Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Bad

So last June I got the Inspector General's name totally wrong. - of course it's Robert Cerasoli (and not Cesaroli!).

But I think a couple of my predictions are right.

1. Handcuffed monetarily.
4. Something big coming...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

JazzFest Day 2

Well, it definitely felt better than day 1. I at least saw some people I knew.

I was disappointed that Dirty Coast wasn't opened until 12 (at least that's what the sign said) and didn't have a table or something set up outside the JazzFest. That would have been great.

That said, highlights and such.

Good - crawfish strudel (sp?) and Dr. John, Jon Cleary, Imagination Movers, Paul Sanchez, NewBirth, (that Jazz and Heritage Stage rocks)
Bad - weather and no Abita Amber in the paddock

Story of note - I saw an old student who simply mentioned - "You look old."

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Either you are a Mardi Gras person or a JazzFest person. I like them both, but as I have gotten older I tend to favor the JazzFest. I think this is mainly because I don't have a place next to the parade route like I used to when I lived on Prytania and Pleasant.

Anyway, for 14 years, Kermit the Frog, perched atop an 18 foot extension wind-sock pole, has been accompanying me to JazzFest so that friends and acquaintances can find me. I have even begun a myspace page (http://myspace.com/jazzfestkermit) so that when I catch people taking a picture I can have them upload it. The kids and adults love him.

This year, however, something seemed different. It seemed like it was the Disney JazzFest or something. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but most of the folks appeared to be from Shaker Heights, OH or Indiana or Georgia. Nothing is particularly wrong with that, but they also seemed stunned that you could dance and have fun and enjoy life by letting loose.

Best of the day - Big Sam's Funky Nation, Burning Spear, Terance Simian and crawfish enchiladas and Andouille Gumbo
Worst of the day - Anders Osborne (was he strung out?) and the size of the crawfish bread (there's only one size!)

Look for Kermit!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Who should pay for New Orleans?

According the the LA Times, the federal government. And this is why.

I personally like the tag line - It's a federal tab because big changes upriver destroyed the Big Easy's storm buffer.

Isn't that what we've said all along?

Monday, April 21, 2008

The King of Easton

George is now becoming the King of Easton, and I am going to be known as George's dad. I think I am fine with that. For now. He has been home for almost a week, and my mom came up from New Orleans for a week to visit. He is doing great. We have three diaper changing stations in our house - one in our room for middle of the night changings, one in his room which we haven't really used yet since he sleeps in our room, and one in the living room for when we don't have enough time to run upstairs.

I am surprised at two things so far. First, I had no idea how FAR a baby can pee. This miraculous event has taken place every day since we have been home. Absolutely awesome. If we could only find a way to aim it. Secondly, and relatedly, there is an awful lot of laundry. We initially thought we would be able to make the world a slightly better place by using organic cloth diapers. This cannot be good for the environment. I have to wash his diapers twice in one load, the clothes that he wet in a separate load with baby detergent, and our adult clothes that were touched with the offending excretions. That's at least four loads. So we try them, get frustrated and back to the disposables we go.

That all being said, things are going great. George is alert and very vocal. He makes all kinds of grunts and squeals. He cries a little, but the best is the little noises and faces he makes when he passes gas (which is frequent). Mom is doing well, too, but she is still a little emotional since all the hormones haven't worked their way out of her system. We have gone on a couple of walks in our neighborhood since we have had awesome weather.

We are a little tired, but its the kind of tired that comes from doing something important rather than just being hungover or staying up too late watching sports. After a scary start, the king of Easton is now ruling is kingdom.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dear President Bush,

Welcome to New Orleans.

Welcome to New Orleans, murder capital of the country (and maybe the world).

Welcome to New Orleans, destroyed by neglect and corruption.

You flew over once. Have you driven through Lakeview or Gentilly or New Orleans East and rolled down your windows? Have you seen it with you own eyes? Have you smelled it? Have you touched a moldy mattress or torn out rotten sheetrock?

You made us a promise. Do you remember it? We do.

Now you meet with the leader of Canada and Mexico in our fair city to discuss how you have allowed our country to fall deeper.

I hope you have a great meal at a great restaurant on the backs of the poor you purposefully oppress. You can't kill spirit or will or culture. You can try, but we are too strong and proud and stubborn to fail.

Welcome to New Orleans. Will you please leave now? We have real problems to solve here.


Unanswered Questions

Is it fair to judge a country on its national newspaper? I remember in high school, there was one kid who always got the Russian newspaper. The paper made the Russians look like they had dominance over the USA in missiles, tanks, etc. So do we judge France on Le Monde, Russia on Pravda, and us on USAToday? Is that fair? Is Le Monde written so fifth graders can understand it, too?

Why, when you bathe and shampoo a dog, does it still smell like a dog? Is this battle winnable?

What's the point of decaffeinated coffee?

If you surround yourself with rich, elite snobs who don't care that the country is going down the toilet, would you notice - a) that the people around you are assholes or b) that the country is going to shit because of the policies you let these people convince you are good?

Are elections the way we have them now really democratic?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

They Even Inquired About You

We have a motto for our little family here - "There is no stress so great that you can't add more."
Just when we think we have everything together and are moving forward, we tend to add stress to our little lives. We have two dogs (one dog too many) and two cats (two cats too many). We just had our kitchen remodeled.
With this in mind, we decided to get pregnant. There was bleeding and a potential placental abruption. There were infections and emergency room visits. Of course, all of this was par for the course. Despite this, we thought the birthing would go smoothly. George was term, and he was ready to be introduced to the world. That would be what we expected. What we got instead was a child who had a pulmonary hemorrhage at birth.
Believe it or not, there is no bad news. There is no tube in George's nose or mouth. He is off the respirator and CPAP. He only has a hep-lock to feed him his precautionary anti-biotics.

Overall, George is well. He looks great, and he is strong. In fact, the doctors say this will not affect him in the future in any way. The nurses love him. George is going to be the jack of all trades - currently his skill set includes eating formula and breastmilk from a bottle (at least two different nipples so far!) and enjoying breastmilk from the source.

For all of you who wished us well and offered thoughts and prayers, thank you. They were much needed and even more appreciated. (I would like to think my singing of "They All Ask'd For You" helped, too.)

As soon as I get the pictures back from the hospital, the world will get to see what the little guy really looks like.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Be A Saint

George and I dressed for Ashley's funeral today. Wish we could have made it. We know Ashley's a Saint.
Tomorrow in Zachary, my uncle is having a memorial of his own. I wish we could be there for that as well but we have issues of our own here in PA.

On a more positive note, George looks tons better and is being fed from a bottle. This little book by Elisha Cooper has helped us laugh at some of the things he has been doing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Baby G

Yesterday our son George was in a world of hurt. It's hard to know what's going on with someone so little, especially as there is no history or file we can look in. And, amazingly, most babies work out any issues on their own. Humans are amazingly resilient. George is no exception.

While we still don't know what exactly the problem was or is or even if there will be any lasting implications, we do know that George feels one hundred percent better today. He clearly looks better. Check out these photos!

Yesterday (that's blood, not lipstick coming out of the left side of his mouth).

Today after an ultrasound on his head (hat off, no blood, way less wires and tubes)

So thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, and good wishes. They are clearly working.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Theory Becomes Tragic Reality

Early this morning after a grueling labor, my wife gave birth to our son, George, who is named for a grandfather he will never know. The whole experience has given me a different view of the strength of my wife and women in general. I cannot imagine what she had to go through. New mom is doing very well, but she is totally exhausted.

Shortly after his birth, he and the nurses were unable to clear his lungs of fluid, and he was sent to NICU. This morning, the doctor came in and told us that whatever he has is rather uncommon since the fluid is comprised mostly of blood, and he is still struggling to get his breath. They don't really have any idea what is wrong with him.

While I would like to hope that my son is a fighter, I am sitting in a hospital bed next to my sleeping wife worrying about his future. We have been waiting patiently for this moment to arrive, and now we have to continue to wait with heavy hearts, hoping for the best. Anyone who knows me knows how much I wear my heart on my sleeve, and it is hard to keep a positive face when we know so little about what is going on.

Please keep Kate and George and me in your thoughts for the next few days. We need all the help, ethereal and otherwise, that we can get.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Ashley Morris left behind a wife and three beautiful children. If you haven't seen this somewhere else please go here and donate something for them. I still can't believe he's gone. I can't be at the memorial, but I will be wearing all the Saints gear I can find on Friday.


Huyette Spring, a student at Kents Hill school in Maine, has come down to Slidell to help rebuild. This year she was able to help an elderly African-American woman and she drew this conclusion:

The fact that Katrina could not rob Louisiana of just one such woman is a testament to the reality that Louisiana will be okay. And that nothing, no storm, no disaster, will be able to defeat the soul of a good human being.

That's how we roll.


I just heard Big Chief on a commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods. But the commercial featured Alex Rodriguez.

What can you do?

UPDATE: The song is obviously "Mardi Gras in New Orleans." I have to move home soon. I am forgetting my heritage.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What doesn't work

The baby's official due date is tomorrow, but there has been no sign of his arrival from his mother's perspective. She and I have tried several things to naturally induce labor. Here's what hasn't worked.

Cumin seed tea
Bumpy car rides
Spicy foods

No matter what, I think this baby is coming this week.

I have been so excited that I have not been able to sleep for a few weeks now. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but I feel pretty tired most of the time. Most of the people I talk to say that I have no idea what tired is yet.

And we are still waiting for the furniture that we ordered the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It should be in sometime this week, too. I bet she's waiting for the furniture so she can relax...

Welcome to Easton

One of these days I am going to realize that no matter how bad I want it, I don't live in New Orleans. I live in Easton. Pennsylvania. And I think my wife is going to make me live here for a few more years. So with that in mind, I would like to post some of my thoughts about Easton, some links to things I do in Easton, and things that are related to Easton in general.

But first:
Number of Pirates vs. Global
I know it's an older study, but I still think it's valuable.

Welcome to Easton.

Here is the official city of Easton site. It's not great, but it's full of information. I wish it was slightly less busy, but it does it's job.

There is a non-profit group here that is trying to help promote downtown Easton. They award grants and provide other services. I have not met with many of these folks, but I do know that they work hard to improve life around here. I think they need a little help (the website hasn't been updated in 7 weeks, for example, and doesn't have a mission statement) in terms of expressing their vision and function. This will not be the blog post in which I discuss this issue. (Eventually, I was able to dig around quite a bit to find a mission statement. Later, grasshopper.)

The Arts Council of Easton (whose vision appears on the home page!)

Lehighvalleylive.com is the local Express-Times newspaper site. Just this week they interviewed the owner of the College Hill Tavern! (just two(!) blocks from my house)

That's all I can find for now. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

What is there to say?

Ashley Morris passed away yesterday, April 2, 2008. I only met Ashley in person once.

But I looked forward to reading every word on his blog. I was always curious to see what new thing he would reveal about his life and travels and see pictures of him doing the things I never had the guts to do or the incredible people he was able to meet.

More importantly, he was able to take the anger and frustration that so many felt about what happened in and to New Orleans and focus it on the issue. His blog inspired and inspires me to try to do the same. I do not have his way. I truly loved the way he always kept the focus on the real issues and never let the nincompoops baffle the unaware with lies about New Orleans.

I still think he was right about one laptop per child in New Orleans, and I watched Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations now because of him. I love that every possible contest that involved New Orleans was featured on Ashley's blog, and we were encouraged to vote in them.

Ashley was a real influence on me. In fact, when I came up to my computer today, his blog was the last one I was perusing. Things can really happen fast.

I hope that the jelly belly people make a crab boil flavored bean for him. He deserves at least that.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My Peeps

Bethlehem, PA is the home of JustBorn candy, maker of Peeps. As my wife and I were shopping there last week, we saw these new peep displays...

War and Peeps:

Godzilla Vs. Peeps:

The Easter Dress:

The Crayon: