Monday, March 31, 2008


So after R.E.M. my favorite band in the world is easily James, the Manchester-based band best known for the song "Laid."

Far from writing songs about mere obsession, the band wrote engaging and thought-provoking pieces on suicide, God, hope, fear and love. And each lyric was matched to a complicated musical arrangement (like "God Only Knows").

"...'cause when I hold her in my arms, I feel like Fred Astaire..."

"You may say I am cynical, but I say man is flawed/He has a vague memory of before some fall..."

"You're as tight as a hunter's trap/Hidden well, what are you concealing?/Poker face, carved in stone/Amongst friends, but all alone/Why do you hide?"

"It's a crime in my child's eyes/To find out life is in disguise..."

Here's an example of a typical Tim Booth-led anthem, "Ring the Bells."

And this song evokes all of my collegiate road trips to Atlanta...I'd always play this on my way up I-75 through downtown Atlanta on my way to visit Britt.

Possibly more impressive is how rich and vivid the band always manages to sound live. They haven't toured the U.S. since (I think) 1994, when they played Lollapalooza, but I'm always hopeful they'll have a change of heart. ;)

The band took a several year hiatus, but returns next week with a new album, "Hey Ma." You can check it out here.

Here's the band playing in Athens in 2007 - reunited for just a brief period of time, and just on the cusp of writing new songs for "Hey Ma." I have to admit, "Hey Ma" and R.E.M.'s "Accelerate" are two albums I'm looking forward to more than I've anticipated any releases in a long, long time.

"Accelerate" is out tomorrow, and "Hey Ma" will be released in the UK on April 7th - but it's available for presale on Amazon!

Plague and Ponchatoula

So the plague has worsened. I had to cancel on the extra work today because I was dizzy and hacking this morning an hour before my call time.


Anyhow, here's something to ponder - I have an entire flat of Ponchatoula strawberries. I know I'm going to make strawberry preserves and vanilla bean ice cream with crushed strawberries. I have already made fresh strawberry muffins.

But...any other cool ideas for how to use these gorgeous berries?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Davidson! Curry!


Davidson's in the Elite 8.

D. and I were the only two people in our ESPN pick 'em group to pick Davidson to get to this point.

(Everyone loves an underdog. Spoon even wrote a pretty badass song about it.)

In craptacular news, the Celtics won tonight's grudge match against the Hornets.

Here's a question - why is KU's fight song never played? I mean, we hear the "Rock Chalk" mumbo-jumbo seemingly constantly, but we never hear their fight song. With refrains mentioning "Sis-boom" I can only assume that their fight song is less rock and more...chalk?

Um, this assumes of course that chalk is Maalox chalk bad, not sidewalk chalk bad. ;)


Will this plague ever end? I had an important meeting this afternoon out in Metairie, and since I'm sick, I can't wear my contacts or any eye make-up. I showed up wearing my glasses and looking pastier than usual...gah.

D. and I are sitting on the couch, watching "The Full Monty" and digesting beef curry soup and apple jello in a pathetic attempt to recapture some sense of good health.

The curry soup? Helps. Here's my recipe for it:

South African Style Beef Curry Soup

6 cups beef stock/broth
2 red potatoes, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 large onion, sliced
3/4 cup peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons, curry powder
1 teaspoon, cayenne
1 teaspoon, kosher salt
1 lb. top round steak, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Brown the beef lightly in one tablespoon of olive oil - don't let the meat get too done, or it will be tough and chewy. Remove the meat and set to the side. While the meat is browning, throw the potatoes into a measuring cup full of water and boil in the microwave for 6 minutes.

Saute the onion and garlic in the remaining olive oil - 2 minutes should do it. Add in the celery and saute until the onion and celery are mostly translucent. Drain the boiled potatoes and add them to the mix, along with the carrots and peas.

Add the broth and curry powder, cayenne and salt, and simmer for 15 minutes. While the soup is blending, mix the cornstarch with the cold water, and whisk it briskly into the soup to thicken it.

The soup will reduce slightly - after the 15 minutes are up, add the beef and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Ladle into big bowls and serve with flatbread.

Note: I had some leftover baby portobello mushrooms, so I threw those in rather than let them go to waste. Seriously, add whatever you've got lying around into the mix. I even added a little cilantro curry paste for extra flavor. From a health standpoint, the curry will open the sinuses and the cayenne will boost the immune system.

Proverbial food for thought, eh?

Yep, time for some hot tea and honey before clubbing myself over the head with Nyquil.

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

Yes, well, D. evidently gave me the plague, so I'm recovering from that before Monday's work on the set of "12 Rounds" and Tuesday's trip to court with Mom to meet with the state's attorney about the schmuck who robbed her.

In completely odd news, it was announced today on that odd couple Mary Matalin and James Carville are relocating their family to uptown New Orleans this summer. Welcome to the madhouse, and please, keep us in the forefront of positive media about the recovery of this city. Gracias.

FSU folks, I've gotten the go-ahead from the alumni association. Please send me your e-mail addresses and phone numbers if you are interested in helping me set up a bad-ass NOLA Seminole Club. My e-mail address is listed in the column to the right of this blog. ;)

Today I'm feeling very Snow Patrolish. It's 78 degrees and sunny, and despite the fact that I'm running a fever and hacking up blood, I'm in a great mood.

Enjoy the Gary Lightbody hotness. (I know I do.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rich Drunk Driver Challenges State of FL Rules & Regulations

Records show Christensen registered a blood alcohol level of .235, almost 3 times the level limit, but her attorneys don't want a jury to hear that. They brought in experts to attack the very process FDLE uses to take the blood tests.A witness followed her for miles when she didn't stop at the scene eventually trapping her in a parking lot.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In the news...

Things you do want to hear:

Better Than Ezra Donates To Fire Department

Things you most emphatically do not want to hear:

Bullet Bounces Off Chef Paul Prudhomme (Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! Who would shoot K-Paul?)

Things that make you go, "Oh no, she jus' di'int!":

Report: Jamie Lynn Spears, 16, Gets Engaged

In related news, Al Copeland's funeral will take place on Monday at Holy Name (next to Loyola). It remains to be seen whether or not his procession will pass by the abandoned Copeland's restaurant at Napoleon and St. Charles. Regardless, rest in peace, Mr. Copeland. What a sad way to pass on...

We are four collies no more.

Lady, one of Mom's collies, passed away this morning. :(

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A few shots from tonight's game...

Tonight at the Hornets-Celtics game, I got to meet both Glenn Dorsey and Mike McKenzie.

Both were supernice, and signed autographs for almost an hour after tonight's game for fans.

And I snuck a cute pic of D. hard at work.

The Hornets overcame a tremendous deficit to beat the best team in the league - it was an exciting game, and to watch the sell-out crowd (the eighth sell-out in the last 13 home games!) yell. Seriously, the fans were so incredibly loud, D. is still having trouble hearing out of his right ear.

Then again, we are getting old. ;)

P.S. How funny are these two guys?

Tift Merritt is coming! Tift Merritt is coming!

Adequate words do not exist to explain my adoration of this woman's talents. "Good Hearted Man" is easily one of my favorite Tift Merritt songs, largely because the emotions she evokes in her lyrics remind me in an utterly nauseating way of how I feel about D.

(Please, go ahead and retch. I'm just feeling schmoopy at present.)

I often trend towards some weird amalgam of 90's indie rock, old timey punk, southern rock and alt-country, and Brit-pop (though there's definitely room for all of that Manx rock from the 80's, like Joy Division, James, Happy Mondays, etc.), but when I listen to the women of alt-country, I'm always struck at the weird combination of fragile femininity and tough emotions the standardbearers (Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Tift Merritt, Caitlin Cary, Kelly Hogan, et al.) seem to possess. North Carolina native Tift Merritt possesses this almost ethereal beauty (with worried eyes and a wide grin), but I have a feeling she could stand toe-to-toe with Ryan Adams and bitch slap him. Of course, Rhett Miller would be on hand to offer up a congratulatory pound.*

Anyhow, why am I rambling on about Miz Merritt?

Well, it appears she is gracing Orleanians with her presence this week. According to the T-P:

Tift Merritt in New Orleans

At Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival: Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Tift Merritt gives a master class on 'The Art and Craft of Songwriting,' Thursday, 3:15 p.m., The Historic New Orleans Collection; admission $25. Also, Merritt joins Nashville, Tenn., writer Jim McCormick and New Orleans' own Paul Sanchez, formerly of Cowboy Mouth, in 'Art of Song,' a discussion of their craft, Friday, 1 p.m., Bourbon Orleans Ballroom; admission included in festival pass ($25 for one day; $60 for full festival). Tickets: Call festival office, (504) 581-1144, or go to Web site

At The Parish at House of Blues: Tift Merritt appears in concert, with Paul Sanchez, Friday, 8 p.m., 225 Decatur St.; admission $13.50. Tickets: Call Ticketmaster, (504) 522-5555, or go to Web site


Ryan Adams - Amazingly talented, if formerly self-destructive former lead singer of Whiskeytown. Once a nasty drunk who engaged in sporadic feud/mud-slinging with Rhett & Co.; now one half of a mutual admiration society that includes the Old 97’s. Old conventional wisdon: Will defy odds if he lives to see 30. New conventional wisdom: Like Dylan, will be cranking out albums at 60. Unverified but juicy rumor: Was inspiration for and/or target of “Crash On The Barrelhead.”

So the right side of my bracket... totally blown.

Argh. I reaaaally though St. Joe's, Temple and Drake had what it took.


Just to recap my week:

-Monday: movie extra
-Tuesday: movie extra
-Wednesday-Friday: caring for sickly boyfriend/dinner party for belated St. Patrick's Day cooking (I naturally made corned beef with veggies and soda bread)/Good Friday fish fry (D. had never actually heard of this, but I told him it's largely a Southern Baptist thing that I get from Mom's side of the we fried up some shrimp, tilapia and crawfish tails)

This afternoon D. and I are going downtown to watch K-State-Wisconsin before heading over to the Hornets-Celtics game. This is a must-win for Chris Paul and company, as the Celtics have earned the reputation of decimating teams from the West. If the Hornets who beat the Spurs/Rockets/Lakers/Mavericks show up tonight, it'll be an intense game, and one well worth watching.

Tomorrow is of course Easter, so we'll hit up mass at OLGC before coming home to once again attempt to fix D.'s car. Sigh.

Thank goodness for March Madness and good home-cooked food. ;)

(That's all I'm sayin'.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Yes, well...

I have been dreadfully absent of late, but I promise, I have a really, really good excuse.

More on that later.

In the meantime, as the Hornets head down the home stretch to the playoffs, people are really starting to give them a lot of promising attention. Fans crowded the Arena for the team's fourth sellout of the season, and media pundits are raving about Chris Paul.

The Hornets host the Celtics on Saturday night.

In unrelated news, New Orleans officials are kvetching that the census numbers on the city's revived population are too low.

I tend to agree. Traffic is insane, and as a result, the streetcars are insanely backed up. That's a good sign that the population is getting up there, folks.

D. is pretty sick, so I'm going to go get him some orange juice. I'm still recovering from my two days as a movie extra.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Random Parade Notes

  • Ladies, do not roll up to a St. Patrick's Day parade wearing a bright orange dress without any green attached to it. That's just ignorant and very insulting to most Irish Catholics. I realize that sounds preachy, but c'mon, the last time a riot occurred in Belfast, the Order of Orange had a little somethin' to do with that, mmmkay? (I'm not sure why this is such a sensitive topic for me - it may have to do with the fact that sizeable chunk of my family is from Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.)
  • I hereby vow that once my breasts hang below my waistline, and cottage cheese-esque cellulite dots my thighs, I will NOT wear ill-fitting halter tops paired with uber-high-waisted short-shorts and stilettos. I WILL dress like I'm my age, rather than like a 45 year-old Cher wannabe. (You should have seen these two women. Not pretty.)
  • Those Irish social groups are full of some randy men. Seriously. RANDY.
  • We saw someone get beaned with a potato. It. Was. Awesome. (He was fine.)
  • Our grocery list for Monday's St. Paddy's Day dinner (which unfortunately meshes with the final, very somber week of Lent) is greatly reduced due to our new cabbage collection. Anyone got any good cabbage recipes?

Faith and begorra!

All trite Irish-isms aside, D. and I went to the parade down on Magazine St. today. Some friends of ours own a house near Parasol's, which we all used as a home base.

In total, we caught four cabbages, three limes, one potato, one carrot and a ton of throws.

After some parade hijinks and some fairly potent jello shots, we made our way back to our friends' house for a fish fry, which was a lot of fun...until a remarkably sober me fell off the porch and landed oh-so-gracefully in the middle of the gorgeous fuchsia azaleas.

Everyone later told me (an embarrassed as hell me) that it seemed like everything happened in slow motion.

Oh dear. It's one thing to make an ass of one's self whilst intoxicated, but falling off a porch while sober is just humiliating.

I'm just sayin'.

Catfish aficionados, take note--if you're not a fan of the occasionally very fishy taste of fried catfish, try marinating the fish in yellow mustard before coating it in cornmeal. You'd be surprised how awesome it is.

In honor of my 3/4 Irish heritage, I'm offering up my family's soda bread recipe. This is not entirely altruistic, as I manage to lose 4-5 copies of the recipe every March while fervently seeking it out to bake the damned bread. This way, at least I've got a record of it, eh?

Soda Bread

4 c. unsifted, all-purpose flour (you can substitute 2 c. whole wheat flour, health nuts)

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 c. sugar (optional, but I always use it)

1/8 tsp. cardamom

1/4 c. butter

1 egg

1 3/4 c. buttermilk

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly.

Slightly beat the egg into the buttermilk in a smaller bowl. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients until well-blended.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth--roughly 3-5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and shape into two round loaves. Place each loaf into a lightly greased 9" round pan and press down. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/2" deep cross into each loaf.

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Fun Wednesday Time!

This one's for the lovers...

...mainly 'cause it's stuck in my head and I spent last night tormenting D. with it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

FSU Alumni/Fan Club?

Anyone interested in a NOLA-based FSU alumni/fan club? It seems I've been nominated to undertake the task of reviving the Greater New Orleans FSU Alumni Club.

Thoughts? Ideas?

Gray Hair

So it's a sunny albeit chilly Tuesday morning here in New Orleans. I'm slightly stymied by the fact that I have discovered yet another gray hair on my rather considerable head of hair. I swear, I never had any gray hair until Dad passed away.

Now I have at least 5 hidden on the top of my hair. Grr.

This situation calls for Pavement. STAT.

There. That's better.

P.S. Junkie Dude is in jail, and we found Mom's wedding ring and a few tools and other pieces of jewelry. He confessed to everything (he's now ripped off two widows in the last two months) and is going to prison for a long, long time. I can't wait to confront him at his sentencing - the really sad thing is, he doesn't know what he did with Dad's wedding ring or Air Force Academy class ring. Those two pieces meant a lot to our family, and I'm still swallowing some anger of the loss of these very sentimental pieces.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kicking off Friday on a happy note!

No. 20 FSU begins conference play tonight against Maryland. Sadly, I won't get to watch the series, but I WILL be checking out No. 19 UC Irvine at No. 22 Tulane.

Go 'Noles!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Introducing Charlie...

So this is Charlie...a collie/husky mix (AKA "hussie") who has semi-joined our family. He resembles a very cute, very cuddly Ewok. He and the "bald-ass Lassie" make a great pair.

Caption This

So this is taken from a circa 1955 homemaker's magazine, and details how to be a good geisha...I mean, wife.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Beyond angry...

So D. and I went to Pensacola this weekend to visit Mom. Naturally, D.'s car broke down once again and remains in Pensacola being fixed.

While we were there, quite a few things happened.

  1. We met up with our friends Thorny and Michal at the usual spot (McGuire's).
  2. We added a dog to the family. (Note: we haven't actually adopted him yet, but we're fostering him while we decide. We did a trial run over the weekend with Jake, to see how they got along, and so far so good. His name is Charlie, and he's a 4 year-old husky/collie mix (otherwise known as a "hussie"). He looks like an Ewok to me, and unfortunately for us he shares Jake's need to be a bed hog. So we'll see how things go. Never a dull moment in our household, that's for sure.
  3. D.'s car is the devil. That is all.
  4. And then there's the matter of Patrick Robinson.

On Sunday morning, I went to go mow Mom's lawn and discovered that some of Dad's tools - and a couple of mowers - were missing. I asked her about it and she admitted that a handyman (the erstwhile mentioned Mr. Robinson) had worked around the house between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she thought he had maybe taken them, but was too embarrassed to mention it.I made her call the cops and file a report.

Today, it turns out that he also stole her bronze flatware, my dad's chainsaws/saws/nice tools, all of her jewelry (including Dad's class ring, which is the only thing I told her I wanted from the estate), the sterling flatware, the artificial Christmas tree and some other things. I'm really angry. Not at her, of course, but at this schmuck who would take advantage of an obviously ill (this was when her medications were out of whack at the holidays and she was blacking out constantly) widow. I am also angry at myself, because as Mom put it, I really should have come to visit more. Maybe I would have noticed before now - as it is, it's been two months.

He sold things directly to pawn shops around Pensacola, so we may never recover some of these priceless items. I'm going to drive back to Pensacola tomorrow to take Mom around to different pawn shops to try to identify what might be left.

But I'm angry. (And strangely comforted by the hyperactive collie and the Ewok.)