Nov 172010
 

It’s beautiful weather in New Orleans right now.  I was eating my lunch in Jackson Square today, and trying to finish the last Harry Potter book before the movie comes out.   As usual, there are a ton of people in the Square enjoying the day. I noticed a gutterpunk couple sleeping in the sun.  They looked comfortable.  Dirty, but comfortable.

After a chapter or two, I look up and notice that the woman, who looked to be around 20, is trying to wake her boyfriend(?) up.  She’s patting him on the head, poking him, kissing him, pushing him over.  There is no response.  He feebly rolled over at one point, and I figured he just wanted some more sleep.  She kept at him, and he remained motionless.  She stood up and tried to drag him, and he didn’t move.  I started to get concerned, but I know better than to get involved with gutterpunks, so I just kept watching, waiting for her to look like she wanted help.  She never did.

Eventually, she gave up trying to wake him, and walked off towards the front of the Cabildo, where I watched her talk to some of the street people there.  She didn’t seem too worried, although I did see her point in the direction of the Square once.

I was torn about what to do.  I surely didn’t want to go over to the passed out man in the Square, but I was also worried for him.  I didn’t want to read about how a young man overdosed in the middle of Jackson Square and no one noticed.  I contemplated calling 911, but didn’t.  Eventually, I saw an NOPD officer that I recognized pass by on a Segway on Chartres in front of the Cathedral.  I walked over to him and told him that there was a gutterpunk passed out in the Square, and that he didn’t look too good.  He said he would check it out.  I headed back towards work.

I was intending to go back to work, but my curiosity got the better of me, and I went back into the Square.  On my way, I passed the young woman.  She was talking to a tourist couple seated on bench and smoking a cigarette.  She still didn’t seem too concerned about her companion.

I got back to the center of the Square, and watched the cop approach the man.  He tapped him with his foot to wake him, but got no response.  He nudged him harder and spoke louder, and eventually the gutterpunk started coming too.  Then he lunged for the cops knees and tackled him.  They rolled on the grass for a bit, but the officer quickly subdued the man and called his partner over.  As he handcuffed him, the gutterpunk was wailing “No!” and “Please, baby!”  The cops were rough with him, I think deservedly so.  They never swung at him, but they did forcefully keep his head to the ground with their knees until he was handcuffed.  It was not pleasant to watch, knowing that I started it.  Eventually more cops showed up and he was taken in.  His girlfriend talked to the cops for a bit, but was told to go away.  She collected their things and walked off.

I really felt bad about the whole thing.  I knew he was going to get arrested if I told the cops about him.  I also knew that if I went over there myself, nothing was going to come of it.  I didn’t want him to get hurt, but I also didn’t want him to OD in the Square.  I’ve also been harassed enough by gutterpunks (you’re an easy target when you are young and wear a coat and tie in the French Quarter) to not really want to see them around.  I’m sure some are great people.  But my experience tells me that many are hostile, intimidating, and rude to everyone who doesn’t live by their philosophy of life.  I don’t wish them ill, I just wish they were nicer to strangers.

So, to the gutterpunk that I helped get arrested today in Jackson Square, I’m sorry.

Sep 172010
 

I’m not really sure how I never saw this movie until now.  I think it came out in that period between 2002-2007 where I didn’t really watch movies.

Such a shame, because it is really a great film.  I had previously only seen Adaptation, and I could never understand what the appeal of Charlie Kaufman was.   After ESOTSM, I totally get it.  It was like watching an Italo Calvino novel.

What a boring movie Adaptation was.  Now I see that it wasn’t Charlie Kaufman’s fault, it was Nicolas Cage’s fault.   Or maybe Spike Jonze’s.

After checking Wikipedia, I see that Spike Jonze has directed three movies:  Being John Malkovich (written by Kaufman, which I haven’t seen), Adaptation, and Where the Wild Things Are (which is terrible).  I think perhaps Spike Jonze’s reputation is a bit overblown.

Sep 082010
 

My apologies for not updating this in awhile.  In order to try and make myself update more regularly, I’m going to try to put reviews of movies/music that I have recently seen up here.  Since I usually see movies about a year after they come out, I will not feel bad about posting spoilers.

The Lovely Bones.

I never read the book, but I’ve heard many people have.  It seemed like there was a lot in this movie that would be better with a deeper exploration, the kind you can do with a book that is harder to do with a movie.  I don’t feel I am the kind of person who needs a happy/satisfying ending every time, but it really seemed to me that the ending of the film said that it didn’t really matter that these children had died in terror at the hands of a brutal killer, so long as they had each other in heaven.  It was pretty unsatisfying.  Because I wanted a little justice in my ending, it made me feel like a movie watcher with totally unrefined and pedestrian tastes.

Jun 292010
 

Every year around this time, Kent and I swap email about how crappy the music is that year. Then by the year’s end, we manage to like 20 or so albums enough to make our lists that no one reads. This year is no different. Except this year, I vow to give up on more music earlier. Here is my list of keepers and throw awayers.

Keepers (in alphabetical order)

Broken Bells – Nothing wrong with this album. But it’s not that great either. But it’s not that bad.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – I have finally embraced this album all the way. It has three or four high points. The rest is just okay.

The National – More of the same from the National. Songs about my lame life. Really good.

She & Him – Sweet music. Really good production. I’m in love with both members.

Sleigh Bells – This has most of my favorite summer songs thus far. Loud crashy cheerleader music. It’s not new, but it’s nice to get a new spin on it.

Surfer Blood – Dave, I think maybe you would like this. It reminds me of the 90’s but maybe not the 90’s that you liked the best. But still worth trying.

Titus Andronicus – I like this album, but I feel like its akin to eating way more food than one should. It just wears me out. Still waiting for it to click.

Vampire Weekend – The rest of my favorite summer songs are on this cd.

Throw Awayers

Beach House – Dear Beach House, You make really boring music. Signed, Brent.

Caribou – Dear Caribou, I don’t understand what you are trying to do. But I see that others do. So there you go.

Gil Scott Heron – Dear Gil-Scott Heron, Even if you were the coolest person ever, there would still be no reason to make this music. No reason.

Gorillaz – Dear Gorillaz, Good for you.

Janelle Monae – Dear Janelle, Kent made fun of me when I wanted to listen to you. Kent was right. Thanks for that.

Roky Erickson & Okkervil River – Dear Roky, Thanks for making an album that puts a permanent blemish on the careers of Okkervill River. I’m not sure they could have done it themselves.

Okay. All done. There are still plenty of cds that are still under consideration for the year-end awards. So don’t give up, Ruby Suns and Morning Benders.

May 242010
 

So the Corps of Engineers has fucked us again, this time denying the permit to build protective barrier islands off the Louisiana coast:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not allow land barriers to be built to protect the state’s coastline, Plaquemines Parish Billy Nungesser told The Lens today.

“They turned it down,” Nungesser said. “They denied the plan to do the barrier islands, so I don’t know, so we’ll have to come up with something else. We’re going to plan B, but I don’t know what plan B is.”

This is the same type of project that folks have said would help rebuild the wetlands and protect the people living in southern Louisiana from flood surges and hurricanes.

I suspect the real reason it was denied was money.  BP won’t pay for it.  The federal government doesn’t want to pay for it.  So it doesn’t happen.

I got in a nice drunken argument with Dave over the weekend about this.  I don’t know how anyone who has paid a speck of attention to the Gulf Coast in the past five years can say that the federal government has any attention of helping.  They have repeatedly hung us out to dry (or drown).   Dave insisted that surely they are doing the best they that they can, that they have the best minds around working on the problem.

I agree that they have the best minds working on the problem.  Unfortunately for us, the problem as the government sees it is saving money and maintaining their cozy relationship with the oil companies.  They will do everything they can to make sure that they fix the problem.

May 132010
 

Boston.com has great photos of the oil disaster.

Heather Neville of Tristate Bird Rescue and Research rinses off an oiled brown pelican which was captured on a barrier island off the fragile Louisiana coast on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at a triage center in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. (MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Heather Neville of Tristate Bird Rescue and Research rinses off an oiled brown pelican which was captured on a barrier island off the fragile Louisiana coast on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at a triage center in Fort Jackson, Louisiana. (MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

This is a bad situation.

Apr 232010
 

You are a turd.  You couldn’t just go quietly, you had to sully one more thing before you leave office:

C. Ray is a turd

Yes, that is the Lombardi Trophy in C. Ray’s official portrait.  Because of, you know, all the stuff C. Ray did in bringing that thing to New Orleans.

From the City of New Orleans website:

Inside the portrait, painted by Mr. Newt Reynolds, two symbols emerge from a shadowy background. A hurricane graphic, representing Hurricane Katrina, and an image of the Lombardi trophy, symbolizing the Saints first-ever Super Bowl victory, signify the challenges and difficult times as well as the unity and resiliency of New Orleanians. Mayor Nagin’s one-of-a-kind portrait reflects the distinct legacy he will leave in history.

I think that blue thing above his shoulder is the hurricane graphic.

Apr 122010
 

I fucking loved it.

To satisfy those who need Kent to hate popular things, here’s some nitpicking.

Those houses were too clean!  He picked up a photograph that was laying on a table!  He opened his door with a key and it swung open!  hehe.

That’s it.  I’ve got no problem with anything else.

I loved how dark it was at night.  I loved the sound of the helicopters flying over.  I loved that everyone was sweating all the time.

I loved it every time a stranger was called “Brah.”

I loved that the DJ Davis character wanted his CDs back from Tower Records, just like I want my copy of Baller Blockin’ back from the real Davis Rogan.

Apr 082010
 

Two years ago at Mardi Gras, Leslie tackled my Mom on the neutral ground of St. Charles as shots were fired into the crowd.  Seven people got shot.

Today, charges were dropped against the shooters, because the cop that confiscated the gun found on the suspects is one of the cops that recently pled guilty to planting a gun in the Danzinger bridge case.

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2010/04/orleans_da_drops_all_charges_a.html

Cursing under his breath as he left a courtroom Thursday, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro had his office dismiss all charges against three young men accused in connection with the 2009 Mardi Gras parade shooting that sent seven parade-goers, including a toddler, to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

“I want them back in f—ing court,” Cannizzaro muttered repeatedly to an assistant as he walked away from Judge Frank Marullo at Criminal District Court.

The state’s case became troubled recently, when New Orleans police Lt. Michael Lohman admitted in federal court that he planted a gun in an effort to cover up a deadly police shooting days after Hurricane Katrina.

Lohman is the cop who also confiscated the guns allegedly used in the Mardi Gras shooting.

According to prior courtroom testimony by Detective Jeff Walls, Brooks was a gunman that day and was tackled by a citizen and Lohman as he tried to run away.

When Brooks hit the ground, a fully loaded 9-mm gun fell from his waistband, police said.

What a proud moment for the NOPD.  A shooting on St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras, and your corruption lets the gunmen go free.  Thanks.

UPDATE:

The DA has re-opened the cast.  Apparently, charges were dropped mistakenly by an Assistant DA:

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2010/04/orleans_da_said_parade_dismiss.html

Cannizzaro said the dismissal took place only because of a “breakdown in communication” between him and Pipes, and that his office will bring  Brooks,  21, Lewis, 19, and Gray, 19, to trial for discharging a firearm along the parade route.

What kind of idiot is that Assistant DA?  “Yeah, sure let them go, we don’t care.”