Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Unfortunate Similarities

First of all I want to let everyone know that I am okay. 

If Isaac hadn’t decided to make his slow journey through the state of Louisiana I would have been at Commander’s Palace with my employees today. I had plans to wear my Saints tie and everything. I would have taken a few minutes of silence for my grandmother and the other victims of Katrina like I always do on today and moved on as best I could. 

I don’t know what is about hurricanes in South Louisiana and August 29th. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take that day off of the calendar around here. It was seven years ago on this day that might life literally changed forever. It’s the reason I left for higher ground for this storm. Thanks to my employer I have a room in Baton Rouge. I know the storm passed here too but there are no levees to worry about and that’s enough for me to feel safe.

 I have a problem dealing with any storm that I know is going to have a surge that may affect levees. I would go so far as to admit that I am a bit afraid of storms like that. I don’t think I ever actually used those words before but it’s true. I don’t feel uncomfortable saying it. It’s valid. Losing someone you love in that situation makes it difficult to accept that the new levee system is going to stop it from happening again. It looks impressive but it’s not battle tested and I didn’t want to take the change. I’m not mad at anyone for staying but I understand the rationale of anyone who left. 

My home and my city took a beating from Hurricane Isaac but survived. Unfortunately my friends and neighbors in a few surrounding areas didn’t make out so well. To the people of Plaquemines Parish and Laplace I understand what you are going through. The thing to remember is that you still have your lives and all the homes can be replaced. I hardly ever think about material things I lost in Katrina anymore. It’s the people that I can’t get over.  If you still have one another you are doing okay because there’s nothing more important than what we have in each other.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Watching the Saints and Isaac on Saturday Night

It was a beautiful day outside. I resisted the temptation to do any yard work but I need to cut the grass tomorrow just in case Isaac gets a little too close. I spent most of the day resting and recovering from the third week of the school year cycle. For those of you are not aware of what the cycle is I will share.

First, you get up really early in the morning. Second, you have to move quickly and get out of the house at a certain time because school starts way earlier than it needs to. After that you go to work and try do as much as you can because school lets out at a crazy time. On the way home you keep thinking how great it would be if the school that was a few blocks away from the house was still open and offering a quality education because that would be so much easier. Then you remember that you are not supposed to complain because the kids have “choices”. Choices are great unless you choose wrong. In that case your child is screwed.

I’m keeping my eye on Hurricane Isaac. He can’t seem to make up his mind exactly where he wants to go. I was hoping that since it was so unorganized the mountains in Cuba would break it up but it survived and is heading into the Gulf. Earlier today New Orleans was out of the cone of uncertainty but the computer models keep pushing it this way. By tomorrow morning we might be in the center of the cone. It reminds me of another storm whose name I won’t mention. It changed course three times before heading this way. I know people want to think that we knew weeks in advance she was coming and decided to sit here and chill but it wasn’t like that. Anyway, I hope Isaac doesn’t change close too much because he’s supposed to make land Tuesday so there’s not much time to do much. You can’t really relax until they hit land somewhere. Hopefully wherever it hits there are no people in the way.

I’ve been watching the first half of the Saints and Texans game while I was writing this.  My new activity this season is trying to figure out what section Sean Payton is sitting in and what kind of disguise he’s wearing.  It’s going to be a crazy season. I will have my official preview next week after I am sure Isaac has passed us by. 

I  hate this time of year.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Get Well Tyrann

Sports are clearly based on performance and physical talent. No one gets drafted or plays a long time because they are a good person. It's also unrealistic because you can't tell your son to be Lebron James unless he's 6'8 250 lbs and can run and job like a gazelle mixed with a ballerina. You have to be born that way. Those abilities are the reason why they make a lot of money and things are made easy for them. I have no problem with that.

Tyrann Mathieu was a bit different. He wasn’t really supposed to be a star on the level that he became. I was really into the Honey Badger thing and every time he made a play it made me smile. It had a lot to do with my New Orleans bias towards young black men achieving things. It was cool to hear his deep New Orleans accent on ESPN and you could tell he wasn't trying to disguise it like some people do. It was cool to see him as a Heisman finalist. The only other time I even watched the Heisman program was when Marshall Faulk was a finalist.

In a sport based on size and speed the Mathieu seemed to overcome any deficiencies he had in those areas with tenacity and a spirit that made it seem like he wanted it more than every other kid out there. He was an example of a guy who actually earned his status in the spotlight. He made last season really fun.

The Honey Badger won’t be playing football this year. He has some issues that I hope he resolves even if he never steps on a field ever again. I read today that he is going to stay at John Lucas’ treatment facility until he feels better and then worry about football. I think this is a good decision because the last thing he needed was going to a smaller school and having all that attention without getting some help.

There are things in life more important than football. I hope someone close to him to him that there are things in life bigger than sports. I hope they let him know that he’s so young that whatever he’s going through now can be overcome if he applies himself with the same energy he plays football with. I would rather see the entire football season cancelled than for Tyrann Mathieu not to recover from his addictions. There’s nothing that depresses me more about my city than young people with wasted talent. We’ve had enough of those stories so I want the young man to come out this stronger than before.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Eight Years Deep : The Blog Birthday Post

This blog is now 8 years old. A lot of blogs have come and gone during that time. I can’t think of too many sites I used to like 8 years ago that is still around and if they are they are not the same.  Other than the 50 different template designs I have chosen over the years I think I’ve been pretty consistent.  I tried a few website word counters to see just how many words I have written on this page. I didn’t come up with a good total but I am guessing there are thousands of words that featuring my thoughts, struggles, comedy, pain, tragedy, pride, and all the other aspects that make life what it is. Some of it was real good. A few of them were real wack. I'm sure there's a few things I shouldn't have posted. Hopefully someone got some entertainment or enlightenment from it. 

Besides getting to know some cool people and opening doors to do things like a segment on CNN, the one thing I have gotten from doing this is a higher respect for people who write professionally.  It’s one thing for a person to keep a journal or a notepad at their house to scribble their thoughts in from time to time. That’s private and personal. If things went south for me or I said something I shouldn’t have on this blog I could always hit the delete button and get rid of the words or the entire blog altogether if I needed it.  It’s a whole other level to express how you feel about something, entertain people with it, take their criticism, then shake that off and do it all over again. This is especially true in the Twitter age where I see writers take a beating from the public and yet they keep putting things out there.  I have admiration for everyone who does that even the ones I don’t agree with.

I was going to let the Crib retire but I can’t do it until I sit on my porch 100 times and this Saints season is over. The Post Bounty-gate season will be too interesting not to have something to say about it. In honor of my eight year anniversary I want to give everyone eight things to use for blogging and life.

1.    Never react to the first version of a news story when you see it on the Internet. The rush to be first to break a story means that some of the details may be missing at the beginning. Wait at least 24 hours when all the facts are there.

2.    Never assume you have reached an age where the things people do should make sense. Stupidity doesn’t have an age limit.

3.    Unless you have enough resources to live and support your family, never say anything that will cause you to lose your job unless talking about certain things is your job. That’s not selling out. That’s being realistic.

4.    You may be the only person around that feels strongly about something the way you do and that has to be okay.

5.    Putting your favorite Internet model’s name in multiple blog post hoping one day she would be vain enough and Google herself, scroll through the results, see your page, then send you an email so you could become friends doesn’t work.  If Buffie sends me an email later we’ll just take this one out.

6.    You never know who is watching, reading, or listening to what you say and do. Make sure those things reflect who you are and what you stand for as much as possible.

7.    You can never place a high enough value on having good friends and having a good reputation.

8.    As much as you try to fight time I can’t. You can’t go back in time and you can’t stop it from going forward. All you can do is make the best of what’s going on right now and try to make the future better.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sitting On My Porch Part Eighty Three

Either I am getting really busy, really lazy or I don't like blogging as much as I used to. It's probably a combination of all three plus the constant barrage or random opinions about everything on the internet that overload my senses to the point where I don't want to give my own opinion as much anymore. Social networking and the internet is the 1st Amendment on cocaine, Red Bull and steroids at the same time. I’m not being hypocritical because I am on the same drug especially during football season. I have been making an effort lately to tune out a lot of things and it's working against my blog. There are stories going on in the world that I know absolutely nothing about.

I don't know what's going on with Chick Fil A, the Jackson family, or even Saints training camp (although this will be changing soon). My agenda is getting prepared for the beginning of the school year (which starts way too soon), trying to conquer my eating and drinking bad habits (tougher than I thought it would be), and watching the Olympics. 

The Olympics are a time to marvel at incredible athletic talent and the awesomeness of female volleyball players. The thing that makes the Olympics cool is that there are so many events where the contestant’s entire life has been built around this one competition. When you watch the Dream Team play basketball you know those guys are going to have many more chances to achieve success in their sport year after year. When you are checking out the synchronize swimmers there's a pretty good chance those folks won't be on national TV and going for a gold medal again. It makes their stories more fascinating.

I've never paid as much attention to women's gymnastics as I have this time. I never really noticed how much pressure those girls feel. I don't know if they are enjoying the experience or just want it to be over. Either way they can't help but cry. I don't know that I could sit there and watch if my daughter was performing. I may have to stand in the hallway or somewhere I could get away quickly if things went wrong. They definitely wouldn't part a microphone on me to get my reaction. It's bad enough everything is being shown on tape delay. People would have to see my reactions to the event at 2AM on Comedy Central because of all the language directed at the judges.

NBC has 75 networks showing Olympic coverage and not one of them dedicated to women's volleyball. They show soccer games from countries I never heard of on MSNBC but you have to search around for the volleyball games and hope you get lucky.

I feel like whatever number of medals China ends up with America should get credit for at least ten of them. With all the things we buy made in China from Wal Mart alone is probably more than enough to sponsor the swimming team’s training program. 

The highlight over the last two weeks for me other than meeting my new nephew for the first time had to be going to Washington D.C. and getting a chance to advocate on behalf of the homeless in New Orleans. I appreciate UNITY of Greater New Orleans for giving me the opportunity to represent the city and the great people who work with the homeless every day. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. The biggest thing I learned about myself is that I will never make it as a politician or working in the political field because I don't know how to tone down enough of my own personality to fit into the system. I did the best I could considering the circumstances but that's not something I could do every day without going crazy.

The day before the visit to Capitol Hill everyone was giving a list of things to do when meeting with the representatives. The first thing on the list was to thank him or her for something they have done in your district. I couldn't really think of anything going on in my district that was exciting me so much I needed to be giving anyone thanks and I was hoping I didn't have to pretend that I was satisfied. I don't want to be coached on how to behave and what to say. I want to be me. I've had a few other recent experiences where someone took my words and changed them up to sound more presentable to a certain audience. I don't like that and won't be getting involved with anything that expects me to do that again.

I've always felt like it was a bad idea to go out of our way to praise someone in public service if the evidence wasn't there they were doing things the way you wanted it to be done. You know what happens when you take that approach? The person in office has no fear of losing their position so they play the same old game and nothing really changes. This is especially true in the black community where politicians have been running on the same platform for 30 years and we just follow along until things slowly broke down. Now we don't control our own schools, can't seem to elect anyone that doesn't get indicted, won't stop shooting at one another and some of our people are so uneducated they probably don't know who the mayor is. What are we doing thanking anyone for anything at this moment?

I didn’t mention who we visited on Capitol Hill for two reasons. The first is that everyone from around the country had the same instructions so kissing up to leadership wasn’t just a New Orleans thing. The second reason is that most of the time when you a political out by name there’s always a supporter of theirs who will let you know about the money they brought to your area for something or some bill they supported. That’s cool with me. My response is why are we so easily satisfied?

If anyone has an extra lemon Hubiq’s Pie laying around the house please let me know if I can get it so it holds me over until they rebuild.