Archive for July, 2007

Sometimes the TV news really delivers.

Seeing this story on the news tonight made my day better. You gotta feel sorry for this poor lady but at the same time it just cracks me up for some reason. Kinda reminds me of this old bluesman quote; “You know, old folks say, it’s a long lane don’t have no end and a bad wind don’t never change. But one day, back when Hoover was president, I was driving my cart down Beale Street, and I seen a rat, sitting on top of a garbage can, eating a onion, crying. “

Two more useful things

1. Recycling, finally: Yes, I’m a recycling freak. Always have been. Before the storm, friends laughed at my diligence. Some–I won’t name names–were convinced the S&WB program was a sham and that the paper, glass, and aluminum I dutifully separated was destined for the same landfill as all my other household garbage. For the past 22 months, that laughter has only gotten louder, since I’ve not only had to separate my trash, but I’ve also had to schlep it to the Green Project for processing…. Well, I’m happy to note that life is about to get a little easier (and hopefully quieter), thanks to Phoenix Recycling’s bi-weekly curbside program. It won’t be as cheap to recycle as it was before the storm, but seriously, what is?

2. Crime stats, also finally: Me, I know that New Orleans ain’t freakin’ Disneyland, and I accept it. Others, however, get hung up on local crime. They spend hours fretting about it, scanning the neighborhood forums on NOLA.com for the latest bit of rumor and speculation about who was mugged where and when. Personally, I thought the forums were moderately useful immediately after Katrina, but hordes of conspiracy theory purveyors soon put an end to that. Still, unless you wanna wait for the evening news–which admittedly isn’t going to give you details on everything–where else can you turn for data? ….At long last, the beleaguered, much-maligned NOPD has stepped up to the plate with a surprisingly useful crime stat site. Just enter your address, and up pops a list of misdeeds committed in your general vicinity. Yeah, it’s probably not as thorough as it should be, and I’m sure it’s missing some stuff, but at least it’s an alternative to the half-baked crap flying around elsewhere….

Something useful

Tropical Weather Outlook

This is a new graphic I found on the NHC website, it’s the tropical weather outlook for the Atlantic. You could hotlink this somewhere (or just bookmark this posting) and be able to keep an eye on the tropics just by glancing at it. Much easier than going to the NHC website or waiting for the TV weather people to deliver an update on the tropics. You can click the graphic for details.

What a Weekend (random notes)

A friend of mine was in a hit and run accident over the weekend. Here’s the kicker: he was on a motorcycle. The little information I have is that he was on his way home from work (not sure what time it was). He was knocked unconscious, broken ribs and a punctured lung. Left for dead in the street. He’s still in the hospital of course, while they pump fluid from his lung and try and get him fixed up. His prognosis is good and I’m sure he’ll be fine. But that doesn’t change the fact that the situation is fucked up. I mean, accidents happen and everyone understands that, but when you leave the scene you’ve just crossed some sort of line that you may not be able to come back from.

Of course, I have no confidence in the police to find the driver. And even less confidence in the DA to follow through if they do find this person. I’d like nothing more than for some of my more unreasonable friends to find this person first and work it out.
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Things to do in NOLA with kids – New Orleans Museum of Art

I think I am going to make this a theme since I know a bit about the subject and in a city like New Orleans people think there isn’t a lot to do with kids which really isn’t true you just have to look. Also, as a stay at home Mom it is easy to become frustrated by things and become cooped up in the house. I encourage you to get out and do something around town with the kids.
Yesterday the baby and I went to the New Orleans Museum of Art. It was the first time we had ever been and I was very impressed. They have two new exhibitions. Renaissance engravings and woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer that are simply amazing the imagine cutting that much detail onto a piece of wood sees painstaking but the pay off is well worth the work. Baby was actually not that impressed with this exhibit as it is not very colorful but as we walked through the archway, we ran into the other new exhibit, Windows of Heaven a brilliant collection of Russian Ikons. Baby loved this collection, it is comprised of colorful and extremely ornate religious art. Many of the painters were monks and you can feel the devotion to the work and the beliefs they represent when you look at these paintings. Weirdly enough baby seemed to feel it to, he was quiet and stared at each painting without ever trying to touch.
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No problem

On the surface, at least, I don’t have a problem with this approach by the Corps of Engineers.

We can’t build things to reel San Francisco in to Nevada like a giant carp if there’s a giant earthquake. We can’t put a dome over the Pacific Northwest to protect it from Mt. St. Helens and we can’t be expected to construct giant snowblowers for North Dakota. Mother Nature will always bat last and, to my thinking, there’s only so much we can do as mere humans. If New Orleans faces what the Mississippi coast did during Katrina, we’re just gonna have to deal.

That said, our faith in all levels of government is rivaled only by our confidence in how long Lindsay Lohan is gonna stay off the sauce and ask someone else to do the driving. Our state leaders are too inept or powerless (or both) and our local folks are like the caterwauling child in church — everyone wishes they’d shut the hell up or that someone would take them the hell outside. At the federal level, we’re Old News, Bad News or (worse) No News. So guess what — no matter what the Corps says or wants, we’re already just gonna have to deal.
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One question in Two Hours?

I watched the YouTube Democratic Debate on CNN the other night. I also have seen bits and pieces on replays on the network since it aired live. I thought the format and idea were actually solid. I liked the questions coming from Joe’s and Jane’s just like you and me. Even though the politicians did not answer every question directly, I thought overall it was informative and different.

One thing stood out to me though and it was disappointing from my view. All of the Democrat candidates generally have “sound bites” about how important New Orleans is and how important the rebuilding of New Orleans will be to them if they are elected to the White House.

If New Orleans is so important to the Democrats then, how come in a two-hour debate, we get ONE question about New Orleans? From someone based in Atlanta? WTF? A generic, what to do about New Orleans question is all we get? Is that where this area will stand in the Democratic pecking order? John Edwards rolling through the 9th ward every time a TV camera turns on and we get one question? From someone living in Atlanta? She may have been relocated there after K but she didn’t make that point. I think if she was from here, she would have said so.

Look I know Iraq is a disaster that we must figure out how to correct. Terrorism, Immigration, Social Security, Race Relations, Health Care etc are all extremely important to this country and how we tackle these issues is a huge question for our future. I don’t expect a two-hour debate that is all about New Orleans. We have to fix things locally before we expect anyone to assist in the future frankly. But I do not expect more questions about what Hillary is wearing or why John Edwards is considered a pretty boy than I do about what this country is doing to rebuild New Orleans.
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Small things for small minds

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TBK will tell you it takes so little to make my Cajun soul happy anymore. And today’s find of some local nostalgia is a good example, I guess.

After temporarily bagging plans for a trip to Dallas, we spent the day antiquing in Breaux Bridge. Just as it was before the storm, this small town just east of Lafayette (about two hours from New Orleans). has some top-quality antique dealers who have prices well below what you’re going to find on Magazine St. Our goal had been to grab some lunch at the most excellent Cafe des Amis, but I had forgotten about their loud Zydeco breakfast on Saturdays. Don’t get me wrong — if you’re in the mood to tank beer and Bloody Marys and listen to chanky-chank music some Saturday morning, it’s a great place to be. But all I wanted was a quiet lunch and some conversation, so we opted for the less-hectic Chez Jacqueline a few doors down. They also had live music (a nice enough seeming guy, but it was still too damn loud. And dude — puh-leeeeeeeeeeeze reduce your catalog of Jimmy Buffett songs. It just doesn’t fit.), but at least there were breaks so we could talk a bit.
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Frankfurter News

I am pleased to report that New Orleans is now home to a top-notch purveyor of hot dogs. Even pre-k, this was an area of our culinary scene that was severly lacking. I am qualified to say this because I ran a website devoted to hot dogs and I sampled many around the city. Nobody specialized in hot dogs, and the places that featured them on the menu universally sold an inferior product. Pre-k I would have said that the little food counter at Sam’s Club was your best bet for a hot dog. Thankfully this is no longer the case.

East bank residents need look no futher than Shaggy’s Seafood & Sandwich Shop, at 4413 Banks St., next to Banks St. Bar & Grill. Formerly the Gigi Asian Bistro, this little hole in the wall carries all Vienna Beef hot dogs, plus po-boys and other standards. Vienna Beef means a quality hot dog, and Shaggy’s is the only place in the city that carries them. Today marked my third visit, and the third time was a charm, as I can now safely say that Shaggy has perfected the art of the chicago-style hot dog. It was a completely authentic rendering, right down to the neon green relish and the mushy poppy seed bun. If you don’t like your hot dogs “dragged through the garden” you can get a plain “New York style” dog as well, plus there are daily dog specials — including a “muffaletta dog.” Shaggy also recommends the pork chop sandwich, which I have yet to try.

For west bankers there’s a somewhat new place called Easy Dogs in Gretna. I can’t vouch for this place but it sure is nice to see people taking the hot dog seriously in New Orleans. And as I’m only a few blocks away from Shaggy’s, I hope they stay there for some time to come.

Weather

I love the rain. It is hot as hell here in the summer but if that is what it takes to get those down pours, I will take it. I love the mid day showers that just cool the place off. I love the grayness that settles in for days when it fluctuates between pouring and sprinkling constantly, when you think about leaving the house ten times a day but think better of it every time. I love when you can see the rain clouds coming and then it hits you and you are soaked to the bone. I love when it rains ‘cats and dogs.’ I love when the lights go out and the tree branches scrape against the windows and you think it might be a hurricane but surely your could not have missed the news that many days in a row. I love when the sun is going down and you can see a little dark cloud in the distance and know it’s going to miss you.
Just thought I would share that.

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