Monday, January 31, 2005

Ok, so some dogs love Mardi Gras

Yesterday afternoon brought more Carnival frivolity as Dad and Hombre attended the venerable Krewe of Carrollton parade with me. Hombre continues to have the greatest time ever had by a dog at Carnival.. although maybe these guys would disagree. He attentively watched every band and most floats. One rider even pointed him out and tossed a few beads his way. But his favorite carnival activity continues to be barking at, jumping at, and generally making a big fuss about the horses. One K of C officer had his horse bow its head low so that, as Hombre stood on his hind legs, the two animals could eyeball each other and pose for the cutest picture that I ever didn't have a camera for.
Carrollton is an outstanding parade thanks to the excessive number of marching bands included. Yesterday, they progressed so slowly through the streets with numerous prolonged stops along the way that the day lasted much longer than planned. King Arthur, following Carrollton didn't entirely pass my Third Street vantage point until around 5PM. The extended festivities allowed Daisy and I to bring Susie (longtime readers of this site and the now defunct I Have a Snake will remember Suze as Daisy's over-friendly, well meaning, nonetheless habitually man-eating baby pit bull) to watch the late and troubled Bards of Bohemia parade. The Bards are involved in some kind of strange power struggle within their ranks. Here on the Krewe's website, one of the claimants to the Krewe's captaincy is threatening legal action against those members who rolled under the Bards name. Please make sure the sound on your computer is on before clicking on that link. Nothing could be more hilarious than reading a threat to sue while "Mardi Gras Mambo" plays in the background. Whatever these troubles are the Krewe is going through, they are definitely affecting the quality of the parade. I recognized many of their floats from previous parades this season. I know that float recycling is a not uncommon practice, but this looked really shabby for some reason. Also given this incident and the current trends in the cost of parade insurance, it shouldn't be too surprising to see these guys off the schedule next year.
As for Susie, well I think she's going to have to work on it a bit. Ordinarily fearless, she watched most of the parade with a panicked look on her face and her tail between her legs. When the bands came by with their big drums, she tried to run off down the street and hide. What a baby! What a big scary baby with powerful jaws and fearsome claws who never fails to break the skin even when she play bites you. I think I'll bring a bass drum next time I visit her.

Tonight: No parades. Good thing because it's cold and wet out.

Tomorrow: Krewes of Ancient Druids and Morpheus. Bad thing because it may still be cold and wet.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Nearly wiped out

In case anyone out there is living under a rock (a rock with a cable modem) I thought I'd drop in and point out that it is indeed Carnival time. Usually, late winter and early spring in Louisiana brings the best weather; not too much rain, moderate temperatures, no tsunamis, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, this year it looks like we'll be watching the skies more closely during the parade season. So far we have managed to avoid disaster.

Friday night was touch and go. Daisy and I braved an aggressive drizzle which lasted through the first third of Oshun and went away completely by the time Pygmalion rolled by. I was disappointed to see that Pygmalion had unnecessarily dropped most of its bands for fear of the rain. Also Daisy, for the second consecutive year, caught a pair of gay beads at the first parade.

Yesterday Dad showed up with Hombre the mop-dog. I had no idea how much dogs love Mardi Gras. Hombre was especially fascinated by all the horses, clearly the biggest dogs he has ever seen. Despite the fact that dog owners were lining the parade route yesterday, the police managed to find time in their busy Mardi Gras crowd control schedule to condescendingly order us not to walk Hombre in the street. Cops are not my favorite people right now. I really need to get back here and relate to you my harrowing brush with law enforcement during the MLK weekend. Remind me to do that sometime. Anywho.. so yesterday featured the Krewes of Pontchartrain, Shangri-La, Sparta, and Pegasus. I think Sparta was the highlight. Their captain and officers rode on horseback. The King float was pulled by mules instead of a tractor. There were numerous flambeaux throughout the parade. All of this gave them a very traditional look which is a nice thing to see on the first weekend. In the meantime, we managed to buy a battery powered bubble gun from a street vendor, yet failed in a desperate attempt to find a funnel cake. I'll try again when I walk out there and catch some of Carrollton, King Arthur and Bards this afternoon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

WMD in Iraq


via cursor

Bush Publicly Condemns "Payola"

Your President, speaking elegantly as ever,
"But all our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying, you know, commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet,"
Doubts remain, however, regarding the propriety of the relationship between the White House and the domestic as well as the international media. Particularly eye opening is this headline.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Just in time for peak tourist season

This week's Gambit interviews one of the authors of How to Burn Down the House: The Infamous Waiter and Bartender's Scam Bible by Two Bourbon Street Waiters. I know a couple of folks who might find this an amusing read could have written this book their ownselves. My favorite snippet from the article:
If an unscrupulous waiter has easy access to self-service salads and wants to steal the proceeds, he might prey on the insecurities of customers. "He could say, Ε’The Caesar salad is really good if you want to eat light.' Put someone on the spot. Say it to a chubby person," DeGlinkta says. "Probably a lot of great scammers in history got their start on the restaurant floor. You're intimidating people into buying stuff."
This is exactly the same philosophy you get at any "legitimate" ad agency. Ain't capitalism grand?

Please don't rain on my parades

Friday night is looking pretty bad. Pity since it rained on Oshun last year too.
Also, NOLA.com's Mardi Gras page is better this year. They've introduced a Mardi Gras radio feature which I'm currently employing to annoy the officemates.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Almost Forgot

Time to continue my phenomenal record of perfectly innacurate prognostication with the following NFL conference championship predictions.
I've got the Patriots because they always win the conference title game, and the Falcons because the Eagles never win it.

Run, don't walk, to your bookie to bet against my picks. Nothing I've ever predicted on this site has panned out.. and I've been doing this for over a year now.

Bitter? Here's one way to deal

A D.C. blogger has an enticing idea for a new.. um.. movement, so to speak.

Birthday shout outs continue

Hellion is five already. Where has all the time gone?

Liberry stuff

Pretty good piece here on the importance of open source software for libraries via LISnews. If librarians aren't going to fight for freer access to information, then who the hell is? Meanwhile, Bill Gates continues to try and buy his way out of hell.

Happy Birthday, Officer Barbie

Lots of shout outs this week. January is apparently baby season.

Stuff You Guys Should Read

Is anyone else out there in love with Annalee Newitz?

Friday, January 21, 2005

KDV Preview

Via Angus Lind's tiresome "Deep Float" inanity.

Also, Oyster is in the spirit. BTW, I coudn't agree more with his take on the flap over the cost of the inaugural celebration. Get over it, people.

Also in the Carnival spirit: me, as evidenced by my massive hangover this morning... I mean afternoon. Ok, late afternoon. I know, I know.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Now this is pretty remarkable

WWL is actually giving major play to today's Jazz Funeral for Democracy protest march, complete with multiple photos. Check it out. Where was this kind of coverage of similar events during the election?
Story also picked up by WDSU.
Other national media outlets.
BTW, unavoidable stupid New Orleans description courtesy of the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
In the city's Jackson Square, teeming with tourists and voodoo practitioners, activists planned to destroy a copy of the Patriot Act and speak out against the war.
"teeming with tourists and voodoo practitioners"?

Completely Pointless, Without Context, Onion Link

Sorry, but when they're on they're on.

It's Hard Work

I guess anyone who reads the biggies has seen this already. Fun. So much to pick from but my favorite line is, "It's amazing what happens when you're tired."

Happy Birthday, Nurse MacBeth

Are we in Alabama yet? I know you don't hate me... much.

Get a life department

Big shock. Christian fundies continue to be disturbingly gay-obsessed. Meanwhile the LA State Supreme Court has reinstated the recently passed Louisiana Hate Amendment. As Ricky points out, however, gay rights groups are calling attention to the fact that the law still recognizes mutual property contracts between unmarried couples. The effect is that the status quo for many gay couples and other unmarried co-habitants is largely unaffected by this amendment. As a result, we have placed in our constitution, a bit of meaningless symbolism which exists only to declare the social inferiority of a specific portion of the populous. Way to go, Louisiana.

Somewhat related, this looks wrong. The court ruled that oral sex is a "crime against nature" only if performed by a prostitute?

Happy Birthday, Daisy

Folks who know where to go should drop in and bring greetings.

Ok so we all know what day it is

Let's just try to get through it with as little bullshit as possible. By the way, is anyone in town planning to attend the Jazz Funeral for Democracy? I'm, of course, stuck here up in this liberry. The good news is we are only two days away from serious running about the streets action so, you know, keep your head up, people.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

See, it really did happen!

Although I was out of town on Christmas, Nurse MacBeth was good enough to get this photo of my Tercel in the snow. Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Finally, a few words about Buddy D

Every New Orleanian has a short list. That is to say we all keep at the ready a list of assignments any first time visitor or transplant must accomplish in order that they be properly introduced to the local lifestyle. Such lists include a favorite bar, favorite restaurant, essential book to read (this book is required to be A Confederacy of Dunces for all lists, there can be no argument about this), neighborhood to visit, etc. My list always included an exposure to the Buddy D show. Of course many cities have their own local color or accent or what have you. But New Orleans is one of the few places left where we can, in fact prefer to, see and hear our parochial manner in our daily media consumption. Even for non sports enthusiasts, Buddy served as a prime example of old “Where y’at, Where’s ya Mom an’ dem, Let’s go get some ersters” New Orleans. But Buddy was also more than that. He was one of the last of the old school journalists; the have a few drinks, bet a few horse races, don’t kiss anyone’s ass, “tell it like it is” kind. Today’s broadcast world is populated by two kinds of animal. One camp, the Brokaw-Williams-Costas faction, houses the blow dried, smooth voiced, lipo-sucted bobbleheads. The other, the Limbaugh-Coulter-Name-any-hack-sports-talk-radio-guy wing, is the home of the shrill, attention seeking blowhards who shout whatever they think might be controversial enough to land them their next book deal. All of this is much more about show business than it is about reporting the news. Whatever Buddy Diliberto was, he was a completely alien figure to the current universe of phony journalism. Buddy spent over fifty years as a sports reporter in New Orleans. During the course of his long career, he worked in print, television, and radio all in New Orleans.
There are stories upon stories to tell about Buddy, and if you have been around here this week, by now you have heard them all. Buddy famously was banned from traveling on the team plane as a result of his drawing the ire of former Saints owner John Mecom who was perhaps the worst owner in all of professional sports at the time. Buddy was the father of an untold number of misstatements and malapropisms such as “They’re doing a pretty hell of a good job,” or, “It’s like an arrow right between the forehead,” or “Donte’ Stallpepper.” He is also credited with inventing the now commonplace practice of attending the home games of a poorly performing team with a paper bag over one’s head. Most importantly, Buddy got into broadcasting at almost the same time as the Saints arrived in New Orleans. Over the years, the two became players in a familiar routine. The Saints provided the frustration and heartbreak, Buddy provided the laughter and catharsis made so necessary by the team’s performance. His caustic manner and honest criticism of the team led some portions of his audience to brand him a “Saint hater.” I don’t think these people ever quite got it. I always considered their point of view analogous to the one which states that one cannot question the actions of one’s government and still be patriotic. Sports fans, like any consumers of the news, need the media to ask hard questions of the powerful and to honestly critique them when they fail to answer those questions. God knows, we could use a few more Buddy D’s in grown up (non-sports) journalism today.
During my childhood in New Orleans, the city seemed to really come to life at two times during the year; Carnival season and football season. The passion and excitement that permeated the city during football season, always centered around Buddy. Buddy D was an indispensable part of the experience of being a Saints fan. For many of us he was the Saints. At a time when we may soon have to say goodbye to the Saints, it seems that saying goodbye to Buddy is as appropriate a way as any to begin that sad process.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Da Vinci Code Panned

Oh this is delicious. Here Murph demonstrates his excellent facility with that highest of literary forms, the negative book review. I think this is my favorite passage.
But the worst piece of writing in the whole book has to be what I'm about to unveil on you. I have to warn you that it will shock you. If you have a heart condition, you may want to scroll ahead. Now that you're ready, allow me to blow your mind. From page 379 (pagination in the illustrated edition may vary), where our heroes sit down with a librarian to conduct a search, and the librarian says

"I'm asking the system to show us any documents whose complete text contains all
three of these keywords [London, Knight, Pope]. We'll get more hits than
we want, but it's a good place to start."

Oh ... my ... God. Did he just tell us what a search engine does and how to conduct one? Next thing you know he'll tell us what this thing called the Internet is. This isn't writing to the lowest common denominator, it's worse. I don't know what you call it, but it's far, far worse.
What makes this particularly sad to me is that our adult patrons regularly require this level of explanation or greater.

Oh well, fuck it

Sayeth the US weapons inspectors. Nearly one year to the day after claiming that this pencil doodle constitued a great and gathering threat to national security, the Iraq survey group has officially ceased searching for evidence of WMD in Iraq.

Alberto Gonzales: M.D.

Oxford University scientists will carry out experiments on hundreds of people in a bid to understand how the brain works during states of consciousness.

One aspect of the two-year study will involve followers of both religious and secular beliefs being burnt to see if they can handle more pain than others.

Some volunteers will be shown religious symbols such as crucifixes and images of the Virgin Mary during the torture

Monday, January 10, 2005

Site of the Day

Onelook's new reverse dictionary feature. Pretty self-explanatory. I could have used one of these during all those years I drove myself crazy trying to find a word for "candle maker."

They Get Junk Mail

Today, we received a solicitation from something called Tourism Guide basically asking us if we would like to be included in their publication and contribute $989.00 for this inclusion. Sadly, we have declined to respond to this offer. Part of the form consists of a list of amenities our location might offer that we may wish to have mentioned in our listing. Each of these items has a little box next to it that the respondent is expected to check if the item is offered at his or her location. How cool would our library be if we offered any three of the services listed? The choices are as follows.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides
  • Cinema
  • Water Sports
  • Dart, Billiard Hall
  • Dance School
  • Inline Skate Track
  • Skate-board track
  • Go-cart track
  • Sleigh Run
  • Solarium
  • Shopping Center
  • Mini Golf
  • Disco
  • Circus
  • 12-pin Bowling Alley
  • 9-pin Bowling Alley
  • Badmitton Court
  • Exhibition Garden
  • National Park
  • Adventure Park
  • Gaming Hall
  • Internet Cafe
  • Wellness Farm
  • Costume Rentals
  • Tattoo Shop
  • Zoo
  • Swimming Pool
  • Water Park
  • Video Park
  • Football Stadium
  • Bar/Night Club
  • Open-air Theater
  • Sauna/Steam Bath
  • Tours
  • Leisure Courses

Hey, Mary

No means no.

More things that suck about 2005

In our moments of doubt and trepidation, we will no longer have GBV there to rescue us. We are infinitely jealous of those who actually witnessed the final performances.

Goddamned Mouth Breathers

Librarians ban book.

2005: Ten days that sucked

It was the black eyed peas. For a minute there I had convinced myself that 2004 was as screwy as it was because I had neglected to consume the obligatory legumes on January 1. This year I resolved not to make the same mistake. I woke up early one hungover New Year's morning and saw a rooster struttin by my house... I mean I threw together the mother of all pots of peas. We still have some left. How long do you think peas keep anyway? No I don't feel ill at all.
As good as the peas were, I'm beginning to suspect that their power to bestow good fortune upon their annual devourers is greatly exaggerated. To wit, here we are 10 days into the newly pea-christened year and the following things have gone horribly horribly wrong.

  • My beloved Tigers lost the Capital One Bowl by paying their karmatic debt for the Bluegrass Miracle. This happened as I was finishing my first bowl of peas. While this is a pretty crappy way for Saban to go out, I can't help but wonder if things would have been different for this team if he had done the right thing and turned the starting QB job over to JaMarcuss Russell after the Oregon State game.

  • Oh and the Saints tried so hard didn't they? Nothing stings more than watching your guys miss the playoffs at the same time that Mike Martz gets in. We should have known a few weeks back when I made a prediction, that it wasn't going to happen. Longtime readers have certainly noted that nothing I predict here ever comes true.

  • Then there was the below mentioned return of the kitchen leak (2005 edition). Since my reporting of this, Lackey visited once and frowned at the ceiling. Perhaps this was sufficient to shame the leak into submission. I do have my doubts, however.

  • And then there's this. There are three major factors at play here, none of which has been adequately addressed through the reportage of the incident. They are these. First, let us make no mistake about the fact that tourists suck. Anyone who has worked in the service industry in the French Quarter knows this. They are invariably rude and condescending. They mangle the names of our streets. They woefully misapprehend and trivialize our culture, our food, our history. They tip poorly, mistake our private property for restroom facilities, and often threaten to get people fired for not smiling at them. If your livelihood depends on the tourist industry you inevitably are made to feel like a prostitute. I know what I'm talking about. So, to begin with, any interaction between a tourist (particularly a drunken one) and a service employee necessarily takes place within a context of barely suppressed rage. Second, let's talk for a minute about how one becomes a bouncer on Bourbon Street. Remember those guys you went to high school with who liked to sleep through class and flush M-80's down the toilet? In New Orleans, they grow up to be cops. Most of them do anyway. Some of them lack the... um... social graces, ability to show up on time, read and write or meet the several other high standards required of those who wish to protect and serve the citizens of New Orleans. These people get jobs as bouncers. (Ok not all bouncers are so derived. Some of them are very nice, albeit very large, people. On the other hand, most of them are fucking scary bastards.) So any interaction between a Bourbon street bouncer and another human being takes place within a context of fiery hot rage. Third, and perhaps worst of all, this whole story was very nearly swept under the rug due to the fact that local media and law enforcement are so squarely under the thumb of the criminals who own the shameful tourist trade in this town. Until the NAACP threatened to involve the feds, there were no arrests made, and no media outlet so much as questioned Razoo's owners' statement that the incident was prompted by a violation of the club's "dress code." As most of you probably suspect, there is no dress code at Razoo. Any idiot in shorts and sandals is free to pay $8.00 for a beer there until the sun comes up. What Razoo means by "dress code" is that their bouncers eyeball individuals and exclude those who look like "suspicious characters", to quote John Toole, by informing them, rather less than politely, that they do not meet the "dress code" requirements. This is obviously a highly subjective judgement and given that many clubgoers who pass this inspection are less than nattily clad, one can see how those excluded individuals may be expected to exhibit a degree of indignance. In this case, an indignant black college student paid with his life at the hands of three overenthusiastic white bouncers. This is really the worst kind of ugliness. The club is, of course, defending its policy and, surprisingly, its employees. Given the clout the club owners wield and the stranglehold the tourism industry has on this community's institutions, I don't expect the kid's family will recieve much in the way of swift justice.

  • I also want to say a few words about the sad passing of legendary New Orleans sports broadcaster, Buddy Diliberto. I'll have to make that a separate post as this one has become a bit long. Here is the reaction of Buddy's longtime friend, T-P columnist, Peter Finney. There was also a bit of discussion of this over at Timshel. For now, let's just say that I respectfully disagree with Ricky's take.

The freaking peas owe me, man!
Black Eyed Peas
Soak overnight in a big pot, 2 lbs of Camellia brand black eyes.
Remove peas from pot and brown 1 lb of Chisesi brand smoked sausage.
Set sausage aside and sautee onion, celery, garlic until onions begin to brown.
Return peas and sausage to pot. Add parsely, bay leaf, and fresh basil.
Add enough water to cover.
Season liberally with thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. (You can add a little red pepper here if you have to. I often have to. you can even throw in a half stick of butter as long as you don't tell Consuela you have done so.)
Cover pot and let simmer for 1 to 2 hours until a milky soup is achieved.
Enjoy, and good luck.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Broken records department

Three days ago, Slumlords's lackey visited to, once again, replace the ceiling tiles in my kitchen and claim, once again, to have fixed the infamous leak which has resurfaced several times since I origninally reported it here over a year ago. Today, the ceiling is leaking once again. Every time this happens, we complain. Each complaint is usually responded to weeks later with an excuse and new ceiling tiles. This isn't funny.