Monday, May 26, 2008

Geek Timeout: Trek Legally Watchable Online

One word: Finnegan. (And all my other faves.)

P.S. Since the next Trek film is set during the youth of Kirk and Spock, I'm really hoping Finnegan is in it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An Article about Her Blogging about Articles about Her Blogging about Her Life in Blogging about Articles about Others that Interest Her, and So On.

I really enjoyed this article. Solipsism can be interesting, sort of a psychic rollercoaster that simultaneously never leaves the platform but is in constant motion.
Of course, some people have always been more naturally inclined toward oversharing than others. Technology just enables us to overshare on a different scale. Long before I had a blog, I found ways to broadcast my thoughts — to gossip about myself, tell my own secrets, tell myself and others the ongoing story of my life. . . . The big difference between these youthful indiscretions and my more recent ones is that you can Google my more recent ones.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

This Is Why We Are Intermittently (but not permanently) Pissed Off in World Class New Orleans

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we in NOLA have a nutty mayor. Our recovery czar is a phony. And we could be a lot better in so many ways.

But if we're so stupid and corrupt and clueless, and everybody in Covington and Baton Rouge and north of there is so smart and upstanding, why is that that federal agencies, presumably populated by brilliant and pristine people from places like St. Louis and Chicago and Dallas and Jacksonville and (you get the idea) are the absolute worst offenders of all in the renewal of the Gulf Coast????

Like Oyster, I quote Suspect Device verbatim because he gets it so right:

Matt McBride, former blogger at Fix The Pumps, issues another email blast and warns us of the Corps’ new backup plan to lower NOLA floodgates: Invisible cranes! Cranes can be used to lower floodgates, but only if they’re actually there: The USACOE has issued a solicitation, one time only, take it or leave it, for rental of three hydraulic cranes. They’re not in place yet. Hurricane season starts next week.

The USACOE built & rebuilt & repaired levees & floodwalls are stuffed with newspaper and leaking. The backup systems for their emergency response plans are not in place. Their actions are incomprehensible. They have no credibility left and should either be removed from the project, forced to outsource to competent contractors (like the Dutch), or at the very least be placed under the close and direct supervision of a civilian board of scientists & engineers. A heavily armed civilian board of scientists & engineers, so lessons may be taught, as needed.

FEMA, charged with planning and preparedness in the event of emergency, is still trying to figure out what the f*** to do if an emergency does in fact happen, and has gone so far as to consider removing their collective thumb from their collective ass but is determined not to be too hasty about it. Cameron parish, quite literally flattened by hurricane Rita, lies mostly untouched, forgotten, rebuilding stalled by constantly changing FEMA elevation guidelines which have put the cost housing out of reach for residents.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lil Hap-ette and Proud Uncle Dilly

UPDATE: Henceforth, she will be called La Fleur. More pix here.


Mrs. Berto and Berto have added a new family member to Section 635!

Lil Hap-ette: 8 pounds, 3 ounces. 20 and 1/2 inches!!!

New Saints Fan Any Hour Now

Mrs. Berto is doing the hard work of bringing a new Saints fan into the world as I type.

Please keep her (and the soon-to-be new baby) in your thoughts and prayers. All is well thus far.

I have been trading text messages with Berto that involves Saints imagery, such as:

Early labor: 1st and 10

Dilation begins: 2nd and 9. Need a pass to Colston.

3rd and 4: Contractions becoming very regular. Don't hand it to Reggie. Need Dulymus or Karney.

At the moment, I'm thinking we're at 4th and inches, and Dulymus knows how to get to the end zone.

More soon.

UPDATE: Dulymus has ball tucked away, is dragging J. Trotter on the ground right at the goal line . . . AND

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back in Dubai to Life in the Emirates

Given that the levees still leak here, it might be time to move back to where I used to live: Dubai.

They build artificial islands there and grow grass in the desert.

The United States, however, can't maintain infrastructure or keep promises that its president makes.

Well Said Re: Education

By David Leonhart in the NY Times:

"Republicans haven’t been willing to spend enough money on preschool, college financial aid and numerous other areas, while Democrats haven’t been willing to hold schools and universities accountable for mediocrity. "

Speaking of mediocrity, someone mentioned to me that the principal of Cohen High School in New Orleans has told the teachers there that the teachers are in their jobs there only because "they couldn't make it in the Fortune 500 world."

If that's true, that's a disgusting thing to say. Teaching is an honorable profession. I did it for years and will probably do it again for years. Almost no one I knew in teaching did it as a second choice or as a fallback.

Principals should build the professional consciousness of teachers, not tear it down. Principals should hold teachers accountable and build cultures of excellence, n0t make excuses and denigrate the potential of teachers.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mr. Clio's Test for Whether Or Not a Sporting Event Matters

Does it involve a team from within 100 miles of Jackson Square, or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or horses, or Wimbeldon, or the Hearts football club of Edinburgh, or the Cal Bears football team, or the World Cup football championship?

If yes, it matters.

If no, it does not matter.

Thank you. This has been Mr. Clio's Test for Whether Or Not a Sporting Event Matters.

Follow the direction suggested by this test, and your sporting life will be somewhat simplified.

Bike Patrol Friendly City

New Orleans is finally starting to live up to its world class status in other areas by carving out space for bikes on major thoroughfares. I find it fascinating that the first such path will be on St. Claude Avenue, which was precisely the path that Berto used to take to work every day on a bike from UPTOWN to MERAUX. (No, that's no typo.)

My neighbor's son has commuted to work by bike for years from Slidell to Michoud.

Cheers to those who will use these paths and who already use the sacred bicycle to do important things like go to work and go to Saints games.

For those of you in the United States, a bicycle is a two-wheeled vehicle that uses human leg power and not fossil fuels for propulsion. It can be used by people other than Lance Armstrong and often is used for practical tasks as well as exercise and enjoyment.

For the same people, please note that it is quite possible to design and live in a neighborhood or city that is not dominated by individually driven fossil fueled behemoths.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Who is our Jeff Gillooly / Shane Stant?

Somebody on the Hornets needs to Gillooly-Stant Robert Horry.

(Hat-tip to a Houma comrade.)

Get it right, Tulane.

(504) 988-9000 is the new phone number of the Tulane Multispecialty Clinic at University Square (formerly known as the Tulane Family Health Center).

I'm posting on this dull topic since the web and marketing people at Tulane seem determined to keep this information a secret. Googling turns up nothing except the old number (and often the old name too).

The marketing people at Tulane are the same geniuses who came up with the mellifluous name "Tulane Multispecialty Clinic." (It used to be called the Tulane Family Health Center, a name that focused on PATIENTS. But now the clinic's name focuses on DOCTORS. That's what clinics are about, you know. DOCTORS. Not patients. Or patience.)

So, again, I'm posting that the new number for the Tulane Multispecialty Clinic is (504) 988-9000.

I'm an idiot with a blog who knows next to nothing about the internets (isn't it just a bunch of tubes?), and yet when I post on something, my blog often floats to the top of Google search results. This reality is apparently beyond many marketing people.

So this post is for goofs like me who want to go to the doctor, but who are being hindered because the marketing and web people at Tulane want to keep the clinic's phone number a SECRET.

Did I mention that the telephone number or phone number for the Tulane Multispecialty Clinic at University Square is (504) 988-9000? The old number was (504) 864-6000. But the new number is (504) 988-9000. For the Tulane Multispecialty Clinic at University Square.

World Class New Orleans: working for greater healthcare access for New Orleans and beyond.

P. S. You might also know the Tulane Multispecialty Clinic at University Square as the Tulane Clinic at Uptown Square or the Tulane Clinic on Broadway near the River, or the Tulane Family Health Center, etc.).

P.P.S. This blog post took 10 minutes to write. That's all it takes to get the new phone number for the Tulane Multispecialty Clinic at University Square among the top Google searches. Also, I did this for free.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Go Help Hana and Buy a Shirt or Two or Three

Yeah, I know the bearded dude modelling the shirt isn't the best marketing move ever, but do it for Hana anyway.

Angels and Saints and Bears Oh My reminds me that I need to match my commitment to running with a commitment to the JCC gym to, um, beef up the upper body. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm woikin' on it. I tried to get Blake to photoshop in a tan, but no luck there.

Thanks to Blake and Zack for including me.

Cheers to Dr. Morris! I miss him literally every day. I have a son who's struggling a little now, and I just get this feeling that Ashley is helping him get through this.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Does an event change a place?

That's what I was asking myself when I took these two pictures. My job took me to the floor of the Superdome late last week.

The first picture is a very good estimation of the actual spot on which Steve Gleason blocked the Falcons' punt on September 25, 2006. Curtis Deloach scored a touchdown, and we all screamed and jumped on each other and spilled beer and knew we had a future here. So is that physical space, that spot, different now? My friend Jay used to tell me that places are changed by what happens there; I used to argue that they are not changed. Now I'm not so sure.

The second picture is what my seats in section 635 look like from that sacred spot.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Coach Payton is Feelin' It


"The thing that's apparent after living here for two years is that the uniqueness of the city is not Mardi Gras, it's not the French Quarter, it's not the restaurants. It's the people that make that all happen. And the more you live here, the more you get an appreciation for that."

Coach Sean Payton, May 2008

"You live here, and you feel like you're a part of this community. And the good thing is the people are willing; they don't make you feel like an outsider. They want you to love their city as much as they love their city."

Mrs. Coach Beth Payton, May 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

They published it.


Thanks to the people who emailed me with funny-style support. And to the one guy who really does want more guns on the street. (Huh?)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Shoot Our Way to Safety (with Kids!!!!)

In response to Jarvis DeBerry's op-ed piece, I wrote the following letter to the editors of the T-P:

Jarvis DeBerry does us all a great service by calling attention to Rep. Ernest Wooton's push to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.

My 4-year-old son is a pre-K student at the daycare center on the campus of Loyola University New Orleans.

Rep. Wooton wants to help keep my child and Loyola's college-age students safe by ensuring that we have as many guns on campus as possible.

However, Rep. Wooton's idea does not go far enough. Please, sir, allow us to arm the pre-schoolers! Given the amount of time that many young boys practice playing cops and robbers, they must be excellent shots. As a parent, I would be proud to send my boy to Loyola's campus packing heat for the safety of all.

In addition, the children at the adjacent Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School should be given guns, as should the students at Lusher High School just up the street. The crime statistics for my city make it obvious that what we need are more guns on our streets and campuses.

Loyola's campus was already named by Reader's Digest as one of the safest in the nation. With Rep. Wooton's help--and guns for all--we can all dream of a day when Loyola will be ranked number one.

Mr. Clio

Friday, May 02, 2008

Smartie the Crawfish and Ruth's Chris CEO Meet Demises

Last night, Clio IV found Smartie the Crawfish. Smartie was dead and drying out (you can see the faded parts of his drying shell in the photo at right). The smell was only evident when you were right next to the crawfish. Smartie met his demise in the front corner of the living room, obscured by the bottom of a curtain. He seems to have just frozen in place, sort of like the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz." No amount of oil could revive Smartie, though. (Not that we tried that.) Smartie is now fertilizing the azaleas in the front garden--circle of life and all that.

On a related note about foul-smelling endings, Seymour D. Fair has alerted me to the following. From the Orlando Sentinel, we learn of another demise. After tearing Ruth's Chris Steakhouse from the community that nurtured and grew it, after abandoning a city still recovering bodies from its streets and homes, after setting up shop in a new city far removed from the community that gave Ruth's Chris its distinctive feel, after watching the company's stock absolutely tank under his reptilian "leadership," after changing the name of the company,

Mr. Craig Miller was summarily dismissed from his position as chairman and CEO of Ruth's Chris.

He is "shocked." He says he believes he was dismissed "without cause."

When Mr. Miller cut and run from a city in need, a friend of mine (who lives in Atlanta now) tried to defend the move, saying that something like that becomes necessary in business sometimes. Sentiment should not dictate business, he said.

I argued that the kind of person who would do that clearly does not have what it takes to succeed in business over the long (or even medium) term. Success in business requires real vision, reasonable risk tolerance, and a knowledge of your own institution. Success as a person requires knowing who you are, knowing what's right and wrong, connecting who you are with what's right, and understanding the interconnectedness of people and communities.

Mr. Miller didn't show an understanding of the things I delineate in the last paragraph. He has done terrible damage both to New Orleans and to his own company.

I honestly hope that he learned something from this process and that he can bring those lessons to his next job.

The good news for us Orleanians is that we are resilient as can be imagined, and we have moved on and grown stronger. A sample of the dining experience at Crescent City Steakhouse--just a few blocks from the abandoned birthplace of Ruth's Chris--is all the evidence one needs.

The company Mr. Miller leaves behind is but a shell of what he was charged with. Perhaps new leadership will see the error of his ways and return Ruth's Chris's name and HQ to New Orleans. We welcomed PJ's back. I'm sure we would do the same with Ruth's Chris.

World class cities are resilient and forgiving.

P.S. Thanks to Seymour D. Fair for his encouragement. From what I hear, we can all look forward to a return of Mr. Fair and his gang to the blogging world soon.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Gratitude to the New York Times

Despite their penchant for publishing Adam Nossiter's odd little fictions about our city, the editors at the NY Times continue to be among our greatest advocates.

Today, they go out of their way to help up by supporting the way-cool Presidential Forum that is slated for New Orleans for this fall.   (Do you think our city is up to speed for handling that kind of event?  We will need to check our Internets tubes thoroughly to make sure all the floodwater is out, yes?)