12.16.2010

With Apologies to Stephen Hawking

This was, hands down, one of the funniest interviews I've seen on The Daily Show, ever.

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What Athenae Said

Athenae at First Draft knocks it out of the park again:

"Let's stop taking care of people entirely. It's too much. It's always too much, when it's something like keeping the lights on or feeding somebody or educating him. That's too much, too expensive, and so what if we lost entire PALLETS of cash in the Middle East? So what if we shoveled cash at two wars and never bothered to ask where it was all going? That's not too much. In fact, even bringing it up just proves that the argument is over. It proves you're not serious, because serious people know the only thing that can really be questioned is what brand of canned fucking chili somebody bought with his goddamn fucking food stamps."

12.14.2010

Amen

Why I Return to New Orleans

"In those neighborhoods—if you listen carefully enough—beneath the warmth and hospitality and stories of human struggle and resiliency, you will also hear a more negative note. There’s a feeling of frustration in New Orleans that sometimes comes close to real anger. New Orleanians may not be able to recite the precise statistics and dollar amounts, but they know full well, how vital the mouth of the Mississippi River is to our whole nation’s economy. They know about the trillions of dollars worth of oil, gasoline, grain, seafood, and industrial products that flow through New Orleans—generating profit and prosperity in the rest of the United States. And they know just how little of that profit and prosperity stay in New Orleans.

In other words—if we define a just society as one where every person has reasonably equal access to the fruits of their own efforts and labors—then New Orleans is the perfect case study in what’s unjust about our society."

Originally delivered as a sermon on November 14, 2010, by the Reverend Dennis McCarty at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, Indiana.

H/T, Oyster.

12.10.2010

Go, Bernie, Go

Not that it will have any real effect, but I'm awed to see Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) standing up for what he believes in and filibustering the deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And I am in shock--absolute shock--that my senator, the milquetoast, blue-dog Mary Landrieu, has actually been helping him.

He's on hour number seven now and has said he will go on as long as he can talk. Go, Bernie!

Merry Christmas from the Family

My husband always says this song reminds him of Christmas growing up with his family. After 16 years together, I can see why....Feliz Navidad, y'all.

Joyeux Noel




12.07.2010

What Driftglass Said

The Last Democrat

"The first rule of American politics is that presidents get elected by promising to keep the American people safe from one peril or another, real or imagined.

The converse of that rule is that no American president ever got elected by promising to keep the American people safe from themselves. Carter tried and lost. Mondale tried and got stomped. Others tried and were crushed before they got out of the gate.

It doesn't work, which is unfortunate because, sadly, the problem with America these days is mostly...us Americans.

Half of us can't be bothered to pay the slightest attention to what our country is doing or why, and more or less half of the rest get our ideas of right and wrong piped directly into our heads from Rupert Murdoch or Glenn Beck or "Focus on the Family" or all of the above.

This situation is not sustainable: as I wrote elsewhere (stealing shamelessly from our 16th President), our nation cannot endure permanently half-Fox and half-free.

And so we must face our real problem: that America is currently too fucking stupid, spoiled and hateful to make good, long-term decisions.

And so we make bad decisions, like deciding to get our Reality from bald-faced liars and lunatics because they tell us what we want to hear; or deciding to scream "Commie!" at people who try to tell us the truth because the truth is not what we want to hear."

11.18.2010

Yes, Virginia, There is a Shockey

Lately, Emmeline has been asking me quite frequently if Santa is real. This took me by huge surprise, considering she's only five years old. I believed in Santa at least until I was around eight years old. And then I discovered the truth, which was helped along by the fact that Santa used to leave my sister and I notes on Christmas morning--notes that would thank us for the milk and cookies and tell us that he hoped that we liked our presents, etc. When I was about eight, I noticed that Santa's handwriting looked, remarkably, exactly like my mother's handwriting.

Anyway--I thought I had a few more years with Emmeline. I know that everyone has different opinions on whether you should encourage a belief in Santa Claus or not, seeing as how it pretty much amounts to completely and bald-facedly lying to your child, glorifying a religious holiday that you don't particularly believe in if you're not religious, or taking away from the importance of the real meaning of the holiday, if you're a certain type of Christian. I get all of that--but for me, I loved the experience of not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve out of sheer excitement in anticipation of Santa's visit. I remember vividly the torture of not being able to go downstairs to see what Santa had left until the entire family was ready to go downstairs--I recall that the time it took my mother to get her robe on and wash her face seemed like an eternity plus a few extra years. And I don't recall being that upset when my suspicions that Santa wasn't real were confirmed.

I don't know. Am I setting my child up for crushing disappointment when she finds out the truth? I don't think so, as I most definitely lean on the side of children needing to believe in magic as long as possible. Which is why I bought a "reindeer harness" at K-Mart last year, complete with jingle bells on it, and left it on our porch on Christmas morning. The look on Emmeline's face, when she went out onto the porch and found some jingle bells that had "fallen off" of one of Santa's reindeer, is one of the happiest memories of my life. The look on her face was one of sheer awe. She still talks about it and is planning to leave the harness out for Santa with a note this year, telling him that she's taken good care of it all year and and that she wants Vixen, or Comet, or whichever reindeer it belonged to, to have it back because they've probably been sad, thinking they lost it.

So, my heart hurts a little bit that my daughter is already asking me if Santa is real, thanks to kindergarten (I don't know why it didn't come up in pre-K). I've been unsure of how to respond and have pretty much just gone with, "Well, what do you think?"

Her answer is always that of course she believes in Santa, so I've got at least one more year. I'm guessing it may be the last one, though.

Nevertheless, it's resulted in some highly entertaining comments from Emmeline. First, she told me a that little boy in her class that we'll call Anton had told her that Santa isn't real. She went on to tell me that Anton said that if you believe in God, then you can't believe in Santa. And if you believe in Santa, then you don't believe in God. (Thanks, Anton's mom, for opening up that hornets' nest.) But then she went on to tell me that Anton said that the Easter Bunny is totally real.

About a week later, while leaving a friend's house after the Saints game, she asked me if Jeremy Shockey is real. It cracked me up that she even knew who Jeremy Shockey is--guess I'm rubbing off on her. And who told her that Jeremy Shockey wasn't real? Why, Anton, of course. Now I'm trying to figure out what Anton's mom has against Santa and Shockey.

Murder, Crow-Style

Like a certain other New Orleans blogger, I've always had a fascination with crows. I don't know what it is about them--I guess I just think they're incredibly cool birds, with their jet black feathers and eyes that, to me at least, have always seemed to emanate intelligence.

As mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I work on the roof of the Tidewater building, now the Tulane SPHTM. Next time you're driving into the city on I-10 and get close to Canal Street, look for the Tidewater/Tulane building--the relatively tall building right next to the now-defunct Radisson (which is right next door to the now-defunct UNO Technology Building, which is right next door to the now-defunct Days Inn--thanks, Katrina!) that has the big red and white antenna on top.* See that trailer attached to the roof up there? The one with the Tulane logo on it? That's my office. Sometimes it scares the hell out of me that my office is a trailer on the roof, which makes up the 25th and 26th floors of the Tidewater Building, but it survived the Cat 3 winds of Katrina, so I figure I'm okay. (And the view is amazing--I can see the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain, depending on which window I'm looking out of.)

11.05.2010

Horror Movie Setting, Anyone?

About 12 years ago, I guess, the City of New Orleans got its very own amusement park. At first, it was called Jazz Land--it was a pretty dismal failure, with pretty lame rides. Still, it was an amusement park, so we went to it a lot. It had one truly good rollercoaster, a wooden one named the Mega Zeph and modeled after the Zephyr of bygone days at Pontchartrain Beach.

Around 2003, Six Flags bought the amusement park, made a few minor improvements, and added a couple of new rollercoasters. The park was still pretty much a dismal failure. Six Flags New Orleans was about the last place that the tourists wanted to visit when there are so many other options here, and the park was built in the middle of a piece of swampland, basically. It was a horrible place to be in the summertime, with very little shade coverage. But still, I have some fond memories of goofing around there with friends--this was long before parenthood came into the picture for me.

The park closed on August 27, 2005, in preparation for Hurricane Katrina. It has never reopened. I'm sure it was a relief to Six Flags to have the park flooded during Katrina so that they could claim their losses with their insurance company and move on. But it has always shocked me that they were allowed to just completely walk away from it and leave their mess behind. (Other than when they dismantled and moved the Batman rollercoaster to another Six Flags park somewhere else.)

Here's how Six Flags New Orleans has remained for almost 5 1/2 years. According to this video, it's finally going to be demolished in January (H/T, Jeffrey).

11.04.2010

Parlez-vous Francais?

Tonight, Emmeline and I were reading a book, and I was asking her to count the different items she saw on the page. And for the first time since starting at her new French immersion school, she automatically began counting in French rather than in English. What a wonderful new world we live in, where my little girl, who's only five years old, is already well on her way to becoming bilingual. I wish someone had thought of that 40 years ago, but I'm afraid there's not much hope for me now. (Although, thanks to Emmeline, I now know and can correctly pronounce about 10 colors in French. Next up, she's going to teach me how to count to 20.)

My favorite "immersion" story so far is when, a few weeks in, I asked Emmeline if she could understand what her teacher was saying. Her response? "I can't understand what her mouth is saying, but I can usually understand her hands."

It was a bit of a rough go for E at first--she cried for the first three weeks every morning when I dropped her off at school. And I felt so bad, knowing how frustrated and scared she was that she couldn't understand what her teacher was saying to her. But her teacher is wonderful, one of those people who was just born to work with children, and she reassured Emmeline that all would be well and that she could always come to her and express her feelings in English and that she would always repond--in English--if Emmeline was upset. That seemed to very much put Emmeline's mind at ease, and now she's thriving.

It will be fascinating to watch as she progresses. Although I'm already dreading the day that Emmeline is a teenager and makes plans with her friends to do something she knows she should not be doing--all in front of me, and all in French....Mon dieu!

11.03.2010

11.03.10

I'm back, finally, after a looooong month of the federal grant application from hell and a myriad of problems in my personal life.

So, I'd like to say that I'm surprised and disappointed by the outcome of yesterday's elections, but we all saw that coming, didn't we? Sadly, I'm used to the fact that all of my votes are pretty much cast in vain--a blue woman in a very red state. Hopefully, we'll bounce back in 2012.

I found out today via Facebook about a post written by a friend of a friend, and it put it all in perspective for me.

An Open Letter to the White Right, On the Occasion of Your Recent, Successful Temper Tantrum

You, who could not survive the thought of minimal health care reform, or financial regulation, or a marginal tax rate equal to that which you paid just 10 years earlier, perhaps are under the illusion that everyone is as weak as you, as soft as you, as akin to petulant children as you are, as unable to cope with the smallest setback, the slightest challenge to the way you think your country should look and feel, and operate.

But, surprise…they are not.

11.01.2010

Halloween 2010

I guess it's time to accept the fact that I am raising a native New Orleanian. Case in point, I give you the Who Dat Cat (her idea).





9.24.2010

Dear WWL Executives

I get it. I know that your political views are about as right-wing conservative as you can get, and I know that that's primarily what your audience wants to hear, as evidenced by the calls you take over the air. I get it. I mean, hell, it's not real hard to figure out--there's no doubt in my mind that you would still be happily broadcasting Rush Limbaugh for 3-4 hours a day if WRNO/Clear Channel hadn't stolen him from you. (Remember when WRNO used to play rock music? That was nice.)

But really, you've been getting a bit excessive in your fear-mongering. Yesterday, you ran a story during the hourly news about the power of self-healing. The basic gist of the story was that if you bang your shin into a piece of furniture or something similar and then rub it with your own hand, your mind for some reason makes it feel better, as opposed to someone else rubbing your shin, which would make it hurt worse. A very innocuous story. But you guys couldn't just air a little fluff science story without getting a jab in there. The lead to the story by your news guy (whose name escapes me) was "Worried about what it's going to cost you now that Obama has enacted his new health care mandate? Here's a story that might help you save costs." Really? You turned a story about self-healing into a jab at health care?

Today, the same news guy intro'd a story about BP's oil by saying that some scientists are still insisting that there's oil in the Gulf--it's kind of like you're implying that all's well, the oil really has disappeared, nothing to see here, move along, everything would be fine if those effete liberal elitists who work at universities and such weren't insisting that the oil was still there.

You guys are ridiculous.

Note to self: Renew subscription to Sirius.

P.S. Clear Channel, you're just as bad. Could there be a more vile, racist show than Walton and Johnson in the morning? Every time I tune my channel to 95.7, I can last about 15 seconds before I'm completely repulsed by the latest shit they're spewing.

9.21.2010

Ode to the South

I'm in Seattle right now, at a conference on global health. What can I tell you about Seattle? It's so clean here. So green here. So walkable. So Pacific Northwest. Temperatures in the 60s, which feels like a godsend, considering our unrelenting 90+ degree heat in New Orleans.

It took me 12 hours to travel here yesterday. Apparently, it takes less time to travel to Peru from New Orleans than it does to travel to Washington State. And last night, I had a really weird dream where I decided to turn around and fly home for the night and was then in a panic, trying to figure out a way to get back here again in time for the conference this morning.

Did I mention that I can see the Space Needle from my balcony? The balcony which, by the way, I can't smoke on unless I want to forfeit a $250 deposit. (Don't tell anyone, but I've snuck out there a couple of times and smoked anyway. And yes, I recognize the irony of the fact that I'm sneaking cigarettes on the balcony while attending a global health conference.)

9.15.2010

Google Search of the Month

Oh, you people on the google. You never cease to entertain me. This month's search? "What are the chances of a live bullet going off if hit by a lawn mower?" I don't know. What are the chances? And why would you have live bullets lying around in your lawn?

9.03.2010

Jours d'école*


Emmeline's first day of kindergarten. It would have been completely anti-climactic, as she spent a year in Catholic pre-K last year and we had planned to send her back. But we got a call over the summer, saying that there was an opening at one of the charter language immersion schools, and after much agonizing over the decision, we decided to enroll her there.

I was worried that it would be difficult for her, as she really loved her other school. But my daughter has proven once again to be amazingly adaptable and has finished her first week with no problems. She seems to have already become completely comfortable in the new school, which is a big relief.

I'm amazed at her ability--at any young child's ability--to learn a new language so quickly and wish I'd had the opportunity to do so when I was a kid. She already knows the French words for the primary colors, as well as for man, woman, boy and girl. So basically, her French vocabulary is already larger than mine.

I still don't have a clue as to how this whole language immersion thing will work in the long run. I mean, how do I help her learn how to read when I can't read the language myself? (I know, I know--I just focus on the reading in English part.) But still, it will be very strange to not be able to help her pronounce a word correctly, as I long ago realized that I'm incapable of speaking French properly. Spanish I can do. There's just something about French that is impossible for me--ask my French-Swiss co-worker or my Belgian boss. (Although it did become much easier for me to even attempt to pronounce a French word when my Francophile co-worker pointed out to me the biggest differences between English and French--English is primarily pronounced with the tip of the tongue and the front of the mouth, while French is primarily pronounced with the back of the tongue and the mouth. I don't know why that had never occured to me before.)

Anyway, I'm already dreading Emmeline's teenage years, when she will be capable of calling me horrible things, and/or discussing her plans to get a belly ring and tongue piercing, and/or making plans to sneak out of the house, all directly in front of me, as I will have no idea of what she's saying.

But I'm glad she's happy, and I'm glad that she has this opportunity.

Vive le France!

*Thank you, Google translator!

8.28.2010

Five Years On

I debated about whether to put this post up or not--I feel like all of us are suffering from Katrina fatigue--or at the very least, Katrina anniversary fatigue. In some ways, it seems like it happened yesterday--in others, it feels like a lifetime ago.

So, I'll give you the option of whether you want to read my five-year post or not. If you do, it's here.

8.13.2010

Katrina Memory #5

Sunday night, August 28th - My mother and I got to Atlanta on Saturday. It's been a weird day of alternating between pretending that nothing's wrong and wallowing in the deepest depths of fear. We go out for take-out and come back to my sister's house to eat dinner in front of the tv. Of course, we tune into the Weather Channel to see what's going on. The streets are flooding from the rain, and we get the obligatory shot of the latest dumbass that decides his small car will be the car that can make it through the eight feet of water that always accumulates on the portion of I-10 underneath the Metairie railroad tracks in a hard rain. Predictably, he doesn't make it and some other guy races into the frame, wading out through the chest-deep water to save this yahoo that's just driven right into the water. We all laugh, as it's a brief moment of brevity in an otherwise overwhelming night.

Monday, August 29th, around 8:00 a.m. - We're sitting on the floor in my sister's living room, clicking the remote from news channel to news channel, desperate to find out what's going on. We stop on NBC, where Brian Williams is in the Superdome, showing the roof lifting up off of its supports and eventually tearing apart, resulting in a hole where you can see the sky from inside the dome.

Monday, August 29th, around 12:00 p.m. - I'm sitting on my sister's front porch, and my mom comes out to join me. She starts to cry, telling me that she feels incredibly guilty that, from what we've seen on the news, it's likely that my house might be in trouble. I tell her not to worry about it and desperately don't want to be the cause of my mother's pain.

8.05.2010

Google Search of the Month

The person who's trying to figure out how to insert or extract his or her boob from a vacuum cleaner is back.

Dear weirdo: go away.

Get Used to It



This makes me happy. One of these days, people are going to realize that trying to legislate who other people are allowed to love is ridiculous. I've never understood the argument that somehow, gay marriage is a threat to straight marriage and I never will. If two people love each other, they should be entitled to the same rights and benefits as anyone else in this country, regardless of their sexual orientation.

My favorite part of the article is this: Andy Pugno, a lawyer for the backers of the ballot measure "called it disturbing that the trial court, in order to strike down Prop. 8, has literally accused the majority of California voters of having ill and discriminatory intent when casting their votes for Prop. 8." Well, um, yes. In what other way can you explain this vehement opposition to gay marriage other than through ill and discriminatory intent?

I also love the fact that the judge who overturned Prop. 8 is "a Republican appointee with libertarian views." I bet heads are exploding over in Freeperville.

8.04.2010

Katrina Memory #4

Kenny and I are in Bay St. Louis, in December of 2005. I've just gotten back to New Orleans within the past two weeks, and it's my first chance to see Bay St. Louis, where Kenny and I had lived for about five years, and where a large portion of our families had lived.

We drive down Main Street, trying to get as close to Beach Boulevard as we can. We end up parking a few blocks away, where the road stops existing, and walk the rest of the way to the beach. Dan B's is gone. The Good Life is gone. The Dock of the Bay is gone. The Fire Dog is still there, sort of, but all that's left of it is an empty shell. We stand looking at what used to be a thriving, beautiful (and yet crazy) little beach town. We walk down what used to be Beach Boulevard, trying to wrap our minds around the fact that storm surge can be this powerful--how can water be strong enough to rip up a road? Huge sections of asphalt, six inches thick and 6-8 feet long, are lying around in crazy angles everywhere.

All that's left of the old bank building is the vault. (Way to go, vault makers!) It's just sitting there, a 10' x 10' bank vault, out in the middle of a vacant lot, nothing left of the building that used to surround it but the slab.

We walk to City Hall and peer into the window of what used to be my office, a long time ago. The front doors are covered in plywood, the glass having been forced out by the surge; the doors are locked with a chain and padlock.

We walk further down the beach. There's a lawnmower on the beach. And a couch. And a fake Christmas tree, decorated with beer cans, with a washed-up teddy bear propped underneath it. It's surreal.

We run into some acquaintances from the Bay, people we knew in passing. They tell us about riding out the storm in their house. And how they didn't really get scared until they had five-foot waves in the living room.

We drive to one of our former rental houses. It's gone. We drive to another house. It's gone. We drive to the house where my parents lived during my high school and college years. It's gone. We drive by Kenny's grandmother's house. It's gone. We drive by Kenny's sister's house. It's still there but is located several hundred feet further down the road, collapsing in on itself. We drive by the houses of a couple of friends we haven't been able to get in touch with. Gone, gone, gone.

8.03.2010

Katrina Memory #3

I'm driving around the Lower 9th Ward, March of 2006. It's probably about the tenth time I've been there in the past few months, because I've had this weird compulsion, since moving back, to drive around the most severely damaged neighborhoods, over and over and over again, taking non-stop pictures. I don't know why I felt the need to do it--I guess it was my way of grieving over what had happened---it made me feel better, for some reason, to wallow in the horror of it all.

I stop in front of yet another decimated house and get out of my car to walk around the property and take pictures. The front door is partially open, and, as I've done before, I walk up onto the front porch and cautiously peer into the mouldering darkness inside. The smell of death hits me immediately and I walk back to my car, thinking that a wild animal must have gone into the house and died.

I go home and tell Kenny about it and the next night, when the evening news is on, he calls me into the living room. The news reporter is standing in front of the very same house, reporting that a neighbor has discovered a body in it--yet another Katrina victim that hadn't yet been found until then, more than six months after the flood.

And I know rationally, or at least I think I do, that a human body would long since have been past the point of decay where it would've given off an odor by then, wouldn't it? It had to be a recently dead animal that I smelled. And I try not to think about the fact that in our supposedly first-world country, we could let a dead body sit in a house for more than six months before someone finally recovered the body and laid him or her to rest.

Synchronicity

All of my life, I've had feelings of self-doubt, feelings of self-consciousness, feelings of not measuring up. Oftentimes, as I get older and somewhat more sure of myself, those feelings will subside for awhile. But they're always there, waiting just beneath the surface. I've been in therapy for it. It helped a little. I took anti-depressants for it. It helped a little. I can thoroughly describe for you the origins of these feelings and can convincingly tell you that, rationally, I know these feelings are ridiculous--that if I were as hard on the people I love as I am on myself, they would crumble under the pressure. But for some reason, in my mind, it's always been acceptable--required, even--to catalog my failures and shortcomings and to judge myself--harshly--for them.

8.02.2010

Cat People

Don't get me wrong, I love cats. I think I've had at least one cat, sometimes two, in my life since around the time I was four. But some people take it a bit too far, I think. Like the woman in the elevator on Friday. She was deep in conversation with another woman, who asked her about the picture pinned to her chest. They then proceeded to have a long conversation about her "babies"--their ages, how they were doing developmentally, etc. I assumed the entire time that they were talking about the woman's kids. And although I thought it strange that she would have a picture of her children pinned to her chest, I was willing to let it go. But no. The woman had a picture of her three cats pinned to her chest. I'm sorry, y'all, but that's just weird.

I suppose I also have "crazy cat people" on the brain lately because my next-door neighbor is one of them. This is the woman who, when my 12-year-old cat died about a year ago, asked if she could keep him. She wanted to have him cremated and keep his ashes. I thought it was a bit strange, but it spared me the trouble of having to dig a hole in the backyard, so I said sure. I had another cat, Betty Kitty, who decided to move in with the next-door neighbor shortly after Emmeline started walking. Let's just say that Betty Kitty wasn't one of E's biggest fans. Betty Kitty lived to the ripe old age of 17 and died a couple of weeks ago. I'm sure you can guess what became of her earthly remains.

7.12.2010

A Letter to My Daughter, 07/10

Dear Emmeline:

And so it begins. You're five now, and there's very little baby left in you. Now, your father and I spend most of our time marveling at how grown up you are. You now roll your eyes at us when you're exasperated. You can finally pronounce "computer" and "penguin" correctly. You prefer iCarly to the Wonder Pets and Dora (although I turn the channel most of the time). You are most definitely, officially, now a little girl.

And a girly-girl at that, I might add, which never ceases to crack me and your father up. (As you will one day figure out, I am not very girly--other than when it comes to shoes.) Your favorite colors are pink, purple and red, and you have reported to me that when you grow up, you will live in a pink house with purple polka-dots. (You have also graciously informed me that your dad and I can come and live with you in the pink house, but that Tchoups must stay here.) You scream when a bug comes anywhere near you.

6.29.2010

Up to the Mountain - Patty Griffin

Up to the Mountain - Patty Griffin



I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
Everywhere
I could see all around me
Everywhere

Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired
And I'll be walking
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to

Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so

The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later
It's there I will go

Katrina Memory #2*

It’s around August 30th or 31st, although I have no idea of which—we’re at my sister’s house in Atlanta and we have no earthly clue of what’s going on in Bay St. Louis, other than the aerial shots taken by news crews flying over the area, which leave us fearing the worst. Kenny has made it to Bay St. Louis and has made contact with his mother, stepfather, and grandmother. He’s made it to Mom and Nick’s neighborhood and calls us from the direct connect feature on our phones (miraculously, that walkie-talkie function worked, even when 500 miles separated us and all of the cell phone towers were down). He’s at the end of their street—he can see down the road but can’t walk or drive there, as the mud is knee-deep. He says that Mom and Nick’s house is still standing, but that he thinks the roof may be gone. My mother hears this and her knees buckle as she begins to wail. My sister and I hold her up. To this day, I still don’t know with certainty whether her cries were from relief that the house was still standing or in despair over what it would mean (to the rest of the house and to all of their belongings) if the roof was gone. I imagine it was both.

*Sorry--the approaching five-year anniversary, combined with the never-ending oil spill, makes me a bit maudlin at times.

6.23.2010

Katrina Memory #1

In December of 2005, right after Emmeline and I had just moved back into the city (Kenny had been back and forth for work the whole time and living back in New Orleans for about a month), my husband and I got a much-needed, child-free night out on the town. Needless to say, it was a very stressful time in our lives. The city was in shambles. Most of our relatives were still living in other states and/or in FEMA trailers. We were living in the apartment Kenny had found for us, paying $500 more a month than the same apartment would’ve cost just five months earlier, before the storm. And we had a flooded-out house and were agonizing over what to do with it. Should we fix it up and sell it? Fix it up and rent it? Fix it up and move into it? Walk away from it altogether? Set it on fire and hope the insurance company wouldn’t figure it out? (Kidding, Allstate- -love you! Mean it!)

Google Search of the Month

I am happy to report that this month's top search on the google was for "FU BP." I have nothing to add to that, except that I seem to be getting vastly better visitors via the google these days. Oh, and FUBP. I mean really, who names their yacht Bob?

6.15.2010

Dear Blogger.com:

It would be helpful if you could re-program your spell check function to recognize the word "blogger."

Sincerely, ALM

BP Fatigue

Just go read Athenae at First Draft. That is all.

6.10.2010

The Terrorists Bombed the Gulf

I hope this isn't offensive to any New Orleans bloggers, but it's been in my head for days now. Ashley Morris, I salute you.

THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF. THE TERRORISTS BOMBED THE GULF.

There. We’ve played your game. Now will you help us?

6.06.2010

My City of Ruins



There's a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down
The church door's thrown open
I can hear the organ's song
But the congregation's gone
My city of ruins
My city of ruins

6.04.2010

Horror and Heartbreak



The horror continues here on the Gulf Coast, as each day news of the oil spill becomes more and more dismal. Each day, another attempt to staunch the flow of oil fails. Each day, more coastline is covered in oil—more than 140 miles thus far. Each day, more “protective” booms fail. The heartbreak continues, as each day, more wildlife dies. Each day, the estimate of the amount of oil gushing forth into the Gulf seems to rise. I am so angry that I begin and end each day with a pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat. How can they do this to our coast? How can they do this to our wildlife? Why won’t anyone step in to say enough is enough?

So far, we don’t know whether the latest attempt to “cut and cap” the spill will work. Although the cap is in place, oil continues to spew. The Coast Guard now estimates that the amount of oil escaping is somewhere between 500,000 and one million gallons of crude per day. And here we are, on Day 46.

6.01.2010

FU/BP, or How to Handle PR After an Environmental Catastrophe, Hayward Style

A BP primer in public relations:

Step 1: Underestimate the amount of oil being released into the Gulf. Rinse and repeat, over and over and over again.

Step 2: Defend your company's safety record leading up to the disaster, despite the fact that your company has been charged with the highest number of "egregious and willful" safety violations during the past five years--a total of 760 violations. Definitely do not point out that that the second-highest number of violations during that time period was eight. That's right--760 violations by BP. Eight by Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips.

5.26.2010

Dear President Obama:

I feel a bit foolish about it now, but I'm one of the people who voted for you and believed you when you said you were going to go about things differently if you were elected. That you were going to try to fundamentally change the way business is done in Washington. I knew it would be difficult--hell, I knew it would be virtually impossible. But I thought you were going to try.

But here we are, on Day 36 of the BP oil spill (although why we keep calling a hole in the ground that has continuously spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf thus far a "spill" is beyond me). Day 36, and BP is still in charge. Day 36, and BP still gets to call the shots on which dispersant is used, regardless of whether it's found to be toxic, regardless of whether its use has been banned in the UK, regardless of whether or not we, the residents of the Gulf Coast, want our waters turned into a science experiment.

Here we are, on Day 36, while BP and the Coast Guard are allowed to threaten reporters with arrest for trying to cover the story. Day 36, and BP boats have been allowed to sit by idly, despite repeated requests for help from local officials, while oil flows into Barataria Bay.

Here we are on Day 36, and BP is just now getting around to trying the "top kill" method to shut down the well. People down here would really like to know why it took 36 days to get to this point.

5.25.2010

Day 35


BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward tells journalists to step back as he walks along Fourchon Beach in Port Fourchon on Monday. (Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press)

Pressure to Save Time, Money may have Contributed to Oil Disaster
[F]ive weeks after the Deepwater Horizon blowout that triggered the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there is mounting attention being paid to whether concerns about money created an atmosphere of haste that--even more than broken gadgets, buckling cement or faulty plans--may have led to the disaster.

Even before the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig went down in flames, BP's ill-fated exploration well in the Gulf of Mexico's underwater Mississippi Canyon had been consuming time and burning through money.

5.22.2010

Dear Conservatives....

I must admit, I don't get it. I'm friends with lots of you. I'm family with many of you. I love you. But I just don't get it. This post is going to piss you off--but if you can stand it, try reading another point of view.

Why were the eight years of the Bush administration okay and now, all of a sudden, you're in such dire fear of our country falling apart? Are you aware of how concerned we lefties were during the Bush administration? What, really, has Obama done so far to make you fear that you're going to lose your rights to bear arms? (By the way, I say this as a woman with a pistol in the top shelf of my closet, who also voted for Obama. ) Yes, I'm a progressive who also believes in the right to bear arms; although as I've said before, I think we're carrying it a bit too far these days. Is it really an infringement on your Constitutional liberties not to be able to buy a semi-automatic rifle? Do you really need that to kill a deer?

Two for One

After watching the latest episode of Treme last night, I can't decide which was more disconcerting--having seen someone I know dressed up as a giant sperm* during the real Krewe du Vieux parade of 2006 or seeing someone I know dressed up as a giant sperm* for the re-enactment of the 2006 KdV parade for Treme. Either way, the "I salute you, Ashley Morris" line and the inclusion of his "Buy Us Back, Chirac" mime was a nice touch.

*I wonder how many hits the mention of the word sperm will bring to my site via the Google.

5.21.2010

Google Search of the Month

I know you all have been anxiously awaiting this month's installment. So without further ado, I give you "feder fucf gris." I don't know what it means, either. But I think it has something to do with Kevin Federline. Or porn.

Quadruple Points, Texas

Note to self: do not, under any circumstances, move to Texas.

Texas Board of Education Approves More Conservative Curriculum

Among other gems like now referring to the slave trade as the "Atlantic Triangular Trade," the Texas Board of Education will also now require that the U.S. government be referred to as a "constitutional republic" rather than as "democratic."

You morons. Were you jealous of Arizona or something?

Dear Mitch:

I, along with quite a few New Orleanians, I think, have a few reservations about your choice of Ronal Serpas for police chief. He may be a little too old-guardy, a little too entrenched in the way things were done before, without even getting into some of what's been unearthed regarding his days at the NOPD.

However, I would like to commend you for two excellent jobs well done, at least in my book, during your first couple of weeks in office.

First, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting rid of all of those ridiculous, annoying, "Our Recovery in Progress" signs that were spread throughout the city in what was obviously an attempt at nothing more than self-congratulatory PR for C. Ray, since those signs almost invariably spotlighted some minor public works project that had absolutely nothing to do with the aftermath of Katrina and the Federal Flood. Could anyone explain to me how minor sidewalk patching along Audubon Place helped the recovery effort in any way, shape or form? I realize, Mitch, that you may have just had these signs removed to replace C. Ray's name with yours. But I'm going to take you at your word that we're no longer going to say we're in the recovery phase and are now going to move on to the creation phase.

Secondly, I would really, really, really like to thank you for demanding an apology from this jackass. I'm sure the apology was forced by his boss and was in no way sincere, but still, what an ass. How can you live in New Orleans for six years and then spout that kind of ignorant crap, even if you DO work for Fox? Chris Myers, you unfeeling, racist f*ck, may you and your family never face a natural or man-made disaster and need empathy from others. I hope that there's a special form of karma awaiting you.

Anyway, thanks, Mitch.

Sincerely, ALM

Deja Vu

"We will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."
President George W. Bush, September 15, 2005

"Your government will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stop this crisis."
President Barack Obama, May 3, 2010

5.20.2010

FU/BP

As a resident of Louisiana, I'm so sick about this oil spill that I can’t even begin to tell you.

BP is still sticking to its initial “guesstimate” that approximately 5,000 barrels a day of oil are spewing forth into the Gulf, despite numerous reports saying that the real amount of oil being released is more likely in the range of 56,000-80,000 barrels per day. Even if you go with the lower estimate of 56K barrels a day, that means more than 2.3 MILLION gallons. A day.

BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, has had the gall to try to downplay the damage being caused to the Gulf. "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume," Hayward said.

But thanks to the “hot tap,” the smaller pipe that BP has shoved into the gaping pipe that is hemorrhaging oil, we’re saved, right? BP is proudly reporting today that the “hot tap” is now siphoning off 5,000 barrels of oil per day. However, as BP has maintained all along that only 5,000 gallons of oil a day have been leaking, and significant quantities of oil are STILL gushing out, this puts them in a bit of a quandary. You can watch a live feed of the oil leak here.

5.06.2010

Stand by Me

My brother-in-law and his family were in town for JazzFest last weekend, and we spent one of the days they were here just wandering around in the Quarter. It was a fabulous weekend for it--a wonderful breeze blowing in from the Gulf, warm--not hot--weather, Pimm's cups from the Napoleon House, and the most amazing amount of street musicians out that I've seen in a long time in the Quarter.

On just about every street we walked down, there was an awesome musician playing. We saw a group of teenagers who were right up there with Rebirth in their brass band skills. We spent about 30 minutes and $30 in tips watching them. We saw a funky group playing in Jackson Square with a clarinet, a violin, a keyboard, and a drum set.

And then on Royal Street, of course, we saw Grandpa Elliott, whom I love, and who is now a lot more famous thanks to Playing for Change. I had a nice little chat with Grandpa Elliott, and of course, got talked into buying a copy of his new CD. He's quite the salesman. Everyone has seen this video at least a dozen times now, but I still love it, along with the rest of the Playing for Change DVD.

4.30.2010

Oil and Water

Jesus, what a mess this is. In a lot of ways, it really does feel like a replay of Katrina. We seem to have all of the necessary acts, including a catastrophic threat lurking in the Gulf, a too-slow response by the Federal government, plenty of everyone-remain-calm patronizing, and lots and lots of coulda-shoulda-wouldas and passing of the buck.

Yesterday, I walked outside of work and into a permeable stench in the air--it smelled like a combination of melting asphalt and diesel fuel. Gee. I wonder what that smell could be, with an oil spill the size of Jamaica 15 miles off of our coast? And then we get to hear people on the radio and television news, downplaying the stench and implying that everyone around here is working themselves into hysterics and experiencing some mass olfactory hypnosis. (But just to be on the safe side, even though we're all crazy and imagining the smell, they have DEQ monitoring the air quality.) This morning on the news, I swear I heard one of the local reporters say that the smell could be with us for the next 30-60 days. Can you imagine how lovely that will be once the real heat and humidity of summer hit us? Imagine a 90-degree, 98% humidity day with the added bonus of a reek of oil in the air. Doesn't that sound delightful?

4.27.2010

Point, Georgia

In the continuing game Kenny and I like to play to decide whose home state is more embarrassing, my native state doesn't fail to disappoint as the great state of Georgia jumps on the birther bandwagon:

"[A] recent poll finds that only 58 percent of Americans say that Obama was born in the U.S. Twenty-three percent say they don't know, and 20 percent say he was born in another country."

Ah, living in the South. It never fails to disappoint. My only consolation is that the first state to pass a birther bill was Arizona. As Jon Stewart said last night, Arizona seems to be the meth lab of democracy.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Law & Border
http://www.thedailyshow.com/
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4.20.2010

Hail to the Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia


I have now officially seen everything--I wonder if the "Proud to be American" chia series is made in China? And there's a Hillary chia pet, too! If you're on my Christmas gift giving list, you should be very afraid.

3.31.2010

Shit

The good news? Emmeline got accepted into the new magnet school for advanced studies in Jefferson Parish. The bad news? It's in Airline Park.

I don't think there's really any way in hell I'm going to be happy driving E out to Airline Park every day and then picking her up again in the afternoons. That is just way. Too. Far.

Kenny and I had a long talk about it tonight. Even though we're about 99.99% sure that we do NOT want to deal with getting E there and back every day, at the same time, it's very hard to just walk away from free tuition. That would be a savings of $700 per month. $700 a month we could definitely put to good use. I think Kenny is more for the idea than I am. I also think a big part of that has to do with the fact that he knows that I'd be the one responsible for getting E there and back the large majority of the time.

But as I told Kenny, I don't want to move to Airline Park. I don't want to move to Metairie. If we could have gotten E into the magnet school in Old Metairie, I would've considered that, because that would've meant we could stay in Old Jefferson. But she didn't get in there, not surprisingly.

Did I mention that I don't want to move to Airline Park? Or to Metairie? No offense to the people who live there--it's just not for me.

To be quite honest, I have my heart set on moving back into the city. To Lakeview, specifically, as I've recently discovered that there are still houses to be had at a somewhat affordable price there. (It might have something to do with all of the flooded and gutted houses that remain there.) And if we moved back into the city to Lakeview, E could go to Hynes. Or, since I'm an employee of a certain university that has priority at Lusher, she could probably go there.

But do we give up the sure thing of free tuition in Airline Park, even if I can't see myself being happy living out there? I don't want to enroll her in a school out there for a couple of years and then decide that we're moving back into the city limits and move her to yet another school. I'd rather just keep on paying tuition at her current school, even though, once again, we could really use that money. So if we move her to Airline Park, I feel like we have to be willing to move to that area. But if we don't move her there and take a gamble that we'll be able to get a house back in the city again and get her in one of the good public schools there and that falls through, then what?

Shit.

3.26.2010

Vive le Reform!

Doc from First Draft sums up my feelings about the Republican reaction to the passage of health care reform just right:

However, of all the things we could argue that the Washington Senators shouldn't be spending money on, keeping us alive and preventing people from screwing us in the process is one that we should all agree on. Had President Potato-Head done this, Glenn Beck would be masturbating on TV about how great it is that we're in the Great American Century and how the world is now safe to children-to-be in the wombs of all good mothers who are growing Republican Children for Christ. Instead, a black Democrat did it, so it's got to be a conspiracy to give welfare cheats a chance to get better Schedule 1 narcotics.

I could write a long diatribe about how frustrating and disturbing I find the whole state of the conservative movement to be right now--but I'm restraining myself, because I don't want to spend the next three hours at my computer. Suffice it to say, I'm a life-long liberal. Whenever anyone asks me what that means to me to label myself as a liberal, and what that means I believe in, my answer is always the same three things--that education is a right, not a privelege; that health care is a right, not a privilege; and that you should be allowed equal rights under the law--including marriage--no matter who you love. We can agree to disagree on anything but those three things. You're for the war in Iraq? Okay, tell me why. I'll at least listen to and try to understand your reasons. If you abhor big government and want to give me your 30-minute-long Libertarian spiel, I'll listen to you. I'll point out what's wrong with your argument as often as possible, but I'll enjoy debating with you about it and I'll let you get your points across.

But if you want to see me absolutely lose it, then engage me in a conversation about how capitalism and the free market should rule everything, including determining whether children are allowed to get a good education or whether poor people should be allowed access to health care other than what they'll get when they finally have to get treated at the emergency room. And then throw in a couple of Bible verses about how it's a sin for a man to lie down with another man.

So, in case you haven't figured it out, I'm for health care reform and happy we've taken these first steps.

3.23.2010

Conversations With a Five-Year-Old, Volume One

Me: Emmeline, it's time to put your toys up and get in the bathtub.

E: Aw, Mommy, can't I play for five more minutes?

Me: No, I already gave you five more minutes. Now it's time to get in the bath.

E: You know what? I hate you, Mommy!

And so it begins. I thought I had at least another couple of years before the "I hate you's" started. What fun.

3.17.2010

Google Search of the Month

Sorry, faithful four readers--life keeps getting in the way of blogging. I keep thinking I have something interesting to say and then my boss throws the guidelines for yet another grant application that's due in two weeks on my desk and that's the end of any cognizant thoughts for the time being.

In order to keep you tuning in, though, I present another journey into the weird, warped minds that is people using the google. This month's totally intriguing entrance into my blog brought to you by everyone's favorite search engine?

"Boob vacuum cleaner."

It's spelled right, and it's lovely in its direct, to-the-point way of wondering what to do when you get your boob caught in a vacuum cleaner and/or what to do if you're contemplating sticking your boob in a vacuum cleaner. Well said, google searcher, well said.

Oh, and there were lots of searches for "gris gone wild" and/or porn (or "pron"). But you already knew that, didn't you?

Okay, back to my grant....

3.03.2010

Conversations With A Four-Year-Old, Volume Eight

This conversation took place while Emmeline was playing with one of my old Barbie dolls from the 70's, who is, apparently, an Orca by today's Barbie figure standards and doesn't fit into half of the new Barbie clothes.

E: Mommy, some of my Barbies are really fat.

Me: What?

E: Yeah, some of them are really fat and can't fit into these clothes. See? Her tummy is sticking out of this shirt.

Me: Wow. You're right--those clothes don't fit my old Barbie at all, do they?

E: No. But that's okay. Because having your tummy stick out of your clothes like that makes you look like a rock star!

Okay, now I'm off to write a letter to Mattel about what they're doing to little girls' conceptions of what their bodies should look like....

3.01.2010

We Believed

If you want to know why we believed this season, if you want to know why we knew this team really was something special, this is why:


Poor, sad Tom Brady. I like to think he's saying "we are so f@cked."

If you want to know how we knew we were going to the Super Bowl, knew it deep down in our bones, even though we were still anxious, even though we knew, rationally, that we couldn't really make it come true just by believing it hard enough, this is why:


Poor, sad Kurt Warner. Poor, sad Brett Favre. Poor, sad Peyton Manning.

February 7, 2010, is a day that I'll never forget. I didn't have the opportunity to go to Miami, but even if I had, I wouldn't have been anywhere else in the world but in New Orleans on that day. The day started off with Mardi Gras parades on St. Charles Avenue; it ended with watching our team win the freaking Super Bowl!!! When the Saints came out of the half and executed that onsides kick, the grown men I watched the game with, including my husband, began crying and spontaneously hugging each other. By the time Tracy Porter got the pick six, we were all levitating off the ground. I had friends and family members who've never cared about football calling me screaming in excitement. Over our Saints.

When the game was over and all of the champagne was gone (most of it ended up on the ground--we were jumping up and down too much to drink it), we walked out of the back yard and into the street. We wanted to watch for fireworks. We watched the game at the house of some friends who live in a college neighborhood, and the street was deathly silent--all of the college kids in the area had gone off to bars to watch the game. So about 15 of us stood on this dark, quiet street and took it all in. We could hear the city erupt around us in joy. And as we turned around, we could hear it from all sides. Fireworks were exploding in the sky and there were just waves of roars and screams rolling in over us. It was amazing.

Do I wish we'd been able to go out to the Quarter and join the party afterwards? Of course. But we had a very sleepy four-year-old to take home, so we did. We stopped at a gas station and joined in on a spontaneous singing of "Halftime" with everyone else pumping gas. And then we went home and watched the game on our DVR. Again. And cried. Again.

New Orleans Saints, you have made our year, our decade, our lives. You have made more people ecstatically happy than you'll probably ever know. That was an amazing year. We believed. Thank you.

And....Win. Again.


Drew Brees at Lucy's Retired Surfers' Bar in New Orleans after the NFC Championship game.

2.24.2010

The Week(s) In Review

So yes, I'm still alive. Kind of.

It's been a very busy couple of weeks, in between work, Mardi Gras, the Saints going to the Super Bowl, the Saints winning the Super Bowl, getting to publish a modified blog post in an online journal, going to the Saints Super Bowl parade, spring cleaning the house, etc.

Let's begin, shall we?

Work is absolutely insane right now, and I've been living, eating, and breathing it lately. I still maintain that it was highly inconsiderate of NIH to set the deadline for one grant application and three grant progress reports, all of which are 20-50 pages long, less than two weeks after Mardi Gras. Poor planning, people. I don't care if you do live in a place where Mardi Gras doesn't exist.

Recently, I introduced Emmeline to computer games. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, it makes me feel less guilty when she's being babysat by the computer rather than the television when I need to do something really important, like vacuum. So anyway, I showed her how to get on NickJr. and play coloring games, Candy Land, etc. Great, right? Yeah, it was, until one night last week, when I didn't think and let her bring a big cup of water (sans lid) in here with her to play on the computer. I also didn't think when she came running into the kitchen to grab a towel. (I believe I was busy vacuuming or something.) So, fast-forward about 20 minutes, when I go to tell her dinner is ready, and find her sitting there with a panicked look on her face, in front of a still-dripping, madly beeping laptop. It died shortly thereafter, bless its heart. So I was without a computer for a while. Note to self: no more food or beverages allowed around the laptop if you're under 30.

And sadly, I can't even bring myself to be all that mad at Emmeline for trying to sneak the destruction of the computer past me. I'm sure all children her age are sneaky to some extent, but she is my child. When I was a kid, I made trying to get things past my parents into an art form and can't help but wonder if she somehow inherited the trait. I still get constant hell from my family about the time when I was about E's age and wrote my name on the wall with a pen. I then denied it up and down, backwards and forwards, and had all sorts of answers as to who would write my name on the wall. And why. I don't think I ever admitted that I was the one who wrote on the wall. (Although in hindsight, I probably should've picked something else to write if I were going to try to deny culpability.)

As I said, my husband and I are doing some spring cleaning right now, which resulted in an extremely entertaining fight about what else but the vacuum cleaner? Kenny decided that the reason there's so much dog hair and dirt in our house is not because we have a golden retriever who sheds about eight pounds of hair a day, but is because although I vacuum the house about three times a week, I'm not vacuuming properly. That's right, folks, the man who is apparently more afraid of our vacuum cleaner than our dog is, and who therefore never touches the thing, told me our house wouldn't be so dirty if I would just clean better. I'm sure you can imagine where I told him he could stick the vacuum cleaner hose. I would also like to point out that the next time the vacuum cleaner made an appearance, it was because he was the one doing the vacuuming.

So that's about it. My life in a nutshell. Did I mention that there was also Mardi Gras? And the Saints winning the Super Bowl? And a Super Bowl parade? All of which I had lots of great pictures of, about 2/3 of which were on the computer? That Emmeline spilled water all over? And then it died and I lost everything on it?

Sigh. Guess I'll go vacuum now.

A Tale of Two Saints Parades

So, while I was standing outside in early February in freezing weather on Canal Street for over three hours, shivering with some friends and our kids and waiting for the Saints to finally pass by, I was feeling a bit sorry for my husband, who was at work. I shouldn't have.

Did we have fun standing out in the street with 800,000 of our friends and neighbors? Yep. But it was also cold and extremely crowded--in hindsight, we picked the worst possible place to watch the parade, as we were stuck behind NOPD barricades with tens of thousands of other people. (The lure of free and convenient parking at my work parking garage is what made Canal Street seem like a good idea at the time.)

After the parade was all over, we learned that if we'd been pretty much anywhere else along the parade route, we wouldn't have been boxed in by police barricades and would have been in crowds 10-15 people deep rather than 60-75. We also learned that people who got to the parade much later than us (we were out there for about 4 hours total) but went to different spots on the route were home before the parade even made it to us. Another mistake in watching the parade on Canal Street was that it was almost the end of the route, meaning we had to wait, and wait, and wait for the parade to get to us. (Dear Saints Super Bowl parade organizers--next time, please use the Uptown parade route. Love, A)

Google Search of the Month

This month, we have a plethora of funny, strange, and just down right creepy google searches to choose from. So many that I couldn't pick just one. Or even two. So, here we go....

Funniest - "What is the spiritual meaning of grits?"

Worst Spelling, Porn Category - "I wots to see gris necid in the bed." For those of you who don't have your bad-grammar/spelling-porn-site-translator on you, I believe that should read "I want to see naked girls in bed."

Shameless Self-Promotion/Number of Searches for the "Pigs Have Flown" T-Shirt My Sister and I Made - 7. Number of money I make per t-shirt? $1. Would you like to buy one? The "Believe" shirt was much more popular--we sold 200 of those! Can I quit my day job yet?

Creepiest Search and Result, Porn Category - It's not so much per se that I'm creeped out by the guy who searched for "momy.gris.porn" and was directed to my site as I am by the fact that he spent over 30 minutes here. Doing what? I don't even want to know.

And the most exciting search - "gris grits." Does the fact that more people searched for my actual blog this month rather than "gris gone wild" mean that I've made it and can quit my day job now? Yeah, I didn't think so, either.

2.03.2010

(Kinda sorta) Published

A big thank you to the editors of likethedew.com for requesting that I submit an article on the effect that the Saints are having in New Orleans this year, thanks to their magical season. And an even bigger thank you for posting it.

I must confess, geek that I am, having a byline was pretty damn exciting.

1.28.2010

Growing Up Yat, Volume 1

Sometimes, raising a Catholic native New Orleanian is strange business; especially when you're neither a) Catholic nor b) a native. However, it also provides hours of entertainment.

For example, when Emmeline and I were flying home on Sunday from Georgia, I made sure to wear my Saints t-shirt. When we got the TSA screening area at the Jacksonville airport, the TSA agent saw my shirt and told me she was rooting for the Saints, too. Upon mention of the word "Saints," Emmeline immediately launched into Yat mode and alternated between singing the Who Dat chant and yelling black and gold in the Superbowl. The TSA agent started laughing and crying at the same time and told me that her hometown was New Orleans and that we'd just made not only her day, but her year.

That was a good moment.

1.26.2010

Pigs Have Flown

Needless to say, this city is going bat-shit crazy right now after this:


It's been a beautiful few months here in New Orleans, what with Saints wins to talk about almost every Monday morning. And this one was the granddaddy of them all. To say "Saints" and "Superbowl" in the same sentence still seems, well, wrong. It's almost like you need to throw salt over your shoulder after you say it to ward off whatever hubris you might be attracting for next year by uttering those words together.

1.14.2010

E's Adventures in Catholic School, Again

I understand that if you go to Catholic school, they're going to teach you about life, death, heaven, hell, etc. But for the past week, Emmeline has been walking up to me and then to her father, sighing, shaking her head sadly, and saying "I'm really going to miss you when you die." Is that normal?

Google Search of the Month

Sorry, internets, I've been busy with life and have therefore been too busy to post. (Actually, I just haven't had anything interesting to say, but, well, you know....)

So, without further ado, here are January's google search of the month selections. As usual, there were lots of good ones to choose from, such as those old classics like "gris xxx, "gris gone wild," etc. But I think the ones I'm going to select to win the January prize are: "Can grits kill mice?" and "Are knives allowed on buses?" Oh, you weird, sick people that have access to my site via the google. You only marginally frighten me.