Monday, September 29, 2008

it's banned books week

throughout history and in every totalitarian state, the dissemination of ideas was one of the first things to come under attack. why? because a nation of the ignorant is easier to control. a country that desires freedom for all, is a country that defends freedom of speech above all else. the right to be heard and the right to hear are integral if we are to avoid oppression. knowledge is the most powerful tool. if you want to start a revolution, pick up the pen not the sword. if you want to suppress a movement, you must silence its voice. we, here in america often fall into complacency, erroneously thinking that the war has been won and that our freedom of speech is secure. now, more than ever, our civil liberties are increasingly under attack and we, as the american people must defend those rights. in the face of the decidedly unpatriotic patriot act and government pressure on libraries to turn over their reading lists, freedom of speech is in grave danger and may soon be nothing more than a memory. but freedom of speech is a tricky thing because if we are to truly have it, we must advocate for it even when the ideas being espoused are contrary to our own beliefs. it may gall me that o. j. simpson published a book in which he recounted the murder of his ex-wife, the way it would have been committed had he done the odious deed but i must defend his right to write such a book. my power of censure lies in not purchasing the offending book not in banning it. i may not believe in the klan but they have a right to distribute their brand of hate. i think that with freedom of speech comes a great responsibility to contemplate the consequences of one's words but even the fool has a right to speak his mind. i would like to encourage everyone to read at least one banned book this week and tell everyone about it. tell them why it was banned. tell them what you got out of that book. tell them knowledge is power and freedom of speech is a fragile thing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

falling for flowers

i have been trying to patch together my memory from last weekend's drunken madness and have learned that i fell down in an attempt to touch the pretty flowers. well, i guess it's nice to know that poetry bubbles to the surface of tequila and that intoxicated, though i was, i was still able to appreciate beauty. so i raise my innocuous cup of tea in salute to beauty, may we always be able to recognize and adore it, despite what conditions we find ourselves in.

Friday, September 26, 2008

artist statement

i have to write an artist statement and quite frankly have no idea how to go about doing that. i mean, i am a writer and so you would think it would be a simple task for me to do but honestly, i am at a loss. everything that i come up with sounds so damn trite. damn! why can't i just throw my shit on a wall and let people judge for themselves? isn't art personal? ugh. spoke is going to stew.

trying to understand the mess we are in part two

in my on going research into this country's financial mess, i am discovering some alternatives to the bail out. i am not yet sure if these are viable but i like alternatives especially when it could potentially save me a whole lot of money. one proposal is the government act as lender. instead of taking on the bad debt, the government loans money to banks in trouble. the banks put up their mortgage backed portfolios as collateral. this gives the banks an infusion of cash at a set interest rate but affords more protection to the tax payer, since these would be loans that the banks eventually must pay back. the loan could come due when the markets have regulated themselves and the over all economy takes a turn for the better. there is the possibility that the banks could default and fail but the safe guard would be more government over sight into the banks, should they need to be saved. now, i am not sure what would happen if multiple banks began to fail and needed shoring up by the government in order to avert disaster. who then eats that costs? what would that costs be? i am leaning towards this plan, simply because it does not out right rescue anyone from their own damn greed. the other plan would have the government acting as a hedge fund. this would prevent the government from being stuck with the worst mortgage securities. it is still an investment, giving the anemic economy a much needed shot of iron. another proposal is a more grass roots approach and i tend to like the sound of it because the average joe gets help. this involves mortgage breaks to help ailing homeowners. the government takes over some mortgage backed securities and then restructures the loans, making them more affordable to the home owner, thus preventing mass foreclosures. this, in turn, would increase the value of those securities, so that the government is not left holding a bag of something worthless. again, i am no economist but i tend to like the sound of the last proposal. it makes sense to me that you would go straight to the source of the problem by aiding the struggling home owner. yes, they got in over their heads but this mass defaulting on loans and consequent foreclosures is continuing to drive the cost of housing down and muddy up the markets even more. however, i must say that this might correct itself if prospective sellers lowered their financial expectations to meet the more practical ramifications of prospective buyers and there are buyers to be had, just not at some of these prices. i am hoping that the powers that be will come up with an alternative to the buy out as i have my doubts. should we go through with the buy out and the money is mismanaged or it fails, then our next option would almost have to be to federalize the whole damn thing and that is one scary option. i believe in free enterprise with over sight and implemented regulations but i do not want to see the government socialize the entirety of the system. wow, this stuff gives me a head ache.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

boom to bust

factoring in the proposed new bail out, the government will be spending around 1.3 trillion dollars to try to patch up the gaping economic wound. this money would be handed over to the bush administration with almost no regulatory oversight and that may be the most frightening specter on the horizon. what got us into this mess in the first place was the republican deregulation frenzy which allowed for one big speculative bacchanalia. if we hand over this money to bush with no oversight, we are giving him a blank check to do with it as he sees fit. we, as americans, want to believe in the inherent good of our political leaders but we can no longer afford that kind of blind belief. we are facing a financial melt down. i am not an economist and so i am attempting to negotiate my way through the financial landscape and it really is an alice in wonderland sort of place. most economists agree that the bail out is integral in order to stave off a great depression. there are a few dissenting voices, who say that this crash needs to happen in order to clear the markets. i'm not going to sit here and pretend to have all the answers but, having said that, i have some suggestions. if we are to go ahead with the bail out, there needs to be some oversight into how that money is spent. i do not trust this administration to act in the good of the country. if we are to bail out these financial institutions, then we need to strip their top executives of the so called golden parachutes, where they dance away into a very comfortable retirement, unscathed by the damage they have caused. a part of the bail out package must include a good by to the days of deregulation. it does not work. greed overtakes and wild speculation ensues. all goes well for a while and then all hell breaks loose. enough. put back in the regulations that were so prudently instituted after the great depression. the other problem that we face is the deficit and that is where the tax payers come in. we cannot continue to borrow money, never saving for a rainy day or old age. we are running a deficit of around 482 billion and that is on top of a 9.5 trillion national debt. the american people are going to have to suck it up and start paying off this debt or learn to speak chinese. it is either guns or butter but you can't have both. you cannot give tax cuts in times of war. that is how you run a deficit. the economy cannot grow when more and more of our budget is goes to pay the interest on the debt. either way, there are some hard times ahead. i believe we can turn this crisis around but not without sacrifices and that means no tax cuts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

heil labruzzo

representative john labruzzo, a republican(imagine that)is formulating a plan that would pay poor women a thousand dollars if they get their fallopian tubes tied. what a crock of shit. that is basically telling every little girl that was born into unfortunate circumstances, that we don't think much of your abilities to go anywhere in the world and we just don't want you to breed any more losers. and while we are at it, perhaps we will restructure the educational system to look just like china's and if you can't pass a certain test then you get to work in the mines for the rest of your life. yea. it cost anywhere from 1,500 to 6,000(vasectomies are cheaper) to have one's tubes tied and if we want to play labruzzo's money game, this is a cost that the average tax payer will bear. in addition, this does not factor in the fact that sterilization does not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and the cost to pay for potentially long term health care, food stamps(when they can no longer work), and public housing really does not save the tax payer any burdens in the future. at the very least, it adds the cost of the sterilizations. labruzzo is also considering tax breaks for wealthy, educated families as an incentive for them to have more children. and does he want them all to be blond hair, blue eyed children? i'm beginning to wonder. this sends the message to every child who happens to be born into favorable circumstances that you are somehow better than those around you, entitled as it were. and we wonder why only one percent has all the money. labruzzo, by the way, pushed for the legislative pay increase. perhaps he is thinking of reproducing again. also, sometimes the tubes reconnect causing ectopic pregnancy, which puts the mother's life at risk, thus opening the door to the dreaded potential abortion. we know how republicans love abortions. why must we do everything backwards? perhaps if the republicans would allow us to start having age appropriate sex education in our schools, which includes distributing condoms, we might reverse the unfortunate rate of children having children. clearly the abstinence policy is working. hey labruzzo...spoke says shut the fuck up, go have a vasectomy before you breed again!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

because i can laugh at myself

we have all been dumped and some of us handle it with grace and some of us fuck it all up. i bet you can guess which category i fall into. i went to the bar. you should never go to a bar when in the middle of a break up. here is why: 1)you will be drinking on an empty stomach because no one ever eats during a break up. 2) your friends will try and console you by buying you lots of shots. i went to the bar. i had nothing to eat. i cannot count the number of shots that began to magically appear before me and that was on top of the steady stream of beer. i could have gone to a coffee shop. i could written it all out or painted, instead i went to the bar. i don't remember getting home. i don't remember many things. the next thing i do remember is standing in my bathroom as my friend was dressing the wounds. how i fell is a great mystery but no doubt, one witnessed by many people. i took my pants off so she could tend to the knee, the knee that now has a very unsightly hole in it. now i do not know what i said to my friend or even if i pissed her off but the next thing i knew, she wanted to leave. she was probably not very sober herself and thought it a good idea to walk home from my house. i live on the shooting side of st. claude. it is never a good idea to walk at night from my house. keep in mind that i was barefoot and in my underwear, bleeding. she went to leave. i followed her outside and i think an argument ensued that culminated with me chasing her down the street in my bare feet and underwear, screaming it's not safe, it's not safe. this of course was witnessed by most of my neighbors. i went to the bar. you never go to the bar during a break up. i'm probably on you tube, flailing about in my boxer briefs, bleeding from alcohol induced wounds. great, just great.

the epa said what?

the rocket fuel component known as perchlorate has been found in the drinking water at 395 sites across 35 states and the epa does not consider this to be a health risk. what? really? maybe i'm daft but i really don't want a cup of perchlorate with my morning coffee. it is a rocket fuel component. yum. in 2004, perchlorate also showed up in cow's milk, most likely from eating crops irrigated by contaminated water supplies. perchlorate prevents iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. the thyroid gland is important in that it helps regulate metabolism and hormones in adults. in children, it enables them to develop normally. the thyroid is one of the master glands. wreck it and you pretty much wreck everything. well, that doesn't sound at all important to me. good call by the epa. please! there have been allegations that the epa is bowing to pentagon and white house pressure. most of the perchlorate is thought to stem from the department of defense's missile/rocket tests. white house officials and pentagon brass fear that if the epa called for a clean up, the pentagon could potentially foot the bill for decontamination. oh if only the pentagon had to hold bake sales and our ground water was fit to drink. so in our present financial crisis, where the pentagon is feeling the pinch of two losing war fronts, we(the american people) will keep sucking down the perchlorate so the pentagon is not found liable for poisoning the damn drinking water. and once again, i stress that it really matters who you vote for this year.

Monday, September 22, 2008

pity party number two

i will never understand why they call it a pity party, there is absolutely nothing festive about it. well i've had two days of hard core drinking and wallowing in pity. last night i could have been an ad for an anti-drinking campaign. i got stupid, fell down, and really fucked my knee up. yeh, real smart. i guess it's finished. i guess it's over and now i just have to pick myself back up off the floor and try to go on. still not sure how to go about doing that. i'm getting too old for this shit.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


to be human is a fragile thing and it is strange to negotiate the land mines of life. one step and it all blows up in your face. i have made mistakes and just like the old time religions, i long to lay down in the river and let it wash me clean. i long to drown the proverbial old man and come up new. we all judge but we all sin too. what odd creatures we are, stuttering and sputtering our way through life. most of us are trying to do the right thing and it is a difficult dance with no knowledge of the future. you walk down one path to find it goes no where. you open a door to someone dangerous. you stay and the levees fail. you meet someone and down the road, another relationship unravels in pretty lines upon the floor. secrets. there are things you tell so tell them and the world will know. there are things you whisper but be careful who you whisper them to or the world will know. there are things that you keep locked away inside you behind well guarded walls but these too are dangers, cancers eating you from within. on a clear blue day, it seemed such an innocent thing to introduce them and who knew i opened the door to disaster. to go back further to meeting the one in the first place and all the actions that would have consequences over the other. and to wish you had never met the one that would destroy the other. she has a smile that brings me to my knees. humans, we are all haunted.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

palin and hunting

i grew up in the backwoods of georgia where the culture of hunting is rabidly embraced. i, myself have engaged in the activity from time to time. so let me make myself clear, there is nothing wrong with hunting as long as it is gone about in the right way. hunting should not be for sport. it should be for food. the goal is to kill the animal quickly so that is suffers as little as possible. and when hunting, appropriate fire arms should be used. you should not drink or use other drugs while hunting. safety should be of the utmost concern. i am a meat eater and as such i have often found it ridiculous when other meat eaters have decried hunting. just because you don't kill it by your own hands does not mean you are some how absolved of its killing when you chow down on your double decker cheeseburger. having said all that, there are those individuals that take hunting to a whole new level.they are the ones that get decked out in cammo and face paint as though going off to war, despite the fact that most animals are color blind, and the often over looked prudence of having other hunters be able to easily spot you so you don't get a bullet in your head. to me, this is nothing more than little boys and girls playing dress up and war games. you are not rambo so get over it. the other thing i find disturbing is sitting in a deer stand in front of a baited field. picking off animals as they come out from hiding to eat really doesn't make you a good hunter. i don't understand hunting for sport. you should never kill an animal just because it was a saturday afternoon and you had nothing better to do. there should be an inherent respect for all life. period. and please spare the disgusting practice of mounting trophy heads on your wall. i cannot fathom why some hunters froth at the mouth over 12 point versus a 10 point buck. who cares? it does not matter how big the animal is because even the 12 point buck is going down when you shoot it. i might understand this a bit more if the hunter actually went into the ring with the animal in a man versus nature death match. then the size of the creature might be a bit more awe inspiring. the point of this lengthy diatribe is that there is a right way and a wrong to go about hunting. sarah palin is an advocate of aerial hunting of wolves. i find this practice sick and sadistic. it is damn near impossible to get off a good shot from the air and often times these poor creatures are left to die an agonizingly slow death somewhere. the hunter may never even retrieve the carcass. they are not hunting these animals for food. they are doing it for sport. there is no respect for life or for the role in nature that wolves play. they are an integral part of the food chain. remove them and you are often left with over population of moose, caribou, deer and other animals. over population leads to starvation and sickness, where in turn these animals die agonizingly slow deaths. i don't know...perhaps you are either born with compassion or you are not. it seems to be missing in palin. not only is she for the aerial hunting of wolves but she is against protecting the polar bear, which is now in danger because of global warming. she went so far as to lie about what an alaskan scientific study showed in regards to polar bears. she claimed it conflicted with a national study that polar bears were in trouble, when in fact, it did not. this is not the kind of person we want in office. a lack of respect for life, any life, scares the hell out of me especially when it is coming from someone who could potentially get the nuclear codes!!! i also find it troubling that palin is so easily prone to deceit in order to get what she wants. haven't we had enough of that from bush. can anyone say falsifying evidence for going to war with iraq? what makes you think mccain and palin won't do the same thing in regards to iran or georgia? they are so clearly not the right choice for this country. i say ENOUGH.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


since hillary began her historic run for president, there has been much use of the word sexism. and just like everyone else in america, spoke has an opinion. i think hillary was capable, competent, intelligent if somewhat confrontational. i think america is not yet ready for a female that possesses those attributes to break through the ultimate glass ceiling. for those of you that think me cynical, well, i give you sarah palin. she is everything hillary is not. she is not capable, competent, or intelligent and yet suddenly, she is the darling of the country. she is a stepford wife. the perfect female as created by a sexist male. she is a former beauty queen runner-up, clad in cute little suits that women all over the country are now pining after, and she gets her foreign policy expertise from the fact that she can see russia from alaska. in other words, she is the stereotypical blond masquerading as a brunette. she is cute, perky, dumb as a box of hammers and perfectly obsequious to the big strong war hero, john mccain. my god, she has all the makings of a very dirty porn movie. consequently she has not suffered the ire that hillary did. there were even hillary nut crackers and if that's not sexist, then i don't know what is. it galls me that there are people even considering electing a fucking vapid cheerleader to office of vice president especially when she is paired with a man old enough to potentially die in office. i would love to see a female in the oval office but only a qualified one. not all women are created equal. palin does not even represent the interests of most women in this country. she is pro-life, even in cases of rape and incest. she has no experience to lead this nation. she hasn't the intellectual capabilities. it sickens me that palin is the woman that this country chooses to embrace. yeh, that is sexist.

compromising palin's privacy

it is disgusting and i hope they track down the geeky little bastards that hacked into palin's e-mails. i am no fan of palin but every law abiding citizen of this country deserves to have their privacy respected especially in the day and age of government sanctioned wire tappings. one of our basic rights should be the right to privacy. period. end of discussion. i don't care what your political beliefs are or who you would like to see elected, this is absolutely the wrong way to go about it. either our rights apply to everyone or they apply to none.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

foreign oil

there has been a lot of talk this election year about america's dependence on foreign oil as funded by anti-american regimes. so i thought it best to investigate just where america gets its oil. do we really rely heavily on the middle east? the answer is no. the country that supplies the united states with the most oil is the united states. oh, i know what you are is true that a country that just invades another sovereign country could be classified as a rogue state and consequently a terrorist nation. since the u.s falls into this category, we are therefore funding terrorist activities by supplying ourselves with the majority of our own oil. now, that's a head spinner. the second largest importer of oil to our country is canada. well, we know what a bunch of terrorists canadians are. coming in third on the list is a tie between mexico and saudi arabia. then venezuela, nigeria, angola, iraq(which you think we would not have to pay for at this point), algeria, the u.k and brazil. there are not a lot of persian gulf states on this list. now i am all for being independent of foreign oil and by that i mean independent of OIL but damn, let's set the fucking record straight. i am sick of the "funding terrorism" bullshit line that gets dragged out every time someone wants to defend off shore drilling, shale extraction, or the rape of anwar. it is blatant propaganda. they are snowing the american people for profit. whose profit? the oil industry and you can be sure that the average citizen will not see any of that money. hell, louisiana can't even seem to get their so called fair share of off shore money that might be used to help restore the wetlands that the oil industry helped destroy in the first place. please, please don't buy the hype. don't vote mccain and palin into office. resist the dark side people! resist!

Monday, September 15, 2008

creative crisis

i had this canvass that i am convinced was cursed. cursed, i say. no matter how many times i tried to paint on it, i screwed it up and had to re-gesso the damn thing. today i had enough. i picked up the canvass and beat it to death on my chair. i immediately felt better.

palin on foreign policy

both mccain and palin are of the opinion that georgia be allowed into nato and that should russia invade georgia again, the united states should be prepared to go to war. what? this shows a complete lack of understanding when it comes to that part of the world as well as foreign policy in general. let's have a history lesson shall we? this is what the mainstream media won't tell you and what the republican ticket apparantly does not know. here are the players: 1) south ossetia which broke away from georgia. 2) georgia, which broke away from russia. 3) russia. here we go. after the collapse of the ussr, georgia broke with russia, under the leadership of zviad gamsakhurdia. i wonder if palin living so close to russia can pronounce these names? anyway, good old zviad pronounced all ethnic georgians to be true patriots. south ossetians are not ethnic georgians. they are iranians that migrated to the caucuses in the 13th century as a result of the mongolian invasions. if all ethnic georgians are true patriots, what does that leave south ossetians? you can see how this was going to lead to trouble. on december 10th, 1990, the georgia supreme council ruled that the south ossetian autonomous region of oblast be disbanded. they then established georgian as the official language. south ossetians first two languages are russian and ossetian, not georgian. now at this point, if you are a south ossetian, you might have been feeling a little edgy about how things were progressing. ethnic tensions began to escalate. in january of 1991, georgian forces entered tskhinvali and it is estimated that 2,ooo people were killed, although some groups put that number at around 44.who knows, it depends on who you ask. this war resulted with south ossetia(out of which one fifth of the population is georgian)breaking away from georgia and gaining de facto independence. de facto independence is independence in practice but not recognized by other nations. there were accounts and rumors of atrocities against south ossetians. georgia then accused russia of annexing their internationally recognised territory because of russia's involvement in the war. now that we have the past out of the way, we can talk about the more recent events. georgia does not recognise the independence of south ossetia. south ossetia has allied itself with russia. russia wants to bring south ossetia back into the fold. russia would rather not recognise the independence of georgia, who may very well be on the verge on becoming a member of nato. so how did this whole thing go to shit? and is russia to bear the sole burden? on august 8th of this year, georgia launched an artillery barrage on tskhinvali, followed by an incursion(you can't say invasion because south ossetian independence is de facto but really, it was an invasion and russia saw it as an invasion). play tchaikovsky's 1812 overture because all hell just broke loose. here's the thing: georgia consideres south ossetia to be their territory. south ossetia consideres itself to be independent with strong ties to russia. russia wants to annex south ossetia, georgia, and any other break away states. why does russia want to do that? because they consider those states to be a buffer between them and the west. now hopefully everyone can see what a complicated mess this region of the world is and how putting the blame on russia and russia alone is dangerously simple and bound to lead to war. i am all for recognising a country's right to independence but we should stop and take a minute to reflect on the long and complicated history of the region before we go rushing into nato acceptance and talk of war with a former nuclear power. we need a little diplomacy and not the tired cowboy kind. it is no longer in our best interest to simply stop communicating with our enemies, a la cuba. look where communication and diplomacy has gotten us with Libya. this is why voting for hotheaded mccain and his in the dark vp choice is more than dumb, it is frightening.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

off shore drilling

in the wake of ike, there are two oil rigs adrift in the gulf of mexico and who says off shore drilling isn't safe? can we have a little forethought from our politicians please! now is the time to be funneling our energy and resources into the developement of alternative fuel sources instead of relying on the same tired practices. i swear it is difficult to see how we are actually evolving. and you can't even blame this on the republicans alone, when so many democrats are now on board with more off shore drilling, such as our own mary landreau. the more time we spend extracting oil, the less time we have to develope more environmentally friendly fuels. this of course means that the planet continues to be polluted at an alarming rate, heating up the atmosphere, thus creating more frequent and stronger storms that enter the gulf, causing more oil rigs to cut loose and drift. do you see my point here? we are like a dog chasing its tail, we never get anywhere. i have an idea...spoke for president anyone?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

palin and banning books

as of late i have been very focused on local politics but that is starting to shift the more i learn about palin. when she took office as mayor of wassilla, she approached the public librarian and asked her how she felt about the removal of some unspecified books due to content. the librarian replied that she was vigorously opposed. a very short time later, palin fired the librarian. hmm. i ask you is this the kind of person we want as the potential leader of the united states? as president, it is your job to uphold the constitution and freedom of speech is one of our more beloved rights. it galls me that palin dared to broach that topic, having been influenced by her religious beliefs and let me again stress that her beliefs are not my beliefs. has anyone heard of separation of church and state? i don't care what you think god is telling you because you do not have the constitutional right to enact legislation according to what you deem as god's will. it just gets better from there. she belonged to a church that claimed to be able to pray gays straight. wonderful. i belong to the church of tequila, where straight people are just shots away from being gay. can i get an amen?! and the hits just keep coming. when asked about her foreign policy experience, she said she picked that up because alaska is right next door to russia. what? remember my fellow voting citizens that this is a woman that will have access to the nuclear codes. those of you belonging to the clinton constituency, don't be fooled by the skirt. just like lady mcbeth, palin has long ago asked the powers that be to unsex her. trust me, i'll have more to say on this in the future.

ruthie, the duck lady

ruthie the duck lady has died. in a city that breeds characters, ruthie was a show all her own. she was a french quarter icon, gliding about on roller skates in a bridal gown, ducks trailing along behind her. my first encounter with her occurred shortly after i moved to new orleans. i frequented the much talked about port of call and sat down at the bar for a drink. i was maybe two sips into my beer when this tiny little thing of a woman came blowing in with a menagerie of ducks, all feathers and waddles. she took one look at me and began to hurl obscenities at me because i was sitting on her stool. i stood up ready to make some protest when the bartender explained to me that this was ruthie and THAT was most definitely her spot. i moved down one stool and she began screaming at me again and continued screaming until i had provided sufficient room for her and all her ducks and made it right by buying her a drink. now that is quite a coup. that may very well have been the day that i was lost to new orleans. david richmond said of ruthie, "she's not out of touch with reality; she's just not interested." there really isn't anything better to say of ruthie than that.

Friday, September 12, 2008

king nagin

perhaps nagin has gone mad post-katrina and suffering from delusions of grandeur, thinking himself king of new orleans and answering to no one. he has been accused of nepotism, running up restaurant tabs at the expense of his subjects, and accepting bogus awards in his honor as though he had any honor. and like a petulant king he refused to lift the ban order on returning citizens as though he somehow has the authority to keep citizens from their property, but when you are king, it is your property to do with as you see fit. the latest power grab by nagin is to suspend the review board that handles demolition permits in historic areas. new orleans is unique for many reasons and not the least being its rich architectural displays. prior to katrina, new orleans had the highest concentration of historic districts in the country. i am uncertain as to where the city ranks following the devastation. i do know that status, if it still holds true, will no longer be the case if nagin has anything to say about it. when he first ran for office, he said that he wanted to turn new orleans into an atlanta or a houston and right there he lost my vote. no offense to those cities but they are just like every other american city, with their high rises jutting above massive traffic jams full of overly-caffeinated people racing, always racing somewhere. new orleans may not be the most efficient place in the world but this is where you go if you want to get out of the rat race. here the pace is languid enough to savor a meal, revel in the riotous smell of jasmine, and dream stories about those that lived in these old houses. we can indiscriminately knock these structures down, pave them over or erect ugly ranch style buildings in their stead, but new orleans will lose so much more than the craft of those architectural gems. it will slowly begin to lose its connection to the past and that is what makes the people here cling to our traditions. i think the mayor is over-stepping the boundaries of his authority. there was already in place a system to raze structures in danger of "imminent collapse." why then by-pass a committee designed to protect our architectural integrity? shouldn't there be some over-sight into what we can and can't demolish? with no one watching over his shoulder, buildings that suffer from cosmetic deficits but are structurally in tact will be in danger of demolition and that is a travesty. it goes against the very essence of new orleans and when they make this place just like every other american city, of strip malls and sprawling suburbia, it will be time for the people(who add the flavor to this place) to up and leave and the death of new orleans will be complete. while we still have a city, let's fight for it! let the mayor know that this is not what we THE tax payers want. enough already! he is not above the will of the people. we are new orleans and we need to send that message to city hall.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the guilt of storm season

when a storm gets into the gulf, we who live along the coast begin the great sweat out, because we know it has to go somewhere. each and every one of us, from florida to mexico, cringes and prays it will go somewhere else. the problem with somewhere else is that people live there too. i swear that i do not want ike to come here but i feel guilty for wishing it somewhere else. i was watching the images of texans boarding up sitting in evacuation traffic and my stomach knotted up with that familiar dread and i feel so sorry for those people. damn, i hope galveston is spared. we all know that they suffered the worst hurricane in the history of our keeping records. it struck in 1900 and by our best estimates, some eight thousand died. that storm is the reason they erected the sea wall and yet in the face of a cat 4 or 5 that seems a paltry barrier at best. i'm wishing texas all the best. i'm wishing ike would just go away and despite my guilt, i'm still praying that it doesn't come here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

post evacuation blues

at least ike is going to miss us so that will be one less thing i have to worry about. my truck is broken down in the lower garden district and i am praying that when the mechanic comes on saturday that it does not cost a fortune. i don't know about you guys but i am busted broke. i hate evacuations. sure we all need to get away in the summer but it is nice when we can choose the time and place to relax not watch water over-topping the levees while clutching a beer for emotional support. damn! bills are piling up and i swear, prostitution is starting to look good. i guess i could take a third job which will leave me with NO time to paint or write. i suppose that doesn't really matter, since no one is reading what i write or seeing what i paint. i am lucky in that my house has only minor damage from the storm but it is enough to warrant a visit from my insurance company. i tried calling and calling and calling and as of this writing, i am still trying to get through. i am imagining a large empty building with one lonely telephone endlessly ringing. i used to think i had my life together. i have two jobs that i enjoy going to and before katrina, i was making way more than a comfortable living. the storm shot that to hell but we are starting to recover and i am trying to see the glass as half full. spoke needs a walk about.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


i think there must be a shortage of anti-anxiety medication in the rest of the country because we are eating them like candy. the anniversary of katrina is always difficult to deal with but damn near impossible with another storm threatening. evacuations pose their own kind of hell. they are emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially taxing. new orleans collectively is spent and this with ike looming. i hope to god that ike goes away, because i just don't think we have it in us to leave again. we still have to get through the rest of storm season. i'm no shrink but we all need to pull together right now. i know it is hard to get outside of your own head and check on those around you be we have to be mindful of that. some of us are doing better than others and some of us are not so good. get out and socialize even when you feel like hiding your head in the sand. we all need to be around people who can sympathize and damn if this city can't do that! i think it's going to be okay. we just have to hang on a little bit longer and then we can settle back and relax as the first cold fronts start heading our way and there is nothing like a pint of guinness on a cold night.

Friday, September 5, 2008


they shut the french quarter down last night at midnight. omg. really? what, i ask you, helps the city recover? could it be businesses up and running and making money? yep, i think that just might be the case. why in hell then would you shut those businesses down? never mind that it is illegal to invoke a curfew, it is just plain stupid. nagin, are you drinking? it is not the government's job to treat us as children. we know how to survive. thank god that we dodged a bullet so let us as citizens do our job to get the city back up and running. lift the damn curfew!! do not make us threaten civil disobedience by sitting down and locking hands. are you going to arrest the entire city you fucking dumb ass? WE are new orleans!! you are not. we are. we are the ones that stuck it out when the world as this city knew it ended. we are the ones that cleaned our neighborhoods up, surviving the solitude, blackness, and silence. we are the ones that gutted each other's houses. we opened the businesses. we welcomed back the tourists. we played shrink for each other. we are the back bone of new orleans. take us away and all you have is an ego-maniacal mayor of NOTHING. lift the fucking curfew so we can all get back to fucking normal you stupid fucking fuck.

god must grow so weary

i think god must get so tired of everyone speaking for him. in the black days following katrina, there were many who said god was punishing new orleans for southern decadence, our gay mardi gras. funny, growing up in a religious household, i have heard many preachers and people of faith say, "who can know the mind of god?" yet so many people claim to know just that. i will say this, i find it fascinating that after katrina none of the southern decadence signs lining rampart street were damaged. hmm. when gustav was menacing the gulf coast, many republicans were commenting that this was a gift from god with which to redeem themselves in the wake of the pr nightmare post-katrina because how quickly people forget thos terrible images. i would love to say that it is only right wing, religious fanatics that invoke god's name but alas, i would be wrong. michael moore stated that gustav was proof that there is a god, because gustav menacing new orleans just as the republican national convention was getting underway would flatten their sails a bit. hmm. what kind of a god does michael moore worship? is he so cruel as to allow people to suffer yet again just so the republicans can have their thunder stolen? really? michael moore, i have enjoyed your movies in the past and so it is with regret that i say YOU are a fucking idiot!!! fuck you for sinking to that level as though you have any idea as to the mind of god. as though god champions the cause of democrats everywhere. and lets just say for sake of argument that god favors democrats, why then sink the liberal city of new orleans for a second time? we lived katrina. you did not. you and all those like you that judge from afar in your cushy little air conditioned dens of prosperity can go to hell. we are sick and tired of hearing how god hates new orleans. we are fed up to here with how god hates fags. let me tell the world something about that...god is love. there is an extreme shortage of love in the world and when two people find it, whether they be straight or gay, it is nothing less than a miracle. we are tired of being some pawn in everyone's political game. shut the fuck up!! you know what? storms happen. it is a FACT OF NATURE. if god were handing out disasters for our sins, he would have completely destroyed the planet centuries ago. and let me quote scripture, " let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." "judge not lest ye be judged." so stop dragging god out to further your political gains and just leave us alone for god's sake.

last night

i spent my first night back in my house alone and even though i have electricity it was reminiscent of katrina, in that it was too damn quiet. it strikes me as odd that there have been many nights when i longed for the people across the street to turn down their music and let us all sleep in peace and quiet...yet there is something unsettling when a city holds its collective tongue. a few people are back in my area but only a handful and so the silence comes pressing up against your ears. until katrina came i never knew how maddening silence can be, when even the birds go mute. it was so still that the sound of my own heart was like something out of an edgar allen poe story. there are lights this time around and they help to chase away the loneliness. after katrina, the darkness ran out like blood, thick and sticky. it leaked into every corner and if you opened your mouth, it threatened to drown you. i have been in rural places but there you expect the darkness and its presence does not cause you to recoil. you do not expect a city to go dark as the grave and it is an unsettling thing, especially in combination with the silence. i remember standing in the middle of my street, surrounded by black silence and wondering in fits of paranoia what was stalking me. it was easy to conjure up every end of the world or zombie movie and i would hurry back inside as though the doors and walls, that could not keep the darkness out might somehow bar what was in the night. enough of this. the lights are on and it is daytime anyway. i think i will walk down to the french quarter and shake this feeling off. this is not katrina. i'm grateful. i'm happy to be home.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

fema assistance

hey everybody...check out fema's website for information on financial assistance in the wake of gustav.

getting back to normal

i am back in my house. i now have electricity and internet. things are getting back to normal fairly quickly. grocery stores and gas stations are opening up, more every hour. i even had coffee at mojo's uptown. damn it is good to be home. the saints will be playing in the superdome this sunday and i hope that helps to usher in the return of tourists. hopefully the rest of the country has been watching and see that we learned some valuable lessons post-katrina and are once again open for business. hell, i think i saw tourists in the quarter already. i feel confident that this will not set back our "season" and that we will start to see more and more people visiting so we can all make some cash. i don't know about yall but i'm a bit strapped. it is a shame that storms come during the financial doldrums of summer. here is to better days.

attention republicans

i was watching the news and listening to several republicans say that gustav was a golden opportunity for the republicans, and i quote "if we want to be politically crass about it". hmm. apparently you do want to be politically crass. you fucked up with katrina and now you are hoping to redeem yourselves with gustav because it is good politics. how about doing it because it was and is the right thing to do? the republicans are vampires sucking this nation dry and i hope to god, they are not re-elected.

what went wrong

it is absolutely imperative that we empty canals of ships prior to a storm or make damn certain that the ships are properly secured. there is NO excuse for barges or retired navy ships to be playing bumper cars with each other and the levees during storms. they could easily have breached the levees and then we would all be watching in horror as part of new orleans yet again succumbed to horrific flooding. there needs to be a criminal investigation. now!!
the other problem that must be addressed in the future is being flexible enough to alter re-entry plans. i understand trying to keep citizens at bay if conditions are dangerous but when those conditions are only inconveniences, such as the loss of power, then let us come home. it is not the role of the government to treat us as though we are children. we all endured the harsh conditions of post-katrina living and are up to the task of the post-gustav landscape. besides, the sooner we come home, the sooner things get back to normal. many people were financially taxed to the limit by this evacuation and desperately needed to get home. barring them from re-entry does nothing but ensure that they will not leave the next time a storm approaches. when a mandatory evacuation is ordered, the government does not have the authority to force its citizens to leave, how then does it have the authority to bar us from re-entering our homes? nagin, this is not your private kingdom. my property is not your property. step down here and mingle with the rest of us. nagin continued to push for lock down even though members of the city council were in favor of lifting it and allowing people to return. if we desire people to leave in the future then we must allow them to return at the earliest possible time.
chief of police riley needs to step down. he is increasingly isolating himself from criticism, going so far as to call into a radio show and complain that the host of that show was using the storm's aftermath to be political. please! get over yourself. we have problems with crime. we have problems with nopd. these are legitimate concerns as were the checkpoints into the city and if riley cannot handle that level of criticism, then he needs to step down. instead of whining like a child, he should step up and do his job. the woe is me attitude is getting tiring.
over all i am proud of how things were handled but these issues must be addressed before another storm threatens our region. period.

what went right

i am a liberal, mostly democrat-voting sort of person and so it pains me a bit to give jindal credit for executing an orderly emergency plan in the face of gustav. i must say that i am pleased with the evacuation and plans set in motion to get those without resources to safety. the national guard was in place long before gustav arived to keep order and be on the ground running after the storm had passed. the levees, for the most part, held up and i am grateful for that. so kudos to all that made this happen, from jindal on down and from the average citizen on up. new orleans is safe and it is good to be home.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


it was a lot faster coming home from tuscaloosa, alabama than it was getting there. thanks to chris and mark who put up the new orleans' refugees.. i'm glad to be back. i'm glad i can be back and that the levees held. thank god!! i'm still exhausted and a little loopy but i hope to be better soon. i don't have power at my house over in the new marigny, so i am staying up town where power seems sporadic but more wide spread. we came in on i-10 west bound over the twinspans and met no resistance. there were no checkpoints visible. there is a dusk until dawn curfew but i am perplexed at the probability of enforcing that when the official opening of the city is at midnight tonight. hmm. does anyone else thing nagin is drinking?? plenty of places are up and running in the quarter. matassa's is open. flannigan's is open. jager haus on conti is open. mojo coffee shop is open on race and magazine. jaun's flying burrito is serving. etc.. there are some gas stations open, just be mindful that they are few and far between and it is best to top off before entering the city. welcome home everybody. there are some lessons to be learned here and we will be disussing them in the future but for now, i'm pretty pleased with how things were handled. i will give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

waiting to get in

people are camped out on the highway waiting to get into new orleans. the red cross is being urged to take water and food to those waiting to re-enter. wow, does anyone else have a problem with this? what the fuck? all this is doing is assuring that many lower income people that evacuated this time will not leave in the future. i honestly believe that nagin has no idea what he is doing or the consequences of his actions. i can't believe there were people who voted the bastard back in office and look where we are now. stupid. stupid. stupid. i'm so angry. fucking bullshit.

we want in

people trying to return to new orleans are being turned away, only to then park their cars on the highway and wait to be let in because they have no money to turn around. i read this on and if this is true, it really is asinine. i'm not hearing any word from nagin as to this developing crisis. is this even legal, keeping people from returning to their homes if the situation is safe?? i understand this delay if things are unsafe but they are allowing business owners to return. the business owners, however are complaining that the fastest way to get up and running would be to get their workers back into the city. how do you do that mr. mayor?? you let us come home. just let us come home. we know the drill. we have been through this before. we are pretty sure we can handle it. i am heading back tomorrow in the hopes of sneaking in via fake press passes but i am hoping by tomorrow that nagin will come to his senses and open the city.

let us in

i want to go home! i want to check on my property and start cleaning up whatever needs to be cleaned. i want to help jump start the economy by purchasing a beer at a local bar or buying coffee at whatever place is open now and there are places open NOW. bullshit. just because i have no stock to check on does not mean that i should not be allowed back into the city if it is safe. try and keep me out. fuck you because you don't have the authority to keep me from going home. so i am heading back on wednesday. period. and i expect that i am not alone. i can't even tell you how angry this makes me feel. how dare you place business owners and stock holders before the majority of new orleans' citizens. who the fuck are you to determine that?? no no no. why don't you come down and personally bar my re-entry?

Monday, September 1, 2008

sigh of relief

we have heavy rain falling in the new orleans' area but i think the worst of it has passed. i think(knock on wood) that we have made it through the crisis. we should(hopefully) be able to head back into new orleans on thursday. i do want to say that i think officials really handled the situation well. much, much better than how things were handled for katrina. thanks to all those that helped protect the area. there is still some anxiety over the heavy rain fall and potential wind damage. i am foaming at the bit to re-enter the city and check on my home. damn, i could cry out of sheer joy. thank you to the powers that be for sparing new orleans. i do hope that in our relief and happiness over being able to return to the most amazing city in the country that we keep in mind those that may once again be forced to deal with the destruction of their property. also, we do know of some fatalities and we do want to keep them and their families in mind. i'm exhausted. the weight of the last few days is finally catching up to me now that the adrenaline is starting to wane. i feel as though i have been on high alert for weeks now even though it has only been a few days. i am looking forward to finally sleeping without the specter of storm related nightmares. sweet dreams yall.


i am sitting in a coffee shop in tuscaloosa, surrounded by college kids(ugh), trying not to lose my mind. i just heard on the news that we have several ships loose in the industrial canal that could damage the levees. oh my god! did we learn nothing from last time when that barge went crashing into the lower ninth ward?? i thought that after that incident they enacted legislation to clear the canals of ships. what the fuck?? it ceases to amaze me how little foresight the so called people in charge seem to be blessed with. wow, as though we don't have enough to worry about. i want the person or people responsibl hanged, drawn, and quartered. damn, just damn!! keep your fingers crossed everybody and keep praying. we are not out of the woods yet.

the news

i am trying not to watch the news but find myself increasingly fixated. i have had to relegate my viewing to the weather channel only. my nerves cannot handle the sensationalism of cnn. their bobble-headed newscasters seem to salivate over the potential for disaster and if things are not news-worthy bad, then the up the drama factor where they can. still, the images of water over topping at the industrial canal is enough to send me into fits of anxiety. alright everyone, yall keep praying.

over topping

ok. inhale. deep, deep breaths. pass me a beer. first of all, this thing is down to a cat 2 and that is fucking good news. but, we are now seeing some over topping at the industrial canal, including over topping towards the upper ninth ward. this will put pressure on the flood walls. they are reassuring us that these walls have been reinforced and i am clinging to that the way turner used to cling to the masts of ships during storms, when he was seeking inspiration in mother nature's violence. it looks like it is going to come ashore down near houma, which of course puts new orleans on the wet, rough side of things. damn. there is nothing to do at this point but wait. we are just waiting this damn thing out. dear god! where is the beer?

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