Wednesday, July 30, 2008

House Votes to Hold Rove in Contempt

This just received from Robert Greenwald at Brave New Films:
Dear ******,

The campaign to Send Karl Rove to Jail just took a huge step forward! In a stunning action just minutes ago, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Rove in contempt.

Brave New Films and our partners have been working steadily to maximize the impact of the petition. And we want to continue this fight, so please contribute so we can.

Let's take a look at the campaign so far:

  • 12 Days Ago: We launched Send Rove to Jail. You immediately recognized a crucial chance to hold Rove accountable for flagrantly breaking the law and you seized it, raising over 40,000 signatures in 24 hours!
  • 9 Days Ago: CREDO Mobile took note of your efforts. They hopped on board and sent the petition to their subscribers, garnering tens of thousands more signatures.
  • 5 Days Ago: We hit the 100,000 signature milestone, causing even more progressive groups to get involved, including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, The Nation, Campaign for America's Future, Progress Now, and People for the American Way, the last of whom alone generated another 15,000 signatures.
  • Yesterday: Brave New Films Editorial Director ZP Heller hand delivered three petition boxes containing over 127,000 signatures to the House Judiciary Committee in Washington D.C. Together with our partners, we took our message directly to HJC member Linda Sanchez (D-CA), who was impressed by the sheer number of signatures. "I think it's ridiculous that Karl Rove thinks that he doesn't have to follow the law," Sanchez said. "And nobody in this country should be above the law."
  • Today: Sanchez led the HJC in a vote of contempt for Rove!
In just 12 days, your ability to sign and spread our petition led us from merely pointing out Rove's lawbreaking hubris to helping convince the HJC to vote him in contempt.

Now help us take this fight to the full House. Contribute here so Brave New Films can remain vigilant in this battle. For it is not just about Rove; his case raises larger critical issues of holding lawbreakers accountable and advocating justice within the framework of our legal system.

Robert Greenwald
and the Brave New team

Brave New Films is supported by members like you, please consider making a donation. You can get our latest videos on email, iTunes, RSS, Facebook, and YouTube here. To stop receiving the latest videos from us, click here. We are located at 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232.

We can do a lot with a little as long as we do it in numbers and together. Frankly, I had doubts that the House would go there. Surprise! Surprise!

And so it goes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weighted by the Options

It’s been quite a week since my return from New Orleans. So much seemed to be piled on my plate that by last evening I just wanted to lock the doors, turn off the lights and radio, and pretend I wasn’t home. Turns out I wasn’t home – if you get my drift. This doesn’t feel like home.

The truth is something was shaken loose by this last trip. I miss the city that I swore I would never return to when I was sixteen. The enchantment has come back to me as it does to many natives who leave frustrated or disappointed. I am the only member of my family to ever leave town and move to, of all places the North. New York City!

The enchantment I once felt for Rehoboth has begun to wane. ‘Disenfranchised’ describes it perfectly. No longer part of a couple I am not invited to parties anymore and the volunteering efforts I used to look forward to are no longer possible due to work and other obligations.

At a crossroads then; a few NYC friends want me to move back and live with them until I get on my feet. As we sat on the balcony in NOLA sipping coffee last week, a friend and I talked about seeing Gotham through the eyes of visitors and house guests and how that helped to spark that sense of wonder and pride again, but eventually it all just faded away again. Yes, NYC is a magical place and holds many happy memories. Tempting yes, but I lived in Gotham at the exact time I was meant to and life would not be the same for me now. Jaded? Maybe.

Other friends suggest a move back to New Orleans and use my activist background to help the city. Possibility? Maybe.

This trip and the reunion evening itself proved what I have said for many years; that true friendships were forged 50 years ago. Though many of us had not been together for about 40 years the bonds held true and we slipped easily into new and old conversations as the memories seeped through and surfaced in our collective consciousness.

Earlier in the week when I confided these thoughts to someone their question was, “at your age don’t you think it’s time you put down roots?” The answer is I thought I had – for thirty years – put down roots only to have them ripped from the good earth by a hurricane like Katrina. That said I wouldn’t want those diseased roots for a life, anymore.

Because there is little hope that the furniture and ‘things’ in storage will ever find a home with me again I could dump it all here and start fresh. It’s a whole other lifetime.

Here’s the deal…

Pros: I own a late model automobile that gets good mileage. There is a little money in the bank. (And who knows what will happen to the banks.) I require very little to get by.

Cons: No Health Insurance. No promise of employment or housing. These could be worked out.

Of course, life could be bad elsewhere, but there’s an even better chance that it could be good. Working to Live is more attractive than Living to Work. Seriously.

Weighing the options.

Maybe it is time to move on.

And so it goes.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Healing Caturday

Click the image to biggen.

And so it goes.


Where the Hell is Matt? 2008

Worked all day - mostly from home - and have been rewarded with a killer headache. I was sinking into a nasty blue funk when I happened upon this new "Where's Matt?" video.
That's right, it's the new 2008 edition, where our world traveler Matt dances his way around the planet. I've seen it now three times and it certainly did my a world of good. Enjoy. And just try not to break into a smile.

Now, isn't that better? Thought so.

And so it goes

Friday, July 25, 2008

Barak in Berlin

That old saw about one picture being worth a thousand words is pretty right on here, but it's worth 200,000 faces.
McCain chided and belittled Obama for not doing the Afghanistan/Iraq tour. OK, so Obama decided to make the trip. And now that he's getting standing ovations from troops, and locals alike, the McSame campaign is whining that he's getting favourite son coverage while the coverage of McSame's recent events were less than impressive and less than news worthy.

The McSame campaign blew his cover by posting the dates of his trip. What were they thinking?
I'll leave that to you; considering the fact that Rove is onboard the McCan't campaign's double talk express.

All that said, I find it refreshing to listen to a speech by an articulate, composed candidate who chooses words carefully, and doesn't lose his temper or talk down to, or diss his audience.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Me.

I love this picture. Yep, this is my day. So, I worked 11 hours, got a free "happy birthday" car wash, and am in the process of preparing a bit of dinner. I thought about taking myself out to dinner tonight, but I hate eating alone.

Besides, I was given the best birthday present evah! The events of last weekend were a gift of a lifetime.

Of course, since I had the car washed it looks like the sky is going to open up any minute...
And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Romano Dancers 50th Reunion, Part One.

Wednesday, July 16: Made it to the airport with an hour to spare, so went directly to security to get any issues out of the way. No problems, it was smooth sailing. That settled I sat down to a breakfast of eggs and whole-wheat toast.

(Click the image of St. Louis Cathedral at right to biggen. This is what it looks like when not lit as a backdrop for a Bush Photo Op.)

The flight was full and included 8 small ones that I watched with some trepidation. The flight pulled out on time and we were airborne in a few minutes. To my great joy and amazement, the children were well behaved and busied themselves with puzzles, reading, or sleeping. Thanks be to G*d.

Arrived in NOLA 10 minutes ahead of schedule and after deplaning I set about trying to find the friends who were to meet me; after a communication mix up, we were united and on our way to Maspero’s for a lunch of Muffalettas and shrimp where another friend who also arrived that day joined us and the reunion weekend had begun.

After lunch we dropped off my bags and rested before heading out again. There were NOLA bloggers to meet at a neighborhood bar. The Golden Lantern is one of those dives where everyone knows your name. I had a great time meeting people who remain diligent regarding the slow rebuilding of the city. Loki (of Humid City fame) arrived with his neighborhood “krewe” known as the Krewe of Chartreuse. They arrived in costumes of various shades of green; Loki as a pirate sporting a chartreuse bandanna on his head. His lovely wife dressed in a dark green period gown, as well.

We talked about the bungling of rebuilding the city and gulf coast by the Bushies. Loki’s family roots go back farther than my own and there ain’t nobody going to beat him down. He has great ideas and is relentless when it comes to his love for the Crescent City. We shared sporadic conversation threads as he worked the room talking about some of his plans and ideas for more events throughout the city to bring people together. His energy was contagious, leaving me with hope for the future.

Back at the hotel there was yet another arrival – and another roommate. Bonnie is in failing health and pretty much confined to bed or wheel chair, but she was not to be left out of this big event. Fortunately, we had adjoining rooms so we could come and go at will. Each room had a balcony over looking the courtyard and pool area and we sat there enjoying an early cocktail before meeting others for dinner.

Thursday: A morning of photography with Dione began with café au lait and beignets at Café du Monde. We walked our old haunts and took photos along the way - some are better than others – before making our way to Deanie’s for lunch with the new arrivals. A beer and Oyster Po-boy was a little bit of heaven for me. Some window shopping was in order with gift ideas for friends back home before heading off to the hotel to rest and revive before dinner.

Note: I did say that NOLA is all about good food and I was going to do my level best to eat my way through the Quarter as much as possible.

The three of us, Lynn, Dione and me enjoyed a quiet dinner and a pitcher of local beer at Ralph and Kacoo’s. Back at the hotel we learn that two more are expected to arrive in the morning and will join us for lunch.

Friday: Another morning of photography after café au lait and more beignets, this time Lynn joined us for a festive and joy filled time. Lunch at the Acme Oyster House included the four roomies and the two new arrivals. This is where I devoured the best Roast Beef Po-Boy of my life. It is advertised on their menu as the “10 napkin Roast Beef” – and if you have ever had one you know what that means.

Dinner was outside the Quarter. Feelings is gorgeous place; Two more arrivals from Florida joined us for this culinary adventure. Cajun Oyster & spinach Salad and Crawfish Etouffee sent my dying taste buds over the edge of wonderful.

After a hot, humid, and eventful day we headed back to the hotel and hit the sheets early. Saturday’s events and reunion dinner, including photos, will follow soon.

And so it goes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Irma Thomas & Allen Toussaint

You know, everyone has the impression that Jagger and the Stones are responsible for this great song, and they couldn’t be more wrong.
This lady was the ground breaker, but not of the right skin colour to make it to the airwaves.
The incredible Irma Thomas – all these 40+ years later – hits it as she did when it was a new song.
Who knows, if Jagger had given her credit each and every time he sang this song, it may be given Irma some well deserved international exposure. But, that wasn’t his style.
So here she is, with a great band and Allen Toussaint on Piano at Madison Square Garden performing at a benefit for those displaced by Katrina and Rita.
Listen to her voice and enjoy – crank up the speaker volume - and think of what you’ve been missing all these years.

More on the NOLA trip when I get a chance to settle down, recall, review, and can offer photos to back up what is written.

And so it goes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reunion: First Look

Returned to DE this evening following what was a peaceful flight from NOLA, only to be caught in a descending spiral known as a “holding pattern” that lasted more than 45 minutes; making those passengers with connecting flights very nervous.

The drive home was uneventful and relaxing. While I traveled south with no traffic to speak of, the north–bound lanes were slow going and bumper-to-bumper.

Before heading off to bed I wanted to post a single photo to share a bit of what happened last evening in NOLA. Many thanks to B.B. for the image. (click the image to make biggen.)

The two lovely Sicilian women on either side of the man in the green shirt (P.J.) were my roommates and (still) good friends; Lynn (at left) and Dione (at right). I am directly behind Dione (in the blue shirt) and the handsome man next to me (at right) is my old crush, David, who is still straight, but kept his arm firmly around my waist throughout the photo session.

Hey! It’s not my fault that he’s straight!

Now, stop that.

In the middle row and second from the left in a white striped jacket is the lady who started the whole thing. Our dance teacher and mentor, Hazel Romano.

This group shot doesn’t include every dancer in attendance. There will be a more detailed story (and pictures) coming as soon as I gather my thoughts before my head explodes.

Right now it is time for some badly needed sleep.

More when I can focus.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

US Airways: Nothing is ever easy.

In seven hours I will be readying myself for the drive to Philly Airport for the flight to NOLA. Earlier this evening I attempted to download and print the boarding pass and receipt for the flight, but was met with an error message, essentially informing me that "the documents are not available to print because they are not retrievable from the files."

OK, I called the CS number only to get a rep who had a limited knowledge of English, spoke so quietly that I could barely hear them, and had no idea what I was asking about.

I have the flight confirmation numbers and have printed out all the stoopid error messages.

I called back and digitally re-confirmed the reservation. I am leaving nothing to chance because the stoopid gets worse by the hour.

Excited to the point that I hope sleep comes and I'm not left wide awake until a half hour before I am to get up and make the journey.

If you feel so inclined, pray for safe travel, not just for me, but for all those due to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Stay tuned. There will be lots of words and, hopefully even more photos.

And so it goes.

Craig & Vitter Sponsor Marriage Protection Amendment

The Wayward Episcopalian left a comment on my previous post concerning the alleged naughtiness of the AG of Alabama (read it here) regarding the irony of Larry (wide stance) Craig and David (diaper) Vitter co-sponsoring the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Well, I meant to post about this back in June, but life interfered so I will address it now. Click on the image to biggen.

So, WE, here you go; courtesy of The General:

Go on over and view the Vitter "ad" HERE.

Thanks, WE, for the reminder.

And so it goes.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Countdown Goes On...

As posted earlier, I continue to wonder how my to-do lists keep growing rather than shrinking.

Having worked all weekend as well as today and will tomorrow, there is little time to pull all loose ends together before leaving Wednesday morning.

Re-organizing the packing options has helped and my guess is there is more of that ahead tomorrow as we come down to the wire. The need to compact what will be needed with a few items that I want to drag along is proving to be more difficult than imagined.

It will be done. This trip is just what is needed to kick start a new outlook on my life.
In a dream last night a friend came to me and said, "honey, you've been eating to live for the past two years, now for a few days, you will live to eat - enjoy great food, old friends, and happy memories - so settle down and enjoy." Her spectral image smiled reassuringly. and I plan to do just that.

Now, if only US Airways departs Philly and arrives in NOLA on time...Hey, we have lunch and cocktail plans, and we only have 3 days. I also fear what Lynn will do to the airline if we're very late...Just kidding. (not!)

And so it goes, maybe.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Natale (Nat) Romano, RIP

The husband of the woman at the heart of the upcoming NOLA reunion has passed away after a long battle with emphysema due to his heavy smoking for many years.

While I am saddened by his passing, the truth is that his wife (our mentor and teacher) will be surrounded by all of us coming together to celebrate what she made possible fifty years ago.

Prayers ascend for her and the entire family.

Hazel Loyacano Romano was the guiding force of our dance company and a compassionate taskmaster when it came to professionalism at home and on the road.

We may have been only teenagers, but much was expected of us and it changed our lives, for the better, I must say.

We learned that personal responsibility comes first and foremost; learned proper etiquette when in the presence of politicians and other people in power; how to avoid getting cornered into making statements to the press.

We were always seen around New Orleans at the best dancing night spots; the Blue Room at the Roosevelt Hotel, or on the side wheeler, President dining and dancing the night away as we cruised the Mississippi. We thought nothing of it then, but looking back, it's like, O. M. G! Did we really do all of that? We were way too young to drink, but that didn't matter. We were together, out on the town, and dancing for hours.

That's what we were all about and Hazel was the catalyst.

I love you, Miss Hazel, and am forever in your debt.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Nat. I love you very much.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Alabama AG Busted

While still listed as “rumor” things are moving quickly since word broke a few days ago. King, who was heading up the McCain campaign in Alabama, has already been scrubbed from McCain’s website.

Following in the footsteps of gay bathroom hook-up king Larry “Wide Stance” Craig and hypocritical homosexual pastor Ted Haggard, the extremely anti-gay Attorney General of one of America’s most conservative states has been accused of occupying a closet of his own, although the allegations have not been proven.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King has been at the center of a maelstrom of rumors recently, alleging that he was about to resign his position after his wife discovered him in an alleged homosexual affair.

The whispers have grown increasingly loud, although King’s employer has denied them. The Governor’s office recently denied that King was resigning, so it’s entirely possible that the rumours are just that. The blogosphere and the Alabama media, who it must be said are not exactly impartial observers, are treating it as a case of "where there's smoke, there's fire".

The Locust Fork News and Journal reports: “The word is, according to multiple sources in Montgomery and elsewhere, that King was recently caught by his wife in a gay affair with a male aide and banished from his home.

“According to Tara Hutchison in the executive office of the governor they have heard of no plans in the works for King’s resignation. She said she had not heard that he had been kicked out of his home because of a gay affair.

“Governor Bob Riley’s press office had refused to return multiple phone calls from this independent press outlet even though some sources accuse Riley of perpetrating the leak. The attorney general’s press office also declined to return phone calls seeking comment.”

King will attract extra attention on this issue due to his attempts to outlaw sex toys in the state and anti-gay views. He has been an opponent of gay rights since his college days, when he wrote a letter to the University of Alabama’s student paper that included the lines: “The existence of the Gay/Lesbian alliance on this campus is an affront to the state of Alabama, its citizenry, this diversity and its students...

“One has but to look at the forces which the controversy has united--from the American Civil Liberties Union to the National Organization of Women to the Queer Nation just to name a few--to clearly see how corrupt a cause this truly is.”

Charming guy. Another “Family Values” politician. It’s only a matter of time…

And this from Alabama's Locust Fork Journal.

Read through the comments to find a few updates on this story.

And so it goes.


Lazy Caturday

A lazy day, indeed. Plans are to read, begin packing, and relax. Woke up tired this morning, and that's never a good sign. It's time to recharge.

And so it goes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

You've Never Seen Swan Lake

After viewing this numerous times, my chin remains on the keyboard - which makes it very difficult to type.

Take that George Balanchine.
I am just amazed and wondering why it took so long to stage this. This is the 21st. century, after all.
Nothing ought to be sacred anymore. We need to be including the young'ens so they can make the connection to this wonderful music.

And so it goes.

NOLA Countdown – Heart Rate Increases

I learned this morning via email (what else?) that at least 2 more folks have been located and plan to join us for the reunion dinner, if not a few other events. One happens to be a guy on whom I had an enormous crush. Thick dark brown hair and the darkest brown eyes that never strayed from yours during a conversation. Oh, dip me in mayonnaise and call me a tuna melt.

Bringing out the feminine in this budding 13 year old gay boy, he was my favourite dance partner during ballroom classes when boys led boys and girls led girls; the object was to get in touch with what each experienced as the opposite sex. Interestingly, he always chose me for some reason and I didn’t complain. He led as if I was a girl and he had total control –he did. Of course, the bit of lagniappe was when our private bits came in contact as in a Tango, and he would rub very close. Control, dear God, control!!! Somebody fetch me the rosewater…

When it became my turn to lead, it was like driving a car without power steering because he resisted my lead commands at first, but as we settled into our “roles” he responded willingly to all moves being a very smooth partner.

He always complimented me on my ability to follow so well. I always ribbed him about being a very strong girl who wasn’t about to be led anywhere she didn’t want to go. We laughed a lot. I wish I had known that line about Fred and Ginger “she did everything he did, and she did it backwards, in high heels!” Here's one of my fave dances by the two greats - in that infamous ostrich feathered gown that Ginger loved and Fred despised, though after seeing the rushes he had to admit that the gown was perfect. If you watch the film (not this clip) you can see bits of feathers flying through the air.

There’s these 40 years of life in the meantime, and I wonder how it has treated him. Sometimes it’s better to live with the memories, but no matter, it will be great to catch up and connect again.

The second person I remember only slightly, we were never partnered in performances, but as I remember, we traveled well together. She’s a grandmother!

And so it goes.

Vanity Fair Takes on FOX Noise

You may remember that the Gray Lady (NYT) finally grew a pair and called out Fox for using photoshopped images to vilify two reporters. Click image to view full size.

Yesterday, Vanity Fair did a little of the same on two of Fox's dim bulbs and actually did these guys a favor in the process. I think they look more like we see them than they know.

Bill O' Sean Oh!

Now why couldn't the Times pull this off. Oh, I see, it's beneath the dignity of the Gray Lady
And so it goes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quote of the Year.

Leave it to the chimp to insult the remaining G-8 members with this parting shot:

“Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.” - the Motherfucker from Midland, telling his fellow G8 summit leaders as he prepared to fly back to the USA.

Just when you thought he couldn't hit a new low, you're proved wrong...again. How much more embarrassing can he get? Don't ask.

Unbelievably arrogant frat-boy-in-chief. Will this country make it to the November elections?

And so it goes...unfortunately.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NOLA: Trip Preparation, Errands, and Organizing

On one of the most uncomfortably hot and humid days of the summer (so far!) this intrepid voyager set out to accomplish what few sane people have been stoopid enough to attempt.

Having laid out the most fuel-efficient route, in the end the circuitous trek would rack up less than 40 miles on the odometer.

The timer was started at 6am – and ended at (around) 4 pm. Not sure exactly, thanks to a heaping helping of fried brain sizzling in my head.

Anyway here is the day…3…2…1…GO!

  • Set up small Crock Pot with dinner ingredients and turn it on.
  • Fuel up the car: yes, tears were shed.
  • Post Office: check mail and buy stamps.
  • Laundry: last opportunity before the trip.
  • DMV: renew driver’s license (should have shaved; the previous two renewals the DMV used the previous picture.)
  • Pharmacy: pick up refilled prescriptions, forgetting it’s senior’s day…Oy!
  • Liquor store for two gift bottles of wine for a friend.
  • Home Depot: odds and ends for the apartment that have been put off too long.
  • Attorney: review corrected personal documents before trip. If something happens, I don’t want the ex to have control of my medical care, or get anything. He’ll have to settle for the joyful knowledge that I am gone.
  • Bank: deposit, and transfer (yes, I know I can do this online, but I don’t trust that option after what happened to a friend last month, but that’s another post.)
  • Super Market: sale items for a marathon cook off to stock the freezer before I leave.

Whew! Can’t believe I scratched all these items off my list. Even I was impressed. After removing all the bags and laundry from the car, it was time for a shower and some much needed rehydration, knocking back several glasses of water.

Thanks to dinner bubbling in the Crock Pot, the apartment smells like a welcoming home. It’s time to make a festive cocktail and prepare a salad then get some down time.

And so it goes.


Update: Another phone call from someone planning to be at the reunion. We laughed until we cried, well, at least I did. He reminded me of some wickedly funny pranks we played; even while guest performers on the then Governor’s yacht. And a few things also completely forgotten over the years. I look forward to seeing him again and meeting his wife and grandkids. Again, a perfect end to another hectic day.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sunday got off as one of those “poor me” days; rotten weather meant big crowds shopping, but my second person arrived 2 hours late. What a help that was. Lost potential customers and missed sales. But, hey, it’s more about her.

Then, another thunder boomer came through knocking out electric power for a few minutes, just long enough to f**k up the programming of the credit card terminal.

The plans to do some grocery shopping on the way home were nixed because there wasn’t an open space in the parking lot. Not. One.

Traffic was another nightmare as I headed home; the heavy rain was no picnic either. Arrived exhausted and soaked to the skin; got out of the wet work drag immediately. Soggy and grumbling, I stepped into the shower and felt better almost instantly.

While listening to the rebroadcast of A Prairie Home Companion I checked email finding a few comments for the blog that required moderation. I was surprised to find one from Loki, the head honcho at Humid City thanking me for linking to a new site he’s been working on. I was amazed; this guy has been working hard (along with other NOLA bloggers) to get the real story of the city’s slow recovery out to the real world. I have been honored to help spread the word, there’s not much else I can do. He would like to meet up while I’m in NOLA next week. I’d like that a lot. Just to meet , buy him a beer, and thank him for his perseverance.

Then, the phone rang and there was marathon conversation with another old friend talking (fantasizing?) about what we were going to do in the tiny 3.5-day window that will encompass my visit. I hope I survive in one piece. Even if we didn’t sleep at all, I doubt we could stuff every suggestion into this one visit.

Look, it’s not physically possible to squeeze everything in. There will be compromise. I am glad to note that someone other than myself is anxious to enjoy this event. Now I don’t feel so crazy. Well, never mind…

All in all, Sunday ended on a positive note as all else from earlier in the day was put into perspective then gradually melted away.

And today? More storms with lightening and thunder. A complete waste of makeup. E’nuf said.

Off tomorrow; Why does the list of errands grow rather than shrink?

And so it goes.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy? Fifth of July.

The free time I was blessed with on the third and fourth was taken up with very important household issues – like, oh, a bit of cleaning, reading, listening to the Broadway Channel through TV, (yes, I know…how gay! Guilty as charged.) a bit of TV viewing, surfing, reading favourite blogs, and cooking.

It may sound like a lot more than it was in real time. I enjoyed everything I accomplished and the ability to do it at a leisurely pace made for all the more fun.

Topping off the Fourth was an hour long phone call from my friend Dione; one of two women organizing the upcoming reunion in New Orleans in less than two weeks. We talked food (of course), photography, friendship and the reality of seeing people we've not seen in decades. It was a most relaxing way to end the day and I slept well.

The fifth however, was a very different experience. Let me back up a bit…

Friday was the Fourth of July – cookouts, fireworks, many tourists, and (fortunately for us all) great beach weather.

Immediately following the fireworks last evening (that prematurely shot their wad a full hour before they were to do so) an enormous storm moved through the area and, as we say down south, that’s all she wrote.

Now keep in mind that Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are “check out-check in” days for the weekly house, condo, and apartment renters. Do you see where I’m going with this? Yes. Jackasses! There is no other way to put it.

Today, the fifth of July being a Saturday the day-trippers, over-nighters, and weekly renters leaving the beach towns from Ocean City, MD north to Rehoboth and Lewes Beaches made traffic a nightmare that didn’t let up for hours as the increasing flow of thousands of vehicles clogged major arteries heading north and bringing traffic on the Coastal Highway to a complete stop.

Now, if you please, the Fifth also turned out to be an overcast and humid day with a chance of storms – no day for the beach – so what do the rest of the tourists do at times like these, class? They go shopping at the outlet malls in Rehoboth. So, stir them into this already toxic mix and you come up with 35 miles of gridlock. A scene of almost total immobility.

No one involved appeared to have a clue that they were the problem.

The stoopid. It burns.

Along with the me-first drivers, those on their f**king cell phones, vehicles containing unrestrained little ones jumping and bouncing around, to the pot-bellied Hell’s Angels wannbes on their Harley Hogs, the ride was like something out of a Fellini film as I headed home at about 5 pm. Oh, and it took 45 minutes to drive the 7 miles to my sanctuary.

The exciting thing is I get to do it all over again tomorrow. Aren’t you jealous?

And so it goes living in a resort town on the Atlantic coast.


Weird Caturday

Sorry to weigh in so late, but reading the next post may explain...

And so it goes.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Is This Land Really Our Land?

As I tripped along the byways of the Interwebs this afternoon, I found this by the Boss, and it brought me to tears. The fact that I think he's one of the sexiest guys on the planet (yeah, so sue me) not withstanding, this is one of the most thought-provoking renditions of the song I have ever heard.
And so appropriate for our present situation.

I've been surfing the Interwebs or reading all day and while dinner simmers on the stove I'm going to shower and relax with a festive holiday cocktail.
What with friends losing their sons and daughters to Bush's follies, I don't feel much like celebrating our past today...

And so it goes.

New Site - Katrina: An Unnatural Disaster

Loki, of Humid City fame has been helping to develop this new site devoted to documenting the continuing saga of Katrina recovery. Remember Katrina? Maybe not.

I have read Humid City – and a number of other NOLA blogs – following the storm and in the almost THREE years since the storm have read some of the most painful, and frustrating personal stories (not to mention the most outrageous BushCo and FEMA tales of incompetency) over these 34 months and I am grateful to pass on this tidbit, “they ain’t down yet.” (h/t to Molly Brown.)

So, Katrina: An Unnatural Disaster was born to report to the rest of the world that all ain’t well in NOLA and the rest of the Gulf Coast.

Here’s part of Loki’s recent blog post at the KAUD blog:

One of the amazing things about the period after Katrina was the way that people used the Internet for mobilizing, coordinating, and especially watchdog efforts. In the first year after the storm, the blogging community in New Orleans began to organize on a level heretofore unknown.

At the time I was assisting with a series of Web Publishing workshops developed by Alan Guttierrez over at ThinkNOLA. (Disclosure: ThinkNOLA has provided hosting for my own group blog, HumidCity, ever since the first Jazz Fest after the storms.) It was through this work that I met two of our best local bloggers Editor B. and Maitri. It was also during these workshops that we helped to launch the inimitable Karen Gadbois onto the Internet.

A series of Geek Dinners followed, social events geared towards helping the local bloggers and tech people meet up and network. It was a fertile time for ideas and action, especially since the prevailing feeling was that it would be us or no one.

Now, almost three years after the waters receded, these ongoing efforts have indeed been noticed beyond the Gulf Coast. Not only that, but they have been effective. This week, John Fontana over at Network World published a three page article called How Social Networking Saved New Orleans. It examines the way that we, as a group and as individuals, leveraged the online tools available in the service of our community.

“All this allowed us to do something,” says [Alan] Gutierrez. “Like the notion of next action, for us it was the next question. Now that we had the questions, any one of us could go to the city meetings and ask about this.”

Of course, the answers weren’t always forthright, and that (spawned) even more social networking.

Read the whole post HERE.

I’m going to NOLA in a few weeks to celebrate a 50th reunion and hope to visit my sister’s land in Chalmette and my grandparent’s place in Little Woods. Does anyone remember that name? I’ll report back and if possible, post pictures of the aftermath.

So, go on over and get enlightened. Katrina: An Unnatural Disaster. I suggest you watch the video at the top of the main page before continuing.

Oh, and as you explore the site, think of those residents in the Midwest who have, of late, suffered the same kinds of levee breaches and will undoubtedly share a similar fate.

And so it goes.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Little Louisiana History

Thanks to an old friend for sending this...

If Hurricane Katrina and the floods causing the levees to break in New Orleans is all you know about Louisiana, here are a few more interesting facts about the Bayou State:

*Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the nation at 450 feet.

* The Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans is the largest enclosed stadium in the world.

* The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest over-water bridge in the world at 23.87 miles.

* Louisiana's 6.5 million acres of wetlands are the greatest wetland area in America.

* The oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase Territory is Natchitoches, Louisiana founded in 1714.

* The first bottler of Coca-Cola, Joseph Biedenharn, lived in Monroe, Louisiana, and was one of the founders of Delta Air Lines, initially called Delta Air Service.

* Delta Air Service got its start in Monroe, Louisiana, when Parish Agent, C.E. Woolman, decided to try dusting the Boll Weevil that was destroying the cotton crops in the Mississippi River Delta from an airplane. It was the first crop dusting service in the world.

* Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is the largest predominantly black university in America.

* Baton Rouge was the site of the only American Revolution battle outside the original 13 colonies.

* The formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase was made at the Cabildo building in New Orleans on December 20, 1803.

* The staircase at Chrétien Point in Sunset, Louisiana, was copied for Tara in "Gone with the Wind."

* Louisiana is the No. 1 producer of crawfish, alligators and shallots in America .

* Louisiana produces 24 percent of the nation's salt, the most in America.

* Much of the world's food, coffee and oil pass through the Port of New Orleans .

* Tabasco, a Louisiana product, holds the second oldest food trademark in the U.S. Patent Office.

* Steen's Syrup Mill in Abbeville, Louisiana, is the world's largest syrup plant producing sugar cane syrup.

* America's oldest rice mill is in New Iberia, Louisiana at KONRIKO Co.

* The International Joke Telling Contest is held annually in Opelousas, Louisiana.

* LSU (The Ole War Skule) in Baton Rouge has the distinction of contributing the most officers to WW II after the U.S. Military academies.

* The Louisiana Hayride radio show helped Hank Williams, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash achieve stardom. It was broadcast from KWKH Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana, from 1948 to 1960.

* The term Uncle Sam was coined on the wharfs of New Orleans before Louisiana was a U.S. Territory as goods labeled U.S. were from "Uncle Sam."

* The game of craps was invented in New Orleans in 1813, as betting was a common activity on the wharves.

* When states had their own currency, the Louisiana Dix (French for ten) was a favored currency for trade. English speakers called them Dixies and coined the term Dixieland.

* New Orleans is the home of the oldest pharmacy in America at 514 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. These early medical mixtures became known as cocktails (guess they were good for what ails ya?), coining yet another term.

* New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, the only true American art form. Jazz gave birth to the Blues, and Rock and Roll.

See, we learn something new every day. I am very excited about the upcoming trip/reunion and am trying to figure out a way to take my Nikon digital SLR camera with me.
I'll figure it all out, after all, I have thirteen days before I leave.

And so it goes.

A Shameful Fourth

A not-so-glorious Fourth. Some things to ponder this holiday weekend from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Put the fireworks in storage.

Cancel the parade.

Tuck the soaring speeches in a drawer for another time.

This year, America doesn't deserve to celebrate its birthday. This Fourth of July should be a day of quiet and atonement.

For we have sinned.

We have failed to pay attention. We've settled for lame excuses. We've spit on the memory of those who did that brave, brave thing in Philadelphia 232 years ago.

The America those men founded should never torture a prisoner.

The America they founded should never imprison people for years without charge or hearing.

The America they founded should never ship prisoners to foreign lands, knowing their new jailers might torture them.

Such abuses once were committed by the arrogant crowns of Europe, spawning rebellion.

Today, our nation does such things in the name of our safety. Petrified, unwilling to take the risks that love of liberty demands, we close our eyes.

We have done such things, on orders from the Oval Office. We have done them, without general outrage or shame.

Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo. CIA secret prisons. "Rendition" of prisoners to foreign torture chambers.

It's not enough that we had good reason to be scared.

The men huddled long ago in Philadelphia had better reason. A British fleet floated off the Jersey coast, full of hands eager to hang them from the nearest lampposts.

I've been thinking about this for months, but Chris Satullo put it into words I could not. Read the rest of it HERE.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fourteen Days and Counting...

Two weeks from today, around this time of day, I will be in New Orleans arm in arm with two childhood friends having shared a festive lunch at a place of their choice, enjoying a festive cocktail in a bar on Royal Street. It’s a local haunt where all kinds of wonderful Quarter characters (artists, musicians, neighbors, etc.) gather to be in community, oh, and dish the dirt. I am so looking forward to this trip.

At work today I perused the many menus received yesterday, occasionally interrupted by the odd person (and I do mean odd) asking if we changed watch batteries. We do not!

I drifted into obsessing about the drive to the airport, the flight to NOLA, and the ramifications of delays that could throw us off schedule.

God understood my angst. Let me explain.

I stopped at the supermarket on the way home to get a stash of food to get me through the holiday weekend. I am off on the 4th but work Saturday and Sunday to fill in as a third person, just in case it rains. NOTE: When it rains here at the beach the tourists head for one of two things: Movies or Shopping.

Anyway, I was looking for an item in the meat department that also happened to be on sale this week. Seeing no sign of the item I rang the bell for butcher service and found myself standing beside the most outgoing and cheerful woman I’ve seen lately – while most are fretting over holiday festivities and will run you over with their carts – and as we waited for the very cute butcher to respond to our inquiries, we chatted and somehow the topic of flying came up.

Don’t ask, I don’t remember.

It turns out that she’s a flight attendant with - - wait for it - - US Airways!

When I told her of my upcoming trip she smiled and told me to relax; that there are new planes in service that are more comfortable, smaller, fuel efficient, and with more leg room. In fact, she may be working my flight to NOLA, since that’s one of her semi-regular destinations.

In any event, she got her two beautiful London broils, and I got my package of boneless chicken thighs and we said our goodbyes.

I am less apprehensive and, if she was telling the truth, this is the aircraft carrying me back to the City That Time Forgot: the Embraer 190.

You know me…I’ll believe it when I see it. But, perhaps this chance meeting was a good omen.

Um, crawfish, muffalettas, shrimp/oyster/roast beef po-boys, and eggs sardo are calling my name.

* The image at the top of this post is a very bad shot of a Muffaletta sandwich.

And so it goes.


Sprinter Tyson Homosexual Runs 100 meters in 9.68 Seconds...

WARNING: Spew Alert...

Now...Let's allow the WaPo try to explain:

Christian Site's Ban on 'G' Word Sends Homosexual to Olympics

The American Family Association obviously didn't foresee the problems that might arise with its strict policy to always replace the word "gay" with "homosexual" on the Web site of its Christian news outlet, OneNewsNow. The group's automated system for changing the forbidden word wound up publishing a story about a world-class sprinter named "Tyson Homosexual" who qualified this week for the Beijing Olympics.

The problem: Tyson's real last name is Gay. Therefore, OneNewsNow's reliable software changed the Associated Press story about Tyson Gay's amazing Olympic qualifying trial to read this way:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me."

You might think it's a joke, until you read the original AP story, which begins this way:

Tyson Gay was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Gay qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Gay said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me."

Contacted by the Sleuth for comment on the software mishap, American Family Association spokeswoman Cindy Roberts in Tupelo, Miss., told us, "I think it was just a fluke."

Fred Jackson, news director of OneNewsNow, tells the Sleuth his organization has now fixed the software glitch. "We took the filter out for that word," he said, without uttering the "G" word.

"We don't object to the word 'gay,'" Jackson explained, except "when it refers to people who practice a homosexual lifestyle." And the "G" word, he says, has "been co-opted by a particular group of people." (People who are g-a-y.)

The OneNewsNow story about Gay, which was first spotted by blogger Ed Brayton at, even included these nice details about Mr. Homosexual's qualifying sprint:

Wearing a royal blue uniform with red and white diagonal stripes across the front, along with matching shoes, all in a tribute to 1936 Olympic star Jesse Owens, Homosexual dominated the competition. He started well and pulled out to a comfortable lead by the 40-meter mark. This time, he kept pumping those legs all the way through the finish line, extending his lead. In Saturday's opening heat, Homosexual pulled way up, way too soon, and nearly was caught by the field, before accelerating again and lunging in for fourth place.

But as Brayton at scienceblogs discovered, OneNewsNow's filter didn't work perfectly; the G word did slip through, just once:

Gay's race came with the wind blowing at 4.1 meters per second; anything above 2.0 is not allowed for record purposes.

"I didn't really care what the wind was," Homosexual said.

The blog Agitator also found this gem of a story on the AFA's OneNewsNow site, from a June 27 story article about NBA player Rudy Gay:

Memphis Grizzlies backers hit the hay hoping that Kevin Love would open things up for Rudy Homosexual in the frontcourt.

Incidentally, Jackson, the OneNewsNow news manager, tells us his organization doesn't mind using the "L" word to refer to women who are homosexual. Asked how he would refer to Vice President Dick Cheney's gay daughter, Mary Cheney, Jackson said, "We would probably refer to her as a lesbian. Or homosexual."
You have to wonder why an organization like the AFA that regularly sends out anti-gay releases using the word GAY, has it filtered out of incoming news stories. You just can't make this stuff up.

Things that make scratch your head and go; hhmmmmmmmmmmm.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Counting Down to NOLA

Oh. My. God.

If I had any doubts about the ability of my two lovely Italian Women to pull this thing together, they are now history.

You see, while dealing with fat and angry tourists at work today, I received an overnight mailing via UPS that contained a "loose schedule" itinerary for our time together and reunion, as well as menus from restaurants in the Quarter - some I remember, some new to me - where certain menu items were circled to draw my attention - and I laughed til I cried.

This "loose" itinerary begins with breakfast every morning and ends when we're tucking one another into bed.

Now, reading between the lines, there are lots more unmentioned adventures and that's what I'm looking forward to - local dives, meeting NOLA bloggers - and getting down to some real food.

On a serious note, I received a note from a friend who recently flew to LA out of Newark Airport. His warning was that security confiscated his photo equipment (digital and film) with no explanation. Security asked for an address and issued a receipt for the equipment.
Thankfully, his package arrived two days later via Fed Ex overnight, but the film was gone and the memory card in his digital had been erased.

You'll excuse me while I begin practicing how to pack what I'm taking to NOLA into a collapsible bag.

Now: Do I take the feather boa, or the extra shoes? Oh, decisions...Shit.

And so it goes.
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