ESPN: Our Best National Post-K Coverage

28 September 2006

I love the Saints. This is my 6th or so season of having season tix, and I love going to the games, I love the lovable loser image (but winning is indeed more fun), I love the spirit of having something for my neighbors and friends and strangers to rally around… I love it all. And Monday’s whooping of the Falcons was perfect. The weather, the crowd, the mood, all of it. And we played like pros. That’s what we aren’t used to. This season we’ve been making fewer mistakes and taking advantage of other teams’ mistakes. It’s great. I’m not predicting SuperBowl or anything, but Payton clearly has their attention, Brees is a proven leader, and Bush, Deuce, Horn, Colston(!), Grant, Fujita, and the rest of the guys have the right attitude and talent to do some nice things this year. But everyone else is covering the game, so let me talk about the coverage of the game.

Simply put, ESPN did us right. I’ve been screaming for someone in the national press to express the ambivalence of the situation here, and these guys actually did it. They talked about the misery and how much stuff is ruined, population loss and the rest. They did it by describing their own trips around the whole city. But they also talked about how much has happened and how much we need people to come down and do spend some money. It was exactly the right tone. It’s tragic, it’s devastating, but it’s open for business and a great place to be. Thanks, ESPN.

Even Joe Theismann, probably my least favorite sportscaster after Steve Young, paid us a fair tribute and coaxed a little more commentary out of Spike. It was beautiful when Spike said he wasn’t going to pull a Kanye, he was pulling a Kanye. Nicely done. And then Theismann asked him to say whether his sense was the more should be done, Spike’s simple “yes” said a lot, and I was relieved that Joe didn’t go into some conservative defense of what’s already been done. No, instead, everyone’s comments were dead on.

For some reason, it’s difficult for me to listen to other people comment on the situation (I mean press people, or often the people they interview) because I always want to change their wording or interject a qualifier. ESPN’s coverage was one of the few things that didn’t give me that feeling. The interviews with Spike, Archie, and Harry were wonderful, and they conveyed what a beautiful place we have, even as it’s hurting so much right now.

That all made for a stellar night, and I agree with the convention bureau who said that this was basically a free 6-hour commercial. Not bad, especially in light of the fact that it was the 2nd highest rated cable show ever. ESPN could have taken the typical easy road and talk only about the spirit of recovery, so America can stop worrying about us, or they could have taken the easy road and talk about how we’re completely obliterated (last year’s MNF quote was “absolutely no infrastructure”). Neither approach would have done us any favors or been accurate.

So thanks ESPN, and to all the people of New Orleans who have been working so hard to make the hope real, despite the backdrop of so much left to be done.

Offensive… But You Gotta Have a Sense of Humor About Yourself

28 September 2006

So glad it didn’t actually happen…


Overjoyed Saints Fans Tear Roof Off Reopened Superdome



The Onion

Overjoyed Saints Fans Tear Roof Off Reopened Superdome

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Austin City Limits

19 September 2006

Although some of my friends resent Austin because Cyril has defected there, I still love the city and was happy to visit for my 3rd round of the ACL festival with my brother (we did the 1st and 3rd together, but I missed the 2nd for a wedding and the 4th for K-Bitch).  It’s a pretty good festival to me because I enjoy Austin music, if not as much as NO’s.  For that reason, I expect, I don’t like the fest quite as much as JazzFest, but it’s solid (and infinitely better than it’s first year, when astronomical lines and sand burrs made the event pretty unpleasant).

Quick review:  Top act was Gnarls Barkley.  I know some folks don’t like them, and I’d only really heard Crazy, but I was intrigued.  Great showmanship, great humor, great tunes.  The whole band came out in nerdy costumes and lab coats and opened with She Blinded me with Science.  Nice.  C-Lo was a little to chatty for my taste, but there was some serious energy up there.

Other quality sets:   Thievery Corporation; TV on the Radio; Kings of Leon; Matisyahu (surprised how much I liked him, but I don’t know why he speaks with a Brooklyn accent but sings/raps with a Jamaican one); Son Volt; Tom Petty (what we caught of him before the deluge).

Bummed by the lack of volume for the Van Morrison & Willie Nelson sets.

Great to see my brother; nice to have that tradition.  And this year it only approached 100 degrees.  Also had a nice chance to catch up with Joe & Karen (& Jack & Lucy) and to see Mark’s old high school crew, Bret, Steve, & Lawrence.

Ready for next year.

W Stole the Flag

12 September 2006

Yesterday was the 9-11 anniversary. I watched the football games that showed the footage of players carrying flags 5 years ago when play resumed. I listened the a “This I Believe” segment from Frank Miller on NPR where he talked about 9-11 teaching him to love the flag again and what it represents.

I’d love to be on-board with all that. I love much of what the US stands for. I think the good outweighs the bad. I was pissed at the terrorists, even as I understood to some degree why they did it (and it wasn’t because they hate our freedoms). But the country’s most visible representative makes me not want to admit that I’m associated with him, and waving a flag has become a way of saying that you support Bush, which I don’t.

It shouldn’t be this way. I should feel proud of the things I like about the US, regardless of who’s president. In fact, I was in Europe in 1990 (when Bush 41 was in office) and had a rather emotional debate with a Swiss woman who wouldn’t say anything good about the US and its people. Still, she seemed to enjoy my company just fine, so I said that she was generalizing too much. I can’t imagine really defending us for much these days. That sucks.

I’ve talked to people from Britain and Mexico who think their leaders are just as lame as ours, but I beg to differ. Those seem to be policy disagreements, not shame. I’m ashamed of our “leader,” and I want to distance myself from him as much as possible. That sucks too. I don’t want to be that way. I want to admit our faults, but be proud of the good things that come out of here, but instead I find myself just avoiding the whole subject.

Maybe it’s the dogmatism of people who do wave the flag that does it. Or maybe it’s Bush himself. Whatever it is, I can’t do it. I can’t chant “USA” at sporting events. And I’m inclined to show with bumper stickers or whatever that I don’t regard him as my president. What a drag.

Here’s hoping that our next prez makes me a little less ashamed and makes the rest of the world hold us in a little higher regard. The rest of the world matters more than we do, and we don’t have all the answers. Obviously.

Give it back, W. Please.

Don’t Let the Door Hit Your Ass on the Way Out, Harry

8 September 2006

Here‘s the video where Harry Anderson tells Bill Maher he’s bailing for Asheville. Nice place, Asheville, but Bill needed to be a little less light when he points out that Harry’s cutting & running. So the mayor’s lost it, Harry still has a sweet club that was doing great business, and things could’ve been fine for him. He didn’t flood; he didn’t lose his job; he didn’t have family die. And yet, he can’t take it. Good riddance, but good luck getting those things back when you decide you can’t be away.

The Onion Commends Nagin

6 September 2006

NYC Unveils 9/11 Memorial Hole

The Onion

NYC Unveils 9/11 Memorial Hole