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Updated Friday, January 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Seattle vs. Atlanta pop-culture smackdown

By Bill Reader
Seattle Times deputy sports editor

On Sunday, the Seahawks and Falcons will settle who has the better NFL team. But there must be other ways to compare the cities, something a little more civilized.

Atlanta seems like a nice enough place, depending on your tolerance for brutally high humidity. And Ted Turner.

It's a city of great treasures: Museums celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter and Margaret Mitchell. The Starlight Six Drive-In Theatre. Holly Hunter.

They're really into zombies there – "The Walking Dead" TV series is set in the Atlanta area. Atlanta Magazine calls the city "The Zombie Capital of the World." We're more interested in vampires here.

Anyway, let's see how Atlanta stacks up against Seattle.

The wildly popular TV series "The Walking Dead," left, is set in the Atlanta area, while the Northwest is home to the vampire-oriented "Twilight" saga, right.

Best movie set in the city

Atlanta – Well, there's "Gone with the Wind." That was pretty good. Distant second: "Driving Miss Daisy."

Seattle – It's not "Sleepless in Seattle," although it's not bad and is probably the film most associated with Seattle. But "Singles" is better. So is "The Fabulous Baker Boys." And "The Parallax View."

And the winner is: At the 1939 Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal if memory serves, "Gone with the Wind" won for best picture, beating out "Wuthering Heights" and "The Wizard of Oz," among others. Atlanta.

"Gone with the Wind"

"Sleepless in Seattle"

Current hitmakers

Atlanta – Atlanta artists are all over the Billboard Hot 100 list. Kanye West and Kelly Rowland were born in Atlanta. Rapper 2 Chainz, who has three of the top 100, calls Atlanta home. So do the Zac Brown Band, T.I., Ludacris and Usher. And, to paraphrase Jon Landau's famous quote about Bruce Springsteen, I saw rap's future and its name is Future. His song "Neva End" is No. 88.

Seattle – Macklemore checks in at No. 10 with a very Seattle song, "Thrift Shop." The video for the song has been viewed more than 47 million times on YouTube.

Winner: Macklemore is seriously outnumbered here. Atlanta wins.

Macklemore

Kanye West

Most bizarre housing crisis involving a prominent local athlete

Atlanta – On June 9, 1994, Falcons receiver Andre Rison returned home at 6:30 a.m. after a night out. His girlfriend, the late, great Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of the pop group TLC, was less than thrilled. After an argument, Left Eye put the crazy in CrazySexyCool, torching Rison's $2 million mansion.

Seattle – Former Mariners first baseman John Olerud discovered soon after building a $4 million home in Clyde Hill that a neighbor's 50-year-old trees were partially blocking his view. Olerud went all Seattle on him and took his case to the Board of Adjustment, citing a never-actually-used 1991 "view obstruction and tree removal" ordinance. Olerud won. The trees lost.

Winner: Atlanta.

Best Lynyrd Skynyrd concert

Atlanta – In 1976, Skynyrd played three shows at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, July 7-9. The recordings were released later that year on the epic live double album, "One More from the Road."

Seattle – Lynyrd Skynyrd's first Seattle show was May 3, 1975, at the Paramount Theatre. Tickets were $5. Beer and long sideburns were plentiful.

Winner: Play it pretty for Atlanta.

Most teams stolen by Clay Bennett

Atlanta – The Atlanta Flames began NHL play in 1972 and moved to Calgary in 1980. The Atlanta Thrashers dropped the puck for the first time in 1999 and moved to Winnipeg in 2011. It cannot be proved that Clay Bennett had anything to do with these teams leaving Atlanta.

Seattle – As you might have heard, the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.

Winner: Seattle.

Best TV rerun marathon to watch when you’re home on the couch, faking sick

Atlanta – "Matlock." That Andy Griffith was sure a likable fella, wasn't he? For nine years he played Ben Matlock, a country lawyer who solved crimes in an Atlanta courtroom.

Seattle – "Frasier" was hilarious, masterfully written, well-acted ... as you might expect from a series that won several Emmy Awards during its 11-year run.

Winner: Depends on if you're in the mood for Perry Mason-style justice or the Crane brothers' highbrow humor. Niles tips it in favor of Seattle.

Best national anthem

Atlanta – Gladys Knight sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Game 1 of the 1991 World Series between the Twins and Braves, even though it was in Minneapolis, not her hometown of Atlanta.

Seattle – Garfield High School dropout Jimi Hendrix played the national anthem at Woodstock in 1969, while a bunch of hippies rolled around in the mud.

Winner: Seattle, obviously.

Coach Lenny Wilkens hoists the NBA championship trophy in Seattle in 1979, left, and later leads the Altanta Hawks in a 1996 game. He coached there seven years.

The best Lenny Wilkens

Atlanta – Wilkens, a basketball Hall of Famer as both a coach and player, coached the Atlanta Hawks for seven years, through the 1999-2000 season. The team was a winner in all but his final season, and Wilkens finished with a winning percentage of .572 as Atlanta's coach.

Seattle – Wilkens coached the Sonics twice, the first time as player/coach from 1969-72. He coached Seattle again from 1977 through 1985. His winning percentage with the Sonics was .543. But, unlike in Atlanta, he won a title – the 1979 NBA championship.

Winner: Seattle.

No. 1 hit from the ’90s you’ll never admit you love because it would ruin your hipster cred

Atlanta – “Waterfalls” by TLC

Seattle – “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot

Winner: How can you go against a song whose first line is “I like big butts and I cannot lie.” Like this: Winner, Atlanta.

Comedy Central

Atlanta – You might be a redneck if you know Jeff Foxworthy grew up in the suburb of Hapeville, Ga., playing in his dirt yard and watching the TV that sat on top of the non-working TV. Seems like a nice guy, and I kind of like this one: "I don't know why my brain has kept all the words to the 'Gilligan's Island' theme song and has deleted everything about triangles."

Seattle – Ryan Stiles, the brilliant improv comedian, impressionist and Drew Carey pal was born in Seattle and lives on Lake Samish near Bellingham.

Winner: Foxworthy is smarter than a fifth-grader, but did I mention Stiles is brilliant? Seattle.

Worst T-shirt slogan playing off a famous movie

Atlanta – "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Seattle – "(Fill in the blank)-less in Seattle."

Winner: There are no winners in this category, only losers who spend $20 in airport gift shops after realizing they forgot to buy something for the neighbor who fed the cat while they were away.

The happy totals – By my count, that's five for Seattle, five for Atlanta ... and one no-decision. Oh well, let's just settle it on the field Sunday.


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