Archive for May, 2008

Wren’s Nest Marketing Tricks: Using Pens To Raise Money

Written on May 30, 2008 at 2:11 pm, by Amelia

It’s that time of year again, folks. Begging time!

Oliver Twist-esque fundraising methods

“Aren’t you guys always begging?” you may ask astutely. To that I answer, “Yep! But right now we’re doing it formally …with letters!”

You see, July 3rd, 2008 will mark the 100-year anniversary of Joel Chandler Harris’ death.

100 Year Anniversary of Joel Chandler Harris Death

And I ask you, is there a better way to recognize a full life and a lasting legacy than to ask for memberships?


Our goal is to have 400 memberships by the anniversary of JCH’s death, and we’re offering a special $100 “centennial” membership that comes with perks like free books and free admission and a sense of doing good. Though the last one comes every time you support the Nest! Hint! Hint!

In order to reach this goal, we’re bringing out the big guns. That’s right: personalized hand-written notes on each letter.

Ask nicely and carry a big pen

This is one of our most basic and successful tactics.

You know how you feel 10x as special when you get a card written by hand, rather than typed? Well, you’re not alone. Years and years of diligent research have shown us that everyone loves that. Well, at least literate people.

The only downside to this method is that it takes forever. Well, maybe not that long, but these have been a couple hand-cramped, semi-cranky days, I tell you what. If it weren’t for Scrabulous, I don’t know what we would have done.

Stuff White People Like–Being Offended

Written on May 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Stuff White People Like is one of the smartest and funniest blogs on the internet.

While recent posts have been few and far between, the latest post–Being Offended–is very pertinent to the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris–

Naturally, white people do not get offended by statements directed at white people. In fact, they don’t even have a problem making offensive statements about other white people (ask a white person about “flyover states”). As a rule, white people strongly prefer to get offended on behalf of other people.

Tar Baby, anyone?

The fact that Joel Chandler Harris (white guy) recorded the stories of the slaves (enslaved Africans / African Americans / black people / folks he revered …you pick) he grew up with on the plantation–well, that makes him a perfect target for politically correct backlash.

Often, we hear that parents won’t bring their children here because we’re too racist. Other times, folks read the Joel Chandler Harris Wikipedia article and get all scholarly on us when we’re trying to give tours of the home.

Ironically, it’s almost always the white folks who are offended. I’m not saying that all white people get offended–I’m just saying that when we hear about how we’re kinda racist, well, it’s mostly white folks doing the talking.

Previously– Tar Baby is Alive and Well on the Internet

Related– Joel Chandler Harris Biography, New Georgia Encylopedia

Chris Brown is Accidentally Making The Wren’s Nest Popular

Written on May 29, 2008 at 8:06 am, by Amelia

Because Lain is a nerd / Executive Director of a non-profit, he tracks how many people visit our website, read the blog, etc. It’s a good way for us to see if our primary (only?) marketing effort is working, plus he’s a major fan of things like charts. Again, nerd.

The other day he noticed that we had a HUGE traffic increase. The same thing happened the next day. What gives, we asked?

The answer is: Chris Brown, heartthrob and enormous R&B star.

Chris Brown, heartthrob
(If only we had known to whom to give photo credit. Great work, anonymous!)

You see, a while back we wrote about how much preteen girls love Chris Brown (OMG a lot!!!!) and included the above picture to illustrate how totally hot he is.

Then, sometime last week Google Images changed their algorithms or logrollings or something and, somehow, we became the first result when you search for “Chris Brown”. Seriously, try it.

Hilarious, right?

Even better is the fact that all of the people (read: teenage girls) searching for “Chris Brown” see the following picture when they’re seeking out their man:

Lain and Amelia in front of the Full House House

Now, I know that some people prefer the awkward scene above to Chris Brown, but I can’t imagine there’s a ton of overlap between our fans.

… or is there?

Hi new Wren’s Nest blog/Chris Brown fans! Have you heard our theme song? I think it’s right up your alley.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Maybe Mr. Brown will take our present collaboration to heart and record an R&B version of our theme song. I smell Top 40!

Wren’s Nest Financial Information Now Online

Written on May 28, 2008 at 12:52 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Ladies and gentleman, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. You may now all download our tax return and statement of review from this very web site.

If you’re interested in transparency, how we spend our money (75% on programming, thankyouverymuch), or downloading really big files, this is for you.

Georgia Center For the Book Has a Stylin’ New Website

Written on May 28, 2008 at 8:15 am, by Amelia

Check it

Georgia Center for the Book Has a Dope New Web Site

We at the Wren’s Nest are no strangers to the benefits of a dope new website.

Here’s what ours looked like before:

Bad Wren's Nest

The above picture used to be our entire site. And now just look around you for our critically acclaimed (guess what! I just became a critic!) after.

So, we’re happy for our chums over at Georgia Center for the Book. Not that there was anything particularly lacking in their old website, but man! This is sharp.

I especially like this new site because it makes their reading lists easy to find, and you know what? I love lists. All of ’em.

Now, while their Books All Georgians Should Read lists don’t exactly apply to me, I will let this slide on two accounts:

  1. The book I am currently reading, The Book of Marie by Terry Kay, is on the 2008 list.
  2. A little fellow (literally–he was pretty short) named Joel Chandler Harris made it too, with his Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales, in 2002.

Now, are you ready to have your mind blown? The protagonist in The Book of Marie is a (Joel Chandler) Harris scholar!

I said, !!!

I suggest you take the rest of the day off to get your wits about you.

New York Times Crossword, Tuesday May 27th

Written on May 27, 2008 at 9:10 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Brer Rabbit in the New York Times Crossword

You’re welcome!

1 Comment

Categories: Brer Rabbit |

Developer Offers to Build Replica of Buckhead Library

Written on May 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm, by Lain Shakespeare

Ben Carter, developer of the Streets of Buckhead, has proposed to demolish then build a replica of the Buckhead Library. He’s offering $24 million.

What is this, Epcot?

Buckhead Library Could Soon Be Toast

To bring everyone up to speed, the Streets of Buckhead is the alleged and now under construction “Rodeo Drive” of Atlanta. The Buckhead Library, one of the most significant buildings in our city, sits right in the middle of it.

Several months ago, Carter offered to tear it down, but was met with staunch opposition.

What if this weren’t Atlanta? What if Carter went to another major city and offered to tear down some of their best architecture but then build a replica of it?

It would be a joke. It should be a joke here.

I’ve got a better idea–clearly, the Fulton County Commission is interested in the $24 million that Carter is offering, and, um, for good reason. That’s a lot of money.

Is there any reason that Carter can’t buy the land immediately surrounding the library (the parking lot), and build right up to the edge of the library?

Buckhead Library Parking Lots, I think

That way the library stays, the parking lot goes, and the Streets of Buckhead is much better off by providing a development that is walkable, diverse, and has at least one thing that is architecturally significant.

In the long run, not only will the library be a valuable commodity for Carter, but it will also attract investment and customers to a neighborhood that doesn’t feel so much like Disneyland.

Update: Oh, and here’s’s photo gallery of the library.

Someone Yanked the Chain Off Our Bathroom Light

Written on May 21, 2008 at 11:17 am, by Amelia

In general, Lain and I can handle the smaller fix-its in the Wren’s Nest. He worked in a hardware store once, and I have hands, so we make a pretty good team.

However, we’re currently stumped.

A few weeks ago, a man-boy visited the Wren’s Nest with his school and yanked the chain that turns on the light straight out of the ceiling.

Our Lightbulb Only Works If You Manually Screw It

Now, I’m no stranger to not knowing my own strength, but come on. He either really, really wanted that light on or the chain insulted his mother.

Anyhow, ever since, we’ve been turning on the light by manually screwing in the bulb. Classy, right? Also, a little terrifying after you’ve just washed your hands.

Sure, the bathroom gets natural light, but there’s a touch of privacy sacrificed to make that work. See below:

Lain in the Bathroom

Hi Lain!

Thus we ask you this, dear reader: How do you fix a light-turning-on chain (on the cheap!)?

Also, judging from my number of blog posts, the bathroom is absolutely my favorite room in the Wren’s Nest.


The time I got electrocuted.
The time I found a strawberry in the toilet paper.

Amelia Is Now The Program Director at the Wren’s Nest

Written on May 20, 2008 at 10:54 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Some of you may recall that co-blogger Amelia has been a part-time mercenary for almost a year now. Well no more!

Amelia's Rejected Glamour Shot

I’ve put in some serious research recently, and I’ve concluded that what this house museum needs is not someone who kills for money. No, what we need is someone to carry out our educational and artistic programming.

Surprising, I know.

And while Amelia looks the part of a super-tough mercenary, turns out she’s actually pretty well-qualified too.

She’ll be in charge of all sorts of things, check it–

  1. Storytelling
  2. The Art Block (By the way, we now have 12 kids signed up!)
  3. The Wren’s Nest Publishing Co.
  4. Future endeavors with Brown Middle School
  5. Any other crazy ideas we conjure up

She’ll also be blogging more often, now that she’ll be here every day. Phew!

All we have to do now is figure out how to pay for her. I suspect that she’d prefer payment in the form of “money,” but sometimes legal tender is hard to come by. Bright ideas welcome.

Dear Atlanta, Please Don’t Tear Down Four Historic Buildings. Love, The Wren’s Nest

Written on May 19, 2008 at 12:29 pm, by Amelia

Today’s AJC has an article about the conflict over four historic buildings in Midtown. Most troubling to a person like me is the fact that the buildings will be taken down in favor of… vacant lots.

Crum and Foster Building

Come on.

It can be a tad unnerving to be in the business of preservation when vacant lots are winning out over the institutions that shaped Atlanta (hi, Tech! Thanks!)

Now, to be fair, there are a lot of challenges involved in historic preservation.

Speaking from a Wren’s Nest perspective, lordy does it cost a lot. We’re awfully dependent on the kindness of others (volunteer at Wren’s Nest Fest!). It’s not particularly easy to maintain things that weren’t intended to last, which can be frustrating indeed. And sometimes people try to pee on your antiques.

But the largest and most consistent obstacle is also the most obvious: people like new stuff. New is exciting, and Tech specifically has done great things recently. See: Tech square, their new management building, or Lain’s favorite thing ever, the 5th street bridge.

5th Street Bridge in Midtown, Atlanta

(It goes over the highway! And is pedestrian-friendly! And pretty! Seriously, awesome. We usually drive over it in each direction in appreciation.)

Regardless, taking down these buildings is not one of those great things. Not only does this destroy the character of the area, but it does so permanently. A parking lot may be profitable in the short term, sure, but you can’t buy old buildings back, nor can you bring back charm once you’ve leveled it.

And you know what? Old things work. They’re socially and economically important. Just look at, oh I don’t know, places like Chicago.

Water Tower in Downtown Chicago

My kinda town.