Friday, August 26, 2011

On the Road

More to say in a bit. Wishing the east coast warm thoughts, an easy evacuation, and as little damage as is possible.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Where oh Where is Rahm Emmanuel?

Stolen from Facebook:


And you'll notice that "unsolved" pretty much remains unsolved, so I'd say this is a fairly accurate flow chart!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

History Repeating . . . ?

I wish I had received the email earlier this month that today sent me searching for something I found at PatriotThoughts.com.

We commemorated the 66th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific and the end of WWII earlier this month.  August 6th or 10th would probably have been more appropriate dates to ruminate on the decision to use nuclear weapons against a civilian population in order to save that civilian population.

The photographs and narrative on Patriot Thoughts are indeed thought provoking.  The Enola Gay, Bockscar, Little Boy and Fat Man; Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Saipan and the Banzai Cliff. 

The incomprehensible mindset of the Japanese people of the mid-Twentieth Century.

Tiny Tinian Island, is described as "a flat green dot in the vastness of Pacific blue."  The very idea that a place that today looks like this:


was the starting block for this:


and this:

is, in itself, a stunning notion that sends the mind into a self-examining do-loop.

What the science of History has been able to extrapolate from an unbiased, dispassionate distance is this: the utter and total destruction of Japan's major cities led to the metamorphosis of her culture; led to a nation that today is capable of creating this:


We've seen the rise and fall of great peoples -- and great cities -- throughout human recollection.  Even recently, and very close to home. 

When New Orleans drowned, her rotten-to-the-core, inadequate public education system crumbled along with her.  Today, that education system is among the fastest-improving systems in the state.  Perhaps, wiping the slate clean and having little to build upon save that which is buried beneath our feet, is what gives rise to legitimate human progress.  Civilizations are built upon civilizations.

What does that truth suggest about our Nation during the first term of Barack Hussein Obama?  Are we crumbling as a people, looking to rise from our own ashes?  Will it take that to get us back on track to being the world's Superpower?  Or, are we sliding toward a penniless and wretched decline as just another cog in the global machine?  Is that really what the Progressive movement desires?  Can it possibly be?

Perhaps August 21st is just as good a day as the 6th or 10th to wax philosophical on the destruction of a once great nation -- whether, as Rome, caused by rotting from within like a gangrene, or as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by nuclear holocaust.  

Would that I had some answers.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's Been Five Years?

As Innominatus pointed out in the comments to Thursday's post, yesterday was the much vaunted and celebrated fifth birthday of the Young Prince of Moogie's Mansion, Bouligny Voodoo, more commonly known as simply Bouie.

He chose to commemorate the day by roughhousing with his parents, rolling in the grass, barking at passersby, and sharing the pork tenderloin served for dinner.  But he wasn't very adept at blowing out candles.

His vet (otherwise known to him as "The Magic Treat Lady") calls him "Amber Eyes."

What a joy is that handsome, 80 pound package of unconditional, people-pleasing love.


Happy belated birthday, Bou!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Breaking News in the Casket Department


On Monday the Louisiana funeral industry filed Notice of Appeal of Federal Judge Stanwood R. Duval's ruling that an Abbey of Benedictine monks may disregard a Louisiana regulatory scheme designed to protect the industry and resume selling modestly-priced, handcrafted caskets without risking heavy fines or imprisonment.  Judge Duval's stunning display of common sense was last reported here in July.

Except, now, it seems that the Times-Picayune has taken to calling the caskets, "funeral boxes."

The Fifth Circuit might have a bit of fun with this one.  Heck, the U.S. Supreme Court might even grant cert on it just to hear the oral arguments about plus-size cadavers and leaking products of decomposition that Judge Duval had to sit through.  I hope they manage to fast-track the appeal.  This is getting good.

But, funeral boxes?  Really.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pretty Shallow Roots

In this afternoon's in-box, a little love message from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:


Dear Moogie,

We’re putting together the official DSCC 2012 Election Poetry Magnet, and it just won't be as good if our grassroots supporters don't help us out.

So that’s why we’re asking you: What words are necessary for you to have the most satisfying poetic experience? What words would you include on our new poetry magnet?

Click here to suggest words we should include, and to order your magnet.

Help design our new fridge poetry magnet.
We’re still fighting the TEA PARTY, so maybe we’d better include it. Then there’s Dennis Rehberg, who suggested that PELL GRANTS are just welfare. Oh, and Jon Bruning in Nebraska compared people needing a helping hand to scavenging RACCOONS. And who could forget the GOP presidential candidates? Michele Bachmann said we'd get rid of unemployment entirely if we'd just dump that pesky MINIMUM WAGE. Rick Perry thinks MEDICARE and SOCIAL SECURITY are unconstitutional. And then there’s Mitt Romney, who famously said CORPORATIONS are PEOPLE. Say what? Those are some BIZARRE ideas.

Get the idea? What words would you include?
Our poetry magnet should include GRASSROOTS, because you’re such an important part of what we do. Thanks for working so hard to elect DEMOCRATS!

Sincerely,

Jason Rosenbaum
Director of Online Communications


They're "fighting" the Tea Party, whose existence they pooh-poohed a little over 2 years ago.  Heh.

I'm such a very important part of what those ever-lovin' liberals do!  I'm such a grasssroots supporter!  They'll be more than happy to accept my word suggestions (and a little donation or two).

I don't think they really want to hear my word suggestions (like Jackasses, Communists, heretics).

You'll notice that there are no children's drawings or family photos displayed on that Democratic refrigerator.  I, myself, think that very void speaks volumes about Democratic family values.  Or, maybe they're just demonstrating solidarity with those less fortunate who have no refrigerator upon which to display one's family or its artwork.

Nah -- they're just stick-up-the-rear-end, boring, vanilla people.

Do you have any suggestions for word recommendations?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Tuesday in The South

Seen in August's Southern Living article about the horrid spring storm season:


As Southerners, we know that a man with a chain saw is worth 10 with a clipboard, that there is no hurt in this world, even in the storm of the century, that cannot be comforted with a casserole, and that faith, in the hereafter or in neighbors who help you through the here and now, cannot be knocked down.

                                                                                          -- Rick Bragg

I kinda like that.

This is the most recent of the various stinging caterpillars with whom I've crossed paths in the front yard.  I don't know what variety he is, but he was very colorful, and chubbier than the Ios and Buckmoths and Tussocks I've seen.

The Louisiana Agricultural Center offers these words of wisdom about stinging caterpillars:




Stinging caterpillars are a nuisance to adults, but can be serious hazards to small children, because the youngsters are attracted to the pests’ bright, unusual colorations. Sprays are not normally applied except for the buck moth, since it occurs in large numbers. Control of the other species is seldom needed except for knocking an occasional specimen to the ground and mashing it.


Not being one to ignore sage advice, and having been on the receiving end of those spines, I can report that this particular caterpillar is no longer among the living.

I spent much of the afternoon spraying mold and trying to avoid the spores that jumped out at me after being doused with bleach.  Living in a hundred year old house located in humidity-central has taught me a whole new, and unexpected, skill set.  It has also instilled in me a deep and abiding appreciation for duct tape.

And thus it goes on a mid-August Tuesday in the south.  Life at Moogie's Mansion, trying to stay one step ahead of the lizards.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Wee Bit of Overkill in the Law Department & UPDATE


A headline in today's Times-Picayune screams, "State unfurls 233 new laws today"!

Two hundred thirty-three new laws take effect in Louisiana today.

Earthshaking laws like authorizing a $20 bump in Traffic Court costs, allowing car dealers to sell cars featuring front seat passenger DVD screens, forbidding extra-bright headlights not installed by the car's manufacturer, and prohibiting those convicted of heinous sex crimes from accessing Internet chat rooms and certain websites.

We have a new Official State Gemstone: the Cabachon Cut gemstone, made by Louisiana oysters. See above.  (It replaces the Agate, which has been re-categorized as the Official State Mineral.  Agate is found in Louisiana gravel.  Our former state gemstone was gravel.  Really?!?)

We can now kill as many feral hogs as we wish, but we have to let the police know a day in advance before firing off any rounds.  Plan accordingly.

Two hundred thirty-three new laws.  Two hundred thirty-three new laws which will accompany the 1,063 new laws enacted last year.  That's what happens when you have a legislature that meets every year, with a mission.

Extrapolate the above out to Congress and you get an immediate headache.  And pain in the wallet.

*sigh*

UPDATE:  The ACLU has filed suit seeking to have the sex criminals' access to Facebook and other online fora (or "forums" for those who think using the word, "fora," is snooty) restored, claiming that the free speech rights of sex offenders are violated thereby.  Stay tuned.

**double sigh**

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Contemplating Change, and Once Again, With Conflicting Emotions

Yesterday was a day of conflicting emotions.

Yesterday witnessed the carrying out of the death sentence on the 101 year-old New Orleans Naval Support Activity in Algiers, the death sentence first issued in 2005's initial BRAC (Base Re-alignment And Closure) Committee report.

My father trained at Algiers as a young man when the base was named U.S. Naval Station New Orleans.  One of our City Councilwomen met her future husband at that base when her future father-in-law served as its Commander in the early 1950s.

Pepper and I have gone to some wonderful parties and ceremonies and meetings over there on the West Bank, and enjoyed many of its amenities, especially the cheaper, tax-free gasoline near the Commissary.  Our friend, Gary, who commanded the Base in the 1990s, and who never misses a military gathering, was absent.  I suspect he could not bring himself to say goodbye and sit through that meaningful Navy tradition in which the Command's flag is furled, sleeved, and slowly paraded, with carefully measured steps, through two rows of enormous shells, and out of sight, by a Color Guard dressed in stiffly-starched Whites to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne," played as a dirge by the local Marine Band New Orleans.


It was very hard to watch, even though the Naval Reserve HQ had already moved to Norfolk several years ago and the Base's function had already been reduced to wrapping up and shutting down.  The Commissary has already moved to NAS/JRB Belle Chasse and the gas station and library are shuttered.  I suppose the next thing to disappear will be the enormous "NAVY" painted on the Base's water tower.

It's very hard to watch as a once-thriving community devolves into a ghost town.

But.  The ghost town won't last for long. 

One of the things that many of us fought for during the BRAC hearings -- especially retired Marine Major General David Mize -- was the concept of preserving a military presence at the NSA location in the form of the nation's first "Federal City," a public/private venture that would house multiple entities of the federal government and military in one location.  The Committee thought the endeavor worthwhile and gave the City and its proponents a time frame to make the agreements and financing happen.  They happened.

The first tenant of Federal City, the Coast Guard's Sector New Orleans HQ, opened its doors in August of 2010.  There are plans underway to develop base housing into a neighborhood community -- a Child Development Center already has a pretty hefty waiting list.  New Orleans' newest Type 2 charter school, the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, held its first day of classes on August 9th; it will eventually accept students in grades 9 - 12, and will eventually be housed in renovated, historic NSA buildings. The YMCA is renovating the old gymnasium into a fitness center; retail merchants and restaurants are planning to open shop in the coming months.

(One of the biggest, unheralded perquisites for southeast Louisiana in the NOMMA presence is its newly-named Commandant, COL William Davis.  In his last billet before retiring this fall, Bill headed up a number of Marine Corps construction projects across the country, including the brand new Marine Forces Reserve [MARFORRES] and Marine Forces North Headquarters building in Federal City.  Bill brought the project in ahead of schedule and under budget -- quite a feat in this day of rampant cost-overruns and congressional gridlock.  Through his agreement to accept Command of NOMMA, we now get to keep Bill and his delightful family here for good!)

So, it's not all melancholy.

Yesterday also witnessed the Opening of The Marine Corps Support Facility Base in that beautiful new HQ building shepherded by COL Bill Davis.

As sad as it was to watch the Navy marching away, it was just as energizing to watch the MARFORRES HQ Battalion flag be unfurled and posted.  As new MARFORRES Commander Lt. Gen. Steven Hummer remarked, yesterday's ceremonies assured the continuation of a Marine Corps presence in New Orleans dating back to 1778, when the Marines first arrived on a ship named The Rattletrap.  For real.


Yesterday was also the first time I was able to see the magnificent palm tree that our Military Officers' Wives' Club purchased for the grounds of the new HQ building.  The palms look pretty majestic out there where all those Marines will pass daily on their way to work.  Our President has nicknamed the tree our "Recruitment Tree," in hopes that many of those Marines will tell their spouses about our plaque and our organization, and we can up the membership numbers a bit. 


We were allowed to place the plaque commemorating our donation wherever we chose.  Our clever ladies chose a spot that suggests we donated all of the palm trees instead of just one (and there are 3 more on the other side of the circle)!  Plus, the plaque is portable, so it can be re-located if a better spot comes up, or taken along for safekeeping during a hurricane evacuation.  Like I said, clever ladies.


So, in this era of "change," at least there is some "hope" connected to this transition.

To the Navy, I bid "Fair winds and following seas."  And to the Marine Corps, "Semper Fidelis."

And, because the Army likes to get in the last word, Hooah.

(P.S. -- the Saints won their opening pre-season game last night, sending the 49ers to defeat to the tune of 24-3!!  Who Dat!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Musings About Hatred

I'm not one to hate easily.  But, do you know what I hate?


I hate it when thoughtless, slovenly people throw empty glass bottles into the water at City Park where adorable dogs who are banned from the City Bark Dog Park because they're still in possession of their family jewels must go to swim instead.

Then, I really hate it when one must drop a C-note at the vet to fix the by-product of that thoughtlessness.

At least he didn't have to have stitches.  Poor puppy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Few of the Things that Michelle Obama Would Prefer We Avoid

I got nothin'.  So, what does one do when struck by writer's block?

Punt to Food Porn, of course!

Here are some of the many, many reasons to visit New Orleans.  Just try to do it after you've successfully shed a few pounds, or been subjected to an extended famine.


Bananas Foster (and Abita Amber) at the New Orleans School of Cooking.  Schools of Cooking are a very New Orleans kind of thing.  My supermarket, Rouse's, just opened an in-store Wine Bar and Cooking School!  I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to try it out.  I hope one can't get a DWI while pushing a shopping cart.


Lovely little lagniappe Breezer cocktail at Cafe Adelaide.  One can experience quite the birthday lunch at Adelaide.


The Original Barbecue Shrimp at Pascal's Manale.  Bib provided.  And needed.


Some sort of lovely white fish and pasta with carrots and artichokes at Pascal's.  I can't remember what the appetizer was -- the stuff in the gratin dish, beside the homemade bread.  I think it involved eggplant, garlic, and butter or cheese. 


Mussels topped with crispy, garlicky pommes frites at The Flaming Torch.


Pork Two Ways with gratin potato stack at Coquette.


Some lovely filet-ish thing with mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes at Commander's Palace.  Unfortunately, Pepper got Moogie's portion of filet because the food gods have a very bad sense of humor and rendered Moogie allergic to beef.  Don't feel too sorry for me, though -- this was a five-course business meal honoring the retiring EVP of HR.  I didn't go hungry.


Individual berry cobbler and chocolate profiteroles at Mr. B's Bistro.


Gazpacho in the making and cocktail hour at Moogie's Mansion, including mint, basil, and jalapeno from the garden.

Perhaps now you understand why there is more of Moogie to love since she moved to New Orleans.  You'll have to excuse me now -- I need to go find a little something for a full tummy.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Filing Chapter 11 Before Being Potty-Trained

I just saw this video on Facebook, and, in light of yesterday's stock-market-down-the-rabbit-hole adventure, it seems timely to share it in the blogoshpere.



Heh.

Sorta.

It's Almost . . .



FOOTBALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WPS!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dog Days

Yesterday saw the hottest temperatures in recorded history in Little Rock -- 114 degrees.  (It was only 112 in Needles, for crying out loud!)  That's pretty darn dog-day-qualifyingly hot.

Because of the heat (although in New Orleans, the heat index was 114, but the air temperature was just a measly 90-something), and because I'm still so sputtering mad at all the *stuff* surfacing in that "stop the sky from falling" debt ceiling bill (and the massive stock market sell-off in its wake), I intend to engage in a little fluff. 

Prepare to be subjected to dog pictures.  They make me happy.

Click to enlarge.

Is that an adorable face, or what?  I snapped this one through the front door a few days ago as I was returning from errands.  He was ready to play -- he even had his ratty old rag toy (remnant) in place! 

(The flag hasn't been flying for awhile because we've had so many afternoon summer thundershowers.  You see its reflection as it's leaning in its spot by the front door, waiting to go back up.  Wow!  Do you see what I see?  Three uses of the letter combination of I and T and S in the same sentence, and all used correctly!  How about: They're driving over there to claim their prizes.  Or: It's up to you two to win a prize, too.  Jackpot!)


I indulged myself in a fancy new Kitchenaid mixer last week, and last night I whipped up a batch of cheese souffle in it.  Bouie decided to guard the oven in case there were souffle thieves about.  There weren't any, but he got a taste of souffle anyway for his effort.  Doesn't it look as if he's exerting a lot of effort? 

I don't think you can make the pic big enough to read it, but the shortest kitchen towel on the oven door handle bears a drawing of a feather duster and says, "The house was clean yesterday. Sorry you missed it."   That would indeed be the overarching housekeeping philosophy at Moogie's Mansion.

This expression pretty well embodies my disgust at all-things-federal-government these days.

Or, maybe this one.

(Please disregard all the clothes hanging on the door and stacked on the chair.  We live in a 105 year old house, and folks didn't believe in closets when it was built.)


This one just seems to capture the essence of "dog days of summer."  A large black dog in the hot sun just doesn't want to move around much.


A blind, geriatric shih tzu who has also had several strokes, however, can walk in circles all the live-long day. Until she starts panting too much and I take her in for a drink of water and a nap -- two of her favorite pasttimes these days.  Doesn't her new haircut make her look young and spry?  (I know -- just humor her.)


Naps are always nicer in the air conditioning.  On the parlor couch where one is not really supposed to be napping.  Oh, well.  Sweet dreams Young Prince.

There.  Now I feel much better.  Hope you do, too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Check. Next Crisis, Please.

Sorry I've been AWOL for awhile.  We're getting ready to start a construction project in Little Rock -- adding on to our little rent house there -- and I'm kind of the project manager, travelling back and forth.  It should be an "interesting" couple of months, leading up to starting on Moogie's Retirement Villa.  I wish I had Lou and Toby around to advise me!

Anyway, I'm choosing to side-step the whole debt ceiling mess for awhile with one small exception --


Although, I'm not so sure the Young President can claim a victory lap on this one.  The Conservatives seem to have taken the biggest chunk out of the compromise pie (except for the not really cutting any spending part -- it's really just not spending as much more as the left would like to spend).  Kind of refreshing -- And promising.  Sort of.  Moogie appears to be wearing those rose-colored glasses again.

Well, maybe I made a medium-sized exception.  Hey, we all have to take a "balanced approach," right?

 P.S. -- the Young President is yammering again, after the vote in the Senate on the Debt Ceiling debacle-bill.  Egad, if he doesn't go on a golf trip or junket or climb a mountain sometime soon, and STFU, I may lose it.  He needs some new speechwriters -- every time he gets to a microphone lately, what comes out of his mouth turns into a key-word-trigger drinking game opportunity.  AA must have seen a big uptick the last few weeks.) 

P.P.S. -- I REALLY don't like this "Super Congress" thing.