Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
It turns out that, although he was my dentist since way before Katrina, and that I have the same insurance I always did, I couldn't prove it today.
The sweet young thing (the receptionist) politely explained that I'll just have to contact my Human Resources Division and obtain some kind of tangible, acceptable (to her) proof that I am insured and can pay my dental bills like I always did before.
I'm going to get that information.
And I'm going to get another dentist.
Monday, April 28, 2008
In coaxing her to play the part of Alice B. Toklas, I may be rescuing Mandi Turner from the cold, dark world of student filmmaking and saving her soul!
And that's what theatre is all about.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
James Bernazzani, the head of New Orleans' FBI office, a silver-maned, tough-talking, Harvard-educated, larger-than-life crimefighter sent to squash public corruption in a jurisdiction notorious for it, was reassigned to the agency's national headquarters Friday after he publicly flirted with a run for mayor.Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Oh, the hubris. O, zymandias.
The abrupt transfer marks the end of Bernazzani's three-year tenure in New Orleans, a tumultous period during which he carved out a prominent niche as the face and voice of a very public war on corruption.
The FBI confirmed the move in a statement sent Friday in response to queries from The Times-Picayune.
"The recent media attention regarding a possible run for mayor could create the appearance of a conflict of interest," the statement read. "Even the appearance of a conflict must be avoided for the public to have the highest confidence in the FBI." ...
The FBI noted in its statement that Bernazzani, 52, has served the agency and the city "with distinction." That distinction was built largely on a string of high-profile corruption indictments, the result of investigations that were undertaken both before and during his reign. As he accumulated political pelts, Bernazzani's profile on the local scene expanded accordingly.
This week, Bernazzani upped the ante, dipping his toe into political waters by confirming widespread rumors that he was considering a run for mayor.
The lesson to learn: you want to get rid of somebody around here in this day and age, get 'em to thinking they should run for office.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
- Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
- Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
- Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
- Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
- I have been with women. In a manly-man way. All right, it was a long time ago.
- I have never worn a dress. Well, except for that time when I was seven years old and I played Saint Michael the Archangel in a pageant at Saint Michael's Elementary School in my old home town.
- I once studied for the Franciscan priesthood, but I failed. Thank God. I'd make a better Carmelite.
- I am very insecure and shy. Shut up!
- I have never had sex with any porn star I've ever known. No, wait, lemme think about that. Okay. No. No, I haven't.
- Neither have I ever had sex with anyone I've cast in a play.
- Come to think of it, I haven't had sex in a pretty long time. Shit ...
Update, Friday, April 25th: Tag, You're It!
Howard Fleshman contacted Oklahoma City TV station KOCO after receiving an e-mail from his daughter, Kristy Fleshman, 26, who said she and her fellow soldiers were working up to 10-hour shifts in desert heat without any food.Not enough armor, not enough weaponry, not enough healthcare, not enough food? WTF?
Specifically, the e-mail read:
Hey Dad, I have an issue I think I need the family's help on. Someone decided to quit serving all the soldiers at the compounds lunch. ...
U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin contacted the National Guard before requesting that the Army look into the matter. Because Guardsmen from the 45th are in Iraq, the Army would lead any investigation."It is extremely disturbing to hear any stories involving our men and women in harm's way being inadequately provided for," Fallin said.A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said his office has called the Army about the issue and is awaiting a response.More than 3,000 Oklahomans are overseas fighting the war in Iraq. The 45th Infantry Brigade has been in Iraq for nearly four months. ...
The family of another soldier e-mailed KOCO to say it has been sending food to two soldiers who hadn't been getting meals.
The body of Padre Pio, one of Italy’s most popular saints, went on public display today to mark 40 years since his death and the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of stigmata on his hands and feet.
Thousands of devotees gathered to pray as the body of the mystic monk was unveiled by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, after an open-air Mass.
“Today, we venerate his body, opening a particularly intense period of pilgrimage,” Cardinal Saraiva Martins said. ...
Cardinal Saraiva Martins had a private viewing of the body in the church crypt with other officials who prayed around a casket enclosed in crystal containing the corpse. A British-made silicone mask bearing the features of Padre Pio covered the saint’s face. ...
The exhumation of Padre Pio’s body - the first time the tomb had been opened since his death in 1968 - was approved by the Vatican despite opposition from some of the saint's most fervent followers. Padre Pio's relatives even threatened to take the local archbishop to court if the corpse was exhumed, and a group of devotees threatened legal action.
Since the unearthing last month, the body has been prepared for veneration in Santa Maria delle Grazie church. Officials at the church said there was no sign of the stigmata, the marks of the wounds of Christ which made Padre Pio famous, and that the body was in good condition. ...
However for decades after the appearance of stigmata on his hands and feet in 1918, many in the Vatican were uneasy about his popularity and scorned him, doubting the authenticity of his wounds and mystical virtues. He was banned from saying Mass in public for a number of years.
An Italian historian, Sergio Luzzatto, recently caused controversy with a book on Padre Pio in which he claimed documents in the Vatican archives suggested Padre Pio may have faked his stigmata with acid, and also had "intimate and incorrect relations with women". Vatican officials say both allegations were fully taken into account in the beatification and canonisation process. Followers of Padre Pio believe he exuded "the odour of sanctity", had the gift of bilocation (being in two places at once), healed the sick and could prophesy the future.
Dear [Name Withheld], Timm Holt has asked me to submit some photos to you from the Saints and Sinners Festival production of Someone Bought the House on the Island. Because of their size, I will send them individually. There are three for the time being.My second email reads:
This first shot features Kevin Ford and Trenton Ryan Perez.
Thanks for all your help.
This second photo again features Kevin Ford and Trenton Ryan Perez.I get a response to this second note that says:
Who are these people?And I think to myself, Well, I don't really know. I can't say that I have any personal knowledge of them, or insight about them, beyond their names (which I found on Stageclick.com - and you can, too).
I don't know if they are good people or if they are bad people or if, like most of us, they are somewhere in between. Perhaps they are fathers with children they love and adore or maybe they are fugitives on the run from some local, state, or Federal governmental agency. I just don't know. Existentially, perhaps I can never, may never, ever know.
It might be that the older man experienced certain difficulties in his youth, some heartache perhaps, a lost love. It may be that the younger man is headed for some disaster, his bloated, bullet-ridden body to be found someday floating in the river. But I can't be sure. I'm sorry. I feel so inadequate. Forgive me.
I soon get a response from my third email in which I had written:
This final photo includes, clockwise from the left:The response asks me:
Now I'm done. Thanks again.
- Warren Usey
- Kevin Ford
- Eric Martin Webb
- Dennis Monn, and
- Trenton Ryan Perez
I assume the names are list, (sic) left to right.Well, no, they weren't (aren't?), but I wrote back, changing the order to meet her needs.
This person I am corresponding with is an editor on a daily newspaper in a kind of major city (well, it once was), and she expects me to take her into my arms, feed, and burp her.
Come to think of it, this pretty much explains the state of the American media today, doesn't it? Just spoon feed them what you want them to eat, and they'll spit it up or poop it right back out while you sit over them, cooing about what good boys and girls they are.
The last few weeks have been unsettling, having to deal with back-stabbers, power-grabbers, and inflexible authority figures. At first, I was really beaten down, but, lately, I've been regaining my strength. And the bad dreams are probably my mind's way of forcing me to face up to my own feelings of perceived powerlessness and not-so-inappropriate rage.
Funny, yesterday I asked myself what was up with all these pictures of flowers I've been shooting and posting here?
This morning, I kind of think my mind is fighting for me on two fronts. While I'm awake, she's offering me solace with safe thoughts and images of comfort. But while asleep, she's slapping me around, demanding I get mad, get even, and stand up like a man. Wild.
Oh, don't worry about me. I'm not asking for that. I'm going to be fine. At my age, there aren't many cycles left I haven't already spun through. But I do find these subconscious strategies to be fascinating, don't you? They are so like me and the way I cope.
That's pretty stupid. They would be, wouldn't they?
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
We shot the first rehearsal photographs last night. Here's a sampling.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Something about New Orleans theatre, though ... We seem to adore:
- Female dancers approaching middle age, married with children, who still want to "grow up" to be Donna McKechnie in A Chorus Line.
- Scurrying little Hobbits - although their place in the sun may be giving way to a long day's journey into night. Remember when you were a kid and your mom finally let you have that hamster you just had to have, and remember how cool it was for the first few days, and then remember how boring it got cause all the little rat did was eat, poop, and run around on that circle thing? Yeah, like that.
- Impressionistically made-up, over-the-hill - and over-the-top - local legends who sing best when partnered with powerhouse belters who can drown them out.
- Reminding a beloved leading lady of the local stage that, when once asked why she was such a success as Miss Hannigan in a long-ago production of Annie, she replied, "It's cause I hate those kids" - "those kids" probably being some of the "talent" sitting in the audience last night, still wanting to "grow up" to be Donna McKechnie in A Chorus Line.
But I did come up with the perfect ending to an acceptance speech if I ever do get to give one.
It will end like this: "The best thing about being a director is the pleasure of your company."
Monday, April 21, 2008
We don't really expect to win anything, but we will make our presences known. We are party people, after all.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Looking for Detailed Specific Model (sic)I have a few questions.
Art Gallery Project
Model with breast that point (sic) slightly out and up.
Breast (sic) must have small to medium size nipples and areola.
Breast should carry mostly on bottom (sic) with nipple pointing up toward a 45 degree angle and outward 25-45 degrees as well (!).
Please contact for more information on session pay rate.
- "Model with breast that point slightly out and up." It sounds like you mean "perky". Why don't you just say "perky"?
- "Breast must have small to medium size nipples and areola." Do you really mean more than one nipple per breast? You're definitely winnowing down your choices.
- "Breast should carry mostly on bottom with nipple pointing up toward a 45 degree angle and outward 25-45 degrees as well." What is this breast carrying on the bottom? Also, your geometry (is that what I mean to say? anyway, your use of numbers and degrees) is beginning to confuse me.
I confess, this is one of those times I'm glad I'm a dude and don't have to worry about taking and passing this kind of biology test. Even if it does pay. Are there really women around who would respond to something like this?
You know, disaster capitalism is a foul and fetid thing. It has the morals of a politician and the honor of Richard III. ...Um, actually, I do believe that Richard III was probably above this kind of thing. I know about the princes in the Tower and all that, but, really, what do we know for sure? He never went on record with a laugh-a-minute stand-up routine.
That said, these scum take it to a whole new level. Here is an example of frat boy mentality at its worst, crossing the line from sophomoric humor into the realm of true douchebaggery. They go around various cities and interview the homeless, then they use those interviews as fuel for “belittling humor.” Bad taste is right. ...You can read the rest here.
Sinn Fein, indeed. Ourselves alone.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
From the Times-Picayune.
Sometime during the night on March 15, Alvin Thomas crumpled onto his cold porch floor, where he lay, alone, behind a locked wrought-iron door embossed with oak leaves and acorns.
An Episcopal Diocese volunteer found him the next morning, near death. Firefighters broke down the door for paramedics, who took him to University Hospital, where he succumbed to an undiscovered brain-stem tumor.
The volunteer had stopped by with a can opener for the food Thomas had stacked inside the gutted house during the past year but couldn't open.
Thomas, 54, had collected the first cans from a food pantry last summer, after returning from Katrina-induced exile in North Carolina. In early June, he walked, one bag in hand, from the Greyhound station on Loyola Avenue to his parents' narrow shotgun house in the St. Roch neighborhood, where he lived briefly before the flood. Soon, he had dragged a discarded mattress to the gutted house, where he lived alone, without electricity or running water.
Thomas' closest neighbors often saw him after dusk, locked inside the porch, listening to Christian sermons or jazz on a beat-up, gray boombox.
Sometimes, he heard voices.
"But I don't worry about it," he said in an interview before he died. ...
Perpetually dressed in a sagging navy-blue sweater, sweat pants and gray stocking cap, Thomas paced the St. Roch neighborhood each day, up St. Claude Avenue, down Elysian Fields, then back. Exercising calmed his nerves, he said. To strangers, he offered only the occasional, "yes ma'am" or "no sir," or maybe a random biblical recitation.
He seemed obsessed with the Passover, the story of the angel of death passing over the blood-stained doorways of the Israelites in Egypt, moving on to smite the first-born sons of those who enslaved them. On a cardboard notebook cover lying inside the house, he had scrawled, in blood-red, smeared ink, a misspelled version of Exodus 12:23: "... and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, The Lord will pass over the door." ...
Living alone in the gutted house, he struggled with his frayed nerves. He sought solace in jazz, which, like religious radio programs and crossword puzzles, soothed him.
"I don't like too much noise," he said in an interview days before his death. "But jazz is a calming music. You heard about Miles Davis?"
This winter had been long and cold, Thomas said. And it was tough to keep himself clean, washing off in the restrooms of nearby fast-food places, he said.
"But I just take the good with the bad, the bitter with the sweet," he said, sipping coffee loaded with several sugar packets. "And I read the Word.
"In the beginning the Word was with God and the Word is God. That's Genesis. You heard about Adam and Eve?"
Thomas relished biblical stories about the fall and redemption of sinners: Zacchaeus the tax collector ("a scrounge and a cheater"); Jonah swallowed by the whale ("he was hard-headed"); and Adam and Eve ("after the forbidden apple, they needed fig leaves to cover their nakedness").
He particularly loved the tale of the prodigal son.
"He'd been eating husks with the swine. But he went home and his father said, 'Bring forth the best robes, put the best shoes on his feet, the best ring on his finger.' He commanded, 'Take the fatted calf and kill it,' " Thomas said, tapping his cane in rhythm with his words.
He started using the cane just weeks before he died, as his gait become more unsteady, possibly resulting from his growing tumor, his family thought. Thomas never knew what caused the dizziness. Maybe the sporadic meals, he said.
Or maybe the stress, "the havoc," as he called it.
Sometimes, along with the stress, he felt the presence of a certain spirit, and he would scrawl "death angel" in red ink on the door and preach to anyone within earshot about the Passover.
"God said, 'I'm going to come in the heat of the night,' " Thomas said. "He's coming soon." ...
Then, on March 14, Alvin changed clothes for the first time in months, a hopeful sign. ... That day, Thomas helped [a] crew of volunteers shore up the house. As they left, one of the volunteers promised she would return with a can opener.
Sometime that night, despite warnings scrawled on the door and walls, death stopped on France Street for the Thomas family's first-born son. He left behind a small gray radio, airing a passionate sermon to a small pile of clothes, some unopened canned goods and a tattered mattress.
Friday, April 18, 2008
On Monday morning, he admitted to me that he was scared. Do you know what it's like when somebody says he's scared, and you know what he's scared of, and it's the same thing you're scared of, but you don't want to hear him say it, because if he doesn't say it, then he isn't - scared, I mean - so you have nothing to be scared of either, but then he goes ahead and admits he's scared? It's scary.
By noon, we had gotten him to the emergency room at Touro Infirmary. The staff decided they had to admit him. He was badly dehydrated, for starters. They skewered an IV into his arm and began the process of pumping him full of fluids. Over the next few days, they did extensive tests to try to determine what could be his intestinal problem.
They found ulcerations in his stomach and ran biopsies on them. We had to wait two days to find out they were not cancerous, but by then, Bobby had gotten his strength back, his color, his voice, even his face.
Late Thursday afternoon, he came home.
Today, he started to clean the fish pond and decided he needed new ceramic molding to add to the pond's decor. He made me go with him all over the city and the parishes, looking for just the right piece. He wasted my whole day and drove me crazy doing it. At one point, I even told him I wished I had left him in the hospital.
Everything is back to normal.
Life is good.
On the other hand, I woke up at three this morning, and for want of something to do, I stepped outside and took me some pictures.
Awright, y'all! We got some people picking up the slack. Kyklops and NOLA Cleophatra have posted some shots to keep us going, and good Bud has posted the ultimate star-fucker photo. (Is she that short?) And, finally, bad Dave has posted his and flung down the gauntlet for next week with the theme of crapulence. Can't wait.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI ended a prayer service for bishops Wednesday evening by acknowledging "the immense suffering endured by the people of God in the Archdiocese of New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina."
He then presented a silver chalice to New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes as "a sign of my prayerful solidarity with the faithful of the Archdiocese and my personal gratitude for the tireless devotion which he and (former) Archbishops Philip Hannan and Francis Schulte showed toward their flock entrusted in their care."
For some reason, this reminds me of the other evening when I was out walking and stopped to let a car pass in front of me. It was a brand-spanking-new-deep-purple Corvette driven by an elderly gentleman, and it sported a handicap tag.