pack it out" since there are no trash cans at the Hike Inn!

This weekend will be my first stay at the Hike Inn, and I have but one concern: my 4 1/2 year old daughter I'm taking with me. I'm scheduling two hours for the 5-mile hike and am planning on packing as light as possible in the event I have to carry her on my shoulders part of the way. Once we get there, I know she'll have a blast. Each of the 20 guest rooms have bunk beds, and she's already claimed the top bunk.

Become a Friend of the Hike Inn for just $15, and you'll recoup this fee through the end of August as the Hike Inn is running a 30% discount for members. Other benefits of joining Friends of the Hike Inn are discounts on merchandise (only available at the Hike Inn) as well as the ability to serve as a volunteer at the Hike Inn.