Being Liberal in New Orleans

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Blue Angels Obey Orders – they fly when told

Blue Angels Obey Orders – they fly when told

Blue Angels obey orders, even from Trump.

blue angels obey orders

Blue Angels obey orders.

It’s really a simple concept. The National Command Authority says do it, you salute and do it. Members of our Forces do this daily. The Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron of the US Navy/USMC, along with the USAF Thunderbirds, get it. My son gets it, which is why the USS Topeka is out somewhere in the Pacific Ocean rather than docked next to a pier on Guam.

Flyovers

blue angels obey orders

courtesy Blue Angels/US Navy

Flyovers are fun. The B-52s and F-16s that gave us a local treat last week. They offer a chance to step out the front door and look up. That’s advice I regularly suggest to what I call the “Blue Twitterati,” the folks on Da Twittah who rarely look up from their phones for anything.

Are the flyovers appropriate? At a time when these morons at the White House demonstrate absolute incompetence in the face of a pandemic, it’s not hard to figure out Donnie’s motives. Ascribing those motives to aviators, pilots, and their support teams is unfair.

Misuse of the military

Is Donnie Smallhands misusing the military? I look at the flyover of the Blue Angels tomorrow differently than the Angry Liberals Who Are Angry. People need more and deserve more than Pence and Kushner provide from government. Donnie’s people block experts from briefing Congress. They know their response to the pandemic is crap.

So, let’s have some military excitement!

Thing is, we’d have military excitement anyway. Air shows and public appearances are part of the mission of the demonstration teams. They can’t perform those parts of their mission during the pandemic. While air shows are outside, they’re not good social-distancing environments. Large gatherings and all that. Public appearances? Blue Angels follow orders – they can perhaps join school classes and other groups on Zoom. But their main mission, demonstrate the aviation capabilities of their respective service branches, well, that’s not happening on a Zoom session.

Let the aviators fly. Let the USAF pilots do what they do so well. Demonstrate those capabilities.

Lack of Liberal understanding

Do we need masks? PPE for healthcare professionals and first responders? Absolutely. Is a demonstration team flyover going to stop those things? Not in the least. What’s hindering our battle against COVID-19 is not Naval Aviation. It’s idiot Republicans who don’t mind watching people get sick and die. Hanging that on men and women obeying orders is wrong-headed. It indicates how badly liberals understand the military. That’s ironic, because so many Democrats actually serve their nation.

Disclaimer: My son is a Naval Officer (submarines), and I got to ride “Fat Albert” in 2012. I’m biased here.

 

Kittens become Cats on May 1st #YatCats #Catblogging

Kittens become Cats on May 1st #YatCats #Catblogging

Kittens become cats on May 1st!

kittens become cats

Kittens Become Cats

#YatCats on Gotcha + 1

We gotcha-ed the #YatCats, Nala and Arwen, on 26-August-2019. On their first visit to Metairie Small Animal Hospital’s clinic on W. Esplanade (our vets of 30+ years now), we told them the kittens were four months old. So, they backed that up to 26-April-2019. Mrs. YatPundit decided 1-May would be easier to remember in the future, so we designated May 1st as their birthday!

Gotcha Day still more significant

Breakfast, Gotcha + 1

To me, birthday is a guesstimate. Still, since this first one is when they transmorgify, kittens become cats, We’ll recognize it. Gotcha Day is more concrete. We went on Saturday, 24-August, and found them. They got fixed on the morning of 26-August and came home that afternoon. They slept well that first night, post-op and new surroundings wore them out. Their food dishes and the litter box sat in the den for a couple of days. They moved into the garage when we were confident they could get through the flap in the garage door. The people who built our house had a dog, then we got a dog and cat (Pippin and Brandy). Then came Amber, now the #YatCats. They navigated the dog door just fine.

Nala!

Nala on Gotcha Day

The ginger kitty put on so much weight in a year! She was tiny when she came home. Now? She’s a chonk. She keeps up, though, wrestling her buddy, running around, and generally being a kitteh. That Office Depot box was Amber’s bed in our bedroom. She made regular use of it.

kittens become cats

Nala, 2-May-2020

And here’s the chonk now. She’s wonderful. Mrs. YatPundit hopes going from kitten food to cat food will keep her from chonking out much more than she is now.

Arwen!

Arwen, Gotcha + 1

When I first spotted Nala, it was hard to tell what she looked like, because Arwen was asleep on top of her, at the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. My first impression of Arwen was, what a cute black cat. Then I picked her up and saw she was a tux kitteh. They were essentially roommates. So, the tux became part of the package. You

kittens become cats

Arwen, 2-May-2020

As she grew, Arwen demonstrated so many Maine Coon characteristics. Her mane grew out. Arwen’s “meow” is more a bird-chirp. She has an affinity for water (not surprising for m familiar, actually). The chirping meow is the most amusing to me.

Happy Birthday, #YatCats

 

2010 Movie, Ballparks, Hot Dogs, and rabbit holes

2010 Movie, Ballparks, Hot Dogs, and rabbit holes

2010 Movie – has the sequel to “2001” held up?

2010 movie

2010 Movie

Passing by the hot dogs in the cooler at Zuppardo’s Family Market this morning got me thinking about how much I enjoy them. They also made me miss LT Firstborn, who could survive for weeks on end (and probably still does) on Hebrew National Hot Dogs.

I’m one of those folks who immediately associates hot dogs with ballparks. One of the most memorable scenes for me in Field of Dreams is when Ray and Terrence are at Fenway:

But my favorite hot dog interlude is in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Dr. Heywood Floyd (played by Roy Scheider) talks with Dr. Walter Curnow (John Lithgow) about what they miss, because they’re on a spaceship near Jupiter:

Naturally, I fell down a rabbit hole of thought, which often happens while I’m sitting alone, waiting for a train to come by. Curnow likes the hot dogs in the Astrodome, and any good baseball fan knows the Astros don’t play there anymore.

So, my first reaction was, Curnow’s remark didn’t age well with respect to the real world. Shit, the entire premise of the film didn’t age well, given that the first NASA expedition to Jupiter was supposed to happen in 2001. While I’m willing to accept how that went off the rails, the details are more fascinating.

2001: A Space Odyssey vs 2010 Movie

2010 movie

2001 was a fantastic film, a Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. Like many films, 2001 was true to the novel’s spirit. While maintaining Clarke’s story, the film was more about the cinematography. That meant a lot of detail didn’t make the film. From Clarke’s original short story, The Sentinel to the book, there was a great extended story arc. An arc that needed completion.

The sequel

2010 movie

That completion came sixteen years after the 1968 release of 2001, with the 2010 movie. I was fascinated! 2010 movie leverages the changes in tech from 1968 to 1984 nicely. It’s like the difference between Star Trek: TOS and ST:TMP. The story line for 2010 movie postulated a continuation of the Cold War political environment of the Reagan Years. That’s acceptable, in that nobody saw the fall of the Soviet Union a scant five years later coming.

Using a Soviet deep-space vessel to get out to the abandoned Discovery was quite prescient. Since the discontinuation of NASA’s Space Shuttles left the agency with no way to get to and from the International Space Station, Russian spacecraft haul supplies and replacement crew members into orbit. It’s taken to just the last five years for NASA to get re-supply going, with the SpaceX Falcon/Dragon hardware. Those have yet to bring humans up to ISS, though. So, NASA hitching a ride in the movie is quite believable. Doing so while the two countries are still picking at each other, yup, that’s not a stretch, either.

Hibernation

The technology behind the concept of deep-space travel isn’t all that much of a stretch. We have “medically induced comas” now, for slowing down bodily functions until the patient can heal enough for <insert surgery type here>. That’s aged well, as it were. Would that, in these days of the novel coronavirus, we could put folks into hibernation for six months to a year, then vaccinate them when we wake them up.

Cold War getting hot

A naval blockade and incidents leading to shooting incidents is rarely a stretch. The Russian Navy of 2010 was nothing compared to the Soviet Navy of 1984, but the attitude and possibility still existed. While the fifth column war we fight against Russia isn’t naval battles, the tension exists.

Hot Dogs!

2010 movie

The backdrop of political tension on Earth as astrophysical tension builds up near Jupiter is solid. Being that far out brings Russians and Americans together. Being astronauts binds them. Clarke’s 1982 novel that inspired the movie offers more asides than can be included in a film. My favorite was the combined crew’s battle against “Russlish,” like you can stop tech geeks from lapsing, be it japanese and English, Dutch and English, or Chinese and any language.

The hot dog aside made the cut, and that made me happy. Floyd’s disdain for the Astrodome is typical of many who spend time in both Houston and DC. In either timeline, movie or reality, Houston is a different world. Floyd turning his nose up at “growing hot dogs indoors” may be influenced by having to go to Mission Control. Yankee Stadium seems too easy or mass-market a response for me, but the Washington Nationals weren’t part of the 1984 landscape.

The Brown Mustard

It is indeed important. Yellow mustard has its place, but a dog with mustard and relish needs to have brown mustard. Chili, cheese, and onions? Yellow is acceptable. The brand? I’m OK with Nathan’s, particularly since you can get their dogs at ATL Airport, but I opt for Hebrew Nationals, even though LT Firstborn has long left home.

Did it hold up?

Yes, the 2010 movie did just fine. Now, I’m off to go watch it again.

 

 

Support Restaurants while flattening the curve

Support Restaurants while flattening the curve

Support restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery

support restaurants

Revel Cafe and Bar, N. Carrollton and Canal

Support Restaurants

“Flattening the curve” is a legitimate thing. Stay away from people. Don’t gather in groups. Switch to remote. It all makes sense, and hopefully will keep a lot of people from dying. Of course, the businesses that rely on crowds, such as restaurants and bars, take a big hit when they can’t open. Revenue dries up, workers don’t work, and we all hope a couple of weeks is all that’s necessary.

There’s not much we can do about bars and clubs. We go to them to socialize, and, well, that’s what we’re distancing right now. Musicians are going to live-casting on various platforms. That’s a start. For many of us, it’s not just the crafty cocktail we crave, but time with our friends. Hopefully this all will improve.

Eating Out

Dining out is an important social event for New Orleanians. We go out to eat for the experience of going out to eat, not because we’re on the way to a show or something else. this makes it all a struggle.

While it’s difficult to support bars right now, we can support restaurants. Many places changed their model to delivery and/or takeout. Order your meal, run in, get it, and get out again. Less than ten people, not breathing on anyone, and you’re in your car most of the time. Socialize from a distance, maybe Skype or Facetime your meal with a friend.

Is Takeout a problem?

support restaurants

Revel does takeout

Yesterday, I shared the above post from Chef CDB at Revel Cafe and Bar to several groups on the Book of Zucker. The post is not all that different from the ones I shared from other restaurants. In one of the larger NOLA-focused groups, a woman commented, coming for the concept of takeout dining. While her comments were at a high level, she directed her venom at a single restaurant.

Well, that didn’t sit well with me. Chris is a good man, a talented chef, and an old soul. He and his place don’t deserve that sort of attack. I reported the comment to the group’s admin team, and it was quickly removed.

Stop this shit

If you see others coming for restaurants, please consider nipping it in the bud. Our friends, family, and neighbors work in the service industry. We want them to have jobs to return to when this passes.

Hashtag #RexComus – bitter, angry Twitterati

Hashtag #RexComus – bitter, angry Twitterati

Hashtag #rexcomus has been overrun by assholes

hashtag #rexcomus

Cover of the program for the 1867 Comus bal masque.

Hashtag #RexComus evolves into something awful

Live-tweeting the “Meeting of the Courts” as WYES broadcast of the bal masque of the Rex Organization isn established #NOLATwitter tradition for the last few years, The combination of the event’s television hosts and the activities at the ball make for fun Twitter fodder.

Rex Ball, Rex meets Comus

The “Meeting of the Courts” happens on Mardi Gras Night. The balls began at 9pm, back in the days when the Mystick Krewe of Comus paraded. Comus currently only presents their ball. The organization stopped parading in the 1990s. The tradition of the meeting dates to 1882, when Rex was ten years old.

As Carnival approaches its end, Comus extends an invitation to the King of Carnival and his court to join him at the senior krewe’s ball. Rex makes his farewells to his ball and heads to the Comus soiree. The two monarchs, along with their queens, perform a Grand March. After that march, general dancing continues. While  they march at Comus, Rex ball-goers continue their party.

Live-tweeting

So much fodder for satire and humor here! It’s as if the Meeting was created for Twitter. Local folks on Da Twittah comment on all aspects of the event. From Peggy Scott Laborde’s gaffes to Errol Laborde (her husband) being more of a curmudgeon than the Curmudgeon Class of #NOLAtwitter, to the antics of the two carnival organizations, local folks are merciless in mockery.

Anger is not a good look

Over the years, hashtag #rexcomus became a place of anger rather than mockery. The event offers an opportunity for folks who are angry at Trump and conservatives to lash out. What was once satire is now flooded with bitter remarks.

I empathize with people who are not OK since Trump became President. It’s back to the old adage that liberals have no sense of humor. It also doesn’t help that Senator Sanders’ stature within the Democratic Party’s race for a nominee is falling. That exacerbates the anger among what I call “nonpartisan liberals.” They hate All Things Democratic Party. Unfortunately, they use hashtag #rexcomus as an outlet.

Nothing is permanent

I like to think that most of these angry people will slink away after this fall’s election, should a Democrat defeat Trump. The nonpartisan liberals usually only come out for the Presidential election cycle. We saw this in 2018, when many red Congressional districts went blue, thanks to the hard work of mainstream Democrats. I anticipate a better, funnier, less-angry hashtag #rexcomus in 2021.

Chris Roberts Suicide and the benefit of the doubt

Chris Roberts Suicide and the benefit of the doubt

Chris Roberts suicide deserves the benefit of the doubt from us.

chris roberts suicide

Chris Roberts, dead at 42

chris roberts suicide

Chris Roberts died yesterday, most likely at his own hand.

Chris Roberts died yesterday, down off Engineer’s Road in Plaquemine Parish. From Da Paper:

The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into Roberts’ death, which an agency spokesman described as an apparent suicide. The spokesman declined to elaborate.

A law enforcement source with knowledge of the situation said Roberts’ parents had reported him missing to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office earlier Wednesday. The Sheriff’s Office tracked his cellphone to a wooded area off Engineers Road in Belle Chasse, near the Jefferson Parish line, and found his body there.

Roberts resigned his seat on the Jefferson Parish Council last year, under the shadow of an extensive federal indictment. He served on the Council for fifteen years. Before his Council service, Roberts sat on the Jefferson Parish School Board. For those unfamiliar with the workings of the Jefferson Parish Council, the body consists of five district and two at-large members. Since so much of Jefferson Parish is unincorporated, the district members function as the “mayors” of their respective neighborhoods. When a district member decides an issue, the others usually respect their decision and vote as they do. Therefore, politicians like Roberts carry a lot of influence.

chris roberts suicide

Until they’re indicted by feds, that is.

Fall from grace

chris roberts suicide

In 2018, the Department of Justice dropped a pallet of bricks on Roberts, with an extensive indictment filing. Again, from Vargas at Da Paper:

Most of the counts related to his work managing a Terrytown-based landscaping company from which he allegedly used money for personal purchases. Roberts was also accused of hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in income over a seven-year period, and only filing amended tax returns accounting for the income after he learned of the federal inquiry.

The indictment painted a picture of Roberts as a profligate spender who used business and campaign funds to purchase a $16,000 engagement ring and spent thousands more at area casinos.

Then, to make matters worse:

In October, federal prosecutors added 10 new wire fraud counts to the indictment, ramping up the pressure on him. The new indictment also accused Roberts of improperly spending business funds.

So, the whole notion of deputies finding this guy dead in the woods, likely by his own hand, doesn’t sound far-fetched. When I read the initial tweets, it sounded like a classic case of, get your affairs in order and take care of your problems.

Benefit of the doubt

chris roberts suicide

Chris Roberts presented himself as an arrogant asshole on social media. His attacks on Mike Yennni were bush league. His supporters say he worked hard for his district. The feds say he’s a thief. Suffering from depression was never part of Roberts’ public persona. That doesn’t mean it didn’t exist! So many people struggle with depression, and it does indeed claim them. I can see the weight of his world crashing in on him taking that toll.

“Doing the right thing for the family” isn’t the same these days. People do time for white-collar crime regularly. They come back from prison and often do right by the community. It’s not like a guy like Roberts faced hard time for his crimes.

Influence of family and friends

People coping with depression need a support network. If someone doesn’t feel that support, their depression can deepen. That can lead to suicide attempts as a cry for help. Or worse, you go out to the woods and end it. It’s certainly unclear how much support for his condition Roberts got from friends and family. It’s too late for Roberts, but it’s not too late for those you care for. Check your people.

Coming home to the #YatCats after a week and a half!

Coming home to the #YatCats after a week and a half!

Coming home to the #YatCats is heartwarming.

coming home

the #YatCats miss me when I travel, because they don’t get the milk from my Frosted Flakes.

Coming home

The #YatCats developed routines over the last few months. I attribute their consistency to the wife’s insistence we stick to a tight feeding schedule. They start to move around when her alarm goes off at 6am. They eat within the next half hour or so, then go off to do kitten things. Like cell phones, they need to recharge. So, when i come home from the coffee shop, I usually find them crashed out.

coming home

Nala’s dining room spot.

This is Nala’s typical coming home position. Helen’s tried a number of techniques to keep her off the dining room chairs. You can see the success of these attempts. Nala content to sit and watch Arwen be more active.

coming home

Arwen’s distracted by something outside.

If Arwen had a smartphone, she would be one of the most active people on NextDoor. She loves to sit in the front window and look out. There are times when she’s playing, sometimes she’ll get all oooh-shiny and check what’s going on outside. We’re still not sure what she thinks about Rusty, the ginger tomcat who is the neighborhood mayor.

After lunch

coming home

Cuddle kitteh!

After writing in the morning, I need to rest my eyes. I come home around lunchtime, make a sandwich or a hot dog, then read a bit. When I sit on the couch, Arwen often jumps on the top of the back cushion and sprawls out. Yesterday was different. She walked up behind me, then slid down to sit next to me! Cuddle time in the afternoon. Hard to tell if I was missed or if she needed warmth.

Nala, of course, slept. Such a ginger kitty.

coming home

Office assistants

After a couple of eps of Star Trek: Discovery, Arwen got up to stretch. She joined Nala on the bed in LT Firstborn’s old room. Wife converted the room into an office for her and a guest room.

If you live in the New Orleans area, be sure to check out Animal Rescue New Orleans!

 

Cantrell silence is deafening #kailascollapse @mayorcantrell

Cantrell silence is deafening #kailascollapse @mayorcantrell

Cantrell silence is unacceptable

Cantrell silence

Statement by the City of New Orleans with respect to the dead body they’ve left in the 1031 Canal building.

Cantrell silence on #kailascollapse

There’s an odd silence surrounding City Hall, from the mayor’s office to the City Council chamber. Politicians are not usually quiet creatures. They’re ambitious people. For the most part, they’re always running for something. While not every politician grandstands like Rudy! and Bush43 in the wake of 9/11, they are aware of the need to get out front and lead.

There’s no from City Hall or the Council Chamber on the collapse of the development at 1031 Canal Street that took place on 12-October-2019.

Uncharacteristic Council Silence

Why, then, are Mayor Cantrell and the seven members of the New Orleans City Council silent? The last two mayors, Mitch Landrieu and C. Ray Nagin, could barely drive home in the evening without coming under scrutiny from members of the council. Council members jump in front of microphones. More recently, they take to social media. They speak to the issues. They look forward. While some don’t aspire to remain in public service after their term, many look towards the next office. Silence creates a vacuum. Others fill vacuums. Voters listen to political aspirants as much as they do office-holders. The council behave like people who have something to hide, not leaders.

What do they have to hide?

“Laying low” makes sense, when you’re on the wrong side of an issue. Advisers and consultants tell politicians, let it pass. Laying low saved many a politician. David Vitter comes to mind. After becoming entangled in a prostitution scandal, Vitter stood up with his wife, confessed to a sin, and proceeded to keep his mouth shut. Silence enabled him to win re-election. Council members know this strategy can be successful. No accusations of wrongdoing have surfaced with respect to the current council. Nobody’s looked at, for example, campaign finance records, to see who took money from Kailas and his partners. Perhaps oppo researchers have this info in their back pockets.

Lawyer up, sluggo

Every time Donald Trump, Jr., says something incredibly stupid on Da Twittah, Charlie Pierce replies back with those three words. “Lawyer up” is a common action when one is even tangentially involved in a criminal investigation. The Kailas collapse is a homicide. People died, and not by accident. There are (hopefully) local and federal investigations moving forward, behind the scenes.

Silence enables politicians to ride out bad times. It also enables potential criminal defendants to avoid jail. Is this why our city government is so quiet?

Supper Time – #YatCats watching and waiting

Supper Time – #YatCats watching and waiting

Supper time for the #yatcats is pretty regular

supper time

Nala heard the car about the same time I did.

Supper time

supper time

Arwen on duty

One thing Mrs. YatPundit’s done with the #yatcats is to keep them on a tight schedule for feeding. Since they’re inside cats, they don’t forage on insects, birds and lizards like Amber did. The #YatCats lunge at the kitchen and bedroom windows when lizards climb the screens. Not sure if Hill’s Science Diet’s “Indoor Kitten” food is better than lizard or bird, but that’s what they eat.

Kitty Diet

Nala certainly has bulked up since gotcha day. She was a tiny thing, and now she’s over nine pounds. Arwen eats less than Nala. At first, we worried that Arwen muscled Nala out. No problem! Arwen isn’t gaining weight like her buddy, though. While her weight isn’t a problem, we’ve noticed that’s she’s just not keeping up. It’s hard to tell if Arwen dislikes the food, or just isn’t as hungry. No crisis, mind you, just something to monitor.

Single-source feeding

The kittehs know when it’s supper time. They know who feeds them, too. When Mrs. YatPundit left town for a work trip for a few days, the kittens didn’t stalk me as supper time approached. I sat on the couch or worked at my desk undisturbed. They heard the food bag, but didn’t see the regular feeder! On the next day, still no reaction. I wasn’t in charge of the food, and that was that.

They know the drill. I heard the door to wife’s car close and the beep indicating she locked it. Nala zoomed to the front door. She joined Arwen in the front. Tux kitty continued what I call her “NextDoor” shift. Arwen is a ginny-woman. Not sure if she’d use the app, but she sees a lot.

Table food

Other than a love for the milk left in my cereal bowl, these two eat just the Science Diet food. They sniff table food and move on. We’ll see if that changes!

String, Bags, kittehs! #YatCats #themetrys 09-Jan-2020

String, Bags, kittehs! #YatCats #themetrys 09-Jan-2020

String, bags, kittehs!

string, bags

If Nala fitz…

String, bags, kittehs

The #YatCats don’t miss me being up in Columbus, Ohio, teaching for Hitachi Vantara this week. Arwen (tux) took down the Christmas tree over last weekend, so it didn’t survive until Twelfth Night. Both of them were upset when it went out to the side of the house, to await pick-up for wetlands restoration.

Amber’s String

string, bags

The string on top of Arwen is over ten years old. I can’t remember where it came from, but Amber took to it at the time and played with it. LT Firstborn discovered she liked it and would play string with her. They were such a great pair.

When we brought home the kittens, the string remained hidden. It returned when LT Firstborn came home. He played with both kittens and the string so much over the holidays. While Nala (ginger) took to LT Firstborn, Arwen was a bit skeptical of him. Then the string came out and the three of them became fast friends. The boy would dangle both ends at the same time, and the kittens would go for it.

Permanent addition

Amber’s string is a now part of the regular cat toy inventory. Kiddo’s girlfriend, who loves to entertain them so much, took up where LT Firstborn left off. Now, Arwen ends up with the string in various positions, just like her predecessor. Circle of Life. Or String, as it were.

Bag Wrecker

string, bags

Nala, Destroyer of Bags

Nala likes the string, but nowhere near as much as Arwen does. The ginger kitty is a Destroyer of Cardboard. She also destroys bags. We firmly believe this is some sort of Jungian-collective-conscious thing among ginger kittehs, since Amber did the same thing. Arwen likes to crawl in boxes and bags that are on their sides, but Nala rips them apart. Whenever there’s a box nearby, there is likely a corner with small pieces of cardboard around it. Total mess! This bag is easily the third or fourth she’s wrecked since coming to her forever home in August.

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