Sunday, October 29, 2006

Barbecue Review

So, having been in New Orleans for several weeks now, I must say that the food has been pretty tasty so far. But I had been missing my bi-weekly barbecue fix that living in South Georgia afforded me. Not that there's a lack of 'cue down here, just that I lived in Jawjah long enough to know what particular barbecue sauce I was in the mood for, and pick a place accordingly.

So I recently had that "its barbecue time" mood, and decided it was time to taste some Crescent City Cue. Since we covet that which we see most often, my first destination was "The Joint," a literal hole in the wall a stone's throw up from the intersection of Magazine and Marengo (I think that's the cross street, anyway. Call me unfamiliar as yet - wherever the Popeye's Chicken is).

I stopped in one afternoon while running errands, parked on a side street (parking is kind of a chore in that area) and perused the menu while standing in line. It is always a good sign that there should be a line of individuals to the streetside window of a barbecue joint. It is an even better sign when there are rear ends sitting astride the painted picnic table that serves as the outside seating area for the place.

Brisket & Pork caught my eye, and if you know me, you know the first meat I ordered will always be brisket, when available. This has something, genetically, due to the fact that my mother was raised in Texas, I am sure.

So my first item was the Brisket sandwich, topped with slaw (which I will always consider Carolina style, no matter what I am told) on sliced white bread, with a side of mac and cheese. The meal was a little pricey for 'cue: $8 for the plate, no drink, and you want to leave a tip. That's a on the pricey side for me, but in the mid range for non-fast food sandwich plates round these parts.

The brisket was good, with a nice outside char and a deep smoky taste, but it was a little on the tough side for my taste. But there was a lot of it, a lot, which pleased me to no end (and readjusting the value associated with the price in a positive direction). I had to take many a slice off the bread for the sandwich to be a viable hand held delivery.

The slaw was hommade, with a hint of vinegar to it, which was a pleasant surprise. (Down in Georgia, slaw is almost exclusively cabbage + mayonaise.) The sauce was vinegar based with a bite of what reminded me of chili or jerk for spice, but was robust enough to stick with the meat when dipped. It wasn't spicy enough to be called 'hot' but it did have some noticeable warmth at the finish. The mac and cheese was more spicy than the sauce, which I found positively delightful.

All in all, it was a good meal, but the toughness of the brisket kept my personal approval of the place above average, but in the realm of pretty standard barbecue fare.

But I'm not one to give up on a barbecue place based of just one meat, so a few days later (the sauce was good enough to encourage salivation upon thinking back), I went back for the same side, same sandwich - sub pulled pork for brisket. Matter of fact, and this is important in scientific evaluations that come with food tasting: the weather was almost exactly the same (a soft drizzle), there was a similar line of barbecue fans ordering, and parking was still something of a chore. So there's a remarkably similar scene, just experimenting with the pulled pork.

What a good idea this was on my part, for the pulled pork is the goods. Same outside char, deep smoky taste, but this was some 'melt in your mouth' goodness. The pulls were big and hearty, not stringy like some places will serve you, and the texture was right where it needs to be: taking a bite instead of shoveling. Slaw was still vinegar-y, mac and cheese was still mildly spicy, and the portion was still healthy, so the place gets a thumbs up on consistency and a decided "nicely above average" appraisal on 'cue. (I know which plate I'm going to reach for next time I'm there, and I will be going back.)

Next time: a barbecue place on Tchopitoulas....

PS: If any NOLA readers (or other readers, period) know of any good 'cue houses down round these parts that I need to visit, let me know, 'cause this Georgia boy is makin' the rounds.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Video Spot

If you click on the link above, and play the video found there, you will be directed to something you are not expecting. It is all work safe, but it may be loud, so keep the volume down if you're at work, or hell - turn it up.

I wasn't expecting it to go in that direction at all. This music video kicked me in the teeth, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I absolutely don't know what to think about what I just saw. I may never know. I'm probably not supposed to.

Some of y'all may wonder what the big deal is, or think it is something childish. I know it isn't, which I why I must link to it.

Thanks, Ashley, for pointing it out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

How Not to Answer a Job Application

Are you 18 years old or older? check

Please list any prior kitchen/restaurant experience. I have kitchen experience. I am a musician.

The result: though hired because of workforce shortages, if your new, musician co-workers ever find out that was what you put on the application, there will be no end to the hell you recieve on a nightly basis.

Middle Class families and saving.

How much is the average middle class family saving? According to this article, not much. The study involved boiled down to three questions:

1. Do you have 3 months income put back?
2. Can you cover a jobless spell?
3. Can you cover a medical emergency?

Respectively, 18%, 22%, and 23% of middle class families have done these things. The numbers (spanning back to 1989) have never been great but this is low even by comparison. I will conceed that the drop in interest rates over the last few years really discourages savings, but at the same time having money put back is always important.

What about you? I realize a good chunk of our readeship is not in the middle class family demographic but are you living from paycheck to paycheck, living with a comfortable amount of savings, or somewhere in between? Are you living above, at, or below your means? How do you answer these 3 questions? To be honest we're right on the bubble for #1 right now.

One thing that caught my eye was the following:

"One family feeling the pinch is the Andrew Miller family in Charleston, S.C. With a combined income of just less than $100,000 a year, Miller and his wife say they work harder than ever but are no better off than five years ago. They keep a tight rein on spending, but tiny raises that don't match inflation and escalating health costs are leaving them feeling like they are treading water."

A question I always ask myself when I see something like this is if they have a budget. Since I won't find the answer to that, I'll ask you: Do you have a budget? My family does and while we're not the best at sticking to it, being in the hole budget-wise really helps us cut down unneccessary spending. It also helps prevent arguments over money since you both have clearly-defined rules on what you can spend and you've both agreed to this beforehand. Therefore there is a mutually agreed to "bad guy." For example, like SAWB I have some interest in the new Nintendo but I probably won't have the money on budget to buy it at launch since I'm a bit overdrawn after our yearly clothes-buying super excursion and still need to get some supplies for winterizing the boat. And I don't even want to think about passing up my favorite cigars now that they're back out for the first time in years. I just hope a box is still available in December.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Six Questions

Ahh, election season sure brings out the trolls. As Dante has taught me, it is usually best to leave the trolls to their craft, making their wild, street-preacher zeal for whatever ‘cause’ they ‘represent’ anonymously on other people’s websites and emails unchallenged and ignored.

Call me easily baited.

One thing that has hindered, in my opinion, the Democratic Party in recent years – and this is especially true for folks of the ‘Southern Democrat/Southern Liberal’ wings – is that we have too often allowed trolls to put words in our mouths and we have too often allowed the shrillest, whiniest members of the left do our talking for us.

So people get a sort of distorted picture of what a Democrat is. The other side says that we are monsters in this or that way and those on our side who look the most like this or that monster respond, fulfilling the prophecy.

I’m kinda sick of that sort of discussion dominating the public perception of my Party. I also think it makes us look kind of weak when we can’t speak to our own defense effectively, when the trolls speak up.

We’re dealing with such a discussion over on Rev. Nelson’s Blog, as one usually ignored commentator is getting her kicks by playing the ‘God card.’ She’s trying to get Rev. Nelson to say something and get himself in trouble, or one of the volunteers to do it for him. Luckily for me, she’s run into a couple of bloggers who know better than to cause trouble.

“Who comes first God or your district? Will you advocate to put prayer back in schools? Will you advocate to stop the killing of innocent unborn children. Will you protect marriage. If you answered yes to all of these questions then you sir are not a democrat. Because if the democrats had their way a man of GOD would not be able to serve his country in Washington.”

Didn’t the Pharisees put a similar line of questioning to Jesus, trying to get him to slip up verbally? One of the most vital Christian passages comes from such a situation, when he instructs his followers to give God what is God’s and give Ceasar what is Ceasar’s?

I cannot speak for the Reverend himself on these answers, but I know how I would answer them. First of all, one of the highest callings of any Christian is to serve others. Sometimes this can be done by washing another’s feet, sometimes this can be accomplished by going to the United States Congress and making sure the government works for the people as opposed to the moneychangers.

Second of all, prayer has never left our schools. When I was at Glynn Academy, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathered at the flagpole at least once a week to open the day with public prayer on school grounds. It was student led, and as long as they didn’t obstruct anyone else, or force anyone who may follow a different set of beliefs to participate, they were completely within their rights to do so. Having a heart filled with faith means the faith goes with you, into the schoolhouse, the courtroom or the United States Congress, and you don’t need opulent monuments or pictures on the wall to demonstrate otherwise.

Third of all, I advocate a stop to the killing of unborn children by example, not by legislation, and that’s where this particular problem can only be solved. This is where I, personally, reconciled my pro-choice stance as far as the law is concerned with my pro-life stance as far as my personal life is concerned. I cannot, by definition, become pregnant. But that would be a cop out of sorts, so I take that one step further. At this point in my life, I do not engage in activity that could cause someone else to become pregnant.

As an aside to that above, it is which great trepidation that I write such things publicly. I could not tell you how many times I have had to deal with uncomprehending looks on the faces of many conservative, Republican, pro-life Christian compatriots when I found my way to a Waffle House at 2:30 in the morning instead of a warm feminine embrace. At which point those same conservative, Republican, pro-life, Christian compatriots did conclude not that I was acting responsibly and according to my beliefs, but that my sexual orientation was in question. (Thanks, ass****!)

Fourth, marriage would be better protected by maturity, communication and honesty than it will ever be from tax breaks and legislation. I’m lucky. I know many, many couples who have very strong marriages. Those are examples to me, and make my whole concept of marriage very strong. This isn’t an institution that is in trouble from without. If there is any trouble, it is trouble from within. That’s why I’m not married right now: I haven’t found someone who fits my requirements, and I haven’t fit the requirements of anyone else, and if you’re going to be involved for the 40-50+ years a real marriage takes, you’d better get involved with your eyes wide open.

Fifth, I answered yes to all of the questions, and I am undoubtedly a Democrat. Not only that, but I’m a liberal. You can ask my friends. You can ask my family. You may not believe it, but I am what a Democrat looks like. I am what a liberal looks like.

Boo.

Sixth, and final: the Democrats are going to have their way, as are the Republicans who are tired of out of control spending and crony-run bureaucracies, as are the Independents who are tired of the shenanigans and embarrassment this current bunch of children in Congress has saddled us with, when we send a United Methodist Minister named Jim Nelson to the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. in January, and when we say so on November 7th, 2006.

Mirror Post at Rev. Jim Nelson for Congress.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The $600 Playstation

So Sony is sending out an a new Playstation in November. This one will be called the Playstation 3. It's kind of a Plain Jane kind of name but looking at its direct competitors (the upcoming Nintendo Wii and the XBox 360) maybe plain is better. In an interesting move by Sony the console will cost a staggering $600. I can count the number of things I've spent $600 or more on with two hands and still have enough digits left over to show Sony what I think about that price (I'd only need one digit and it wouldn't be a thumb). That's hideous. My TV cost $280. My first car was only $1200.

Am I alone here? I mean sure it's going to be a BluRay player too (that's a DVD-like disc that plays HD movies) but wouldn't I need an HDTV to appreciate that? Does anyone on this group even have an HDTV? I almost bought one but it didn't work because my plan to buy the non-working one dirt cheap, then buy the exact same model new, and then return the broken one by passing it off as the new one was foiled by the manufacturer printing the stupid serial number on the box. But other than that, anyone?

Then Sam Kennedy (the editor of a gaming site 1up.com) had the audacity to say, "The thing about the PS3 you can't forget is that it's a Blu-ray player, too." How can I forget when the bulk of the $600 price is because of the BluRay player?

And speaking of BluRay, it's not even the only upcoming disc to play HD movies. There will also be one called HD-DVD. Do we really expect the makers of the veneralbe Betamax format to be capable of pushing a new video format when another one already exists?

I know I'm not the target audience here, but is the target audience even going to get this thing? I'm sure they'll want it but since that target audience is preteen to teenage males, they're going to have to talk their parents into buying it for them. Are parents going to fork over that kind of cash for a gaming console? As much as parents have a tendency to shower money on their children nowadays, I have to think more than a few of them will take pause at spending this kind of cash (or more likely credit).

What are your thoughts on this issue? I wanted to find out what the non-nerd world thinks about this $600 gorilla of a gaming system.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Buzzz

So, Buzzzbee has his own blog now. Sorry to wait so long and get it updated, as I only now remembered that I can do this with my shiny new laptop and a wireless connection.

In a post from last week, the Buzzz wonders if Republicans aren't throwing this election away for alterior motives:

The Republicans are floundering and that makes me suspicious. They don't flounder. They've spent the last 6 years showing us what expert politicians they are and how lousy the Democrats are at winning elections. I would almost venture to say that they are throwing the game.
As long as we need Northerners to elect Democrats, we'll have to deal with this sort of cynicism from us Southern Liberals. (As an aside, anybody seen the polls for the Lamont - Lieberman race? I swear, I don't know why I try sports prognostication...) I'd be a liar if I hadn't thought the same thing every once in a while.

But I know that ain't the case.

The sad (or happy, depending on your political leaning) thing about this election is that Democrats are going to waste what is a historic opportunity - a politically perfect storm - to enact some serious political change in this country. America can't stand this Congress. It has been one of the worst in our history. But the Democrats have failed to move blame onto the GOP for owning this Congress, because there are plenty of Democrats who are a part of this Congress who are part of the problem. On the other hand, the same behaviors that disgusted America with Democratic Congresses over the course of the 40 years preceeding 1994 have been acquired by the GOP Congress in less than 12 years (there was a honeymoon period until 1998). Now, the GOP can be seen as the kids who cried wolf to get elected, and then acted (for the most part) just like the other guys.

So enter the Democrats, who decide they can take advantage of this climate, and then, instead of going with a real deep reform platform, they choose to toy with the "the GOP are as bad as us, so its ok to vote Democratic again" line. Least, that's what it seems to me except in a few contests nationwide.

So, instead of winning a possible 100 seats and picking up a supermajority, and really changing the political atmosphere of the nation, Dems are still worried about picking up just enough seats to control some committees.

In football terms, it feels like we're playing really hard for a tie, where a little more effort might get us a huge win. Republicans aren't throwing this election cycle, the Democrats appear poised to back their way into control of the House.

Must See TV

Olbermann is the man.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Election Law Quirks

So...

In Georgia, you can run for Congress without actually living in the District you're running for???

Please see the comments seciton of this post.

I never even heard of this kind of thing before, and had always just assumed using common sense that if you were going to represent a district, you had to live in a district. I even thought I read that Rep. John Barrow (D-GA12) was going to move from Athens (now redrawn as GA9) to somewhere in Savannah in order to meet eligibility requirments.

But I reckon I was wrong to think that.

I'll try to do some research on it, cause it still strikes me as strange. I'm not too bothered by the fact as far as this election cycle goes, because if that's the way its done in Georgia then, by God, that's the way its done in Georgia. For now.

But I think this ought to change for the future, and I wonder if this is a new thing or an old thing. If its a new thing, I wonder how much it has to do with all the redistricting shenanigans we've had to deal with in the past years. I mean, Athens used to be in the same district as Savannah, which makes as much sense as putting Memphis in the same district as Knoxville. I'm sick of that kind of nonsense, and I think this gerrymandering crap has to stop, soon.

So I'll lump the "don't have to live in the same district where you're running" into my general "un-gerrymander the districts" complaint folder, and deal with it now and hope to change it in the future. None of my votes will change, ideologically, because of this, either.

What really sticks in my craw is that SAWB & I could have run the Jerzey for Georgia (Bulldawg Party) campaign against Cynthia McKinney in Atlanta while he lived in Island City and we lived in Athens. And we could have done this years and years ago.

(And won...)

The Quarter Million Dollar Midget Sniper Story

Tales from New Orleans

Yeah, you read the title right. One thing I need to do is start writing this stuff down so I never forget it. Those readers who know me know many of the epic stories I tell - the legends of Creswell Hall at UGA, an Island City childhood, however many stories and parables I tell that begin "so, me and my friends were drunk and..."

This one may only be funny to me, but it is worth recounting.

Yesterday, word came through the grapevine that one (probably former) co-worker and her friend had been down at Harrah's casino in downtown New Orleans. Playing the slots, these two (or three, the actual number of participants wasn't clear to me, the new guy) had hit the "Tower of Power" and won $250,000+.

Yup. If I'm Lyin' I'm Dyin'.

Though it was first recieved as a joke, the news began to trickle in that, no, this was the really real thing. At which point the staff began to offer congratulations and discuss what, exactly, each one of us would do with a quarter of a million dollars.

In the kitchen, many ideas were toyed with. One co-worker decided that he would come to work, driving a Cadillac. This was met with nodding approval from the staff.

But it was where the idea evolved that was funny: Then it was two Cadillacs, one older one newer, with a cheap import car for commutes and the toting of band equipment. Then he decided it would be one Caddy, with $10,000 rims, and "if I've got $10,000 rims, you can't wait to see my teeth." The stream of conciousness development, and serious consideration, of this thesis was beginning to take its toll on the kitchen's composure, but it didn't stop there.

When the obvious con position was alluded to, that the individual lived in a neighborhood where $10,000 rims might not remain in one's possessiong long, this co-worker solved his home security solutions by claiming that if he had won a quarter million dollars playing the slot machines at Harrahs, he "would keep his shiny new Cadillac with $10,000 rims safe every single night by hiring a midget sniper to sit on top of his house till dawn," and cut down any would be theives.

At this point, all composure among the staff was gone, but the coworker continued: duiring the day, this same hired gun would serve as the alarm system for the same Cadillac, lying in wait for people to get close to the vehicle, then emerging to yell, in car alarm loudness, "Geyone Outta Heah, Geyone Outta Heah, Git Git Git Git Git!!!"

Again, this may only be funny to me, based on the situation. But I'd never heard a $250,000 gambling win turn into a midget sniper story before, and I'm still laughing right now, so I figured it was at least worth mentioning here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Got Da Wally World Blues

So, I used to be one of those "Wal Mart is evil" liberals.

It didn't work out for me.

Oh, it isn't because of Wally World's low prices or convenience, I still don't shop at Wal Mart. I think I may have been there perhaps 3 or 4 times in the last seven years - including the Sam's Club visit last time I was in Athens to procure gasoline. I don't generally like the way they treat their workers, I don't like the crappy service I used to recieve, and I can generally get every thing I need somewhere else.

But I don't make documentaries (or watch them) or display bumper stickers about the place. I know why I don't like the place, and I vote with both my feet and my wallet by not shopping there or at any location nearby. It ain't a religious thing (the Athens visit was in September), and it really helps to not have a routine that takes me near Wally World during the usual course of my week.

It also has something to do with the SouthPark like reaction I used to get from folks about my habits. In a surreal turnaround from pro-business narrative about shrill protesters and their documentaries, I used to get the third degree because I didn't shop at Wally World.

"How can you live without Wal Mart!?" Exclaimed one former roommate. "I don't believe you don't shop there every week," from a young lady at the bar. "So you're just one of those crazy liberals who wants to pay more for everything," from a family member.

Surreal. I told you.

Now, like I said, I don't like many of Wally World's business practices. But I'm not going to protest shrill-ly. If the liberals of this country get it together so that every one of us chips in a few bucks a week to help support a national walkout, I'm there. But barring that, it ain't something I think about day to day.

But, right now, I'm thinking about it, because against the grain of Wal Mart's corporate history, one store in Hialeah, Florida staged a morning shift walkout, organized by department managers! I say more power to them.

The most effective way to change business practices is 1) for the consumer to vote with their wallet and 2) the worker to organize. Hells yeah.

Example:

Pay attention, folks. this is how you defeat milquetoast PC speech initiatives.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Job Opportunity...

...Kingmaker?

When I heard the news that Mark Warner had decided not to run for President in 2008, I was kind of shocked.

To hear that a bunch of Senatorial hopefuls had called him up pretty much begging for support (as he did seem to be the pre-season #2 in the Democratic field), I was not so shocked.

Honestly, I'm really disappointed. I was looking forward to voting in the Primaries for Warner, and I thought he might be able to get in touch with a lot of the disaffected voters in the center who felt both Parties moving towards the wings of self involvement. And he didn't have the same baggage that anyone with the last name "Clinton" or "Bush" brings to the voter's mind. It would have stung the pride a little, voting for a Virginia politician, of course, but I was gonna suck up that pride. I really thought he'd have a good chance.

I wonder why he decided to withdraw. Is he trying to play Kingmaker and position himself for a VP selection, is he looking at internal numbers that we aren't privy to or did someone already get to him and make him an offer?

Maybe he just looked at the long road ahead and decided it wasn't worth it, politics being what they are these days.

As an aside, I still would support a law that makes sitting Senators ineligible to run for the Presidency, but I reckon that's another post for another time.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Judicial Activism

Eventually, the stink gets so bad that someone has to grow a pair and demonstrate some oversight. Amazing how that little bit extra goes a long way to making things better.

In similar but opposing news, the above situation should not be confused with the Judge Hunter situation (Hat tip G Bitch).

It is one (wrong) thing to let violent offenders out of jail without bond, it is a whole other (reasonable & Constitutional) thing to let non-violent pot smokers out of ongoing lockup because the state can't find a way to fund indigent defense.

As a matter of fact, I remember reading somewhere (and I perhaps linked to it on this blog, lo those weeks ago when I was in Georgia) that Judge Hunter (good judge) issued a subpoena for Governor Blanco to explain why the state was holding people without representation....

That thing I'm talking about is common sense. Hope y'all can see that difference somewhere in them two articles. I wish I knew why, with so many volunteers ready to come to New Orleans, folks like my Pops (a retired prosecutor) can't come down thisaway and lend a legal hand to the indigent defense while the City and State get back on their feet.

Foley Fallout

It ain't so much the crime itself that's staining Republicans in faraway places, it is the perception of a coverup for political gain. Remember folks, if Hastert & crew had, upon first hearing of Foley's indiscretions, forced Foley out or turned him in, none of this would be happening.

Instead:

The Rep. Foley thing is falling out in places other than a crazy looking district in central Florida. Take for instance, Louisiana, where Rep. Rodney Alexander is getting caught in the undertow of coverup fiasco, and seems to be dragging others down with him. Alexander is (if I can keep the story straight at this point) the Rep. who sponsored some of the pages who Foley took interest in.

Of course, there is some electoral Democratic shenanigans and overreactions coming out of this, and Your Right Hand Thief makes note of it here. YRHT also makes a very good point re: what your reaction would be to something like this.

Tell me if you think the following scenario is illuminating:

Your 16 year-old daughter tells you that her 50 year-old teacher sent her a personal email asking for a photo of her and what she wants for her birthday. She's confused and "freaked out", and says that the teacher has made comments about her 16 year-old friend being in "really great shape". Your daughter also tells you that another friend of hers knows of a teacher who "hits on" students.

What do you do in response?
Back on the political angles, I haven't seen the commercial refrenced, but Democrats need to make very sure they don't get lower on the sleaze limbo by trying to take advantage of someone taking advantage of teenagers. The Foley thing is the most recent situation where members of the Republican leadership screwed something up, and blame others for the foul up. Foley is the sicko in this case, the certain Republicans who knew about it are incompetent and negligent (possibly criminally so). Republicans who didn't have anything to do with it, well, they didn't have anything to do with it.

I hope those cats don't mind calling a spade a spade, though.

That's why I think this particular scandal is going to stick to a lot of the GOP insiders who turned a blind eye: conservatives and liberals are equally as angry at those boneheads in Washington.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Voting

Getchoass out and vote. Tell everybody to.

Much to the chagrin of Georgia District 1 Republicans, I am still a legal resident there (I legally live with my parents, just like a college student votes in either their permanent address district or their local address district but not both) and I know how to fill out a scan tron. My absentee ballot should have already been recieved by the Glynn County Election Board.

I was a Democrat when I left Georgia. I have only become angrier at the way things are since I showed up in New Orleans. The Foley situation got a lot of coverage down here, as did the shiny new nuclear weapons that North Korea is playing with these days. I also read up and have talked to some folks about the events round these parts bout a year ago, and I've seen up close some of the damage that was done when certain government agencies fall asleep at the wheel and certain bureaucrats can't see past their own particular rice bowl.

Yeah, I know there's some Democrats responsible for all that, too.

But I can't vote in Louisiana, I can vote in Georgia. So, for the first time ever, I voted pretty straight Party Ticket: Democrat almost all the way down. My most important vote: Rev. Jim Nelson for Congress. Then Mark Taylor for Governor, Jim Martin for Lt. Governor, Denise Majette for State School Superintendent, etc. I wrote in my old roommate for State Representative from Island City because I don't like either candidate, and unopposed elections (mostly Republicans) I wrote in other friends of mine. In the non-partisans, I voted against incumbency, even if there wasn't another candidate.

Maybe that makes me a partisan hack these days. I don't think so. The next time I can vote for a reasonable Republican, I'll consider it as I always do. The next time I can vote against an unreasonable Democrat, I'll gladly vote the other way. But right now, this year, the stink is soo bad, IMHO, that I didn't have to look real hard at the voting card, and the only tough decisions were which friends I wrote in against incumbency.

(We will get Jerzey elected to State House or US House someday, I swear it!!!)

One last thing: I'm pretty sure all the readers of this blog are going to be voting one way or another. Good. Get out and do it. Take the time. Volunteer with the Election Board if you can. Help people vote if you are able.

Recently there was a statewide election in Louisiana. They were determining two offices and a bunch of Constitutional Amendments. Only about 22% of eligible voters turned out statewide. Down here, not much of that is apathy or 'didn't have time' or didn't know election law - it was inability to vote because of conditions on the ground. Some traditional polling places no longer exist. Many homes and residents are in transit from one place to another. People have to worry about their construction loans and figuring out crazy utility situations.

New Orleans turnout was around 10%.

That wasn't due to dirty tricks or anything so sinister (that we always heard about from a certain defeated Georgia Congresswoman), they were because of geography, topography and limited ability to cope with a massive disaster.

Cherish your right to vote, and use it. Encourage and remind others to check their polling places and get their Voting Cards ready for November. Make sure they know their employer has to give them a chance to get to the polls. Vote early or vote absentee if you must to avoid the lines and confusion.

But vote.

The Radio Is Back ON (Again)

I can't explain how much I don't miss TV. I just don't. I couldn't care less about what is on.

However: I can't explain how badly it kills me not to watch football on Saturday nights. That "real" job of the 9-5 M-F variety really spoilt me in relation to football viewing. Now that I'm back in the service industry, it hurts. Even when I know my team is winning (for three quarters, anyway).

But football is the only TV I miss.

Computers, on the other hand. Ouch. I am spoilt. I am an internet junkie. I have been without consistency for lo, these many weeks, but the shiny new laptop has arrived in the mail. I can now explain how much more normal life feels when you can actually read the blogs you want to read. The last three weeks have felt like three days, because I haven't really seen the news - I read it the next day in the Times-Picayune. My up to the minute headline clicker went away when my old laptop refused to work. But one thing I have realized about that: the TP is a really good paper. You don't just get some blurb about a story that some intern scatted up in HTML, you get some in depth reporting in those pages.

I've seen one article on recovery get a headline, pic and front page; a whole inside page with another picture; continued on half of a third page with another picture. They're interviewing six and seven folks for these things, not just the two 'balance' experts you normally get. It makes for really good, but really time consuming reading. But it is much calmer and more thought out than the 24 hour rumour mill that is the current cable and online news cycle.

But, back to computers. Got the new laptop working today, and wireless and everything, and I'm sitting at the corner of Magazine and Jefferson typing and checking up on the blogs I read. Lots to read, lots to see.

But I feel plugged in again, finally.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

This would be entirely more hilarious...

...if it wasn't absolutely true. That's right, kids. The Buddy Christ is coming to your town, mainly to subjugate you into pacificity. Please, comment below.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Open Thread

Hey y'all. I'm in New Orleans without good access to a computer. So y'all should blog for me in this open thread. What exciting news is going on in your neck of the woods?

Quick Observations: One Week in New Orleans

Editor's Note: This post was written almost entirely yesterday (Sunday) between 3:30pm and 4pm CDT. For the reasons it was not posted during that time, please see item "Six". Thanks. HR.

This time last week I was rolling west through Pensacola. That night I rested my head a half mile from the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana. It has been a week, more time than I've ever spent in New Orleans despite the visits I have made here in the past. It doesn't feel like it has been a week at all. So now I'm sitting in a coffee shop, at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Magazine Street, finally having figured out how to work the wifi on this blasted laptop. For the record, I have visited many of the blogs I usually frequent in the last hour, speed reading just to make sure I haven't missed anything big this week.

Back to New Orleans....

Here are some things I've observed so far:

1. This is a beautiful city. This is something words cannot describe with any kind of justice. Driving around, I am constantly distracted by the way things look. I mean constantly. It is difficult to drive, and I'm not talking about traffic, I'm talking about the way those Corinthian columns look on that light blue house, I'm talking about the woodwork facades on front porches, I'm talking about the sense of character you get driving around and seeing houses that have been here for decades upon decades. The weather has also been near perfect all week.

2. The mood here can swing very suddenly from vitally untethered joy to desperate heartbreak in a way I've never experienced. I've been watching this everywhere I've been: sometimes you will see friends who haven't seen each other in a year or so, and there is so much happiness in that moment, and so much sadness when the bad news of the last months is exchanged. And then the mood settles to somewhere in between, focused on one topic, resolve.

3. In the part of the city where I am staying, the place is absolutely overrun with children.

4. Maintenance is a huge issue (shocker, I know). This week the top stories in the Times Picayune have been about the Saints, the Saints, trash pickup, rodents, voting referendums, and local healthcare. (On a side note, "Amendment 3" passed overwhelmingly Saturday, paving the way for Louisiana to get rid of the 20 some odd levee boards throughout the state and establish only two. There are also job requirements that are attached to being appointed to such a board, such as being an engineer/knowing what you're doing etc, and none of these boards will have access to funds that have anything to do with something other than levees or related infrastructure.)

5. A lot of people I've met down here used to live in Atlanta, then they 'had enough of all that' (direct quote) and decided to move to New Orleans.

Six. I need a new &%$# laptop. Looks like that bubble money I'm getting from my old job has an earmarked expenditure stream after all. Any suggestions from you techies as to which one I should look into? Here's my focus: word processing, wireless internet access, and pictures in that order.

7. Families with children are far more entertaining than television could ever hope to be, but dang it kills me to miss college football on Saturdays. (Did get to catch the last half of UGA @ Ole Miss. We keep playing like this, we're only going to beat Tennessee by .001 th of a point next Saturday.)

8. Some of the coolest people in the world work in homegrown restaurants.

9. Traffic here is like a jazz ensemble. The object of the game is to get from point "A" to point "B" without slowing down or breaking the flow of traffic. If you do break the flow of traffic, it is considered 'off tempo' and results in horns blowing angrily. If someone in front of you is turning left, you just go around them...if the car in front of you makes it, it must be safe. If you must stop at a stoplight you only stop for as short a time as possible and then accelerate! when you go so the next person in line can get a jump on the que. St. Charles Avenue goes from four lanes to two lanes somewhere, and I still haven't figured that out. Crossing S. Claiborne Avenue is a religious experience. One Way street signs are mere suggestions (they may not point you in the right direction), and many street signs themselves are homemade.

10. I have now been smoke free for 7 days.