Sunday, January 30, 2011

DOC'S NEWS: Yonah Mountain Vineyards challenges California Gol...

DOC'S NEWS: Yonah Mountain Vineyards challenges California Gol...: "By Doc Lawrence SAUTEE-NACOOCHEE, GA-The road to the winery tasting room traverses the ancient land of the Cherokee, along the pa..."

Yonah Mountain Vineyards challenges California Goliath - David wins!!

By Doc Lawrence
SAUTEE-NACOOCHEE, GA-The road to the winery tasting room traverses the ancient land of the Cherokee, along the path where Desoto explored during the 1500’s. Yonah Mountain Vineyards, named after the nearby imposing mountain, is a rising star operation that will not shy away from a challenge. 
North Georgia was still reeling from a rare blizzard that trapped millions in their homes for nearly a week. My antidote to cabin fever brought me deep into the Blue Ridge Mountains north of Atlanta to judge wines. Our distinguished panel-with no black robes or powdered wigs-evaluated some Napa Valley Goliaths with Georgia’s David, the rising star wines from Yonah Mountain Vineyards. 
Former longtime residents of Fort Lauderdale, Yonah Mountain owners Bob and Jane Miller came into the wine business through gradual experiences with fine wines and haute cuisine. No longer new kids in the wine business, Bob Miller teamed with 
his winemaker wizard Joe Smith for a few hours, placing their confidence on the line. Calling the event “the great wine challenge,” their wines were pitted against some Napa Valley giants in a blind tasting before an elite panel of judges led by maestro Michael Bryan, president of the Atlanta Wine School, Jane Garvey, one of America’s top wine authorities, Gil Kuylers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Harry Constantinescu, wine director of the fabled St. Regis, Atlanta and others. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


DOC'S NEWS: EMORY UNIVERSITY CONCERT: "Taipei Chinese Orchestra with Wu Man ATLANTA— The ancient sounds of the pipa along with the dramatic arrangements of the Taipei ..."


Taipei Chinese Orchestra with Wu Man

 ATLANTA— The ancient sounds of the pipa along with the dramatic arrangements of the Taipei Chinese Orchestra are showcased on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m. at Emory University’s the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Wu Man, pipa virtuoso, joins the orchestra to perform on the two thousand-year-old plucked instrument. A 3 p.m. free concert lecture and demonstrations of traditional Chinese instruments will precede the performance for ticket holders. And, as part of Emory University’s incomporable commitment to serve the Atlanta community, Wu Man will give a pipa demonstration and lecture to DeKalb School of the Arts students on Monday, Feb. 14.

Friday, January 21, 2011


DOC'S NEWS: HARRAH'S CHEROKEE CELEBRATION: "A PAULA DEEN WEEKEND CHEROKEE, NC--Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is a luxury colossus, and I’m here this weekend to join in the ceremo..."




CHEROKEE, NC--Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is a luxury colossus, and I’m here this weekend to join in the ceremonies celebrating the opening and debut of the magnificent Creek Tower and Paula Deen’s new restaurant. Taking all this in leads to the staggering conclusion that this is already the Southeast’s most spectacular resort.

I’m joining the ebullient Paula Deen and visionary Cherokee leaders along with Harrah’s top executives for the ribbon-cutting, staying in Creek Tower, enjoying once again Paula’s delectable Southern dishes, all blended into an evening of Vegas quality entertainment.

The new restaurant, Paula Deen’s Kitchen, has generated big buzz since the announcement last spring. Having Paula’s national celebrity presence at Harrah’s and in the region--the gateway to the Great Smokey Mountains--has immeasurable beneficial benefits. Good for Paula Deen. Good for Harrah’s and good for the wonderful Cherokee people.

One other example of Harrah’s Cherokee commitment to excellence is the entertainment lineup. In March, two of the all-time legends of country music, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson, team for two days of their music, songs that continue to mirror the heart and soul of America.

I’ll have in-depth stories including vignettes from Paula Deen, the undisputed first lady of Southern cooking, Cherokee tribal leaders and Harrah’s officials published and broadcast shortly. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 10, 2011




Julie Pennington-Russell is the senior pastor of the Decatur (Georgia) First Baptist Church, just blocks away from where I grew up. This is a portion of her article published on January 9, 2011 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I live near awesome Stone Mountain and we both benefit from its healing powers. Enjoy her story and share this with those who feel a little lost this time of year.


 It all started with my teeth. One morning late in December of 2009, I was reclining in the office chair of my dentist, John Uetsuki, waiting for the nitrous oxide to kick in.
“Are you doing anything special for New Year’s?” he asked through his blue paper mask.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” I said. “Just black-eyed peas for luck.”
“Have you ever climbed Stone Mountain?”
“Well, I’ve been meaning to.”
“My wife and I climb Stone Mountain every New Year’s Day to watch the sun rise,” he said. I listened with interest as he described the ancient Japanese custom of marking the “firsts” in any given new year.
Every first of January, throngs of Japanese men, women and children travel to the coast or to a mountain to observe Hatsuhinode — the first sunrise of the new year.
In that moment an idea was born. With my 50th birth year just days away, I found myself wondering: “Could I make it up Stone Mountain 50 times in 2010?”
One year later, the end of my 50th birth year just passed into history and I completed climb number Five-O Friday afternoon on New Year’s Eve.
Over the past 12 months I have stood atop Stone Mountain beside pools of ice, and I’ve stood there under a sun so hot, I swear you could fry bacon on that rock. I’ve climbed at sunrise, sunset, noonday and once under a full moon. I’ve climbed alone and I’ve climbed with kinfolk, church friends, neighbors and houseguests from around the world.
I’ve spent a year schlepping myself up and down Atlanta’s most famous piece of granite, and I have news: Stone Mountain is a treasure. Climbing the mountain gave me some marvelous gifts in 2010, among them these memorable lessons:
Lesson One: There is big value in feeling small.
Standing on a piece of rock that pre-dates me by a few million years, and will still be there long after I’ve crossed the River, has a way of putting perspective on some things.
Like the size of my troubles, for instance. The shape of my priorities. The difference between the truly important and the merely urgent. My place in God’s bigger picture.
Lesson Two: Everyone needs to stand on top of something.
A mountain can be a great metaphor for life. The physical act of ascending a mountain brings a sense of overcoming, not only the rock itself, but other obstacles as well.
Some challenges we face are relatively minor: Irritating people. Frustrations at work. Everyday stress. Others are more daunting.
In May, on the day when my husband’s brother took his life, I stood on the summit, shook my fists in the air and shouted at death: “You don’t get the final word down here!”
In some mysterious way, my feet seemed planted not only on the crest of that mountain, but also on the neck of everything that wants to break us down here: Depression. Cancer. Addiction. Death.
Lesson Three: Some moments are meant to be savored, not seized by the lapels.
I lean toward the sin of workaholism. Sometimes I’m so busy maximizing every moment, I lose sight of this cardinal rule: When it comes to life, you must be present to win.
During one of my climbs early last spring I was marching up the stone trail, iPhone in hand, fielding calls and sending text messages.
Somewhere near the top, during a water break, I caught sight of a Red-Tailed Hawk circling overhead, every movement of his wings so effortless, so graceful.
As he swooped near the place where I stood hunched over my phone, I thought I saw him shake his head and roll his steely eyes at me, as if to say, “What’s the point?”
I heartily recommend the practice of marking each year in some intentional way. If you’ve never tried it before, there’s no time like the present — it’s not too late!
Here are some possibilities for 2011: Plant a garden. Run a marathon. Finish writing that book. Try talking to God. Try listening to God. Forgive somebody. Forgive yourself. Climb a mountain.
There are a million ways to bow your head and say thanks for the gift of life.

Monday, January 3, 2011


DOC'S NEWS: LOSE THOSE BAD WEATHER BLUES: "EMORY’S ADULT DAYTIME CLASSES The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Emory University features an expanded schedule of impressive course..."



The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Emory University features an expanded schedule of impressive course offerings. Open to all adults age 50 and above, it is Atlanta’s best educational value and the quality of instruction and group participation makes this an absorbing intellectual and social adventure.
There is no better way to spend a winter morning and the group dynamics and exceptional instruction will do wonders for your intellect and morale. Here’s a sample of courses beginning on January 18:

Doubt: A History
Jennifer Michael Hecht has written perhaps the definitive book on doubt. Garrison Keillor proclaims it a bold and brilliant work, saying, "It is the World Religion course you wish you'd had in college, a history of faith told from the outside." This course will examine the arguments advanced in this book.

Blood Meridian
Harold Bloom, America's great literary critic, considers Blood Meridian the major esthetic achievement of any living American writer. Michael Herr compares Cormac McCarthy to Melville and Faulkner. Bloom found the book so difficult that his first two attempts to read it failed. However, his third attempt revealed its magnificence - languagelandscape, characters - that transcend the violence and converts goriness into terrifying art, comparable to Faulkner.
Neurobics III
This is a course that builds on the concepts and practice of creative thinking, exploring productive ways to apply creativity in our everyday lives. Based on the book Keep Your Brain Alive by Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D. and Manning Rubin.

The Glories of Russian Opera, Part I
Taught by Jane Goodwin, former Production Manager of the Palm Beach Opera, this course will study Mikhail Glinka, Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Art of Storytelling
Do you have stories? Learn to effectively share life stories, shape them into tales, and present them to audiences - whether large or small, intimate or newly met.

Lovers and Rebels
Celebrate our loving rebels. William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet gave us lovers who chose their own spouses. Though the lovers had rebelled against their parents, their choices were sound and ultimately transformed their elders.

East Meets West: Understanding and Composing English Language Haiku
Explore the genesis of haiku in old Japan, its journey to the West and how the form has been adapted to the English language, our culture and sensibilities. Students will be exposed to the work of poets whose writing exemplifies the best in English language haiku.

Ethics and International Politics: The Responsible Exercise of National Power
Explore the exercise of United States power in international politics with special attention to the ethical concept of responsibility. Particular topics will include the place of the U.S. in world politics, theoretical concepts guiding the uses of power, the role of states in the international system, the President as Commander-in-Chief, the politics of nuclear disarmament, and Pakistan/Afghanistan policies.

The History and Evolution of Jazz, Part II
A very popular exploration of the art, history and joy of this uniquely American art form with attention to the various and distinct instruments to focus on the contributions and influences of individual artists, instrumentalists and singers.

Been There, Done That. . . Revisited
We encounter many events that challenge our beliefs, our values, our tolerance and our endurance. This class revisits some of those experiences, to reflect on how we met the challenges and what we learned.


PHONE: 404.727.6000
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Emory University