Thursday, August 30, 2007
As for LSU-MSU - maaaaaaaaaan, is it sad that I can now understand Lou Holtz??
I cut down Daneel (not the safest place after dark, unless you are in a locked car that is speeding over the potholes), and finally pulled up in front of our own humble abode. As I stepped out of my car, I was nearly run over by yet ANOTHER cop. As I looked down the street where we live towards Louisiana, I counted at least 10 police vehicles on Louisiana. Later in the evening, we learned WHAT all the hullabaloo was about:
I take the strong police response as a good sign. Louisiana Ave. is widely acknowledged (okay, well, locally) as the dividing line between Central City (where the civil war/drug battles rage) and uptown New Orleans. I love that the cops made such a powerful statement that they are NOT going to allow Central City to creep outwards.
I also love that college football begins tonight (there are FORTY games on TV between now and Monday) and that I have discovered a great recipe for low-fat blue cheese dip and boneless buffalo wings.
Geaux Saints, and sorry, LSU fans...I'm kinda pulling for Sylvester Croom to keep his job tonight!
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
D. and I live on the edge of Central City - mere blocks away, actually. We've seen things happen in our neighborhood that we're not quite accustomed to. (Like the bloody shovel lady incident from early June...?)
But on the flipside, our neighbors are mostly sweet retired couples who have lived in their houses for more than 40 years. And for every young teenager killing another over drugs, there is someone else moving here to help:
And most of New Orleans notices those who have helped tirelessly to give the city some sense of normalcy and hope:
Progress is slow, absolutely. But for those who wonder why the gulf coast still looks like this two years, later, I remind you that south Florida took nearly ten years to recover from Andrew. Pensacola is still a mess three years after Ivan. It's the way of things. A hurricane indiscriminately destroys lives and places - and it takes time to heal both.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
But the most hilarious response I've seen thus far on Miss South Carolina's apparently rampant and boundless ignorance has to be this.
So my question is this - who is dumber - not in action, but in deed alone - Miss South Carolina or Michael Vick?
(Again, leave his moronic actions out of the equation and rely purely on their words alone.)
I'm quite curious...
Fantasy football: Good AND bad for the soul
I can admit it, I'm a fantasy geek. I love the stuff. It can't be helped. I could try to fight it, but it's useless. I am a dork for it.
That's true enough. D. looooooooooves him some fantasy football.
That, in and of itself, may not give my opinions on the subject all that much weight. But given the fact I've been playing for 15 years now, and given the fact that until recently, I wrote a weekly fantasy column on the subject for NFL.com, I feel comfortable sharing bits and pieces of knowledge for public consumption. Plus, I know that no matter what I write, someone will think I'm clueless anyway. That's comforting, in a way.
I really enjoyed reading some of the feedback he got on his weekly fantasy column at Sportsline/NFL.com. Wow. Talk about your average rabid nutjob.
I'm not going to go on and on about the merits of fantasy football. By now, you either love it or you hate it (or you simply know nothing about it), so it's not like I can convince many of you that it is the end all be all. And truthfully, it isn't. It's a silly game that makes grown men obsess over things as pointless as who catches a two-point conversion and whether a player can score touchdowns or not. It doesn't really matter.
But then it does.
Funny, right? I never said it was logical.
So I approached yet another fantasy draft (my third thus far this summer) with that sort of mentality intact - I didn't have any grand expectations, but I did want to have fun. Would it turn out that way? Read on to find out.
The start (5:58 CT) -- Desperate to get home in time for my fantasy draft that would start at 6 p.m., I rushed through a last bit of work at the office (gotta have priorities!), shut down my laptop and raced down St. Charles. I walked through the front door, fed and let out the dog, changed clothes, fired up the laptop and looked at the time. Ah, still a couple of minutes to spare.
Now confident and relaxed, I get online and see that only two people are there. Hmm, there should be more than that. We have a small league, but not THAT small. Perhaps things aren't as peachy as first thought.
True to form, no one is there on time, no one is organized and no one seems to have any clue as to what they are doing. I'm about to chastise everyone else and then my internet connection goes out.
This would end up being a recurring theme.
While trying to get back online, my girlfriend appears at the front door. This year, like probably every year before it, we had some defections in our fantasy league. Graciously, she had offered to fill in. Even more graciously, she had ordered us pizza. Women pay special attention: There are few quicker paths to a man's heart than through fantasy football tolerance and the offer of free pizza.
Yeah, I know how you are, Gladow. But after the day I had, I was waaaay too tired to cook, and frankly, nothing says "fantasy football" like pizza. Mmm. Hooray for online ordering from Papa John's!
Unfortunately, upon arriving she is very quickly alarmed to discover that the painstaking notes and research she had taken so as not to be perceived as a clueless noob are not with her. She must have left them in the office. Intelligent enough not to say, "Forgetting your notes is the true mark of a noob!", I manage to keep my manhood intact. Hooray for small victories!
Unfortunately for D., I'm NOT a noob - I've played in plenty of fantasy football leagues over the year. But dating a fantasy football dork is another thing entirely - this league consists of his friends and family, and the last thing I wanted to do was to appear a complete moron in front of them. So I scoured NFL.com (see, honey, a plug for your old stomping grounds!) and ESPN for hours upon hours, printing lists and highlighting players based on fantasy stats (not to be confused with actual season stats) and bye weeks. I had everything organized and ready to go, only to be thwarted by staying late at work on Friday.
Normally, this wouldn't be an issue. But I work FIFTEEN MILES from the house and I couldn't remember the alarm code for the office. So I was frantic, and ended up racing down the Earhart at 70 mph (a scant 20 miles over the posted speed limit), only to realize when I got home, pissed at traffic and greatly desirous of a glass of wine, that I left all of my copious and anal-retentive notes at the office. Hence the anger and piss offed-ness.
Still, she is distraught. She is even more distraught moments later when our bounding monster of a collie knocks out her wireless card, killing her internet connection. As she chastises the great beast and attempts to reconnect, I go to the door to meet the pizza delivery guy. I've now got pizza. Hooray for more small victories!
The presence of a large bottle of shiraz and the pizza cheered me considerably. Jake's attempts at destroying my wireless adapter with his considerable size so that I would pet him (he's needier than Britney Spears at a photo shoot), however, thwarted my happier mood. Four-letter words were quick to pour from my mouth by this point...
The actual start (6:43 CT) -- Well, we eventually get her up and running, and we even get most of the other participants ready to go too, less than an hour after the original starting time. That may sound awful to the average person, but I think it may actually be ahead of schedule for our league. Hooray for even more small victories!
So my girlfriend is up first and gets the unique honor of selecting LaDainian Tomlinson in a keeper league. I have no idea how she managed to pull this off, given most decent players with a pulse should have been off the board, but she did it anyway. Perhaps it speaks to the stupidity of everyone else in our league (or more appropriately, to the nimrod who quit our league despite having L.T. in tow), but soon, she is sitting pretty with Tomlinson, Drew Brees and Marvin Harrison. I shake my head in disgust at my own lame trio of players and wonder why I even play this stupid game to being with.
It must be the free pizza.
Oh, please. Wah, wah, wah. Weren't you just calling me a noob, you big goober? ;)
Plus, Drew Brees is my NFL crush of choice. This you know, Gladow. That said, I struggled with the choice between Harrison and Marques Colston. But Harrison is Peyton Manning's favorite target, and he's certainly the workhorse of the Colts' offense, so I felt fairly safe in choosing him, and just hoped that Curtis wouldn't pick up Colston immediately. Unfortunately, he did, and he also took my other big choice - Adrian Peterson, who is poised to have a HUGE rookie season with the Vikings.
But that pizza WAS good. And I DID pay for it. ;)
The early rounds (7:04 CT) -- I hear swearing and I know she's lost her connection again. I feel sorry for her, but at least my connection is still great ... son of a batch! Never mind.
I now begin to get frustrated. Three of our members couldn't be there the whole time and two of them had been filtering picks through me, so essentially I was drafting for three people. One of them eventually did show up, but he also developed a habit for continually getting booted from the chat room. The moderator must not have liked him. Perhaps it was all the "UF is great" talk. Regardless, I'm soon back to drafting for three people.
Without an internet connection.
This presents challenges.
At least everyone else seems to be having trouble too (misery loves company). One guy can't get his signal to work consistently and another had to leave work because he was getting blocked. It just goes to show you that you need to plan these things out well. Or not do them. That's the route I'd generally advocate anyway.
Still, my draft seems to be going well. To go along with my keepers of Shaun Alexander, Travis Henry and Carson Palmer, my first two picks land me Torry Holt and Marshawn Lynch. That looks pretty good until I see my girlfriend with Anquan Boldin and Deuce McAlister. I shake my head again. Perhaps I should give fantasy football up.
C'mon, you've seen my roster. I took 4 Noles and 2 Saints. D. even pointed out that the goal of fantasy in this league is to be somewhat competitive, but to emphasize the fun.
Weirdest choice yet? Brandon Jacobs over the likes of Edgerrin James, Terrell Owens and Holt. Now, Jacobs could be great, but he could also be Ron Dayne. I wouldn't feel comfortable about that.
Another person went to great lengths to pair Tom Brady and Randy Moss on his squad.
Interesting, to say the least, but perhaps too trendy a choice? I'm not convinced it will work out.
Moss is too much like T.O. for me to feel comfortable drafting him. Too much drama, too many promising flashes of brilliance undermined by off-the-field idiocy, and a penchant for inserting appendages into the mouth. Take that as you will.
The middle rounds (7:55 CT) -- More draft picks, and more computer issues. It's become a test of wills between us and the wireless connection. The wireless is winning. Regardless, my girlfriend is up next, and so we phone in her two picks, Jamal Lewis and Todd Heap. I'm about to tease her for being a closet Ravens fan and then I realize that Lewis now plays for the Browns. Man, it's becoming harder and harder to keep up with all the player movement in the NFL.
By this point in the draft, I can tell we've made some real progress. Not by looking at the number of players selected, oh no. That's still painfully shy of where it needs to be. Rather, I know we've put in some significant time because my bum has fallen completely asleep. So we've accomplished that much at least.
This is why I moved to the floor, D. There at least I could feel the solid wood underneath our area rug.
One person, a huge Eagles nut, takes Kevin Curtis in the third round. Now I think Curtis is a great sleeper choice and a guy with a huge upside, but taking him in the third round? With Reggie Brown sitting there? That was a real head-scratcher. If he outperforms T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Andre Johnson, Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress, Deion Branch, Brown and Donald Driver (receivers chosen directly after him) however, I may have to concede that I know nothing. Heck I conceded that long ago.
The fun part was watching people avoid Driver like a pariah.
My brain, like my posterior, is beginning to turn into cheese.
Oh come on...D.'s brain was like cheese after the third Diet Dr. Pepper and the fourth slice of pizza. By this point I was comfortably into my third glass of wine.
The late rounds (9:20 CT) -- My girlfriend put Star Wars on the television because she apparently thought she may as well indulge me completely at this point. I'm spoiled and we both know it.
Indulging him? Please, it was a strategic attempt to distract him during the draft. ::innnocent smile::
Okay, maybe not. I do tend to spoil him. Yeah, so?
But seriously, I must have seen Star Wars and Die Hard at least 100 times each as a teenager (and that may be a conservative estimate). Is it sad I can recite this movie word-for-word? Wait, don't answer that. It's just too bad I can't use my knowledge to give me an advantage in the rest of the draft.
"These aren't the [draft picks] you're looking for."
I'm pretty sure we both made that joke as exhaustion set in and the draft went on and on. Last year, I sat on his bed as he went through his draft, being interrogated by his roommates as The New Girlfriend, Interloper of the Apartment. This year, I'm part of the draft. Crazy...
Anyhow, the draft is getting into its final stages, and that means Darren Sproles will soon make an appearance. You see, over 60 percent of our league in any given year is composed of Kansas State graduates, which means a K-State player or two will inevitably be chosen. In recent seasons, that player has generally been Sproles, who was such an amazing college player for our alma mater that none of us can seem to accept the fact that he's buried on the depth chart in San Diego. Big dreams die hard, I suppose. Seriously though, if you've never seen him play, just check out some of his highlight films. He's absolutely sick in the open field.
True to form, with three rounds still to go, one of my buds takes Sproles and basks in the glory of the selection. My girlfriend tries to inform me that it's a terrible choice, but logic will not win in this case. The K-State factor is too large to ignore. I remind her that we're all in this to have fun. She looks doubtful, but the draft continues.
I love Sproles. Really, I do. K-State, even before D., has always been my favorite Big-12 team - my dad and I used to make a point to watch K-State games, because we both thought Bill Snyder was such a classy guy. But that's a risky move - using a roster spot on someone coming off a season-ending injury? Granted, he has looked good in the preseason...
The end (10:42 CT) -- The final two rounds are always fun, because everyone starts to make wild, swing-for-the-fences swings or crazy homer picks, and this year was no exception. The guy who took Sproles also takes Michael Turner (corning the market on backup Charger running backs) and Devin Hester, a potential beast in our league because we reward points for return yardage. I take a flyer on Devery Henderson (I can hardly believe he's still there) and somebody else drafts Trent Green (now that is an oddball selection). The K-State factor nets someone Martin Grammatica. Finally, mercifully, the draft comes to an end with the selection of Mr. Irrelevant, Jerious Norwood.
Surveying the damage, I see that after the initial absurd delay, the actual draft lasted only four hours or so, which is downright speedy for us. We may have set a land speed record. All told, I drafted 11 players and a defense (after keeping three more), consumed six slices of pizza and four Diet Dr. Peppers, and managed to come out of the experience reasonably happy and content. More importantly, the girlfriend no longer seems to be annoyed or angry. Hooray for huge victories!
Note: I was not angry or annoyed at D. I was, however, annoyed with myself for leaving my notes at the office, angry at the collie for trying to destroy my laptop AND internet connection, and generally tired.
And oh yes, this draft was speedy in comparison to the 2006 draft, which lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of...oh...5 hours, was it?
Looking at the teams, I have a hard time picking a favorite. With only nine people in the league this year, everyone's team is now officially more roided up than your average major leaguer. What's more, the scoring has changed a bit this year also, meaning we can all expect to see 200-point games on a regular basis. Hey, we're a bit like the Saints then!
Here's what I ended up with: Carson Palmer, Jason Campbell, Shaun Alexander, Travis Henry, Marshawn Lynch, Fred Taylor, Julius Jones, Torry Holt, Andre Johnson, Darrell Jackson, Terry Glenn, Devery Henderson, Chris Cooley, Cowboys defense and Matt Stover.
Not fantastic, but not terrible either. My team should hold its own, but then again, everyone feels that way this time of year. The proof will be in the pudding once the regular season gets here.
I'm just glad the girlfriend came out of things so well. That is, until she kicks my teeth in for the fourth time in as many weeks with the LaDainian Tomlinson Express. Then I'll do my best to convince her that a trade for Michael Vick makes a great deal of sense.
Nice try, sucker. I'm on to your shenanigans!
Of course that would just get me in hot water, but at least I'd have a winner!
Remember, I'm ubercompetitive. Fear the short girlfriend. FEAR HER! ;)
(Yes, fantasy football is a sick disease. It's a fun one though.)
How could I not love this man beyond all reason? Wait, is that a sick disease, too? Hmmm.
Let's start with Deadspin's Top 25 Drinking Game...and a reference to "Superbad" on ESPN? You know I've got to post THAT.
Those who know me best know I despise Trev Alberts, generally abhor Dennis Dodd, and adore Stewart Mandel. I watch College Gameday with intense passion, and think that Fowler, Corso and Herbstreit (who has developed into one of the BEST in-game commentators since his rocky "I-heart-Ohio-State" bias of his early ESPN years) are great fun to watch on a Saturday morning. I tend to find Mark May irritating, I think Lou Holtz is a terribly unintelligible commentator, and that Bob Griese and Bob Davie are waaaaaaay too self-important.
Regardless, I keep coming back for more, year after year. Sure, I'll whine about Griese, but that won't stop me watching a game he commentates. And those human interest stories on Gameday and Sportscenter about Matt Leinart's troubled origins as that poor, middle-class cross-eyed kid? Meh. But I still watch, because college football has a passion unlike any other American sport, college basketbal not withstanding.
At the college level, it's about the game and rivalries and aspirations of an NFL career that push and propel players week after week. It's about Virginia Tech fans sneering about the advent of the Warchant ignorantly in oyster bars in downtown New Orleans (January 4, 2000). It's about heckling Florida fans who think that Tim Tebow is the second coming of Christ, and it's definitely about waking up early on Saturday mornings to endure 12-14 hours of coverage and actual play. It's about suffering through repeated playings of that horrid Big & Rich song and putting on your lucky gameday shirt at 9:30 AM CST. When you're at the game, it's about tailgating with rivals and bonding over beer and brats before reverting at kickoff to bitter, mutual dislike. What's NOT to love?
Oh sure, there's that wacky BCS system...and my personal favorite - preseason polls (Auburn knows what I mean). But the intensity and passion of football belong squarely to those who love it best: college football players and their coaches and fans. And oft-beleagured (at least by me, as I used to give the finger to D.'s old Sportsline building every time I drove past it in Ft. Lauderdale) Dennis Dodd actually crystallizes it best:
"And spare me your superior fervor, NFL. Your fans don't have one-tenth of the loyalty and emotion as college ball. I can prove this by walking into any Alabama tailgate with an Auburn flag. "
(Then again, Dodd is the same punk who predicts that the Noles will finish FOURTH in their ACC division, behind one-hit wonder Wake Forest.)
Sadly, college football, despite its wondrous joys, is in danger of becoming just like the NFL, only with better fans - gradually, conferences like the talent-loaded SEC are buying coaches at NFL salaries and changing the scope of the game. Good' old NCAA head honcho Brand is more concerned with hostile and abusive mascots than the franchise-like leanings of Division I. But that's a discussion for the offseason (i.e., after the BCS and preseason polls again create bad bowl pairings). For now, game on!
Add into that a harrowing return from Pensacola to NOLA last night, and you have a halfway comatose Cait typing at a reduced pace whilst guzzling caffeine and sugar in an attempt to revive her sense of humor. ;)
Yeah, it's THAT bad.
So let's see, while I was mowing/hedge-trimming/driving/pretending to sleep...
-Owen Wilson tried to off himself. Poor Butterscotch Stallion, I hope he gets the help he needs.
-Britney Spears, for once wearing a non-hideous wig, got pulled over for speeding and didn't get a ticket.
-Fidel Castro may or may not have died; no one really knows. Then again, Cuba's PR people make Baghdad Bob look like an amateur.
-Lindsay Lohan celebrated her second DUI/coke possession arrest by being sentenced to ONE DAY IN JAIL. By Nicole Richie standards (she was sentenced to four days but served only 82 minutes), that means that Lohan will serve only 3-4 minutes. Yeesh. The L.A. Criminal Court system makes Louisiana's criminal justice system seem almost progressive.
-FSU finally named our starting QB for the Clemson game - no surprise there, it's Drew Weatherford.
-Oh, and that Vick guy? Yeah, he officially pled guilty and found God. Or whatever. Convenient that he found religion and decided that dog fighting is a bad, bad, naughty thing the day he pleads guilty and makes a public statement. Er, what? You mean he's trying to jockey for a reduced sentence? What?!?
Anyhow, I'm back in NOLA and despite running a fever and severely lacking sleep, I'm ready for the week...I think. Here's my fantasy football team this year (woot!):
QB: Dree Brees
RB: L. Tomlinson
WR: Marvin Harrison
TE: Todd Heap
K: Adam Vinatieri
Jacksonville (for Philly's bye week)
Not terrible, right? Damn, I need more coffee.
Friday, August 24, 2007
And y'all know how crazy Hialeah will be tonight...
If this is true, south Florida will erupt into chaos - both joyous and destructive tonight.
Y'all be careful, okay?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
(And yes, you can substitute the ol' standard - shrimp.)
Crawfish Fra Diavolo
1 pound crawfish tails, peeled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried crushed pepper flakes
3 tbsp olive oil plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium onion, sliced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup dry white wine (such as...oh, I dunno, a Sauvignon Blanc?)
3 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped coarsely
Toss the crawfish in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crawfish tails and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the crawdads to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the crawfish and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve over seasoned pasta. Speaking of which...while the sauce is thickening, you should be boiling pasta and prepping the seasoning for it.
1 pound low-carb or whole wheat spaghetti
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I'm a BIG fan of kosher salt)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped coarsely
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil. Serves 6.
I like to serve dishes like this with steamed asparagus. Asparagus picks up the lemony flavor of the pasta beautifully. Italian food - even reinvented as Cajun-inspired Italian - is great for big dinners when your friends come over and sit around your table, laughing and consuming copious quantities of wine.
Enjoy - and remember, that leftover wine from cooking is just lagniappe.
I'll write more later - I'm just worn out from Air Force One delaying my flight out of Kansas City yesterday. BAH!
(But I'm so glad I got to have a nice dinner with D.'s wonderful parents!)
P.S. Tom-ba juice? What are the rules of said drinking game, people?
Monday, August 20, 2007
- Suede heels (before Labor Day!), half a size too big, with a white eyelet dress (close to Labor Day!!) with a gold anklet and bright red Birkin-inspired bag. The total effect was meant to look boho-chic, no doubt, but I'm pretty sure this cute young Tulane co-ed has NEVER wandered around SoHo. I was less worried about the antiquated Labor Day rule, as EVERYONE wears white year-round in south Florida, but Michelle was duly horrified.
- Faux-ho chic's friend was wearing a houndstooth, spaghetti-strapped wool sundress. In mid-August. In New Orleans. In a heat index of 115 degrees. IN A BAR. Personally, I love houndstooth. I think it's a cute fabric for the fall and winter months. But in the summer? In a bar? In New Orleans?
- It's standard in Miami and New York to wear stilettos and too-tight clothing out on the weekends, but in New Orleans, I am happy to report that I generally see sandals and jeans. Hooray for comfort! That said, I saw a lot of make-up, stiletto action and skin-tight white dresses (which displayed an obvious lack of panties) at Fat Harry's. This surprised me, until I remembered college parties at FSU. At FSU, you can always pick out the underaged girls - they try too hard. So there's a safe bet that a) these gals are new to New Orleans and college in general, or b) looking for a man. At a preseason game. Sigh. Poor girls.
There was a good crowd at Fat Harry's on Saturday night - and D. got some great footage of fan reactions to the game. My thoughts? Our offense looked sharp, Martin and Baker looked awful, our defense looked passable against an awful team, and our special teams looked MUCH better (thanks, Olindo!). Lance Moore is a STUD. I also feel sorry for Fred Thomas.
It was funny to hear Dave the Banker refer to Tyler Palko as "Plinko." Love ya, Dave. ;)
Yesterday Dave and I did useful things like exploring our DirecTV channels and going to see Frank Oz's new film, "Death at a Funeral." I love Frank Oz, and I really, really liked this movie - it was funny and endearing and boasts a strong cast. Shhh, don't tell D., but I've been harboring a major crush on Matthew Macfadyen ever since he starred in "Spooks" (Americans prolly know it as "MI-5").
I leaned over and asked D. at one point if there's something messed up about the fact that I was laughing so hard about a film about a family that had just lost its beloved patriarch. He smiled and said, "No, it's just cathartic."
(Wow, it's nearing a year since Daddy died, and it still feels like it was almost yesterday.)
After the movie, we walked through the French Quarter, watching the tourists gawk at some of the drink specials advertised on the street. I then introduced D. to NOLA's FINEST burger experience - Port of Call.
Port of Call's cheeseburgers and loaded baked potatoes are the stuff of legends. D. also inhaled a solid 24 ounces of Monsoon - some fruity drink loaded with Bacardi 151. I got through maybe 6 ounces. I didn't want to fill up on rum when there was a half-pound burger in front of me!
Instead, I mimicked a walrus. Don't ask.
The most important thing, though, is that our DirecTV harkens the start (almost) of college football season. On a good note, my Noles are picked to play Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.
On a truly sad note:
Coach Andrews, your family is in my prayers during this awful time.
And on the following, to quote Kevin..."Sweet baby Jesus!"
I wonder if rape stands are available in federal prison? (Not that I'm advocating such a thing, of course.)
Friday, August 17, 2007
"He's...not usually this drunk when he does that."
GENIUS. Now don't get me wrong - I quote "Happy Gilmore," "The Waterboy," and "Billy Madison" just like every other twentysomething. But I adored the sense of humor permeating Judd Apatow's phenomenal failure of a TV show, "Freaks and Geeks," and I'm so pleased that the films bearing his stamp are so incredibly successful now. They deserve to be. They're crude, funny and alternately worthy of a solid wince, but they always have a heart.
In short, stop reading this and go see the film. You can thank me later.
After the movie, all of us met up with Dave the Banker at Dos Jefes, a cigar bar on Tchoupitoulas. Say it with me: Tchoupitoulas.
Perhaps a pronounciation guide would help? Sure thing - Chop-ee-CHEW-las. How awesome of a street name is that?
And now here I sit, fearfully checking each subsequent forecast out of the National Hurricane Center, watching Dean trend further north with each tracking map and computer model update. Gah.
Fortunately, I have the joys of waiting for DirecTV to come hook up our brand new HD receiver to distract me. NFL Sunday Ticket, here we come!
Boo nasty hurricane! Hooray 13-days-until-college football season! Hooray for the College Gameday guys picking FSU to beat Alabama next month!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
According to the latest NHC discussion:
"The initial motion is 280/21. Dean is on the south side of a deep-layer ridge...which large-scale models forecast to build westward during the forecast period. This building ridge is forecast to push aside a mid/upper-level low currently east of Florida...and should this happen that system would have little interaction with Dean. The pattern evolution should keep Dean moving quickly westward to west-northwestward through the forecast period. The track guidance is in good agreement with this scenario...and the models are very tightly clustered around a trackthrough the Caribbean Sea to near the Yucatan Peninsula in five days. The new forecast track is basically an update of the previous package....and is in best agreement with the various consensus models."
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Indeed. Good times, and good food.
After dinner, we saunted east on Magazine towards La Divina Gelateria, which makes old-fashioned gelato with ridiculously fresh ingredients. The Banker chose chai-infused gelato, D. chose ripe banana gelato, and ever the rebe/chocolate-obsessed gal, I chose Chocolatta Azteca. One of my favorite flavor combinations in Mexican cooking is cayenne and cinnamon whisked into dark, rich chocolate - and this gelato promised that. Frozen with chopped cayenne peppers thrown in, one bite caused my eyes to water and my throat to beg for roughly 1,230,230,230 gulps of Pellegrino.
But, oh, was it worth it. Mmmm. Situated on the same block of Magazine as artisanal sweet shop Sucre, La Divina Gelateria is a fantastic place to indulge your sweet tooth.
One of the cool things about sushi, apart from the different combinations of tastes and colors, is the artful display.
Oh, man, that New Orleans roll was spectacular...
Yeah, I was pretty much in heaven.
I *told* you, my name is Dean, and while my name seems innocuous enough, if you don't buy a TV, I'll create massive damage.
Flashback: August 1995. Imagine a 16 year-old Cait trapped at debate camp (shut it) in Waco, Texas, with a sprained knee and some very stylish crutches. I had to watch Hurricane Erin unfold on CNN from the common room in the dorm at Baylor University, where I spent my summers in high school honing my ability to make people cry during debate rounds.
I digress (and I'm mostly kidding; the crying thing only happened once). Hurricane Erin broadsided Pensacola that month - we were hit by Hurricane Opal a scant two months later.
Why do I bring this up? Well, it's because that nasty little pressure system in the northwest Caribbean finally organized into...TROPICAL STORM ERIN.
I think for the purposes of maintaining my dignity and credibility as a blogger, we will henceworth refer to this storm as Hurricane Evil Succubus. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
To be fair, THIS Erin is no real threat. So we must, then, turn our attention back to our TV salesman, Dean. Let's rename Dean...how about TS Dahmer? Dahmer's getting a little wonkier.
So girlfriend ran to "OK!" magazine (can you really take seriously any periodical ending in an excited mark of punctuation?) and ratted out Britney Spears as a crazy occasional lesbian.
But like J. Harvey on A Socialite's Life (http://www.socialitelife.com/), I have to agree that this smacks more of a teenaged girl looking to get attention and manipulate people around her. Britney Spears seems to be experiencing some kind of delayed adolescence, and it's alternately pathetic, horrifying and hilarious to observe from afar.
1. Wear panties at all times. No one wants to see if you shave, wax, or subscribe to something a bit more au naturel. Also, random stripping in public is just gauche...unless you are the stunning Dita Von Teese.
5. Stop hitting up Vegas every other weekend. Winston's and Le Deux in L.A. can likewise do without you for a night. Otherwise the kids are going to start calling their nannies "Mommy."
10. Lay off the tanning bed. You're beginning to look like Magda in "There's Something About Mary." If at 28 I look 10 years younger than you, you're doing something wrong.
What one piece of advice would you give Britney?
That said, I think D. and I need to increase our kitchen stockpile - we'll need some batteries, candles, bottled water and charcoal. Apart from that, I think we're set.
(And yes, we already have an evacuation plan should something come bearing down on the city. Mom lives 200 miles east, on VERY high ground - a cliff above Escambia Bay - and she has a $12,000 natural gas generator.)
All serious hurricane planning aside, who comes up with these names? Who in their right mind would take seriously a storm named Dean? Or Frances? Or Cindy?
Hurricane names are just so incongruous with the nature of the storm. Hurricanes are chaotically destructive forces of nature...named Bob.
I propose a new naming system - a system that requires the NHC to issue monikers designed to strike fear into the heart of the average American dealing with the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Here are some sample names:
-Osama bin Laden
Now Dave the Banker rightfully points that media coverage of people fleeing Ebola's path in New Orleans could be easily miscontrued...thoughts? What would you name a bevy of storms?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Some righteous uptown residents are flipping out about the show, claiming that it will only cast NOLA in a poor light. Um, yeah? People? Guess what? The national perception of New Orleans couldn't get that much worse. As it is, 40% of people nationwide think we're still underwater, and the rest DO think criminals roam the streets with AK-47's. (The first is totally untrue, and the second is only true in select neighborhoods. People definitely don't get gunned down on Bourbon St. like the show's trailer portrays it.)
I say this, though - "NYPD Blue" showed the darker side of New York, and "CSI" shows that Las Vegas isn't all glittery debauchery. Any show about cops in New Orleans would have to address what happened in the immediate aftermath of the storm to have ANY credibility.
So if you aren't a football fan, or DO own a DVR...please watch this show. It pumps millions into the local economy - and this place needs that.
P.S. Bear Bryant is dead, God rest his soul. Let him remain in peace, rather than continuously trying to resurrect the man.
LSU FANS WERE REALLY HOPING FOR A NICK SABAN BIDET: The AP reports Tuscaloosa, AL was somehow included in a geographic zone given gigantic Federal tax breaks for new construction - in the effort to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. The result: "With large swaths of the Gulf Coast still in ruins from Hurricane Katrina, rich federal tax breaks designed to spur rebuilding are flowing hundreds of miles inland to investors who are buying up luxury condos near the University of Alabama's football stadium.
"10 condominium projects are going up in Tuscaloosa, and builders are asking up to $1 million for units with granite countertops, king-size bathtubs and 'Bama decor, including crimson couches and Bear Bryant wall art."
Now for the main reason for this example of blatant misuse of Katrina-related Federal givebacks: "Locals say Tuscaloosa was included in the GO Zone through the efforts of Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, who is from Tuscaloosa, graduated from Alabama and sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee."
If only Brownie, who was too busy fouling up orders doing a heck of a job at a Biloxi Dairy Queen drive-thru.
(08/13/07 - direct link - email link) | posted by Brooks
Of thieves, defendants and hypocrites
Will the honest, capable politicians please stand up?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
When the William Jefferson indictment came down, I admit to having very little visceral reaction. As a casual observer of Louisiana politics for the past two decades, I'd suspected that he and some of his kin were bad seeds.
When the Vitter thing came down, all I could do was shake my head and laugh. The lurid hypocrisy of Mr. Family Values was almost too stupid to get angry about. What a loser.
But Oliver. What the hell? It's like a knife in the back.
I've known Oliver Thomas more as a friend than a politician for more than 20 years. We used to play basketball together every Monday night in a steamy school gym down in Bywater for years.
He and his brother played. And his dad came to sit and watch the games, sitting alone in the stands watching a bunch of newspaper guys and assorted others gracelessly bang their bodies together.
Except Oliver. He moved through much smaller guys with extreme agility. In fact, he could score at will in these pick-up games, and often did. He played college ball and it showed.
He was a friend of one of my colleagues at the paper and the first guy I got to know personally in town who became a New Orleans politician. That term scared me. I thought: This guy seems really cool. My impression of such a lifestyle was that honorable men had nothing to do with it.
And I had Oliver pegged as an honorable man.
But my sentiments have been largely validated over the years as I witnessed the debacles -- no, the horrors -- of the Morial, Jefferson and Edwards political machines, the three insurance commissioners imprisoned since I've lived here, the constant parade of crooked judges, the School Board thieves and the whole damned thing.
Truth is, I just about puke when I hear the name Morial anymore. When, people, are we gonna change? When do we get to stop apologizing for being from Louisiana?
Oh, Oliver. He had panache and street sense and was funny as hell. In fact, every time I ever shared a stage with him, he stole the show, and I'm supposed to be the professional funny man.
And I guess that was just one of his many sidelines. To read about his willing participation in the cesspool of Morial-era graft and corruption, it's hard for me to reconcile that he was stealing. From me, from you, from us.
The fat cats and grifters have been selling the city, parcel by parcel, and dividing up the profits while thousands upon thousands of residents -- their constituents -- live lives of squalor and lost hope, all the while thinking that guys like Oliver and whoever else are on their side.
If you think there is no connection between bad politics and images of, say, 30,000 people dying of heat outside the Convention Center two years ago, then you're not following the bouncing ball.
Voters be damned. They don't have any money.
I realize that corruption exists elsewhere in this country and one of my colleagues at the paper has gone to great lengths to document it as to make Louisiana seem no more remarkable than other locations in this matter.
But we are. Because our process is infected, rotten, dying from the inside out. In other venues, corruption is the shocker. Here, it is expected, and that is the sad truth and I guess that's where Oliver and Honor went their separate ways, on the power climb.
Another colleague at the paper -- and many political elders in the state -- are finding a soft spot in their hearts for Edwin Edwards, implying that because the man is old and has served half his prison term, that he should summarily be released to live a life of genteel retirement by some pristine waters, fishing instead of mopping prison floors.
What a load of hooey. Edwards is lucky he didn't spend more of his life behind bars and he should bank that when he goes to bed at night in his prison cot. The operative systems that guys like him set in place is one where their cronies -- these obvious, pathetic and ill-spoken lowlifes -- walk off with state and city money while the state and city fail, falter, die.
And, like the scumbags they are, now they turn on each other. Pampy Barré, a bar owner who somehow became an expert and highly paid consultant on everything from building airport runways to operating the Sewerage & Water Board, is the guy they say fingered Thomas as a way to skim off his own prison term and it just makes you want to shout.
A little bit louder now. Throw all the bums in jail, I say. Let's clean some serious house.
It makes you wonder who's next? What's next? While we're waiting, I have an idea, and it ties into all that Edwards nonsense:
Remember when we all watched Cleo Fields pocket a massive wad of cash from Edwards, all of it secretly filmed and played for us on TV?
And remember Edwards went to jail for something to do with all this and Fields did not and he swore up and down that everything was above board and he would give us a very reasonable explanation about all this when the time was right?
Well, while we're clearing the air on so many matters of corruption these days, I'm thinking now might be a good time.
. . . . . . .
Columnist Chris Rose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (504) 826-3309, or (504) 352-2535.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Britney Spears, my favorite celebrity target, might be a willful child masquerading as a single mother, but her cousin hasn't sought out that same notoriety or fame. It's shameful and smacks of singular douchebaggery. It's bad enough that this young woman lost her mother recently, and it's also rough to watch someone you care about unravel their own life...but this is ridiculous. Way to pile on, Perez.
I'm almost unsure as to which is worse - harrassment of a private citizen just because she's Britney Spears' first cousin, or the cultural idiocy of commenters on that particular entry.
For the record, I've spent nearly all my life living below the Mason-Dixon line. I have never dated (much less anything else) a cousin, I don't chew tobacco, and I don't have any children. I say "y'all" and adore sweet tea, fried green tomatoes and boiled crawfish. I wear flip-flops in the winter, and own a collection of sundresses rivaled only by M.'s astonishingly large collection of Ann Taylor clothing. I obsess over college football and think Drew Brees exemplifies everything last year's Saints' marketing slogan represents (erm..."Be a Saint). I also think he's adorably cute. I generally type and speak with proper grammar when I'm formally addressing someone. I send thank-you notes and always bring hostess (or host) gifts when invited to someone's house. I usually love hot weather. I don't generally have a southern accent unless I'm a) really, really, really tired, or b) angrier than Lindsay Lohan after a coke binge.
Trash is trash - southerners do not corner the market on poor grammar and ignorance. Britney Spears is a poor representation of southern women, and certainly doesn't represent the vast majority of us.
(Sorry, it's so hot here in New Orleans today that I'm sweating like Britney Spears before a custody hearing...and I really dislike regional and cultural stereotypes. Ad hominem attacks are a poor device employed by ignorant, anonymous internet bullies incapable of making an original point.)
Speaking of bullies...I found this article from the LSU student newspaper about how hesitant Laura Lynne Covington is to speak about her cousin, and how adamant she is about protecting her own private life. I hope she uses that very intelligent brain of hers to layeth the smack down on Mario Lavandeira (nee Perez Hilton) with the vengeance of an irate southern woman (that's about as close to stereotyping said group as I get).
Trust me...you wouldn't like us when we're upset, bless your heart.
"All the King's Men," anyone?
Yeah. Whether our local congressman is found possessing frozen bricks of cash, or our senator is found to have cavorted with prostitutes after piously and sanctimoniously decrying Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, there's just something about Louisiana. Our governor is mercifully not running for re-election, our mayor suddenly went from sounding like Carlton to speaking like local rapper Juvenile in the months before his re-election, and our levee boards take more kickbacks than the Rockettes. Our DA seems to be on a perpetual witchhunt while ignoring the scarily violent criminals prowling the streets of east New Orleans or Central City. Our other senator is a chip off the ol' block - voted into office by scores of deceased Lousiana residents just like her dear old papa. (I actually feel sorry for Mitch Landrieu - he could be the nicest, most qualified politico in the state, and he still wouldn't be elected to office in New Orleans sheerly because of his last name.)
Occasionally there is room for hope - case in point, Bobby Jindal. It's ironic that a state that almost elected David Duke governor is poised to elect the nation's first Indian-American governor. But that tells me that despite the antiquated approach to race relations and politics, increasingly voters in Louisiana (at least, the living voters) seem to be forward-thinking.
So that's good.
But on the flip-side:
Gah. That's not good.
Today also marks the start of the trial of the owners of St. Rita's Nursing Home. The owners are charged with 35 counts of negligent homicide after restraining their patients to their beds, dooming them when the floodwaters began to rise.
I'm pretty sure there's a special circle of hell reserved for people who do things like this. I genuinely hope there is - no earthly justice could make this right.
In other news, there's a reason weather like this is called "hurricane heat." It's not even 11:00 AM yet, and the heat index is already at 112 degrees.
On D.'s first visit up to NOLA after I moved, I took him to The Columns for brunch. We sat there on the front porch for hours, watching Sunday traffic on St. Charles and generally feeling content with the world at hand.
Yesterday may have upped that feeling (minus the minor case of heat exhaustion I got from the 115 degree heat index). We strolled down to the hotel, were seated, and immediately began chatting with the hostess - she's an outgoing midwesterner who makes you feel right at home, whether she's pouring you endless glasses of champagne (or mimosas, if you like) or talking about Marilyn Monroe's tragic death. A middle-aged Yorkshire native plays standards on an upright piano and opines about the proper technique when making Yorkshire pudding. Tourists walk by and gawk up at the hotel, trying to imagine what it looks like inside (and it's impressive).
The view from the front porch of the hotel is equally gorgeous - you peer through ancient, Spanish moss-draped oak trees out onto St. Charles Ave. The view will only improve once the streetcar is running uptown again. ::crossing fingers::
And the food? It's just amazing. Yesterday we ate seafood chowder, a cantaloupe and mixed greens salad with a poppy vinagrette, and banana bread pudding. Dave downed a blackened rib-eye steak with a merlot sauce, and I went straight for the deviled shrimp with the grit cakes. If you're EVER in New Orleans for a weekend, try to make it a point to eat brunch at The Columns. It's just that wonderful.
But the real secret isn't that nachos are labored over extensively at the Superdome - it's the Bloody Marys. They're simply legendary. I don't even *like* tomato juice, and I was really impressed by the spicy, ginormous Bloody Mary I tried, steeped with pickled green beans and Spanish olives, and laced with a healthy shake of Tabasco sauce.
While I marveled at the sheer beauty of this drink, D. was plowing his way through our supreme nachos with an almost fanatical vigor. He managed to overcome the deplorable lack of jalapeno slices on the nachos and persevere through his grief. And yes, this was all taking place during the game. Speaking of which...
He's got a less-moronic-than-Chris-Rix-yet-strikingly-similar-throwing-style quality that I find fascinating. He reminds me of every FSU quarterback during the Daryl Dickey era - during his freshman season, he blows sportswriters and fans away with his talent, and during subsequent seasons regresses due to bad coaching and a lack of ability to read the field...or...bad coaching. D.'s blog about the game mentioned that he thinks that Palko won't make the team, but that he'll end up on the practice squad for the Saints (which promptly got him reamed by some psychotic fans who apparently didn't watch more than the first quarter of the game). I think he's right, personally.
Man, that was a good pot roast.
I'm just sayin'.
Friday, August 10, 2007
...I think I love you.
Thank the merciful heavens; it's finally Friday. That means it's time to kick back, order a Superdome Bloody Mary, and watch some preseason football. Tonight's match-up? The Bills at the Saints, here in our Louisiana Superdome. I'm excited and very much hoping to see our mulleted hero, Supa Saint. Long may his curly locks 'fro in the humid and infrequent breezes of New Orleans! D. and I, along with the now infamous M., will be meeting up with friends tonight to cheer on our Saints...assuming, of course, that Scott Fujita's little waterslide accident doesn't lead to a more serious issue with our defense than what we saw against the Steelers on Sunday night. A commenter on D.'s blog made what I thought was a good point - the Steelers needed this win more than the Saints. They've an unproven coach, and went deep into their playbook.
That said, our defense looked hideously bad and our offensive starters mainly paced the sidelines to avoid preseason injuries.
But a waterslide accident? COME ON. Seriously? Seriously. That's just ridiculous.
On to a happier note - food. Anyone who knows me knoooooooows I love the stuff. It's why I have birthing hips and lack that curious baby giraffe/praying mantis posture that Amy Winehouse, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie all boast. In the metro area alone, there are 9,886 restaurants (per Google, at least)...so NOLA is a natural haven for any foodie, pretentious or otherwise.
I mean, hell, we possess the only McDonald's in the world with black arches (it's across the street from what was once the south's largest funeral home). Food has its own distinct voice here.
Is there anything better than alligator soup and fried bell pepper rings, with a couple of pitchers of Abita Amber, on a sticky, langorous Thursday night? How about aloo bhindi and naan covered in mango chutney for a lazy Friday lunch (the lunch buffet at Nirvana on Magazine St. is just THAT good)?
As for the former, Franky and Johnny's may be one of my favorite places to take visitors to New Orleans. From the worn tile floors to the checked vinyl tablecloths, this locals' haunt on the corner of Tchoupitoulas (try saying that ten times fast) and Arabella in uptown is a slice of heaven. From the boiled crawfish to the fried chicken platters (which are, scientifically speaking, ginormous), this place embodies my favorite characteristics of living here: the staff are always helpful and hospitable, the company is always good, the beer is always ice-cold, and the food is always fresh and wonderful.
From there the question is always where to go drink - will it be the world-class mojitos at St. Joe's? Blue Moon pints on Wednesday nights at the Bulldog? SoCo and Lime with a twist of people-watching from the second floor at the Balcony Bar?
Will it be tapas at Baru on a first date, or the crawfish and tasso pizza at Rocky's? Magazine St. - well, most of uptown, including Tchoup - seems to offer a little something for everyone. There are great retail stores, like Shoenami and Hemline, and there are fish markets and gelaterias. It's a self-contained community, and it's just so friendly.
The collie loves to head down to Pet Cetera on the weekends. D. and I walk down to CC's on Magazine and sit outside, reading the paper and just decompressing for the work week while the "bald-ass Lassie" stares down other dogs, trying to look threatening and always failing miserably.
I just returned from lunch down on Magazine St. I guess it's time to get back to work before I don the trusty ol' Deuce McAllister jersey for tonight's game.
P.S. A waterslide accident?!?
Thursday, August 9, 2007
- I need to lose weight. No, really. Either that, or clothes at H&M are only designed for angular, skinny folks. That's depressing. But I DO love my new bootcut jeans from their store near Chinatown...too bad I bought them a size too big.
- The Metro reminds M. and me of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disney World. You descend into a vast, cavernous space, only to be confronted by darkness and the cold whoosh of wind.
- Also learned at H&M: I'm aging "gracefully." That's right, the 28 year-old with the baby face and odd vocabulary is aging "well" despite her advanced age. I learned this from a fitting room attendant who no doubt thinks 30 is the new 60. He's 20, if he's a day.
- Jhorts! They're alive and well on the Metro.
- I've missed taking the Metro. The Tri-Rail in south Florida is terrible, and the streetcars aren't running uptown here yet. Sigh.
- Befriending a bartender is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I think I love watermelon martinis.
- The one-way streets near the Capitol might actually be more confusing than those in New Orleans. Is it a coincidence that both were designed by the French? Hmmm...
Moron of the day (because it can't always be Britney): http://www.mollygood.com/kate-hudson/kate-hudson-cheat-on-me-20070809/#comment-31990
It's such a shame, too, because I used to find her utterly refreshing as both an actress and a human being. Now she's bleating about monogamy as unnatural in such a fashion as to purely rationalize her own immature actions. Pity, really. We're the same age.
P.S. How is Bridget Moynahan STILL pregnant? Hasn't she been carrying Tom Brady's nefarious love child for something like an entire geological era now?