Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Thanksgiving. For ten years, we or I have packed the car and gone to Dallas for Thanksgiving to spend time with my Mother. Lyman's boys have travelled to Dallas to spend time with their mother. This year is different.

Mother is gone, and work is keeping the boys close to home. The younger is off to Ponchatoula to spend the day with his girlfriend's family. Michael hasn't said. Lyman's parents have an invitation to his sister's house.

Maybe we should drive to Baton Rouge and go out to eat with Michael?

Monday, November 17, 2003

Politics, they say, are personal in Louisiana, and Lyman told me a story today that confirms it. One of our lifelong friends, a Democrat, voted for Kathleen Blanco because "[she] couldn't get over the feeling that he [Jindal] looked like he would have allegiance to Iraq, or Iran, or one of them places".

That is beyond racism as we know it in the south. That is xenophobia.

There were good reasons for her to vote against Jindal. He is Republican. He is a newcomer. He is young to have the "gravitas" to carry office. He holds social views that she may not like. She's wary of people who use big words.

But she said she didn't like that he's an Indian. That's because Lyman told her that the man was neither Iraqi, nor Iranian, but Indian.

And that's how it is in rural Louisiana.

Oh, my.

I would like to second the call in this post by Scott Chaffin. Alex Del Castillo of New Orleans, what is your reaction to the election in Louisiana?

My own is that we could have done worse. Ms. Blanco has a reputation for ethical administration of her offices. She, in her role as lieutenant governor, developed working relationships with areas across the state, including ours. She won't do harm.

I thought Jindal was more interesting and smarter.

We'll see.

LATER: Alex added a comment to the post cited above at Scott's.

Janis Gore, Independent since 1976.

Friday, November 14, 2003

The Baton Rouge Advocate runs a story today about the national perception of the governor's race. I like this part:

"It sends a tremendously progressive message about the state," Bob DeRocker, a New York-based site selection consultant who specializes in finding sites for corporate expansions and relocations, said of the gubernatorial race. "You contrast that with 12 years ago, where you have, by Edwin Edwards' own characterization, as [sic] the race between The Wizard and The Lizard."

You'll remember David Duke was in that race.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Back to my assessment of the Hoover Steamvac Deluxe. We, the machine and I, tackled the high traffic areas in the master and the guest bedroom.

The carpet in the guest bedroom, where there is little traffic on the 14-year-old synthetic, looks nearly new. In the master, carpet the same age looks clean (without any pre-treatment, but highest detergent recommended) but matted some after all these years.

I finished the job at about 1 pm. It's a little damp underfoot, but I think we'll be able to walk on it before bedtime.

These carpets were last cleaned professionally about 5 years ago after we painted the rooms. I've done spot cleaning over the years, but nothing beats a proper cleaning.

So far, I'm very pleased with the machine. I wish I'd had it ten years ago when I moved into this house. A run every two or three months would have kept traffic areas much spiffier.

Now it's on to the upholstery attachment.

Healing Iraq seems to be the Iraqi blog best keeping track of new Iraqi bloggers.

If you don't read Indigo Insights regularly, you're missing some entertaining and thoughtful stuff. If you like dogs, don't miss the video at the top of this post. Dancing with Wolves ... bah!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

So, I'm talking to my brother, the gay one, you know, the Vietnam war vet, and he says, "I must say it's a little disconcerting to watch Jindal speak in a southern accent. It seems out of place until you remember that he was born in Baton Rouge." (My brother also told me that well-made drapes in good fabric should last 15 years.)

The Indian couple, the Patels, who own the local Budget Inn up on the highway have a political statement -- for the first time I remember -- on their marquee: "Vote Bobby Jindal for governor".

Pakistanis in north Louisiana have formed a group and contributed to Kathleen Blanco's campaign.

A north Louisianan writing in the forum at nola.com wrote "I've heard people say 'A choice between a sand-nigger and a woman? I ain't going to vote.'"

The candidates are pointing at each other and claiming "Negative ad! Negative ad!" and the political scientists are saying they haven't seen anything negative yet. (See post below.)

It's sort of an interesting race for there to be two candidates with not a quarter's worth of difference in their positions.

I'm voting for Jindal because he's young and smart. But I'll bet you that quarter that Blanco wins. It's a Democratic state, after all.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

In the midst of a dreary article about negative campaigning in The Times Picayune comes this little gem about real negative campaigning in a governor's race:

Many point to Edwin Edwards' first race for governor in 1971, which included a minor candidate named Warren J. "Puggy" Moity, who ran an infamous Sunday morning television show devoted to political mudslinging. He harped on Edwards and called him gay. Edwards later neutralized the accusations by strolling up to Moity at a political forum and kissing him on the cheek.

Will any candidate ever match Edwards' color again?

Saturday, November 08, 2003

I keep going back to this post at Dr. Joyner's. An excerpt from the link:

The stimulation of the emotional centres shows that shopping is a stress relief. People do not have to think, and the brain rewards them with pleasurable feelings. By shopping, they are bypassing stress and just going with the pleasurable flow,'' he added.

Isn't even the most mundane shopping a form of stress relief? Who isn't greatly relieved when they replenish their toilet tissue supply? Or coffee? Or bath soap? Or milk?

Surely this item contains a misprint:

A crazed carjacker was served a generous helping of tea, but absolutely no sympathy, by an elderly woman whose Mercedes-Benz he tried messing with in Mashpee, police charged.

Mark Corkery, 32, of Sandwich was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail yesterday at his arraignment in Falmouth District Court. Police said his getaway was foiled when the scrappy senior splashed hot tea on his face and beaned him with a mug that shattered.

``I said, `Get out of my damn car now,' '' Jean Ridino, 57, of Waltham told WBZ-TV (Ch. 4). ``He never even bled. I thought he was a robot.''

Granted, at 57 Ms. Ridino might be no spring chicken, but elderly? Give the girl a break.

Link via Obscure Store.

Friday, November 07, 2003

The weather has crossed me again. 88 percent humidity today suggests that it's not the best time to try the new Hoover on bedroom carpets.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Oh, yuck! We bought a Hoover SteamVac Deluxe.

Today was its first run on area rugs we use in front of the sink and stovetop. No, there were two runs. The first produced a waste that was close to mud. The second, a waste that was a couple of steps clearer. I like it.

LATER: I'd forgotten how much I like the colors in these rugs.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Election Notes from The Times Picayune includes an interesting interchange between Mayor Nagin of New Orleans, a Democrat who endorses Bobby Jindal for Governor, and Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu:

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin accused U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of hypocrisy Tuesday after she suggested he had betrayed the Democratic Party with his endorsement of Republican Bobby Jindal for governor. Landrieu, who is backing Democrat Kathleen Blanco, issued a statement Monday saying she was "surprised and disappointed" that Nagin would support a candidate "whose national party advocates the lowering of the minimum wage, cutting of health care and underfunding of education reform efforts." On a radio show and through a spokesman Tuesday, Nagin pointed out that Landrieu had touted her own support of President Bush and his GOP administration while campaigning for re-election last year. "The mayor and many other Democrats were just as surprised when Landrieu took a stance in the runoff for Senate that she voted 74 percent of the time with President Bush," said Nagin spokesman Patrick Evans, echoing the mayor's comments on a radio show Tuesday morning. Nagin also said Landrieu failed to endorse Democrat Cleo Fields against Republican Mike Foster after she was edged out of the 1995 gubernatorial runoff by Fields. A spokesman for Landrieu declined to comment on Nagin's response. "We'll just stick with the (Monday) statement," said Mark Mintz. "Going tit-for-tat is not in the best interests of anybody."

Well, I guess not, Mary.

We're home. I know this will sound ungrateful, but ten days cooped up in a small apartment with vibrant personalities like Lyman and Lucy, with the surf pounding relentlessly, is a little too long. By about half, I'd say.

Monday, November 03, 2003

A new place has appeared in Gulf Shores for entertainment. It's called Paint 'N Parrot, and is a shop where you can select a pottery piece, paint it onsite and have it fired to pick up later. It's a bit expensive (what isn't down here) at $8 hour and the cost of the raw pottery piece, but the $8 includes all paint and firing. It's advertised as a place for birthday parties, wedding showers, and other group projects. We stopped by today. The woman running it is a short fat woman, willing to talk about any subject all day. She told us to bring our adult beverages and paint to our hearts' content. A group of women had come in a few days ago from 5:30 to 9:00 and not finished painting. We declined, but put her flyer and card in our activity book. It's an interesting notion, and I wish her well.

Just down the way there was a display that bothered me. People like the art I chose for this condo. The front room is filled with Harrison's art. It's a little weird, but it's in the right colors and it suits my taste. It's painted on wood composite with rough frames. Our guests like it. There are a couple of Florida artists who are trying to replicate the effect (who knows? Maybe one is Jerry Harrison) down to the angularity of the signature. I saw one small piece, a village scene, that I liked. I like the work here better.

Fun beach reading is Paperback Writer by Stephen Bly.

Nate McCord describes Halloween in Utah as snowy. Halloween snowy? Chilly, maybe, but snowy?

That's unimaginable to me. What costumes do trick-or-treaters wear in the snow?

Sunday, November 02, 2003

So, I'm looking around the place, checking on needed repairs and such, and I notice that somehow two bits of weaving are missing on the Henry Link television cabinet. I mention the name to let you know that this is tough stuff. So someone has whacked it hard or spent time removing those bits. Hmmm ...

Someone of our acquaintance has gone the extra step and added fabric softener to the load of dish towels they washed, making them nearly useless in the kitchen. That's a peeve. I use no fabric softener anywhere in the laundry. I have yet to figure out what it's good for besides fragrance.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween! We visited St. Nick's Knife Factory, the Knife and Christmas Outlet, the only place I know where you can buy throwing stars and kitschy Christmas ornaments in the same space. I was inspired to do a costume as a brass-knuckled ninja Christmas angel, but Lyman wouldn't have it. We bought lamb chops for dinner this evening and he didn't want to put them off.

We bought World Harbors Acadian Lemon Pepper & Garlic marinade for the chops, which we promptly poured down the drain after tasting. It was sweet. Horrors! Must remember to read labels!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Ok, hons. You looking for a scary story? How about this one? The estimate for drapes with a traverse rod for two walls of three-panel sliding glass doors is ballpark $2500. And that's cotton duck fabric. Is that scary or what? The doors themselves only cost $4000. Oh, my.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Funny Jim Hightower column in the local paper, The Islander, about corporate tax deductions, specifically "cost of doing business" deductions. Excerpt:

How far it can wander was made clear by Dennis Kozlowski, the now-disgraced honcho of Tyco. As an essential, tax-deductible expense, Dennis included most of the tab for a $2 million party he threw for his wife Karen's 40th birthday in Sardinia, Italy. This gay gala featured a life-sized ice sculpture of Michelangelo's famous statue of David, complete with vodka streaming from the statue's penis into the crystal glasses of Dennis' delighted guests.

We haven't been at the coast at just this time before, so we were curious about the monarch butterflies that have been passing by the fifth floor all morning. The Bon Secour wildlife agent told us that we are on their migration path. They fly down from the north and follow the Gulf coast to central Mexico.

They aren't appearing in large numbers -- just a steady stream. It's breezy out there today and quite cool. Kind of sad to watch, really. Many of them won't make it.

Monday, October 27, 2003

So we're looking through the guest book and we have nice notes from three frat rats from the University of West Alabama. They were here for spring break. They think the place is awesome. You think that might be because this unit overlooks the pool?

Oh, and hey, Peg. We're online, but I'm having a tad o' trouble with e-mail.

Hey, y'all. We are at the big water. We have nearly nothing to do this time. People do keep having trouble with the blinds, so we're looking into drapes or curtains. I called Charlotte, that good-looking beach grandma I told you about in May. She gave me the name of a Korean seamstress. I also have a call in to Patricia, who has helped me along with this place.

I am an inland girl. I know a little about design, but before we took on this condo I had nothing to do with the beach. Patricia has helped immeasurably. As for my Patricia, the big sister, she decided not to come. She is reserving vacation for when Francesca Watson can get her act together and schedule Fabio.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I wasn't close to Mary Sue, but Lyman was her lawyer during the adoptions of her two children. We went together to visitation last night, but Lyman will go alone to the funeral today.

I'll stay behind doing housework to prep us to leave for the coast tomorrow. We'll be gone a week or ten days.

I won't be out of touch. Our slow advance into the 21st century includes the purchase of a laptop computer. We arranged DSL at the coast for the convenience of guests, so I can blog to my heart's content while we're there, provided we can get this thing attached and running.

I nearly pitched a fit when Lyman said he wanted to buy a laptop, but then I considered that he isn't into cars, or jetskis or four-wheelers or shotguns, so let the boy have his head.

So y'all have a good time. By the way, Kim Crawford's advice on cleaning blinds was hunky-dory.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Mary Sue was a short, dark-haired, pretty, vibrant woman in her fifties. She visited her mother in Jonesville, about a half-hour down a two-lane road, two Saturdays ago. As she was driving home, a car in the incoming lane following another too closely swerved into her path to avoid back-ending the other when it braked. Mary Sue and the swerver hit head on.

The doctors did what they could, but her organs were too smashed. They took Mary Sue off life support yesterday and she died.

That's how quickly it can happen.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

I couldn't let this story pass without a note. I can't imagine how much money I'd need in the bank before I'd spend $24,000 on a jeweled cell phone.

The weather cleared and the breeze died enough yesterday afternoon for about 40 balloons to choose to fly, though only a few participated in the contest yesterday to drop a beanbag on a mark on a barge floating in the middle of the Mississippi.

We parked on the levee and had an excellent view. Lucy was fascinated. She took a little fright when one passed closely enough overhead for her to hear the burner exhaling dragon's breath. That sound is one of my favorite things about the balloons. She became accustomed to it, though, and was soon crawling across my shoulders to get better views.

She didn't have a lot to say except for a couple of excited high-pitched shrieks right beside my ear.

Earlier we had gone to the flea market (without Lucy), which was one of the junkiest I've ever seen, with the trashiest trinkets. There was one display that I wish I'd had the camera for. A woman had set up a row of nice little baby dolls in calico and gingham dresses with collars and shorts for the boys. Their hair varied from pigtails to barettes to little bobs. The seller had set them on a wooden shelf with a narrow brace across the back, and they looked like a row of obedient little plump children from behind.

I saw a fried moon pie. Apparently, the cook inserts a stick into one edge, dips the pie into something like funnel cake batter, if it's not funnel cake batter, fries the pie until it's puffy and golden, and adds a pile of confectioner's sugar on top. The whole thing is nearly the size of a slightly squashed softball. One look told me I'd save my sweets allotment for a quart of Blue Bell's Dutch Chocolate ice cream.

During our visit, there was only one harried mother trying to control what looked like a three-year-old girl who was bawling for a baby bunny. "Baby bunny, wahhhhhh, baby bunnny, wahhhhh..." The little girl had a deep voice and her mama, a small woman herself, wound up wrestling the girl's struggling little body to the car. I didn't check, but it looked like the bunnies were a grand prize for one of the games. Some prize, huh, parent?