Saturday, December 31, 2005

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Somebody tell the President to tune up his fiddle, because New Orleans is going to burn to the ground tonight. Well, hopefully not really, but apparently its a real concern.

New Years Eve is a dangerous proposition here, even on a good year. The annual tradition among many residents of firing their guns into the air at midnight creates a potentially lethal rain of bullets over the city. This year we have the additional threat of fireworks igniting the highly flammable blue tarps which cover damaged roofs all over town. Good fun. Maybe it will really finish the job.

Best wishes for an inferno free evening and a much better New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Graffitis



Is "graffitis" (rhymes with tonsillitis) a word? If not, let's make it one. It can be defined as:
A condition marked by a compulsive need to write all over everything.
Right now this city has graffitis out the hoo-ha* (or gump stump).

* I'm also trying to revive the career of the existing term, "hoo-ha". It's a good'un and needs a little love. Your homework for today is to use it three times in casual conversation.

Are There Any Requests?

Sometimes I play music around the house, and Louise likes to make requests. She usually asks for one of three songs:
  1. "the alcohol song" - There Stands the Glass by Webb Pierce.
  2. "the Jesus song" - Why Me, Lord? by Kris Kristofferson.
  3. "the alchohol and Jesus song" - Another One for the Lord, a gospel / drinking song by yours truly.
Occasionally she will ask for "the cocaine song" (Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash). It's too much.

Gump Stump

Crikey, I’m on the edge of my seat with anticipation. “Gump stump” is so close to being a slimbidyad, with Slimbolala currently taking the number two position. I can’t stand it. It just makes me want to say:

How much gump would a gump stump stump if a gump stump could stump gump. As much gump as a gump stump would if a gump stump could stump gump.

There. That should do it.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Homesteading

I was looking back over the votes and realized I’ve neglected “homesteading”. My profuse apologies, and please allow me to right this wrong (I also owe you “The Lost Painting at the End of the Earth” - I'll get there one of these days).

Back in Ft. Worth I was working on a Navy base for a couple of days, and, let me tell you, those boys run a tight ship. No detail is overlooked. There was a sign on the men’s room stall that read:
Please do not homestead in this facility. It is not conducive to good order. There are a large number of facilities in Building 1055. If you must homestead, please use those instead.

Thank you,

The Management
In other words, “if you gotta do it, do it quickly, or go somewhere else.” I like picturing “the Management” carefully deliberating their choice of words, trying to decide how to appropriately express their intent, and having a eureka moment, “Aha, 'homesteading'!” Or maybe it’s a well established term, and I just don’t travel in "homesteading" circles. I don’t know.

There was also a chart above the urinals telling you how much water you need to drink depending on the color of your urine.

Now aren’t you glad you asked.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Buggin' Out

The city is suddenly overrun with moths, little black things with white stripes and red spots. I don't remember this happening any other year. Apparently the floodwaters didn't adequately smite Gomorrah, so God has sent a plague of annoying bugs to finish the job.

Chicken Under House



My favorite Animal Rescue tag, which I sadly did not get a photograph of, is "FED FISH". There is something inescapably funny about a team busting into a house, commando style, to tenderly sprinkle flakes of protein rich food into Guppy's little tank.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Sign of Economic Recovery

It’s a curious fact of our present circumstances that the most obvious sign of progress in flooded out neighborhoods is piles of trash, giant mounds of moldy furniture or drywall spewed out onto the sidewalk. It means something is happening. People are gutting and starting over, and progress is being made towards a living neighborhood once again. The saddest places are where nothing is happening, where everything is frozen in time, looking almost exactly as it did the day it emerged from the flood waters.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

N.O.P.D Beat Me Down

"I Can Even Think While I'm Eating"

"You know what? I can even think while I'm eating."

"Really? What were you thinking about?"

"I was thinking I was so brave."

"Why were you so brave?"

"I was so brave because I had a bad dream, and I slept right through it."

"Wow."

"Papa"

After the recent "focky" post, Sarah reminded me that, at about the same age, Louise used to call coffee "papa". If you are what you drink, then I suppose she was pretty much right.

"Dear Santa"



I think 4 must be pretty much the perfect age for Christmas. You're old enough to fully anticipate and understand what's happening and too young for even the slightest bit of skepticism. Louise was ecstatic, waking up early and gleefully announcing that Santa had arrived, trying to tally the presents under the tree ("about a million"), and urgently pestering us until we arose groggily from our bed to begin unwrapping them.

Of course June had a good time too - eating marshmallow Santas, and ripping paper - what's not to like?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays



Looks relatively festive, no?

Focky

Coffee is an everpresent entity in our house so it's not surprising that the word has entered June's nascent vocabulary. The only trouble is that she gets the consonants a bit mixed up so "coffee" comes out sounding like "focky". And "focky" sounds an awful lot like... well you know what it sounds like.

When I first heard it, I laughed so hard I almost snorted "focky" through my nose.

State Farm Adjuster David Thorn Trying to Screw Me



Brilliant.

Hello, Kitty

After an extended evacuation in rural Virginia (thanks Mom and Dad) our feisty little orange cat, Delilah, has finally returned home. Our trans-species nuclear family is once again whole. Meow, meow, yippee!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Home, Mobile, Home

FEMA trailers are popping up all over town, sometimes in groups - parking lots, parks - but often just in the driveway or front yard of an uninhabitable house. They offered us one but we declined.

Many are in the middle of really brutalized parts of town with no other inhabitants for blocks around. That has to be a weird life, waking up in the morning, brewing a cup of coffee on your little trailer stove, stepping out on your little trailer stoop, and taking in the sights of your devastated neighborhood.

I'm still waiting to see my first FEMA trailer decorated in Christmas lights.

Sounds About Right To Me

Another variation I heard to add to our list:
The Big Queasy
I hope they can get Dennis Quaid for the remake.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Honey, I'm Off to the..."

I was recently chatting with an acquaintance who, like me, has been displaced from her regular office and is currently making the coffee shop her workaday home away from home. She has come up with two very clever terms for this arrangement:
a) the "coffice"

b) the "offee shop"
I like them both very much. The problem is that I can only adopt one as my standard for everyday, conversational usage,* and I can't decide. Which do you prefer?

I should mention that, on Fridays, she sometimes likes to go the "bar-fice" at the wi-fi enabled tavern down the block.**

* The lack of proper terminology really has been an issue. When I say I'm going to work, people laugh. But if I say I'm going to work "at the coffee shop" they get confused and think I'm making lattes.

** This sounds like a good idea. My only concern is that one might be tempted to "work" too hard at the "bar-fice" and end up "barfing".

Harakiri



I should mention that this is the same house with "Martian Law" painted on the fence. Apparently, after the storm, somebody had a little too much too much paint and not enough to do.

My Apologies

I generally like to be an everyday blogger kind of guy, but recently it hasn't always been happening. The brain is doing a little better, but the phones are still dead. Until this changes (February-ish is the current assertion), bloggy-black-holes will recur. Alack alas.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Louise's Quote of the Day

"I misunheard you."
I like it. I think I'll use it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

"How Ya Doin', Baby"



The other night we went down to the Quarter and got beignets. It had been a long time, and they were so good.

Walking back to the car, we went by by the open door of a restaurant kitchen. As we passed, one of the old cooks nodded to Sarah and said "How ya doin', baby". It was our first "baby" since Katrina, and it was remarkably nice to hear.*

* I should probably explain to our farflung readers that I am not a swinger ("as in 'to swing'"), and I do not get off on other men hitting on my wife. "Baby" in the local parlance completely lacks any sexual or romantic overtones and is used strictly as a term of genial affection. Grandmothers call children "baby". Men call their guy friends "babe". It's funny and sweet, and hearing it again is very reassuring.

Sorry, Orlando

Read this editorial from yesterday's Times-Picayune:

Come back before we go all Orlando

It's well written, funny, and says pretty much everything I would want to say about the future racial makeup of our city.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

On the subject of Christmas decorations, people are getting a little cheeky around here.

I was biking through the neighborhood yesterday and stumbled across this:



an elaborately decorated refrigerator. Genius! And that was just the beginning. There was a blue-tarped stable, a fake neutral-ground sign offering carpenter's services, a flyer for three missing camels last seen at the Gonzales SPCA, etc., etc. Hardly a single trademark of the post-Katrina landscape was ommitted. Beautifully done.

And last night, when Miranda decorated her house with lights, sly devil that she is, she made sure to include the pile of sheetrock and roofing debris out front:



Lovely.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

And on the Seventh Day God Hauled Appliances



So, Sunday was a hoot. When it became apparent that the insurance company was never going to tow my truck out of the driveway, we decided to take matters into our own hands and tow it out ourselves. There was no particular urgency about the truck, itself, but it was preventing us from hauling the giant mound of dead appliances in our back yard out to the curb, and I certainly didn't want to be stuck with them when the deadline for FEMA "white goods"* removal rolled around.

So we borrowed Billy's big ol' Chevy truck (thanks, guys), hitched it up to mine, put it in low, and pulled. There were complications. My truck was completely locked up, and initially we dragged it like a sled which was fine (Billy's truck is a beast). Then the left wheels freed up, causing it to veer sharply towards our house. Lengthy shenanigans ensued. Finally, we put the parking brake on, effectively relocking the wheels, causing it to once again go straight (highschool physics, hell yeah!). Eventually, all of the wheels freed up, and we dragged it easily into the street. Unfortunately, it still wouldn't steer and was sitting there, perpendicular to the flow of traffic. With very few options left, we finally pushed it partially back into our driveway where it sits now, askew, and looking very tempting for any tow truck that might come by.

And this freed up a path for appliance removal. We disposed of the following:**

  • 2 refrigerators
  • 2 stoves
  • 3 washers
  • 2 dryers
  • 2 hot water heaters
  • 1 dishwasher
  • 5 air conditioners
  • 3 gas heaters
Ah, it's good to be an American!

And by Tuesday they had actually all been picked up. There's occasionally a startling bit of efficiency in this giant, chaotic quagmire.

* Big appliances. This is another recent addition to the local lexicon.

** I would like to state that, despite all evidence to the contrary, we are not crazy appliance horders. This included items from our tenants side, as well as various old things in the shed from when we first bought the place.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Like a Day Without Sunshine...

What would a city be without crazy street people? I'm glad to see that many of New Orleans resident weirdos have found their way back. Where did they go? How did they get home? Makes you wonder.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Carnie Roofers, Redux

What? Snivelling Google-games won't suffice? I owe you a story? Okay, but it's not much of a story, really just a reminiscence from earlier times:

You might recall me saying that the roof of my house was tarped by carnie freaks. In truth, most of them were actually just kind of weird, but one of them (Claire, if memory serves) really was the carniest freakedy-freak you'd ever care to meet. She had many notable traits. Let's enumerate.

I directly observed the following:
  • She was an emotional trainwreck. Within the first minute of my arrival at the site, she was in tears, complaining that there was nothing for her to do because there weren't enough safety lines, and the boss wouldn't let her on the roof.
  • She was the weakest link. If this had been an episode of Survivor: Carnie Roofers in Paradise, she would have been voted off the island. Clearly the crew had been hastily improvised, and, as best as I could figure out, she had been recruited because she was the sort-of-girlfriend of one of the other guys. She appeared to have no roofing skills whatsoever. This eventually led to a whispered conversation between myself and the boss in which I made clear that I was not paying their obscene hourly rate for someone to cry on my porch. His response was, "Yeah, she's not working out. I gotta lose that chick."
  • She was drinking bourbon from the bottle at ten o'clock in the morning.
  • She had tattoos all over her body, including extensive facial tattoos. Her eyebrows had been shaved off and had been replaced by ornate, tattooed curlicues. She also had an elaborate filigree pattern tattooed around the perimeter of her lips.
  • She had dozens of piercings, the most notable being through the flesh at her Adams apple.
  • Her hair was shaved in a strange, irregular pattern.
  • Her attire consisted of a spangled, rainbow-colored, sequined top and cargo pants (the latter was apparently a concession to her "roofing" work - normally, she informed me, she wore hot pants).
  • Her tongue was forked (the tip had been sliced down the middle for about three-quarters of an inch).
  • After her initial breakdown, she was quite good company.

During our lengthy conversation, she claimed the following:

  • She had run away from the circus several months earlier (see, she really is a carnie).*
  • She had been at Burning Man when Katrina struck.
  • While there, she had raised $30,000 for Katrina victims: "Man, I was right there with the best art and the best drugs in the whole world, and I didn't get drunk. I didn't get high. I didn't fuck anyone. All I did was raise money."
  • In addition to being a "roofer", she was also a stripper, working at Big Daddy's in the evening. I confess I had a hard time imagining anyone paying money to see her naked, but maybe the clubs had to take what they could get during the Katrina-induced stripper shortages. And maybe horny FEMA contractors aren't too picky.
  • She was going to be in Hustler (again, I found this a little hard to believe - see the previous item): "Yeah, I know this journalist for them who's working down here right now. You gotta promote yourself, you know. Of course, it doesn't hurt that I'm fucking him. Ha!"
  • In her free time she was operating as a "one woman welcoming committee for the city", getting drunk in the Quarter, parading around with a tinfoil parasol, being the life of every party.
  • As a part of her "welcoming committee" activities she would convince groups of drunken National Guardsmen to form human pyramids with her on top and take pictures of the spectacle.** Apparently, they never picked up on the political satire.
Alright, that's all I can remember. Although she was pretty useless as a roofer, her entertainment value almost justified the ridiculous price I paid for the job. Hmm, perhaps it was all an elaborate ruse...

* Why does everyone always "run away" from the circus? Can't you just quit? "You know too many of our carnie-secrets. You can never leave!"

** Sadly, she did not have any of these photos herself as they had all been taken with the Guardmen's cameras. But they're out there somewhere.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Truth is Stranger than Fiction

It's also stranger than my lame jokes. From the Footscray Historical Society Newsletter, August 2004:
The Saltwater River soon became a drain for the factories (abattoirs, tanneries, bone mills etc) on its banks anything and everything went into the river - and the place was called "Stinkopolis".
Fortunately, "Fridgebourg" is still available.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Carnie Roofers

Cool. "Carnie roofers" is now a Slimbidyad. My work here is done.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Stinkopolis

In keeping with the major changes that our city has undergone, I believe it needs a new name, a rebranding, if you will, that truly articulates its new identity. I have a few thoughts:

  • Stinkopolis
  • 'Fridgetown
  • New Venice
  • FEMAville
Other suggestions?

Once the list is complete, we'll ship it off to the mayor, and they can get it on the ballot for the next municipal elections. We're making history here, folks!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Weird Crap Painted on Cars



I like the graffiti explosion that has taken over our town. It started with law enforcement and Animal Rescue, but now every Tom, Dick, and law-abiding Harry has gotten in on the act, channeling their inner tagger, spray-painting political and personal gripes on anything that doesn't move.

And right now, there are a lot of cars that don't move.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

John Coltrane and the Death of Jazz

Billy asked about this offline in the non-virtual (a.k.a. "real") world. We'll count it as a vote.

This is undoubtedly the last post I will ever write. Shortly after it's publication, a fatwa will be issued calling for my death, and a jazz zealot will murder me in my sleep. But Slimbolala bows to no man. The truth must be told!

The day John Coltrane picked up the soprano saxophone was, in my not particularly well-informed opinion, the beginning of the end of jazz, the first cough in its slow, excruciating death-rattle, the first lungful of its drowning in a sea of splashy, off-kilter rhythms and overdense chords, the peeling loose of the last finger of its grip on melody before plunging to its demise, Wiley-Coyote-style, at the bottom of the canyon of cerebral, academic noodling.

That's all. I could try to justify this assertion, but that would require effort, and I'm feeling kind of lazy right now, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Oh, and it's been nice knowing you.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Word on the Street

There's a whole new bag of conversational topics in New Orleans these days. Here's a non-comprehensive list:
  • Abatement.
  • Adjusters.
  • Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Benzine.
  • Blanco.
  • Breaches.
  • Bush.
  • Canals.
  • Contractors.
  • Demolition.
  • Electricity.
  • Elevations.
  • Feet of water.
  • FEMA.
  • Gas.
  • Insurance.
  • Lakeview.
  • Levee Board.
  • Levees.
  • Lower Ninth Ward.
  • Mold.
  • Nagin.
  • Neighborhoods.
  • Petrochemical residue.
  • Phones.
  • Potability.
  • Refridgerators.
  • Remediation.
  • Roof damage.
  • Schools.
  • Spores.
  • Storm surge.
  • Tarps.
  • "When did you get back?"
  • "Where'd you go?"
  • Who's coming back?
  • Who "got Domed".*
  • Who's leaving?
  • Who's staying?
  • Who's still away?
Fellow residents, any additions?

* A new vernacular for the misfortune of having wound up in the Superdome.

Bring Back the Schlock

One of the notable traits of our city, lets be generous and call it a "strength", is its ability to turn any aspect of its history, good, bad, or wretched, into a schlocky tourist attraction, a part of its own self-perpetuated myth. The day is not far off when the "Katrina Tours" will start rolling: shuttle buses from the Quarter to the 17th Street Canal breach, horse-drawn carriage drivers telling apocryphal stories of "twelve feet of water in the Vieux Carré", full scale replicas of decimated 9th ward homes, a wax museum depiction of a rooftop rescue. It will happen, and, when it does, I'll know we're really back.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Roux the Day

Taints

Since posting my original “This Blog Is Your Blog, Redux” list I have come to regret the inclusion of the item, “taints”. I even wrote up a funny (I thought) little post on it but have since decided that little birdie will never fly. Suffice it to say that the entire point of the post was merely to use the phrase, “taint misbehavin’”.

I know there are those among you who aren’t clear exactly what a taint is and are undoubtedly irked by my refusal to, er, illuminate the matter. Alright, if you absolutely must know, here's a definition, but don’t come complaining to me afterwards, because I’m warning you, it taint nuthin’ nice.

Ask and ye shan’t receive.