Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thank You, Roger Steen

I am posting this with the hope that one day guitarist Roger Steen of the Tubes will Google himself and find this post wherein I thank him profusely for writing the song Brighter Day, probably my favorite Tubes song ever, (and they had some great songs), and really, one of my favorite songs ever, period. There's much to love here, particularly the timing and needless to say, that acoustic guitar. It's all so smooth and cooler than cool. I could do better than this description, but my tired mind won't cooperate right now. BIG THANKS, ROGER STEEN!

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Once upon a time, I blogged.


Once upon a time, I blogged.

I think it just got to the point that living through some things once took all the energy I could give to them. Then Facebook came and made it so easy to come in with a quick, ephemeral hit, a quick link, a quick and easy photo and easier feedback. But I have stories that should be told. There are things, events and people I never want to forget.

That Thing That Happened on August 29, 2005 has ceased to be something I let weigh on me, but because of it, I'm still far from living a normal life. (I can thank so many people in the building trades for that.) I got tired of writing about all that and frankly, it started to feel like the only way a New Orleans blog could be considered valid by many in my blogging circle, was to write about The Aftermath with attention to politics and all of the associated outrage. I don't have the energy for any of that any more and the whole thing caused me to loose my sense of ground here. So, this is all part of the New Normal and I'm embarrassed to have adjusted to it, but I have.

Maybe my desire to write here again will change. With inspiration, arm-twisting and some kind of push, maybe it will change. But right now, it is what it is.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 28th, 2005 Journal Entry

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Africa is Alive and Well in New Orleans

The African thread that's been woven through the complex tapestry of New Orleans culture is strong and unbroken and can be seen whenever more than Mardi Gras Indian shows up at the same place at the same time. I frequently see drum and chant sessions erupt during stops at the second line while everyone else rests, and once they start, it's hard to stop them. The more gathered, the more powerful the energy, the louder and stronger the heartbeat of Africa pulses through the city of New Orleans.

This video was shot in a backstage tent at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Sunday, April 25, 2010. It features members of the Golden Star Hunters and Carrollton Hunters and possibly the Golden Eagles. Soon members of the Young Men Olympians Social Aid and Pleasure Club and virtually everyone else in the vicinity joined in. I cannot describe what it felt like to be in the middle of all this, but I think this video will take you as close as you can get without having been there. It was like an indian practice explosion. The volume sensitivity on my microphone was at the lowest setting possible so you can imagine what it sounded and felt like in that tent during its peak. This was an amazing moment that I feel honored to have been a part of and am happy to share it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Treme- I've got a lot to say about it.

But first... a short video of my bus ride to Jazz Fest with the Creole Wild West.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

For Future Bloggers




What: Blogging 101 Class: An Introduction to Blogging for the Utter Novice

When: Thursday, Nov. 12; 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Where: The Bridge Lounge, 1201 Magazine St

Why: To Learn About Blogging and for Free Beer.

Who: Rising Tide

This class will be taught by two local bloggers and will focus on blogging platforms, hosting, getting started, a walk-through of basic blog software, posting, adding media, blogrolls, linking, commenting and more. Laptops are encouraged.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

A week later and I'm still VERY irked by this.



OK, sure it's the first time I've posted anything in ages and surely there are lots of other things I should have written about, but here was this article, sitting open in a browser window, and it got me all outraged again.

So, the Harahan (New Orleans suburb) police stopped New Orleans Saints free safety Usama Young for speeding and then arrested him for an outstanding parking ticket? One issued on private property? (Parking in a handicapped zone in a mall parking lot.) And they charged him with "flight from an officer using a motor vehicle" because it took him a half mile to stop? (That's 880 yards, by the way-- less than 9 football fields. Hardly a case of "flight." You do need a little time to find a safe spot to pull over and stop the car.)

Yes, they did.

That's how the Harahan police operate. Maybe the real charge here was driving while black, but I can assure you that anyone is fair game in Harahan. I could tell you a colorful story about how I was shaken down by their court system after receiving a ticket that the cop, himself, admitted I didn't deserve. But who has time for that? Anyway, I've heard tons of Harahan Police stories from all kinds of people so if you've got to go there, don't take a single traffic liberty, no matter how tempting.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Rising Tide 4!


On the off chance that you haven't deleted me from your feed reader yet, I wanted to be sure to tell you about this year's Rising Tide conference. Harry Shearer is the keynote speaker. Don't miss it.

Oh, and now that I'm home, I'm starting to feel like blogging again. Should I bother? Just wondering if I'm still on anyone's radar because if not, I'll just become Facebook's full-time bitch. (FB is just so easy.)

Seriously, do get thee to the Rising Tide site and get thyself registered. I'll see you there.
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Stunning Rising Tide 4 artwork by Greg Peters (Suspect Device), available on posters, t-shirts and coozies at the conference.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Look what I got!!!


#1 Hanging Light
Originally uploaded by Salvations2008.
Sure, there's been a lot of "news" happening in my life lately and I haven't blogged anything. So, here's something!

Wonderful synchronicity has returned to my life. Yay!!

There have been quite a few instances of this recently, but the one I'm most excited about tonight involves this fabulous chandelier made of nothing but scrap metal-- mostly nails, washers and nuts. (You've really got to see this thing in person to appreciate it.)

A couple of weeks ago I went to see a movie with a friend that I've been hanging around with a lot lately. We had time to kill before the film started, (at Canal Place, for you locals), so we went cruising around the building and found an exhibit of some very cool items made of reclaimed materials. We noticed that they were eventually being auctioned but didn't note the details.

So, tonight, we had plans to see Ché Part 1 at Canal Place (for you locals) and were going to the 7:00 PM showing. Around 4:00 PM, my friend called and asked if we could switch to the 9:50 PM show because he was running behind with things and so was I, so no problem. We decided to meet up a little early and when purchasing our tickets noticed some affair taking place in the adjacent area. We decided to check it out and see if, perhaps, we could casually cruise around and maybe grab a cocktail, No one was at the registration table so we were able to slip in without incident and immediately realized that the very cool objects d'art were being auctioned and the chandelier that enchanted me two weeks earlier was on silent auction. The movie was starting in 10 minutes and the bidding was ending in 20. I rushed over to get a bidding number and then lurked around the item waiting to pounce while my friend went to stake out our spot in the theatre.

Finally, I bid $50 more than the highest bidder but the auction people didn't pick up the bid sheets right away, so I sheepishly implored anyone who looked interested in the item to please, please, pleeeease not outbid me. And no one did!!

The best thing about this chandelier -- other than its consummate coolness-- is the fact that because of it, I am now absolved of all of the lighting compromises I've had to make to get this house finished. I can now buy the fixtures that I perceive as cliché with impunity. This is a big deal, as the lighting decisions have been a big hang-up for me and are probably the biggest thing standing between me and the final electrical inspection.

So that's one more thing (of many), that I'm grateful to this particular friend for doing. He wanted me to see the first film on the night we first saw the chandelier, (he'd already seen the film), and it was his idea to postpone tonight's movie> Had we not caught the late show and arrived early with time to kill, (again, his idea), the whole stroll-in-and-bid thing would not have happened.

I am the owner of the fabulous chandelier! Happy? Oh, yes, I am!

Oh, and in other news, (kinda old news now, but in case you haven't heard), Renard and I broke up after 7 years together.

I'll take better, more detailed pictures of the chandelier once I have my hot little hands on it. Or you can check out the ones I just found, like this one on Flickr (I can blog it but can't link to to it-??), part of a whole set of pictures of it. You can also check out all the other cool items auctioned at the Green Project's Salvations 2009 event. The fork and knife bench went for $1000. My chandelier was a real steal.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dear Blog,
Have I killed you yet?

You're only 4 years old. Too young to die. Wait...do I detect a weak and thready pulse? Maybe there's still some life here.
----
I didn't mean to do it. It's just that it's hard to post when you have so many other things that you should be getting done. I don't like hearing you didn't do blah blah blah but you found time to post, even though that's probably always been the case to some degree. It just seems like lately there's been more on the list and it's not just me being affected by my lapses.

So, I apologize for all my neglectful behavior; for not responding to comments and e-mails and memes (which I will do, I promise), for not commenting on your blogs (even though I do read them still), and for any other conscious and unconscious transgressions I may have committed.

I'm going to try to do some year-end house cleaning and get things caught up, just in case anyone is still out there. (At the very least, I know I can always count on Richard!) I have countless drafts and I may just go ahead and post them in their unfinished form and in their proper chronological place. Maybe. I don't know. You know how it is with me, right? Right?

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Run for Your Life!

That's the kind of thing we're hearing down here. So, we're buggin' out.

Been busy getting things and people ready. We had flights to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but we'd be flying right into Gustav's nasty east-side outer bands and Tropical Storm Hanna's threatening that area and mucking up the scene. So, we're leaving around 3:00 AM and driving 4.5 hours east to Destin/Miramar Beach. We got the hurricane evacuation special at a really nice beachfront condo, (yes, several properties actually have such deals), so we'll have front-row seats for some tropical storm-level drama.

Actually, they expect the weather to be pretty decent over there tomorrow, at least until the late afternoon. We'll see. In any event, there are many things to do in the area (some even in bad weather) that will help keep my sensitive childrens' minds off of the bedlam. This is always my primary concern with this worrisome hurricane bullshit. That's why we ran off to Disney World last time.

As with Katrina, Rachel is very excited about our evacucation. Alex is old enough now to be very tuned in to the tragic possibilities. I have to admit, it's kind of nice to have another adult (even if he's a junior member)

This one looks like another really bad one, many are saying worse than Katrina, particularly given its approach. New Orleans will be on the evil east-side of the eye, where the meanest winds rage and the heaviest rainfall occurs. With a projected storm surge of 20-25 feet (last I heard), the West Bank of the city is assured of SERIOUS innundation and the East Bank (my side) still has its share of weaknesses in flood protection.

I'd love to sit and write more, but I've got way too many things yet to do before we drive off into the sunrise. No sleep for me tonight.

Say some prayers for the folks in New Orleans and on the South Coast tonight, and for my insane friends and neighbors who are staying, despite the STERN warnings to do otherwise. (Do it even if you don't believe in God; it certainly won't hurt anything.)

I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me before long.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

Ya hear me, Mother Nature?


I know there are other things I should have posted about by now, but this was a quick and easy one and the 2AM update of the noodles (models) was enough to kick me into gear. Should be some fun dreams tonight.

ADDENDUM: The blue line that comes up just west of the mouth of the river is the GFDL model, the one with the best performance record over the last three years. Read about all the models here.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Ode to Boy- 20 Years Old

Baby Alex is 20 Years Old Today!

It was 20 years ago today -- well, technically yesterday, but because I'm still awake, it's still today for me -- that I became a mother, bringing a sweet and wonderful boy named Alex into the world. It hardly seems possible that 20 years have passed since this day.

Baby Alex is 20 Years Old Today!

I was working for Chef Paul Prudhomme at the time and I dutifully gave birth on July 13, Chef's birthday. I wasn't quite prepared for the fast and furious labor and delivery (under 4 hours) and it was bitter-sweet event because none of my family were there. My dad hadn't gotten over his anger over my interracial marriage (remember, this was when interracial relationships were not so commonplace) and he forbade my mother to go to the hospital when I went into labor. I had been banished from the family home since the wedding and had spoken to my mother by phone but hadn't seen her throughout the pregnancy until the ninth month. My sister lived out of town and came to the hospital the next day, saving me from the utter despair of feeling completely abandoned by my family at the time when my own new family was taking form.

Baby Alex is 20 Years Old Today!

It took about three months of my mothers constant urging before Dad relented and released me from exile. I was so proud of Willie on that day when we went to my parents' house for the first time after Alex's birth. Willie could have been bitter and resentful; he could have been cold and aloof and it would have been well warranted. I'm sure my dad knew this and was probably a little uneasy about the visit. But instead Willie walked in with his head held high, hugged my mother hello (they were always on good terms), then walked over to my dad with a smile, and firm handshake and a warm greeting. My dad was completely disarmed. They both relaxed, conversation ensued, they watched a Saints game together, and by the end of the afternoon they were like old friends. And on that day my dad fell in love with the baby Alex, just as the rest of the family had. Just as I had on July 13, 1988.

Baby Alex is 20 Years Old!

In so many ways, Alex is everything I hoped he's be. He's independent, smart, sensitive, funny, loving, and he's his own person in every way. He's never been in any kind of trouble and it's been a great comfort to feel I can always trust his judgment.

My baby boy and his mom, Jazz Fest 2003

We didn't spend this day together because he had plans with friends and I missed him, but we'll celebrate tomorrow.

Baby Alex is 20 Years Old Today!

So the number 13 is a very lucky one for me. Doubly lucky, because I gave birth to a wonderful son on July 13th and 8 years later, I gave birth to a daughter on August 13th. Who can argue with that?

Blast from the Past: My Little Family

Thanks, Alex, for your love and your light and for coming and changing the world in many beautiful ways.
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NOTE: It must be a special day because not only did I post something here, I posted a whole bunch more pictures of Alex past and present on Flicker tonight, too.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

T'is the Season (Letters, we get letters...)


It's the end of the semester, that bright moment in the term when students suddenly remember that they have some stake in the outcome of the course and now they believe it's the professor's responsibility to make it all right for them. Just ask Michael Homan, The Angry Professor, (I could have used her response [second link] for a dozen letters), or read a couple of mine from this semester. Feel free to craft a snarky response in the comments.

I don't want to interrupt the fine prose with a bunch of "[sic]s" so here you go:

Dear professor I am _______ from your (Principles of Marketing) class. I just check my grade and I have the grade of 65%. I am an international student, therefore I have trouble with reading especially in analysizing case as in marketing quesstion. I am gona have a big trouble if I can not get a C for this class. I have to get at least a C to be accepted by MBA. I will be very appreciate if you would consider my case and give me C for this class. I am so worry now to retake it, this is really a big trouble for me. I hope that you would consider my grade. Thank you so much!

And this one...

Hello my name is ________ and I am in your Marketing class on Tuesday nights. I'm not emailing you to complain about my final grade, but I see that you didn't put it on WebStar yet. I'm very happy I passed the class with a 60. I don't know how my attendance is going to be. Whether it will bring my average up or down. I would appreciate it extremely if you don't fail me if my attendance is going to bring my 60 lower. Please email me as soon as possible. Thank you and have a great day!

I'm so glad he's thrilled with the lowest D possible, but he's going to be pretty bummed out when he realizes that test are only 90% of the final. But I do intend to have a great day!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

60! WOW! Happy Birthday, Big Brother.

He's taking the milestone pretty well. But I think my mom's having a hella time with the idea that she has a 60 year-old kid.

And here's a reiteration of last night's BIG Happy Birthday wishes to Hana Morris. For the sake of reference, (in case you didn't read the last post), Hana is the widow of Ashley Morris, but I don't want to refer to her in that way any more, because she was not just Ashley's wife. She and I had a brief discussion about this last night and she understands that it may not have been easy for some of us to really get to know her behind the stellar presence of The Big Man. Hana's ready for us to get to know her as she embarks on this new phase in life and she'll continue to share herself with us through Ashley's blog.

Hana and the children still need our help, so please consider making a donation to the fund to help the family.

Thanks.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Because I Feel Like It


My First-Born and His Mom
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
That's why I am posting this picture of my first-born son with his mom.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Single Parenthood is a Tough Gig


Cellphone pic I snapped of the adorable Morris kids
before we piled in the van with them for last year's Proteus parade.


I've publicly marveled out loud and on this blog at how my blog friends seem to get so much done all the time. You guys are here, there and everywhere, doing this and that, saving the city and the world and writing about it all, often in multiple posts per day. I feel like such a slacker because I barely seem to manage to respond to comments here on my own blog, much less to comment elsewhere or squeeze out any new posts of my own on any regular basis. Then one day it occurred to me that I was the only one of us I knew of who was a single parent. Parenting a-deux it a tough enough job as it is - just ask anyone raising kids. But doing it solo is a whole other ballgame. As the single parent of two, I know. What I do not know and cannot imagine is having to singlehandedly raise three small children. And this is what Hana, the widow of our beloved Ashley Morris, faces right now. She needs our help.

Please do what you can for Hana and the Morris children by making a donation at the Remember Ashley Morris website.

Get to know a little more about Hana, AKA Soviet Block with the Big Easy Rollergirls, and read a beautiful tribute here. (Please do read it!)

In fact, just click on down through the links under "Real and Honorary New Orleanians" in the sidebar and you'll see just how special and important Ashley was to us. I have more to say about this, but I have kids to attend to now.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

The New Orleans Blogosphere Mourns a Devastating Loss with the Death of Ashley Morris


Ashley Morris, PhD

Yesterday, New Orleans lost a piece of its soul with the passing of our beloved Ashley Morris. I am so stunned and brokenhearted right now that I'm finding it difficult to find words, but I have to write this now, before the full blow of this painful reality hits me.

Ashley was not just some guy with a blog. Far from it. From Greg Peters of Suspect Device:

Different bloggers take on different roles, sometimes — most of the time — by accident. The NOLA bloggers, rising in response to an unimaginable tragedy, quickly found themselves steering different parts of the beast, if I can mix my metaphors. There’s the head, the brains, the analysts like Oyster & Matt McBride and Tim Ruppert; the soul — poets like Mark Folse, philosophers like Michael Homan — and the guts, the workers like Karen Gadbois and the Zombie.

Ashley was fire. Ashley was the furnace where the rage was forged, where the steam pressure built, where raw anger began its conversion to power and motion.

He was not a one-sided man, by any stretch of the imagination. He was intolerably funny. Talented. A father. All of that. Not an angry person except when driven to it.

Thank you, Ashley, for so much. Thank you for giving our anger a voice and for standing up for this city and its children whenever anyone dared disparage us. Thank you for your unfailing love for this place, a love so deep that when New Orleans was beaten and bloodied, her cries called you home and you answered, even though it meant commuting to and from Chicago every week to teach y0ur classes. Thank you for making us laugh. Thank you for helping gut my house and for bringing me into the fold of the Krewe of Pan. You were a good man. I am truly honored to have been your friend.

You will always be a part of us. Always. But it just won't be the same here without you.

Rest in peace, Ash.
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Ashley leaves behind a wife and three young children. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Assignments I Enjoy Grading

Because Sophmom and Yat Pundit*asked about this subject via Twitter after a comment I made....

I love my job more than I can say, but I do not like grading because I do not like judgment in general, and I want everyone to do well, but they don't always. And I hate it when students don't really care that much about learning, but I accept it, just like they accept the crappy grades they earn. On the other hand, a surprising number make it a point to tell me how much they're learning and how they now pay more attention and notice things in "the real world" and find themselves explaining things to friends and loved ones. But I digress...

Every now and then I manage to come up with some kind of assignment that's a real win-win for us all. They find it fun and interesting and it's not so much about a right/wrong thing as much as it is about thinking, and learning happens anyway.

Advertising was last topic covered in my Promotions Management class and tonight my students turned in one such assignment. I call it the What Were They Thinking? exercise. (I give this one to my Advertising classes, too.)

The short description: Students were instructed to identify an ad that they didn't understand from a strategic standpoint (content, message theme, type of appeal, creative execution, and such). They were to provide a copy of the ad along with an explanation of what it is about the ad that didn’t make sense. This allows me to assess the level of the students' understanding of advertising strategy. When they don't fully understand it, they present ads that actually do make strategic sense and I get the opportunity to address the confusion. When students really do understand it, I get truly baffling ads to add to my repository of teaching materials. And we have fun reviewing and discussing them in class.

Students can turn in print or television advertising and this semester, I gave instructions on how to download YouTube videos so that I could have a copy of any good commercials before they disappear, as they often do. And this year, I got a couple of great entries into the WTF? category, the one below from one of my Austrian students, who continue to prove to be very resourceful when it comes to finding stuff like this.

Anyone want to venture a guess on this one? Seriously.

video

I've got more, but none top this one.

Note to David O. (You're not undercover anymore!) Next up... I have just six words for you. (Do you really believe that's possible for me?)

*Note to Yat Pundit: Oh, rats! I've had you in my blogroll for a long time, I swear, but just realized that my omission of a quotation mark in the HTML rendered you invisible. I read you through my feed reader and didn't notice until now. Sorry! (Unfortunately, this is not the first time it's happened...)

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Pelagian Heretic Wishes You a Happy Easter

Here's another classic picture taken by my dad that I saved for today. It expresses the attitude I've had toward organized religion in general, and Catholicism in particular, from the time I came out of the womb. While studying philosophy in college, I learned about Pelagius and thought, hey! That's me!

I had a long post all about my unwillingness as a child to suspend my ability to think logically, regardless of the coercive power of the authorities charged with my religious indoctrination, but I opted to skip it because #1) I don't think it's anything anyone hasn't heard before and #2) I don't want to provoke a religious argument with anyone who might read this, though I'm not sure that anyone who does would disagree with anything I'd say anyway.


Here's an interesting topical article from a 2004 issue ot Time Magazine to which I would have linked had I gone with the original post:
Why Did Jesus Die?

Whatever you believe, I hope you had a happy day!