Thursday, June 30, 2011

There's new scooter in town

A drive through the airport.
As much as I enjoy my motorcycle, it has too much power to be cruising around the city's streets.  The Ninja yearns to be set free in a landscape without traffic lights and stop signs.  For inner city travel, nothing beats a motor scooter, as I've long believed.  I'm a scooter man from way back, using one to criss cross the beautiful state of Connecticut at 35 mph for ten years from my home base in scenic, downtown New London.

In New Orleans, a motorscooter makes sesnse:
At the Mid-City post office.  That's the Central Business District in the background.
The new scooter is a joy to ride in traffic, whisper-quiet as it zips hither and yon.  I took it to Ye Olde College Inn for an oyster loaf to celebrate...
Carrollton Avenue, across from the seminary.
Let's get a closer look at that scene..
Ye Olde College Inn, home of the justly famous oyster loaf.
What does that sign say, exactly?
Only in New Orleans.
The fine print reads "Almost actual size."  The sign doesn't lie.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I don't miss Dunkin' Donuts

A New Orleans Sleigh Ride
New Orleans is a world unto itself.  Things happen here, unimaginable things, but few people outside a hundred mile radius knows about it.  Likewise, what happens in wider America, often goes unreported in the Crescent City.

I haven't seen a Dunkin' Donuts since I moved here a year ago.  I also don't own a television.  Who needs TV when you live in New Orleans, where entertainment is active, not passive?  So, I don't know how long these commercials have been airing, but I cannot say I miss Dunkin' Donuts.

I also haven't read a Marvel comic book since they killed Captain America a few years ago.  Yes, he is back alive and selling more comic books for the Marvel Universe.  There are some things that should not be done.  Killing Cap is one thing.  Making this commercial is another.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I hate when this happens

The Shadow reading his own magazine.

I was waylaid during a thrilling adventure.  This has limited the recent volume of my posts.  My headache is clearing up, and things will be back on an even keel shortly.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Another movie I'll be avoiding - John Carter of Mars.

Ugh.  Work is going on to make a movie about John Carter, the Warlord of Mars.  While I wouldn't mind seeing my hero on the big screen, this will probably be a skip for me.  There is no doubt in my mind that I will tempted to see it if it isn't in 3-D.  Will I succumb to the temptation, knowing full well beforehand that I expect this to be a stinkeroo?  Disney is behind it, which bodes well.  I loved That Darn Cat.  Listen to the swinging opening music below, sung by Bobby Darin at the end, as you read along... Take time to watch; the visuals are nice too.  He is a darned cat, and Disney knows how to tell a story.

All of that said, I don't have any high hopes for a John Carter movie.  I don't think it will translate well.  People said that about the Lord of the Rings, too, so I may be wrong.
Pixar may be involved, I don't know, I lost interest reading about it.  I was crestfallen to know that I will be tempted to spend my money to see, yet again, a rehash of the adventures of one of my adolescent, fictional role models.  There is no doubt in my mind that it will be sexed up, updated, and the story's premise made irrelevant, something on which to hang special effects.  Do I sound bitter?  I've sat through too many super hero movies, none recently, and none filmed in New Orleans (Green Lantern), but I'm the kind of cat who, if burned once, is twice shy.

I'm not saying there isn't room for more than one interpretation.

The good news is that many people are not familiar with Edgar Rice Burroughs' literary output besides Tarzan, so this will be an opportunity, if done correctly, to introduce his oeuvre to a new generation.  The good news is also that Disney is involved, so at least the film will be entertaining.  The bad news is also that Disney is involved; they did make a Tarzan movie, television show, plush tows, etc. that bore scant resemblance to Burroughs' creation.  I doubt there was a run on Tarzan's original printed adventures.  Kids would find them dull.

A little Frazetta to end this essay:
That's John Carter and Deja Thoris.  There is nothing dull about them if they aren't watered down and made accessible for movie-goers with short attention spans.  The story is not about explosions.

See you at the theater in 2012,

Image of the Gods of Mars and the second illustration ("John Carter of Mars) copyright resides with the artist, Michael Whalen, and, presumably, Del-Rey Publications.  They are used here to show what John Carter and Barsoom should look like.  The third illustration is probably copyright Argosy Publications, or whatever conglomerate owns this defunct fiction house now.  Likewise, it is included to illustrate a complementary vision of life on the Red Planet.  The final illustration is copyright Frank Frazetta.  'nuff said about that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day - A Photographic Essay

No commentary, only a glimpse into my world...

It is Father's Day.  No commentary today.  I'm busy talking to my son, who is a fine young man.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Back to back parades in Treme

In other news... while heading home from Gretna on the stretch of highway elevated above Claiborne Avenue, my passenger spied a second line parade winding through the Treme neighborhood.  That merited a detour off the exit ramp.  We found it.  It turned out to be back-to-back parades...

I love living here.

Gretna's Native Son - Mel Ott

Who's that statue in the middle of the old train depot in downtown Gretna, LA?
That is Gretna's native son, the Major League Baseball legend, Mel Ott, the Gentle Giant.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

One reason why I ride a motorcycle - Insurance

Ninja 250XR, 2006 model.
I had to renew my insurance yesterday on the Littlest Ninja.  While this doesn't normally bother me, I don't own a car after all, I was in for another motorcycle treat.  I was reminded once again of why I love owning a motorcycle.  It is inexpensive.

Since moving to New Orleans, I had to change companies.  Now that I've lived here one year, I'm getting some kind of discount for staying with the same company.  I don't recall that ever happening in Boston, though it did occur in Connecticut.  Massachusetts' insurance market is overly complicated and over-regulated.

I also got a reduction in my annual rate because I've changed my address.  Who knew that Greater Treme is considered a lesser risk than parking in the Lower Garden District every day.  That saved me $35 per year.

I wanted to update my coverage for roadside assistance.  I haven't needed it in the past three years, but like any other insurance, you hate to pay for it until you need it.  I worry about getting stranded with a flat tire.  The agent offered me trip insurance, some kind of payment if I'm stranded a hundred miles or more from home base.  That's when I really worry, so I said okay.  Roadside assistance was an extra $10 a year.  Trip insurance: an extra $5.  Fifteen dollars seems a reasonable price for peace of mind.

Total cost for a year's worth of insurance came to a whopping $77.00.  I didn't finance it, but paid in full.

Now I'm ready to ride for another 365 days.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Bread- New Orleans-style

Alois J. Binder: the baker with the light.
I was looking for some crusty bread yesterday, something al dente that we could chew on.  I went to Rouse's supermarket on Carrollton Avenue, always a poor bread destination.  Rouse's bread selection consists of air pockets lightly surrounded by white dough.  It is like chewing a bland atmosphere, which is something New Orleans has very little of.

I considered going up to La Boulangerie on Magazine Street, which usually has few loaves to my liking.  There is construction on South Claiborne Avenue, making the trip even longer than I would normally want to do for nothing more than a loaf of bread.

I found myself in Faubourg Marigny and decided to stop into the bakery I pass on a fairly regular basis, Alois Binder's.  The place is still up and running, but like many older establishments in the Marigny, it could a spot of paint.  None of the trucks look as spiffy as the one in the illustration above.  Most of them look fit for the scrap heap, but they are still up and running too.  Binder supplies bread to many of the po' boy shops in New Orleans.

I stepped into the sales room.  It has a case with some pastries, and a few loaves of bread in a basket on the counter's door end.  It was only me.  I told the girl manning the shop that I wanted, "The crustiest bread you've got."

"I've got po' boy bread," she said.  I agreed, and she fetched me a four foot long loaf of french bread.  "This will be nice on the motorcycle," I commented, and she smiled.

So, with about two and a half feet of bread sticking out of my satchel, I went about my errands the rest of the afternoon.  It would hit me in the back of the head when I traversed particularly bumpy tracts of roadway.  Good think I was wearing my helmet.

So, the review:  This is a fine loaf of bread.  It is white bread and airy on the inside, but the crust is toothsome and hearty.  Ever mindful of fiber in my diet, I won't be making this a regular stop, but it does make a nice sandwich and it toasted up pleasantly this morning.  Of course, we still have about two and half feet of bread to eat, the same end that was hitting me in the head.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Another day in New Orleans

Winsor McKay

Watch the master and learn how to draw.  It could be another day in the life of WK, without the 4000 drawings, of course.  I like to average two a day.

I like how he wears cufflinks while he draws cartoons.  It is a lot like my life.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Pay attention to urban redevelopment.

I was going to write about the Little Magician today, but I got sidetracked by this interesting circular argument video that I thought I would share.  It is a bit didactic, but it sums up many conversations I've had in the past.  Maybe tomorrow, I'll tell you about the Sage of Kinderhook.  Enjoy, and pay attention.  This is how urban planning works.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Henriette de Lille - New Orleans

Blessed Henriette de Lille
I spent the last week in a city that had 200,000 more citizens than New Orleans prior to August 2005.  It now has twice as many.  I walked along blocks lined by ten-story buildings for miles.  There was traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian.  I took trains that were faster than bicycles.  While I know how to navigate that terrain, and it felt very comfortable to do so, I missed New Orleans.  After only a year, New Orleans, a place like no other, seems natural, despite my life experience earned elsewhere.  Once you get New Orleans, it gets you.  It is a city like nowhere else, playing by its own generous, gregarious rules.

Today's illustrations are taken from Saint Louis Cathedral, the archdiocese seat of New Orleans.  The subject is Blessed Henriette de Lille, the first African American proposed to be recognized by the Vatican for her sainthood.
While I did visit the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception while on holiday, I did not see any representations of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, the partroness of New Orleans and Louisiana, there.  Nor did I see any evidence that Blessed Henriette de Lille had made a mark on Christendom.
I was reminded of Henriette de Lille because I rode my motorcycle through New Orleans East today, to get reacquainted with my home city after a week away, and I passed the convent where the order she founded makes its headquarters.

New Orleans is a very Roman Catholic city.  Boston is too, but it is more Irish-Catholic than indigenous Catholic.  You can't swing a broom in New Orleans without coming across evidence of a local saint.  It is rather nice.

I did see plenty of statues of this gentlemen this past week:

Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, and our 7th president.  He was a good president for his time, but he was no humanitarian.  A bitter man and a notorious Indian-hater, a man who could hold a grudge and a man who was anger personified.  He honored Our Lady of Prompt Succor for her aid in the Battle of New Orleans, and he is honored in the Crescent City.  He doesn't really have a place here though beyond his equestrian statue in Jackson Square.  New Orleans is about acceptance and getting along.  Jackson was a soldier if there ever was one.  That is who you want fighting to defend you, but it isn't who you want for a neighbor.

Henriette de Lille, pray for us that we may be a holy family.


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