Archive for March, 2008

Some people are fools all year long

Back in 2006, some folks in our fair city voted to re-elect William Jefferson even though they didn’t like him. Even though he was (and is) self-absorbed and ineffective. Even though his habit of keeping $90k stashed in frozen Tupperware seemed (and seems) a tad suspicious.

Why would sane, sensible voters do such a thing? Because they assumed that the pending federal investigation of Jefferson would lead to an indictment, which would lead to his resignation, which would lead to another election in which they could elect someone, like, really good.

Those voters, btw, are now officially idiots:

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court ruling that the F.B.I. went too far in searching the office of Representative William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat accused of using his position to promote business deals in Africa.

Without comment, the justices declined to review a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which concluded last August that agents had violated the Constitution by the methods it used in the May 2006 search.

The appeals court did not find that the raid itself was unconstitutional; rather, it found that the F.B.I. violated constitutional separation of powers by allowing agents to look freely through Congressional files for incriminating evidence….

New York Times

So basically, instead of voting for a nice, normal candidate the first time around, a bunch of smartasses who simply didn’t care for Karen Carter have allowed Louisiana’s reputation to languish (note: understatement is the new black). That’s pretty unfortunate, because, you know, given all the senatorial whoremongering and the gubernatorial buck-passing and the mayoral spouting-off, we could’ve used an “in” with somebody in DC.

P.S. Coincidentally, Jefferson illustrates my favorite Obscure Word of the Week: throttlebottom. It works on so many levels.

Spring Respite

Avery Island Safari (35)   Clark Creek MS (16)

Over the last few weeks some friends and I have been heading out to the hinterland to do some exploring. It began with a trip to Natchez MS.,  with my friend, E.  We visited Longwood and a few other antebellum homes.  Longwood is a must see for architectural buffs. There aren’t many good places to eat in this sleepy town on Sunday but I always go to the Magnolia Cafe on the Mississippi River because I enjoy the dramatic view of the river which is rather humbling here. In fact, they are preparing for a rise in the river as floodwaters from the Midwest move south.  This event threatens the Isle of Capri riverboat gambling stationed near the Magnolia Cafe.

Last week we went on a walking tour of Avery Island and Rip VanWinkle Gardens. These were all really pretty adventures. The flowers are in full bloom. At the end of our safari, we rewarded ourselves with a delicious meal at Cafe des Amis.

Today we pumped it up a notch or two and visited Clark Creek, MS.  I was almost too tired to shower. The hills are a workout that can’t be mimicked on the stairmaster and the waterfalls were really beautiful. It’s a totally different world just 2.5 hrs away.

More Photos Sorry, I didn’t feel like taking photos while in Natchez. Next time for sure.

All Gone

The house next door to ours was burnt out way before we bought our house. It was ruled an arson as I understand and word on the street is the owner had something to do with that but I can’t say for sure. Anyway before we left on vacation a little while ago the house looked like this: before and when we returned it looked like this:After
FEMA were the ones who tore it down even though the damage done to the house had absolutely nothing to do with the hurricane. Should FEMA be doing stuff like this? Who knows. Now the owner of the property is trying to get a permit to put a modular Katrina cottage on the lot. The neighbors are fighting it simply because we all work really hard to keep up our houses and uphold the historical integrity of the area. I know I spend too much time inside with the baby not paying attention to rules and politics and such but I would rather have an empty lot than a modular home next door.

Places Mayor C. Ray Nagin may be hiding

Likely:

  • In Chicago, writing speeches for Obama’s erstwhile pastor.
  • In Cuba, because he needs his annual physical and his local doctor can’t see him for another six months.
  • At Chris Rose’s house, because that’s where the crazies live.
  • At the Broadway South offices, because he’s sure to run into absolutely no one.

Less likely:

Hopefully:

  • Resting upon the fragrant bosom of a hooker/actress/songwriter.
  • Pinned beneath a burning 1979 Ford Pinto on top of an abandoned petroleum tank hundreds of miles from where anyone can hear him scream (or 300 yards from the nearest fire hydrant).

Another one does not bite the dust

A Jefferson Parish man tried to commit suicide Thursday morning by jumping off the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway but was rescued by the Coast Guard, authorities said….

The man, whose name was not released, apparently parked his car in the first crossover on the northbound bridge about 8:10 a.m., got out and jumped over the side, Causeway Police Lt. Curt Franz said. A maintenance worker saw the man jump off the crossover, which is about 15 to 20 feet above the water, and called police….

Police tried to rescue the man by throwing him a life ring, but he twice evaded the flotation device and swam about 300 yards away from the bridge through 2-foot chop, Franz said.

NOLA.com

Dear Unnamed Suicidal Person:

As an environmentally conscious citizen, I appreciate your desire to reduce the world’s population. Clearly, overcrowding is an area of eco-concern in which one person really can make a difference.

However, in reviewing your case, I think I have identified several issues you ought to resolve before taking one for the Gipper again. Trust me: I’m a consultant. I know what I’m talking about.

1. Choose a different time of day: The sun is a cruel and mercurial mistress. In California, she provides solar power for homes, but in Florida she causes skin cancer. Here in Louisiana, she provides light to see, but in doing so, she also encourages complete strangers to get all up in your business–and by “strangers” I mean pesky Causeway maintenance workers. I’d recommend carrying out your plan at 2am. Just to be on the safe side, do it on a night with no moon. April 5 and 6 look great, fyi.

2. Choose a higher jumping-off point: I mean, let’s face it: 15 or 20 feet is basically the high dive at most swimming pools. Increasing the distance between you and the water will increase your chances for success–and as an added bonus, you’ll have a far more scenic view of the world you’re leaving behind. Consider using the Crescent City Connection, or the Huey P. Long, or even the Luling bridge in St. Charles Parish. South Louisiana has a longstanding love affair with bridges and is chock-full of possibilities! However, if those options seem daunting, you could also just look around your house for items to lift you higher off the Causeway deck. That 12-foot ladder gathering dust in the garage will nearly double your odds!

3. Lose your ability to swim: That way, even if you survive the drop, you’re still in good shape. It may seem difficult, but people unlearn how to swim all the time. Try watching another person drown; in the movies, that always causes some kind of mental block that does the trick. At the very least you should stop being such a strong swimmer. Swimming 300 feet in a two-foot chop kinda puts you in Aquaman territory. Ease up on that.

4. Consider other options: If you’re unable to carry out my first three suggestions but remain committed to the idea of jumping, try landing on your stomach; a good, hard belly-flop always stunned us when we were kids. Or eat a very large meal before jumping–possibly an anvil, or several pounds of cement. And although you’re clearly attracted to the water, don’t overlook the appeal of office towers and the sidewalks below them. Believe it or not, they have a far better track record of population reduction than bridges and water.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this food for thought. I wish you all the best for the future. And if your first attempt was just a vain cry for help, and if it effects some kind of longed-for reconciliation between you and your teenage bride, don’t worry: you can always come back to this project later, after she runs off with the bouncer at the strip club she’s working in Kenner. It’s never too late!

Warmly,
Richard

Sanitation Dept Survey on Recycling Extended

Condo Trash Pile (1)

Last month, I watched as Veronica White announced on Geektv that the City of New Orleans would conduct a survey on recycling needs for a month but through various communications today we noticed that the information is just reaching the ground this week. I emailed Veronica White about this and asked her to consider extending the survey if her data confirmed the need. She reponded immediately and said her department will accept responses for another month. The news is circulating via the Times Picayune and announcements on WWNO. Editor B.  put the link on his site on the 14th so really, it’s just getting around now after a few weeks of her announcing it.  I was excited when I saw it on Geektv but I thought everyone watched Geektv and I thought it wasn’t even newsworthy because I try not to be too repetitive here. I was wrong.  The news of the survey is just now gaining momentum.   So pass it on!

There are four ways you can put in your two-cents on the need/desire to have city-wide recycling in New Orleans;

1) Call the 311 number to do the survey over the phone. Fast.
2) Send it in via snail mail from the T-P.
3) Print it from this Recycling Survey and mail it in via snail mail.  I had hoped you could fill it in electronically, but, I guess not.  Maybe they feel that would skew the stats.   
4)  A survey will appear in your S&WB bill this month too.

So there you go, “‘Tell me what you want, what’cha really, really want!” ala Veronica White!

Keepin It Real Second Line

Keepin It Real Second Line on Bienville (4)

While relaxing on my day off I was fortunate enough to catch the Keepin It Real second-line on Bienville today. It was a gorgeous day. It’s such a luxury to be in a place where you can experience a second-line in between cleaning out the cat-box and doing laundry. My neighbor and I shared some ginger snaps and did some booty shakin together. After enjoying the parade, Alvin went back to spraying pigeons off his roof with the hose and I back to my Sunday ablutions, both with the fuller sense of well-being that only a good dose of a brass band and its connections to your ‘peeps’ adds to everyday life here in New Orleans.

Anne speaks! (Next time: in tongues!)

Full disclosure: I can’t stand Anne Rice. I mean, yes, on the handful of occasions I met her, she was a lovely and charming woman, but her writing…well, lovely and charming it ain’t. Even back in college, when I spent many a night dancing gloomily to Front 242 at the Blue Crystal–even then I thought she was a sloppy, slovenly hack. Her popularity completely mystified me.

But today I figured it out.* Today, in an interview in the Picayune, Ann Rice has inadvertently explained everything and made clear (at least to me) her intent to follow the American zeitgeist all the way to the bank–no matter the pit stops it may make along the way:

On leaving New Orleans: “My only beloved son was in Los Angeles, and I felt like moving out to California was a good thing to do.”

Did you catch the reference? Do you see where this is going?

On the success of The Da Vinci Code: “I’m so outraged by it,” she said…. There’s not a scrap of evidence to support any of those theories.”

Yeah, baby. Work the angle.

On the possibility of writing another Lestat novel: “That book will only be written if I can keep my commitment to the Lord,” she said. “If I can work out a book where Lestat is saved, yes, I’ll write it.

Bingo.

Having ridden the Gothic wave until it finally petered out at the threshold of a Claire’s Boutique somewhere in Missouri, Anne is now totally hot for Christian schlock and George W’s ballyhooed Base. She’s bid adieu to the slim-hipped young men, attracted by her daring views on homosexuality. She’s bid adieu to the plus-sized women, clad in crushed velvet, who often accompanied the slim-hipped men at book signings. She’s bid adieu to everyone drawn into her parallel universes of inverted but somehow totally right-on morality, and she’s gunning for Wal-Mart employees and the Songs of Praise demographic.

Which is not to say that vampire novels and biographies of Jesus Christ don’t bear similarities to one another: they’re both intriguing myths chock-full of blood-guzzling. In fact, if I were so inclined, I could give Ms. Rice the benefit of the doubt and presume she’s trying to modernize Christian ideology by working from the inside out. Sadly, I am not so inclined.

Nor is it to say that a person can’t appreciate these two divergent styles of Ms. Rice’s work (three, if you count the A. N. Roquelaure erotica). Such a person may well exist, but I wouldn’t wanna be his therapist.

Anyway, given Ms. Rice’s stated and unstated intentions, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess at her immediate goals:

1. Buy an abandoned church and start her own denomination (working title: International House of Ann-cakes).

2. Trample Dan Brown on the bestseller lists and leave behind those Left Behind guys.

3. Enshrine Christopher in the literary heavens (just below her), so that he’ll be wealthy and well-connected enough to care for her in style throughout her waning years.

* Her son’s popularity, however, continues to boggle my wee mind.

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