Thursday, April 28, 2005

Just My Humble Opinion

The Saints cut off talks with the state because Tom Benson can't get his corporate welfare. So he's picked up his football and trudged off home.
In an "open letter" released by the team Wednesday, Benson said he expects the state to honor the existing 10-year $186 million package that guarantees certain dollar amounts to the team, including a $15 million payment that is due by July 5. The state borrowed $8 million to make the payment last year, and officials say they are facing a similar shortfall this year....

The current deal, signed by Gov. Mike Foster, runs through 2011. But the team can exercise an "out clause" after this season by repaying what it has received since 2002. The state can opt out of the agreement after the 2008 season, without paying a penalty. In both cases, the team would be free to move or to negotiate a new contract.

In talks that began in January, the state has proposed a $168 million Superdome renovation with additional premium seating and other options that Louisiana officials said would help the team earn more money without taxpayer subsidies. In exchange, the state wanted the team to contribute $40 million to the stadium overhaul and to give up the guaranteed payments. Benson agreed to contribute some to the construction but maintained that the state must continue the direct subsidies. Talks stalled with that issue as a primary sticking point.

The man wants nothing less than corporate welfare, which is the open goal of the NFL today. These franchises are no longer businesses selling a commodity, sports. They are only the means by which their owners, the new century's new robber barons, can bleed an economy dry.
Some lawmakers, who had expected to debate the Saints deal during the legislative session that began Monday, said they were surprised by the sudden turn of events.

"I'm a little shocked that there was no happy medium and no compromise," said state Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, who represents the district around the Superdome. "I hope we don't have to start all over again."

Carter said she respects Benson's business decision but is concerned that her colleagues in the Legislature will look upon it unfavorably. "There are some who are going to assume Benson was not willing to come to a compromise," Carter said. (Italics mine.)

Duh. Maybe they'll see it for what is. I'm sure the Governor does by now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Cue the Violins

In case you haven't seen this yet. Draw your own conclusions. Posted by Hello

Say It Ain't So

AMERICAblog has a disturbing report today. Talk about selling your soul, lying with pigs, etc. Why won't people see that these anti-christians are dangerous? Do they think they can get what they want and then walk away from the wingnuts? How simple.

Simple-minded, I mean.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Wallet's Tale

Now, gentle reader, undoubtedly you’ve heard the tale about how I had my wallet lifted from my person the other night. Oh, don’t be so considerate as to deny the knowledge. Every time I show my face in public, some gadabout sidles up to me to commiserate over my loss in oily terms of insincerity. Why just Saturday night, a back-bulging fullback in a ten-year-old evening gown and layers of Max Factor practically licked heavy cream from her lips as she pitied me for my loss.

So let’s just get down to the true motherfucking story, awright. Let’s deal with the facts.

On Friday, the 15th of April, the Bobble, Sperm Magnet, and I had repaired to the Latrine following the work on the Bobble’s fishpond. We had finally maneuvered to my favorite spot, the riverside-lakeside corner of the three-sided bar.

(That would be northeast for those of you not of the New Orleans persuasion.)

Well, we’re just going to town, the Magnet and I knocking back major hangover helpers, and the Bobble hitting it now and then on the poker machines. The crowd is growing, and the music is getting jumpier and bassier. Suddenly I see across the bar from me the spitting image of Helen Mirren. Ms. Mirren’s back in town! Except she’s got her hair all curled up in a floozy black dye job and she keeps winking her left eye at me.

I figure, hell, Dame Helen’s doing research.

And the joint just keeps getting louder and more crowded.

Then everybody notices him at once: The Latrine’s April Centerfold Hustler. He’s here.

Let me digress a moment to explain a little something about the Latrine. It’s on old place, been in business over 30 years in the same spot and with what appears to be the same customers. It’s one of the most comfortable places in the city to enjoy a liquid repast. It accommodates any type of person from someone like, say, Helen Mirren to a hulking cross-dresser with a bad wig and worse makeup to ordinary Joes like you and me. So it stands to reason it would accommodate hustlers, as well.

As long as they don’t screw up. Like they always do. Like this one was about to do.

Well, my little group, we’re still just grooving on the party feeling, the Magnet and I still knocking back even more major hangover helpers, and the Bobble starting to lose some now and then on the poker machines. Dame Helen keeps winking that eye and wetting her upper lip in my direction. The April Centerfold has sponsors spotting him to drafts of Miller Lite, so he’s happy, moving around the bar and greeting us all like he’s Jack Dempsey in his Broadway Restaurant.

At some point I take out my wallet to retrieve some funds just as David, the physical therapist who worked on the Bobble's broken wrist last year (another story), steps up to my right to engage me in some brittle cocktail banter. I rest my wallet on the bar. The Centerfold hustler then greets me from my left.

My attention is now divided between the two Davids on my right and the two-and-a-half hustlers on my left. I’m beginning to feel sleepy. Dame Helen may have to take a rain check.

Yeah, she’s still winking. She’s winking both her left eyes at me now.

I turn to Sperm Magnet and take a few deep breaths.

“I was watching Bobby’s phone while that hustler was around,” the Magnet says. “I don’t trust him.”

“Humph,” I said, agreeing.

I looked up and saw that Helen Mirren had evaporated in the instants just past. O, sad, dark night of my life!

But no, she’s here, still near, and dancing delicately across the floor.

In the paws of Mr. April! Damn. How could she do something like that, a woman of her refinement? Then I catch her glance, and it’s clear she is not happy in those steel-tendoned arms. She is looking at me with eyes that say, “Get me out of this.”

What can I do? The male of the species has no choice at a time like this. I step up to be the “big old lug” who will win the hugs from my lip-smacking Helen Mirren.

I approach the hustler and tap his shoulder.

“May I cut in?” I ask.


I’m thinking, he’s not supposed to say that, that’s not in the script, when the Bobble turns to me and says, “Where’s your wallet?”

I grab my left cheek. My hand grips only fat. He’s right. My wallet’s gone. It can only be one place.

I turn back to the dancing couple and approach the Centerfold once more.

“I told you, no,” he says.

I’ve been drinking Latrine-sized portions of rum for several hours by now, so I say, “I wanna dance with you."

Next thing I know we’re belly to belly and he’s got his arms across my shoulders. I start stroking his upper back.

“Mm, that feels good.”

I move my hands in circles lower down his back. He’s purring. I grab his ass with both hands.

Wallets, right cheek pocket! I yank them out. One is empty, the other one’s mine.

Cries erupt from all sides of the bar.


"Get out!"

"You’re 86-ed!"

The crowd has turned into a mob and chases him down the street like the Universal Studios extras chased poor old Boris Karloff up to that windmill at the end of Frankenstein.

And I am “The Man.” I am the one who stood up to that lowlife. I got back what was rightfully mine. And I did it all in the presence of Dame Helen Mirren.

Who has disappeared.

Who was really filming in England that night.

Who doesn’t have floozy dyed black hair.

And who sure as hell would not be winking her left eye and licking her lips at the likes of me on a cheap-rum night.

Even with all that money in the wallet that I got back.

And that is the true story of how my wallet got lifted.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Immortal Words from Sperm Magnet

Always gag at least once. He'll appreciate it.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Sounds Like "War of the Worlds" reports this morning that:

Scientists have identified good bacteria already living in some humans that target and trap HIV and may protect against infection. They reported their findings at the 2005 American Society for Microbiology Beneficial Microbes Conference, at Lake Tahoe, Nevada....

The bacteria are strains of lactobacillus, commonly found colonizing the oral and vaginal cavities of humans. They do not cause disease. They target HIV because the virus is coated with the sugar mannose, which they use as a food source....

To identify bacteria that target mannose, Tao and his colleagues isolated oral and vaginal lactobacilli from healthy humans and tested the ability of different strains to bind to baker's yeast, another microorganism coated with mannose-rich sugars. They found a small group of lactobacilli that bound to mannose and further testing against HIV revealed two strains that specifically trapped the virus and blocked infection....

Think about it. A simple bacteria.

"This method can protect infants against HIV in breast milk and women against HIV upon sexual contact unobtrusively and inconspicuously via fermented foods or feminine products," says Tao. "If the method can be successfully developed and applied, the global spread of HIV can be controlled rapidly, effectively and safely."

"The major roadblock in the development of this technology is the lack of financial support. Drug companies and venture capitalists are not interested because the beneficiary populations are infants and women in poor countries," says Tao. He is currently seeking sponsorship from charities or philanthropists to develop this technology.

Think about it. The almighty buck.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Nazi Won

More rigidity, more exclusion, more suffering and dying in the world. Or maybe he could change...?

The New York Times has this to say:
He has been described as conservative, and as the current Dean of the College of
Cardinals he is widely respected for his uncompromising if ultraconservative
principles and his ability to be critical.
What an interesting way to put it, don't you think?

Monday, April 18, 2005

For Those of You Who Share My Love of Sick Humor

Paul Rudnick is at it again. He has published his very own living will. Here are some of my favorites:
3. If I am unable to recognize or interact with friends or family members, I still expect gifts....

5. Do not resuscitate me before noon.

6. If I do not respond to pinches, pinpricks, rubber mallets, or other medical stimuli, please stop laughing....

13. If I remain unconscious during a painful, lingering illness, I would like the following life lessons to be published in a book entitled “Tuesdays with Paul”:

i. Treasure every moment.

ii. Love everyone.

iii. If you bought this in hardcover, you’re an idiot....

21. In the event of an open coffin, I would like smoky evening eyes.

22. At my memorial service, I would like my clergyman to begin his eulogy with the words “I suppose, in a way, we all killed him.”
Cruel, I know. Stop laughing.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Snapshots, Part One

Sometimes when "the world is too much with us," I find it best to retire for a while and return to my home. That's what I have been doing for the past two weeks. Not traveling to my birthplace or anything like that, but just hibernating here at home in my apartment surrounded by courtyard and patio and plants and neighbors all living their lives. So I did the same, just lived my life.

I'm not sure I'm even ready yet to come out of this comfortable cave, because it's all been sweet.

The week before last, the Bobble decided it was time to clean the big pond in the main patio. See, living things like fish soil the water and make it muddy. You lose sight of the bottom of the pond.

He announced his intention of cleaning it out and repainting it. None of the neighbors jumped up to help, so on Tuesday morning, he drove uptown and brought back the Sperm Magnet to help.

By the time I arrived back from work that afternoon, the pond was freshly painted and covered with a tarpaulin, the fish were flopping in a large garbage pail, behaving as if they were being prepped for genocide. Bobble and the Magnet were resting, well satisfied in a job well done.

"The fish are going to die," I said.

"They're not going to die."

"Every time you clean the pond, they die."

"You say that every time I clean the pond."

"And they die."

"They don't."

"You say that every time they die."

"Let's go to the Latrine," Sperm Magnet said.

So we went. The next morning, leaving for work, I checked on the fish. They were still flopping around, waiting to die.

By the afternoon, we were being whipped with storms, hard rains and frenzied winds. Making my way through the patio, I looked in on the fish. They looked okay. They looked like they were becoming comfortable in their new garbage pail. Hell, they looked like they were making plans to redecorate.

Sperm Magnet was still in the building.

"I thought you left last night. You weren't around when I got up this morning."

"After you left the bar, I went home with somebody."

"Anyone I know? I want details, intimate details."

"I'd rather not discuss it."

"Oh. Somebody I know."


"Your circle is compressing."

The Bobble got the li'l Magnet out and away and back home shortly after that.

By the end of the week, the paint in the pond had dried. The pond was refilled. The fish returned to their more spacious home.

Every time they caught a glance of someone stopping by to admire the clean pond, they fled in terror.

They'll relax in time. In time, they'll begin to soil the pond again so we will no longer be able to see the bottom. The Bobble will make his announcement of repainting. We'll all flee so he will have to recruit outside help - Sperm Magnet again, no one else bites anymore.

The simple circle of the simple life.

Friday, April 8, 2005

How to Be Rewarded

Cardinal Law, ousted in U.S. scandal, is given a major role in funeral rites. Slap me again, harder. Spit on me, and make me grovel.

They hated Bernardin, but Law - hey, he's the man!

Thursday, April 7, 2005

People of the Lie - Revisited

I'm not going to go into much detail about the reports coming out yesterday and today from, first, the moony Washington Times (see this for John Aravosis' take) or, secondly from the Washington Post (check out this recap, again by Aravosis). You can - and probably already have - found and read these original articles and made your own opinions about them.

I say "opinions" because some people in this country today will not be swayed by the truth.

What's burning my butt so much this morning is the barefaced mendacity of the Republicans. None of them saw the memo they said did not exist? Gimme a fuckin' break. Do they think we were all born yesterday - or got our educations after our public school system went to pot? You know what I mean, the system that no longer teaches our children how to think? Or worse yet, teaches them lies?

It's gotten to the point that you cannot believe anything coming our of their mouths. They couldn't speak truth if, in one blinding flash, God wiped out their whole vocabularies with the exception of one word spelled "t-r-u-t-h."

Time was a Republican was a person I disagreed with on social issues. Now when I walk down a dark New Orleans street, I worry less about being mugged by a junkie than being rolled by a yuppie Repub.

And speaking of muggings, look at what they're doing to the dead body of the Pope. Our flags are at half-staff for a man who opposed the Iraq war and condemned our system of ignoring our poor in order to benefit our rich. Of the Presidential delegation scurrying across the Atlantic to view the remains, the one conspicuously missing is the one who is arguably the most "Christian." There was no room at the inn for Jimmy Carter.

Frist is going. Dennis Hastert is going. Tom DeLay is going. In fact, lots of Senators and Representatives are going. Can't pass up such a photo-op. (By the way, who is paying for this trip?)

Personally, I think some of them just want to make sure the old man is "morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably, and reliably" dead.

Monday, April 4, 2005

Shoot for Fun

Now you're talkin' my Bubba language!

The Observer has discovered:
One of the biggest private security firms in Iraq has created outrage after a memo to staff claimed it is 'fun' to shoot people.

Emails seen by The Observer reveal that employees of Blackwater Security were recently sent a message stating that 'actually it is "fun" to shoot some people.'

Dated 7 March and bearing the name of Blackwater's president, Gary Jackson, the electronic newsletter adds that terrorists 'need to get creamed, and it's fun, meaning satisfying, to do the shooting of such folk.'

‘Course, it’s fun! Why the hell else you goin’ to do it?

But then, them tweedy Brits covered their butts with this:

There is, however, no evidence that company staff have ever shot people for fun.

So did they or didn’t they? Is it or isn’t it?

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Pope John Paul II, May 18, 1920 - April 2, 2005

Yesterday morning, two friends came to visit. Before I turned off the television set in the living room, they saw we were watching the constant news feed from Rome, the deathwatch.

David asked me if I were Catholic and was I sad?

My answer was not spontaneous - as it would have been for John XXIII. I had to reflect on what I was feeling.

He had turned out to be a hard pope. People today speak of his compassion, but too many people never felt that. They are saying he brought down the communist regime in Russia, but not he alone was responsible for that. That system had run its course and had nothing more to offer. He expressed apologies to Jews and Muslims for the wrongs perpetrated by the Church during its history. But he had not these same sentiments of repentance for women or for the children of clerical abuse. He surrounded himself with hardline doctrinaires who possessed little compassion

I saw him once, in September, 1987, here in New Orleans. He was leaving Saint Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. I was walking up Decatur Street as his motorcade swung onto the street and suddenly there he was in his popemobile, blessing the crowd. His eyes scanned us and I am sure everyone there would tell you he looked right at each of them individually. I swear he saw me as clearly as I saw him.

He was magnificent and charismatic - unlike anyone I had every encountered before.

And I answered David that yes, I was sad. I was sad for the father he could have become but never did. I was sad for all those others who would never become all that they are called to be.

I am sad still that I one of them as well.

May he be with God.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

What NOT to Say to Me

Don't say:
You remind me of the butler, Mr. French, on Family Affair.
Yo, Big Man...
Face it, you don't know me - and I'll make sure you never will.
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