Thursday, March 31, 2005

Local Price Index

1 gallon regular at Lee Circle Exxon: $2.09

1 pound of boiled crawfish at Big Fisherman Seafood on Magazine St: $1.99

Lib Chron Weekly

Now that the hectic month of March is finally lambing its way on out, I may find the time to begin updating more frequently. D and I turned in our grant proposal yesterday. Only four short months of stressing before we learn how spectacularly we failed. In the meantime, Consuela continues to absorb much of my computer time at home finishing up her term paper, which I think is due next week after which we can expect this site to resume annoying people at full capacity.
On a related note, is it too early to begin Prado Watch '05? Today is Day 7.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Obviously, I need a federal job

I just added up my ATM receipts for the month of March and got $939.20. This includes $240.00 since Monday. Where is this money going? I don't go out much. And when I do it is hardly what anyone would call a night on the town (more like three beers and a game or two of pool). I hardly buy groceries. I don't have any sort of drug habit. I am literally spending close to $1,000.00 per month on gasoline, iced coffee, and Doritos. How is this possible?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Linguistics Lesson for Daisy

..Since she's always asking me about this. Ok, so she's usually just asking me to say something in my lame-ass attempt at a cajun accent. Very doubtful that this will shut her up, but we may as well try.
link via NO Metblog

Unsettling fact of the day

It is late March and the Walgreens accross the street is still selling Pepsi Holiday Spice which has us thinking about this guy for the first time in a while.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Time for..

..yet another pointless quiz. Of course, the problem with these is always the spoilage that results from considering the possible implications of your answers. It's almost as futile as interviewing for a job. The new policy is to post only the eerily accurate ones.

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

via d

Hey, I'm still around

It has been a busy month for me and the blog has paid the price. I told you it was gonna be like this. Not that it matters, when you can just go and read Oyster as he reviews the book I'm reading. You guys are supposed to be reading Rising Tide as well, you know. It's this year's OBONO book. Your instinct may be to say that OBONO is a really gay idea and I'm not here to argue with you on that point. I'm not too keen on being told to read a book just because a bunch of other idiots are doing it at the same time. This may be why I dropped out of grad school. Or maybe it's just why I can't watch Oprah.
On the other hand, this is a book worth reading. Oyster points to the book's concluding point about how 20th centruy New Orleans's economic vitality was strangled by its ruling cabal of old money. Barry could not possibly be more spot on about the city's aristocracy. Here was a group of bankers and lawyers who more or less dictated public policy to the mayor, the city council, and the Governor, who exercised near absolute control over the city's major newspapers, who decided to cut the levee in St. Bernard Parish and flood out thousands of residents there, not to protect New Orleans from flood waters, but to protect investor confidence in their businesses. There is also a lot of great stuff in this book about the political fight over river control policy, about the development of and race relations in the Mississippi Delta Region, about how elite New Orleans society is controlled by the old line gentlemen's clubs and Carnival Krewes. It's the most fascinating thing I've read in the still young 2005 and I'm only three quarters of the way through. Thank you, OBONO. You wankers!

Monday, March 14, 2005

You Are My Sunshine

It isn’t online yet, but this week’s Gambit is ringing in Sunshine Week by detailing some of the difficulties its staff has had getting Orleans Parish Clerk of Court Kimberly Williamson Butler to comply with public records requests made by the paper during an investigation of operational irregularities associated with her office. Butler, prior to the last six months, was a noted up and comer politically and a leading candidate to oppose an arguably vulnerable Mayor Nagin in the upcoming election. Butler first made a name for herself as Nagin’s CAO but resigned amid an ugly affair in which she claimed to have been marginalized within the city administration due to her devout Christianity. Her subsequent election as Clerk of Court could be interpreted as a sign of the mayor’s political weakness. Since then her stock has declined somewhat due to the controversy involving the failure of her office, along with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office to deliver voting machines to polling locations in time for the September 18 primary elections. Further problems for Butler are detailed in the Gambit piece. Among the allegations laid out by the article are that Butler
  • Spent inappropriate sums of public money on furniture and drapes for her office.
  • Intimidated office staff into working at political fundraising events and attending services at her church.
  • Hired a contractor with personal connections to her husband to install internet service in her office at a price that ordinarily necessitates a public bidding process. The same contractor also installed security cameras about which office employees were not informed.
Beyond these allegations, the story highlights Butler’s cavalier approach to Gambit’s attempts to get at the facts of the case through public records requests. Her refusal to comply has prompted the paper to file suit. Amazingly, Gambit further reports that she has missed court dates and taken steps to avoid being served her subpoena. That’s right. According to Gambit, the Clerk of Criminal Court is actively avoiding a subpoena.

Throughout the story, Butler appears at times obstinate (her several unsatisfactory responses to questions regarding her office’s culpability in the voting machine fiasco include a bizarre Scott Norwood analogy) and at other times outright insane. For example, here is a slice from the story in which one of Butler's former employees describes Butler's laying out of her.. um.. ambitions.
But Chapman recalls one day in Butler’s office when Butler began reading to her and Battee the story of the seven seals from the Book of Revelation. As Chapman tells it, Butler said she had broken her first seal as Nagin’s CAO, when she’d uncovered malfeasance in the city’s taxicab bureau. She opened the second seal when investigators arrested brake-tag inspectors for bribes. The third came when she won the clerk’s race. Now she had four more to break, she told them. Then, Champan recalls, Butler told them that she planned next to be mayor for eight years, then open a worldwide ministry.

If Butler becomes a candidate for mayor, voters will have a great deal to think about. Regardless of your opinion of the performance of the current administration (and there may indeed be some problems there) you really do have to pause if you suspect that your vote may be helping to further advance some sort of dark eschatological scheme. But then perhaps Butler can assuage doubts by managing to break a few of the seals she has fastened to those public records. I don’t imagine we’ll have to wait until the second coming. Her next opportunity to appear in court is this Thursday. Stay tuned.

Update: Story is up now along with this short chronicle of Gambit's lawsuit against Butler.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Last Day of Freedom?

Shortly after we opened and just as I was settling in for my first hour on the circ desk, we were disturbed by the excited rumble of a patron tugging purposefully at the heavy locked portal on the parking lot side of the library which is clearly marked “Please Use Other Door.” This is not an uncommon occurrence. It is a double door and one side is always locked (hence the signage) although I did note the rather extended interval between the first thunderous vibration of the unmovable door and the eventual opening of the accessible one immediately to its left. Through the strenuously won breach shuffled a disoriented but obviously determined woman who mumbled a few lines to herself as she slid toward me. “I need to pay my bill,” she offered meaning, of course, that she had an outstanding library fine which she wanted to resolve. Our patrons are so often employing the language of commerce (and debt) to describe their use of the public library that I have ceased to note the strangeness of it. I presented her with the figure in question, which was $12.00, and she presented me with a $100.00 bill. My quiet and near apologetic explanation of our inability to wipe out our register set her on a second round of bizarre behavior. She began speaking, partially to me and partially to herself, on at least three subjects at once. The monologue went something like, “Is that a bank across the street? Is the bank open? I gotta get a job. All the jobs is on the internet. Is that door.. is the bank open? That door…” here she nodded toward the door on the street side of the building; another double door with a similar half-locked configuration to its sister opening on the parking lot side and which bears a similar sign which the woman stopped in mid-sentence to read aloud thusly, “… Please Use Other Door. Is that door open? I’m going to the bank.” With that, she shuffled to the door and pushed vigorously on the locked side a few times before successfully opening the other and making her exit.

When she was outside, I glanced over at MP and asked her, a bit surprised at my own exasperation, “Why does everybody have to be crazy?” I’ll spare you the details of the story this comment elicited from her except that it involved a man who once unloaded his bowels on her front lawn because he, “was feeling really sick.” Instead I’ll just point out that as she related this incident to me, I could watch, through the window behind her, the progress of a man in an electric wheelchair on his way up the middle of the busy six lane street which fronts our building. Yes, he was going against traffic. I kind of gave up on the day at that point.

Which was just as well since all I really had to look forward to after that was the arrival of our shipment of this year’s One Book One New Orleans selection, Rising Tide The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 And How It Changed America by John M. Barry. OBONO, by the way, has its own discussion weblog this year. Also a guy in the tech lab today kept calling me “chief.” Oh and it turns out that I am a fugitive from justice. No, really. On my way home from work today I casually remembered that this was the day I was supposed to appear in traffic court to pay my fine for that goddamn stop sign that I didn’t run back in November. I guess tomorrow we’ll find out how seriously they take contempt of court in New Orleans. If you don’t hear from me for a while it’s because I’m in prison.

Barbarian Charity

You can either sift through the usual glut of YA book reviews as well as the unseemly canine anal leakage story or you can just scroll to the end of this post for the infuriating payoff.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Oh Please Don't Leave Me Out of this one

Gotta jump on the pointless name your favorite philosophers bandwagon. Gotta keep up with the cool kids.

Without further adoo:

1) All the ones who play soccer
2) Bruce McCulloch who once said, "Fuck the bank I work for! Fuck the B b b bank!"
3) Skooks

Also at no further charge, here are some foods I have been known to enjoy.

1) Corn
2) Potato Salad
3) American Cheese

Diplomatic Assistance

It helps to have someone with you who speaks the language. For example, first reference question this morning:

Gobbliny looking old dude: Where the books at ‘bout the law more Indians?

Me: I’m sorry?

GLOD: The law more Indians. How dey work.

Me: What kind of Indians?

Irene (interpreting): Lawn mower engines.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Your Assignment

Be sure to pick up a copy of the March Offbeat and Antigravity # 10. Each contains rather embarrassingly ebullient praise of local rock stars Testaverde. Neither piece is available online yet.

Terror Alert

A guy actually just called from the parking lot to let me know that a suspicious foriegn looking man in sandals had just entered the building. Unbelievable.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Why do Americans hate America?

And this is the guy who was just barely probably reelected.

Health and nutrition

A glaring omission in the newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 leaves no mention of magic berry juice. What a pity.. I mean it's apparently "Gojilicious".
Also what the hell kind of a name is... oh never mind.


Skooks! Posted by Hello

What me busy?

Man things go from nothing to hyper-busy real quick like around here. Black History Month may be technically over, but that just means it's time for the rush of panicked reference questions from the parents of the students who did not turn in their reports or projects on time. The questions come from the parents, of course, because they're always the ones who actually end up doing the research anyway. Strike that. It's the parents who expect us to do the research for them so they can do their children's late homework. Does that paint the picture for you?
Meanwhile our branch is hosting one of our most high profile events of the year. It's a six week family reading program funded by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and which always generates a great deal of interest. Daisy and I are very much involved in the production of the program and it usually manages to hold most of our attention during its season.
Also we're getting ready for Summer Reading Club. Last week, we attended a predictably gay workshop in pursuit of this end. Details will be forthcoming.
Add to that, the fact that Daisy has us working on a grant proposal due at the end of the month and things almost seem like actual work @ your liberry.
It has gotten so bad that I'm actually starting to have work related dreams. The other day, I dreamt I had to design a survey to be handed out to children who participate in summer reading club this year. The residue of the imaginary assignment settled in my mind as I brushed my teeth and pulled my work clothes off the pile on the floor. I began to imagine what such a survey might look like. Here's what I've got so far.

1) While ostensibly about promoting reading during the non school months, most of the programs you will be attending this Summer exist solely to provide your parents with someplace to dump you while they work two jobs each just to earn enough money to feed your fat ass. List three other ways in which your selfishness hurts others.

2) Your burdensome existence has not only led directly to the ruination of your parents' marriage but has also scared away your mother's last four boyfriends. Write a short essay in which you describe five actions you can take to make yourself less visible while mom attempts to restore her shattered social life.

3) You find that you are starting to like girls. This fills you with shame because:
a) It provides you with a new dimension by which you can measure your staggering failures.
b) You are a girl.
c) You have spent the first 10-12 years of your life declaiming the female gender as "gross" and "cootie-ridden". These new feelings of yours expose the first of your certain to be legion of hypocrisies. Welcome to adulthood.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Something else you don't see every day

Meant to post this yesterday; got caught up.

One of our less than pleasant regulars was just here. He's this retired guy who lives in the neighborhood and visits once or twice a week in order to glare crustily at us and to read the new Barron's. Other staff have reported incidents in which they have run afoul of this fellow. He tends to get a bit grumpy when his choice periodical is a day or so late in the delivery. Sometimes he complains about various minutae but, ordinarily, he isn't too difficult to sate. I always remain on my guard around him, though, as his vaguely threatening demeanor suggests unhappy consequences should the encounter not go as smoothly as expected. In short, I barely tolerate the guy as long as he behaves.
Today, at the conclusion of his mid-morning session in the reading room, he walked over to me and handed me two magazines bundled together and fastened with a rubber band. Before I could acknowledge him with more than a nod, he was quickly out the door without a word. He had handed me two Playboys.
Needless to say, I'm a bit confused. I don't imagine he intended to donate them. Either he found them laying around the library or maybe he thinks I'm a little lonely these days.