Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bieber? Seriously?

Now, here's something I probably wouldn't have suspected.  Justin Bieber, BadAss, hangs out with Mike Tyson, Crazy BadAss.

Egad.  Just seeing the words "Justin Bieber" and "BadAss" in the same sentence -- not to mention those words being being related to each other -- just shakes me to the core.

Where's New Kids On The Block when you need a little wholesomeness?

Or Hammer?

Mercy (and, forgive me!), I loved those pants!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An American Tragedy

The five-year-old, a recent Kindergarten graduate, was said to have asked her preacher, "What color are Jesus's eyes?"

Today, a day after she was murdered at a cousin's 10th birthday celebration (during which he also suffered gunshot wounds), her preacher told the world that she now knows firsthand what color those eyes are.

A mother of three young children was also killed, the victim of being in the right place at the wrong time, blocks away, in a rental car she was returning to Enterprise.

A 13 year-old and his 15 year old companion  have been arrested.  The 13 year-old was apprehended based on data from his ankle bracelet.  His frickin' ankle bracelet!  His rap sheet is reported to be lengthy, but it can't be released due to his age.  Of course.  Young relatives of the slain are reportedly not cooperating with investigators.  Ya think?  How much longer before we read about their untimely deaths?

What will it take to stop this senseless violence.  Apparently the young President doesn't make this blight a priority.  Way to dodge your "mandate" there, President Obama.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thankful in New Orleans on this Memorial Day

Pepper and I headed over to the National WWII Museum this afternoon, thinking that we would support it on Memorial Day.  But once we got there, we discovered that nearly everyone else near the Gulf Coast had the same idea!  We left without eating at either of the fine restaurants there, grateful that our Museum has grown in such stature that it's overwhelmed on a national holiday.  We decided to go back at another time when they might could use our business.

Speaking of gratitude -- I spied this over at IMAO.  Harvey invited everyone to steal it and post it.  So, without further ado:
I am thankful indeed.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

I know I'm a day early, but this is just such a moving picture that I needed to share it today.

Truly a dramatization of the old adage about a picture and a thousand words.

Never forget.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Now I Know How the Dinosaurs and Buggy Whip Makers Felt

Everyday life as we know it in New Orleans will cease to be come autumn. 

The grand old lady of print journalism, The Times-Picayune, will beef up its digital alter-ego and reduce the number of days it publishes a print version from everyday to Wednesday-Friday-Sunday only.  The move will leave New Orleans as the largest city in the USA without a daily newspaper.

The staff was blindsided, but that's another issue.

After carefully monitoring the outpouring of confusion, grief, anger, and disbelief on social media  following the announcement yesterday, the powers-that-be at the paper ratcheted up the spin machine.  Today's headline screams, "NEWSPAPER TO MOVE FOCUS TO DIGITAL."  The first paragraph lauds the upgrades to be made to (which said upgrades I already dislike -- but then again, I'm not a big proponent of change): "As the digital world has evolved, so too will we." 

Glossing over what the reading public will lose, it continues,"Beginning in the fall, the newspaper that so many of you rely upon will continue to publish on a reduced schedule of Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays." Thanks for throwing us a bone there, guys, by "continuing to publish."

Intellectually, I understand that the shift to digital service is inevitable -- heck, I do a lot of research and news-gathering online already.  But, there's just something so physically satisfying about unfolding that newsprint, and popping it open, and having to wash my hands afterwards to get rid of the ink that rubbed off on my fingers.  There's something so comfortable about digging through the yellowing recipes I've clipped over the years; the favorites not only yellowed, but also stained with splashes of their ingredients.  I can already attest that the effect is not quite the same when perusing through recipes that I've sent through the printer on sterile white typing paper.  (Is there such a thing as "typing paper" anymore?)

When we started having work done on the house that displaced the kitchen table, Bouie and I began to lunch on the front porch, and we both enjoyed it so much that we've continued the practice even after the kitchen is (mostly) put back together.  I take my lunch, a Milk Bone for Bou, and the "Living" and "New Orleans" (that also contains the editorial pages) sections so I can read them at leisure while Bouie stands sentry duty.  He keeps all those evil, marauding people pushing strollers or walking little yappy dogs at bay.  It's just not the same holding the iPad.  Even Bouie seems to sense how rapt I'll tend to be, depending on whether I'm holding flapping newsprint or a tablet computer (that doesn't always hold its Wi-Fi connection).


So, as the Young President "evolves," so too does print journalism, I suppose.

At least kids will still be able to sprawl on the floor to read the funny papers on Sunday morning.

For awhile.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wanted: Grown Ups To Populate the New Orleans City Council

We have quite the kerfuffle going on in the City Council, and very few of the Council members are acting their age.

It all started last summer when At-Large member Arnie Fielkow announced that he was resigning effective October 1 to assume the CEO position with the NBA Retired Players Association.  His departure left a vacant spot on the Council, and the usual suspects began circling their wagons in preparation for a brutal election to fill the spot which had been filled in the interim by a top aide to Fielkow.

Elections in New Orleans are nothing if not racially charged.  I know you're surprised to hear that. 

Fielkow is a white guy; Sanderson, the interim member, is a black guy.  When the dust settled after the primary in April, the run-off saw a white woman pitted against a black woman, both veterans of the Council, and it was a gloves-pulled-off, brutal, hair-pulling cage fight with a decidedly racial spin.  The final tally on election night gave the race to the white woman, Stacy Head, by a razor-thin edge of 281 votes.  It took several days before the black woman, Cynthia Willard-Lewis, finally conceded; Stacy Head was sworn in on May 2nd.

The Council immediately began debate on how to tweak the At-Large election procedure.  Naturally.  Priorities, priorities.

In the meantime, Stacy Head recommended a successor for her District B seat (which just happens to be the District that represents Moogie's Mansion), Errol George, a black guy, and he began interviewing with the other members, being led to believe that he was a shoo-in.

But, oh no.  This is New Orleans where we may call ourselves "The Big Easy," but we rarely do anything the easy way.

The Council was to meet for a regularly scheduled session on May 3rd and on the agenda were, among other things, amending the At-Large election process and the appointment of the interim successor to the District B spot.  After three members (all white women) changed their minds about voting for the new procedure, preferring instead to defer a vote until June to allow for more debate and public hearing, the measure failed.  And, up hopped Members Cynthia Hedge-Morrell (yes, we have lots of Cynthia Hyphenated-Names in New Orleans politics) and Jon Johnson (both black), and walked out of the chamber.

They walked out of the chamber, leaving in their wake no quorum for the Council to carry on further business.  Including the confirmation of Mr. George.  Among all the other city business.  They have yet to attend either regularly-scheduled or specially-called meetings since, offering lame-to-no excuse. 

Ms. Hedge-Morrell told the press yesterday that the change of heart about the election procedure voted on at the May 3rd meeting left her feeling "marginalized."  If the Council can't muster a quorum before June 1, the task of appointing a successor will fall to the Mayor, and it's looking like that's exactly what's going to happen.  Woo.  Hoo.

So, Ms. Hedge-Morrell is feeling a little put upon, is she?  Bless her heart.

Well, guess what?  Her childish antics, which effectively shut down all city council business -- some of which addresses some pretty heavy issues, including a proposed unnecessary, tremendous increase in sewerage/water fees -- are leaving Moogie feeling significantly worse than "marginalized."  Her behavior is leaving me feeling quite disenfranchised.  Literally.

I don't even want to get into Johnson's role in the whole thing.  He might just be the unwitting victim in a parish-wide cat fight.  But, he could be a brother and stand up for the other black guy who just wants to fill a spot on the Council until November -- when he'll even be ineligible to run for the permanent position.

I'm thinking we need a little adult supervision in the playground Council chambers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

99Airlines? Seriously?!?!

From today's in-box from (yes, the espionage continues!):

Dear Moogie:
This is shaping up to be the dirtiest presidential election ever. And the most expensive, with pro-Romney super PACs and huge corporations spending like drunken sailors, thanks to Citizens United.1 The sheer quantity of misleading ads will be stupefying.
But even if they buy the airwaves, they can't buy the skies. So we can "rise above" their dirty ads—literally—and fly messages from the 99% over dozens of Mitt Romney events. We already did it successfully when we hired a plane to fly over Romney's Liberty University graduation speech towing a banner that read: "GOP = HIGHER SCHOOL DEBT."2
We can't afford hundreds of millions of dollars of TV ads. But it turns out, if we all chip in a bit, we can afford to fly banners over Romney's head. All the time.

Call it 99airlines.

Here's the plan: if we can raise $150,000 today, we'll use the opportunity of high-dollar Romney fundraisers to fly a plane overhead towing a message that reminds voters how he represents his corporate and 1% donors.
It'll be fun—and it's sure to grab the media's attention. But most importantly, with Mitt leading in many polls, it's a way to let millions of voters who are concerned about the economy know whose side Mitt is really on. Will you chip in?

. . .

With 99airlines, we'll transform Mitt Romney's 1% fundraising tour into an airborne progressive message machine. If we hit our fundraising goal, we can secure enough plane banners so that at every Romney event, instead of looking at the podium, the reporters' eyes and cameras will be pointing up, on the lookout for our banners.

According to Gallup, only 1/3 of voters under 29 are registered to vote and say they'll definitely do so in November (far less than every other age group).3 That's enough to swing the election. So with your support, we'll also reach these voters by making 99airlines huge online—using Facebook and a Tumblr site, to post pictures of the best plane banners.

This summer, we're pulling out all the stops to win the fight against the Romney super PAC ad assault. The 99airlines planes—and the messages they carry—will transform Romney fundraisers into an opportunity to remind voters what he really stands for—corporations and the 1%.
There is so much wrong with this on so many levels.

First, I don't recall seeing any media coverage of a banner flying over the Liberty University graduation -- and I actually searched -- so the plan doesn't seem to be garnering the free media blitz it seeks.

Next, um, hiring planes to tow banners ain't exactly a 99%er activity.  The price tag to do that can get right on up there.  So, do you suppose there are some 1%ers picking up the tab for the planes?  I would be shocked to learn that!  Shocked, I tell you.

And, then there's that "reaching the under-29 vote" thing using Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter. Well, duh.  The Romney camp is already working Facebook (Obama probably is, too, but I just cannot force myself to "friend" him).  Unlike John McCain, Mitt apparently has learned how to operate social media.  And to hire folks who can make computers stand up and do tricks.

This campaign maneuver isn't as much fun as the Poetry Refrigerator Magnets, but then they're asking contributors to kick in only $5.00 instead of $6.00.  Fun must cost extra.

Finally, super PACs and corporations "spending like drunken sailors?"  Need I remind MoveOn of Reagan's aphorism about drunken sailors and spending? 

Like those tipsy sailors, those PACs and huge corporations (not to mention the SuperPACs on the left!) are spending their own money.  And probably having a lot more fun than those stuffy ol' MoveOn guys.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Request for a Little Citizen Legislative Lobbying

Pepper forwarded this to me this afternoon -- he received it from MOAA, a retired Military Officers advocacy group:

Dear General Pepper,
In last Friday's legislative update, we advised you that Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have joined forces to introduce the bipartisan "Military Health Care Protection Act of 2012" (S. 3203).

This bill would acknowledge that career servicemembers and families pre-pay huge premiums of service and sacrifice, and limit increases in cash TRICARE fees in any year to the percentage increase in military retired pay.

With the Senate Armed Services Committee set to begin drafting its version of the FY2013 Defense Authorization Bill this week, your help is needed to build maximum Senate support for the Lautenberg-Rubio bill as quickly as possible.

Please act now to send your two senators a MOAA-suggested message urging them to cosponsor this important legislation and seek its inclusion in the defense bill.Take Action

If anyone gets a free minute or two, and if you're so inclined, we'd very much appreciate your calling S. 3203 to your senators' attention, relay your support, and ask that they sign on as co-sponsors.  You can click on the blue link above to go directly to a pre-fab email (you may draft your own message if you prefer).   

It couldn't hurt to remind those who represent us that this is a big election year, either.  And that not only do you vote, you also have a long memory.  And that you have a big, hungry dog who'd just love to visit the Senators in D.C..

On second thought, maybe you should leave out the part about the big dog.  But, keep it in the back of your mind!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Just in Case It's Beyond Superstition . . .

I need friends and family members to be especially careful for awhile.

The mockingbird and blue jay are back.  Remember them from around Halloween a few years back?

The mockingbird isn't tapping at the window -- yet -- but he's scouting something.  His blue jay sidekick is building a nest in the ligustrum beside the front porch.  It's bound to attract the neighborhood feral cats who just love to gnosh on baby birds and leave a bloody mess beneath.

Anyway, since I was raised by a somewhat superstitious southern mother, I'm not letting a bird come into this house, so there's not going to be a death.  But, if you would all just use extra caution until I get this behind me, I'd be ever so appreciative.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'll Bet It's Really There!

Stolen from Facebook:

Hello, Greece.  Hello, France.  Hello, Spain.  Hello, California.  Hello, . . . .

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This Makes Income Tax Rates Look Like a Good Deal

In a letter to the editor in yesterday's Times-Picayune, a taxpayer shared a discovery he made after he paid with a credit card for long-term airport parking fees instead of his usual cash.  I must admit -- this is something I never checked out before, but now it's really sticking in my craw.

The correspondent's receipt printed out details of the basic fee plus all the "add-ons."  Here is what he saw:

Parking Fee:  $100.00
Parking tax (WTF?!?!):  10%
Airport fee (WTF?!?!):   7%
Jefferson Parish sales tax:  4.75%
Louisiana sales tax:  4%

for a grand total of 25.75% in effective taxes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you kidding me?!?!

He concluded his letter by explaining that all the added-on taxes have now made it cheaper to pay for a family member's gas to take him to and pick him up from the airport on future trips.  He'll no longer be parking at the airport.

I hope the politicians are paying attention to this.  It's a classic example of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Just call me Mother Goose, waddling on out of here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Obama -- a Manly Man?

If the New York Times' David Brooks has fallen off the ObamaTrain, there is truly hope in the air.

I can't go along with his masculinization of the metrosexual Young President whom he describes as "postfeminist in his values, but also thoroughly traditional in style — hypercompetitive, restrained, not given to self-doubt, rarely self-indulgent." I especially can't concur with his attributing to Obama the characteristic of "rarely self-indulgent."  Puh-leeze!  You Google "self-indulgent" and his picture crops up in the first line! (Or, maybe the second line if Michelle's smiling face is in first place).

The last paragraph of the op-ed piece lends hope to those of us who fervently pray that the left-leaning lurch that this country has taken may slow and resume a more moderate -- dare I say maybe even conservative -- course:

I’d say that Obama is a slight underdog this year: the scuffling economy will grind away at voters. But his leadership style is keeping him afloat. He has defined a version of manliness that is postboomer in policy but preboomer in manners and reticence.   
But, attributing anything resembling traditional manliness to #44 is to make one laugh.  Or at least to giggle behind one's hand.

Hee hee!

Monday, May 14, 2012

And He Even Used a Hammer That Resembles the One on the Soviet Flag!

UPDATE!  Linked at IMAO, with High Praise!

Back in 2010, a 26 year-old middle school assistant football coach wrote a country song, critical of the Young President.  It's actually quite good! 

I researched the song today, along with its ensuing kerfuffle, and found Michelle Malkin's report, published contemporaneously with what transpired.

The young coach sent a video of his song via email to everyone in his personal address book, which included several parents of students in his school. Enough of them complained to the school that the head coach was compelled to fire the aspiring songwriter for engaging in politically incorrect conduct, or some other such trumped-up personnel manual violation.  I somehow missed it when the video first hit cyberspace, but, having received it today in my in-box, I'm joining the cause to make it viral again.  Here's another spot to see it, and here's the -- appropriately titled -- "When You're Holding a Hammer (Everything Looks Like a Nail"):

I like it!  Can't you just envision the Line Dance?  Maybe Michelle could wear her "skinny jeans" and dance to it at a fundraiser in Nashville!

You'll probably see this again closer to November.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mothers Day Eve of Remembering

Mothers Day makes me wistful.

You may recall that I'm an only child.  I haven't had a mother since 1977 -- shortly after my 23rd birthday. A month before I lost my mother, she lost her own mother. Mama couldn't even attend Bee Mama's funeral because she was hospitalized (and miserable about it).

Three years later, we lost Nonnie, my father's mother, also in September. September kinda sucks in my book.  Thank goodness I had my mother-in-law until 1996; and my precious (Great) Aunt Daisy, who was more like Daddy's sister than his aunt, lived a long, happy life until 2004, serving as both Godmother and surrogate grandmother for me.

Daddy went to visit Aunt Daisy at her home every Saturday for decades, and sometimes stopped by to take in her trash cans on pick-up day. Her sons live far, far away from Little Rock -- in Minneapolis and Boston -- but they always visited her religiously. The younger son still makes an annual pilgrimage to tend her grave, and to visit his father's sister who will turn 90 soon.

Aunt Daisy spent most Thanksgivings and nearly every Christmas Day with our family, though she usually spent Easter with her friends.  She loved the holidays and made a killer Chess Pie.

I remember asking her once how she managed to keep her yard looking so nice and weed-free -- I just knew that she had some magic secret or poison or something because her lawn was gorgeous. She just told me, "Pull, pull, pull." Heh. Aunt Daisy was never one to let a little hard work stop her from accomplishing a task.

Daisy was kind of a renaissance woman in an age when there weren't many renaissance women. She was recruited and accepted for admission at the University of Arkansas in the 1920s, but her family didn't have enough money to pay her tuition, room, and board, so she had to decline. She never gave up studying and learning, though -- among her favorite magazines were Sky and Telescope and The Smithsonian.  She married and divorced the same man twice -- an architect -- and she raised her two sons pretty much by herself.  She worked at the Arkansas State Treasurer's office for at least 362 1/2 years and adored her grandchildren.  And me.  And my daughters.  She got pretty miffed at Pepper when he uprooted us and moved us to New Orleans, but she eventually forgave him, knowing by experience that a person does what he (or she) must do in order to provide for the family.

As we were cleaning out her house, her sons gave me two of her most treasured possessions -- the first was a covered cut-glass compote that had held honeycombs from the bees they kept, and that had graced her parents' kitchen table from the time she was a small child; also a Charles Burchfield print that simply calling to mind makes me think of Aunt Daisy's home -- it was the first thing you saw as you entered her front door.  The print also reminds me of the setting in the movie, A Christmas Story -- one of my all-time favorites, probably because, in no small part, it calls Aunt Daisy to mind. I recently learned from her older son that Aunt Daisy had saved and saved to buy that print because her ex-husband didn't think she could do it.  "Strong-willed" is also an adjective I could apply to Aunt Daisy.

When she was preparing to buy her last car -- a Chevy Malibu like my father's -- she was insistent that it have crank-down windows, not those "unreliable" electric things.  It took a nationwide search, and quite a bit of time, but she got her crank-down windows and, I believe, no air conditioning.  Her younger son drove it home to Minneapolis, in no small discomfort.

My daughters also were blessed with treasures from Aunt Daisy, and have staked claims on what I have of hers under my own roof.  Aunt Daisy always created the most gorgeous packages!  And, there were no pre-fabricated, store-bought bows for her, thank you very much.  She hand-tied each humongous, elegant bow with wide, richly-colored ribbon, and added some tiny "something-special" that gave each package its own unique personality, usually calculated to relate the gift to its recipient.  Younger daughter laid claim to the Christmas wrapping paper found in Aunt Daisy's attic.  She doles it out in a miserly fashion -- hoping to make it last as long as possible -- on one small gift per year.  Elder daughter has placed Aunt Daisy's dresser in the nursery she is preparing for her first-born, due toward the end of July.  Aunt Daisy would have loved that. 

Me, too.

Here's a photo taken on the day of my baptism and confirmation at St. Mark's Episcopal Church (yeah -- both on the same day.  It's complicated) --

That's Aunt Daisy standing behind me, Mama on the left, and a cousin (Alma, who was married to my Daddy's first cousin, Chaarles -- and my Godfather -- at the time) on the right.

Here's another one of just Aunt Daisy and me, taken at my grandmother's house --

I love these pictures.  And this one --

So, Happy Mothers Day -- and happy memories, even if they do make you a little wistful -- to one and all!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Color Me Campaign Stickered!

(on my metaphorical car -- not on my actual car!)

Let the creative and clever season begin!

Yep.  You can order one here.

On The Spiking of Footballs

This pretty much speaks for itself: 

Self-righteous pantywaist has no clue about the meaning of valor.  But, Bill Clinton (and, by extrapolation, our sitting president also) knows the political implications of a failed mission.

We must keep our priorities in order, of course.

Of course.