Friday, September 28, 2007

USF just upset WVU...

Tonight at Raymond James Stadium, the USF Bulls upset the WVU Mountaineers 21-13. See? Anything really can happen in college football. What a great win for Jim Leavitt's USF program - the Bulls' first over an AP top 5 opponent.

God, I love this sport.

We're hitting the road in about 90 minutes for Jacksonville (by way of Pensacola, as Mom is going to tend to the Monster overnight).
We'll be back in New Orleans on Sunday night - hopefully I'll be hoarse due to a well-meant jeering of Nick Saban, but either way, it'll be so nice to see my Seminoles play. It'll be especially great to see old friends.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and GO NOLES!

Note: I just received a text message from the lovely Rebecca, our gracious hostess for the weekend. It would appear that her wonderful fiance, Chris, native of NOLA, just insulted Bear Bryant to a group of drunk Bama frat boys at a bar in Jax (near the Landing, if you're familiar with the area). That is NEVER wise. Even worse, Chris maintains, "They started it."

True story.


The streetcar is coming, the streetcar is comming!

That's right, folks, the St. Charles streetcar line is coming back in mere weeks - all the way up to Napoleon Ave.

Granted, the line won't go all the way up to the barn for another year or so, but this is a great stab at some semblance of normalcy!

In honor of LSU/Tulane

Don't forget your celebratory bloody mary tomorrow morning as LSU prepares to take on the mighty Green Wave in the Superdome. Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and if this doesn't make you go, "What the eff?," you're clearly an LSU fan.

Or, as Kevin more succinctly put it as he stood here in my office, gaping, a few minutes ago: "There are NO words."

On a random side note, as both Dave the Banker and Kevin are wont to point out, New Orleans is the only city to have the distinction of being destroyed by the mascot of a local university - the Green Wave. Then again, they went to Tulane, so clearly they are jaded by popped collars and myriad pastel colors.

Found on Cajun Boy's blog:

Riddle me this...

So the ceiling in the women's bathroom here in my office just caved in, and the floor is weirdly flooded.

Since Kevin is the only male in the building today, the rest of us are using the men's bathroom.

Post-coffee, I needed a bathroom break a few minutes ago.

So riddle me this - what on EARTH is an issue of Martha Stewart Living doing in the men's bathroom, sitting on the back of the toilet, perched between Boating and Consumer Reports?


(Am I just sexist?)

On the eve of FSU-Alabama...'s time to get pumped for the upcoming 8-9 hour road trip to Jacksonville that should commence roughly around midnight, when D. gets home from updating prep football scores to
Yeah, we're both definitely going to require a shunt or mainline of Jolt or Red Bull. This will be D.'s first 'Noles game, and I have to admit to being excited about seeing him wearing his garnet FSU t-shirt (he's all sorts of proud when I wear one of my K-State shirts). I'm tremendously stoked to see a lot of my fellow FSU friends, and I'll be damned if I haven't missed tailgating with them. Win or lose, college football has to be one of the greatest past times for an autumn Saturday.

Part of the process of preparing for a big match-up is reading material from the naysayers - like Stewart Mandel.

Now don't get me wrong - I adore Mandel; he is one of my favorite sportswriters (apart from D., of course). He's generally very reasonable and articulate. Naturally, he predicts that FSU will implode against Nick Satan's...oops, I meant Saban, of course...Crimson Tide tomorrow afternoon.

There may well be something to his reasoning. FSU's offensive line still has quite a ways to go, and Drew Weatherford seems to have lost quite a bit of confidence (a similar theme exists for Saints fans at the moment). Our receivers can't catch, our backs frequently fumble, and our pass rush is nonexistent. Our one bright spot seems to be kicker Gary Cismesia.

And that's just sad.

Still, I never expected an overnight miracle from the new coaching staff. Poor coaching and recruiting have left a mountain of problems. Fisher and Trickett, et al., have their work cut out for them. There has been some improvement, despite our average of 22 points scored per game. I'm impressed with the quickness of our newly skinny OL - now just just need to block. Fisher's playcalling is a vast improvement over Jeff Bowden's much-lampooned, pass, pass, rush, punt scheme.

And then there's the cheating scandal. Even though no active roster spot is impacted by this, will it prove a distraction to the 'Noles in our must-win game?

But don't count us out in Jacksonville. Papa Bowden has a pretty scary record at neutral sites.


Why on earth did they even bother? Watching grass grow in our backyard (and it grows at a decently rapid pace in this climate, let me tell you) would have been more interesting.

I mean, really. Bobby Jindal, what has happened to the energetic man pushing for election four years ago?

Clancy DuBos of The Gambit has written a great editorial on the topic.

This election may not be such a landslide after all.

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

Gotta love the Decemberists - I'm attaching the lyrics below; it's a very poignant song.

The Decemberists - Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) Lyrics

Heart-carved tree trunk, Yankee bayonet
A sweetheart left behind
Far from the hills of the sea-swelled Carolinas
That's where my true love lies

Look for me when the sun-bright swallow
Sings upon the birch bough high
But you are in the ground with the voles and the weevils
All a'chew upon your bones so dry

But when the sun breaks
To no more bulletin battle-cry
Then will you make a grave
For I will be home then
I will be home then
I will be home then
I will be home then

When I was a girl how the hills of Oconee
Made a seam to hem me in
There at the fair when our eyes caught, careless
Got my heart right pierced by a pin

But oh, did you see all the dead of Manassas
All the bellies and the bones and the bile
Though I lingered here with the blankets barren
And my own belly big with child

But when the sun breaks
To no more bulletin battle-cry
Then will you make a grave
For I will be home then
I will be home then
I will be home then
I will be home then

Stems and bones and stone walls too
Could keep me from you
Scaly skin is all too few
To keep me from you

But oh my love, though our bodies may be parted
Though our skin may not touch skin
Look for me with the sun-bright sparrow
I will come on the breath of the wind

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I'm so there...just not this weekend.

Oktoberfest + New Orleans = Happy Cait and D.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cait: The Recap

Ranting about David Vitter aside, I'm battling with some mixed emotions this week.
On Thursday night, D. and I went to the St. Charles Club at the Superdome for the Sugar Bowl Committee's kick-off event. They hoisted a BCS banner in the Dome, and tons of local press and socialite types were there.
It was a lot of fun - with amazing food and wine, and a lot of fun people from the T-P - but I admit to being a little starstruck when we met Duane Lewis.

Yep, THE Duane Lewis. GAH!

(He's the new communications director for the Sugar Bowl.)

He was talking about his trepidation at entering the Superdome - the last time he was there, his Rams got smacked around by the Pats for the Super Bowl win.

On Friday, M.'s mother passed away after a long fight with cancer.

On Saturday, we celebrated Kevin's birthday with a barbeque and chocolate cake and much football. That night D. and I drove over to a purple house in Mid-City for Chandra's going-away party. Several hours later, I dragged my drunk - and very cute - boyfriend home, where he nursed a horrendous hangover, that if anything, left him paler than usual. (And that's saying something.) Evidently, champagne and Guinness cheese aren't such a great idea after nursing Pimm's Cups and beer all day.

On Sunday, we watched our much adored NFL Sunday Ticket, and I made dinner for Chandra and Goh.

On Monday, the lucky bastage had a press pass for the Monday Night Football match-up between the the Saints and the Titans. Kevin and I drove to Covington for M.'s mom's viewing, and drove back across the Causeway listening to WWL and lamenting our awful blocking and tackling. Of note was that EVERY other commercial featured a voiceover from Hokie Gajan.

"Hi, folks, this is Hokie Gajan here for...YOUR MOM!"

I like the idea of a spot like that. Mmm.

I missed "K-ville," but DVR'ed it for later viewing (I honestly thought it was better than the pilot), and caught most of the ensuing three quarters of the game. I was ready to pull my hair out, but was mostly just thankful that I hadn't started either Brees or McAllister in our fantasy league (I had chosen Matt Schaub and Jamal Lewis, respectively).

Poor Deuce. Seriously, that's just heartbreaking.

On Tuesday, Kevin, D. and I drove up to Mandeville for M.'s mom's funeral, and I felt so helpless. I just wanted to hug her and tell her it was going to be okay.

Last night we experienced the joys of Nacho Mama's yet again, and I started to become more cheerful. It's been that kind of month at work - numbers are down, and without M.'s irrepressible cheer and efficiency in the office, Kevin and I have both been a little down.

Tonight, we help Chandra move.
Tomorrow night, I bitch and moan that I'm not at the Cowboy Mouth concert - presumably, I'll be packing for our mad dash/overnight trip to Jacksonville for the FSU-Alabama game and watching the WVU-USF game.
And no, I don't want to talk about the FSU cheating scandal right now. I want to nurse my ginormous cup of coffee and be glad that Roxana's okay after her car accident.
It's been a long month. I look very forward to taking a few days off next month.

On the origin of political hypocrisy...

This just incenses me.

The Times-Picayune reported yesterday that Sen. David Vitter earmarked $100K in a federal spending bill for a creationist group to lobby for creationism in public schools in Louisiana.

Let's back up for a second here.

This is a country founded by people fleeing religious intolerance. This country is a melting pot of rich and diverse cultures. This is a nation that claims to be proud of protecting religious freedom by separating church and state.

Yet Vitter, best known of late for his trysts with prostitutes, is countering the very foundation of what made the U.S. such a haven for those looking for freedom.

I'm all for Judeo-Christian ethics and teaching children in a public school about right and wrong. But to teach creationism in lieu of evolution is both irresponsible and narrow-minded. Here's a little more about the Louisiana Family Forum:

"Among other things, a 'Louisiana Family Forum Fact Sheet' at one point included 'A Battle Plan -- Practical Steps to Combat Evolution' by Kent Hovind, a controversial evangelist who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for tax offenses and obstruction of justice.

Hovind's paper stated, 'Evolution is not a harmless theory but a dangerous religious belief' that underpinned the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia."

Wow. What irritates me most about this is that it's clear to me that these people have never so much as read Charles Darwin's elegant observations from the HMS Beagle, On the Origin of Species. Darwin was never a proponent of eugenics (i.e., creating a superrace).

(These are the same types of people who haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, but feel safe in decrying the series as Satanic.)

Evolution doesn't speak to the creation of life. Nor did Darwin EVER claim, as erroneously reported, that mankind descends from apes. Evolution seeks to explain how life adapts to its environs - his most famous example is of the finches he saw in the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. From Alternative Science:

Today's finches vary in their physical form (mainly the size and shape of their beaks), their habitat and their diet, depending on which islands they inhabit. On Daphne island, for instance, is a species called fortis with a strong, thick beak for cracking nuts and seeds; while on Santa Cruz island is a cactus finch scandens with a narrow fine beak, that feeds on insects.

Darwin arrived at the Galapagos in the Beagle in 1835. In his Journal of Researches (popularly known as The Voyage of the Beagle) Darwin famously commented that, 'in the thirteen species of ground-finches, a nearly perfect gradation may be traced from a beak extraordinarily thick to one so fine that it may be compared with that of a warbler. I very much suspect that certain members of the series are confined to different islands.'

Darwin went on to add, 'Seeing this gradation and diversity of structure in one small, intimately related group of birds one might really fancy that, from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends.'

Essentially, Darwin argued that the specific habitats required specific adaptations. That's it.

That's the theory of evolution - that species change over a period of time to survive environmental or habitat changes. If the species doesn't change or migrate, it likely dies out (natural selection).

But here's the kicker - most who dismiss Darwin's work do so based upon a claim that Darwin stated that humans were descended from apes. In fact, Darwin carefully skirted the topic during his lifetime. This myth probably results from the work of his close friend and collaborator, T. H. Huxley. The Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, arrived unannounced at a meeting of the British Association in 1860, publicly denouncing evolutionary theory. Wilberforce and Huxley began to argue, and the following exchange reportedly took place:

Nevertheless, this was not how it was seen by everyone. Wilberforce said something - something about apes and grandmothers - which led Huxley to say to Brodie `The Lord hath delivered him into my hands' and which gave rise to the legend of his having been completely obliterated by Huxley. According to the legend itself, he turned to Huxley and asked: `Is it on your grandfather's or grandmother's side that you claim descent from the apes?' whereupon Huxley retorted: `I would rather be descended from an ape than a bishop.'

I've never felt that creationism and evolution are mutually exclusive, and I owe a lot of that to my Bapthlic upbringing (Southern Baptist and Catholic). Most evolutionary scientists are less concerned with our origins and more interested in how we've developed as our planet has changed. Who's to say that the Big Bang Theory isn't the metaphorical first day of Genesis?

Regardless, the point is that creationism is a religious theory - not one steeped in physical science and scientific method. If private schools want to teach it as part of their curriculum, they're free to do so, as parents presumably know what the school will be teaching their children. But to insidiously insert it into public schools reminds us clearly that the Scopes Monkey Trial was not so long ago. Religious teachings are a private matter for families - not for politicians seeking re-election funds from a fundamentalist lobbying group.

Hypocrite, thy name is David Vitter.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Reason #1239812093801296 I'm glad I no longer live in Florida...

ANOTHER plane crash near Cypress Creek in Ft. Lauderdale? I pity the commuters on

Yeah, I'll take a tropical storm and possible flooding any day.

Pop Quiz for Surratt and Hayes

You're a starter for the winningest coach in Division I football. If you're a linebacker, chances are good that you'll be drafted high enough when you leave the program to enable you to play on Sundays in the future.

Why would you screw that up? Why?


The Jena 6 and a tropical storm warning

My much-adored Mollygood posted a great piece this morning on what's going on in Jena. I firmly agree with what the editor, Cord Jefferson, posted.

In other news, a tropical storm warning has been issued for the northern gulf coast, from Apalachicola (over in the Big Bend, near my brother) to New Orleans.

"According to the NHC's advisory, "maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph ... with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours, and the depression could become a subtropical or tropical storm" later Friday.

The depression is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph. A turn to the west-northwest is expected during the next 24 hours. Coastal storm surge flooding of 1 to 2 feet above normal tide levels can be expected in areas of onshore flow."


Diet Catholics invade the Lower 9th!

True story.

(Diet Catholic = just one calorie of guilt, but all the rituals and traditions = Anglicans/Episcopalians.)

"Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams spent seven and a half hours behind closed doors today talking with 150 Episcopal bishops and delegates from overseas Anglican churches about rising tensions over homosexuality that threaten to rupture the Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, left, blesses the incense he used to bless a former Walgreens in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans on Thursday.

He emerged from the Hotel InterContinental to be driven to the Lower Ninth Ward to see Episcopal hurricane relief efforts there, including a new church that will occupy a now-ruined drugstore a few steps from the home of New Orleans musician Fats Domino.

Williams blessed the grafitti-covered building and posed for pictures with curious bystanders. Diana Meyers, a worker with St. Anna's medical mission, gave Williams a rough, foot-tall wooden cross she said was made of the debris of wrecked shrimp and oyster boats."

Forbes ranks the Saints... being worth much less than the average NFL franchise.

Two words: corporate subsidies.

That's what is lacking in this market. Much as I love - nay, adore - my Saints, New Orleans is a difficult market for sports enterprises because while it has a loyal fanbase and lucrative merchandising, it lacks the one thing that draws people like Benson to the lights of Los Angeles - a large corporate presence.

Corporate subsidies are less taxing on the NFL, who currently subsidize the Saints. The New York Times had a great piece in 2006 on the difficulties the Saints organization face in trying to flourish in an area largely propped up by tourism, seafood and petrochemicals.

Tom Benson and his grand-daughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, have long held the reputation that they seek the bottom line. This is a business, folks. (I know we ALL remember the sneaky near-move to San Antonio - way to kick a city when it's down, dude.)

What can we do to keep the Saints here, where they belong?

It's going to be a soggy weekend.

Perhaps I should move my car this time?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Alas, poor Binky.

Only in New Orleans would an adult store manager commit arson to stem the competition from a rival adult store.

Seriously? Seriously.

Here's a question - who names their place of business "Mr. Binky's" if it's not a poor facsimile of Chuck E. Cheese?

Perv. ;)

Invest 93, you saucy minx.

You will not - I repeat, NOT - ruin my weekend of football-watching, barbequing-for-Kevin's-birthday, attending-a-going-away-party-for-Chandra fun.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Gimme, gimme more...

And now for a little levity - is it sad that I think this man looks better than Britney Spears did at the VMA's?

Goodness gracious...!

Panko-crusted Salmon

In our quest to eat better, I've been furiously pouring through our cabinets and freezer looking for healthy dietary options.

Here's one I cooked up last night.

Panko-crusted Salmon with stir-fried bok choy

1 lb. salmon filets
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. sesame oil (olive oil would work, too)
1 T. kosher salt, divided
1 T. black pepper
1/2 c. panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 t. paprika
1 t. ginger

1 head of bok choy, chopped

1 3/4 c. water
2 cups, brown rice (instant is great for people who don't have the patience to sit around for 45 minutes whilst their rice is cooking, like me)

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat 2 T. of olive oil in a skillet under hot. In a saucepan, boil the 1 3/4 cups of water with a pinch of kosher salt.

Combine salt, pepper, paprika, ginger and panko in a gallon-sized bag or medium-sized mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, coat the filets in olive oil. Dredge the filets in the panko mixture. Place gently into the skillet and sear the salmon on each side for about 90 seconds.

Place the seared filets on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes (eyeball it).

While the fish is baking, stir the rice into the boiling water and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.

As the rice is cooking, heat the sesame oil in a skillet until hot. Add the bok choy and stir constantly, sprinkling a little kosher salt in the skiller as you stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Serve the salmon on a bed of bok choy, with the rice on the side. This meal is great with iced green tea, Sauvignon Blanc or heck, even a light red like Beaujolais.


My 100th post, or a rant about Ray Nagin

According to, Ray Nagin attended the protest today in Jena, in northern Louisiana.

Wow. It's interesting to me that Nagin has chosen to do this, because from a public relations standpoint, he thinks he's getting positive media coverage as a fiery, passionate trailblazer for civil rights. As a New Orleans resident, though, I'm fairly incensed.

This is a man who seems to be all talk. The rhetoric this man spouts is simply astonishing. And before Katrina, he was pretty popular for his fiscal policies. Since the storm, though, he's fairly reviled. I'm still stunned people re-elected him.

Examples of Ray Nagin quotes:

"I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day...This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be."

Hmm, so what you're saying is you didn't want the people of uptown NOLA - regardless of their race - to return to their homes, universities and businesses? You didn't want their tax dollars driving the economy while Mid-City and Broadmoor were slowly rebuilt? Ohhhh, wait, we misunderstood you?

"You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about."

Thanks for the clarification, Mayor Nagin.

Anyhow, Ray Nagin has a city for which he is responsible, as mayor, falling apart at the seams. Young men are killing one another over narcotics deals gone bad, and innocents are getting caught in the crossfire. The D.A. is corrupt, the police are exhausted and understaffed, and we're losing businesses to Mississippi and Alabama.

And our mayor is busy preening for the cameras?


Yet another update on the Jena 6

Of course Al Sharpton is on the bandwagon suddenly.

The thing that kills me about Sharpton is that he'll appear on Larry King Live in a cloud of righteous passion and indignation about the Jena 6, but he'll only tepidly chastise Michael Vick for torturing the form of a mild letter to Vick's sponsors. Interesting.

Now don't get me wrong - what's going on in Jena is horrible. And it's lopsided - the charges, I mean. 3 white students can hang nooses, but only get suspended. 6 black students send a bloodied white student who taunted them with racial epithets to the hospital, and it's attempted murder?

But if the U.S. Attorney is to believed, the noose incident and the beating of the white student are only tenuously linked.

I suppose I'm not sure what to think right now.

A commenter on CNN's story had this to say, and I think it's really interesting analysis of the underpinnings of this controversy:

"The student who recieved [sic] the beating was the victim, UNTIL the prosecutors in this case decided to victimize the 6 boys who committed this crime. Attempted murder? Assault with a deadly weapon (that weapon being a shoe)?

The boys should have been punished, instead they were turned into martyrs. The punishment needs to fit the crime, and if you think the punishment suggested fits this crime, you're out of touch with reality."

Oh, Douglas Brinkley... I adore you.

Seriously, my lifelong dream is to be a historian...hence the undergraduate degree in History. I watch the History Channel the way most people watch "Heroes."

Douglas Brinkley is one of the most outstanding historians in modern American history. He's a gifted writer, a strong voice, and a well-reasoned thinker.

Here's evidence of just that:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

LSU-Tulane Kickoff Set

And it's a doozy, folks. According to, kickoff is set for...yep, 11:00 A.M.:

LSU's game against Tulane in the Superdome on Saturday, Sept. 29 will kickoff at 11 a.m. and will be televised to a national audience on ESPN2, Conference USA officials announced Monday.
It will mark the first time since 1983 that LSU and Tulane will square off on national television. That year, the Tigers posted a 20-7 win over the Green Wave in New Orleans in a game televised by TBS. It will also mark the earliest start time for an LSU football game since the 2003 Cotton Bowl when the Tigers faced Texas in a 10 a.m. contest in Dallas.

Just in time for a Superdome Bloody Mary!

K-Ville and Hickory-Smoked Vanilla Ice Cream

Last night, D. and I got home only to find that the power grid in our neighborhood was off. It came on just in time for us to set the DVR to record the series premiere of "K-Ville," pick up a to-go order from Parasol's (mmmm, oyster po-boy and gravy cheese fries), pick up some beer from the A&P on Magazine (wherein we, along with the amused staff, witnessed an incredibly audacious shoplifting incident) and head over to Dave the Banker's place to watch the first half of Monday Night Football - the Eagles vs. the Redskins.

We stopped at the Creole Creamery to pick up some ice cream, and the following conversation took place.

Clerk: What can I get for you folks?

D: She'll have a scoop of the bananas foster ice cream. As for me...hmmm. Oooooh, I'll take the hickory-smoked vanilla bean ice cream.

Clerk, looking dubious: Um, have you ever actually tried it?

D: Noooo...

Clerk, handing him a sample: It tastes like barbeque ice cream.

Me, cracking up: That's an interesting flavor.

Clerk: You're not kidding. We've even had garlic-flavored ice cream in the past. But the blue cheese ice cream had to be the absolute worst.

D: Mmmm. I like this! I'll have a scoop!

And like it he did.

More to the point, we missed the season premiere of "K-Ville" because our DVD only recorded the last 19 minutes of it. Fortunately, I had already seen it. Here's's review - what were your thoughts? Did you watch it? Will you watch it again?

Gone, but certainly not forgotten

Friday marked the annual Air Force Academy memorial ceremony. Dad's name was - of course - on that list.

So here's to you, Daddy, and all other fallen cadets.

I miss him intensely. It's been very hard to cope with the grief at times.

Fortunately, Mom and Mike and I have a great support system.

Here's a clip of the service, in which each deceased alum's name is read, with a cadet from his or her squadron responding, "Absent, sir!"

Monday, September 17, 2007

K-Ville Premieres Tonight

I'm certainly not going to repost the link to the series premiere of "K-Ville," but despite the somewhat outlandish writing, I'm really pulling for this show to develop and work. This could be so good for New Orleans, and hey, it's not as if the national perception of the area could get that much worse.

Here are some reviews of the show - they're very, very harsh (like the Orlando Sentinel calling it "loathsome"), but they're also pretty on target. The pilot is cartoonish and trite, and I REALLY hope they can adopt some of the grittiness that successful, truly poignant cop shows radiate.

But there is one positive review amongst the detritus:

One more murder in this town...

Two, actually. One in Terrytown (which is on the West Bank), and one in the 17th Street Canal near the Earhart (details are still unknown.

According to a local blogger, "August was the deadliest month in New Orleans this year with 26 murders."

I can only imagine what September's total will be.

The national media calls us Murdertown, USA - but the truth is that the violence is basically a civil war, much of it in Central City (across Louisiana Ave. from where D., the Monster and I make our home) and New Orleans East.

I'm by no means naive about what's at stake here in New Orleans, but every time I read about a shooting or a rape within a few miles of La Maison, I have flashbacks to that night in June.

What night in June? Let me recap - some already know what happened that night:

On a muggy Friday night, around 9:15, I was on the phone with D. and folding laundry. The wrought iron gate on my front door was locked, but the front door itself was open. I had a mix CD playing out in the living room, and was all set to go to bed early. After all, D. was flying in on Saturday morning (hooray!).

Jake started barking nonstop and I heard screaming from outside. I went into the living room, flipped on the porch light, and saw a woman there, covered in blood, begging for help. I called the police and EMS, and in the meantime got the woman situated on the porch, sitting down. I made a tourniquet out of a towel for her upper arm, and held it elevated. I also tried to keep her talking so that she wouldn't go into shock.

She told me that her boyfriend took a shovel to her, beating her and slicing her. He cut her right forearm clean through to the bone. He put her in his truck and dumped her in our neighborhood. She staggered up the street, disoriented, looking for help.

The cops were there within 6 minutes - 3 patrol cars. EMS showed up 2-3 minutes later. As they sterilized her arm, I held her arm and she cried into my shoulder. Her name is Clorissa. Because she had just returned to New Orleans and just started her job at Wal-mart, she didn't have insurance. They took her to University Hospital - basically, where all the uninsured go for medical care.

The cops hung around to get my statement. I was in my pajamas, covered in her blood, and shaken up, but relatively calm. They were incredibly nice, and upon learning that I had just moved to the area, they adopted a big-brother-protective stance, and started telling me where in the area I shouldn't go after dark.

It's easy to assume that you'll never witness a crime, or even its aftermath. But as long as the NOPD is understaffed and the D.A.'s office is incompetent and corrupt, New Orleans will easily hit 200 murders this year. EASILY.

One out of one collies agree.

The Monster was clearly excited about yesterday's Saints game, prior to kickoff, at least.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Game of Suck

Wow. Our receivers can't catch, our backs fumble, and Olindo Mare still can't kick...this is going to be a loooong game. Needless to say, the collie and I are dismayed. Our offensive output was just abysmal. Yeesh...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Taking a break from the Battle of Who Could Care Less...

(Like that oh-so-appropos Ben Folds reference? Michigan and Notre Dame just look's like watching an extended version of Britney Spears' trainwreck of a VMA's "performance." Seriously, it's just utterly hideous.)

Anyhow, I'm irritated that UW is choking against Ohio State. I was really pulling for Ty Willingham...oh, well. I'll pull for USF against Texas, I guess. GO GEORGE O'LEARY! As my taller half pointed out, Texas only scheduled this game for one reason - to try to gain a recruiting foothold in Florida. It'd be nice if that just blew up in Mack Brown's face...even if he is an FSU alum.
(BTW, how great is it for MSU to have upset Auburn at Jordan-Hare? What a great win for Sylvester Croom!)

This morning D. and I went shopping in Metairie for an important and belated birthday gift. We wandered around Lakeside Mall for a bit, and I had a fun time in the MAC store. The makeup artist coated me in enough makeup to give Christina Aguilera a run for her money. Spackle-based makeup, indeed....!

After that, we went to Drago's for the Best. Meal. Ever. Of course we ordered the charbroiled oysters, and D. tried a stuffed soft-shell crab with shrimp cream sauce. I ordered what I always order there - Shuckee Duckee (blackened duck breast with oyster cream sauce pasta). So, so good. If you ever visit New Orleans, make a beeline for Drago's. The food, service and atmosphere cannot be topped.
Man, my stomach is happy. ;)

Upon returning to La Maison, we checked the news, and learned that not one, but two, emergency landings took place here in NOLA this afternoon. A Southwest passenger on a flight from Tampa to Vegas discovered a suspicious white powder in a lavatory, prompting a landing at MSY. But here's the fun one (if only because it had a happy ending!) - the Cowboys' chartered flight to Miami (they play the Phins tomorrow at olphin Stadium) experienced hydraulic lift failure, and landed in Kenner as well. Thankfully, everyone's fine. But it makes you wonder if there's just some weird ionic field in the air over New Orleans. Hmm.

Anyhow, back to football. Here's a little something to whet the appetite for tonight's CU-FSU game:


Friday, September 14, 2007

Update on the Jena 6

An appeals court overturned the battery conviction of Mychal Bell, who was facing up to 15 years in prison for allegedly attempting to kill a white teenager in a fight. Ironically, that same teenager was treated and released from the hospital in the same day.

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

Leslie Feist can cheer anyone up, I'm fairly sure. Hooray, weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


My Air Force Falcons just upset TCU 20-17 in overtime at Falcon Stadium in my hometown of Colorado Springs.

I'm pretty sure that my dad is smiling right now, because I know he's watching from above. I know I'm grinning like a donkey with a mouthful of briars.

Tomorrow is the memorial service, and the cadets of his original USAFA squadron will read a roll-call of those not present. His name will obviously be on that list. So I'll allow myself to be sad and all sorts of teary tomorrow. But tonight, I'm just thrilled.


(BTW, Gary Patterson is a class act - having his team and coaching staff remain on field until the Air Force alma mater was played. Bravo, Coach Patterson. And Rutgaaaahs? Pay attention - that's how to be classy when playing an undersized service academy team. K?)

NOLA News Round-Up

Harry Connick Jr. Back in New Orleans

"On Wednesday, the Maison Bourbon served as a gathering place for Connick, who turned 40 Tuesday, and a handful of residents from the Musicians Village — the project Connick launched with saxophonist Branford Marsalis after Hurricane Katrina to help displaced musicians.
Connick said the city's recovery from Katrina has been painstakingly slow, but he is trying to stay positive."

'Killer Bees' Now Established In New Orleans

"Africanized honeybees have been found in the New Orleans area since July of 2005, but the regularity and frequency of finding them there is new cause for concern."

Cop Show Comes Calling in Battered New Orleans

"For a town still fighting an impression of hopelessness, the arrival of a big-time network television show has been both welcome and somewhat anxiety inducing. It has meant a significant boost to the local economy, plenty of new employment and a chance for New Orleans to reclaim some attention from a nation that seems to have moved on to other concerns."

New Orleans Keeps Narrow Black Majority

"The study determined that while blacks left the city at a much faster rate than whites, New Orleans was still 58 percent black during 2006. Before Katrina, which hit Aug. 29, 2005, the city was 67 percent black, according to the U.S. census."

Rape reported in eastern N.O.

"New Orleans police are investigating an aggravated rape that occurred earlier this week, the third such attack reported in New Orleans in four days. "

City sets priorities, but details are scarce

"Mayor Ray Nagin's recovery office has identified more than 160 neighborhood-level rebuilding projects that officials say should be New Orleans' top priorities as money begins flowing for capital improvements in a city still wrestling with a largely blighted landscape. "

Much to our amusement...

D. is now getting quoted...but as a T-P columnist...which is news to us.

Reason #1239812093801295 I'm glad I no longer live in Florida...

Another cop-killer is on the loose in Miami....


BTW, it's quite rainy here. Quite. Rainy. Indeed.

Humberto, you suck. And I mean that in the best way possible.

I'm working from home this morning, as is my better half, because of this:

Humberto worsened overnight into a hurricane, and the outer bands, which are only tropical storm strength, are causing a little weather fun here in uptown New Orleans on this fine Thursday morning.

As Michelle points out, though, the worst has yet to come. My car already has a little water in it from this morning's freakishly waterlogged band, and tonight we'll both need to move our cars to much higher ground.

I'm having flashbacks to the day I moved here, and my car already smells a little moldy from that fun experience (Plus, the odometer no longer works. Thanks, flash flooding!).

Possibly the best thing about living in New Orleans... the ability to stop at the local market on your way home from work and pick up a pound of gigantic, fresh boiled shrimp and some spicy boiled crabs. A lb. of boiled gulf shrimp is roughly $6.99, and ginormous boiled crabs are about $1.50 a piece. Not too shabby, eh?

It's a messy business, to be sure. It requires a mallet, a debris plate, and a hell of a lot of napkins. It also makes dinner fun, and it was a great bonus to see my boyfriend smile and laugh and enjoy himself despite his overall stress level.

Per the generally understated, very midwestern taller half, "I could get used to this. It's one of the good things about living here."

Check out the aftermath...this is what two hungry folks can do to a pile of seafood:

The best part is...oyster season has just begun. Mwahahahahahahaha!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Jena 6: a case study in prejudice.

Unless you live under a rock, or somewhere in Britney Spears' lonely, dusty underwear drawer, you've probably heard about the injustices befalling the Jena 6.

Now, the Huffington Post would have you believe that this is 1930, and that if you're white or black in the south, you live in a perpetual state of hatred and mistrust.

To an extent, the mistrust is there, sure.

What saddens me is that racism - a violent and ridiculously self-righteous kind of ignorance - occurs in all cultures, in all parts of the world. I suppose it bothers me that people like to pigeonhole the south as a bastion of All Things Racist.

Ex: Whoopi Goldberg, making excuses for Michael Vick because dog fighting is some sort of alleged cultural touchstone in the south? What? I've lived all but a scant few months of my life south of the Mason-Dixon line, and I'm not particularly sheltered. I've never seen a dogfight.

I prefer the term prejudice, as it is more far-reaching. It acknowledges the fact that every culture - whether based in politics, race, gender, religion, etc. - carries and perpetuates ignorant stereotypes.

I hate what's going on in Jena - a true injustice, to be sure, to those high school boys facing such a steep price for doing what they thought was a matter of defending themselves - because it serves to continue the prejudicial stereotype that if you live in a certain part of the country, you must fit into some sort of mold.

I see examples of prejudice - some subtle, some blatant - everyday in New Orleans. I've been refused service at a local 24-hour drive-through because the kitchen was supposedly closed - only to see them serve every car behind me. I've seen people use horrible epithets about other cultures here. But by the same token, I've seen warmth and caring here - random conversations struck up in grocery store checkout lines, church congregations working side-by-side to built new hope in the form of a new home for a family desperately trying to move on from Katrina.

Cultural intolerance surely exists - but it exists everywhere, not just in one pocket of the country or the world.

The hideous crap that is going on in Jena could feasibly happen anywhere, whether it's Louisiana or...Colorado. Wasn't Alan Berg gunned down in his Denver driveway because of his religious preferences? Matthew Shepard - wasn't he tortured and murdered sheerly because of his sexual Wyoming?

My point is this - prejudice knows no geographical or cultural boundaries.

Unfortunately, enlightened media pundits are too busy stereotyping the south to sense the irony.

The Monster needs a new chew toy...

Jake has a great habit of eviscerating his squeaky toys - even his nearly new flamingo toy has not escaped his enthusiasm. Will any Aggie fans volunteer, perchance?

From SbB:

KUVE-TV reports that Texas A&M's sideline canine was suspended for last Saturday's game after snapping at her handler. During a mid-week run, the cadet minder accidentally stepped on Reveille VII's tail, causing the collie to bite back in response.

I find this particularly funny given that our house is currently overrun by 3 large, blonde collies known for long, destructive tails, a tendency to rip apart rooms, and a need to sleep on a bed of pillows (blame Mom - she spoiled the other two). Teeth gnashing is the trend, and tumbleweeds of collie fur litter our floors.

Last night, as we attempted to sleep, Lady decided it'd be great fun to claw at me. Jake, no doubt jealous of another collie's presence on the bed, jumped on the bed and promptly stepped on D.'s eye.

Yes, indeedy, it's going to be an interesting week at Chez CaitandDave.

So here's a thought - if collies are jealous (albeit smart and generally sweet, well-tempered behemoths) and have personal space issues, how do you think these lovely creatures reacted to this inhumane treatment?

And not one word about Jake's Darth Vader costume from 2006 - that was pure fabulousity.

Live, from the Gulf: It's Huuuuuuuuuuuuuumberto!

It's going to be a rainy weekend. But I'm easily more concerned about Tropical Depression 8.

Flashback to 1995: "Uh-oh, it was goooooood living with you, uh-oh..."

WWOZ is on in stereo
A string of flowers haloed around your head Candle light
Ceiling fan
Curtains blow away and back again
Back again
Don't wake me, I think I'm in a dream

Sleeping is easy
I used to lay in bed for hours
I've waited a lifetime now maybe I'll learn

Calling back and forth through heavy air
The barges sound their warnings in the dark
Peace comes like a trusted friend
As it starts to rain again fall away
Fall away
So don't wake me I think, I'm in a dream

Sleeping is easy
I used to lay in bed for hours
I've waited a lifetime now maybe I'll learn
Sleeping is easy
I used to walk the streets for hours
I've waited a lifetime now maybe I'll learn

Let go of your fear, let's grow old together
Find a place along the way
Let's reel through the years
Each makes the other better
But what thoughts can I call allies
When this circle of ribs keeps working on its own?

WWOZ's on in stereo. Well it's on in stereo...

Hooray! I can successfully revisit my awkward, pudgy 16th year of life on Friday at the House of Blues when my beloved Better than Ezra makes their return to the House of Blues on Decatur St. in the Quarter.

Let's rewind to June 1995: "Good" was racing up the charts and I was instantly smitten with Tom, BTE's bassist. Puberty was terribly unkind to me, so I developed an obsession with music that has rendered me a definite audiophile. I had a gigantic cassette and CD collection by the time I moved into my college dorm, including tons of college radio staples like Guided by Voices, Sebadoh, Afghan Whigs, Drivin' n' Cryin', Whiskeytown, the Old 97's and Sonic Youth. Through these bands I discovered the Velvet Underground, Gram Parsons, old Merle Haggard records and the Replacements. Sweet mercy, I'm still an obsessive music fan, much to D.'s chagrin. ;)

Since the mid-90's I've probably seen BTE...hmmm...20-25 times? They played in Pensacola and Tallahassee a fair amount when I was in high school and college.

Their shows never fail to entertain - they're light-hearted and funny, and musically, you can't get much better than three white guys covering "Sexy Motherf***er." You just can't.

On a completely applicable side-note, WWOZ is an actual radio station here in New Orleans, famous for its roots and local music. You can tune in on any given night and hear anything from zydeco to jazz.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Win or lose, I still believe.

I am a true Seminole. I believe that with time and effort, the Florida State football program will return to national prominence. Coach Bowden has take the right steps, in hiring a phenomenal coaching staff.

It'll take time. It'll require hard work and drive.

But I believe.

And now for something completely different...

Thankfully, football season is in full swing, and D. and I can now spend 12-14 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays devoted to the joys of the gridiron.

Unfortunately, with great joy comes the defeat of the waistline. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about - the dreaded beer-and-wings gut. While we still need to join a gym (oh yeah, it's definitely time), we're working on trying to improve our approach to our living room tailgates. Here's an easy and quasi-healthy approach to wings and blue cheese dip:

Boneless Buffalo Tenders

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. Crystal hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Slice the chicken into "tender"-sized strips. In a mixing bowl, combine the olive oil and hot sauce. Let the chicken soak in the hot sauce/oil mixture for about ten minutes. Place the strips in a non-stick baking dish and bake until the chicken is cooked through.

These suckers taste gooood. I'm just sayin'. On to the sauce:

Blue Cheese Dip

1 c. fat-free sour cream
1/2 c. blue cheese, crumbled
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 stalks green onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill for 10-15 minutes. Serve with the boneless buffalo tenders, some carrots/celery, and some Abita Light.

GAME ON. Geaux Saints, Noles, Wildcats and Falcons!

9/11 and prostitution?

It's been 6 years since a group of extremists instilled a new kind of terror in us. 6 years ago I had just graduated from college, and was working at my alma mater when the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. I rushed downstairs in time to see the second plane hit the south tower on TV.

In those few minutes, the world changed. Or did it?

We evacuated the campus due to security concerns (Jeb Bush's office was a mere mile away), and I spent the rest of the day numbly watching media coverage of the confusing, horrific events of the day, trying to make sense of what had just happened. I watched people hurling themselves out of the upper floors of the WTC and thought, "This can't be happening. This plot is more ludicrous than the average Michael Bay film."

In subsequent weeks, we bonded over U2's "Walk On" and swore we'd learn from the experience. We cheered on rescue workers and scores of young men and women rushed to the offices of military recruiters. We'd beat bin Laden at his own game in Afghanistan, where the Taliban hid him in the mountains. We'd be a stronger, better, more united nation. Petty partisan squabbles were behind us, right?

Six years later, we've been through so, so much as a country. We've been through the invasion of Iraq. Charlie, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Katrina and Wilma have all left drastic calling cards on our coasts. The Dixie Chicks are ostracized for speaking poorly of the president, and an actor from "Law and Order" (yes, I realize Fred Thompson was a senator) is trying to capture the Reagan magic and run for president.

We've seen this country fracture over politics and war, and I wonder - what will the legacy of 9/11 be? Did we learn anything? Are we more vigilant? Are we proud of who we are as a nation, and what we represent to the world? Did 9/11 change our national identity at all? Can we do anything more than polarize into liberal and conservative extremes that threaten to pull our country apart at the seams?

This isn't a partisan statement, because I'm the proud daughter of a fighter pilot. I will never waver in my support of defense spending and pride in our armed services. I've voted for both Democrats and Republicans - heck, I've even voted for independent and Libertarian candidates.

I just wonder what my children's textbooks will tell us about September 11, 2001, and what it meant to our nation. That said...

When the 9/11 Commission convened to explore where our covert intelligence went wrong, a funny little tale about a brothel on Canal Street surfaced. It seems that the FBI was placing considerable resources into trying to prove that drugs were being dealt from a small brothel in New Orleans. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) may have put it best in his scathing commentary on the topic:

Members of Congress, impatient with the FBI's failures in fighting terrorism, have heaped scorn on the idea that its agents spent six months taping phone calls made by hookers. “I realise that it comes as an enormous revelation to the American public that there might have been prostitutes in New Orleans,” deadpanned Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont. “I mean, who knew?”

Prostitution has long been an interesting part of NOLA culture - heck, it was legalized for a bit in a district known cheekily as "Storyville." Jazz actually flourished in the parlors of some of the more
interesting houses of ill-repute

Interestingly, on the anniversary of 9/11, prostitution in New Orleans is back in the news:


"Leave Britney aloooooooooooooooooone!"

Really, there are no words.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Britney Spears v. Sarah Silverman

X17 Online is now alleging that Britney Spears' performance at last night's VMA's was stilted and uninspired because she supposedly overheard Sarah Silverman rehearsing her monologue before the show. Far be it from me to insert logic into this great debate of gigantic political proportions, but:

-Britney Spears CHOSE this event as a method of staging a comeback. This was a tremendous opportunity for her.
-Instead of rehearsing, she chose to party in Vegas.
-She HAS been performing - remember her little House of Blues tour earlier this year?-Spears also publicly fired much of the staff/team surrounding her over the past year. She's been acting as her own stylist, publicist, etc.
-She chose to sign with manager Jeff Kwatinetz, who publicly guided Kelly Clarkson's career into a terrible minefield earlier this year.
-She reportedly called her children "mistakes" in front of several former nannies - Silverman was just referencing Spears' own foibles.

Was what Sarah Silverman said incredibly harsh and discomfiting? Absolutely. Was any of it so far off base as to engender this much ranting from Britney apologists? Nope.

I suppose the real question is - at what point is it time for Britney Spears to stop blaming everyone around her, and take responsibility for her own actions?

Personal accountability is a bitch, y'all.

Oh, Britney...

If you DIDN'T see this last night (which is understandable, as the Giants and Cowboys were engaged in mortal offensive combat), watch it NOW:

I don’t know where to begin…was it the ratty Chatty Cathy weave? The blue contacts? The Buddha belly enhanced by a too-small bra and too-tight boy shorts? Was it that you were hopped up on ludes and resembled a badly used, overweight stripper at Bada Bing?

Oh Britney…

Is there any way to save this woman from herself? Sarah Silverman provided the harshest - but probably the most fitting - commentary on the evening. From US Magazine:

Immediately following Spears’ glittery opening performance, Silverman poked fun at the singer’s early rise to fame. “Was that incredible?" she asked the crowd. "She is amazing. I mean, she is 25 years old and she’s already accomplished everything she’s going to accomplish in her life.”

She continued: “It’s weird to think that just a few years ago on this very show, she was this, like, sweet innocent little girl in slutty clothes writhing around with a python. That’s not nice…calling Madonna a python.”

Even Spears’ sons, Jayden and Sean, who turn 1 and 2 next week, respectively, were fare game.

“Have you seen Britney’s kids? Oh my god, they are the most adorable mistakes you will ever see!” Silverman trilled. “They are as cute as the hairless vagina they came out of.”

Brunch, NFL style.

Yesterday marked the NFL's triumphant return to Sundays. And boy, were we ready. Kevin, Dave the Banker, and Michelle all came over to Chez CaitandDave for a kickoff brunch for the Redskins-Phins game. I'm pretty sure Michelle consumed half of the pitcher of Bloody Marys single-handedly, while D. and I took on some mimosas. Hell, we even found pickled green beans for the Bloody Marys.

I stayed up late on Saturday night braising some baby back ribs in the oven, and the end result was well worth the subsequent lack of sleep. Hint: the trick to really great ribs is in the rub you use and in what you braise the ribs in - I use beer, vinegar, onion, jalapeno, garlic, brown sugar, kosher salt and cayenne. Throw on some KC-style BBQ sauce when the ribs are on the grill, and you'll be a happy camper. I know we were...the meat just slid off the bone.

We made a huge vat of cheese grits and some eggs with boudin hash, as well. Boudin is a Cajun sausage made with dirty rice and pork - it's not terribly spicy, but it's hearty and when stripped from its casing makes an awesome hash.

Food and football are two of my favorite things, so I was really excited about checking out our first weekend of NFL Sunday Ticket whilst gorging on grits- and man, was it worth the cost!

I felt awful for the Bills and the Giants, given the series of injuries yesterday. But my prayers are especially with special teams player Kevin Everett of the Bills, who injured his spine yesterday. The poor kid may never walk again - and that's a horrifying thing for an athlete to consider.

Tales of flying burritos

I flew back into New Orleans on Friday morning after a harried drive to the airport (yep, AGAIN) that involved carefully and nimbly driving through the scene of an accident - the stoplights were all out from the storm, and two cars had failed to observe the automatic four-way stop rule. One of the cars had its windshield knocked CLEAN onto the pavement. Wow.

Fortunately, everyone seemed okay.

I got back into town and drove home just as the DirecTV guys were leaving - they replaced our HD receiver, so we were all set for a weekend of football. Hooray!

I've not gotten to spend a lot of time with D. of late - he's been working very, very hard - so we decided to grab some lunch before I buckled down and got back to work. We drove down Magazine to Juan's Flying Burrito, famously billed as New Orleans' Creole Tacqueria. I could probably eat there every day quite happily, and given D.'s unholy obsession with Mexican food, I feel safe in predicting that he'd feel the same.

We both ordered the namesake dish - take a gander at the menu's description of this epicurean tour de force, and allow for a moment of envy:
Flying Burrito: chicken, steak, shrimp, sour cream and guacamole, black beans, yellow rice, cheese, salsa and hot sauce all are rolled in a large grilled flour, spinach or whole wheat tortilla

Oh yeah. It's THAT good.

So Saturday worked out pretty well - both FSU and K-State won. Weirdly, Auburn was upset by USF. I know USF has been on the radar for the past couple of years, but it was still odd to see the Bulls upset Auburn at Jordan-Hare. LSU looked great against a lackluster VT. South Carolina beating UGA between the hedges wasn't terribly surprising. The Fresno State-Texas A&M game was a thriller, too.

And Michigan? Wow. I'm mildly gleeful that Michigan AND Notre Dame are both 0-2.

Two quick notes, though:
1) Bill Callahan had possibly the most obnoxious post-game interview I've ever heard. When asked about his near loss at Wake Forest, he snippily replied, "Where are my congratulations? Well?"
2) Washington looks like the real deal - did you see that Boise State upset?? If Willingham returns the program Neuheisel almost destroyed to national prominence this season, it'll provide great vindication to a classy coach screwed over by Notre Dame.

Shelter from the storm?

After Thursday night's work event, I drove to Bethany, MO, a scant 97 miles north of Kansas City, to meet my friend Kariann.

Kariann was one of my first friends in south Florida - we were each fish out of water - she, from Iowa, and me from the deep south. We bonded over our mutual love of college football, and despite the moves we've each made since 2003, we've remained friends.
(She's the only person other than D. who can rival the weird facial expressions I render in photographs.)

As it happens, Bethany is exactly halfway between Des Moines, where KA lives, and Kansas City. We found the ONE place that promised to show the ill-fated Saints-Colts game, and planned to meet there.

So around 8:30, Kariann and I reunited for the first time since our crazy Key West weekend at a pool hall called - I kid you not - Right On Q.

I walked in wearing my Ann Taylor Young Professional Uniform, with my Kenneth Cole shoes and my Coach bag. In south Florida or even downtown New Orleans, I wouldn't have looked out of place. I would have just looked like another of the army of anonymous corporate twentysomethings. But in Bethany's pool hall, I stuck out. Quite a bit, in fact.

When Kariann arrived, the patrons of the bar started peppering us with questions - who are you? Where are you from? Why are you here?

When we explained it to them, and they finally understood why the overdressed short girl was yelling at the TV and laughing excitedly with the woman dressed like a teacher (primarily because she DOES teach middle/high school English in SE Iowa), they were incredibly gracious. The bar, as it turns out, doesn't accept credit cards, so one of the regulars there, the owner of the local taxi service, ran me down to the closest ATM gratis. She was telling me all about Bethany on our short jaunt to the gas station ATM - and it was definitely an experience.

At the end of the night, our bill was...$20. For two dinners, beers, sodas...that was it. $20. We ended up spending an evening surrounded by very nice - if bemused - Colts and Chiefs fans.

Sadly, the Saints lost. Brees cost me points in my fantasy league - grrr! I think I was most disappointed in Mare, though. Oy.

I have to give it up to the Colts, though. They looked amazing. They're not giving up that Super Bowl crown without a decided fight.

We went our separate ways, and I spent two nervewracking hours driving back to Kansas City in an ungodly storm that blew me from lane to lane in my tiny rental car. I was so relieved - and definitely exhausted - when I finally got to the hotel, I was ready to crash for a few hours...

...which would have been awesome, but for that storm. Yeah, it knocked out power to the hotel for most of the night, and I could hear debris flying around in the courtyard outside of my ground floor room.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Sitting here in Kansas City...

So now we know why our DirecTV HD receiver isn't working - evidently, lightning struck our house on Sunday night.


Anyhow, last night D. and the Monster and I went down to the wine-tasting/SPCA charity event. It was fun, and Jake wasn't too badly behaved. We picked up some takeout and retreated back to our grill-less house, where we spent the evening watching Kevin Smith and playing with our neighbors' foster bunnies. (So cute. Very, very cute.)

This morning I flew to Kansas City, where I'm currently ensconced in a downtown coffee shop, eating a hummus sandwich and a vanilla latte. I really like Kansas City - it's certainly growing on me. The people here are just so...well...nice. It explains a lot about D. and his family. ;)

A friend of mine in south Florida lost his dad last night, and when I just spoke to him on the phone a few minutes ago, he sounded as I must have 9 months ago - eerily calm and maybe too controlled. I get that. I've been there. I wish I could say I can't imagine how much he's hurting right now, but that'd be a flat-out lie. I just hope he knows how much his friends care, and that we hurt for him. :(

Well, the latte has come to its end, and I have to change from my traditional jeans and flip-flops ensemble into my Ann Taylor Young Professional uniform. After tonight's open house, I'm changing into a Saints t-shirt and jeans and driving to Bethany, MO, which is halfway between KC and Des Moines. Why?

More to come...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Drinking wine for a good cause? Sign me up!

Every weekend, D. and I try to walk to the Monster down to CC's on Magazine St. (near Jackson Ave.) . On the way home, we invariably stop at the uberawesome Petcetera on Magazine to pick up allergic collie-approved treats and let Jake sniff the butts of other dogs/bark uncontrollably.

Hey, it seems to make him happy. Who are we as parents to deny the Monster's right to say hello to new friends/terrify them with his hoarse bark? We try to temper his barking as best we can, but he's got to be the most hyperactive collie I've ever encountered.

(And if I had a dollar for every "bald-ass Lassie" comments we get from people asking if we shave him, I'd be able to quit my job and do nothing from blog about how much I love New Orleans, grill-thiefs and all.)

The other local pet store we always hit up is Canine Culture in the Riverbend. Jake and I went to the grand opening back in June, where the poor, unloved brat got a bath and the chance to jump on numerous kids who seemed delighted to roll around the floor with a wet, bald "Lassie."

Plus, all of the money spent that day was for a great cause - the Louisiana SPCA.

Tonight, D. and I will take the Monster to this:

WHO: The Louisiana SPCA and Dog Lovers Wine Club
WHAT: “Toasts and Tails,” a complimentary wine tasting event with light hors d’oeuvres and treats for the pooches. Friendly, leashed pets are welcome!
WHEN / WHERE: Wednesday, September 5th from 5:30 p.m. ‘til 8:00 p.m.
Indoor/Outdoor event at Canine Culture, 8110 Hampson St., New Orleans, LA 70118

The local pet stores here are great, and I love that they get so involved with charities and volunteer organizations. That's exactly what I want to do here - help. I recognize my own naivete, but I really like the idea of making even a small difference in the rebuilding of NOLA.

Soapbox over, get your wine-drinking on!

"You are a goddess in the kitchen."

So sayeth the boyfriend. I can only assume he's referring to last night's dinner, and I'm hopeful that the IM I just received stating that I've attained deity status means that he's eating the leftovers. So what'd I make? And why does D. want to learn how to make it?

I love when D. pays me ridiculously overstated compliments. His hyperbole is meant to balance out the fact that I'm incredibly self-critical in the kitchen, and don't think I'm that great of a cook. I love to cook, and find it wonderfully cathartic when I'm stressed out, but I have miles and miles to go before I'll ever consider myself a good cook.

Right now, I'm just capable. I can make a lot of things, and they don't suck, and I'm comfortable enough in the kitchen to allow myself to be creative. I think this astonishes D., because apart from Chef Boyardee and grilled cheese, the one recipe he has mastered is cheesy chicken enchilada casserole.

Don't knock it - it's awesome. Dude can seriously make an awesome enchilada casserole, and I thank his mother for that. I'm pretty sure we could eat it every week, and I wouldn't grow tired of it. D. seems to take careful notes when I cook, though. I think he's memorized how I make chicken marsala. So anytime I cook something new, my incredibly supportive and amazing-in-all-ways taller half seems to enjoy it, and goes out of his way to compliment the point of making me laugh and blush when he deliberately goes overboard in an attempt to convince me that I don't suck in the kitchen.

Last night, though, we had some completely random leftovers in the fridge, so I was trying to figure out a way to combine the half-and-half I dump in my coffee, leftover crawfish tails, and veggies left from last week's Taco Night at Michelle's (I made salsa and guacamole for the occasion). And living in New Orleans tends to inspire creativity and use of local ingredients.

I improvised a spicy crawfish alfredo, and I'm going to do my best to recreate the recipe here - I hope you like it! (If you do try the recipe, will you let me know how it turned out?)

Jacked-up Crawfish Alfredo

1 roma tomato, chopped
2 green onion stalks, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. crawfish tails, either fresh or thawed
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup shredded parmesan (NOT grated!)
2 good glugs of Crystal hot sauce
2 tsp. cajun seasoning (like Tony Chachere's or Emeril's Original Essence)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
Whole-wheat spaghetti
1 stick butter

Boil the pasta in water seasoned with a pinch of kosher salt. While the water is still simmering, before you cook the actual pasta, melt the butter in a large skillet on medium-low. Lower the heat slightly and add the hot sauce and garlic. Once the garlic cooks, add the crawfish tails, green onion and tomato. The crawfish tails will curl up - just like shrimp - that's how you'll know they've cooked through.

Pour in the half-and-half and let the mixture slowly simmer - turn the burner back up to medium-low to medium. Once the sauce begins to bubble, add the parmesan and cajun seasoning, salt and pepper - and maybe a dash of cayenne and a little more hot sauce. Make the sauce to your taste - some people like a little more kick, and others prefer to tame the heat. Stir the sauce continuously to keep it from scalding or sticking.

Lower the heat again, and drain the pasta from the saucepan - once drained, add the pasta to the sauce, and stir until the cheese is fully melted and the pasta is dredged in the spicy cream sauce.

Have I mentioned how much I love D., and how red in the face I still am after his IM to me?

Yeah, he totally rocks. I'm a lucky gal.

Football season is here! Football season is here!

Despite the catastrophic openers for both K-State and FSU, I'm still optimistic about the NCAA season for both the Wildcats and the Noles. We had a GREAT time at Auburn, and I can't say enough nice things about the fanbase at Jordan-Hare Stadium. (Plus, we got to see Jesus and Jessica, and that's reason enough for a six-hour road trip.)

(Photo from the Times-Picayune)

Right now, though, I'm happy to turn my attention to tomorrow night's NFL season opener, featuring the Saints and the Colts.

Non-New Orleanians probably know that Archie Manning piloted the Saints back in the day, but Peyton Manning is a product of Isidore Newman here in uptown New Orleans. So this game is going to captivate anyone in this area. Native son vs. native team?

You just know that the broadcast is going to start out with Katrina footage - aerial views of a soggy New Orleans, inundated by water - dramatic music - montages of Peyton Manning and Reggie Bush - the millionth replay of U2's and Green Day's "The Saints are Coming" (I can't knock it too much, as it's one of the ringtones on my phone) - footage of Brees and Colston and the near Super Bowl appearance - and of COURSE the collapse of the Saints at Soldier Field in January.

New Orleans will be electric tomorrow night. People may even refrain from grill-stealing temporarily to fill sports bars and living rooms to catch a glimpse of the future of our Saints.

Sadly, I won't be here to watch the game, as I'll be in Kansas City, but my friend Kariann (from Des Moines) and I are scouting out sports bars in northern Missouri so that I can proudly wear my Deuce jersey and shout "Who Dat?" annoyingly and repeatedly at a big screen TV in a bar populated by downtrodden and depressed Chiefs fans.

I'm extremely excited about the 2007 season - obviously, our defense is a major concern, but Payton has shown a knack for making decisions that fit the team...such as signing undrafted rookie Pierre Thomas (my preseason hero) and cutting fourth-round pick Antonio Pittman. Thomas plays with such heart and speed that you can't help but root for him to move up the depth chart - even though he has to contend with the likes of Reggie Bush before he'll see playing time.

Tomorrow night, Indianapolis will likewise be insane with football frenzy - and why wouldn't they be? They're the defending champions. They knocked off Sexy Rexy (dirty Gator) and his compadres in a glorious Super Bowl victory, and they made Tom Brady cry. I can't wait to watch the results of tomorrow's contest. Here's a great article from (from T-P staff writer Jeff Duncan) on the game:

What ever happened to Belinda Carlisle? And why am I so forlorn over our missing grill?

See that empty hole on our porch? That's where our cheap Wal-mart grill used to hold court. This afternoon, almost 48 hours after we discovered that our beloved grill was stolen, I'm still obsessing.


Because the jackass who stole our grill took a $29.99 charcoal grill that D. painstakingly put together with the aid of my nieces...

...but left the charcoal, lighter fluid and Jack Daniels wood chips.

I still can't get over that. Why on earth would you go through the effort of walking down the street with someone's cheap grill and not take the necessary supplies? Moreover, if you can afford said supplies, why can't you afford to march your buttocks down to Wal-mart to buy a replica of our inexpensive grill?

Spectacular reasoning, I know. I'm still troubled by it, though.

I told D. we're buying a bike chain to secure the next one. The funny thing is, the bike chain will probably cost as much - if not more - than the actual grill. That's comedic gold, right there.

As I sit here in my office pondering the fate of our beloved grill, I'm listening pensively to Belinda Carlisle, wondering what happened to her.

And oh, crap, I totally forgot to take my suit into the dry cleaners, and I'm flying to Kansas City in the morning.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Team Bridget: or why exes should never, ever send tacky baby gifts.

Numerous gossip blogs are reporting that Tom Brady's dude-looks-like-a-ladyfriend Gisele Bundchen recently sent Bridget Moynahan, erstwhile girlfriend of the Pats quarterback, a swanky gift basket from L.A.'s baby boutique to the pretentious, Petit Tresor.

In it? Amongst what I am sure was some very nice schwag was a onesie emblazoned with "Supermodel."

Klassy. Way to remind the new mom that her boyfriend left her for you. So I've been thinking this morning, no doubt inspired by my lack of sleep and overall crankiness stemming from last night's loss to Clemson and grill theft (I'm totally lo-jacking the next one), of the best way for Bridget to respond.

Thus far, Ms. Bridget has been the picture of class, very quietly going through her pregnancy with nary a nasty word to the media about her baby daddy or his tranny-looking gal pal. That's commendable, and while I certainly applaud the fact that she took the moral high road, I'd like to suggest that if Tommy and Gisele ever have kids, Bridget should very kindly send them a gift basket. It should include the following:

-A Colts onesie
-An Ohio State onesie
-A Notre Dame onesie
-An Appalachian State onesie
-A customized "Mommy and I love Peyton Manning!" bib
-An Agent Provacateur t-shirt

What would you include in a gift basket for Tomsele's spawn?

And did you find the second half of last night's game at all encouraging?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Listen, Fat Katie Couric...

...AKA Holly Rowe...I don't want to hear about "breaking news" at Clemson that for some reason involves a student prank.

We just got back to New Orleans after a sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating weekend in Florida and Alabama. Four-and-a-half hours after we left my mother's house, we're home. I have now missed half of our hideous game against Clemson, our satellite receiver in the living room doesn't work, and I'm tired and cranky.

And someone stole our grill. Now I realize it's Labor Day weekend, but a $30 grill? WTH?


But happy birthday, Mom. ;)