Friday, May 30, 2008

Let's Flip This Around, Shall We?

Wow, Obama attracts extremist clergymen like Bush attracts Republican liars.
I guess anyone with a TV or a computer has seen by now the antics of Father Pfleger explaining why he thought Hillary Clinton's tears were real.
While I can appreciate passionate, entertaining whiggers like Pfleger and Eminem, let's just pause, take a deep breath and imagine a preacher who endorses Hillary or McCain saying similar things about Obama: "I'm Black! I'm entitled! WAHHH!"
Peoples' heads would explode.
Of course Obama stepped forward and disavowed Pfleger's antics after the horse was out of the barn. How conveeeenient.

Now let's flip it around again, shall we?

For the longest time, I thought Obama was too soft and dainty to take on the Republican slime machine.
Now that I see how he rolls, I'm relieved.
This guy is a master at dirty pool. He sends out his goons like Pfleger and Wright to say the shit he wants us to know, then he steps forward and denounces them.
Unlike his neophyte, overly ardent supporters, I do not believe I have the power to wish him into office by the sheer force of my will.
I'm more pragmatic. I want whichever Democrat who can beat McCain.
I want a mean bitch (or son of a bitch) who can play hardball against the GOP thugs & liars and win.

After all, Obama cut his political teeth only 12 years ago on the mean streets of Chicago. He nudged, pushed the rules and took no prisoners on his way to the United States Senate. He enlisted plenty of hard political muscle to help him.

He may look skinny and sweet, but this cat's a brawler.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Turns out Scott McClellan's new book tells a lot more than early media hints last winter initially indicated.
In the book, he exposes the liars in the Bush administration and portrays Bush as a nice enough guy who has been continually misled by the likes of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby and the rest of those slimy manipulators.
He admits that the media was lax in allowing the Bushies to spoon-feed them bullshit in the lead-up to the Iraq war.
In other words, he wrote about what all of us already know.

Predictably, the Bush clan is calling him a disgruntled former employee.
Funny, I seem to recall his departure was laden with fond farewells, a lot of man-hugs and glowing endorsements from the Bushies.

The lies continue, as another rat jumps off the sinking ship.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Friends, be sure to try and catch "Recount" on HBO tonight at 8 central.
If you don't have HBO, maybe a friend can tape or burn a DVD of it for you.
We need to stay argry as Hell at the GOP for their crimes that really started escalating when Bush came on the national scene.
Stealing elections has become a major chapter in their playbook.
We cannot stand for it to happen again.

And Laura Dern's portrayal of that make-up slathered trollop Katherine Harris alone is worth watching the movie.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Jodie, Jodie, Jodie

From this:

To this:

I have nothing to say about Jodie Foster's taste in women, because I realize that a great personality and chemistry trumps looks and age any day.
But I have one little problem with her new love Cindy Mort.
Mort created and wrote the highly obnoxious HBO show, "Tell Me You Love Me," featuring a cast of extremely plain (if not downright homely) looking actors and the most smackingly loud, sticky, creepy sex scenes imaginable.
I'm no prude, but I do not need to see heterosexual intercourse shot from a camera angle aimed between the legs of a man with giant red bouncing testicles.
I have no need to witness a woman in her late 60's sucking an old man's penis, either.
Mort may be considered a talented writer and creator in Hollywood, but if, "Tell Me You Love Me" is the best example of her oeuvre, then she sucks.

In the partners category of Zipdrive's Celebrity Lesbian Awards, I gotta give the gold to Ellen DeGeneres for Portia DiRossi, the silver to Rosie O'Donnell for Kelli Carpenter, and sorry Jodie, but you won't be getting the bronze for either of your women, especially not this new one and her smacky, sticky creepy sex scenes.
Oh No You Dihn't, Hillary

Yeah, yeah, we've all heard that Hillary more or less implied that she needs to stay in the race in case Obama gets shot.
All the shock and outrage belies the fact that popular Democratic leaders get shot in America. JFK, RFK, MLK all got shot back when Hillary was cutting her political teeth.
Things have changed since those guys got shot.
We have more guns and more people now, which equals more nuts with guns who hate Blacks, women, immigrants, non-Christians and anyone else who's not like them.
I've been saying all along that I am concerned that Sen. Obama stands a better than average risk of being assassinated because he's Black.
Does that mean I want him to be shot? Hell, no.
It simply means I've been around long enough to see what happens when a non-traditional American tries to ascend to a position of power.
Hell, Hillary stands just as strong a chance of getting shot as Obama, but that doesn't mean John Edwards needed to stay in the race just in case.

Here's the deal.
Hillary has shown great tenacity, amazing fortitude and more guts than I would have expected of her in running this race.
But damn, girl, you gotta quit now.
It's not because you more or less implied that you need to stay in the race in case Obama gets shot, it's because you're played out, girl.

We've got to mobilize now and go after that pandering buffoon McCain before he manages to convince America's morons that his plan to continue the failed policies of Bush is a good idea.

McCain has to be stopped. NOW.

Friday, May 23, 2008

McCain's Religious Problems

McCain and Hagee

McCain's other crazy pal Rod Parsley

We all know Obama recently endured a rocky period when his pastor turned out to be a little too Black for mainstream America to handle.
Now comes McCain, having to (get this) reject the endorsements he sought from two particularly odious preachers: John Hagee and Rod Parsley.
It seems McCain didn't bother to first check these two lunatics out. He was in too much of a rush to appease the crazy Christian religious zealots in America who wrap their hatred and xenophobia in the pages of the Bible.
It's easy enough to Google Hagee and Parsley and see the insane, hateful things they've said from the pulpit, so I'll spare you the details.
But my point is this:
People need to notice that McCain apparently has NO spiritual advisor he has personally vetted by attending any church on a regular basis.
I could certainly live with a candidate who, like me, has no official ties to any church or congregation. I'd love to hear a candidate say, "I believe that God is everywhere, especially inside my heart."
People need to notice how extremely phony McCain is.
Take for instance, the recent vote in the Senate on Sen. Jim Webb's revamped GI Bill that increases veterans' college tuition and more.
One would THINK that Sen. McCain would drop all campaign duties to return to DC and vote yes on the bill.
But no, I guess appearing on "Ellen" was more urgent for him. He was a conspicuous no-show in the Senate for this crucial vote, yet I'm sure he still cashes his huge government payroll checks without any bouts of conscience.
My friends, McCain has hugged Bush, embraced two religious lunatics, hidden his unattractive adopted daughter from public view, flip flopped on Iraq, advocated for torture and ignoring the Geneva Conventions, called his wife a cunt in public and proven he'll say or do ANYTHING to get elected.
Like Bush, he had no moral compass.
Like Bush, he only serves those who serve him.
I say God Bless America, but God Damn McCain.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Big Gomer's Deadly New GOP Gig

Failed GOP presidential wannabee Mike Huckabee took a cheap shot at Barack Obama during his speech at this week's annual National Rifle Association meeting.

As Huckabee was speaking at the Louisville, Kentucky meeting, a loud bang was heard off-stage.

"That was Barack Obama," Huckabee quipped, "He just tripped off a chair. He was getting ready to speak. Somebody aimed a gun at him and he...he dove for the floor."

Wow. It looks like Huckabee has accepted the assignment of rousing the gun toting GOP hatemongers who'll be the most likely goons to try to assassinate Obama if he gets too close to the Oval Office.
It's not funny and I'm not kidding.
I have been saying for as long as Sen. Obama has been in this race, like JFK, RFK, MLK and other inspirational Democrats, he stands a frightening chance of being murdered by the GOP and their operatives if he gets elected.

For Huckabee, a so-called man of God, to make a joke like this is inexcusable.
Of course he quickly issued an apology, but the damage was done. The seed was planted.

Let's please not pretend it takes more than just one "harmless joke" about shooting Obama to get some gun-toting cretin's mind turning. And it looks like Rove or whoever is serving as Rove's stand-in has suckered Huckabee right into the master plan.

Is this the ugliest, most cluttered NBA logo you've ever seen or what? I want to blast that little hornet in the face with RAID, he's so silly and annoying...just like the Hornets players have become in my eyes.
I'll admit it, before I was victimized by those dishonest faux-Christian scam artists in NOLA, I was willing to accept my World Champion, dynasty-havin' Spurs losing in the semi-finals to the NOLA Hornets because I had the best of motives:
I thought an NBA championship coming to New Orleans would revitalize their economy and return to the city some much-needed pride.
After all, my team already has four NBA championships and more division championships than any team in NBA history. No need to be greedy.
I recall the night back in 1999 when the Spurs won their first NBA championship.
Freeway traffic came to a halt. People jumped out of their cars to embrace each other. Surface streets were lined with people on the sides, waving to drivers who honked and waved in solidarity.
Tens of thousands of people collected downtown to celebrate late into the night. Kids and parents, old people and babies all mingled joyfully without one overturned car, one gunshot injury, or one arson. The only incident was someone getting bopped in the head by an errant flying beer bottle. Not bad for a city with more than a million residents, huh?

Anyway, because I was resigned to being okay with a NOLA win over the Spurs, I only watched a portion of the first few games of the 7-game series. I really didn't notice how cocky their players were.
Then by Game 5, I caught a few pre- and post-game interviews of Hornet players and was astounded at their arrogance and lack of respect for the defending champions.
They spoke as if they reckoned beating the Spurs would be a cakewalk.

When I finally watched a whole game, I saw the Hornet players exhibit everything I hate about b-ball players: Flopping. Elbowing. Whining about calls. Acting like spoiled little shits. Yep, the NOLA Hornets are like the Lakers without the famous players or the record to back up their shit.

Last night was Game 6 and the Spurs whipped the living hell out of them, 99-80.
By the middle of the 4th quarter, Coach Popovitch had benched the starters and sent out unknown deep-bench scrubs, a couple of Spurs Silver Dancers, the Coyote mascot and a towel boy. The Spurs still held them virtually scoreless, and managed to sink a few buckets in the process.

Game 7 is in New Orleans next Monday night.
The Spurs have to win for New Orleans' own good.
I just can't imagine the scene if they were to win an NBA Championship.
Lawlessness would ensue! Cars would be turned over, fires lit, people will throw each other into the Mississippi, cats will be strangled and dogs will be shot.
And that's just how the players would react.
The fans would really go overboard.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Even the Cake Was Drunk!

What happens when two red state hicks get married?
You get a wedding cake from the Walmart bakery in Waco!
I'm shocked I haven't read or heard any accounts of what happened to this cake, so here I am, left to do the dirty work.
I think it's pretty poetic that the rest of the world gets to see that Jenna Bush has followed in the footsteps of her father, pretending a disaster like this cake not only didn't matter, she gleefully posed in front of it like Bush did with that Mission Accomplished banner.
Call me prissy, but if I were a president's kid about to marry and knew the world would be seeing my wedding pictures, I'd use some of the kickback dough my crooked daddy has skimmed off the American taxpayers and order TWO wedding cakes, in case one of them tumped over in the bed of the pick-up truck they used to deliver it.
And while I was at it, I think I'd select someone besides that fossilized 76-year-old Oscar De la Renta to design my dress.
First off, we have plenty of American designers, like NYC-born Vera Wang who actually specializes in wedding gowns.
Furthermore, I wouldn't marry anyone outdoors in Texas in May. Anyone who's ever been out in the country in Texas that close to all that bug-infested brush and those pollen spitting trees during the humid month of May knows what I mean.
And don't get me started on that cornball limestone altar with the extra jumbo cross W. had erected for the wedding.
It looks to me like it was hewn from mud in the dark by a one-armed bracero who wanted to get it done before the Border Patrol made its morning rounds.

Look, I don't care if multi-millionaires want to throw a wedding on the cheap- but even Texan Lyndon B. Johnson threw out all the stops when his semi-attractive daughters tied the knot during his presidency.

When the world is watching, would it be too much to ask that the president's family at least make sure the damn wedding cake isn't crooked?
Talk about a metaphor!!
Those Cuddly New Orleans Hornets

I just removed my last post about being subjected to what looks like an auto insurance scam after my fender bender in New Orleans. I don't want to linger on my anger, much less commit it to bloggy perpetuity.

Instead, I want to talk about the NBA semifinals match between my beloved San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Hornets.
Not only are the Spurs being subjected to the blatantly uneven calls by that sniveling rat bastard referee Joey Crawford*, they gotta put up with shit like you see in the photo.
Somehow, putting Tony Parker's wife Eva Longoria in a Hornets floozy outfit and allowing some goofball Hornets fan to wag her around while TP is trying to make a free throw is considered okie dokie.
Yes, it is pretty hilarious, but if it were your wife or girlfriend or whatever, would it be cool to see her like that?
Would it be okay if a Spurs fan dressed Tyson Chandler's mama in a hoochie Spurs outfit and wagged her around when the big man was trying to free throw?
No, man, that's cold.
I really wanted to like the Hornets because they represent a broken-down city that needs the revenues a good NBA team can bring to town.
But watching them play makes me feel just the opposite. I don't like dirty players like Karl Malone and Bill Laimbeer, and the Hornets have more than a few of them on their roster.
Being a fan of the Spurs dynasty has spoiled me.
I like their good fundamentals and that they feel no need to hip check and foot stomp and elbow and trip and knee opponents in the nuts. Well, there is Bruce Bowen but he's only used in emergencies.
But as the Hornets continue to receive preferential treatment from refs like Crawford and get to play as dirty as they want, I hope they lose their asses off if they move on in the series.

Just because they play for a city rife with cheaters and con artists doesn't mean they have to act the same way.

*On April 15, 2007, Crawford ejected San Antonio Spurs superstar Tim Duncan for supposedly laughing at Crawford from his seat on the bench during a game against the Dallas Mavericks.
On April 17, Crawford was suspended for the remainder of the 2006-07 NBA season and the 2007 NBA Playoffs as a result of this altercation, ending his 21 consecutive Finals appearances. The league also fined Duncan $25,000 for verbal abuse of an official and warned that a repeat incident in the future would result in an ejection. Commissioner David Stern said Crawford's actions "failed to meet the standards of professionalism and game management we expect of NBA referees." Crawford met with league officials on July 30, 2007 to discuss his future in the NBA, but no resolution was reached between the two parties.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Aches, Pains, Flying Brains and Wallet Strains

If the purpose of a long weekend road trip to another state is to have new adventures (good and bad), share time with loved ones, overeat, over drink, walk too much on bad pavement and spend a lot of money, then our trek to New Orleans was a mission accomplished.

We started our trip on Thursday evening with my big sister, her partner, my big brother, his wife and me.
Big Bro rented a brand new Chevy Uplander minivan with only 13 miles on the odometer when we took delivery.
Though the newness of the van pleased us, the interior was a plastic piece of shit, with poorly located hang-on handles, no cup holders and cloth seats about as wide as a hen's butt. Only the front seat windows opened, but the AC was pleasingly sub-zero.
I usually love to drive new vehicles, but the blandness of this ride left me totally incurious, so I left the on-the-way driving to the other four.
An 8-hour drive locked in a plastic and glass cage with a chirping radar detector and five people talking at once was challenging. Fortunately, we shared a willingness to stop at roadside dumps every 100 miles or so to buy snacks and laugh at regional souvenir tzotchkes like shit made out of antlers and recycled beer cans. We even located a bakery that specializes in kolaches, a soft, yeasty Czech pastry that's worth the glucose risk. We bought about three dozen assorted fruit-centered ones and devoured most of them en route to our destination.
We arrived in NOLA about 4 on Friday.
Our "boutique hotel" had a great location within walking distance to the Moon Walk at the mouth of the French Quarter, but the hotel itself was a little odd, I guess because it used to be a rough and tough manufacturing company way back in the 30's.
We ordered three separate, same-priced rooms with king sized beds, but big bro's room contained two queens, a jacuzzi tub and a sitting room, and mine had one queen on a king frame and just enough room to walk around it sideways. The desk clerk shrugged at the disparity, but that's typical for NOLA hospitality workers, so I didn't bother to make waves.
Fuck first-night sightseeing, the five of us threw our baggage into our rooms and rushed to Harrah's casino, only two short blocks away.
It is not a bad casino at all, in fact it's an excellent casino. Good ventilation, prompt free drink service, sweet employees and plenty of machines make for a comfy gaming environment. We played about five hours, winning $40 here, losing $30 there, but no major wins or losses for any of us.
We shared a late dinner at a place across the street known for its on-premises microbrewery. Not bad food, great beer and decent prices, but it was here we first discovered that post Katrina NOLA wait-persons don't particularly give a shit about food service.
On Saturday morning while my siblings trotted deep inside the Quarter for the typical Cafe DuMonde cafe au lait/beignets/sightseeing stuff, I spent the morning back at the casino, drinking coffee with Frangelico, smoking Kools and playing video poker. I was breaking a little more than even, which was okay by me.
Just after winning a $75 jackpot, I noticed my purse was missing. Did I leave it at the hotel? Did I leave it somewhere between the machines?
Fortunately, I had my ID, a debit and a credit card and most of my cash in my pockets, but still the idea of losing my purse with the rest of my credit cards and important papers in it caused me a bit of a panic.
This was no ordinary purse, either. It's a smooth, classic black leather Coach bag that everyone and their dog has complimented me on. As far as purse thieves go, this bag would be the catch of the day. Even empty, this was a seriously fine example of hand baggery.
So I trotted back to the hotel.
No purse.
I raced back to the casino, and miracle of miracles, it was in the safe hands of the lovely Harrah's lady manning the back entrance. Nothing was missing. I tipped the hell out of her, hugged her and told her I loved Harrah's NOLA and always would.

That afternoon, I was set to meet a dear old friend who grew up in NOLA and lived in San Antonio about 15 years before moving back to a little berg in Louisiana about 5 years ago. Patricia showed up around 2 and we met up with Big Sis and her partner "My Sharona" to go have lunch.
There is simply no better luncheon venue on Earth than Central Grocery on the Moon Walk. It's crowded, the shelves are lined with a myriad of mysterious canned and jarred Italian delicacies, and the only seating is a slim bar with stools jostled by customers queued up to order their lunch.
It's humid and fragrant and old and funky in there. Delightful.
They offer one basic menu item: muffalatas. A muffalata is made from a fresh, round, crusty roll about 8 inches wide stuffed with assorted cold cuts, sliced provolone, olive oil and the most indescribably delicious olive tapenade ever. One quarter of a muffalata, a bag of thick kettle chips and a cold root beer is enough to satisfy a lumberjack's appetite, so that's what we had.
Each bite elicited sighs of deliciousity. We reveled in every morsel of simple culinary bliss.
Afterwards, we stumbled into a little daiquiri joint where the amiable chick behind the bar let us sample her wares before we decided on four White Russian daiquiris,
crazy-loaded with vodka and Kahlua. We sat there in the cool air waiting for the buzz to kick in and it did, with a vengeance.
We decided to skip the crush of the MoonWalk pedestrian traffic and detour up Dumaine Street, with an eventual aim toward Bourbon Street. It was there we stepped into the Voodoo "Museum," a tourist trap stocked to the rafters with oddball dark arts souvenirs, crystals, tarot cards and other potentially spooky stuff.
On display was an ominous altar to Marie Laveau, the long departed Queen of New Orleans Voodoo. She was one scary looking old broad.
Big Sis and I, both lapsed Catholics, gazed on it with appropriate levels of horror. She quickly walked away from it, but I stupidly lingered.
The altar was festooned with crude, hand lettered DO NOT TOUCH and DO NOT DESECRATE signs, but wanting to avoid any potential bad juju, I gingerly placed a quarter atop a pile of other coins at the base of the alter, WITHOUT touching anything.
Off we went to Bourbon Street, where the crowd, the public drunkenness, humidity and relentless lewdness were intoxicating. They offer souvenirs one would only buy if they're drunk and caught up in the moment, such as Mardi Gras beads with miniature penises that actually feature inflatable, sticky white goo on the tips. And the T-shirts have slogans like, "Fuck you, you fucking fuck!" and "Will buy drinks for sex."
Big Sis bought one for her friend's upcoming 40th birthday that said, "It's not gonna lick itself." Ha! I'm sure her pal with get a lot of wear out of that!
I almost bought my big bro a man's bikini thong shaped like a little elephant's face with a long trunk with a squeaker on the tip, but I wasn't drunk enough to actually spend the 25 bucks it cost.
By 5 p.m. we limped back to the hotel. Patricia and I caught up on old times while we rested up for a 6:30 dinner date with the other four.
Big Bro is an intelligent scientist type, but he's not very worldly or sophisticated. He thinks dining extravagance- even on vacation-- is wholly without merit.
Still, he'd been raving about a restaurant in the Quarter called Deanie's Seafood that he insisted we visit for our One Great Dinner in New Orleans.
For weeks before the trip he'd been e-mailing us about the place's amazing fig/balsamic vinegar salad dressing and their legendary, world-class barbecued shrimp.
His ringing endorsements had convinced us; by the time we got there we all were salivating, even Patricia who was once a local and knows from good Cajun food.
We were seated at a table just barely large enough for the six of us. Our waiter arrived and told us his name, then said he was kidding and told us another name as he stood delivering his spiel facing Big Sis with his ass and elbows in my face. Already I felt my left eyebrow raise and my mouth forming into an upside-down U, but I stayed cool because I just knew the food was going to be superb.
Our amuse bouche was interesting: small bowls containing about six tiny red potatoes, boiled in a spicy mix and served dry with butter on the side. They were delectable and we all marveled at the creative use of such simple fare.
I asked the waiter if they had the fig balsamic salad dressing. "Nope," our waiter replied. He was unconcerned that I was disappointed, so much so that he turned his ass back to my face mid-sentence and redirected his attention toward my sister.
I skipped an appetizer and a salad, focusing instead on a choice between the legendary barbecued shrimp and the "jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab meat and lobster dressing." The "heads-on" designation on the BBQ shrimp was the deal breaker for me. I chose the stuffed shrimp entree instead.
My brother, however, was so enticed by the blackened redfish entree, he ordered the BBQ shrimp as an appetizer. His wife chose the bigger BBQ shrimp option as her entree. My sis and My Sharona also went with the blackened redfish, and Patricia ordered the seafood gumbo.
On came their appetizers.
My Sharona ordered the crab claws. Patricia and I exchanged dubious glances when we noticed the claws came from crabs who were mere toddlers when they donated their pinchers to the cause.
My bro's BBQ shrimp came on a large platter, piled with shrimp with their little heads intact and their dangly eyeballs bobbing in the shimmering, buttery red sauce.
Apparently the peels and heads cling to the meat a lot harder when they're grilled because Bro was having a hell of a time getting them peeled.
About halfway into it, he managed to pop a head off, causing it to explode and fly through the air. Patricia found herself with one glob of shrimp brains landing on the shoulder of her crisp linen shirt and another glob resting hidden in her auburn hair, which turned out to be the exact same color as shrimp brains.
By the time the entrees came, Bro was still fighting his sloppy red-juiced appetizer with the brains and juices splashing all over the place. It was hard to watch, especially for Big Sis and her infamously weak stomach.
My sister-in-law's BBQ shrimp brain entree turned out to be twice as large as Bro's appetizer, making all of us cringe in anticipation of witnessing even more flying carnage.
My stuffed shrimp was a sad, sad joke. See, when you call something stuffed, it needs to be large enough to open up and hold the stuffing. These shrimp were only about three inches long with the tails attached, so instead of stuffing them, they merely stuffed them into the little balls of stuffing they'd perched on the plate.
The stuffing itself was decent, albeit too bready. It had a nice crabby taste but no lobster at all. The fries and slaw were excellent, but for $25 they'd better be.
Patricia's gumbo was pretty freakin' awful. She ranked it about a 2 out of 10 on the gumbo-meter. I tasted it. Not good.
I also tasted my sister's blackened redfish, which is a dish I usually adore, because the fish is so mild and delicate and balances beautifully with the blackening spices. Not this time, though. The fish was salty, fishy and a little too dry. The spices were not applied in the classic Paul Prudhomme method, either. But Big Sis liked it, so that was good.
Meanwhile, my sister in law was determined to finish her BBQ shrimp in spite of being up to her elbows in red juices, shrimp whiskers, heads, brains, eyes and faces. She was reduced to sopping up the juices on her hands with her French bread baguette, which would have been hilarious had the messiness not been so offal.
We finished off our meal with some fantastic bread pudding laced with flecks of toasted coconut and sliced blanched almonds in a butter cream sauce, which really cancelled out the general disappointment of the rest of the meal.
When the bill came, it was about what one would pay at a 4-star NOLA restaurant. The sticker shock left all of us reeling, but we didn't want to make my brother feel bad so we paid and left without much comment.
Afterwards, we started to wend our way back toward the hotel. On Bourbon Street, we encountered a very charismatic guy who passed out to each of us these great looking baseball caps with a variety of New Orleans logos printed on them. We lingered on to chat with him, only to discover his "gift" was a ruse to collect donations for the NOLA food bank.
Turned out a minimum $20 donation was requested per cap. A few of us returned the caps because we didn't like feeling guilt tripped into donating, but most of us considered it such a worthy cause, we rolled with it. I got a very snazzy black and silver cap with a fleur de lis logo I gave to my next door neighbor as a thank you for watering my plants and collecting my mail for me. He loved it and I loved contributing to the NOLA food bank. Win/win.
The evening ended with a quick trip back to the casino where I won a fast $75 on a triple red 7 quarter machine. I was too tired and achy to stay long though, alas.
I fell into bed around 11 with Achilles tendinitis in both ankles, a trick knee flare-up, a little sunburn, a too-full belly and that general feeling of exhaustion one gets from walking around tipsy all day and evening in extreme humidity.

We all decided to get an early start on the road Sunday morning so we could arrive back in Austin early enough to say our goodbyes and return to our respective homes at a reasonable hour.
Because I managed to avoid my turn at driving to NOLA, I was elected to be the first designated driver for the trip home.
All of us were touched by the dear people of New Orleans who'd suffered so much in the wake of Katrina, and continue to suffer at the hands of a federal government who doesn't care about New Orleans or its residents.
The city is down but not out, but we all noticed a sadness that sort of blanketed the bon vivant nature that used to define New Orleans. Basically, the dynamic on this visit was that of poor, black people trying to offer the most gracious hospitality they could muster to rich, white tourists who can afford to piss off a lot of money on just having fun.
We felt good in doing our share in stimulating their local economy, taking special care to tip well, speaking to locals from our hearts and extending our sympathies and well wishes whenever we could.
Still, before my family and I left the French Quarter around 8 a.m., we decided to take a detour to the Lower 9th Ward to pay our respects and see the ravages of Hurricane Katrina for ourselves. We also wanted to get a glimpse of the proposed Musician's Village and view any progress made by Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation's Pink Project, where he's spearheading a multi-million dollar effort to rebuild the area with affordable, sustainable housing for its residents.
I'm a pretty good driver with a lot of street smarts, so I wasn't at all concerned about driving through impoverished New Orleans neighborhoods that aren't accustomed to tourists and lookie-loos.
By the time we reached the middle of the 8th Ward, the level of abject poverty was obviously present long before Katrina hit land, and my heart began to ache. I was starting to feel hypervigilant about the carload of white Texans I was piloting through the 'hood, praying our presence there would not be annoying or insulting to anyone.
The street we were told to follow to the Lower 9th Ward suddenly turned into another named street, so I turned left to try to locate the original street.
When the one-way residential street we were on showed no thoroughfare promise, I started to change lanes in order make a left. Just as I changed lanes BAM! I ended up sideswiping a Ford 150 pick-up rushing up from behind us at a high rate of speed. The truck was filled to the brim with 6 or 7 adults and kids of various sizes and shapes on their way to church.
Being a white woman from Texas, wearing a Spurs NBA Championship T-shirt in a poor Black neighborhood in New Orleans with a van load of other white folks while the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Hornets were in the midst of a battle for NBA semi-final supremacy was not my idea of any kinda fuckin' laissez le bon temps roulet!
Anyway, the left front fender of our brand-new rented minivan was bent-up pretty good, but nothing major. The truck turned out to be scraped and lightly dented from stem to stern. I could almost swear that some of the damage had to be there before we collided, but then everyone says that.
I immediately asked the truck passengers if anyone was hurt and was relieved to find everyone was okay, without so much as a scratch.
The driver was a very nice, calm, polite gentleman who told me he was a deacon at the church where they were headed. His wife was equally nice.
Suddenly, two cars full of military police showed up, followed by a NOLA squad car with two local cops inside it. The MP's have been stationed there since Katrina to help the NOLA cops deal with the rising crime in the area.
Neighbors started drifting out of their shotgun shacks to see what the commotion was about. It was turning into a pretty dramatic scene, considering it was a fairly minor fender bender.
Though the deacon and his wife were very kind, one of the middle-aged ladies who was in the truck when the accident occurred started talking some loud shit as I was giving the officers my statement. She had her head wagging from side to side and she was using a tone in questioning my intelligence that could only be described as antagonistic.
Just as I turned my head toward her and started to suggest she shut the fuck up, the deacon, his wife and the officers beat me to the punch and quickly advised her to simmer her stew pot of a jabberjawing mouth down.
I was way glad that beyatch wasn't the one driving, else this blog may have been written from the N'awlins county jail.
I guess one of the teenaged girls also in their truck at the time of the accident was emboldened by the jabberjaw's gall, because suddenly she said her knee "felt like it was burnin'" and the cops were obliged to call EMS to have her checked out.
Even the cops were rolling their eyes by then, so phony was the kid's sudden claim of "injury." It was hilarious to watch her trying to remember which leg to limp on, but I didn't mention it because I think 'less is more' in situations like this.
EMS came and checked her out and- big shock- she didn't require any treatment.
Meanwhile, it was discovered the minivan I was driving had an issue with the left front tire jamming up the shocks, which meant we had to wait for Avis to show up, tow the vehicle and take us to the airport to swap it for another minivan.
My big brother's already thin patience had come to an end at that point.
The rental contract was in his name and I'm sure he was thinking he'd be the one having to take the financial hit over this minor wreck (that was turning more major by the minute).
His wife, who has the habit of asking stupid questions and making annoying gestures amidst tense situations, interrupted the news of us needing a tow to ask him what he wanted her to do with the two loose CD's she found in the door pocket of the minivan.
He replied in a way that made total sense to me--he took the two CD's and flung them into the dirt on the side of the road next to the minivan.
Alas for him, as the temperature and humidity were rising along with the drama of the situation, my patience also was circling the drain.
It seems one of the CD's he'd flung turned out to be my prized funk compilation that I had to special order. When I found it a few minutes later on the ground, I said, "Who the fuck threw my CD into the dirt?"
She promptly tattled on him.
Just as he and I were ready to throw down, my sister and My Sharona got between us and diffused the situation.
Just before noon, we reached the airport Avis dealer, where after some tedious form filling and repacking the replacement van (this time it was a better equipped Dodge Caravan with cupholders) we prepared to leave the Avis gate and get the fuck outta Dodge.
Naturally, they gave us the wrong van and we had to return to the Avis office, unpack the wrong van and repack our mountain of crap into another replacement van- an identical Dodge Caravan.
My brother insisted on driving, which suited all of us just fine. I slithered quietly into the third seating area, a bench seat that allowed me just enough room to fold myself into a ball, grab a pillow and blanket and go to sleep for the next three hours.
When we finally reached Austin just before 8 p.m., I jammed my gear into my car and left for home within the first 5 minutes of arriving.
By then I'd had the time to contemplate the accident and search for karmic reasons why the universe had sent me my first car accident in 40 years of driving, in a dangerous neighborhood, compounded by a carload of wisecracking family witnesses who I'm sure will never let me live this down. All this is not to mention the financial hit my insurance company will no doubt be making on me in the weeks to come.
In my haste to get back to my own cozy little home with my beloved kitties, I didn't take the time to properly situate and activate my radar detector before I hit the freeway.
Already hinky about the wreck that morning, and convinced the accident happened because I'd dropped a quarter onto the stupid old dead Voodoo lady's altar, I knew I probably should hook the detector up, but I didn't want to risk getting into another wreck while I was messing with it.
I managed to sort of hook it up but the suction cups weren't sticking and the damn thing was slipping all over the windshield and chirping and squeaking like an injured hawk.
I ended up taking it down and driving the speed limit behind a row of dimwitted Sunday drivers who had no idea they were sharing the road with an exhausted motorist who may or may not have been cursed by a dead Voodoo queen.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Me Oh My Oh

My siblings, their partners and I are fixin' to take a nice little road trip to New Orleans for a long weekend.
Let's pause now for a little Louisiana flavor:

Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we'll have good fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, crawfish pie and a file gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher a mio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou.

Thibodeaux, Fontainbleau, the place is buzzin'
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style, go hog wild, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou.

Jambalaya, crawfish pie and a file gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou.
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou.
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou.

Yep, we're getting our ridiculous economic stimulus checks pretty soon, so why not do the right thing and go stimulate an economy that Bush's neglect has left in such disarray?
NOLA is like a sweet old grandma in a wheelchair, with a gun under her lap blanket.
She's got stories to tell, amazing recipes to share and she stays young by overindulging in all that life has to offer.

Cafe DuMonde with beignets.
A Central Grocery muffalata.
Shrimp everywhere.
Hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's.
And of course, Harrah's Casino, with an ice bar in the middle of the 110,000 square foot casino. Rum and diet Coke have no carbs. Set me up, bartender!

I wish all of you had siblings as cool as mine.
My big brother is making a mix-tape for the trip. We all get to play our own CD's when it's our turn to drive. I'm going with either Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" or a funk compilation.
Big Bro and I already have discussed our gambling strategies. I've never visited a casino with him, but it's a love we both share. I am so looking forward to sitting next to him at the slots.
He's a retired environmentalist with a specialty in water. He's drooling at the prospect of visiting the amazing aquarium in NOLA. He actually knows what each fish is and what they do for a living.
My big sister and I have been to Vegas together and I like to think I taught her the rudiments of fearless slot play. But this time she's going to try the tables. Unlike me, she has a quick mind for math and I suspect she'll find a way to make some serious blackjack dough.
She's also given the green light to dining anywhere we want--damn the cost!
She found us a lovely hotel in the French Quarter, with big rooms and rustic brick walls behind the king sized beds.
I'm meeting a friend there on Saturday, a genuine Cajun girl who was reared in NOLA and used to live in San Antonio. She'll be the perfect tour guide.

It's only a long weekend, but my family has the ability to cram a month full of fun into one lil' weekend.

See you when I get back, y'all. :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gas Tax Relief

Hillary's for it, Obama's against it.
I'm talking about the suspension of the 18 cent federal tax on gas for the summer driving season.
Opponents of the plan say the savings, "will only amount to $30."
Not in Texas it won't.
Add our 20 cent per gallon state tax to that 18 cent federal tax and you see a 38 cent per gallon savings. On a 15-gallon tank, that amounts to a savings of $5.70 per tank.
Based on one tank a week over a three month period, I'd save about $70.
Opponents bawl that it's a gimmick; that the tax revenues are essential for highway infrastructure, blah, blah, blah.
Hillary said the oil companies should pay for it by means of a windfall profit tax.
Obama said they'd just raise prices.
So? Tax them on that, too.
Since when does the legislature lack the ability to levy new taxes on corporations?
Has it been so long since Americans heard the term "windfall profit tax" that we've forgotten it exists as an option?
Saving $70 might not seem like much to some, but it's enough to pay my water bill for 2.5 months.
It's enough to pay for a weeks' worth of groceries.
It's enough to add seven new CD's to my collection.
It's enough to pay for baby Jake's neutering.
It's enough to pay for 25 car washes and vacuums at the local do-it-yourself place.

Some of you may be behind Obama on rejecting the summer relief on gas taxes. That's fine with me--that's your prerogative.
But since that $70 savings means something to me, would you mind stuffing an envelope with a 50 and a 20 and mailing it to me?
Thanks, honey.

Friday, May 02, 2008

It Just Got Worse

You recall my recent entries about the murder of local restaurateur Viola Barrios and the quick arrest of her punk-ass murderer, the 18-year-old jerk who lived next door to her named Joey Estrada.
Well, get this.
He killed her by shooting her in the head with a fucking arrow.
Then he stole her credit card and her 'Benz, went to the gas station and charged up $10 worth, which he used to set fires in her bedroom where he shot her.
The fire must have burnt the exposed arrow shaft.
The coroner found the arrowhead lodged deep inside her brain through the MRI they did during the autopsy.
He's been charged with capital murder and in jailed in lieu of a million dollar bond.
The DA is asking for the death penalty.
I hope she gets what she's asking for. And I pray I'm on that sentencing jury.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

My Rowdy Birthday Buddy

Regular readers here know my frequent commenter Rowdy Republican, aka Rowdy.
She lives here in San Antonio and I've known her for close to 15 years. We share the same birthday, April 30. In many ways, she reminds me of a miniature version of me.
I guess the one bright side of her being a Republican is that she's been known to vote for Democrats when the occasion warrants it. Lately, that's often the case.
My favorite thing about Rowdy is not that she's rich, it's that she spends money like she's trying to set the record for having fun with it.
See, in Texas, a lot of rich folks have a certain flamboyancy unparallelled in other areas of the nation.
Several years ago on the Fourth of July, she hosted a party at her parent's snazzy house. Fearing that the pool water would be too warm, she had an ice company deliver three refrigerator-sized blocks of ice to cool the water down.
Needless to say, I was delighted to accept her invitation to celebrate our birthdays together last night at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
I met her at her office, where in the parking lot I spied her enormous white Toyota Tundra double cab V-8 pick-up truck. The truck is big enough to host a sit down dinner for six and almost hilarious in its conspicuousness. It was the perfect vehicle for her.

Off we went to dinner. Fuck the appetizers, we started with two jumbo Grey Goose martinis.
I was amazed when she asked me to select the wine, so I picked what I thought would be a nice French Bordeaux. At $110 a bottle, I thought that mofo HAD BETTER be good.

At first I thought I'd order a nice fillet mignon, but Rowdy insisted I order instead the bone-in Texas Rib eye. The damn thing was the size of my head with the bone about the circumference of an adult femur.
She ordered a nice, fat lobster and we shared sides of broccoli and creamed spinach.
As we tucked in to eat, she kept eyeing her wine glass with what looked like the slightest hint of disdain.
I asked if she was unhappy with it, and she made a little face that looked like this :/
In a flash, she was asking the waiter for the wine list and ordered up a bottle of 2000 vintage Opus One. Opus One is the happy offspring from the marriage between Baron de Rothchild and Robert Mondavi. I know it's gauche to mention prices, but I nearly fainted with I saw the $400 price tag.
I protested that it was too expensive, but she said, "But it's our birthday!"
And so it was.
Rowdy has a talent I was unaware of until last night. She can strip a lobster down to the shiny red shell without leaving even a tiny thread of meat. She needs no bib. She is a lobster eating artist.
Meanwhile, I sawed away at my indescribably perfect rib eye for what seemed like hours, only to watch it stay the same size. I brought home a chunk that still would serve four.
We had planned to argue politics during dinner, but we were having so much fun stuffing our faces and drinking that liquidy velvet, neither of us had the inclination.
As a lover of good food and wine, I was in a stupefied state of grace last night.
The atmosphere was nice, the service was perfect and the company couldn't have been better. What a wonderful way to celebrate my advancing senility.
Rowdy is single, and for the life of me I cannot see how that can be.
She's one hell of a catch...even for a Republican.