Thursday, January 31, 2008
Yes, Sweet 16 is gainfully employed, and we are grateful. Somewhere among the "Imported Foods, Muffalettas & Po-Boys and Italian Salads, she's learning the value of a dollar.
I don't think she realized when she accepted the position that the hostess would have to bus tables, but it's honest work if you can get it. The pay might be a little inconsistent because she gets some percentage of the evening's take.
We asked if she gets a base salary plus tips, or what. Of course, she doesn't know. I have so far resisted the temptation to drive up there and ask questions of the manager. All that matters to my daughter is that she has walking around money. I guess that's all that should matter to me, too.
So, go eat at Monjuni's and don't forget to generously tip your hostess.
By the way, I am forced to offer a posthumous apology to my mother. When I was my daughter's age, she urged me to take a job as a busboy at a nearby restaurant. I thought I was above that. My daughter has shown me the error of my ways. God bless her.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I saw the headline this morning and my stomach hurt. Stromile Swift , through no fault of his own, is a lanky metaphor for my disenchantment with being a local TV sportscaster.
When Swift was a senior at Fair Park High School, there was some suspense about where he would attend college. As a local sportscaster, I was out chasing the story. One of the low moments of my career took place in the basement of the Fair Park gym. There I stood, in a hallway with Stromile Swift. I, a grown man with children of my own, was trying to compel a high school senior to talk to me on camera. When he declined the opportunity, it was pretty much over for me. I hung in there for a while longer, but when the chance to move into another role at the TV station presented itself, I took it.I remember him standing there, wearing a McDonald's All-America warm-up suit, saying he couldn't talk to me. I told my wife that night that my morale had pretty much hit rock bottom.
Swift went to LSU and was a great player there, and he's making millions as a guy off the bench in the NBA. Good for him. Now, he's probably worth staking out. I hoped he learned his lesson about dealing with his coach.
Update: Swift has been traded to the New Jersey Nets. I guess that solves the coach's problem. Sphere: Related Content
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Pride? Maybe....probably. Lust? Definitely, although I do keep it under control. Anger? Absolutely.
Sloth? No problem. Envy? Sometimes.
Greed? I really don't think so.
So, I'm five for seven. How will I stay alive?
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Monday, January 28, 2008
The good news: Sunday, the sun came out and that meant an opportunity to do yard work. My wife and I spent the better part of the afternoon pruning trees and shrubs. This involved actual tools like pruning shears, saws and a rake.
Is this the most boring post in the history of blogs?
Now you know how my weekend felt.
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Posted by Darrell at 1/28/2008
Because I need to be careful about the privacy of all concerned, I won't really provide any details, but I couldn't let this go by without at least mentioning it.
I had to put on scrubs, a mask, a hat, shoe covers...the whole package. The experience was fascinating. The closest I had come was the births of my children, Obviously, I was emotionally involved when I was in those delivery rooms. This was different: full-blown OR, sterile field, negative pressure, blood, tissue, bones, unconscious patient.
It wasn't the sights that got my attention; it was the smells. First, there was cautery. I wasn't ready for that, but I adjusted. Then, I learned a valuable lesson. I had a cup of coffee somewhere along the way. The rest of the morning, I had to smell my own coffee breath inside that mask. I nave a new appreciation for the power of an Altoid.
We'll close 'er up now. Thanks for playing along.
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Posted by Darrell at 1/28/2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I have been forced to stare my own blatant bigotry in the eye.
Never one to shy away from unfortunate stereotypes and sweeping generalizations, I had come to the conclusion that beer drinkers do not recycle. This is because, in hundreds of Saturday morning trips to the recycling center, rarely have I seen beer cans in the aluminum recycling bin. I was blind, but now I see. Here is the evidence. Among the caffeine free soft drink cans, there it is: The King Of Beers. Like a nugget in the mine, it's hard to find and rare. But, it's there in plain sight. My only hope is that the beer drinker was a guest of the recycler. Otherwise, I will be forced to rethink my assumptions.
We are told curbside recycling is on the way. Until then, I will continue to separate my refuse into newspapers, assorted slick paper, office paper, steel cans, aluminum cans, clear plastic, cloudy plastic and corrugated cardboard. I will load up the Trail Blazer and haul all of it across town every other Saturday, and I will be happy about it.
Then, maybe I'll have a beer to reward myself. Cheers!
Posted by Darrell at 1/26/2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
In case you have missed the Dana Jacobson debacle, let's start with the words that got her into trouble: "F--- Notre Dame, f--- Touchdown Jesus, f--- Jesus," One newspaper reported that she "(made) an absolute fool of herself, swilling vodka from a Belvedere bottle, mumbling along and cursing like a sailor..." during a roast of ESPN radio hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. To be fair to Jacobson, who hosts or anchors something on ESPN, she was attempting to poke fun at Golic, a Notre Dame graduate.
It is widely reported, though not confirmed by ESPN, that she was suspended from work for a week. She has made personal apologies. It was a roast. She went too far. Way too far. I'm still amazed that the non-churched out there think they can say something like that about Jesus or Muhammad or Joseph Smith or any religious icon and get away with it. People love their religion at their cores, and this just isn't done. If she had said something like this about a figure from Islam, there would be a bounty on her head. That may not be "right," but it's correct. Even modern-day Christians could arguably be on target if they described Jacobson's choice of words as heresy.
Let's assume we,as Americans, want to defend her right to say this sort of thing. That's fine, but she was not representing herself; she was representing her employers at a company event. Surely, she did not speak for ESPN. It is widely reported that her remarks were not well received at the time. Mike and Mike, in particular, are reported to have been putting their faces in their hands, embarrassed.
It is the very essence of Christianity to forgive, and Catholics seem to be responding appropriately. Bill Donohue, the President of The Catholic League (to be fair, one must note that Mr. Donohue is something of a controversial figure. He has been described as a loud mouth and a bigot. He has been parodied on "South Park"), issued a statment which says, in part:
"I am happy to say that after speaking to two ESPN officials, and having learned more about exactly what happened, that they are in fact taking this matter seriously. Indeed, I am convinced that what occurred at the roast will not happen again.
“To be sure, Jacobson’s remarks were patently offensive; no one involved in this incident, including her, is maintaining otherwise. But it is also true that there is no evidence that what we are dealing with is a bigot—lots of people who have made bigoted comments are not inveterate bigots. No, what we are dealing with is a person who went off the rails while drunk at a raucous event.
“The ESPN officials whom I spoke to answered the questions I had to my satisfaction. Therefore, as far as the Catholic League is concerned, this matter is over.”
Good, because Jacobson is well-respected as a sports anchor/ entertainer. Maybe some good comes from this garbage pile she created. I also suspect ESPN (owned by The Disney Corporation, by the way)will make sure its roast-hosting days are over, too.
Thanks to The Big Lead and Baseball Musings for the photos of Jacobson
Thursday, January 24, 2008
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It is remarkable that little LSU-S has developed such a spirited atmosphere for basketball. When I was in school there, intercollegiate athletics was a preposterous, faraway notion. Now, the Pilots are one of the strongest basketball programs in NAIA and the baseball team is a perennial winner.
So, I found myself in the gym with a racing heart as the game went down to the final horn. Back in my day, the only thing on campus that made my heart race was the girl across the aisle. LSU-S has plenty to cheer about.
Yes, there's even a mascot.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
"Twenty years after he was the youngest quarterback to ever start in a Super Bowl, (David) Woodley became the youngest Super Bowl quarterback to die." Wow. That tragic sentence comes for a story by Elizabeth Merrill on the front page of espn.com. David Woodley played quarterback at Shreveport's Byrd High School and later at LSU. He was the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, at age 24. This made him, at the time, the youngest quarterback to start in the Super Bowl.
As a young local sportscaster, Woodley's ascent to the pinnacle of the pro football world was a huge thing for me. He was a couple of years older than me, but I knew his younger sister in high school. Obviously, we tried to follow his every move but he was a reluctant football star. He responded to local interview requests grugdingly. The longest conversation I ever had with him was in a post-game locker room interview following a game against the Dallas Cowboys. Apparently, he liked playing football but had no interest in the celebrity status that usually comes with it. Merrill's story does a nice job of expanding on that.
He always seemed to have a look of sadness in his eye. I think you can even see that in one or two of these photos.
The Shreveport NFL quarterback angle was enormous in the early 80's. This is especially true when you consider that after his days with the Dolphins, Woodley attempted to succeed another Shreveport guy, Terry Bradshaw, as quarterback of the Pittburgh Steelers. Bradshaw has four Super Bowl rings, a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a stellar career as a broadcaster. Woodley died at age 44, a liver transplant having been insufficient to help him survive years of alcohol abuse. He came home to Shreveport but passed away in relative obscurity. Even though his story is tragic, it's good that at Super Bowl time his memory is kept alive.This graphic is borrowed from espn.com
Photos are from MPS/WireImage.com, Manny Rubio/US Presswire, and Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Another Shreveport quarterback to start in a Super Bowl is Stan Humphries, who is also profiled by espn.com.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This is the most trusting dog I've ever had. She will lie still while people step over her. She is completely at ease around everyone.
She will stand calmly by if teenagers scream or the surround sound gets loud, but if there's a Big Boom from outside, it's all over.
We know if there is thunder or fireworks, we're not getting any rest.
Last night's thunder was a low rumble. No claps, no booms, no matter. No sleep.
One solution is to lock her in the garage, but who has the heart to do that? Really, all we can do is let her get in bed with us or just to get up with her.
You can see the kind of attention she gets. Maybe I should develop a fear of storms. And the thunder rolls.....
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Posted by Darrell at 1/22/2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
The concept of a drive-through liquor store apparently is lost an an aghast nation outside of Louisiana.
This is something we've grown up with. There are open container laws which may or may not be sporadically enforced. I mean, if you are planning to drink and drive, you can walk in, buy your booze and then pop a top once you get into the car. What's the big deal, right?
At least our scooter-bound friend won't be operating under the influence at a high rate of speed.
It is concurrently hilarious and embarrassing. It's also kind of pathetic.
It saddens me that the subject line most often accompanying this photo is "Only in Shreveport." Have you been to Bossier lately?
Thanks to Audrey Rachal for the photos. Sphere: Related Content
Posted by Darrell at 1/21/2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
One of my favorite young former co-workers got married this weekend. We first met the groom when he was a wide-eyed intern from the University of Oklahoma. His easy-going manner and fascination with what we were doing made him easy to like. It was an honor to be invited to the wedding. A great benefit was a reunion with our lovely young friend who has moved to Minnesota. She left her husband behind. He was forced to work, plus there was a big pond hockey tournament during which hearty souls (fools?) skated out onto frozen lakes in temperatures well below zero. She was happy to be back in the south, even temporarily. But, I digress.
The groom's father, a Baptist minister, performed the ceremony. He told personal stories about his son and the bride, which gave the ceremony a nice flair. A veteran at the altar, the father of the Groom was nonetheless understandably nervous. He told a story about a fishing trip during which his son got a hook stuck in a tree. He was determined to free his line. He kept at it, pulling at the line until the hooks sprang free. They whistled toward the young guy and embedded in his neck. They had to go to an emergency room to have the hooks cut out.
The preacher-dad used this as a metaphor for marriage, saying "Son, that's the way it is. Sometimes you have to know when to jerk; and you have to know when not to jerk."
You can always count on dad to bring it back to basics. Have a long and happy marriage, little intern.
Posted by Darrell at 1/20/2008
I understand poetic license (as has often been said, "I gotta get me one o' them) and I know that liberties with the language are taken in the realm of retail marketing. Sometimes, though, I just wonder why things are presented the way they are. Take for instance this sign on display near a make-up counter at a regional department store: Why not, indeed? It sounds like a fine question. Ah, yes...a question. Why not use a question mark at the end of it?
It's nice that jewelry repairs are provided by this national chain, if it is a proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn.However, if they intend to make the repairs right there in the store, don't they mean on the premises? That's a question, by the way.
I'm also a little offended by this sign on the door of a Southwest Grill: I realize they're trying to be positive, asking customers to do something instead of telling them what not do to. Still, it seems to me they are encouraging a negative activity and I don't like that.
All of these signs were made by big-time, or at least regional, marketers. I'm sure the premise of each of these messages can be defended.
The granddaddy of them all was a hand-made sign placed on the door of a local pizza place during last week's city-wide water crisis:Ain't no way to beat this sign. I'll drank to that.
Daddy D goes interactive:
Veteran broadcaster Patrick Netherton,traveling with the Northwestern State Demons, offers this:
"I took this picture outside the pool at a hotel in Arlington on a road trip with the Lady Demons... I guess they are apologizing for the pool being nearby? They also had a sign that said. 'The Pool is close…' as if it were a warning."
Friday, January 18, 2008
I went outside for a few minutes just to let the snow land on my face and to take pictures.
I have a happy random memory about snow. One day, when I was in 7th grade, it starting snowing hard. Our much beloved teacher, Mrs. Scott, could not divert our attention away from the windows. After all, this was a huge moment in a Louisiana 12-year-old's life. Mrs. Scott became so exasperated that she called the principal to our classroom.
Sister Natalie scared us only slightly less than the Wicked Witch of the West. That day, everything changed. Mrs. Scott asked for help settling us down. Sister Natalie laughed, shook her head and said, "Oh, let them play."
Her iron maiden image was gone forever and I think she was happy about it.
Let it snow!
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With the nation's political attention turning toward the southwest, there's new emphasis lately on how to pronounce Nevada. The people there say it with a "short" a, like in "cat." They get worked up when people on TV say it with an "ah" sound. I know how they feel.
During the coverage of Hurricane Katrina, MSNBC's Alex Witt insisted on calling the devastated city "New Or-Leenz." This is often heard from young reporters who come into the state from other parts of the country. They have to be made to say it correctly: "New Orlinz," or "N'awlins" if you are father to the south. I am still worked up about Alex Witt's stubbornness. she was just about the only national broadcaster saying it that way. You have to figure somebody tried to correct her along the way.
In the northwest corner of the state, we can live with people lazily dropping the "v" sound from Shreveport. At least half the people in town will say "Shree-port." I won't say it, but that's just me. What we will not abide is the unnecessary "s." Don't say "Shrevesport." You'll get shouted down.
I still haven't figured out the proper way to say the name of the outstanding smaller city straight down Interstate 49 from here. Is it LAFF-ayette or LAH-fayette? It doesn't help that there's a nearby Arkansas county called "Luh-FAY-it." They're spelled exactly the same.
The one that just slays me is the northwest Louisiana town of Mooringsport. It sits on the shores of Caddo Lake, so the origin of the name should be self-evident. However, people there call it "Morningsport" plain as day. So, if the standard of how to pronounce a place is how the locals say it, then "Morningsport" it is, spelling and origin be damned.
My favorite pronouncing conundrum comes from north central Texas town of Bogata. It's is spelled just like the capital of Columbia, but that's not how it's pronounced, no sir. They say it like the vowels are transposed: Bagota. Hey, when in Bogata.......
Somewhere, Brett Favre is smiling.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I can't think of a time when my son has sprung into action so quickly. As a fan of the cancelled TV series "Arrested Development," as well as the raunchy movie "Super Bad," he was actually excited about the opportunity to meet Cera.
The phone rang, he answered, and all we heard was, "What? Can I come?" Next thing we knew, he was bounding down the stairs and out the door, blabbing about his girlfriend, Judd Apatow and the Mexican place....and just like that, he was gone.
By the time he got home, we were sound asleep, but he was eager to tell us about "The guy from Anchorman and the guy from Super Bad...." I'm just glad to see him get excited about something.
All these movies and TV shows are being shot around town, and I have yet to have a brush with celebrity. I saw PGA Tour star David Toms at a local grocery store recently, but that doesn't count. He's local and I've known him since he was in high school.
I guess I need to get out more.
Shreveport Times reporter Alex Kent offers on his Louisiana Movies blog: The Sony Studios Pictures feature film “The Year One” starring Jack Black and Michael Cera is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled from January through March of 2008. Apatow is producing the movie, which will be directed by Harold Ramis. Comedy titan Owen Wilson is also reported to have an executive role in the project, which early accounts describe as a comedy set during biblical times. Sphere: Related Content
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Frequent Daddy D readers know that church has always been a big part of my life. Like so many others, I'm not so sure what to believe half the time, but I show up and I always feel better about life after spending some time in the church. If that's God speaking to me, then I'm listening.
I have visited many churches from a variety of demoninations, but you go with what you know. I'm most comfortable, most emotionally and spiritually impacted by a nice liturgical service. I need a sacrament or two to feel whole. I need a sermon to come somewhere in the middle of the service, having been set up by two or three Bible readings and maybe a psalm. I don't need anybody screamin' at me.
I do respect someone else's need for a service to be centered around a preacher and some repetitive singing, but it's just not for me. All of that being said, in all my years of attending church, I have never witnessed anything quite like this:
Pitch your tent carefully, brother. Can I get an amen?
Posted by Darrell at 1/16/2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Over the holidays, she traveled to Southern California. Although she has returned, she clearly has not come home emotionally.
She's enjoying the freedom which comes with having her own car and we're letting her roll the way she rolls, but her absence is felt.
Her brother asked just yesterday, "Did she go back to California? I haven't seen her in a week."
Neither have we. We're not worried, though. Soon enough, she will run out of money and food.
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Posted by Darrell at 1/14/2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
So, this lady says, "Oh, that place with the flat shrimp? I don't think so." Yeah, that place with the flat shrimp, you idiot. I swear, her dismissive attitude made me angry. Look, why don't you just send them to Chili's and be done with it?
Even if you think it, you do not say it. The Shrimp Buster is Shreveport sacred. So, lady, go back where you came from and don't call me for restaurant advice again.
Everybody else, meet me at Herby K's for lunch.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008
Some kind of massive system failure at the city's water processing plant has left us high and dry. This photo, by Greg Pearson of the Shreveport Times, shows what's happening out there where our water is supposed to be purified. That big fountain is not supposed to be there. According to local media accounts, divers are in the water trying to solve the problem, whatever it is. The job apparently is much larger than anticipated and this thing is really stretching out.
Many people are being sent home from work and school in order to conserve water, but it occurs to me that it's like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. People still need to flush wherever they are. Also, it's less likely that people will try to shower at work or school. But, hey, nobody asked me.
I guess there's something to be said for accumulating your family's human waste exclusively instead of having to merge it with that of countless strangers. That's what it all comes down to, as indelicate as it may seem. Water pressure is so low that most people in the city can't flush. Since this problem was not anticipated, most folks don't have enough water on hand to accomplish the Emptying of the Bowl.
If this drags on, there will be some interesting decisions to be made. How about this little ditty: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." I don't know where I learned that, but unfortunately it bubbled to the forefront of my consciousness shortly after lunch. We have about a case and a half of 20-oz bottles of drinking water at the house. I wonder how many it would take to accomplish one good flush. There are some two-liter bottles of soft drinks around. They may be sacrificed to the cause later today. Certainly, we don't want to consume them recreationally. That would just add to the problem.
In the meantime, I'm left with the realization that there's a certain psychobiological pressure that comes wtih knowing there's no functioning toilet available. Chamber pot, anyone?
Crews fixed the problem shortly after 2:00pm, about six hours after it was initially detected. Massive quantities of bottled water were sold across the city today. It was a nice wake-up call on many levels. Plus, the kids got out of school an hour early.
The problem was so significant that a boil order was issued. Even though service and pressure have been restored, there will be no school tomorrow. The problem only existed inside the city limits, but the school board has given the entire parish the day off from their studies. Some kids get snow days. Our kids get no-flush days. You take what you can get, I suppose.
Thanks to John Andrew Prime of the Shreveport Times for the photo of the workmen repairing a valve.
Now that the confetti has settled following the LSU football team’s inspiring run to a national championship, let’s reflect on the great debate about the nebulous nature of determining the best team in college football.The Tigers are the undisputed #1 team in the nation except in Southern California or parts of Georgia and Kansas. Yet, the clamor for a playoff system is as loud as ever. In Louisiana, with the possible exception of a newspaper columnist or some talk show hosts, that talk is muted for now.
What sort of primeval urge do we have to need one champion to stand at the top of a mound of vanquished foes? Can you just see Mike the Tiger or Les Miles gazing smugly down upon a pile of Buckeyes, Volunteers, Bulldogs, Trojans and Jayhawks? There’s chest-thumping braggadocio and a feeling of superiority as we revel in the knowledge that our football team is the best! In the meantime some Razorbacks and Wildcats, bowed but not beaten, stand off to the side snickering.
It’s nice to see your champions hoist a trophy and to have a flag flying above the stadium touting triumph, but what’s so bad about other teams enjoying a little success, too? Hawaii was the Western Athletic Conference champion. The Warriors, suddenly aptly named, did not lose a game during the regular season. They came to the mainland and faced a phalanx of bare-fanged Bulldogs from the University of Georgia and left with their spears sheathed in shame. Does that make them any less a champion?
Virginia Tech won the Atlantic Coast Conference, but lost in a bowl game to Kansas. That didn’t determine anything, really, except that Kansas may have a more solid case for final-rankings injustice than do USC and Georgia. When it comes right down to it, there is only one post-season college football game that counts, and it’s not really a bowl game. It’s the BCS championship game. All the other games, whether they involve conference champions or teams from the middle of the pack, are just exhibitions. Kansas-Virginia Tech had no more significance than Alabama-Colorado. There’s nothing to brag about. Hey, we’re number four! Boasting is really what it’s all about. Somehow, we stand a little straighter when we have something to celebrate. In Louisiana, this is particularly meaningful. We’ve been battered bloody for generations about our roads, education system, corrupt politicians and backwater ways. To point out with pride that “we” have been able to build something that is the best, even if it is “just” a football team, legitimizes us significantly. The LSU football team didn’t become the best with brawn and brute force alone. Its championship is a product of superior planning and organization. People “we” brought into the state, Les Miles, Gary Crowton, Bo Pellini, and Matt Flynn among them, worked alongside Louisiana people like Jacob Hester to build something special and successful. It shows we can cooperate to outwork and out-think the competition. If we can do it in football, why can’t we do it in education, cyberspace, healthcare, business and transportation? A national championship, earning the distinction of being THE BEST, gets us at our core. That’s primeval, indeed; but it’s also promising. Geaux Tigers.
Posted by Darrell at 1/10/2008