Friday, April 29, 2005


It's the next best thing to being there. 3:15-4:15 PM Central Daylight Time. So, listen!


You can try clicking the link above (the blog title, not the picture) to get to Kirk Jopseph's front page article in the Times Picayune (our daily paper) or you can try this link, then select the article entitled "Sousafunk Synergy," but you may be required to enter your zip code, gender and year of birth before you get the article. That's not asking too much, is it?

We're playing the festival today, so tune in to online between 3:15 and 4:15 PM, because our show (a "Critic's Choice" in Gambit Weekly), was chosen to be broadcast- or webcast, as the case may be- out of all the groups performing on a dozen or so other stages at that time.

Today is such a happy day!

It's 8:00 AM and time to go to sleep. We had a 2:00AM show last night (this morning) and I arrived home from that around 6:00 AM. I've got to get a little sleep before I have to leave, hopefully around 11:30 AM to catch Ivan Neville at 12:15 PM (if I can actually get up) ...and then we have a big show tonight, too, that probably won't end until around 4:00 AM or so. I've got a big carafe of tea ready for when I have to get up.... This is Jazz Fest.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

My Mac's Better Than Your PeeCee!

ABC News: Review: Mac Os X Steps Ahead of Windows: "Despite a much smaller user base, Mac OS X has been steps ahead of Windows on key fronts since its first release in 2001. It's got more advanced and polished graphics. It's less prone to malicious attacks. And Macs look better than nearly all Windows PCs."

"....As more details come out, additional complaints of Microsoft copying Mac OS X will surely be heard."

That's right, so all you Windoze users who like to give me shit about my Mac affection by dogging my chosen platform, (and not the rest of you Windows users who silently envy me), eat this! And while you're at it, please remember that we Mac users had long been enjoying a point and click, drag and drop inerface while you guys were still typing in DOS commands.

So there!

(I may not have posted this had a student not made a crack about my Mac tonight, not that I actually care. but it sure is fun to come home and find something with which to fire right back. I owe this one to my son, Alex, who made it a point to alert me to the article.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Still Swamped, But In a Good Way...So It's Photo Time Again

Leaping Alex
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
Jazz Fest 2005 - At The Fairgrounds
My son Alex makes a rare appearance on digital film. He was too busy to notice the camera and take the usual evasive measures.

(Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Frontyard Groove

Soft Bud
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
Since I'm so busy right now, you get pictures...

Click on the pic. You'll get the big picture. (And more.)
Sometimes bigger is better.

Frontyard Groove

Pain Inducers
Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
These mean stinging creatures (Buckmoth catarpillars ) are invading my yard and adjacent oak tree, as they do each April. One decided to take a stroll on my clothing and got me three times the day I shot this.

I bought my house 17 years ago, and moved in on April 1st, 1988. I came home from work on April 9th that year to find what looked like a scene from a Hitchcock movie: hundreds and hundreds of these all over the front of the house, including the front door. I had to get a broom from a neighbor to knock them off so I could go inside. They grew in size and number for a couple of weeks and frequently were found milling about inside the house, uninvited. Thankfully, there hasn't been a bumper crop like that since.

Frontyard Groove

Originally uploaded by LisaPal.
More frontyard wildlife...tiny secret lives.

Frontyard Groove

Aphids on my Antique Tea Rosebush
(See how tiny we are??)

Work, work, work. I'm getting there...

Click on the pic or the title...

The music clips aren't in yet, nor are the photos, but it's getting there. Check it out.

Regular readers (all three of you) and bona fide, credentialed, music and media moguls may e-mail me for the secret URL with the complete CD available to stream or download.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

There Are All Kinds of People In Your Neighborhood

These are the people in my neighborhood.... in my my neighborhooooooooood.....

...or at least they were, until Saturday, when most were carted off by various servants of the public.

Person #1:The Dead Girl. I don't know her name. I think she was about my age. She lived across the side-street from me and was rarely seen, though I once did see her riding a motorcycle. No one I know had ever had a conversation with her except Graham, the Englishman who lives catty-corner (that's how we say it here) from me. The Other Neighbor Girl who lives next door to The Dead Girl went looking for her escaped cat and found The Dead Girl's body laid out on a tarp in her garage, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. She had been there for SIX DAYS. Neighbors remembered hearing something that sounded like a firecracker coming from the area of the garage on Easter Sunday, but, this being New Orleans and all, where such sounds seem to be heard with relative frequency no matter where you live, they didn't think much of it. I am grateful that we had all gone off for the day when this grisly discovery was made and we were fortunate to miss the removal of the body.

New Orleans Note: Neighborhoods are so mixed up here that you will have wealthy people of all stripes living in homes with varying degrees of opulence within blocks of impoverished people living in absolute squalor, surrounded by everything in between the two extremes. Years ago, I could barely differentiate the sounds of certain fireworks and firearms and I'd jump when I heard what I could clearly discern as gunshots, look out of the windows, and call the police if it sounded anywhere within blocks. It happened rarely. Now, although it's not quite an everyday thing, I admit that I'm barely phased by those distant sounds and would only call the police if it were coming from within a couple of blocks. I probably wasn't home when this poor Girl offed herself.)

Person #2: The Armed Bankrobber from the FBI's Most Wanted List. Rachel and I came home from our Saturday outing to find two police cars in front of Graham's house and before we could turn off the engine, three more showed up in front of the DG's house. There were some SWAT team guys and some other officers with flak gear on, and apparently there were more police cars on the corner a block down from us. I told Rachel we'd better get inside quickly, but there were a group of little girls playing a few yards from the cars and the cops didn't tell them to go inside. So, we came back out and eventually Graham, (who always seems to know everything about what's happening in the 'hood), came by and gave me the skinny. I don't have details about the heist, but apparently, this guy held up a bank about two weeks ago and decided to hide out in the house behind the Dead Girl's, which I believe may be his mother's house. I don't know for certain. In any event, they got him without much fuss. Everyone in the neighborhood, including the Second District police who had been there earlier for the Person #1 incident, was buzzing about the day's activity in an area which is normally pretty quiet and uneventful.

Persons #3, #4, #5, & #6: Armed and Dangerous Criminals Eluding Capture. Alex had been hanging around with his friends all day and shortly before 10:30 PM, Rachel and I went to pick him up. I told him about all the neighborhood events on the short drive home and as we were coming the "back way" up our street, we saw a police car buzzing through a cross street. As we proceeded, we saw several more and, a block before we got to our house, in the same block as the houses involved in #1 & #2, in fact, virtually in front of house #2, another three police cars blocking the street, one with lights flashing. I had to go around the block to get home and as soon as we got in the door, Graham called to inform us that there was some incident involving a car stolen by four guys known to be armed and dangerous and a police chase into our neighborhood. (Aren't they all armed these days?) The police told him this and urged him to get and stay inside, as he was, of course, outside trying to get the whole story. Apparently, the police caught one of these guys, thanks to his brilliant decision to wear a white, hoodie, the perfect broadcast beacon for a fugitive on a dark night. But the other three were still at large. I turned every light on outside and took the kids upstairs, where Rachel cried and clung to me like a fat lady's polyester pants to her kneehighs on a cold, dry winter's day. Soon after, we heard the police helicopters buzzing around a few blocks away and saw that the patrol cars had left our area, apparently confident that the thugs had fled here.

I think we filled the decade's quota for gruesome, sad, exciting and/or harrowing experiences in this neighborhood yesterday. Today was a most quiet and peaceful Sunday.

It Might Have Been Me...

...but I just didn't think I'd ever had a qualifying tragedy.

Extreme Home Makeover came to the New Orleans area and fixed up the house of a single mother, widowed, I believe, who, like me, had completed a masters degrees at UNO, (but in a different discipline), and who, like me, had to put her PhD on hold. If she also, like me, happens to be teaching there as an adjunct and trying to live off those poverty wages, (and my college actually pays more than some of the other colleges in the university), then I will cry and cry throughout the episode because my house is FALLING TO PIECES (quite literally) as I struggle to make a living wage. Maybe I'll post the video I started to make to send to them, something that is very much out of character for me, but that I was willing to do out of sheer desperation. The video was quite entertaining, but never finished.

Some might argue that some of my choices in men prior to Renard qualify as tragedy, particularly the two that fathered my children, but I disagree. Neither are bad people. Both just have some problems that they have not yet chosen to deal with, just like the rest of us. (Unfortunately, my children bear the brunt of the pain of this, and that is a TRUE tragedy.) But I learned a lot from these guys, I'm still friends with them, and I'll continue to love them unconditionally, despite having chosen to do that from a safe distance.

Anyway, the episode with my semi-twin who lives a couple of dozen miles down the river from me will be aired tonight on ABC at 8:00pm, 7:00 PM central. They might do a bit about my university, an institution that I dearly love, even if they don't ordain me as full-time faculty this coming fall. (It's the love of UNO, my work and my students that allow me to accept my slave wages...true love.)

So, tune in tonight if you want to see what it's like in my alter-world. My next installment will expand on life here by detailing a few things about my neighborhood (and events transpiring here this weekend) that make it very unlike Mr. Rogers'.

Extreme Home Makeover Post Script

Well, I knew Braithwaite, Louisiana was down the river, but it's apparently WAY down the river. It was far enough into the boondocks for the woman in the aforementioned episode to have eight acres!!! Jesus! My lot is approximately 30 feet wide and 120 feet deep. Many houses in the older parts of New Orleans (like mine) have no driveways because they were built before there were cars. (I'm on a corner so, with some extra money, I could remedy that problem.)

Anyway, the only thing remotely like New Orleans, (including the pathetic excuse for a Mardi Gras parade), was the accent of the woman whose house was renovated. Now, if you happened to watch the show, don't speculate that she must be originally from Brooklyn. Contrary to popular belief, that's what many, if not most native New Orleanians sound like. (Not me, though. Most people who meet me for the first time, those who do know the real accent, don't think I was born and raised here. I usually thank them when they tell me that.)

And UNO's big mention was that they gave her a scholarship, but PhD students usually get tuition wavers anyway...

I'm glad they chose her for the Extreme Home Makeover. She lost her husband and eldest son in a car accident about a year ago and has her hands full with a 6 year old son, two very energetic 3 year old twin boys, and a house that had been torn up for a renovation by her husband before he died. Cosmetically, the inside of her house before the renovation made me feel much better about mine and she definitely needed a lot of work to get it functional. Mine looks bad on the outside, especially along the side, has many serious problems that are not obvious at first glance (though on some rooms, it's very obvious), and is bereft of all many practical features, most notably, closets and other useful storage space. And she may have 8 spacious acres fronting the Mississippi, but Braithwaite is about a 45 minute drive from the city, on a good day. That's way too far from civilization for me. (Though after reading my next post, you may question my definition of civilization.)

Still, I'd be so grateful if anyone would come and fix all the ills of this house and make it better. Preferably, without someone having to die in order for me to be the beneficiary of such kindness.