Friday, May 27, 2005

Cameron Diaz

Every time I start to wonder if Maddox is losing his edge he manages to allay my fears.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Red State Reading

Yo, kids. Although you likely have not noticed, this space has been a bit on the sleepy side recently. For the most part, this is due to the usual predictable factors. Work has been busier, certain social diversions have demanded to be sampled, and, of course, roommates have been slipping in and out of various states of employment such as 1) employed 2) unemployed and 3) recently employed until that one night when the boss decided to beat the crap out of you. With his fists.

All of this takes time away from playing on the internets. But the most significant leisure time sucker for me of late has been the fact that there has been an awful lot of good stuff to read laying around my apartment. I've fallen into a spot of luck lately with books that follow the loose, Boboian theme of Red State interest.

In earlier episodes you may recall that I highly recommended 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 which contains a great deal of fascinating material on the Mississippi Delta region, the New Orleans Carnival aristocracy, Herbert Hoover, and the ill fated history of river control policy. When I finished it in late March, it was my favorite book read in 2005.

Shortly afterwards, I began my favorite book read in 2005. Most of the folks who occasionally glance at this site are likely to have read or at least are familiar with the content of What's the Matter With Kansas? Tom Frank is, for my money, perhaps the most clear eyed political observer and social critic going these days. The basic thesis of Kansas is pretty standard stuff. The current mode of populist politics often leads working class Americans to organize and vote for candidates who implement programs which are contrary to the economic interests of these voters. The most often quoted passage from Frank's book puts it up thusly
"Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital gains taxes. Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation. Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meatpacking. Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization. Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs are rewarded in a manner beyond imagining."
Frank, a native Kansan, takes great pains to trace the rich populist impulse in his home state back to the socially Christian, but economically progressive movements of the Abolitionists and Bryanists. Some of the more colorful characters he speaks with in the book include a female politician famous for lamenting the extension of the franchise to women and a schismatic Catholic who regards the post Vatican II Church as a heresy and has consequently declared himself the true Pope. While I am, of course, pleased to see this subject matter analyzed, what I really liked about this book was Frank's ability to treat his "red" and often nutty Kansans with an empathy and affection that contains not even the slightest hint of condescension. In other words, exactly the way I wouldn't have done it.

And then, of course, along came my favorite book read in 2005. In a lot of ways, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer is a fitting companion piece to What's the Matter With Kansas? New York Times reporter, Alabama native, and devoted Crimson Tide fan Warren St. John spends an entire football season as a member of one of the infamous RV caravans that follow college football teams across the South. Along the way we encounter a man who is on the waiting list for a heart transplant but puts his life at risk each week by leaving the proscribed forty minute radius around the hospital just to attend football games, a couple who missed their daughter's wedding for a Bama game, as well as countless similarly obsessed football fans. The RVers themselves are, predictably, the nuttiest type of football nut available. The book is never short on the theater of the absurd. The social phenomenon St. John investigates, the irrational passion of certain stereotypical "red staters", is obviously parallel to Frank's book. St. John's success, like Frank's, derives, yes, partly from his ironic sense of humor aimed at absurd and easy targets, but is sold by his genuine affection and sense of camaraderie with his subjects. A fan himself, St. John shares the RVers' apprehensions, their superstitions, and their moments of agony and ecstasy as the Crimson Tide recover from a humiliating early season loss to LA Tech and go on to win the SEC championship. Throughout I was continually impressed with St. John as a talented descriptive writer. Sports fan or no, everyone should try this one out.

Next on the "red state" list:

The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, And Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920 Looks interesting but dense. I may abandon it if something fun comes up.

The Pirates Lafitte: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf If it ever comes in. This one was reviewed in the T-P last Sunday and already the library's request list has grown rather long.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Publicity Department

The latest bullshit attempt by the Saints media machine to suggest that wildly inconsistent quarterback and sometime literacy advocate Aaron Brooks is due for a breakout season is available for your perusal here.

You can catch Mr. Brooks in person at NOPL's Summer Reading Club Kickoff Party tomorrow at the King branch in the Ninth Ward.

Tomorrow night you can catch Testaverde (the band not the QB) at Dixie Taverne.

St. Tammany Literary Society

State Rep. A. G. Crowe of Slidell has been putting in extra hours lately furiously scanning Amazon.com in an effort to act as part time reader's advisor to his St. Tammany Parish constituents. It was there that he must have noticed the School Library Journal review of King and King in which the children's book is knocked for its "thin characterization and ugly artwork." or the Publisher's Weekly review which suggests the similar Jack and Jim instead. It's nice to see legislators take time out of their busy schedules to help overworked librarians select quality materials for their collections... Oh wait, no he's just being an asshole.
BATON ROUGE -- Books "containing the theme of homosexuality" and other "age-inappropriate" topics should not be on public library shelves accessible to children, a St. Tammany Parish lawmaker said Thursday.

Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, has filed House Concurrent Resolution 119, calling on all public libraries to remove such material from the children's book sections and confine it "exclusively for adult access and distribution."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Budget Problems Solved

Science may have found a way to help you become a cheaper drunk.
Those who took kudzu pills drank an average of 1.8 beers per session, compared with the 3.5 beers consumed by those who took a placebo.

Lukas was not certain why, but speculated that kudzu increases blood-alcohol levels and speeds up its effects. In other words, the drinkers needed fewer beers to feel drunk.


Just lost a huge post in which I once again ranted incessantly about the tourist industry. Consider yourselves lucky.

Guess What Happened Today

I gave Daisy first crack at this and she hasn't come close yet. First one to get it right wins "a candy".

Link link link

My whole sidebar is due for a serious spring cleaning. I'm hardly the type to apply myself to such a project, however. Instead I'll just keep adding more junk until eventually the sum of all human knowledge is linked to this site... but so haphazardly as to remain completely useless (and thank God for that too!) Just added today, these spiffy NO blogs:
Harmony St. Charles
Humid City
Yer Mom An' Dem

Also, Yat Pundit has created a site whose purpose appears to be to collect New Orleans links. Take a look, you'll feel like you're there.

Monday, May 16, 2005

We're all gonna die

I hope we're all celebrating National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

[Santorum] The evil federal government has taken the occasion to encroach upon the profit margins of private forecasters by warning the public of a potentially dangerous season. [/Santorum]

The donut file

Slate piece on Mitch Hedberg.

I have a bad feeling about this

Geeks everywhere are already piling on the praise for the dumbed down political allegory present in the concluding chapter of the worst movie series ever. Kill me now!

Disturbing trend

It seems that more and more of the sites I use are making more and more of their content subscription only. The worst offender on this front of late had been ESPN, but now today there's this.
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The New York Times Co. (NYT) on Monday said that, starting in September, access to Op-Ed and certain of its top news columnists on the paper's NYTimes.com Web site will only be available through a fee of $49.95 a year. The service, known as TimesSelect, will also allow access to The Times's online archives, early access to select articles on the site, and other features. Home-delivery subscribers will automatically receive the service, the NYT said.


This is actually a thing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Just remembered

In the post below, I link to Daisy's reportage of our visits to several area school libraries today. I do not envy the position most of these librarians are in. For the most part they are not only overworked and underfunded but they also seem to suffer from a lack of understanding on the part of their superiors as to the amount of work it takes to manage their libraries. Most of them have no support staff at all. And, as Daisy observed, they tend to get easily pulled into peripheral responsibilities. Some of the librarians we met today impressed us as energetic capable loners doomed to fight a losing battle. Others seemed to us blissfully apathetic semi-retired teachers just playing out the string. In any event, I do NOT want any of these people's jobs ever.
Some of them, it seems, wouldn't mind having mine. One lady we talked to, hinted vaguely that she needs to "get over by the public library more often." She seemed to mean this in the sense that she would like to visit.. but also talk about a job at some point. What was interesting, though, was the reason she gave for not dropping by as often as she would like.
"When I get done with work, my car just kind of goes home.. kinda like that mule."
She paused for a moment before remembering that Daisy and I weren't familiar with the mule and then explained, "My husband worked down in the French Quarter with the buggies. And one day, one of the drivers... Sometimes they kinda drink a little. Well one of 'em got so drunk and he fell off the buggy and that mule... that mule just went back to the stable. He knew the way and all."
On the way out of the building, Daisy told me she suspects this story is apocryphal. I disagreed on the grounds that, in New Orleans, we live in the land of the apocryphal. The more ridiculous the story sounds, the more likely it is to be true. But also I just want it to be true. God knows I feel for the poor mule who has spent day after hot tropical day dragging obnoxious tourists through the French Quarter so this drunk buggy driver can lie to them and tie up traffic. To think that this mule got his chance to say to the besotted bastard lying on the ground behind him, "Screw you guys I'm going home," this pleases me a great deal.

It sucks to be a school librarian

Also, NOPD goes from the penthouse right back to the shithouse. Go see Daisy for details here.


Jesus: "Let's see 'em paint over this!"


Next: Expectant witnesses gather around tortillas in Mexico.

It's over

They're leaving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

What is going on..

..at the Tulane Primate Center? The monkeys have escaped and it's not the first time.

Already it's comically stupid

The broken guy the Saints drafted is broken again.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Wide receiver Chase Lyman, the fourth-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, suffered a knee injury during his first workout as an NFL player.
He tore his ACL while running around in his shorts. Does not bode well.


Oyster has made it through a whole year. Go give him a pat on the back.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Caption Contest Anyone?

Sorry, Ian OH and Happy Birthday

"So here's how I get better reception on my wireless internets."
"Still working on that missile defense shield."

Wardrobe Advice

Look, if you're going to ask the librarian to help you find information on tie-dye, wear something other than a tie-dye dress. It makes people think "Wow you really like tie-dye," and causes them to become embarrassed for you.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

This is why it's time to go drinking now

Unusual day. It began innocently enough last night when Consuela and Captain Jack Sparrow decided to pick up a few pounds of crawfish. They seemed happy with their purchase so I left them to it and turned in early.

This morning, as I was walking out the door with a load of laundry, I was met there by the carcasses of four crawfish which Captain Jack had nailed to a telephone poll presumably as a warning to any passing crustaceans who may harbor thoughts of challenging his authority in the future. I reflected on this for a moment and went on with my day. Laundry, a quick jog and a shower…. Oh did I tell you about the shower? This week we lost the ability to shut the water off in the tub. Once you’re done in there the cold water just keeps running. I figured out that this can be temporarily overcome by applying direct pressure to the knob. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get Consuela and Captain Jack to agree to take on this task in shifts. We devised a temporary solution involving a plunger propped between the knob and the soap holder and held in place by a towel which works fine but is a bitch to replace every time someone takes a shower.

So there I was this afternoon. It’s my day off. All of my errands are run. I’ve got the heads of impaled crawfish staring at my front door and a shower that could explode at any second. It’s definitely time to get out on the bicycle for a while. Naturally the three hours I spent riding around, drinking coffee, doing the crossword puzzle in Consuela’s bar were the two hours the a/c guy showed up to fix this problem and the plumbers came by to fix the shower. The good news is Captain Jack was in the house. The bad news is he was sleeping. I returned to find a “sorry we missed you” notice on the door from the a/c guy and the plumbers hard at work…. on the KITCHEN SINK. They had done a beautiful job too. We now have a brand new kitchen faucet. Everything works great there.. pretty much like it did before.

The plumbers had a little trouble adjusting when I had to tell them why Slumlord had actually dispatched them to begin with. Both of them are wiry, leather skinned, raspy voiced yats who have clearly aged beyond their years…. kind of how you might picture the Shut Up, Little Man guys. In fact, they even seemed to channel those guys as they descended into a short spat over which one of them was to blame for the mix-up. I was afraid they might even come to blows for a minute there. They recovered their composure, such as it was, and went to work on the bathroom while I watched the Kentucky Derby.

While the work was proceeding, Captain Jack finally emerged from his coma and eagerly asked me if I had seen his crawfish. I told him that I had and offered him my Vlad the Impaler comparison. This pleased him so much that he immediately ran out to show off his handiwork to the plumbers. The conversation went like this.

Captain Jack: “You see Jeff says it’s kind of a warning to all the other crawfish who might come up out the neighborhood to fuck with us.”

Inbred Leather-Skinned Cigarette-Scented Plumber: “What do you mean? Is ‘crawfish’ like code for niggers or something?”
Also, they didn’t finish fixing the bathroom. We may or may not see them again on Monday.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Best Onion Feature


Nicknames of the Dead Vol. 2

From today's Times-Pic obits:

  • "Buddy"
  • "Nita"
  • "Jody"
  • "Benny"
  • "Tutt"
  • "Duck"
  • "Yuk"
  • "Tom"
  • "Baudy Man"
  • "Uncle Richard"
  • "Rosa Ma Da Da"
  • "O.D"
  • "Leaky"

Nobody Owns the Sky?

This is just so obviously boneheaded.
Santorum, the No. 3 man in Senate leadership, recently filed legislation to clamp down on the Weather Service's output. The agency still could issue storm warnings, but free public access to forecasts would be restricted if a private company offered the same information.
Putting aside the argument that the government should be in the business of making basic health and safety information, such as the weather, more not less accessible to the public this bill is truly criminal in that it requires you to pay a profiteering intermediary a fee for the benefit of services already paid for by your taxes. This is especially egregious considering that these private forecasters rely largely on National Weather Service data in order to create their product. It's the same as if the city allowed me to collect tolls from everyone who uses St. Charles Avenue between Louisiana Avenue and Lee Circle provided that I sweep the caterpillars off of the sidewalks once a month.

Blogger Spellcheck Note: "Santorum" = "Sanitarium"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Things people say

Since Daisy has thrown down the gauntlet in pursuit of the elusive Quote of the Week, I am forced to reveal my trump card which comes from Consuela who says: "All my life I've always loved the smell of gasoline." I think that explains a lot. At the same time, I don't mean to be too hard on the girl. After all, today is her national holiday.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Score one for NOPD

Daisy has the feel good police story of the century here. I watch people cut this same line every day. Reading this caused me to float out of my chair with joy.

At exactly closing time

I get to sit a few extra moments in the tech lab while the crazy mumbling guy prints out his muscle-bikini-girl pictures. Ho hum.

The Dark Side

The three most recent covers of Time magazine. At least they're consistent.