I know what you're thinking: that's not a cat. You're right, but this is one of my all-time favorite critter pictures, so I hereby declare Winston to be an honorary cat. Della Street disagrees but who the hell cares what she thinks? Only Oscar and he doesn't have a vote.
Winston is a hearing-impaired pitbull who belongs to my friend Lizzy in Portland. As you can see, Winston is a very agreeable chap. No cat would allow a mere human to put a Mexican wrestling mask on them. I'd like to thank Winston for being such a good boy and Lizzy for being ever so slightly bent.
It's January 1969 and Mad Men has gone full tilt bi-coastal. Don has become Megan's sidekick instead of being a rock star. We saw this immediately after she picked him up at the airport and insisted on driving. Don Fucking Draper riding shotgun instead of behind the wheel? It's a new world.
On to my customary random and discursive comments:
This week's guest cat is Milan who "belongs" to my friend and fellow Spanskter Wendar. Milan is named for the street in New Orleans so his name is pronounced My-lan as opposed to Me-lan. Adding to the confusion he lives on Bourbon Street in Faubourg Marigny. He's also a fancy cat described by Wendar as a Flame Point Siamese Polydactyl Manx.
This cover fits into the pulp sub-category of sleaze. The title is just plain silly but the tag line is sublime:
OMG, the author's name has been covered. Horrors. I'm sure that Don Bellmore was very proud of this tome even though it's a pen name for a guy named George H White. It might not as good as Shame Toy but this book contains some incisive urban-rural social commentary, or at least I think it does. Sheesh, maybe I'll have to read it now. Nah.
In the rest of the country Super Sunday refers *only* to the day large men pound on one another and people voluntarily watch teevee commercials. We do that too, but in New Orleans, Super Sunday is *also* the day that Mardi Gras Indians strut their stuff one last time before getting to work on next year's suit.
Super Sunday used to be mostly for the Indians, their friends and families, and folks in the know, but it has become a big deal in recent years. I think it's a good thing because the folks who suit up put a lot of work into it and deserve recognition for their artistry and skill.
Dr. A and I went this year and our timing was exquisite. We saw one of the Indians pull on to Napoleon Avenue with his elaborate suit in his truck bed and wound up observing his arrival at the staging area, his preparations, and the beginning of his march.
His name is Dow Edwards and Carolyn Scofield of WVUE-TV interviewed him::
Dow Edwards began his suit last April, paying tribute to some of the first African-American soldiers in the U.S. Army.
This is Edwards' fifth time making a Mardi Gras Indian suit.
For him, masking is a celebration of both the past and future.
"This means that my ancestors did the right thing," he says. "This means that the Indians helped free us when we were here. This means that we're liberated today and this means that New Orleans is the greatest city in the world."
Here are Dr. A's pictures of his elaborate and beautiful Buffalo Soldier suit:
I used to love April Fool's day. I once participated in a music listserv prank that fooled people for 24 hours until we finally pulled the plug. Then there was the fake tabloid web site that I wrote an "advice column" for. And in my early days as a blogger, I did the odd hoax/prank/joke but in the last few years it has amused me less and less.
It seems to have become a day for the humorless to be heavy handed in attempting to prove that they have a sense of humor. A Ted Cruz tattoo prank? Really? The man says crazy and untrue shit every day and expects us to think of him as Groucho instead of Margaet Dumont? Poppycock, piffle and other derisive P words.
The post title is obviously inspired by day drinkers and hardcore party animals who call New Year's Eve amateur's night. April Fool's day is the day that most people on the Tweeter Tube conclusively prove that they could not write for the Onion if their lives depended on it.
This post is NOT an April's Fool's gag. I may, however, go around the corner to the smoke filled old man's bar and slip a whoopee cushion on a bar stool and call it a day
I'll give Split Enz the final word. It's an inside joke that only a few people will get, which may be, in itself, a wee bit of April foolery:
NOLA blogger, community activist, fearless transgender fighter, veteran, and friend. She'll be missed.
Here's one of my favorite pictures from the 2006 March on Crime with me on the left, Morwen in the middle with a sign,and the late Ashley Morris on the right:
The Kinks have been one of my musical passions since I was a kid. I've been meaning to do a Kinks cover for this feature but, on the whole, most of their LP covers aren't all that great. I picked Muswell Hillbillies because it's one of their best LPs plus I madea point of having a pint at the Archway Tavern the first time I was in the UK. It wasn't as easy to track something down in the days before the google but I found it.
As an album, Muswell Hillbillies is brilliantly sequenced, and tells the tale of how Ray and Dave's neighborhood was gentrified within an inch of its life. A story that is just as relevant today as it was when the LP was released in 1971. The music is a skewed tribute to Americana with touches of trad jazz, rockabilly, blues, tin pan alley, and country and westen. The title track has one of the greatest opening couplets in rock and roll history:
Well, I said goodbye to Rosie Rooke this morning,
I'm gonna miss her bloodshot alcoholic eyes,
She wore her Sunday hat so she'd impress me,
I'm gonna carry her memory 'til the day I die
I couldn't find high quality scans of the LP, gatefold and all, and my own copy is in a box in one of our closets so these will have to do:
Here's the whole damn album via the YouTube with 2 bonus tracks at the end:
Greetings sports fans, it's time for another hit and miss, bits and bobs post:
March Madness: I cannot recall the last time I actually watched 3 basketball games in a row on teevee but Sunday's games were genuinely thrilling. It made me glad that I never do a bracket because the only team I might have picked to win was Kentucky over Wichita State. Selecting a bracket makes one churlish when a Duke loses to Mercer instead of wanting to board the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe and croon Moon River in celebration. I love it when Coach Buy-a-Vowel loses.
Semi-seriously, I was glued to CBS on Sunday for Stanford-Kansas and North Carolina-Iowa State as well. Something I've noticed this year, and should have in the past, is that the reason so many underdogs win is that they play a lot of Juniors and Seniors whereas the Kansases and Carolina's have a whole lotta one and done players. Something to consider if you're a bracket picking motherfucker.
In other college basketball news, there's an excellent profile of Oregon State head coach and FLOTUS bro Craig Robinson at Buzzfeed. Joel Anderson's story poses the question of whether or not a coach with a losing record should be retained because they're an extraordinary mentor and human being. Al (Just Win, Baby) Davis would be appalled but I was fascinated. Click here to read it.
One more hoops note: The Wichita State Shockers may have lost their chance at an unbeaten season and national championship but Cleanthony Early has one of the greatest sports names ever.
The Grand Budapest Hotel: I'm a big fan of Wes Anderson's quirky and odd films. His latest effort was a cross between a Bugs Bunny cartoon and a Lubitsch film. I cannot believe I wrote that last sentence but it's true. Anderson's oeuvre is somewhat hit and miss,and I'd put this effort somewhere in the middle below The Royal Tannenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
The movie was beautiful to look at but somewhat slight at its core. Anderson's best work has balanced whimsy and character development and this one is stronger on the former than the latter. I'd still give it 3 stars or an Adrastos grade of B.
April Foolery: Some of the online articles have been inaccurate since they mention Joel and the original MST3K bots, but the Rifftrax gang of Mike Nelson, Kevin (Tom Servo) Murphy and Bill (Crooow) Corbett will be returning to teevee on the National Geographic Channel for an April Fool's Day romp. I'm looking forward to a dose of Tom Servo Foolery. Why Nationall Geographic? Rifftax are the beasts of bad movie riffers or some such shit.
That is all.
I will be writing about Louisiana and NOLA politics at The Daily Kingfish. I will cross-post anything I think y'all might be interested in.
First Draft remains my top blogging priority. It is impossible to top our loyal and devoted readership, which has morphed over time into a crazy, dysfunctional online family complete with its very own crack van.
1985 was a rough year for me, but I did something crazy to mitigate the bad shit. I adopted three, count 'em three, kittens. The white ball of fluff who I named Q-Tip was still with his kitty mother when I found Charlie and Manet on the River Road in Baton Rouge. Like a fool I kept all three.
I always feel bad that I have so few pictures of my pre-digital camera era cats, so I like to post some on occasion. Charlie is the ginger cat, and Manet the regal black beast sleeping on a chair with the Tip:
What was controversial when you were in high school?
Besides the usual sex, drugs and rock n roll, my high school paper got into trouble for pointing out that the new TVs installed in every classroom showing "Channel One" were mostly airing commercials, and that students legally required to be in school were thus being forcibly advertised to, more than they were being informed. I was proud of that story.
Passings: They say that deaths come in threes, I don't believe it but I can pretend to. It seems to have happened with this week's troika:
Joe McGinnis wrote only one great book but it was a classic: The Selling of the President. McGinnis went undercover in Tricky Dick's 1968 campaign, which was the first fully modern teevee driven campaign. It was the first time most of us met Roger Fucking Ailes too. Slate's Dave Weigel has a swell personal remembrance of his friend Joe.
Tony Benn former cabinet member and highly divisive British Labour party politician died this morning at the age of 88. Benn became a beloved elder statesman even though his foes in the 1980's Labour party infighting still haven't quite forgiven him. The Guardian's Michael White has a balanced and very well-written piece about the man who was behind Labour's 1983 manifesto, which has been called the longest suicide note in history.
Finally, the movies "voice of God," Hal Douglas has died at the age of 89. He was the previews voice over guy who was best known for the phrase "in a world with..." And now we're without him.
Sympathy for the Devil: Historical ignorance is on display in the MSM commentary about Putin, Crimea, and Ukraine. The Russians are NOT crazy to see Ukraine as a vital national interest and Ukrainian governments, past and present, have done some needlessly stupid and provocative things such as trying to join NATO and honoring World War II era "nationalists" who collaborated with the Nazis. The best thing I've seen written about this was by Andre P. Tysgankov in The Nation.
True Detective Backlash: I really liked Nic Pizzolato's True Detective but some of the encomiums were a bit fulsome and over the top. It made me realize how underrated some of FX's recent dramas have been including The Americans, The Bridge and, one of my all time favorites, Justified, which has some of the best dialogue this side of the late Elmore Leonard whose novella inspired the show. Anyway, NOLA twitter legend Brian P Moore has written a typically incisive piece about True Detective's virtues and vices.
It's PI Day: Geeks, nerds, and dorks everywhere are geeking, nerding, and dorking out about it. It makes me think instead of pie loving FBI agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks fame:
Thanks to my old online pal Robert (Parenthetical) Beverly for posting that on his Facebook page and jogging my memory. Mmm, pie.
Saint Paddy's Day In NOLA: We have multiple parades and I can be found at the same spot at the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Magazine Street every year for the Irish Channel parade. My dear friends Greg and Christy have an annual open house that started off small but has grown like Topsy O'Kudzu. As you can see we have some colorful friends:
That's Greg and Christy with a guy named (what else?) Patrick in a leprechaun suit. I think he may have done it for poor-boys and grog:
Happy Saint Patrick's Day.
That is all.
New Orleans has been having an endless and rather tiresome debate over a proposed noise ordinance. What should have been a technical discussion has turned into a shouting match over which side is more highly evolved and moral. There have been allegations of threats, intimidation, and general nastiness. It sounds like pulp fiction, which is why I posted it today.
The killer quote comes from an article in the New York Times by Campbell Robertson:
With the goal of a revised citywide ordinance delayed, the city, like a bachelor party without a plan, decided to start with Bourbon Street.
My late father and I didn't get along very well. We had very little in common. He was perplexed that he raised a little lefty but between my growing up in the Bay Area and my mother's quiet liberalism it was inevitable. Basketball was our safe subject. He played college basketball back in its pre-World War II neolithic era, he was a 6'1" center, which was always something that I had a hard time wrapping my head around. I doubt that he could have dunked but he was too graceful to be a white goon.
He coached our church's youth hoops team and was surprisingly tender with the kids who couldn't play very well. I always envied those kids because he was hard on me but that's how his generation of 1st generation Americans were as parents. As much as we disagreed about everything else under the sun, we agreed about basketball with a shared love of unselfish team play. He thought that Dean Smith was the greatest coach ever and I never pointed out that Dean was a hemophiliac liberal. As I said, basketball was our safe subject. We disagreed about George McGovern but agreed about Bill Walton except for the Deadhead stuff. That gave my dad the US Blues...
That brings me to this week's "honoree," GOP Minnesota State Representative Pat Garofalo. He's in that category of malakas who I'd never heard of before and will never think of again. He's also a member of that discrete and insular class of people who tweeted their way to malakatude. He subsequently apologized but here's the offending tweet:
Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 9, 2014
It's true that if the Minnesota Timberwolves folded nobody would give a rat's ass. It's a team best known for Kevins Garnett and Love but not for having them at the same time or winning a bloody thing. Garofalo's mind set is so 2000 though. It was the era when NBA-phobes said the league wouldn't bounce back from the loss of Michael Jordan and that all the current stars were gangsta rap thugs like Allen (The Answer) Iverson. Actually, Iverson may have acted like a rap star off-court, but he was one of the most electrifying players ever and a guy who dragged a mediocre Sixers team to the finals in 2001. They lost to the Lakers with Shaq and the greatest athlete ever named for beef...
The NBA faced similar racist attitudes in the late 1970's and early '80's when the finals were relegated to late night tape delay; even when Dr. J, faced off against Magic and Kareem. Major star power but the stars were African-American, and Middle America wasn't quite ready for them. The Bird-Magic rivalry changed everything but proto-teabagger fans had a relapse after Michael made his last game winner in the 1998 finals and beat the Utah Misnomers and Karl Mail Fraud Malone. The good news is that the bad old days of the NBA being seen as "too black" are receding even though the regular season is still too damn long. End of hoops rant.
Time to circle back to Pat Garofalo who like many Gopers is nostalgic for the old days when Minnesota was even whiter than it is today. I do have to give him credit,unlike many tweeting malakas he actually issued an apology:
To those NBA players and others who are unfairly categorized by my comments, please accept my apologies. http://t.co/xiGaEc47Qo— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 10, 2014
The link is to Garofalo's classic non-apology apology wherein he concedes that not all NBA players are criminals but I've decided to go easy on him since he's a pissant from Farmington, Minnesota. This piece also gave me an excuse to post something that came to me courtesy of my very Greek friend Christin:
Right after the Flood, I began calling New Orleans Debrisville. In fact, my inaugural First Draft post was entitled Greetings From Debrisville. It wasn't much of an inauguration, there was no 21 gun salute and we drank beer instead of champagne.
Anyway, the New York Times seems to be jealous of how many hits Buzzfeed generates with clickbait so they published a ludicrous article about hipster musicians, actors, and artists who have moved to New Orleans. It's written by some silly billy named Lizzy Goodman who treats the aforementioned hipsters as if they were cultural anthropologists. The story starts off dippily and gets stupider the more you read. I have bold faced the money quote, the one that set NOLA twitter ablaze yesterday with mockery:
“New Orleans is not cosmopolitan,” said the actress Tara Elders. “There’s no kale here.”
We were sitting outside at Sylvain, a restaurant in the French Quarter that Mr. Huisman said “takes Southern cuisine and pushes it a bit more modern.” With its elegant but rustic décor, cocktails featuring noirish names (Blood in the Gulfstream, Dead Man’s Wallet), and inventive food, Sylvain wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn — but Ms. Elders said spots like this are still the exception. “So many of the cool places here are really rundown,” she said. “And not because a stylist designed them that way.”
On the unintentional comedy meter, this story was off the charts. NOLA Twitter went nuts over the kale crack. Here's a sampler:
"I'm not sure, but I'm almost positive that all leafy greens came from New Orleans." - Ernie Kale-Doe #nytkale— Alison Fensterstock (@AlisonF_NOLA) March 6, 2014
The good news is the colonizers have downgraded from Christianity to introducing the natives to kale.— skooks (@skooks) March 6, 2014
My favorite rapper: Mystikale— James Cullen (@AccidentalCajun) March 7, 2014
@jlhm3 I answered the, uh, kale of duty. Thank you, sir.— Shecky in Kaleville (@Adrastosno) March 6, 2014
That's right, ladies and gentleman, you should judge a community by its vegetables. Of course, kale is readily available at grocery stores and eateries throughout my city. One would have thought that these daring "cultural anthropologists" would have explored that avenue of inquiry but they did not.
In faux defense of the honor of my adopted hometown (I'm a transplant but I didn't expect anyone to applaud me for moving here) I will start calling it KALEVILLE. No, not K-Ville like the crappy short lived Fox cop show but KALEVILLE. Hmm, maybe that show would have made it if they'd had kale parties instead of gumbo parties because it's more on trend according to Gwyneth and GOOP.
Another thing I learned from New Orleans rising from the ashes and becoming Kaleville is that the received wisdom handed down by generations of comedians that K is a funny letter is true. Henny Youngman, Groucho Marx, and my personal role model, Shecky Greene are happy campers right now. Of course, Shecky is by far the happiest because he's still alive...
This preposterous article and the punny reaction to it have a semi-serious subtext. Some of the folks who are moving to our city view the locals as either zoo animals or characters in the teevee show Treme. The term hipster does not do justice to the vacuous malakatude of this sub-set of newbies. When I asked for alternatives on the Tweeter Tube, one from a fellow Spankster stood head and shoulders above the rest:
There you have it kale fans: Welcome to Fauxhemia. That trail blazing band the New Fauxhemians will open their set with the New Orleans classic Ikale Ikale and may even play kale to the chief while heeding the kale of the wild. Okay, I'll stop now and give the last word to Frank Zappa and the Mothers with their classic song Kale Any Vegetable:
The main reason that I've been blogging so little in the last week is that Dr. A and I live right off the Uptown pee-rade route and we entertain a lot during Carnival. Last night was our final open house of the season with mostly old friends dropping by.
Later today we'll be off to party and pee-rade with friends old and new in three different top secret locations. The thing I like most about Mardi Gras is that there are so many different ways to celebrate the day. I dislike people who insist that their way is the only way. Y'all can fuck off.
Some folks go Downtown, others stay Uptown. Some go to every parade and others go to none.I like to costume but don't always feel like throwing something together. It doesn't matter as long as you've got the Mardi Gras spirit. And booze. Booze helps.
Here are two of my favorite Mardi Gras songs with lyrics that defy logical analysis:
After Chicken died, I was afraid Claire would be lonely. She never really got along with Bucky, because he was always too rambunctious for her. Lately, though, she's come out of her shell a bit and they've developed a routine of jumping on one another and chasing around the room:
Who was your best teacher? Not your favorite, not the one you loved. The one who made you who you are. Who was your best?
It is with heavy hearts we share word that longtime educator Mike Zelenski passed away yesterday afternoon.A fixture in the school’s English Department from 1969 until 2012, “Z” – as he was affectionately known – was beloved by students and teachers alike for his prowess in the classroom. Revered for his ability to take challenging subject matter and make it relatable (particularly Shakespeare), any student fortunate enough to take a Z class was better off for it.
A thoughtful colleague and brilliant instructor, he was a man of class, intellect, humor, charisma and compassion. He will be dearly missed by everyone in the St. Catherine’s community.
One morning he was talking about cadence and sound, writing sound, and he asked you, stopped right in front of your desk and fixed you with that gaze like a butterfly to a sheet of velvet, had you ever read The Bells? You shook your head, terrified he'd laugh at you. He loved Poe, loved Tolkien and Doyle and Asimov and Heinlein and Stoker and others but really loved Poe. So when you said no he half-ran to his desk and pulled out a battered copy and at the top of his lungs he read to you, in a voice that crashed over you like wave after wave after wave, magnificent words like a prayer to the gods to look down at how glorious man had become:
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now - now to sit, or never,
By the side of the pale - faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
How they clang, and clash and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear, it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells -
Of the bells -
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
Oh, you were lost then. Words never sounded the same.
You had a brilliant college professor for Shakespeare, a scholar known the world over for his work, another man whose classes could only be had by wheedling and scheming and calling in favors. You couldn't listen to him talk about Hamlet, it was flat and dry and awful. It was dead. You longed fiercely for the graybeard in the tiny high school classroom, standing at the window open on the first warm day of spring, reading Laertes, the age dropping from him like a veil. You pitied the people who had never seen him play Lear for an audience of 25, only 15 of whom were fully awake that early in the school day.
He taught you that writing was not just something that sat there, that you had to make an argument with your words, that you had to be convincing to tell a story well. He taught you that writing was subversive and destructive and political and cruel. When you didn't convince him he told you so, not intimidated like other teachers were, afraid of "discouraging" you. When he thought you were derivative, he told you so. When he'd read it elsewhere, done better, it didn't matter that that person was an accomplished writer and an adult, if it was better than you, he told you so. Most of the time that criticism, non-constructive almost-abuse, makes you want to hide under your bed, still, to this day. But he held out the possiblity that one day you would astonish him, and he wanted to see that day. Tearing you down wasn't sport, it was purpose, and he made sure you knew that, so you tried for him when for everybody else who said the slightest discouraging word you said fuck it, I'll do something easy I'm good at instead. You learned the concept of loyalty, from the way he refused to let you give up, and no one laughed harder than he did when you pushed back, and won.
I know that my Whovian friends are shaking their heads right now since she's only a Dalek by analogy. All I have to say to that is: get a life and/or go sit on a fez. We started calling her Della the Dalek because she's evil, and because she has an annoying, loud and strident meow. I am convinced that she's saying: "Exterminate, but feed me first." Here's Della the Dalek with devil eyes:
Remember when Americans respected the office of the Presidency even when one disagreed with the current occupant? It's increasingly difficult to remember those bygone days with a Republican Party that has Ted Nugent on the campaign trail in Texas. I don't expect civility from extremist yahoos like a washed-up loin-cloth wearing rocker such as the Nuge but I do expect it from my own Governor:
The nation’s governors emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday claiming harmony, only to immediately break into an on-camera partisan feud in front of the West Wing.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal lashed out first, saying if Obama were serious about growing the economy he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project and take other executive actions.
Instead, Jindal said, Obama “seems to be waving the white flag of surrender” on the economy by focusing on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, up from $7.25. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that,” Jindal said.
Jindal’s statements were the kind that Republicans often make on television appearances or at partisan events, but don’t usually come from potential presidential candidates standing yards from the Oval Office.
Other governors had been instead expressing wide agreement and appreciation for the president’s time. As Jindal spoke, some of his colleagues began shaking their heads, and Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie began audibly mumbling to others around him.
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy took over the microphone from Jindal and responded sharply, “Wait a second; until a few moments ago we were going down a pretty cooperative road. So let me just say that we don’t all agree that moving Canadian oil through the United States is necessarily the best thing for the United States economy.”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association and supports Keystone, earlier said she asked Obama when the administration would decide whether to allow it and he told her there would be an answer in the next couple months.
Malloy said Jindal’s “white flag statement” was the most partisan of their weekend conference and that many governors support a minimum wage increase.
“What the heck was a reference to white flag when it comes to people making $404 a week?” Malloy snapped. “I mean, that’s the most insane statement I’ve ever heard.”
Jindal did not back down.
“If that’s the most partisan thing he’s heard all weekend, I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement,” the Louisiana governor responded. “I think we can grow the economy more if we would delay more of these Obamacare mandates.”
Governor PBJ is not only rude, he's flailing about looking for a way to become relevant in the national debate. His act has not traveled well beyond the Gret Stet's borders and it has not worn well inside them. PBJ's habit of talking down to people as if he's the only smart guy in the room has resulted in a disastrous relationship with the Lege and low approval ratings.
PBJ continues to deny interest in running for the GOP nomination in 2016 but nobody believes him. The other thing that nobody believes is that he has a chance. PBJ's deep dark political secret is that he's had everything handed to him. The only time he faced a strong opponent, Kathleen Blanco in the 2003 Governor's race, he lost. And he lost because of his patronizing style. PBJ is the spoiled brat as politician. If not for former Governor Mike Foster, PBJ would be just another fast talking former guvmint appointee. The minute he faces opposition, he craters; if there was ever a fake tough guy it's PBJ.
The good news for Louisiana is that PBJ will be exorcised from the Governor's mansion in 2015. The bad news is that Bitter Vitter is the current front-runner, which is going from the frying pan into the fire. Diaper Dave's rudeness is, of course, off the charts. He almost makes PBJ look like Miss Manners. Almost, gentle readers, almost...
I'll close with a picture of the Krewe of Craps' PBJ themed float from this year's Krewe du Vieux parade. Craps is Spank's neighbor in the Den of Muses, so I watched this come together. This snap was taken by one of the original NOLA bloggers, Craps member Maitri Erwin:
It's that time of the year again: Carnival. Many of us crawl into the bubble and stay there until we're ashen on Ash Wednesday or some such shit. In short, light blogging from me this week. Of course, every time I say that I post more than expected. Life is mysterious that way.
I have few more Krewe of Spank items to share with you. First, the float. A picture I swiped from our FB page:
Here are *all* of our buttons including Jude's favorite:
Finally, the Spanktuary archway, which was, uh, erected on the neutral ground where we had our friends, family and hangers on parade party. My buddy, Andy, the mad carpenter of Spank was the man who designed the arch:
I am a happy musical camper. There's a YouTuber called Voodoonola who has posted some astonishing Grateful Dead concert videos. They obviously come from the Jumbotron feed at various Dead shows. Fine sound and picture quality = Happy Adrastos.
This 1990 show is a keeper. The first set combination of Truckin' and Touch of Grey is an unusual one and it really lifts the show into the stratosphere. If you want to see the set list or track hop, watch it on YouTube. That is all.
New Orleans Saints fans are hardcore. Some of them want to take their fanatical Who Dattery with them when they die:
If the Saints get their way, you won’t be caught dead in the latest piece of fan gear.
A custom casket seller with an unusual storefront in the Esplanade Mall is under fire from the team over his $3,000 “Who Dat?” model casket, a black-finished steel coffin fitted with a gold satin pillow and fleur-de-lis decals.
Jonathan Lahatte, a former Orleans Parish sheriff’s deputy who opened his ’Til We Meet Again shop last fall, says he has no plans to slip away gently.
“You can be a diehard Who Dat all your life. What better way to celebrate it than be buried with it for all eternity?” Lahatte said from his store in a back corner of the mall, behind Great American Cookies. “Right now I believe I’m not doing anything illegal, so I’m going to keep it the way it is.”
The Saints beg to differ. They sent a letter Tuesday to Lahatte’s attorney — his brother Joey — asking that he stop selling or advertising the Who Dat coffin.
The move marks a morbid turn in the NFL’s enduring campaign against trademark infringement, which has long targeted sellers of knock-off T-shirts and collectibles. For a while in 2010, the league fought over the phrase “Who Dat” itself, before backing off in a fight with local retailers, some of whom had adopted the ubiquitous team slogan.
Lahatte, who once worked in Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s mounted horse unit, thought he’d slain the issue even before he opened his store in October, after the team contacted him over his fleur-de-lis design.
“We immediately agreed to change it. We sat there for like two hours. We increased the size of the middle two points, the curvature of the outer two points. We elongated the top and fattened it,” he said. “We thought we were OK.”
Lahatte began running TV ads that include both the Who Dat coffin and one licensed by the NCAA for departed LSU football fans. The 30-second clip first shows a military coffin with “Taps” playing, then moves on to the two team coffins, with chanting fans of both teams. “Our heroes. Our team,” the announcer intones. “How will you be remembered?”
Dr. A wondered if fans in any other pro sports town would want a team coffin. My immediate reaction was: Green Bay Packers and Boston Red Sox. Anyone else? I'm not surprised about the LSU casket, I expect to hear tell of Crimson Tide, Seminole, and How Bout Dem Dawgs coffins any day.
This time around the Saints and the NFL aren't going after the coffin dude for using Who Dat, but for the shape of his fleur de lis. Casket Boy points out the absurdity of this:
The team’s fight over the fleur-de-lis frustrates him, Lahatte said.
“It’s been around since the 17th century. Should we be paying royalties to the French government?” he said. “I’m a small business owner with a wife and two kids, trying to live the American dream. All of my money is invested in this. If they were to sue and win, they’re just going to get caskets.”
I don't think he's just talking through his Lahatte, guys. Once again, the NFL is bullying a small businessman with a bizarre dream. They should just bury the hatchet and not try to entomb this morbid dreamer.
This story gives an entirely new meaning to the term coffin corner kick.
That is all.
Greetings from the Gentrified Kingdom. The Krewe du Vieux parade was last Saturday. My sub-krewe, Spank, was the hit of the parade. We satirized Mayor Mitch Landrieu who is presiding over a city that is rapidly gentrifying and getting more and more Dizneyfied.
Spank received rave reviews for our float and costumes but it was the map to Dizneylandrieu that was the smash of the parade. Here's what Rex Duke of the Gambit had to say about my group:
The evening's gold medal, however (and perhaps Carnival's gold medal) had to go to SPANK's "Dizneylandrieu," a float featuring "Mitchey Mayor" wearing mouse ears and a "New Orleans Will" T-shirt in front of a St. Louis Cathedral that had been transformed into Disney's Cinderella's Castle.
A few dozen "Mitchkateers" accompanied the float, handing out brochures that detailed the many lands in "Dizneylandrieu" (Mitchey's Toon Town, Jacked-Up Square, Crotch Country and HIpsterland among them), with rides like "Big Freedia's Bounce That Ass House," the "NOPD Brass Band Beat Down," "Rich Hippies in WholePaycheckLand," "Marlin's Playhouse," "The Enchanted Mimi Room Angry Neighbor Jamboree" and "It's a White World, Sponsored by Mitchey Mayor."
The most important thing to know about Krewe du Vieux is that the parade is hand made by the individual sub-krewes. Below are some pictures of the map to Dizneylandrieu taken by my friend and krewe mate, Clay (Noladishu) Kirby.
But if you want to actually *read* the map, the Gambit blog has posted some hi-res PDFs that you can download and peruse at your leisure. The whole enterprise was a collaborative effort, but the lion's share of the credit for the throw of throws belongs to Wendar the Magnificent, Spank's mad genius and "creative dick." I did, however, contribute some one-liners and zingers.
My old blogger buddy and Humid City publisher Loki, joined us as a ref. Loki is, uh, a Google glasshole and shot this year's stumble from a marchers perspective:
Here's a picture of this year's Spank swag taken by my friend Luna Nola. She's on a family mission of mercy so Dr. A sent her a Spanky care package:
Finally, here's a close up of our hookers and blow name tag button:
Talk about right up Jude's alley.
That is all.
I didn't like this album the first time heard it. I was meh about it until I saw them at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. My friend Steve was in love with the band and insisted I check them out. When I saw them live, I got it. Early Devo combined a zany-n-madcap sense of humor with musical sophistication. They were more fun live than that barrel of crazy monkeys I'm always on about.
Devo's Lead Guitarist Bob Casale. died yesterday at 61. A Devo guy? 61? I am officially old as well as sad over his passing. Here's the cover of Devo's wonderfully quirky debut LP:
I have an uncontrollable urge to share the whole damn album:
Light blogging from me this week. Hey, stop cheering. Here's a story that's funny only because nobody got hurt, but they didn't so it is:
Eric Wilson, 41, of Hiram, Ga., was arrested in the French Quarter after firing five shots into paintings that were being sold on the Decatur Street side of Jackson Square. NOPD said he has been charged with five counts of aggravated criminal damage, illegal discharge of a firearm and illegal carrying of a firearm.
According to officer Garry Flot, Wilson shot the paintings with a Taurus revolver around 5 p.m., then walked on Decatur Street.
Artist Alan Minor told our news partners at FOX 8 that Wilson had been sitting next to him for about an hour when he suddenly got up and started firing.
"When he got in front of my artwork, he took five shots at it," Minor told FOX 8. "It was a complete random act. I wasn't expecting it at all."
The bullets shattered some of Minor's paintings, which are done on plank boards. Minor says after the shooting, the man calmly walked down the street. Minor says he didn't see any police officers around.
"There was a gentleman that was on a bicycle that followed him but he didn't know he was being followed and I guess as he got further down Decatur, he signaled the cops that this was the person that was firing the gun," Minor told FOX 8.
Wilson was arrested in the 700 block of Barracks Street without incident. Police said officers found the handgun when they searched Wilson, along with five spent shell casings.
Police said Wilson's motive is unclear.
My former business was located at Jackson Square. I could tell tales that could curl your hair. In fact, I have already done so in a post entitled Mrs. Fagin and the Urchins. I have, however, never, ever shot a painting. Seems a bit extreme to me.
Sleepy Claire. She's been a lot more active of late, playing with Bucky who she previously only tolerated. I think she realizes he's been a bit miffed at the attention diverted from him to the other fuzzy needy critter in the house, and she's trying to fill the gap.
We have let the ferrets "meet" Kick, by the way, in the sense that we've held them both and let the ferrets sniff at her. She can't really see them or reach for them yet, so there's not much to gain from interaction until she can pet them at least a bit. For their part, they don't seem terribly interested in her, since she isn't either playing with them or feeding them. I think in time they'll all be pals, but it's too early yet for games of "chase the ferret around the dining room table."
Voting Also Reminds Tom Perkins of Kristallnacht
I considered stealing it, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due.
I gotta wonder if Tom Perkins is just trolling us for attention. He's a wildly rich guy that nobody had ever heard of until he started saying stupid shit. But this whole give rich people more votes thing brings more crazy than Gohmert, Bachmann, and Stockman combined
If you're chilly tonight, huddle near John Cornyn's pants for warmth.— Rep. Steve Stockman (@StockmanSenate) February 14, 2014
I still have my 47th cold of the winter, so I'm not sure if I can grind out a full tilt malaka of the week post today. It's not, however, for lack of targets. There's a whole lotta malakatude out there as well as a Whole Lotta Love:
Krewe du Vieux is tomorrow, which means it's time for another visit from America's favorite den cat, Dennie. Like all Torties, Dennie is a badass, but unlike some (most?) she is afraid of neither glitter nor power tools. Here she is in her unnatural habitat, the Dennie Dome:
Yeah, there's no actual dome in this picture but last year I posted a snap of her on a fake dome in the den. I neglected, however, to use this title so I trotted it out this year.
Craig is one of the good friends I made in New Orleans after THE THING He and his darling wife Kim made like Horace Greeley and went west young (?) man (?) a few months back. Craig is a renaissance man: chef, writer, reporter, blogger, sailor, chocolate fancier as well as a cantankerous recovering Texan. Kim and he ran the much loved restaurant J'anita's, which became something of a hang out for Dr. A and me when they were located in NOLA no man's land. Business was so slow that they weren't embarrassed to be seen with the likes of me. Dr. A is, of course, welcome everywhere. End of rare nice passage.
Now where the hell was I? Oh yeah, Craig wrote a swell paragraph at his livejournal blog beerfoodude.The blog is not eponymous but it could be. The passage in question was posted on 2/3/2014, the day after the Super Beatdown:
Speaking of the far right -- when is the GOP gonna tell it to sit the hell down and then tie it to the chair and put a ball gag in its mouth? Every country has and should have a lunatic fringe -- but that doesn't mean it gets to be in the Big Tent. Let it stand out in the rain until it realizes its own stupidity is what's making it wet. You wanna come in here where it's dry? Fine. Act like it. There are reactionaries and socialist groups in virtually every reasonably free society on this planet and these groups send elected representatives to the national assembly. But, pretty much everywhere else, they don't have much influence because they are regarded as what they are: the outliers with foaming mouths yelling madly at the gate. "What are they shouting about?" "I dunno, man." As it stands now, the GOP is handing these folks a microphone and cranking up pre-recorded crowd noise, much like some of the "live" record albums produced back in the '60s.
If you ever ask my wife to come up with one moment where she was sure that our wedding would never take place, it will take all of two seconds for her to come up with the answer:
“When he played Trivial Pursuit with my mother.”
We had been engaged for about six months when The Missus and I were at her mom and dad’s for some event. As things wound down, her mom asked if we could all play a game and someone fatefully chose Trivial Pursuit.
As a trivia geek and huge fan of brain games, I was happy to give this a run. However, as the game unfolded, all sorts of weird shit started happening.
I kept getting leisure questions from the Sports and Leisure category, an area I usually dominate. I couldn’t land on a pie piece. When I did, it was the one question I couldn’t answer. On the other hand, every other question seemed to be from the kindergarten question box, and suddenly I was way behind and really out of whack.
I kept getting more and more pissed off at this and my ire was palpable. Finally when my mother-in-law finished me off, I pissed and moaned about it to the point where this sweet lady who taught learning disabled children with an unparalleled kindness refused to ever play with me again.
After that, I did my best to get away from game scenarios in mixed company. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to lose. I just didn’t want to be that guy any more. It was ridiculous, but when you put me in an environment like that, there was this chance that I’d somehow become like Mr. Hyde on meth. I tried to keep myself from doing it, but it always failed. Thus, like an alcoholic who won’t walk past a bar or keeps booze out of his house, I stayed the hell away from competitive group games.
I won’t play anything with my brother-in-law, simply because he loves to needle people when he’s winning and I’m afraid I’ll do or say something really stupid.
When we would play games in groups, I tried to avoid being involved. If we had to do a game night, I’d suggest cooperative games like Contagion, where it’s all of you against the game. If the goal of the game was to dick over other people, count me out.
It is into this cauldron of personal inner-turmoil that the events of last Saturday arrived.
The Midget and her friends play basketball in a Y league as part of a school extracurricular activity. They play in a third/fourth grade mixed league, where not only are they the youngest team, they’re also the smallest. In watching them take practice shots, the parents are often cheering if a kid actually gets the ball up to the rim.
So, you can imagine how poorly things go when there are actual defenders on the floor and the kids all crowd under the basket like they’re rushing the stage at a One Direction concert.
The team they were playing was ridiculously larger than they were. One girl was 5-foot-8 and weighed more than I do. They were also apparently trained by a guy who made Bobby Knight look like Bobby Brady.
Two weeks earlier, the Midget’s team played these girls and the guy was on the sidelines screaming out plays. They had a “switch” play, where the kids ran about five picks and set up the largest girl on the post, guarded by the smallest girl on the other team. (Keep in mind, in this league, the hardest thing for the refs is reminding the girls which basket they should be shooting at each half.)
In that game, my wife sent me a text explaining that with six minutes left in the game, one of our kids hit a ridiculously off-balanced shot that kept them from being shut out. The score was 40-something to 2 at that point.
Things didn’t look much better this time, as the other team took off to a 10-0 lead in the first five minutes. For some reason, however, the girls on our team kept hanging around and hanging around and managed to stay within six points for most of the game. At least the guy wasn’t there as the opposing coach, although the lady who was running the show didn’t seem to be much more interested in fair play.
The league doesn’t call fouls or double-dribble or travelling or almost anything else. The purpose is to teach the kids the fun of the game and fair play. To that end, each team has ten players. Every five minutes, the refs stop the game and you are required to do a full-team substitution. It’s a good way to make sure everybody plays and that you don’t get one Jordan or LeBron in there, taking over just to win.
Still, that memo hasn’t filtered down to everyone, especially on this team.
After being frustrated that they couldn’t dominate the game, the Midget’s opponents decided to employ their size advantage. The guard would bring the ball up and toss it high enough that only the largest girl could grab it. She would catch the ball by the free-throw line, tuck it onto her shoulder and then use her ass to back over all the defenders on her way to the post, where she would then shoot and score.
The ref admonished her that she shouldn’t do that. She nodded. She then looked to the sideline. The coach gestured her approval at the tactic. Still, in a weird twist of fate, her team STILL couldn’t break the game open.
As the game grew to a close, the refs stopped it for the last five-minute switch.
The giant girl didn’t come out.
The refs looked over at the bench for her team, but didn’t say a word. Neither did anyone else.
I nudged my buddy Joe and asked loudly enough for the girl’s obnoxious parents to hear, “Hey, didn’t that really tall kid just play her period? Don’t they have to substitute?”
Of course, the parents glared at me with distain. The older daughter made that teenage girl noise with her tongue that can drive a pacifist into a homicidal rage.
The big girl tried bulling people over again. It didn’t work. Thus, she employed another tactic that was equally effective.
The rules of the league have the kids line up after each substitution by height. The refs then “assign” the kids their dopple-baller, thus keeping the smaller kids on the smaller kids and the taller ones on the taller ones. Once it became clear to the coach that we had one girl who could get a shot over the front of the rim, she had her giant cover this kid. It wasn’t her assigned player and it wasn’t even close to a height match. It also had all the delicacy of a mugging in many possessions.
The final indignity was with two minutes to go and their team clinging to a four-point lead. The big girl caught the ball at the top of the key and stood there with the ball over her head. There was no way she was moving and no one could take it from her.
I had this “Incredible Hulk” thing going on inside me. I really didn’t want to feel that way. I wanted it to stop. I could sense something bad was growing inside and was about to burst out.
“STALL!” I hollered at the court from the stands, as if a) anyone cared and b) it would at least stop me from feeling like this if I said SOMETHING.
Nothing happened. The girl took a shot with ten seconds to go. We got the ball, but the game was over.
The parents of the largest girl, who had been whooping it up during the game, turned to Joe and me with a self-satisfied set of smiles.
They had won. That was all that mattered.
I tried to stand up, but it was like lactic acid had built up in my legs from all the tensing I was doing, trying not to be “that guy.” I didn’t look at them or the ref or the other team. I went over to my kid and hugged her.
“You guys played GREAT!” I said, still shaking from that inner tension. My stomach was in knots and I really had a hard time getting that single sentence out.
“Daddy! We were SO CLOSE! We only needed two more points!” She was jumping up and down so much that I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was two more baskets.
“I know! I saw you get that rebound! Way to go!”
(Truth was, the ball was on the floor and no one else wanted to pick it up. Still, it goes into the stat sheets as if she cleaned the defensive glass after boxing out Bill Russell, so hey…)
“Can we get a pretzel?”
“We need to get home, Sweet pea. Mama’s waiting on us.”
We walked out toward the lot, having to press our way past the large girl and her family. They wouldn’t move. It took everything I had not to take a swing at the girl’s father who was acting as a roadblock to our freedom. The only thing that stopped me was imagining the headline in the newspaper the next day about how a professor beat the shit out of some asshole at the Y.
I stewed all day, trying to stay away from anyone in the house. The dog even sensed I wasn’t right, and she stayed upstairs instead of coming into the family room to mooch popcorn from me.
I played Wii boxing until my hands basically bled.
It took a long time for me to finally sit down and talk to my wife about this.
What it boiled down to for me was that I didn’t care about winning. Honestly, I didn’t. I never even allowed myself to imagine a winning scenario there. Besides, in most cases, these kids don’t care. They like to share the ball with the other team because, to quote one of our turnover-prone guards, “Jesus says sharing is good.”
I also didn’t want to be that parent who is like the guys in “Trophy Kids.” I think I yell three things all game long: “Nice job!” “Hands up on defense!” and “No, you go the OTHER way!” We have one of “those parents” on our side and he’s annoying as hell. He’s constantly screaming at his kid, “Get to the wing! Get to the wing!” as if this kid even knows what he’s talking about. We’re lucky that the kids go toward the right basket.
What kept coming back to me was a line from the TV show “Banshee,” where the sheriff takes on four brothers in a fight outside a lumber yard. He is kicking their asses, when one of the brothers grabs a piece of lumber, only to be held back by the evil town boss, Kai Proctor. When the men realize Proctor is there, they stop, only to have Proctor admonish the one with the stick: “Your four on one advantage wasn’t enough? You needed this?”
That’s what bothered me. You had every possible advantage and it still wasn’t enough? You used every possible cheap move to gain a greater advantage and it STILL wasn’t enough? Finally, you had to basically just grind everything to a halt to make sure you didn’t lose? For what?
In the end, I basically got over it. I didn’t scream or yell at a ref to right what I perceived to be a wrong. I didn’t even quietly approach their coach and question her approach to the game and what it was teaching the kids. I didn’t write a letter to the league or try to teach my kid how to clear some space with a couple sharp elbows to the kidneys of the defender.
Still, I find myself not wanting to go to my own kid’s games any more, for fear that I’ll snap and become what I despise: the parent who becomes part of the story.
And that bothers me too.
CVS Caremark is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide as it focuses more on providing health care.
The nation's second-largest drugstore chain said Wednesday that it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1, a move that will cost about $2 billion in annual revenue but won't affect its 2014 earnings forecast. CVS Caremark leaders say removing tobacco will help them grow the company's business of working with doctors, hospitals and other care providers to improve customers' health.
CVS Caremark Corp. and other major drugstore chains have been adding clinics to their stores for several years now. Their pharmacists deliver flu shots and other immunizations, and those clinics also have been expanding the care they deliver. They now help people manage chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes.
CEO Larry Merlo noted that conditions like those are made worse by smoking.
"We've come to the conclusion that cigarettes have no place in a setting where health care is being delivered," he said.
The company declined to say what will take tobacco's prominent shelf place behind cash registers at the front of its stores. CVS Caremark will test some items and may expand smoking cessation products that are already sold near cigarettes.
CVS Caremark has been working to team up with hospital groups and doctor practices to help deliver and monitor patient care, and the presence of tobacco in its stores has made for some awkward conversations, CVS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan said.
"One of the first questions they ask us is, 'Well, if you're going to be part of the health care system, how can you continue to sell tobacco products?'" he said. "There's really no good answer to that at all."
Even if it was done for business reasons, this still sends a powerful signal about the extreme dangers of nicotine and tobacco products.
Here's the deal: I smoked for many years and quit many times before quitting for good in the late 1980's. I was never a heavy smoker or a hardcore nicotine junkie, but I'm glad I no longer smell like an ashtray. That's one reason I rarely go to bars any more because the second hand smoke bugs the hell out of me, and Dr. A is allergic to it. That's another reason the UK rocks: smoke free pubs
Am I for prohibition? Absolutely not but I'm for taxing the hell out of cigarettes and keeping them as far away from my space as possible. Prohibition never works, especially with a substance as addictive as nicotine.
I gotta give CVS props for making this move since it's a 2 billion dollar hit. I suspect they'll make up for in customer good will. The docs are gonna love them.
Since I'm tired of the whole gate thing, I'm working on some new buzz words for the the meltdown that is unfolding in the Garden State right now. I've long thought David Wildstein would be the John Dean of the scandal, so what you think of calling him John Deanstein? Yeah, I know John Dean was an uber goy but I like sticking a stein on his name; it beats the hell out of gating it. It evokes images of beer, Tricky Dick's dog Checkers and Pat's Republican cloth coat. Oh wait, that was Tricky's first scandal...
Fat Fuckistan is an obvious reference, but it won't out live the life of this scandal, especially since Big Pussy sleeps with the fishes. End of obligatory Sopranos reference. It does have, however, the added virtue of fulfilling my FQ aka fuck quotient. I got a heavy load with Jude on maternity leave...
Now that I've wasted everyone's time with this deeply silly post, it's time for some JERSEY ROCK AND ROLL:
They are still alive. In fact, thanks to my being on leave and Mr. A working from home while Kick makes her way in the world, the ferrets are getting more out time than ever. Bucky's responded by turning into a furry little speed demon. I took sixteen pictures of him this morning. This is the only one in which he was still: