Friday, November 30, 2007

The Orleans Parish Racism/Trash Issue

Great editorial by the T-P's Jarvis DeBerry today...

Check it out. He spares no punches in it.

The real color isn't black or white - it's a very greedy and bilious shade of green.

Was Sean Taylor targeted for death?

Friends say yes, police say no.

Contrary to initial reports in the Miami Herald, the phone lines at Taylor's posh Palmetto Bay home were not cut, and the alarm system was not disabled.

Childhood friends like Antrel Rolle insist that Taylor's decision to slow his personal life down and become a family man created enemies.

Police counter with evidence that this might have just been a botched robbery.

Currently, 3 people are being detained in Ft. Myers, across Alligator Alley from Miami, for questioning about Taylor's death.

So the real question is - was the house the target? Or was Sean Taylor a marked man?

On one hand, Taylor definitely had enemies. Before the birth of his daughter, Jackie, his temper was somewhat notorious (yep, he was a hot-head). However, he wasn't supposed to be home the weekend he was shot, and had he been in Washington, D.C., his fiancee and daughter would not have been in the house - it would have been empty, just as it was when it was broken into 8 days earlier. Could he have surprised would-be burglars, who shot him out of sheer nerves?

Of only slightly less importance is the chilling reminder that to date, no one has been charged in the execution-style murder of Bryan Pata.

Either way, whether in death we canonize Taylor or revile him for his faults, we must remember one very important thing - when push came to shove, he did his best to protect his family. He had his fiancee and daughter hide while he confronted the intruder(s). He put his family's safety above his own.

So really, doesn't that tell us a lot of what we really need to know about Sean Taylor's character and priorities?

Yes. It does.

Random side note - did you know that Sean Taylor's fiancee is the niece of Andy Garcia? Or that once again, the Miami Curse is rearing its oh-so-trite head?

A UM fan posted this on CaneSport yesterday afternoon - it's a sweet tribute to a young man who died too young to ever fulfill his potential as a father, husband and athlete.

Update on Megan Meier

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted this.

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a wonderfully written op-ed on helicopter parenting as it ties into the Megan Meier story.

Amidst mounting pressure, the district attorney in sleepy Dardenne Parish, Jack Banas, has taken a fresh look at the case, and is expected to announce next week whether or not charges will be filed against Lori Drew, her part-time employee, etc.

I suspect no charges will be filed. It's sad, but there you have it. MySpace's sloppy data collection and the battle of she said/she said destroys any solid foundation for a criminal case.

Local officials recently criminalized cyberbullying in Dardenne Parish, but the question is - what is the appropriate response to this horrific story?

An undergrad at Harvard wrote a well-argued rebuttal of the recent law passage for her school paper, and it creates quite a bit of food for thought.

I think she's right - the law passed by local alderman creates a nasty slippery-slope. There's no real legal brightline for investigating or even prosecuting those who break the new statute. Moreover, it's not as if the Drews can be charged retroactively with this knee-jerk, vague reaction of a law.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, "Cyber-bullying has become an increasingly creepy reality, where the anonymity of video games, message boards and other online forums offers an outlet for cruel taunts. But it can be difficult to draw the line between constitutionally protected free speech and conduct that is illegal."

What should have happened? And what should happen now?

1) The D.A.'s office should have subpoenaed MySpace (aka Rupert Murdoch's behemoth group) for any stored data from the Josh Evans account. Obviously, the FBI's investigation into this would have given any request from the D.A. credence.

2) Lori Drew should be shunned. However, there is a difference between legal, civil action and vigilantism, and I think too many bloggers are advocating in favor of pranking this family to death. Resorting to similar methods of harrassment doesn't succeed in giving Drew a taste of her own medicine so much as it reduces those seeking vengeance for Megan Meier to the level of Lori Drew - by all accounts a distasteful shrew who sought to be more of a friend to her daughter than a parent.

3) The other issue at hand is that no one other than the group of people with access to the Josh Evans account know who sent which messages to Megan. For example, can we safely assume that Lori or her daughter sent that final, fateful message to Megan on the afternoon of her suicide? No, of course not. That said, Drew was the ringleader - but there seems to be plenty of blame to go around. Other parents and peers of Megan's were involved.

Just some perspective, folks. This woman is immature and contributed to the death of a fragile young woman. But we should be mindful that we don't follow her down the same path.

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

Since December begins tomorrow, here's a little Boris Karloff singing his infamous ode to Dr. Seuss' fantastical Grinch.

I'm back from Kansas City, and looking forward to buying a Christmas tree and decorating the house this weekend for the holiday season. Plus, there's always the matter of all of the conference championship games, right?

Seriously, dude...'s not like you have to VOTE for her.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Quote of the Day

From the incomparable, deeply flawed and always witty Nancy Astor:

"Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer; into a selflessness which links us with all humanity."

What a gorgeous sentiment.

Happy Birthday to D.'s dad!

I'm off to Kansas City, folks...behave while I'm gone, mmmkay?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor has died.

Sean Taylor, 24, passed away early this morning from injuries sustained when someone cut his phone lines, broke into his house, and shot him in his bedroom yesterday.

This was a murder. This was no random home invasion or attempted robbery.

What a shame - Taylor was a young man whose life was on a major upswing - he was engaged, had a young daughter (18 months old), and was essentially the star player on the Redskins' roster.

Now he's lying on a cold metal tray in a morgue, all of that intensity and vitality drained away.

Rest in peace, Sean. To the Taylor family, and the UM and 'Skins family - my prayers are with you as you navigate this grief.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Finally, the first good news all day."

According to the Washington Post, there is finally some hope for Sean Taylor.

Les Carpenter, who is working the story for us in Miami, heard rumblings
that Sean may have opened his eyes.

I have not been able to get that confirmed but just heard from a team
offical that Sean is now responsive, which is obviously a turn for the best. I
will continue working away to get more details, but this is obviously a turn for
the better after Sean spent much of the day in a "non-responsive and
unconscious" state.

As the person put it: "Finally, the first good news all day." Let's
hope it's the first of more to come.

UPDATE: Vinny Cerrato just called us with confirmation.

"He was responsive to the doctor's requests to squeeze his hands and
showed facial expressions. The doctors were very happy about that," Cerrato said
" ... Two doctors came and told us they were excited about that."

Cerrato also confirmed my earlier reports about Sean being
"non-responsive and unconscious." Cerrato said: "We'd heard all that, and what
they told us was to hope for a miracle."

Cerrato said Taylor is still in critical condition but did not have
many details beyond that. Vinny said Sean was in surgery for seven hours.

Les Carpenter reports from the hospital there that the mood has changed
dramatically around there and people are suddenly in much better spirits.

This is creepy - was Sean Taylor targeted?

Seriously, this is just sounds like Taylor might have been targeted. The Herald is reporting that:

According to police records, someone also broke into Taylor's house between
7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17 and midnight Sunday Nov. 18, by prying open a front
window. No one was home at the time. The burglar entered several rooms in the
house, rifled through drawers, and a safe in Taylor's bedroom. The police report
says it was ''unknown'' whether anything was taken.

In that incident, someone left a kitchen knife on a bed in Taylor's
house, according to the police report.

Damage was also observed to the A/C vent in Taylor's bathroom.

Sharpstein said someone tried to break into Taylor's house last
weekend. for bad news about Sean Taylor's condition...

From the Washington Post:

Richard Sparpstein, who has represented Sean Taylor in legal matters in the past
and is a friend of the family, said moments ago that the player's life is
hanging in the balance in the hospital. Sharpstein, speaking from the hospital,
said Taylor is "nonresponsive and unconscious" and the doctors are "worried
about a possible brain injury or death."

Sharpstein, who has been with
Taylor's family at the hospital much of the day, said that there are major
worries that Taylor may have lost oxygen to the brain, and that no other
procedures are planned for right now. "They're waiting to see if he comes to,"
Sharpstein said. He was shot in the groin/thigh area near the femoral artery and
lost copious amounts of blood. He was airlifted to the trauma center and endured
several hours of surgery, Sharpstein said.

Taylor is in intensive care,
Sharpstein said, and his girlfriend and child were not injured in the attack.
Sharpstein said Taylor was sleeping when he heard a noise in the living room.
The intruders were at his bedroom and Taylor reached for a machete or other form
of knife he keeps nearby in case of emergency, and two shots were fired, with
one striking his leg.

"Right now he's clinging to life and we're all
praying he makes it," Sharpstein said.

Finally, some good news on Sean Taylor's condition...

From (who else?) the Herald:

Sharpstein said Taylor emerged from surgery in better shape and will likely live. He is in intensive care and doctors have allowed his family to see him.

Sean Taylor is in a coma.

Redskins free safety and former University of Miami standout Sean Taylor was shot at his home in the Cutler Bay area of Miami early, early this morning. His girlfriend told the Miami-Dade police that they had heard suspicious noises around 1:45 A.M., and Taylor went to investigate. Moments later, she heard a shot and found him bleeding profusely from the groin area. She called the police immediately.

Evidently, his femoral artery was hit. He was airlifted to Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital, and he's in a coma after 6 hours of surgery.

Right now, lots of rumors are circulating - that he's brain dead, that he had to be revived several times, that this was the third time in a week his house was targeted by someone seeking to break in. Neighbors are weighing in with their opinions as well.

So who knows what the real story is - what's so tragic is that this former thug, who by all accounts was maturing rapidly following the birth of his child earlier this year, was a thug.

The Miami Herald has been working this story hard - they posted Taylor's address, the worth of the house, and what it looked like.

Ummm. Okay. That sounds remarkably foolish. I mean, Cutler Bay/Palmetto Bay is a very, very nice part of Miami - definitely swanky post-Andrew. It's not exactly a high crime area, folks...but why attract the criminal element?

The latest rumor, as of 1:15 P.M. CT, is that Taylor may survive, but will have a very "long road" towards his recovery, as it is thought he suffered brain damage from the blood loss and subsequent lack of oxygen received to the brain.

According to family and friends, Taylor was at home with his girlfriend and
their young daughter when he heard a noise in the back of the home. He went to
investigate and was supposedly shot in the groin, in an area where a lot of
arteries are. The gunshot by the alleged robber has caused him to lose a lot of
blood and there is a fear his career may be over.

According to my
sources, the injuries sustained caused so much loss of blood, it has affected
his brain and Taylor is expected to have "a long road back to recovery."

Sean Taylor, I'm praying for your recovery - your girlfriend, your baby and your family need you. God bless.

UPDATE: The Miami Herald just updated the story:

The noises Sean Taylor and his girlfriend heard in their house early Monday
turned out to be their worst nightmare.

At least one armed intruder had broken into the $900,000 Palmetto Bay
house of the star NFL player and were at his bedroom door. Taylor rose from bed
to investigate, and just outside his bedroom, was shot in the groin and
critically wounded. He collapsed back into the room, where he breathed heavily
as blood gushed from his wound, according to Taylor's lawyer and family friend,
Richard Sharpstein.

I just realized something.

The silver lining to the writers' strike is that eventually, "Cavemen" will be forced off the air.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Fun Colbert Time!

Scissor Sisters + Stephen Colbert + Exhaustion from the past week = Cait snorting in pure amusement.

Just sayin'.

By the way, does anyone else find some irony in the fact that Miami fans who previously ran A.J. Feeley out of town are cheering for him tonight sheerly because they don't want the Patriots to become the...'72 Phins?

Yeah, that's what I thought. Have a great night, y'all!

Friday, November 23, 2007


There's only one day until FSU-UF. Let's go, Seminoles!

Bear with me, folks.

I'm still in a veritable coma from the labor that went into producing yesterday's feast for 7 people. By the numbers:

-1-19 lb. fried turkey
-Crawfish and pecan dressing
-Regular dressing
-Gigantic batch of green bean casserole
-5 lbs. of mashed potatoes
-Bourbon sweet potato casserole
-Cranberry sauce
-Pumpkin cheesecake
-Pecan tart
-Apple pie

And yes, you read that correctly - a 19 lb. turkey took over our turkey fryer yesterday. We injected it with a butter marinade, and used our homemade dry rub on it the night before Thanksgiving. I also made all three desserts the night before, too.

I'm grateful for my boyfriend dutily and thoughtfully cooking the turkey while I ran around making everything else and cleaning the house for company. I'm thankful for my mom's safe trip to New Orleans from Pensacola. I'm thankful for the great group of people gathered around our table yesterday. I'm grateful that Mom didn't hit her head when she blacked out last night in the kitchen (I caught her). I'm thankful that I can still walk normally after busting my arse on collie slobber in the hallway (there are 3 large, blonde collies stalking the house at the moment).

Right now I'm thankful for Advil and a full stomach (we walked down to the Bluebird for a late breakfast). I'm also thankful for the internet for some great ideas for how to use our leftovers, like:

-turkey and sweet potato samosas with turkey curry
-turkey shepherd's pie (hooray, leftover potatoes!)
-turkey noodle soup
-turkey pot pie
-turkey ring (that's just for my boyfriend, who can't understand why southerners insist on adding unflavored gelatin to everything, thereby creating a quivering mass of scary food confined to a delightful ring-shaped casserole mold...okay, ew, even I can't stomach it)

But for now, I'm thankful for my friends, my family, my amazing boyfriend, our dog, and the fact that my stomach is no longer so full that I feel like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens.

I'm just sayin'.

Now it's back to watching football and repeatedly yawning. Oh, and I'll definitely need some more Advil.

Happy post-Thanksgiving, everyone - I hope you were able to celebrate what really makes you thankful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Quote of the Day

Alabama's latest loss has coach Nick Saban searching for ways to motivate his team.

Citing the 9-11 terrorist attacks and Pearl Harbor, Saban said Monday his team must rebound like America did from a "catastrophic event."

In this case, that would be an embarrassing 21-14 loss Saturday to Louisiana-Monroe, dropping the Tide's record to 6-5.

"Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event," Saban said during the opening remarks of his weekly news conference. "It may be 9-11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, or whatever, and that was a catastrophic event."

That is just spectacular. No, really. Please continue, Coach Saban. Wow us with your wit...or, you know, not.

(Does this remind anyone else of Kellen Winslow, Jr.'s insistence that he was a "souljah" back in the day?)

It's rivalry week!

I can't wait for this weekend!

And to think, this could be LSU's next coach.

This one's for you, D.

Thanks, Robbie!

Caption This

"Nobody puts Flicka in the corner!"

Thanks, Matt!

The DA's Office Reached a Deal...

D. just called me on his way back from City Hall, where he was shooting video from the press conference announcing that the DA's Office had reached a deal with the plaintiffs in the now notorious wrongful termination lawsuit.


According to WDSU:

Under the plan announced Tuesday morning, the city will pay $1 million,
while the state will pay $1.6 million, and the district attorney's office will
pay the remaining $300,000.

All the money is expected to be paid out by year's end.

Scathing Editorial in the Times-Picayune

The editors of the T-P had a similarly visceral reaction to the slap in the face New Orleans received yesterday from the commission that awards presidential debate sites. Here's what they had to say:

Some very interesting points:

The commission's explanation is a slap in our face. It also contradicts the reality on the ground.


- New Orleans is preparing to host the BCS national championship game Jan. 7.

- The NBA All-Star game takes place here the following month. Both events will attract thousands of reporters from around the world and bring in many times more visitors than a presidential debate.

- The city has hosted several mega-conventions since the storm. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, where the debate was to be held, is among the best in the nation. Even the commission's staff recognized this. Ms. Milling said the debate producer told her last year that New Orleans could handle the debate.

Hmmm. Here's something else:

The debate commission claims our city is not ready for their event. But their decision to select the University of Mississippi in Oxford makes it clear that readiness and logistics had nothing to do with it.

New Orleanians do not begrudge the people of Oxford having been selected. But if big-event logistics was the yardstick, there's hardly any comparison. The commission said it needed a minimum 3,000 hotel rooms for journalists and others attending the debate. Fact: New Orleans has 24,000 hotel rooms. Oxford, according to the Oxford Convention and Visitors Bureau, has 650.

The commission also said New Orleans fell short on press facilities and broadcast logistics. That's just not believable. Since Katrina, the city has been swarming with media. And the Morial convention center has state of the art media facilities. Do they really want us to believe Oxford is more media-ready?

No, they're just scrambling for an excuse. But what's the real reason behind this very political gaffe? I think one commenter on put it best:

Posted by chaubert on 11/20/07 at 8:49AM

The reason is obvious: the national public is tired of hearing about New Orleans and Katrina and wants to focus on issues that have more relevance to them. It does NONE of the candidates any good to focus more attention on an issue on which the public has lost interest. We might not like that answer, but it is the truth - in my opinion.

We should focus on 4 years from now, after political changes at the state and local level have had a chance to make an impact. A reform-minded governor, some reform-minded legislators, by then a new mayor and council, reapportionment, a convicted Bill Jefferson, and significant progress in New Orleans due to the efforts of the citizens and the state and local government. Then we might have a chance for more sympathy at the national level.

In completely unrelated news, the Hornets lost last night to the Magic, and suffered yet another key injury. Sigh.

Monday, November 19, 2007

There's quite a bit of irony here.

Methinks that much like Tom Cruise in "A Few Good Men," the politicos just can't handle the truth. It's telling that a national commission in charge of assigning locations for the 2008 presidential debates would argue that New Orleans just "doesn't measure up." That sounds pretty much like how the city has been treated in the two years since Katrina. We're a taboo - sure, our reputation is partially deserved, but...I guess unless you're post-arson southern California, it's impossible to measure up.

Or perhaps pundits just aren't ready to face the harsh reality of post-Katrina NOLA?

I've highlighted some of the more interesting points in Kit Seelye's article in this morning's New York Times.

It's a pity. Mostly, there's just irony in spades.

New York Times
November 20, 2007

Panel Picks 4 Debate Sites, Angering Excluded New Orleans


The Commission on Presidential Debates has picked Oxford, Miss.; St. Louis; Nashville; and Hempstead, N.Y., as the sites of the presidential and vice-presidential debates in the general election campaign next year.

New Orleans took offense at its omission, with a leader of one Louisiana advocacy group saying she had been told that the city had not recovered sufficiently from Hurricane Katrina to act as host of such an event. New Orleans was one of 16 finalists and has attracted major conventions since the hurricane devastated much of the city more than two years ago.

This is the first time the bipartisan commission, which has overseen the debates since 1988, plans a format allowing the candidates to question each other. Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., the commission’s Republican co-chairman, said that contrary to past experience, the candidates would not be allowed to change the format. “The candidates aren’t going to dictate to us anymore,” Mr. Fahrenkopf said.

The debates have become a huge traveling road show, with a cast of 4,000 extras from the worlds of politics and the news media. In the case of Oxford, which has only 700 hotel rooms, overnight visitors will be bused to Tupelo, Miss., and Memphis.

In addition to Oxford, where the first presidential debate is to be held Sept. 26 at the University of Mississippi, presidential debates are scheduled for Belmont University in Nashville on Oct. 7 and Hofstra University in Hempstead on Oct. 15. The vice-presidential debate is scheduled for Washington University in St. Louis on Oct. 2.

The omission of New Orleans drew a sharp reaction from Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, who said the commission had “lost sight of the public interest it was chartered to serve.”

Anne Milling, founder of the advocacy group Women of the Storm, said Paul G. Kirk Jr., the commission’s Democratic co-chairman, had told her that New Orleans was “not ready” to be host of a debate, although, she said, the city surpassed all logistical requirements.

“Politics trumped the correct moral decision,” Ms. Milling said. “Supposedly, many people said that they would not be comfortable coming here,” because New Orleans stands as a rebuke to the federal government’s response to the hurricane.

Mr. Fahrenkopf denied any political influence, saying the selections had been based on technical criteria and geographical balance.

And Mr. Kirk denied telling Ms. Milling that New Orleans was “not ready” for a big event.

But acting as host of a presidential debate is “an expensive proposition,” he told The Associated Press, “and presents enormous strategic challenges. All things considered, New Orleans did not measure up.”

Will he or won't we?

Is Les Miles destined to remain in Baton Rouge, or is the Big House in Ann Arbor calling his name?

Since Michigan's disastrous season-opening loss to Appalachian State, sportswriters and bloggers (including your petite little wordsmith) have been speculating as to Lloyd Carr's fate with the Wolverines.

Earlier today, he announced his retirement from coaching, effectively ending things on his own terms. Let the games begin, folks. 2007's version of Coaching Musical Chairs is about to begin.

Will Miles remain at LSU, or will he return to his roots at Michigan? Will Tuberville remain at Auburn, knowing that they secretly tried to replace him with Petrino a few years ago? Or will he take Franchione's spot at Texas A&M? More importantly, at least for local fans, who would replace Miles at the helm of the Bayou Bengals? Here are a few names I've heard bandied about:

  • Mark "Land Manatee" Mangino (don't laugh, he's taken meh talent at KU and transformed the Jayhawks into more than just a basketball school)
  • Steve "Pruneface" Spurrier (Louisiana has proven fertile and easy recruiting ground for LSU, but is it enough to lure the Ol' Ball Coach from his afternoon golf game?)
  • Jimbo "Please, No, We Like Him Immensely at FSU" Fisher (As the boyfriend points out, this would only be feasible if LSU were willing to clean house of all of Miles' staff, given the animosity between the, we really, really, REALLY like him at FSU and would like to keep him there. This admonition goes for you, too, Georgia Tech. And Auburn, too. Stay away from our OC, or we will be forced to throw the power of the Bobby upon you.)
  • Bo "Hey, guys, I'm still here!" Pellini (LSU's current defensive coordinator, a bastion of stability)
  • A rising star like Rich Rodriguez (WVU's hotshot coach hasn't looked as fantastic in the absence of his OL coach, Rick Trickett...who now coaches the 'Noles)
  • An NFL assistant coach, perhaps? But who?

So let your predictions be heard. This, folks, should be fun.

So why can't it be...

Huckabee vs. Biden in '08?

Now there's a presidential campaign worth watching. Sadly, these two men don't get a lot of notice in the world of Obamas and Clintons.

Geaux Hornets?

Amazingly and wonderfully, the Hornets are off to a 9-2 start - which is a franchise record. The Hornets are playing very well, despite some key injuries (cough, Chris Paul, cough).

So why aren't people going to the games? Tickets aren't that expensive, folks.

Megan Meier

So I've been a little sluggish of late, trying to recapture some energy sapped from me by my fun little bout with walking pneumonia.

Saturday morning, as D. and I were watching our normal slate of college football, I checked CNN's website to see what was happening in the world around us.

I read about Megan Meier. At first I was shocked, and a little curious. So I did some research, and read some more.

My shock quickly bled in horror, sadness and eventually, anger.

If I were Megan's parents, I'm not sure I'd be able to restrain myself to damaging a foosball table and their lawn. If any adult did that to my child, there's a strong possibility that I'd react in a far more passionate way. To that end, I admire the Meiers' restraint and dignity.

A little over a year ago, Megan Meier, an eighth grader from a small town near St. Louis, seemed to have a bright future. Despite battling depression over her weight, she had just transferred to a new school, was playing for her school's volleyball team, and was losing weight. Her mother, after multiple pleas from Megan, allowed her nearly 14 year-old daughter to have a MySpace account. However, Mrs. Meier (Tina) insisted that she, not Megan, set the password, and she faithfully and carefully monitored her daughter's access to the site - including who Megan added as friends.

Around this time, Megan had a falling out with another 13 year-old girl, who lived a few doors down. Megan and Sarah had been good friends, as had their families, for a few years. In fact, Tina, Megan's mom, helped the Drew family purchase their house, and Megan had vacationed with the Drew family. They were well aware of her issues with depression, and the fact that she received counseling and took prescription drugs for the same.

13 year-old girls fight all the time. Generally, given the hormones coursing through the veins of a teenaged girl, lightswitch friendships are common. One day, you're BFF. The next day, you're mortal enemies. Megan was trying for a fresh start, and recognizing the need for stability in her life, severed ties with Sarah.

A few weeks later, Megan received a message from a boy named Josh on MySpace. He was cute, had just moved to the area, and thought Megan was pretty. He was looking to make friends in the area, and asked to be added to her friend list. Tina thought carefully about it, and hesitantly allowed her daughter to add Josh. For six weeks, Megan would rush home from school to message back and forth with Josh. While Tina was pleased that her daughter seemed so happy, something nagged at her, telling her that Josh was too good to be true.

So she called the local police to see if there was a way to verify that this person was real. The police pointed out that there was little they could do, so she continued to monitor the situation. Megan, on the other hand, was beginning to trust Josh, confiding fears and hopes and secrets to him. She was so excited about their burgeoniong relationship, she was hoping to invite him to her 14th birthday party.

A few days later, she received a message from Josh, telling her that he didn't know if he wanted to be her friend, because he had heard she was mean to people. Devastated, she messaged back frantically that she didn't know what he was talking about. In the meantime, Josh forwarded her private messages to former classmates of hers, and bulletins about Megan's secret thoughts began flying around MySpace. Josh continued to send cruel, callous messages to the vulnerable teen. Megan was understandably upset and confused. Her mother, running late to take Megan's sister to the orthodontist, made her promise to sign off MySpace shortly. Megan promised she would.

When Tina returned home, Megan was still on MySpace, combatting her classmates and Josh with explicit language and anger. Tina chewed her out about disobeying her, and Megan started crying, expressing that she should be on her side. Megan ran upstairs, and ran into her dad, who told her not to worry about what others thought of her, because it clearly showed that they didn't know her. 20 minutes later, Tina, with a sense that something was wrong, found her daughter hanging in her closet, tears running from her eyes. Her father, Ron, found the following message still up on MySpace:

Everybody in O'Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you.

Megan died the next day. Her parents were devastated. And Josh? His profile was deleted. He disappeared, seemingly not knowing the power his words had had. Because his profile was deleted, so too were the messages he had sent Megan.

Sarah's family, the Drews, came to the wake and the funeral. The Meiers attended Sarah's birthday party, leaving in tears when Sarah's friends started singing "happy birthday" to her. After all, their little girl should have been turning 14. The Meiers even stored a Christmas gift, a foosball table, for Lori Drew, Sarah's mother.

6 weeks after Megan's death, a counselor contacted the Meiers and set up a meeting with another parents. The parent had just learned that her daughter knew about Josh.

There was no Josh.

Josh was invented by Lori Drew, Sarah's mother, in an effort to see what Megan was saying about her daughter after the falling-out. She allegedly intended to gain Megan's trust and then humiliate her for upsetting her daughter. Her daughter and an employee of her advertising business had access to the MySpace account, and they apparently enjoyed pulling this prank on Megan. Lori and Sarah shared the joke with another neighbor's daughter, the same neighbor who contacted the Meiers once she learned from her daughter what had transpired. The neighbor also recounted that Lori had called her daughter the night Megan hanged herself, warning her to keep her mouth shut about the prank.

The Meiers, devastated beyond belief, tore into the foosball table with an ax. They piled the pieces back into the box, spray-painted "Merry Christmas" on it, and left it on the Drews' driveway. The Drews responded by filing a criminal complaint. The Meiers were told to keep quiet while law enforcement investigated what had happened with the MySpace hoax. When they were told the Drews had done nothing wrong, they went public with their story, nearly a year later.

Lori Drew admitted in a police statement to her involvement, but according to the report, "Drew felt this incident contributed to Megan's suicide, but she did not feel 'as guilty' because at the funeral because she found out 'Megan had tried to commit suicide before.'"

Sick, no? I certainly think so, and this story has legs. When the local paper reported on the full story last week, they chose not to identify the Drews. It took a few enterprising bloggers very little time to find the name of the family involved and to urge public shunning. CNN and FoxNews have reported on the story.

Here's the thing - Megan wasn't the only victim here. Her parents, unable to cope with the loss of their child, are divorcing. Sure, Lori Drew didn't force Megan to commit suicide, but she knew Megan battled depression and viciously retaliated when Megan ended her friendship with her daughter. I'd expect such behavior from a teenaged girl, since I was on the receiving end of some bullying when I was Megan's age. But such behavior from an adult is utterly reprehensible.

The more I think about this, the more disgusted I am...especially when I read things like this.

At the end of the day, I worry about the mob mentality I've read on some blogs about this topic. But I have to believe there's a civil action that can be taken, whether in the form of an IIED lawsuit, or what the Meiers themselves are doing - trying to get the law changed.

Awareness of the new frontier of bullying - cyberbullying - is important. Megan's story is a cautionary tale, and one full of so much sadness and pain.


No charges were filed against the Drews.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What a horrifying thought...

With Dennis Dixon injured, and Oregon's subsequent loss to Arizona, does this mean Tim Tebow is the Heisman frontrunner?

My friend Doug just pointed this out.

I am now officially nauseated.

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

It's the Friday before Thanksgiving, so here's a double-shot of my favorite comedians, the crazy folks from The State, and the incomparable Eddie Izzard*.

I hope you enjoy!

* Like any good Brit, Izzard tends to bandy about the f-word quite a bit. Fair warning. :)

Skeletor vs. James Carville

We watched last night's campaign debate on CNN.

I have to say, after 10 years of being eligible to vote (and doing so with regularity), I'm so, so tired of the media and lobbying groups picking our frontrunners for us.

I call shenanigans. I was so fed up with the moronic, cloying responses from Clinton (disingenuous shrew - seriously, she claims to be part of the boy's club and then abuses the notion of gender with every passing can't play both sides, Hillary), Edwards (Pantene model/panderer) and Obama (verbose and inexperienced), that I almost welcomed Bill Richardson's naive, insipid remarks about the military. I wanted to hear more from Dodd, crazy man Kucinich (seriously, have you seen his wife? Behold, the power of the Fug is strong with this one!), and most of all, I wanted to hear from Joe Biden.

Biden is the only candidate on the liberal side of the coin that I can take seriously. He was the only candidate I saw give consistently straight answers that referenced policy and fact. He used self-effacing humor instead of rhetorical double-speak, and by the end of the debate, both D. and I were fascinated. He's a moderate candidate who has a proven ability to manage bipartisan relationships. Why aren't we as a nation taking him more seriously?

I'm not registered with either major political party - I am a moderate who is fiscally conservative and very proud of my military roots, but I'm socially liberal on a number of issues. I vote faithfully in every election, yet I'm left to wonder - will I become just another whining 20-something when the 2008 election draws to a close, and I'm left to pick once again between the lesser of two evils? Why should CNN, FoxNews and lobbyists pick who we are able to vote for? Isn't the media's job to report, rather than promote?

It's a shame about Biden. It really is. I'd be fascinated to see what he would do as a more popular candidate. I feel the same way about Huckabee and Paul on the conservative side of the coin.

Instead, I get to look towards Clinton/Obama and Giuliani/McCain (or Thompson) in 2008. And I can promise you, I'll vote against Hillary Clinton.

It has nothing to do with her political leanings or the fact that she's a woman. It has everything to do with Whitewater, Travelgate, her involvement in the Savings & Loans scandal, etc. It has to do with the fact that she seems at ease looking a camera in the eye and lying to American voters about who is she and what she represents.

Because, really, even after months of ads and debates, I still don't really know what she stands for. Do you?
However, in watching the post-debate commentary, I did arrive at one very certain conclusion - James Carville is Skeletor.

True story.

So it wasn't asthma...

I've had walking pneumonia for about two-and-a-half weeks.

Good times. ;)

I went to a doctor yesterday, and she issued a very strong lecture.

"When you first started experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain when you inhaled, why didn't you go see a doctor?"


I admit that I'm very stubborn about my health. Given Mom's health, Dad's health, and my own brother's occasional struggle to stay healthy, I'm very wary of doctors, hospitals and prescription medications. I worry that if I take a strong antibiotic for something like a sinus infection, my body will be less able to fight off a worse illness later in life.

To be fair, I do take a lot of preventative measures. I get a flu shot like clockwork every year. My biggest vice is caffeine. I stick to over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants.

But yes, I do feel like an idiot at the moment. However, I am an idiot who is starting to feel better. I'm no longer light-headed when I inhale.

I know that Ochsner Baptist (the new name for the infamous Memorial Hospital) has a murky reputation stemming from the euthanasia allegations against Anna Pou and her nursing staff in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, but the staff at the LSU Medical Center there is great. They were very professional and kind, and moreover, they're dedicated to being a teaching hospital for LSU and Tulane medical students, which I liked. They were thorough in their questions, careful in the tests they performed, and efficient in transmitting my prescription for an anti-inflammatory to the Rite Aid near the house.

The one comic moment came when they were doing an EKG to check my heart - the nurse couldn't get the sensors to stick to my chest. When the doctor came in to ask if the test were complete, the nurse said, "No! Her boobs are too big for the sensors to stick!"

It was then that I knew it was really time to join the gym I've been promising to join for 4 months.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Monday Mega-Blog!

So I have a few observations to make. Bear with me, folks. ;)

It's Monday, and my new inhaler is making me a little cranky.

1) Virginia Tech's style of play? Dirty, dirty, dirty. Wow. What a painful loss - still, I'm glad to see so much promise from Christian Ponder.

2) GO AIR FORCE! Suck it, Charlie Weis.

3) K-State. Sigh.

4) Saints - injured players + healthy Bulger and Jackson = BAD.

5) At promptly 5:30 PM in the evening, Fat Harry's becomes Yuppie Hell. True story. Note to the ladies: if people are watching the FSU-VT, Auburn-Georgia and OSU-Illinois games intently, it's not nice to jack up Journey on the jukebox and tunelessly shriek "Don't Stop Believin'" at the top of your lungs whilst sloshing vodka and cigarette ash on people. Note to the fratties: wait, I actually have nothing to say to you. ;)

6) Seeing the first streetcar roll down St. Charles behind the Warren Easton marching band was such an exciting moment.

6) I have the goofiest, best guys in the world at home - D. and the Jakeymonster. I'm a lucky gal.

7) The Saints Black and Gold Roll at Sushi Brothers is the most amazing roll I've ever tasted. Best. EVER. (Seriously.)

It's a delightful confection of coconut shrimp and cream cheese on the inside, and on the outside is avocado, mango and black smelt roe.

Oh Dear Lord.

It was heaven.

8) Eddie Jordan? You've got some major, major blood on your hands, dude. Don't be in a rush to come back to NOLA from Atlanta, mmmkay? An NOPD officer is dead, and you're at least partially responsible.

9) Despite the fact that the anniversary of my dad's death is in three weeks, I'm looking forward to the holidays, and spending time with my mom and my brother.

10) I figured out I have asthma this weekend! Oh, joy! (Note to concerned parties - it's just mild and allergy-related.)

11) K-State and FSU found a way to redeem themselves last night in the Tale of Two Cros (former FSU players and good friends Craphonso Thorpe [Colts] and Antonio Cromartie [Chargers] faced off in last night's thriller). Darren Sproles (K-State) returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns, and Cromartie had multiple interceptions off Peyton Manning. Daaaaaaaaaang.

12) This just in: Britney Spears is still a moron. In related news, the sky is blue and Ohio State is no longer undefeated.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

Foo Fighters - "Long Road To Ruin"

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Some cheesy Foo Fighters goodness - this band can always be counted on for hilarious videos, if you know what I mean.

And I think that you do. ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

K-Ville is Kaput.


And that's disappointing to me because the show was starting to develop a voice other than that of "Starsky and Hutch: NOLA."

Here's to hoping the writers' strike can be soon resolved so that production can resume and we can go back to making fun of gumbo parties.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Reason #1239812093801297 I'm glad I no longer live in Florida...


It's not bad enough that a teacher was shot in an attempted robbery in Carol City yesterday, but this is utterly reprehensible.

It happened very near where I lived in Pompano Beach - and people are so quick to point out how unsafe New Orleans is?

Thoughts and prayers to Paul Rein's family. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Welcome back, St. Charles Streetcar!

According to the T-P, the streetcar will start running from Canal St. up to Napoleon Ave. this weekend.

I'm excited. I'm geniunely excited and thrilled and filled with the anticipation that marks a 5 year-old waiting to see what Santa brought her for Christmas.

Last night, D. and I took the Monster to PetCo to pick up his monthly supply of allergic-collie food and allergic-collie treats. As we drove down St. Charles, we noticed a huge banner hanging from the balcony of The Columns, welcoming back the streetcar.

Granted, work on the line isn't complete. It isn't slated to run its full length to Carrollton until sometime next year.

But it's a start. It's a sign of progress. It's a sign of restored normalcy. There's comfort in seeing those lumbering green streetcars rumbling up the Avenue, and there's humor to be had in watching cars try to avoid being hit by them.

As Chris Rose penned in his weekly column:

With the exception of the Saints "Monday Night Football" spectacle last year
-- with all its pent-up, nearly animalistic communal catharsis -- I can't think
of a single renovation, rehabilitation or reopening in this city that causes the
soul to stir as much as the return of the old carriages on the St. Charles
Avenue streetcar line.

The rumble and clack of steel wheels on track, our glorious streetcar, is
the sound of New Orleans' tradition, resilience and pride, as historic an icon
as this city has to offer.

You know what? He's absolutely right.

Here's what the RTA released to the public this week:

The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is pleased to announce
that beginning Sunday, November 11, 2007, before the sun rises, the historic
Perley Thomas streetcars will once again proudly traverse St. Charles Avenue,
from the Central Business District, through the picturesque Garden District to
Napoleon Avenue.New Orleanians, as well as visitors, have waited over two years
for the return of the St. Charles Streetcar to the uptown area.

The renewed excitement and anticipation has been visible on the smiling faces of motorists and pedestrians as they glimpsed test runs of the streetcars along the Avenue during the weeks of October. An opening ceremony for the heralded route is
tentatively scheduled for Saturday, November 10 at 2:00 p.m. Passengers will
ride free from the end of the ceremony until 5:00 p.m.

I know I'll be there - just look for the short little brunette with the big grin on her face.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Cait joins a parish!

Yep, I sure did. I joined Our Lady of Good Counsel last week. It's a quiet church on Louisiana Ave., about a ten minute walk from our house. Everyone there is incredibly nice, and the moment I walked in, I felt at home.

I'm going to have to adapt to not singing the Danish-style responsories, and I'll have to readjust to singing EVERY response, but hey, it's not every day you find a place where you can almost certainly grow in your faith, right?

An added bonus, while certainly not a major factor in my decision to join the parish, is that while the church is completely unremarkable from the outside (very typical Gothic architecture), when you step inside, it's breathtakingly vivid.

According to the church's website:

In 1887, the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel was organized by the Reverend Father J. F. Lambert in New Orleans. In 1894, the current edifice was dedicated by Archbishop Francis Janssens, in the presence of a great multitude. Built at the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Chestnut Street, the Gothic-style brick building is arguably the most precious jewel in the crown known as New Orleans's graceful Garden District.

The Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel in the Garden District is rightly acclaimed for the beauty of its high altar, the magnificence of the stained glass so redolent of Roman Catholic symbolism, the striking statuary of beloved saints, the pipe organ, and the wonderfully intact sanctuary.

And they're not kidding, either - check this out:

I feel so very fortunate to have found a great place to worship. :)

A Tale of Two Drews

Is is a coincidence that two of the most dominating games the Saints and Noles have played against good teams took place this past weekend?

Could it be that our two less-than-mobile quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Drew Weatherford, benefitted from excellent blocking and pass protection? That the passing lanes were solid?

I'm just sayin'. If the Saints can lose NO MORE THAN 1-2 games and beat Carolina (c'mon, it's David Carr) and Tampa Bay...we might just be a playoff team. And if the Noles can win out...well, we won't be in the ACC Championship Game, but we'll a) get a decent bowl and b) we'll be in a great position for recruiting and c) the team's morale and swagger will carry over into the 2008 season. I can live with that.

I can't embed this video, but you can click here to watch analysis of the Saints' victory over the visiting Jaguars.

F-L-O-R-I-D-A S-T-A-T-E!

Florida State! Florida State! Florida State! Wooooo!

That's right - FSU beat its first #2 team since 1999 (Virginia Tech), and did so convincingly. The Seminoles played like they haven't played since the 2000 season. The OL blocked, Weatherford looked comfortable in the pocket, and the receivers and backs committed with passion to each play. Myron Rolle, Geno Hayes and Patrick Robinson all had important defensive plays for the Noles, including Hayes' pick-six off Matt Ryan as Flutie #2 attempted a second miracle drive ala the previous week's Virginia Tech game. So what happened with FSU?

First of all, there's no longer a QB controversy. Since Xavier Lee effectively ruined his own chances of helming the Noles, the players were forced to get behind their QB - Drew Weatherford. And #11, Weatherford, didn't disappoint either, throwing for 354 yards - and most importantly, no turnovers. Our penalties were still costly, but we controlled the line of scrimmage most of the game, and Ryan couldn't pick up the tempo.

While I offer major credit to Ryan for being a solid QB, I'm sooo tired of the hype. Kirk Herbstreit was the only commentator on Saturday night to credit the play of the Noles without whining about how this hurts poor Matty Heisman's chances. BAH. I don't care that Matt Ryan likes to play Dave Matthews' songs on his guitar or that he was arrogant enough to expect to win on that last drive, throwing a terrible pass right in the arms of Geno Hayes. I care that the Noles showed up and played like a team.

Like they haven't in years. Great playcalling (the most creative I've seen in years, thanks to new OC Jimbo Fisher), decent pass rush (thanks, Coach Andrews!), and solid execution all night long from the players. Yay!

This leaves our division of the ACC in a crazy place, as the Noles take on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Saturday.


P.S. LSU? You're welcome - but watch your back. Oregon's knocking.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Saban Bowl

Happy Tiger-Tide Tussle Day!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

D. knows of my intense love for Miki Berenyi. So in honor of my overworked and wonderful boyfriend, here's Lush's shoegazing ode to love, "Sweetness and Light."

Happy Friday!


Kickoff for tomorrow's LSU-Alabama game is just about 30 hours away. There's a lot of drama associated with the game, naturally -

  • Nick Saban, former coach of the Miami Dolphins, left LSU after winning a national championship to try his luck with the NFL. After further driving the Phins into the ground, he backstabbed Wayne Huizenga, taunted reporters about not being the next head coach of the University of Alabama, and hightailed it out of Miami guessed it, Tuscaloosa.
  • On the other side of the coin, Les Miles is rumored to be the next head coach at Michigan. Lloyd Carr's ticket is up this year, folks, and Miles' roots at Michigan run very, very deep - will he stay or will he go?
  • It's a key SEC West match-up - so this game will be brutal, intense and about more than bragging rights for the universities' respective coaches. Both teams are coming off a bye-week, so I'd expect a tense first quarter of play.
  • LSU has had some off-the-field drama this week with the suspension of back-up quarterback Ryan Perrilloux (reinstated earlier this year by a forgiving Les Miles) and the dismissal of linebacker Derrick Odom due to a nightclub brawl. Perrilloux was let off the hook by Baton Rouge police, but Odom was cited for a misdemeanor. Whoops...

So, folks? Score predictions? Is LSU the best team in the country, despite undefeated (thus far) seasons from Ohio State (Kevin has a running bet with D. about the outcome of the season, as he is a ginormous Buckeyes fan), Boston College (I'm soooo sick of Doug Flutie yapping about how Matt Ryan is the second coming of...well...him), Kansas and Hawaii?

Alabama has shown the ability to play tough, but injuries and a lack of leadership and execution on the field have made their play this season inconsistent at best. LSU is solid, but took a morale hit this week - I really think that Perrilloux is a spark for that team. So what will the outcome of the Saban Bowl be?

Thursday, November 1, 2007


So here's a question...

How does a fairly normal, average couple go from:

to the white trash exes from hell?

It's simple, really. We did so through careful application of Walmart. And Cheetos. And of course, the Champagne of Beers - Miller High Life.

Notably, we discovered the Ghosts of Federspears Past last night.
My only regret about last night is that pictures of Britney Spears' own trashtastic Halloween costume have surfaced, and they're so incredibly hideous, they lay my own goofy pictures to shame.

Here are a few more pics of the evening - I hope you enjoy!

Halloween in New Orleans is incredible. Even better, the Hornets won their home opener against the Kings last night. GEAUX HORNETS!

Caption This

Seriously - my mother already has!

In fact, here's what she had to say:

"I didn't think my daughter could look trashy like Brit and I really wondered about Dave's pulling off K.Fed ~ but here's to both of you! CHEERS! You make a super duo of the two 'duds' or is it 'duhs'? As your Dad would say. 'Sierra Hotel!'"