If Atlanta is looking for a new marketing slogan, I have a few I can spare.
"Atlanta: A great place to live and a terrible place to drive."
I made that one up while stuck on I-285, a lovely stretch of road that doubles as a parking lot every morning and afternoon.
We've endured worse city slogans.
About a decade ago, in a spasm of bad timing, the city spent $8 million to promote "Every Day Is an Opening Day." Soon thereafter the national economy went into a historic tailspin and Georgia's unemployment rate ranked among the highest in the nation.
Atlanta's had at least one great slogan.
"The city too busy to hate" was penned by former Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield, who served six terms from 1937 to 1961, including the tumultuous period leading up to the desegregation of public schools.
The area really was busy during Hartfield's tenure. The metro population grew from about 100,000 to more than a million and Atlanta's city limits tripled in size.
Current Mayor Kasim Reed says “It is a great time to be in the City of Atlanta” on the city’s official website. I hope we didn’t pay anyone for that gem.
Another slogan used in these parts was "Atlanta: People seem to like it here."
Not bad, but other cities have done better.
"I love New York," is short, sweet and makes for a great T-shirt. Other classics include "Las Vegas: What happens here stays here" and "Virginia is for lovers."
I don't think it has rained in my yard since a hurricane blew past the Georgia coast and Lake Lanier's water level is dropping faster than IQs at a political convention. "Atlanta: We will take Alabama and Florida water by force" has a ring to it.
A few more I scribbled down while parked on a major interstate:
- Atlanta: Where public transportation drives car sales.
- Atlanta: Our sports teams are so bad we've run two of them outta town.
- Atlanta: More than an airport, but not much more.
- Atlanta: Bad movies scened here.
As you can tell by these examples, crafting snappy slogans isn't easy, but let's give it one more try.
With news of a fuel pipeline explosion in Alabama, there are fears gas prices will soon spike like they did when the same pipe sprung a leak just a few weeks ago.
Maybe "Atlanta: Now taking donations for another fuel pipe" should be plastered on billboards along with a Kickstarter URL?
It's difficult to understand why our region isn't fed by as many pipelines as we are Waffle Houses.
We've got millions of motorists driving millions of vehicles but get almost all our fuel from two tubes stretching from Gulf Coast refineries.
"The [situation] could be worse than [the leak in] September," wrote Industry analyst Patrick DeHaan of Gas Buddy on Twitter Tuesday. "A run on pumps could lead [to] significant shortage."
Wholesale prices rose 13 cents a gallon Tuesday morning, writes AJC economics reporter Mike Kanell , but my station was only charging $2.19.
As you know, gas stations raise prices a lot faster than they lower them. And even a rumor of a shortage can make people act strangely.
Immediately after learning about the Alabama explosion I ran out and put gas in every vehicle and gas can I own.
Experts say that's the wrong thing to do, but experts aren't going to give any of us a ride when our fuel tanks are as parched as our lawns.