Wednesday, February 28, 2007

One More Reason to Love Helen Mirren

She went commando!

Cain't help lovin' dat dame o' mine.

Did I mention she used to live around the corner from me when she lived in New Orleans?

Oh, all right.

Saints and Sinners Re-Redux

Okay, let's see if I can get this straight.

Originally, Timm (flutter, my heart) gave me two scripts to read, one of which turned out to be the front-runner in this competition and the other the runner-up.

It turns out, Timm made a mistake. What he originally thought was the front runner really was the second runner-up. My choice was the committee's second choice. The play Timm thought was so ridiculous was the first choice of the academicians.

All of which means, last night Timm gave me the third play to read in order to give him my opinion by this past Monday.

Follow me?

Unfortunately, I now know something about this play from what Timm had to say about it; and I am hesitant to turn the cover sheet.

What is it about? I wish I could tell you.

Hell, what the fuck?

You take a classic 19th-century American novel, update it to the present, make it about a hustler and his pimp, throw in some bitch humor along with the gratuitous nudity, and you've got a sure-fire recipe for success.

And, no, I'm not talking about The Scarlet Letter.

Um, you know, thinking about it, it might not be so bad. I wonder if Pisser is available in May?

Nah. Too old.

Update, 1:43 PM:

I've begun to read the play. Scratch the part above where I mentioned bitch humor. No jokes so far.

I'm hoping there is no gratuitous nudity at this point.

Update, 5:24 PM:

I fell asleep around 2. Just getting my shit back together again to go out for rehearsal this evening. Sure hope Timm doesn't need an answer tonight ...

Update, 12:43 AM, 03/01/07:

Timm has decided to go with my choice. I can stop reading this Eeeew-factor play and get some sleep.

Gay Marriage Is Just Like Yours, Only Gayer

Like Jocko says: "Funny, sweet and on target."

How Lame

The trouble with crap like this is that someone has to expend the time and concomitant energy for refutation and clarification.

Oh, Fiddle-De-De

I've been waiting to hear this:

Laura Bush is either getting top secret briefings on the situation in Iraq, or she's a liar. I think the public deserves to know which.

As Joe reported last night, the White House dragged Laura Bush out before the cameras, again, and as they always do when things aren't going well for them. This time, Laura went on Larry King as an expert on Iraq policy. Here's what she had to say:

Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, uh, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everyone.

Really? And how does the happy homemaker know this? How does Laura Bush know that many parts of Iraq are stable - and apparently she knows this through other sources that are NOT the media, since she informs us that the media isn't telling us the "real" story about Iraq.

So if Laura know the "real story" about Iraq, that isn't available to the public through the media, then Laura must be privvy to insider information about Iraq, classified information, and I'd like to know why. Because if she's not being fed classified information that we aren't privvy to, then the woman is a liar. And if Bush is going to use his wife to justify the biggest foreign policy disaster in decades, if not ever, then the public has the right to call her on her bullshit.

Oh, Mr. Aravosis, "why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Um ... Yup, Still Dead

From Savage Love:
Q: Serious question: I have always had a thing for Anna Nicole Smith and frequently masturbated to her Playboy photos. I've always felt some guilt about masturbation to begin with, but since her death, I now feel a little creepy doing it. Do you think it's OK to continue now that she has passed away? —MISSING ANNA NICOLE

A: No, MAN, I don't. But not because it's disrespectful—there's nothing you can do to Anna Nicole Smith in death that could possibly outdo the shit she subjected herself to in life. No, the reason you feel creepy about beating off to Anna Nicole's photos now, MAN, and the reason you must stop, is this: Whacking off to the dead violates the hope that masturbation represents. When Anna Nicole was alive and young and beautiful, MAN, a tiny part of your brain somehow managed to convince your dick that your fantasies existed within the realm of possibility. If the right set of circumstances, however improbable, were to occur, you might actually find yourself in bed with Anna Nicole Smith. So long as she lived, MAN, you lived—and whacked off—in hope. But masturbating to the dead inspires only feelings of hopelessness and despair. Which is why no one beats off to James Dean or River Phoenix or Marilyn Monroe or Mary Todd Lincoln without feeling a little creepy, a little hopeless, and a little closer to the grave himself. Knock it off.

Mary Todd's a no-no???

Oh-oh.

When They're Out to Get You ...

First, they don't throw you a retirement party (I know, you're sick and tired of hearing that tired old moan). Then they cease all contact with you (ditto). Finally, they let your insurance lapse.

Since I received a letter from my insurance carrier in early February notifying me that my policy was being discontinued, I have been in contact with the insurance carrier I elected to keep after my retirement from the State. It seems the H R Department from my agency never sent the paperwork to the carrier.

The representative from the carrier suggested I call H R to get this done. I did. H R assured me they would take care of it.

After a week, I contacted the insurance company again to find out no paperwork had gone through. No problem, said "Tony", he would take care of it and call me back.

A weekend passes with no call from "Tony". I call the carrier again.

No paperwork. I should contact my H R Department.

I contact H R. "Oh, but we sent the paperwork twice already. We don't know what is wrong with this insurance company." My H R lady gets them on the phone.

Nope. No paperwork. H R lady faxes the paperwork "yet again" today.

Tomorrow, I am to call her back to find out if it all went through.

Where will I go if I get knocked down in the street today or tonight? At least, I know a student nurse; and oh, yeah, University Hospital has reopened and is taking in indigent patients. I'll be fine. In the meantime, I have a prescription needing to be refilled. My copay on it is $50.00.

This Morning's Mood

(Concept shamelessly stolen from JA).

Monday, February 26, 2007

Curses! Foiled Again

Remember when I mentioned a couple of days ago how I had to read these two new plays for this contest? Well, I met with Timm this evening before rehearsal and told him which of the plays I preferred. It turns out my pick was the committee's third-place selection, and their first-place selection was the play I did not like. That one is the play Timm is going to recommend.

Who makes up this committee? I wondered. It turns out they are a group of academicians from around the country.

Wow. My opinion differed from that of a group of my betters. I've spent the rest of this evening considering this issue, and I've come to a conclusion.

I'm right. They're wrong. End of story.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Getting to the Bottom of Things

A late-night dangling conversation over beer:
So, [blank] is going to be at the Oscar ceremonies in L A tomorrow night.

Yeah, he told me.


What, he told you? When?

The other day. He texted me.

Why would he text you?

We text. I don't know why. We text.

But he's my friend.

He can have more friends than you.

But he's not your friend. He's mine.

I'm sorry. It's no big deal. We text each other every now and then.

He's after your ass, that's all.

Dude, he's not after my ass.

He is.

I don't give away my ass.

That's not what I been hearing.

What? What have you been hearing?

Nothing. Just that - nothing.

What?

That you bottom.

That is so not true.

Just telling you what the word around is.

The word around? What word around? Who says that?

Nobody. People. I don't know.

Bogus. You are being so damn bogus.

It's common knowledge.

No, it's not. I top.

Uh-huh.

I top. Dude, I am so going to put this on my blog.

Not if I put it on mine first.
Du-udes, I beat you both to it.

And the Winner Is ...

No, I haven't caught Oscar fever yet - maybe tonight if I can find the right bar to settle in to watch it.

What I have been doing is reading a couple of new plays.

Let me backtrack.

I've already mentioned the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival a few days ago. Well, kind of in league with this (they operate out of the same office) is another festival called the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. According to its entry in Wikipedia, Saints and Sinners was ...
... Founded by Paul J. Willis in 2002 as a way to bring LGBT literature to New Orleans, Saints and Sinners is an alternative literary festival held in various locations around the world-famous French Quarter each May. Saints and Sinners creates an environment that engenders productive networking and increased awareness for LGBT issues in writing. The Festival provides a forum for the dissemination of ideas and promotes those writers and publishers within the community who have successfully brought the issues of LGBT individuals to the forefront. Additionally, Saints and Sinners promotes honest, thoughtful writing and offers opportunities for aspiring authors to enter into the rich tradition of creating LGBT content.
This year, their fifth, the organization is sponsoring a playwriting competition with a $500.00 award. In addition to the money, the first-place finisher will also receive a three-weekend-run production of his or her work at the Marigny Theatre, beginning May 11th.

Well, it turns out the reading committee could not make a final award decision and chose to pass the final judgment on to producer Timm (deep breath) Holt who, in turn, passed two of the three finalists on to me after rejecting one of them out of hand.

I can't imagine what was in that third play that caused Timm to dismiss it because I don't see what the problem could have been in selecting a winner. Out of the two I read, one of them really belongs on a stage. It's that good.

I'll let Timm know my choice tonight or tomorrow, and we'll see what happens.

I always hated competitions. Somebody always loses.

I hate judging them more. Somebody always loses - and always takes it personally.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

WTF?

Okay, I stayed out altogether too late last night. I admit I had too many beers - but I swear I stayed off the rum. When I got online here this morning and started reading the news, I thought I was experiencing my first - or maybe one of my first - cases of DT's. But no, my RSS feeds were serious. Apparently, the media woke up before I did and decided to make today Stupid Saturday.

It seems the Virgin Mary is making another of her celebrated appearances. The lady's been dead for two millenia, but she's still making more farewell tours than Barbra Streisand, Cher, or Sarah Bernhardt combined. My friend, Jaye Ramsey Sutter (the only woman for whom I would even contemplate leaving Bob - especially this morning) describes the latest concert appearance of the Lady in Blue: on a pizza pan.

Jaye asks,
How do we know that [this is a picture of Mary]? Do we have a Polaroid of her? When was it taken? Is it a candid or perhaps a studio portrait?
Oh, Jaye, Jaye, ye of the left-wing, little-faith block, of course, we know what Mary looked liked. As a compassionate marian-christian, nee Roman Catholic, allow me to elucidate with a little exhibit of well-known images of our theocratrix in some her various manifestations.

Mary on "a little silver slipper" of a moon, beaming her light rays to those of us beseeching her intercession.

Mary, the Bleeding-Heart Conservative.

Mary, Champion of the Rich.

Mary, Protectress of the Floral Industry.

Limpid Mary, Meek and Mild, Alleviator of Allergies.
These images are quite well known to those of us buoyed by faith. Of course, you may scoff that these images are, perforce, glamorized, painted as they were by some of the Masters of Western Art. Below I present you some of the more recent images, photographs all, which prove her existence irrefutably.
Mary of the Steady Glaze.

Coy Mary of the Annunciation ("Who, me?")

Acquiescent Mary of a "Woman's Proper Place".

Mary, Patroness of Depressives.

And, finally, Mary, Champion of the Aged and Retouched.
Now, all you doubters, get real and show some faith and shut the fuck up before you really piss her off.

You don't want to see no Mad Mary!

Get Off of Our Country!

And you, you, you, you, get off of my cloud! Incredulation. The mind (sic) is a terrible thing to waste.

(You rock, soldier.)

And It only Took Him Ten Days

Bush declares tornado-stricken parishes disaster areas.

Friday, February 23, 2007

We Interrupt Our Regularly-Scheduled Programming ...

... To bring you this late-breaking news report.

Anna Nicole Smith ... is still ... dead.

Film at eleven.

We now return you to our regularly-scheduled programming.

He May Have a Point

Now I know you're going to ROTF and LYAO when you read this, but let's follow it through.
The lawyer for a former Baptist church leader who had spoken out against homosexuality said Thursday the minister has a constitutional right to solicit sex from an undercover policeman.

[ ... ]

Authorities say he asked the undercover policeman to come up to his hotel for oral sex.

His attorney, Mack Martin, filed a motion to have the misdemeanor lewdness charge thrown out, saying the Supreme Court ruled in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas that it was not illegal for consenting adults to engage in private homosexual acts.

[ ... ]

Both sides agree there was no offer of money, but prosecutor Scott Rowland said there is a "legitimate governmental interest" in regulating offers of acts of lewdness.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has filed a brief claiming that Latham's arrest also violated his right to free speech.
Several things mentioned here make me wonder:
  • Does the former (?) judgment-passing reverend detect any slapstick cosmic justice in his plight?
  • Who was going to blow whom? I know, in courtly terms, it's "irrelevant", but wouldn't you want to know this, too?
  • "There is a 'legitimate governmental interest' in regulating offers of acts of lewdness"? (Lemme catch my breath!) Why, Mr. Prosecutor, that sounds like taxation to me. So which governmental body is going to get the pimp's cut in these matters?
I'm just curious.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Prince Harry to Serve in Iraq

So the Brits are sending their heir's spare to the desert.

Jenna and Barbara are considering signing up as camp followers. (Not!)

Somebody always picks up Georgie's tab.

Back to the Grind

We picked up rehearsals last night by running The Fat Man's Wife and Adam and Eve on a Ferry. I can't get over the caliber of talent that has come to us, their openness to direction, and their willingness to contribute their own ideas and insights. They're beginning to gel with one another, as well, playing with each other like puppies. I'm having fun.

Here are the casts:
The Fat Man’s Wife

Joe Cartwright ... Don McCoy
Vera Cartwright ... Mandi Turner
Dennis Merriwether ... Keith Launey

* * * * * *

Adam and Eve on a Ferry

D. H. Lawrence ... T. J. Toups
Frieda Lawrence ... Mandi Turner
A Visitor, Ariadne Peabody ... Rikki Gee

* * * * * *

And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens

Candy Delaney ... Frederick Mead
Karl ... Keith Launey
Alvin Krenning ... Philip Gordon
Jerry Johnson ... Don McCoy
I can't help wondering, where do they come from and why do they come to us in this tiny space off the beaten track?

Putting It in Perspective

Spread the truth about our city.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Now What?

With another Mardi Gras having passed, it's time to start focusing again on the next theatrical venture coming up. This will be the Marigny Theatre's production of three one-act plays by Tennessee Williams. They'll begin running in mid-March in tandem with the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival here.

Williams' one-acts are not nearly as familiar to us as his major full-length works but are highly worthwhile for the glimpse they afford of an emerging giant testing different stylistic waters as he learns from such forebears as G. B. Shaw and Pirandello.

Quite a few of these plays have never yet been produced. Of those that have been, several received their world premieres at the Festival here in 2005. I'm thrilled that several actors associated with those premieres have worked at the Marigny Theatre in the recent past and continue to participate in our ongoing projects.

As we continue our work on this production, I will be leaving occasional posts marking our progress. For now, I offer you a first glimpse of a draft of a potential poster for the show.

Well, I'm Miffed and a Little Bit Peeved

Yesterday was a long day. We got out early, before 9:30, in order to catch the formation of the Krewe of Saint Anne down a few blocks from us at the corner of Chartres and Marigny Streets. The Krewe was supposed to set off on their march at 10:00, but it didn't happen. By 10:30, Bob and I decided to leave and head back into the Quarter.

Thus, we missed the second coming of Christ, who looked quite fetching in a Hedy Lamarr kind of way. But, hell, if Jesus is gonna be late to his own damn party, fuck him. Nobody's got all day to wait.

Anyway, we did more picture taking on Royal Street before heading over to Bourbon where the only action to be found involved local legend Stephanie trying to milk a centaur. You don't want to know. Yes, I have pictures.

We managed to hang out until noonish. By then it was time to get back to home base and rest up some. We went out again around 6:00 that evening and spent a little time at the Latrine which was pretty crowded but would soon start emptying out.

Rod Stewart came in with a lady friend and immediately prompted a tizzy of frantic whispers among the crowd.

"It's him."

"It's not."

"It is."

"Uh-uh."

I decided it couldn't be him because Rod Stewart, even at this stage of his life and career, would not be seen in public with a chick sporting an ass as wide as this chick had. But then again, the Latrine would be the perfect place to escort such a lady ... I don't know.

As 9:00 approached, Bob and I decided we were ready to head home again, this time for good. We made a quick pit stop at Verti Mart to grab a bite to eat then trudged down Governor Nicholls Street toward the River and home.

Once on the 500 block of Governor Nicholls, we could see the celebrated Brangelina bodyguards outside the new home. If you've read any entries on Work Out and Tan, you will know why they are celebrated.

Unbeknownst to us, as we were walking down the street, a vehicle was motoring in the same direction. As we neared the home, one 0f the bodyguards stepped away from his partner (who stayed in front of the entrance to the garage) and approached us. He stepped in front of and between us and asked us how we were doing, how was our Mardi Gras? As Bobby was answering him, the vehicle drew up and stopped, a shaved-headed man stepped out of the right passenger side and headed around the car from behind as the left passenger door opened and Brad Pitt scooted out and into the secluded safety of his home.

Friendly bodyguard number one then stepped aside and wished us a good evening. Bodyguard number two standing at his post outside the garage proved to be just as friendly and passed a little small talk our way as we passed him on our way home.

Within a few minutes, I began to feel a little resentment rising at the recollection of this police action, as courteous as it was.

But wait, I reasoned with myself, this is a person who risks being mobbed and torn limb from limb when walking along a public sidewalk. Hadn't that just happened to him and his lady the other when they tried (stupidly) to tour Bourbon Street on a Carnival night?

I wondered what kind of person would choose this kind of life? What kind of person would endure it?

Of course, there are reasons for making this kind of choice, and we all seek to have the kind of life our hearts desire.

And bodyguards are lagniappe.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

All in All, It Was a Kind of Tired-Ass Mardi Gras


I'll Be Out for a While, See You Later

Losing It

Now it's the Anglican Church that's cracking up.

What's eating these people? Is it war or social and political injustice? Is it poverty or hunger? Is it the rampant abuse of children? Is it sickness?

No, it's cock sucking and ass fucking. That is the great evil permeating the "free" world today, leading us to Armageddon and the dissolution of life on the planet. Don't even mention global warming, those are just two words that don't mean shit. Nope, homosexuality is the Great Satan.

It all seems to be so much misdirection. Divert attention to what you believe to be a common threat or enemy, and you can secretly develop your own agenda which appears to be the age-old agenda of any organization: the accumulation and solidification of power with the resulting control over the hearts and minds of the masses.

But I believe they're making a dreadful mistake. I do not believe these masses care that much about homosexuality, nor do they perceive it as a threat. As more gays come out and assume their visibility, the world is beginning to see that they are kith and kin, that they are mostly ordinary Joes and Janes, that the sexual outlaws among them are as incidental as their straight counterparts.

I believe the masses will recognize the lie when some authority demands they recognize in their midst the current commie, the new coon, or today's fresh kike, the obstacle-du-jour to their well-being who must be destroyed for the common good.

I believe this blindered focus will be rejected by the majority of men and women, that the world will recognize the place whence evil comes and respond with the one word, "No."

I believe God may be letting organized religion die a humiliating death in order to release us from its bondage so that we can begin to see our world and its beauty and its place in the cosmos with a clearer vision.

Trust the common man. It's because of him that we celebrate a bawdy, raucous holiday today before we drop to our knees tomorrow to receive our ashes and the reminder that we are dust.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bartop Dancers Taking a Break

No Words Can Convey ...

Too Pretty for Words

Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration At Army's Top Medical Facility - washingtonpost.com

This is unacceptable. I wonder if some of these guys think they might not be better off dead than having served their country, a country that repays them with this kind of abject neglect and cruelty. A word comes to mind, and that word is treason; treason from our government itself.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Successful Bead Hunter Knows When to Move on Before the Herds Are Depleted

Bein' Green

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).
What Color Is Your Brain?

A special note to those of you who personally know me: Shut the fuck up.

A Face in the Crowd

Olive, Bonding with the Third World

Hey, It's All Copacetic

So, New Orleans, on the brink of Mardi Gras, you just had nine people shot, two of them fatally. Any thoughts?
Officials noted the bloodshed did not occur near any of the parades Thursday night to celebrate Carnival, which culminates Tuesday in Mardi Gras. ...

"Once again it's a situation where violent crimes are taking place in inner-city neighborhoods and traditional hot spots," said Mary Beth Romig, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The truth is, Mardi Gras continues to be one of the safest times for tourist to be here."

As Mayor Vaughn said in the movie Jaws, "Martin, it's all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, 'Huh? What?' You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July."

So, yeah, everything down here is just copacetic. So long as folks just stay in their place.

An Early-Morning Faun

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Krewe of Saint Anne

Bushism of the Day

As long as the money's on the table, everything's okay.

When You Gotta Go ...

... You gotta go.
The city provides 228 portable toilets, including 58 in the French Quarter,and 86 in the Central Business District, said Pamela Smith, director of property management.

But between Friday and Tuesday night, 28 parades will roll in the metropolitan area. And the problem of where to pee is so prevalent that New Orleans singer Benny Grunch even wrote a song about it - "Ain't No Place To Pee On Mardi Gras Day."

"It's a problem a lot of us have had," said Grunch, who specializes in songs about New Orleans' unique culture.

Author Julie Smith said when she and husband Lee bought a house in the French Quarter, the previous owners gave them valuable advice.

"They told us to tape the mail slot closed," she said. "Our house was right on the street, but they had people peeing though the mail slot."
I have a friend who had this happen to him. Being the kind of no-nonsense guy he is, he simply grabbed the offending member and held on to it until the police could arrive in answer to his call.

And who was this knight in shining armor who responded to his need? Why, a dyke on horseback in NOPD flannel blues. She handcuffed the felon with his mighty mouse dangling and held him on the street until the paddy wagon could arrive. Since this wasn't an emergency, it took a while.

To this day, there are denizens of dark, damp bars who retell the story in hushed, awed tones over early morning gins or bourbons.

With apologies to Joe: I couldn't resist it.

Hey, You Can't Hate Cowboys - It's Un-American

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Something to Think About

Then -


* * * * * *

Now -
First of all I wouldn’t want him [John Amaechi] on my team,” Hardaway stated. “Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think he should be in the locker room when we’re in the locker room. ...

Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic. It shouldn’t be in the world, in the United States, I don’t like it.”
- Tim Hardaway, interview with Dan LeBatard, Miami
Just something to think about.

Untangling the Beads

No Katrina Hearings? Gotcha, Joe

No Katrina Hearings? Gotcha, Joe
Senator Joseph Lieberman, chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, recently did a 180 and said that he will not hold investigations into the disastrous Bush administration(non-)response to Hurricane Katrina. He said, "We don't want to play ‘gotcha' anymore" and that "looking back… would be a waste of Congress' time."

In an attempt to explain the inexplicable Lieberman's spokeswoman Leslie Philips offered this somewhat bizarre statement: "The senator believes a more productive use of his time and that of his staff is to… ensure that a response to a future catastrophe is better."

Huh? Isn't that the whole point of examining the mistakes that were made and why they occurred? To make sure that we get it right the next time?
Get off the road, old man, you're blocking traffic.

Interesting Little Tidbit

Toxic Trailers Are Making Katrina Refugees Ill
Along the Gulf Coast, in the towns and fishing villages from New Orleans to Mobile, survivors of Hurricane Katrina are suffering from a constellation of similar health problems. They wake up wheezing, coughing and gasping for breath. Their eyes burn; their heads ache; they feel tired, lethargic. Nosebleeds are common, as are sinus infections and asthma attacks. Children and seniors are most severely afflicted, but no one is immune.

There's one other similarity: The people suffering from these illnesses live in trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Actually, you don't have to be in a trailer to endure these symptoms. Nearly everyone I know is suffering from these and has been since the destruction. With so much of the landscape still lying desolate, is it any wonder?

Five Days to Go

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wally Sherwood

Journalist, photographer, wit, and one of the most blessedly sleazy people I have ever known - above all, a mensch.

Uh-Oh

I've been waiting for this to happen. Is it the first drop of a pending downpour?

Then, closer to home, this shit happens:
The Liberty Mutual company won state regulators' approval Wednesday for an increase in its rates on Louisiana policyholders by an average of 13 percent, affecting about 24,000 homeowners.

The Louisiana Insurance Rating Commission voted 2-1 to approve the hike. The 13 percent increase is a statewide average, meaning much higher hikes for policyholders closer to the hurricane-vulnerable Gulf Coast, and possible reductions for those further north.

Yeah, sure, believe that. We got a great couple of bridges down here we can let you have real cheap. Hell, we'll even throw in the "Huey Long" for lagniappe. Central and northern Louisianians have always looked askance at the southern portion of the state. They'll shaft us anytime and anyway they can, never taking into account our contributions, cultural and monetary, to the state's overall general good.

Well, we'll just see how long your rates stay down, you redneck bubbas.

A Little Bit of Beefcake to Balance Out the Mouseketits

We Can only Hope

Once the most beloved country in the world, the US is now the most hated.
"Whisper of how I'm yearning", sang George M Cohan in one of the great American songs of nostalgia, "to mingle with the old time throng". Well, I'm yearning too, not for the gang at 42nd Street exactly, but for the America that Cohan was indirectly hymning - for the Idea of America, with a capital I, which once made the United States not just the most potent of all the nations but genuinely the most liked.

Perhaps, with a future new president already champing at the bit, we are about to witness its rebirth. As a foreigner I am immune to the rivalries or seductions of American party politics, but I have loved the old place for 60 years, and I simply pray for an American leader to give us back its baraka, as the Arabs say - nothing to do with religion or economics or power or even ideology, but the gift of being at once blessed and blessing.

For My Buds Who Have Chosen the Hetrosekshul Lifestyle

Other Times, You'll Want to Throw Those Beads

Happy Valentime

I don't do holidays. So it's always a special treat when someone comes along to put a different spin on something we've had to live with through all ... the days ... of ... our ... lives.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sometimes You'll Want to Hold onto Your Beads

Jeez, Da Google Beast

Curses, linked again! This time to the fragrant phrase:
pooting in public
I assure all my readers from outside the city, pooting is permissible in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. In fact, in certain venues, it's permissible all year round. Do come and help us celebrate.

My Bad

The New NASA Astronaut Screening Test - By Christopher Buckley - Slate Magazine

Oh, Thank God, There's Someone for Everyone

All the lonely people, here's all you have to do:

Lonely hearts are being advised by the Catholic Church to consult an archangel to help them find love.

The church is encouraging single people to look to heaven to find their soulmate in the run up to Valentine's Day tomorrow.

The Catholic Enquiry Office (CEO) is suggesting that, rather than enduring rounds of speed dating to find a partner, people could pray to Saint Raphael, the patron saint of "happy meetings".

The saint, one of seven archangels, appears in the Book of Tobit, in the Old Testament part of the Catholic Bible.

The CEO claims that Saint Raphael, who comes to the aid of a woman called Sarah in the bible and sets her up with her spouse Tobias, has been a spiritual friend to generations of singles.

"Many people have testified to the help they have received in finding a life partner through the prayerful help of the archangel," said Monsignor Keith Barltrop, CEO director.

"At this time of year, significant numbers are seeking someone special, or maybe dealing with recent heartbreak. Saint Raphael is there to help."

He added: "If something is for our good and happiness, then God will answer our prayers as we ask."

Although certain that every prayer would be answered, Monsignor Barltrop admitted that the results might not always be what is expected.

"You might be praying for a tall, dark and handsome person to come into your life, or a beautiful brunette, but God may have prepared someone quite different but wonderful for you," he explained.

"Prayerfully ask him, and find out for yourself."

Not only that, but ...

The CES is offering tips from matchmaking experts on its website www.life4seekers.co.uk with information about St Raphael and details of a prayer campaign for singles starting tomorrow.

For You, Eli

Now you can just tickle her with your mouse and watch her expand to her fully-engorged self.

Just Walk on By

Google-ized Again

This one kind of makes me nervous. Someone from another southern state has found this site by Googling:
"concealed weapon permit" new orleans mardi gras
Just what we need.

Unmatched Destruction

From today's New York Times:
Much of federal disaster aid is handed out according to the Stafford Act, which calls for states to ante up a quarter for every 75 cents provided by the federal government. That way, locals still contribute what the law deems a fair share of each rebuilding dollar. When the damage exceeds $110 for each person in the affected state, the split increases to 90 percent for the federal government with a 10 percent local match.

Since 1985, the local matching requirement has been waived entirely for 32 separate disasters. It was waived for the State of Florida after Hurricane Andrew, when damage was $139 for each Floridian. It was waived again for New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, which cost $390 per New Yorker.

Yet somehow the Bush administration has not found it necessary to forgive the local match for Gulf Coast states after the double-whammy of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, except for costs associated with debris removal and some emergency services — despite the fact that the two storms wreaked roughly $6,700 worth of damage per capita in Louisiana. This inaction is particularly surprising, given that such a large proportion of the damage can be attributed to the failure of the federal levees that were supposed to protect the New Orleans area.

Monday, February 12, 2007

And on Fat Tuesday, There's Alway Something to See Coming Up the Street

What Would America Be Like without New Orleans?

From today's Baton Rouge Morning Advocate (not our own Times Picayune).
Nearly a year and a half after Hurricane Katrina, a PBS documentary dares to ask “What Would America Be Like Without New Orleans?”

“American Experience: New Orleans,” a two-hour program focusing on the distinctive city’s past and how it relates to its present, was born out of the devastating storm, its director, Stephen Ives, said Tuesday from Dallas.

But It's All About the Costumes, Right?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another Mardi Gras Street Photo

This was shot at Mardi Gras, 2003.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Walking home down Barracks Street this evening, I had the misfortune to spy the telltale orange envelope of a parking ticket on my car. More miffed and pissed than angry - because why be angry in this city anymore where laws and rules are arbitrary at best? - I took it off my windshield to bring it back home and make my payment.

Now, I should not have received a ticket because I was parked in front of what I would call a faux driveway. Faux driveways are remnants of past decades when a portion of sidewalk had actually been laid out as an entryway into a parking lot or garage but are no longer used for that purpose. For instance, on this particular block of Barracks Street alone, there are faux driveways that lead directly to blank walls or front doors. My faux driveway was one of those.

Meter maids are arbitrary and kind of dumb, I thought to myself as I continued home. This one hadn't even ticketed another car that was parked in a second faux driveway behind my car. Once home, I put on my glasses to see how much of a fine I'd be donating to the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Twenty bucks, that's not so bad for parking in a loading zone.

A loading zone? My faux driveway was now a loading zone? How do you explain that? There are no signs designating that area a loading zone, not that that means anything down here. I'd once gotten towed for parking in an area that was to be cordoned off for the annual Crescent City Classic marathon run. A smarmy lady at City Hall had patiently, smilingly explained to me that there had, in fact, been signs put up the week before advising drivers there would be no parking allowed during the race. Yes, she was also aware those signs had been pulled down several days before the race, but there you are. Even if you hadn't seen the signs that were no longer posted, you were still in violation. Have a lovely day. Jesus is my Savior, and He loves you, too.

But a fucking loading zone? I looked closer at the ticket. The idiot meter maid had gotten the make of my car wrong. Oh, the shortcomings of the New Orleans labor force. Even worse than that, she had my license number wrong.

Huh?

Aw, man.

Some sucker fuck had taken me for a bigger sucker than he could ever be, stuffed his ticket under my windshield wiper, and almost conned me into paying for his damn violation.

Age has its advantages, one of which is the need for reading glasses. Without these Walgreen babies, I would never have caught those telltale clues pointing to the true culprit.

Well, in a couple of months, Mr. NJT-###, you will be getting a smarmy letter from some complacent broad in City Hall telling you you owe the City of New Orleans $80.00, thank you very much, Jesus is my Savior, and He loves you, too.

But He loves me better, mother fucker.

Whoa!

The ideal Manhunt profile:
Just moved to New Orleans and am looking for various. I am a straight acting, straight-seeming guy with a 43-inch chest, a 22-inch waist, and a 9-inch cock. I go to the gym 4 to 6 times a day. Most of my interests revolve around sports, fashion, and other such superficialities. I am perfect, and you should be too.

Just Because

I was looking through my past Mardi Gras photos to find one to place in the upper corner of this page and stumbled across this one from last year. Although I never showed it, I like it now after the passage of some time. It strikes me as the kind of picture my favorite critics would like, as well. To me, this scene depicts part of the true Mardi Gras experience. Make of it what you will.
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