Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not so hot Lanta

Greetings from Atlanta. I'm here for the 2nd Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media. It's been a pretty good conference so far. The sessions are engaging and I've actually managed to do some worthwhile networking without feeling phony about it.

The conference is taking place at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. It's a big improvement over last year's conference at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's global communications center named for Sen. Tom Harkin, who I assume brought home quite a bit of pork if they named it for him while he's still alive and eating solid food. The Harkin facility itself was one of the nicest, most well-appointed government buildings I've ever set foot in, but they housed us at a Marriott next to IH-85 in the middle of suburban nowheresville. There were no sidewalks to walk on and no place to walk to.

By contrast, CNN Center is right next to the world's largest aquarium and a museum dedicated to Coca-Cola. CNN Center is a tourist attraction in and of itself, but I wish I'd been around back in 1976 when it housed the short-lived World of Sid & Marty Krofft indoor amusement park. I was always fascinated with the building when they showed Kaptain Kool and the Kongs perform in the atrium on The Krofft Supershow, which aired Saturday mornings on ABC. Now the whole thing is a mall food court where Nancy Grace's voice and likeness nauseates from multiple giant screen TVs.

This area of town was hammered by a tornado in March and a lot of damage is still visible. There's duct tape on my hotel room window and many windows at the adjacent Georgia World Congress Center remain boarded up. I think this is the first time I've ever slept in a building with semi-fresh twister damage, which is very exciting.

Perhaps the nicest thing about being in Atlanta is the fact that it only got up to 82 degrees here today. Even with a steady rain falling, I happily strolled about the surprisingly depopulated city earlier this evening without even breaking a sweat.

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