Saturday, February 27, 2010

Canadian Moose on Alert Because of Silly Sport

Tomorrow afternoon Canada will play the USA in the gold medal game of the Olympics. I am sorry to see that. I wish Finland would have defeated the USA so we'd be playing in the bronze medal game. This is because nothing would make the Canadians happier than beating the USA in a sport that is very important to a very few people in the world, most of whom live in Canada.

Canadians have an inferiority complex, and by beating their imaginary bully to the south in a silly game with a puck, they will feel vindicated. They have so little to celebrate, those Canadians. My Maple Leaf wearing friends frequently boast that Canada burned the White House in 1814. They're proud of it. This victory in hockey, in their minds, would be perhaps the most glorious national moment since that Queen on their money visited Brian Adam's space arm and sang Celine Dion duets with Wayne "the Great One" Gretzky. I'm not sure that is the correct way to spell the Great One's name, but I don't have enough respect for him to look it up. He did marry Janet "hot for teacher" Jones though so he must have some mojo. But I'm told he often has poutine stains on his eyebrows.

So why must we do all that we can to make sure Canada doesn't win tomorrow? It's for the welfare of the animals really. Just a few days ago the Canadian women's hockey team defeated the women from the USA. Canada I'm told went crazy. The players started chugging beers and smoking cigars on the ice, actions which prompted an investigation by the IOC. This leads me to believe that if the Canadian men are victorious tomorrow, they'll do syrup naval shots from Michael J. Fox (if he can hold still long enough) and then bring a giant Canadian moose onto the ice and the players will rape it thinking it is the Stanley Cup. The best I can hope for would be Canada losing by one goal in the final minute of play due to either a cheap shot by a USA player or even better, an own goal by their team captain. Then the USA men can hook up with the drunk Canadian hockey women and make out in front of the red wearing crowd, a la Jersey Shores. Fist pumps in the air!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some Very Crooked Cops Make Me Question My Ethical Consistency Concerning Katrina

On September 4th, 2005, a few days after the levees broke, several New Orleans police officers responded to a call of gunfire on the Danzinger bridge which spans the Industrial Canal in eastern New Orleans. Six civilians were shot, two of them fatally. One man, Lance Madison, was arrested and booked with attempted murder for allegedly firing at the officers. But it turns out now these civilians had no guns. The officers and their supervisors who arrived at the scene a short time later planted guns on the crime scene, picked up their own shell casings so it looked like they shot off less rounds, and then falsified the reports. One supervisor, Lt. Michael Lohman who recently retired, plead guilty yesterday in federal court to conspiracy to obstruct justice. I should add that all of the civilians who were shot were African Americans, and most of the officers were Caucasian. You might not think that race is relevant in this story, but my time in New Orleans, especially things I saw during the flood, lead me to believe that race has to be taken into account here.

This story is ongoing and I don't want to rush to judgment, but if it happened the way Lohman testified yesterday, I have to admit that I am sickened by the actions of these police officers. Crime is such a major issue in the New Orleans area, and this makes it even more challenging to believe police officers. Aside from the families of the shooting victims, I would imagine the people most upset about this cover up would be honest officers risking their lives daily to make the city safer. It shows that our next police chief will have an extremely difficult task in front of him/her to transform the department and to restore public confidence.

But this all makes me question the consistency of my ethical stance when compared to the events at Memorial Medical Center and Dr Anna Pou. I was outraged when Dr. Pou and two nurses were arrested and charged with homicide. They allegedly euthanized some very sick patients in the days after Katrina. Part of my reasoning in arguing in favor of Dr. Pou involved the chaos that followed the flood. So I can't personally figure out in my own mind how much the breakdown of civilization should be taken into consideration when judging the actions of these police officers.

This trial isn't alone, as the Feds are investigating several more incidents after Katrina involving police actions. These are going to unfold over a long period of time, and it is certainly going to pressure some strained relationships in the city. We might emerge from this a healthier society, but at this point I strongly doubt it.

Later Note: I'm told 4 of the "Danzinger 7" are African Americans. For more info see this post at thanks-katrina.

Physician Heal Thyself

Back in December I decided, after 20 some years avoiding physicians, to pay a visit to Dr. Azikiwe Lombard. My physical went well despite the fact that I'm overweight. I liked Dr. Lombard. His name sounds like Lombardi, which is a big deal in New Orleans these days, and he is a Xavier graduate. He ordered some blood work the next day, and he got the results a couple of weeks ago. I was supposed to meet with him this afternoon to talk about some bad high cholesterol and some liver enzyme issue, but he cancelled the meeting because he is sick, allegedly. So now the waiting continues. The next available appointment is 2 weeks away.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kids Update

My daughter Kalypso is in the 9th grade, her first year of high school. She's doing well in school. She's much more intelligent than I was at that age. Her ability to speak French is remarkable, and she's talented at piano, violin, and cross country running. We want to make sure she keeps her GPA above 3.0 to qualify for college financing offers such as TOPS, which if her ACT/SAT scores are good, which I'm sure they will be, it would pay for tuition and fees for a Louisiana university. Kalypso doesn't think she wants to go to a university in state, but she'll need a scholarship to pull that off, as it would be impossible for us to pay for a university's out-of-state tuition or a private school. She isn't sure what she wants to do for a living, so she isn't sure what to study. How on earth could a 14 year old know what she wanted to study, let alone where? At her age I wanted to be a brain surgeon/punk rocker. But I'm a big fan of liberal arts broad-based education, so perhaps a smaller school might suit her well. I think she could go to Xavier for free, but Kalypso wants to go to school outside of New Orleans. I hope it's within a days drive of New Orleans. I'll miss her when she's gone. She might thrive on either coast though. We're waiting to see how this plays out.

Gilgamesh is 9 and in the third grade. He's a huge fan of skateboarding, handstands, and he is always moving. People say I was like that when I was young. Now, I don't move that much, except to look for the remote control or to get beer. We've been working hard on his multiplication tables. I am very much looking forward to going with Gilgamesh to Jordan this summer. He hasn't been back to his birthplace in Jerusalem since he was 9 months old. Therese is trying to talk me into taking Gilgamesh to Cairo so he can see the pyramids and the Egyptian museum. I'm thinking about it. Gilgamesh is taking drum lessons and he's getting to be pretty good. He's such a nice kid. I very much enjoy throwing dog squeeky toys into the shower when he's there. Someday soon he'll be able to beat me in wrestling, but for now, I remain the alpha male. For Christmas Gilgamesh got a Tony Hawk bike. Gil's very good at soccer. He says he wants to play football next Fall.

Raising two kids has been a lot of work. But I'm so proud of both of them, and it is impossible for me to envision what life would have been like without them. A father's love for his children is a powerful thing.


My friend and colleague turns 48 today. He goes by many names: Howie Luvzus, Glenda the Good Witch, Mark Gstohl, Drew the Helmet, Texas Bubba, and Big Robin. Happy Birthday to whoever he decides to be today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oreos and Stuff About Scott Shanle

I just finished watching the NFL Films' show on Superbowl XLIV. My favorite part is when Scott Fujita brags to Payton Manning late in the game "Hey Payton, I can eat those Oreos faster than you!" He then walks to Scott Shanle and tells him that he just told Payton his Oreos joke but he didn't think Payton liked it.

I feel a special connection to Scott Shanle because of proximity. Scott was born in Genoa Nebraska, and went to high school nearby in St. Edward, a small town in Boone County. When I say small, I mean there are about 700 people there. It's 10 miles from Cedar Rapids, where my father grew up, and where today I own part of a farm. Both Scott and my father excelled at 8 man football in high school. Scott then walked on to the Nebraska college team. Nebraska has a long and proud tradition of walk ons. Scott red shirted his first season, but went on to have a very good college career as a linebacker. He was drafted very late by the Rams, then he played for the Cowboys, but in 2006 he was traded to the Saints. That year the Saints played in the NFC championship. I wrote to Scott Shanle shortly after the finish to the amazing 2006 season. I told him that I very much appreciated his hard work with the Saints, and his earlier work with the Huskers. I told him about my father who recently passed away, and that we in New Orleans found that football season to be a much needed distraction. I was living in a FEMA trailer at the time. I never heard back from Scott but that's OK. Now that the Saints won the Superbowl though, people in Boone County are nuts about Scott Shanle. They talk about the contrast of him playing at Beaver Stadium in St Edward and then playing in a football game that set the record for television audience. People in Nebraska are also very proud that Scott has had to work very hard for everything in his football career. He wasn't recruited by Nebraska in high school. He walked on and fought for a starting position. He wasn't drafted high in the NFL, he had to fight to make the team. So thank you and congratulations Scott Shanle. You make me very proud of my Nebraska heritage, and I hope you can fathom some day just how special this season was to people who have worked so hard to rebuild the New Orleans and Gulf South area after the flood.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mardi Gras 2010

I'm so happy today is Ash Wednesday, though it was certainly a memorable Mardi Gras. The highlight for me was spending it with two of my oldest friends Marc and Patrick. They drove home today.
It's unusual that we had school today, but I was glad we did. I'm ready to get back into a standard routine. We took down all the Mardi Gras decorations. I think all of the Saints emotions with football through December and January made me even more exhausted.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brees' Final Drive Exemplifies Team Effort

OK, I'm back on board fully with the Saints. I just watched the Superbowl for the fourth time, this time on the NFL network. What I missed before was the following amazing statistic:

Drew Brees, on the Saints' final drive, was 8 for 8 passing, and he completed these 8 passes to 8 different receivers: Pierre Thomas, Devery Henderson, Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, David Thomas, Jeremy Shockey for a touchdown, and Lance Moore for the 2-point-conversion.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saintsiated, But For A Short Time Only

The kids and I went with Chef Who Dat and his family to the airport on Monday to cheer for the Saints players and coaches when they arrived home. The crowds were estimated to be 10,000. We cheered loudest when Sean Payton lifted the Lombardi Trophy through his sun roof. We had to tell Gilgamesh at one point to quit banging on Tom Benson's car in fear that ticket prices would jump too high. Chef and I yelled at Garret Hartley "I don't want you thinking about anything but hitting that Fleur du Fu#king Lis." In contrast, I read that 11 fans greeted the Colts players home to Indianapolis. As always, very glad I live in New Orleans. Then yesterday we went to Lee Circle to join Chef, Howie, and other friends for what is being heralded as the greatest parade in the history of New Orleans. There were many memorable moments, seeing the Saints players and coaches in all the signature floats. I hope my children will remember these joyous times later in their lives. It's impossible to describe just how much the accomplishments of this team have meant to the city.

But alas, after all of this, I am ashamed to admit that I've had enough of things Black and WhoDat Gold for a while. We're not going to any parades tonight. I fully acknowledge that I will be doing my best to acquire a Muses shoe decorated to honor the Saints on Thursday night. And I am looking forward to Drew Brees as king of Bachus on Sunday. Moreover, my tattoo brother Marc and blood brother Patrick are coming to town for Mardi Gras. If I can stay out of jail, it just might be the most memorable Mardi Gras ever.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

2 Things About Superbowl

1. According to this poll, Democrats favor the Saints, and Republicans favor the Colts.

2. I don't believe Raheem Brock, defensive end for the Colts, when he says his twitter account was hacked. Brock's twitter page showed a Colts emblem superimposed on a satellite image of Hurricane Katrina with the text "Storm bout to hit miami on sunday! Lol."

Monday, February 01, 2010

Strange and Wonderful Days in New Orleans

People in New Orleans are euphoric these days because of the Saints and their success. It's what my friend Leigh described as "strange and wonderful days." People who never watched a football game in their life were glued to the set for the last two playoff games. Everything is decorated black and gold, and sounds of "Who Dat" fill our streets, hallways, and even classrooms. It's such a nice distraction from inept government, poor levies, racism, horrible crime and education problems. I find myself watching this video of the Vikings game over and over and over again. So many miracles at the end of that game. My favorite part changes from day to day, but right now it's when the mascot Gumbo gets floored by Reggie Bush.