Monday, March 31, 2008

Dragonslaying that Rawks!

But what else would you expect from a "rock star" Dragonslayer?

More "stuff that probably should have been cleared out anyway"

Alphonso Jackson

I was gonna do one of those "AJ's Greatest Hits" type of posts but there's already a nice collection up at First Draft.

See also this S.H. post particularly for the links to "urban prairies" and "Demolition Disneys" in Detroit. NOLA had been listing in that direction prior to the Flood. But it's the post-diluvian federal and local policy that has accelerated the process.


I like the way that the reporter went out on the street and found the one person who likes all the T-shirt shops to quote for this report. Actually, finding a person on the street who enjoys visiting the multiferous purveyors of the same cheap crap in order to "look at what they all have different," is quite an accomplishment. But since the headline doesn't read, "Tourist on Bourbon Street Exhibits Dangerous Mental Deficiency" I really can't give any credit here.

Play Ball

Nice to see baseball season back. I was particularly pleased to see that Saints running back Deuce McAllister has healed sufficiently from his latest knee surgery to feel comfortable throwing out the ceremonial first pitch last night in D.C. Deuce is one of the all time good guys in sports. There likely weren't many Saints fans in the crowd in Washington last night but they graciously voiced their appreciation anyway.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Placing my pre-order

Right now somebody is planning to write the most awesome book ever about the ever-astounding Road Home series of improbable screw-ups. I want to order my copy now.... because given the track record here, who knows when it will be delivered.

Road Home to demand cash back from some homeowners
by The Associated Press
Saturday March 29, 2008, 9:29 PM

NEW ORLEANS -- The private contractor under investigation for the compensation it received to run the Road Home grant program for Katrina victims says that, in the rush to deliver aid to homeowners in need, some people got too much. Now it wants to hire a separate company to collect millions in grant overpayments.

The contractor, ICF International of Fairfax, Va., revealed the extent of the overpayments when it issued a March 11 request for bids from companies willing to handle "approximately 1,000 to 5,000 cases that will necessitate collection effort."

The bid invitation said: "The average amount to be collected is estimated to be approximately $35,000, but in some cases may be as high as $100,000 to $150,000."

The biggest grant amount allowed by the Road Home program is $150,000, so ICF believes it paid some recipients the maximum when they should not have received a penny. If ICF's highest estimate of 5,000 collection cases -- overpaid by an average of $35,000 -- proves to be true, applicants will have to pay back a total of $175 million.

One-third of qualified applicants for Road Home help had yet to receive any rebuilding check as of this past week. The program, which has come to symbolize the lurching Katrina recovery effort, has $11 billion in federal money.

At this point, do we really need to hire another sub-contractor to just make things even messier? I'm thinking maybe we should establish some sort of Road Home co-op lke say Freecycle where folks who got too much money can get directly in touch with the folks who didn't get enough and let them negotiate their own terms. Maybe somebody will end up with a used bicycle chain and nice sofa as well.

Adding: I wonder if these people have any sofas

Friday, March 28, 2008

Signs of (non)recovery

Kirsch-Rooney still doesn't have lights? When do we reach the tipping point?

More things Stacy Head does for her consitiuents

Keeps their city free of people who have made a "lifestyle choice" to be deprived of their homes by the Federal Flood.

Update: Jesus that really is the most insulting quote by a local pol since the Flood. It's worse than "buffoon" or "keeping the brand out there" or "chocolate city" or any of those. Like those utterances, this one is also flippant, ignorant and indifferent. But unlike them, it is also utterly humorless and decidedly mean.

It captures in one line exactly why there is no significant difference between Stacy Head and Peggy Wilson.

Quick and easy

Last night a journalism professional from California happened to ask me my opinion of the local Daily. Unsurprisingly I made something of a "frowny face". She asked me to explain further... which I did but it would have been more helpful just to have something like this handy to refer to.

via: Da Laddah



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Things that Stacy Head does for her constituents

Makes sure nobody pays less than seven bucks for lunch Uptown.

New Orleans City Council members and others left no doubt what they thought about the way city bureaucrats have allowed several fast-food outlets to open on Magazine Street in the past year despite zoning restrictions intended to prevent them.

Councilwoman Stacy Head said "loose interpretations" by Safety and Permits Department staff members "don't pass the smell test."

Councilwoman Shelley Midura said companies have been allowed to "skirt the council."

Meanwhile, along Claiborne, that same Safety and Permits Department is doing its part to keep the cost of lunch artificially inflated there as well.

Notice also the sliding scale which allows Subway, the high-end establishment on Claiborne, to become the low-class eyesore on Magazine.

In either case, white people all over New Orleans can rest easy in the knowledge that their councilpersons are defending their access to expensive lunch fare.

Quote of the Day

"If I can't drive it, I can't eat it, or I can't screw it, I don't want it."

--Al Copeland

It's hard to imagine Hemingway saying that any better.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

American Political Math

28% of Hillary supporters say they prefer McCain to Obama. But, remember, if McCain wins and the election is close everyone will know it's somehow Ralph Nader's fault.

I need to talk to Chris Rose's pharmacist

The last few months have been a grueling depression for me. I've been trying to ignore it, laugh at it, fake it away. But I just can't get out from under this ever-persistent, ever-strengthening dread. The news is the same every day; the same assholes running the same game, the same utter lack of change or hope.

Ordinarily I find this state of affairs perversely amusing but lately it's not even that. The unmitigated disintegration of post-Flood New Orleans, the senseless war in Iraq, the pointless stupidity of the Presidential campaign, all of the horrible things that typically keep me entertained throughout the day are suddenly worse than simply horrible. They have become... boring.

I'm sure I'll get over it sooner or later, but until I stop worrying and learn to love the soul-crushing predictability of everything, at least there's still Taibbi to write pretty about exactly why the situation is as detestable as it is.

That's just the way we are, and maybe it's time to wonder why that is. In Russia they have a word, sovok, which described the craven, chickenshit mindset that over the course of decades became hard-wired into the increasingly silly brains of Soviet subjects. It's a hard word to define, but once you get it — and all Russians get it — it's like riding a bicycle, you've got it. Sovok is the word that described a society where for decades silence and a thoughtful demeanor might be construed as evidence of a dangerous dissidence lurking underneath; the sovok therefore protected himself from suspicion by babbling meaningless nonsense at all times, so that no one would accuse him of harboring smart ideas. A sovok talked tough, and cheered Khruschev for banging a shoe at America, but at the same time a sovok would have sold his own children for a pair of American jeans. The sovok talked like a romantic and lavished women with compliments, but preferred long fishing trips and nights spent in the garage tinkering with his shitty car to actual sex. It's hard to explain, but over there, they know what the word means. More than anything, sovok described a society that spent seventy years in mortal terror of new ideas, and tended to drape itself in a paper-thin patriotism whenever it felt threatened, and worshipped mediocrities as a matter of course, elevating to positions of responsibility only those who showed an utter absence not only of objectionable qualities, but any qualities at all.

We're getting to be the same kind of people. We can't focus for more than ten seconds on anything at all and we're constantly exercised about stupid media-generated non-scandals, guilt-by-association raps, accidental dumb utterances of various campaign aides and other nonsense — while at the same time we have no energy at all left to wonder about the mass burgling of the national budget for phony military contracts, the war, the billion dollars or so in campaign contributions to be spent this year that will be buying a small mountain of favors for the next four years. And we... shit, I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. I'm just tired of this tone that's always out there when these scandals break, like we can't fucking stand the existence of this Wright fellow for even a minute longer, not a minute longer! — when we all know that come Monday, or Tuesday at the latest, Jeremiah Wright will be forgotten and we'll be jumping en masse in a panic away from the next media-offered shadow to fall across our bow. What a bunch of turds we all are, seriously. God help us if we ever had to deal with a real problem.

In New Orleans we know all about the sovok thing.

Update: Now with more links!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bulletproof Chef

Falling bullets do not always kill

What, no Devery?

Marques Colston is ranked 15th on ESPN's list of the top 64 NFL receivers.

Recent dining dissappointments

Exceptionally bad food I've sampled lately:

  • Dick and Jenny's
    Grilled Flank Steak with Jalapeño Bread Pudding, Cebollitas & a Black Bean Relish Drizzled with Avocado Cream
    This unnecessarily re-imagined fajita is garnished with a vaguely pickle-ish white "Avocodo Cream" that tastes more like olive milk than guacamole. The "Jalapeño Bread Pudding" has the texture and flavor of clumpy dry cornbread. Both of these items combine with the rather ordinary grilled meat to make the dish feel as unfinished as it is unappealing.

    Also from D&J's:
    Chocolate Silk Icebox Pie
    Sounds nice except that nothing about it tastes particularly of chocolate. The texture is light and fluffy... and pinkish brown. Maybe it tastes a bit like caramel but definitely not chocolate. It does taste quite a bit like salt, however.

    I must say, I was really let down by Dick and Jenny's altogether. It's so popular that the wait for a table can be over an hour and I seem to recall Rudolph talking it up quite a bit. But that weekend I spent less money at Rouse's on a week's worth of groceries than I did for one Olive Cream and Salt Pie meal at D&J's. But given all the raves I heard about it I'm willing to believe either that we ordered poorly or that it was just a bad night. I'm sure that eventually someone will talk me into giving it another try. Which is actually far more than I can say for....

  • MAYAS Restaurant & Bar

    The Mayas website says:

    It turns out, however, that the cuisine is more accurately described as a half attempt at Latin-Asian fusion. The Spring Roll appetizer is served with a spinach salad doused in soy sauce, the entrees are presented with a side smear of... whatever that vaguely Asian orange chili dipping sauce is. But the weirdest bit of all is the complimentary basket of what appear to be fried won-tons served with a kind of spicy sweet and sour pepper jelly. The jelly also tasted oddly of cheese. I have no idea what it is but I came to call it Queso Fundido Jello.

    I actually liked the pork tamale. The chicken croquetas were pretty good... although the texture reminded me of stuffed potatoes. The sweet fried plantains were excellent... but there were only two.

    As for the entrees, I've never tasted a more flavorless paella. The seafood portion was perfectly generous but the seasoning didn't seem to go far beyond the salt left over from those creatures' former habitats.... and, of course, the bright orange chili sauce smear on the side of the plate. The Ropa Vieja was good enough but honestly ordered only because the Lechon-Roasted Pork was sold out and this substitute came with a side of plantains.

    It's not every day that I'm willing to turn down flan... but I didn't want to chance dessert at this place. I was afraid it might come topped with fortune cookies.

The Mayas excursion was sort of an accident anyway... the result of discovering at the door that Juan's is closed for renovations. But if you're looking for Latin/Carribean food on Magazine Street, by all means try Baru instead. I've been there at least four times over the past six months and on every occasion it has exceeded expectations in one way or another. Plus... nothing is served with Queso Jello.

Update: Following Oyster's hint in the comments below, I tracked down this similarly unimpressed review of Maya's from the Gambit blog. The reviewer even ordered the same entrees as we did on our visit.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I dare not say...

...the way I feel
about your inability to
suck it up and win the race

Good news and bad news from this year's Crescent City Classic. The good news is that I got into any shape to run at all given the degree to which I had allowed myself to lapse over the preceding months. I've only been back on a regular training schedule since the beginning of March. And prior to Saturday I had only run six miles once this year. March 19 I made it in 47:48 according to the Tweeter Tube record. But in those few weeks time I had gone from congested suffering and chronic knee pain to feeling pretty good at the end of a run so it's not time for my athletic career to go the way of the Favre just yet.

The bad news is Saturday was harder than I expected. When you're not in peak condition, your body notices things like a drastic change in your run from 6:00 PM to 8:30 AM. On a day that you give it no breakfast, your body seriously misses the previous week's training diet of peanut butter chocolate eggs and wonders what it will use for fuel. It begins wondering this around mile three right after you pass the guys standing on the sidewalk in their high school band uniforms offering you a choice of light beer for free or water for $4.75. By mile four when you pass the guy dressed as the devil offering you hot dogs, your mind is too whipped to form a sentence much less a friendly comment. Failing to form the words, "One with yellow mustard, please" you offer a pained grunt and trudge on.

I've been running this race since I was a teenager and I've been in pain by mile five before. But this is the first time I've actually had to stop at that point and walk for a minute. I had made the five miles in 41:20 so I was running a pretty good pace. (At or about last year's pace, in fact) Given my lack of training, I was probably pushing it a bit too hard. I felt bad. And after walking about two hundred feet I felt guilty so I sucked it up and finished the race on a jog. 55 and a half minutes total (really not bad after having stopped for a few minutes).

As always it's worth the struggle for all the free beer and Chee Wees waiting in Tad Gormley stadium. But while I've managed to rationalize it in several ways here, I can't help but feel like this race was a setback. Nothing a good 12 months of penance can't fix, though. Next year I want a poster.

Enoungh local tabloid fodder for the next year and a half

Will there be any neon flamingos at the funeral?

Famous wrong turns in history

Somewhere in late 1989 or early 1990 one glorious plane crash could have taken Michael Stipe and Bono from us. The world would have been left with over a decade of quality rock music... and spared so much subsequent embarrassment.

Always check the sources

Oyster is one hilarious dude

Friday, March 21, 2008

Just ate 4lbs of crawfish

That ought to be enough to get me all 6.2 miles tomorrow morning. With Carnival following so close upon the holidays this year, I was more out of shape for a longer period of time than usual. But I think I've done a better than usual job of sticking to a training schedule once I finally got going.

So I'm maybe a bit heavier for this race than I am in a typical year, but I think I'm a bit stronger and in better condition overall. I'm still figuring on finishing in a sucktastic time between 48 and 52 minutes.

NEXT year I'll finally have this thing licked. Just you wait.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Meet me at Caernarvon

Time to dynamite the levee

Handy map of places people shouldn't live

5 years in Iraq

God what a dumb idea

Thank God we let them knock over the Bultman building

Borders may sell itself, but new St. Charles location still moving forward
by The Times-Picayune
Thursday March 20, 2008, 1:24 PM

Borders announced today that it may put itself up for sale and that it has lined up $42.5 million in financing to help the chain continue operations.

But the nation's second-largest bookseller says it remains committed to moving forward with a new location planned for St. Charles Avenue.

"We are still coming to New Orleans," said Kolleen O'Meara, spokesperson for the Michigan-based bookstore chain.

Last year Borders leased the former Bultman Funeral Home and began converting the structure into a 24,000-square-foot bookstore. The St. Charles location, one of 14 "concept" stores Borders is opening across the country this year, is still expected to open in early October, O'Meara said.

Borders' concept stores are being equipped with technology and software that will allow customers to burn Cds, print out their digital pictures and conduct online research, among other things. The company's first concept store opened Feb. 14 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Borders already has a store on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie. That store will not be impacted by Tuesday's announcement, O'Meara said.

This Kolleen O'Meara seems a bit optimistic, if you ask me.


March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Borders Group Inc., the second- largest U.S. bookstore chain, put itself up for sale and halted its dividend as Chief Executive Officer George Jones said the retailer was unable to borrow money to remodel stores and pay for new technology.

The bookseller dropped the most in New York trading since it went public almost 13 years ago. Borders' largest shareholder, Pershing Square Capital Management LP, the hedge fund run by William Ackman, agreed to lend $42.5 million and to make an offer for some of its international chains. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company also reported fourth-quarter profit that rose less than analysts estimated.

Borders said lenders' increasing reluctance to give out credit made it almost impossible to borrow. Most of the company's financing options were ``prohibitively expensive or entirely unavailable,'' Jones said today in a statement. It will take longer than originally planned for the company to reach targets set in March, he said.

A sale and/or bankruptcy of Borders will probably 1) shut down expansion... especially in the form of "new concept" stores like the one being planned on St Charles Avenue and 2) allow the company to release itself from its lease on the property.

Anyone want to buy an empty building facade?

One of these stories is not like the others

Can you guess which doesn't belong?


State bucking economic trends

Recovery dollars, oil prices help
Thursday, March 20, 2008
By Ronette King

Buoyed by recovery spending, higher oil prices and a strong job market, Louisiana has largely escaped the economic turmoil that has afflicted the nation in recent months.

Louisiana has never managed to attract much of a manufacturing base. The upside is that the state doesn't feel the pinch when consumer spending slows and manufacturers scale back production, LSU Economist Dek Terrell said Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the Certified Financial Analysts Society of New Orleans.

T-P (same page):
Capital One to lay off 163 workers in N.O.
It needs 'to lower operational costs'
Thursday, March 20, 2008
By Jaquetta White

Capital One said Wednesday that it will lay off 163 employees, or about 9 percent of its New Orleans staff, as part of an effort to improve efficiency and cut operating costs.

The credit card issuer and retail banker will cut support staff jobs in a wide range of departments beginning in May and through mid-2009, said Steven Thorpe, a spokesman for Capital One.


Bond crisis shuts down St. Rose biodiesel project
by Matt Scallan, The Times-Picayune
Thursday March 20, 2008, 9:24 AM

An Iowa company building a 60 million gallon per year biodiesel plant in St. Rose is halting construction on the project, citing woes in the national bond market, the company announced Thursday. Officials hope to resume construction at a later date.

City Business:
Inflation besets N.O. restaurants
The following excerpts are from Jim Funk, president and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, who, along with Galatoire’s Restaurant Chief Operating Officer Melvin Rodrigue, gave the following State of the Restaurant Industry address to New Orleans City Council this morning:

The presentation is full of "Yada yada yada" until..

When surveyed 12 percent of our restaurant owners reported an increase of 5.5 percent in the number of staff they have now compared to pre-Katrina; 66.7 percent reported a decrease of 18.6 percent while 21.2 percent reported the same number of staff as compared with pre-Katrina.

Here is the average increases our members are facing now according to the survey:

Insurance 94.7 percent

Labor 30.7 percent

Water 36.6 percent

Electricity 30.8 percent

Gas 30.4 percent

Alcoholic beverages 28.3 percent

Food costs 18.3 percent

But oil prices are high so Louisiana has "largely escaped the economic turmoil that has afflicted the nation in recent months" unless you read the rest of the paper.

Tomorrow is Good Friday

Remember, kids. If you're gonna get crazy, keep it safe.

link via blacksundae

Okay okay

I am now officially excited about the NBA playoffs

CP still bugs me, though.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fun with headlines

It appears I've escaped my just fate once again:

U.S. overturns Jeff death penalty case

A good start

So far the closest thing to my impression of Obama's speech yesterday comes form Nathan Newman here.

This is the aggressive speech that I've wanted from Obama from early on, that clearly identifies the corporate source of the political stalemate that he talks about often, yet whose source he was often vague about. Put on the defensive by the attacks on Reverend Wright, whose own sermons were steeped in these issues of economic and social justice, Obama didn't just play defense but aggressively redirected the discussion against those making the attack. In an imperfect country of racial division, the corporate political class will always find offensive comments and issues to stoke racial fears, Obama argued, so the issue of Rev. Wright is almost irrelevant: To give into that politics is to let that corporate class win the political game.

Like Adrastos says, it takes "Bollocks" to take on the bullshit hate machine as forthrightly as Obama did yesterday. For the first time, Obama admits that the problem isn't just that "people need to come together" but that they are being purposefully kept apart (and down).

Still, I don't think it really means anything unless this kind of aggressive talk becomes more central to the campaign or if it makes its way into the regular stump speech. One encouraging thought with regard to this is that Obama reportedly wrote this one himself.

Meanwhile there's a long way to go and Hillary is picking up key endorsements so.... I hope everybody enjoyed the little show.

I think I've figured something else out

For a while I've been kicking myself trying to understand what it is about Hornets point guard Chris Paul that I don't like. At first he seems like a nice enough guy... talented player, sort of kind-faced and all. But when he talks to reporters there's always something very very subtle that I pick up on that seems a little... off. I wasn't able to put my finger on exactly what that could be until this morning.

It turns out that he's the sort of guy who becomes friends with Reggie Bush. That factoid doesn't get us all the way to the heart of the problem but it gets us a lot closer than we were before.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today's Forbidden Link

Did you know that Tom Fitzmorris was once the editor of New Orleans Magazine?

I tell ya, it's true!

Also on the Forbidden Links front, Oyster brings us the welcome news that we are all now free to link to Gambit Weekly's website and blog almost completely un-frowned upon.

We will celebrate by sharing this fun Blog of New Orleans post with you which is mostly about politicians and their wangs.

Morning Program

Dialog between the facilitator and a group of students discussing Latin Carnival:

Q: Does anyone here know where they celebrate Mardi Gras besides New Orleans?

A: Gretna!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wither Fre Flo Do?

Bush to take part in offseason workouts
Posted by Jimmy Smith, The Times-Picayune March 17, 2008 4:54PM

Near perfect attendance -- including previously reluctant running back Reggie Bush -- is expected at the Saints' offseason conditioning program that commenced Monday with a team meeting at the club's Airline Drive practice facility.

Coach Sean Payton said that, with the exception of several players who were attending NFL Players Association meeting in Hawaii, turnout for Monday's session was "near 100 percent."

Payton said that Bush, who last year eschewed participation in the team work to train on his own in Southern California, would be a regular this offseason in Metairie.

If Bush is working out with the team in Metairie, this could mean that he has no time for the ridiculously named new agey solo workout routine he took on last offseason. Of course Fre Flo Do was supposed to make him more resistant to injury... and that didn't work out so well...

Jim Cramer

"Random Noise Generator"

I'm always the last one to find out about these things

But this may be the best use anyone has ever devised for blogging.

And I might never have known had it not been for the Tweeter Tube

More Re: Gambit Weekly

We like the New Puzzle Page fine enough but are less than happy to see This Modern World scaled back to once every two weeks. What gives?

The good ol days of Campaign 08

Remember back when the Republican nominating process was supposed to be a self-destructive clownish clusterfuck? My how times have changed.

Forbidden Links Update

Moments ago in the Tweeter Tube:

Gambit Weekly is working on our user policy, regarding linking to our site. We encourage local bloggers to link and value the feedback.

I guess the good news is, they're listening. The bad news, then, is... they're listening.

For the record, I think everyone would like to see the Gambit and its associated Blog of New Orleans engage more with the local blogosphere... I just personally don't want to see my blog linked there. Too many people read the Yellow Blog as it is. I think I need to develop my own links policy.

Super Sunday

I was bad yesterday.... too hungover to make it out to see any Indians this year. So it's nice to see that Karen made it... and took lots of pictures.

Today's Forbidden Link

Exciting technology allows you to read all of New Orleans Magazine online without missing a single ad! It's like TiVo in reverse. I wonder if there will be any Volvo ads.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

If there were any sense in the world..

Jeremiah Wright (seen here engaging in preacherly histrionics but NOT saying anything terribly dishonest or wrong-headed) would be forced to apologize for his association with social climbing Yuppie-douche Obama.

But there is little if any sense in the world... so it's the other way around.

Those who can...

... go see the Indians.

Looks like I'm not going to make it this year so I want lots of pictures.

St Pat's/Super Sunday pics from 2007


Mid-City Lanes owner John Blancher in the T-P this morning on the replacement of Thrift City and Union Supermarket with a Nike store:

Blancher, for his part, is a little wary of gentrification. He regrets the demise of the building's former tenants, a Thai restaurant, a Latin grocery store and a thrift clothing outlet that all succumbed to Katrina, but he conceded that the new owners had made vast improvements to a building in need of them even before the storm pushed seven feet of water inside.

"To the bohemians, it was perfect," Blancher said of the old shopping center. "To the average person going out shopping, it didn't fill the needs that a Clearview or a Lakeside Shopping Center does."

Ain't recovery inspiring?

Off his meds again

Chris Rose would be well served by a (gracious is a bit much to hope for at this point) retirement.

There's a lot of disturbing material in this column but allow me to call attention to two snippets:

The very first line reads,
"I should have known from past experience that the word "vagina" is more trouble than it's worth."
Which means, simply, Rose has women troubles. Doubtless, he imagines this a charming aspect of the "tortured soul" dime store soap opera star persona he believes himself to have cultivated. In fact, it's just creepy.

The meat of the column consists of Rose supposedly being a good sport by printing some (actually very poignant and amusing) criticism of his latest (in a series of about 10 billion) "Gee that Mayor Nagin sure is wacky" column.

But actually it's just a jumping off point from which Rose can launch into this impressive bout of whining:

Poke me in the eye! OK, OK . . . I surrender. From now on, I am C. Ray-friendly. I am vagina-friendly. I am "Vagina Monologues"-friendly.

The truth is, I saw "The Vagina Monologues" when it played here in 2001 and I liked it. It was truthful, funny, thought-provoking and horrific all at the same time. And anyone who has followed my moonlight career as a stand-up comedian (all six of you) knows that "The Vagina Monologues" was the influence and inspiration for a show I have been performing for several years now, a show about a different body part, to which our mayor may or may not be friendly, I don't know.

OK, I should probably shut up now. I've written way more than 826 words here. So let me close with this: I, like our mayor, am thrilled about the V-Day spectacle coming to town (the second weekend in April, at the Superdome and the New Orleans Arena; see www.vday.org for more details).

It's going to bring a load of high-profile visitors and fawning media to town. It will be yet another party with a purpose, which seems to be our city's stock in trade these days. It will make New Orleans, yet again, the Focus of All Attention, if for no other reason than Oprah will be here for it.

It will all be evidence once more that New Orleans is where it's at, ground zero, the center of the universe -- this rocking town, this interesting, exotic and sexy town; the vagina-friendliest town on earth.

First of all, the V-Monologues inspired stand-up routine Rose is obliquely referring to here is a long running production called The Asshole Monologues which is not so much an homage to Vagina Monologues as it is a vehicle through which performers of varying talents can promote themselves while lamely cribbing a meme from a well-known slice of pop-culture. In other words... it's basically Chris Rose's column brought to life.

The last two paragraphs, in which Rose appears to be sarcastically bemoaning the (apparently in Rose's view) excessive special attention continuously given to New Orleans, are particularly interesting not only because Rose has spent the better part of the last two and a half years capitalizing on this sort of thing (His book is now in its second edition) but also because it reveals Rose's inability to relate to anything (including the flooding of the city and all that that has brought with it) beyond its relationship to pop-culture trends and/or his career. It would be tasteless to speculate about the relationship between Rose's self-centered shallowness and his above-mentioned "vagina trouble" so we won't do that here.

I have a long-running prediction about the eventual departure of Chris Rose from the New Orleans media market. At first, I set D-day at one Friedman but that was like four Friedmans ago and still no dice. Still such a move could still be imminent and probably the best thing for him, for his career, for all of us.

Friday, March 14, 2008

This was F*c#in% brilliant last night

I've been waiting all day for someone to post video... which I will now share with you.

Hadn't watched L'il Bush before last night because it looked... well... stupid. Quite serendipitous not to have missed this.

Finally some good news

FISA bill passes. No telecom immunity. Remember, Bush has said that retroactive immunity for illegal surveillance by telecoms is the highest priority of his remaining days in office.

Varg on "Forbidden Links"

No quote.. just go read the post. (It will make Varg happy)

Meanwhile, today's forbidden link to New Orleans Magazine takes us to Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville folks will be quick to remind you that the city is about more than country music. It is an intellectual center, the home of Vanderbilt University and the Frist museum. The Parthenon, a full-scale recreation of the Greek temple, underscores Nashville’s claim to being the “Athens of the South.” There is also justification in Nashville being called “Music City.” It is a recording industry for far more than just country.

Longtime readers of the Yellow Blog will recall that Nashville was where I was forced to "summer" in Aug-Sep 2005 while New Orleans was being drained of Federal Flood waters. It's also the site of my mother's recent unfortunate surgical misadventures (Mom's doing okay, btw... still on blood thinners... gonna keep an eye on it). Needless to say the "Athens of the South" is not among my favorite spots.

More things that probably should have been cleared out anyway

R.S.D. = Region's Schools 'Dozed

But take heart, citizens. As long as you can afford to drive your kids across town to a Cat'lick school, PBJ will make sure you get a tax break.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mr. Answer Man Moment

This afternoon, whoever is operating the Gambit's interface with the very exciting Tweeter Tubes posed this question to the Tweety Tweeters who tweet about the tube.

would love the savvy twitter community advice on how to improve Gambit's new blog: blogofneworleans.com

I think that's a question despite the Tweeterishly ambiguous grammar. The answer is more posts like this one.

Update: Oyster has another helpful suggestion

I've got a better idea

Instead of making two whole movies out of it, why don't we just try and forget that craptastic 7th book altogether

Are all the condos still ok?

Yes! Yes they are!

Bonus: Today's forbidden link to New Orleans Magazine may help you select yours.

If you're going into politics

Please try not to be named something like... oh say.. Bizzarro because you're kind of starting off in the hole there.

Extreme Mild

City Business
Survey: Landrieu is most centrist senator

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, is the most centrist member of the U.S. Senate based on her 2007 voting record, according to an annual analysis of votes by National Journal magazine.

The magazine, which calls itself nonpartisan, called Landrieu the Senate's “ideological center,” noting that there is just as many (sic) senators with a more conservative voting record than Landrieu's as there are those with a more liberal record.

“Louisianians, like most Americans, do not want leadership that moves us right or left. They seek solutions that move us forward,” Landrieu said. “Like other reform-minded Senate moderates, I will continue voting with an independent mind, looking to smart solutions that reflect the political center. This means voting against counterproductive taxes that would primarily target Louisiana jobs and businesses. It also means supporting the administration when its position benefits our state and country. But I will continue to fight polices that are bad for Louisiana, such as when our delegation worked together to successfully override the president’s veto of the $7-billion water projects bill.”

Only in the context of something as confused and stupid American politics can the words "reform" and "moderate" go together and make any sense to anyone.

T-P code

Our local tabloid has developed a nifty shorthand for transmitting editorial opinion to its readership in its headlines. If an event or person is to be taken as inherently "bad" by the reader, the paper simply places the name of a favorite long-slain or departed Dragon above the news item.

For example, say Ashton Phelps attends a particular wedding, Carnival ball or debutante party where he doesn't like the cake or the wine has gone bad or something. Rest assured, the next day's Nell Nolan's "Social Scene" column will carry the headline Morial Associate Caters Event

So this morning when we read Edwards cohort Bobby Guidry to benefit from loosened alcohol permit rules we can assume that there must be something very very bad about these slightly relaxed permitting rules.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Misery Tours

Foreclosure property tours catch on across the country
Agents offer wheels, deals, meals to bargain-hungry buyers

More things that probably need to be cleared out anyway

City Business

Ruth's Chris to donate birthplace back to N.O.

NEW ORLEANS – Ruth's Chris is donating its birthplace back to New Orleans.

Hurricane Katrina flooded the Ruth's Chris headquarters at 711 N. Broad St., the seminal Ruth’s Chris Steak House founded in 1965 by Ruth Fertel.

“The original building obviously has sentimental value for the New Orleans community," said Craig Miller, Ruth’s Chris CEO, president and board chairman. "We plan to return it to the community through a philanthropic gift consistent with our company's historical commitment to giving back to our communities.

Are they donating the building to the city? Because they like to knock things down.


No more Coors Light at French Quarter Fest

Someone should clear him out

In today's forbidden link to (White) New Orleans Magazine, we find public television personality and Rex fetishist Errol Laborde authoring a "travel" piece which compares recent hurricane damage on the Alabama Gulf Coast to the effects of the Federal Flood on New Orleans thusly:

Recovery there has been amazing. Like in New Orleans, the storm cleared away things that probably needed to be cleared out anyway and now new structures are rising.

With all the crap people give Nagin and Blakely over the kleptotastic botched NOLA recovery/land grab extravaganza... I wonder how far any of that really gets without all this enthusiastic cheerleading from the gentry.

Getting their Mann

Links of note regarding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his whores:

Will Bunch on the history of the Mann Act

Related commentary from Dangeblond

Tom Tomorrow locates the always appropriate Vonnegut quote

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Of no interest whatsoever

I got talked into getting one of those tweety tweeter type deals where the internets demand constant status reports of you... sometimes via text message or even semaphore if necessary. I figured I'd sign up for this now in the hope that when they start coming around implanting RFID chips in everyone's left asscheek, I might be a bit further down on the priority list.

I've got an updates badge sitting over in the sidebar for now just so everyone can see how stupid it is. Might take it down at some point.

Note of some import:
There do happen to be some folks up in the Tweeter Tube who are worth following so if I've pointed you in the right direction in spite of myself, you may thank me at your leisure.

Tipping point

The point where they all eventually tip over.

Oh I think I figured something out

Tim Couch (no not that Tim Couch.... although I gotta tell ya... Rep Couch looks a lot like crappy QB Couch) must have consulted with New Orleans Magazine over their "linking policy" because it's just that brilliant.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Going back to October:

Back surgery --> done incorrectly --> Corrective back surgery --> three months of "rehabilitation" defined as 1) insurance bickering 2) sick leave running short and 3) more debilitating pain complete with asshole doctors, nurses, and therapists berating her for not working hard enough --> turns out the second surgery was kinda fucked up too --> Two more surgeries to correct the second batch of mistakes and clean out the corresponding bone-eating infection --> one week of feeling a bit better --> Tonight: Back to the hospital with blood clots




How much money Louisiana homeowners can collect on their insurance policies depends a lot on which hurricane hit them.

Federal judges in New Orleans have ruled that the amount of money
Hurricane Katrina victims can recover from their homeowners insurance policies is limited by the amount they received from the National Flood Insurance Program.

But federal judges in Lake Charles have ruled that Hurricane Rita
victims can potentially collect the full value of both the flood and the
wind policies, meaning that they could end up with payouts totaling more than the value of their homes.

The discrepancy isn't likely to be resolved anytime soon either... unless it goes in the wrong direction.

Although the federal courts on either side of the state are at
loggerheads, so far no one's appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit to set the law of the land, because it's been in no one's interest to do so.

Plaintiffs attorneys in New Orleans say that after losing arguments
on the valued policy law and whether levee breach flooding was properly excluded from insurance policies at the federal appeals court, they figured they didn't have a shot on the flood-offset question in federal court.

After losing the flood-offset ruling in the consolidated Rita
litigation, State Farm didn't appeal, either.

After winning so many flood-offset rulings in New Orleans, State
Farm counsel Peter Martin said it wasn't worth it to bother appealing Minaldi's ruling. "We view this as kind of a minority decision," Martin said.

But Cameron Food Mart v. Lloyds could break the deadlock. Bob Fenet, a Baton Rouge attorney representing Lloyds, said he's talking with his client about appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit.

Health Care Crisis Solved

American pharmaceuticals are virtually free

I can guarantee at least this much

Pac Man Jones will not be a Saint

Friday, March 07, 2008

Do Over

Well... if the DNC doesn't want to pay for new primaries in Michigan and Florida... we'll have to resolve this with the one tool we have remaining.


Unless we hear from Ricky later today, you may consider this your Time Killing Game of the Week

Update: Oyster adds an alternative selection here.

Takes one to know one

Barack Obama's foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power has been forced to resign her position over some unflattering remarks she made about Hillary in this story in The Scotsman
Earlier, clearly rattled by the Ohio defeat, Ms Power told The Scotsman Mrs Clinton was stopping at nothing to try to seize the lead from her candidate.

"We f***** up in Ohio," she admitted. "In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win.

"She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything," Ms Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark. Note also that those Herman articles also treat longtime Clinton courtier Richard Holbrooke demonstrating once again that both the Obama and Clinton campaigns trade in much the same brand of assholery.

Ms Power said of the Clinton campaign: "Here, it looks like desperation. I hope it looks like desperation there, too.

"You just look at her and think, 'Ergh'. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

Power, who as Edward Herman explains here and here makes her living as a professional apologist for American genocidal atrocities, isn't too far from qualifying for similar descriptors to the ones she employed in regard to Mrs. Clinton. Note also that those Herman articles also treat the career of longtime Clinton courtier Richard Holbrooke demonstrating once again that both the Obama and Clinton campaigns are populated by the same circle of elitist creatures.

Notice also the barely disguised disdain with which Power regards the "obsessed poor people" she believes were so "deceived" by her rival "monster". Clinton won in Ohio because an unsubstantiated story made it into the press that the Obama campaign expressed its insincerity about its rhetoric over NAFTA to the Canadian Prime Minister's office. Regardless of the fact of this story, the truth of the insincerity of both campaigns is well understood by blue collar voters in Ohio. Given this opportunity to make their displeasure with being dicked around known, the voters did so (even if the opportunity came in the imperfect form of voting for Hillary). But in Samantha Power's world, "obsessed" working class voters are too simple to be anything other than "deceived" by the "monster" she perceives as her equal.

Does it really matter which of these groups of elite warmogering monsters the Democrats choose to bring about "change we can believe in" this November?

Update: More from Adrastos. Also, I think I may have annoyed Greg.

Upperdate: And now Jonathan Schwarz provides a helpful illustration.

Enough with the clarity

I'm running across too many speakers and writers declaring their intent to "be clear" lately. Inserting the phrase "Let me be clear" in front of what you're about to say doesn't make your point any more substantial. "Let me be clear" is the new "moving forward."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Maybe we should ask Werner Von Braun

But doesn't it seem like if you deliberately drop a bomb that explodes in someone else's country... that would be a "violation of territorial integrity" even if you claim to have dropped it from your own airspace?

Protect your condos

There could be trouble.

Protesters plan rally to stop public housing demolitions

Update: E sends the UN a "thank you" note for its recent ever-so-helpful "condo"esque PR move.

This looked a little weird to me at first glance

After imposing a statewide hiring freeze that has disrupted the operations of several state agencies (most notably the LSU hospital system before it was granted an exception), the Governor immediately pushes to boost the salary of his economic development secretary by $75,000. Sounds fishy? Well as it turns out...

Of course, as we in New Orleans know already, slashing the front line workforce while boosting compensation for executives and consultants is a standard move in the Reform-Dragonslaying playbook.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

One more reason to hate the Iraq War

Our military is too dangerously overextended for us to seriously consider attacking Canada.

Seriously though... this looks like a case of a foreign government inserting itself into the American electoral process via a high-placed "leaker". Shouldn't our current administration at least feel a little bit obligated to express displeasure with that? At the very least, maybe the President or the State Department should... you know... make a phone call? Preferably at 3:00AM?

Adding: This is kind of a big deal since (I think, at least) it's likely the issue that put Hillary over the top in Ohio.

Leigh has inspired me to add one more item

Notable Quotable

City Business
NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans musician Irvin Mayfield will resign from his post as cultural ambassador for the city of New Orleans at the end of this year, the jazz trumpeter said Tuesday.

Mayfield, who was appointed to the unpaid position in 2003, cited a “lack of commitment” from the city to promote and protect New Orleans' cultural identity as the reason for his departure.

The city could not be reached for immediate comment.

“I’ve done my best,” said Mayfield, the artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. “We took it to the White House and all over the world. But I don’t see the same energy for cultural projects (coming from city government), and maybe it's time for new leadership.”

Remember back when we were going to use Ed Blakely's cranes to tear down City Hall and everything else in Duncan Plaza and build some sort of Millenium Park/Jazz Disneyland type of thing? I wonder if Irvin believed that was actually supposed to happen... and that's why he took the gig in the first place.

City Business revisits this story. It's much less surprising this way.

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans musician Irvin Mayfield, a jazz trumpeter appointed to the unpaid New Orleans cultural ambassador post in 2003, said a statewide “lack of commitment” to promote and protect New Orleans' culture is a problem.

Mayfield said the lack of support made him consider resigning at the end of the year although he hasn't committed to the decision fully yet.

"I have not resigned," Mayfield said. "I am giving thought to what happens next. In asking what I would hope to see for culture in New Orleans would be the same kind of city support that was given to the Inspector General's Office, whereas experts are hired to solve a corruption problem. The same would be great for culture."

Mayfield said he was deeply grateful to the mayor, who has been a strong partner in culture. He said he's worked hard in his post.

“I’ve done my best,” said Mayfield, the artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. “We took it to the White House and all over the world. But I don’t see the same energy for cultural projects ... and maybe it's time for new leadership. I don't see anything wrong with not being a cultural ambassador for the rest of my life."

Also... as we already know, I happen to be one of your more amusingly stupid individuals. See comments for further exploration of this topic.

One thing is becoming clear this election season

Americans are proving themselves unready for democracy. If only some benevolent power would start bombing us until we get it right.

Grow up, people

This is a close primary election. Nobody needs to "step in and stop the fight" just because the inconvenient democratic process is delaying the launch of your long disgusting marketing campaign.

Yes, it's sort of a shame that the tight race is more about superficialities and identity politics than it is about anything substantive. But that's more the fault of your own corrupt party's attempt to push two ideologically identical candidates with a high "Q" rating on the voters. Deal with it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Through the looking glass

So you see... widespread blue-collar dissatisfaction with the Democratic party's habitual betrayal of the interests of working people in this country has just delivered a rust-belt primary to..... Hillary Clinton.

No you aren't allowed to be amazed. Not by this point.

See this Adrastos post for more.

Blogger's Manifesto

The Onion: You Know What's Stupid? Everything I Don't Understand

Approaching him wrong again

The major media in New Orleans continues to shield Ray Nagin from the alleged criminality of his close friends and associates... while giving no quarter to the similarly associated former Mayor Morial. The consistent discipline with which this is done staggers the imagination.

Meanwhile the T-P goes for the easy money (so to speak) by publishing (again) the salaries of Nagin's top executives. Despite the fact that this is all (rather innocuous) public information, odds are that Nagin will threaten to "cold cock" the T-P editors for running with it. And then they will apologize. And then the next round of Kabuki can begin.

Quick pick

It's going to be a busy couple of days. There may be something coming on the Super Stupid Tuesday electoral events but I won't get to it until late tomorrow. In the meantime, I think Hillary is going to do well today. And that's all I've got right now.

Carry on.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The judge gave Mike Vick jail time or military service

And here's what happened.

Okay that's just a theory. In fact, nobody knows if this video is real or not yet. But if it is real, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the puppy gets more sympathy from the American Right than did any of the people at Abu Ghraib.

Video via Head Pelican

Daily Fire

No frills demolition

Saturday, March 01, 2008

That's some nice observing there, Powell

Well done. You know, I've been kind of casually "observing" the recovery for a few years myself. Where's my big retirement bank in Texas?

More from Oyster.