Friday, June 29, 2007

Open Thread

Anyone, anyone? Bueller?

Lot of stuff has happened recently, and I was wondering what your thoughts were.

We've got the entertainment news: Paris out of jail. Genarlow Wilson still in jail. The Clintons as Sopranos ad. Coulter vs. Edwards on Chris Matthews.

We've got the really real news: The immigration bill defeated in the Senate. A car bomb disarmed in London. Texas floods. Tony Blair steps down and hands power to Gordon Brown.

I've of course got my opinions on all of these. I was wondering what y'all thought. Or if there was any news out there that could be added to all this.

Let's hear ya.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Teh Greatest You Tube Evar

It is less than 70 days until college football season, and I almost cried when I watched this little bit of Playstation meets YouTube meets Classic Radio Commentary magic. It is monologue worthy, and is located just off Duval Street, about 92 yards, one steel chair a whole one rebuilt stadium past awesome.

Yes, I heard about what happened there that night, and on St Simons and on Jekyll and all those places, with all those Dawg people who had condos rented for the next three days. Property destruction don't even come close, and the locals who were old enough, they still tell tales of that night, and can recite the call from memory. I've seen them do it.

This stuff is so good, even Gatorblogger Orson linked to it, paying homage to both the College World Wonder Larry Munson and the skill with which this UGA fan has deftly demonstrated with a PlayStation.

Glory, Glory.

Gardening

If there were to be a caption contest for this nonsense, my entries would be as follows:

3. "F your produce, I'm Rick James (b*tch)."

2. "I'm in ur cornfield, makin' crop circles. Let me show you them."

1. "In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher'"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

ESPY's

All the Dawg fans are going to want to go and vote for "The Best Female College Athlete" category. (You have to scroll down the list on the right.)

All the New Orleans Saints fans are going to want to go place a vote in the "Best Moment" category. There are also several places to vote for Peyton Manning, for you NOLAn Tennesseans. Everyone else can either pay homage to new collegiate overlords Flordia (which I won't do) or give props to the best game of the year (Boise State v Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl).

I've made my votes. You know you want to.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Swine

Pork. Not the kind you eat, or the kind you keep on your farm, or the kind an eleven year old can hunt with a .50 caliber handgun in Alabama. No, we's talking pork of the cabbage variety, in the ye olde country buffet of the Federal Governemnt.

But this trip to the political kitchen is one of the thought provoking variety, and well worth the read. From Pajamas Media.

(HT: Clicked)

Summertime

What is it about the summer months that just shuts my brain off? Ever since that first day on vacation back on Island City, I feel like I've been moving in slow motion. Well, I gotta get back in the saddle somehow and keep this thing moving, so I guess a small recap would be nice. Here's what went down.

Before I go on, I will preface this by saying that, in the past ten months, I have developed a theory that New Orleanians get sick less because of the spicy food they eat on a constant basis. Keep that in mind.

Additional golf and beach blogging was postponed by rain. For two days, it was dreary and wet and not conducive to doing things outside. This is one of the only atmospheric conditions that can make Island life unbearable, and I slipped into that old routine of sitting on the porch drinking coffee, reading and chain smoking. I got absolutely nothing done that I wanted to get done. No writing, no tanning, no driving range.

I did go out to a fantastic restaurant called Tramici, and there was that party for two good friends on their way to Ohio. Many pictures were taken with my camera, with or without my invovlement, but nothing got really out of hand the way it could have...

Aside from that, I pretty much avoided human contact for whatever reason, and read books, smoked cigarettes, and watched online episodes of Jericho.

Then it was on to the ATL, where dinner was procured at the SAWB (and AccessAtlanta) reviewed -What the Pho'-, and MARTA was taken down to the Hi-Fi Buys Ampitheatre. Who was on the bill but Rush. Yes, that Rush, the Canadian ones.

It was awesome. They help provide the proof in the puddin that I will theoretically be able to kick ass on an instrument well past retirement age. That gives me hope.

The next day was all Athens: waking up late, procuring tasty K-bap sandwiches at Uncle Ottos, dropping off some trade mission grade coffee and chicory to Jmac of Safe As Houses fame (now ranked the 17th most influential political blog in the state of Georgia.), and bumming around town trying to herd all the frens to the appropriate dinner locations at the appropriate times.

Some number of beverages were consumed.

The next day's drive back to the Island was rather uneventful, some lunch in Macon and some dinner on the Island. Followed by another day of doing nothing important. I really wanted to get more done on this 'vacation' but apparently all I did was turn off my brain. I decided, since I got up late on Sunday, that I would stay another day and drive back to New Orleans on Monday. There was a band to practice with, and floors to stain and paint, and it was time to leave the mythical haze of laziness I was in and get back to the world.

Woke up early Monday, got my stuff packed and ready to go, walked into the restroom, and didn't walk out again for 48 hours. It felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to everything between my neck and my knees, and not in a good way. For the first three hours, I maintained that this was something I had eaten and that I would be able to leave as soon as whatever it was got gone. I told myself "I haven't felt this bad since the Sunday before Mardi Gras." Three hours later, I'm thinking it might be something more serious, like something I had eaten gone very, very wrong. At this point I'm thinking, "I haven't felt this bad since my 25th birthday." Two hours after that, my temperature hit the triple digits, and I was relegated to the 'quarantine couch.' I don't think I'd ever felt worse. Probably, but I couldn't recall. A rat terrier barking at me from time to time did not help much, either.

I didn't get back to New Orleans until Wednesday, and let me tell you it was not a pleasant drive. But I'm back, now. Job training, now. Eating po' boys again, now. So things are returning to normal.

Next time, I'm taking a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce with me. Apparently 7 days without 'New Orleans spicy' weakens one's immune system to the point that viral activity becomes equally as effective as sniper fire.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

If You're In New York


next weekend.... I truly wish I could be there. The fact that a one of my peoples that I came up with on the Island is part and parcel of his own theatre company in New York City is one of the things that keeps me goin' every day. For every one in my class who ended up in a cubicle, there's one who's out there living the dream. Matt and I shared stages together from the time we were both 8 or 9 years old until we were both 18.

My brother recently had possession of four or five photo albums that prove this fact.

Soon, soon the really real job will allow me to do silly things like take off to New York for a weekend and drink beers in Astoria with old friends, skin still stinging from the house lights, ears still ringing from the cheering of the crowd.

Break a leg.

Vs.

This is so funny it should be illegal. According to the comment thread (and you must also read some comments), it actually is in Kansas City. From Orson, Discovery Channel + College Football.

Less than 70 days until that most perfect of seasons....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

We all knew someone was going to replace him. But this? Please say it ain't so. I really hope this deal falls through.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A plea

Normally, I wouldn't use this forum for posting things that are pleas for help. This is about beer, so, it's different. Read This Here Blogpost and follow the instructions inside. The GDOR is way off base, again.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The REAL Ethanol Story

All this talk of Mexican food and ethanol has compelled me to post this late-May story I was going to just let slide. The real ethanol tragedy is its effect on the price of tortillas. I hear the tortilla manufacturers are really just fixing the prices. They are making record profits off the tortillas. I hope the Mexican legislature investigates. Maybe they need a tortilla windfall profit tax...

Island City


Sunburnt and hungover before 6pm Eastern Time Sunday. That counts as an absolute personal best. All that despite showing up in a State with Blue Laws. Luckily, you can still get Patron Silver and margaritas from local restaurants. Had lunch with Sprout and Owed Many Beers. Owed Many Beers had planned on stopping for lunch only, but even his iron willpower was no match for shots of Patron at Bubba Garcia's. But lunch can last for four hours on Island City, we made it that way for a reason.

(That's right, after working in a Mexican-themed restaurant on Magazine Street in New Orleans, the first place I go out on Island City is, you guessed it, a Mexican-themed restaurant. We like to call that diversity.)

And it was only after that that I went to a party down in the Village. Two very good friends are leaving the tropical climes for Ohio, and everyone turned out to see them off. Most of my time there was spent re-hydrating, remembering the old Island City days (there were three people at said party that I have known since Kindergarten, and several I have known for over a decade) and talking about New Orleans. The nearly consensus decision was that I need to buy a house in NOLA as soon as possible and keep a guest bedroom open for visitors.

Today has been cloudy, so I've been sitting on the Mom and Pop's front porch, drinking coffee and reading books. Beach and golf blogging tomorrow.

Perhaps I will find LiberalandProud or CoastalCompanion for drinks later on.

But at least those horrible, evil, baby-eating oil companies won't be making such gigantic profits anymore!!!

So. About that ethanol stuff saving the planet. Yeah. It looks like another case of spinning the wheels in traction. Why? Well, apparently, the amount of fertilizer that's needed to grow the corn to make the ethanol, is completely and totally horking up the rivers, lakes, and streams that are in the farmland runoff area.

But, at least with ethanol, those evil, horrible, foul-smelling, baby-eating oil companies won't be raking in the profits like they have been. And that's what's important. Right?

Oh yeah, almost forgot. There's another side-effect to the ethanol push. Dare I say, Chocolate-Flavored-Ham? Mmmmm...chocolate ham...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Important Read

This read is a long one, so take your time. It is expose quality, and something you're not going to get from our mainstream media. Ladies and gentlemen, being able to read something like this post at Fix The Pumps is one of the diamonds in the rough back yard that is citizen internet reporting.

And the topic matter itself? Let's just say I didn't quite know what to name this post, but I was thinking something along the lines of "Bureaucrats in federal government use red tape and screw American taxpayer to send money to friends while destroying New Orleans, Louisiana." But go and read, and let the report speak for itself.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It Is Called "Competency"

Going against the grain of only talking about the bad news of the day, link on over to this post at the Georgia Sports Blog. A good idea, competently administered, doing a world of good in its own purview.

How long has it been since we've seen one of those?

Woof.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Revisionism

I have been appalled to hear, amidst right wing punditry, that George W. Bush, the Republican President for the last many years, is actually a liberal.

This is a recent development, and more of that trying to sell the word 'Liberal' as a dirty word, and as a synonym for 'stupid.' Right Wingers Against Really Real Reality (RWARRR!) must be losing their minds that someone they helped sell as a really real conservative has ended up bungling almost ever single thing his administration has tried.

I could go on, but I don't have to. You see, Doug over at Hey, Jenny Slater says almost all that needs to be said about this. "Return to Sender." Like Olbermann, Doug proves that sometimes the best political writing and humor comes from sports fanatics. You should go. Read. It. Now.

(He does begin a list of Republicans we liberals will accept, though, if the Republicans and faerie dust sniffing 'conservatives' are willing to start handing them over. I agree very much with the list.)

Complete

Slate writer David Plotz completes the last chapeter of blogging the Hebrew Bible. I've been reading this off an on for the last year, and I can't wait for the book to come out.

I know far more about the Old Testament now than I did from going to years of Catholic Youth ministry.

For what it is worth, thank you, David.

It is Official

Rule of law no longer applies. We've suspected this for some time, with much evidence to build our case, but this is the end all be all of examples. Our own enforcement agencies, with a few notable exceptions, are now selectively enforcing the laws of the land, and calling press conferences about it. If you don't plan on incarcerating someone for a crime, why bring it up in sentencing? If you don't plan on enforcing a law, why have that law at all?

Paris is a worthless celebrity with no talent whatsoever. She is one of the worst examples of American upper class largesse. And now she is above the law in the State of California.

You and I would all still be in jail, and it would be real jail. Not, "I-get-to-see-my-own-psychiatrist" jail.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Logic Puzzle

Let me get this straight;

Christopher Hitchens demands all US politicians make a committment to defend Kurdistan, no matter which direction the rest of Iraq takes.

In this region of Iraq, the local leadership has done almost everything that could have been asked of it by the United Nations or the United States. It maintains its own security, does not require foreign troops, has put an end to sectarian warfare among Kurds, fights against al-Qaida with some success, maintains a high regional standard for pluralism and democracy, and has enough left over to contribute soldiers to the policing of Baghdad and Fallujah.

I'm interested in hearing about their "high degree of pluralism." Is this a high degree of pluralism, period, or are we talking culturally relative pluralism? I only ask because the last time I heard about Kurdish "pluralism," it came from YouTube accounts of a group of some 1000 Kurds stoning a 17 year old girl to death for dating a guy of a different religion, and filming it to share with their buds.

I'm also wondering who Mr. Hitchens believes we should be defending Kurdistan from: the terrorists in Iraq, or the armies of our NATO allies since the '50's?

And, as far as that goes, if we create Kurdistan and defend it from the rest of Iraq, and they end up harboring individuals who take weapons into Turkey to engage in activities of armed civil disobedience, and Turkey is our signed-up-as-treaty ally, who do we end up siding with? Are we for or against terrorists at that point?

Just asking.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Doctoring the Hunt?

Most of y'all have probably heard of the "Monster Pig" or "Hogzilla II;" the 10 foot long, 1051 lb hog shot on an Alabama hunting ground last week. When the story first came out, it was reported that it was a wild hog that had been shot by an 11 year old boy. It was also hinted that the photos had been doctored. I mean, it wouldn't be the first time someone had exaggerated a hunt, would it? The folks involved even have their own website, and the actual hunter gets a bit part in "Hogzilla - the Movie."

Well, as follow up always nets us more of the story than is first reported, it appears the photos were not doctored, but the hog's wildness was.

So, not only did the hunters in question go to handle their hunt in a fenced in hunting ground, the hog they shot and killed was raised on a farm. The hog even had a name: Fred.

Not that this should diminish the hunters any, after all. I'm not a hunter, but they can have at it. I'm sure I would be useless in a hunt, even in a 150 acre fenced in area stocked with farm raised game.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Commuters

Some linkage I've been looking at over the weekend. Pretty much required readin' for anyone who reads this blog on occasion.

The Sack of Washington: Comparing and contrasting the United States with Ancient Rome. Not the run of the mill "empires is teh bad" stuff you usually run across. A little more thought out. The required paragraph:
Think less about decadence, less about military might—and think more about the parochial way these two societies view the outside world, and more about the slow decay of homegrown institutions. Think less about threats from unwelcome barbarians, and more about the powerful dynamics of a multi-ethnic society. Think less about the ability of a superpower to influence everything on earth, and more about how everything on earth affects a superpower.

...

One core similarity is almost always overlooked—it has to do with "privatization," which sometimes means "corruption," though it's actually a far broader phenomenon. Rome had trouble maintaining a distinction between public and private responsibilities—and between public and private resources. The line between these is never fixed, anywhere. But when it becomes too hazy, or fades altogether, central government becomes impossible to steer. It took a long time to happen, but the fraying connection between imperial will and concrete action is a big part of What Went Wrong in ancient Rome. America has in recent years embarked on a privatization binge like no other in its history, putting into private hands all manner of activities that once were thought to be public tasks—overseeing the nation's highways, patrolling its neighborhoods, inspecting its food, protecting its borders. This may make sense in the short term—and sometimes, like Rome, we may have no choice in the matter. But how will the consequences play out over decades, or centuries? In all likelihood, very badly.
(HT: Clicked.

Next up: Life After Bush: despite whoever wins the next election, they (and we) will be cleaning up the mess left to us by this President and his faerie dust sniffing, reality defying advisors. We need to start looking at reestablishing the sort of American consensus towards the world that allowed us to defeat Nazism and Imperialism and Soviets abroad, and take on civil rights at home.

Today, by almost all objective measures, the United States sits on top of the world. But the atmosphere in Washington could not be more different from 1982. We have become a nation consumed by fear, worried about terrorists and rogue nations, Muslims and Mexicans, foreign companies and free trade, immigrants and international organizations. The strongest nation in the history of the world, we see ourselves besieged and overwhelmed. While the Bush administration has contributed mightily to this state of affairs, at this point it has reversed itself on many of its most egregious policies—from global warming to North Korea to Iraq.

In any event, it is time to stop bashing George W. Bush. We must begin to think about life after Bush

...

We will never be able to prevent a small group of misfits from planning some terrible act of terror. No matter how far-seeing and competent our intelligence and law-enforcement officials, people will always be able to slip through the cracks in a large, open and diverse country. The real test of American leadership is not whether we can make 100 percent sure we prevent the attack, but rather how we respond to it. Stephen Flynn, a homeland-security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that our goal should be resilience—how quickly can we bounce back from a disruption? In the materials sciences, he points out, resilience is the ability of a material to recover its original shape after a deformation. If one day bombs do go off, we must ensure that they cause as little disruption—economic, social, political—as possible. This would deprive the terrorist of his main objective. If we are not terrorized, then in a crucial sense we have defeated terrorism.

Suburban Nightmare...

So, for the uninformed, I'm now working for THE MAN, down in scenic Duluth, GA. When I say, THE MAN, I mean I'm working for the single largest financial entity in the world. The name rhymes with, oh, let's say, KittyPoop.

With that being said, upon my employment in the greater Atlanta suburban area, I set out to find sustenance that wasn't of the McAppleKentuckyFriedSubway brand. This has been a more difficult endeavour than I once dreamed. However, I have persevered, and located a few gems, along with several stinkers. Links for the gems, naught but mockery for the non-believers.

First up, was to locate a reasonable 'cue shack within lunchtime driving distance of the office. Not knowing any better, I first struck out for a local outpost of Shane's Rib Shack. If there is barbecue in hell, this will be it. I got a combo platter, to attempt to try as much of the menu at once as possible. Of everything I ate, only the greens tasted like they had been cooked on premises, and not just reheated there in a steam tray. The sauces had no realy rhyme, reason, or notable flavor either. I'd rather eat at Sonny's.

Nevertheless, I continued my search, and a few weeks later found myself at the local Dreamland BBQ location. Dreamland eminates from a stand in Tuscaloosa, AL, if the website copy is to be believed, and the food does not contradict the name. Real, juicy, smoky 'cue. Excellent sides, especially the stew and mac & cheese. The sausage is the hidden gem of the menu, but everything is good. They only serve Pepsi, but, I'll forgive them for that transgression.

Not simply satisfied with finding a good 'cue stand, I struck out to try new avenues in food. First, a little background. The Duluth, GA area was once a mostly empty area on the outskirts of Atlanta. Then, in the late 1980s, the scourge of 'Federally Enforced Bussing of Students to areas of DeKalb County where non-caucasian people reside' caused one of the single largest 'White Flights' I have ever borne witness to. Duluth, GA was one of the many areas that grew exponentially from this 'White Flight'. Now, some 20-odd years later, the non-caucasians are back, and what may be a bust for some people's perceived property values, is a gigantic boon for my palate, and waistline. This is exemplefied in the sheer number of Asian-flavored restaurants within a 10-minute drive of my employer, specifically those of the Vietnamese persuasion.

My favorite of the three near me is What The Pho. The service is lightning fast, the staff friendly and helpful, and the place is spotless. My current favorites on the menu are the Pho Tai Gan (pho with rare steak and beef tendon, which has a flavor that I can liken favorably to Beef Jello), and any number of varieties of Com Tam. For what it's worth, the Vietnamese are a people who know their way around a pig, in all it's tasty glory. I guess French Colonialism WAS good for something. You should also give a taste to either a lychee or soursop smoothie if you go. The soursop has the particular bonus of tasting like an Orange Julius.

Other tasty Vietnamese joints near the office are New Saigon and Saigon Cafe.

Lest we think I'm turning Vietnamese, I also felt the strong desire to find a pie place that didn't have the word 'Papa, Hut, or Domino' in the title. In this geas, I was also ultimately successful. Rudy's NY Pizza is an example of pie done right. Nice, thin crust, spicy but not overly so sauce, extensive toppings list. Bonus for having fantastic steak fries available, that become triply-good hangover-cure food when coated in cheese and REAL BACON (not that I would go to work with a screaming hangover, ever...). One thing that Rudy's regrettably does not do well is their interpretation of the Gyro. Fear not, for I have found the solution to that as well.

The Georgia Diner is your stereotypical in a good way Greek Diner. Serving a melange of items from classic breakfast fare, big, beefy burgers, to several Greek standards, the Georgia Diner is one of the best greasy spoons I've had the pleasure of invading recently. The gyro special at lunch is one of the steals in town as well. Extra bonus points for being open 24/7, should I ever need it.

Lastly, but by no means leastly, I give you my super-secret-hidden-gem of a place. I am hesitant to give it out, because that might mean fewer tasty roast-beef-on-a-baguette sammiches for SAWB, but, they need the props. Georgia French Bakery Cafe may well serve the most sublime of sammiches in all of Atlanta-dom. The owner is an emigrated Frenchman, who knows his craft inside and out. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING i've consumed has been utterly fantastic. The baguette is simply not to be missed, and it shines as the vehicle for their roast beef sandwich, which is paired with a balsamic mayonaise, and a sweet red onion relish. Bring cash, and preferably a pocketful of change, as Oliver tends to run short of small bills and coins by lunchtime.

As for the future of dining, I've got a few places lined up in my sights. Most notably, a franchise of Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which has the distinction of being a Zagat-rated burger joint, as well as a new Indian place that has promise, as well as a lunchtime buffet. Places that I won't go back to? Ledo Pizza, which may be some of the worst pie ever invented, and The Armaan, which has the distinction of having already undergone a management/menu/focus change, 3 months after opening, after having spent a purported 7 figures on construction in the first place. Yes, that's the death-rattle you hear.

Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, please apply below.

Sunday Comix

I could laugh at stuff like this all day long.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Barry



Well, the countdown to hurricane season has run out. There was a lot of talk on the interweb about how this countdown is just media sensationalism, and how there isn't really a hurricane sitting out in the Atlantic waiting for June 1st to roll around.

Tropical Storms/Depressions, however, are another story.

At least this one may do some good and knock out some of the wildfires back east. Lord knows, North Florida and South Georgia needs the rain.