Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Jet Black and Jealous

I hate to be the one to say I told you so (actually, I think I kind of like it, but cliche's have their place...), but Paul Sanchez has left Cowboy Mouth, according to this article. Over the years, I expected this to happen. Paul has a more human, more folksy feel that Fred seems to outshine. It's not that Fred is a bad guy, it's just that Paul is more soft-spoken. I always thought Paul wrote more meaningful songs and that a split like this was inevitable as the band continued.
If you follow the band, their latest CD Voodoo Shoppe has a great example of Fred's showmanship vs. Paul's angst. On the Ellen DeGeneres Show in February, Cowboy Mouth was the musical guest. After getting a pre-released version of "Home" in iTunes, I expected that this would be the song that the band played. It was gritty, it was angry, and it was about New Orleans. It made reference of levee breaks, the insanity in the Superdome, longing for the good times, and dancing in the streets. This song was written by Paul Sanchez whose house was destroyed. It is and was a great song that still makes me angry and long for being home. But on this show (I know it was Mardi Gras, but still), the band played "The Avenue," a song of longing for the good times on St. Charles during Mardi Gras, written by Fred whose house I don't think was destroyed. Also a good song which makes me want to come home. However, it lacks the anger and pain and longing for New Orleans that "Home" has. Why is this? I am not sure.
I just know that I was disappointed that I didn't get to hear the song that makes me want to stand up and say, "Hey, that's how I feel. I want to go home, too. Is there anything still there for me?" vs. the song that makes me want to remember all the great times and fun that I have had over the course of my life on St. Charles Ave.
I used to and still love to see Cowboy Mouth. The way that Fred gets everyone to forget all their pain and anger is amazing, but you have to buy into it. The way that Paul gets everyone to relate their pain and angst to his words, to me, is even more amazing, but you have to have the pain and angst.
Could just be me, but I predict that this is the end of Cowboy Mouth in general.

Flipping over Katrina

According to this news story from Memphis, New Orleanians look like jerks again. The story line is typical - victims flee, community opens heart and wallets, New Orleanians take advantage without remorse and make money, helpful souls feel conned. Of course, that is because all New Orleanians are criminals who would just as soon shoot their mothers for a hit of crack as accept help from good meaning Christian folk.

Does anyone even read GQ?

After the embarrassment of Alan Richman's column about the lack of food quality and culinary expertise in New Orleans (which is absurd), GQ comes forth with an article about the Lower Ninth Ward called One Block, One Year, 13 Houses. According to the intro, this is all about a block on Marais St with not much in particular about it. They seem to say that the NYT and the national media did a poor job at best covering Katrina and the failure of the levees. Could this be some sort of apology for the Richman piece?
While I know that the Lower Ninth Ward is barely a shadow, if that, of what it was 18 months ago, people in this country have heard that term. Have they also heard of Gentilly, Lake Terrace, Lakeview, Broadmoor, and New Orleans East? Couldn't some more poignant reporting have happened if they had selected 13 houses from different (former?) neighborhoods in New Orleans?
Any press to me at this point is good press (except the Richman piece - fuck that dude). What do we have to do to get back and stay in the news?
In other news, my mom is heading up here for Thanksgiving again. Last year she was living with my brother and his 3 kids and wasn't back in her house yet. She was going to be moving in on her return.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Defend Easton!

For the 100th time, the city of Easton, PA, (10-1) is playing Phillipsburg, NJ, (9-0) in football. As usual, the game is played at Lafayette College's Fisher Stadium which is three blocks from my house. It just underwent a $23 million dollar renovation. The game will televised live on ESPN on Thanksgiving morning at 9:05 Central (usually at 10:30 AM - I am going to have to be up early this year!). This is as close as we get in Easton to Mardi Gras. I make the best Bloody Mary's around (starting at 7 AM in good New Orleans Fat Tuesday tradition). Then I sleep and go eat turkey and then sleep again. It's a good day for up here. They are even wearing throwback jerseys, pants and helmets. More info at

This is the big one! Tune in, have a bloody mary, and watch! Your Latin teacher is just a few blocks away (and maybe even on TV!)

We even have a countdown timer:

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UPDATE: The game will be on 9:00 AM Eastern on ESPN2.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

C Ray

My bad. I meant See Ray as in see Ray Rice run the ball. Rutgers U, just across the river from my little school, has just beaten #3 Louisville after coming back from being down 25-7. Many of the people I work with are Rutgers alums, and Ray Rice is the deal. If we didn't have Reggie "Jesus in Cleats" Bush, Rice would be a hell of an acquisition. As it stands, the excitement around school is awesome. I love being around good football; Rutgers is providing it for the first time since they played Princeton in the 1800s and invented the game as we now know it. Go, Scarlet Knights!

Vote Clarification, Not Getting It, and The Toad

I would like to state my political motives for the record. I did cast my vote against Bush and Santorum because of the war in Iraq. I cast my vote against Bush and Santorum because of New Orleans.

And people in Pennsylvania and Ohio still don't get it. After a wedding this weekend in Florida, I got into a verbal battle with a woman who doesn't understand why New Orleans was built where it was, why it's important, or why it should be rebuilt. Of course, she loves to visit, but....obviously the woman's evil and an idiot.

Alan Richman is a douchebag. (Hat tip to Ashely) Just wanted to make that clear. The GQ food editor went claimed he had shitty food at Uglesich's in "wretched early October." When did everyone give up on Arnaud's and Antoine's? What a freaking moron. Of course, this week he has praise for the new "Hawaian Tropic Zone" restaurant in New York. With all due respect, if you like the food at the "Hawaian Tropic Zone", how could you consider yourself a food critic.
Oh, yeah, and Fuck you, Mr. Richman.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Carthaginians are Coming!

As an educator, I have always been dumbfounded by what happened in New Orleans Schools when run by the New Orleans School Board. Now that the state has control things seem worse. No hot lunches, no textbooks for students, poor learning environments, etc. Now, to top it all off, Hannibal Barca is complaining:
One community activist, Hannibal Barca of the group Neighborhood Unity Emerge, shifted the criticism focus somewhat away from Jarvis, saying ranking state education officials and legislators must be held accountable for troubles faced by students. He scoffed at the notion that Wednesday's hearing would fix anything.
I agree. There must be institutional change. A change in leadership is not going to fix this unless that leadership changes everything which does not appear to be happening. Someone with vision, charisma, and real power must do this. Of course, if such a person were to appear, he or she might be better off as mayor of New Orleans. As it stands now, this job is being done inadequately and the future of New Orleans continues to be at stake. Can't someone just order new hot plates, call textbook companies, and make a list of schools that need to be repaired?

The more I think about this, the more it seems like a distraction technique. If you can focus people's attention on small things, the big things get overlooked. Like educating the children. Why on earth can't the infrastructure and necessary items be deployed so that they are not issues. Without being a conspiracy theorist, I tend to think that this is planned. (The textbook thing alone has been going on for over a month - how is that possible?)

If state officials thought that the city was doing such a bad job, why are they taking over and doing the same bad job? Keep the fire under their butts. They need to serve our children better than this. Especially with education.

TEACHER MOMENT: In case you didn't know, Hannibal Barca was also the real name of the Hannibal who invaded Italy in the 3rd century BC and was a critical part of the 2nd Punic War. His strategy was to surround Rome and have her recently acquired allies switch their allegiance to him and the Carthaginians. Then he would attack Rome itself. The allies failed to see things his way, and the Romans eventually won by invading Carthage. Romans would scare their children for generations afterwards by saying, "Hannibal is at the gates."

So, Mr. Barca of New Orleans, keep up the good fight. I think you can win this time. You have the allies on your side.