Your morning jolt: The melody of murder, mayhem, and shopping in Atlanta

Polls aren’t the only means of judging the imprint that crime is making on season’s race for mayor of Atlanta.

Newspaper headlines are one additional gauge, though they carry the disadvantage of self-reference.

We’ve had the murder of a boxer, the carjacking of a councilman, the home invasion of a city council president (and mayoral candidate), and a spate of robberies around Georgia Tech.

That says something.

But music can be another measure. And an Atlanta politician might find meaning in the fact that one of the more popular songs by one of the more popular bands in Atlanta is a paean to murder, mayhem and neighborhood shopping.

By day, Mack Williams, 28, is an animator who works on the edge of the Georgia Tech district. He’s familiar with the string of assaults around the campus.

He lives in the Ponce de Leon Avenue area near the local Kroger. Monday, on his Twitter account, he described a chase by police of some culprit from the grocery store to his street.

“Back yard is all clear! I am locking the doors and arming myself with a big maglite,” he typed.

“They found him hiding in my neighbor’s garage,” Williams said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of scary stuff going on.”

By night, the animator shape-shifts to another persona. He’s Phoebe Cates, Charismatic Frontman for Attractive Eighties Women. A band. (Film reference alert: See “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”)

Two years ago, Williams/Cates wrote the lyrics for “Murder Kroger.”

“It’s without a doubt one our more talked about songs,” he said.

Listen to it here for free, but be warned that Sinatra fans aren’t part of the band’s demographic strategy.

“We were having a conversation about all the different Krogers in town and how they all had different nicknames.” The “Disco Kroger” in Buckhead, for instance.

Fair or not, the homicidal nickname was attached to the Ponce de Leon store sometime in the late ’90s, local denizens say.

Cates/Williams confessed he doesn’t know of any deaths that occurred store property. But he says the entire area is pretty sketchy. “Bad things can happen to you very quickly if you’re not aware.”

Thus the lyrics:

down on ponce where the call girls roam

and the homeless trannies won’t leave you alone

just a block or so past the Clermont lounge

sits the deadliest grocery store in town

it’s a good place to go if you wanna buy crack

but if you go there for groceries you may never come back

As for statistics showing that crime is down, Williams/Cates says he doesn’t believe the numbers. “Property crime is, like, crazy right now,” he said.

But animator/songwriter is not political. The only communication Williams/Cates has had with City Hall has been a suggestion that a system of sky buckets link Little Five Points to east Atlanta. To allow residents to rise above the mean streets.

The Wall Street Journal has been chasing an initiative born in the U.S. House to buy new executive jets for government officials. The purchases have been pared down significantly in “a chorus of opposition” that includes President Barack Obama.

But the newspaper today addresses the Georgia birth of the purchases:

The origins of the big order stretch back to early April. Lawmakers from Georgia asked Congress to increase the number of passenger jets to include an additional Gulfstream plane. Their reasoning: The Gulfstream V has “transcontinental range, exceptional performance capabilities” and would best support the Air Force, said Democratic Rep. John Barrow, in a statement requesting the extra funds.

The Gulfstream planes also are built in Mr. Barrow’s district at a Savannah, Ga., plant that employs about 5,000 people.

Georgia Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop posted a similar statement on his Web site, to satisfy a new House rule governing disclosure of earmarks.

A third Georgia lawmaker, Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, didn’t ask for additional funds, but posted a statement on his Web site touting the funds. “Gulfstream brought the project to us,” said Chris Crawford, a spokesman for Mr. Kingston.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s

  • Audits shine harsh light on Georgia bank failures.
  • July shows a 10 percent drop in state revenue.
  • Swastika painted outside congressman’s office.
  • Metro Atlanta schools wrestle with budget cuts.
  • Longer days, shorter year for Fulton County schools?
  • Gwinnett County to bid out property appraisals.
  • McDonough officials probing theft of funds; police chief’s wife accused.
  • Thousands turn out for immediate mortgage help.
  • Workers race to clear Piedmont Park lake before McCartney concert.
  • Fulton County asked to pay back $750,000 for Brian Nichols defense.
  • House panel votes to send road planner’s nomination to full committee.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Cynthia Tucker on protestors who hate Medicare: Part II
  • Jay Bookman argues that a new Afghan strategy should be given time to be tested.
  • Newt Gingrich thinks citizens just want the truth on health care.
  • Coca Cola’s CEO says businesses can promote better health for American workers.
  • Bob Barr bemoans the sophomoric tone of the debate over health care.
  • And beyond:

  • WP: Harriet Miers told a House panel that an “agitated” Karl Rove called ousted U.S. attorney a “serious problem.”
  • NYT: Shiites in Iraq show restraint as Sunnis keep attacking.
  • WSJ: A president as micromanager: How much detail is enough?
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    23 comments Add your comment


    August 12th, 2009
    10:21 am

    “…arming myself with a big maglite”? A maglite?!?!? If your idea of personal protection is a flashlight then it’s been nice knowing you!


    August 12th, 2009
    10:28 am

    I always called the Kroger on Ponce the crack Kroger, the one at Ansley is the gay Kroger and the one in Buckhead is the disco Kroger. Any other nicknames out there?


    August 12th, 2009
    10:37 am

    The Kroger on Ponce has always been and always will be the Killer Kroger to many of us in the neighborhood. I was lucky enough to be there when Atlanta police removed a body from the parking lot several years ago.


    August 12th, 2009
    10:51 am

    I always called it “Ghetto Kroger”. It wasn’t that bad when I lived there a few years ago.


    August 12th, 2009
    11:12 am

    So Gulfstream asked the Georgia congressman to spend taxpayers money to get an order for their product? And the congressman complied. Both Democratic & Republican. No gridlock here. Bi-partisan effort.

    Is this a great country or what?


    August 12th, 2009
    11:13 am

    We always called it Scary Kroger when I was at Tech (and years before the home depot development across the street). Then only times I ever went there was to get my license renewal! After they closed the state patrol post inside, Scary Kroger became useless to me.


    August 12th, 2009
    11:19 am

    Don’t forget the Kosher Kroger in Toco Hills!


    August 12th, 2009
    11:20 am

    I believe the true “Ghetto Kroger” is the at the corner of Cleveland Ave/Metropolitian where you can get bookleg movies in the parking lot. We also have the fine “Mexi Kroger” between Buford hwy and Clairmont and the “Old Lady Kroger” on Peachtree in Brookhaven. Gotta love when the bus from Canterbury Court shows up!


    August 12th, 2009
    11:35 am



    August 12th, 2009
    11:53 am

    I thought that the one off of Piedmont in Ansley was the Rainbow Kroger. Not to be confused with the meth one on Ponce. (as seen on ‘Cops’)


    August 12th, 2009
    11:54 am



    August 12th, 2009
    12:01 pm

    The Gay’s call the Ansley Mall Kroger the ‘Cruise Kroger.’
    It has been called this since the 1980’s.
    The word ‘cruise’ has nothing to do with a type of vacation.


    August 12th, 2009
    12:04 pm

    Then there’s the “I’m Sorry, We Don’t Carry That Kroger” on Commerce Drive in Decatur….


    August 12th, 2009
    12:04 pm

    I always called the Kroger near Flakes Mill Rd and Flat Shoals in Decatur “Club Kroger”


    August 12th, 2009
    12:09 pm

    I thought the new jets were so Nancy could finally get her big plane.

    How many Atlanta cops are in jail or pending?

    A big maglite is all right for the left hand.The right hand needs to hold something that shoots at least 240 grains.


    August 12th, 2009
    12:09 pm

    So just to recap the Krogers…(so far)

    Disco Kroger…buckhead/piedmont/ptree
    Killer Kroger….poncedeleon
    Cruise Kroger….Ansley Mall also known as the Rainbow Kroger
    Ghetto Kroger….Metropolitan
    Kosher Kroger….Toco Hills
    Mexi Kroger…..Buford Hwy/Clairmont

    this is great stuff!


    August 12th, 2009
    12:22 pm

    The Kroger on Memorial and Hairston is pretty Ghetto in its own right.


    August 12th, 2009
    12:40 pm

    I always referred to that Kroger as the Crack Kroger, but I’ve also heard Murder Kroger. I used to shop there before they opened Publix on Ponce. The produce was always terrible.


    August 12th, 2009
    1:21 pm

    I’ve always heard the Ponce Kroger referred to as Murder Kroger, but I’ve been hearing Freddy Kroger lately. I like the ring to that…

    Dash Riptide

    August 12th, 2009
    2:36 pm

    I only shop at the Hipster Kroger.

    a texan

    August 12th, 2009
    3:53 pm

    kroger sucks


    August 12th, 2009
    6:08 pm

    I wouldn’t want to be hit with a MagLite, that’s for sure. (They come in many “calibers.”)

    Kroger? I don't even know her.

    August 12th, 2009
    6:23 pm