Friday, December 02, 2005

Because before it gets better, it gets really really bad

I just found out--via email, which always makes it easier--that I am no longer employed at NOCCA/Riverfront. For the past few weeks we've been put through various hoops and forms and requests and updates, and this week I was working on the curriculum for the term that would begin in January.

So if anyone knows of any work in the New Orleans I am.

Sweetness on its way to Ohio

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Yesterday, while I was locked out of my car, the SPCA called to say that the dog I dropped off a few weeks ago would be leaving for a shelter in Ohio this morning. I was tempted to drive over to see her one last time, and to meet the man who was drving her (Bob Painter, thank you!) and tell him how special she is. Bob is a volunteer from Belmont County Animal Rescue, and he's been down here for a while but is finally returning home.

If anyone in or near Ohio is looking for a great dog, please go get her. But keep her inside. She wants to be a house dog, even though she's spent most of her time on the streets.

Chicago proposes a breed ban; I propose a ban of Chicago

A friend in Chicago just let me know about the proposed legislation banning all pit bulls and pit mixes. Anyone who has read my blog in the past knows how I feel about this: it is lazy legislation that doesn't address the problem at all. I had been planning to visit Chicago on my book tour. Now I am considering whether I should skip altogether, or arrive wearing my "I Love My Pit Bull" t-shirt and turn my tour stop into a protest.

The problem with breed bans is that the irresponsible owners will continue behaving irresponsibly. Also, it serves as a lesson in the worst kind of problem solving--look the other way, pretend it doesn't exist. If we applied this logic to all of society's problems the following would be banned: drinking, sex, marriage, education, art....oh, wait, maybe this isn't new thinking at all.

Meanwhile, San Francisco has put legislation in effect that requires pit bull owners to neuter and spay their pets, and to have a permit for breeding. It is impossible to argue with this. But why are pit bull owners the only ones who are expected to breed responsibly? It should be expected of ALL dog owners.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stump stockings

There are some things you can see only in New Orleans and yet, in New Orleans, they seem utterly commonplace. Particularly now.

I'm sitting on my car bumper waiting for a locksmith to let me after I locked the car with the keys in the ignition on my way to the chiropractor. Coming toward me down the middle of the street: a punked out, afro-ed kid in his twenties pushing a wheelchair with a rainbow flag. In the wheelchair: a fifty year old man one-legged man wearing shorts and, on his stump, a fishnet stocking.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I see London, I see France...I see $*%@ in his underpants

Last month, the culture minister of France came along with a delegation of officials to tour New Orleans and offer their assistance. Part of the package is a huge show of masterpieces from the Louvre and other Paris museums, which will be on display at the New Orleans Museum of Art in late 2006.

That same week, Prince Charles and Camilla toured the lower Ninth Ward and met with residents who were salvaging their ruined homes.

This week, the Netherlands is in town pledging their support and offering their expertise on levees.

The United States government is still mulling their support of city.

Free internet for carpetbaggers

The latest inane announcement from Mayor Nagin (fresh from his Jamaican vacation) is free wireless internet throughout the city. But, in fact, the plan currently is only for two areas: the French Quarter and the CBD, both of which are wealthy demographically and currently housing out of town "relief" workers. They may eventually extend the service beyond those areas, but then the connection speed will drop to 128 kps, which is dial up speed circa 1995. So those of us that live in areas outside the business district, where phone service is still unavailable, are out of luck. But the folks who already had internet access can now get it for free.

When I posted something online about how it was essentially "free for the rich" I got a nasty response from someone who told me I was being nasty and irresponsible. They added that they "worked hard for two years" to pay for their condo. If you can pay for a condo in two are rich. And, of course, the point I was making is that this free wireless service isn't really being provided for citizens at all. It is for the out of towners, and once they live, the power will be turned down.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Does the State Department read your blog?

They certainly read mine. I was looking at the stats on recent locations that had been accessing my blog. Usually these are listed as cities, or servers (like AOL). But there was someone reading from website which doesn't exist because, apparently, it is a State Department server in DC.

What could I possibly be saying that is of interest to them? Pit bulls? Giraffes? Utility monopolies?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Giraffes are funny

My friend the Giraffe
Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Until yesterday, I don't think I had ever gotten quite this close to one of these funny things.

I mean, look at that!

The Audubon Zoo reopened this weekend and was packed. Almost all of the animals survived the storm, even the really tall ones.

Reopening Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall
Originally uploaded by kfoz.
Press Street, the literary and visual arts collective that I recented founded with friends in the Bywater, wanted to do something to celebrate Tom Piazza's new book "Why New Orleans Matters." Actually, one of our main goals is to just actually DO things. But also, to do things a little differently. So rather than doing a regular reading for this book, we wanted to come up with something that would sum up the whole experience of New Orleans.

How about Preservation Hall? I said, not really thinking that we would be able to do something there. And, in fact, the Hall has been closed since the storm, with musicians all out of town and touring. But with the help of ReaganBooks/HarperCollins, we will be hosting a "one time only" opening of Preservation Hall on Tuesday December 6th from 6-8pm. A quartet will perform, books will be signed, and it is all free and open to the public.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Entergy offers a special holiday blackout

Apparently Entergy made a mistake with their brief 90 minute blackout on Black Friday. Their contracts with the city of New Orleans and Haliburton stipulate that they must do everything in their power to discourage people from returning to communities east of the French Quarter. So last night, as soon as it began to rain, the power went out again. Fourteen hours later, it is still out. The official recorded message after reporting the outage is the same as on Friday: "We expect power to be restored Saturday December 3rd." When I got a live person on the phone, I asked about that message. "It hasn't been changed since the storm," she said. Which storm? "Katrina."

What should I do with all the food rotting in the fridge? "I can't help you with that," she said.

I was thinking of dropping it off at the nearest Entergy office. "Okay," she said.

The worst part is this: I missed the Animal Planet special on reuniting people with their pets, and an entire evening of work on my book.

Homeless cat offers accounting services to the Louisiana SPCA

Originally uploaded by kfoz.
This incredibly skinny cat has been hanging out in the accounting room waiting for her owners to pick her up. They were contacted on Tuesday and told that the cat was there. They said they'd be in that afternoon. Wednesday she was still there, and happily putting her paws all over the contributions as they came in. Then she did something stinky.

I left after lunch, so I'm hoping she had a happy Thanksgiving with the folks. Her name, apparently, is Misha. And she does bare a striking resemblance to Misha Barton.