Monday, December 24, 2007
Nearly two and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans streetcar now goes all the way down St. Charles Avenue.
Starting Sunday morning, the St. Charles line now runs from Canal Street to Carrollton Avenue. One there, riders can board RTA buses back to Canal Street.
The final stretch of repairs, along Carrollton Avenue is expected to be complete in the Spring of 2008.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Watch the video closely - you'll see the camera go fuzzy and shake when it happens.
P.S. The City Council voted unanimously to demolish four large housing projects in the midst of the chaos.
We heard shots last week, but they seemed farther away - last night's were incredibly loud, and I'm guessing we can thank our resident gunslingers up a block for the unexpected treat.
So I did what any conscientious gal would do - I called 911. I gave the operator my name, address and phone number and explained that we had heard 5 shots fired in rapid succession.
She promised the cops would be there shortly.
They never arrived.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
From the T-P:
Sharon Jasper sits in the living room of her voucher-backed private residence. "I might be poor but I don't like to live poor. I thank God for a place to live but it's pitiful what people give you."
Nice TV there.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I found this most amusing of all - yesterday, the Canadian Press published an interview about Jamie Lynn Spears' hit 'tween show, "Zoey 101," in which she coyly mentions that she's not seriously dating anyone.
She's more open about her own situation, saying she has no serious boyfriend.
"I kind of just keep my options open," she says. "I have a bunch of friends that I always hang out with, a bunch of guy friends."
P.S. Lily Allen is also preggers, by her boyfriend of 3 months, the Chemical Brothers' Ed Simon.
(Then again, he could use some good publicity, given that he's going through a messy divorce, his son put a childhood friend in a coma via reckless driving, and his daughter tarts herself up like a hooker in pursuit of a "music" career.)
When he was drafted, Dunn set up a charity - Homes for the Holidays - which helps provide a new, furnished home to a single parent before Christmas every year.
This morning, he surprised a single father of four in Tallahassee with a new home.
To date, Dunn has assisted 69 single mothers and 181 children and dependents:
- 29 mothers and 74 children in Tampa, Fla.
- 23 mothers and 64 children & dependents in Baton Rouge, La.
- 17 mothers and 43 children & dependents in Atlanta, Ga.
Is it any wonder this man has been nominated as the NFL's Neighborhood MVP?
In an ecumenical sense, this season is about faith. It's about celebration. For Christians, it's recognition of one of the seminal events in human history - the birth of Christ, the son of God.
Whether you're Jewish, Christian or Muslim, mid-December harkens religious holidays that are designed to remind of us of a need for personal humility and kindness.
It's easy to forget that when confronted by roughly 12,234,342,890 jewelry commercials each day that aggressively point out that if you don't buy your wife/girlfriend a diamond necklace, you are a BAD MAN. It's easy to forget the meaning of the season when navigating through pushy mall crowds, wincing at credit card statements and preparing to feed 19 lbs. of turkey to an incoming family roughly the size of an army.
But if this season is about quiet humility and acts of generosity, then we must remember to look towards children. And Derrick Brooks, a hero of mine, does just that every year.
As someone who grew up in Pensacola, I know how hard Hurricane Ivan hit us. I know that there are incredibly poor families struggling to make ends meet. And Brooks, raised by his mother (who passed away earlier this year), knows, too.
After Hurricane Ivan, Brooks (another FSU alum!) loaded up a truck full of ice and supplies and drove it up to Pensacola for his old neighborhood (many of the residents there are older, and less able to go to Red Cross stations for help in the aftermath of a storm). Every year around Thanksgiving, he brings a turkey dinner to those in need in Pensacola.
Every year, he brings Christmas to a school in Pensacola. This year, despite the loss of his mother, was no exception.
Brooks, a two-time All-American at Florida State, where he also earned his master's degree, explained that he started giving gifts to Escambia County students when his mother called to tell him about a family in need.
"About eight or nine years ago she saw that a family lost its home in a fire," he said. "She called and said, 'Bo, I want to do something special for this family.'"
Brooks decided that rather than just help that one family, he would buy gifts for everyone at their school. And so a tradition was born.
This is the first year Brooks went to a school alone to distribute gifts. His mother, Geraldine Mitchell, who accompanied him in the past, died earlier this year.
But Brooks said he plans to continue the tradition as long as he can. "It's for the smiles," said Brooks, honored last week as one of the top 33 players in 100 years of Florida high school football . "That's what I appreciate - the kids' smiles."
For every Pacman Jones or Michael Vick, there's a sweetheart like Derrick Brooks. Sadly, his story - a man with a master's degree, a wife and 4 kids, and 10 Pro Bowls under his belt as an outside linebacker with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - isn't sexy or salacious enough to merit more than local coverage. What a shame - I'd rather hear about his efforts to make the world a better place than Roddy White wearing a "Free Mike Vick" t-shirt under his jersey.
But what a great reminder of the spirit of the season - and something these kids will never forget.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Most of these names aren't all that surprising. The question is, what now?
This is approximately 2/3 of a mile from where I lived for 3 years in Boca. Theoretically, that area is incredibly safe...so what's going on all of a sudden?
What is it with all of the robbery-killings of late? Like at LSU...
Thursday, December 13, 2007
So, 7 random facts about myself, eh?
1) I detest mayonnaise. I can tolerate it in things like chicken salad, but that's about it. I fear that this makes me less of a southerner. Hmm.
2) I sometimes wonder if Hillary Clinton is a tranny. True story.
3) Simian Mobile Disco's "Hustler" is one of my favorite singles of 2007.
4) I'm turning 29 in a month. (Sigh, redux.)
5) I know every word to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." No, really. I totally do. In German, too.
6) I think Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are two of the funniest men on earth. Not as funny as Eddie Izzard, but there you have it.
7) I am very angry that black leggings have made a comeback into a fashion yes. Ew. Just...ew.
At least in our neighborhood, masked men in AK-47's don't block traffic and start firing.
I'm just sayin'.
Auto and street car traffic on St. Charles Avenue between Louisiana and Napoleon avenues will be delayed periodically this evening.
The movie "Waking Madison" will be filming in the area between 3 and 11 p.m. and traffic will be halted while scenes are being shot. Delays are expected to last no longer than five minutes, according to information provided by Mayor Ray Nagin's office.
Parking will be prohibited between the 3600 and 3900 blocks of St. Charles on both the river and lake sides. Parking also will be prohibited between the 1400 and 1600 blocks of Peniston Street, which will be cleared for production crew vehicles.
(We live about three short blocks from where the filming was taking place. Alas, no Elisabeth Shue sightings. Sigh.)
I can see it now...
The not-so-smart guys:
Joey Harrington (best known for the luckiest breaks in the NFL and an ill-considered Heisman billboard in Times Square)
Gus Frerotte (best known for being pretty and falling down repeatedly)
Terrell Owens (c'mon, do I really have to elaborate?)
Ricky Williams (if he can put the bong down long enough to participate, that is)
Chris Hanson (best known as the punter who chopped his own foot off in the locker room)
Onterrio Smith ("The Original Whizzinator")
Chris Henry (uh...will this affect his probation?)
Sebastian Janikowski (one of my neighbors in college - not so bright, that one)
Bam Morris (Wonderlic + driving around with a trunkful of marijuana = smart!)
Jared Allen (meeeee...it's all about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...)
Kellen Winslow, Jr. (This "soulja" has made some incredibly embarrassing - and PUBLIC - gaffes in his NFL career.)
Peyton Manning (any guy who can make SNL intentionally funny has to be clever)
Derrick Brooks (future AD at FSU, perhaps, once his Hall of Fame-ish career ends)
Drew Brees (okay, yes, I'm biased - but Purdue is no walk in the park)
Jason Taylor (the huge robot in London? Not his fault.)
Warrick Dunn (gives Brees a run for his money with intelligent philanthropy)
Adam "Pacman" Jones (again, do I really to explain why?)
Michael Vick (Woof.)
Michael Irvin ("Uh...that was my friend's crack pipe.")
Chad Johnson could serve as emcee...and the possibilities? Well...they're endless. Gripping television, I'm telling you.
(Is it me, or does Billy Ray spend more time flat-ironing his coiffure than the average woman would?)
Take Heidi Klum's, "Auf wiedersehen, you're out," mix it with a little bit of Tyra's "You've got to be FIERCE, girrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl" pop-psych peptalk, some fakey-fake The Hills and add some Roger Goodell gravitas. Instant hit. Besides, ESPN is always looking for cheesy new content, right?
Imagine the possibilities - the series pilot could revolve around all the drama with the Falcons. Arthur Blank could play the snotty Michael Kors role, and put quarterbacks and coaching candidates through their paces, throwing out snarky asides at every available moment.
In another episode, Sean Payton could practice reverses and carries/receptions with backs and receivers...but with super glue and velcro (y'know, just to make sure they hold on to the ball). Kickers could try out by kicking field goals from 80 yards out, and could practice "working it" on the turf at the 'Dome. I'm pretty sure Tyra is scary enough to teach special teams play...or else. Be fierce, Gramatica! OWN IT!. (And Mare? You're no longer in the running to be America's Next Top Kicker.)
San Diego could kvetch and moan about how Rivers should be cut, and ooooh, did you see how L.T. dissed him in Sunday's game? Oh, no, he jus' didn't! (I'm totally seeing it edited MTV-style, complete with an angsty post-pubescent girly soundtrack. All that's missing is a Spencer Pratt-like villain. Perhaps Petrino could sub in?)
Screw Inside the NFL. And screw angsty Michael Vick coverage during Monday Night Football. I'm tired of all of the human interest stories (excluding Sean Taylor and Kevin Everett, of course) invading the excitement of 4 quarters of football. Let's bring back football, folks, and move the prison sentence drama to where it belongs - carefully scripted reality television!
So...let's take all of the drama and gossiping, and move it to it's own show. Stuart Scott could host it, and Ditka, Shula and one of the 8 million Mannings could offer color commentary. Perhaps Olivia is free?
This morning, while driving to pick Kevin up in Kenner, I felt like I was entering the Village of the Damned (to be fair, it is Kenner) - the fog was so oily and thick, it really did feel like a John Carpenter flick. Do Carpenter films feature taqueria stands?
At any rate, work is a little bit insane right now - problems are cropping up in almost all of my programs, so I'm edgy.
Clearly, I need something deliciously cheesy to cheer me up, right? And since I'm such a nice person, I'm sharing this gem of wonderment with you all:
Numa numa, indeed.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
This guy just cracks me up.
Rebirth actually did a second line down our street when our neighbor, Jay, was announced as the Big Shot for the Krewe of Zulu. So much fun!
- I totally called Bobby Petrino's departure from Atlanta. Look at the ol' Auburn fiasco from a few years ago...that'll tell you all you need to know about his character.
- I think there's a tremendous silver lining here - Atlanta now has a chance to score someone like Cowher or Schottenheimer and a QB from the upcoming draft, like Matty "I heart Dave Matthews" Ryan or Colt ".45" Brennan. Think about it, Mr. Blank.
- C'mon, Vikings, just lose 1-2 games. Please?
- Hawaii fans will be invading NOLA in droves for the Sugar Bowl - aloha, y'all!
- Crazy happenings along I-12 - two corpses were found an exit apart on the North Shore at around 6:30 this morning.
- And it's official - Jimbo Fisher will be the next head coach at Florida State. We all knew it, but apparently the university felt that a press conference would be handy.
- Les Miles? What the heck are you doing conferring with Michigan?
Friday, December 7, 2007
He may lose his Heisman. (No one saw that coming, right? ::raised eyebrow::)
Here's what I don't get - if you KNOW you're going to force out your coach (Lloyd Carr), why on earth wouldn't you have an airtight succession plan (sorry 'bout Les Miles)?
The same question applies to Arkansas - your coach led you to the SEC championship game last season, and beat LSU this season. Yet you still forced him out, and when your initial plan to hire Jimbo Fisher failed, you floundered.
If you're so confident in your decision to pursue another coach, you'd better be prepared to make them an attractive offer, and one that involves stability.
The coaching carousel has reached an untenable position, and coaches are wary of jumping ship without a safety net of some kind, whether it's to go to a school with an unreasonable A.D. (::cough::ARKANSAS::cough::) or to a school with unrealistic expectations (Bama, anyone?).
As a good friend of mine puts it:
I'm laughing because apparently they were ready to fire Houston Nutt for months, but they don't seem to have a strategy in place to hire the new guy. Most schools in their situation have their main guy, and a back up plan.
Tommy Bowden was about option 5, and he backed out. Seems like a major cluster up there, and they don't seem prepared at all. Also, even if Nutt had as many issues and had pissed off as many people up there as they claim, it's just bad business to fire a guy who coached you to the SEC championship game LAST YEAR, and just beat LSU in Baton Rouge who was #1 and now playing for the title.
Also, apparently how he was let go was really nasty, and that gets around the grapevine with other coaches.............Finally, from what I have heard from a couple of folks in Tallahassee, Arkansas was really intersted in Jimbo Fisher, but Fisher wasn't nearly as interested, given some of the factors listed above. It's also likely why Tommy Bowden got cold feet.
Apparently Arky isn't a great working enviroment, and Broyles isn't a fun guy to work for..................
(Interestingly, the concept of "suicide season" is a misconception - suicides typically drop in December, and are more common during warm months.)
According to the Times-Picayune, a man attempted suicide off the High Rise into the Industrial Canal this morning:
A man jumped sometime before 10 a.m. from the Interstate 10 High Rise bridge
that spans the Industrial Canal in an apparent suicide attempt, according to
The man drove his vehicle westbound on the highway, pulled over to the side abruptly and parked in the right lane, said New Orleans Police Officer Shereese Harper.
He then jumped into the water below. A woman from Bollinger Shipyards alerted police to the jumper.
Harbor Police pulled the man from the water shortly later and he sustained "no obvious injuries," Harper said.
Note to self: wear the fat pants next time, instead of the skinny jeans. (But the new Festivus-ready shoes are GREAT - they're the perfect combination of cute and sturdy, which is ideal for the boozy slate of holiday events upon us this month.)
Here's what we ate:
Crabmeat & Brie French Toast
Brioche stuffed with Louisiana blue crabmeat salad and brie, cooked French toast style and served with onion thyme relish and smoked tomato sauce
with house made tasso and duck cracklin’
Prince Edward Island Mussels
steamed in a beer an stilton cheese broth
tossed with a goat cheese dressing, smoked bacon and cane syrup roasted pecans
three petite beef tenderloin filets served on caramelized onion mashed potatoes and topped with pork debris, Stilton cheese sauce and marchand du vin
Bell & Evan’s Chicken Roasted Under a Brick
maple glazed, with a potato and bacon hash cake, topped with a fried farm egg
And if you're still not convinced of the joyousness of their food, I have two words for you:
Thursday, December 6, 2007
"When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever
Pretty sage advice, that. I have lots of musings on last night's Hornets game and D.'s office holiday party and FSU's brush with NCAA investigation...not to mention FSU appointing an heir apparent to The Bobby. But I'll have to get to that later.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I would have loved to have gone shoe shopping tonight, but D. scored tickets to tonight's Hornets game, and that sounds much more fun--plus, the Hornets could use more fans in attendance at the Arena.
Happy Christmakwanzahannukah to me--here's a pic of my gift to myself:
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Brad Pitt was interviewed on "The Today Show" this morning about his work in the Lower 9th Ward, where he has commissioned some of the world's best architects to design safe, sustainable houses that can withstand flooding. To date he has donated $5 million of his own money, and he's really pushing high net-worth individuals and foundations to pony up as well.
Personal drama aside, it's not often that you find a celebrity who follows through on his/her word so tirelessly, and I commend him for keeping some focus on what happened here two years ago.
It's eerie to see military police patroling the Lower 9th, and it's even more disturbing to see hugely empty lots and National Guard spray paint reflecting so much death and loss.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I miss him so much every day - it's like a slowly burning feeling in my heart. It's not so much that it gets easier with time as you just don't notice the pain as vividly. A year ago today, I called home to make holiday plans for my parents to come to south Florida, where I was planning to take my dad fishing, cook for them, and have them meet my great boyfriend. Instead of my dad picking up, my mom answered, hysterical from grief. Paramedics had just pronounced my father dead. He had gone to sleep the night before, and had just never woken up.
We don't know why. We just know that it was an excruciating loss.
I comfort myself by telling myself frequently that I am incredibly fortunate to have known him so well that I could miss him this much. I tell myself that he knew how much I loved him, since the last time I saw him was when I surprised him with a trip to Colorado Springs to see Air Force take on the Fighting Irish (booo). We had an amazing weekend, and the very last time I saw him, we hugged goodbye, and he told me how much the trip had meant to him.
Here's what I told people about my father:
Just a few weeks ago, my dad and I stood together on the field of Falcon Stadium at the United States Air Force Academy, breathing in the crisp air and marveling at the soaring falcons as they practiced their halftime show with their cadet handlers. Dad had a look of pure joy on his face as he watched Yeti, a gyrfalcon and peregrine hybrid, reach like Daedalus for the sun.
Today, we grieve our loss, but I think it's important to realize that Dad, that stubborn, generous, hilarious, and infuriating man, has soared away from us, aching to reach the clouds. Though we mourn, we should celebrate that he has reached the end of his journey, and that he is home. We should celebrate the life of this wonderful man – Mom's devoted husband, an intensely protective father of Michael and me, and a doting grandfather to Kayla and Meagan.
He was a loyal wingman to his Air Force family, and a smiling neighbor to others. He was a career Air Force Officer who was ruthlessly efficient and tough, but who mentored young cadets and would-be pilots like a gentle older brother. He was a hero who saved his fellow pilots from enemy fire during combat, resulting in his Silver Star, and he was a dad who attended every speech competition. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a colleague, and occasionally—only JUST occasionally, a prolific debater. Michael Muldoon was many things to many people, but more than anything, he was a friend to all.
Seriously—Dad had an uncanny ability to meet people in line at the grocery store, and walk out with a new friend. I've often joked that Dad could probably start a conversation with a tree, and it would be so charmed by his Irish wit and warm heart, it would probably talk back. Sadly, that gigantic heart of his finally wore out. Our daddy-daughter trip to Colorado was the last time I saw my father, and I'm grateful for it. I'm glad that our last time together was spent with laughter, snowball fights, and oh-so-gently heckling Notre Dame fans. I'll safeguard those memories for the rest of my life.
Like many of you, I'm deeply shaken. I'm shocked at the passing of my father. He was my rock, and he was the one person I always turned to for guidance. He listened lovingly when I would cry about a breakup with a boyfriend – and occasionally threaten to drive out of state to make them disappear for hurting me, he would offer advice on how to live a good life, and most of all, he would constantly hug me and tell me he loved me very much. Mom and Dad were to spend this Christmas with me, in south Florida. I had excitedly planned a menu for Christmas dinner, and I had planned a drift fishing trip with Dad.
I'm floundering a bit now, to be honest, because:
-Who is going to look at me, shake his head, and make fun of the fact that I'm left-handed? Dad's favorite thing to do to torment me was to wait until I was hard at work cooking for my parents, and then raise an eyebrow at me, and snark that I was cooking with a right-handed skillet, and I'd better turn the handle in the opposite direction.
-Who's going to one day walk me down the aisle and kiss me on the cheek and tell me that I'll always be his little girl?
-Who's going to sit and banter about politics with me over beer and wings?
I, like many of you, feel robbed. Robbed of his vibrant presence, the instant impact on a life he could make with just a welcoming smile. I'd gotten so used to speaking to Dad pretty much every day that I'm a little lost. But as my friend Roxana reminded me this week, I'll hear Dad's voice every day when I'm making decisions. I'll know what he would say on the topic of the 2008 Presidential Election, whether or not my car needs new spark plugs, and Steve Spurrier's uncanny visor-throwing ability from the sidelines of SEC football games.
It's a pale facsimile of Dad, but what's important is that I, like you, carry him with me in my heart – and that will never fade, because I'll keep his
memory alive. In the end, we're not robbed. Dad just got called home a little earlier than we had hoped, and because he was such a wonderful human being, we hoped for more time with him. But what we each shared with him was precious in its own way, and we should rejoice in a life well lived and well loved.
My father was so incandescently happy when he was strapped into a fighter, soaring above the dappled dreamscape of the clouds. And so it's only fitting that I pay tribute to my beloved daddy with the giddy words of another combat pilot, John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
So we ended up with an 8' Frasier Fir that is proudly and gorgeously sitting in our living room, framed by the very tall windows we have.
We even put up Christmas lights and garland on our porch...that was fun, up until a strung-up crackhead from down the street insisted that our dog had bitten her sister, and that if she ever saw him outside of our yard, she would break his neck. That immediately put my hackles up - I was both angry and scared. Jake wouldn't hurt a fly, and the fact that she had the temerity to threaten him was just astonishing. Man...
Regardless, the holiday season is officially here. And really, it's a great distraction from the larger issue - today, the 2nd, is the first anniversary of my father's sudden death.
Virginia Tech, who is hot recently?
Oklahoma, who manhandled Mizzou tonight?
Georgia, who streaked late in the season?
USC, who won the PAC-10 today against UCLA?
Kansas, who only has one loss?
I think...the nod has to go to either LSU or Oklahoma.
Hang on a sec, folks - here's my rationale:
- While I admit to being an ACC gal, the SEC was stronger than the PAC-10, the Big 12 or the ACC this year.
- LSU and Oklahoma won their conferences. KU and UGA did not.
- LSU utterly destroyed Virginia Tech in their meeting on September 8th. So if the voters are considering the head-to-head in their poll votes tonight, LSU has the decided edge.
- Oklahoma beat the number 1 team in the nation tonight (whether or not that ranking was deserved, OU was also the favorite according to odds-makers...so take that as you will).
So as my better half puts it, we'll know in the morning, right? If we see LSU ranked second in the polls, we'll have a pretty good idea what the BCS will do.
For now, we can all shake our heads at WVU and wonder about what could have been had the Mountaineers overcome White's injury tonight in the Backyard Brawl. And then there's the matter of Hawaii's struggle with UW tonight...thoughts?
P.S. How genius was it for Les Miles to announce that he was staying at LSU BEFORE the SEC championship? Not only did he fire up his players, but he managed to fashion himself a bit of an SEC folk hero for turning down his dream job. I'd speculate that the departure of his defensive coordinator to Nebraska and LSU's reportedly swank offer to him impacted that fiery little call-out of ESPN this morning...or maybe I'm just cynical?