BEGIN THE BEGIN

Sat, 29 Dec 2007 05:38:41

REM was a great band before they jumped the shark sometime in the mid-Nineties. They were the *ultimate* indie band for much of the Eighties. (I expect some harumphing from some of my punkier colleagues.) They’re also from Athens Georgia which is of course where the University of Georgia is located. Although it’s hard to imagine super spaz front man Michael Stipe hollering “how bout dem dawgs ” ya never know. I know one thing: Stipe had weird hair before he adopted the Mr. Clean/Daddy Warbucks/Michael Jordan look. I don’t think a Southern white boy should ever wear a queue (aka Manchu pigtail.) Stipe looks like a cross between Bonanza’s Hop Sing and Elmer Fudd in the following video which was filmed during the Green tour in 1989:

I spent some time hanging out in the non-Hellenic Athens during my misspent youth. My friends Susan and Steve were temporary trailer trash (aka UGA students) at that point. In fact they lived in SIN for a while so they even had a “guest” trailer wherein they claimed for parental consumption that one of them lived. I spent a *really* uncomfortable night in the “guest” trailer: I was attacked by a kudzu crazed goat or something equally bizarre. (The preceding statement was a grotesque exaggeration which is probably a first on this blog.) I forgave them that as well as Susan’s downright Byzantine directions to the Athenian trailer park. And she has in turn forgiven me for teasing her relentlessly about said directions. So much so that Susan and Steve made like Bob Dylan and gave us shelter from the storm back in August 2005. Of course Susan’s directions to their house in Bossier City were a bit well different if you catch my drift.
I seem to be morphing into a vanity blogger before your very eyes. Of course I think that’s a contradiction in terms: all bloggers are vain and probably think this post is about them…

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THE NEO-YIPPIES

Sat, 22 Dec 2007 06:00:10

It was a nasty Friday in New Orleans: gray damp and foggy which was fitting weather for the day after the debacle at City Hall. The weather also matched my mood but I did have a brief moment of clarity (sunshine?) when I realized who the loony left activists who have hijacked the public housing debate remind me of: Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin who dubbed themselves Yippies. In reality they were the Abbott and Costello of the Sixties New Left: they were in it for the theatre and nothing else.

Abbie HoffmanRubin-Pig

L: ABBIE HOFFMAN DEEP THINKER. R: JERRY RUBIN & A PIG.

I’ve heard from several people who were in the Council chamber at the beginning of the day that the whole punch-up looked staged to provoke an overreaction from the Council and cops. If that’s so it worked as did the gate rattling by the neo-Yippies outside. While it may have been great drama it was a disgrace: both the police and demonstrators acted badly. I intensely dislike the use of tasers; if applied to a person with heart problems they can be fatal. Mercifully that didn’t happen. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

I think that the neo-Yippies will only be in town for as long as they can have their antics splashed on teevee and all over the internet. What’s more worrisome is the way that more sincerely motivated local activists have allowed these clowns to hijack their cause. The neo-Yippies are in it for the theatre: they don’t care about poor people in New Orleans. They’re into bringing bullhorns into public meetings and live to brag about lying down in front of bulldozers. Drama for drama’s sake is what the Jay Arenas of the world crave. 

Back to the original Yippies: Hoffman and Rubin. They were experts at hijacking worthy causes and turning them into violent farces by provoking the police to use the weapons of the day: nightsticks and tear gas. On black Thursday we saw tasers and pepper spray used at our very own mini-riot. Here’s hoping that it’s not just a warm-up for a bigger conflagration.

Finally,  my favorite Abbie Hoffman story. At Woodstock Hoffman briefly commandeered a microphone during the Who’s set. The Who were neither Yippies nor Hippies so when Pete Townshend realized they were being upstaged by Hoffman he did the only sensible thing possible: he kicked the Yippie foole in the ass and off the stage. Talk about direct action…

 

THE MELEE AT CITY HALL

Fri, 21 Dec 2007 15:55:34

The best thing that can be said about the public housing debate/debacle is that it’s over. And it’s over not in the sense of the original Roy Orbison version but in the way that Michael Caine croaked the song at the end of Little Voice. The end came as a death rattle which led several of the national newscasts last evening. Another proud moment for us. Hey the punch-up might make Oddball on Countdown: Keith is quite fond of fights in legislative chambers after all. We begin in New Orleans…

In spite of all the lofty and moralistic rhetoric this episode brought out the worst in everyone. Of course cant and posturing always seems to do that. I’m inclined to think (wishfully?) that the most violent moments were initiated by non-locals. Why? New Orleans is a violent place but like good Mediterraneans NOLA violence is usually *personal* and not political. And thank God or whatever for that. Council meetings here feature a lot of screaming and posturing but not much punching until today that is.

I’m feeling somewhat Shakespearean tonight so all I can say is a pox on both your houses. I’ve also got the flu which makes me feel poxy or something like that and I’d love to use epoxy to seal certain mouths shut. The extremists on both sides made a rational debate on this complicated issue impossible so emotion and humbuggery were the order of the day. Pro-demolition forces-including the local rag-engaged in suspect and ofttimes slimy tactics and the pro-projects status quo demonstrators played right into their hands. The punch-up in the Council chambers provided cover for Carter and the Cynthias to vote yea. Are you happy Jay Arena? 

I’m too ill and disgusted to say more this evening and I’m not sure that I plan to revisit the subject in any event. Since I made a Roy Orbison reference at the beginning of the post I’ll end with some beauty amidst the ugliness now that it’s all over but the shouting:

The Teevee Boys

Mon, 10 Sep 2007 20:58:08

I’ve already written about how much “Bobby” Jindal reminds me of Eddie Haskell. It’s his campaign manager Timmy Teepell’s turn to be ridiculed with his very own teevee analogy. What is it with these guys and little boy names? Bobby and Timmy sound like kids who should be running a lemonade stand instead of a campaign in the Gret Stet. As Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind would have put it: It just ain’t fittin’ just ain’t fittin’…

Oyster has a great post about how fricking weird Bobby’s right hand boy man is. Timmy was home schooled and describes in tedious detail how he and his wife didn’t “date” but courted under her righteous Christian father’s supervision.  It’s so wholesome that I reached for the barf bag y’all.

Do we want to be governed by people who enter into covenant marriages and even worse drink milk? Ack ick phfppt. Jeez now I’m channeling Bill the Cat which is kind of appropriate as that Gambit puff piece about Jindal made me cough up a hairball. Ack.

Back to Master Teepell when I hear the name Timmy I think of one person: Lassie’s sidekick on the old teevee show. Do we really want to be governed by people who remind us of teevee shows from the late Fifties and early Sixties? Do we want our next Governor to give his inagural address on TV Land? Hell no I say give me a guy named T-Bob who smells like beer and boudin instead of someone who smells like a doggie drag queen.  That’s right folks Lassie was always played by a dog with a full package if you catch my drift.

Timmy-n-Lassie: Arf

MALAKA OF THE DAY: LYNN DEAN

Tue, 21 Aug 2007 14:59:17

It’s time to serve up a new feature here at the Adrastos Virtual Cafe: Malaka of the day. It’s inspired of course by the Atrios feature Wanker Of The Day. Malaka is Greek for wanker jerk off dumbass but is also the universal putdown cuss word. It’s to the Greek language what Ashley’s favorite word is to the English language. Although candidates will always be plentiful I don’t expect to name a malaka every day but I didn’t wanna call the feature malaka of the whatever. It just doesn’t scan well y’all.

Back to today’s dishonoree St. Bernard Councilman and veteran wackjob Repub pol Lynn Dean. While I hate to virtually whap someone upside the head for something they said two years ago Dean’s idiotic comments were revived by a witness at the St. Rita’s trial. St. Rita’s was the nursing home in St. Bernard Parsh (hereinafter da Parish) that did not evacuate its residents when Katrina paid a call in 2005: 35 elderly people died. Sal and Mabel Mangano the owners of St. Rita’s are on trial for negligent homicide as I write this.

Yesterday da Parish’s former emergency director Larry Ingariola was on the stand and was asked on cross-examination about conflicting signals sent by St. Bernard officialdumb:

“But during questioning by defense attorneys Ingargiola acknowledged that some parish officials sent mixed messages citing a televised statement by Parish Councilman Lynn Dean who downplayed the need to evacuate.

“He said all you had to do is go on to the other side of the Mississippi River levee or tie yourself to a tree if the winds came up ” Ingargiola testified. <SNIP>  “You’ve got to understand that in St. Bernard we do have people like Mr. Dean who would tie themselves to a tree ” he told the jury.”

Ah Lynn Dean’s mouth the gift that keeps on giving. Dean likes to think of himself as a gruff plain-spoken bidness man when in fact he’s a cantankerous old coot forever saying stupid things. Btw he’s a self-styled reformer too. I’m hoping that he’ll vigorously campaign for Bobby Jindal this fall…

BOO TO THE BOO-HOOING ABOUT OLIVER THE ACTOR

 Mon, 20 Aug 2007 15:37:23

A front pager by Frank Donze in Sunday’s Picayune punched all of my OT buttons. It was a paen to Oliver Thomas humanitarian and all around nice guy. Oh yeah this is the same guy who resigned in digrace after pleading guilty to taking bribes from Morial bag man Pampy Barre. Boo-hoo poor misunderstood Oliver: the man who calls a bribe an “inappropriate gift.”  Okay so he’s a nice guy and doesn’t organize dog fights ala Michael Vick. He’s still a crook y’all. I met Edwin Edwards and he was a nice guy crook too. EWE was also an effective Governor in his first two terms whereas Oliver the Actor was too busy schmoozing and betting on the ponies to get anything done other than blocking the return of recycling to Debrisville. 

Amidst the dross of Donze’s article there were some tidbits that illustrate *why* Oliver would have been a lousy Mayor:

“But veteran City Hall observers often noted that Thomas rarely seemed to have a clear policy agenda picking and choosing issues as they arose.

His interests were unpredictable and sometimes even off-the-wall shown in the sometimes bizarre resolutions he would introduce endorsing causes as obscure as humaculture described in his resolution as “a study of the self with ‘how to’ tools for realigning the self to live at one’s maximum potential.”

No clear agenda? Off the wall? Sounds like C Ray to me. And like C Ray Oliver the Actor was known for making bold statements and then crawfishing when the shit hit the fan. Remember when he said post-K that “soap opera watchers” weren’t welcome back to public housing? He spent months backpedaling on that one out of fear of losing the all important All My Children vote… 

I think it’s time for us to tell Oliver’s army… 

…that’s it time to stop all of their sobbing:

THE CAMPAIGN: SLOW MOTION JINDALIZATION

Mon, 23 Jul 2007 19:38:15

The Sunday Picayune had a dull story about how dull the Gubernatorial race has been thus far. In fact it’s been so dull that I should have put the word campaign in quotes in the title. It’s not ususal for a campaign in the Gret Stet to snooze through the summer but the quieter things are on the campaign trail the better it is for the frontrunner Bobby Jindal.

Jindal formally announced his bid last Monday but it was overshadowed by the Vitty-n-Wendy show. I expect that Jindal’s handlers were fuming: Vitty was well aware of the planned roll out and was supposed to participate in the stop in Kenner. But Vitty is a law to himself and has a Vittycentric view of the universe. In Vitty cosmology he’s the sun and the moon as well as the john…

Jindal is playing it very close to the vest. He has the reputation as a policy wonk but his campaign is vague and themeless. He has a big lead and is trying to run out the clock. I expect his opponent Walter Boasso to start  comparing Jindal to Thomas Dewey and himself to the patron saint of underdogs Harry Truman. Behind in the polls? An unpopular President? Compare yourself to the feisty haberdasher from Mizzou. The problem with that analogy is that polls are much more accurate than in Truman’s day. Democrat Walter Boasso has his work cut out for him as does North Louisiana populist Foster Campbell.

Then there’s the ulitmate wild card: Dallas Ray Nagin. There was a blurb in the local rag wherein State Senator Cleo Fields discusses the possibilty of a bid by baldy. Nagin is not a serious threat to anyone but the people of Debrisville and why Fields thinks that C Ray could force Jindal into a run-off is a mystery to me. Absent some bizarre twist Jindal has an excellent shot at winning the primary and Jindalizing the gret stet.

It will be very interesting to see if the Boy Wonder becomes the Boy Blunder if he moves into the Governor’s mansion. I’m glad he has a direct line to Jeee-sus. I hope the big guy isn’t too busy forgiving Vitty to return Jindal’s calls…

Stay tuned. 

THE SLOW EDDIE BLUES: SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST

Thu, 19 Jul 2007 15:48:36

Orleans Parish DA Eddie Jordan appeared before the City Council’s criminal justice committee yesterday to defend the indefensible; aka his record. Unfortunately some of the usual suspects (no not Kevin Spacey) showed up to defend Jordan on racial grounds. According to his defenders those who oppose Jordan are all racist rednecks which is manifestly preposterous. If anyone has the time to do some digging I suspect that we’ll learn that some of Slow Eddie’s defenders have ties to Dollar Bill’s machine. LINK.

My friend Brian Denzer has posted his reaction to yesterday’s hearing at Citizen Crime Watch. It’s an impassioned hearfelt and beautifully written post. Well done Brian. Thanks for all your efforts to make this a safer city. Please don’t get too discouraged: New Orleans needs your passionate advocacy.

CROSSING JORDAN

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 14:26:28

Crossing JordanSlow Eddie

 LEFT: Jill Hennessy as a cranky teevee ME. RIGHT: Slow Eddie Jordan inept real life DA.

The teevee show Crossing Jordan was recently cancelled and most New Orleanians would like to see the Slow Eddie Jordan District Attorney show canceled as well. I’m not standing up for Jordan: he’s been a bad and even worse stubborn DA. He seems to need remedial lessons in how to pick up the phone and talk to the NOPD. BUT I think one should look before one leaps. What happens if Slow Eddie beats an uncharacteristically hasty retreat? According to my diligent friend Celcus the First Assistant DA Gaynell Williams will replace the man who appointed her. I’ve only seen her on the teevee news from time to time but she doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb in the lamp. Do any of my lawyer readers have any first hand experiences with Ms. Williams that they’d like to share?

The impulse to see Slow Eddie’s head on a pike is understandable but Ms. Williams is unlikely to be a better DA than her boss: she’s the first assistant so she’s part of the problem. Since Dollar Bill’s hatchetwoman Stephanie Butler controlled patronage at the DA’s office Ms. Williams is one of their peeps. This may be why some on the City Council want to bring in a special counsel to oversee the prosecution of violent crimes in the parish in lieu of demanding Jordan’s resignation. I’m not sure which would be the better choice BUT I’m not sure that creating a new incumbent is the best idea come the next election: Slow Eddie is toast but his replacement might have a shot. 

The *real* problems at the Orleans Parish District are institutional. The mass firings of experienced support staff and investigators at the beginning of Jordan’s tenure have demoralized the office ever since. I know an ex-ADA who was approached for one of the newly created higher paying jobs who declined because she didn’t want to work for Jordan and his minions which is in turn I realize another argument for his resignation.

There’s little doubt that Eddie Jordan has been a disaster. The arguments for his resignation and/or removal are compelling ones. I don’t however expect that he’ll resign or be removed until he faces the voters. Make that *if* he faces the voters. Slow Eddie’s critics need to keep the pressure on but they should also start shopping for a candidate to replace him at the next election.
That’s the end of my stint as the village contrarian; for now that is.

THE NIGHT I KINDA, SORTA MET THE CANAL STREET MADAM

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 05:01:13

How’s that for a teaser? And no I did not frequent her bordello. Get your minds out of the gutter folks. And that means you blondie.

T’was the night before the 2004 Presidential Election. Dr. A and I joined a group of friends,  Romans and countrymen at the corner of Napoleon and Magazine to wave Kerry-Edwards signs and encourage people to vote out the dolt. We all know how that turned out.

At one point I was on the neutral ground across the street from Miss Mae’s bar. There was a tall brunette who a tabloid writer would call statuesque. I suspect that Ashley or Ray would call her something else. Anyway I chatted with her for a few minutes about how horrible Bush was and I predicted that Kerry would win. We all know how that turned out too.
 
A few minutes later someone (I can’t recall who but it might have been Bob, Cookie Tom,  Julie or Jen) said to me: “Did you realize who you were talking to?”

“Nope. But she looked kinda familiar.”

“It was the Canal Street Madam.”

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