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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.

Iran Background  Reading thanks to Jon Stewart

Iran Background Reading thanks to Jon Stewart

Iran background reading includes The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr

iran background reading

The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr

Iran background reading

Remember when The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was the go-to for folks looking to keep up with current events? Thirteen years later, the dynamics have changed. While the sources expanded, the process of learning about interesting nonfiction has not.

I watched Stewart interview scholar Vali Nasr in 2006. Nasr appeared on the show as part of his book tour for The Shia Revival, his book about Shia Islam, Iran, and Iraq. It was fascinating! I learned a lot about Shia Islam, and even more about how Persians think.

Persian culture

Nasr’s stories of how Iranians think kept my interest. Since 1979, way too many Americans view Iran as some evil monolith. That’s changed over the years. The Iran-Iraq war killed so many on both sides. Watching in horror from the US wasn’t a spectator sport, it was a nightmare. Both countries reeled from that war for a decade. Still, there was no real need for Iran background reading.

I didn’t think much about Iran in the 80s-90s. That changed, post 9/11, when the focus on radical Islamists grew. In the early aughts, we heard and read more about Iraq, naturally. As we did, the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam entered our discourse. Nasr’s book offered excellent Iran background reading. The author opened a door into the monolith.

Writing inspiration

That bit of Iran background reading sparked ideas in my head. When I wrote a story about dragon eggs, the notion of an “ancient Persian trading concern” popped into the thought stream. I discovered that legends hidden cities in the desert extend to Iran. I learned, like on so many other subjects, monoliths are not black-and-white. There’s the government, there’s culture and religion, and there are the people who walk the tightrope through these.

Keep up with Vali Nasr

I plan to re-read The Shia Revival next week. Additionally, I followed Nasr on Twitter. So, while following him, I also added a couple of people recommended by Da Twittah who connect to him. Check him out. I’ll share some excerpts from the book in your new Zuckerd00d group, YatPundit’s Pub.

YatPundit’s Pub is now a Facebook group – come join the talk

YatPundit’s Pub is now a Facebook group – come join the talk

YatPundit’s Pub is now a Facebook Group

yatpundit's pub

It’s a group! YatPundit’s Pub on Facebook

YatPundit’s Pub

Visit YatPundit’s Pub

I’ve been “YatPundit” on the Internet since the 1990s. @YatPundit is my primary account on Da Twittah. When I joined the Book of Zucker, YatPundit became my political presence, as a “page” under my main account, which is my name. While this works for my writing, it didn’t work for interaction.

Zuckerd00d “pages”

The original page concept wasn’t bad, but the d00ds went public and needed to provide a return to shareholders. That’s when they started extorting page owners. Post something on your page, and you got “notifications” suggesting you “boost” the post for a fee. Then came the notifications that sounded like a protection racket in New York. “That’s a nice page you got there. Pity nobody’s going to read your posts.” The d00ds limited the reach of page posts. Even if thousands of users “like” the page, it may only be visible to hundreds. Unless you “boost.”

Page owners pushed back. They asked their friends to set “get notifications” for the page. Page visibility increased. Still, it wasn’t a good situation.

2016 Elections

The last US election cycle exposed Zuckerbook as a bad actor in the process. One of the steps taken by the d00ds to rehab the image was to shift focus from pages to groups. They clam to have tightened up pages, so Petrograd bot farms can’t just create them and spread misinformation. The effectiveness of this move remains to be seen.

To improve user interaction on the platform, “groups” now have a bigger role. The d00ds want users to stay on the platform as long as possible. With pages taking a back seat, groups offer users gathering places. Post visibility increased. Group owners set their own rules. While they’re not quite “safe” spaces, it’s an improvement.

YatPundit’s Pub – come on in

The Pub welcomes you! Be warned, the politics are left-leaning and the beer is strong. If you’re a Trump supporter, or you hate Mitch Landrieu, this probably isn’t a good place for you to be. Otherwise, speak up, lurk, do whatcha wanna.

 

 

YatCats are a weekly feature for the New Year!

YatCats are a weekly feature for the New Year!

YatCats start off the New Year at YatPundit

yatcats

Nala (ginger) and Arwen (tux), the #YatCats

YatCats

We lost Amber, are eighteen-year old familiar, over last summer. It was devastating to lose the most important member of the family! We go on, of course, and at the end of August, I convinced Mrs. YatPundit that it was time for a kitten. So, we went to the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter to add to the family.

Inside cats

Amber was an outside cat. She eschewed her litter box and did her business outside. We regularly received presents of birds and mice. Remind me to tell y’all about the time she caught a bat and brought it home! As she got older, 15ish, though, Amber still wasn’t interested in the litter box, and needed to go out more often throughout the night. That disrupted our sleep patterns a bit. Mrs. YatPundit decided that, next cat would be an inside kitty. I agreed, with the condition that we would bring home two kittens. Amber had friends and foes in the neighborhood. I didn’t like the idea of an inside cat who didn’t have cat companionship. It wasn’t a hard sell.

Orange and Black

Mrs. YatPundit loves ginger kitties. Her cat growing up was an orange tabby. Then we got Brandy when we moved out to #themetrys. Brandy was with us for ten years. Pippin, her cairn terrier partner in crime, was with us another six years, then we got Amber. So long as one of the kittens was a ginger! So, off to the shelter we went to get YatCats.

The Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter. We checked in and they took us to the “intake” room. That’s where they have the itty-bitty kittens. We looked at each orange tabby in there, but they were all males. Girl ginger kitty was one of the requirements. After striking out with the littles, the volunteer showing us around took us to the “older cat” room. It’s a room with chicken-wire walls and lots of shelves and things for Cats To Sleep On.

The kittens in this room were all 12-16 weeks. Some of the smaller ones huddled around us, but the volunteer had one in particular in mind. There was a ginger female sleeping on one of the shelves. She was the target.

Two!

Since we were planning to bring home two YatCats, I got to pick the second. I wanted a black kitten. You know all the stories about how black cats are the least adopted. So, to get to the ginger kitty, the volunteer had to pull a black kitten off of her. Both were asleep on the shelf, two peas in a pod. That made up my mind as to which black cat was coming home! I figured, if these two got along enough to sleep that closely, this was a pair. They’re not litter mates, so I call them “pound mates.” I picked up the black kitten, and it turned out she was a tux/socks cat rather than a midnight. No problem.

By the time I put down the tux, I turned to see wife with the ginger. It was all good! We did the paperwork, and they were scheduled to be fixed the following Monday morning. We picked them up that afternoon.

Meet Nala

yatcats

Nala the ginger kitty!

Nala cat is the ginger. I learned something new about cats. All-orange gingers are overwhelmingly male, but this little bit is a girl. Brandy and Amber were orange-and-white, and Amber actually had more white than orange. Nala is all-orange and a cutie. She’s a short-haired ball of floof. Nala looked like the runt of the littler when we picked her up. The backstory is she was dropped at the shelter with two siblings. They were fostered by volunteers and returned to the shelter at six-ish weeks. Nala’s put on a lot of weight since becoming one of the YatCats.

Meet Arwen

yatcats

Arwen the Tux Cat!

Arwen is the Evenstar. The paperwork listed her as “medium-hair.” There’s definitely more hair on her than Nala. Arwen is more a people-kitty than Nala. Arwen likes being in the same room with us, where Nala will go sit on the bed, or in a window sill by herself. Since I teach a lot from home now, Arwen comes into my office and hang out while I’m teaching. Her meow is like a bird-chirp. It’s cute. She will pace around my feet while I’m on WebEx, delivering a class. Then she’ll start chirping and I’ll have to pick her up. I wonder if the students can hear her purring?

Arwen is walking around the house with a fabric mouse in her mouth, and just settled under the Christmas tree. She’s chirping at it. Nala is napping at wife’s feet. Life is good.

#YatCats will be a weekly event here!

Check out Let’s Talk New Orleans!

New Podcast – Let’s Talk New Orleans Episode 1

Let’s Talk New Orleans Episode 1

Let's Talk New Orleans Episode 1

Let’s Talk New Orleans Episode 1

Ed Branley (@NOLAHistoryGuy) and Jessie Muszynski (@sweetbabette) have a podcast! They’re speaking their minds on history, food, politics and culture in New Orleans.

The inaugural episode drops here on YatPundit. We’re setting up a site for the pod this weekend. In the meantime, have a listen here.

We talk German history and food in New Orleans. German-speaking folks have come to New Orleans since the 1720s and are a major influence on the city’s culture. From John Law’s expeditions to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans, through the Colonial period, to the establishment of St. Mary’s Assumption Parish, the German influence remained strong. Listen to Ed and Jessie discuss this wonderful history.

German Food

Let's Talk New Orleans Episode 1

Naturally, it was lunch at a German restaurant that got Jessie and Ed started on Germans in New Orleans. Bratz Y’all is a restaurant on Piety Street in the Bywater. Jessie’s been several times, and this was Ed’s first visit. The restaurant is next door to Pizza Delicious, a popular Bywater joint with a metro-wide following.

Let's Talk New Orleans Episode 1

Salted Pretzel with the Brie dip at Bratz Y’all

We started with a salted pretzel and the Bavarian Caraway Brie dip. So good!

Let's Talk New Orleans Episode 1

“The Giant German” at Bratz Y’all

Jessie ordered a special off the chalkboard, “The Big German” — a huge brat with sauerkraut.

Let's Talk New Orleans Episode 1

Hunter’s Schnitzel at Bratz Y’all

Ed got the Hunter’s Schnitzel. Impressive! There will be a YatCuisine post on schnitzel now. This was incredibly good.

There was beer drunk as well. Overall, this was a wonderful lunch. We always try to have lunch once a month and catch up. Even when you’re back-and-forth on Da Twittah all the time,

Worth the trip

Bratz Y’all is very much worth the trip down to the Bywater. The ride there and back is a history lesson in itself!

Tell us what you think!

Please give us your feedback on the pod! Tweet at us, or email to talknola@ebranley.com

 

 

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