Friday, January 19, 2007

Late night thoughts from the Bywater

Vaughan's, 1 am, January 19, 2007: New Orleans

Needless to say, there are no wireless networks available here in the Bywater, but then no one is asking for one. The city is Saints crazy, I've seen half a dozen bands in the last fortnight, from soul to brass, blues to the reincarnation of Mama Cass and every one has played "the Saints go Marching In" with cries of "Who Dat, Who dat, Who dat say they are going to beat them Saints?!?!

I was privileged enough to get a couple tickets to the Eagles game and I hate to say it, but it was louder than Yanks/Sox. It wasn't as intense, but it was loud!!! I was invited to a tailgate party by one of my workers, what a great time. It was about 130 yards from the front door of City Hall, in a park with a pavilion. There were about 60 friends, throwing the football, BBQ'ing, with kegs, pot luck food like crawfish cheesecake, and people smoking joints all within view of Mayor Nagin's office. (Known as C Ray by some pundits due to the fact that you Don't see Ray around) There was also the life size state of Ernie K Doe, deceased singer and perpetual Mayoral candidate with his personal Hearse. His widow brings him to events and parties around town. The Times Picayune recently had an editorial suggesting that Ernie K is seen around town more and is more engaged than our live Mayor. Despite being dead, Ernie didn't finish last in the most recent election.

I have put together a temporary work crew of an out of season professional golfer, a Tulane Law grad who hasn't taken the bar, and a guy from New Zealand with immigration issues who is going to join the infantry as soon as he sorts it out. Never a dull moment down here. We are getting great work done, with a wide range of topics discussed on the job from Caddyshack, to NZ's universal health care to whether anyone has seen a grown man naked, and of course the daily betting pool of when our resident white trash laborer will show up and what his excuse will be. (So far, two instances of not being able to find his way, despite being a Louisiana native, and one instance of locking his keys in the car) It's all good.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, gets down right, or on time, or at all down here. You may come to Boston and never see or eat a bean, but you can't escape the morass of the Big Easy down here. I drove 27 hours down here a couple weeks ago, with a 3 hour sleep in a Tennessee rest area and before I went to my place I stopped at the store for some food. With my 14 items I was third in line at the 15 items or less lane. 20 minutes, and two phone calls later I had checked out…, this morning at Home Depot (Lowe's is definitely better, cleaner, more organized, more knowledgeable staff) as I was trying to buy a microwave the two young clerks discussed boys and their cellphones while I clicked my heels. My standard sighing response these days is "well, I can certainly see how we won the war…, I'm just amazed it took so long" they usually nod in agreement. Everyone knows it, but no one does anything about it, kind of like the Weather, George Bush and Global warming. Or trash in Boston and the elected officials, see today's heeelarious Boston Herald article, "I'm going to do something about this right away", "I'm going to hold a hearing", "within 30 days I am going to have a report" Are they for real???!!!

Braintree has taken to spray painting "NO TRASH" on the street or sidewalk in front of people's homes who haven't paid their trash bills, in order to shame residents into paying. The trash collectors don't take the trash from any house that hasn't paid up. Maybe I should call my local elected official and suggest it.

Back to the present and Kermit is playing his IPOD during his "Reefer break", from Beyonce, to Michael Jackson, to 'Bounosera, senorita kiss me goodnight" His album "KERMIT RUFFINS LIVE AT VAUGHAN'S" is coming out on February 12, 2007. Their version of "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing" will be worth the price alone. Plus versions of "I'll be around" and his 13 year old daughter showed up at 1 a.m. to sing "I know what it means to miss New Orleans" with him. I can't wait.

Thanks to people who have asked me to run for Jimmy Kelly's seat, but first of all I live in Chuck Turner's district and two, I am absolutely taking the year off to travel the world with Clara. Can't wait to get further down the road, we're taking a family friend with us who is somewhat familiar with Central America on the first leg of our trip to Panama.

An All-Star jam is getting together here, with members of the Rebirth Brass Band such as 'trombone slim' in the house, the aging "Sleeping Giant" has already sung once, and more are on their way.

That's a lot of entertainment for $10. Happy Mardi Gras!

Another interesting thing from the Open Meeting Law trial was Steven Murphy. He had an amendment written up that would have kept any councilor who voted against the pay raise from receiving the pay raise. What a great way to coerce people and squelch democracy. He got very aggravated on the stand when I asked him about it, saying that it must have come from his computer and he would get to the bottom of whomever leaked it out. (It was his Lawyer who gave it to us) Interestingly though despite it being supposedly only on his computer, all the white counselors who were asked about it were familiar with it. Chuck Turner had not heard of it.

Speaking of Chuck he called me on my cellphone the night before the trial and started to discuss his personal finances. His lawyer had mentioned to the judge that even though some people voted against the pay raise, they were still taking the pay raise. The City's lawyer then apparently told Chuck that the issue of him taking the raise might come up at the trial. We had no knowledge of his pay, and it had nothing to do with the matter at hand. But it seemed to have an effect of bringing him into line with saying on the stand that despite the fact that the public never had a chance to see the pay raise statute, let alone a chance to comment or have a hearing he believed that the "public's business had been done in public" I was not surprised, but some on our team were.

It is odd being next door neighbors with the daughter of Congressman Jefferson, he of the $90,000 in the fridge. Me being so anti corruption and influence peddling. Some of the local wags refer to him as "Dollar Bill", the old nickname of the white high top wearing Senator from New Jersey who shares Sam Yoon's alma mater.

John Tobin has been quietly going around the city meeting with parents of schoolchildren in the Boston Public Schools. Whether it is politically motivated or not, good for him for putting in the work. One Ward committee has already talked about who they would support in a race between him and the Mayor. John better have some more good ideas in the next few months so that the Mayor can steal them and proclaim to be ahead of the curve.

It's 2 a.m. and the band is starting to roll again, with every song having a Saints and Super Bowl reference worked in.


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