Odd San Dends

26 February 2008

My sports teams are in free-fall.  Three straight losses by the Hornets, and two by the Jayhawks.  Come on, fellas, turn it around!  I’ll be there tomorrow to see if NO can right the ship against the Suns, but I’m pessimistic, given how badly Tyson was beat up by Brendan Haywood last night.  Even a washed-up Shaq should be a juggernaut.

And you thought Clinton and Obama were mad at each other!

Maybe it’s because you were being bitches!

This if funniest if you took Intro Psyc.

Adrastos has a nice take on the Oscars, nice because I agree with it.  One thing E and I observed was how many winners were not American.  I’m sure both right-wingers in Hollywood will try to use it to close the borders to Hollywood, but it does make me wonder if we’re seeing the effects of shitty arts funding.

With Dodd and Emmitt, Barack can’t lose!

Although I don’t always find them funny, I enjoyed this back-&-forth between Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel.

Falling Down

21 February 2008

I still haven’t gotten time to post my Mardi Gras recap, but the sober days of Lent will soon change that.  Meanwhile, here are some related experiences:

To a fault, I avoid confrontation.  As I’ve noted here before, I sometimes avoid saying what I think or speaking out on important issues because I don’t want to seem smug or ignorant.  Now I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but I came relatively close to two fights between Thursday and Monday of Mardi Gras weekend.  I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not a violent drunk, and I wasn’t bad off either time.  I think I’m just mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

The first was at Tip’s for Papa Mali’s show.  I’m a sensitive music-goer.  Because I’m big, I try to stand closer to the back, and I make sure I don’t take up too much space (cross my arms, don’t flail about, etc).  And I’m used to getting bumped into.  Unless it’s especially persistent or spirited, I really don’t mind, even if a little beer gets spilled on me or whatever—it’s all just a price of admission.  But Thursday this guy starts repeatedly bumping into me from my right.  As I’ve done a couple of times, I just decided I wasn’t going to move.  I probably outweighed the other guy by 100 pounds, so it wasn’t difficult to hold my ground.  Besides, I’d been there a long time and was with a group of people who were tightly packed. 

So this guy keeps bumping me, on purpose.  Over and over.  Then he starts leaning on me, basically trying to push me over.  I just kept my arms crossed and my eyes on the show, but he kept pushing.  Finally, he turns to me and says, “You got a problem?”  He seemed to have thought that because he was bumping into me but I wasn’t moving, it was the same thing as me bumping into him.  I calmly corrected his appraisal of the situation, and he got closer to being in my face.  I told him not to be stupid, which I realized meant both that he was being stupid about the bumping issue and about getting into the face of someone so much bigger than he.  He didn’t have to know that I don’t know shit about fighting. 

So I kept staring him down and telling him to back off and not be an idiot.  His friends eventually hauled him away, and I went back to enjoying the show.  It was out of character for me, but it felt right, if a bit adolescent in retrospect. 

My other near-brawl was riding my bike home from Orpheus.  I was riding down St. Charles when some drunk college-looking kid pushes over a trash can by the streetcar tracks and is running toward another one.  I couldn’t believe what I saw and again decided I didn’t have to put up with it.  Unfortunately, I wrecked trying to get onto the streetcar neutral ground where he was. 

I yelled at him and asked him what the fuck he was doing.  His response:  “Why did you wreck your bike?”  I told him that was irrelevant (these conversations all sure sound dumb, don’t they?).  Anyway, I got in his face and told him he couldn’t do that to my trash cans (this is a point I’m adamant about and that I use when people litter on my streets).  He said they weren’t my trash cans, and I told him that they sure were because I fucking live here and he needs to watch his ass.  Just then, weirdly, 2 cops came running up and angrily told us to settle down or we were both going to jail.  I immediately thought of how E would react if I ended up in jail over something like this on Mardi Gras, and then a couple of women walking by started to tell the cops what the guy had been doing.  They started in with him, I took my cue, and made my exit from the scene. 

Not exactly ass-kicking stuff, but I’m wondering why I feel like confronting people on these things.  Is this a new trend for me?  If so, will it spill over into issues of more substance or import?  Or is it the effect of too much partying and too little sleep?  Either way, you assholes out there better watch out because I’m now a ticking time bomb!

Hornets in Slate

21 February 2008

Whether we make it or not, we’re not done shouting.

David Ramsey, we’re glad you’re here.  Keep doing good work, and I hope we can keep this great team here (and great).  You’re fairly new to New Orleans, but you seem to get it, so thanks.

On a personal note:  I know a bunch of other folks are talking about the Hornets, and if anyone there is still resisting going because the NBA is boring, give them a few tries.  Frankly, I’m addicted now, and even E has gotten into the mood, for which she resents me.  This team is great, they play with real energy, they’re good guys who are easy to support, and it’s just plain fun basketball.  In past years, I went out of civic obligation and because, well, it’s the NBA.  Now I’m going to as many games as I can and enjoying every minute of it.  Last night we got crappy seats but I was riveted watching Chris Paul school Jason Kidd over and over.  We’re an elite team, so give it a try, and maybe enough people will become junkies like me and we can actually keep this team here.


21 February 2008

whoever doesn’t like music on the streets of the Treme shouldn’t move there. We’ve been doing this and we’re going to keep doing it.

Who’da thunk a dropped case would be good news in New Orleans?

Must read from Bill Simmons

19 February 2008

With the sun shining, with people happily strolling around, with the faint sounds of trumpets in the background … I mean, wasn’t this New Orleans? Wasn’t I looking at New Orleans?

So, imagine my surprise as I’m standing there in front of the Du Monde, plowing my way through the best bargain in the United States — three beignets for $2 — with powdered sugar spraying my clothes just like old times. Imagine me looking around and thinking about how egregiously I underestimated the city’s rebuilding effort, and thinking to myself that New Orleans might make it after all. Imagine those dormant memories from Super Bowl XXXVI flooding through my brain, one of the single greatest weeks of my life. There’s no question. I’m having a moment. I’m having one those I’m-in-a-movie, larger-than-life moments that can happen only in New Orleans.

You gotta read the whole thing. Send him a thank you note while you’re at it.

UPDATE:  More nice props from JA Adande:

One of the benefits of having the festivities in New Orleans, besides the great food (“That gumbo — man,” Allen Iverson said), was the option of walking everywhere you needed to go. That’s what I did Saturday, footing it to the arena, the parties, wherever, despite a right leg that was severely damaged after Charles Barkley’s inexplicable decision to sit on my lap Thursday night.

New Orleans has always been the best host for the big sports weekends, and even in its weakened state it still came through.

Gosh, where was T-Mac?

18 February 2008

Oh, that’s right, he didn’t make the team. Or, he was “injured” and wanted to avoid our scary city. Well, Tracy, that’s your karma for dissing our great city. Anybody know whether he made the scene or wussed out? Ass.

On the other hand, it brought a tear to my eye to watch the New Orleans mojo in such fine display. I’m sure this was the first All Star game I’ve watched in 15 years, and the game sucked, but NOLA rocked. Nice job getting real local musicians to play live and show everyone how much this city rocks.

Stephanie Jordan nailed the anthem (with a great assist by Branford Marsalis and Jonathan Dubose). I mean great. Then the dueling pianos with Connick, Jr., Ellis, Dr. John, Davell, Toussaint, and a bunch of others was brilliant. And I’m sure that Rebirth won some converts, with Kermit and Trombone Shorty guesting. Still, I can’t help but think that the rest of the country thinks brass bands, Indians, and second lines are simply novelties that we break out for tourists instead of the integral parts of life here that they are.

One more thing: “Reggae Music Man Dr. John???”

UPDATE: from Ian Thomson

For so many years the NBA’s All-Star Weekend has been growing like a tumor upon the soul of the game, a vehicle of greed, selfishness and other vices in blight of the larger team values. But that trend was arrested by coming this weekend to New Orleans, where the NBA’s biggest stars spent Friday working on community projects that emphasized giving instead of taking.

For this weekend, at least, the league rediscovered its soul.

The music of New Orleans is a unifying force of joy, and I have a feeling that no one who watched the pregame or halftime performances of jazz was turned off or threatened or in any way bemused by it.

My night with the cool kids

15 February 2008

Last night was Valentine’s, and I really screwed it up. I put off making reservations until there was nothing available, so we ended up eating at Hipstix. Not terrible, but I don’t know why I’d ever go back.

Anyway, I wanted something in the Warehouse district because we had tickets (thanks, Stephanie) for Zo & Magic’s 8-Ball Challenge. Not exactly E’s idea of a romantic evening out to try to see celebrities play in a pool tournament. I persisted because I’m sometimes a sucker for celebs and I like pool, and because I felt like we should at least make an appearance since Stephanie gifted them to us. So we went.

After looking at the website, I figured that we lowlifes would be relegated to some 3rd tier balcony with the other schlubs while the pretty people mingled out of our reach. That’s not what happened. We entered through security to brass bands and immediately saw Chris Tuckerchris-tucker.jpg coming in. I didn’t think we’d have access to him, but we did. Then came Dr. J and his beautiful wifedr-j.jpg. Then an almost-unrecognizable Carmelo Anthonycarmelo.jpg, clearly fond of himself. They were all very close by, immediately making me regret not having my camera, but I got a few bad shots with the iPhone (needs lots of light).

We figured the red-carpet action would be the end of it, but then we went inside and nearly bumped into Reggie Bushreggie-bush.jpg lining up a shot. Yeah, his girlfriend’s butt really does defy gravity. E was thrilled to see ex-KU star (now Celtics star) Paul Piercepaul-pierce.jpg, who is singlehandedly responsible for fostering her love of college hoops.

So we spent an hour or so mingling and wandering and gawking. Other folks we saw (and recognized): Ludacris ludacris.jpg(the host), Lisa Leslie & Chris Paullisa-leslie-chris-paul.jpg, Gabrielle Union & Vivica A. Foxgabrielle-union-vivica-a-fox.jpg, Magic Johnsonmagic.jpg, Kevin Durant, David West, Alonzo Mourning, Al Horford, and probably a few others I’m forgetting. But the highlight was watching Chris Paul playjordan-heckles-cp3.jpg with Michael Jordanmichael-jordan.jpg. It’s really weird to turn a corner and be standing right by the best basketball player of all time (especially when you’ve been around Magic and Dr. J, two of the other top 10).

What a weird experience. I’m not sure why it was so much fun, but it really was. Wish I could do it again with a decent camera.

RIP, Mark

7 February 2008

Mardi Gras 2006 028

Originally uploaded by HammHawk

My Mardi Gras review is coming soon, but amid the great, we got some awful news. Stacy learned that her ex-brother-in-law killed himself Monday. His (adult) daughter went to look for him in the garage, and he had shot himself in the car. Yes, it’s that awful.

mark-beer.jpgJeez, what a tragedy. I didn’t know Mark well, and I don’t know if I’d ever see him again, but I liked him. He was a genuinely nice guy who had worked hard to build his own house in the woods near Atlanta that his family called Cruz Sonoya because it was so pleasant a retreat.

mark-e.jpgIndeed, it was for us when we stayed there for several days after a stint at my parents’ house in the early days of the hurrication. Mark and Lynn generously opened up for us and our dogs, and they didn’t think a thing about it. Then he came down for Mardi Gras 2006 and had a blast. I remember how much he got into it, the dressing, the bead-whoring, the marching bands. I love it when people like that come in for Carnival.  He was a good guy to be around.

mark-et-al.jpgBut something made his life too tough, and that sucks. It’s going to be a tough road for his daughter and grandkids, because he seemed to be a pretty stable force in their lives. Looks can be deceiving.

You couldn’t exactly say we were friends, and I’m sure he hadn’t thought of me in a long time, but I’m sure thinking about him now. We all are, and we’re really sorry.