Friday, June 26, 2009

Matthew Yglesias notices that neocon Gary Schmitt dislikes soccer. Schmitt's theory is that excellence doesn't prevail enough in soccer, and that's why the sport hasn't caught on in the U.S..
Are neocons right about anything? Ever? I'm being serious. They seem to have an unerring instinct towards the wrong.

And the reason the sport hasn't caught on in America isn't because "excellence" doesn't "prevail" in soccer, it's because there's hardly any damn scoring!

A couple months prior to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the English team was supposed to have a friendly scrimmage with the Nigerian team at a soccer field at Florida State University. But England's team didn't show up as scheduled. So some of my soccer-enthusiast/grad student friends quickly cobbled together a team and played the Nigerians. My comrades lost 12 to 1, but Russ (a philosophy student) scored the lone goal against the Nigerians, on a header. It was awesome. He was on a high for days afterwards.

The Nigerians, btw, won the gold medal that year, beating Brazil and then Argentina in the finals . I got to see that game in person, too. It was festive.

"All that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football" -- Albert Camus (btw, wouldn't The Plague be a good name for a soccer team?)

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While I don't consider Michael Jackson to be one of my influences, there's no question that his pop/cultural impact reached over seas and generations.


During my first year of college two basketball players lived down the dormitory hall and would often blast this J5 classic on Saturday mornings.


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quick memo to Gov. Sanford 

Glad that you're feeling refreshed after your hike booty call in Appalachia Argentina, but could you spare me the moral lectures on what "God's laws" mean to you? Pardon me if I choose to consult Paul of Tarsus, the Nazarene, or perhaps even an informed monogamous gay couple if I want additional perspective on "God's laws".

From the transcript of Sanford's press conference:

But I'm here because if you were to look at God's laws, they're in every instance designed to protect people from themselves. I think that that is the bottom line of God's law, that it's not a moral, rigid list of do's and don'ts just for the heck of do's and don'ts. It is indeed to protect us from ourselves. And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self; that sin is, in fact, grounded in this notion of what is it that I want as opposed to somebody else?
But I guess where I'm trying to go with this is that there are moral absolutes and that God's law indeed is there to protect you from yourself, and there are consequences if you breach that. This press conference is a consequence.

And so the bottom line is this: I have been unfaithful to my wife.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SFYYFF, Nixon 


Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases—- like interracial pregnancies, he said.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

"S" stands for skull.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Late nite radio 

My favorite Babe the Blue Ox song:


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Monday, June 22, 2009


The T-P does a story on New Orleans' famous street tiles:

For well over a century, the blue-and-white tiles that identify hundreds of New Orleans streets have been emblematic of this city.

Yes. The tiles are uniquely adorable. Such charming, historic details make living in New Orleans delightful. Who wouldn't treasure them?

But, in neighborhoods across the city, street and sidewalk repairs that would normally be cause for celebration have had an unfortunate byproduct: the disappearance, possibly temporary, of the beloved tiles.

The hell you say! It's unthinkable that street repair-work would occur in New Orleans without the conscientious replacement of the historic street tiles. It would be a cultural sin. I therefore don't believe it.

"They came and replaced the sidewalks and they left blocks of wood where it looked like they were going to replace the street tiles," said Ashley Hansen of Hansen's Sno-Bliz, the snowball stand that has occupied the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Bordeaux streets since 1939.

"They came in and put cement in the places that they had left for the tiles," Hansen said.

Well surely, surely this is just one little isolated oversight. Surely the cultural destruction isn't widespread. Right? (Perhaps now we could hear from an authority who could make some soothing promises?)

Robert Mendoza, the city's director of public works, said that in keeping with city policy, all the tiles will be replaced.

"Our policy is that if a corner has existing street-name tiles, we put them back," he said. "Post-storm, or maybe just before the storm, the shop that made the tiles for us went out of business or moved. We didn't have a vendor for the tiles until about seven months ago."
See? The director of public works has a policy to replace the tiles. They didn't have a vendor until recently*. 'Nuff said.

At the corner of Pine and Birch streets, it's apparent that repair work was done on March 13, 2008. That's the date someone carved into the concrete while it was still wet.

What isn't known is why the tiles for Pine are intact while the ones for Birch are missing.

Well, who cares about... wait a minute. Pine and Birch... Pine and Birch... for some reason that particular intersection rings a bell.

Some of the historic tiles met their demise in recent years after Entergy New Orleans cut through sidewalks to replace gas lines.

Heaven Forfend! Et tu, Entergy?

"As part of our normal inspection process, Entergy New Orleans managers discovered that a subcontractor's crew had destroyed the street name tiles on six blocks," Entergy Vice President Rusty Burroughs wrote in a letter to The Times-Picayune at the time. "That crew was immediately terminated from the job."

Burroughs added that "of the nearly 1,500 street corners impacted by the rebuild to date, approximately 500 have street name tiles and only about 18 were not replaced --a clear violation of Entergy's practice."

See? It wasn't so bad. The Entergy VP terminated the crew ("from the job") for clearly violating Entergy's "practice" of replacing destroyed street name tiles. That Entergy VP sounds like a real problem solver. I wonder what else he said fifteen months ago when he commented on this issue. If only there were some sort of digital record of his statement with perhaps some righteous contextual commentary to boot.

Ah, yes. Back in April of '08, the Entergy VP apparently was responding to a Chris Rose column about a blogger who complained about the street tile destruction. The Veep said:

In his column, Chris Rose mentioned the destruction of street name tiles during our gas rebuild. ... Those tiles will be replaced, and were in the process of being replaced before the article was written by Mr. Rose.
The discovery and restoration of the tiles was spurred by our employees doing their job well -- inspecting the work of subcontractors -- and would have been completed regardless of who "reported" the story.
It's just very puzzling to me why the tiles on Pine and Birch haven't been replaced fifteen months after the Entergy VP said they would be replaced. He clearly said the "restoration of the tiles... would have been completed regardless of who 'reported' the story"... and yet... that "restoration" never occurred. Now the City's Director of Public Works is saying the same thing, except that they are using the ole "we only got a tile vendor seven months ago" excuse.

Fifteen months ago, Entergy claimed that the destroyed tiles "were in the process of being replaced". And that statement was, shall we say, not entirely true. (Btw, which vendor was Entergy using?)

Ashley thought this matter was important. Entergy responded to Ashley's concerns in narrow language that still makes my skin crawl. And then they didn't fix the problem.


* Don't you just love the brazen way they submit that "we only got a vendor seven months ago" excuse at face value? As if no reasonable person couldn't expect them to both purchase and lay down street tiles in only seven months.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Draft Brad Pitt for Mayor 

Lovely tells me she spotted a "Brad Pitt for Mayor HQ" sign on Magazine St. (I think).

I'd vote for him, or consult for his campaign. It'd draw a lot of attention.

While we're at it: Tyler Durden for Recovery Czar.

Update: Noladishu helpfully points us to a photo of the sign. Has a "Quentin Brown" sort of charm to it.

Updater: How embarrassing. Obviously I hadn't checked Chris Rose's piece in the T-P Living section on this developing story. Last time I saw Chris he was at Tulane dealing with a boot on his auto, so I'm glad he was able to overcome that and get back on the job.


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Little Richard 

Huck's "true originator of Rock'n Roll" post inspired me to give some props to one of my favorite originators, Little Richard.

Little Richard - Rip It Up

From Keith Spera's review of the recent Fats Domino tribute concert in New Orleans:

Fats Domino attended "The Domino Effect" Saturday night. Very few others did.

If the concert's Austin-based promoter hoped to fill the 16,000-plus seats of the New Orleans Arena, his expectations proved wildly optimistic. At show time, fewer than 2,000 fans populated the floor and lower balcony.
Comedian Tracy Morgan, the event's enthusiastic if unpolished emcee, gleefully declared, "Forget Lil Wayne tonight. This is Little Richard!"

Wearing a sparkling white ensemble and sunglasses, Richard arrived on stage via wheelchair; handlers lifted him onto a pillow atop his piano bench. Richard noted that he "had a heart attack when they were taking me to get a new hip."

Once settled at the keys, he was fine. He cut many of his early hits in New Orleans with New Orleans musicians, a fact that did not go unnoted. "I am the beautiful Little Richard from down in Macon, Georgia," he said. "But I was raised in New Orleans... I was right here, at the Dew Drop Inn on Lasalle."

With that, he uncorked a ribald "Good Golly, Miss Molly" - "wooo-ooooo!" Powered by two drummers, his polished band flashed plenty of muscle. Local blues singer "Ready" Teddy McQuiston, a long-time Richard buddy, executed handstands near the piano.

After "Blueberry Hill," Richard asked, "Is Fats here?" A spotlight found a beaming Domino waving from the balcony of Drew Brees' suite. "Hey Fats, you know I love you," Richard said.


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