Thursday, December 28, 2006

Le Fille-Garçon

We've decided that I'm not actually a girl-boy. It's just the genetic dominance of my French ancestry.*

Oh, wait. Maybe that's the same thing.

* Surely French men have emphatic opinions about the colors of their walls and the shoes of their wives.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"I miss being part of a coveted demographic."

Genuine Quotes from Very Small People

"When I a mommy I can drink cocktails." [Swigs from sippy-cup and plunks it down on cocktail napkin.]

"Keep the Party Going"

This morning, as I walked Penny past one of the many hurricane debris pickup crews that still prowl the city, the stop-sign-holding-lady smiled, waved, introduced herself (her name is Rose), and gave me her card. In addition to being a stop-sign-holding-lady, she's a DJ—DJ Million from the Wild West Bank. She does bachelor parties, birthday parties, block parties—anything.

I am completely hustle-deficient myself, but I admire the quality in others.

"A Dix Pack a' Sixie"

Well la-ti-da. Weren't those some busy holidays, engendering a blogless silence that has reigned here for many-a-day. But now I'm back, Jack, ready to go again. So what's in store today? Holiday scraps, leftovers that I never quite got around to. I present to you Benny Grunch's "12 Yats of Christmas"—the video!

This is the only version available on YouTube, and it's pretty much crap (as in filmed-off-the-tee-vee-screen crap). I recommend that you go here for the real deal. (There's a little local new lead-in, but it's brief.)

For locals, this song is a perennial feature of the holiday season (though the video is new to me and adds a strange, magical new dimension). For non-locals it's, well, I don't know what it is—probably a bizarre hodge-podge of confusing references* and weird accents.** Either way, it's a hoot.

* Many of the referents, prominent features of the local Yat-scape were severely damaged or obliterated by Katrina. A while back I saw Richard Campanella, author of this completely bad-ass book, speak, and he made a good point. It's widely recognized that the hurricane disproportionately affected the city's black population. What is less widely recognized is that it also disproportionately affected the city's multi-generational population—the families that have been here for decades and decades. The unflooded historic neighborhoods along the river have a substantially higher proportion of transients and transplants. The hardest hit areas—Lakeview, the Lower Ninth, Gentilly, the East—these are neighborhoods full of families whose grandma's grandmas lived here.

** Long-time readers will recall previous musings on the curious nature of Yat-speak.

Thanks to Ms. Nola and company for doing some of the legwork.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Go! Go! Go!

Every region has it's own special driving hazards: snow, black ice, Bostonians, what have you. In New Orleans it's street flooding. Certainly, flooding on the scale of Katrina's was unprecedented (one has to go back to Sauvé's Crevasse in 1849 for anything remotely comparable*), but flooding of less Biblical proportions is a semi-regular occurrence here.

Take this morning when a steady overnight rain covered many streets with a foot of water. The (typically) short drive to Louise's school turned into a harrowing, circuitous journey, tracing along high ground when possible, avoiding the deepest waters, crossing fingers and plunging through when there were no other choices, watching our wake lap into the yards of houses, hearing the engine splutter and churn as the wake of oncoming cars splashed through the grill and slapped against the doors, gripping the wheel and muttering hopeful incantations.

There are, as I see it, three key principals to flood-driving. Take heed!
  1. Think twice or possibly thrice before diving in. You don't want to be that car (and there always is a that car), the one stalled out in the middle of the street, blinkers flashing, water half way up its door.
  2. Once you start, don't stop! Go! Go! Go!
  3. (If and) when you do make it to the other side, don't forget that your brakes have been submerged in water and are now complete crap, and if you're not careful you'll drive into the car in front of you which has stopped to consider its options before plunging into the next small lake.
Am I forgetting any?

We did finally make it, half an hour late and very wet. (The last block was impassible and we had to abandon ship and hopscotch along the sidewalk through the deluge.) But at least we weren't that car. (One of the teachers, alas, was not so fortunate.)

This message has been brought to you by the Slimbo Foundation, promoting vehicular safety and cheeky blather for all Americans.

* Forgive the random factoid-dropping. I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

For Your Consideration

My wife

My daughter

The Brutal Humiliation and I

The Magic of Childhood

The magic of childhood is that we get to do lots of things we're bad at, and only after repeated failure (and the corresponding humiliation we experience at the hands of those vicious beasts we call other children) do we actually realize we're bad at them and give them up and try to stick to the stuff that doesn't make people laugh at us.

Bad at Acting

I'm bad at acting, but it took me time to realize this: many years; numerous schlocky school productions; countless hours sitting in rehearsals, watching wide-eyed drama geeks gushingly hyper-articulate the words to "Hello, Dolly", waiting my turn to mumble my line and a half.

The low point of my acting career was an eighth grade production of The King and I. I was a guard. My performance consisted of the following:
  1. Curtain opens. Guard walks downstage and stands far stage right, feet apart, arms crossed.
  2. Guard continues standing, feet apart, arms crossed for the entire duration of the play.
  3. The final scene ends. Guard exits. Curtain closes.
Just to make clear, I had no lines. I stood.

You might say, "but at least you had a lot of stage time." True, performers generally like stage time, but those performers are not eighth-graders dressed only in a red pleather vest and billowy black fake-satin pants.

Somewhere in this wide wonderful world, there might be a person who could pull off this outfit (though I doubt it). It wasn't me. I'm still of a generally slimmish* configuration, but in my younger years I was freakishly scrawny.** I looked like a tacky scarecrow.

The Calculus of Cruelty

Far stage left was another identically dressed guard, Chris, also freakishly scrawny and a fellow member of the T.A.G. class.*** I can only assume that this cruel mirroring was an experiment in social engineering. "Let's take the two skinniest, nerdiest boys we can find, adorn them in garish yet revealing clothing, stand them in front of several hundred of their peers for an hour and a half, and see what happens. I predict mockery."

"And beyond that, my esteemed colleague, I hypothesize a specific degree of mockery wherein the combination of one subject with mock-factor x with a second subject also with mock-factor x will generate a humiliation feedback loop in which the combined mock-factor grows exponentially generating a mockery vortex of unprecedented dimensions!"

Their hypothesis was correct.

* Maintained by a strict regimen of broiled skinless chicken breasts, wheatgrass smoothies, and relentless exercise. You have no idea the pressure I'm under: Got to be thin! Got to be thin! What am I going to do, change my name to "Fatbolala"?

** Sarah says the drawing isn't skinny enough.

*** It was thoughtful of the administration to name the Talented and Gifted class the "Talented and Gifted" class instead of the "Gifted and Talented" class because it so conveniently shortens to T.A.G. which so conveniently rhymes with a common derogatory term for homosexuals. One wouldn't want to make the other children (bless their non-gifted hearts) work too hard to find an abusive moniker to apply to us.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Indices I'd Like to See: How-Stoned-Were-They?

So we were sitting in a pizza restaurant last night, and the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" came on the jukebox.* Having relatively recently seen Gimme Shelter, I thought to myself, "I wonder how stoned Mick Jagger was while recording that."

I'd like to see albums labeled with a How-Stoned-Were-They Rating, maybe a little pot leaf down in the corner with the number of leaves highlighted indicating the level of stoned-ness.** There are certainly large swaths of musical period/genre-space where most or all of the participants were notching several leaves:
  • Lots of early jazz and R&B
  • Lots of late jazz and R&B
  • Lots of hip-hop
  • Everything from the late Sixties and early Seventies (except Pat Boone)
  • Everything from Jamaica
  • Everything from K-Fed
Can somebody work on that?

* Or, as June was calling it, the "juice box".

** And we could develop a corresponding slang vernacular. Zero leaves would be a "Pat Boone". Five would be a "Janis Joplin". Or maybe a "Bob Marley". A "Louis Armstrong"? A "Snoop Dogg"? Hmm...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pop Quiz: I-Wear-My-Sunglasses-at-Night Edition

We'll see how this goes...

Defend or rebut the following assertion:
Bono is a jackass.
Points will be awarded for persuasiveness. Extra points will be awarded to anyone who actually makes it seem plausible that Bono is not a jackass.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The McGinnys

Sarah and I played Gin the other night. We decided that, for score-keeping purposes, we need proper Gin-playing names. Sarah was Roxie. I was Stan. I thought those were pretty good.

What's your Gin-playing name?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"What Do You Want to Bring for the Holiday Party?"

"How about potato salad?"


"Well, I could make deviled eggs again."

"Also taken."


"What about candy canes?"

"Okay, candy canes."

Claire E. Who?

A little bird turned me on to a fine poetic form—the Clerihew—invented by early twentieth century British smartass Edmund Clerihew Bentley. A Clerihew usually possesses the following five properties:
  1. It's a brief biography or description of a well-known individual.
  2. It's four lines long.
  3. The first line consists of the individuals name.
  4. The lines are of uneven length (for comic effect—see item 5).
  5. It's funny.
Here are a couple of my initial forays:
Brad Pitt
Was trim and fit
Though, according to more than one detractor,
Not much of an actor.
Kurt Weill
Did rarely smile.
His life was filled with strife.
He wrote "Mack the Knife".
Your turn.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pop Quiz: Dude, What's Your Dial?*

Answer the following:
What are the preset stations on your car radio? Please annotate.
Here's mine:
WWNO: Public radio—NPR, etc. Also a lot of bland classical music and goofy yucksterism, but I try to avoid those.

WWOZ: The non-profit local music station (jazz, R&B, etc.), a wonderful resource. I must confess, there are substantial blocks of programming that I find barely listenable, but when they're good they're the best. The Monday through Wednesday evening old-school R&B shows are incredibly excellent.

WTUL: Tulane college radio. Helps me keep track of what the slouchy white kids are doing. A solid percentage of the music is grating and annoying, but at least it's a novel, unfamiliar grating-annoying, not the completely predictable grating-annoying of most commercial radio.

Q93: Hip-hop, etc. I like the hip-hop. Of the various mainstream contemporary commercial formats, its pretty much the only one I have any interest in. It's not all good, but I like it better than the other stuff. Though, whenever the silky-smooth trills of a slow jam start, my hand instantly flashes for the dial.

WTIX: Oldies! Oldies! Oldies! I love WTIX. Most oldies stations, owned by big conglomerates, play songs from a very narrow play list, the Overplayed Oldies Cannon. TIX is independent and has lots of charming little idiosyncrasies. Certainly they play plenty of the familiars, but they'll also play local stuff and even some weird obscurities, songs that I've actually never heard before. (Some are bizarrely bad and should be obscurities, but at least they're entertaining.) Plus they still have those old-style harmonized station interludes: "♪ W-T-I-X New Or-lee-anssss ♪".
Your turn.

* Forgive the horrible pun. Is it even clear that this is a pun (albeit a horrible one)?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What I'm Drinking: Real Whiskey Sours

The latest installment in our oft-neglected series:

First, open your refrigerator, grab that bottle of neon-yellow, syrupy-sweet sour mix, walk over to trash can, and drop it in. Next, acquire the following:

1 rocks glass full to the rim with ice

A healthy pour of bourbon (halfway up the glass or a little more)

The juice of half a lemon

A splash of simple syrup*: 1 tbsp. (dry) – 2 tbsp. (sweet)

Pour the bourbon in the glass. Add the lemon juice and simple syrup. Put the entire contents of the glass into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously (as vigorously as you can—the purpose is to both thoroughly froth the drink and crack the ice.)

Once shaken, pour the contents back into the glass. Perch a slice of orange or, since we're in Satsuma season here, a wedge of Satsuma on the rim. (Cut a slice in the middle of the slice/wedge to facilitate the perching.) Drop in a maraschino cherry.

Place on a cocktail napkin, and serve with a smile.

* Simple syrup: Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water in a sealable container (a rinsed-out wine bottle with a cork does nicely). Close and shake vigorously until the sugar is completely dissolved. (It's not a bad idea to wrap the container in a kitchen towel first so you don't burn your hands. You'll need them later to hold that delicious drink you're making.) Use as much as you need. Refrigerate the rest for later; it will last a long time.

Things That Make You Go Hmm…

Why do speedometers mark the fives (15, 25, 35, 45...) instead of the tens. If you answer, most speed limits are marked in fives, I will then ask you, why are most speed limits marked in fives instead of tens?*

Write me up for 125
Post my face, wanted dead or alive
Take my license, all that jive
I can't drive 55!
Oh, yeah!
I can't drive 55!
I can't drive 55!
I can't drive 55!
I can't drive 55!

* I was once in a parking garage where the speed limit was 8 miles per hour. What's up with that?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Go Fly a Kite

On a summer afternoon a couple of years ago, a hurricane, one of several to clobber Florida that year (Charley? maybe Charley) was churning in the Gulf. While this was unfortunate for our neighbors to the east, we were having stunningly beautiful weather: freakishly mild temperatures in the seventies and a strong, refreshing breeze. It seemed like a good day to fly a kite.

I packed Louise, the kite, and myself in the car, and we drove down to the park by the river. Once there, we discovered that the breeze, while refreshing, was less than ideally suited to our task: one moment, it would surge forward in a gail-like bluster shooting the kite skyward; the next, it would come to a complete stop, and the kite would plummet to the ground.

It was during one of these lulls, while my attention was diverted, that a particularly strong gust shot the kite forward and wrenched its handle from my grasp. I dashed after it, but in a moment it had swept over the river bank and plunged into the river, slowly sinking. Louise burst into tears, and I did my best to console her. After a few minutes, the crying stopped.

Half an hour later, as I sat by the water and she gamboled about in the grass, I noticed a small crowd gathering a little ways downriver. Looking more closely, I saw a kite—our kite—flying in the air. "Louise, come see!"

Sure enough, there it was, hovering above the river. The taut string sloped down at an angle down into the waters and disappeared out of sight, the handle presumably snagged somewhere in the depths below.* "That's our kite! That's our kite!"

It flew for a minute or two, wafting back and forth. Then the breeze slackened. The kite gradually lowered, landed in the water, and once again disappeared. We watched for a bit hoping for another miraculous resurrection, but the kite stayed sunk, and after a bit, we went home.

Legend has it, though, that if you go down and sit on that river bank late at night during a full moon in August and stay real quiet and watch real carefully, you might, you just might see that stubborn ol' kite come a-risin' up outta them muddy ol' waters and fly—fly!—once again.

Today's Moral: Things rent asunder by the winds of a hurricane and delivered to a watery demise can rise up again prouder and stronger than ever before. Until, um, they sink again, finally succumbing to their eternal waterlogged destiny. Yeah, never mind. Stupid moral. Crappy moral.

* I understand how, once airborne, the kite flew around by itself for a while, but how does a drenched piece of plastic floating in a river catch enough wind to get airborne at all? That's the surprising part to me.

You want more stories? You got more stories.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

At the track.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Flatulence in the First Degree

I was on another of my long-distance bus trips, this time from Wisconsin to Virginia. It was late afternoon, and we were driving south, out of Milwaukee. The bus was full. Behind me were two teenage kids, little tough guys from the city heading to who knows where. As we settled into the journey and the sky slowly darkened, they grew bored, and the one directly behind me chose to entertain himself by aggressively, loudly, and repeatedly farting. Each time, this sent them both into paroxysms of laughter, causing them to flail wildly about and violently kick the back of my seat. My occasional not-as-stern-as-I-wanted-them-to-be glares went unheeded, and I resigned myself to my fate,* consoling myself with a silent stream of indignant curses.

This went on for some time, the teens foul shenanigans and my muttered stewing. Then, very suddenly, everything changed. Lights flashed behind us in the darkness and a siren wailed. The bus slowed and edged onto the shoulder of the highway. Were we speeding? The door opened. Police climbed on board and quietly conferred with the driver. Word spread to the back. No, they were looking for someone. My immediate reaction was, "I hope they arrest that kid."**

They arrested him.

The bus was escorted to the next exit where we stopped again in the middle of a large empty parking lot. The police boarded and asked all the women to exit the bus and the men to get out their IDs. They worked their way down the aisle, checking cards one by one. They came to me, looked at my driver's license, and told me I could get off.

Out in the parking lot, passengers clustered around excitedly gossiping. Somebody stabbed someone, and somebody else saw that somebody get on our bus in Milwaukee, and that's who they're looking for. Where they came by these scraps of information I don't know, but they were repeated and elaborated with great certainty and enthusiasm.

One by one, more men came off until only a gaggle of ragtag riffraff remained, those with insuffficient investment in society to bother with the niceties of document-carrying. (This group forms no small portion of the Greyhound customer-base.) We saw the police working through them, asking questions. They too, in turn, slowly straggled off the bus. Then, at last, came my gassy friend, handcuffed and escorted by two policemen, his little associate following close behind.

They were seated in the back of a squad car, lights flashed, and they sped away. The rumor mill churned into action again. He's not the the stabber. He's somebody else. Drug charges. There was a warrant out for him.

We straggled back onboard and found our places. The seats filled again, all except the two behind me. The bus turned back on to the highway and drove south. The road raced beneath us. In time, a hush settled over the passengers and, in that still darkness, my eyes grew heavy. At last, I slept—the deep, fartless slumber of the innocent.

* Greyhound busses are full of crazy people. One must choose one's battles carefully.

** This is the point, when telling the story, that my capital-defense-lawyer friend chastises me, and fair enough. I'm a left-leaning kind of guy. I'm not, in general, a huge fan of throwing kids into a dysfunctional juvenile detention system; there are probably, in most cases, better solutions to societies woes. But repeated farting and kicking will drive a man to abandon his principals and think desperate thoughts.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"From Da Cakulater"

We recently attended a St. Nicholas party (thank you, Mr. Elf) where the real-for-true St. Nicholas came and gave all the children bags full of goodies and advent calendars with little chocolates behind each door. June is very pleased with this chocolate-yielding calendar and now walks around the house insistently (though slightly erroneously) repeating:
"I wan' chockit from da cakulater."*
* Calculator.

More Genuine Conversations

Child #1: I like Summer.

Child #2: No! No! Summer's not good.

Child #1: Why?

Child #2: Heat makes hurricanes grow!

Child #1: I know..........But my birthday's in Summer.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

We were living in NYC, and I was temping in Midtown near Columbus Circle. It was the middle of the day, and I was sitting on a bench in Central Park eating my lunch. Nearby, a très très Uptown woman (the giant glasses, the hat—straight out of an old New Yorker cartoon) was walking her très très Uptown dog (big* and very purebred). The dog hunched and did his business. When he was done, the lady reached into her purse, retrieved a tissue, and daintily wiped his ass.**

Oh, you didn't catch that? She wiped his ass. One more time. She wiped... his... ass.

Todays moral:
Rich people are weird.

* This was the 90s. Teeny-tiny dogs had not yet achieved their supreme dominance as the de rigeur accessory of the so-and-so set.

** As my friend righty asked, if you're that rich, don't you pay someone to wipe your dog's ass?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Genuine Conversational Tidbits

Child: Does everybody have bosses?

Father: No.

Child: Do bosses have bosses?

Father: Yes.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Bruisers Have Done Ridden

So the show was a hoot and a half. Our set was short* but, if I may say so, really quite sweet.

If I wasn't still so supremely stupid from lack of sleep, I could probably tell you something interesting about it.

* When you're the fifth out of six bands and the schedule has hopelessly slipped—as it always does, these are musicians after all—and you're playing to a club full of parents and the hours are counted in single digits and the collective baby-sitting fees are counted in the many thousands, brevity is a virtue.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Bruisers Ride Again

Well, after various complicated comings and goings of various members over the past couple years involving various things such as hurricanes and goats, the Bruisers are back. And for our massive reunion gig, we're playing at the Lusher Soirée,* a fundraiser for Louise's fine, fine school. Since both of our drummers were blown west to the Land of Tacos and Barbecue we're now a lean, mean trio: Mary, Jason, and myself. (I don't count Arturo the Bongo Playing Monkey because, belonging to a lesser species, he has no soul and cannot technically be considered a member.)

Of course, times have changed, and in this new post-Katrina landscape, our patented brand of fun-lovin' honky-tonk-garage-sumthin'-sumthin' no longer seems relevant, so we've got a brand new bag: epic atonal soundscapes (to which Mary will perform her dramatic, Noh-inspired juggling routine).

Either that or we'll get really messed up and start an onstage, intra-band fight.

Or maybe both—I'm thinking both. Whichever way, it's going to be huge.

Check ya later!

* In addition to our humble selves, there's a whole slew of other fine acts including some that are actually kind of famous.

The A-Team Sequence

Don't you wish life had A-Team sequences? You've come up with a plan, but there's a lot of tedious, menial work that has to be done to implement it. Daaa-da-da-daaa! The high-powered music kicks in, and a whole bunch of people do a whole bunch of stuff really quickly. Two minutes later, your helicopter crafted from barbed wire (or whatever your plan may be) is done.

Can somebody make that happen?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"'Cause I Wearin' Panties!"

June is potty training, making the unsteady and occasionally alarming transition from diapers to big-girl underwear. This leads to conversations like the following:
"Why we goin' this way?"

"Because this is the way we're walking Penny."

"No! I wanna go da other way!"

"Boy, you sure are opinionated."

"Thas 'cause I wearin' panties!"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why I Like Sundays

Everyone's either wearing church or Saints attire.*

* Both of which are acts of prayer.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yet Another Reason I'm Going to Hell

Blind, French and an accordion player

Norbert was blind, French and an accordion player. He played every Thursday night at the French restaurant where I worked for many years, he and Spike, the bass player. I bartended on Thursdays. They set up at the end of the bar, and I served them their complimentary meal and drink before we opened. We had a rapport.

He was a sour man but likeable in his way. The music was your expected stuff—Edith Piaf and such. He also played requests, and the crowd knew what to ask for; there was a set of regulars who came every week.

One Thursday, early in the evening, there was a slight lull, and I, thinking myself rather clever, shouted out "Send in the Clowns." I had no expectation he would actually play it. Certainly, he would know it was me and just mutter some barbed French epithet.

He did not know it was me. He did not mutter. He played it.

It was awful—a slow and gruesome dirge—"Send... in... the... clowns...," each note both tentative and incredibly long. I pictured clowns, shuffling in, each one sadder than the previous, sobbing quietly into their endless, brightly-colored handkerchiefs, pulled from their seemingly bottomless pockets. I thought of shouting, "No, stop! It's just me!" but the damage was done, and I remained silent.

The song—in time—ended. The tight wince around my eyes softened. The disconcerted and hushed crowd turned back to their conversations. The moment passed. All was forgotten.

Except by me. I have not forgotten. And this black mark shall never leave my soul.

Today's Moral—Be careful what you ask for.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rejected Smurf Concepts

  • Junkie Smurf*
  • Skeezy Smurf
  • Morbid Smurf
  • Stalker Smurf
  • Hairy Smurf
  • Socially Awkward Smurf
  • Commie Smurf
  • Tranny Smurf
  • Fatty Smurf
  • Disco Smurf
* I almost did this as a Halloween costume one year. I'm kind of glad I didn't.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble, Gobble

Enjoy your blerma, but save some to-hibrazelle for California.

I have aspirations of attending three feasts today. Sarah says it's impossible, and we can only make two. No, Icarus! Do not fly so high. Surely your turkey wings will fail you, and you will plummet to your demise in a tryptophan-induced slumber. Eschew such brazen fantasies. Moderation is the way!

She's right, but a boy can dream. You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd...

I think this will be the first in a new and exciting tradition of marking all holidays with cryptic, utterly nonsensical posts.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Momma Would Be Proud

I'm the fifth Google-hit for "gay fashion tips."

My Lady Is a Good Lady...

...but she has one fatal flaw, a blind and dogmatic insistence on watching a movie right from the beginning or not at all.

Perhaps, you're thinking, "Watching a movie right from the beginning? That sounds pretty reasonable. How could that be so bad?" Allow me an example.

We were out—Sarah, Ana, and I—a fun evening on the town, and we wanted to see a movie—something light and fluffy. Best in Show was running, so we decided to see that. But we were late—not very late, mind you, but we'd missed the first couple of minutes of the movie. Sarah suggested we see something else. The only other option was Dancer in the Dark.

Best in Show, you will recall that, is a thoroughly entertaining little mockumentary about a dog show. It makes a person laugh. It qualifies as light and fluffy.

Dancer in the Dark, you will recall, is about a woman who is going blind. Various bad things happen, and in the final scene, she is hung. It is over seventeen hours long, and it is filmed by a homeless man with delirium tremens who Lars von Trier found on the streets of Copenhagen (it's more authentic that way). It does not qualify as light and fluffy.

When it finally ended, we stumbled out of the darkness with nauseous stomachs and bleary red eyes. It was very, very late and our fun evening on the town was very, very over. I briefly considered divorce proceedings but decided against it. She is, in other regards, a good lady.

"Did I Tell You About the Time I...?"

So what happens when I finally blog all my good stories? What will I talk about at dinner parties? As I see it, I've got three options:
  1. Repeat myself ad nauseum. I can just tell the same stories over and over. When I begin talking, people will roll their eyes and think to themselves, "Here he goes again with that fucking rooster story. Let it go, man. It's just poultry."
  2. Become freakishly silent. I will sit by myself in the corner, avoiding eye contact, ruing the day I started this blog.
  3. Take another long distance bus trip. That would provide me with sufficient fodder for a few more years.
Yeah, any of those should work.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Celebrities, Where Y'at?

I imagine some of you are familiar with Gawker Stalker, the feature (and original raison d'être) of the Gawker website. They post sightings of various celebrities sent in by readers which generally go something like "Saw Matthew and Sarah Jessica canoodling at the bagel shop on Wuzza Wuzza St. and Nth Ave. Damn they're short." or "I nearly walked into Angelina Jolie as she was leaving Le Bistro Hot Cha Cha. Her lips are terrifying in person."

Now that's all well and good if you're a member of the coastal cultural elite, but what about the rest of us? What about us provincials who aren't so amply blessed with fabulous and vapid people? Let me tell you something, Mr. Big Apple and Lil Miss La La Land. We've got celebrities too. Sure, they may be a little uglier. Perhaps their teeth aren't so white. They might have bad hair. But they're ours, and we're proud of them.

So why don't we have our own Gawker Stalker, our own litle slice of the celebrity-spotting pie. We'll give it some sort of cheesy name like Big Easy Big Shots or Celebrities, Where Y'at? and do the same thing with our local luminaries: "Saw Angela Hill in the frozen foods aisle at Dorignac's buying Lean Cuisines," or "I saw what's-his-name, the good-looking young weatherman my grandma has a crush on (and I don't have the heart to tell her he's gay), on the treadmill at the gym."

I once saw Frankie of Frankie and Johnnie's "talk to the special man" fame* walking through Dillard's at the Lakeside Shopping Center dressed head-to-toe in black with his fly wide open. I so-o-o-o totally would have posted that.

* You have to follow that link. It's been years since I saw one of those.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"996, 997, 998, 999.…"

Kids are weird (or, at least, this kid was weird). I once did a thousand jumping jacks for no better reason than I was bored.*

What'd you do?

* When I was done, I was no longer bored, but I was drunk with fatigue and could barely walk.

"You should see my best feature…"

I was in the locker room at the gym. From the next row over I heard, "You should see my best feature..." I thought to myself, "Hmm, where's that gonna go?" From the next row over I heard, " back." I thought to myself, "Okay, it's not going there, but what the hell is he talking about?" From the next row over I heard, "It looks really good on a pedestal." I thought to myself, "Really, what the hell is he talking about?" As I walked out, I saw him standing on a stool, shirtless and striking a full (and, to my eyes, incredibly goofy) body builder pose: body at a quarter profile, torso tilted back, fists pressed together, every muscle popping in a spectacle of freakish contouring. The other man watched him intently in the mirror.

Body building, what's up with that?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I had a good drink the other night, a Black-Coffee-with-a-Tepid-Toddy-Back. There are four things I liked about this drink.
  1. It had black coffee. I like anything with black coffee.
  2. It had a Tepid Toddy. I like anything with a Tepid Toddy. What? You've never heard of a Tepid Toddy? Oh, I suppose that might be because we invented (or at least christened) it on the spot. It's the poor but charming cousin of the Hot Toddy and consists of room-temperature bourbon, honey, and lemon.
  3. The Tepid Toddy was the back to the black coffee. I love the whole beverage back concept. You have Drinkable Item A. (We'll call it the primary). You have Drinkable Item B, the back. Elsewhere, each item may function as its own autonomous beverage, but here they are a unit, the primary and the back collectively forming a single drinking entity, a compound beverage, in which the back exists solely to complement (or possibly "chase") the primary, and together they form a whole greater than the sum of the parts.*
  4. It's really fun to say. Try it. Again. Louder. LOUDER!
Really, could there be a better drink?

And later we ate finger sandwiches pilfered from a private party. It was a good night.

* Some might object, "surely whiskey is the stronger stuff and consequently the primary." This is understandable but incorrect. Primacy is not inherent in the drinkable item; it is imposed by the intent of the drinker. A Tepid-Toddy-with-a-Black-Coffee-Back (T.T.W.A.B.C.B.) is its own distinct (and probably quite lovely) beverage, but that's not what we were drinking.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Like a Gumbo Pot...

We were at Campo's, the old-school, local appliance store. Our salesman was sporting that Southern man-coif that he picked up back in high school in 1976: parted down the center, hair-sprayed, feathered, gently swooping down over the ears. He had some good selling points:
  • Stackable washers and dryers are nice because they give you more room for something else. Like a beer fridge, for example. (He had a nervous habitual tick where he would pluck the front of his shirt out to keep it from clinging to his pronounced beer belly.)
  • He sold this set to his mama, and you know he wouldn't sell her anything but the best, because Lord help him if something goes wrong with it. He doesn't need that kind of aggravation.
  • His ex-wife (he didn't actually use the word "bitch," but the thought was so clear it was nearly audible) always used to make him rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, but she was completely wrong, because these new dishwashers are so effective that if the dishes aren't coated in food, the detergent will actually act on the dishes themselves and damage them.
  • This one is nearly silent. The one where he currently lives, he's moved into an apartment now, is so loud you can't even think. You don't want that.
  • The top rack is removable so you can wash really big items like a gumbo pot.
Good points. Good points.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hot Taco Tip*

So I've been conducting an incredibly erratic and unscientific sampling of the wares of various taco trucks around town. (How often does a city get a major new culinary culture essentially overnight? This requires research.) They're all good, unlike anything that existed in this town before the storm, but I just discovered my absolute new fave as we were driving out to Lowe's the other day.

I don't know what it's called (does it matter? they're all some minor variation on the word "taco"), but I can tell you where it is: the uptown, lakeside corner of the S. Claiborne and Eagle St. (across from the water processing station on the way out to Jeff Highway).

They have pork, beef, and chorizo (I think; there were language barriers). I've had them all (I think), and they're all excellent. The meat is fresh and perfectly seasoned, and they top it with hot, grilled onions and herbs, and the green sauce that comes in the little containers is very hot (they don't sell drinks, so you'll have to hit up the Spur across the street) and very delicious.

Stop by. And don't forget to tell 'em Slim sent you (though they will have no idea what you're saying and give you blank stares).

* Is it just me, or does this post-title somehow
sound horribly obscene?

Friday, November 10, 2006

I've been horribly remiss in my picture-posting lately (after all, the byline doesn't just say "Posts and Pointless Ephemera", does it? oh, no!), so I hereby un-remiss myself. A picture. From Halloween (in case you were wondering). Laugh, if you choose.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Big Love

So we're renting the back apartment in our friend Miranda's house. We're all coming and going at various times: Miranda, Sarah, the kids, and me. The other day the neighbor from across the street—a big, beefy oil-biz boy—started chatting with Miranda. "So you live there, right?"

"Yeah, I own the house."

"And… the other two?... with the kids?..."

"They're my friends. They're renting the back apartment."

"Oh, I thought maybe you all had a Big Love thing going on."*

"Uh... no."

I wish she hadn't been quite so quick to disillusion him. We could have gotten a really hilarious Three's Company-esque** plotline going.

* For those of you not so attuned to the pop cultcha, Big Love is an HBO show depicting the shenanigans of a polygamous Mormon family in Salt Lake City.

** The thing that always struck me (and sort of infuriated me) about Three's Company when I watched it as a kid was that there was never any resolution. The entire episode was just setting up a comedic situation, and then… closing credits roll. What the hell is that? Then, next episode, they're back to business as usual. How'd it get fixed? What happened in between? But maybe I should relax. Maybe I should reject the patriarchal, over-linear, phallo-centric dictates of the traditional sit-com form and learn to accept ambiguity: the unresolved conundra, the blurred gender roles, the interchangeable blonds, the mysterious life-force which is Larry. Perhaps I should finally recognize Three's Company as the nuanced deconstruction it truly is. Bravo, Jack! Bravo, Janet! Bravo, Crissy (and the other ones)! Take your thrones in the Pantheon of Po-Mo. Our debt to you is beyond measure.

Interior Paint, Exterior Paint, Trim, AC, Floors, Kitchen, Sinks, Lights, Gutters…

So, a little over a year ago, our house—a big, old Arts and Crafts beast—went from very nice (in a slightly shabby but dignified way) to full of water to a festering, toxic hell-hole to an empty shell in relatively short order. Then it sat around for a long time as we competed with some of the other two-hundred thousand flooded houses for the attention of our contractor. It wasn't a complete standstill—a roof, some plumbing, some wiring, a bit of carpentry, a little mold-remediation—but it was slow.... We would drive by, hoping maybe possibly to see a worker's truck, perhaps the front door open, a little activity. We were often disappointed.

But now the forces of light gallop forth. It's blazing: interior paint, exterior paint, trim, AC, floors, kitchen, sinks, lights, gutters… The front is a pickup truck parking lot. The doors are open from early in the morning until well after the sun goes down, and there's always a swarm of busy, industrious people coming and going. It's a sight to behold.

And our house will be more beautiful than it ever was. All the things we always wanted to do but never would have done, we now simply have to do. And you know what? Screw it.* We deserve it.

* Excuse my French, everybody in America.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Well, I'm back. For two days, I've been staring at subtle variations of shade between different sage greens. Did anything happen while I was gone...?

But seriously, folks, a banner week—no?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Queue the Simon and Garfunkel*

And exactly one year ago today, we returned from our sad exile to restart our lives in this raggedy old town. A whole year. Good golly.

(But seriously, that's it. No more anniversaries. No more maudlin sentimentality. Nothing but mullets and monkeys from now on. You have my word.)

* And I'm thinking the title of this post is hopelessly oblique, but maybe I'm wrong. Any takers?

Much-Much Busy-Busy

As a rule, I don't blog about not blogging, but rules are meant to be broken, so I will break the blogless silence and blog that the absence of activity here is do to the excess of activity elsewhere, specifically at our house, which is good, because, at times, there has been an absence of activity at our house, but now there is much-much and it is all very busy-busy, and we are in a whirl of paint samples and lighting choices, and this is good, because we used to live there and are looking forward to doing so again, and the samples will all be selected and the lights all chosen, and things will revert, and order will restore, and all will be lovely-lovely. Which is to say, stay tuned—more soon.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Slim Answers All

Watch out, because I'm about to get all Q & A super-ninja on your arse:
What makes a monkey evil?

Monkeys are evil by default. The more appropriate question would be, what occasionally makes monkeys good. The answer is unknown.

Where does an evil monkey's soul go after death?


What does "monkey business" really mean?

This idiom first appeared in the texts of Ancient Sumeria where monkeys often served as prostitutes. And I think you know what it means...

How did the phrase "monkey on my back" originate?

This idiom first appeared in the texts of Ancient Sumeria where substance abusers and others social outcasts were marked with a large scarlet monkey.

Is their a relation between string theory string beans and string cheese?

Add Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup and you have a delicious casserole.

Is there space and time in heaven?

The Earl of Oxford says:
"It is therefore evident that there is no place or void or time outside the heaven. For in every place, body can be present; and void is said to be that in which the presence of body, though not actual, is possible; and time is the number of movement. But in the absence of natural body there is no movement, and outside the heaven, as we have shown, body neither exists nor can come to exist. It is clear then that there is neither place, nor void, nor time, outside the heaven. Hence whatever is there, is of such a nature as not to occupy any place, nor does time age it; nor is there any change in any of the things which lie beyond the outermost motion...." On the Heavens, Bk. I, ch. 9.
So, um… yeah.

Do you believe in an ultimate truth persay (as related to the idea of limitless possibilities and even probabilities)?

All I really need to know I learned from Roger Miller:
You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
You can't rollerskate in a buffalo herd.
But you can be happy if you've a mind to.
And...... time. Rat-a-tat-tat-ta-da!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All in the Family

So our mild California-baiting in the comments of a recent post got me thinking: sure we're all different; we all have our spats and petty animosities, our grudges and misunderstandings. Sure we like to tease and poke fun and maybe grumble a bit, but deep down, deep down, we're not so different. Really, we're all just family.

California is that wealthy, slightly flaky aunt who flies in every other year for the holidays and brings great presents and a good bottle of wine but never eats the Turducken. Louisiana is that likeable uncle who always gets funny-drunk at family get-togethers and tells outrageous stories but, everyone suspects, also gets mean-drunk at home and maybe hits his wife, though no one says anything, and all the old ladies whisper, "it's a pity…."

What's your state?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This is our jack-o-lantern, carved with an abundance of seasonal zeal by the gals and myself early in the month. Or more precisely, this was our jack-o-lantern. Our climate isn't kind to carved vegetables. I've seen the balmy temperatures and thick humidity reduce more than one noble pumpkin to a gooey orange puddle long before Halloween arrived. Many don't make it beyond a week. This one served admirably for the better part of two, but when it slowly began to collapse and the inside developed a thick coat of furry mold bearing an unpleasant resemblance to our house after the storm, we decided its time had come. It seemed like the right thing to do.

The Worst Halloween Costume

As mandated by the Equal Time Rule, I will now describe the worst Halloween costume I can recall:

We were at a smallish Halloween party at someone's house. It was the first of several stops our gaggle was making that evening. Everyone was dressed up. (I think I was Jughead.) We were all chatting and drinking. This one guy we didn't know was dressed as a flasher: a trench-coat; bare, hairy shins; socks and shoes. He walked up to our group.

"You want me to flash you?"

"Sure." We braced ourselves for some wacky over-sized phallus or similar gag.

He actually just flashed us...

Everyone laughed. A little too hard. Then people stopped laughing. Then everyone felt a little weird.

It was too authentic. It felt like his elaborate and outrageous joke was actually an elaborate and creepy ruse to expose himself to strangers without getting arrested. When his wife (yeah, she was there too) rolled her eyes and informed us that he'd done this same thing other years, our suspicion seemed all the more likely.

After a bit, we moved on to the next party.

My Favorite Halloween Costume

My favorite Halloween costume was when I dressed as Evel Knievel. It was completely ridiculous—an absurd confluence of generally American-ish-themed items that I'd found at the Salvation Army that afternoon: some sort of star-spangled sweatshirt; vaguely-matching, radically-undersized pants that wound up looking more like capris; a too-small bicycle helmet (all helmets are too small for my giant noggin) that I embellished with magic-marker stars; and my "ride," a crappy $8 kid's bike—also red, white and blue. It was a beautiful ensemble, if I do say so.

Sarah and Ana maintained the wheeled theme, going as 70s roller girls attired in outdated items also found at the Salvation Army and shod with genuine old-school white ankle-high roller skates. The hair was flipped. The pants were too tight. They knew the moves. They had it down.

The party that night was in a large warehouse, which perfectly suited our shenanigans. I traced figure-eights on my bad-ass-mobile. The gals glided around the perimeter. As the evening progressed and the empty beer cans accumulated, the antics became more foolish. The roller girls progressed to more advanced maneuvers. I built a small ramp and jumped various items including my "lovely assistant," a raggedy-ass little doll also purchased that afternoon, and, eventually, small flaming objects. (This was quickly stopped by the owner of the warehouse.)

The band played their song, "Evel Knievel." (Weird, huh?) Some guy asked me if I would do my "Evel Knievel thing" at one of his band's gigs. The empty beer cans continued to mount, and the evening began its gradual descent. More prudent people went home. My bike was eventually abandoned in some corner. Finally, in the wee hours, the festivities came to an abrupt halt when Sarah took a spill, and we had to go to the nearby emergency room with what we thought (but was fortunately not) a broken wrist.

Oh, well. All's well that ends in the emergency room. It was good while it lasted. And the costumes were A-1.

My second favorite costume was when I dressed as Bob's Big Boy (or Shoney's Big Boy if you're from my neck of the woods). I had it just right: big, wide-legged painter's pants that I had stenciled with the appropriate check pattern; red suspenders; a white t-shirt printed with the words, "BIG BOY" (in the correct font, of course); and a gallon of dippity-doo in my hair, piling it into a perfect pompadour. We went out. There was another Big Boy. (What are the chances?) His outfit was crap—overalls (overalls?!) with hand-drawn checks and a sloppily written "BIG BOY"—absolute crap. Trash was talked. Big Boys were restrained. The evening proceeded without further incident.

I must concede my rival one advantage, though. My build is not precisely Big Boy material. He had the physique down pat. Next time I'll have to plan a few months ahead and do the appropriate all-Shoney's-all-the-time-weight-gain-regime to really seal the deal.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"In Good Taste"

So I got the official email inviting us to wear Halloween costumes to work tomorrow. But it stipulates that the costumes must be "in good taste. Nothing risqué or revealing or offensive please."

Damn. I wish they'd told us before I spent all that money on a sexy-Hitler costume.

Slim's Concentric Meat Atrocities

These days, everybody knows what a turducken is, the freakish Thanksgiving Franken-entrée consisting of a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, first brought to monstrous life right here in Southern Louisiana. (If you haven't heard of it, I recommend you crawl out from under whatever morbidly obese chef you've been living beneath and read a fluffy, holiday themed periodical once in a while.) The turducken is undoubtedly a fine and decadent creation, a noble holiday beast, bringing freakish meaty goodness to any table it graces. But is the turducken the final word in carnivorian excess? We here at Slim's Concentric Meat Atrocities don't think so. And that is why, for the truly indulgent gourmand, we have spawned the following premium creations:

The Cowoatamb. Kick it up a notch with this decadent treat: a lamb, stuffed inside a goat, stuffed inside a cow. Momma didn't cook like this!
- $2,300

The Hibrazelle. Really want to wow the crowd? Bring a taste of Africa to the table with this exotic item: a gazelle, stuffed inside a zebra, stuffed inside a hippo. Mmm... poach-a-licious!

The Blerma: For the customer who must have the best, no other item will do. Make a statement with this exclusive offer, this pinnacle of meat-stuffing achievement: an orca, stuffed inside a sperm whale, stuffed inside a blue whale. Screw Greenpeace. Life is good. You deserve it.
- $4,800,000
(Requires 6 months advance notice and the passage of legislation repealing several international whaling moratoria. Limited quantity available. ORDER NOW!)

For all orders received before November 1, we will send include a free Slim's Offal Surprise Holiday Goody Basket.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

What Alignment Were the Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz?

The flying monkeys of the Wizard of Oz, properly known as Winged Monkeys, are Lawful Neutral. They will obey anyone, good or evil, so long as the individual is wearing the Golden Cap. (I refer, of course, to the authentic series of events as recounted in the book, not the fictionalized Hollywood tripe served up in the movie.) Morality is of no consequence to them. Strict adherence to the wearer of the Cap is their only guiding principal.

Some have asserted that Winged Monkeys are inherently good and were merely the victims of an unfortunate spell cast by the Wicked Witch. This view, though popular, is incorrect and easily refuted by a careful examination of the historical record. The "spell," as is now commonly recognized by Oz historians, was a legal stratagem, designed by the Winged Monkeys' legal defense team, to secure them immunity in criminal tribunals held after the collapse of the Witch's regime.

The truth is far simpler. Winged monkeys, like all monkeys, will obey anyone with a shiny object on their head. It's just in their nature.

Q & A

Man, I Totally Slayed That Elevator!

So we were standing in the elevator, me and a bunch of guys. The doors were closing, and someone else was coming. One of the guys swung his leg up to catch the sensors and open the door. You know what I said? You know what I said?
"You should be a Rockette."
It went over like dynamite! It went over so good, the guy next to me rephrased it, and repeated it: "What are you, trying out for the Rockettes?" It spawned a whole series of a Rockettes-related jokes: "Hey man, just don't put your arm around me and expect me to kick along with you." Pure dynamite!

You have my permission to use it in any appropriate situation (so long as you credit me, of course).

Do You Believe That Aristotle Wrote a (Lost) Treatise on Comedy?

No. Not only do I not believe it, I know for a fact he did not. Aristotle wrote nothing (he was, sadly, illiterate), and the writings commonly attributed to him are, in fact, the work of the Earl of Oxford.

The Earl, however, did write a lost treatise on comedy, though "lost" is, perhaps, not quite the word, since it has been in plain sight this entire time. (Simply read The Taming of the Shrew backwards, and you will see what I mean.)

Q & A

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What is that?

I'll kick off the questions. As previously mentioned, I'm not such a big beer guy (cocktails are more my thing), but I do sometimes like a beer, and I've realized that there is one specific style of beer I'm particularly partial to. The trouble is, I don't know what to call it, nor do I possess the terminology to properly describe it. Barley? Hops? They mean very little to me. Does this beer-breed have a proper name? I don't know.

So I'm turning to you, the big beer guys and gals out there (and I know there are some), for help. What do I call this thing?

I've had various beers that fall into this category, but I've forgotten what most of them were. There's only one concrete example I can give: Sapporo. Again, I'm completely ignorant of official terminology, but I would say it's light and extremely dry and sort of sharp and distinctly bitter—that very specific bitter taste that all the beers I'm talking about possess—and that's it. No berries or floral overtones or chocolate or warm nuttiness or anything else.

What is that? Does it have a name? Is it a lager? But I've had other lagers that don't taste like that. What other beers fall into this category? What is that?

Q & A[tink!]

I'd like to open up the floor for questions—any topic you want: evil monkeys, good monkeys, chaotic neutral monkeys, evil apes, chaotic neutral apes (there are no good apes), string theory, the String Cheese Incident, film theory, the Film Cheese Incident—you name it. If I don't know the answer, I'll be more than happy to make one up.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You'll Sell Your House in Hell!

The house on the corner is for sale. There is, as is the custom, a "For Sale" sign in front. It's a pretty typical sign:

It says, "For Sale." It's got a name, some phone numbers, a picture of a house... a picture of a house... a picture of a house… Unholy crap! What in Satan's name is that?!

I'm not 100% on this, but I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to understand from this that Alyssa Preston is a demon. Now, I'm not prejudiced or anything—I fully support a demon's right to pursue any career he or she wants, real estate agent included—but does one really want to advertise the fact? Is it an effective marketing technique?

Well, maybe: "If you do not buy this house, I will flay you alive! I will wrench your beating heart from your chest and gnash it betwixt my fearsome teeth! I will drink your blood in a goblet crafted from your skull! I will build a comfortable armchair from your bones, where I will sit and listen to the eternal screams of your damned soul! And did I mention it has a jacuzzi?"

Whatever works, I guess.

"Gimme Some Corn, Man. I'm Happy."

The sheep on our farm all have plastic ear tags with numbers on them so we know who they are. I've been waiting for the day when these ear tags are adopted by punk culture as a fashion accessory, punched through the earlobe like an earring. ("We're all sheep, man, just doing what the system tells us. Gimme some corn, man. I'm happy. But we're all being lead to the slaughter—to.. the... slaughter!")

It hasn't happened yet. (Or, at least, I haven't seen it.) What's up with that?

When Did That Happen?

Is it just me, or do people not talk much about flying saucers anymore? And I don't mean aliens. I don't mean space ships. I mean flying saucers. What's up with that?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Backwards Day

I wore my underwear backwards all day yesterday. It wasn't intentional. I discovered it at work when I went to the restroom and encountered certain logistical complexities... at which point, without awkward and excessive shenanigans, I was pretty much committed to the configuration. So I wore my underwear backwards all day yesterday.

Quit laughing at me.


Sarah was at the mall, and she walked into forever21, her source for sassy, inexpensive, poorly manufactured clothing. As she entered, she stepped in shit—human shit.

It was subsequently determined that the source of the offending substance was, most likely, a recently departed (and, obviously, poorly secured) toddler. I suppose that, somehow, makes it better. Child poo is, by some deeply ingrained poo-metric formula, better than adult poo. But really, it's not what one is looking for when one is shopping for sassy, inexpensive, poorly manufactured clothing.

They were kind enough to provide her with paper towels.

And so, as all food ends in feces, food week ends in inconclusive and unpleasant stories about feces. We have arrived, so to speak, at the end of the line. Good night.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Honey Bear

June has developed a strong affection for our honey bear, the clear-plastic bear-shaped flip-top thing that the honey comes in. She has taken to toting it around the house and becomes violently enraged if anyone—God forbid!—actually tries to use any of the honey.

Touch Your Doughnut

You know what I don't like? I don't like that guy in the break room fingering his way through every doughnut in the box before selecting the one he wants. I don't want pre-touched doughnuts. Touch your own damn doughnut, Mr. Doughnut Toucher Man.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Joe Eats a Sandwich

I can't deny that we're deviating from the Big, Very Exciting Concept. Oh, well... When I said you're the boss, I lied. I'm the boss. No, scratch that. Bruce Springsteen is the Boss. I'm the Honcho, El Honcho Slimbo. Any scrap of power I throw your way is merely a diversion from the man behind the curtain. It is I who pull the strings and make this evil blog-machine dance its wicked dance.

And that sandwich thing makes me laugh.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Perfect Casamento's Meal

Food Week! Food Week! Food Week! Food Week!*

I've been struggling for a while to figure out my perfect Casamento's** meal, and I think I've finally got it:
Oysters. What's there to say? A squeeze of lemon, a dollop of horseradish, a dash of Louisiana Hot Sauce, slurped off the shell—one of the best things in life. We order a dozen. Sarah eats a few, and the rest are mine, all mine!

A cup of gumbo. Mine is better (forgive the horn-tooting), but theirs is still good—seafood with a touch of tomato. It's very rich, and a bowl is too much, but a cup is just fine...

A lettuce and tomato salad. Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap. I like it. And a bit of greenery—even if it is pale greenery—provides a pleasant contrast to the richness of the other items.

A grilled cheese sandwich. You might think this is an odd choice, and you might be right, but it works. And it comes with a pickle.

Stolen bits of batter fried catfish and shrimp. As my aunt would say, "they fry beautifully!" A big heap of fried seafood isn't my thing, but the little bits I nab from the gals are quite lovely.

Abita beer. Time was, this slot would have been held by Dixie. This, sadly, has not been an option since the storm, though the latest word is that a return is imminent (at least to the shelves of Dorignac's). For the present, Abita rises to the challenge and does an a-okay job of washing everything down.

Dessert? Drive across town to Brocato's.
Each element is quite lovely in it's own right, but collectively they form a harmonious unison of glory and delight, a symphony of delectable delirium, that's pretty hard to beat.

Damn, now I'm hungry. When are they open again?

* I like that Food Week wasn't planned but just kind of happened.

** For my local compadres, Casamento's requires no explanation, but allow me a few words for those of you in the great beyond. Casamento's is old. It's long and narrow and decorated like a 1920s bathroom—floor to ceiling white tiles. If you don't arrive at the moment they open, you'll probably have to wait, but as you stand shoulder to shoulder with other latecomers, you'll enjoy the remarkable diversion of watching the oyster shucker ply his mysterious craft. They're closed a lot. The oysters are wonderful, and everything else is very good. The staff is slow but likable. The third best thing after the food and the atmosphere is that, to get to the bathrooms, you have to walk through the kitchen, past a burly, bearded, sleeveless man with a Bluetooth earpiece standing over a large pot of boiling oil where beautiful things happen, and into a little courtyard occupied by various kitchen-y things and an obese cat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Phở bo.

Vinegar and Salt

In a food-ish vein:

Once, in high school biology, we did an experiment. We were each given a questionnaire and a set of little paper strips coated in a variety of (non-toxic) chemicals. We were asked to taste the strips, one by one, and mark down whether they tasted sweet or salty or bitter or sour, etc.

The answers varied from person to person; the same strip might taste bitter to one person and salty to another. And the results weren't fuzzy. We had decisive and different perceptions of the taste of each one. We learned that the way the taste buds perceive certain substances is genetically determined. We simply don't all taste things exactly the same way.

At the end of the experiment, we tallied up our questionnaire, and the results placed us in one of several "taste groups." (There was probably some technical term, but I don't remember it.) Some taste groups were more common, other less - I was a member of an obscure fringe taste-sect. And the questionnaire explained that members of a given taste group tend to have certain types of preferred foods. As I read the preferred foods for my group - pickles, sauerkraut, pretty much anything with vinegar and salt - I began to salivate, and my stomach rumbled with hunger. They spoke the truth.

So what's today's moral? Science is cool. Stay in school. Never ever question the scientific method, or we will crush you like so many ancient civilizations before you, while chanting "Screw you and the anti-empirical horse you rode in on. Screw you and the anti-empirical horse you rode in on. Screw you and the anti-empirical horse you rode in on..."

Did anyone else do this? Does anyone know what I'm talking about.

Overheard in the Drugstore

"It's been fourteen months. I missed French bread so bad... You couldn't get it in Georgia."
Fits the theme nicely, don't you think?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Food week continues.

"Shrimp, Crawfish, Crabs, and Oysters"

So we were listening to the Saints beat Philadelphia on 870 AM, and an ad for Deanie's Seafood came on. The thick yat accent talked about the four seasons of the year, "You know - shrimp, crawfish, crabs, and oysters." The ad ended with the announcer encouraging you to come on down to Deanie's, where you can buy seafood "like people in Utah buy potatoes."

Is Utah known for its potatoes? I'm pretty sure they meant Idaho.

But I'm also pretty sure if you said to them, "I think you mean Idaho," their response would be "Utah. Idaho. Same difference."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

"A Piece of Cake"

Our friend, a mother of three, including a recently added wee one who wakes up frequently during the night, leaving our friend spacy and grumbly for much of the day, was attending the gymnastics class of child #2. As she sat with a gaggle of other waiting moms, one of them, also the mother of a recently added third, piped up cheerily and went on at length about how "the third one's just a piece of cake," and how smoothly everything's going, and how much energy has, and just generally how peachy everything is.

She was asked, "Aren't you tired? Don't you have to feed during the night?"

"Oh, no... We have a baby nurse."*

Money should come with an instruction manual (one that includes the rule "Don't blather on about the glorious benefits your wealth affords you to precisely those people who are most acutely feeling the absence of the aforementioned glorious benefit"). Some people clearly need it.

* Just to clarify, a baby nurse is the kind individual who you pay to live in your house and get up in the middle of the night and do all the unfun, grueling things that deprive new parents of sleep and render them spacy and grumbly for much of the day.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Overheard in the Park: Giant-Mutant-Lizard-Bugs

"It was long and skinny and had orange stripes. It looked like a cross between some kind of bug and a lizard. I don't know. I think that water did something."
That's going to be the first line of my wretched B-movie horror flick.

The camera pans to the left, zooms in on the storm-grate, then spirals down into the subterranean darkness where murky shadows of giant, post-diluvian monstrosities slither to and fro...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pop Quiz: Extremely Extraneous Aerodynamic Accessory Edition

Select the pair that best expresses a relationship similar to that expressed in the original pair.
(A) rot : vegetable
(B) visor : cap
(C) junk : trunk
(D) mullet : head
(E) that pissy acquaintance of yours : dinner party
The winner will receive this totally awesome auto add-on and a mega-mullet-makeover for that pissy acquaintance of yours.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

God Is Great. God Is Juicy.

We were just flipping through the dial and briefly landed on the Christian channel. It was a sort of evangelical, sassy dating show, and one of the women described God as:
"the juiciest lover you'll ever have"
Is that from the Bible? I couldn't find the passage...

Hot Wheels

So maybe we've failed to reach a consensus on whether or not the Subaru Forester is the whitest car around and precisely what percentage of Forester owners listen to "urban" radio, but I think we can all agree that the 1984 Ford Escort is the sexiest car in existence. Just try and argue with that one!

Yeah, I didn't think so.

Something to Chew On

The Roman Chewing Candy cart has long been a fixture of the Uptown landscape, an old, horse-drawn cart, working its way down St. Charles, selling long taffy-ish candies in several flavors. After the storm, like everything else, it went away for a while. Then the cart came back, but the horse didn't. The cart was pulled by a truck - a truck - which was kind of pathetic. And it was distressing, leading one to wonder if and how the horse met its demise.

I'm happy to report that the horse is back, and the Roman Chewing Candy wagon is fully restored to its former, dilapidated glory. But I wonder, where has the horse been and why did it take so long to return? Is the city experiencing a horse-housing shortage? Has the horse been whiling its time away in some substandard stable in Houston or Atlanta, watching CNN, and dreaming of the day it could return to the oak-lined streets it's always known? Hmm...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bing Bing Bam Bam

After the travails of the cannon post, I collapsed in a state of nervous exhaustion, and have only now awoken from three days of dreamless slumber. Hello, again. Nice to see you:

Friday night as the full moon rose over downtown and we drove slowly home from dinner at Casamento's and dessert at Angelo Brocato's (yes, they're both open, and life is fine...), we flipped through the radio dial and landed on Q93. As the Gutta Girls "Bing Bing Bam Bam" played, the bass speakers of our newish car throbbed, and I thought These speakers sound pretty good. This led me to wonder how often Subaru Forester stereos get a real low-end workout, because let's face it; Subaru's are about the whitest damn car there is. Damn fine, but also damn white. (Are Volvo's whiter? I actually don't think so.) And this of course led me to ponder what the Venn diagram of Subaru Forester owners and hip-hop radio listeners might look like. I'm pretty sure it would look something like this:

I don't claim we're the only people in that skinny little sliver in the middle, but it sure ain't crowded.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Be Careful What You Ask For

While in Virginia, we visited my cousin who is restoring some of our antiques. He showed us the pieces. We discussed some of the particular issues with flooded furniture. Then the conversation took a turn towards his true passion, Civil War-era cannons. Some of you have foolishly asked to hear more about this. I warned you not to, but you're the boss, so here goes:

When he was a kid he had been incredibly bored in school, and the teacher had sent him to the corner to read reference books, and he had seen a picture of an old cannon and fallen in love with it, and later on, he had trained as an engineer but decided it wasn't for him and had taken up cabinetry and furniture restoration, and in his free time, he now built third or half scale, fully functional replicas of Civil War-era cannons, and he had acquired copies of the diagrams drawn by the original Union engineer who designed the cannons, and as it happens, they're almost exactly one-third scale though he'd had to rescan and slightly alter the size to get an exact match, and although the diagrams existed there was no explanation for why they were designed that way, and he had wanted to understand why, so he was building replicas, and look at that picture - isn't that just the sexiest thing - and here's one of the spokes of the wheel which as you can see is not precisely vertical but is actually at a three and a half degree angle from the hub, which presented a special technical challenge to manufacture, and he spent days trying to duplicate them with little success until he researched the historical methods and learned the appropriate techniques, which were much more effective, although each spoke still takes one and three quarters hours to make because he hand whittles the tapered form, and he showed me a box full of spokes which represented weeks of work, and the reason for the three and a half degree outward radiating angle is that without it, as the wagon traveled over rough terrain, the axle would move laterally and just bust sideways through the wheel, but with the angle, the force is radiated out along the spokes and into the metal-bound rim, which contains it, but this presents another challenge because if the spokes are at a three and a half degree angle, they no longer maintain an optimal vertical load-bearing configuration, so the ends of the axles are actually tapered slightly and the wheel actually slopes outward at a slight angle, and the bottom spokes are oriented perpendicular to the ground while the top spokes are actually at a seven degree angle to the ground, so that if you actually saw one of these wagons from the front you would see the wheels angling out slightly in a v-form, and the cannon is hitched the front wheels, the "limber", with a single joint so the wheels are fully articulated and travel over the rough terrain - because there were very few good roads at the time, there was one over in the Shenandoah valley - without structural damage, and the limber of the cannon carried a metal-wrapped box with shot and gunpowder, and duplicating this presented additional technical challenges, because at one third scale, all the nails will actually split the grain of the wood so he had to drill one hole into the wood slightly smaller than the head of the nail and one whole into the copper slightly larger than the head of the nail, and of course, each box has dozens of nails, and each cannon had several auxiliary wagons travelling with it, carrying supplies and whatnot, and there were several cannons with each unit, and each unit also had a special forge-wagon, and of course, the limber for the forge wagon carried forge supplies, not cannon supplies, and there were special wagons specifically designed for the retrieval and transport of cannon barrels seized from enemy, which were considered important trophies, and the Union had one really genius engineer who designed this curious looking cannon with a bulbous back end that went something like this, and the brilliant thing about this cannon was that the curve of the barrel precisely represents the time/pressure curve as the cannonball travels the length of the barrel where X is time and Y is pressure inside the cannon, so the thickness of the cannon wall and the pressure is perfectly proportional at every point, and...

That'll do for now. Will pick up where we left off tomorrow.