Monday, March 31, 2008

Caper Capers

I love pickled things—pickles, olives, hot peppers. It's genetic. But June is taking it to the next level. The other day, she sat down with a jar of capers and a demitasse spoon and chowed down a third of its contents. She chased the capers down with a good swig of caper juice.

Even I wouldn't do that.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I like umbrellas used for sun instead of rain.

I still see it around town from time to time (though not, if memory serves, as often as I used to), an old lady shuffling down the sidewalk on a hot day with her own little patch of shade.*

* I saw it often, as a young boy, in Kenya, where the perpendicular equatorial rays are even harsher than our own subtropical luminescence.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Montrell, Easter finest. (They grow up so fast. Kids we knew before the storm as kids are now straight-up teenagers. Montrell used to live across the street. She was always very sweet with our girls—would come by and visit and play with them. Since the storm, she lives on the West Bank but visit for holidays. This time I hardly recognized her—all teened-out. But she's still very sweet with the girls.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Poor Man's Towing

When you're hard up for cash, forty bucks is a lot of money to pay someone else to tow your car to the fix-it shop. Fortunately there are alternatives. Poor Man's Towing comes in two varieties (both commonly seen around here):

The Pull:

Tie the front bumper of the dead vehicle to the back bumper of the live vehicle. One guy drives the front car. One guy works the brakes of the back car to make sure it doesn't crash into the front car at stoplights.

It's simple and effective, but my favorite is its even down-and-dirtier variant:

The Push:

Can't muster a chain or piece of rope? You're in luck. Just nuzzle the live car up to the back bumper of the dead car. The guy in front puts it in neutral. The guy in back slowly nudges the front car forward until it picks up enough speed to coast to the next stop. (This is best done on back streets.) The process is repeated until arrival at the final destination.

Sarah and I have used The Push (on empty streets in the middle of the night). In addition to being cheap and effective, I confess, it's also damn fun (though you have to be careful or you'll wind up with two sets of mashed-in bumpers and both cars will pay a visit to the fix-it shop).

Where there's a will, there's a way.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Queue the Lady Beatles*

Today is the Lady's birthday. I won't reveal her age; I'll merely say that I'm precisely twelve days older (and wiser**) than her. Among our various birthday festivities, we went to the racetrack. She won precisely her age in dollars.*** Weird, man, weird.

Happy birthday, darlin'.

* Sorry, weird and confusing reference (one of my specialties).

** I think I make that joke every year.

*** Too bad she's not, like, a million years old. (Although actually that would be kind of difficult. Large age differences can be tough for a relationship.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Boy with tambourine, Super Sunday

The "Shellfish Are Like Oxygen Masks on an Airplane" Rule

There is, as I see it, precisely one downside to raising children in Southern Louisiana: peeling their shellfish. Until they arrive at the Age of Shellfish Knowledge, we poor parents are consigned to peeling their shrimp, pinching their crawfish, and cracking their crabs, then handing over our hard-won morsels to the youngsters who devour them in seconds, with no appreciation of the effort involved.

It can't be helped. Children must be fed. And they must be fed shellfish. But some consideration should be granted to the diligent parents. Certainly, we can't be expected to waste away, passing along all the fruits of our labors to our pint-sized overlords while our own stomachs rumble.

So I propose the "Shellfish Are Like Oxygen Masks on an Airplane" Rule:
"In the event of shellfish, please satisfy your own desperate shellfish craving before assisting your children."
Now, I don't mean gorging yourself to full parental capacity before attending to the poor dears. I just mean, get that initial shellfish fix; then you're better prepared to help them with theirs* (and less likely to grumble bitter things like "You're four, goddammit. Can't you figure out how to properly crack an exoskeleton? Kids today... When I was coming up we peeled them ourselves or we went hungry. And we were lucky if they were even cooked. Had to fight 'em 'fore we ate 'em. Kids today...").

Can we agree on this? Please?

* When presented with a table full of crawfish, I generally won't leave until it's littered with empty carcasses and every viable morsel has been consumed. So I alternate: a dozen or so for me, a dozen or so for them, a couple of dozen for me, a dozen or so for them, a couple dozen more for me... oh thank God, they've lost interest... a couple of dozen for me, a couple of dozen for me...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Name Game #2

The fun continues:

What's his name?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Steak, K-Doe, Steak!

The question I forgot to ask, of course, is: What happens to Ernie's steak? I see three options:
  1. Antoinette leaves it untouched on the table at the end of the meal, wheeling Ernie back across the dining room (inadvertently bumping into other customers along the way). The busboys eat the steak.
  2. She takes it with her, setting the doggie bag in Ernie's lap as she wheels him back across the dining room (inadvertently bumping into other customers along the way). Once home, she puts the steak in the freezer (along with all the other frozen steaks) so that when the End Days come and Ernie returns reincarnate, there'll be plenty for him to eat. (He'll be hungry after all that while.)
  3. She eats it.
I flip-flop between #2 and #3.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Second Mt. Bethel B.C.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Name Game*

Okay, here's the game:

I post a character from my sketchbook. You propose a name for him or her. By some arbitrary, reality-show-like process (involving monkeys, Posh Spice, Charo, and reader-voting), we arrive at a winner. The winner of each round gains Slimbo-Points, accumulating—with luck—towards a (yet-to-be-determined) Super-Slimbo-Prize.

Or something like that. Like what about this guy?

What's his name?**

* Jack, Jack, bo-back, Banana-fana fo-fack, Fee-fi-mo-mack, Jack! (The complete set of all possible Name Game songs is defined by the string expression: X, X, bo-b(X−1), Banana-fana fo-f(X−1), Fee-fi-mo-m(X−1), X! where X is any name. Do with this information as you see fit.)

** Points are awarded for gumption, cheek, alliteration, and "right-ness".

Dine, K-Doe, Dine!

Ernie K-Doe's professional peak was some time ago (at the height of the New Orleans R&B hey-day) culminating in his perennial classic, "Mother-In-Law". But he remained, until his death, a local celebrity, easily recognized by his flamboyant attire, highly coiffed wig, and outrageous bravado, often accompanied by his devoted wife, Antoinette (easily recognized by her matching wig).

A while back, Ernie shuffled off this mortal coil, but apparently he still likes a good meal.

A couple nights ago, I was chatting with some waiters from Ralph's on the Park. They told me that, on more than one occasion, Antoinette has come to dine, accompanied by Ernie's life-sized mannequin replica seated in a wheelchair. She says things like, "Ernie wants that table in the corner," then wheels him (er... it...? him...?) across the dining room (inadvertently bumping into other patron's along the way) and takes her seat opposite him. She orders him a steak.

I tried to compose some wry commentary to conclude the vignette. Here's what I've got: Wow. Just... wow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I suppose I should change the name of this blog to "Photos of Raggedy-Ass Houses". (But what's a fellow to do? We've got more raggedy-ass houses than you can shake a stick at.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Queue the Beatles

Today is my birthday.* E-mail me a dollar. I'll pin it to my shirt.

* Thirty-six—that's officially old, right?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

RE: OMG! Splotch Girl. Hilarious!

A while back, Sarah tried a new face cream. The results were... unfortunate. Her visage blossomed into an elaborate constellation of red splotches.

Sarah composed a complaint email and asked me to take a photograph of the offending results to attach. The photograph was... unflattering:
  1. The splotches were... splotchy.
  2. The close-up shot broadened her face into a mottled glowing moon.
  3. The dim bathroom light added an unhealthy green undertone to her vivid red pallor.
But before clicking "Send", Sarah pondered the possible unintended consequences:
  1. The email would arrive in the morning inbox of whatever anorexic twenty-two-year-old aspiring fashion chicky was tasked with reading customer complaints.
  2. Aspiring fashion chicky would open the unfortunate attachment and snort her morning latte through her nose in a catty guffaw (nearly spilling it on her dainty Prada shoes).
  3. Fashion chicky would immediately forward the email to all her catty anorexic fashion pals: "OMG...!"
  4. An office-wide snark-fest would ensue.
  5. By midday, the photograph would be posted to Hot or Not, garnering tragically low rankings.
  6. Sarah would regret clicking "Send".
She decided a verbal complaint would suffice. The photograph was destroyed.*

*And the splotches subsided, returning Sarah's visage to its original un-splotchy, un-moon-ish, un-red-green loveliness.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I find battered old electric boxes weirdly compelling. Their vaguely humanoid form? The way they stand against the horizontal clapboards? All the strange lines and tentacles? Something... (Maybe I'll compile my absurdly numerous photos of them into an exceedingly large, heavy, and expensive book to be lugged home from a boutique bookstore near you. You can buy it along with my fire hydrant book.)


Is there a field of science devoted to the study of hobbies and their implications about the individuals who pursue them? If not, let's start it: hobby-ology.

I was biking through the park early yesterday morning. I passed two middle-aged men in camo-fatigues, baseball caps, knee pads, and giant earphones slowly sweeping their metal detectors around the empty playground.

I thought to myself, "That holds absolutely no appeal for me." I don't care if there's gold bullion buried there (which I'm pretty sure there isn't). Spending hours swinging some big electronic thing back and forth listening for telltale blips (grumbling in frustration each time it turns out to be a bottle cap or half-buried beer can) just doesn't sound that fun. So who does it appeal to? And what does it say about the people who do it? What's the hobby-ological analysis of metal detecting?*

And what about other hobbies?
  • scrap booking
  • fly fishing
  • train spotting
  • record collecting
  • crossword puzzling
  • blogging**
Oh, hobbies... There's still so much we don't understand.

* Shortly thereafter, I passed the (exuberantly gay) owner of the Magazine street flag shop pedalling along on his three-wheel recliner nouveau-tricycle-thingy. Flapping behind him was a large rainbow tie-dyed flag with a skull and crossbones under which was written "GIVE UP THE BOOTY". What's the hobby-ological analysis of that?

** Dare I ask?