Monday, September 29, 2008

Crime today

Check out this Times-Pic story of dirty cops getting theirs. I could write a freaking Scorsese script with this kind of material.

New Orleans Own: Nine-to-Fivers, the Next Generation

Who are they, and for whom do they work? More importantly, where are they? Because you never see them anymore. They no longer get ripped during the "weeknights," (please, what is a weeknight? we're not in high school anymore) and most of the time they're too exhausted from the 40-hour-week to show their faces on Friday night. On Saturday, they're up early for friendly tennis matches or outdoor adventure Northshore trips. That exhausts them for Saturday night, plus they need their beauty rest so that they can wake up early on Sunday, hum "doot-do-do" happily as they brew coffee and fry some eggs and bacon, toast some Whole Foods Seeduction bread to craft the perfect little breakfast sandwich, then take care of the week's errands so they can dedicate the rest of their day to their other job: Saints pundit.

Ok, so, it's no secret there are no jobs here. A separate concern from our nation's record-holding financial crisis...because there were never any jobs here. Maybe at the turn of the 20th century, but after that...nah. Certainly not before that--Civil War wreckage followed by Reconstruction-era incompetence rivaled only by that of the Post-K rebuilding effort.

So where are they working? Some are teachers, some work business for daddy. Some slave away at law firms, others test water for amoeba all day. Then, there are the Y.U.R.P.S, or Young Urban Rebuilding Professionals. They are post-grad, non-natives who rebuild New Orleans, working through such organizations as Common Ground, Hands-On, Teach NOLA, and Habitat for Humanity.

A handful work retail, and some are unpaid interns.

And the rest of us? We work in the service industry. Our hours are roughly 5 p.m.-11 p.m. We work till midnight on the weekends, so that the more established Nine-to-Fivers can have a fine-dining experience.

Basically, we eat shit for tips. Our cheeks hurt from fake smiles when a customer sends a steak back to the kitchen, an asshole bullies the hostess because he's too important to wait to be seated, and that lady who looks like she's straight out of Death Becomes Her leaves coins as a tip for her pre-dinner Cosmopolitan. But learning to kiss ass is an important skill. These people skills will help us make friends and move up in life, you know, that day when we, too, are working for...don't say it.

But we have a good time. Chat at work, have a drink or two, sit down for a meal prepared by the kitchen, then take the party over to the local bar, where we mingle with crews from neighboring restaurants.

Then, in the day time we watch episodes from The Office, laughing that we don't work for a paper company, and brainstorming our own work place's counterparts to the show's characters. We mess around in the kitchen, squeeze in a run, shower, and go to work again. Umm, but this is all after a morning dedicated, Hemingway-style, to working on our latest manuscript...

But this post was supposed to be about Nine-to-Fivers...forgive me.

Some of them do party on the weekend!!! Some of them suffer from Friday Nine-to-Fiver Desperation: they drink too much and stay too long, eventually sicking themselves on whoever is still hanging at the bar and will tolerate them. Then Saturday, they lie around all day, feeling guilty, reluctantly go out again that night, deflated and sour-faced, while their Five-to-Elevener friends coast on easy energy and the attitude, "So what, it's Saturday, I like Monday night better;" and Sunday, sluggishly run errands and think about how much the week ahead is going to suck.

But hey, they're playing with the big dogs, right? That's what it's all about, huh?

Working Five-to-Eleven isn't as glamorous as it seems. For example, getting ripped during the week can make you feel bad about yourself. Going to bed at 5, and waking still tired at noon, with only five hours till work, is no recipe for a cheery mood. And I believe I already spoke about the whole shit-eating component.

But you'll be unhappy no matter what, anyway. In the words of Morrissey, "I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I'm miserable now..."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Real World Depression

So much worse than undergraduate depression.

I couldn't sleep last night, and no, I'm sorry, I wasn't up puzzling about the economy. Indirectly, I guess.

So I'm a privileged spoiled bitch. If you call getting the opportunity to go to a nice liberal arts college, but pay loans the rest of your life, spoiled.

Either way, being in college, I got depressed, like any other person. Normal stuff. But there was this degree of self-indulgence about it. Oh this time in my life, oh this boy, oh my friend, oh my passion. I don't really feel that way anymore.

It's not fun to wallow about being broke. Or having another failed relationship, to the point that you wonder if you will ever meet the right person, and you hear yourself in your head sounding like one of those Sex in the City thirty-somethings. And you've got a fucked-up situation with your roommates, of course. And you don't have a "real" job.

No, I don't want to get drunk and pout about these things, hoping someone will think I look sad and cute.

I want to break shit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Satire and Sexism

Thus far, I've been reluctant to write about Sarah Palin because I think V.P.ILF gets enough attention, but Tina Fey's impersonation really reframed the spectacled spectacle for me. Sure, I've been passively reading and listening to the tabloid-esque gossip about her, feeling sick to my stomach watching her perform her Little House on the Tundra routine, but Fey's performance really drew me in because it got to the heart of why the media's obsession with Palin rubs me the wrong way: sexism.

SNL comedians create political satires, exposing flaws or outrages in the political system by exaggerating the personalities involved and their plight. Ironically, the McCain campaign accused Fey and Amy Poehler (who played Hill) of sexism, when Fey and Poehler's act was in fact a parody of the sexist exploitation of female political candidates. Fey played up Palin's sex appeal, batting her eyes and posing with air-shot-gun, while Poehler played up Hill's reputation as an unappealing, testosterone-raging bitch. Together, Palin and Hillary stand at opposite ends of the spectrum of the media's stereotypes of women: sexy, coy, and dumb; and bitchy, power-hungry, and therefore unfeminine. Fey and Poehler, by exaggerating these stereotypes, drew attention to the prevalence of these stereotypes and the real issue that they present to women vying for political clout in a male-dominated world.

And hey, Palin thought it was funny, according to this NY Times article from the Caucus blog...because she once dressed up as Fey for Halloween.

Lucky for Fey that she's sexy, but a comedian. It seems that the "funny" label elevates women above the media's spectrum of judgment. Probably because comedians are busy self-parodying all the time anyway...

P.S. Speaking of Palin look-alikes: what about Dr. Melfi(MILFY?) on The Sopranos?

Exciting shows this week!

Thursday, September 25, 8 pm and 10 pm: Davy Mooney CD Release Party for "Astoriano" at Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen St.

Davy Mooney - guitar
John Ellis - sax
Simon Lott - drums
Brian Coogan - organ
Dan Loomis - bass

Check out Davy's myspace page and website.

And Saturday, September 27, 9 pm: An Evening with Ballzack at One Eyed Jack's

Ballzack on myspace

Food Stamps Anybody?

Let's have a food stamp party, just like the gumbo party on K-ville! But no alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco products...

The other day I drove down to the Convention Center to apply for food stamps. The Convention Center is humongous! What is inside there? Surely they don't need that much space. It ought to have been renovated into apartments for Katrina refugees and displaced residents of the Magnolia housing projects.

When I arrived, they sent me down an industrial-looking side street to the back of the building, which of course reminded me of that scene in Goodfellas when Jimmy Conway coaxes Karen down a scary back alley--"G'ahead" "Here?" "No, down there, keep going...G'ahead"--ostensibly for a bunch of designer dresses.

But really, the entire operation was legit. I stood in line, filled out my application, took my interview, and at the end, received my card. While filling out my application, a Latino guy asked me if I spoke Spanish, and I talked him through every question! So the way I view my experience is as a chain of mutual aid and exchanges between the government and its citizens, in which every middle man is an important contender: Gustav handed me a shit sandwich, but New Orleans rewarded me with food stamps, to buy more shit sandwiches...but no! New Orleans helped me, I helped a fellow citizen. I paid for public parking in the CBD, which helps New Orleans and prevented me from losing my car as usual and probably heaping on more parking tickets to the pile. And while I was down there, I stopped by City Hall to register to vote, which helps the federal government, and me, (hopefully) as a citizen!

What a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Having Text?

Drunk-dialing? A thing of the past. Phone sex? Who needs it. Young people today are leading a textual revolution. Now seduction is at your finger-tips, in the palm of your hand. Forget monogamy. In this post-modern age, you can have as many partners as there are names in your contact list. Hell, you can be monogamous, but text your ex-boyfriends, brand-new crushes, oldies-but-goodies, last-ditch efforts, and friends' sexy little brothers all you want. I mean, who's going to indict you for "texting around?"

Now I've indulged in my fair share of "heavy texting," (thanks Mel) but there are some folks out there who just understand having text on a higher level. Like, the kama sutra manual, and shit.

So, I consulted my textiest friends, and asked them for their best sexy-texting stories:

1. Sascha--As a visitor to New Orleans, Sascha had a night with a strapping young fellow that she enjoyed so much, the next day she texted him "Fuck me like a prom queen."
He did not respond.

Back in college, Sascha had been engaging in mutual flirtations with a man who she saw at the campus bar from time to time. Shockingly, he was a malnourished hipster type with a coke problem. They frequently made eyes, talked too close and too long over too many drinks, etc. She had heard rumors of his having a "girlfriend," but this bitch never seemed to show her face. Well, one night, when he left the bar, Sascha decided to send him on his way with a little message:

Sascha: "So, are we going to fuck or what?"
Boy:"I have a girlfriend..."
Sascha: "What? Since when."
Boy: "It's been official for like two days."
Sascha: "Ever heard of cheating?"
Boy: "Baby, you got the wrong guy."
Sascha: "Wait, who is this?"

Moving on...

2. Miss Make-it-Rain-on-Them-Hos

So, Miss Make-it-Rain is a sexy-texting expert because of her amazing ability to text up to nine guys at once. Via cell, she is able to string along guys from past, present, and future. It's called multi-texting. I interviewed her about her style.

Kate: So, Miss Make-it-Rain, who are you texting these days?
Miss MIR: How many drinks have I had?
Kate: Good point. Next question. What is your texting m.o.?
Miss MIR: "I don't care who you fuck, as long as it's me, when I wanna."
Kate: I see. Ok, can one catch a textually-transmitted disease?
Miss MIR: Yes, but they're all mental.
Kate: Umm, that's not funny enough.
Miss MIR: That's not supposed to be funny, that's true.
Kate: What advice would you give to a young texter?
Miss MIR: "Better wear a la-tex, 'cuz you don't want that late text, that 'i think i'm late' text. (a ha ha)." So practice safe text.

Some tips and warnings:

1. Texting while driving is very dangerous. ("Much more dangerous than fellatio while driving," says Make-it-Rain.)

2. Being textually active is healthy and normal for young people these days. Moderate sexy texting is known to release endorphins, functioning as well as most low-dosage s.s.r.i's.

3. Do not have a Make-it-Rain text-a-thon unless you are her. Because you will fuck it up. For example, a young, green lad, actually, a sexy little brother, once texted me that he had had a dream about me. When I wrote back something benign like "oh that's sweet, I miss you" he responded, "Are you naked or Christina? Because that could affect when I come up." Looks like the little one was really working the freshman dorm.

4. I know Weezy did it, but look, no texting Mr. or Mrs. Occifer. 911 is for emergencies only.

Happy Texting! Please post your stories below:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Men Resting"

Drive-by-Blogger posted this comment yesterday:

"I was driving on down St. Charles and there was a street dept. crew with warning signs saying "Men Resting".
As I drove by, I could hear the roar of snores."


Just like in Goodfellas, when Tommy DeVito is telling that story at the restaurant:

"What's really funny, is, at the fucking bank job away at Secaucus, I'm in the middle of the fucking weeds laying down, he comes over, says, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm resting.' 'Here you're resting? I'm gonna fucking beat you in a box.' I said, 'I'm resting, I know I'm resting. I'm resting, I'm resting..."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Adventures at Traffic Court

If while leaving the New Orleans Municipal Traffic Court at Tulane Ave. and S. Broad, you can't remember where you parked, so you walk around the ghetto, sweating and crying, past the OPP (Orleans Parish Prison), getting catcalled by recently-released thugs; do not, under any circumstances, ask one of the many nearby police officers for help. Because they do not care, and they will not help you. Oh, and if your phone dies, borrow one from a civilian--not an officer--and call your dad, who will pick you up, drive around with you until you find your car, and then take you to lunch.

P.S. Traffic Court no longer accepts credit cards. Also, their online system is down. Drive flawlessly. As Ballzack says, "Nothing in New Orleans don't ever work/the fucking stop lights don't even work/the fucking City Hall don't ever work/the fucking school board don't even work/You can get away with murder, man, they don't give a fuck/but if they catch you speeding they gonna lock you up." Yah.

Monday, September 8, 2008

...and Britney! Louisiana at the VMAs!

You watch her, winning awards, looking good, and you remember why you love her...until you remember her kids were taken away from her.

Lil' Wayne at the VMAs

Oops, video no longer available. We're running into some serious copyright blocks. I hope you saw him at the VMA's! Lil' Wayne is the bomb!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Oh come on, NOT AGAIN!!!

But listen, seriously: EVACUATE. I know you did last week, and you're broke, and you're pissed, but when you were a little kid, did you ever hear the story about the Boy Who Cried Wolf?

Every year, we play a little game, where the people who evacuate are grumpy as fuck and regretful, and those who stay strut around bragging about how hard-core they are. Well, one day, you're going to get fucked in the ass, and you're not going to feel cool. You understand?

P.S. Y'all heard of this mediocre-ass band Beulah? I'm listening right now cuz I'm exhausted, home on Saturday night, and I needed something mindless...until I hear the goddamn line, "I'm missing you like hurricanes/I give them names but their waves keep rolling/On and On and On..."

Not exactly my sentiment.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Post-Gustav, Making Groceries at Rouses

So, I don't really want to discuss my evacucation--that is, after I got sent home by boyfriend (see my last post). I got in the car with Davy the brother, Angela the sister-in-law, Linda the dog, and Vadeem the piano player and drove to Atlanta. Suffice it to say that we were crammed in an airport-side hotel teeming with Gustav evacuees, who if you tried to bond with them, aka "So you're evacuating too?" would look at you blankly, and say, "You waiting for drugs?"

Now that I'm back home, I feel a lot better, naturally. I have power in my house, and today I went to the store!!! Now I talk a lot of shit about Rouses but I keep shopping there, and I don't think it's just because it's convenient. I think I'm starting to like Rouses; it's still a shit hole, but I believe it's acquiring some of that "charm" that I before had so adamantly declared was missing.

Today, Rouses was packed! We played bumper-carts with each other, but amicably. Lots of "excuse mes," and "I'm sorry, ba-bys," because we all knew we were in this shit-show together. But all the employees were fighting with each other: "Stupid Produce, it's all stupid Produce, what a dysfunctional operation." Help me out, here--when that employee refers to the employees in charge of the produce department as "Produce," is that an example of metonymy or synecdoche?

The cashier checking out at aisle 4 had the name "Chasity" written in Sharpee on a piece of white tape stuck on her shirt. Bored in line, I figured that her parents thought the name "Chastity" was really pretty, but knew if they named their daughter that, she would grow up to be a whore. So they opted for "Chasity" instead, that had the same ring to it, but not the same implications. Similar signifier, different signified. Why did I go to college, seriously.

Ok, but more importantly, Chasity was training! They hadn't even given her a real name-tag yet! That's some bullshit, why train an employee at a time like this? I wanted to talk shit about Chasity, and then noticed that the woman ahead of me was Latina. "No es el dia para entrenar una obrera nueva, sabes?" I asked her. I don't know if that's right or not, but she laughed and said, "Si, con este movimiento..." or something like that. It was fun. When Chasity began checking me out, I was tempted to say some consoling words like "Rough time to have to train, huh?" but was afraid my tone would come off as insincere.

Well, I got my groceries, and for any non-natives who are interested, I'm about to make some cheese grits and collard greens. Oh my God, it's kind of like a Gumbo Party, just like on K-Ville!!!

Gustav: "New Orleans's Shit Sandwiches" Reprise

Last August, 2007, while I was home for the summer before my final year of college, I wrote for the now defunct New Orleans blog "At the Parade" (R.I.P.).
My first entry defined and explored New Orleans's signature "shit sandwiches," a reoccuring phenomenon, or rather, predicament, in which one finds oneself entrenched in the muck, preferring neither here, nor there, stuck between "mold and a wet place," so to speak. Soggy bread, wilted greens above; rotten tomatoes and spoiled meat below. When you're inside the shit sandwich, you can't see outside, where there may be a better alternative; everywhere you look, it's all mush.

And I thought last August was piled high with shit sandwiches, from below sea-level to stormy-ass sky? I think I wrote about being broke and falling off my bike.

Let me tell you about this year.

To begin with, it goes without saying that August is a shit hole. If you don't know what I mean, check out my post about it. However, some Augusts are worse than other Augusts. Sometimes the weather is hotter; the hurricane season more tempestuous; one's personal life, a little rockier. So, I was having a normally shitty August--scorching hot weather, soaring high Entergy bills, poor, poor tips in the service industry, frustration misdirected into self-destructive behavior--when two situations coincided to create a very special shit sandwich for me:

Shit Sandwich: I fled New Orleans the last week of August for Brookline, Massachusetts to visit my boyfriend (that character I called my "friend" a few posts ago, back when my blog-ethos was still strongly founded on the principle of discretion). After all, I have never wanted to be like one of those Julia Allisons or Emily Goulds, who inevitably come to a very sticky end. Fleeing the city for August's deadly last week is usually a good idea, though anxiety-producing, and I wrote about my fears that my city would evacuate while I watched the weather channel, guilty and unmoored up north. Well, Gustav started churning, and I carried on with my vacay, trying to limit my hours in front of the t.v. I was anxious about flying home that Sunday (which turned out to be the day of NOLA's mandatory evacuation) to an empty, stormy city. But my boyfriend solved that problem for me; on Thursday he bought me a plane ticket home early, for Friday morning, to the tune of "I don't love you anymore; goodbye." Now, somebody has to really not like you to send you into the path of (what was then) a potentially-category 5 hurricane.

The rest of that Thursday, Mr. and Mrs. Gourmet Magazine-Subscribing, Non-Profit-Movie-Art-House-Donating, Barack Obama-Voting Liberal New Englander and their son graciously set me up in their guest room, and welcomed me to their kitchen whenever I wanted before sending me away, out of their sight the next morning. What does that translate into? Brookline Hypocritical Liberal Trust-Fund Bullshit. Too bad that's not an acronymn. So, if you didn't put it together, the shit-sandwich consists of the two halves/options: go home to New Orleans into a hellish emergency evacuation situation, or stay up north with some hoity-toity motherfuckers, including a boyfriend who is tired of looking at you.

Now, everybody has his story of "evacuee victimization." But that's because it really does happen! When I was at Oberlin the spring after Katrina, I made the mistake of asking some acquaintances if I could ride to New Orleans with them for Spring Break, as they were bringing a car down of relief-workers/habitat rebuilders. They responded that they wanted to keep the seats available for relief-workers. What I wanted to respond was, "You fucking assholes, I lost my entire house, and you are so clueless that you're going down to my city to help out Katrina victims, but you won't help out one who is looking at you, right now, asking you a simple favor?" but the girl had that spaced-out, inocuous look on her face, seen on many a young, eager activist at my school, and I didn't want to disturb her vision of herself as an important, wordly do-gooder.

My family evacuated from Katrina to D.C. to stay with my brother Chris. In the lobby of his apartment building was a clothes donation pile for Katrina evacuees; yet, my evacuating brother Davy and my sister-in-law Angela were turned away because dogs weren't allowed in the building. It was Jim Tozzi, an acquaintance of Chris and a Washington lobbyist for Big Tobacco, who bought Davy a $500 suit, out of his pocket and the kindness of his heart, so that he could compete in the national Thelonious Monk Competition for guitar (in which he placed 3rd).

I had to grow up a little before I could realize that liberal does not always equal good, conservative not always bad. What you learn is that an asshole is just an asshole, no matter what ideology to which he or she subscribes.

Monday, September 1, 2008

C. Ray vs. C. Rose

Who would win in a fight?

I think you know the answer.