Friday, August 12, 2005

Oh yeah, it's Elvis Week 

My wife Lovely is touring Graceland right now, celebrating "Elvis Week" with her sisters and mother.

Pearlgirl and Papa Oyster took a pass on that one.
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YRHT analysts were doing some research recently on an important topic, and came across the following entry at Wikipedia. We didn't have a problem with the information presented, but were increasingly disturbed by one of the accompanying graphics. Specifically, the haunting prominence of one of the "nonparticipants" in the top graphic. Go take a look at what we're talking about and let us know what you think.

Related: Some important medical news for my sexually-active female readers.
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Phrases you don't want to hear from a Master Plumber: 

"You're screwed."
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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Going to work on the Holmes, here 

In case you hadn't noticed, Anntichrist S. Coulter, one of the best commenters on the net-- from Louisiana, no less!-- is now blogging at Blondesense.

In her latest post, she has a digest of some local and national news, and is so enraged by a story of a "caregiver's" abuse (and murder?) of elderly veterans, that she's threatening to drive to Meridian, MS and get medieval on the perp. (The guy's one bizarre, disturbed dude, if you read the linked article. Used to live in my hometown in FLA, no less.)

I'm not so keen on vigilante road trips, but if someone needs to borrow a tire iron or bicycle chain, I won't ask any questions. I don't lend out my pliers or blowtorch, though.
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Pentagon Evolutionists fight terrorism 

I thought it was a good time to dust off this post, from December. I think it's timely reading, given recent pronouncements from our Dear Leader.

So, it must be asked, why is the Pentagon implicitly endorsing macro-evolution in the fight against terror? Don't they know the "jury is still out"?

I think the media should make it a habit to ask any scientist or politician about their view on the ID/Evolution "controversy". For example, do the doctors who periodically check on Cheney's ticker "believe" in evolution? What about Bush's physician? Dr. Frist? What say you? Let's get everyone on the record. Perhaps we should ask the guys working on our missile defense system. Do they hold "faith-based" views on intelligent design? Sure seems like it...

This survey of media opinion-makers by the New Republic was a good start, but let's compile a vast catalogue. And we shouldn't forget the age-of-the-earth query as well (my personal fave). Every Republican candidate must be asked these questions, because it puts them in a very uncomfortable position with the fundagelical nutters whose votes they need to win.

For example: "Do you believe in the biblical interpretation that the world is 6000 years old, or do you believe the scientific evidence showing it to be many billions of years older than that?"

Or, better: "Should we shut down funding for the Pentagon's anti-terror effort that is based on evolutionary science?"

Isn't that a fair policy question?

Update: Lindsay makes a very tight argument here which I will share with you in part:

Ultimately, ID-ers are arguing that the structure of science should change to include both natural and supernatural explanations. That's the controversy. Their worldview is incompatible with science as it is currently practiced, and they are appealing to scientists to rethink the basic assumptions of their disciplines. This is not a controversy that should be argued in high school biology classrooms. Students signed on to learn science as it is practiced by the scientific community of our day.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ahead of the curve 

Todd's Frolic has two tasty recent posts; one so mouth-watering in its simplicity that I won't even attempt to describe it. Just click.

The other is a favorable review of Cobalt restaurant in Hotel Monaco. Lovely and I dined there in January while celebrating our anniversary, and had an absolutely perfect experience. Back then, I almost hesitated raving about the place, because earlier reviews I'd read weren't nearly so orgasmic. And since I'd only been there once, I worried about giving my vast, impressionable readership a bum steer recommendation-- especially in regards to something as important as food in New Orleans.

Happily, every single thing I've read since eating at Cobalt ran parallel to our experience. Todd has a recent review here. Apparently, new Chef David English deserves a lot of credit. Lovely and I enjoyed some of his earliest work at Cobalt, and we were smitten. If English's kitchen and staff treat everyone like they did us, I predict a long life for this restaurant.
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I've been waiting for this week's Gambit to come online because there were several articles of note. I'm proud to say that two of them reflect very well on my "Pelican" teammates.

First, an article about New Orleans' most successful blogger:

When Gawker Media founder Nick Denton was surfing the Internet checking out the nascent crew of Web loggers -- more fashionably known as bloggers -- he was struck by the clever wit he saw on, the site written by New Orleans resident and New York transplant John d'Addario. But it wasn't just the writing. One of Jonno's more popular posts, Denton recalls, was "Cute Dead Guy."

"They were Civil War-era photos he'd found," Denton says by phone from his office in New York. "They were daguerreotypes of soldiers about to go off to war, he picked the most good-looking. It was genius. It was found porn, and found porn is always the most pornographic."

And no porn is more "found" than on Fleshbot, which d'Addario edits from the Faubourg Marigny home he shares with his partner, Richard Read, the co-founder of the theater troupe Running With Scissors. In just 20 months, d'Addario has helped turn Fleshbot -- the third of Gawker's 13 blog sites -- into the third most popular blog on the Web, behind Free Republic and the Drudge Report and ahead of Gawker's flagship site.
That d'Addario is a gay man surfing the Web at least 12 times a day looking for stuff for mostly straight people to get off on isn't surprising to either d'Addario or his boss -- and not in a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy kind of way.

"I write Fleshbot in the first-person plural," d'Addario says in between drags from his American Spirit cigarettes, during an afternoon interview in his kitchen. "Speaking the 'we' is really me. It's Jonno sitting here in New Orleans in his sweatpants and chain-smoking, coming up with all this stuff. Personally, I'm a gay man who's more interested in straight porn than gay porn. Gay porn is too much of a documentary form for me. Straight porn is more fantasy. That's just where I'm coming from.

"Out of necessity, there's stuff that doesn't turn me on personally, so it's stuff that I have to detach myself from to look at and write about it."

Secondly, Greg Peters of Suspect Device interviews Byron Humphrey. And who is Byron Humphrey?

New Orleans-born illustrator Byron Humphrey still retains hints of a local accent, even after almost 25 years living in the south of France. His timbre and cadence are reminiscent of Rodney Dangerfield, but Humphrey got his respect, and more: He's handled advertising for 7-Up, Gillette and Kent cigarettes; Christopher Peachment of the London Sunday Times called him "the world's greatest living cartoonist"; and his illustrations and gag cartoons have been published in Playboy and Business Week. He's been exhibited in galleries across Europe, most recently at the National Gallery in Budapest.
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Monday, August 08, 2005

New theory posited! 

Bad Vernacular has the breaking story. After due consideration, I think it's one of the most plausible scenarios I've heard in a long while.
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Black Mold Administration 

I really shouldn't read Jeff Crouere's political columns, because they're starting to consistently provide the mental seeds of future aneurysms.

It seems clear that, despite her mistakes, Governor Blanco's administration has provided a revealing contrast to former-Gov. Mike "Big Daddy" Foster's "hands off" approach. Most astute political observers now see this contrast more or less like C.B. Forgotston:

Here's how Big Daddy handled the black mold problem while he was residing in the mansion:

"Blanco's predecessor, Gov. Mike Foster, resisted recommendations to have the work done when he lived at the mansion. Instead, he put filters over the vents when they started spewing black soot."

That says it all. As we're reminded by the Saints deal, the state being on the hook for unplayed golf rounds, unfunded accrued liability in the retirement systems, unfunded group benefits program, charity hospitals meltdown, etc.; just cover it up. It'll soon be someone else's problem.

Interestingly, Jeff Crouere disagrees!! (Now, prepare yourself for the "if it weren't for my horse" aneurysm moment.) Today's Crouere column-- once again heavily promoted by the Dead Pelican-- actually celebrates Foster's decision to cover over the black mold problem, and slams Governor Blanco for deciding to clean it up!! I'm serious, you won't believe your eyes here:

Finally, Foster lived in the Governor's Mansion and he didn't demand... expensive mold removal. His solution to the mold problem was to put air filters over the vents. In a poor state like Louisiana, Foster's actions sent a signal to the people that he didn't demand royal treatment, luxury or mansion renovations. In fact, most families in our state would have dealt with the problem in the same way as Foster did. In this regard, Foster made the right decision. In contrast, Governor Blanco has a different attitude and it shows.

Wow. I guess I had this thing all wrong. Big Daddy is really a profile in courage. Covering up problems for someone else to fix is homespun leadership. And, apparently, sitting on one's ass rather than hustling all over the world trying to bring new business to Louisiana is a strategy worthy of "new appreciation." Come look at things through Crouere's eyes, people: it's a whole different world!

Call me pompous, but the next time black soot is spewing out a vent in Pearlgirl's room, I'll do a little more than installing a new filter and letting it grow throughout my house... So I guess ours is not like "most families" in the state, who still cherish that wise "signal" Big Daddy sent them. I wonder if "most families" have a mortgage tying them to a house they can't leave, unlike Heavy M.

Alright, even though I'm still stupified by his line of thinking, I will give Jeff some props for mentioning the Flaming Liberal in his CityBusiness piece. (How many different publications does this guy write for, anyways?):

It is getting closer to the February 2006 elections and New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin continues to look like an overwhelming favorite to retain his office. He has a vast bank account and no heavyweight challengers on the horizon.

Nagin's prospects could change if New Orleans City Councilman-at-large Eddie Sapir enters the race...

Frequent radio talk show caller and political activist David "The Flaming Liberal" Bellinger is also considering challenging Nagin. Bellinger's platform includes adding a nude beach in eastern New Orleans to attract tourists and dollars to the Big Easy.
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Don't Dick with a vorpal rabbit 

"I ask a lot of hard questions," Cheney told NBC's Tim Russert last September. "That's my job."

Others have the same task, Mr. Vice President. (Via Needlenose:)

In the world as Bunnatine Greenhouse sees it, people do the right thing. They stand up for the greater good and they speak up when things go wrong. She believes God has a purpose for each life and she prays every day for that purpose to be made evident. These days she is praying her heart out, because she is in a great deal of trouble.

Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse is the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting ("PARC" in the alphabet soup of military acronyms) in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lest the title fool, she is responsible for awarding billions upon billions in taxpayers' money to private companies hired to resurrect war-torn Iraq and to feed, clothe, shelter and do the laundry of American troops stationed there.

She has rained a mighty storm upon herself for standing up, before members of Congress and live on C-SPAN to proclaim things are just not right in this staggeringly profitable business.

She has asked many questions: Why is Halliburton-- a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq -- getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding? Do the durations of those contracts make sense? Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?
Now Bunny Greenhouse may lose her job -- and her reputation, which she spent a lifetime building.

She is a black woman in a world of mostly white men; a 60-year-old workaholic who abides neither fools nor frauds. But she is out of her element in this fight, her former boss said.

"What Bunny is caught up in is politics of the highest damn order," said retired Gen. Joe Ballard, who hired Greenhouse and headed the Corps until 2000. "This is real hardball they're playing here. Bunny is a procurement officer, she's not a politician. She's not trained to do this."
Greenhouse has known for a long time that her days may be numbered. Her needling of contracts awarded to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) predated the war in Iraq, beginning with costs she said were spiraling "out of control" from a 2000 Bosnia contract to service U.S. troops. From 1995 to 2000, Halliburton's CEO was Dick Cheney, who left to run for vice president. He maintains his former company has not received preferential treatment from the government.

Since then, she had questioned both the amounts and the reasons for giving KBR tremendous contracts in the buildup to invading Iraq. At first she was ignored, she said. Then she was cut out of the decision-making process.

Last October 6, she was summoned to the office of her boss. Major Gen. Robert Griffin, the Corps' deputy commander, was demoting her, he told her, taking away her Senior Executive Service status and sending her to midlevel management. Not unlike being cast out of the office of bank president into the cubicle of branch manager. Griffin declined to be interviewed by the AP.

Her performance was poor, said a letter he presented. This was a surprise. Her previous job evaluations had been exemplary, she said. The basic theme was that she was "difficult," and "nobody likes you," she said.

If she didn't want the new position, she could always retire with full benefits, the letter noted.

Over my dead body, said Greenhouse.

More "hard questions" here.
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My Gossip Struts and Squints 

It's untimely, but I thought I'd share something I heard from a pretty reliable source.

Apparently, at least ten years ago (probably more) Sheena Easton had the biggest crush on Peter Jennings. The rumour was she had sent him some torrid fan mail of the highest order, complete with photos. Jennings never responded, so the tale goes.

Along the same lines, I recall that Ellen Barkin felt similarly about David Letterman in the early 80's. She managed to become an intern on his show, and was devastated when he brushed her off after she asked him out. Years later, not long after "Sea of Love" came out, she disclosed her youthful crush during an interview on Letterman's show. When she revealed this, Letterman didn't quite believe it, but then said (half-jesting) something like: "If that's true, that's the biggest mistake I made in my entire life."

I continually plague my wife Lovely with these gossipy tidbits, because I keep forgetting I've already mentioned them to her. So, one of the celebrities will periodically come up in conversation and I'll say "Hey, didja know that Sheena East--" and Lovely will cut me off with an exasperated "Yes, you've already told me about her and Peter Jennings a thousand times. I think he's married. Were they nude photos?".

I hope so.
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