Friday, June 27, 2008

Channeling Dr. Morris

Mr. Coulter of Flat Rock had this to say about New Orleans and Iowa:

To The Editor: Has anyone thought about this?

We’ve got a situation in Iowa comparable to New Orleans and the results of Katrina.

But ... why haven’t we heard about the zero looting in Iowa?

Where are all the Hollywood celebrities holding telethons asking for help?

Why isn’t the federal government relocating people to free hotels in Chicago or Omaha, and supplying trailers?

Why haven’t we heard from Sean Penn, Al Sharpton, or the Dixie Chicks? Where are the beer looters? The TV looters ?

When will we hear Iowa Gov. Culver declare he wants to rebuild a “vanilla” Iowa, as oppossed to a “chocolate” New Orleans?

And finally, how come in two weeks you’ll never hear about the Iowa flooding again?


Jim Coulter

Flat Rock

I wrote this to the editor. Ashley would have done much better.
Dear Blue Ridge Now,

Jim Coulter claims parrots the comments of Rush Limbaugh when he claims that there was no looting in Iowa. Being from New Orleans, however, I am not happy about what has happened in Iowa. It is sad, it is tragic, and it was inevitable. I do not wish these sorts of things to happen to anyone. About the only thing the two incidents have in common is that they were the result of natural disasters, they involved water, and the Army Corps of Engineers massively failed the American people.

Many property owners in Illinois and Iowa and Louisiana unwisely trusted that the ACoE would protect them and did not continue to purchase flood insurance. The flood waters inundated homes and land 400 feet above sea level anyway. Many of these property owners can count on getting exactly nothing from their insurance companies.

I cannot defend the actions of those New Orleanians who looted; it was horrible to watch and made me ashamed of my hometown. However, there were many more decent and forthright citizens who were stranded at their homes, trapped in their attics by rushing, rising waters and who lost their lives. They were rich and poor, white and black, old and young. And they were Americans..

The governor of Iowa asked the federal government to pay 90% of the costs that the state of Iowa has accrued during this time. When the governor of Louisiana asked for the same thing, she was denied repeatedly. No matter what you think about Louisiana and New Orleans,it is still part of America.

43% of Americans live in land protected by levees. It is this that should concern Americans. Comparing the scope of natural disasters is fruitless; the cost is beside the point. What has happened in both Iowa and Louisiana could happen to you. It doesn't have to be a massive disaster, but at the end of the day it happened to fellow Americans, no matter the color of their skin.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on you. Unfortunately, this is going to happen again. To believe it is the fault of "someone else" or that Iowa is different than New Orleans simply misses the point. The infrastructure in this country is falling apart, and Americans are the ones in harm's way.



UPDATE: Apparently the letter from Mr. Coulter is some kind of email that is making the rounds. And morons are posting it to their blogs or sending it in to newspapers. I am not going to let it pass, though.
UPDATE2: I was asked to cut my letter down and resubmit it for publication. I have shortened this and may or may not post the new outrage. And it's probably still too long. It's hard to defend yourself from idiots.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Power of Idealism (What's right with America)

Over 1300 Students are coming to NOLA to rebuild over the 4th of July weekend.

Thank you all.

Does this count as Americans helping Americans?

UPDATE: New Orleanians are going to help Midwesterners. Weird, that people help other people. I guess not everyone in New Orleans is a looter, rapist, or murderer like some a-holes think. (I am looking at you, big dog and lagniappe's owner (who doesn't have a job, apparently. I wonder if the government is helping him in some way.)

Pretty Much As Designed

The federally built levees that have failed (7) performed "pretty much as designed."

Governors of states effected by the recent flooding have asked for the federal government to cover 90 percent of costs related to this failure due to stress on local and state governments.

How does this compare to what happened in New Orleans and Louisiana?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yellow Tail

Start drinking it. And thanks, America.

*A website for PR releases seems too easy...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Let's just see

According to this article, FEMA has signed a contract to help restore playgrounds that were trailer parks that were once playgrounds. NORD needs to stick it to them and make this happen.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dennis Hastert

Where are you now, sir? What have you to say about the disaster that has befallen your state and the people whose property was damaged/destroyed by flooding?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Local pride is something that nearly everyone I know takes part in. It's important that the people who live in an area value that area. When I visit Columbus, OH, to see my father-in-law, we almost always go on a "Chamber of Commerce" tour. He takes great pains to tell me all the great things that Columbus has going for it and show me the important buildings and businesses in town. I may not like Columbus like he does, but it has its place.

My mother-in-law lives out in the country, and she is happy to live there and talk about all the things that make it fun and unique.

When I used to go to Boston every other weekend to visit my wife-to-be, I wanted to see what it was that made Boston special. And when I moved here to Easton, I tried to find out what made this place tick.

And when people come to New Orleans with me now, I try to show them the things that make it a great place to me. The food, the music, the cheap drinks, the streetcar, my old apartment on Prytania. Even people who live in Metairie don't always appreciate or understand New Orleans. Or maybe they just have pride in Metairie, which is what this post is all about.

Knowing where you live, and loving it, is important to people innately. I have to believe that because so few people actually leave the place where they are from. And in these 50 United States, with so many different origins and settlers and advantages, it's hard not to find something about your individual community that makes it great. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to find the same things interesting, relevant, or important.

New Orleans, for example, is noted for its excesses and being a sort of adult Disneyland. That's how we've marketed it to the world. While this may be an untrue statement, perception can be very powerful. Some of the unintended consequences of such a perception is that people miss the real importance or value of a place. There are a lot of different places in the world and none of their mottoes is "We're glad to be second."*

What's the point of all this?

I guess the point is that New Orleanians feel misunderstood - their city was ravaged by nature and abandoned by local, state, and federal governments, and basically forgotten, ignored, or not cared for by the rest of the country. That hurts. Because, as a New Orleanian, the place I lived and worked and played for 30 years is important to me. And it has customs and traditions that other people can't quite grasp or understand, but they matter to us. That's what makes us New Orleans.

And here we are watching the flooding in Iowa and trying to compare their suffering to ours. While I have never been to Iowa, I know that it is important to the rest of the country. They are the breadbasket where wheat and corn that feed the world are grown. They have history and customs and traditions that I won't understand.

And there is suffering in our country tonight. We should not try and compare the suffering, but we should try and make right what others have done wrong, and we should learn from each others' mistakes. It is this opportunity and lesson that we are missing. I don't want to continue to argue, disagree, and get angry at people who don't get it. That is THE point. We should be proud to be from the same great country where people can simply agree to disagree.

*David Sedaris wrote something to this effect in his book Me Talk Pretty One Day.

Vote for Daniel Kingery

I don't know if his name is going to be on the ballot here in PA or down there in LA, but if it is I may have to vote* for Daniel Kingery. Why? Because he is on the ground in New Orleans working. Not talking, doing.

*Some may argue that this is a waste of a vote. However, if I ever want someone else to be elected who isn't a democrat or republican then I better cast my vote for the person who is doing the most of what I deem important. In this case, Mr. Kingery is rebuilding a town forgotten about and shamefully ignored by the rest of the country.

I can't wait to see the debate. Will they even let him on stage?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Theresa Andersson is hot

I am loving the dark hair, too.

How cool is that? Who says you need a band.

Btw, I think she's a teacher...

Interesting map

Here is a map showing the "resettlement" of New Orleans. Unless you know the area well or are familiar with what exactly flooded, it could be deceiving (i.e., City Park). Nonetheless, this is a nice job.

ht to APB

I don't care

about the NBA. One bit. I can't wait for this afternoon when the Euro 2008 Soccer comes on. Then George and I will sit and watch the Netherlands continue their domination. Of course, Portugal has been playing quite well, too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bankrupt Ideas

This is one of my peeves - Hollywoodland is making movies of TV shows. The reason that they were TV shows is that they weren't good enough ideas for movies. So now we have the Incredible Hulk and Speed Racer and Knight Rider and The Dukes of Hazzard MOVIES. Just because you can doesn't mean you have to or even should. I love special effects as much as the next person, but Jesus. Is that all it really took to get these movies off the ground?

Apparently, this has been going on for a long time in Hollywoodland.

Which ones am I going to see? Probably none as I have just seen Don't Mess With the Zohan at a Drive-In. It wasn't worth it. I couldn't convince my wife to stay up late enough to watch the double feature movie Iron Man. Maybe next time....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saints Fans Rock

George and his mom

Thanks to the kindness of a couple of friends, Kate and I got some great Saints and New Orleans themed baby clothes. I plan on showcasing all of them on Baby George here.

Go Saints!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I found an even worse one

This "person" qualifies for my dick of the week.

please tear him/her a new asshole.

I, for one, am offended that this person used a mythological name.

Go at him, please

Me over at lagniappe's lair (how appropriate!) thinks that Iowa and New Orleans are comparable. I just feel sorry for him, but some of you may have some other choice words.

Never argue with an idiot - people might not know the difference.

I have said my peace with this guy. Help me out here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Because I am a nerd

I think this is hilarious. And I like weezer.

But I can't embed it...

These guys make some great videos, too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Attention: Mr. Cerasoli

Dear Mr. Cerasoli,

You have been assigned a huge task, one in which much is asked of you in terms of time and foresight. I have predicted that this important position will be made nearly impossible for anyone.

Today in the New Orleans Times-Picayune I read that the mayor and his office have credit cards that have most likely been abused.

Should lawmakers have access to discretionary funds to help promote business already in the city and attract businesses from elsewhere to relocate in New Orleans? Yes.

Should all members of the mayor's staff have access to this same card? Not sure.

Should the mayor be allowed to treat his wife to dinner on the city? No.

Should the city buy alcohol for functions when state law excludes this purpose? No.

Should all persons who use the city card have to report on exactly what and whom they spent taxpayers money? Absolutely.

According to this online article, there is no system to follow up or audit the expenses accrued by the mayor's office. I propose that you (or someone assigned by you) create some rules for the mayor and his staff so that they are forced to be fiscally responsible, financially ethical, and monetarily legal. I say this as someone who has to save all MY PERSONAL receipts so my wife can make sure that I don't spend money that we don't have on things we don't need.

I suggest the following rules:

All persons who were in attendance at functions names be listed if they were paid for.
ITEMIZED receipts must be turned in on a regular basis (weekly? monthly?)
All expenses must be accounted for in writing (i.e., who were you with? what was the purpose? where did this spending occur? etc.)
Only certain specific staffers should have access to this account. The mayor should not be allowed to pick said staffers.

This is only a start. There are most certainly rules for discretionary spending in other places in the world. Why doesn't our World Class city have such rules in place?

If they can't abide by your rules, perhaps they need to have their Amex cards revoked and be given a budget. If they can't play by those rules, they must submit IN ADVANCE a written request for funding. It may or may not be approved.

Thank you,

Latin Teacher and George's Dad.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

KinderWanderlust (Is this a word?)

So far, George is a big traveler. He has already been to/through the following states*:

West Virgina
New Jersey

Not bad for someone just two months old.

Sometime in July, he will make it (at last) to Louisiana because I am going to my 20 year high school reunion. When did I get so old? And dang, he's cute.

*Later this summer, he plans on visiting Massachusetts (going through Connecticut and New York) and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

UPDATE: I added the asterisk info and a few other minor details. And I almost spelled Massachusetts correctly the first time. Go, me!

Monday, June 09, 2008

This I Believe.

I took a test to see how caffeinated I was. I am very caffeinated these days. It's the only way that I can do the stupid things I have to do everyday. So here was my result.

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

HT - Hana Morris

Friday, June 06, 2008

Giving out the love

Larry Holmes gets some love and is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Sometime soon he will be having a celebration here in Easton to mark some anniversary of something or other. Maybe it's his induction into the hall of fame. I am not really sure, but I would go.

Unfortunately, I hear he will have to foot the bill himself because the city won't help (either with financing or permits or whatever). What a nice way to treat your most famous son.

Dicks of the day

Two options to choose from.

John McCain voted twice against a commission to investigate the flooding and federal response to Katrina. To Senator McCain I say: Senator, what the hell is wrong with you? Did you not see how botched the whole response the the federal flood was? Shouldn't someone investigate why it was so messed up? What is wrong with you?

I also read on Salon (by Paul Alexander) that Karl Rove intentionally tried to remove any blame on the federal response from the President. To that I say: Karl Rove, you are a dick. I hope you are convicted of something, anything and are forced to go down a slide of razor blades into a pool filled with rubbing alcohol and hungry alligators. (hat tip to Jeffery)

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I just found out my friend and neighbor is having an affair and divorcing his wife. I had no idea. Men are such jerks.


Some people have great talent and use it for good. Others use their talents for not so good purposes. I am not sure what I make of the following.

On the comment sections under the story about the body found in a house in Metairie was the following (keep in mind that the family name is Adams...)

They're creepy and they're kooky

The neighbor's kinda moody

The giant flies are spooky

It's the Adams Family

Thanks, JuanMcCain. You made my day.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I don't know why this has fascinated me all day, but it has. I had tons of friends who lived in this neighborhood back in high school. It would be more than a little odd to have a body decomposing in the house without letting someone know about it. I wonder if I know the people who live there...

Update: More details emerge. This is out there.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


How come grass grows exactly where you don't want it and not at all where you do?*

I have more grass in some of my flowerbeds than I do in my yard. What are you doing to me, grass? Why are you being so difficult!

On the other hand, the weeds are doing great.

* I am sure that the 7 varieties of grass that we have growing in various spots in our postage stamped size yard exacerbates any lack of progress in this situation.

Crawfish Fest 08

Somehow, a Baton Rouge and Louisiana ex-pat* Michael Arnone has been having a festival of all things crawfish and Louisiana at the end of May for the last 15+ years. And it's called Crawfish fest. To me there is something odd about eating crawfish with a view of mountains. But the musical acts were incredible on Saturday (Tab Benoit, The Funky Meters) and just pretty darn good on Sunday (Allen Toussaint, Bonerama). We were unable to take George this year, but we have big plans for him next year.

*should there be a better name for someone from Louisiana than ex-pat? Ex-Pelican? Ex-nolanian? I would never relinquish my allegiance, fwiw.