Saturday, December 29, 2007


Fruit basket and Mary

Friday, December 28, 2007


Scruffy 'n' Sassy

Clearly, I have a photo-fetish for chain-link fences.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


You don't see many pay phones these days.

Click, Click, Click

The holidays are a fine thing, but they stuff the brain with food and wine and make the words go slow.

They also give me lots of out-n'-about daylight hours to point-and-click the pretty pictures. So let's dedicate the next couple-of-days-ish to a photo-binge—kids, inanimate objects, buildings in extreme disrepair, the usual suspects (punctuated by whatever verbal effluvia might gurgle up from my phlegmatic left hemisphere). Click, click, click.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Today is our first Christmas back in the house since the storm, or more precisely, since Christmas '04. That's a long frickin' time. Good, good.

* This doesn't count.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Les Brusiers: Thursday, Circle Bar, Happy Hour



Come drink, sing, and dance this Thursday at the Circle Bar, 6-8 pm. All hell will break loose.

Monday, December 17, 2007

State of the Neighborhood: Les Heaps du Mal

My comment of two-and-change years ago still holds true:
"It’s a curious fact of our present circumstances that the most obvious sign of progress in flooded out neighborhoods is piles of trash..."
As our neighborhood slowly scrabbles its way up through the middling percentages of occupancy, heaps still burst forth across front yards and sidewalks and onto streets, blooming like vile flowers* of slow-going recovery:


August–September, 2005


December, 2007

Each heap marks another turnaround, another long-awaited Road Home grant, another family that got sick to death of living in some generic apartment in Atlanta or Houston or wherever it is that doesn't have all the stuff that we miss like hell when we aren't here, another family that's decided they're going to make a go of it, gut that house, and start over.

When there's no more trash heaps, that's it, we're done. We'll be as recovered as we're going to get.

* Help! Is there a 19th century French poet in the house?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Slim Couture

Isn't the primary purpose of a blog to grouse about things? My grousing-quotient feels a bit low, so...

You know what I don't like? I don't like when clothing stores/catalogs change around their lineup every damned season and year. If I like the simple brown zip-up sweater I bought two years ago, but now I've worn the bejeezus out of it,* and it's got holes in the elbows, I want to to go back and buy the same sweater to replace it. But they no longer sell that sweater because that was Fall 2005, and they were working a minimalist-mod look with an earth-tone palette, and this is Fall 2007, and they're working eighties-throwback with vivid-neon, and the only zip-up sweater is fuchsia with leather shoulder pads and diagonal pockets.

I want my own personal clothing line. The palette would remain constant: black, brown, grey, and navy; a bit of white; some judicious dispensations of orange, red, green, yellow, and muted grey-aqua or crisp sky blue. (What else do you need?) There would be no epaulets or rhinestones or spangles or logos or pleats or arbitrary zippers or asymmetrical plackets or doodads of froo-fra of any sort. Everything would be plain and straight and simple and well-made and close-fitted and just as viable ten years from now as it is today. And the shelves would always be stocked with plenty of mid-charcoal grey socks.

Can somebody make that happen for me?

Grouse accomplit!

* Those who know me in the non-virtual world will know I tend to wear the bejeezus out of things.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Adult Tricycles

You know those adult tricycles, the same as a full-sized bicycle but with three wheels, often with a basket in the back? I dig 'em.*



Be forewarned, I plan to spend my old age doddering around town on one, glacially pedalling down backstreets—obliviously obstructing traffic—on my way to the neighborhood coffee shop where I'll chat the ear off the dour hipster baristas, absent-mindedly peruse the newspaper, and pinch the cheek of any passing baby (slightly freaking-out their nervous young mothers), before glacially pedalling home for my afternoon nap.

* I used to see one for sale and was deeply tempted, but it was too raggedy and too expensive.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"What Are Those Saddles and Boots About?"

The life-lessons of country music include more than just alcohol, Jesus, and cocaine; or chains, judges, and fines.

The gals maintain an ever-rotating short list of favorite songs, determined by whatever mysterious whim-logic moves their fickle minds. And they like to demand these songs very loudly, with relentless persistence, from the back seat as we're driving around town.

Their current favorite is Willie Nelson's rendition of "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other".* They don't get it. (In response to the line "Say, what did you think those saddles and boots was about?" Louise asked, "What are those saddles and boots about?") To them, it's just a cowboy song. The nuanced gender politics will have to wait.

But I like to think that a bit of tolerance is burrowing into their young minds, that we, in our small way, are contributing to a new generation that won't mind "when a cowboy has feelings for men", that a rainbow-hued dawn will rise on those plains of West Texas, and gay cowboys everywhere will feel free to gallop right on out of that closet. Progress, one loudly demanded rendition at a time.

* #2 is The Smiths, "Bigmouth Strikes Again".

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Drawings-of-Stuff-Around-the-House-I-Feel-Like-Drawing: One of My Fourty-Four Demitasses*

The series continues:**



There were any number of fine demitasse-subjects to choose from, ranging from baroquely ornate, to bizarrely fantastical, to kitschy, to modern.

This one is an enduring favorite (though I have many favorites). It's teeny and delicate and Japanese*** (long-time readers will know that I'm a fool for old Japanese stuff) and the colors are exceptionally lovely (though you'd have a hard time telling that from the drawing).

* I've never counted them before. I was curious.

** Two posts separated by four months—we're really pushing the "series" envelope here.

*** I have several "Made in Japan" demitasses. Recently, I was given one stamped with "Made in Occupied Japan" (which I love, by the way). Hmm, isn't it enough to be occupied by a foreign army? Is is a nation really obligated to advertise that fact on their chinaware?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Charmed, I'm Sure

I walked into the men's room:
Voice from the stall: "Hello?"

Me: Um.*

Voice from the stall: "Hello?"

Me: Um.

Voice from the stall: "Hey, Tom, this is..."
Cellphones are confusing.**

* Is he talking to me? Is he in trouble? Maybe it's a medical emergency. Or maybe he needs toilet paper (in which case I'd rather not get involved, though I suppose...). Or maybe he's getting all Larry Craig on me. But in the work bathroom? Or...

** Loud cellphone conversations in public restroom stalls are gross. (Isn't that what texting is for?)

Another urban pastoral.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Babies Having Babies

June told us what she wants for Christmas:
"A baby."

"A baby doll?"

"No, a real baby... that eats and cries and sleeps."

"You want a baby sister?"

"No, my baby. All my own, not my family's."
Hmm, three weeks is kind of short notice. Anybody know a good adoption agency?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Human Hairdo Project: The Chaka Khan



This is what her hair looked like when she wasn't on the plane to Miami with me.

Chaka, Chaka, Chaka, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, let me rock you, let me rock you, Chaka Khan...

Mr. Me

I dreamt the other night that I gave myself a Mr. T-style Mohawk.* The result was not pleasing. This Hairdo Project is getting to me.

* There was something else going on too. The end of the world? I can't quite remember.

Louise and June, front yard

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Scream

The other morning—let's say six-thirty-ish—June found our empty carton of Cherry Garcia from the night before.

For the next five minutes, she was very happy, using the dirty spoon to scrape gummy ice cream residue from the sides of the container, gleefully licking it off, and eventually, smearing stale chocolate all over her face.

For the following five (ten? twenty?) minutes, she was bitterly miserable. "Can I have ice cream for breakfast?" No. "Please?" No. "Ple-e-e-e-ase?" No. "But I want ice cream for breakfast!" No. "Ple-e-e-e-e-e-ase can I have ice cream for breakfast! I want it! I WANT it!" No. "Ple-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ase.........!"

Parenting before coffee—it ain't nothing nice.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Human Hairdo Project: The Devilock

I'm not really up to speed on the Danzig/devilock scene, but I believe we're talking about something like this, yes?



Question:* Are there any stipulations about what goes on with the rest of the head, or can one mix and match the devilock with other styles as one sees fit? A devilock/mullet combo? ("Satan in the front, party in the back...")

* Comment: I'm thinking you've got to be really committed to your look to stick with the devilock—that thing dangling between your eyes all the time? Are there any studies linking devilocks to nearsightedness or other visual impairments? (If not, some eager-young-Bible-Belt-opthamologist-with-a-name-to-make better get crackin': "Devilocks are blinding our children to the light of the sun and the light of Our Lord!")

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"It's Not a Racist Thing..."

I was at the playground the other day, eavesdropping as I'm prone to do (be careful what you say around me), and I heard the following exchange between a mother (chicly dressed in an array of earthtones; Italian though currently residing in Manhattan with her chicly dressed American husband and their two small, chicly dressed children; visiting New Orleans for the Thanksgiving holiday to support the city and experience local cultcha) and a grandmother (belly ring and an abundant gold coiffe; a prime example of local cultcha):
Grandma: "So, where are you all staying?"

Mama (with a thick Italian accent): "In the French Quarter."

Grandma: "Oh, you might not want to go down there this weekend. It's the Bayou Classic, a big football game, and there'll be about fifty thousand black people down there, and they've all got guns. It's not a racist thing. It's just they're real enthusiastic. I work in the Quarter, but I won't work down there this weekend."

Mama (confused): "But... we sleep there."
I have two reactions when I hear such exchanges. On the one hand, the poor lady had the same poison poured in her ear when she was too young to know what's what, and in her messed-up way, she's just trying to offer a visitor some friendly advice. On the other hand, what the fu...? Stop saying that!*

Does anyone actually think they're a racist? The big R-line always seems to be drawn just beyond whatever not-racist territory the not-a-racist has staked out.

* It didn't help that the whole conversation occurred within earshot of her mixed-race granddaughter.

Monday, November 26, 2007


The Greater Rose Hill Baptist Church

Benefit for Bob

On the night of Nov. 3, my friend and former co-worker* Bob Strong was robbed and shot in the face on St. Charles Ave. He survived but has been hospitalized in serious condition and will require extensive reconstructive surgery. Previously, I've chosen not speak of it here. (It's just too awful. How anyone can do this to anybody, I don't know, but how anyone could do this to Bob—it's just inconceivable.) But now there's a way we can help.

This Sunday, December 2, from 3 to 8 pm, La Crêpe Nanou is hosting a fundraiser. The street in front of the restaurant (the 1400 block of Prytania) will be blocked off. Other local businesses will be participating:
Dick and Jenny's
Cafe Degas
Kyoto
St. James Cheese Company
The Kingpin
The Wineseller
La Provence
and others...
There will be live music:
Alex Chilton
The String Beans
David Doucet (from Beausoleil)
Susan Cowsill
and a silent auction.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at Crêpe Nanou or the Wine Seller (and probably from the other participating businesses, as well).

* We worked countless nights together behind the bar at Crêpe Nanou; he taught me much of what I know about how to make a drink; and he's one of the sweetest, funniest people I've had the luck to cross paths with.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Seven Things

I'm it. Seven things you may not know about me:
  1. I'm partial to small funky fish: anchovies, sardines, and the like (as food stuffs, though I'm sure they're quite fine in other regards as well).
  2. I prefer dark meat.
  3. I once spent the better part of a summer sitting in our driveway in Virginia, wearing welding goggles, using a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun's light into a burning hot speck and—over the course of countless hours—burn a picture of a pine tree by a lake into a 1x12 board. (My mom hung it in the upstairs hallway, where it remains today.)
  4. I don't like roller coasters.
  5. I grew up saying "route" so it rhymed with "grout" (as did everyone else in my neck of the woods).
  6. I love peanut butter but am often indifferent to peanut butter based sweets.
  7. As a younger lad, I was prone to elaborate boho-thrift affectations and once purchased an old raincoat that I wore inside out because I liked its lining.
I choose not to tag anyone else, (a) because I fear that an unchecked exponential pyramid expansion of meme-tagging would quickly hobble the world's digital networks and end civilization as we know it, and (b) because I'm tired and don't wanna. (Does that give me bad bloggy karma?)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble Gobble


Happy gorging. Catch you on the flipside (of our respective perhaps-not-actually-tryptophan induced slumbers).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the Real Deal

I See a Ikea

During our Katrina-induced furniture shortage we came to rely heavily on the offerings of Ikea. We're not the only ones.

Having become intimately familiar with their wares, Sarah and I now spot Ikea items all the time in the settings of commercials, sit-coms, and movies (and even, on one delightful occasion, in the interior of a Battlestar Galactica spaceship).

Do you think any actual people shop at the L.A. Ikea or is it all just prop masters and set designers?*

* Maybe we can start a drinking game: for every Ikea-sighting, a shot of aquavit. (Although the Ikea-item-frequency really probably isn't all that high. So you'd have to watch a lot of TV. And it would probably take a really long time. And you'd probably never even work up a low-grade buzz, and after a while you'd get hungry and grumpy and sick of all the really crappy commercials you're watching, and who really gives a damn where they buy their stupid furniture for their stupid sets, and I don't know what the hell this that I'm drinking, but somebody should tell the damn Swedes that a little bit of caraway goes a long way and who the hell puts dill in liquor...? Yeah, skip that.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I managed to snap one of my own before the carnie-lady told me I couldn't. (Santa doesn't permit them.) I like mine better. (In your face, carnie-lady!).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Human Hairdo Project: Male Pattern Punkness

I find it impossible to resist a warning like "don't get any smart ideas about drawing a balding guy with a mohawk", so here you go:



Of course, any self-respecting hairdo needs a catchy name. I'll throw a couple of contenders into the ring:
The Less-Hawk — Get it? "Mo'", "Less"?

The Bald Eagle — Get it? "Hawk", "Eagle"?
Others?

The Sling Is Slung

"[S]ix to eight weeks" turned out to be two.* As of this morning's doctor visit, June's sling is slung, and she once again has the full use of her four rambunctious little limbs. Though the doctor said she shouldn't play tackle football for a couple of weeks.**

Fortunately it wasn't before we got this absolutely hilarious mall-Santa photo (the sling really makes it):


June, Santa, and Louise. Photograph by the nameless daughter of the vaguely carnie-ish family who ran the mall-Santa photo operation (and who also, incidentally, displayed an impressive/disconcerting array of pro-Harry Lee memorabilia next to the cash register).

Now we're all just wondering, will she resume sucking her thumb? (My money's on "most definitely!")

* That's a big margin of error, don't you think? (Not that I'm complaining.) Maybe they should work for the Army Corps.

** Which puts a damper on our Thanksgiving plans: me and the gals watching a few college games, knocking back some brews, tossing around the pigskin at half-time...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Really, Not Threatening at All

So I met Ian MacKaye last night. It's funny meeting someone who was a central figure in my sixteen-year-old world—an emblematic but impossibly remote** voicing of my own teen angst. But now we've all got a couple of decades on us, and he's just a wry, genial friend-of-a-friend in a cold-ass warehouse in Mid-City.

* I was way into Minor Threat during my aforementioned punk phase. "Can't keep up! Can't keep up! Can't keep up! Out... of... step... with the world!"

** Impossibly remote to me anyway. I was the lone outpost of East Coast hardcore in the sleepy vales of Possum Holler.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Worried Girl Blues

The gals often like a song or two at bedtime. The other night I sang them the Carter Family's version of "Worried Man Blues". This prompted a lengthy series of questions:*
  • "What's a link [of chain]?"
  • "What's a judge?"
  • "What's a fine?"
  • "What's the R.C. Mountain line?"
Also a series of speculations as to why the singer was sentenced to twenty-one years of labor on the railroad:
Louise: "I think he broke the track." (Plausible, in its innocent way.)

June: "I think he broke a door." (Less plausible, in its innocent way.)
It's never too early to start them on the bitter, scary lessons of old-time country music. That'll rear 'em good.**

* We've had similar conversations before.

** I bet they'll think twice before breaking a door or a railroad track.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Six-Year-Old Theology

"Heaven is yuck. There are dead people up there."

Rat-A-Tat-Tat

Speaking of rats, the other day I saw a man bludgeoning a rat with a large stick in the middle of our street. He'd been sanding a nearby house and was dressed from head to foot in pure white, his face swaddled in a white sheet. It gave the ugly scene an exotic quality, like some incomprehensible ritual violence splashed on the front page of the International section.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

You are right, sir. I've been remiss in my hair-duties. (Hairdo-ties?) It's back to the drawing board for me. But in the meantime, allow me to a post an already-done-did drawing including some distinctive hair:



You may remember this gal from her previous description (or her previous depiction). She's sporting a sort of mohawk/mullet combo. (With devilock overtones, perhaps? No, too far.)

Mull-hawk?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Scott

Done Been Did

My dear NYT:
Skateboarding Rolls Out of the Suburbs
Haven't we covered this territory? Gray Lady, I scoop you again. When will you ever learn?

(And what did I say? "Is the New York Times about to kill it with a large glossy article...?" Hmm? Hmm?)

Something Old, Something New

Well, we passed a major milestone this week in the post-Katrina recovery of our little home-sweet-home. The antiques came back.

Prior to the storm, the ground floor of our house was full of old family furniture that had passed through the generations into my possession. They were well-worn but beautiful. But when I first returned after the storm, they looked like this:



A few days later, they left the house looking like this:



(Note the stray pieces duct-taped on in grocery bags.) Now they look like this:*



I still haven't wrapped my head around it.** It's wonderful.

* My deepest thanks go to those who made it possible. (You know who you are.)

** And a single photograph doesn't do justice to the resurrection. (There are quite a few pieces.) I'll have to post more.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sunday Sundown Bruiser Family Jubilee

Bruisers, Circle Bar, November 11

The world needs more multi-generational drinking opportunities.* My fellow Bruisers and I are aiming to fix that.

Come down to the Circle Bar this Sunday for our first ever Sunday Sundown Bruiser Family Jubilee. Bring Grandma. Bring the kids.** We might even get it together to have free hot dogs. (Though don't hold me to that. I never promised you a rose garden.)

Things kick off at five-ish-ish and persist until some indeterminate later time, allowing you to plunk yourself down in bed that evening at a very reasonable hour and wake up Monday morning well-rested and only slightly hungover. Beautiful, yes?

* The booze is optional. Chit-chatting, mingling, and periodically screaming "whoo-hoo!" are required.

** Ours will be there. They'll need someone to play with. We'll whip 'em all up into a juicebox-fueled frenzy, then spin 'em around in a pint-sized honky-tonk mosh pit. Good fun.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

minion
It's easier with minions.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bullsh*t: Post-Mortem

Nothing says "funny" like the long-winded analysis of a silly little throw-away game, so...

The correct answers:
(A) Minesweeper
(D) Dent
(F) John Maynard Smith
(H) Beets

The winner: a tie between Red Rocket and Beth, each with three correct answers. Congratulations! (And you both apparently know me better than my pseudonymous mother who only got two.)

Ready to get math-y with it? Guesses per choice:
(A) Minesweeper: 3
(B) Pinkie toe: 0
(C) Chaka Khan: 7
(D) Dent: 5
(E) Snake bite: 4
(F) John Maynard Smith: 2
(G) Trivial Pursuit: 2
(H) Beets: 4

Most obvious truth: (D) Dent
Most obvious lie: (B) Pinkie toe

Trickiest truth: (F) John Maynard Smith
Trickiest lie: (C) Chaka Khan
(The Chaka Khan was good. That fooled all y'all.) And, of course, the fascinating autobiographical backstories:
(A) Minesweeper: I became a total Minesweeper bad ass during the extensive downtime on my first NYC temp job at a currency trading floor.

(B) Pinkie toe: We did have a scythe, and I did muck around with it, though (mercifully) I never cut off my toe.

(C) Chaka Khan: Never seen her, but once I did sit across the aisle from Chubby Checker in economy class on a flight from I-don't-remember-where to I-don't-remember-where.

(D) Dent: Top back right. I noticed it in my teens around the same time as the onset of my "punk stage" and it caused me some anxiety: "If I get a Mohawk, that's going to look like totally weird." (The Mohawk, by the way, was purely hypothetical.)

(E) Snake bite: We did have snakes around, and I did muck around with them, though (mercifully) I never got bit.

(F) John Maynard Smith: I was eight. My father was teaching in the same department at the University of Sussex. I'd seen him briefly once before on the local television station. I thought I'd just encountered a major celebrity.

(G) Trivial Pursuit: I sometimes think I should be good at Trivial Pursuit (and occasionally I convince myself that I am good at it), but really I'm not. (The pop culture, in particular, kills me.)

(H) Beets: I like them.
Feel enlightened? (And stay tuned for tomorrow's subtextual analysis and its startling implications for post-Chaka-Khanian semiotics.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Poor Sh-Boo-Boo!



Number two daughter took a spill off the playground slide and incurred (what we now know to be) a broken clavicle. Poor lil' punkin'. Now she has an amazingly elaborate sling which she'll wear for the next six to eight weeks. (Six to eight weeks! God help us!)

She was such a trooper. (I think we were more traumatized.) Perhaps the saddest part—it's her thumb-sucking arm.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Rat on a Wire

It's not uncommon around here to see rats scurrying across telephone wires and through the trees, just like squirrels. (Two traipsed overhead the other night as we embarked on our trick-or-treating expedition. Is that some kind of omen?) Each time I see it, I immediately and compulsively launch into a paraphrase of the Leonard Cohen song: "Like a rat on a wire... like a drunk in a midnight choir...

Do they do that where you are?
Vera, Halloween
Vera, Halloween

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pride in Yer Ride (or A Car of One's Own)

I've discovered I really like to clean my car.* I've usually driven practical little jellybeans or impractical jalopies, and they just didn't seem worth vigorous attention. But now I have a bright, shiny future-mobile, and all that's changed. I find myself giving it the full work-over with surprising regularity: vacuum, wash, wax, wipe it down, hand dry, shine the rims...

Plus the T.C.L Car Wash on a Friday afternoon is such a deeply entertaining place to be—angle parked beneath the "NO LOUD BASS" signs, a whole long row of (almost exclusively) men obsessively tweaking out that perfect glint** for the weekend—mute male bonding at its finest.

* I'm secretly a neat person, but I share all other corners of my life with not-quite-so-neat people ranging from my lovely-but-slightly-slovenly wife (just a teeny bit, hon!) to my vibrantly entropic children. This is the one place that's fully my own. "No crumbs!"

** Though I confess, I'm not that good at it yet (as my streaks and water-spots will testify). But I studiously watch my neighbors, and I'm learning.
elevator to dentist
June (in the elevator on the way to the dentist for the first time).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bullsh*t!

Four of the following eight statements are true. Which ones?
(A) I'm extremely good at Minesweeper.

(B) When I was ten, I accidentally cut the pinkie toe off my left foot with a scythe and had to have it surgically reattached.

(C) I once sat across the aisle from Chaka Khan in economy class on a flight from Washington DC to Miami.

(D) I have a dent in my head.

(E) I've been bitten by a snake (non-poisonous).

(F) I once peed in a urinal adjacent to that of famed evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith.

(G) I'm extremely good at Trivial Pursuit.

(H) I like beets.
The winner will be awarded my prized collection of autographs from famed evolutionary biologists and bizarrely coiffed R&B singers.
five skulls

Punkin' Rock!



Wishing you a very hairy Halloween!*

* I was going for a "hairy"-as-substitute-for-"scary" play on words. Was that clear? ("Computer says 'no'.") Alas, such is the fate alotted to us by our complicated chain of increasingly obscure insider references (1, 2, 3) and its happenstantial coincidence with Halloween.

Note: I believe this the first time I've ever used the word "happenstantial". I liked it.

Note: It's not easy rendering Ramonian disenchantment in jack-o-face.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Coffee Versus Tacos"

Apparently the penchant for battle royales is genetic. Louise has recently taken to quizzing me in exchanges like the following:
"Irma Thomas versus Johnny Cash."

"Johnny Cash."

"Johnny Cash versus the Saints."

"Hmm... that's tough... Johnny Cash."

"Johnny Cash versus coffee."

"Coffee."

"Coffee versus tacos."

"Coffee."
Coffee almost always wins.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Human Hairdo Project: The Elvis Swayze

"...[A] pompadour and mullet mix. Elvis on top, Swayze in the back"*—my oh my. (A pompallet? A mulladour?) I'm picturing something like this:



Am I close?

* Zack, I've heard you speak of him before. (And Ana was obsessed for a while.) I regret that I never saw the 'do first hand.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Urban pastoral: There are many ways a house can meet its demise. (And these days, around here, we see most of them.) This one has literally gone to seed.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Get Ready, Folks!"

Sarah spends Saturdays in class, and I spend Saturdays trying to keep the gals busy and happy. This morning, on something like a whim, I took them to the (possibly last ever) N'awlins Air Show: I packed the papa purse,* loaded them in the car, stopped for cash and earplugs, crossed the mighty Mississippi, journeyed to the distant wilds of Belle Chase (I'd forgotten about that tunnel—how do they make tunnels in this silty river muck?), followed the waving orange batons, wove down a gravel road and across an open airfield, came to a stop on the runway-turned-parking-lot, gasped at a stunt plane tracing loops in the distance, trekked two hundred yards, stopped at a port-a-potty, trekked several hundred more yards, and took our place in the glacial line to enter.

We crept forward, watched a helicopter maneuver beyond the trees, caught snippets of the announcer: "the F/A-18... [garble, garble]... 650 miles per hour... [garble, garble]... get ready, folks!" It started as a speck and a faint rumble. Within seconds, it was large as life straight over our heads, and the sky exploded with noise. Louise covered her ears and trembled in wide-eyed silence. June covered her ears, buried her face in my chest, and burst into tears.

It roared skywards. "Is it coming back?" June asked. It faded, then returned, plummeting straight at us like missile, spiraling silently, and—at the last minute—pulling out with another massive roar, more deafening than the first. It turned and came back... and back. By the fourth or fifth run, the girls were wailing in unison: "I want to go! I want to go!"

We fell out of line and turned back (it was harder going this time—Louise was getting blisters), past the hundreds of new arrivals, caught a rickety old shuttle bus driven by a kid in fatigues blasting country music and chatting about the next plane up ("F-22 Raptor—best plane in the sky—hardly anybody's seen it before"), back to the car (at which point June told me, "I don't want to come here ever ever again"), back past the waving orange batons, back through the exurban sprawl, and back into the circuit of our normal lives.

I should have known: girls who hate thunder won't like Thunderbirds.

Really though, it was okay. An ambling semi-pointless trip, five minutes of awesome aerobatics, and a good Vietnamese lunch on the way back—that's good enough for me.**

* That's what the kids call my little Mister-Mom-satchel.

** Plus the weather today was magic.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Human Hairdo Project: The Lego


"The Lego". Examples: Johhny Ramone, Junie Olivier.

Junie is a punk rocker... Junie is a punk rocker... Junie is a punk rocker now!

It's a Bird! It's... a Different Kind of Bird! No... I'm Pretty Sure It's the First Kind of Bird!

Help, is there an ornithologist in the house?

I thought I saw a bald eagle yesterday. Then I thought, "Do we have bald eagles around here?" Then I thought, "That really looks like a bald eagle." The facts:
  • It was a large bird of prey.
  • It was swooping around over Pontchartrain Beach (making me wonder if it was, instead, some water-faring thing—an osprey?)
  • It had a dark torso and wings.
  • Though I saw it from a distance, I could see the white head and (notably) the pure white tail. (I don't think ospreys have that pure-thing going on.)
  • My bird book indicates that bald eagles do sometimes find their way down to the Gulf Coast.
Hmm... I don't know, but I'm going with bald eagle. It makes a better story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Human Hairdo Project: The Beehive

First up:



I think I'm going to like this hairdo project. All those gently curving parallel lines are very soothing to draw.

And the beehive really is a remarkable thing—an architectural marvel. After looking at whole bunch of photos of various variations, I still don't quite understand how they work. But hats off (literally—'cause there ain't nowhere to put a hat on one of those things) to those that do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays

Today was another of our multi-annual deluges resulting in severe street flooding. And the gals' schools seem to have an unfortunate knack for letting them out precisely when the flooding is at its worst. But we all made it through, only a bit soggier for it. (And at least a bit of Fall is finally coming our way.) Life below sea level—ain't it grand!

p.s. I owe you some hair. Please forgive me. The whirligig has been acting up again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Human Hairdo Project

Here's the game:
You name a hairdo—style, era, etc. I draw it.
Sound like fun? And together we can create a comprehensive taxonomy of hairstyles, all archived in a centralized "hair-bank", forming the basis for new, heretofore unimaginable discoveries in the field of hairdo sciences.

Or we can chuckle mildly at the first two or three, then get bored, and quit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

David, Louise, June

Gyrating Pendulous Crustacean

Driving home from work yesterday on S. Claiborne, I passed a roadside back-of-the-truck impromptu seafood vendor,* and he had a gimmick. Perched precariously on the tail of his truck bed, wearing a Hee Haw-esque straw hat, he stretched his arm out and prominently dangled one of the largest shrimp I've ever seen above the oncoming traffic.

Was this spectacle
a) a clever marketing tactic?

b) a "that's life in N'awlins, darlin'" moment?

c) a traffic hazard?

d) strangely unappetizing, as the gyrating pendulous crustacean took on disquieting sexual overtones?
Justify your answer.

* A not uncommon sight around here: catch something in the morning, throw it in a cooler, drive it into the city, park on a major thoroughfare, sell it. Fresh seafood, good prices. Win-win.

Monday, October 15, 2007

RIP Chopper City Boyz
I promised you a series. (And more graffiti parsing: "13th Killers"—this and the other graffiti shots were taken in the 13th Ward.)