Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reflecting On Ten Years Of Change

When the decade started I was in my mid 20's. I could still eat, drink, and party as much as I wanted. My life was really all about hanging out and having a good time. Nobody knew what a blog was and I damn sure wasn't trying to write anything. There have been a lot of changes in ten years. The country had a terrorist attack. I became a father. All the elders I started the decade with are no longer here. A black guy is president. Michael Jackson died. Tupac never came back from Cuba. I finally paid off Discover Card. A flood turned my life and city upside down. Somewhere in the middle of all that I gained about 75 pounds, started wearing eyeglasses, lost my hair, got laid off, ended up with the best job I ever had and started writing this blog as a hobby. It seems like the last ten years gave me all the stress that I didn't have for the first 25 years. If that pattern holds true then I am in store for 25 years of stress free living. Feel free to be jealous whenever you are ready.

Hurricane Katrina will always be the biggest turning point in my life because it changed every aspect of it. A lot of things are not as good as they used to be. Some things on a personal level are better and I appreciate that. It's impossible for me to lose sight of the fact that if the post Katrina world was the cause of some of the good things and they end up being bittersweet. Perhaps the biggest thing I gained internally in the last ten years is perspective. You have to keep a balance in thought and judge each situation and issue on its own. There are times when there is no clear side to fall on and you have to multitask how you feel. This summer when my column was published in the Gambit newspaper I was feeling pretty high about that. Every time someone would send me an email or call me to tell me they read it my chest would stick out more and more. That same day I was riding alone and I thought to myself how messed up it was my grandma didn't see that because she drowned in the storm. She would have sat on the phone and read it to all her friends. I'm not sure if having the ability to cry tears of joy and sadness at the same time makes me crazy. I'm also not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing but that's who I am going into this next decade. Who knows where we will be ten years from now. Whatever it is I hope it's something positive. If something like Hurricane Katrina happens again I just hope we have some solid leadership to get us through it. One thing I know for sure at the end of this decade is that you need strong leadership whether it's at home or in the government because a community with no leadership at all is doomed to not make progress.

As far as 2009 goes, this has been a strange year. It had its ups and downs. I had a whole bunch of optimism going into it. I had a list of things going into it. Now at the end I think everyone is just fatigued. That will happen when your optimism is beating down by the negative actions of other human beings. I think you see it in how people view the government. I think you see it in the president's approval ratings. I know you see it hear locally when we have an election that was supposed to be the most important in our history and can't match the energy of our football team. I think everyone wants to take a vacation day or two and sleep to try and get their energy right. I'm definitely in that number. That's why this year we won't have any list of things to look forward to. I say we play 2010 by ear and adjust to whatever happens when it gets here. I don't believe that you can change your course if your energy is all negative. Changing the calendar from 2009 to 2010 won't help you. If all you need is a little rest and reflection then a few days of letting go of things and relaxing until the clock strikes midnight might help you out. That's what I am going to do. I'll see you guys next year feeling good and refreshed.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Homefield Advantage

I fought off the most incredible sleepiness and stayed up way later than I wanted to just to make this short but important post.

The road to the Superbowl now goes through Poydras Street......This is all we could ask for.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Never Leave It Up To The Kicker

It took less than a week for Garrett Hartley to make me miss John Carney for short range field goals.

As the great Teena Marie once said, "I can feel this for sure. I've been here before." We still have a first round bye and a week to rest but I am getting a little worried. Anyone who really follows the team knows that every year Sean Payton and Drew Brees have at least two games like the one today. Let's hope this is the last one.....and can someone please do something to help Malcolm Jenkins because he is getting ripped to shreds. I just hope Carolina doesn't beat us up so bad that half the team isn't injured for the playoffs. That's an angry football team and we should have never let it come down to winning in their stadium on the last day. This season didn't feel like a regular Saints season for a long time but now it does. If you think losing this game and having to play all out against Carolina next week if the Vikings win is a good thing then you are crazy. Once we lost last week then we should have laid it all on the line this week against Tampa to rest up and get some of our injured players back. The bottom line is the New Orleans Saints choked. I love them but they choked.

In positive news, 'Bernadine's Oldest' fantasy football team is your 2009 champions of The Pitt Fantasy Football League. It won't be official until after tomorrow's game but he's out of players and I am up 7 points. Nothing will help you forget a choke job by the Saints like prize money.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Looking For My Holiday Spirit

I have been trying to find my holiday spirit but it's not happening. I don't know why but it doesn't feel like the holiday time. There's usually a different feeling in the air around this time of the year. I don't feel it yet. I have only listened to Santa Claus Goes Straight to The Ghetto by James Brown only once and that was because it came on the radio while I was driving. I was trying to come up with a clear reason why it doesn't feel that way but I haven't been successful. I did attend my grandmother's funeral service three weeks ago and that kind of put a damper on the holiday season spirit for me. No one around me seems to be really into it. This is one of the few times I wish I had one of those over the top people at my office that wears those ugly Christmas sweaters and reindeer horns with bells on them around the office for the entire month of December. I would have been trying to make them feel good by acting excited and worked myself into the spirit. I still have time between now and New Years to get it going. I'm thinking about going to the store this evening and buying a Hot Wheels race track for myself in an attempt to reconnect with my inner kid. You should always try to stay connected with your inner kid. My inner kid been inside with the chicken pox or something because I haven't seen him lately.

Things are not bad despite my lack of holiday spirit. My sister told me she heard her baby's heartbeat for the first time. That doesn't suck. I also found some really old and dear friends on Facebook this week. That doesn't suck either. I'll work through whatever it is. Everything will be good as soon as it stops raining.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sometimes You Have To Take A Beating

My friend Shawn is the most optimistic Saints fan in America while watching the game. All year when they were starting slow and looked like crap I would send him a ranting text message about how they need to step it up and play harder. He would always send me a reply telling me to calm down and they would make adjustments to get things straightened out. This is the only thing we ever argue about. Last night during Dallas’ touchdown drive at the beginning of the 3rd quarter he sent me a text message that simply said “This is difficult to watch”. When he can see what I am seeing that early in the second half I knew we were going to be 13-1 at the end.

Last night a talented Dallas Cowboys team was playing for their season, the playoffs, and their coach. The played a good game. The dominated out offensive line and defensive lines except for Will Smith and they deserved to win. The score was closer than the game actually looked. They whipped us from the beginning. The Saints finally got burned by a few things we have managed to cover for a long time. Our rookie cornerback got burned early. Our backup left tackle finally ran across a pass rusher that dominated him. We have been sleep walking through the early part of games for weeks and finally we couldn’t come up with the miracle play to change the tide. Drew Brees had his worse game of the season. We deserved to lose. If you want to look at the positive side we still could have won that game if a few plays go our way. As bad as I thought we played we only lost by seven points. I have confidence our coaching staff would attack them differently the second time around. We’ll see what happens if they make it in the playoffs and get through the first weekend.

Let’s look forward to Tampa and try to find some playoff intensity. Home field advantage is still ours to lose but we have to come out sharp and play a full game from start to finish. I kept telling everyone that one of these weeks we wouldn’t be able to come back from starting in a hole but not many people want to hear that when you are undefeated. We need to come out and destroy Tampa and get our focus back. Miami is in our sights but we have to start playing better going into the playoffs.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The President Should Have Seen This Coming

I know it’s still early in his term but I think it’s time to shake things up in his cabinet or get some new blood in an advisory role. I am not as smart as the president or any of the people around him but I can’t understand how any of those educated people didn’t see Joe Lieberman coming. Sometimes you can be too ambitious and ignore obvious human nature and rules for dealing with people. President Obama thought he could show the country that he was above partisan politics so instead of slamming his detractors he bent over backwards to make them feel comfortable. The only problem is that none of them cared about being bipartisan so they turned around and slammed him. If it was only Republicans from the Tea Parties and the Sarah Palin camp then I could chalk it up to learning on the job. I think everyone expected some of that but there is absolutely no excuse for Joe Lieberman getting a chance to stick it to you.

He campaigned actively for your opponent John McCain. He even spoke at the other party’s convention. He couldn’t wait for you to lose. He was on the opposite end of almost every major issue you ran on. He really hates your party now since they pushed him out. You had the power to eliminate that guy and you didn’t. Now you don’t want to seem bipartisan so you are willing to do anything he wants to get to the official 60 votes on the health care bill. That means the public option, Medicaid buy in and any single payer system is dead. That’s funny because the insurance mandate is in there which means that not only will insurance companies keep getting paid, we will all have to buy it from them or face the consequences. That’s enough to make me want to join a tea party. I say this while for the third time in the last two years my employer searches for a cheaper insurance plan that won’t cripple the agency. That’s okay though. We still have our freedom to hire all new employees part time so we don’t have to give them any benefits. I would like to thank Senator Lieberman and the rest off my government for preserving that privilege.

President Obama needed to take the approach that guys used to do back in high school. Back in the day there was always someone who liked the same girl you did and everyone knew it. He didn’t have to be an enemy but you knew that even if you never got the chance to be her boyfriend it wasn’t going to be because of that clown. You should never get played that badly by your obvious opponent. That’s what happened here with President Obama and Joe Lieberman. The scariest part of all is that I am afraid that he will ignore the obvious and keep doing things the same way. If that happens then he really won’t make any real change happen because those people don’t care about change and bipartisanship. They want to win. Ask yourself what would have happened if Lieberman was supposed to be an ally of George W. Bush and his crew while they were in office and then worked to destroy a bill of theirs like this. I’ll tell you what would have happened. Senator Lieberman would have awakened to his champion horse’s head under his bed sheets and Johnny Fontane would have gotten the part in that movie just like The Godfather.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ten Thoughts From The Mayoral Debate

I made it home in time to watch the first New Orleans mayoral debate. It was moderated by Norman Robinson who did a good job at trying to keep everything sounding serious despite the obvious humor from some of the candidates. I have a few thoughts.

1. After watching the debate tonight I think it would be a good idea for everyone in the city to scale back their unrealistic expectations of one man or woman walking into City Hall and transforming the city with their leadership. I’m not saying that there was no one up there that wouldn’t be a good mayor. I’m saying that it’s time to look at solutions from a broader view than just one person.
2. If I had to name a top five in no particular order it would be Leslie Jacobs, Troy Henry, Mitch Landrieu, John Georges, and everybody else.
3. Ed Murray needs to pick it up but I did agree with his idea that the mayor’s office needs to be more involved with the educational system. This is a great idea even if it’s just serving as a watchdog for the citizens.
4. James Perry should have spent more of his talking time presenting his agenda and not attacking Ed Murray’s voting record. The people have to know you well enough before stuff like that holds weight.
5. There was a candidate named Jerry Jacobs who was trying his best to make Norman Robinson snap by answering every question with his idea to legalize marijuana. I don’t know about legalizing weed but his overall point was the closest to my main concern in the city. Everyone has good ideas but we have no money to implement them. Legalizing marijuana might not be the answer but we do need some cash.
6. Speaking of cash…we pay 9% sales tax in the city of New Orleans and only 2.5% of that goes back to the city. Where does the other 6.5% go and why haven’t I heard anyone go completely bonkers about this?
7. Anytime Rob Couhig says anything negative about Ray Nagin he loses creditability with me because he is one of the people who endorsed him during the run-off and helped him get back in there during the last election.
8. I bet Nadine Ramsey is going to do much better in debates once she gets over her camera shyness. She looked nervous.
9. Someone at the transit authority should go to work in the morning and make the St. Charles streetcar handicap accessible for Jonah Bascle. The first reason is that should already be done. The second reason is that if he wins the election all of you are getting fired.
10. My final opinion is this debate did nothing to move to the corner of one candidate or another but now I know the few that I want to do more research on. Right now the biggest thing that happened to me was finding out the city only gets 2.5% of the sales tax we pay. I need some clarification on that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Undefeated is a Morale Booster

As I type this there is a downpour going on outside and I am hoping it doesn’t flood again. Normally weather like this would have everyone down and be the only topic of conversation all day. Fortunately we have an undefeated football team to take our minds off all of this rain.

When you live in New Orleans you grow accustomed to not having a lot of good news to celebrate. Usually we rank near the bottom for all the good things like education, and jobs and at the top for all the bad things like crime and poverty. Nothing the Saints do will change any of those statistics but at least for the last 13 weeks and counting we can walk around knowing that we have beat down every city we played. I’ll take what I can get. It just feels good to see the name New Orleans on top of anything positive. We have to find our to the top of other good lists because this feels good. There has to be a way to reproduce this energy without Drew Brees involved. I wonder if one of the mayoral candidates can look off the safety and throw the deep post over double coverage.

The Saints don’t have a lot of competition when it comes to bringing the area together. I think I have had at least 50 random conversations with total strangers about the team. I watched the end of the Redskins game at a Best Buy next door to Chuck E. Cheese in Slidell (no one should ever schedule a kid’s party on a Sunday during football season). By the time that game went into overtime there were at least 100 people watching the game together and everyone was acting like we were watching our family play. I remember thinking how cool it would be to have that kind of feeling in May when there is no football to give us a morale booster. Under normal circumstances I would say it wouldn’t but if we carry this streak all the way to the big game then everyone would be so excited about next season that we might stay on a high all the way to training camp.

I know I am dreaming and taking football way too serious but being 13-0 will do that you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Saturday Night Flash Flood Blog

Ladies and gentlemen it won’t stop raining. I was supposed to be sitting in the movies watching The Frog Princess but we would have to get there by boat if it was going to happen this evening. I guess I am watching television as long as the satellite stays up. It takes a lot of water to flood my street. Usually when it rains real bad the water builds up on the corner and the rest of the block is dry. Right now there is about six inches of water in front of my door. If it’s like that in front of me then I know what that means for people closer to the end of the block and other areas. It’s probably in some homes that sit too low and that sucks. It’s the kind of thing that makes people move. I kept thinking it would break soon and the water would start going down but this is a serious storm system and it’s not letting up yet. I hope it does soon. There has to be a pumping system that will work just a little faster than what we have now.

And if you are one of the people driving around and pushing water into people’s houses for nothing when you should be sitting at home then I hope your car never starts again. If you don’t have to be out there then stay home and have a drink like everyone else.

This weather is really tempting me to open my Nintendo Wii before Christmas and get it going but I am going to stick to tradition and leave it under the tree. I just need to position myself so I don't have to look at it while it calls my name to come and hook it up. I'll make it because Speed Network has a Pinks marathon on tonight. I'm going to sit here and write while I watch people lose their cars.

I have a confession. I can’t stop reading about Tiger Woods. I usually can’t stand gossip news and scandals like that but something about this story just fascinates me. I just can’t believe that a guy with that status have it fall apart so quickly. He went from hanging out with the president to hiding in his old room at his mama house in two weeks. Even in the world of 24 hour news that’s a record amount of time. He made the right move by taking a break from playing golf and avoiding the spotlight. He will have to give his wife undivided attention to get passed this. It’s going to be hard on him mentally to stand out there again in front of the world. Men are strange when it comes to their image. No matter how wild and kinky a man is he really doesn't want anyone outside of the people he acts like that with to know. Even when you are around and no one is talking about it you feel they are thinking about it. Usually when guys are exposed for doing the kind of stuff Tiger was doing they change the circle of people they hang around so they don’t have to deal with that. He’s going to have to shake that image in front of the whole world. I wish him luck with that.

This video is dedicated to Tiger. He can straighten it out.

And this video is for all the cats that are feeling bad after watching 1000 jewelry commercials full of stuff they can’t afford to buy their women for Christmas.

I’m going outside and take a swim in the street.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Not Personal Stinky Birds. It's Just Destiny

Before I start trash talking I want to say that last night I watched the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Cleveland Browns. As great as Brett Favre and Peyton Manning has been they each only have one championship ring. Dallas and Washington have two of the highest revenues in the NFL. In the last ten years they have a total of zero Superbowl appearances. Those things are hard to get to and even harder to win. Anything can happen.

No matter what happens from here on out I am happy with this season. We have never been through a 12 game winning streak so this all new and cool. I have been following the Saints since I was five years old and watching other teams build a solid foundation. They have a philosophy, they sign players that fit the plan and they stick to it. What makes this season even sweeter is the fact that Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis orchestrated it. They got us to our first NFC championship game and two rough years followed. The fact we are undefeated in their fourth season shows that they know what to do and I feel confident that we won’t go from contenders to chumps in one year. If anything the case could be made that we will be made that we will be much better next year with a full draft and some experience on the younger players that contribute now. I figure we have about three more years of Drew Brees at a high level and I expect to be a contender that entire time.

This week’s game is a party. We are headed to Atlanta to play the Falcons. I don’t know if people know this or not but the games against Atlanta are like a hood holiday. They bring busloads here and try to take over our stadium. We bring busloads there and do the same thing. We talk a lot of trash to one another but it’s all in good fun. This year is a little different because the ATL has never seen a few thousand undefeated, confident, people in black and gold that are full of themselves the way we are now. I wish I was going. We got Drew Brees going. We got Colston, Meachem, and Devery Henderson. Mike Bell, Pierre Thomas and Reggie will be there. We got Darren Sharper and Mike Mckenzie. We got Vilma and Sedrick ‘Big Nephew’ Ellis. We got Captain Charles bringing his van full of music. We got The Rebirth. We have a focused and humble team. We got it all!

Saints – 34 Stinky Birds - 10.

Washington caught us when we were drained coming off a short week and an emotional win. Atlanta doesn’t have that luxury. Let’s get this home field advantage. It’s not personal Stinky Birds. It’s only destiny. You just happen to be standing in the middle of the road on our journey to Miami.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What Made Mitch Run Again

For the last few days I have been trying to figure out why Mitch Landrieu would put himself through another campaign for mayor of New Orleans. He’s already lost twice. It seems like that’s the only race he can’t win yet he still keeps trying. He's turning into the local John McCain. Personally, I like him. I think he’s a good spokesman for the city whenever he gets a chance to do it. I don’t know if he would be a good mayor or a bad mayor. Deep inside he has to think he can do something special to turn the city around because why would he keep running. The risk of becoming a three time loser is worth it to get a shot at making big changes in city government. That’s one theory. The second theory is that he looks at this current group of candidates and doesn’t see a black candidate that has the name recognition like Marc Morial did the first time or paranoia working on their side like Ray Nagin did the second time he ran for mayor.

Maybe things have regressed for black political leadership in this city that enough people will associate him with his family name and give him a shot. That might work out as long as no one decides not to vote for him as punishment for his sister being one of the senators that helped kill the public option in the health care bill. A plan like that would have helped this city of hardworking and underpaid people a lot. There may not be enough people in the city following national politics closely enough to realize that so he should be good. The third theory is that the office of mayor in the city of New Orleans is like a holy grail for his family. If my dad was mayor when I was growing up I would want to be mayor too. I don’t know if I would have wanted it enough to run so many times but I understand. I don’t know who I am voting for yet but now that Mitch Landrieu is in the race I expect that everyone else should have to step their game up since he should be on another level from a political standpoint. Debates and appearances with the rest of the candidates are going to be big for him because if he stands up there and there is no clear difference from a man with his experience and the rest of the candidates then it makes no sense to vote for him. We might as well go with the new blood if all things are equal.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Steven Seagal Might Pull Me Over

I just got through watching Steven Seagal Lawman on A&E. I have mixed emotions about this show. First let’s get to the positive parts. I love Steven Seagal’s movies. My whole family does. We named pets after characters in his movies. Under Siege is one of my favorite movies and I am almost tempted to go to Jefferson Parish just to get pulled over by Casey Rybek. I would sacrifice getting a traffic ticket to get and autograph for my mom. When the show comes on it says that he’s been a sheriff in this area for over 20 years and that just amazes me. I hate to put it this way but I know a lot of people who have been arrested in Jefferson Parish and somehow no one found out that he was a sheriff. During the first few episodes my only concern was hoping I didn’t see anyone I knew going to jail on national television. That brings me to my only problem with the show. Can the producers of the show diversify the suspects just a little? A&E is already the home of The First 48 that reduces my hope for the future with each episode. Does Steven Seagal have to bust young black males with their pants hanging off in every episode? Mix it up a little and let him break up some of those bar fights in Metairie.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sitting On My Porch Part Thirty Seven

Yesterday my remaining grandmother Mildred passed away at the accomplished age of 90 years old. I’m not going to get overly emotional about it. I already wrote my grandmother dedication on Just a Song. Besides, when someone lives to be 90 and has a good time along the way the thing you feel the most is satisfaction. It’s not like when one of these kids gets murdered in the streets over beef. That’s a tragedy. When you are 90 and go peacefully with love ones around that’s a measuring stick. Work was a little rough today but I am doing alright. The thing I miss the most is the lessons on life that older people can give you. Young people think we have it all figured out because we can use a Blackberry and update our Facebook pages but we don’t really know anything yet. That’s why you need people who have been through things and made all the mistakes you are going to make to give you a heads up. Conversations with older folks are really easy. You don’t have to say much. Just sit there and listen to what they tell you and what happened to them. You will be amazed how that stuff comes back as a reference when you are trying to figure something out years later. With that in mind, here are five things I learned from my elders.

1. Never make people you care about feel that they owe you something for the things you do for them.
2. Always take pride in your work and try to do it well even if it’s cleaning houses.
3. When someone comes to your house always offer them something to drink or something to eat.
4. When a man works hard all week he deserves a big breakfast on Saturday or a big dinner on Sunday (words of my grandpa)
5. Always try to have a good time and relax even if it means just sitting outside with a beer.

I’m not sitting outside while I write this but I am going to have a good time writing the rest of this blog post for my five loyal readers.

New Orleans is caught up in a contagious condition called Saints Fever. It has gotten so bad that I am can’t be mad at the bandwagon jumpers anymore. The force is too great not to get swept up. I love the good vibe but I am going to need people to stop sending me text messages with Saints pictures or poems. It’s the same messages over and over and people keep sending them. I would also appreciate it if people would stop using the phrase “Geaux Saints” instead of “Go Saints” to try and seem more authentic.

Saints Fever is sucking the energy out of the mayor’s race. It has about as much energy right now as a dead car battery. It’s a little puzzling because I would think that the budget process is a perfect time for a candidate to step up and explain to me how they would come up with a way to generate 68 million new dollars to fill the budget hole instead of fussing over what cuts are better like the mayor and council are doing now. All cuts to services suck. It’s like choosing whether to cut off your arm or your leg.

President Obama’s speech was good but he should have just ended that war and just given Pakistan what they needed to keep fighting the terrorists since they are all on that side of the border. By the way, doesn’t any reference to finding Al Qaeda sound weak now since we never fully went after Bin Laden? Isn’t that like going after the mafia and arresting everyone but the boss?

I think we should leave Tiger Woods and his wife alone to work things out in private. It’s their lives and really has nothing to do with me. I am a little fascinated at the fact that he’s going through all this behind a cocktail waitress. Now, I have seen some fly cocktail waitresses but Tiger is a billionaire. This is a great example of difference between men and women. I am willing to bet you a lot of money that you hear about Oprah Winfrey messing around with the dude that cuts her grass. That’s nothing against dudes that cut grass. I just can’t see a woman risking that much for someone she pays out of her petty cash. It’s like Chris Rock said;” if it chases us we can’t run that fast”. It looks like Tiger pulled a hamstring.

All the positive things people see in me are just bits and pieces of the men and women that raised me. All the negative things are my own creations. If you have someone in your life that you hold in high regard give them a call or stop by their house tomorrow just to see how they are doing. People like that kind of stuff. If I had the chance to go sit under the patio on Benton Street, drink a few cold ones and listen to Frankie Beverly tomorrow I would.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saints 38 Patriots 17

Could this be the impossible dream?

A Monday Night Measuring Stick

Everyone is all excited about this game tonight. Some fans are acting like it’s the Super Bowl already. I am excited about it but my reasons are long term. Tonight is the night we get a chance to see if our team has what it takes to really go all the way.

New England is the measuring stick for every franchise in the NFL. The only teams close to running a championship operation they do is the Colts and the Steelers. Two years ago they had an undefeated regular season. They lost in the championship game to the Giants who they also played the last game of the season to complete the 16-0 season. The thing I remember about watching that game was that even though the Giants lost the game during the season, they gained so much confidence from the fact that they were able to match New England’s intensity that it carried them through three road playoff victories and defeating the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Patriots do everything aggressively. They play with championship intensity and leave no doubt that they are trying to beat the crap out of you. If you want to beat them you have to step up and earn it. They don’t care what the Saints record is. They want to destroy us and they are supposed to. That's what championship teams do.

Tonight’s game is all about whether or not our home team can step up and match their intensity. A victory tonight means that they were able to do that because it’s the only way New England loses this late in the season. A tough loss in a close game would be a stomach punch but just like the Giants it won’t kill us as long as we give them our total effort. I’m going to go ahead and predict this game and call the score: Saints 35 Patriots 27. I think the home crowd makes the difference eventually although some parts of the game may get kind of rough. I want to win this game really bad because I want to be just like the team we are playing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It’s a nice holiday weekend full of spirits, food, friends, and football. You can’t really beat that. A day or two to sleep would be nice though. It really makes no sense to drag through the first day of work after the holiday like I will be doing tomorrow. I hope everyone that is reading this had a good time. I am writing this while watching the Soul Train Music Awards which means I am assured of a Michael Jackson tribute as well as all the positive black commercials ad companies have saved will run tonight. I feel good about that. I wonder why Soul Train doesn’t give a lifetime achievement award to the Asian sister with the long hair weave and the spandex dresses. She was on Soul Train at least 20 years. That’s got to be worth something. I guess its back to work in the morning for some minimal money making. I can’t wait. We have a big game tomorrow night so the anticipation for that should get me through the day.

Some of these New Orleans bloggers have this tradition of posting some of the worst Christmas videos they can find. I participated a little last year but I said I wasn’t because watching some of this stuff is too painful to make it all the way through the end of the videos to see if they are bad enough to make a splash. Well, I thought about it long and hard and decided that I am not a party pooper. Here’s my first entry………

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving From The Crib

I would like to send my love and give thanks to all my family and friends. I especially want to give a special shout out to all the people who stuck around when I didn’t like any of you. I would name you all but I might forget somebody or one of you could have an attachment for traffic tickets and I may help the police find you. We have come a long way in the last few years. I stopped getting overly emotional on the blog but things can change so fast that you have to try and appreciate good times when they come. That’s what gives you some balance when the drama comes and Lord knows we have our fair share of drama. It’s alright though because like Big Cliff says if you can wake up from it you can deal with it. I am sure we can all find something to be thankful for even if it’s for something that really has no bearing on your life like the Saints being 10-0. Have a great Thanksgiving and don’t burn anything.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homework Has Changed

It’s the week of Thanksgiving and my baby is still in school. Add this to the list of things that are different about school these days. I never went to school on the week of Thanksgiving in New Orleans. I guess the school has to squeeze in as many days of learning as they can. I know the parents are ready for a few days of break time from getting up earlier and doing that complicated first grade homework. First grade homework has really advanced. I know that not every school in the city is working with the same standards so I don’t know if it’s like this all the way around but this homework trips me out. Some of the homework they have now is things we didn’t see until the 6th grade. I wasn’t joking about that either. When I left first grade we were just getting to simple addition and basic reading. These kids have math problems that look like Algebra. They have word problems. They have to write stories. I’m so jealous. I could have been so much smarter a lot earlier in life had we had this kind of work although there would have been serious discussions with my classmates about whether we should go home and never come back.

We had a parent meeting and someone brought up the idea of having some kind of program to help the parents so they could help the kids with their homework. It didn’t seem to get a rousing response but the more I think about it the more I realize that programs like that may be the only way to insure that the kids make the proper progress. I’m looking at some of the Geometry homework she brings home and I am thinking what does the third grade and fourth grade homework look like. I think we need to admit that the New Orleans Public School did not adequately prepare a lot of these parents to assist with this type of homework. Many of these kids are going to know more in terms of school work than their parents will by the end of elementary school. We are sending these babies home with this complicated stuff and expect that the parents are going to reinforce what they have learned all day but in the neighborhood people learn to fear and have anger towards things that they were never taught. Those kids are going to come back to school with their homework wrong because they did it all on their own or they won’t do it at all because their mom won’t care if they do so she doesn’t have to deal with it.

The city used to have a superintendent named Anthony Amato. He was here for a short time before we ran him out of town. It appeared no one liked the man but he did have one really good idea. He tried to implement classes for parents who wanted to improve their knowledge so they could help their kids do better. Parents want their kids to do better but they need the confidence in themselves to help them. I know we couldn’t wait for Mr. Amato to leave but when he did we should have kept this idea and put more money behind it. This is one of those ideas I would like to see the mayor and city council get together and work on for the benefit of the city. We are talking about adult classes so they don’t have to hide behind the fact that they don’t really have anything to do with the school board. They could put this together and then work with the school board to register parents. That’s the kind of thing that would make me feel good about future and get me on board with the next administration. All the candidates running for office have my permission to steal that idea and pretend like they thought it up themselves.

10-0 and Ready For The Patriots

I have no clue what to do when my home team is 10-0. Am I supposed to feel over excited? Should I handle it like the team and take one game at a time? Should I rent the SUV to drive to Miami for the game I promised not to mention? Yesterday in the first half I was complaining to my boy about the passing game throwing all those short passes. When the score was 31-7 he sent me a text asking me was I still mad. My reply was that I never was mad. I just didn't like that. Everything else is sweet. When your team is 10-0 for the first time ever you have to be a real jerk to be upset. I'm just taking this new feeling of being undefeated in to see how it taste.

Next week on Monday night we get Patriots at home. It will be New Orleans' opportunity to show the entire country that we have the best fan base of any NFL team. I can assure you that there will not be another Monday Night game this year or next with the kind of energy in that dome for Tom Brady and Randy Moss. We have a few injuries but I have looked at our schedule and for the first time ever there isn't a game that really scares me. We might lose one of them but we might not either.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Weekend Vibe : Soul Food

All I need this weekend is some rest and a morale booster. I am not doing too good on the rest so let's go for the morale booster and check out this clip from the Goodie Mob with The Roots on Jimmy Fallon's show. I am starting to like the fact he hired The Roots. They have some of the coolest musical performances.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Does He Have Your Beeping Attention Now!

Lately I have had the opportunity to display just how accurate some of my opinions have been. A few weeks ago I was trying to be funny and wrote the following paragraph while I was sitting on my porch.

Meanwhile James Perry is running and can’t get any media attention at all. He even tried filing an injunction against the mayor’s office and no one really cared. I have an idea for him out of the conservative talk show playbook. He needs to hold a press conference and accuse the local media of not covering his campaign because he’s white. That kind of stunt may confuse his family and friends as well as everyone in the city that knows him but I bet you people will want to know who he is after that. We live in an era of media stunts and twisted information so James might as well use it to his advantage.

I was kidding around about that but I did feel he needed to do something to get his name out there because it didn’t appear that the major players in the local media was giving him any real attention or taking his campaign seriously. Someone in his campaign saw this too and came up with this commercial. I’m not sure if it is mayoral quality but it is definitely entertaining. I have watched it over and over and it’s not getting old. This commercial is either going to make James a running joke (I may have left out the Eagle Scout line) or get enough people paying attention that he can explain what his plans are. Either way I think no one should accuse him of not being real about the attitudes of the public because this is just what people are thinking….”Are you sh@ting me?”

It got off to a slow start but the mayor’s race is about to get entertaining.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cut The Check For The Lower Nine and St. Bernard

I just read that a judge ruled the Corps of Engineers negligent for flooding in Chalmette and The Lower Ninth Ward during Hurricane Katrina. The most well known plaintiff in this case was local news anchor Norman Robinson. He lived in New Orleans East at the time of the storm and didn’t win any damages. Since he lived a few blocks away from my home I will assume that means that we personally will not have any precedent for receiving anything. That’s unfortunate because my personal opinion is the Corps of Engineers was negligent everywhere but I not going to stress about that. Regardless of whether my neighborhood gets anything I can still sleep at night if the people of St. Bernard and The Lower Nine are properly compensated for their pain and suffering. It’s time to have everyone that lived in that area file a claim and make things right. If the person is deceased then give the money to their families for that pain and suffering. Since the storm passed I have never been the kind of person that was overly concerned with lawsuits about levee breaches and putting my name on lists for possible money. Doing that never went along with my stubborn pride. My personal feeling was I wasn’t going to let anyone watch me beg people for money under those circumstances. If they knew what happened and wanted to do the right thing they would have done it already. Besides, money wasn’t going to bring my grandmother back or magically put the homes I grew up in along with all the memories and family heirlooms back where they were. Money didn’t matter to me when it comes to this and it still doesn’t.

It might matter to my parents though. They got up every morning and worked to pay for their house like everybody says Americans are supposed to. It might matter to my aunts and my cousins because they did the same thing. I know it matters to my sisters and brothers. My grandfather passed away five months before the storm but I am sure if you asked him about his house floating away it would matter to him. My grandmother Geraldine is gone but I am sure she would be cool with her family being comfortable. I think fighting twenty feet of water in your own living room is worth something. My other grandmother Mildred is 90 and lives out of town now but knowing her the way I do she would tell you that she would prefer to go back home to her house but since she can’t her children(and we are all her children) might as well be taking care of. I don’t need a dime myself. I would be happy to see my teenage brother have four years of college tuition from something like this. I think that is a fair trade off for not being able to visit the big blue house on Benton Street for Thanksgiving next week or not having any baby pictures to show your children.

I’m not sure how this whole thing is going to play out. If this verdict stands I am sure the government won’t want to have to defend itself against thousands of individual lawsuits so they will probably work out some agreement to take care of everyone. I know how the media likes to slant things sometimes and I am sure they will find someone that is overjoyed with receiving this money and present it in a manner that makes people think folks on the other side of the Industrial Canal are getting over on the government. I’m going to do something I rarely do on this blog and speak for everyone involved including St. Bernard Parish when I say no one wanted to get paid enough to see their entire community destroyed. They earned that money the hard way.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

9-0 Came Harder Than I Thought It Would

First let’s go over the positives after today’s game….
  1. 9-0 is sweet no matter what. At the least we won’t have a losing season.
  2. Any long time Saint’s fan hates the Rams so anytime we beat them it is special.
  3. Reggie Bush has finally awakened and could finally start making me look like a football genius. He should have gotten the ball more late in the game.
  4. Will Smith has come to play this year.
  5. Every week we seem to be getting a big play from a different person. Today it was Courtney Roby and his kickoff return for a touchdown.

Now let’s go over some things that concern me….
  1. Turnovers!
  2. Tackling!
  3. We have too many injuries to the secondary. They missed Darren Sharper. I think Tracey Porter is going to be out awhile. We can’t make it for the long haul without him and Jabari Greer. If Porter is out for the season we can only hope that Randall Gay doesn’t have another game like that.
  4. Something is wrong with Drew Brees. He hasn’t really been on target since the Giants game.
  5. The offense made the game today way more difficult than it needed to be. Twice they could have gotten a first down and couldn’t get it down.

Sometimes you have to take an ugly win. It was the fourth game in the row that it looked like the team was sleep walking through the first quarter. I think they are developing a bad habit here and they need to stop it soon. Nevertheless I will take the win because at the end of the year no one remembers that a team was close to you. All that matters is that you win. Let’s try to make it past Tampa Bay without losing anymore players. Hopefully we can get a few back before the big bad Patriots hit town on Monday Night.

Steven Jackson is a beast!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Weekend Vibe : Grown Man Thoughts

It's such a nice day outside that I am almost tempted to sit outside instead of watching football today. If the weather could stay like this all year it would put everyone in much better mood. My trade off for not going outside is to open the windows and let the sunshine in. That way I am almost outside. That's good enough for me right now. I have been doing things the last few weekends which is a lot for me during the football season so I don't feel bad about sitting here today. Besides, the holidays are coming and any money you can save by enjoying your own home is a bonus. I have developed a strange habit over the last year or so. I have become so paranoid of doing something stupid with my money that when I get paid I have way more money left over from the last paycheck. It's like I am so scared of something happening during the week and not having the money to fix it I won't do anything at all. That's quite a change for me. I used to be one of those cats that had to figure out how to pay for lunch and gas three or four days before payday because I would go crazy on payday weekends and blow my money. I make more money then I did then and I could afford a splurge or two without the lights being cut off but I know me and there is no need starting something that may spiral out of control. This is what being responsible feels like for me. You go to sleep at night feeling more secure but a lot more bored than you used to.

I will deal with the boredom for now because the alternative is living like a 35 year old teenager and having everyone wonder what the hell is wrong with me. There are a lot of adult teenagers running around with grown man obligations. All men have a spot in their mind that is stuck in whatever era they had the most fun or felt the most alive. Even if they don't talk about it they think about it to themselves. My dad used to talk to me about his football playing days. My grandfather used to tell me stories all the time from his early 20's. When I get together with the friends that I hung around with during my early 20's we always reminisce about stuff we did because that's how men are. There's nothing wrong with that at all. Some men never let go of that and they try to hold on it as long as possible. I actually don't have an issue with that either provided they are only responsible for themselves and can support it. Our problem is we got cats acting young and free with a woman and multiple kids to support. If you have those kind of circumstances you might need to cut back on the strip club visits and rounds of drinks at the bar unless you have the money to take care of both worlds equally. If you don't then you need to sit at home and watch football too because the rest of the world shouldn't be doing more for your children than you if you are taking your money and spending it on motorbikes, clothes, and video game systems. We have to set an example of social dignity for the kids coming up now.

Sorry for all the preaching. The fresh air does that to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sitting On My Porch Part Thirty Six

"Stay in school,Get your education,Get better than qualified and you'll succeed."
George Porter, Tuskegee Airman

Greetings from the planet of New Orleans. If you have noticed a drop in the number of posts during the day you would be correct. Sometimes when you have a real job you actually have to work. This post is going to be written throughout the day when time and thoughts come together. If this post is too long everyone is going to think I didn't do any work today. I need to practice working and blogging at the same time because after the next city budget is finalized we may not have electricity after 6PM to save money.

It's Veteran's Day and here at The Crib we are always pro veteran because of Big Cliff and Grandpa. You know some veterans struggle when they come home even though all we do is tell them how great they are. Just because we call them heroes doesn't mean we take the steps to make sure their lives are good when they come home. I said it last year and I will say it again, when these men and women come home we should clear all of the their debt and pay their mortgages. At the least they deserve not having to worry about being homeless and taking care of their families. Now, if they screw up everything on their own after that then so be it but we should set them up in the best situation possible.

I am glad the city survived the terrible storm named Ida. It wasn't really terrible. The local news made it seem like it was. I know we can't take any named storm for granted but did they have to cut into the Sunday Night football game every five minutes to look at the satellite imagery? Katrina has really changed our mental state. Back in the day we would walk to school in that kind of storm and no one would blink.

Let's talk about Congressman Cao for a minute. I think by the end of the week I am going to feel sorry for him. He broke every rule in the current political book but I understand why he did it. He tried to stick to his beliefs and do the best he could for his district. Say what you want but if he gets any medical facility funding out of supporting the presidents bill he would have gotten more done for his district than any other person in office could have. Let me explain why. If he was a black Democrat holding that seat everyone would have known his vote was Yes from the beginning. There would have been no specific commitment from the president or anything like that. Our vote would have been chalked up and all the special consideration would have been giving to people like Olympia Snow who I am certain got a few perks for the state of Maine when she voted yes in the Finance Committee. He tried to use his vote to get some special consideration for his district. If nothing changes because of what he did then the Democrats played him. If things do happen then he got the most out of his one term he possibly could and he should get credit for being one of the few politicians in Washington that put his own ambition and agenda aside to do what he was sworn in to do.

That reminds me that I have a new theory on the next mayor. I was talking to some brothers this weekend and we came to the conclusion that the only way the next mayor has any chance of making real change is he or she has to be willing to only serve one term. If that person did everything that really needs to be done it would require pissing off so many people from different walks of life that they probably wouldn't win again. Anyone with long term political aspirations will have to compromise some things to get the money and support needed to run for higher office so they can't go to City Hall and lead correctly.

Now for a few random things that no one is interested in but me...........

I'm thinking about going seven full days without any Coca Cola, coffee, beer, or brown liquor. I informed one of my comrades about this and his response was "You won't make it seven hours trying to give all of that up at one time without getting arrested." It feels good when your friends have confidence in you.

Someone made the following statement to me : " Your mind is great, that's why you don't understand the simple things" Was this an insult or a compliment?

Why does Sammy Sosa look like a vampire?

Nickelodeon pulled out of the amusement park deal in New Orleans East. The city says they are moving on without them but it's going to be hard to get people to come there without the Spongebob ride.

According to my coworkers I am the only man that carries a brush around to train his beard hair. I know I am crazy but I feel more creative with my facial hair.

Now back to something serious.............

This story is a small example that as we move forward the three most powerful people in the city will be the mayor, the assessor, and the inspector general. Just for the record I agree with the IG on the plan for remodeling the Municipal Auditorium. My only concern is that it seems the mayor is going to have to get the IG's blessing before he or she does anything. I am not sure if I am right about this but if the majority of the people elected the mayor then they should have to approve the inspector general too if he's going to have this kind of power. If they can't elect the IG then we need to elect the board that selects the IG. I believe in having an Inspector General. I am not sure I agree with the current setup.

In the midst of football games, health care bills, corruption indictments, and all the other stuff no one really paid enough attention to the fact that a 7 year old girl was killed in her house because of a shootout going on outside. Her father was in the Middle East at the time. He's celebrating his Veteran's Day in pain. I heard a term on the radio last weekend called 'social dignity'. I will explain what it means another time but we have to work on that to keep things like this from happening. Let's hope Paige DeJean is the last one because we were pass the limit on this once the first child was killed.

On Veteran's Day and every day we should all strive to have the attitude and dedication of people like Mr. George Porter from Slidell, Louisiana. You have to give extra respect to men from that era who fought for their country because they put their lives on the line for the country at a time when their citizenship was limited. That's patriotism at its highest degree.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

8-0 And A Game Ball For Congressmen Cao

When you add it all up it's been a good weekend. I purposely didn't say anything about the Panthers game out of fear of angering Steve Smith and feeling his wrath. It's been a long time since Saints fans didn't go home with visions of #89 ripping their hearts out. We finally beat the Panthers at home and we are not 8-0. I can do without the slow starts but it seems like every week another player is stepping up. This week is was Robert Meachem who made a few big catches and Anthony Hardgrove on defense. They had a good games but neither one of them is my MVP.

My MVP is congressman Joseph Cao who has the distinction of being the one politician that actually voted yes for a health care plan that would benefit the majority of his district. The reality is that he's representing a district that was not created for a man like him to serve. The majority of the people in the district didn't know him before he was elected and it's likely that he won't win re-election no matter what he does. He was a lame duck the day he was sworn in and has nothing to lose. Since he knows this too he could have voted against the bill and fell in line with the rest of his party but instead he voted based on the needs and wishes of the people in his district. That's the reason why Congressman Cao gets the game ball for this week. I think the people he voted yes for need to be on alert this week because the right wing media machine is going to let him have it. Just like the Saints got lucky and found Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, and Mike Bell maybe our district got lucky and found Joseph Cao.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The New Face Of City Corruption

It doesn’t matter about the race or ethnicity of a person when news breaks of a corruption indictment in New Orleans. My reaction is always the same. I get sad because I think of what we could have done with whatever money or opportunity that was wasted to pull off whatever the scam was. Did we even need crime cameras in the first place? What could the Recreation Department have done with at least half of that money? I guess it’s too late to worry about that. I still think that any news story concerning crime that comes out of this city does damage because no one sees it as a clean up. Everyone sees it as a reminder of just how crooked we are. With that in mind, I feel like it’s time to go ahead and point out that the current face of corruption in New Orleans just so happens to be white.

I realize Nagin is the mayor and he is famous for making the Chocolate City comment that stirred up so much emotion. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to corruption and dealing under the table the city is more of a vanilla and chocolate swirl. Maybe this case will make corruption just a New Orleans issue instead of a black against white issue. Maybe this will make Jim Letten look fair because I happen to be one person that wants him to stay in office as a warning to potential hustlers. Maybe Mr. Meffert will turn over some evidence against the mayor and satisfy the blood thirsty mob that won’t sleep until they see him get arrested. Maybe he won’t because he doesn’t have anything and the only thing Mayor Nagin is guilty of is falling asleep at the wheel while his boy got paid. Whatever happens we need to look at this as tying up lose ends of the past so we can move forward.

Now, there is one thing that can bring the race card back into play. A 63 count indictment is nothing to sneeze at. Mr. Meffert and his wife got hundreds of thousands of dollars from this plan. I’m thinking that if Oliver Thomas has been in prison for since 2007 and serving 37 months for only 15,000, then if Greg Meffert is found guilty he has to at least get a sentence five times that amount. If Oliver Thomas does three years and Greg Meffert gets probation or any kind of soft treatment then I am going to pull out my race card and throw it on the table because that will be the right card to play in my opinion. I don’t think I will have to do that because I believe Mr. Letten is going to set an example with this case. That’s going to be a great thing if it can stop everyone from trying this kind of thing again.

All It Takes Is One Crazy Person

I don’t discussing stuff like what happened at Fort Hood yesterday because sometimes all the coverage takes away from the real story which is that innocent people lost their lives. There were two things I took away from watching the news yesterday. The first thing is that the media is too quick to report facts before they are sure. It started out as multiple gunmen. Then, it was only one shooter who was killed during the incident. It turns out that this guy was still alive in stable condition the whole time. Sometimes we need to calm down and wait until we get the official word. The second thing I took away from what happen is that you never know when one person is going to snap. We are in the era of people saying anything and everything to get the public to their side of a debate. I’m not just talking about Republicans and talk radio either.

It seems to be the norm to say something sensational to make your point. Just this week someone predicted there would be a race riot in New Orleans soon. Rational people who feel stable watch this stuff and pass it off as either foolishness or political posturing. They are right about that but not everyone is as stable as you to hear words of anger and fear all day and not do something crazy. I don’t know what goes on with a soldier during times of war. You can talk to people that have been there but I think it’s something to you have to live for yourself to fully understand. I don’t know who or what are made Major Hasan do what he did yesterday. I do know however that it didn’t take a few hundred Al Qaeda commandos to shut down the largest military base in the country. All it took was one paranoid American with the wrong mindset to do it. The next time you listen to a discussion on an hear about how the government wants to take our freedom and send us to Nazi camps you think about those people that got shot yesterday and remember that someone is taking this stuff literally and you don’t know what they are capable of.