Friday, December 18, 2009

Crunch Time!

Smoke'em If You've Got'em

This is it. The last shopping weekend before Christmas. One last trip to the bank for the holiday season. It's too late to make nice things for everyone on your list. You'll have to buy what you need, now.

That creation in the photo? Someone in the office thought it'd be nice to take some of their hothouse hibiscus flowers and adorn the mini Christmas tree on their desk. Perhaps we put too much rum in the egg nog.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Don't Play With Fire

Grande Mocha Latte With Emotional Blackmail

As a rule, I don't tip for counter service. Why should I? The service won't improve if I tip. The correctness of my order won't change if I tip. And given the fact that I'm not a student here, my grades won't change if I tip.

I specifically said "No whipped cream" and then they put it on anyway. I reminded them of this and they had to make me a new one. If I had tipped, would I have been able to retrieve my money from the tip jar? I'd have felt like a fool for tipping for the wrong coffee.

As a rule, college students are an emotional bunch. Finals is a time of great stress. I recall being in the throes of temporary bipolar disorder when each final would take place and the cramming began for the next one. If someone had caught me at the right time, I'm sure I'd have put more money in the tip jar than I spent on the coffee.

Putting this note on a tip jar on a university campus is wrong wrong wrong. Just because your job sucks and your pay sucks there's no reason to sink to emotional extortion on your patrons.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Keeping The Kids Amused

Maybe he doesn't want to be found

My artist sketch lasted 3 weeks before someone tore it down. I don't think these people want their cat back.

The kids got a hoot out of this. Well, after I got the condescending glare from the oldest ones, of course. Then they made sure I took a photo of it.

So here's my critique of the sign:

1) Does the cat have a name? I might be able to get it if I called it by name. "Here, Puss Puss" might not cut it.
2) Boy cat or girl cat? Again, might not matter. However, if I'm to determine the eye colors of the cat, I'd have to be face to face with it. Then we're back to the name issue. I did see a white cat last week, but I couldn't get close enough to see the eyes. It ran away and I could see that it was a boy, but the sign doesn't specify beyond bi-color and white.
3) Do they want the cat back? According to the sign, they only want reports of sightings.
4) What's in it for me? I'm allergic to cats. They dig up my garden and knock over my bonsai pots. When my dogs chase cats out of the yard, they're knocking over the larger pots and making general chaos. So, if I'm to care about your cat, and right now I don't, how are you going to make me care? The sign does nothing to motivate me to do anything other than drawing a stupid rebus.

Given the lack of effort on the part of the sign poster (cheap sign, bad proof-reading, few details, no motivation), I think this cat woke up one morning to the sound of can openers in other homes. This cat realized that it had been staying with the wrong people. "These idiots haven't even given me a name," it muttered to itself. It struck out on its own and occasionally catches glimpses of it's former housemates from further and further away.

Would I report this cat if I could determine for certain that it was the cat from 2 doors down? No. I think perhaps this cat has chosen a better life. Who am I to interfere?

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Date In History

I Didn't Kill James Carville Today

Not that I would have. But there he was, crossing Palmer as I turned off of Marquette. I said to myself "Hey! That can't be James Carville. Can it?" Then I said to myself "Who the hell else looks like that?"

He stopped when he saw me rounding the corner. My Honda Pilot does not pose a formidable threat, but as much as I didn't want to spend the day talking to the police and getting congratulatory calls from local conservative radio talk shows, I'm sure he didn't want to spend the day in a hospital bed. After all, he still had his coffee in his hand. Never interrupt someone in the middle of their coffee with an SUV. That's just good manners.

John F. Kennedy Is Finally Dead

For 45 birthdays I've been looking forward to my happy day with a reminder of who was shot and killed the very day before I was born. Mom would ask, "What do you want for your birthday, Billy?" And I would think to myself "To stop seeing the Zapruder film every year for my birthday." Well, this year, for my 46th birthday, I finally got my wish. Granted, I didn't watch much news, but I've tried that before. Something always slips through. This year I catch a break. I didn't catch wind of a single word associating my birthday with a bullet in the head.

James Carville Scares Me Into Locking My Doors

Security people were in the neighborhood when I got off work tonight. Cars were backed up to St. Charles Avenue. A big formal party was taking place at one of the huge homes near my work. Thus, I was paying more attention to the formal dinner than I was to my surroundings as I unlocked and entered my vehicle. It was only when I got into the front seat that I noticed someone was walking by. I quickly closed my door and locked it. It was James Carville. He was coming back from a jog. He passed me by, trotted across the street, bypassed the front porch and went around back. I guess he didn't want to be in his jogging clothes and run into Governor Bobby Jindal who was standing on his front porch. (At least it LOOKED like Bobby Jindal. It was dark. I had my camera out, but couldn't squeeze off a shot in the low light.)

Don't go looking for shots of James Carville here. I'm not stalking him. I just park in his neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Saints And Sinners

Down And Dirty In The Big Easy

God bless those New Orleans Saints. They've pulled off a 7-0 start for only the second time in their history. I've been a Saints fan for as long as there have been Saints. Somehow the stars have aligned and we're watching one of the best teams ever to play the sport.

And they're all ours!

(and now for something completely different)

"Dear God, Please Get Me Out Of Here!"

During the school year, the stars rarely align for my family when it comes to scheduling. Sunday was no different.

I decided that a beautiful Sunday morning is a wonderful chance to tear down and rebuild a fence. Indeed it was. However, as my father once told me "Projects are always more complicated than they seem; are more expensive than you expect; and take longer than you hoped." Each of my home projects seem to fall in line with that simple expectation.

The wife took the youngest off to church while the older hellions slept off Saturday night. I took crowbar to board and uncovered one setback after another; crooked posts, rotten wood, and sub-standard construction are all hallmarks of any project completed by the previous homeowner. This was no exception.

After working all day on removing the old fence and acquiring the supplies to build the new one, 5pm was creeping up on me fast. The last church mass of the day would see me packing up my tools and looking at 7 original fence posts without a single piece of new work upon them. What made me think I could do this in one day?

Mrs. Bayou's prior commitment to the local school's fund-raiser had her out of the house at this time and our youngest could not be left home alone. I told her so. "BUT I ALREADY WENT TO CHURCH! I DON'T HAVE TO GO AGAIN! I'M NOT GOING!" was her thundering reply. The oldest kids smirked and headed off to church on their own. I'm not sure if they were behaving properly or jumping ship. Kicking and screaming, I threw the little monster into the car and we made it to church on time.

5 minutes into mass and an angel appeared. Mom had stopped by the church on her way home and picked up The Sulking One. I would later find out that while she did not want to go to church, she was a firm believer in prayer. "Mom, I knew you would come," my wife said, retelling what she heard. "I was in church praying to God. 'Dear God, please get me out of here,' and you came!"

I'm learning things about the youngest kids in wide age-span families: They quickly learn how to work the system. Apparently, this one has learned how to work God.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What The Hell Happened?

I just don't understand women...

(You may need to read my last blog if you're not up to speed. Yes. That's my face.)

So we got home around 9:30pm last night. I grabbed a couple bottles beer and headed off to the bedroom to turn on ESPN and await my wife. Somewhere around 1am I must have dozed off. The next thing I know I hear a deafening roar and I'm being hit with what appeared to be a fist wrapped with a lace teddy. Where'd I go wrong?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Welcome Home Mrs. Bayou!

Oh what a night...

My wife will be returning from San Francisco this evening. I can't wait.

The dishwasher is full and the sink is too. Having run out of clean dishes, the kids and I have filled the kitchen trash can with fast-food bags and pizza boxes. It's so full I've had to tie down the lid to keep the dogs from getting into it. The poor dogs have run out of food, but it's okay because they ate the leftover pizza. The laundry situation is at a breaking point. If my wife wasn't coming home tonight, I'm sure we'd be sniffing through our dirties searching out the least offensive smells. So yes(!), we'll all have clean clothes tomorrow.

On Monday, I contacted my kids' teachers to let them know of my situation. They were all understanding. They've agreed to let my girls bring in their homework tomorrow. That'll give my wife tonight to help them finish it up. She's always saying things like "I have to help them with their homework every night because they just know how much I love doing it for them!"

As a bonus, I found out on Monday that two of my kids have arts and crafts projects due tomorrow (Friday). I told them not to lose the supplies list (I'm sure they didn't) and to give the lists to Mom at the airport. Her flight comes in at 8:32pm and the craft store closes at 9pm. That should be enough time for her to run in and get whatever supplies they need to do the class projects.

My wife has been calling me from San Francisco all week telling me how busy she's been, going from one seminar to the next. Even the meals are business related; Business Breakfast, Business Lunch, Business Dinner. The poor dear has been suffering at night as well. Her room is over the street and she says that all she hears all night is horns blaring and the doorman whistling for cabs. This morning (flight day!), she called to say that the hotel was out of hot water at 6am. She's been shivering all morning and she's exhausted from lack of sleep. She's looking forward to sleeping on the flight. I figure the best thing for her will be to get home and get back into her rhythm with the kids and the house.

So tonight I'll pick up some flowers at WalMart on the way to the airport, I'll give her a big kiss when I see her, and I'll hurry her home (after stopping at the craft store, of course). And when the homework is done, class projects all glued and painted, and the hum of laundry and dishwashing machines permeates the house, she'll come to bed (I remembered to dust off the cookie crumbs from last night) to find me waiting there with her final present of the night: a lace teddy I bought for her at the mall. This will be a night to remember.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shhhhh... Daddy's Sleeping

I Need A Recharge

Mrs. Bayou has gone to San Francisco for the week. The only thing keeping me from going with her is the kids. Then again, if the youngest wasn't so young, I'd probably leave them all here alone and go to Tennessee. Alone.

In a previous blog, I commented on the problems I face with the people around me coming up with Great Ideas. In a nutshell, all their Great Ideas involve ME doing the task. Mrs. Bayou has caught on to my phraseology and gives me the stink-eye when handing out tasks where I reply "Yep. That's a Great Idea." (Yes, sometimes I talk in italics)

I thought I was making progress in this area. I've learned to quickly recognize Great Ideas, and I've been telling people around me "You've got to be kidding," and walking away quickly. "But Bill! Where are you going? It's a Great Idea!" (No, they never speak in italics, but my brain readily does the font change)

My time was freeing up right and left (time to sleep, mostly). Then Mrs. Bayou comes in with her announcement that not only is she freeing herself to go to San Francisco (she says she's going there on business, but I know it's to get away for a week), but she's got a freakin' Ghant chart of a schedule for me to accomplish while she's gone. Bam! One page broken down by dates and times is thrust upon me like a Turd Sundae with a glossy topping of "Your Family Comes First" Guilt-Trip drizzled all over it.

If I thought the dreaded phrase was "Bill, I have a great idea. Could you..." I was wrong. The devil is truly in the details. Buried within the instructions of moving children around to and from before-and-after-school activities, dance and music lessons, photography appointments, and airport taxi driving is a phrase which turns my stomach into a dyspepsia-themed amusement park: "You should just have enough time to..."

I shuddered when I wrote that. It's worth repeating: "You should just have enough time to..."

(And there's my lunch coming up the back of my throat. Ugh.)

It's not just a list of Great Ideas, its a list of Great Ideas that can only be accomplished if I rush from point to point like a pinball. The intersections around the city are no longer photo-controlled traffic-lights, but blinking bumpers on a map-themed game table. Sirens and horns have replaced bells and whistles; blaring out at me as I strive to accomplish the list of Great Ideas. Pre-recorded phrases pipe through the speakers of my life announcing "Dad! We're gonna be late!" "You've missed our turn!" "I can't find my shoes" and "Do you know how fast you were going, Mr. Bayou?"

I carry the Ghant chart with me at all times. I've studied it in an attempt to divine it's secrets, but every time I glance at it I see something new. If I get pulled over by the police, I'm going to show it to the officer. "Look!" I'll say, "She left me a 'To Do' list!" However, with the way things are going lately, it'll be a male cop, unable to quickly decipher my task list of Great Ideas, and he'll start clawing his eyes out. Somehow that'll be my fault, but I'll at least I'll skip the ticket and be quickly on my way to the next item on the list.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's GO Time!

I want to wrestle too!

I've been on this exercise kick ever since my doctor told me I have a "fatty liver." Apparently, when I die, my wife can make a nice liver pate and serve it at my funeral. "Mmmm... Who knew Bill was such a good man?"

I'm down 15-20 pounds by taking the stairs and working out as much as 5 times a week. I strongly recommend the Muscle & Strength web site (LINK HERE). I've been using free weights, 3 days a week, since July. Which brings me to Sunday afternoon.

I'm sitting on the sofa watching nothing in particular on TV and listening to the rain fall. My wife comes over and sits on my lap and snuggles up. After a minute or two of this, I decide to see if the weight training has been working, so I pick her up in my arms, carry her to the bedroom, and gently lay her down on the bed. This weight training thing is paying off! I snuggle into bed next to my wife...


"Whoo-hoo! I want to wrestle too!" she cries out.

"So does your father," my wife adds smiling.

The next thing I know the three of us are playing "Pin the Daddy" and I end up with my head hanging off the bed. Stupid One and Supid Two, my two standard poodles show up and Stupid One begins giving my face a tongue bath. My wife is shrieking with laughter and disgust at this development and my daughter is laughing with glee.

"Not the afternoon I was thinking of," I told my wife.

"The afternoon you were thinking of is the reason we have these kids," she reminds me.

Oh well. At least I have my health.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What's it to you?

Set Attitude to "Sass"

What is it with my kids? I know it's not unique, but they've developed a knack for turning everything into an argument.

I remember standing up to my Dad, once. Once. It was the first time I ever heard my conscience screaming. Normally, my conscience is there offering good advice. Once upon a time, it was in there covering its ass.

My father found me just out back and called me to the door. "Son, why haven't you taken out the trash?" Or cut the grass, or cleaned my room. I don't know what he was complaining about. All I know is, my conscience was taking a coffee break. My mouth was on its own.

Why didn't I do my chores? I have no clue. Maybe I was too busy coming up with another reason to get suspended from school. Maybe I was in the middle of planning my next pyrotechnical exhibition. Whatever the reason, I was 15 and decided that my father wasn't the boss of me. He wasn't a bad father. Quite the opposite. He was a great father. I, however, had the temerity to assert my independence from chores. I don't know what I said, but I'm sure it was along the lines of "Do it yourself."

It was a proud moment, but that was all it was. I was standing there in the doorway gaining an extra inch by standing on the door sill. I was engaged in a foolish bit of sass and my conscience was off buying an order of beignets to go with its cafe au lait.

In an instant, my father's fist lashed out and embedded itself in the wall next to the door. I turned to my left and there it was. Well, there it wasn't. All I saw was a big hairy Irish wrist and drywall.

The coffee break was over. My conscience was back at work and wondering just what the mouth had gone and done in its absence. No longer the gentle adviser, my conscience began screaming "SHUT UP! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! SHUT UP NOW!" My mouth was in full agreement.

And now I have the kids I was. They're all full of themselves and I'm checking the walls with a stud-finder. When discussing things with teenagers, you never want to break your fist for lack of knowing where the walls studs are located.

Friday, October 02, 2009

How's that work again?


I just received one of those personality tests in my email. It advised me to keep an open mind by using the old standard "Minds are like parachutes. They only work when they are open." The personality test took many things for granted and got everything wrong. So much for opening my mind. Now I want to try slapping the side of my head to see if I can get out all the crap that fell into my mind when it was open.

I don't think that parachutes only work when they open. They certainly have a function when they're open, but they also have a function when they're closed. Try exiting a plane with an open parachute. No. Not really. It'll kill you. Your reserve 'chute will kill you too if you open it when your primary is functioning perfectly.

I'm all for opening your mind to new things. However, once you realize what someone is trying to put in there, you may want to quickly close it up.

I need to go attenuate my tin-foil hat.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shelter From The Storm

I'd Rather Have The Tree

Katrina took many things from us. One of which must have been the tree that stood here for oh so many years. Never you mind. There are other ways to stay out of the sun.

How this goose got that umbrella to open without opposable thumbs, must have been surely entertaining.

You go, Mother Goose!

Thursday, September 24, 2009







Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What Are You Thinking?

Kiss Your Teachers

I don't mean to be snobbish. I know that it takes people from all walks of life to make this society work. In these trying economic times, just having a job can be everything. God bless those of us who put themselves into danger or just dirt every day to earn a living.


If your job involves riding at the top of a stack of cinder blocks at 35mph higher than the walls of a construction vehicle, you're not in the right line of work. You never know when some idiot in an SUV is driving distracted behind you holding up an SLR camera in front of his face to discretely take your picture just before slamming into your truck at every one of those thirty five miles per hour.

I'm going home to kiss my diploma and polish my SLR.

If you've got a job where people are not likely to use your image as a "Don't Let This Be You" cautionary tale, thank a teacher today.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Duck, Please

Nycticorax nycticorax

I happened upon a scene in Audubon Park. A man was feeding bread to the ducks, geese and fish. It wasn't much different than anyone else doing the same, except for the fellow pictured here. He's a Black-Crowned Night Heron. My wife calls it an evil bird, but more on that in a moment.

What caught my attention was the attention this bird was giving to the bread on the water. The man told me the bird was waiting to catch a fish. The fish were swimming about eating the bread left by the ducks. Sure enough, after a minute, the bird lunged forward, snatched up a fish. I thought the event was interesting enough that I brought the family to the park on the following day.

We traversed the park in search of the bird, and finally found him not too far off from where I'd seen him last. Unfortunately, the geese were exceedingly obnoxious and I couldn't get the bird to repeat the trick. The geese soon ran him off and we left as well. We didn't see where the bird had flown.

Oh well, nature never repeats a good trick on its own. Sometimes it's funnier.

Some hundred yards down, we found a mother duck and two ducklings swimming about. The kids were happy enough to feed the babies and they made such sweet "Peep Peep" noises. Just another duck feeding?

Another family came down to the waters edge; a mother and her twin daughters. The mother sees the babies and says to her toddler girls "Look, girls! She's got twins. Just like you." And soon we were all feeding the happy family.

Without warning, the heron leaped out of its hiding place in the elephant ears at the waters edge. The bird snatched up one of the ducklings from the surface of the water and quickly flew off; little baby duck crying out "Peep peep peep..." into the distance.

A look of horror fell upon the mother of two as she hustled her girls away from the scene. My wife and children were outraged yelling at the fleeing predator while mama duck cried out for her missing duckling.

I fell out laughing. The irony of the situation had hit me quickly:
1) We came to see a predator bird. Well, we found it. It performed above expectations.
2) Cold smelly slimy fish are okay for birds to eat. Cute duckies are not. We came to the park hoping to say "Cool! The bird ate a fish," when what we got was "Holy Crap! That bird ate a baby duck!"
3) Never create an emotional bond between your twin daughters and vulnerable baby duckies in the wild. That, and always hustle your children away from the strange man who laughs hysterically when baby ducks are being eaten.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Traffic Horn Blues

I think car horns should be tuned to shift chords through a standard 12 bar blues chord sequence. Then use something like Bluetooth pairing so that traffic would have a more gritty bluesy feel to it.

I'm stuck in this traffic,"
"Ain't goin' no where,"
"My wife's home in bed,"
"And Lord I wish I was there!"
(harmonica) *WHAAAA-WA-WA-WHAAAA*
"I got those Traffic Horn Blues...."
(blues music)
"Those dirty down horny Traffic Horn Blues..."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Wifey, Two Wifey, Three Wifey, Jail

Because 2 Is An Option?

I'm a firm believer in the sanctity of marriage. Then again, I have a wonderful wife. That kind of makes it easy.

Beyond all the "To have and to hold" vows, I have to admit that there is another reason I won't ever move on to "Wifey 2": I really don't need any more women in my life telling me to take out the trash.

She's a talented computer professional. The other night she came home late with the excuse that something had crashed and she had to get it up and running before she could come home.

"Did you try nagging it until it worked?" You'd better smile when you say that, and I did.

"No. My computer programs don't need nagging. They do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it, and how I tell them to do it. Unlike other things in my life."

She's a dream. I couldn't ever leave her. Love you, Babe!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just a tease...

Freedom! Oh, wait...

Every now and then I like to go to the window and dream of running in the fields. I dream of the sun warming me as I lay out enjoying a cool breeze. I see kites flying overhead. I hear the ice shifting in the chest as it melts and I'm reminded to reach in and grab a cold beer. Oh! And sausages grilling over coals. The fat dripping out and catching fire just long enough to give the sausages a good smoky flavor. My toes are scrunching the grass. My wife is sitting in the shade of an umbrella. The kids are running around with the dogs. The sausages are almost done and I haven't even made a dent in my supply of beer. The radio is playing Pink Floyd and I reach over to turn up the music...

Then the damn phone rings and I'm back in the real world.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nothing to see here, move along.

Good Community Relations

If I were driving down Airline Highway, er um, Airline Drive with an unsecured load of crap in the back of my truck, I'd want to be as pleasant to the local constabulary as possible. However, with the sticks and such flying out the back of this guys littermobile, I'm sure he'll get to say "Hi Officer" face to face.

Monday, August 03, 2009

"Git ya Gramma a nutter pack-a-smokes. Will ya dawlin?"

Oh The Stupidity

I like to think this guy in traffic has hooked up his hooka to his exhaust system. He's got Bob Marley cranked up in there and he's jammin'. When that light turns green, all I want him to do is pull over and get that damned thing fixed.

Either that, or I'm looking at the first nicotine-fueled-injected SUV in history.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Polishing My Diploma

Ode To "Wing Zone" Girl

She's always friendly, our "Wing Zone" Girl. She always has a smile for us as we drive by. Oh, sure, we can't see her face in there, but everything about her says "Hello! Come and eat!" She must be smiling in that costume. You can tell. Her exuberance shines like a beacon at the end of a long day. "Buy our wings!" Her waves to her honking fans never seem to cease. Each of us in turn is a new friend.

I'm betting she has a degree in history from one of the local universities. She's probably working her way through a master's program. The time spent on the expansive median on Claiborne Avenue is more likely spent wondering how the hell she's going to explain to her study group that she couldn't finish her share of the project because her mascot costume left her smelling like an old sock worn by someone with a garlic fetish.

Sure, she's waving and bouncing, but inside there, where passers-by cannot hear her, she's screaming at the unfulfilled promises of life and the realization that she just may have peaked.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Out And About

If you're going to leave out letters on your personalized license plate, your intended message should still be apparent.

Case in point: "MY 3 SNS" is obviously someone who has three recalcitrant sins. Given the limitations of characters and spaces, they left out the vowel "I" without losing the sound itself. "SNS" is clearly prounounced "sins".

Given the car, I'd say the sins were "Pride", "Greed", and "Lust". I'm not sure why they felt the need to brag about it. Perhaps they're proud of them, want them all for themself, and it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling when they commit them.

I once made it my New Year's Resolution to commit each of the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Envy, Greed, Lust, Wrath, Sloth, and Gluttony. By January 3rd, I was done. It was easier than losing 15 pounds and quitting drinking. For the most part, it also made me easier to get along with than a dieting drunk on the wagon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wool Gathering On The Bayou

That Ain't No Bayou

Well, you caught me thinking about Tennessee. I want to be cruising through the mountains with the windows down and the cool air rushing in carrying the sounds of the rivers. Instead I cruising through Metairie on the Earhart Expressway with the A/C cranked up squeezing so much humidity from the air that my condensation lines are leaving a wake.

I need to find some landscapes to photograph. Metairie is suburbia at it's land-locked jam-packed goodness. It's no landscape, it's a place to hang your hat. It has no real cityscape, it has Veteran's Highway and billboards.

I guess I'm inured to the area I call home. I go to Tennessee and see beauty and mountains and my fingers can't keep clicking photographs. I go home and the camera goes back in the bag. What am I to photograph? The canals? The suburban traffic? Lakeside Mall? Yeah, I guess I should.

I need to open my eyes and get on my bicycle and ride this town. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll get up and go cruise around and see what's out there. I really should. I'm sure there's something out there that'll strike me as click-worthy.

I think that's what we all need to do. Count our blessings. See what's in our neighborhoods and find what's been hiding in plain sight. Quit wishing that you were back on vacation finding something new to see. Quit wondering why you're stuck in Nowhereville with nothing to see. Grab your cameras and be a tourist in your own town.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Things Are Tough All Over

Gotta Love A Monty Python Fan

I can't delve into the minds of other drivers. I'd like to and that's why I carry a cordless drill with a 1/2" carbide tip. However, given that at 45, I'm still too pretty for prison, I'll just have to hazard a guess.

It's a Lincoln. He's got some scratch and like to buy American. He's got just enough left over in this economy to buy a personalized plate.

Here's my guesses:
1) "He's screaming about not being able to make the monthly payments on the apartment he's keeping in town for his nooners with lucky members from the secretarial pool (er... "Administrative Staff")
2) Things are going so poorly that he's taken up a new vocation as "Highway Pirate."
3) Chronic hemorrhoids and laryngitis combined but he still wants you to know he's in pain.
4) He couldn't fit Joseph of Aramathea's final words (regarding the Holy Grail) so he opted for the last final word (final last word?). "He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the holy grail in the Castle of Arrgghh.."

Friday, July 03, 2009

Gremlins Eat Only The Most Valuable Data

I Buried The Skeletons In My Closet

Here's the crime: Mayor C. Ray Nagin's (D., New Orleans) email was deleted by person(s) unknown. It's a crime because of public access laws which make it mandatory that the city of New Orleans keep records of all email transactions. It's about transparency.

Here's the cover-up: 22-gigabytes disappeared from the servers on the day the information technology experts began their investigation. GIGABYTES. DAY THEY STARTED.

Does this pass the smell test? Does a fresh dog turd pass the smell test? Yeah, it's like that.

The email account was only one of 59 accounts which was deleted from the servers and the backup servers. It's so blatant that any idiot could see it. Luckily, experts were hired. They said that the only ones who had access to do such a thing had to be high level employees.

Now from the peanut gallery...

Nagin blames "some phantom employee." Nagin says it's not for the tech experts to lay blame. He fears that the people involved in the blaming may have found themselves in over their heads; that they're seeking some sort of fame.

Huh? It's PRECISELY the tech experts you want to ask!!! It's precisely YOU, Mr. Mayor, who should SHUT THE HELL UP when it comes to YOUR missing email. Your email is the only account that disappears and YOU are the person who stands to gain by that lack of transparency. You need to just shut up and stop attacking the investigators. You already looked guilty of this crime. Trying to obfuscate the investigation only makes you look more guilty, Mr. Phantom.

Story HERE.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

How To Make Friends In Traffic: #24 - Dented Vehicles

$350 To Knock Out That Dent

One of my favorite pastimes is off-road driving. Grated, I don't own any off-road vehicles. I never have. However, how else can I explain my long list of off-road activities?

It all began when I got my first car. Winter in New Orleans is never cold. We'll get 3 nights per year when it dips below the freezing point. Sometimes there's ice involved! I made it around the corner on a wide turn and went off onto the shoulder. I was late for work, but when I hit that patch of frozen puddle and spun out onto the grass and dirt, well, I just had to go back and do it again.

I've had several girlfriends back then who'd be willing to put out if I found the right parking place. Usually that involved secluded areas. Off-road. Airport security ran me off of one location. The Levee Police ran me off of another. The California Highway Patrol was called out on a suspicious car parked near the KDES transmitters. Once, I spent more than an hour in 40-degree weather digging out my car which had bottomed out, off-road, somewhere after midnight. I couldn't ask my date to help me dig, now could I?

But every now and again, I do something which bashes up one part of my vehicles or another when I should have just stayed on the road. Lucky for me, my insurance company paid for the damage I did when I didn't see the ditch cutting across the field I was traversing. Another field really wasn't my fault, after all, my Lowrance iHunt GPS said there was a road there and who was I to argue with a hand-held piece of technology. They lock you up in the nut-hatch if you argue with hand-held pieces of technology. Well, they would if you insisted the tech started the fight.

Some years ago I tried backing up the shoulder of a highway on-ramp. There was a traffic jam that promised to eat my spare time if I didn't. Again, another ditch and I wound up with diagonal gouge marks and a dent on my rear panel.

It's amazing how many people you meet in traffic with a dented panel. "Hey!" they call out to me at stop lights. "I can knock that out for you real cheap!" They're so excited to see me driving around with my wallet hanging out the window. Not that my wallet is anywhere but under my left cheek, but I'm sure that's how they see me. The latest guy wants to meet me in my driveway and he'll do the job for $350. He gives me his phone number. It's a cell phone with a Seattle area code. Ever smell pork after it's been in a wet sock in the sun for a week? Yeah, this one stinks like that.

I really need to get that dent to a body shop before someone holds me up at gunpoint while their buddy knocks out the dent and spray paints it on the side of some dark deserted highway. "I swear, Officer. It was a drive-by dent-pulling. They took me for all I had!"

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It May As Well Be Night and Storming

Stuck In The Muck

Is there any more damning phrase for absentmindedness than "No CF card"?

Where I work, parking can be a challenge. However, I don't condone parking next to fire hydrants just because you're late. Periodically, someone will park in front of the hydrant next to my building. I take this as a personal slight. If this building were to catch fire, I don't want firefighters to have to waste a single second trying to hook up to the hydrant.

There I was this morning walking up to the building, camera strapped to my back, and a blue truck is blocking the hydrant. Hey! A photo for the blog! I pull up the camera. Flick it on and "No CF card" appears. Expletives follow.

As this happens several times a month (if not per day), I'll be sure to post more as I see them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Help me pick my favorite child...

Cajun Critters

"I have an enormous head," I commented, looking upon a photo of myself.

Child 1: "No you don't, Daddy."
Child 2: "I've seen plenty of people with heads your size."
Child 3: "Like a big watermelon."

Oh, sure. I'm supposed to be fair in my assessment of my children. I'm supposed to spread the love. Evenly. Yeah. Too bad my enormous watermelon-sized head (found often in nature) doesn't come with a commensurate-sized brain.

God granted me the gift of love when my children were born. I love my wife dearly. Completely. It was the biggest and bestest kind of love I knew. But when my children were born, something opened up in my heart; a secret chamber filled with love hidden until that very moment. Each of my children live there.

I think it's time to divvy up the love into bigger and smaller portions.

Let's examine the pluses and minuses...

Child 1: Can't be found when I'm working in the yard and wanting a cold beer.
Child 2: "Mom says you don't need a beer. Here's a water, instead."
Child 3: "You want a bottle or a can?"

Child 1: No Father's Day card.
Child 2: Hand-tooled Father's Day card.
Child 3: In-class craft centers Father's Day card.

Child 1: Loves my cooking.
Child 2: Helps me cook.
Child 3: Wants hot dogs.

My philosophy in life is simple: Play the cards you're dealt.

I'm looking at three jokers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

There's No Pleasing That Woman

Out On the Water

What do you get for a woman who thinks she should have everything? A Lexus.

I figure the conversation went like this:

"Edward, I need another Lexus."
"What's wrong with the last one?"
"I don't like the color."
"You picked it out."
"Now I want a blue one."
"Fine, but you've got to let me pick out the license plate."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Ghost Of George

Off The Rails

I'm no electrician. I'm no plumber. Not a tile-man; a carpenter; a drywall guy. However, when the folly of man faced the power of Katriana, I put on several hats to get my house in order.

This morning, George came fumbling through my electrical system.

George is the name of the former owner of my house. He was responsible for many of the weird things we had to rework/rerun/rewire/repair over the pre-Katrina years. If my wife heard me yelling "George! What the hell is this?" she knew I'd discovered another of his shortcuts.

10 years ago, the lights went out in the bathroom. It wasn't a fuse. It was a broken wall socket. George had left me with a bad plug that looked oddly repaired when I pulled it out of the wall. I replaced it and all was well.

This morning the lights went out in the bathroom. 10 years after the fact, and 4 years after Katrina, the repaired wall socket was the last thing on my list to check. Circuit breaker? Nope. Wall switch? Nope. Safety socket in bathroom? Nope. Light fixture in closet? Nope. Outside socket? Nope. Wiring in attic? Nope. After an hour and a half of removing, testing, and re-installing each of these items, I decided to use a circuit tracer to follow the live lines in the walls. Where did it lead me? Yep. That same old wall outlet I repaired 10 years ago. Back then it was easy to reach. Now it's behind a bookshelf. But there it was when I pulled it out the wall. Sparks and ozone.

Granted, George didn't do this one. I did it. I installed the socket incorrectly and it took 10 years to fail. But George's ghost still haunts this home. Somehow, I know he was whispering in my ear when I installed that outlet 10-years ago "Bill. You don't need to tighten that coupler. Just stick the wire in there and forget it."

Curse your spirt, George.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I'm Not In Right Now...

Cajun Creativity

Here's an idea for an invention: A Carry-Around Answering Machine.

I've been inundated with requests for my time, lately. It's not just being a husband and a father, but someone whom everyone thinks is their "go-to" guy.

For some reason of late, I've noticed people using this theme in their conversations with me: "Bill, I have this great idea! Could you..." or "Bill, would it be possible if you" or the worst of all "Bill, could you come up with something for..." The last one is my favorite. It's not even a task for me to do. I'm being asked to come up with the idea of how to do it. Not only will my performance be judged, but the idea I came up with will be judged as well. Just great.

I think I'll just hide from the "Bill-Could-You" people. Lacking my ability to hide in plain sight, I'd like a Carry-Around Ansering Machine. It'll work just like a telephone answering machine, except it'll have a microphone and three or four messages buttons for me to press when I'm approached.

Here's how it would work:
"Dad, can you help me with..."
I press Button 1: "Sorry I can't come to your attention right now, but I'm busy watching TV. Please leave a message at the tone and I'll get back to you during the next commercial break."

"Bill, sorry to interrupt..."
Button 2: "I'll be with you in just a moment. Please leave your plea for help at the tone, go somewhere else, and when I'm done making up things to do that have no significance whatsoever, I'll think about getting back to you."

"Bill, I have this great idea. Could you..."
Button 3: "I'm sorry but my in-box is full. Please try again later."

"Honey, did you remember to..."
Button 4: "Dearest Wife, Please leave a message..." (I'm not sure the machine would be playing anything coherent at this point as it would be lodged in my nether regions)

Friday, March 06, 2009

That's Not Cheese!

Out On The Water...

In the former building of "World's Healthiest Pizza", we now have NAKED Pizza.

The word is in green and there's a great deal of basil growing in the front window. I'm dubious.

The former occupant of this building, "World's Healthiest Pizza" was my candidate for "World's Nastiest Crust." I signed up on WHP's web site for a discount coupon. After eating that pizza, I sent them a message begging them to take me off of their mailing list. The message was simple: "I would no longer like to receive mailings from your store." What I meant to say was "Your pizza is inedible. The dough tastes like someone pulverized cereal boxes and baked it into a tough nasty disc and covered it up to hide that fact."

I love pizza. I love it so much I've been making my own for 15 years. I have a great recipe for sauce and a mind-blowing-great one for Italian sausage. Guests at my home rave about how good it is. Some women are no longer allowed in my home for their unwelcome advances after eating my pizzas. (wife's rules)

I'll have to try this place to see if they're running a new recipe. I hope to God they are.

A co-worker says it's good pizza. But then, he said the same thing about the last occupants of this building.

Hint: Either serve good food, or file for bankruptcy.

Mired In Mud

I have to say that I miss the former occupants of the building "The Bayou Bagelry". Them was some fine bagels. They got lost in the 2005 flood. If they'd put a tomato basil sauce on a bagel, topped it with pepperoni and cheese, now THAT would be a good pizza. *sigh*

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Out On The Water...

I don't see this very often. Scratch that, I've never seen this before.

It's funny the things that come to mind when you see things like this in the street. Here's some of the things that popped into my head:

1) Am I going to get killed by trying to make a U-Turn on Claiborne Avenue to get a shot of this?

2) I thought it was SUPPOSED to be free.

3) Damned Real Estate market really HAS crashed.

4) I wasn't aware that Dirt had been arrested.

5) If only I had my Hot Wheels cars, I'd make some neat tracks in that.

6) Just how badly do these people need to gossip?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Happiest Place On Earth Has It's Hand In My Wallet

Swamp Gassing

I am the target audience for Walt Disney World. I'm a Dad. Nevermind all the glitz and glamour, they just want me to keep moving from one line to the next while they siphon funds off of my credit cards.

Why would anyone want to go to this place? Me? I went there because my daughter's school performed in the Magic Kingdom parade during Mardi Gras week. I denied my children's requests to go to WDW for more than a decade for all the reasons that I found to be true. Mostly, it's too long of a wait for too little reward.

Well, I did have a little fun. Then again, that's the problem. I had a little fun.

The good news is, it'll be 2 years before I have to go again!

Just a word of advice, if you're in Tomorrowland, be sure to talk to Push. My Buzz Lightyear score improved dramatically.

Gator Gaffs

Today's major mishap was when I spilled my bottle of water. All over the desk, some work papers, the company keyboard, and so forth. I got it all cleaned up fairly well.

The fun came when my monitor started turning itself on and off. Apparently, the water ran down the screen and into the controls. It took me half an hour to dry the flat screen monitor. I unplugged it and did a small bit of shaking. However, I got the most water out by wrapping my lips around the lower corner of the screen and sucking the water out of the crevices. I was surprised by how much got in there. The monitor seems to be okay, but for an hour afterwards, it would turn itself off and on. Again, glad my office is not the most visited.