Monthly Archives: May 2007

QUARTER NOTES: RAINY DAY EDITION

Thu, 24 May 2007 18:02:08

It poured buckets or (fill in your favorite rainy day cliche) in the Quarter yesterday. For some reason the rain brings the weirdos out in droves or perhaps it just drives them under the balconies seeking shelter from the deluge. Two moments in particular tickled my funny bone wherever the hell that’s located:

  • A large group of very wet and rather frantic Russian tourists entered the shop. A brassy and aggressive blond woman (no not Dangerblond she’s a Yank but not a Yankee) demanded that I sell them rain coats. We don’t sell soft goods plastic or anything remotely serviceable as rain gear. After deciding that they weren’t Russian mafia types who would curb stomp me Tony Soprano style I laughed and said: “I can’t sell what I don’t have.” She looked puzzled and somewhat irate  but one of her peeps looked around and started laughing as well. I told them how to swim over to Walgreen’s. Slosh slosh.
  • Some very tall joker dressed in a black suit sought shelter under the Upper Pontalba’s balcony during the downpour. I thought nothing of it until a customer informed me that he had a lizard on his nose. I looked for myself and sure enough it was a genuine bona fide live lizard. But by the time I saw him the lizard had crawled up his face and was resting comfortably on the top of his head. I resisted the temptation to ask the Lizard Man if he’d escaped from a side show…

 

NO, NO JOHN BREAUX

Wed, 23 May 2007 18:42:06

I wanted John Breaux to run for Governor and was disappointed when he did not. That is until I read a letter to the editor from the former Senator in Tuesday’s Picayune. What bugged me about  Breaux’s letter? Breaux came out against the Charity Hospital System and by implication the plans to build a large teaching hospital in downtown New Orleans.  This is the passage that bothered me the most:

“And we should applaud all of the private and non-profit hospitals and community physicians that have stepped up to serve all patients including the uninsured often without compensation. These providers have brought high-quality convenient care to uninsured and underinsured patients since Hurricane Katrina and want to continue to do so. I am proud to be working with the Coalition of Leaders for Louisiana Healthcare a group of health care and business leaders who have made it their priority to continue the work of the Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative. “

It all sounds very lofty doesn’t it? Sneaky is the right word: Breaux fails to mention that the law/lobbying firm he works for Patton Boggs represents the Wal-Mart wannabe of local medicine: Ochsner Clinic. So John Breaux is out to help Ochsner and the insurance companies line their pockets in the name of  “patient choice.”  I put quotes around the last phrase because it’s a fictional conceit; especially in physician-lite post-K Debrisville. In the past I avoided going to Ochsner docs because of the clinic’s convoluted and inept billing system. But Ochsner has swallowed the competition in its quest to become the Wal-Mart of New Orleans metro area medicine. Some choice.

The Charity Hospital system ain’t perfect but it’s necessary. Doctors around the world get their training in public hospitals treating poor people.  Louisiana is NOT the only state that has public hospitals but that’s what anti-Charity interests want people to believe. The proposed downtown teaching hospital is important for the future of our state and city. If Ochsner gets away with its attempt to monopolize health care in our area we are screwed.

Back to John Breaux. He has the right to sell out to the highest bidder but he shouldn’t cloak the interests of his lobbying firm beneath highfalutin words and noble sentiments. I’m glad that he’s not running for Governor.  He might have been the temporary savior of the Louisiana Democratic party but he would have destroyed the Charity Hospital system in the name of reform. I’m not sure what Bobby Jindal’s position is on the downtown teaching hospital BUT it couldn’t be worse than John Breaux’s.

Finally Oyster has an excellent post about Breaux’s Gubernatorial campaign tease. LINK.

WHY RUDY GIULIANI REMINDS ME OF LEO DUROCHER

 Mon, 21 May 2007 15:57:07

Damn Yankee FanDurocher
L: Mayor Combover   Yankee Fan. R: Leo the Lip Giants manager.

Don’t be fooled by the smiling faces above. Neither Rudy Giuliani nor Leo Durocher was/is or could ever be described as a nice guy. Leo the Lip’s most famous snarky sound bite was aimed at NOLA’s own Mel Ott: “Nice guys finish last.” He believed it too y’all.

I guess I should backtrack and tell the non-baseball fans in the crowd and those too young to recall Leo Durocher who the hell he was. As a player Leo was the prototypical scrappy lippy good field-no hit shortstop who was best known for playing with the world champion St Louis Cardinal team nicknamed the Gashouse Gang. They were a bunch of roughnecks and Leo had the roughest neck of all. Durocher later managed the Brooklyn Dodgers New York Giants Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. He was still kicking dirt at umpires insulting his players and leering at strippers when I was a tadpole. There’s nobody in modern baseball to compare him to: nobody would stand for Leo’s antics. Crazed Yankee skipper Billy Martin was the last manager to be Durocheresque but Leo was like Billy Martin with roid rage. (Local connection: Billy Martin was a close friend of former NOLA Council President Eddie Bad Hair Sapir.)

Back to the Giuliani-Durocher analogy. Here’s the bottom line: Leo was an asshole and so is Rudy. Calling them jerks would be an insult to jerks which is why Rudy Giuliani will never be President. It has nothing to do with his trying to be Dick Cheney on defense and Barney Frank on social issues. Rudy Giuliani will never be President because he is an asshole and proud of it which is why he gets on so well with fellow creep Louisiana Senator David Vitter.

In my lifetime we’ve only elected one raging gaping asshole to the White House and that was Richard Nixon in a year that any Repub could have beaten any Democrat. It’s true that LBJ was an asshole 60% of the time but he knew how to hide it. Then there’s the Current Occupant who bamboozled many voters into thinking that he was a goofball instead of a creepy and cretinous frat boy. In short we may elect a covert creep but never an overt creep absent historical imperatives and 2008 will likely be a Democratic year. Thanks President Beavis.

Back to the Lip/Mayor Combover analogy. There’s a wonderful quote from the great baseball writer Bill James about Leo Durocher that fits Rudy Giuliani by analogy as well:

“Durocher didn’t give a shit what you thought of him. He didn’t make any pretense to being a nice person. <snip> He was a rogue. He dressed in flashy clothes drove flashy cars drove too fast took a punch at anybody who crossed him made a pass at every woman he took a liking to and bragged when he scored.”

Leo or Rudy? You decide. 

Finally, in the early days of television Leo Durocher was a coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leo always liked the show biz life so he did several cameos on some camp classic Sixties sitcoms. It’s hard to imagine Mayor Combover with Mr. Ed or Herman Munster BUT he is fond of wearing a frock so ya never know. Heeere’s Leo:

Herman Munster and Baseball MonsterLeo	 Mr. Ed and Wilburrr