Saturday, April 02, 2005

New Orleans: Unflushed 

Chris M. at the Metblogs found a site with a truly outstanding photo collection of toilets and urinals from New Orleans' bars. The weaker of stomach may want to skip these links, because, well, many are disgusting. But the local (men) who've frequented these taverns may be surprised by the many memories and shudders these shots will evoke. Here are some standouts, but you should really go through the entire collection:

All hail Snake and Jake's bar: "As seedy as Tweety Bird's Shit"

For tourists, spring breakers et al. Memories...

What inspires my creative post titles? Real life experience, mostly. And look at the cute girls' room terlet at the same bar!

Jeez, I hadn't played "fill the bowl" since college.

One time the power went out during Clint's show at Checkpoint Charlie's. It was totally dark and I had to piss very badly. Stumbling and fumbling down the hall, I opened the nearest door and damn near relieved myself in a hall closet. Utterly blind, I pressed further on into the darkness and found what smelled like the bathroom, and sprayed in this general direction. (No I didn't think to get a lighter or match. It was urgent. So urgent. I had to make it quick...) Belated apologies to Checkpoint 's janitorial staff. Oh, and go see my man Clint on Thursdays there. He has a song that's unofficially titled "A#1 Pussy-eating family man". It's a sing-along. Seriously.

"Close" only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and... what was the other one?


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We're celebrating my daughter's first birthday today, so I'll see y'all later.
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Friday, April 01, 2005

Not F-F-F-Foolin' 

Because truth is wacky enough:

1. Sandy Berger stuffs a copy of a document from the Nat'l Archives in his pants, then goes to his office that night and shreds it with scissors. Then he pleads guilty... Regrettably, I think Elvis is behind this one.

2. Before the war, no CIA officer had ever met Curveball, one of the "solid" intelligence sources Colin Powell relied upon for his "factual" U.N. presentation. And apparently Curveball was so elated by the success of his (Chalabi-orchestrated) trickery, that he partied hard the night before Powell's big show, and was described as "hung over" that day. The Bush administration then argued that there was "no doubt" about the claims of drunken liars like this one. Afterwards, instead of firing someone, Bush awards the Medal of Freedom to George Tenet.

3. Bill Kristol gets a pastry-facial at a Quaker college. Don't believe Attaturk's reckless conspiracy-mongering, either. I just hope that it wasn't one of those wildly delicious Maytag Blue and Asian Pear pies. Those are too good to be wasted on neocons. My pal Banangela had a "pietasm" when she tasted one, and described it thusly:

Sister Brother secret lover... Even remembering this pie approaches pornography. This pie is like ripping your clothes off in the middle of the forest, running naked and screaming obscenities and prayer for so long and so hard that your throat becomes hoarse.

I get a kick out of the "and prayer" part. Banangela also writes a beautiful post on love that's like a dollop of Lawrence (or perhaps Pet Sounds) in your morning brew.


4. In England, girls outscore boys in the state math exam. They were far behind until the Education department promoted new education methods that got away from a strict lecture/memorization format. Now the girls have caught up and even surpassed the boys (source: WSJ 3/30/05, "Improved Formula"). --Hey, Larry, why don't you take your "issues of intrinsic aptitude" and shove em up your ass!

5. Payrolls growth again disappoints. Well, I guess that's not too surprising. Recall that during Clinton's presidency 23 million net jobs were created.

6. Lastly, but most importantly, Norbiz urges fellow bloggers to support Roxanne in her time of need. Go.

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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Timshel-esque 

Since Ricky is having regularity issues, I thought I'd do a local news dump all in one post.

Ok, the big story in New Orleans is that the first black DA of the city has been found to have discriminated against whites when he pretty much cleaned house after his election. It was a unanimous verdict from a jury of 8 whites and 2 blacks. I'll be talking to a former city attorney this weekend about it, and will share anything interesting I glean.

Regarding the most important issue in the state, coastal restoration, it appears the feds want Louisiana to return $30 million in misspent flood control funds. Just what we need. Please let this be a "paperwork" issue, as some suggest, rather than a corruption issue. And, characteristically, our Senator David "Vitty Cent" Vitter announces a coastal restoration plan without coordinating or consulting with the Queen Bee guv nor anyone else in the congressional delegation. I applaud his priorities and urgency but am amazed at his chronic inability to share credit on anything.

Mike Hoffman at New Orleans Metblogs details some local comings and goings. I would add that I hear Baton Rouge's Raising Cane's is expanding further into New Orleans. I've yet to try their addictive chicken fingers, but I like what I hear about their casual and friendly style. I welcome any reviews from readers about the Louisiana fast food chain.

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In nat'l news, I'm happy to see Democrats picking up this White House "event cleansing" thuggery. John Marshall is devoting some time to it during his excellent Social Security coverage.
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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Cretin Hop 

Click title for link.

To be fair, I can't refer to a Ramones song without adding that perhaps Johnny Ramone would've preferred "I Wanna Live" as a title. But surely everyone can agree on the appropriate title for this other story:

I don't wanna go down to the basement





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(Brought to my attention via 2 millionth. If you missed it, Michael has an exceptionally comprehensive and interesting digest today.)
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Event Cleansing 

Being surveilled, profiled, and then (illegally?) removed from an assembly-- because of a bumper sticker

Update: Dan Froomkin has a great roundup.

I'm sure you've already seen this story or similar ones, but I'll be coming back to them. There's a fairly large political opportunity swimming around in these recurring examples that I'd like to explore in-depth. For now here's a couple of appropriate movie quotes. Sure, I could choose something from China Town or the Conversation, but when you really want pure philosophical content, I think 8 mm is the way to go:


"There's three rules in life: One, there's always a victim; two, don't be it."
"And three?"
"I forgot what three is."


"I thought surveillance was the way of the future."

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The first quote reminds me of super maf boss Carlos Marcello. One of his favorite sayings was "Three can keep a secret if two are dead."

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Fun fact about oyster: nearly ten years ago he was on his way to becoming a private investigator in Louisiana. He took the courses and passed the requisite tests before concluding it was a much more boring job than he had assumed. (He has no regrets because his current life of adventure is a daily thrill.)
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The times that try our souls 

eRobin from the American Street is inspired. She cites some nicely written posts illuminating the need and duty for alarmed bloggers to leave the keyboard and get out in the streets to protest.

From Reading A1:
Fact in itself has no power to transform the life of the nation until and unless it becomes truth, political truth, made so by people committed to political engagement. To the extent that belief in a neutral press lulls us into believing that political truth is the result of some sort of technical or institutional process, something properly entrusted to a professional elite, to that extent it lulls us from our responsibility as citizens in a democracy to marry information to action.

And from The Next Tea Party:
And we blog... when what we need to be doing is pumping our fists and lighting matches and making real noise, when we could be drawing attention to ourselves on the streets where we can’t be clicked off with one tap of an index finger, when we should be forging intimate bonds that have no firewalls and could be gaining empowerment through our collective pride and not deluding ourselves through competitive self aggradizement. This perhaps IS new..and perhaps the only new news is us.

This eloquence inspires eRobin to militate for a mass protest against the Bush agenda. Her goal is getting 10k people to march in Swamp City (in August!) to protest Wadical Weepublicanism and the Bush Agenda. Sadly, it seems photoshop hellion Arvin Hill was the only one to answer her call. He brings up the age old issue of tactics, and doesn't sugarcoat it:

The Powers That Be don't give a damn if you demonstrate, marching here or there with your indignant little signs and silly street theater and rowdy chants — as long as you play by their rules. In fact, it's safe to assume the Bush Crowd actually gets off on this kind of thing. It gives them something to ridicule and reinforces their sense of superiority and authority.

Here's the deal: State-sanctioned protest is nothing more than role-playing.
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If you're going to demonstrate, you have to be a problem for somebody. Infuriate them. Embarass them. Humiliate them. Interfere with commerce. To do these things, rules must be broken. In a demonstration, provoke a response or go home; otherwise, the only thing it's good for is an ego massage, and most of us can do that at home just fine. Ask any blogger.

Americans have forgotten how important it is to break rules; how to stick our necks out together in solidarity; how to demand change. We're a nation of slaves and robots conditioned to obey authority.

"Ten thousand people marched on the nation’s capitol today and then they all went home. And now, the weather..." Big. Fucking. Deal.

As we know, "breaking the rules" can be a double edged sword. MLK's nonviolent methods will always be my template for effective protest. But that demands commitment, courage and a willingness to sacrifice.

Then again: How do you send out a message that will get noticed by (let's face it) more moderate voters? How do you gain their sympathy rather than turn them off with images or quotes from the tone-deaf extremists on your side? That is, who will provide the leadership to forge message-agreement among the fractious Left, and who will maintain the operational discipline needed for a large-scale protest to be effective?

If we can learn anything from recent events, it now appears that a mass movement should decide upon a symbolic color, and make damn sure all its hotties are easily photographed.

These are not new issues, but my spirits sank when I saw the lack of response to these posts. If you blog about politics, this, ultimately, is what it's all about. If you have an opinion about these issues, and/or an enthusiasm to actually do something, I encourage you to visit the links above and share your thoughts and plans.


If there's a new way
I'll be the first in line
But, it better work this time

-- Megadeth "Peace Sells"


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From an interview at MyDD with ole MD, I thought this quote advocating grassroots organization was worth excerpting here:

When I'm talking about grassroots organization, I'm not talking about parachuting kids in with two weeks to go from seven states over. I'm talking about a precinct organization with a precinct captain in every precinct and block captains - maybe a half a dozen per precinct - who systematically make contact with every single voting household in that precinct, beginning early. This is not something you do in the last couple of weeks. You have to start months in advance. And you do it on a 50-state basis. I don't care if the state is red, blue or polka dot.
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We still aren't doing this grassroots job. I know there are people who don't think that old-fashioned grassroots campaigning works. They're just plain wrong. They've never done it, they don't understand it. And that's what we have to do beginning now.
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Monday, March 28, 2005

Pounding Seal in Canada is a Beautiful Thing 

Some people still freak out over this recurring non-issue, and make a fuss over what they deem to be immoral acts. But really: it's 2005, folks. Haven't we progressed beyond this?

When someone thumps a Seal on some distant Canadian glacier, it's not strange or wrong. To those involved, whose very livelihoods are at stake, I would say: more power to you! Go for it! If you object to Seal-thumping in these circumstances, well, that's only your opinion. I happen to think it's wonderful. Just look at the results!

Perhaps I wouldn't want them doing it in my backyard (well maybe once a week for kicks), but I think we're losing sight of the much more important ethical issues at play here. Consider:

Will Heidi Klum's untimely pregnancy jeopardize or postpone Project Runway 2?

Given Heidi Klum's delicate condition, will she be able to effectively host the show?

Most importantly: if Tim Gunn's role is diminished or marginalized in any way, [--hold on one sec, I'm being interrupted]

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Pardon?

...

What now?
...

You thought...

Oh, no, no, no! I wasn't talking about that.

Silly me, I assumed you already knew that Heidi Klum and Seal were engaged on a Canadian Glacier in December, and that Heidi is now 3 months pregnant. Sorry about that. Earlier, I was simply trying to dismiss any lingering black/white taboos, and then address how Klum's condition may affect Project Runway Season 2.
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No, I'm not planning to protest or boycott anything-- That is, unless someone deprives me of my Tim Gunn fix. Now there's one cute mammal! If his role in the show is diminished in any way, I will certainly "get a little bit crazy". How else are we to survive?
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