Apparently, Today Is World Ocean Day

Pacific island lagoon paradise by Cuba Gallery

…so if you happen to live near of one of the world’s five oceans, go for it.

Meanwhile, those of us along the Gulf of Mexico will continue avoiding the water lest we be arrested or covered in sludge or both.

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Now is not the time to stop buying BP gas

Yes, I hate them just like everyone else in Louisiana. Yes if I could get my hands around their CEO’s neck it would not be a pretty picture. Yes, I am devastated to see Louisiana wildlife and everything that goes with it destroyed beyond what any of us can really believe. But frankly, now is not the time for Americans to stop purchasing BP gasoline and products.

The radio station was asked last week to allow C-SPAN to simulcast one of our 3 hour local shows that has been on top of the disaster since the rig first blew. They stated they really wanted a independent view from a media outlet. Most of the major radio stations in New Orleans are owned by corporate giants that frankly will not allow their on-air host to take on other large corporations. Watching each other’s back kind of thing I think. I understand, I’ve worked for a couple of those media corporations, it’s always about the bottom line. We allow C-SPAN to simulcast us and the response from the American people was really outstanding. The viewers/listeners that called the program, from Alaska to Maine, all seemed to understand the critical development that the Louisiana marshes provide to the entire Gulf of Mexico.

That being said, I was also confused by some and here’s my point. Many many callers stated they have stopped buying BP gasoline and would continue to avoid the company and it’s goods. Yet at the same time they all stated they wanted to help anyway that they could. The main way to help is to continue to buy BP gas. And if you haven’t in the past, start now.

I understand peoples anger and desire to make BP pay. We down here in this part of the world agree with you One Hundred-Fifty percent. But that is our point. We MUST make them pay. As in pay for everything needed right now and to continue to pay for whatever it takes to get this area stable again in the next twenty years. Frankly Louisiana and the United States of America need this company around for the long haul. Not to mention Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. They will need BP’s financial assistance for years to come to stop/clean/replenish the Gulf Coast region. We all need them to stay afloat, to have revenues coming in so we can take them right back to fix this disaster. Not too mention that gas stations themselves are generally independently owned and operated by other hard working  Americans just like me and you. Don’t make them lose their livelihood because they have the above logo on their sign. They need your business, they have families and bills to pay. Those owners didn’t ask BP to royally f**k up as they have.

We appreciate the American people and the way they are feeling our pain down this way. We accept that you and yours hate BP just as much as we do. We also accept that this is going to take years if not decades to recover from and that the United States of America needs them around to be responsible, emotionally and fiscally.


BP Should Maybe Take A Lesson From Chrysler And STFU

Maybe you remember it: about a year and a half ago, Bush fils offered Chrysler its first round of bailout dough, and many Americans weren’t happy about it. Of course, more often than not, those folks were technically “Merikens”, who somehow managed to blame Obama for the governmental support, but that’s neither here nor there.

To smooth things over, Chrysler decided that it would take out giant-sized ads in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, which are, incidentally, the newspapers of record for Merikens. Written out in ginormous, respectable, authoritative serifs were the words “THANK YOU AMERICA”, followed by some smaller-point tripe about what folks in the good ol’ USofA could expect from their comrades in Auburn Hills.

Problem is, the ads only made people angrier — not only because of the missing direct-address comma in the copy (which was maddening enough), but also because the bajillions of dollars that Chrysler spent to run those ads could’ve probably been put to better use. Like, say, developing cars that might actually sell so that Chrysler wouldn’t need to borrow cash from the feds in the future.

What Chrysler had forgotten was the all-important Mean Girls Rule: Sometimes, Bitches Just Be Hatin’. In non-playground parlance: every so often, people want to vilify you. In fact, they need to vilify you, whether it’s for legitimate reasons (you stole their money/man/job) or illegitimate reasons (you chose the same theme for your Twitter page). At the time, Chrysler was a punching bag, and anything the company did or said was twisted around to make matters worse. It just needed to sit quietly and take its licks.

And now, BP.

These two ads ran in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (top) and New York Times (bottom), which are, incidentally, the newspapers of record for a divided America. Take a good look and read that copy.

Are you snarking yet?

Tony, Tony, Tony, if you’re listening, please take some unsolicited advice:

1) Skip the feelgood branding ads. I’m sure your gas station franchisees appreciate the effort, but it’s a waste of money right now.

2) Perhaps you should take the dough you’d spend on such ads — how much is that? $50,000? $100,000? — and build a berm or two. Or put it in reserve. Or better yet, retain some more attorneys. Because you are going to be sued nine ways to Sunday by every person, place, and thing along the Gulf. Probably including Cuba. I’d wish you good luck, but I, like the bitches, be hatin’.

[via Copyranter]

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We’re Back…

Did you notice we were gone? probably not because despite the warning of impending doom, and by that I mean the notice that metblogs would be closing it’s virtual doors at the end of May it seems there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all and that light is YOU! That’s right after the announcement that metblogs would be coming to an end there was such an outpouring of support along with some financial assistance from far and wide that we might just make it. At least for now things are looking up, but we’re not out of the woods yet you can still help keep us alive. Read the Well, that just happened… post from Sean and Jason, then check out the Pledgie page where you too can be a part of keeping this wonderful website up and running. Thank you.


Maybe YOU have a great idea for BP’s new logo?

Greenpeace has launched a campaign to give British Petroleum a new logo. Isn’t that thoughtful? I mean, BP already has a logo that’s pretty and sparkly and green and kind of like a flower but also like the sun — maybe a sunflower? — but given the GIANT OIL SLICK that’s begun washing ashore here in Louisiana, Greenpeace thought BP could use something richer and more earthtoned and, you know, gross. It’s kind of like back in the 90s when everyone was revamping logos for t-shirts, except this time Greenpeace will make money from it.

Below, you’ll see the ad that appeared in yesterday’s Guardian to announce the campaign, and here’s a link to Greenpeace’s spiffy website, where you can see all the latest entries — and submit your own.

Good luck, graphic designers. When you have a second, maybe you could send down some Dawn dishwashing liquid and a sponge?

[via AnimalNewYork]


Once again, trannies save the day

Somehow I managed to miss this story on NPR, but it’s not terribly surprising. Around these parts, the drag ladies have always got your back:

Workers in the Gulf of Mexico are using oil containment booms to sop up oil and protect coastlines from the approaching slick.

Commercial booms are usually made of plastic. But an alternative source for the booms is found on the floor of salons across the country.

As it turns out, hair adheres to oil pretty efficiently, which is why your hair gets greasy. Now salons are donating their discarded locks to help with the Gulf Coast cleanup.

A group in San Francisco has been producing hair booms for nearly a decade now. Matter of Trust makes nylon stockings stuffed with human hair and trimmed animal fur.

“Booms will lie along the beach, the waves will come up, and they’ll go through the hair and the nylon,” says Lisa Gautier, co-founder of Matter of Trust. “And the hair will grab the oil and then the wave goes back out and it’s cleaner.”

Gautier says the BP spill is by far the biggest challenge she’s encountered, so her organization is directing its current stockpile of hair — 400,000 pounds — toward the cleanup.

While the group does have lots of hair, Gautier notes, there is one shortage. “I knew that hair wouldn’t be a problem, but nobody wears nylons anymore,” she says.

Well, some people still do. Gautier says the great thing about being based in San Francisco is the city’s transvestite community, which has readily donated nylons. The group has also received donations from Wal-Mart and Hanes.

[more at NPR]


Need to understand the real size of the BP oil leak?

Someone’s wonked Google Earth to place a blob the size and shape of the BP oil spill over any portion of Planet Earth. Here’s how it compares to the New Orleans metro area:

Try it yourself. It’s a great sobering way to start the work week.

[via Towleroad]

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If you read only one thing today, let it be this

On Monday, as I walked my dogs through our neighborhood in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, an enormous flock of seagulls accompanied us in the sky, swooping down to the streets, scavenging for food along the gutters, and screeching to each other with alarm. It isn’t unusual to see gulls around town, but this was an unusually large number, and I imagined they had been chased inland by the growing Gulf oil spill, the same way they get chased in by hurricanes or other enormous storms.

We are used to displacement here. We still measure things as before or after Katrina, as if there is somehow a possibility of moving back in time and slipping into the still familiar order of life before the storm. Perhaps that is why I regarded the misplaced gulls as simply a fact rather than a tragedy. Or more likely I was distracted by the fact that for one of the gaggle of dogs at the end of the leash, this would be a final walk before going to the vet to be put down.

Continue reading Ken Foster’s “New Orleans’ Life as a Dog” at Salon.com

P.S. If you’re so inclined, you can also learn more about Ken’s Sula Foundation for pit bull rescue, care, and advocacy at SulaFoundation.org.


Starting today: NOVAC is running an oil spill cleanup donation drive

I just got an email from the New Orleans Video Access Center about a supply drive, which will gather materials to be used by volunteers in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup*. The drive begins today and runs through next Friday, May 14. Here’s what NOVAC is hoping to collect:

  • Blue Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • Absorbent linens (like towels and soft cloth)
  • Saline Solution
  • Nylon Pantyhose
  • Water
  • Gatorade
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Safety glasses (clear and dark)
  • Chicken boots
  • E-tech gloves
  • Safety utility knives
  • Dip nets (small mesh)
  • Pool cleaning nets
  • Mosquito head nets
  • Duct tape
  • Work vests

Supplies can be dropped off at the NOVAC office at 532 Louisa Street between 10am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. At the conclusion of the drive, all supplies will be delivered to the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Volunteer Program. If you have questions, please call 504 940 5780.

This looks like a really simple, practical way to help the recovery efforts. Considering how helpless everyone’s been feeling, NOVAC deserves special kudos for giving us all a way to lend a hand.

* Yes, I’m aware that it’s not technically an “oil spill”. Nor is it an “oil leak”. Nor is it, as BP might call it, an “unscheduled petroleum dispersement”. Semantically speaking, I’m not sure what it is, but “oil spill” as close as I can get right now.


There’s something in the air

I can smell it. At least I thought I could.

I spent most of yesterday in Baton Rouge, and when I returned to New Orleans and opened my car door, something was definitely wrong.

We have a lot of unusual scents in my neighborhood — most of them good. Like the smell of coffee wafting over from the roasting facilities by the levee. Or the scent of Hubig’s pies being pulled from the oven.

This was different. It was soft, but vaguely acrid. Man-made. Bad. Not as strong as the chemical leak we had in Hahnville last year, but noticeable. Even to someone not gifted with le nez.

My first thought, of course, was the oil spill. But that couldn’t have been it — could it? At the time, the slick was still miles and miles off the shore of Grand Isle, and New Orleans is miles and miles from Grand Isle. (At least 90 as the crow flies, I think.) Surely I was just being paranoid.

But others reported smelling something, too — so many that it made the evening news. No one seemed to know where it was coming from. So far as I know, they still don’t.

The scent isn’t there today, but then, the weather’s changed. This morning is humid, stuffy, a wall of suspended water; I can barely smell the banana I’m eating. That’s a far cry from the crisp, dry air of yesterday that might’ve — might’ve — carried anxious molecules of petroleum up over the mouth of the Mississippi River, across breeding grounds for terns, turtles, and tuna, all the way to my little corner of the precious, precarious Faubourg Marigny. So really, who’s to say?

Equally weird and disconcerting? The tone of the nonstop news coverage. “It’s coming in!” “Where’s it going to hit?” “How bad’s it going to be?” That’s not the sort of language anyone wants to hear just as we’re heading into hurricane season.

Even so, the two events are related: today’s oil spill will mangle the marshlands that would ordinarily reduce the force of tomorrow’s hurricanes.

Hooray for irony.


State representative Juan LaFonta goes to bat for kids and adoption

As a gay man and someone who was adopted, it’s annoying/frustrating/thoroughly enraging to hear people like Mike Huckabee compare adoption by LGBT couples to a science experiment. (“Children are not puppies”, said the ex-governor, has-been presidential candidate, and…well, nothing in particular at the moment.)

I’m not even remotely interested in adopting children, but for the many, many LGBT couples who are, the process is frustrating, and the rules vary from state to state. Here in Louisiana, we’ve followed Paula Abdul’s example, taking a few steps forward and quite a few back. But now, state representative Juan LaFonta is pushing things back in the direction of the 21st century:

Rep. Juan LaFonta, D-New Orleans, is proposing to expand Louisiana adoption laws with language to recognize as parents both persons in a gay couple.

But LaFonta is not going directly after the provision of Louisiana law that restricts adoption to married couples or single individuals but not unmarried couples. Instead, House Bill 738 would expand the list of eligible persons to petition for “intrafamily” adoptions, those that involve a second adult becoming a legal parent to a child who already has a legal parent in the same family or household….

As with the rest of Louisiana adoption law, the bill does not mention sexual orientation. Gay residents in Louisiana already adopt, but a gay couple — or an unmarried heterosexual couple — must choose just one of the pair to become the legal parent, with the second adult having no legal relationship with the child.

LaFonta added, though, that he does not want the debate to be solely about gay adoption, but instead about expanding opportunities for more children to have a chance at a stable, two-parent home. LaFonta said, “There are too many children who need homes. We’ve got to stop this narrow regulating of what is a family and what’s not.”

[NOLA.com]

So far, the comments on that article aren’t especially bad. But I suppose we should wait for everyone to have a second cup of coffee.

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Festival weekend

The French Quarter Festival is this weekend, starting Friday and blowing it out through Sunday. Having been based in the Quarter since Katrina, and right up the street from the quarter for two years before, the FQF has always been a favorite and I’ve been lucky to be around the last six festivals. The FQF is now the largest free music festival in the South and from experience, I can say it has done nothing but grow in the last few years.
Friday was always somewhat of a “so-so” day for the FQF. It’s always been more of a local festival than say Jazz Fest obviously, but I think that is changing. I have done my tour of the Quarter today and I know I have never seen this many people out and about on the Friday of FQF. It was always the slow day of the festival but not anymore. People are everywhere in the Quarter already, food cooking, people dancing and music playing. It feels like a Saturday already.

This is what people who don’t live here have a hard time understanding. The FQF is a perfect example of why New Orleans is one of a kind. When Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Bonerama, Rebirth, The Radiators, Rockin Dopsie plus jazz and brass bands from around the world come to town and play for free well it’s something special. The list of performers is rather long, not to mention the food/drink vendors. I have already chowed down on a BBQ Brisket sandwich and some baked beans from The Joint. I highly recommend it, very tasty!! Did I mention that this festival goes from one end of the quarter to the other? Start at the Old Mint on Decatur and work your way to Woldenberg Park on the river, making sure not to miss all the stages in-between. Do I need to mention again that it’s free? No ticket to get in, just find somewhere to park (legally of course) and do your thing. This is the reason we stay here. Get out and enjoy!!!


Do you follow this guy on Flickr?

I’ve never met Flickr user Brother O’Mara, but he’s easily one of the best photogs in New Orleans (along with a certain boyfriend, of course). I mean, anyone who can make Jackson Square look new and exciting after two centuries of snapshots, postcards, etchings, and watercolors deserves serious credit.

Also: his recent “Owlman” series? Scary-licious.

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Sean Cummings steps up to the plate for Mississippi’s LGBT teens

I have not always been a fan of New Orleans hotelier and real estate developer Sean Cummings. I won’t go into detail, I’ll just say that he’s won me over in recent months — thanks in no small part to his push to thwart the Port of New Orleans’ plans to install New Orleans Cold Storage’s new, ammonia-filled facility slap-ass next to the French Quarter. And now, he’s turned on the charm again:

At least one supporter has offered to help a lesbian student and her classmates hold an alternate senior prom after her Mississippi school district canceled the dance rather than allow Constance McMillen to take her girlfriend.

New Orleans hotel owner Sean Cummings tells The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson he was so disappointed with the school board’s decision that he offered to transport the students from Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton in buses to the city. He says he would host a free prom at one of his properties.

[MyEyewitnessNews]

That’s a classy move, ladies and gentlemen. And for the cynics, I can almost guarantee that Sean’s not doing this in hopes of glimpsing some girl-on-girlishness.

In other news, I am happy to see that my home state — which never made me feel especially hated as a fag, but it wasn’t exactly welcoming, either — has such outspoken teens. I don’t recall any being quite so bold back in the day.


Coaxing Spring

Post Freeze Devastation Feb. 2010 (2) Rocheblave Tree Removed
Post-Freeze / Pre-Freeze

Whew and Bravo!
Now that the big party is over, we are left with the brown dead remnants of our garden, the result of what was also record-breaking and most damaging freezes on the South Shore in years.

Last weekend for me was one of all ‘undoing’.
I changed the sheets from flannel to cotton, I washed the car, took down Mardi Gras decorations, and also did some removal of the ever prevalent and gamma-ray defiant Sticky Weed in the backyard at Rocheblave. Only a couple items besides sticky week are brown. We’ve all been gradually cutting back the major damage done to our gardens/courtyards this year, waiting to see what rebounds. I actually have a good number things giving me hope already.

Yet to push things along I created one modest pot of verbena and petunias this past weekend for Rocheblave but the porch looks depressingly desolate.

The midwest and northeast continue to get snow, stuck in the Groundhog’s Grip. But here in the Deep South, the Tulip trees are blooming Uptpown. Further cues of the advent of spring here in New Orleans include one fly and a real mosquito bite and I saw one ant this week. I also had an ant nightmare . . . termite swarms are not far behind.

Along with the marginal reemerging spring pestilence, I am anxiously waiting to see green sprouts emerging day-to-day as we patiently take our licks thru Lent and Easter and await the time change to longer and more active days.

As it’s been getting warmer, I am waiting to see if my frozen butterfly bush and fried heather will be resurrected while also calculating the amount of money it will take to get the garden back to its prior fluffiness. In the meantime, I am watering brown stubs with good vibes.

.

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