Monday, July 30, 2007

Scattered, Smothered, and Covered

It's like a gas station bathroom that sells waffles.

Here's something you never hear at Waffle House - "You did a nice job cleaning up."
-Jim Gaffigan on David Letterman

Also, I got the job I wanted. Now I have to figure out how I am going to make it without any holidays or vacation time. It's going to be a tough transition, but I think I can make it. I have to remember that part of the reason that I took this position is so that I can improve myself. I have to make it happen.

And something else has happened again. I can't talk about it right now, but this is the third time in a year and it has to work out this time.

I am having surgery tomorrow on my eye. I have what the ophthalmologist called a chalazion in my right eye. It's been there for two months. It comes out (hopefully) on Tuesday.

We and some of our neighbors went on a overnight canoe trip this weekend in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. We made it over some rapids, saw some bald eagles, and ate an awesome meal on a campfire. And we avoided a downpour. We have plans to do it again in the fall, and we hope to eventually canoe or kayak the entire recreational length of the Delaware (not all at once, geez).

UPDATE: Mr. Clio corrected my misquote. It has been fixed. FWIW, I wrote it down correctly but typed it incorrectly. I also blew beer all over the kitchen when Mr. Gaffigan was talking.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


A few years ago, I was visiting with a friend at his mother's house. His mother lived with his grandmother, and the two of them were moving in a few months. Inadvertently, they had the cable turned off too soon. So here they were, two months or more from their move date without any TV.
"Do you have an antenna for the TV?" I asked. "I remember when I was the remote control and the antenna, so I know you do, too. If we can find the antenna, you can at least watch the local news and stuff."
"I think we do," said his mother as she looked on the TV stand. Sure enough, there it was. It was a rather large TV, and the antenna stretched out several feet. "Can you help us plug it in?"
The TV had a coaxial connection, but the antenna still had the two wires coming off of it. We needed a small adapter. I was sure it had come with the TV; they all do these days.
"You are going to need a little adapter that looks like this." I proceeded to describe the piece and even drew a little picture. "It's probably in one of your crap drawers. You know, the one that you throw things in just in case you might need them one day."
My friend rushed into the attic to find a box which might contain the needed item. There was much stumbling and crashing.
His mother began to rummage through several kitchen drawers looking for
it. She emitted infrequent shrieks of panic when she thought she was close.
His grandmother and I went out to the garage, she to work on the laundry, I to look through a few old , dusty cabinets in search of the adapter.
Being young and somewhat rash, I muttered to what I thought was myself about myself and my friend and his mom, "What a couple of assholes."
Nearly immediately his grandmother, with a bemused smirk, said much louder than was necessary, "I am not an asshole."
A box hit the ceiling joists and crashed into the sheetrock. A drawer rattled shut quickly. Something metal clanged to the floor. Steps heaved noisily from someone rushing out of the attic.
I stood in the garage agape, staring at my friends grandmother who looked as though she were about to giggle.
"Did you just call my grandmother an asshole?" he blurted.
"Did you call my mother an asshole?" she screamed.
"I was calling you...I mean, I didn't say...I was talking about you and... I didn't mean for anyone...It was just that...umm...You and your...I didn't mean your grandmother...Shit." I replied.
His grandmother's smile got larger and larger as I struggled to clarify my comments. It was clear that I had vocalized something that perhaps I should not have. I apologized profusely and for a long time.
We eventually found the adapter and all was well, sort of.
And that was the end of it, I thought.
For many years, whenever I would see his grandmother, whether Easter or Mardi Gras or Christmas, before leaving I would go to give her a hug and a little kiss. And inevitably, she would whisper to just me, with a smile, "Take care of yourself. Asshole."

Just this week, I learned that she died. I am sad for my friends who are her amazing grandsons and for their mother. I know that I will miss her tremendously. I can only imagine how much they will miss her. My condolences go out to all of her family in their time of loss.

May you rest in peace.

I hate idiots

Bryce Lambley is one. Read his simplistic view and wrong analysis. Then let's tear him a new one. Remember one thing, Mr. Lambley - The shittiest day in New Orleans is better than the best day in Nebraska.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thanks, FEMA

Um, how many more ways can New Orleans be screwed by FEMA and the federal government?

Amazingly, after the screwing in the past, FEMA is somehow managing to screw us in the future, too. It's like they have discovered some bizarre wormhole in the space-time continuum.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


ABSOLUT is putting out a new vodka. I am not sure why it's Mango and black pepper or why there is a harmonica on the bottle, but there you go. Proceeds go to help rebuilding efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. And Tipitina's Foundation. The ABSOLUT folks have some recipes you can try with this new flavor.

Where the hell am I going to find this stuff around here?

UPDATE: More coverage (?) here (USA Today) ["Things like Absolut New Orleans reiterate that Absolut is … on the cutting edge of social commentary." WTF?!?!?!] and here (LSU Reveille).

Go Get 'Em

Found these two items today:

1) Over at Rolling Stone (does anyone still read this?), there is a thread about New Orleans. Some brainiac is talking about not rebuilding because the city is below sea level. Check it out and smite them if you can.

2) From the above find, Doctor J linked this youTube video (with music by Galactic from the 2006 JazzFest):

Thanks, RedTruckWine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


1) I don't want to read this because it has Scott Cowen's name associated with it. I wonder what people he polled for his information. I also notice that it comes from newswise.COM not newswise.ORG. One bit that caught my eye:
The survey identified the community's top three priorities for good public schools: high-quality teachers, clear and high goals for students, and safe and disciplined schools.
That is an awesome start. Here are some helpful tips on how to achieve them for anyone listening

if you pay teachers more money, you will get better teachers (as long as you give some kind of merit based pay and provide them with professional development support).

Clear goals are easier - here is your work. You will do it, and you will do it well. There will be no excuses. By parents, students, or teachers. Also, teachers need to adhere to this as well.

Safe schools are critical to anything else. If the schools aren't safe, how can anything else be accomplished. Your mind has to be focused on learning, not protecting yourself.

2) Alert Mr. Clio to this story. Two New Orleanians are involved in a shooting in San Antonio, TX. They were shot at, and one was killed. Seems like a lot of crime is taking place in that area now. Probably caused by New Orleanians who were released by Eddie Jordan for lack of witnesses to crimes that they committed. (Please note the heavy tinge of sarcasm associated with this section of the post).

Monday, July 16, 2007


I love when someone steals your ideas and makes them theirs. Especially when they don't give proper credit. Not that it matters. The protest will go on because Eddie Jordan has made a mockery of the criminal justice system. Perhaps we need to change the adage to "The inmates are running the courts."

Also, I still haven't heard anything about the new inspector general - Mr. Cesaroli - from any of the local bloggers. Do people know of this? Has anyone found out why this particular guy? Who found him? etc.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Stories I am reading right now...

1. Taco trucks. I will be dining at one of these on my next visit. I don't know why I haven't yet.
They now dot the landscape in New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish. Their regular customers are the Hispanic laborers who have migrated here to rebuild homes, but they've also built a following among local residents.
The rules that the Jefferson Parish council has imposed are ridiculous. I particularly like this rationale:

Thomas Capella, chairman of the Jefferson Parish Council, defends the new rules, saying, "Everybody is restricted, not just the Spanish food carts. What was happening is that people were camping out on vacant property and basically becoming a restaurant or cafe."

Some carts also pose health and safety concerns, says Louis Congemi, a Jefferson Parish councilman. "I wouldn't personally eat at one," Congemi says.

George Ketry, a New Orleans cab driver, finds the carts "can be an eyesore." But his bigger worry, he says, is the "cleanliness of the food."

Have any of these people eaten at a Popeye's before? And speaking of eyesores - have they driven down Veterans or past a Daquiris and Cream?

What other "food carts" have you ever seen in Metairie? They are targeting people who are working hard to make an honest living. Why do you need to mess with them?

Brian, at, has more righteous indignation on this.

2. Foti to investigate Jordan. Go get 'em. And Shelly Midura is demanding he resign for letting the quintuple murder suspect go. He had a year to find some evidence other than one eyewitness, and he didn't. I think that the DA should be one of the most important offices in the new New Orleans. There is no way that we should go back to the way that things were before Katrina. We have a chance to do things right, and incompetence and bumbling cannot and will not be tolerated. I don't necessarily like Charles Foti either for his pursuing of charges against Dr. Pou, but I hope he tears Eddie Jordan a new one for this idiocy (my emphasis):
Although Jordan said that his office's investigators made concerted efforts to find the witness, coming up empty-handed, she was quickly found this week by NOPD homicide detectives who got her address out of the case file. Riley on Wednesday said he wanted the district attorney to contact him as well as the police homicide unit, when he is getting ready to dismiss murder charges.
Says Midura:
"An elected official's legitimacy and moral authority to govern is derived from the consent of the governed," Midura wrote in the letter, which specifically referred to the Anderson case. "I no longer believe you have the consent and support from the public required to perform your duties adequately."

3. Come Visit New Orleans. Thanks, MSNBC and John Frenaye, but don't lie to people about the state of the city (my emphasis):
Sadly, tourists have been slow to return to New Orleans. Discouraged by the slow recovery and exaggerated crime rates, tourists think about visiting and then decide, "Maybe next year." And that's too bad, because tourism is to New Orleans what oxygen is to you or me. Oxygen allows us to breathe easy; in fact, it gives us life. Right now, New Orleans is still breathing, but without its beloved tourists, it is a city with an asthma problem.
If we have the highest crime rate in the country, how could it be exaggerated? It is what it is, and until we resolve the problems in the criminal justice system (and education system but that's not what this is about right now), crime will be rampant.

4. Why is Ray Nagin raising campaign funds in Kansas City?

“I’m getting a lot of encouragement” to seek a higher office, Nagin said.

Nagin has held fund-raisers in other cities, such as Philadelphia and Chicago. In March, he raised about $200,000 at a $2,500-per-couple fundraiser at a New Orleans casino hotel, bringing his war chest to about $500,000, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

Although companies that stand to get some business in the New Orleans recovery donated to Nagin in Kansas City and elsewhere, Nagin said there is no real correlation.

“You have to competitively bid,” Nagin said.

No, you don't. Come on, Mr. Nagin. Who are you kidding? You are taking money from people to do work in New Orleans. Just admit it. By saying this:
"We are on the cusp of probably (being) the largest build site in the world,” Nagin said. “It’s going to be the place to be.”
You pretty much do.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Someone call the Weather Service

So on Tuesday up here in Easton there was a huge (HUGE!) thunderstorm which some think spawned a very rare tornado. I don't know. I just know that it was raining harder than I have seen since the tornado that ripped through near Princeton a few years back. The wind blew down trees as big as 14,000 pounds just two blocks away (these pictures are two blocks down on MY STREET), courtesy of the Express-Times. Juust so you know, these people moved in just a month or so ago.

The wife and I are heading on vacation in a few weeks. Get ready, Outer Banks...

Oh yeah, and I had an interview the next morning with trees down and power out and roads closed. I was late. I really want this job, too. It is exactly 10 miles from home and 15 minute commute door to door. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Witness Disappears, Case Dropped

I thought this wasn't going to happen any more. There was a press conference, praise was heaped, concessions were made, tears were shed, etc. And this is the second time in a few weeks that the cases have been dropped because a witness a) couldn't be found or b) refused to testify. At what point does the FBI say, "Get the hell out of the way. We are taking over."? If Eddie Jordan can't convict this guy of murder, can't he convict him of something. They didn't get Al Capone on murder, they got him on tax evasion. Put this guy in jail and find a way to keep him there. Or let him out, tail him, and when he does something illegal back he goes.
These sorts of things make me embarrassed to be from New Orleans.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Why does Jim Henderson always give me the chills when he makes a call like he did when Gleason made that block? I have the call he and Hokie made of the fumble recovery on my iPod and I always get the chills from that, too. He is awesome. Go Saints.

(H/T to humid haney)


Three Updates:

1) It happened on Friday according to this article. Starbucks has withdrawn its plan to take over the old La Madeleine location in the Lower Pontalba. A local businesman is looking to open another restaurant in the location.


I don't like Starbucks though on occasion I would frequent the establishment close to my old school. Starbucks is trying to take over the world with a false sense of green-ness. They try to make everyone think that they are environmentally friendly. I don't believe that they are. Dunkin Donuts doesn't hide between that facade. The purple and orange letters are plowing ahead with their plan for world domination. I respect that. Starbucks, not so much.

Coffee in the parts of the country in which I have traveled is abysmal at best. I still think that Dunkin Donuts has better coffee than Starbucks and is much easier to find around here. When I can, I go to the local coffee shop. I prefer to support my local brewers (and the owner is a huge fan of Anders Osborne and New Orleans. That's pretty much all you need to get into my good graces.)

People up here don't really get coffee. They serve cooled hot coffee over ice as iced coffee. This, to me, is an abomination. Once the coffee is brewed with hot water, it releases all kinds of oils and acids. It's bitter. To have truly good iced coffee, you have to cold brew it, a process which can take 12 hours but creates smooth, creamy, and delicious beverage.

People here also don't view coffee shops as places to relax or hang out much. I notice that most people zip in for a cup and leave immediately. I always thought of coffee shops as the modern equivalent of the 18th century colonial tavern where politics, world crises, and secrets are shared over a cup of coffee or a game of chess. Up here, it seems more like a place to get a caffeine fix and move on to the next challenge of the day. I think relaxation and reflection seem to be missing a great deal in today's society. A coffee shop is a great place to do both.

Back to the life update...

2) I went to Gloucester, MA this week. Busy times. We went on a whale watch, a mountain bike ride, a Red Sox game at Fenway, shopping on Newbury Street, a hike, and sea kayaking. It was nice and breezy, and I was amazed that people actually celebrated the Fourth of July with fervor and intensity. I don't remember ever celebrating like that in New Orleans.

3) I have a job interview this week. It is the job that I want and have been talking about to all my friends. I wasn't expecting to be called back so quickly. A lot of the home projects will have to get put on hold until I find out what is happening. And I am so close to finishing painting the garage....

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Devan and Drew

If you didn't see this, you missed it.
A five year old from Mandeville, LA, got to hang out with his hero, Drew Brees. The shy little boy became a non-stop chatterbox by the end of the show. I was at Dick's Sporting Goods trying on some new running shoes and watching the story with tears in my eyes. If Drew wasn't my idol before, he is now.