Friday, November 30, 2007

Consumer Price Update

Boiled Crawfish at the Big Fisherman today: $4.99/lb

And, yes, I'm buying it anyway.

The obvious question is

Who do we torture to stop this bomb from going off?

I say we start with Gravel

I am aware that this is a very scary thing in progress and that some people could be in serious danger and that that is a bad thing.

Sometimes smart people write to the idiot page

From today's T-P:

Beware of limitations
Friday, November 30, 2007

Kevin Costner has been announced as the grand marshal for the next Endymion parade; krewe captain Ed Muniz proclaiming, "Having a man of his magnitude is good not only for Endymion but for Mardi Gras."

But has anyone warned Mr. Costner not to appear at any anti-war rallies? To be a grand marshal for Endymion, one must forfeit the right to freedom of speech. Just ask Woody Harrelson.

Mr. Harrelson was invited to be marshal of the 1991 parade but was un-invited (dis-invited?) when he attended a rally protesting Poppy's war. Can anyone protesting Junior's war expect a different result?

Oh, and someone also should warn Mr. Costner not to appear on stage with Cindy Sheehan. Mr. Harrelson appeared on stage with Ron Kovic, who was paralyzed as a result of injuries received in Vietnam. Mr. Muniz saw fit to harangue the both of them. If Mr. Muniz has no compunction about bad-mouthing a veteran who lost his ambulatory abilities (so much for supporting the troops), will he hesitate to do the same for a woman who lost a son?

Dennis McCann

New Orleans

Update: I'm hearing whispers that Bacchus this year will be Jack Nicholson. But the sources are questionable so... naturally I'm publishing it immediately.

Upperdate: This also seems to have spurred some additional Muniz-bashing over at YRHT.

If you're reading this stuff and saying to yourself, "Good Christ Louisiana in 1991 must have been pretty fracking scary what with an oil war on and David Duke running for Governor and Curly Hallman coaching LSU and Steve Walsh quarterbacking the Saints.. and so forth" well then, yeah... scary times. Thank God we live now in such a tranquil Xanadu by comparison.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stop it Stop it Stop it!

Just... really


So is now a good time open up a line of credit somewhere? I've got some high-risk speculative investing to do and I'm wondering what kind of a cushion I'm working with.

Also I'd like to buy some crawfish.

Oh Noes!!

"Crawfish are going to cost a bunch more this year,"

Shocked shocked shocked

John Kennedy wants to "represent your values" next year.

Did this actually happen?

From Americablog's rundown of last night's YouTube debate (you know the one where the magic intertubes allow "ordinary" Americans with intertube access to question the candidates):

8:43 P.M. Wait. The tax question is from Grover Norquist, a prominent D.C.-based GOP operative. That totally undermines the whole concept of the YouTube debate. As if Grover doesn't have enough access to the candidates. That's pathetic, CNN and YouTube. Pathetic.

I will now laugh my ass off.

It's later than you think

Carnival cometh fast upon us this year. Here's a little pre-season fun. Try and spot the error in this parade schedule.

Mitt Romney

This TPM reader has it pretty close to nailed

I made myself watch Mitt Romney, just to try to figure out what he is thinking as he goes through this process. I don't really know, but here's a guess: to Romney, getting elected President is a lot like putting together a business deal. The details of getting the deal done matter, because the deal doesn't happen without them, but the main thing is getting the deal done. I think Romney has personal beliefs, but not political principles; he wouldn't do anything in this campaign that would hurt his family or someone he cared about, but he'll change positions the way most people change socks. Whatever it takes to get the deal done.

Giuliani talks like a prosecutor if you listen to him long enough to get past his prepared material; McCain's is the career naval officer's reflex to support the wartime commander in chief embattled by critics. Romney is different because he's more calculating, but his business career was all about putting deals together, and he was in business for a long time. I could be off-base here. I just don't think people reinvent themselves past a certain age.

In other words, Romney is kind of a dick.... like Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

What a dick


What Cliff said. Exactly and totally.

Wait a minute

The VA wants the Deutches Haus and the Dixie Brewery.

So much for Celcus's idea


So this morning I took a few minutes to tighten the brakes on my bike before leaving the house. I should just replace them at some point but I am something of a lazy bastard, particularly when it comes to vehicular repairs as some of you are no doubt aware.

Anywhoo... so I set off for work with the expectation that the trip would give me a chance to determine what, if any, further adjustments might be necessary. However, I seem to have made it all the way here with no more information than I had when I left because it turns out that I don't actually use the brakes at all when I ride. Seems I've been without reliable brakes for so long that I've unconsciously adjusted my riding style.

At least now I know why the heels of my shoes have been wearing out so quickly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Robert Cerasoli describes the future function of his office:

Responding to some council members' concerns that the new inspector general would strut into town and produce scores of arrests, Cerasoli said his goal for the office is "80 percent prevention, 20 percent detection," meaning he will invest the bulk of his resources in rooting out government waste, with the rest focused on criminal investigations.

This means Cerasoli, who literally wrote the book on how these offices function nationwide, believes his office's "preventative" focus should root out most of the opportunities for Dragonesqe government shenanigans before they become prosecutable crimes discovered... perhaps years after the Dragon has left office.

So my question is... is that how it works in New York? Because we all hope to live up to the example set by that sophisticated buffoon-free metropolis some day.

David Brooks loves the Democratic frontrunners

Dean Baker writes (about a recent Brooks column)

But the most serious inaccuracy in the Brooks piece is the claim that "once there was a bipartisan consensus behind free trade." This is not true. The bipartisan consensus was behind trade policies that put less educated workers in competition with low-paid workers in the developing world. There has never been support for measures that would put our investment bankers, our lawyers, our doctors and our columnists in direct competition with workers in the developing world. (Perhaps Brooks does not know that if I opened a newspaper, and staffed it with foreign reporters and columnists who I quite explicitly paid one-half the wage of their comparably qualified U.S. counterparts, I would be arrested.)

The public has turned against trade policies that were designed to lower the wages of middle class workers and have had this effect. Brooks is among the small group of people who have benefited from these trade policies. Now he is unhappy, that's the story.

The "bipartisan consensus" was pushed into policy by The DLC and the Clinton-Gore Administration's enthusiastic support of trade agreements such as NAFTA. Neither Hillary nor Obama differs significantly with this "bipartisan consensus" on trade policy as a means of depressing wages for the benefit of Wall Street oligarchs. So, in a sense, they are exactly the kinds of candidates Brooks can get behind.

An Airship for the Airheads

Greg Saunders writes:

Sometimes I feel like the entire Ron Paul grassroots movement was specifically designed to make me laugh my ass off. I know his supporters are sincere in their love of Ron Paul (even if I think they’re fools for supporting the loon), but some of the publicity stunts these guys come up with are almost like a Paddy Chayefsky-esque satire of ineffective activist naivete.

That's certainly one way of putting it.

When Inspectors attack

So here we find the Office of Special Counsel... which investigates government malfeasance and cover-upping and other such nasty business... under investigation by the White House Office of Personnel Management's Inspector General for... government malfeasance and cover-upping and other such nasty business.

Obviously what is needed here is an Inspector General General to make sure that the investigating of the investigating of the investigator is done on the up-and-up.

Because the real problem with government malfeasance is that there simply aren't enough full-time government employees available to perform the obligatory turning up of their noses at it.


Oschner makes everyone sick

Uh huh

Cerasoli: "That would be the ultimate success of the office," Cerasoli replied. "The greatest accomplishment of the inspector general is the survival of the office."

That is very sophisticated.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You know... the football and all that

So I'm having a difficult time putting together a narrative angle from which to attack this past week's Saints-Panthers game. I'm probably a little sluggish after the holiday. And, since I've kind of shot my football wad for the week bitching about Les Miles already, the Saints re-cap just doesn't feel as inspired as they usually tend to.

It's kind of a shame too. Afer all, this was a pretty big win for the Saints. It was their first win against the Carolina in five tries. It snuffed a two game losing streak. It almost puts them back in the playoff hunt. And the Saints pretty much destroyed their opponent to boot. In such circumstances you'd think I could come up with a clever frame for discussing these not inconsequential events. But here I am, obviously not holding up my end of the bargain. I have no tourist harangue, no wardrobe malfunction, no Governor's election, no restaurant review, not a goddamned thing to make this game easier to write about. Hell I didn't even have the decency or initiative to get drunk in time for this one.

But, since the rhetorical standard has been set pretty darn low by the Mayor this week, I figure I can just slap something together and slide by.

Saints-Panthers: (You know... the NOLA.com T-P photos and all that)

  • First, it should be acknowledged that the Carolina Panthers are not in the best shape these days. When each week finds the coach trying to make up his mind about whether to start Vinny Testaverde or David Carr at quarterback, you know something has already gone terribly wrong with your football team. Having said that, the Saints could very well have sleepwalked through this one and "played down to the opponent's level" much like Pittsburgh did against Miami last night. Instead they came alive in the third quarter and ran away with the game causing the hearts of Saints fans to swell with pride as they watched their heroes kick the Panthers while they were down.

    It was not a good day for Carr and his gloves. You know... good defense and all that

  • Key stat #1: The Saints attempted 36 passes and 39 rushes. Three of those running attempts were actually Jamie Martin kneeling to run out the clock but I'm counting them anyway because this marks the first time all season that the Saints ran more than they passed. We like those numbers. And it's certainly hard to argue with the results.

    Key stat #2: That above mentioned running game breaks down like this.

    Reggie Bush 9 carries 32 yards

    Not Reggie 30 carries 81 yards

    Now that's not exactly world-beating production from either ball carrier, but the balance is about where we like to see it. And, again, it's certainly hard to argue with the results.

    Not Reggie busts through the line running... you know... not backwards and all that.

  • Drew Brees. Best game of the year. The numbers aren't eye-popping but Brees (aside from having one pass tipped into an interception) did everything right. The Panthers had trouble getting their defensive backfield organized for some reason and Saints receivers repeatedly ran free through their blown coverages as a result. Brees threw more deep passes than usual. (This was a well-conceived Saints game plan all around.) He ran for a touchdown for the first time in two years. He made good, quick decisions and was not sacked once. And, best of all, he delivered a very obvious and televised dressing down to Reggie Bush for dropping yet another pass.

    Drew Brees would tell you it's all about, you know... leadership and all that

  • But the best performance of the week came from Coach Soupy who, as mentioned above, finally adjusted to repeated Yellow Blog criticism and put together an offensive game plan that allowed for balance in both the running and passing games. Speaking of Yellow Blog criticism, last week I wrote this.

    Soupy should bench Bush for at least part of one game. It's a ballsy move... kind of like... oh let's say a marriage proposal made with only your conviction and a fake ring made out of tinfoil on hand to offer. Sure, it will draw criticism from certain quarters. But it's a major coup if you can pull it off.

    Ignore that off-the-wall comparison for a sec. It appears that this week, Soupy actually took my advice. Bush's role in the offense was significantly reduced even as the running game was emphasized. The Saints have been claiming that Bush was "limited by an injury" in practice this week. I think (or actually just hope) that might just be a way for them to help him save face.

    You know... bad shin and all that

Remember my multiple admonitions to not panic? Well here we are coming in to game 12 and still (barely) in the thick of things. Fox Sports gets it. They've moved the start of the upcoming game against Tampa to 3:00 PM in order to accommodate a potentially interested national audience.

Believe it or not, the Saints still have a very real shot at... you know... playoffs and all that. And if they make good on that, then (hopefully) the Yellow Blogging football jokes will go back to writing themselves.

When I am king, you will be first against the wall

Conveniently packaged list from WWL

I like it

Celcus has a pretty good idea for.... you know... the German people and the brewery and all that.

Emulating the rhetorical style and all that

This morning, a co-worker is attempting to construct a legal release form from scratch so that we may dispense a prize to the winner of a recent drawing and retain some certainty that we won't be held responsible if the prize breaks or is lost, etc. It turns out that the library has no standard form for this sort of thing so she's kind of winging it.

I suggested that the form should just say "You know... the As-is and all that" but that idea was rejected for some reason.

Or what if George W Bush had said..

"You know... the terror and the WMD and all that"

Oh wait... that's pretty much exactly what he said. Fuck. We are a stupid fucking people.

Or what if MLK had said..

"You know... the content of the character and all that"

Or what if Lincoln had said..

"You know... the government for the people and all that"

Or what if the Texans has said..

"You know... the Alamo and all that"

I mean..

It's not just the hypocrisy of criticizing citizens for not voting in an election wherein the critic has not himself voted. It's the impossibly stupid fifth grade rhetorical stylings that have me in stitches.

Imagine if the Declaration of Independence had read

"You know, the taxes and all that"

Every time I decide I've seen the most ridiculous thing in the history of the universe...

..along comes the most ridiculous thing in the history of the universe.

"... you know, fire hoses and all that."

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Saints. They done good

Of course, there will be more on this later. But it's trivia night and.... I'll get to it when I get to it.

Mission Accomplished

Expanding the global US empire of permanent military bases in foreign countries was the mission, wasn't it?

Of course... of course.

Fire. Les. Miles.

In an email to a CBS sportswriter, BSJD sounds like my Dad as he objects to the very real national media bias against Les Miles's LSU football team.

I only watched five minutes of the USC-ASU game earlier this week, but that was enough time to hear about the injuries that USC has overcome this year. Yet, we never hear anything about LSU's injuries. Since Dorsey hasn't been effective since the Auburn game, you could sat that a cheap shot cost LSU a shot at the national championship. Then there was the Kentucky game:

"At least five LSU players were injured in the Tigers' 43-37, triple-overtime loss at Kentucky on Saturday.
Among the injured are cornerback Chevis Jackson, center Brett Helms, defensive end Kirston Pittman, running back Jacob Hester and safety Craig Steltz."
From the Times Picayune Oct. 18.

There were also injuries to Early Doucet and Charles Alexander. If the national media is going to make excuses for USC, it's only fair to make them for LSU.

In the post, David also sounds a lot like Dad while complaining about a (not quite as plausible) officiating bias against the Tigers. Unlike Dad, David at least allows for the possibility that this team was the most penalized in the SEC because it was the most poorly coached. At least that's my translation of "sloppiest".

David also predicts that should Miles leave LSU for a job at his his alma mater, Michigan, LSU fans will receive another wave of unfair criticism from the media for their "intolerance" of an 11-2 record. I agree. Such criticism will be undeserved and beside the point. However, in the comments, we find Celcus feeding this myth by essentially agreeing that some LSU fans are brutally unsatisfied with 11-2. Celcus cites the repeated Yellow callings for Les Miles's dismissal as evidence of the boorish mentality of the "typical" LSU fan. The problem with this is Celcus is mistaking criticism of the coach for discontent with the number of wins.

I consider myself an "old school" college football fan in that I really only care about winning the conference and playing in a respectable bowl game. The bowl games are interesting for the intersectional matchups they're supposed to create which traditionally reflect contrasting styles, and traditions, etc. College football is more enjoyable as a regional pageant than a national competition. A college football team is supposed to represent its school, play well against its traditional rivals, and, if it is a successful year, play in a bowl game against a non-traditional opponent from a different part of the country. The increasingly frustrating focus on determining a "National Champion" has always struck me as an unnecessary artifice and yet another manifestation of the damage that can be done by cultural homogenization driven by corporate media.

I've been critical of Les Miles almost from the start of his term but my criticism has very little to do with the won-loss record. 11-2 is certainly "good enough" if the team is playing smart and fundamentally sound football and gets the maximum out of its talent. In fact, a well-coached team would be "good enough" if its record were 2-11. LSU is 11-2 because it is an extremely talented, somewhat lucky, but very very poorly coached team. LSU fans shouldn't be upset that the team isn't going to win the always dubious "national championship" They should be upset that they've lost two conference games to inferior talent. They should be upset that even while winning, the team has played stupidly and sloppily all season long.

Les Miles is a poor coach. He is one of the worst in-game coaches I've ever seen. He grossly mismanages the clock. He makes indefensible 4th down decisions. He repeatedly puts his team's considerable talent to the least efficient possible use.

Against Alabama, he called one of the worst plays in the history of college football. Miles decided late in the game to go for a fourth and short inside his own territory. It's a stupid move but Miles, by this point, had become quite proud of his "ballsy gambler" reputation and may have suffered from just enough insecurity to need to prove himself a man once again. The problem is if you're going to make a ballsy gambler move, you should have the balls to actually run a play. Miles had his team mince up to the line of scrimmage and perform a sudden shift in order to draw the defense offsides. Worse than the obvious shameful cowardice involved in this strategy is the fact that the team shift that Miles designed and allowed his team to perform is actually an illegal procedure and drew a penalty on the Tigers instead of their opponent. If the head football coach does not understand the rules of football, this should cast some doubt on his qualifications for the position.

If the team is not playing up to its potential, if it loses embarrasing games to inferior opponents, if it plays sloppy football, if the coach sounds more like an idiot cheerleader than a football coach when addressing the media, if the coach is unfamiliar with the rules of football, it's time to fire the freaking coach.

Les Miles is a terrible football coach and should be fired. The record and the supposed bad attitude of the fans is irrelevant.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I haven't got any this year... but I did last year and I figured I'd share that recipe again in case anyone is grasping about for something to do with them.

On my way back out the door so the Yellow Blogging has not yet recommenced in earnest.

Meanwhile can we now please fire Les Miles for Chrissakes?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Out for a few days

Holiday bullcrap and such.

Play nice patty-cake while I'm gone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nobody likes a rat

The more I think about this, the more I think OT did the right thing.

All of this "who is he protecting?" stuff is purely speculative. No one can say with any certainty that whatever information OT MIGHT be withholding would really make any difference in anyone's life.

For all we know he could end up "ratting" on more shady parking lot operators. And wouldn't our world then be so much better off for that?

I'm sorry all the kids have been deprived of their opportunity to once again take their moral superiority out of the closet to wave around all over the internet.

(Oh wait. No they haven't been.)

But as long as we are speaking about such things, shouldn't we be at least a little bit disgusted at the inquisitorial methods employed by these Federal Investigators? Aren't these kind of "deals" they make with admitted criminals at least as morally questionable as the penny ante graft they are so gallantly rescuing us from?

Think about it.


Rarely does a day go by on the internet when someone out there doesn't make a bit of sport out of Michelle Malkin's hackery. But Scout really out-does herself here taking Malkin to task for grossly mischaracterizing a "partisan" statement from Women of the Storm regarding New Orleans's rejection as a Presidential Debate site. Well done.

Ah Da Parish

New Century. Same classiness.

Editor's note:
That looks a little snotty. I'm sorry. I love Da Parish... I really do.

Sophisticating up the Dragon Slaying

New Orleans's Inspector General in perpetual waiting, Robert Cerasoli, is chomping at the bit to start sophisticating up the corruption in New Orleans and has become so uncomfortable with what he perceives to be waning support among his ostensible allies on the City Council that he is appealing directly to PBJ for his Dragon Slayer badge.

Basically he's asking Jindal and state lawmakers to include legislation in the upcoming "Ethics Reform" special session that would grant his office the same authority through the state that it already technically has via city ordinance. Cerasoli doesn't trust even his "friends" in New Orleans anymore.... likely with good reason.

While he was pleased that the council in September unanimously passed a resolution saying it "supports fully funding" his office and the city ethics board, Cerasoli said he has not gotten clear commitments in recent days from council members to give him $2.9 million next year.

"As I talk to them, they say, 'Yeah, we're for full funding,' but nobody ever mentions a number," Cerasoli said, adding that the appeal in some cases has gone beyond money.

"When I took the job, I knew that I would have to fight for full funding, but I didn't think I would have to persuade everyone all over again that they needed an inspector general," he said.

Something tells me, he could find himself in that very position every year for as long as his tenure in office lasts (assuming it ever begins in earnest).

The end-run to the state level is risky though. Obviously, it's a way to get people's attention. But it could be the sort of thing that sets off a powder keg of political antipathy between local officials and the incoming Governor who was elected, at least partially, on the strength of statewide hostility toward New Orleans. The move by Cerasoli is either incredibly saavy or incredibly destructive. It bears watching.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanks, Houston. Can we have another?

As I mentioned somewhere below, it was a big Saturday for me. My last haircut was back in January, and I think it's safe to say the results this time around were at least that dramatic. The occasion was significant enough to spur massive rejoicing late into the night involving copious amounts of wine, lite beer, champagne, and... I seem to recall a mind eraser at some point.

Longtime readers can see where this is going. Sunday morning found me lying prone and useless on the couch, peering at the Saints game from beneath a pillow and finding the occasional strength to make my way to the bathroom for the obligatory dry heaving. It was a near exact repeat of the conditions under which I viewed the second game of the season against Tampa Bay. Perhaps no one should find it surprising that the results on the field panned out much the same way as well.

Saints-Texans: (You know all about the photos by now)

  • I think I've figured it out. Jason David is a repetitive action sight gag; the sort of thing done exceptionally well on The Simpsons from time to time. Here is perhaps the most famous example.

    Sideshow Bob steps on Rakes

    Add to My Profile | More Videos

    The first rake is an acceptable gag. It's a little screwball moment which, while not particularly witty, is what you might expect to see in a cartoon. The second keeps the viewer in this mode, but the third and fourth reveal the self-parody in play. The ensuing rakes bring the viewer through a subtle transition from exhaustion with the joke at about the sixth rake and then to a fascination with the hilarious awfulness of the elongated sequence at rake nine. (unfortunately, the above video actually cuts out a few rakes from the scene) There are six games left in the regular season. David has about two more rakes to step on before this thing gets really freaking hilarious.

    Jason David (not pictured) The Saints marquee free agent acquisition of... See? It's funny!

  • Mario vs. Reggie: Williams: 3 tackles, 3 assists, 1 forced fumble, and numerous disruptions of plays and QB pressures.

    Bush: 15 carries 34 yards. One dropped pass, 2 fumbles. The first fumble came on the one yard line. The second fumble seemed to take on the personality of the player who birthed it as the ball negated a six yard gain by bouncing backwards for a one yard loss and then, of course, diving out of bounds.

    Bush also seemed less mentally prepared for this game than previous ones as he had repeated difficulty with knowing where to be on several plays. He appeared to run the wrong way on two running plays, once colliding with Brees while taking a handoff, and on one screen play Bush ran to middle of the field while the linemen and Brees clearly expected him to be in the left flat.

    Television cameras caught coach Soupy Oswald mildly scolding Bush on the sideline for running an incorrect route on a crucial 3rd down. But Soupy still coddles the infant Bush too much. Similarly boneheaded play by Devery Henderson early in the season merited a benching and a demotion. Bush would be well served by a dose of this himself. Reggie Bush is one of those celebrities who allow their undue media attention to inflate their sense of self-importance on the football field. During the radio broadcast of Sunday's game, Jim Henderson commented that Bush was "...beginning to take on some of the trappings of superstardom," adding, "But he isn't a superstar" I couldn't have said douchebag any more eloquently myself.

    Maybe the Rams really did hit him a bit too hard in the head

    Soupy should bench Bush for at least part of one game. It's a ballsy move... kind of like... oh let's say a marriage proposal made with only your conviction and a fake ring made out of tinfoil on hand to offer. Sure, it will draw criticism from certain quarters. But it's a major coup if you can pull it off.

  • I don't want to harp too much on the weakness of the one-dimensional Saints' passing game again this week. But I will say that the two "doink" interceptions off of the hands of Eric Johnson were badly thrown (if still technically catchable) balls.

    Oh noes!!

    If anything, it demonstrates the reasoning behind the words of former Houston and New Orleans head football coach, O.A. "Bum" Phillips who once said, "When you throw the ball, three things can happen, and two of them are bad." Maybe this, of all weeks, would have been a good time to heed Bum's immortal warning and try to get a running game going.

  • Quick aside: Please please please, let's hope that Les Miles goes to Michigan and teaches the kids up there to jump offsides, blow assignments, and stumble into victories based only on their overwhelming talent (and possibly their gold pants) just like he's doing at LSU. Seriously, if this is really the Number 1 team in the nation, then I weep for the state of the nation.

  • Notable: Yes, this game was held in Houston, Texas.

    How 'bout them Katricians

    Nice, Texans fans. Real classy-like.

This was a frustrating game to watch. It sunk the Saints to two games under .500 while reconfirming all of the knocks against the team that fans have been hoping wouldn't turn out to be lasting truths.

The Saints themselves appeared to be more outwardly frustrated than at any point in the Sean Payton era. While still not technically eliminated, the Saints have the look of a team teetering on the brink of the abyss. They have been an exceptionally resilient bunch emotionally over the past season and a half. It's a trait they'll need to maintain if there is any hope left of salvaging the 2007 campaign. Perhaps they will maintain at least enough FAITH in themselves to pick up those 7 wins we had them pegged for at the beginning of the season. If they make it to 8 without Deuce McAllister, I'd even say they'd earned an award. And since they obviously won't get that Super Bowl ring so many on the idiotic side of the sports media thought they'd be after this year, let's see if we can get them something a little more homemade. I'm thinking Reynold's Wrap is always a nice way to go.


Alert Jim Garrison

Note to T-P Editors

Even in New Orleans, race is not a political party system. Your describing it as such is not helping.

Update: Please see Pistolette and Celsus on this same issue.


There are some rumors circulating out there that I am hesitant to address in a Yellow forum since I make it a policy to write about the sordid details of my personal life only when they are especially funny, embarrassing to me, or pertinent to football reportage in some way. But I figure that it's bound to come out sooner or later so you might as well read it here first.

Yes. I did indeed get a haircut this weekend.

More information on this development will be parceled out on a need to know basis only.

Stuff to do

Some of you folks who are concerned about the state of your civic institutions may want to participate in this opportunity to talk some sense into these people. Tell them Kirsten sent you.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Is the Newell Normand victory really the biggest news of this election? Check out the T-P front page.

I guess I'm picking nits here but... am I the only one who thinks that's weird?

Also... don't miss the always first-rate analysis at YRHT. I'll have some follow up once my hangover goes away.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Club is Open

The bus will get you there, yet.

Election Day is Here. Capture the Magic

Tomorrow is election day. Voters in New Orleans will be scurrying off to the polls with all due haste lest they open themselves up for more charges of "apathy" from their "butt busting" mayor. They will do this with all the vim and glee one would expect from an electorate ready to cast off the tainted, discredited "politics of the past" in favor of.... what? Oh. Okay so tomorrow's At-Large race is yet another one of those non-choices between a snotty self-important blowhard retread and... another snotty self-important blowhard retread.

I must admit I've found this race a bit boring from the start. It began with the sudden resignation of Oliver Thomas and the subsequent realization that, with such a short turnaround time for the special election, none but the most stale recycled political pros would be able to mount a successful campaign. And boy did that supposition ever pay off in spades. Cynthia Willard-Awful and Jackie Awful are not only two of the stalest of the available dig-uppable retreads they're also two of the most intolerable people in the city period.

But even in dismal elections, there is a fair amount of sport to be had watching the various observers, commentators, gamblers and such attempt to painfully parse just which candidate might be somehow ever-so-slightly less awful than the other. So far the scramble over which lame horse to back has shaken out this way:

Backing Jackie Awful:
  1. The Times-Picayune.. albeit unenthusiastically as Oyster explains here

  2. The city's social and economic elite of Comus, and Proteus type people, hoteliers, restaurateurs, other such scum

  3. Dinosaur political organizations with exceedingly deceptive names such as the Alliance for Good Government, and the Regular Democratic Organization (Yes! They're still around... sort of)

  4. Non-strategic voting Republicans

  5. The Dragon-Slaying Yuppie left... for reasons I'm having difficulty figuring apart from the twin facts that Jackie Awful has never been indicted and is also white.

Backing Cynthia-Willard Awful:
  1. Nagin, Richard's Disposal, Metro Disposal, our friends at Imagine GIS...other such scum.

  2. The good guys: AFL-CIO, United Teachers, SEIU, mostly because they have no other choice when all that patrician money is flowing the other way.

  3. The "alphabet soup" folks at BOLD, SOUL, etc. along with Dollar Bill and his Progressive Democrats minion horde

  4. Strategic-voting Republicans

  5. Probaly Jesus, if you were to ask her.

Meanwhile there has been a fair amount of grousing amongst the local internet type people over just how enthusiastic their support for Jackie Awful should be. The less-than-ringing endorsements have come one after another into the "lean Jackie" category. The basic argument there is that Cynthia Willard-Awful is too close to the Mayor and his cronies and, as such, is less likely to oppose whatever future "butt busting" schemes may emanate from his office between now and 2010. It's a fair argument and as good as any if you happen to need a reason to get off the fence. It's not the only strong argument in favor of leaning either way... but it is a good one. Whichever way you vote, and for whatever reason you do so, this election is bound to leave you disappointed with whichever Awful ascends to higher Awfulness as a result. Which is why, I've decided to keep things interesting by taking the opportunity to conduct the following experiment.

Over the past two years, the New Orleans blogosphere... in a pattern I imagine is not dissimilar to what happens in other cities... has grown exponentially in population. Along the way there has been some debate as to the full extent of the political or journalistic significance of the part-time monkeying around that goes on in these virtual quarters.

It has long been my position that while what is written on the internet constitutes an invaluable source of information and constructive discussion for the still relatively small portion of the population participating, the overall impact on public opinion is negligible. While there is equal measure distress and disagreement on this point among the more gung-ho boosters of the virtual quarters, I actually find the insignificance comforting as I have no desire to see Yellow Blogging bring about change in the real world in any way... other than perhaps the firing of Les Miles.

So here's the game. Below you will find two polls. The first asks whatever denizens of the virtual quarters happen by my site between now and the time the polls close tomorrow to indicate which candidate they are voting for in the At-Large race. I'm assuming that this will be largely Jackie Awful but I'd like to get some (unscientific) numbers behind this assumption.

The second poll question asks the same folks to indicate which candidate they believe will win tomorrow. This way, the experiment can determine not only the variance of the prevailing political preference of the virtual quarters from the public at large, but also the degree to which public opinion at large is different from even the perception of public opinion as relayed by the writings in the virtual quarters.

Have fun, kids. Don't forget to bust your butts and vote.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

American Society of Civil Engineers

Their skin is as thin as the Corps' floodwalls.

The civil engineering group is bristling at a video spoofing its levee investigation recently posted on the Internet site YouTube by the local advocacy group Levees.org. The video implies that ASCE engineers were "in some way bribed or corrupted by the corps," the association contends. They demanded it be taken down.

In the spoof, narrators say, "The Army Corps of Engineers asked the American Society of Civil Engineers to hand-pick some members to find the truth.

"Then they paid them nearly a million dollars and awarded them medals of honor. Way to go, guys!" The American Society of Civil Engineers accepted close to $1 million from the corps to compensate the external review committee members for their time and expenses during the two-year investigation.

"These people wouldn't be able to devote that amount of time to this investigation otherwise," ASCE Executive Director Patrick Natale said. "These are subject matter experts who were getting paid nowhere near what they were worth for their expertise."

The video was produced by Stanford Rosenthal, a senior at Isidore Newman School and the son of Levees.org President Sandy Rosenthal, who said her group would remove the video from the Web by Tuesday night, although she believes the allegations it contains are accurate. It has become an Internet phenomenon, garnering tens of thousands of viewers in just a week.

"I told them, yes, we'd take it down, but our Webmaster is 17 years old and is on a field trip and out of town," Rosenthal said Tuesday. "That same youngster is going to be honored this week with the outstanding youth and philanthropy award of the Association of Fundraising Professionals." The student she is referring to is her son.

Bullying a 17 year old. "Way to go, guys"

Time to get the Dolphins on the phone

I want to make a trade

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


"Ooh hey can we get the Saints people in the picture?"

It was only the first day of regular (or, at least the new "regular") streetcar service along St. Charles Avenue and already my eyes were rolling. We were on our way to Sunday's Saints-Rams game and, since Menckles still isn't overly confident in her injured left knee, we left the bikes at home and headed out to the car stop. It seemed like a good idea. What better way to reacquaint oneself with the iconic green Perley Thomas cars than on the way down to the Superdome on a Sunday morning?

Having lived one block off the streetcar route for... goodness... eight years now... I've greatly missed the sight and sound of the old cars rattling by at (officially) fifteen minute intervals. During the time when I worked in the French Quarter as a lower level peon peg in New Orleans's soul-sucking hospitality industry, I rode the cars down to work regularly. Once I exhausted my tolerance for the fact that the streetcar as a means of commuting transit is only slightly less reliable than walking, I bought a bicycle and never looked back.

I suppose that's not all I lost tolerance for, though. The annoying conversations with the tourists along the way had something to do with it as well. Typically, such encounters would follow this form (What I ususally wanted to say is in parentheses):

Tourist Bobblehead: Does this trolley go to the French Quarter?

Me: (Fuck you) The line ends at Canal Street. Just walk across and you're there.

T B: Oh so you must live here! Can you tell me where the Voodoo shops are in the French Quarter?

(You fucking condescending prick. Go back to Ohio) Umm... well I... no, not really. Mostly you'll find T-shirt shops and antique stores. There are a couple of "Voodoo-themed" T-shirt shops where you might find a souvenir or two you'd like.

T B: Okay. So where is Patty O'Brien's then? Is that the best place for food and jazz?

Pat O'Brien's is on St. Peter Street between Bourbon and Royal. (It's the best place for over-priced drinks, puking frat brothers, and a stale piano lounge act)

T B: I'm in town for my husband's/wife's Cardiologist/Insurance Sales/Banker's convention. We want to get some authentic New Orleans Cajun food. But I don't want anything too spicy. Do you know anything good?

Me: Well it's hard to go wrong. (It won't matter anyway)

T B: So how long have you lived here?

Me: All my life.

T B: Do you like it here?

(Sure when I'm not at work being chastised for not kissing enough ass to people like you for seven bucks an hour) It's the best place. I'll never live anywhere else.

T B: You're not afraid?


T B: Well... you know the crime. It's terrible.

It's just like any other major city. Not good, but you're likely to be okay if you use common sense (That's a big if, I know)

T B: Well, I don't think I could live here. It seems a bit wild for me. I'll bet it gets crazy at Mardi Gras, huh.

Me: We do alright, I guess.

T B: You know, you don't sound like you're from here.

Me: (Fuck you) Sure, I do.

Sometimes I'd have to explain further that New Orleanians typically don't speak like Scarlett O'Hara, but by that point the tourist has usually decided that since I'm not playing the stereotypical "N'awlins" game with them that I must not know what I'm talking about anyway.

It had been over two years since I'd had to the opportunity to engage streetcar tourists in this fashion. And here I am only just arrived at the car stop in my Sammy Knight jersey and already I'm a prop in some schmuck's vacationland photo. The predictable exchange:

Camera Guy: So do you guys ride the trolley to all the games?

Me: Actually, this is the first weekend the cars have been in service since the flood.

Camera Guy: (Exchanging a knowing look with his companion) I don't know if I could live here.

Le plus ca change....

As long as you leave early enough to account for the wait and then the six block walk up Girod Street, the streetcar gets you to the game on time... and with more cash left in your pocket than would a cab which is good because.... well... we drink at the game and that ain't cheap. Unlike last week, the Superdome gate staff had its act together this time so we were in our seats with drinks in hand in time for warm-ups.

After a year and a half in the same section, most fans establish a cordial rapport with the folks seated near them. Each Sunday morning brings the same greetings, the obligatory questions about whether or not the habitually late r is coming this week, the random talk that slowly segues into speculation about the game we're all about to see. All of this inevitably leads to the part where I say, "Here's what I don't like..." and everyone braces for something stupid or ominous or both.

As folks are already guessing, this week's something stupid and ominous was pants-related. My displeasure with the black unitards was met with mixed reactions from our section. Some folks actually enjoy the look, some are indifferent. But then I rattled off bigshot's Payton-era pants stats adding that, since the Rams were wearing their gold pants, this week's game would determine the merits of gold vs black pants in an actual head to head matchup, and the mood became a bit more serious.

Showing up at Pants Bowl 2007 with the numbers running against you; always a bad sign

And so at least the folks in section 617 were properly braced for what was to come. Unfortunately, we can't say the same for the black-panted home team.

Pants Bowl highlights (The photos, they are stolen, stolen, I tells ya! From the T-P/NOLA.com gallery):

  • Sunday morning, the Times-Picayune issued the Saints a set of "Mid-season Grades" Oddly the paper awarded the Offense a B and the Defense a C+. If anything, those grades should be reversed (and probably adjusted downward). Sure, the defense gives up too many big plays (or, at least, this one guy on the defense does that) but they've also managed to hold seven of their first nine opponents below 100 yards rushing and, more often than not, come up with big stops in crucial situations. They haven't dominated anyone but they've done enough to win when the offense isn't sputtering.

    That offense, on the other hand, has been one dimensional and erratic. Without Deuce McAllister in the lineup, the Saints' attack consists mainly of short, rhythm passing. Most competent defenses should be able to disrupt that to some degree. Sunday, the gold panted Rams did this by blitzing aggressively and forcing Drew Brees into his 11th and 12th interceptions of the season. (Last year he threw 11 total) Saints fans have been wondering out loud all season "What's wrong with Drew?" The answer is, nothing, really, it's just easier to stop a one-armed man when he's running a one-trick offense.

    Brees, looking very sad and dare I say "gloomy" in his black pants

  • Not helping matters was the perhaps premature return of center Jeff Faine. Faine, who has been out with an injured pectoral muscle, twice botched snaps in the shotgun formation with disastrous results.

    Brees (black pants) is sacked by former LSU tiger Claude Wroten (gold pants) Brees was harassed all day.

  • Rams' offensive strategy: 1st Down: run for no gain, 2nd Down: run or pass for minimal yardage, 3rd Down: Hmmmm... who is Jason David covering?

    Okay so it hasn't been a very good year for the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition of 2007. Every week, Saints fans show up to watch David be short and fall down a lot, but this game was a masterpiece of anti-craftsmanship. The Rams were 8 out of 13 on 3rd down, mostly throwing at David.

    Jason David (black pants) was picked on mercilessly by Rams receivers.

  • Saints' offensive strategy: 4th and 1: Reggie Bush off tackle. Really? No... really?

    Bush (black pants) 7 carries 17 yards

  • With 14 minutes left to play, Rams Quarterback Marc Bulger hit Drew Bennet for a touchdown putting the Rams up 34 to 7. To my amazement, Saints fans... all of whom have paid hundreds, and in many cases thousands, of dollars to watch professional football this season, began heading for the exits with nearly a full quarter of the game remaining. I will never understand this behavior. It is bad value, bad karma, bad... manners, just bad all around.

    We actually had a party to get to after the game and r, who had offered us a ride, was up and making like she wanted to take off with the rest of the early-departing fans. I didn't want to lose my ride, so I started the negotiations at, "I just want to see if they score here" Six plays later, Billy Miller was in the end-zone. r, who had relocated to the concourse in order to perhaps encourage folks to follow her, continued the negotiations via text message, "U coming or no?" I ignored it until the Saints got the ball back on their own 4. More texting, "This is over. I am leaving." I gave her a "Hold up a sec" and then the Saints went 96 yards through Jim Haslett's prevent defense on a drive that included a bizarre reception by Marques Colston that was disallowed, challenged, and then inexplicably still ruled incomplete and another play where Reggie Bush was hit very hard in the head by a gold panted Ram.

    Ughh.. Too.. much... cheese.

    The score is 34-21 with about five minutes left and now I'm interested. Mare's onside kick goes out of bounds putting the Rams in position for a field goal. At the two minute warning, and with the score 37-21, Menckles says, "Okay now it's impossible, right?" Well, no, it's not impossible. Unlikely but not impossible. Seven plays later, Brees has found Eric Johnson for another score. With the 2 point conversion, the Saints have 36 seconds, an 8 point deficit, and a shot at an onside kick.

    Unlikely. Certainly not impossible.

    Can there be any doubt that Josh (Never Mind The) Bullocks could have held onto that onside kick, had he only been wearing the appropriate pants?

    Catch the ball! I can't, I'm wearing tights!

Time to panic? No, goddammit, for the last time, there will be no panicking this season. The Saints are a flawed team. They lack the dominating defense, the power running game, the deep passing game, and the good fashion sense necessary to set the football world on fire.

But they do have the fortuitous schedule, scrappy attitude, and weak divisional opponents that could allow them to fight their way into the playoffs. Nothing is guaranteed, but Saints fans should have every reason to believe that this season will be worth watching until the very last week... so long as they remember to stay in their seats.... and try to keep their pants on.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Saints will be fine

So quit yer panicking. Meanwhile this is your weekly notice that the game re-cap is coming but will be, of course, past deadline because 1) It's a long post and 2) I... you know... do other stuff.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Awesome Dragonslaying

Jindal names "LLC loophole" campaign contributor to "Ethics Reform Panel"

Ron Paul has "Geek Appeal" too

During the recent Louisiana Governor's race, the Gambit Weekly ran one of its more shameful political profiles in which it was posited that Bobby Jindal appealed greatly to young "Gen-Xers" (yes the Gambit still defines Gen-X 30 somethings as "young" I guess that's kind of accurate) because... you know... he's in his 30s and he uses the interwebs and stuff. Meanwhile, Jindal's actual campaign had more to do with his constant harping on his Christian faith and the need for "ethics reform" in Louisiana. I had the darnedest time trying to remember the exact Nirvana lyrics which treated these issues. Ultimately I decided that Clancy Dubos was really making some sort of clever "Gen-X" inspired statement on the futility and meaninglessness of any political endeavor due to the constantly evolving manipulation of symbols and imagery by an unconquerable permanent ruling elite... or to put it another way, Clancy was reminding us that "everything is possible but nothing is real."

But one doesn't have to see Clancy as a subtle critic of popular culture in order to explain the silly "Geek Appeal" article. A more likely explanation holds that although the Gambit styles itself an "alternative" weekly, suggesting that it provides a refreshing counterpoint to other presumably "establishment" media, its actual purpose is to sell targeted advertising to a hip-leaning Yuppie Left demographic. And, honestly, what could be more "Gen-X" than that? The Gambit's business model is akin to "X-treme" marketing campaigns which co-opt the imagery of youthful rebellion and repurpose it towards the hawking of Mountain Dew and Corn Nuts. This situation was, perhaps, best captured by Lisa Simpson who once said of the 90s style outdoor music fest, "Wow! It's like Woodstock, only with advertisements everywhere and tons of security guards." And so the Gambit knows its readers are the kind of people who don't necessarily want to challenge the power structure in a meaningful way... but who kind of dig the superficial accouterments associated with that kind of pose.

Lately the young readers of Gambit and similar "alternative weeklies" across the country have attached themselves to the Ron Paul for President campaign. In New Orleans, several homemade Ron Paul '08 signs adorn telephone posts along Magazine Street where they hit the sweet spot of the grass-roots DIY aesthetic that appeals to the young and hip patrons of that strip's multiple day spas, sushi cafe's, and coffee shops. Ron Paul's campaign is picking up the awesome mojo of Clancy Dubos's "Geek Appeal".

Now, I'm no fan of Ron Paul. But, personally, I couldn't be more pleased with the emergence of his campaign because it sets the table for a tantalizing 3rd party run in the general election which would further feed my self-serving hobby of comparing the 2008 Presidential election to 1968. My model stars Rudy! Giuliani as the ghoulish authoritarian Nixon, Hillary Clinton as the bumbling centrist Hubert Humphrey, and Paul as the insurgent x-factor George Wallace. In '68 Wallace's run exposed a dangerous fault in the old Democratic "New Deal" coalition splintering the working class populist vote along racial and social lines and ushering in a major political realignment which appears to have peaked with the rise and... perhaps... fall of the Rovian neo-cons currently ruining our Constitution and pretty much blowing up the world.

An independent Paul candidacy has the potential to exploit tenuous new faults in the current political alignment. These faults lie between a growing number of Americans who are utterly disgusted by the war and the total failure of both major parties to give voice to this revulsion. Ron Paul is a "libertarian". And as a libertarian he naturally draws racial reactionaries and bubbas and gun nuts and such from the right by selling an anti-all-government orthodoxy as a panacea against all the evils of the world. But he also draws heavily on the Yuppie-Left vote... you know... Gambit readers and such who style themselves quality white people and "independent thinkers" in a very juvenile sense but who are also very tired of the war. The Yuppie Left is talking up Paul right now because.... well because they think it makes them interesting... but also because they don't want to vote for a pro-war Rudy or a... um... a pro-Hillary Hillary. Wallace's demo certainly overlapped with some of Nixon's "law-and-order" constituency as well as pulling "New Deal" votes from the old working class South. It's not the same exact scenario... but I still think there are interesting parallels.

Getting in on the fun this morning is the T-P's James Gill who weighs in with a column about Paul's recent "Guy Fawkes Day" fund raising stunt. Gill helpfully observes that part of the "libertarian" appeal to this age group has to do with their thoroughly buying the ongoing Social-Security- is-hopeless bamboozlement.
It is an article of faith in Libertarian circles that, were the maximum voting age 25, Paul would be the next president. Many young voters apparently fear that they will be forced to pick up the tab for Medicare and Social Security only to find the economy in ruins when their time comes.

To which the predictable libertarian solution is, "Well I never wanted/needed that anyway".

Gill is right about Paul's youth skewing demo and I believe the widespread Soc Sec myth is one reason but not the only reason. It's part of the endemic ahistorisism (ding! new word!) of most Americans who seem to have less and less understanding of how power and politics work with each passing year. Paul has a high appeal with self-styled "hip" yuppies who buy into the Alger-esque line that each of us is independently successful based upon our unique merits alone. And, as we all know, young yuppie types are quite eager to demonstrate the value of their unique merits.

What's particularly funny is the way this ultimately hyper-reactionary brand of capitalism has wrapped itself up in the symbolism of revolutionary populism. The Paulites were well aware of what they were doing when they chose Guy Fawkes Day for their fund raising stunt. Sure, the Guy Fawkes imagery evokes the anti-government meme of the Gunpowder Plot, but it also piggybacks off of the way this imagery has already been borrowed and re-injected into the culture through the popular (among hipster yuppie types) V for Vendetta graphic novel series. In fact, many a Paulite internet stooge incorporates V for Vendetta imagery into his/her graphic iconography.

And so the new libertarian impulse becomes a half-baked fashion statement as well as a dismal political belch which draws equally from the inherent "coolness" of knee-jerk misanthropic distrust of all things "government" and the materialist desire to demonstrate one's individual superiority through the illusory concept of "self-generated" wealth. I suppose that's all well and good if you're Ayn Rand but it's not the most constructive approach to public policy. Of course, given the state of the current polity ( i.e. the morass that is our current untenable Asian imperial venture or our stupid, condescending and unresponsive political elite) one can at least understand... if not buy into... the appeal of eschewing "constructive approaches" for gunpowder plots.

Update: More background on Ron Paul and his nutty nuttiness that the ahistorisist hipsters tend to discount can be found here at Orcinus.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Who do you suppose is worse?

Mare for sucking... or Brees for chastising the fans who pay large sums of their hard earned money for the opportunity to point that out?

Really Dumb Framing Device of the Day

When City Business writes that the mosquito problem in New Orleans is a low priority compared to the dragon problem, one wants to ask them if they really do live here.

Health Care Crisis

Spent my lunch hour today at home watching the exciting City Budget hearings. Man, it seems like half the Council has some kind of nasty head cold with all the sniffling and rasping and whatnot. The Mayor says he has lozenges but he'll only give them up if he gets that millage rolled forward.


Gumbo Party at my house tonite!

Update: Ha, indeed

Whose side are you on?

Atrios gets at a point I continually find myself banging my head against the bricks about.

I'm always surprised how many people fail to be sympathetic to striking workers simply because they perceive them to be "well-paid." Certainly one can always find a more worthy cause, a more desperate case, someone more "deserving." But ultimately this is about whether management gets to screw workers, and that's something we can all be concerned about whether it's janitors, Hollywood writers, or even millionaire baseball players.

The main issues for the WGA are rather simple - when the studios repackage their work until the end of time in new and exciting media formats, how much residuals should they get (if any). If you fail to "sympathize" with striking writers, you think that management should just expropriate the value of their work forever. In other words, you sympathize with management.

And of course plenty of writers aren't "well-paid" in that they don't always find consistent work. The writers for more high-profile shows who have steady jobs are probably making a decent living, and they're the ones we see on the Youtube clips, but to a great degree the strike isn't about them - or at least it's less important for them - and they're supporting the strike on behalf of both current and former less employed writers and, even more importantly, future writers who will see whatever gains the union has made over the years demolished because they're "writing for the internet"... when everything is on the internet.

Right now this is about a few extra pennies per DVD sale and getting a tiny chunk of whatever money is being made from putting teevee shows on the internet. But in the future it'll all be on the internet, or something even more exciting. If they don't lock in a good deal now, there may be no good deal in the future. Absent a good contract result, technological change may essentially bust the union.

A strike like this is "not about" union members at the top of the pay scale as much as it is about the rights of the union as a whole. And by extension, it's about the rights of every union. This is fundamental to the concept of collective bargaining.

The NOLA Bonus March of 2007

While New Orleans's homeless shelters wait for Road Home funds to open more beds, an increasing number of the city's homeless are camping out in Duncan Plaza right in front of City Hall challenging even clueless city officials to at least notice them.

The encampment has sparked a few comments at public meetings of late. During a recent retreat of the City Council, several members identified the encampment as a problem. On Wednesday, members of the Downtown Development District board echoed that sentiment. A district staff member said the city's chief administrative officer, Brenda Hatfield, told him that the city "is going to do something" about it.

A pledge to "do something about it" is kind of an ominous statement from a government preparing for hearings on a pending budget request for "Harry Lee Tanks".

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Indispensible Statistics

In the comments to this week's Saints recap, Bigshot offers the following breakdown of uniform color combinations during the Sean Payton era.

Key: B/G = Black Jerseys/Gold Pants; W/G = White Jerseys/Gold Pants; B/B = Black Jerseys/Black Pants; W/B = White Jerseys/Black Pants

B/G 3-3 50.00%
W/G 7-2 77.78%
B/B 4-4 50.00%
W/B 1-2 33.33%
Gold Pants 10-5 66.67%
Black Pants 5-6 45.45%

Brees' passer rating:
B/G 86.2
W/G 87.2
B/B 71.375
W/B 68.3

You see the pattern, yes?

Should this surprise anyone?

Pat Robertson backs Giuliani

There is a developing school of thought that Christian fundies will fall in line behind Rudy! because he is the most authoritarian candidate available. The most animating issue of the 2008 election will be the right to dissent vs the making the dirty hippies shut the fuck up. Yes, the fundies hate Rudy!'s divorce and his lack of enthusiasm for burning homosexuals and such.. but they hate the dirty hippies even more, and Rudy! really really wants to make the dirty hippies shut the fuck up. But I've been saying this for some time now.

Update: I've mentioned a few times that my pet theory about this election (particularly when I'm on a Rudy! kick) involves drawing comparisons to 1968. Having said that, does anyone else see a potential Ron Paul indie bid as this year's Wallace?

NOLA Must Read

The latest Moldy City post on the relationship between Nagin and his major campaign contributors in the sanitation business has been up since Sunday. But, remember, I'm not over my hangover until late Monday so I get behind the news cycle sometimes.

Martian Law!

This morning, e asks, "Do YOU want municipal police being armed with assault rifles?" in reference to the disturbing national trend of the urban arms race coming soon to a town near you.

Seriously... is this what we want? A camera on every corner, police with assault rifles and what Nagin is calling "Harry Lee type tanks"? Who could possibly find this comforting?

Image courtesy of Michael.
Most NOLA folk know the title reference.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tough Stuff

Football is a rough and dangerous enterprise which exacts a heavy physical toll on the participants. One outgrowth of the game's grueling brutality is an exaggerated (sometimes cartoonishly so) culture of machismo in which players are expected to "play with pain" often ignoring debilitating, sometimes life-threatening, injuries for the sake of making the next big play or the next big game.

When the team is on the verge of successfully digging itself out of an 0-4 chasm, the pressure to play hurt in this kind of big game is ramped up markedly. In such a situation, players with painfully damaged joints or muscles will ply their bodies with all manner of braces, tape jobs, and narcotics to make the lineup. Likewise, fans will do whatever it takes to overcome that still smarting Hooverball knee or those unnecessary shots of Bärenjäger from the previous evening to climb those Superdome steps, suck down those bloody marys, plant their asses in those seats and demand some damn value for their entertainment dollars. Sunday was such a moment.

Saints vs Jags (All photos, as always, are shameless hotlinks to files in the NOLA.com online gallery. Oh, except for the ones I also stole from the Jacksonville Times-Union)

  • This week's Dome Complaint: While it is our general custom to arrive at the Superdome via bicycle, that part of the game plan had to be scrapped this week since, as I've already noted, we were "playing hurt". Menckles was still suffering limited mobility and endurance in her knee and I was still suffering the effects of the above mentioned Bärenjäger. And so this week we took a cab and hobbled the few blocks up Girod Street from Loyola Ave to the Superdome where we figured we we still had ample time to spare before kickoff.

    But oh how wrong that figuring turned out to be. For some unknown reason, the Superdome was operating fewer entry gates than usual this week resulting in a massive line backup. I watched the kickoff and much of the opening series on the television just outside of Gate D. My first look at this game was disappointing not only because it came from outside the building, but also because it revealed to my absolute horror that the dreaded black pants were back. What the hell could the Saints have been thinking? Not only are those black unitards dreadful unsightly fashion mishaps, but they've also been a proven bringer of bad things footballwise this season. Here are the Saints with a chance to nullify one of the worst starts in franchise history and they dare to come out dressed like this? I was beside myself with outrage until I took a moment and squinted once more at the tiny TV above the heads of the overwhelmed Superdome security staff and realized... THE JAGUARS WERE WEARING THE SAME STUPID BLACK PANTS. The curse would not affect the Saints today. This game was a pants push. Energized by this thought, I resolved to continue shuffling forward with the rest of the stupified crowd being uncomfortably.. and lately... funneled into the building.

    Don't you just hate it when the other girls wear the same outfit as you? Makes you want to hit someone in the face, doesn't it?

    Of course, section 617 is at the very top of the Dome and getting there from the gate takes some doing in and of itself. The difficulty of the ascent is exacerbated when one is hobbled in the knee... or addled in the brain... and even worse when one is making the desperate climb along with a crush of other fans who have been similarly delayed by Superdome management issues. But that's not the worst part.

    Having finally reached the concession area near our section, I knew by the wooziness in my stomach and the tightness in my head that I could not progress all the way to my seat without my Sunday morning life-saving hair of the dog. Of course, since the bloody mary line was almost as bad as the line at the gate, I was made to stand and sway dizzily with only the public address announcer and the crowd reactions to clue me in as to what was transpiring on the field. By the time I reached my seat I was understandably upset since I had heard but not seen the Saints follow a field goal with an onside kick, Reggie Bush score a touchdown, and the Jaguars complete an 80 yard touchdown pass burning the Saints marquee free agent acquisition Jason David in the process.

    Okay so it's not like that was too hard to imagine.

    Goddammit! I thought, Here I am just falling into my chair and I've already missed all the fireworks in this game. Oh how wrong that turned out to be.

  • Nobody could have predicted that these teams were just getting warmed up. Heading into this weekend, all the national attention focused on the Patriots and Colts matchup, which turned out to be an entertaining game as well, but it's hard to argue against Saints-Jags as the most exciting game of the weekend as it featured,

    1. An onside kick
    2. An 80 yard touchdown pass
    3. A kickoff returned for a touchdown
    4. An interception returned for a touchdown
    5. A 57 yard pass to a tight end

    Plus, the following remarkable sequence:

    With less than two minutes to play in the half, the Saints have a seven point lead and are about to receive a Jacksonville punt. Coach Soupy gets a bit desperate for a big play before halftime and chooses this moment to humor Reggie Bush's ego by letting him return his obligatory one punt of the game. Naturally, Bush DROPS THE BALL at his own 33 yard line. Luckily, the Saints cover the ball and avert what could have been a disastrous moment.

    The Saints then quickly move the ball into Jacksonville territory as Brees hits Patten for 36 yards, and then Bush for 5 yards... oh wait... no that's Bush for zero yards after he's finished running sideways and backwards as is his custom. On the next play, Brees fumbles (OH NOES!!) but wait... the replay shows Brees's arm was clearly going forward. Certainly this will be reviewed... but wait... the refs are ignoring the replay and spotting the ball. The crowd is booing lustily. The Jaguars are about to snap the ball... but wait... now the play is reviewed and, after a long five minutes, the Saints retain possession.

    Olindo Mare trots out onto the field. (Uh oh! He sucks!) Mare's kick is wide right. The crowd boos lustily once again.

    Uh oh, the kicking suckery is almost beyond belief!

    Jacksonville takes over with fifty seconds remaining and they immediately go after Jason David again. But this time it doesn't work. This time David runs the ball down and makes a spectacular over-the-shoulder interception giving the Saints the ball at their own 24.

    Jason David: The Saints' marquee free agent acquisition of 2007

    Brees then takes the Saints right back down the field in only three plays, the third being a pass to Bush who runs out of bounds (we know he can do that) at the Jacksonville 34 with eight seconds on the clock.

    Again, Mare runs out onto the field. Again, the crowd boos lustily. Again, the kick floats wide right. The fans don't know whether laugh at the absurdity or cry at the futility of two missed field goals in less than two minutes.

    And that, my friends, is what you call getting your money's worth on the price of admission.

  • Also worth paying to see these days is that overachieving Saints defense. The Saints held a seventh consecutive opponent under 100 yards rushing. No Saints defense has accomplished this since 1991. The feat is even more remarkable this week as it comes against one of the league's most aggressive running teams in Jacksonville and while the Saints were playing without starters Brian Young and Scott Shanle and with a limited Charles Grant.

    Saints D. Confounding, yes. But who can complain?

  • Meanwhile, the Saints' offense truly clicked for the first time this season. There's something sneaky about the Saints' passing attack when it's on. The short rhythm passes chew up a surprising amount of yardage that you don't really notice while it's happening. At the end of the game, when Brees's stats were announced (445 yards passing) the general reaction was, "What? When?" Because Brees still can't throw the deep ball well (He badly missed an open Devery Henderson on one of his few attempts Sunday) most of his passing yards are compiled by receivers running with the ball after the catch. They are able to do this effectively when Brees is throwing the short routes accurately and hitting people in stride. In 2006, Drew Brees did this better than most NFL quarterbacks. Yesterday, he did it exceptionally well for the first time in 2007.

    Even Billy Miller gets to rip off a 57 yard catch and run when Brees is on the mark.

  • The most encouraging item coming out of this game is the way the Saints dominated the Jaguars on both sides of the ball at the line of scrimmage. In addition to the defense holding a highly rated rushing Jacksonville offense under 100 yards rushing, the Saints offensive line kept an aggressive Jags pass rush at bay giving Brees ample time to find his receivers. I have criticized the Saints all season long for their ducking finesse style. This week they faced perhaps their biggest and most physical opponent yet and handled them convincingly.

    Still there is one thing missing. When Brees's precision passing is off, even by a little bit as it has been at times this year, the drop-off in efficiency is palpable. It would be nice to know that the Saints could lean on a tough running game behind their improving line to take the pressure off of the quarterback at times. It's the fact that the team's top runner is still a slim-hipped wispy acrobat with a somewhat unorthodox style that makes this a difficult thing to develop.

    Look out! He's doing that Fre Flo Do again!

  • After the game, Bush (apparently in collaboration with Soupy) described the Saints' mental approach to their recent success in virtual Naginesque off-the-wall terms.
    "Parmesan cheese, gouda cheese, Kraft single cheese, whatever it is, any kind of cheese people want to feed us. It's just staying focused and not allowing your head to get too big, because if you eat too much cheese you may get sick ... especially if you're lactose intolerant."

    Bush knows of what he speaks when it comes to cheesiness. Remember, this is the guy who dated Kim Kardashian.

"Playing hurt" drains you. Especially when you're playing Bärenjäger hurt. At the end of this one, all I wanted to do was lie down. But first, we had to catch a cab home... and a day at the Superdome can drain you financially as well as physically... so, well, we wound up wandering the stadium corridors for quite some time after the game in search of an ATM. It turns out that the concession stands on the lower levels offer a much wider variety of menu items than those behind section 617 where all we get is nachos and hot dogs. (Okay so there's this one table up there with red beans and gumbo but it's kind of an afterthought.) I might have been miffed if I were in any condition to be. But I'd had all I could take. I found the ATM, paid the ridiculous four dollar fee for access to my own money, and wobbled out onto the street in search of a ride and then, perhaps, some comfort food to calm my out-of-control hangover... preferably something with cheese.

Update: Post has been edited several times post-publication in order to correct my glaring typos, grammatical errors, sloppy word choice and such. I may have to keep doing this, if I happen to read over the post again. I'm kind of a crappy writer sometimes.