Monday, August 06, 2012

I bought a Times-Pic Today

After cancelling my subscription weeks ago and deciding to boycott nola.com even with my clicks (I've been to the site like 3 times in the past several weeks), I bought a paper today to read about the Saints' first step toward 24-0 this year.

I feel a little dirty giving money to an organization that has given up on our community.

That's all.  This is my first shot at blogging in many months, and I want to see if I can get the old mojo back.

I've got said mojo back in many other phases of my life, so why not here?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Gumbo Z'Herbes: Happy New Year!

Here's my Nana's recipe for Gumbo Z'Herbes. I made it over last night and this morning.

Gumbo Z’Herbes

6 or 8 bunches fresh spinach or 6 or 8 packs frozen (or some of each)
1 bunch of mustard greens
1 bunch of collard greens
1 bunch of turnip greens
Greens from 1 bunch of carrots (Tops)
Greens from 1 bunch of beets (Tops)
Outer leaves of lettuce – use romaine or endive or other
Outer leaves of cabbage
Leaves from top of celery
Leaves from top of radishes
Leaves from 1 bunch of broccoli
1 lb. of fresh hot sausage
1 lb. of ham seasoning or smoked sausage
2 or 3 big onions -- chopped
1 or 2 sweet peppers – chopped
2 or 3 bay leaves
A few tablespoons flour
Gumbo file
Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste
Cooked rice
1. Wash the greens thoroughly. Take out the stems or tough midribs. Put the greens in a big pot with water to cover and bring to boil. When it boils, turn fire down to medium and let cook for about 15 or 20 minutes – uncovered.

2. While the greens are simmering, cook the hot sausage (in small bite-size chunks) and diced ham or smoke sausage in a large heavy skillet. When cooked, remove the meat and put on a plate. Drain off some of the grease, then add the onions and peppers. Cook until the onions and peppers are soft.

3. After the greens have cooked down, use a strainer to drain them, but retain the water (the stock) that the greens have been cooking in. Run the greens through a food processor—chop them just enough (but not too much). Add the greens back to the large pot, and stir in the cooked onions, peppers, meat, bay leaves, and seasonings. Get the mixture nice and hot.

4. Add in stock until the texture is gumbo-like. Simmer for at least an hour. If the gumbo gets too thick, add in some more of the stock. To get the consistency that you like, mix some flour with water in a separate bowl, then add some of this paste to the gumbo. You can also add gumbo file to get the desired texture. As the gumbo cooks with the flour, you may want to add salt, pepper, or hot sauce. Be careful; the hot sausage will also add plenty of spice as well.

5. Serve in large soup bowls over rice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Does Anybody Know Where Billy Delle Went?

The last show posted on WWOZ's website is from August.

Now when we tune in on Wednesday night, we hear another guy, who does a nice job, but he's not Billy Delle, and he has a different crypt.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Some things I learned from Mayor Mitch Landrieu

1. The average postal worker at the downtown post office earns $72,000 per year. There are over 800 people who work there, and we know nobody is earning a million. That means the people who work there make a decent living. Most of them clearly make far more than I was making as a high school teacher. I'm not sure how to react to this, as I am a fan of the United States Postal Service. I almost always have a good experience when I go to the post office (feels good not to capitalize that, as one would with "Fedex" or "UPS." The post office is OURS, as Americans). However, I have to say that I feel a little bit duped having gotten two post-graduate degrees and yet making not even half of what downtown postal workers make per year throughout most of my adult life.

2. Fedex and UPS have contracts with the USPS? I did not know that.

3. I agree with the Mayor: we need a major downtown post office. Closing this one would be short-sighted.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let's Name Names

One thing I've never understood about 9/11 and 8/29: in both cases, clearly, people in government and private industry failed to do the jobs they were paid to do, and in both cases thousands of people were killed as a result.

Media coverage of these events and their causes has focused on governmental or industry failure--failure to collect good intelligence, failure to use good intelligence that had already been collected, failure to provide adequate security checks of passengers, failure to use good design for levees, failure to execute well the parts of the levee design that were adequate, failure to respond to the flooding and people rendered homeless, and so on.

Here's the thing. The government agencies and private companies that failed in these disasters (one caused by fanatical malevolence, one caused by negligence) are nothing without the people, the persons, who run them. Government institutions and private companies didn't fail airline passengers, New Yorkers, DC'ers, and New Orleanians; individual persons did.

It's not that I want unnecessarily to ridicule or belittle people here. My point is that I see little cause for an improved future until individual people take responsibility or are held accountable for the screwups that led to or exacerbated these human-made disasters. The same guys who failed to coordinate intelligence or inspect levees just might be the same guys who can fix the problem. Those guys have names. Why can't the media or governmental watchdogs name them, ask them hard questions, and push hard to get the problems fixed?

I see Lee Zurik do it all the time on Fox 8. He gets in people's faces.

So here we go. Our local paper today has an article about how the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West Bank has discovered that once again, the Army Corps and its contractor Phylway Construction have built a levee filled with chunks of debris; the embedded debris makes the levee unsound, according to an independent geologist.

It's a good article--except that it's good only because it's covering the GREAT work being done by the SLFPA-WB. (One board member's comment--comparing the levee to a jelly doughnut--reminds me of Ashley's rant about the Corps stupidly building levees on jello.)

Here's the other thing: the article doesn't name names! Okay, thanks to the article, we know that Phylway Construction allegedly has been building a levee that clearly violates Corps standards. Well, Phylway Construction has an owner/manager. Her name is Phyllis Adams.

Phyllis Adams should take responsibility for this problem. Her company is being paid very well to protect the people of the Westbank. It is alleged that Phyllis Adams's company is not taking this responsibility seriously and has put a water heater and a shopping cart into a levee that should be made up of dirt and clay.

There. I did it. I named a name--the name of a person who can make a difference by correcting her company's error and possibly saving thousands of lives in the future.

It wasn't hard for me, and I didn't do anything wrong.

Why can't the Times-Picayune do that?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Danger, Will Robinson

So even though Coach Joe Vitt was never indicted, Saints fans might remember that he seems to have an interest in vicodin.

And now Coach Sean Payton of Our New Orleans Saints is going to be under treatment for the foreseeable future for pain related to his nasty spill on Sunday. I assume pain-killers will be around.

I'm hoping Coach Payton keeps his supply in a safe place, ya know?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jay Dardenne: Klingon? It All Goes Back to Star Trek

The choices for Lieutenant Governor in 2011 in Louisiana are pretty grim, nowhere near world class.

On one hand, we have Billy Nungesser, who is running an ad that talks about "illegals taking our jobs" and uses bigoted words and images that appeal to people's least thoughtful impulses. (What does he mean by "our jobs," anyway? That brings an awfully entitled attitude to the process of finding and having a job, an attitude that seems out of place in a free-market economy. Is Billy Nungesser a socialist?)

On the other hand, we have Jay Dardenne.

[CORRECTION!!!! I had posted that Diaper Man endorsed Dardenne. In fact, of course, as indicated to me by a helpful commenter, Diaper Man has endorsed Nungesser. I am red-faced over this egregious error in the earlier version of this post.]

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jay Dardenne is that I have photographic evidence below that Jay Dardenne is a Klingon. Captain James T. Kirk proved this without a doubt by using a tribble's innate Klingon-detecting abilities in the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles."

Let me say this definitively: Now that the Federation is at peace with the Klingon Empire, I would be fine with having a Klingon lt. governor; a more aggressive approach to the tourist industry might be just what our state needs.